Can Things Get More Crazy on Planet DC?
Federal Budget This Year?
By Carolyn Cormey
Nancy Pelosi tells us that the House and Senate will not bother with a Federal Budget this year. Apparently she does not feel that a budget is needed with an unlimited checkbook, printing presses turning out $$$ 24/7 and China on speed-dial. No pesky federal budget, therefore-no prioritization, no restraint, no accountability, and no transparency to impede Congress in their plan to spend us out of this recession and spend us into jobs. Problem solved…right? If not, the back-up plan is to let the Bush tax cuts expire, reconsider taxes on those with less than $200,000 in annual income (after all-it was just an election promise and who ever keeps these) and then there is the possibility of instituting another tax in addition to the taxes we will already pay next year, the VAT (value added tax) Tax. After all-why should the countries in Europe have something we don't have! (British VAT was just raised to 20% and our US legislators are salivating.)
President Obama is taking his "spend us out of recession" success story with him to share the wisdom of his experience with the leaders of the G-8 Summit, to help them defeat the recessions in their own countries. Their answer to him? "Been there, done that" and it did not work…but there are some great Hors d'oeuvres in the other room…
Financial Services Regulation?
US Senate and House Members of the Conference Committee pulled an all-nighter blending together the Senate and House version of the Financial Services Regulation Bill. Members were driven by the Democrat Committee Leadership (ole Congressman Barney Frank and Lame-Duck Senator Chris Dodd) to stay in session all night until the members finally reached a zombie state at 5:40 a.m., where they were ready to pass anything to go home and get some sleep! Great! Senate Leader Dodd reassures all of us (legislators and us general public dopes) that we will have to wait until this bill is passed to see what is in it. Huh?
You may recognize the names Senator Chris Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank in connection with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the home lending fiasco that led the way into the financial crisis and recession we are now in. Frank and Dodd could be seen in front of every TV camera, promoting (insane) lending practices to bring more people into home ownership, telling all of us how economically sound Fannie and Freddie were…right up to the moment when they weren't. Now, on Planet DC, who else would be put in charge of legislation to fix our current financial crisis…ole Senator Chris Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank, of course and of course, they have decided to "fix" all of our financial problems without dealing with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac at all! These institutions that led the way and continue to be among our biggest and continuing financial liabilities (and disasters) are not mentioned once in this over 2,000 page Financial Services Bill!
Our New Healthcare Reform Law?
Nancy Pelosi told all of us that we would not get to know what was in our new healthcare reform bill until it passed. One thing we did know ahead of time was that in 2,700 pages of legislation, there apparently was not room (or motivation) to deal with tort reform and therefore lawsuits with the possibility of unlimited punitive damage awards, continue to keep malpractice insurance premiums so high that many hospitals are not able to afford staff neurologists and other specialists. Healthcare reform without tort reform, what kind of sense does this make?
Another thing that was purposely left out of this massive healthcare reform bill was "The Doctor Fix," to stay (temporarily halt) the scheduled reduction of Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement to doctors. (Of course, these scheduled reductions were used to calculate the estimated cost of the Health Reform Legislation, in the way that the same $550 Billion dollars gained from dealing with fraud and cuts to Medicare were counted twice, once to extend Medicare and at the same time counted as revenue to pay for the new healthcare entitlement). Everyone who voted for this bill was fully aware that the "Doctor Fix" would have to be…fixed…and paid for, but since it did not fit into the estimated cost goals that Congress manipulated CBO to meet…the Doctor Fix was no longer considered part of Health Reform.
It also comes as no surprise to our Legislators that many of the things we were promised by them and by our President are not happening in our Health Reform Bill. Insurance costs are going up, not down. Many of us are not going to be able to "keep the insurance we have and like," as promised and all of a sudden, after this bill is law…we are now beginning to get a glimpse of the real costs of this new entitlement over the years ahead. Surprised?
We had some good employment news last month. Oh wait a minute. If you took out the temporary Census Workers and newly created and hired government jobs, the 440,000 jobs number only generated about 14,000 new jobs in the private sector. Good news…if you got a job with government. But wait, perhaps not so good news to even government workers after you realize that it is the jobs in the private sector that generate the revenue that pays government salaries-so that government workers can also pay their taxes. I guess that this is such a complicated economic concept that many of our Legislators simply do not understand it and perhaps this is the reason that they keep concocting complicated legislation that creates more and more committees, boards, and panels (staffed by thousands of new-hire government employees) charged with more and more regulations and restrictions on all areas of private sector employers.
Yes, we do need regulation, but those we elect repeat and repeat again the same pattern. They regulate and regulate and over-regulate until they strangle business and then…they remove regulation without providing oversight until the abuses begin again and drag us into bad economic times. The one thing we can count on is that our Legislators never learn from their mistakes and it is all of us who suffer, time after time-each time worse than before.
You and I Don't Seem to Learn Either
Why do we keep sending the same people in both political parties back to Washington time after time again? Congressmen and Senators who have been in office for 30 plus years are either now part of the problem or are simply coasting, not having to work too hard and keep getting re-elected, unopposed in their own political party primaries. This is not right and this is due to our own laziness or apathy. If we keep doing this, we will keep getting what we have been getting and then…we will finally have to face who we really have to blame.
Return to Current Edition