Friday, November 14, 2008

Don't bail out the car companies

Rich Lowry wrote in New York Post reported US consumers have long been voting against US automakers. Now, they'll be asked to put their tax dollars at risk to preserve the very companies from which they don't want cars.
Why protect and industry whose products Americans will not buy.
The bailout would be of the United Auto Workers as much as of the automakers. It's the UAW that saddled the Big Three with unsustainable labor costs and obligations to retirees. Detroit has desperately been trying to get out from under this burden, but Ford still lost $1,467 per vehicle in 2007, while GM lost $729 and Chrysler lost $412.
Let one of them go into Chapter 11, breaking the union contracts, and the union will be a lot more willing to renegotiate the other two.
Where the UAW doesn't reign, the industry thrives. Toyota and others profitably manufacture almost 4 million cars in nonunionized states in the South.

Betsy Newmark blogged We should not be rewarding the Big Three's shoddy management. If we continue down this road, where will we stop? Are we going to be bailing out every large company that makes bad decisions and then goes under? Is Circuit City next? Will the only companies that we don't bail out be the small mom and pop businesses that are small enough to fail?

I hope Bush resists the pressure to sign onto some auto bailout now. And perhaps the Democrats can push it through after January 20, but the Republicans should resist as much as possible. As Lowry said, why should taxpayers be on the hook for cars they decided they have decided that they don't want to buy?

Stephen Bainbridge has a good analysis of the problems plaguing GM the other American auto companies and concludes that bankruptcy would be the best outcome for them to restructure themselves.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Don't just do something, stand there

Noemie Emery wrote in The Weekly Standard Refusing to take Ronald Reagan's famous advice--don't just do something, stand there--conservative machers are all in a swivet, reading the leaves of the 2008 verdict, plotting to pick off this or that set of voters, opining on what it all means. Actually, just standing there seems like a pretty good option, at least for the moment, and perhaps for the next few weeks and months. Plans made right now may turn out to be useless. There are too many things we don't know.
I agree. And the Dems are going to over react and over extend themselves. We just don't know whether Obama will be blamed, or whether Congress will, or both.
We don't know yet what happened on Tuesday, and what kind of win it will be: a pivotal one, like 1932 and 1980; or a transient success--1964, 1976, 1988, 2004--that at the moment appeared monumental, but four years later had turned out not to be.
I tend to think it will be the later, but the Dems will think it was the former.
How much of the glow now surrounding the Democrats is due to themselves, and how much to the nature of Barack Obama, who has a personality that comes along twice in a century, and how long will this last? Which Obama will turn up to govern, the man of moderate temperament, or the functional liberal, whose record is way left of center?
His advisors are urging him to stay in the center, but will he have the intlligence, and the gonads, to do so.
When the phone rings for real at three in the morning, who will pick it up: the oh-so-cool cat who was so self-possessed while campaigning, or the neophyte who, outside of campaigning, has never faced a real test in his life?
And will he set the phone to call forward to Hillary or Biden?
How big will the recession be, and will he prolong it?
I am afraid we are talking Depression.
Will he gain or lose ground in the war on terror? Will we have a new terror attack?
As Biden said, within the first 6 months. A year at the most.
If he governs well, he will win again in the next go round, and nothing done now will change it; if he blows a big test on the world stage, then nothing will save him. No grand schemes hatched now will change that.

Gaius blogged Remember, the Democrats won big in 2006 in Congress. They proceeded to drive the approval rating of Congress into the sewer. Yes, Obama won by promising things he has no way of delivering. It is only a matter of time until people realize they bought more snake oil. Wait for the right moment.


Taliban suddenly opposed to executions

Reuters AlertNet reported Afghanistan's Taliban, notorious for summary public executions, urged the United Nations on Thursday to press the Afghan government to stop executing prisoners on death row, citing concern about fair trials.
Are they opposed to anyone being executed, or only Talibans.
Afghanistan resumed executions this week after a break of more than a year, with three Taliban sentenced for deadly attacks among nine people put to death in the past few days.
Now we know why they suddenly don't like executions.
Those executions followed a public outcry over rising crime. About 120 other people have been sentenced to death and their fate rests with President Hamid Karzai, who has to approve any execution order. The United Nations and European Union have called on Karzai to halt the executions, citing concern about the standards of judicial fairness.
Does te EU have a recommendation how it can be done fairly, or are they just opposed to executions generally.
The United Nations says Afghanistan's law enforcement and judicial systems fall far short of internationally accepted standards. The Taliban leadership council said it too was worried about fair trials.
Do the Taliban provide FAIR trials before they execute people? Should Afghanistan trials be as fair as Taliban trials?
"We strongly request the U.N., the EU, the Red Cross and human rights groups to earnestly prevent this barbaric act," the Taliban said in a statement on their website, accusing Karzai's government of corruption.

The Taliban, fighting to overthrow Karzai's pro-Western government, have executed dozens of captured soldiers and civilians since U.S.-led forces ousted the militant Islamist movement in 2001.
But surely they gave them fair trials first, didn't they.
During their 1996-2001 rule in Afghanistan, the Taliban executed dozens of people, occasionally staging killings in public at Kabul's main sports stadium. In their statement, the Taliban warned the government against more executions, saying the officials responsible for them would be punished.
How? Are you going to shoot them in the head in a stadium, or is that procedure reserved for women wearing burkas?


Don't bailout the auto industry

TIME reported The latest wave of bad news came out of Detroit Friday morning as both GM and Ford reported heavy losses for the third quarter of 2008. Ford lost $2.75 billion, pretax, from operations; GM fared even worse, losing $4.2 billion, excluding a one-time gain.
So we exclude gains to make it look like they lost more, so they get a bigger bailout.
Both companies are also burning through cash at an alarming rate — Ford used up $7.7 billion during the third quarter and GM burned through $6.9 billion. Concerns intensified about GM's ability to stay afloat.
Let them go through the clensing of Chapter 11. The reason they are losing so much money is they have given into the demands of the labor unions for ridiculously high benefits (health care and other). It makes their cars too expensive to compete. Go through Chapter 11, get the courts to cancel the contracts, and maybe the unions will not be so greedy.
The losses added yet another note of urgency to auto industry leaders' discussions with Washington, which were in the spotlight on Thursday when the chief executives of GM, Ford and Chrysler met with House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate majority leader Harry Reid on how to increase the size of Washington's aid package to the Big Three. Though details are still being worked out, the push is for an additional $25 billion in federal loan guarantees for Detroit in addition to the $25 billion already promised to assist the industry's shift to green technology.
There should ne NO bailout for the Big 3 Automakers.
And now the City of Detroit has its hand out too. Stop the bailouts.


Money Hole

In The Know: Should The Government Stop Dumping Money Into A Giant Hole?


Freedom of Choice Act

LifeNews reported Meeting on the second day of their annual conference, the nation's Catholic bishops urged an aggressive campaign to oppose the pro-abortion bill expected to be the centerpiece of the Barack Obama administration. They also mentioned concerns about Catholic hospitals being forced to do abortions.
No doctor and no hospital shuld be forced to do a procedure they don't want to do.
The FOCA bill, known as the Freedom of Choice Act, is the number one goal of abortion advocates, who feel emboldened by Obama's election.

It would not only make unlimited abortions throughout pregnancy a national law but it would overturn the laws in all 50 states designed to reduce abortions.
The states should be able to decide for themselves.
... The bishops also expressed concern about FOCA because it could overturn protections for Catholic hospitals that don't want to do abortions. Some of the bishops, during the discussion, went as far as saying the Catholic Church should be willing to close some health facilities rather them allow them to be subject to a mandate to do abortions from the Obama administration.
Good for them. Many Catholic hospitals provide health care for the poor. It would be interesting if Congress makes it harder for the poor t get Health Care just because they want to kill more babies.
Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Chicago spoke up about the threats to Catholic health care under the bill. “It could mean discontinuing obstetrics in our hospitals, and we may need to consider taking the drastic step of closing our Catholic hospitals entirely,” Paprocki said. “It would not be sufficient to withdraw our sponsorship or to sell them to someone who would perform abortions. That would be a morally unacceptable cooperation in evil.”
I hope they have the balls to do just that.
“I do not think I’m being alarmist in considering such drastic steps,” he said. “We need to respond in a morally appropriate, responsible fashion.”
God Bless you, Bishop.
During the campaign, Obama promised the bill would be the first he would sign as president. The FOCA measure would overturn state laws such as bans on taxpayer-funding of abortion, parental notification and consent, informed consent for women, and conscience protections for medical facilities and personnel.
Those are all reasonable restrictions, and they are things the residents of those states want. Why should the federal goverment override their wishes.
Experts say FOCA could increase abortions as much as 125,000 per year.
There are too many now.


Baucus Health Care

NYTimes reported Without waiting for President-elect Barack Obama, Senator Max Baucus, the chairman of the Finance Committee, will unveil a detailed blueprint on Wednesday to guarantee health insurance for all Americans by facilitating sales of private insurance, expanding Medicaid and Medicare, and requiring most employers to provide or pay for health benefits.... “Every American has a right to affordable, high-quality health care,” Mr. Baucus said.
That is fine, but they should pay for it, and not expect their government to provide it, or their employer.
...Mr. Baucus would create a nationwide marketplace, a “health insurance exchange,” where people could compare and buy insurance policies. The options would include private insurance policies and a new public plan similar to Medicare. Insurers could no longer deny coverage to people who had been sick.
Then why should anyone pay for insurance until they get sick and need it?
Congress would also limit insurers’ ability to charge higher premiums because of a person’s age or prior illness.
Then why would insurers write health insurance policies?
People would have a duty to obtain coverage when affordable options
Who determines whether something is "affordable" and why do we give them the power to decide it is our "duty" to buy something they decide is "affordable" for us.
were available to all through employers
Why are employers involved. If people were responsible to buy their own insurance, outside of their employment, then they would not have to worry about quitting their jobs to get a better one because they had a preexisting condition that might not be covered. And if people were expected to have their own insurance they kept all their lives, preexisting conditions would not be a big problem. If someone insisted on going without insurance until he got sick, and developed that preexisting condition would just be considered a fool.
or through the insurance exchange. This obligation “would be enforced, possibly through the tax system,” the plan says.

Ed Morrissey blogged What could possibly go wrong with this scenario? For one thing, Medicare could collapse — and it’s about to do just that. In three years, Medicare will spend more than it gets in Part A (hospital coverage) premiums from Social Security, and this is just the beginning of the long twilight of the Baby Boomers. That will create a deficit in Medicare that will either have to be absorbed from the general fund or alleviated by cost reductions.

Instead of looking to restore some sort of stability to the already-failing Medicare structure, Baucus wants to hang more cost onto it.
This is not good news to me, because after a lifetime of paying into Social Security and Nedicare, I am now 65 and having to depend on them, so I do not appreciate Baucus threatening my Medicare by putting more people in it.
He doesn’t stop at Medicare, either. His program will put the same burden on states through Medicaid.
I am not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid, but I know plenty of people that are, and I hate to see it bankrupted either.
That will create even more instability in benefit plans and force more public funds on that level to get spent on coverage.

The result? Taxes will go up at both the state and federal level across the nation, and it won’t just be the “rich” that feels the pinch. Tax rates will necessarily rise as deficit spending explodes. The dollar will weaken once again, thanks to the enormous debts that this will generate, and the capital needed to restore the economy will get lost in the monumental expansion of government control this will require. Baucus thinks that magically insuring people will eliminate costs, but it just transfers it instead to the least-efficient model: government bureaucracies.
That is why conservatives want smaller government, because government bureaucracies just make things worse.
Instead of reforming entitlements, the Democrats plan an expansion of them.
That is what Dems always do.
The collapse will come quicker than anyone predicted. I guess that qualifies as “change”, and you’d better believe it’s coming.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Was Obama there?

Caracas Journal - Ch├ívez’s Venezuela Positions Itself as a Salon for the World’s Leftist Thinkers - NYTimes reported Some 200 other leftist thinkers from around the world convened here (Caracas Venezuela) for a few days in October to discuss transitions toward socialism, even as many people in advanced Western countries were losing sleep over the spreading financial crisis of global capitalism.
Was Obama there, or did he have to miss it because he was busy with the campaign.


Sunday, November 09, 2008

I can't believe this stupidity

Topeka Capital-Journal reported Plans are being made to promote a national holiday for Barack Obama, who will become the nation's 44th president when he takes the oath of office Jan. 20.
The man has not even taken the oath of office. What holiday do they want to get rid of: President's day which is Washington AND Lincoln, or MLK
"Yes We Can" planning rallies will be at 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. every Tuesday at the downtown McDonald's restaurant, 1100 Kansas Ave., until Jan. 13. The goals are to secure a national holiday in Obama's honor, to organize celebrations around his inauguration and to celebrate the 200th birthday of President Abraham Lincoln, who was born on Feb. 12 1809.


Nothing to talk about

Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are


Obama Positioned to Quickly Reverse Bush Actions

Washington Post reported Transition advisers to President-elect Barack Obama have compiled a list of about 200 Bush administration actions and executive orders that could be swiftly undone to reverse White House policies on climate change, stem cell research, reproductive rights and other issues, according to congressional Democrats, campaign aides and experts working with the transition team.
He can do that, and quickly show he is catering to his extreme left wing, and does not intend to govern as a centrist.
.... Obama himself has signaled, for example, that he intends to reverse Bush's controversial limit on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, a decision that scientists say has restrained research into some of the most promising avenues for defeating a wide array of diseases, such as Parkinson's. Bush's August 2001 decision pleased religious conservatives who have moral objections to the use of cells from days-old human embryos, which are destroyed in the process
Bush's action was made after a deliberatively way to try to protect life while allowing research, but since the embryos are being destroyed anyway the only bad thing about this is that it may pull some research money away from the very promising discoveries that are now being made in adult stem cell research, and move to to embryonic stem cell research, where even if a cure is found, it would face rejection by the body, something that might not occur if the patient's own adult stem cells could be used for the cure.
.... lift a so-called global gag rule barring international family planning groups that receive U.S. aid from counseling women about the availability of abortion, even in countries where the procedure is legal
If doing this will remove the pressure for federal legislation to block all state restrictions, even for partial birth abortion, then I can live with the executive order
.... reverse the Bush administration's decision last December to deny California the authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles
If he really wants to tick off Detroit and the auto unions, and at the same time allow California to cause great pain to its own citizens, then go for it.
.... A book titled "Change for America," being published next week by the Center for American Progress, an influential liberal think tank, will recommend, for example, that Obama rapidly create a National Energy Council to coordinate all policymaking related to global climate change
O joy, rapture, thrill, and bliss. Another Government Agency.
....The center's new book will also urge Obama to sign an executive order requiring that greenhouse gas emissions be considered whenever the federal government examines the environmental impact of its actions under the existing National Environmental Policy Act. Several key members of Obama's transition team have already embraced the idea.
More bureaucracy trying to stop an imagined Global Warming. I wonder how many more years the average temperature has to drop, or how much more ice needs to build up, before that foolishness stops, and if the same things that are causing Global Warming will be blamed for causing Global Cooling.