Thursday, July 23, 2009

Keynesian Disaster

"We are now in the early stages of a depression. The economic indicators we follow to track real economic activity are all signaling a slowdown of massive proportions. You wouldn’t know it reading the mainstream papers of course – they all focus on the relative decline in the slowdown’s intensity."

In short, the Obama-Pelosi-Reid Stimulus package that was passed, sight unseen, is an unmitigated Keynesian disaster:

Just Like Helen Thomas Does

President Barack Obama made a bold new health care proposal last night, saying that the nation could save billions annually by replacing anesthesia with press conferences.

"Instead of administering costly anesthetics, a doctor could simply pipe in a few minutes of me talking about electronic medical records," Mr. Obama said. "I guarantee you, that patient will be out cold."

The president said that clinical trials showed that patients who are exposed to one of his pressers usually lose consciousness within three minutes, "just like Helen Thomas does."


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UNIDENTIFIED BLOGGER: Is this true? Will people be able to keep their insurance and will insurers be able to write new policies even though H.R. 3200 is passed?

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: You know, I have to say that I am not familiar with the provision you are talking about.


The smartest man alive, Mr. Harvard Law himself, doesn't know anything about that oh-so-tiny detail of "will private insurance be outlawed"?

OBAMA: I remember just being heartbroken, seeing her struggling through the paperwork and the medical bills and the insurance forms. So, I've seen what it's like when somebody you love is suffering because of a broken health care system. And it's wrong.


"Paperwork"? Not she didn't get any care or the quality of the care — but "paperwork"?

I'm not sure what planet President Obama is from, but on this one, the government isn't known for simplifying paperwork. Have you seen the tax code?

OBend Over

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by Michael Ramirez

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Palin Joins Cease And Desist

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Gov. Sarah Palin has signed a joint resolution declaring Alaska's sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution – and now 36 other states have introduced similar resolutions as part of a growing resistance to the federal government.

According to the report, the joint resolution does not carry with it the force of law, but supporters say it is a significant move toward getting their message out to other lawmakers, the media and grassroots movements.

Alaska's resolution states:

Be it resolved that the Alaska State Legislature hereby claims sovereignty for the state under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States.

Be it further resolved that this resolution serves as Notice and Demand to the federal government to cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers.

It's All Just One Big Lie

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The United States has already reached the point where it is arithmetically impossible for it to pay its debts or keep its promises, unless it devalues its currency to the point where it impoverishes its citizens and creates international financial chaos. And even devaluation as a means of ending the country's budget nightmare will be difficult, given that so many government programs have cost-of-living escalators, making inflation a “No Exit” horror story. This is not subjective opinion, but rather objective, arithmetic fact, now supported even by government agencies themselves, such as the CBO. As John Williams of has observed, even if personal incomes were taxed at 100%, the United States still could not pay its bills.

Astonishingly, given this fiscal context, the government now proposes to effectively nationalize the nation's health-care industry, with projected additional losses of $1,000,000,000,000.00

This is a RTWT.

The Ventriloquist

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If I were the ventriloquist, my talking points would be:

1. We are here whenever President Obama wants to try to stop the insanity on Capitol Hill. Instead, he keeps outsourcing his policies to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Thus, the stimulus that will take effect two years after the recession started. Thus, the cap and trade bill that is mostly corporate welfare with a smidgen of CO2 reduction. And thus a health care bill that worsens the outlook for government spending on health care.

2. We will help the President convert the tax deductibility of health benefits to a refundable tax credit, as supported by economists of all political persuasions. That would help pay for reform and also help "bend the cost curve."

3. We will help the President convert Medicare and Medicaid to means-tested and illness-tested vouchers, which would give the United States what other countries have--a fixed budget for health care, rather than an open-ended spending commitment.

Side Effects Include

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Today's "Transparency" Moment

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I noted the other day that the Obama administration was hiding its revised budget numbers from the public until August. Obviously, in light of the push to pass health care legislation, they don’t want anymore bad news out there than the CBO has already delivered.

That brings us to our “transparency” moment today. This will probably ring a familiar bell:

Obama administration officials have rejected a watchdog group’s request for a list of healthcare industry executives who’ve been meeting secretly in the White House with Obama staffers to discuss healthcare changes being drafted there and in Congress.

According to the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which is suspicious of the influence of health industry lobbyists and company officers, it received a letter from the Secret Service citing an Obama Justice Department directive and denying access to visitor logs under the “presidential communications privilege.”

Sound familiar?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Making Euthanasia Attractive

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If health care is so darn terrible here, how does we manage rankings like this?

[T]he World Health Organization ranked the United States No. 1 out of 191 countries for being responsive to patients’ needs, including providing timely treatments and a choice of doctors.

Isn’t that the essence of good care?

And of course the way to make it less expensive is to use less of it, right?

It’s one thing to require that people getting government assistance tolerate managed care, but the legislation limits you to a managed-care plan even if you and your employer are footing the bill (Senate bill, p. 57-58). The goal is to reduce everyone’s consumption of health care and to ensure that people have the same health-care experience, regardless of ability to pay.

Horses Arses

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Last week the AMA endorsed ObamaCare.

Pure horsetrading, as it turns out.

Those increased fees for Medicaid doctors' payments that Obama forgot to budget? Payoff to the AMA.

In the bill, Democrats provide $245 billion to eliminate an annual shortfall in payments to doctors under Medicare. Democrats resolved this annual headache, in large part, to win crucial support for the bill from the American Medical Association. That money currently counts against the overall costs of the bill, but Democrats have introduced legislation that would remove remove this obligation from federal deficit.

As they say: Every professional organization is a conspiracy against non-members.

Of Contained Exits

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OBritney World

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WASHINGTON—Looting, fires, and mass rioting swept across the nation today when a mild throat infection threw off President Barack Obama's normally reassuring and confident speech cadence, sources in every major city reported.

"My fellow [cough] Americans, please [cough] remain calm," Obama said during a nationally televised emergency address to the nation that caused the Dow Jones to plunge 50 points with every cough, sniffle, or wheeze. "Now is not the time for [cough]…everything's [cough]. Stop it."

Without the president's fluid, almost poetic tone to reassure them, the American people have abandoned all semblance of law and order and descended into a nationwide panic, burning buildings to the ground, disobeying police, and relinquishing all hope for the future.

"Run for your lives! The president no longer has a masterful yet unpretentious command of the English language!" citizens from coast to coast were heard to cry


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Obama sees the presidency as a larger (and more suited to his extraordinary talents) version of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. Some rich guy gives him a pile of money to throw at flaky schemes. He supports the flakiest and gets praise for his innovation. The projects ends. No positive results are achieved, but no one cares. Wasn’t that fun?

I truly think that represents the depth of Obama’s thinking. People who worry about debt and dictators are just like those rubes clinging to their guns and religion. The people who count are those who can discuss the merits of wagyu beef with appropriate footnotes to philosophical works.

The sad thing—or at least one of the sad things—is that most Americans would have no idea what that last commenter is referring to when he mentions the Chicago Annenberg Challenge and Obama’s role in it. It’s just one of so many important things about Obama’s past that the press neglected to explore when it would have mattered.

The Raptor A Niche Scenario? Only If You're Comatose Or On The Other Side

Well, the inspector general in charge of overseeing the Treasury Department's bank-bailout program now says the massive endeavor could end up costing taxpayers almost $24 trillion in a worst-case scenario. Yet we can't afford to build just seven more F-22s?

Speaking to the Economic Club of Chicago last Friday, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates repeated his assertion that "the F-22 is clearly a capability we do need — a niche, silver-bullet solution for one or two potential scenarios — specifically the defeat of a highly advanced enemy fighter fleet."

Air dominance is not a "niche scenario,"
It would prove quite useful over the skies of North Korea, if necessary, or in thwarting a Chinese threat in the Taiwan Straits. Gates forgets that it was high-tech "Cold War" weapons such as the stealthy F-111A that shattered Saddam Hussein's air defenses and infrastructure and controlled the skies during Operation Desert Storm in Iraq.

Wooozy In Fact

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"I have to say that I am
not familiar with the provision
[of the health bill] you are talking about."

OCarter II--

USATODAYGALLUP: Poll Danger Signs; Obama Tracking Lower Than Carter..


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It was interesting to watch the Republican Party lose touch with America. You had a party led by conservative Southerners who neither understood nor sympathized with moderates or representatives from swing districts.

They brought in pollsters to their party conferences to persuade their members that the country was fervently behind them. They were supported by their interest groups and cheered on by their activists and the partisan press. They spent federal money in an effort to buy support but ended up disgusting the country instead.

It’s not that interesting to watch the Democrats lose touch with America. That’s because the plotline is exactly the same. The party is led by insular liberals from big cities and the coasts, who neither understand nor sympathize with moderates. They have their own cherry-picking pollsters, their own media and activist cocoon, their own plans to lavishly spend borrowed money to buy votes.

Except he's wrong when he says that Obambi isn't feared. It's that he isn't fighting them at all because they're doing exactly what he wants. He just says he wants to save money for instance.

Only the innumerate would believe that. Unfortunately, that now describes 90+ percent of the country.

The Beatings Will Continue

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There’s been tragedy aplenty since June 12 — dozens of killings, thousands of arrests, countless beatings of the innocent — and I hope I belittle none of it when I say there’s also been something laughable.

What president would celebrate a “victory” by two-thirds of the vote with a clampdown resembling a putsch? What self-respecting nation would attribute the appearance in the streets of three million protesters convinced their votes were stolen to Zionists, “evil” media and British agents?

(The former British ambassador to Iran told me with a smile last January that Tehran was an interesting place to serve “because it’s one of the very few places left on earth where people still believe we have some influence!”)

What sort of country invites hundreds of journalists to witness an election only to throw them all out? What kind of revolutionary authority invokes “ethics” and “religious democracy” as it allows plain-clothes thugs to beat women?

What's Happening In America

In the midst of his story he looked at the professor and asked a strange question. He asked: “Do you know how to catch wild pigs?”

The professor thought it was a joke and asked for the punchline. The young man said this was no joke. He said “You catch wild pigs by finding a suitable place in the woods and putting corn on the ground. The pigs find it and begin to come everyday to eat the free corn. When they are used to coming every day, you put a fence down one side

You continue until you have all four sides of the fence up with a gate in The last side. The pigs, who are used to the free corn, start to come through the gate to eat, you slam the gate on them and catch the whole herd. Suddenly the wild pigs have lost their freedom. They run around and around inside the fence, but they are caught. Soon they go back to eating the free corn. They are so used to it that they have forgotten how to forage in the woods for themselves, so they accept their captivity.”

O Duce's Pals At Work

Wrong Prescription, Right Prognosis

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Events have already forced Premier Brian Cowen to carry out the harshest
assault yet seen on the public services of a modern Western state. He has
passed two emergency budgets to stop the deficit soaring to 15pc of GDP.
They have not been enough. The expert An Bord Snip report said last week
that Dublin must cut deeper, or risk a disastrous debt compound trap.

The Fed's doctrine – New Keynesian Synthesis – has let it down time and again
in this long saga, and there is scant evidence that Fed officials recognise
the fact. As for the European Central Bank, it has let private loan growth
contract this summer.

The imperative for the debt-bloated West is to cut spending systematically for
year after year, off-setting the deflationary effect with monetary stimulus.
This is the only mix that can save us.

My awful fear is that we will do exactly the opposite, incubating yet another
crisis this autumn, to which we will respond with yet further spending. This
is the road to ruin.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Drop Dead

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Legally forcing senior citizens to have “death with dignity schedules every few years is just another way to say the government wants to make sure seniors know it is time to commit suicide to save the system money.

If you can’t see this, then you’re just being intentionally obtuse.    Forget all the kind rhetoric about “dignity”.  Let’s call it what it is: Geriatric Euthanasia.  And let’s be very clear about why we want the old people to die:  We’ve sucked all the economic productivity we’re going to get out of them, and it’s more convenient to kill them than it is to assume the financial burden of their care.   You can pretty it up with all the flowery language you want, but at the end of the day, it comes down to, “You cost too much to keep alive. Just die.”

Frankly, it’d be far more honest just to have a “caretaker” just show up at the appropriate age, and double-tap the senior at the nape of the neck.

I made the link point to the QandO blog home. They're freakin on fire today. You should not only RTWT on this one but read the top half dozen posts or so.

23.7 Without Walls Or Trust

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One such area is the lack of an informational barrier -- or a wall -- between fund managers making investment decisions on behalf of the program and employees of the fund management company who manage funds that are not part of the program. A fund manager, Barofsky warns, "could generate massive profits in its non-PPIF funds as a result of an unfair advantage."

Treasury has declined to put such a wall in place.

"Failure to impose a wall will leave Treasury vulnerable to an accusation that has already been leveled against it -- that Treasury is using TARP to pick winners and losers and that, by granting certain firms PPIF manager status, it is benefiting a chosen few

"The reputational risk is not one that can be readily measured in dollars and cents, but is rather a risk that could put in jeopardy the fragile trust the American people have in TARP and, by extension, their Government."
No need to worry about saving the trust. That went out the window long ago...

23.7 And A Couple Of Comments

Dear Leader Obama may spend $23.7 trillion dollars to "fix" the economy... or destroy it.
ABC News reported:

In New Report, Neil Barofsky Says It's Possible Government Could Spend $23.7 Trillion to Fix Financial System

"The total potential federal government support could reach up to $23.7 trillion," says Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, in a new report obtained Monday by ABC News on the government's efforts to fix the financial system.

Yes, $23.7 trillion.

GravatarI have an elderly neighbor who has Alzheimer's. His daughter said he can't remember what happened 5 minutes ago.

Last week I took him some tomatoes. Obama was on Fox, and the man shook his fist at the TV saying, "Haven't you done enough!?"

Apparently, a poor Alzheimer's patient cannot even look at Obama without remembering the demise our nation faces.

GravatarIf Opie gets his way, your friend will be an Ex-Alzheimer's patient.

The OT But Too Good To Miss Comment

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” You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.” Adrian Rogers, 1931 ( from Rogers’ book, Ten Secrets for a Successful Family, p. 138)

The Existential Crisis

The transformation of developed societies - either into old folks' homes (like Japan) or semi-Islamized dystopias (like Amsterdam, Brussels, etc) - will lead, in fact, to emigration. A young German or Japanese circa 2040 will have no reason whatsoever to stay in his native land and have most of his income confiscated in a vain attempt to prop up an unsustainable geriatric welfare system. So many will leave. Where will they go? At one time the obvious answer would have been America - but Good King Barack seems determined to saddle us with the same unaffordable entitlements that have scuttled the rest of the west.

For much of the developed world, the "credit crunch", the debt burden, and the rest are not part of a cyclical economic downturn but the first manifestations of an existential crisis.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

O Duce: Death To Israel

America, Israel and Japan are now at a crossroad. America may not be able to sell an export version of the best fighter in the world, the F-22, to Israel and Japan. The reason is the Administration's current insistence on holding fast to a DOD-budgeted production run of F-22s that will stop soon at 187.  The harsh reality of stopping F-22 production will be two American allies who are in increasing mortal danger will not have access to the absolute best when they really need America's help.
No wonder that only 6% of Israelis think O Duce is pro-Israel. Yes, you read that right.

Ronald Reagan: We Do Not Want Socialized Medicine

Nothing has changed. Except everyone has forgotten what Norman Thomas said.

Why 1984 Was Really Deleted By Amazon

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Although he won’t say it that way, it’s essentially the truth about the Obama “stimulus” package (American Recovery And Reinvestment Act) (via Hot Air):

Turns out the $787 billion “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” (AARA) was not designed for full economic recovery, but rather to “stabilize” the downturn. That’s the word from White House officials today, who held off-camera briefings with reporters on how the AARA is working so far.

Of course when we were in such a gawd-awful rush to pass the thing it was sold like this:

That is why I have moved quickly to work with my economic team and leaders of both parties on an American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan that will immediately jumpstart job creation and long-term growth. …

It is also what it has failed to do.

So, revising history on the fly, it was now never designed to that.

No wonder Amazon is out there deleting Orwell books from Kindle – who needs to read fiction when you have an administration like this.

The Safest Place

Though Tom may be in a minority, there is a growing open-carry movement in San Diego. Tom estimates that there are between 75 and 100 active open carriers locally.

He attended the El Indio lunch and reports that everyone in the restaurant was respectful and supportive.

“A couple of girls came in and had lunch and asked about it,” he says. “They said, ‘Why are you guys all wearing guns?’ ”

He pauses, laughing at the story.

“And we explained the program to them, and they said, ‘You know, I bet this is the safest place in San Diego right now!’ ”


The differences in unemployment rates are even more dramatic when broken down by race and age. For example, white men's unemployment rate in June was 9.5%, while black men's was 17.8%. For white women it was 8%, and for black women, 13.1%, according to the U.S. Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Teens have a harder time during recessions too. Here's a sampling of unemployment rates in June for various groups:

  • Black men 20 and older: 16.4%.

  • Black women 20 and older: 11.3%.

  • White men 20 and older: 9.2%.

  • White women 20 and older: 6.8%.

  • Black males age 16 to 19: 50%.

  • Black females age 16 to 19: 40.6%.

  • White males age 16 to 19: 26.5%.

  • White females age 16 to 19: 23.5%.

A Reminder: It Looks This Way In Iran Right Now Also

Glenn Reynolds likes to post photos of protestors in Lebanon, both for and against Syria’s military and intelligence personnel, and asks “who would you rather hang out with”? It’s a compelling question when you take a good hard look at who goes to each kind of rally.

I went surfing around Yahoo’s vast collection of images looking for more. (See here and here, for example.) It’s incredible, really, how uniformly pleasant the anti-Syrian demonstrators look compared with the nastiness of the pro-Syrians. If anyone thinks Glenn has been cherry-picking photos they haven’t sifted through the reams of those that are out there. I can look through the galleries and instantly guess with very nearly 100 percent accuracy whether a given image was from a pro- or anti-Syrian rally.

Check these out. They really do speak for themselves.

Those Who Want Syria Out
Those Who Want Syria In

India: Buzz Off Carbon Cronies

India's environment minister told visiting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the country is not interested in capping carbon emissions.
Bloomberg reported, via LGF:

India will resist pressure from the Obama administration to accept legally binding caps on its carbon emissions, the South Asian nation’s environment minister told visiting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“There is simply no case for the pressure that we, who have been among the lowest emissions per capita, face to actually reduce emissions,” Jairam Ramesh said at a meeting today with Clinton in Gurgaon near New Delhi, according to a statement he issued to reporters. “And as if this pressure was not enough, we also face the threat of carbon tariffs on our exports to countries such as yours.”

The Confidence Game (Part 91,863)

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This emphasis on "loss of confidence" is suspicious. I myself emphasize bad bets and excessive leverage, although I think the other factors did play a role. I also keep in mind that every businessman who has ever failed has blamed his failure on loss of confidence. Show me a busted oil wildcatter who doesn't think that the banks cut him off just before he was about to strike it rich. Show me a start-up founder who burned through his stake who doesn't think that his investors lost their nerve in spite of all the progress he was making.

They all think they failed because investors lost confidence. Bankers are no different. The audit that I would like to see is one that examines how the Fed determined that the financial crisis should have been treated as consisting largely of an extraordinary loss of confidence, rather than consisting of mostly bad bets with excessive leverage.

Yes, Let's Relax Those Lending Standards. That's The Solution!

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There’s lots of sobering news on the economy these days, but this piece competes for the most sobering of the summer:

America Sliding Into a Pit of Foreign Debt.

The graph below shows the United States net foreign debt. It hit an unprecedented $3.5 trillion, 24.3% of our GDP, at the end of 2008, according to a report issued on June 26 by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

CIT chimes in:

CIT Group’s ‘Capital’ Was All Talk, No Trousers: Investors watched yesterday as yet another major financial- services company angled for a government bailout — this time unsuccessfully — while still sporting U.S. banking regulators’ highest capital rating. It’s a sure thing CIT won’t be the last.

Mysteriously, Barney Frank could not be reached for comment on any of these occasions, possibly because he was still working on relaxing Fannie and Freddie lending standards. These things do take time.

Just like we need to spend more money to avoid bankruptcy. They're all on drugs as far as I can tell.

Did I Forget To Mention How They Solve That Virgin Problem?

The men, who were arrested Friday night, told Iraqi authorities that they had been instructed in Iran to "plant improvised explosive devices, scare citizens and destabilize the country," said an Iraqi official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The is the kind of small matter--killing our troops--that foreign policy "realists" argue we shouldn't let stand in the way of friendly relations with repellent regimes.

Speaking of repellent--this is one of the most disgusting stories I've ever seen. It seems that the Iranian regime, which likes to execute young girls and boys for imagined crimes, has a problem: it's illegal to execute a virgin. You could solve that problem, presumably, by not executing teenage girls, but that isn't the mullahs' way. You can read the linked article in the Jerusalem Post for the sordid details. Via Mark Steyn, who adds:

Must be convenient to have a legal code that obliges all your pathologies.

COTD on Health Care: Don't Forget The Euthanasia Counseling

Perhaps JoeP doesn't know about the provision requiring counseling the aged on euthanasia at least every 5 years (more frequently if they are sick) and therefore doesn't get Linda's reference to President Kevorkian.

Maybe a few of O's defenders are unaware that O openly lied when he said you could keep your plan and your doctor (refer to page 16).

And yes, Peolsi, Reid and O constantly lie to the American people. When the government creates 31+ agencies to control health care, can anyone believe this would be deficit neutral?

When a government can only get $0.35 of every dollar spent for welfare to the actual intended recipients, can anyone believe the government can efficiently administer health care control?

Can a government who has stolen from the social security fund for years to the point of bankrupting it, manage your health care?

Look at any and every government program you know. Is it run well? Does it serve Americans well? Or is it ripe with fraud, inefficiency, bureaucracy