Barack, Mao, and the Revenge of the Sparrows

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Joy Overbeck writes:  In 1958 the Chinese dictator Mao Zedong introduced a plan called The Great Leap Forward to fundamentally transform China’s agrarian economy into a government-controlled, centrally-planned system via forced collectivization. In 2009 the American president Barack Obama introduced a plan called The Affordable Care Act (ACA) to fundamentally transform one-sixth of America’s economy from market-based, consumer-choice insurance into a government-controlled, centrally-planned system based on forced collectivization.

I’m not suggesting that Barack Obama is a communist. But both the Mao plan and the Obama plan share the same operative concept: that massive price controls and central management can be undertaken without consequences. Both plans follow a three-step pattern common to autocratic schemes: 1.) The regime bases its plan on irrational methodology because they have no knowledge or experience in dealing with the market they seek to control; 2.) When things begin to go hideously wrong, the ruler and underlings dig in and make it worse, claiming ignorance and dissembling rather than revising the disastrous plan; and 3.) The plan-makers blame their failure on their political enemies, whom they demonize in the hope of dodging responsibility.

Distrusting insurance companies and completely ignorant of the healthcare industry (or any other business for that matter), Obama and his ACA creators avoided the advice of experts, doctors, and hospital administrators and installed government-mandated insurance coverage that eliminated many old insurance plans and Americans’ right to choose one to fit their personal needs. Although Obama incessantly promised Americans that they could keep their plans and their doctors, he and his underlings knew as early as the 2010 Health and Human Services (HHS) report published in the Federal Register that the ACA would cause at least 93 million Americans to lose their health care plans because the new mandates render them illegal.

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China’s Ruling Party Fears ‘Historical Nihilism’

 Mao’s record challenges elite legitimacy

Tombstone-The-Untold-Story-oAs the 120th anniversary of Mao’s Zedong’s birth approaches, China’s ruling Communist Party is afraid that its historical record threatens to undermine its fragile legitimacy, observers suggest.

“The famine that gripped China from 1958 to 1962 is widely judged to be the deadliest in recorded history, killing 20 to 30 million people or more, and is one of the defining calamities of Mao’s rule,” Chris Buckley reports for The New York Times:

Ever since, the party has shrouded that disaster in censorship and euphemisms, seeking to maintain an aura of reverence around the founding leader of the Communist state….But with the approach of celebrations of the 120th anniversary Mao’s birth on Dec. 26, some of his supporters and party polemicists are stepping beyond the longstanding official reticence about the famine to argue for their own, much milder version of the disaster and to assail historians who disagree.

30-36 million ‘abnormal’ deaths

“Scholars disagree, but whether their estimate is somewhat higher or lower, that doesn’t affect the fact that the Great Leap Forward created a massive disaster,” said Lin Yunhui, a retired party historian at the National Defense University in Beijing who has spent much of his career studying Mao’s time. “My own estimate is that there were about 30 million abnormal deaths.” Read the rest of this entry »