Thursday, October 29, 2009

Busy bureaucratic beavers

There's no one busier in Washington these days than the re-buts. These are the bureaucrats assigned to refute the criticisms leveled at the White House.

Remember during the summer when the White House gave out an e-mail address so you could report all criticism? Things were slow for the re-buts back then; they had to solicit business from the general public.

Not so today. All the re-buts have to do is pick up a newspaper to find material.

For example, it was revealed by that the Cash for Clunkers program cost the American Public $24,000 per car! Edmunds ought to know; they have been in the car business for over 40 years!

Their claim is that of the nearly 700,000 cars traded in, only 125,000 of them were stimulated by the Clunkers program. All the rest would have been traded in anyway.

So, we threw away an average of $4,000 per car to people who were already going to buy a new car anyway.

And the re-buts said that isn't true. But the re-buts can't explain why car sales tanked after the program ended. Maybe people just bought new cars a month or two early? Naw.

It's really hard for bureaucrats to argue with the pros who deal with car sales every day for a living.

Speaking of pros, how about WellPoint? WellPoint processes Blue Cross plans in 14 states. They know how much health care costs. They know how expensive it can be with pre-existing conditions. Their actuaries can tell you when you will die. In short, the cost of risk is their business.

So, what are they saying about Obamacare? In the Wall Street Journal the WellPoint study reveals that health insurance in some segments will triple under the Senate plan.

For example, a 40-year-old couple with two children living in Ohio now pays $332 a month. Under the applied rules of Obamacare they will pay $737 a month.

A small business in Franklin County Ohio will pay 86% more under the government plan.

The article says it best with this statement: "Democrats have been selling health care as one huge free lunch in which everyone gets better insurance while paying less. But the policy facts simply don't add up, and Democrats are attacking WellPoint because they don't want anyone to understand what their health-care schemes will mean in practice."

But all that hard data doesn't stop the re-buts. In fact, they don't even need to read the study to attack it. As soon as it was released they scoffed at it.

Like reading the proposed legislation, the 232 pages of the WellPoint study didn't need to be read. They already know what's in it.

Again, from the Wall Street Journal: "This is yet another insurance-industry report that twists the facts to produce a skewed result," averred Linda Douglass, the White House communications director on health care. Said a spokesman for the Senate Finance Committee, "This is akin to the tobacco companies commissioning another study claiming nicotine isn't addictive and cigarettes don't cause cancer." So in its Saul Alinsky fashion, the White House again attacks the messenger so it can avoid rebutting the message.

The third re-but project comes from the AP who takes issue with the White House claim that 30,000 jobs were created or saved in the stimulus plan.

The re-buts tell us that the AP "draws misleading conclusions from a handful of examples," but admits that they knew about some of the errors and did not dispute any of the AP numbers.

Instead, they said, "Wait until Friday when our new report comes out." And they claimed that they only had three days to review the data. Well, it didn't take the AP long, and most of their errors were discovered by looking at the data on-line.

So, there you have it.
*Edmunds, experts in car sales trends...
*WellPoint, experts in health care risk and premium pricing...
*AP, reporters who can read data on line...
...all telling Obama that his reality checks are all wet.

Frankly, your credibility is slipping, Washington.

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