November 24, 2012

Doctor’s PJ Media Column: Nagging, Intrusive ObamaCare ‘Intentionally’ Makes Access and Care Difficult

In a Saturday PJ Media column (“A Physician’s New Reality: Patients Ask Me to Break the Law”), Dr. Peter Weiss, relays several important and ugly realities of what life will be like under the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare, which could easily have been reported any time during the past couple of years by members of the establishment press.

Most of what Dr. Weiss discusses has to do with ObamaCare’s free annual exam. As will be seen, the administration and the press have made it seem far more valuable than what patients will see in the real world. If any of what the doctor describes below has been previously addressed in the press, I sure haven’t seen it (italics are in original; bolds are mine):

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Reuters Social Media Director Wonders Why Israel Should ‘Retaliate’ (i.e., Defend Itself) Now That It Has Iron Dome

Well, that didn’t take long. Fulfilling a fear expressed on Tuesday by David Horovitz in the Times of Israel, someone is already using the country’s mostly (but to be sure, not completely) successful deployment of its Iron Dome missile defense system as an argument against Israel’s right to robustly defend itself.

The assertion came the very next day in the form of a tweet from a member of the establishment press (how unsurprising), one Anthony De Rosa from Reuters, the wire service’s Director of Social Media. Alert responder “Robbie Guy” posted a riposte so deliciously effective that De Rosa removed the tweet. Too late. The takedown came after Simon Plosker at Honest Reporting (HT Bruce Kesler at at Maggie’s Farm via Instapundit) had captured shots of both items:

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Runaway Government

No budget? No debt limit? No problem.

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This column went up at PJ Media on Thursday, and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Friday morning.

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On November 17, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told Bloomberg TV’s Al Hunt that “we ought to just eliminate the debt ceiling.”

John Hayward at Human Events summed up Geithner’s attitude perfectly: “Basically, Geithner thinks the debt ceiling is a bluff by those interested in fiscal restraint, and Big Government will always be willing to call it.” If he’s right, we are in deep, deep trouble.

The debt ceiling is the only thing even resembling a control on the runaway government of Geithner’s boss, President Barack Obama. The Treasury Secretary is quite perturbed that last year, in his words, “people” threatened “default on the American credit for the first time in history as a tool for political advantage.” The objective historical record shows that if a default had occurred in August 2011, it would not have been the result of the “people” in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives to whom Geithner was clearly referring failing to do their job. It would have occurred because Harry Reid’s Democrat-dominated Senate would have refused to agree to what the House passed, or because the Obama would have vetoed it. Despite this constitutionally designed tactical advantage, House Republicans caved and increased the ceiling to $16.394 trillion, just enough to last past the 2012 elections. This allowed Obama and Democrats to minimize the urgency of the country’s looming fiscal calamity as a dominant campaign issue and to pretend, with the help of its press lapdogs, that it’s only a “medium-term” or “long-term” problem.

Obama’s mental definition of “medium-term” may be “after my second term.” If so, at least on our current path, he’s probably wrong. Let’s look at the scoreboard and see how close the U.S. is to what most economists believe is the fiscal tipping point.

At the close of business on November 17, the date of Geithner’s interview, the national debt was $16.28 trillion, a mere $113 billion short of the national credit limit. Of that amount, $11.45 trillion was “Debt Held by the Public,” a formerly accurate but currently misleading term, given that almost half of that balance is held by foreign entities. Economic “experts” believe that we’re not supposed to worry about the $4.83 trillion remainder called “Intergovernmental Holdings.” I personally don’t buy that, but let’s set that matter aside for now.

The $11.45 trillion in “public debt” is almost 73% of the nation’s third-quarter annualized 2012 gross domestic product (GDP) of $15.78 trillion. When Obama was inaugurated, that percentage was only 45%.

In an April 2011 column (“Maxed Out America: Coming Sooner Than You Think”), I wrote that “[T]here is a consensus (among economists) that a country reaches ‘a critical insolvency threshold’ once its public debt hits 90% of GDP. At that point, lender cutoffs and interest-rate premiums become real possibilities.” At the time, the Congressional Budget Office believed that we were a decade away from reaching that 90% threshold.  Based on the true tracks of spending and economic growth, I thought it was more like six years or so. Today, thanks to the 2011 debt-ceiling deal, the proposed parameters of the next, lackluster growth, and the continued lack of any meaningful fiscal restraint, I believe it’s more like three.

Reid expects that any debt-ceiling deal will increase the limit by another $2.4 trillion, bringing the national debt’s grand total to $18.8 trillion and extending the next ceiling hit into early 2015, conveniently, barring another serious recession, after the 2014 congressional elections. If form holds, 91% of the new debt will be “public debt,” increasing its total to about $13.7 trillion. If GDP only grows by an annualized 2.2% during that time — a rate which roughly matches the economy’s anemic performance in the 13 reported quarters since the recession officially ended in June 2009 — the public debt-to-GDP ratio will be about 83%. Rinse and repeat for another year and we’ll hit 90% in the spring of 2016. If we have another recession, “fiscal cliff”-induced or otherwise, we’ll get there sooner — maybe much sooner. All of this additionally assumes that buyers of our debt won’t lose patience with our profligacy and either stop buying our debt or start demanding higher interest rates well before we hit economists’ admittedly arbitrary threshold.

So we have a government on track to function without a budget for a fourth straight year, a Treasury Secretary who refuses to advocate any kind of fiscal responsibility while ridiculing anyone who proposes a sane solution, a significant plurality if not a majority of the population which believes that free stuff can and will continue without interruption, a President who believes that his second pathway into the history books (he thinks ObamaCare is the first) is ruthlessly taxing the rich, media apparatchiks who believe we should really return to 1950s-style 90% marginal income tax rates, and a Federal Reserve printing as much money as necessary to accommodate what is intuitively unsustainable.

Perhaps a case can be made for agreeing with Geithner that we should dispense with the annoying inconvenience of having a debt ceiling, given that the discussions over raising it seem to be more about artificial political theater than substantive debate. At least when the inevitable downgrades and increases in borrowing rates occur, Geithner, Obama, Democrats and the press won’t be able to claim as they did last year (though they will of course try) that intransigent Republicans threatening a government default caused them.

Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (112412)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.

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Positivity: College Sweethearts Marry Nearly 50 Years After Breakup

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:01 am

From Santa Ana, California (HT Daryn Kagan):

Tue, Nov 13, 2012 5:31 PM EST

They say true love stands the test of time. And for Emilie Danielson, 70, and Terry Britton, 69, that has certainly proven true.

On Nov. 11, 52 years after they originally met as college freshmen attending Chapman University in Orange, Calif., the blushing bride and her now very grateful groom finally had the opportunity to say their “I do’s” to one another.

The couple first began dating in 1960 and admittedly fell fast and hard for each other.

“We would walk down to this tiny little church down the road and make out like crazy in the back of the pew,” Danielson told ABCNews.com.

But over the years, although the passion was strong between them, they somehow lost touch and can’t even explain today how or why it happened.

“We do not know how we lost touch. That’s the weirdest thing,” Danielson said. “We dated for two years. The second year we decided to leave [Chapman] and go to junior college to save money for a year. And then something happened, but we don’t know what happened. We just don’t remember.”

Neither of them have any recollection of a specific fight that tore them apart, but Britton was at least able to explain part of the reason they lost touch. As most young men in the 1960s did, he went into the Vietnam War, serving a year in Vietnam and three more years after that in Berlin. At the time, Danielson didn’t even know he was overseas.

“We went on different paths because of life. That’s how life happens,” Britton explained. “Going to the war was quite an interruption, but I survived that.”

As time passed, Danielson went on to marry someone else, has since been widowed twice, and has three children and seven grandchildren. Britton, on the other hand, was never married.

I think it’s because I had been spoiled by Emilie,” Britton joked.

Danielson and Britton may not have remained in contact with each other, but the ties between their families remained strong, and ultimately led their two paths to cross once more.

“The thread was always there because our parents had all gotten together in Oakland,” Britton said. “They loved me, her parents did. And wished we would get married at some point. And my parents always loved her and wished we would get married.

“She corresponded by Christmas cards with my mother for 50 years. My mom didn’t want her to even know that I was touring in the war.”

But unbeknownst to Britton, his mother had responded to one of Danielson’s Christmas cards with a letter explaining that her son had always wanted to be with Danielson. However, Danielson was married at the time and was obviously not going to jeopardize that relationship. Nonetheless, she always held those words close.

As more time elapsed, Britton’s parents eventually passed away, and he temporarily moved to Arkansas to tend to their belongings and sort out their affairs.

“I didn’t know his parents had died so I kept sending Christmas cards to their home in Arkansas,” Danielson said. “I sent my usual picture of the family, but I didn’t think too much about it when I didn’t get one back.”

But as fate would have it, Britton was the one that received the Christmas card revealing a picture of Danielson’s face. It was the first time he had laid eyes on her since college. …

Go here for the rest of the story.