The NHS is Rationing Cataract Operations to Senior Citizens as Obamacare will Probably do as Well

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 12th, 2012

Week in Review

The British are proud of their national health Service (NHS).  But they are not always happy with it.  Especially the elderly (see Eye surgeons unite to condemn rationing of cataract operations by half of NHS trusts by Jenny Hope posted 8/12/2012 on the Daily Mail).

Eye surgeons are warning that the rationing of cataract operations by more than half of NHS trusts is putting thousands of patients at risk.

Elderly victims of the cutbacks are being left unable to read, write or drive as they wait longer for surgery…

A joint statement from the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, the College of Optometrists and the Optical Confederation calls for primary care trusts (PCTs) to abandon caps on operations that mean patients have to wait longer.

They say that, in some cases, patients with cataracts in both eyes are being told their PCT will treat only one, leaving people unable to judge distances and more likely to have accidents. ..

‘However, we must remember that the NHS is facing an unprecedented financial challenge and commissioners must live within their means while providing high quality care.’

Again, it’s that again population.  As the senior population swells so does the need for cataract surgeries.  There are just too many people at the top of the pyramid for the fewer workers in the workforce to pay for them.  Which leaves Britain really with only two options.  Compel doctors to work for less (as well as force students to go to medical school so they can come out after that grueling ordeal to make as much as someone who didn’t sacrifice eight years or so to become a doctor).   Or they ration services.  Guess which option they chose?

Watching the NHS as they struggle with both an aging population and budget deficits is telling of what we can expect of Obamacare.  For we have an aging population, too.  In fact, our aging population is much larger than their aging population.  And we have budget deficits.  Which are even larger than Britain’s.  Based on this what is the obvious conclusion?  Obamacare will ration cataract operations for senior citizens, too.

Of course some will say this is the price we must pay for universal coverage.  Denying coverage to some through rationing.  (Did you catch the irony there?)  But the question that just begs to be asked is this.  Is our health care system this bad as it is now?  No, it’s not.  But it will be.  When we turn it over to a vast government bureaucracy.  For whenever did a vast government bureaucracy run anything well?  Or didn’t require ever more funding?

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National Health Care Budget Deficits force Hospital Closures in Wales

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 21st, 2012

Week in Review

People have the misperception that a national health care system provides quality health care to everyone for free.  But health care is not free.  Someone has to pay for it.  In the United Kingdom that’s the taxpayer.  And when they can’t raise enough in taxes to close budget deficits they have to cut costs.  Close hospitals.  And make people travel farther for their health care needs (see Betsi Cadwaladr proposals: Flint and Blaenau Ffestiniog hospitals may shut posted 7/19/2012 on BBC News Wales).

Two community hospitals could close and minor injury accident departments may shut at others under a major health service shake-up in north Wales…

Among the areas under scrutiny are older people’s mental health services, neonatal intensive care and vascular and major arterial surgery.

The board is the first in Wales to outline plans for balancing the books.

It predicts a gap of £64.6m, the second highest in Wales…

Speaking before the meeting at St Asaph, Christine Evans, chair of patient watchdog Betsi Cadwaladr Community Health Council, said: “The local communities will be very upset.”

The UK, like the US, has an aging population.  And that’s a fact.  There are fewer people entering the workforce than are leaving it.  And those who are leaving the workforce tend to consume most of the health care services.  So you have a huge transfer of wealth from the working young to the retired seniors.  But because there are so many more of those retired seniors it is difficult to tax the working young enough to pay for them.  And if they can’t generate the tax revenue they have little choice but to cut costs.  Such as closing hospitals and minor injury departments.  And there’s probably more to come.

In the U.S. the private health insurers were vigilant in controlling health care costs.  For they were the only ones who were.  Doctors are reluctant to order tests that aren’t absolutely necessary because health insurers may not reimburse them.  And if they have a relationship with their patient, which most of them have, they don’t want their patient to get stuck with the bill.  So they won’t order a test if it’s not absolutely necessary.  Unless the patient insists.  People hate the insurance companies for this.  But one thing the private health insurance companies never did was close hospitals.

This is the future of Obamacare.  Health care will still cost.  Someone will still have to pay for it.  So they will do like they do in the UK.  Raise taxes.  Transfer wealth.  And then close hospitals when all of that fails to close budget deficits.  It’s just the nature of a national health care system treating an aging population.  With about 5 times the population of the UK those budget deficits will probably be about 5 times worse under Obamacare.  With 5 times the hospital closures.  Making the local communities about 5 times as upset.

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Women in the UK are using Abortion as Birth Control costing the Government Billions in lost Tax Revenue

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 13th, 2012

Week in Review

There are two costs with an abortion.  A social cost.  And a financial one.  The social cost is what these abortions say about how we value human life.  And the financial cost is lost tax revenue.  For every abortion is a lost taxpayer.  Which is pretty serious considering the budget deficits countries are running to pay for the benefits we provide for those babies we didn’t abort (see NHS spends £1m a week on repeat abortions: Single women using terminations ‘as another form of contraceptive’ by Daniel Martin posted 5/13/2012 on the Daily Mail).

The Health Service is spending around £1million a week providing repeat abortions.

Critics said figures revealed yesterday show thousands of women are using the procedure as a form of contraception.

It is not unknown for some women to have seven, eight or even nine terminations in their lifetime.

According to the statistics, single or unmarried women account for five out of every six repeat terminations. Around a third of all abortions carried out in England and Wales are repeats…

In 2010, the latest year for which figures are available, some 189,000 abortions took place. Of these, more than 64,000 terminations were on women who had already aborted a foetus in the past.

In an expanding welfare state having babies is very important.  For to shower everyone with generous benefits, including pensions and health care that last long into a person’s eighties and nineties, you need a whole lot more people entering the workforce than leaving it.  And you do that with an expanding birthrate.  By having more live births than deaths.  The more the better.  For the more live births the more generous the benefits can be further down the road.  Having abortions, though, reduces how generous the government can be in the future.

In 2010 there were approximately 723,165 live births in England and Wales and approximately 493,242 deaths. And, of course, approximately 189,000 abortions.  For every person that died in 2010 there were 1.466 people born to replace them.  If those abortions did not happen and their pregnancies were carried to term that number would have been 1.849.  Which would have been more than the 1.748 during the first decade of the 20th century.  So what does this mean?  Had these numbers held steady or increased from 1901 until today the UK would probably not be having budget deficits.  Because the number of people entering the workforce would have stayed larger than the number leaving the workforce.  Meaning more revenue from income taxes and less from borrowing.  So why is the UK running a high deficit?  And carrying a large debt?

Because of abortion and birth control.  When sex turned into consequence-free fun people had more of it and fewer babies.  The ratio of live births to deaths was 1.748 in the first decade of the 20th century.  It was 1.415 during the second decade.  It was 1.485 during the Twenties.  It was 1.315 during the Thirties and Forties.  It was 1.415 during the Fifties (the post-war baby boom).  It was 1.508 during the Sixties.  And then came birth control and abortion.  And the baby bust generations.  It fell to 1.105 during the Seventies.  It was 1.156 during the Eighties.  It was 1.158 during the Nineties.  And it climbed back up to 1.228 in the first 8 years of the 21st century.

So following the baby boom the population growth rate screeched to a halt.  Just barely replacing each death with a live birth.  Which is why pension and health care costs are busting the treasury in the UK.  The baby boomers are retiring.  And the baby busters are stuck with the bill for their retirement.  If the UK wants a quick path to financial stability they would do well to make abortions illegal.  Because a live birth to death ratio of 1.849 would fix all of their fiscal woes in about 20 years.  They could even borrow money to maintain benefits now with some special 30-year debt.  Which should be easy to refinance in 20 years with all that new tax revenue coming on line.  And old debt would be easier to retire with an expanding population growth rate.  Which a high live birth to death ration will give you.

Let’s just look at those 189,000 abortions.  If they each grew up to earn $40,000 (£23,952) twenty years from now they would earn a total of $7.134 billion (£4.527 billion) in annual income.  If taxed at a tax rate of 20% that would bring $1.512 billion (£905 million) into the treasury.  If 1% of these went on to be millionaires double this number.  Bringing the cost of those abortions to approximately £2 billion ($3.34 billion) in lost tax revenue a year.  Not to mention the lost tax revenue at all the other levels of taxation.  Making abortions costly in more ways than one.

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Drill, Baby, Drill works well in Russia, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 29th, 2012

Week in Review

So if we drill, baby, drill for oil everywhere it won’t do a thing to lower oil prices.  According to the Obama administration.  Besides, we’ll just export the oil (or refined gasoline) anyway.  So what’s the point?  Well, here’s a thought.  Oil prices are high.  So if the U.S. drilled for oil everywhere and exported all of that oil it may not impact the price of gasoline (though most rational people believe it would) here’s something else that could come from it (see Petrodollar profusion posted 4/28/2012 on The Economist).

FIRST, the good news: China, the country at the centre of the debate about global imbalances, has a current-account surplus that has fallen sharply over the past few years. Now the bad: China was never really the prime culprit when it comes to imbalances at the global level. The biggest counterpart to America’s current-account deficit is the combined surplus of oil-exporting economies, which have enjoyed a huge windfall from high oil prices (see left-hand chart). This year the IMF expects them to run a record surplus of $740 billion, three-fifths of which will come from the Middle East. That will dwarf China’s expected surplus of $180 billion. Since 2000 the cumulative surpluses of oil exporters have come to over $4 trillion, twice as much as that of China…

The most effective policy tool to reduce oil exporters’ current-account surpluses is public spending, and investment in particular because of its high import content. Increased public spending could also help these economies diversify away from oil. That would support their future economic development and create more private-sector jobs for young, growing populations. To maintain social stability, many of these governments need to spend more on education, health care, housing and welfare benefits. Some oil producers, such as Russia and Nigeria, are running fairly balanced budgets, but the governments of the Gulf states are awash with cash. Since 2005 Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE have increased public spending by 7-8 percentage points of GDP. Even so, the three countries are expected to run an average budget surplus of over 15% this year. That leaves plenty of room to be a little more spendthrift.

Europe, Japan and the United States are suffering under huge budget deficits and trade deficits.  Their aging populations and the pensions and health care for them is threatening the solvency of these nations.  Who have no choice but to raise taxes and borrow ever more money to pay these obligations.  You know who doesn’t have these problems?  Those big oil-exporting economies.  Who are “awash with cash.”  Unlike Europe, Japan or the United States.  Seems to me that it’s better to be “awash with cash” than to be mired in debt.

So drill, baby, drill I say.  Let’s have the same problem the oil exporters are having.  Too much cash.  We could eliminate income taxes.  AND pay all our Social Security and Medicare obligations.  As well as all the education and women’s health programs you desired.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  I mean who would be opposed to that?  Except, of course, the Obama administration.  Because according to them there is nothing to gain from putting more oil onto the market during record prices.  Too bad our president isn’t as much a free market capitalist as they are in Russia, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE.

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Rich Doctors say Tax Them More to Help Fund the Canadian ‘Obamacare’ System that Makes them Rich

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 25th, 2012

Week in Review

People distrust rich people.  That’s why they want to tax them more.  Because they have more than enough money.  No matter what they say about earning their money or how they invest their wealth to create jobs.  People don’t want to hear any of this.  For they ‘know’ that these rich fat cats are lying just to keep from having to ‘share’ their wealth.  But whenever a rich guy says ‘tax us rich people more’ everyone hangs on to their every last word.  For if they are talking about raising taxes on the rich then these are not your typical rich.  They’re the good kind.  Like these doctors in Canada (see Tax us more, doctors urge (Are the lawyers listening?) by Michael Babad posted 3/22/2012 on The Globe and Mail).

A group of doctors is taking a page from Warren Buffett’s tax-the-rich call, urging the Canadian and Ontario governments to tax higher-income earners more…

Doctors for Fair Taxation plan to announce their scheme in Toronto this afternoon, calling for additional taxes on people earning more than $100,000. You’d be hit with an additional 1 per cent if you earn between $100,000 and $170,000, 2 per cent if you earn up to $640,000, and 3 per cent for up to $1.85-million. Above that it would be 6 per cent.

“We feel that this is a moral argument,” Dr. Michael Rachlis, who founded the group that so far boasts more than 50 physicians, told The Canadian Press.

“We cannot talk about throwing people out of work and cutting needed programs for people,” said Dr. Rachlis, an associate professor at the University of Toronto.

Wow.  Sounds very selfless, doesn’t it?  These rich guys asking to be taxed more to help their country?  At least on the surface it does.  But the question that begs to be asked is what are they spending so much money on that they have to raise taxes?  And when you learn what that is it puts these doctors into a different light.

Here’s an article from 2010.  About two years ago.  Talking about a budget crisis.  Where spending is out of control.  Spending that the Canadians just can’t sustain.  And where is this out of control spending?  Why, it just happens to be in the industry that pays these doctors.  Canada’s single-payer health care system.  Talk about coincidences.  These doctors asking rich people everywhere to help pay the nation’s bills.  Where the biggest bill is the one that pays these doctors (see Soaring costs force Canada to reassess health model by Claire Sibonney posted 3/31/2010 on Reuters).

Pressured by an aging population and the need to rein in budget deficits, Canada’s provinces are taking tough measures to curb healthcare costs, a trend that could erode the principles of the popular state-funded system.

Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, kicked off a fierce battle with drug companies and pharmacies when it said earlier this year it would halve generic drug prices and eliminate “incentive fees” to generic drug manufacturers.

British Columbia is replacing block grants to hospitals with fee-for-procedure payments and Quebec has a new flat health tax and a proposal for payments on each medical visit — an idea that critics say is an illegal user fee.

And a few provinces are also experimenting with private funding for procedures such as hip, knee and cataract surgery.

It’s likely just a start as the provinces, responsible for delivering healthcare, cope with the demands of a retiring baby-boom generation. Official figures show that senior citizens will make up 25 percent of the population by 2036.

Proponents of national health care in America blame the private health insurers, the pharmaceuticals and the hospitals for out of control health care costs.  What they say we need is a system like Canada.  Where they put people before profits.  And yet here they are.  The Canadians.  With a health care system suffering from out of control costs.  Which they are trying to fix with higher taxes.  Additional fees.  Even a little Americanization (that is, privatization).  Makes you wonder why we’re going forward with Obamacare while the Canadians are finding that type of a system is unsustainable.  Especially when our retiring baby boomers outnumber their retiring baby boomers. 

Canada, fretting over budget strains, wants to prune its system, while the United States, worrying about an army of uninsured, aims to create a state-backed safety net.

Healthcare in Canada is delivered through a publicly funded system, which covers all “medically necessary” hospital and physician care and curbs the role of private medicine. It ate up about 40 percent of provincial budgets, or some C$183 billion ($174 billion) last year.

Spending has been rising 6 percent a year under a deal that added C$41.3 billion of federal funding over 10 years.

But that deal ends in 2013, and the federal government is unlikely to be as generous in future, especially for one-off projects.

Wow.  Look at that.  Almost half of provincial budgets pay for the ‘free’ health care of Canadians.  Which is causing budget deficits at the provincial level.  And at the national level.  Well, up until 2013, that is.  When the national government is going to address their budget deficits by cutting their health care payments to the provinces.  Increasing the provincial budget deficits in the process.  Leaving the provincial governments to tax and spend more.  Or ration care and cut spending more.  Including doctor pay.  Could this have anything to do with those selfless physicians asking that their government tax the rich more?  Perhaps.

Brian Golden, a professor at University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business, said provinces are weighing new sources of funding, including “means-testing” and moving toward evidence-based and pay-for-performance models.

“Why are we paying more or the same for cataract surgery when it costs substantially less today than it did 10 years ago? There’s going to be a finer look at what we’re paying for and, more importantly, what we’re getting for it,” he said.

Other problems include trying to control independently set salaries for top hospital executives and doctors and rein in spiraling costs for new medical technologies and drugs.

Ontario says healthcare could eat up 70 percent of its budget in 12 years, if all these costs are left unchecked…

The province has introduced legislation that ties hospital chief executive pay with the quality of patient care and says it wants to put more physicians on salary to save money.

In a report released last week, TD Bank said Ontario should consider other proposals to help cut costs, including scaling back drug coverage for affluent seniors and paying doctors according to quality and efficiency of care.

So the power of government inserted into the health care system has done nothing to lower the cost of medical procedures in Canada.  Makes you scratch your head, doesn’t it?  Because the proponents of Obamacare say that’s exactly what the power of government can do.  But in practice it has failed to do what these theorists say it can do.  Cut costs.  Through bureaucratic management.  And ‘turning of the screws’ on the medical device and drug manufacturers.  Despite this very practice NOT working in Canada.  Which means that the proponents of Obamacare think the Canadian bureaucrats simply aren’t smart enough to make their health care system work efficiently.  That the system of government-managed health care is a flawed system when it comes to costs and efficiency.  Or that government-managed health care is not about costs or efficiency.  But about the bureaucracy itself.  The control and power it offers the politicians.  And the votes it can buy them.

“Many of the advances in healthcare and life expectancy are due to the pharmaceutical industry so we should never demonize them,” said U of T’s Golden. “We need to ensure that they maintain a profitable business but our ability to make it very very profitable is constrained right now.”

Scotia Capital’s Webb said one cost-saving idea may be to make patients aware of how much it costs each time they visit a healthcare professional. “(The public) will use the services more wisely if they know how much it’s costing,” she said.

Wait a minute.  To fix the government-managed system they need to make the patients aware of the costs so they can choose wisely?  There’s a name for such a system.  We call it capitalism.  The very thing missing from government-managed health care.  And the very reason why government-managed systems (the Canadian health care system, the American Medicare/Medicaid programs, the UK’s National Health Service, etc.) fail to control costs.  And why Obamacare will fail to control costs.  Because they exclude the one thing that controls costs best from government-managed systems.  Capitalism.  Where people make spending decisions based on cost.  Which will never happen when someone other than the patient pays for the costs for the medical services a patient receives.  For no one ever asks ‘how much’ when they’re not paying the bill.

So when a rich doctor says to tax the rich more is this selfless?  Or selfish?  You decide.

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The Europeans try to Shake Down the World with their Emission Trading Scheme but China, Russia, India and the US fight Back

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 18th, 2012

Week in Review

The European Union thought that they had struck gold.  Their little Emission Trading Scheme.  Which would force foreign governments to fund a large portion of their chronic budget deficits.  By forcing them to buy permits to emit carbon in their airspace.  As well as other nations ‘ airspace.  Even in airspace over the high seas.  A bold scheme their Emission Trading Scheme.  Though not strictly legal.  And requiring a submissive airline industry that has no problem saying “make me your bitch” to the Europeans.   Which doesn’t look to be the case (see U.S. sides with China against airlines emissions tax by Tim Devaney posted 3/15/2012 on The Washington Times).

The European Union’s plan to impose a tax on international airlines for their carbon emissions has run into fierce head winds, with the Obama administration joining China, India and other powers in a growing global drive to force the EU to back down…

“It’s a tricky one: Fight a trade war with the entire world, or back down,” said Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis at Virginia-based Teal Group. “I’m thinking they’re going to back down.”

China is one of the biggest opponents of the plan, which would tax airlines for their carbon outputs for flights to or from Europe. The controversial part of the tax, which has drawn complaints that the fee is illegal under international trade law, is that it is assessed based on the entirety of the flight distance, not just the part spent over European airspace.

Hitting back at Europe where it counts, China has canceled plans to purchase 55 jets worth $14 billion from Airbus.

On Thursday, it suspended a purchase of 10 Airbus A330s, a move made just days after Airbus complained to European politicians about China having put off buying 10 A380 superjumbos and 35 A330s.

China and Russia have said their airlines will not comply with the emissions charge, which could keep their carriers from traveling to Europe altogether. Congress has considered a similar measure.

At a meeting last month in Moscow, almost 30 countries adopted a resolution threatening Europe with eight forms of retaliation they would consider if the charge is not scrapped. Among those measures are bringing legal cases before international trade forums, not granting European carriers landing rights and routes, and new levies against EU national airlines…

Airlines aren’t necessarily opposed to paying for their emissions in European airspace, which is unquestionably under EU jurisdiction, but chafe at being charged for emissions over other parts of the world. For example, European airspace takes up only 9 percent of a flight from San Francisco to London, according to Airlines for America. The rest is over the U.S., Canada and the high seas, but airlines would be charged for the entire 5,371-mile trip.

Money talks and a silly Emission Trading Scheme walks.  Or soon will.  Unless the Europeans want to take on the whole world.  Plunging the international economy into a trade war.  Could they be so arrogant?  Well that’s a silly question.  Of course they can be.  But will they put their silly environmentalism where their economies are?  And do they think the world is so ignorant not to see that this is just a way to get others to pay for their chronic budget deficits?  The world is betting they’re not.  And will back down.  Which they’d be wise to do.  For if they thought they had deficit problems before an international trade war directed at them they ain’t seen nothing yet.

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More Evidence Debunks the Great Pseudoscience Charlatans from the Church of Man-Made Global Warming

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 3rd, 2011

Week in Review

More damning evidence has surfaced showing once again that man-made global warming is a man-made political science (see Scientists Behaving Badly by Jim Lacey posted 11/28/201 on National Review).

Global-warming skeptics spend much of their time knocking down the fatuous warmist claim that the science is settled. According to the warmists, this singular piece of settled science is attested to by hundreds or thousands of highly credentialed scientists. In truth, virtually the entire warmist edifice is built around a small, tightly knit coterie of persons (one hesitates to refer to folks with so little respect for the scientific method as scientists) willing to falsify data and manipulate findings; or, to put it bluntly, to lie in order to push a political agenda not supported by empirical evidence. This is what made the original release of the Climategate e-mails from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia so valuable. They clearly identified the politicized core of climate watchers who were driving the entire warmist agenda. Following in their footsteps are all the other scientists who built their own research on top of the fraudulent data produced by the warmist core.

Last week over 5,000 new e-mails, already dubbed Climategate 2, were released. Anyone still desiring to contest the assertion that only a few persons controlled the entire warmist agenda will be brought up short by this note from one warmist protesting that his opinions were not getting the hearing they deserved: “It seems that a few people have a very strong say, and no matter how much talking goes on beforehand, the big decisions are made at the eleventh hour by a select core group.” Over the years this core group, led by Phil Jones at East Anglia and Michael Mann at Penn State, became so close that even those inclined toward more honest appraisals of the state of climate science were hesitant to rock the boat. As one warm-monger states: “I am not convinced that the ‘truth’ is always worth reaching if it is at the cost of damaged personal relationships.”

If you have trouble reading the above it might be because of all the smoke.  Smoking guns tend to do that.  Smoke.

Man-made global warming is a political movement.  A religion.  Not science.  The two main profits who have written the holy scriptures of Man-Made Global Warming are Phil Jones and Michael Mann.  And all of the climate pseudoscience that followed was based on their dogma.  Not actual scientific inquiry and peer review.  Like the work of Isaac Newton.  Albert Einstein.  And Niels Bohr.  Who where were true men of science.  And we remember them as such.  But we won’t remember Jones and Mann as men of science.  But rather as charlatans.  And leaders of their cult of Global Warming.

Here’s just a smattering of some quotes Lacey pulled from these climate pseudo scientists’ emails.

“It seems that a few people have a very strong say, and no matter how much talking goes on beforehand, the big decisions are made at the eleventh hour by a select core group.”

“I am not convinced that the ‘truth’ is always worth reaching if it is at the cost of damaged personal relationships.”

“The trick may be to decide on the main message and use that to guide what’s included and what is left out.”

“I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it, which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run.”

“Observations do not show rising temperatures throughout the tropical troposphere unless you accept one single study and approach and discount a wealth of others. This is just downright dangerous. We need to communicate the uncertainty and be honest.”

“The figure you sent is very deceptive . . . there have been a number of dishonest presentations of model results by individual authors and by IPCC [the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change].”

“I find myself in the strange position of being very skeptical of the quality of all present reconstructions, yet sounding like a pro greenhouse zealot here!”

”I can’t overstate the HUGE amount of political interest in the project as a message that the Government can give on climate change to help them tell their story. They want the story to be a very strong one and don’t want to be made to look foolish.”

“Having established scale and urgency, the political challenge is then to turn this from an argument about the cost of cutting emissions — bad politics — to one about the value of a stable climate — much better politics. . . . the most valuable thing to do is to tell the story about abrupt change as vividly as possible.”

“I’ve been told that IPCC is above national FOI [Freedom of Information] Acts. One way to cover yourself and all those working in AR5 would be to delete all emails at the end of the process.” To which one warmist replied: “Phil, thanks for your thoughts — guarantee there will be no dirty laundry in the open.”

“Any work we have done in the past is done on the back of the research grants we get — and has to be well hidden. I’ve discussed this with the main funder (US Dept of Energy) in the past and they are happy about not releasing the original station data.”

Do these sound like the exchange of scientists?  Or more like people trying pull the wool over our eyes?  Of course this is a rhetorical answer because we all know the answer.  Wool.

At one point, Jones admits that the “basic problem is that all of the models are wrong.” Of course, there is a simple reason for this. When the models do not show what the warmists want them to show, they simply apply “some tuning.” One scientist was worried enough about this “tuning” to write that he “doubt[ed] the modeling world will be able to get away with this much longer.” In this case, “tuning” means changing the model until it tells you what you want it to. When it became impossible to torture the models any further without making their uselessness apparent to all, the warmists resorted to changing the data.

The most efficient method of corrupting the models was to use data only from time periods when there was warming and discard others, as Jones admits to doing. This method helped one scientist reduce the cooling in the northern hemisphere between 1940 and 1970, so that he did not have to make up an excuse blaming it on sulphates, which could not be proven. Another complains that no matter how much he fiddles with the data, it is “very difficult to make the Medieval Warming Period go away.” Solving this problem in the modern era was much easier: The warmists merely changed the temperature readings for much of the 20th century and threw away the original data.

Yet our children are being taught that free market capitalism is melting the polar ice caps and killing polar bears.  These kids grow up and go to college.  And vote.  Which helps to push an environmental agenda that strangles free market capitalism.  By enacting layers of regulations.  And fees.  Perhaps the greatest being the carbon trading scheme.  Forcing businesses to buy shares of something no one owns.  Where all the proceeds go not surprisingly to government coffers.  To try an offset huge budget deficits.  And as it turns out the greater pushers of this carbon trading scheme are those countries with some of the biggest budget deficits.

Talk about the coincidence of all coincidences.  Global warming legislation transfers huge sums of wealth from the private sector to the public sector.  That same public sector that funds the climate pseudo-scientists.  If one didn’t know any better one would say it was all about the money.  And the political power.  Ever since Thatcher and Reagan debunked Big Government liberalism.

Everyone should read this piece by Jim Lacey.  Learn it.  Save it.  And share it.  He concludes with:

My favorite quote of all those uncovered was from the climate criminal who asked his colleagues what would happen to them if it was discovered that climate change was “mainly a multidecadal natural fluctuation,” as much of the evidence shows. He answers his own question: “They’ll kill us probably.”

So there is another reason to perpetuate this fraud.  Because if the fraud is found out they will be exposed as being the frauds that they are.  They’ll lose whatever scientific credentials they have.  As well as their scientific careers.  And be forever remembered as the great charlatans of the pseudoscience of the Church of Man-Made Global Warming.

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Debt Crises are Far Greater than Many choose to Believe

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 17th, 2011

Was it the Plan to Bankrupt the Nation?

The IMF is worried about a technical default on U.S. debt.  But it’s the budget deficits that really concerns the IMF.  In the U.S.  And in Europe.  For the entitlement spending of these welfare states has proven to be beyond unsustainable.  They’re downright dangerous.  And if unchecked, it will destroy these nations (see IMF cuts U.S. growth forecast, warns of crisis by Luciana Lopez posted 6/17/2011 on Reuters).

The International Monetary Fund cut its forecast for U.S. economic growth on Friday and warned Washington and debt-ridden European countries that they are “playing with fire” unless they take immediate steps to reduce their budget deficits.

They’re not saying that the U.S. had better raise their debt limit.  They’re saying that they better reduce their deficit.  Either by raising taxes.  Or cutting spending.  And with the IMF cutting their forecast for U.S. economic growth, that pretty much means they’re leaning towards cutting spending.  Because higher taxes don’t stimulate economic growth.  And the U.S., and all countries with huge budget deficits, needs as much economic growth as possible.  For ‘economic growth’ means ‘tax revenue’ growth.  And that’s what they need.  Tax revenue.  Add to that spending cuts and you start making headway in reducing those deficits. 

Meanwhile, Greece has edged closer to default as euro zone officials disagree on a possible second aid package for the indebted country. With strikes and protests around the country, political turmoil has added to uncertainty, stoking fears that the government will not be able to tighten its belt enough to reduce crippling deficits.

“If you make a list of the countries in the world that have the biggest homework in restoring their public finances to a reasonable situation in terms of debt levels, you find four countries: Greece, Ireland, Japan and the United States,” Vinals said.

With strikes and protests over austerity measures to reduce their deficit, it doesn’t look good in Greece.  They’re getting closer and closer to a default on their debt.  And not a technical default as in being late on an interest payment.  But an all out default as in making their bonds worthless.  What’s worse is that the U.S. made it to the short list of nations with the absolute worst public finances.  And that’s before Obamacare adds another trillion dollars or so of federal spending.

You know this didn’t happen overnight.  We knew about the crushing weight of U.S. entitlement spending for decades.  Even Ronald Reagan raised taxes to save these programs.  So it wasn’t a secret.  And for the Obama administration to spend to the tune of a $1.4 trillion deficit was ill advised to say the least.  Unless the plan was to bankrupt the nation.  If that was the plan then kudos to them.  They may actually have something work as planned yet.

Overheating Economies are a Bitch on the Downside

Greece may be beyond saving.  Worse, when she goes under she may drag others with her (see IMF warns of increased risks to the world economy posted 6/17/2011 on the BBC).

Many analysts believe Greece will not be able to pay back all the money it has borrowed.

“I don’t think there is a question over whether Greece is going to default, it is just a question of whether it is an orderly or disorderly one,” says George Magnus, senior economic adviser at UBS.

The IMF warned that if Greece was unable to pay its debts, other countries such as Spain or Portugal may also be affected.

A cascading electrical blackout is a lot like bank failures.  The North American electrical grid is interconnected.  Power plants attach locally but their power can be sent almost anywhere on the grid depending on demand.  Back in the Northeast Blackout of 2003, downed high voltage power lines triggered a sequence of events.  With some power disconnected from the grid, more power flowed from other sources to make up for the loss.  Higher currents caused these lines to sag and eventually they, too, failed.  Other lines then surged with higher currents to make up for the loss supply and then they failed.  As lines failed power plants disconnected from the grid.  Those still attached tried to make up for the lost supply.  Until they exceeded their safe limits and then disconnected from the grid to protect themselves.  And this continued until a large part of Northeast North America lost all electrical power.

Now think of governments as power stations.  Government spending as high currents in power lines.  The economy as the electric grid.  And Greece as the first failure.  Right now the European Union and the European Central Bank are trying to minimize the cascading damage.  Before financial trouble spreads further and stresses other governments.  Causing additional stresses on the European banking system.  But it doesn’t look good.  All that spending has only overheated those ‘power lines’.  But the problem is still attached to the grid.  Greek spending.  Unable to stop their spending (i.e., commit to their austerity plans), that ‘power station’ will fail.  And then the cascading will begin.

Outside Europe, the fund said it expected economic growth in developing countries to remain strong.

This, in turn, presents a risk of overheating – where economies grow too fast leading to a rapid contraction later.

Like in Japan in the 1980s (Japan Inc).  The U.S. in the 1990s (the dot-com bubble).  And the U.S. again in 2007 (the housing bubble and the subprime mortgage crisis).  Overheating economies can be a whole lot of fun on the upside.  But they’re a bitch on the downside.  Not to mention the economic impact on the rest of the world economy.  And it’s the rest of this world economy that’s scaring the IMF.  For it’s these growing economies that are buying what little manufacturing there is in the older established economies.

It’s going to Suck Worse before it gets Better

There’s no relief for the American consumer.  But the stock market is doing well.  In a normal economic recovery this would benefit the consumer.  But this isn’t a normal economic recovery (see U.S. Confidence Out of Sync With Stock Gains by Bob Willis and Alex Tanzi posted 6/17/2011 on Bloomberg).

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index has stalled near its recession average as the Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen 83 percent from a 12-year low in March 2009. A tight correlation between the index and Dow that lasted more than two decades has broken down as joblessness above 9 percent, stagnant wages and near $4-a-gallon gasoline outweigh the benefits of higher share prices, even after a 6.6 percent retreat in the Dow since the end of April.

“Consumers are fairly depressed, yet the stock market continues to improve,” Guy LeBas, chief fixed-income strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott LLC in Philadelphia, said in an interview. “It’s foreign demand that is really pushing corporate profitability. Consumer confidence is pretty constrained by the labor market.”

U.S. manufacturers in particular have profited from faster growth in emerging economies, including Colombia and Indonesia, where expanding middle classes are demanding more roads and utilities, as well as higher-protein foods and more consumer goods. Deere & Co. (DE), the world’s largest farm-equipment maker, raised its fiscal 2011 earnings forecast on May 18 to $2.65 billion from $2.5 billion, citing increased demand for farm and construction machinery outside the U.S, along with growth in America.

If it wasn’t for these emerging economies there would probably be no corporate profitability.  High unemployment, stagnant wages and $4-a-gallon gasoline is leaving the American consumer little disposable cash to stimulate anything.  That’s why they’re depressed.  Because it sucks out there.

U.S. corporations have gotten “a pickup in sales growth, but they’re not responding with a big pickup in wages and labor growth,” said Rob Carnell, chief international economist at ING Bank in London. “This is helping them to keep their margins intact in the backdrop of rising commodity prices…”

The 18-month recession shaved 4.1 percentage points off gross domestic product before ending in June 2009, making it the deepest downturn since the 1930s. Growth has averaged about 2.8 percent since then, enough to restore only 1.8 million of the 8.8 million jobs lost as a result of the slump.

And now inflation is raising commodity prices.  That means corporations, small businesses and consumers all have less disposable cash.  Which means there will be no job creation.  Because there is no new demand they need to hire people to meet.  Which means it’s going to suck worse out there before it gets better.  Which makes it hard to believe that the recession ended in June of 2009.  High unemployment.  Low economic growth.  Stagnant wages.  If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, we’re probably still in a recession.  The worst one since the Great Depression.  And if things continue as they are we may have to call the Great Depression the worst economic downturn before the Great Recession that started in 2007.

Making the easy Difficult

Things are looking bleak for Greece.  And the other three nations that have spending problems as bad as theirs.  Ireland, Japan and the United States.  Boy.  I’d sure hate to be in our shoes.

We know what caused their problems.  Excessive government spending.  So you’d think it’d be easy to fix their problems.  Just stop spending so much.  But when you get people used to that government spending.  And politicians get used to the votes that spending buys, it makes the easy difficult.  So they continue to spend.  Ask for bailouts.  And plead to Congress to raise the debt ceiling so they can spend some more.

The politicians either don’t believe in the magnitude of the problem.  Or they are counting on being dead before they have to pay the piper.  But someone will eventually pay the piper.  And it’s going to hurt.  And the longer we wait to pay the more it’s going to hurt.

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China to Eclipse the American Empire?

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 25th, 2011

Detroit is a Microcosm of American Decline

If you want to see a potential future of the United States, take a look at one of our big cities.  Say Detroit, for example (see Motor City finds labor clout weakened amid spending cuts, new legislation by Michael A. Fletcher posted 4/25/2011 on The Washington Post).

Bold action by Republican governors to rein in government spending and labor power by curtailing collective bargaining rights have been met with raucous, if ultimately unsuccessful, protests from union leaders and their allies in places including Wisconsin and Ohio.

But [Mayor] Bing’s move to extract new concessions from Detroit’s 12,000 municipal workers has been met with no such outpouring…

First of all, let’s get are arms around the size of 12,000 municipal workers.  On average let’s say each worker grosses $35,000 annually.  That is just under half a billion dollars in wages.  Now add in their benefits and it approaches a billion a year.  Just for wage and benefits for city workers.  It doesn’t count the cost of light bulbs, electricity, toilet paper, road salt, buildings, vehicles, etc.  That’s just the cost of people.  And that’s a lot of money.  For an impoverished city with a declining population.  And a declining tax base.

By the way, Mayor Bing is a Democrat.  He is not alone.  The sinking weight of the big city budget deficits transcends political party.

The absence of any large protest highlights the conundrum facing labor and its progressive allies as more states, cities and towns run by their putative Democratic allies are confronted with staggering debt and budget problems…

In New York and California, Democratic governors have not attacked collective bargaining, but they have also demanded major concessions from workers to help close yawning budget deficits.

In Wisconsin and Ohio, new Republican governors have significantly curtailed or eliminated collective bargaining rights for public employees, moves they said were made to give themselves as well as local leaders a freer hand to make badly needed cuts.

Michigan’s new Gov. Rick Snyder (R) signed legislation last month empowering his appointed emergency financial managers to void municipal union contracts in distressed municipalities across the state.

Of course, we got here for a couple of reasons.  People are living longer.  Living retirees consume pensions and health care.  And these benefits are generous.  Created at a time when they could be generous.  Following World War II, the United States rebuilt war-torn countries.  Everyone worked.  And bought a car.  Some bought a couple.  From Detroit.  The Motor City could charge what they wanted.  For where else were people going to buy a car?  UAW line workers lived like kings.  Worked hard.  Retired early.  And doctors kept them alive with ever improving health care.  Some lived longer into retirement than they actually worked.  And all of these costs began to build up in the pipeline.  Waiting to burst out at the other end on some future generation.

And that’s what happened.  War-torn countries eventually rebuilt their manufacturing.  They began to provide for themselves.  Some even provided for others.  They started building quality products at affordable prices.  Long story short, Toyota surpassed General Motors (GM) as the number one car manufacturer.  And GM, saddled with those legacy costs from what proved to be a too generous time, went belly up, bailed out by the government.  And as went the U.S. automotive industry, so did the Motor City.

Decades ago, when Detroit earned the proud moniker Motor City, it was home to a thriving and decidedly blue-collar middle class built largely by the clout of organized labor. Detroit is now renowned as a national symbol of urban dysfunction, and as Bing tries desperately to change that reputation, he often finds himself at odds with the city’s labor unions…

Even as the city is shrinking, Bing calls the current state of city services unacceptable. And he says they are not going to improve unless he can reduce the city’s personnel costs, which are overwhelming the budget. This year, the city paid $200 million in pension benefits, which Bing said was $25 million more than the city paid for fire department and ambulance services last year.

“The old days when getting a good city job meant that you put in your 20 years with the expectation that city government could take care of you for the next 40 is no longer a realistic or viable option,” Bing said.

Generous automotive jobs could pay a lot of taxes.  And did.  The city government grew right alongside the U.S. automotive industry.   But with those auto jobs went the city’s tax base.  And now the municipal workers are going through the same thing the auto workers did.  Only worse.  Because their benefits were even more generous.

Now he wants workers to take on an additional 20 percent of their health insurance premiums. He also wants them to take smaller pensions, and to eliminate defined-benefit pensions for all new employees.

Bing said he has no choice. “If we do nothing, by 2015, fringe benefits are on pace to consume half of our entire general fund revenue,” Bing said. “That is not sustainable. We can’t afford benefit packages so rich.”

Supporters of the public sector will argue they aren’t getting rich.  They’ll argue that they could earn more in the private sector.  True, some could.  But most couldn’t.  Because if they could they would go to the private sector to make more money.  No one chooses to stay somewhere to earn less.  There’s a reason they stay.  And it’s not the wage or salary.  It’s the benefits.

That’s how it was for [a retiree], who went to work for the city as a typist in the health department in 1968. She retired as a 911 operator in 1998 at age 48, and the city is obligated to pay her $24,000 a year for life.

The current Social Security retirement age is 67 for anyone born after 1959.  And there’s talk about raising it still because people aren’t dying soon enough into retirement.  Improvements in health care are keeping people alive longer to consume ever more retirement benefits.  It’s busting the federal treasury.  As well as the treasuries in the big cities.  You just cannot have people retire at 48 years of age these days.  Not if you expect to remain solvent.

This kind of generosity is just not sustainable.  Retirees are consuming more than they ever contributed to their retirement and health care.  And the working young are paying more and more to support them while cutting into their own retirement savings.  Something’s gotta give.  To reverse the American decline.

China the new Japan of the Eighties?

What, you may ask?  What may give?  Perhaps the United States (see IMF bombshell: Age of America nears end by Brett Arends posted 4/25/2011 on MarketWatch).

According to the latest IMF official forecasts, China’s economy will surpass that of America in real terms in 2016 — just five years from now…

We have lived in a world dominated by the U.S. for so long that there is no longer anyone alive who remembers anything else. America overtook Great Britain as the world’s leading economic power in the 1890s and never looked back.

And both those countries live under very similar rules of constitutional government, respect for civil liberties and the rights of property. China has none of those. The Age of China will feel very different.

China is still communist.  Like the Soviet Union was.  So the Age of China may feel more like the Cold War.  Only without us being a superpower.  So how will that feel in America?  Possibly like it felt to live in Eastern Europe behind the Iron Curtain.  Economically dependent on your overlord.  And wholly at their mercy.

“There are two systems in collision,” said Ralph Gomory, research professor at NYU’s Stern business school. “They have a state-guided form of capitalism, and we have a much freer former of capitalism.” What we have seen, he said, is “a massive shift in capability from the U.S. to China. What we have done is traded jobs for profit. The jobs have moved to China. The capability erodes in the U.S. and grows in China. That’s very destructive. That is a big reason why the U.S. is becoming more and more polarized between a small, very rich class and an eroding middle class. The people who get the profits are very different from the people who lost the wages.”

This sounds like what they were saying during the Nineties about Japan Inc.  Just before they entered a devastating deflationary spiral.  Before that, though, some were saying here that we needed to do what the Japanese were doing.  Business and government were working together.  It wasn’t that laissez-faire capitalism nonsense we were clinging to in the United States.  Japan Inc. was a juggernaut.  They got so rich that they were buying up landmark U.S. properties.  A National Lampoon cover showed a Japanese CEO sitting at his desk with a sign saying the United States was a wholly own subsidiary of his company.  It was the end of America as we knew it.

Well, it wasn’t.  The government built a huge asset bubble.  And the thing about bubbles is that they eventually burst.  And when it did, the Japanese economy tanked.  For a decade.  Or two.  The Japanese called the Nineties the Lost Decade.  The lesson the Japanese learned?  A “state-guided form of capitalism” doesn’t work.  It may in the short term.  But not in the long term. 

China may be surging now like the Japanese were in the Eighties.  Will they be able to avoid Japan’s fate, though?

The Difference between China and the United States is Labor Costs

The MarketWatch article misses one salient fact.  First of all, let’s consider the Soviet Union.  If the state was good at ‘guiding’ an economy, why did the Soviet Union fail?  I mean, they had a prosperous manufacturing industry.  Lots of people were building things.  The problem was, they were building things that no one wanted to buy.  Whereas the things they did want to buy (soap, toilet paper, etc.) were always in short supply.  You waited in line to buy those things.  Look at Cuba.  And North Korea.  These are all state-guided.  And they all suffer from abject poverty.  And, at times, famine.  Clearly, the ‘state-guided’ is not the reason why China is doing so well.  It’s that other thing.  The capitalism.  Which the Soviet Union, Cuba and North Korea did not/do not have.

Now we have capitalism.  As did Great Britain.  And at one time, we each had the world’s largest economy.  But we surpassed Great Britain.  And China is about to surpass us.  So is there anything we can draw from this.  Something the British and the Americans have that the Chinese don’t?  I’ll give you a hint.  Think about Detroit.

How many times do we hear about unions striking Chinese industry?  Not many.  For one, there is only one Chinese trade union.  All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU).  It’s not exactly what you would think of when you think of a union in the UK or the USA.  Some would say that the ACFTU represents the government’s interests more than the workers.  And that’s the difference.  China doesn’t have the high labor costs we have (or the British).  Or the generous benefits.  And they have no legacy costs.  For their industrial workers.  (Or their municipalities.)  And this is why manufacturing jobs left the U.S. and went to China.  They could make things cheaper.  And as we pay more of our income in taxes to support an ever growing public sector, the less we have to spend on material goods. 

It’s just simple arithmetic.  It’s not a matter of greed on the consumer.  Just like union workers want higher pay and benefits, so do they.  So they can buy more stuff.  And if they can’t have the higher pay and benefits like they have in the unions, they at least want low taxes.  Or low prices.  But their paychecks aren’t as generous.  And their taxes are high.  Which leaves them with less disposable income than their union brothers and sisters.  Making them the ideal market for those low-priced Chinese imports.  And as long as the ACFTU holds Chinese wages down, they’ll keep buying those imports.

But can they?  Will the Chinese workers rise up one day?  They have nothing to lose but their chains.  As Karl Marx would say.  Will they overthrow the ‘capitalism’ in ‘state-guided capitalism’?   Making it a more pure form of communism?  More like in the former Soviet Union?  It may be the only thing that can stop this Chinese juggernaut.  A workers revolt.  An authentic communist revolution.  In already communist China.

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