Some interesting editorials from the Washington Times

From something that I wrote for the Washington TImes:
Rationing health care

Appearing on "Meet the Press" on Sunday, Lawrence H. Summers, President Obama's chief economic adviser, stated, "Whether it's tonsillectomies or hysterectomies ... procedures are done three times as frequently [in some parts of the country than others] and there's no benefit in terms of the health of the population. And by doing the right kind of cost-effectiveness, by making the right kinds of investments and protection, some experts ... estimate that we could take as much as $700 billion a year out of our health care system."

Let's be clear - Mr. Summers is talking about rationing. Total health care expenditures in the United States in 2008 came to $2.5 trillion. The implication of his statement is that health care expenditures can be cut by almost 30 percent. That's a major amputation to the system. Mr. Summers tried to kill the pain by saying it all wouldn't have to be cut right away. That's only comforting if it's not your loved one's transplant that bureaucrats reject. . . .

The ridiculous offer by Obama to cut $100 million from the budget.

President Obama ordered his Cabinet to cut $100 million from the budget yesterday. This charade shows that Mr. Obama heard last week's "tea-party" protests against government spending. It also proves that popular pressure can force some fiscal discipline.

The White House is using the cut to claim that Mr. Obama is keeping his campaign promise "to go through the federal budget line by line, page by page" cutting wasteful government programs. But yesterday's tiny effort works out to about 35 cents per American. That's less than a drop in the spending bucket.

By comparison, the stimulus bill Mr. Obama signed into law on Feb. 17 was $787 billion. That's almost 8,000 times more money. . . . .

The AP has a similar piece:

The bottom line: Not much.

The president gave his Cabinet 90 days to find $100 million in savings to achieve over time.

For all the trumpeting, the effort raised questions about why Obama set the bar so low, considering that $100 million amounts to:

_Less than one-quarter of the budget increase that Congress awarded to itself.

_4 percent of the military aid the United States sends to Israel.

_Less than half the cost of one F-22 fighter plane.

_7 percent of the federal subsidy for the money-losing Amtrak passenger rail system.

_1/10,000th of the government's operating budgets for Cabinet agencies, excluding the Iraq and Afghan wars and the stimulus bill. . . . .

Obama's marching orders to the Cabinet on Monday were less than meets the eye. Many of the savings he asked them to achieve are already under way and are included in the calculation.

To be sure, this is an extra effort, on top of an agency-by-agency review of programs and proposed multibillion-dollar cuts in weapons programs. But it is decidedly marginal.

"It's always a good sign when the president is talking about savings," said Marc Goldwein, policy director of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan group that advocates fiscal discipline.

"It's valuable as a symbol," he said, "but $100 million is just not going to cut it." . . . .

Obama's gun lies

On Thursday, while on a visit to Mexico, the president continued his Blame America First tour. "This war is being waged with guns purchased not here but in the United States," he said, referring to the drug wars that are tearing apart our neighbor to the south. "More than 90 percent of the guns recovered in Mexico come from the United States, many from gun shops that lay in our shared border."

It is completely untrue that 90 percent of guns recovered in Mexico are from America. The Mexican government separates guns it confiscates that were made in the United States and sends them here to be traced. U.S. weapons are easy to identify because of clear markings.

Of the ones sent here to be traced, 90 percent turn out to be from America, but most guns recovered in Mexico are not sent here so are not included in the count. Fox News reported that 17 percent is a more accurate number. . . .

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