Friday, January 26, 2007

Tried to move SSG to the new format....

but got a message that only my scooterblog could be moved. Said the original creator had to do the moving...

Moving scooterblog was easy...just had to set up a google account.

More on the Health Insurance Plan with No Name (can you hear the crickets chirping?)

GWB makes the proposal and it’s DOA. But per Mike Franc at HumanEvents:

To [Dick] Armey [(R.-Tex.)] and [Pete] Stark [(D.-Calif.)]-, the solution [in 1999] was obvious: Use the tax code to help increase [health insurance] coverage. "We think Congress should create a new refundable tax credit to enable all Americans to buy decent health coverage." Other liberals agreed. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D.-Calif.), and Reps. Barney Frank (D.-Mass.) and Jim McDermott (D.-Wash.) sponsored legislation creating tax credits or deductions for individuals to purchase health coverage.


Stark refused to even hold hearings on it in the health subcommittee he chairs, saying the plan was "designed for disaster." Rep. Charles Rangel (D.-N.Y.), dismissed it as "a dangerous policy that … shifts cost and risk from employers to employees."

This knee-jerk opposition prompted some journalists to scold Democrats. The Post’s Steve Pearlstein noted that the plan "actually involves raising taxes on the rich and lavishly insured and giving the money to the working poor and the uninsured...."

Simple Health Insurance Plan needs better explanation (Does it even have a Name yet?)

How many people know that employer funded health insurance was the market’s not so great response to FDR’s wage freeze (itself obviously grossly anti-market)? Amity Schlaes has a pretty good article today at explaining how this would work but this project is going to take a LOT of selling. I mentioned it to a medical technician about to give me an MRI a year and a half ago and he was dumbfounded, having assumed that this was the way things HAVE ALWAYS BEEN DONE.

Ms. Schlaes:

Back in the 1930s, Congress and President Franklin Roosevelt created Social Security over corporate protests. A national system of payment for health care seemed next. (In 1945 Harry Truman would go around talking about "the right to adequate medical care.'')

Terrified employer raced to preempt FDR and Truman by proving they could handle health themselves. They contracted with Blue Cross and Blue Shield to provide benefits for employee pools. The tax treatment came last -- in fact no one knew for a while whether companies really could claim the insurance deduction.

But World War II made the new arrangement seem doubly logical. Congress imposed an "excess'' profits tax of as much as 90 percent and froze wages. Paying for health insurance was a way to reduce tax bills and keep workers, who were suddenly scarce. Unions were pleased. By 1945, 32 million Americans were in health-insurance programs, many sponsored by companies, up from 12 million to 13 million just five years before.

Bush has been awful at marketing his domestic agenda except for the early tax breaks, No Child Left Behind (and that was as much Kennedy’s doing as the POTU) and Medicare Part whatever.
I fear that she’s right and that these reforms will only begin to take root now while we most scratch our heads and try to think things through. For those of us who have decent employer provided coverage, we will be hard-pressed to allow any monkeying with it.

She concludes:

But if the Democratic leadership is already rejecting the Bush idea, is it still worth thinking about? The answer is yes. Parties come up with some of their best ideas when they are down -- ideas that tend to become law five or 10 years later.

Several other Bush proposals have been fakes -- programs that called themselves free market but actually extend the role of government, such as the Medicare Part D prescription-drug plan.
The standard-deduction plan, by contrast, truly is free market and anti-Washington. Though it may have come at the wrong time, this increase is one all can endorse -- even the tax warriors.

This is going to be a hard but necessary sell. First they need a great acronym.

Krauthammer Joins Scooter's Chorus on Ethanol

In today's JWR, Dr. K echoes my earlier post and Robert Samuelson's column from earlier this week:

This is nonsense. As my colleague Robert J. Samuelson demonstrated this week, biofuels will barely keep up with the increase in gasoline demand over time. They are a huge government bet with goals and mandates and subsidies that will not cure our oil dependence or even make a significant dent in it.


So much easier to say ethanol. That it will do farcically little is beside the point. Our debates about oil consumption, energy dependence and global warming are not meant to be serious. They are meant for show.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Mike Adams

I was a little surprised to hear Rush quote him today. Todd should be proud.

Re: Embracing the Suck

I have to assume you were protecting me.