change that defies belief

Surreal Spending
The House is poised to take a final vote on the compromise $800-billion spending bill on, appropriately, Friday the 13th, with the Senate likely to follow soon after.

In my 36 years in Washington, I have never seen such a surreal environment, with hundreds of billions of dollars in borrowed taxpayer money being spent without committee hearings or even meaningful public debate over the thousands of new and expanded programs the bill funds. [Read more...]

Obama goes to the bully pulpit

Barack Obama Washington Post Editorial

re: “…the same old partisan gridlock that stands in the way of action…”

It’s not enough that the Democrats have control of the House, control of the Senate, control of the Presidency, and a liberal majority on the Supreme Court? 

When did a limp-wristed majority afraid to act on its’ own beliefs become “partisan gridlock?”  You can’t blame Republicans for the Democrats’ lack of courage to support their own convictions.

And elevating Republicans’ reasonable disagreement with socialist programs to the virtual level of a thought crime is frankly Orwellian. If socialist programs had ever accomplished what they set out to do, anywhere, anytime in history that they have been tried, Republicans would probably sign on.  But we’ve been down this road of failed big government responses to economic crisis, and many people who lived through the Great Depression are still alive to attest to those socialist failures.  The way to stimulate our economy is to get government off our backs and allow people to keep the fruits of their labors.

The stimulus plan the President brought out of the House is built on False Dilemmas, ineffective solutions, poor returns on the dollar, and arbitrary market dislocations.  It benefits one class – the government bureaucrat class.  Everyone else loses. 

Great.  The American people get the government they deserve.  And the government they got is Democrats who don’t need Republicans to pass their stimulus plan.  What they need is to grow a pair, men and women alike, and pass their plans in the light of day as THEIR plans, and be judged by THEIR plans’ results as Democrats.  And if they can’t muster the testosterone to be held accountable for their own plans, they have no one to blame but themselves.

And Republicans need to grow some pairs too.  Conservative philosophy is worth standing on.  They must hold the line and not agree to another dollar of spending or taxation.  It would be a big mistake for them to try to blend in with Democrats at this juncture.  Look what happened the last time a Republican tried to pass himself off as a Democrat – the McCain campaign lost definitively.  Tax and spend is a guaranteed loser for a Republican. 

Democrats don’t need bi-partisan support to enact their plans, and each time they ask for it, Republicans should lock their mouths shut and throw away the key.  The change Republicans need in Washington is to quit the spending spree that went on under President Bush, learn when to keep their mouths shut, and start acting conservatively. 

Also See: Alyssa Lappen on Stimulus Plan

Also See: The Fierce Urgency of Pork

Stealth Care

Stealth Reform, by Grace Marie-Turner

Congressional leaders are arguing over whether they’ll get a comprehensive health reform bill passed this year or next. But, in fact, major health reform is speeding through Congress in two bills that are on the fast track to enactment — SCHIP and the economic stimulus bill.

Stimulus Bill

Expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program to children in families well into middle-income ranges passed the Senate yesterday and will likely be signed into law by President Obama early next week. In some states, children in families earning $100,000 or more would be eligible for taxpayer-supported insurance, as would adults already receiving it, clearly changing the mission of the program.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) asked, “Is the real intent of this legislation to replace the private health care system with a government-run health care system?” The response from Senate Democratic whip Richard Durbin (D-IL) was that he didn’t want to “trap people into private health insurance.” Heaven forbid!

Nine Senate Republicans broke ranks and voted with Democrats in favor of the SCHIP expansion; 40 Republicans crossed over and joined nearly all Democrats in passing the nearly-identical House version of the bill last week.

Nonetheless, the partisanship in the debate was evident: Sen. Charles Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said he was “disgusted” by the way Democratic leaders handled the debate. “It does not bode well for cooperative work in the coming months,” he told The Washington Post.

But the real game-changing health provisions are in the economic stimulus bill, where millions of Americans would be added to Medicaid and other taxpayer-financed health programs — without committee hearings or virtually any debate.

Here are some, but by no means all, of the health reform provisions in this gargantuan economic spending bill: [Read more...]