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Victor Davis Hanson on how you can ruin an economy.
The only mystery over the release of unemployment statistics was not whether it was going to be bad — everyone can sense the stasis in their own community first-hand — but whom would Barack Obama blame: Bush? The Republican Congress? The E.U. meltdown? The recent hot weather or summer in general? ATM machines? Hurricanes on the horizon?
After sharp recessions, we usually get more robust than average recoveries, but since June 2009, things have not recovered at all really, and we are in a sort of permanent European-style slowdown — sort of a recession, sort of a weak recovery.
If one wanted to ensure permanent 8 percent to 9 percent unemployment, one might try the following:
1. Run up serial $1 trillion deficits
2. Add $5 trillion to the national debt in three and a half years
3. Impose a 2,400-page, trillion-dollar new federal takeover of health care, …
There was a particularly pernicious WaPo OpEd this weekend. Yuval Levin answers.
… The fact is that the incentives in our health-care system are all screwed up precisely because of government policies and programs. Medicare, the biggest player in our insurance system by far, is an arcane fee-for-service system that encourages volume over value and inflates (while shifting) costs. Medicaid, meanwhile, has a state-federal structure that makes cost-containment nearly impossible (by having state policymakers make spending decisions while the Feds pay at least half the cost in an open-ended way). And the tax exclusion for employer-provided coverage creates a huge incentive for high-premium insurance while shielding everyone involved from actual prices and costs. All the incentives point to cost inflation and away from outcome-based health economics, so we shouldn’t be surprised to have an inefficient system.
It is precisely conservative reformers who have proposed to change this, and it is precisely liberals who seek to avoid that change. Obamacare doubles down on all of these sources of inefficiency, and it does so on exactly Zakaria’s premise: that the chaos of the market would make things less efficient and only the centralized coordination of a benevolent bureaucracy can make the system work. It’s hard to believe we are still having this argument.
Michael Goodwin believes Romney must learn he is in a knife fight.
Mitt Romney is a good man. He’s smart, successful and there’s not a hint of scandal in his 65 years. He’s boring and a little distant, but those aren’t the flaws that could prove fatal.
Romney’s big problem is that he grew up in another America. He was raised to believe there is a clear standard for adult conduct, that even politics has rules and that it is the duty of a president to unite and lead the nation through its economic crisis.
Timing could be his great misfortune. Fate has given him a demoralized electorate that is growing distant from that old America and an opponent who spouts its verities, but actually believes in none of them.
Barack Obama believes that politics is a knife fight, and the only rule is that he must win. His conduct reflects the unholy mix of a messiah complex with the muscle of The Chicago Way. His goal, he tells us, is to “transform” America, not fix it.
This culture clash explains a presidential campaign operating in parallel universes. …
Salena Zito on Obama’s hyphenated politics.
When Carolyn Coulson was deciding how to vote in 2008, she found Barack Obama’s rhetoric “exciting,” especially when he talked about a “different kind of politics.”
Then a student at Vanderbilt, she said John McCain was dull in comparison.
Coulson, now 25 and a Wall Street consultant, finds no trace of that Obama today.
“His rhetoric is aimed just at specific groups of people, not as someone who would bring the country together,” she said.
Identity politics is something you do when you don’t have the worst economy since World War II, according to David Woodard, a Clemson University political science professor. “He cannot say anything about the economy and win,” Woodard explained.
From his mini-amnesty pitch to Hispanics, his support of gay marriage and his “identity” comments on the death of a black youth, to his turning contraception into a wedge issue, President Obama is shaping his electoral path to victory with identity politics. …
George Will on the heavy handed Feds and the ruin they may visit on the Navajos.
The federal government is a bull that has found yet another china shop, this time in Arizona. It seems determined to inflict, for angelic motives and progressive goals, economic damage on this state. And economic and social damage on Native Americans, who over the years have experienced quite enough of that at Washington’s hands.
The gain from this pain? The most frequently cited study says “research to date .?.?. is inconclusive as to whether” there would be “any perceptible improvement in visibility at the Grand Canyon and other areas of concern.” The Environmental Protection Agency says that the Navajo Generating Station (NGS) is “near” 11 national parks, several of which are 175 miles distant.
The NGS on Navajo land in northern Arizona burns coal from the Kayenta Mine, which is co-owned by the Navajo and Hopi nations. The EPA is pondering whether all three units of the NGS should be required to install the “best available” emission-control technologies, perhaps costing more than $1.1 billion. More than 80 percent of the power plant’s employees are Navajo, many of whom speak Navajo to help preserve the nation’s culture. In 2007, the percentage of the Navajo Nation’s population living in poverty was 36.8.
But the Navajos, the plant and the mine that powers it may be sacrificed to this dubious environmental crusade.
So what’s been happening to Elizabeth Warren? Howie Carr brings us up to date.
… A couple of weeks ago, several Cherokee who had been most critical of Warren’s scam arrived in Massachusetts to confront her. A perfect opportunity for Liz to meet people like her! But she snubbed the real Indians, claiming they were part of a vast right-wing Cherokee conspiracy. The Native Americans couldn’t even arrange a powwow with one of Warren’s whitebread campaign staffers.
Finally they returned home, and Twila Barnes, an indefatigable Cherokee genealogist, went back to her digging — and came up with the 1999 death certificate of Aunt Bee Veneck, who imparted the “family lore” to young Lizzy about her proud high-cheekbone heritage. The form offered as choices for race: Native American, white and black — and the family member who supplied that information listed Aunt Bee as white.
That family member was Elizabeth Warren.
This latest debunking barely rated a mention in Massachusetts. Everybody had long since figured out that Warren speaks with forked tongue.
Her new identity is middle-class, “Okie to her toes,” as she puts it. On Father’s Day, she tweeted a photo of her husband, Bruce Mann, another Harvard Law professor. Her campaign operatives even equipped the Yale man with a working-class prop — a longneck beer, a “brew,” as Scott Brown might call it.
It looked perfect, except that no one had told Prof. Mann that before you sit down with the bottle in your hand, it’s customary to take what’s called a “church key” and remove the cap from the bottle. It’s easier to drink from that way.
Abe Greenwald brings us up to date on events in Michael Moore’s Cuban paradise.
The Miami Herald has a startling story about Michael Moore’s model healthcare system, down in Cuba: “The first cholera outbreak in Cuba in a century has left at least 15 dead and sent hundreds to hospitals all but sealed off by security agents bent on keeping a lid on the news, according to reports Friday.”
The country’s time-warp politics and infrastructure now match its diseases. Cholera was supposed to have been wiped out in Cuba around 1900. And this is only one of many Cuban health crises. Apparently Cuba has become something of a Petri dish since Russia stopped subsidizing Castro’s island prison in the 1990s. The Herald reports that “During one 24-hour period in January, three flights from Cuba to Toronto arrived with groups of passengers suffering from nausea, vomiting and fever.” There’s also “an acute soap shortage,” and “rumors of an increase in dengue, a disease transmitted by mosquitoes that thrive during the hot and rainy months of summer.” …