Patterico's Pontifications

7/30/2009

Imagine What a Tax Cut Would Do (Updated)

Filed under: Government,Obama — DRJ @ 8:13 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Obama Administration’s Transportation Department has announced it will suspend the Car Allowance Rebate System (cars.gov) aka the Cash-for-Clunkers program because too many people are using it.

The program started July 1 but it did not officially launch until July 24, 2009, after the rules were released. Initial estimates were that it would result in 220,000 car sales:

“The government estimates the program will help finance up to 220,000 new car purchases, or about 12 per dealer in the United States. The program is not expected to boost manufacturing output unless it is extended beyond $1 billion.”

Perhaps Congress will increase funding and the program can be re-started but, for now, this program officially lasted one week. That may be a record for a government program but promising Hope and Change is a lot easier than delivering it.

UPDATE: Is it suspended or not?

“Transportation Department officials called lawmakers’ offices earlier Thursday to alert them of plans to suspend the program as early as Friday. But a White House official said later the program had not been suspended and officials there were assessing their options.

“We are working tonight to assess the situation facing what is obviously an incredibly popular program,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said of the Car Allowance Rebate System. “Auto dealers and consumers should have confidence that all valid CARS transactions that have taken place to date will be honored.””

The link indicates there may have been an average of 13 cash-for-clunker sales per dealership in the first week of the program, or one more per dealer than the Administration estimated for the term of the program.

I sure hope these aren’t the same people who will be allocating funds and resources for America’s health care program.

— DRJ

No Apologies at Beer Summit

Filed under: Race — Patterico @ 5:36 pm

Sgt. Crowley met today with a guy who accused him of falsifying a police report and racially profiling him. Also present was another guy who told the world that he didn’t know the facts, but said that Crowley had acted stupidly.

Oh, and Slow Joe Biden attended as well.

Apparently there were no apologies.

Obama has said the controversy should become a “teachable moment” for Americans. But the meeting was closed to the press.

How can we learn if you keep the lesson a secret?

Democrats Point Fingers in Healthcare Fight

Filed under: Government,Politics — DRJ @ 1:31 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Democratic leaders in Congress are angry about healthcare. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is lashing out at insurance companies:

“It’s almost immoral what they are doing,” Pelosi said to reporters, referring to insurance companies. “Of course they’ve been immoral all along in how they have treated the people that they insure,” she said, adding, “They are the villains. They have been part of the problem in a major way. They are doing everything in their power to stop a public option from happening.”

Meanwhile, over in the Senate, Harry Reid blames the Capitol Hill media:

“Reid said reporters created a fictitious deadline of a successful vote by the August recess, and downplayed the fact that the chamber won’t meet that mark.

“That is a deadline that you created,” Reid told a group of about 75 reporters. “It’s not like we don’t have a product. Significant progress has been made … The mere fact that this wasn’t done by last Friday or by five o’clock doesn’t mean we’re not going to get a quality product.”

I bet there aren’t many people in Congress who are looking forward to the August recess trip home, but I agree with Karl that the Democrats are just beginning to fight.

— DRJ

Obamacare: We’ve Only Just Begun

Filed under: General — Karl @ 11:51 am

[Posted by Karl]

Yesterday, Pres. Obama’s proposed takeover of the US healthcare system took hits in polling from from NPR, TIME, Gallup, NBC/WSJ and the New York Times. Today’s Pew poll is about as bad.

The Hill and Politico report on the Congressional Progressive Caucus threatening to bolt over the deal their leaders forged with the Blue Dogs — and that is over the supposed substance, not the delay for a vote by the full House until September, when time is so clearly the Democrats’ enemy.

The emerging proposal from the bipartisan “gang of six” Senate Finance Committee negotiators that would drop a government-run insurance plan caused wailing and gnashing of teeth throughout the Leftosphere. Matt Taibbi, Scott Lemieux and Howard Dean are good examples, though Jane Hamsher attacking Ezra Klein as insufficiently dogmatic may be my favorite. Moreover, it seems that a bipartisan proposal will not emerge before Congress goes on August recess.

Grading Pres. Obama’s efforts to sell healthcare reform, Lefty blogger Nate Sliver gives The One a B+, a D+, a D- and two Fs. President Obama’s AARP town hall showed a man clearly on the defensive. It is thus no surprise that Obama plans to retool his rhetoric — though 8 bullet points, pitched mostly at the insured (who are overwhelmingly happy with their coverage already) are unlikely to change the field much.

All (or most) of the above news can cheer the Right, but the Right cannot lose sight of the larger picture, which remains pretty gloomy. Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, still thinks the odds of sticking us with some healthcare bill are very good, as does Rep. Mike Ross, chairman of the health-care task force for the Blue Dog Coalition in the House. Killing the public plan would be a mostly symbolic victory — essential, but not enough to prevent government-run health care.

Accordingly, when conservatives and libertarians press their elected representatives during the August recess, they should make clear that dropping the public plan is necessary, but not sufficient. Our representatives need to be told that Fannie Med co-ops are just as unacceptable as a government insurance plan.

The point should be driven home that government-run healthcare schemes with most of the same elements now being discussed have been proven disasters in Tennessee, Maine and most of all Massachusetts, which has been judged a failure by everyone from Reason to the Boston Globe. The pattern is always similar — costs soar out of control, which in turn pushes government to reduce benefits or payments to doctors and hospitals (pushing them to skimp on care). Our representatives need to be told that these schemes inevitably lead not only to government-rationed care, but the death of the medical innovation.

Our representatives need to be told that as much as we do not want a public plan, we do not want a Health Choices Czar imposing costly mandates (like the guaranteed issue mandate that nearly doubled insurance premiums in New Jersey), driving people into government-run health exchanges and interfering with our right to choose our own doctors.

Centrist Democrats are going to be pressured by their progressive colleagues and the punditocracy to cave in, to support — or at least not filibuster — whatever final bill gets cooked up in a backroom House-Senate conference. They are going to get told that the failure of Hillarycare in 1994 led to the GOP electoral tsunami that year. Centrist Democrats need to be reminded that the Democrats could have lost more seats had they passed Hillarycare. They need to be reminded that after Congress passed the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act in 1988, a mob of seniors heckled and chased then-powerful Rep. Dan Rostenkowski down a Chicago street and attacked his car. His colleagues faced a public only slightly less angry. Less than two years later, before the bill’s implementation, Congress repealed the law by huge margins.

The Democrats may be struggling today, but their current attempt to take over our healthcare system is far from meeting its Waterloo. Stop thinking ABBA. Start thinking The Carpenters.

–Karl

Hiding in Plain Sight

Filed under: Crime,No on 66 — Patterico @ 7:31 am

There is a blockbuster story lurking in the details of this blog post, for anyone willing and able to see it.


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