Saturday, May 21, 2011

HnC Vault: Old Dogs, New Tricks

Originally published August 20, 2009

AARP, a group which supposedly represents the interests of older Americans, has been one of the largest and most vocal supporters of Obamacare - which includes provisions for denying care to the old, and billions of dollars in funding reduction for Medicare.

Older Americans are expressing their anger by quitting AARP and giving up their senior discounts, rather than supporting a liberal organization that discounts seniors.

Bonus: Senior citizen's motivational poster from the Hope n' Change gift shoppe!

Update May 21, 2011

This cartoon was hauled from the vault because the ugly pact between AARP and Obamacare was back in the news this week. It had already been revealed that AARP supported Obamacare in no small part because it would eliminate many of AARP's rivals in the business of selling Medigap insurance to seniors. In fact, the elimination of competition will likely bring AARP an additional billion dollars... which isn't bad money for throwing Granny under the bus.

But even though a billion bucks is a lot of money, AARP still wanted more for its betrayal of seniors... and the Obama administration has delivered. This past week, the Health and Human Services administration gave AARP a special waiver which would free it from oversight when it raises insurance rates on the seniors who now have almost nowhere else to go for Medigap coverage.

So while AARP has traditionally been associated with images of silver-haired citizens, we think a newer and more accurate image is one of 30 pieces of silver.


Friday, May 20, 2011

The Shirt Hits The Fans

To help raise money for his billion-dollar reelection campaign, Barack Obama has just started selling t-shirts and coffee mugs with pictures of his own grinning mug, a copy of his longform birth certificate, and the words "Made in the USA."

The president, who had
previously said that showing his birth certificate amounted to "silliness" that he didn't have time for, apparently feels that the creation and sale of t-shirts, mugs, and other tchotchkes has a more appropriate level of gravitas.

While Mr. Obama has never before involved himself with actual capitalism,
Hope n' Change believes that he will find the experience of making a profit so stimulating that he'll be adding additional items to his inventory soon.

In fact, factories are already said to be working on the
Osama Death Photo "Hole in One!" golf shirt, the "Stanley's Cups" pin-up calendar featuring saucy nude pictures of the president's mother (yes, the pictures are on the Internet, and no, we're not giving you a link), and the "Prettiest Sounds on Earth" CD featuring the president's favorite Islamic calls to prayer ("order now and get Death to Israel Chants at no additional cost!")

Presumably, all of these items can also be found in the Whitehouse Gift Shop, along with the bobblehead Joe Biden. Which isn't an
item...he just likes to hang around in there.

"We’re not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted
by sideshows and carnival barkers." - Barack H. Obama

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Up Up and Away

Employers whom the president peevishly ordered to "step up and start hiring" got more economic bad news yesterday when a study found that their healthcare costs will rise 8.5% next year, due in no small part to (surprise!) Obamacare.

The study cited three key causes adding to the cost increases. The first is the consolidation of more hospitals and physicians to meet government requirements... which reduces competition
and thus raises prices. The second is the increasing dependence on private insurance companies to make up the difference to hospitals and doctors for the habitual underfunding of Medicare (which is slated for $500 billion in cuts under Obamacare) and Medicaid. And as the insurance companies' costs go up, so do the premiums charged to employers.

The third reason is a significant increase in recession-related "stress-induced illnesses," which oddly seem to have skyrocketed since Barack Obama took control of the economy.

But it would be unfair of Hope n' Change to focus only on the areas in which Obamacare is causing costs to go up. So in the interest of journalistic integrity, we need to note that another
study has shown that many emergency rooms will not be charging more for their services in the future.

Unfortunately, it's because they're going out of business at a frightening rate... especially those emergency rooms which are most dependent on getting reimbursement from the government.
And as a result, the remaining emergency rooms must serve more patients, causing longer waits and allowing less attention.

If employer healthcare costs continued to rise at 8.5% a year as they are expected to in 2012, it would be catastrophic for the job market - but experts say that won't happen.

When Obamacare takes full effect in 2014, it will be much worse.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Waive To The Cameras

Although Obamacare was pushed as a surefire way to "bend the healthcare cost curves down," it seems like more and more people are discovering that costs actually go up... and unpleasant things happen to them while they're "bent down."

Which perhaps explains why 20% of all Obamacare waivers nationwide last month went to businesses in Nancy Pelosi's district. Obviously the people in her district must know someone in Washington with the political clout to help them escape the business-busting edict. Like, oh, just taking a wild guess here... Nancy Pelosi.

Previous waivers have been handed out to restaurant franchises like McDonalds, who said they couldn't afford the increased healthcare costs for their low wage employees. But Pelosi's friends in the restaurant business aren't exactly the types who offer a "dollar menu," or who can't afford the deluxe employee health insurance which Madame Speaker assured us was a basic human right.

No, Boboquivari's Restaurant - which received a waiver - charges $59 for a porterhouse steak, with $8 each for sides including Swiss Chard or Cauliflower sauteed in "garlic & evoo." And martinis are practically a steal at just $12 each!

Then again, if you know the owners of Boboquivari's...and can do them political can probably drink for free. Which would certainly explain a lot.

But just why do so many business even want the waivers? Simple: because they can't afford the gilded health coverage package Obamacare demands, and continuing the employees' current
health coverage is being made illegal. Which means that the most cost-effective thing for businesses to do is drop health insurance for employees and pay a less expensive fine...thereby forcing more people into government-run health programs and accelerating the need for radical "redistribution of wealth" to pay for it all.

And while we're on the topic of waivers, let's not forget that Obamacare champion and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also got one recently... for his entire state. Nevada's Insurance Division wanted the waiver because Obamacare will make health coverage so unprofitable for insurance companies that they'll be closing their doors and moving out of the state. Which presumably will be true in 49 other states we can readily name. And when there are no more private insurance companies, there will only be...the government.

Here at Hope n' Change, we've given all of this a lot of thought. And our conclusion is that maybe a $12 martini isn't such a bad idea after all.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Old Money

Treasury Secretary and alleged financial genius Timothy Geithner, who famously was unable to figure out his own income tax, has just had a swirly government-approved fluorescent lightbulb pop to dim life over his head to indicate that He Has An Idea. And what an idea it is!

Because the Obama administration can't legally borrow any more money after hitting the debt ceiling yesterday, he's raiding the "untouchable" pension funds for federal retirees and replacing the money with valuable government IOUs which, strangely, aren't acceptable to any of the government's other creditors.

"Borrowing" from pension funds has a long and illustrious history in the private sector, and is frequently associated with news stories about weeping old people who have "been robbed of everything" and sleazy financial officers who receive long jail terms.

In this case, however, Geithner has good reason not to worry about prosecution.

After all, Eric Holder still has his hands full trying to build criminal cases against the CIA employees who helped find Osama bin Laden.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Fatwa Free

In the wake of Osama bin Laden's widely reported (if little seen) death, information has been released stating that the terrorist leader felt there was no real point in killing vice president Joe Biden because of his unimportance.

Hope n' Change feels compelled to come to Mr. Biden's defense. Obviously he's important, or he wouldn't have had access to the top secret information that the raid in Pakistan was carried out by Seal Team Six...information that he then revealed to the world (and to terrorists eager to seek revenge) despite having agreed not to share any operational details of the mission. Oops! So widespread is Mr. Biden's gaffe that the Walt Disney company has just trademarked the name "Seal Team Six" for commercial exploitation, which rather underscores the Mickey Mouse nature of the vice president's policy on secrecy.

Fortunately for Mr. Biden, the news media hasn't focused much on his "not worth killing" status because of something far more important discovered in Osama bin Laden's lair. Pornography!

Apparently there was plenty of it, though currently there are no plans to show it to the public. According to Barack Obama, the material which he has personally reviewed is "very graphic" and "should not be treated as a trophy" and will only be shared with the president's closest friends and advisors and, perhaps, Charlie Sheen.
Unless Biden gets his hands on which case "72 Virgins Gone Wild" and "Camel Humps" will be found on his Facebook page.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

HnC Vault: It Also Looks Good On The Refrigerator

Originally published October 10, 2009

Michelle Obama, working with museum curators, has recently selected new artworks to decorate the Whitehouse. The portrait shown above is by African-American artist William H. Johnson and will be displayed in the first family's private residence.

The selected artworks favor both the abstract and primitive schools, from which no inferences whatsoever should be drawn.

Update 5/15/2011

I still shake my head when I look at that portrait in the second panel. When I first ran this cartoon, some people thought I was kidding because it does look like something a 3rd grader would bring home to put on the refrigerator. But no, the (ahem) artist is greatly celebrated and greatly paid.

But getting back to the present, today's cartoon was pulled from the vault to celebrate the highly unique perspective on the arts brought to the Whitehouse by Michelle Obama, which this week included a poetry event featuring rapper "Common," whose rhymes celebrate cop-killing and the "burning" of President Bush.

Hilariously, administration spokesman and extreme Caucasian Jay Carney said that Barack Obama strongly opposes the sexist, cop-killing words in Common's "poetry" but was a little vague on how that opposition translated into being honored at the Whitehouse.

But as the painting above shows, art is in the eye of the beholder...and we suppose that poetry is in the ear of the beholder.

Which is why we suggest that in the future, rather than staging taxpayer-funded celebrations of cop-killing poetry, the first lady simply stick it in her ear.