October 7, 2009

Lickety-Split Links (100709, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 10:38 am

Item: “Gibbs: Obama Has Only ‘Read a Decent Part’ of Health Care Bill.” That’s not possible. From what I’ve read, there is no decent part of whatever “the bill” happens to be at the moment.

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Great, a new “mommy tax” is still an element of the Baucus version of statist health care.

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On Polanski and Letterman hypocrisies, Reynolds nails it, in two words: “Transparent weasels.”

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“Higher taxes in health care bill.” Congress wants to create new taxes, i.e., new expenses, and then make them non-deductible for companies who have to pay them. It thus becomes more possible than it is already to lose money and still owe “income” tax.

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Wow — Until now, Old Medea Benjamin has at least been consistent (consistently wrong, but at least consistent) in her opposition to wars in general, calls for immediate withdrawals regardless of the consequences, and non-stop appeasement of rogue regimes. That has just changed (“Code Pink rethinks its call for Afghanistan pullout”; HT Weasel Zippers via Hot Air Headlines). This exposes Old Medea as what she has probably been all along — an opportunistic, hard-leftist, partisan shill. This should make us doubly grateful that Old Medea, along with Old Media, were defeated when our troops achieved victory in Iraq.

Health Care Poll Cooking with AP, and the Fiscal Realities

Filed under: Economy,Health Care,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:06 am

The AP just dutifully updated its AP-GfK health care poll by cooking the books.

Supposedly, the situation has gone from 49-34 opposed to “the health care reform plans being discussed in Congress” to a breakeven 40-40.

But most of the alleged 15-point swing was accomplished by:

  • Changing the Democrat-Republican mix from 39-33 to 43-32.
  • Increasing the strong Democrats polled by three points vs. the Republicans.
  • Increasing the not employed component to 45% from 42%. That 45% is at least 4 points higher than it should be based on the labor force participation rate of 65% minus the percentage of those participating who are unemployed (.65 x .902 = about 59%, translating to 41% not employed).
  • Decreasing the home ownership percentage by 6% (you won’t know that unless you also go to the previous poll; AP omitted this and many other comparables).
  • Increasing the student component from 8% to 10%.
  • Increasing those who say they are not born-again evangelical Christians by 4%.
  • Reducing the percentage of whites polled to 75% from 79%.

Obviously, there’s a lot of overlap, but it’s safe to say that roughly 10% of the 15% swing has everything to do with the mix of those interviewed, and nothing to do with changing views.

That would leave what is probably a legitimate 5-point swing in the statists’ favor. That reflects what I believe is a troubling reality of self-fulfilling prophecy, in that support for statist health care, and statist “solutions” in general, will tend increase as the economy gets worse. It is thus quite convenient, and perhaps not coincidental, that the worse things get for us, the better the prospects become for those who would impose such statist solutions. Those who have brought us the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy of the past 15 months are surely pleased.

One of the many things that could (and should) stop statist health care is the nation’s ugly fiscal reality. Though Uncle Sam’s September Monthly Treasury Statement won’t come out until next Monday, here is a near-final look at Treasury receipts during fourth quarter (July-Sept.) of this year compared to last:

USreceipts4Q09v08byType

USrecs4Q09v08byType

The overall total is based on actual July and August results plus an estimate of $210 billion in receipts during September; the figures in the second chart are rounded to the nearest billion dollars; the individual line items are best estimates.

This horrid decay follows a smaller year-over-year decline from 4Q07 to 4Q08 of 2.8% (link opens in a new window). Not coincidentally, 4Q08 was the first full quarter of the POR Economy, now the POR Recession/”RepressionAs Normal People Define It, and the first full quarter in many years in which year-over-year quarterly receipts declined.

Everyone except the feckless fulminators inside Congress and the White House knows that statist health care will be woefully expensive for the taxpayers and painful for Medicare providers and recipients. Thus, everyone with a thinking cap and a familiarity with the situation knows we can’t afford this.