Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Posts Tagged ‘John Boehner’

Are Republicans just the party of “No”?

Posted by sanityinjection on November 4, 2009

When Republican Senators and Congressmen have objected to Democrat initiatives supported by the President – such as the health care reform bill and the climate cap-and-trade bill – one of the criticisms leveled at the GOP (and dutifully repeated ad nauseam by the Obamedia) is that they are simply obstructionists who say “No” and never offer any counter-proposals of their own.

Of course, this is not true. Republican House and Senate leaders almost always offer alternate legislation on every major issue, which is routinely rejected by the Democrat majority and quite deliberately ignored by the media. Which makes the charge of obstructionism appear legitimate to the average person.

Case in point: The House Republican leadership, headed by Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio, is working on a draft of its own proposal for health care reform. They plan to offer the bill when debate starts on the issue within the next week or so.

Compared to the Democrats’ 1,990-page legislation, the Republican draft currently stands at 230 pages, according to the Associated Press which has obtained an advance copy.  Here is a quick summary of what the GOP bill looks like:

  • Does not force more businesses to provide health insurance or force citizens to purchase it, but allows small businesses to pool together to purchase health care for their employees
  • Does not force insurance companies to accept everyone with a pre-existing condition into their general risk pool of policies. Instead, those patients would be able to buy into expanded high-risk pools.
  • Makes it easier to use Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) to pay for insurance premiums
  • Limits medical malpractice liability for punitive damages after the model enacted in California and Texas, thereby reducing costs and unnecessary procedures
  • Rewards states for programs that save money and reduce the number of uninsured
  • Increases competition by allowing citizens to purchase health insurance across state lines
  • Protects individuals from having their health insurance policy arbitrarily cancelled by their insurer

One other item in the bill is stronger language prohibiting federal funding of abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or threat to the life of the mother. While I personally agree with that, I think it may alienate some who could otherwise have supported the bill.

The GOP bill presents a very clear choice compared to the Democratic proposal. The Democrat bill is focused on establishing universal health care for all Americans at a massive cost which is only partially paid for by raising taxes. The Republican bill is focused on reducing the costs of health insurance across the board, thereby helping both those who already have insurance and those who will be able to afford it for the first time.

To make an analogy: If a poor child and a rich child’s toys fall into a deep well, which is the best way to get them out? The Democrat way would be to make the rich child’s parents hire a crane to lower a maintenance worker down into the well to grab one toy, hoist the person out with the toy and then send them back down again for the other toy. Of course, if the toys later fell in again the whole expensive process would have to be repeated. The Republican way would be to have both children fetch pails of water and empty them into the well until the water level rises enough to bring all the toys floating to the surface and preventing the problem from occurring again.

Why not let the people choose?


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GOP – the party of ideas?

Posted by sanityinjection on June 4, 2009

When Republican leaders in the House and Senate speak out in opposition to the Obama Administration’s proposals, one of the frequent retorts is that it’s easy for the GOP to just become the party that says “No” to everything. In other words, if the GOP doesn’t like the Democrats’ proposals, it is not enough just to shoot them down – they should propose alternatives.

This is a reasonable criticism for any opposition party. The twist, though, is that the Republicans *do* present alternative ideas – but most people don’t realize it because the media is careful not to give them too much exposure.

Case in point: The Republicans told the Administration that their budget is too big and they should make more cuts. President Obama’s response was, “OK then, let’s hear *your* suggestions for what should be cut.” This puts the GOP on the spot. Instead of just being obstructive, now they had to think about cuts that could realistically be made in this political environment (with a Democrat-controlled Congress) if the President were to adopt their suggestions. So, for example, abolishing the Department of Education was not going to be on the list.

AP’s Andrew Taylor writes that the GOP did in fact rise to the challenge and identified 37 different programs that could be cut to save some $23 billion. You can read some of the details here. Of course, that amount alone is not going to solve our budget problems. The point, though, is that the Republicans offered constructive suggestions, which is what opposition parties are usually accused of failing to do.

In particular, House GOP Leader John Boehner and GOP Whip Eric Cantor have consistently proven to be the voices of reason in Washington over the past few months. And yet most Americans probably have never heard of either of them, thanks to media outlets that consider the President’s NBA Finals prediction more worthy of coverage than serious policy proposals.

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Throwing money down a rat hole

Posted by sanityinjection on June 1, 2009

If you loaned a failing company $20 billion and they didn’t pay it back, what would you do? (Besides kill yourself or take on a fifth job to make ends meet.) Well, if you are the Obama Administration, you’d declare like Victor Kiam, “I liked it so much, I bought the company!” and promptly promise them $30 billion more.

Now if a loan officer for a bank did that, they’d not only be fired by the Board of Directors but prosecuted as well. In this case, the loan officer is Barack Obama, the failing company is GM,  and we, the voters and taxpayers of America, are the Board of Directors.

Obama swears that just because the federal government will now own 60% of GM when it emerges from bankruptcy, doesn’t mean he’s going to run GM’s day-to-day operations.  Instead, the guy he handpicked to be GM’s new CEO will do that. Honestly, I don’t know which is more frightening for my invested tax dollars to depend on: federal bureaucrats who lack the aptitude to make the right decisions to make GM profitable, or the idiots in GM’s management group that have proven for years they lack it.

Obama says, “Don’t worry, it’ll work out fine, just like Chrysler.” Well, Chrysler got sold to Fiat, and the Feds get 10% of that company too. Meanwhile, everyone agrees Chrysler was in better shape than GM to begin with. What we should have done, of course, was to let GM go bankrupt last year instead of paying $20 billion to stave off the inevitable. 

House Republican Leader John Boehner’s words sum it up pretty well:

“The only thing it makes clear is that the government is firmly in the business of running companies using taxpayer dollars. Does anyone really believe that politicians and bureaucrats in Washington can successfully steer a multinational corporation to economic viability? It’s time for the administration to fully explain what the exit strategy is to get the U.S. government out of the board room once and for all.”

Of course, the Administration can’t do that, because they haven’t got an exit strategy.

Incidentally, I did learn one asnwer to a question that has puzzled me. With all the talk about the various GM brand names that will be discontinued (Saturn, Hummer etc.) I was puzzled as to why Buick was to be spared from the chopping block, given dismal domestic sales and the lack of a niche market in the US. According to my radio this morning, it turns out that Buick is huge in China, having rather recently grabbed significant market share away from Volkswagen there. In fact, GM’s Chinese sales have been critical in keeping the company afloat as long as it has. So for my older readers: Any idea what the Chinese character is for “porthole”?

Posted in Domestic News, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

No pay raises for Congress this year

Posted by sanityinjection on February 11, 2009

Amidst all the attention on the stimulus package, Congress is quietly doing something right. Both Democrats and Republicans in the House have agreed in principle to forego their normal cost-of-living pay raise this year. The Senate is expected to follow suit.

No, these legislators haven’t suddenly developed an overwhelming sense of bipartisanship or fiscal responsibility. Rather, they don’t want to look greedy to their constituents, most of whom will not be getting raises this year either. Whatever the motivation, it’s the right call and we should praise Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader John Boehner for their leadership on this issue, just as we criticize them when they mess something up.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 16 Comments »

What is in the proposed federal stimulus bill?

Posted by sanityinjection on January 28, 2009

The Wall Street Journal has a great piece up summarizing the various pieces of the proposed stimulus bill that is currently before the House:

What is great about this article is that it explains the various pieces in simple terms and how much each will cost. Thus, readers can decide for themselves which pieces they are comfortable with.

My judgment is that more than half of the spending in this $825 billion package is either wasteful or has nothing to do with stimulating the economy. Thus I agree with House Minority Leader John Boehner’s call for House Republicans to oppose the bill in its current form. I am not suggesting that the government should do nothing, but I am suggesting that doing the wrong thing could be even worse. House leaders from both parties should work with the Administration to slim down this package until it can be supported by a bipartisan majority. That’s how the legislative process is supposed to work.

Meanwhile, Dan Gerstein has another good piece up at Forbes explaining how President Obama fits into all this. Gerstein explains that while Obama isn’t necessarily supportive of  many of the spending items in the bill, he’s not eager to pick another fight with his fellow Democrats in the House after successfully getting Speaker Pelosi to back down and remove the family planning piece. Rather, Obama will let the House Dems push through their bill on a party-line vote and concentrate on improving the bill in the Senate:

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 19 Comments »