First casualties of ObamaCare

March 23, 2010

Kiss off 1600 jobs, thanks to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue:

The people at Zoll Medical Corporation saw a ray of hope in January when Scott Brown was elected senator from Massachusetts. Located in Chelmsford, 30 miles outside Boston, Zoll is the nation’s leading manufacturer of heart defibrillators, which save thousands of heart attack victims each year. Back in January, as the Senate race was raging, both House and Senate Democrats wanted to impose a crippling new tax on the makers of medical devices, Zoll included, to help pay for Obamacare.

The total tax on the industry would be about $2 billion a year, or $20 billion over the next decade. Companies watched nervously as lawmakers pushed ahead, first the House and then the Senate. But then Brown was elected on the promise to be the crucial Republican vote to stop health care reform. For Zoll, things were looking up.

Not anymore. The bill passed by the House Sunday night contains a particularly damaging version of the $20 billion hit for the medical device industry, meaning Zoll and other medical device makers could well be headed for hard times.

“We believe that the tax will cost us somewhere between $5 million and $10 million a year,” says Richard Packer, Zoll’s chairman and chief executive officer. “Our profit in 2009 was $9.5 million.”

That would be a devastating blow. Zoll employs about 1,800 people. Roughly 1,600 of them are in the United States, and about 650 of those are in Massachusetts. Once the new tax kicks in, that could all change. “We can’t run this company at a break-even or a negative rate,” says Packer, “so we will be forced to look at alternatives.”

Alternatives such as shipping those jobs overseas, passing on higher costs to customers, or just going out of business because the new taxes make staying in business more trouble than it’s worth.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: raising taxes in a recession is one of the worst things a government can do and is guaranteed to choke off the job-creating energy of any recovery. Zoll is just the first drop of a coming unemployment storm, as businesses all rethink their hiring and even the country within which they do business. The Progressives’ fanatical desire to remake us into a European social democracy will also have the result of giving (lower) levels of growth and (higher) levels of long-term unemployment, and all for a health-care reform that will not do a damned thing they promised.

Genius. Sheer frakking genius.


Culture of Corruption Watch: Arne Duncan

March 23, 2010

What a non-surprise to learn that Education Secretary Arne Duncan is a practitioner of the Chicago Way. It seems that, while he was head of the Chicago school system, he kept a secret list of the High and Mighty who could get their or their friends’ children into the best schools – in return for what, we wonder.  Chicago Breaking News has the story:

While many Chicago parents took formal routes to land their children in the best schools, the well-connected also sought help through a shadowy appeals system created in recent years under former schools chief Arne Duncan.

Whispers have long swirled that some children get spots in the city’s premier schools based on whom their parents know. But a list maintained over several years in Duncan’s office and obtained by the Tribune lends further evidence to those charges. Duncan is now secretary of education under President Barack Obama.

Non-connected parents, such as those who sought spots for their special-needs child or who were new to the city, also appear on the log. But the politically connected make up about three-quarters of those making requests in the documents obtained by the Tribune.

The log is a compilation of politicians and influential business people who interceded on behalf of children during Duncan’s tenure. It includes 25 aldermen, Mayor Richard Daley’s office, House Speaker Michael Madigan, his daughter Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, former White House social secretary Desiree Rogers and former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun.

Now, the article does go on to point out that “often” a student’s petition was rejected, and that some parents among the non-politically connected were on the list. But the latter case amounted to only about 25% of the list, the remainder composed of the Chicago and Illinois elite. One also wonders what “often” really means regarding the rejections, and how many of those came from the “Friends of Arne” group. Details would be nice. And why was the list secret? Shouldn’t every parent in the Chicago system have access to this appeals process?

More to the point, as Ed at Hot Air asks, what if anything did Duncan get in return? This is Chicago, after all.


We’ll learn to love it over time, I’m sure

March 23, 2010

Now that Congress and the White House have finished spending over a year doing what’s good for us whether we want it or not, they’re sure to bask in public approval, right? Now that they’ve passed health-care reform and we can learn what’s in Santa’s bag Pandora’s box the bill, we’re all going to be grateful in the end, right?

Er… Maybe not.

A majority of Americans have a dim view of the sweeping health care bill passed by the House, saying it gives Washington too much clout and won’t do much to reduce their own health care costs or federal deficits, according to a new poll released Monday.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll found that 59 percent of those surveyed opposed the bill, and 39 percent favored it. All of the interviews were conducted before the House voted Sunday night, but the contents of the bill were widely known.

In addition, 56 percent said the bill gives the government too much involvement in health care; 28 percent said it gives the government the proper role and 16 percent said it leaves Washington with an inadequate role.

On the question of costs, 62 percent said the bill increases the amount of money they personally spend on health care; 21 percent said their costs would remain the same and 16 percent said they would decrease.

Note that this poll is from CNN, an organization not known for being critical or even objective about Obama and the progressive agenda.

I wonder how many Democrats will be holding townhall meetings to bask in the accolades of their grateful constituents over the Easter recess?

Yeah, me too.

UPDATE: We’re so happy with this bill that 49% of likely voters want their states to sue to stop it.


A fair and impartial kangaroo court

March 23, 2010

In the wake of the scandals surrounding deep evidence of scientific fraud regarding claims that global warming was anthropogenic in nature, the UK’s Royal Society, which should be the gold standard for objectivity in science, has announced who will lead its inquiry into what’s been broadly called “Climategate.” James Delingpole gives us the comforting news:

And guess what? The man could scarcely be more parti pris if they’d given the job to Al Gore.

His name is Lord Oxburgh and, as Bishop Hill reports, he is:

  • President of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association
  • Chairman of wind energy firm Falck Renewables
  • A member of the Green Fiscal Commission

In other words, someone with a large financial interest in seeing the pro-alarmist cause redeemed. This is like asking Bill Gates to investigate Microsoft’s business practices.

If this produces anything but a gigantic cover for Dr. Jones and the CRU, I’ll eat my hat.

Well, if I had one, that is.