State of the Union: Mammoth Government is the New Normal

State of the Union: Mammoth Government is the New
Normal

January 27th, 2011

Ben Johnson, FloydReports.com

In his 2011
State of the Union Address
, Barack Obama gave himself five more years of
trillion-dollar deficit spending, a $678 billion income tax hike, a Social
Security tax increase, and the permanent extension of ObamaCare – and he gave
Republicans medical malpractice reform and a joke about a salmon.
Since his inauguration, the president has gone on a two-year spending orgy
unrivaled since the days of Lyndon Johnson or FDR. Faced with a national
backlash against towering debt, he has come up with a “compromise”: Americans
should accept the big government expansion he has forced down their throats and
move on. This follows the president’s familiar pattern of forcing through costly
and unpopular measures, then promising “discipline” after the fact.
The most reported aspect of the speech was Obama’s pledge to freeze
discretionary, non-military spending at their current levels – exempting such
major programs as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Homeland
Security.
At the risk of stating the obvious, which perhaps no one has yet stated,
there is no “savings.” As President Obama would say, “Let’s be
clear”: Savings is when you reduce the amount of money you are spending. The
president’s proposal is to spend the same amount of money. The only “savings”
would come from the fact that inflation
unleashed by deficit
spending
and quantitative
easing
will devalue the dollar – but this is hardly a cause for cheer.
History shows that spending freezes rarely freeze anything. The most
ambitious attempt was the 1985 Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act, which attempted to
control deficit spending by future Congresses, but many of the same politicians
who voted for the bill decided they would not abide by its terms the next year.
Deficits continued to mount. To give a more recent example, last year Congress
approved slightly more
than half
of the whopping $11.5 billion in spending cuts Obama requested
last year.
The amount of the budget actually affected is rather modest, indeed. It would
apply to approximately
12 percent of the budget
. Alec Phillips, an analyst with Goldman Sachs,
estimates that if every Congress for the next five years holds to current
levels, it would “save” $200 billion. The New York Times noted its
higher estimate of “$250 billion in savings over 10 years would be less than 3
percent of the roughly $9 trillion in additional deficits the government is
expected to accumulate
over that time.” Obama’s plan would cost
half-a-trillion dollars more
than returning
to 2008 spending levels
, as proposed by the most moderate Republicans. Sen.
Rand Paul has proposed a half-a-trillion
dollar spending cut
this year, which includes cutting food stamps
and eliminating the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National
Endowment for the Arts. Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan and Senator Jim DeMint
introduced a bill to cut
$2.5 trillion
over ten years, eliminating the aforementioned programs as
well as Amtrak and the president’s “high-speed rail” and rolling back spending
to 2006 levels. Obama’s freeze is small beer in its own terms and hypocritical
when paired with his calls for new spending.
The State of the Union made only passing reference to the greatest budgetary
crisis facing us: out of control entitlements (and most of his “solutions” are
bad ideas; see below). “Mandatory” spending alone exceeds projected federal
revenues – the amount of money the government took in all year. If we eliminated
100 percent of discretionary spending – privatized the Post Office, dismantled
the military, and fired every federal prosecutor and judge – we would still run a
deficit
.
Nonetheless, the president instructed us, “The final step to winning the
future is to make sure we aren’t buried under a mountain of debt.” As though we
are not already buried under a mountain of debt. As though this were not a
mountain of his own making. As though it were not one he wished to greatly
enlarge
.
What Obama intends to freeze is big government. His proposal to hold-the-line
comes after he jacked
up federal spending by 84 percent
. After inflating the federal government
beyond the free market’s carrying capacity, he now wishes to maintain the status
quo.
As usual Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-AL, had the best analysis of Obama’s spending
freeze, calling it “a plan for deficit preservation.” The day
after the State of the Union speech, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
predicted the deficit for 2011 will be….
Read
more
.

“Death Panels” Regulation Begins Obama’s Rule by Fiat

“Death Panels” Regulation Begins Obama’s Rule by Fiat

 December 27th, 2010 Ben Johnson, FloydReports.com

In a foretaste of outrages to come, the Obama administration managed to sneak out a federal regulation paying doctors to provide “end of life counseling” to those covered by ObamaCare. The Medicare rule, which Congress never voted on, may encourage thousands to forego lifesaving treatment. This move is a voluntary precursor to the inevitable rationing engendered by socialized medicine. Many conservative media outlets have objected to the pro-death aspects of this decision. However, they have ignored a vital aspect of this story: the way he implemented the policy. This federal regulation inaugurates Obama’s two-year strategy to rule by executive order. The New York Times reports…. Read more

Obama to bring “end of life” planning in through the back door

Obama to bring “end of life” planning in through the back door

Rick Moran

The idea that “end of life planning” paid for once every 5 years by Medicare will morph into euthanasia counseling was one of the more bizarre arguments against Obamacare when it was proposed two years ago. People have to make informed decisions about how they want their doctor to treat them if they sicken and are unable to make choices about resuscitation and other important end of life issues.

Everyone should have a Living Will that spells out for their family where to draw the line about extraordinary measures that could keep one alive. If you wish to remain in a vegetative state, that should be your choice and should be reflected in the body of the Living Will. With the force of law, no one – not family or government – can alter that decision. As long as it is clear you were of sound mind when you made that decision, your wishes must be respected.

The question isn’t whether Living Wills are necessary. The question is should Medicare be paying for such consultations?

Conflating euthanasia with Living Wills is silly, but Obama has decided to bring the issue through the back door through regulation – a dangerous precedent that the president apparently feels will be necessary with other Obamacare issues that never made it past the finish line in Congress:

Under the new policy, outlined in a Medicare regulation, the government will pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment.Congressional supporters of the new policy, though pleased, have kept quiet. They fear provoking another furor like the one in 2009 when Republicans seized on the idea of end-of-life counseling to argue that the Democrats’ bill would allow the government to cut off care for the critically ill.

The final version of the health care legislation, signed into law by President Obama in March, authorized Medicare coverage of yearly physical examinations, or wellness visits. The new rule says Medicare will cover “voluntary advance care planning,” to discuss end-of-life treatment, as part of the annual visit.

Under the rule, doctors can provide information to patients on how to prepare an “advance directive,” stating how aggressively they wish to be treated if they are so sick that they cannot make health care decisions for themselves.

While the new law does not mention advance care planning, the Obama administration has been able to achieve its policy goal through the regulation-writing process, a strategy that could become more prevalent in the next two years as the president deals with a strengthened Republican opposition in Congress.

It would probably be better if the government was totally out of the loop on making these decisions but most people who take advantage of such counseling will be seeing their family doctor – someone they trust to advise them with their interests at heart. I doubt whether a family physician will be pushing old people to end their own lives rather than receive critical care according to their wishes.

However, the principle of bringing this in by stealth, through back door regulation is abhorrent and should be stopped in its tracks. The issue was withdrawn because it was politically impossible to leave in the original legislation. To sneak it in by this manner just shows how little respect Obama has for constitutional niceties.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2010/12/obama_to_bring_end_of_life_pla.html at December 26, 2010 – 11:09:01 AM CST