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Archive for December 1st, 2012

If done well, an image can say a thousand words. Here are some of my favorites.

We can add another one to the list. The Heritage Foundation shows us what Obama has in mind when he talks about a “balanced” plan.

Heritage Fiscal Cliff

This chart, while horrifying and visually powerful, actually understates the case against Obama.

The President is not proposing to cut spending by $400 billion. He’s only proposing to reduce future spending growth by that amount. In other words, his “spending cut” is only a cut if you play the dishonest DC game of measuring “cuts” against a baseline of ever-expanding government.

To give you an idea of what this really means, here’s my chart showing the CBO projection of what will happen to spending if the budget is left on autopilot. That’s the blue line.

The red line, by contrast, shows the impact of Obama’s supposed $400 billion cut. Feel free to pull out a magnifying glass to examine the difference between the two lines.

Obama Fake $400 Billion Cut

All you need to know is that the burden of government spending will climb by about $2 trillion over the next 10 years without Obama’s budget plan.

But if we enact Obama’s plan, the burden of spending will climb by…drum roll please…about $2 trillion over the next 10 years. In other words, it’s not much more than a rounding error.

P.S. Don’t forget that revenues also are projected to rise dramatically over the next 10 years, even if the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts are made permanent. All that’s actually needed to balance the budget is modest spending restraint, restraining outlays so they grow by an average of 2.5 percent. In other words, good things happen if policy makers comply with Mitchell’s Golden Rule.

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I’m not easily grossed out or nauseated. Heck, I’m on email lists for a half-dozen softball teams and you can only imagine the strange/filthy/nasty things that guys send to each other.

But I read a story about the death panels in the United Kingdom that left me discombobulated. I can’t even begin to describe how I feel.

Here’s the intro of a disturbing report in the Daily Mail.

Sick children are being discharged from NHS hospitals to die at home or in hospices on controversial ‘death pathways’. Until now, end of life regime the Liverpool Care Pathway was thought to have involved only elderly and terminally-ill adults. But the Mail can reveal the practice of withdrawing food and fluid by tube is being used on young patients as well as severely disabled newborn babies.

And here are some of the horrifying details. Read at your own risk.

One doctor has admitted starving and dehydrating ten babies to death in the neonatal unit of one hospital alone. Writing in a leading medical journal, the physician revealed the process can take an average of ten days during which a  baby becomes ‘smaller and shrunken’. The LCP – on which 130,000 elderly and terminally-ill adult patients die each year – is now the subject of an independent inquiry ordered by ministers. …Earlier this month, an un-named doctor wrote of the agony of watching the protracted deaths of babies. …‘I know, as they cannot, the unique horror of witnessing a child become smaller and shrunken, as the only route out of a life that has become excruciating to the patient or to the parents who love their baby.’ Grim Reaper with Kid…Bernadette Lloyd, a hospice paediatric nurse, has written to the Cabinet Office and the Department of Health to criticise the use of death pathways for children. She said: ‘The parents feel coerced, at a very traumatic time, into agreeing that this is correct for their child whom they are told by doctors has only has a few days to live. It is very difficult to predict death. I have seen a “reasonable” number of children recover after being taken off the pathway. …‘I have also seen children die in terrible thirst because fluids are withdrawn from them until they die. ‘I witnessed a 14 year-old boy with cancer die with his tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth when doctors refused to give him liquids by tube. His death was agonising for him, and for us nurses to watch. This is euthanasia by the backdoor.’

My first reaction is to hope that this story is wildly wrong, filled with exaggerations and lies.

My second reaction (and this is why I got so agitated) is to imagine what it must be like for the parents. They get talked into letting their kids die, which must be agonizing, and then (assuming they stick around) they have to watch them slowly starve to death or die of thirst. Wouldn’t it be better to just give your kid a fatal injection? Setting aside the moral issue of deciding to let a kid die because he’s disabled or something like that, doesn’t simple decency mean that death should be painless rather than agonizing?

My final reaction is to wonder what Paul Krugman would say about this scandalous neglect and mistreatment. During the Obamacare debate, he told us we could ignore stories about what was happening across the ocean, writing that “In Britain, the government itself runs the hospitals and employs the doctors. We’ve all heard scare stories about how that works in practice; these stories are false.” So I guess starving children don’t qualify as a scare story.

P.S. If you want more horror stories about government-run healthcare in the United Kingdom click here, here, here, here, herehereherehereherehereherehere, here and here.

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