The Doc Fix Bill
Last week the Senate took its first floor vote on Obamacare, on a bill that would have increased Medicare payments to doctors at a cost of $247 billion over 10 years.
The doc fix bill, was part of a sneaky liberal strategy to pass President Barack Obamas $1 trillion-plus health care overhaul by transferring a quarter of its cost into a separate, and completely unpaid for, bill. The White House thought that if it bought off all of the business interests involved, opposition to the plan would whither. In one sense, the plan worked Washington lobbyists for drug companies, insurance giants and hospitals have all spent millions of dollars for lobbying and television ads in support of Obamacare.
However, these special interest television ads failed to rid Americans of their common sense objections to a government takeover of health care. $247 billion is a lot of money far too much to be blindly charged to the deficit, and way too much to be considered outside the context of the larger health care reform bill. Luckily, this dishonest shell game was too much for a majority of the Senators, and the procedural vote failed by 13 votes.
The TARP Slush Fund
Remember last years Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP)? The program was intended to preserve Americas financial structure through the purchase of troubled or toxic mortgages and other securities, but it has since been used for a host of other purposes most notoriously the bailout of Chrysler and General Motors.
And last week the White House announced yet another political priority for which the funds would be used. President Barack Obama announced that his administration would shift TARPs $700 billion bailout fund away from big financial institutions and toward small businesses through small banks. Specifically, the Treasury Department will offer capital from TARP, at a 3% rate, to viable banks with less than $1 billion in assets.
First under the Bush administration and now under Obama, TARP has become a slush fund for pet political priorities. And as the New York Times reports, this time it is even being used to influence votes in Congress:
What is striking about the S.B.A. initiatives is not just the size of the increases but whom they appear meant to impress. The new loan limits closely track increases proposed by Olympia Snowe, the senator from Maine who is both the ranking Republican on the Senate Small Business Committee and possibly the only Republican considering voting for Democratic-led health care reform.
Fuzzy Math on the Stimulus Bill
The Obama Administration announced last week that federal economic recovery aid has created or saved 250,000 education jobs. However, as the Washington Post notes, these figures are preliminary estimates. One education official even admitted that the stimulus effect was mostly saving jobs, as opposed to creating new jobs, and that the larger class sizes across the country showed that many jobs were not saved.
The reality is that the Obama administrations stimulus job numbers can not be trusted. When the White House was pitching its plan to the American people, it produced a report claiming the stimulus would keep the unemployment rate below 8%. And what do the Bureau of Labor and Statistics numbers actually show? A 26-year record high 9.8% unemployment rate. Last January, the Obama administration claimed the stimulus would create 4 million jobs by the end of 2010 those jobs are yet to be seen.