Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Health Care, Law, Media Bias, Politics, Statism, Taxes | Tags: Imperfect Human Nature, Liberal Illusions, The Internal Revenue Service
Perhaps it all starts with a childish whine “It isn’t fair.” Some mothers respond that life isn’t fair, and set their offspring on the path of conservatism, and others ignore the whiny brat or give the kid a hug and a cookie (rewarding the child for the whine) and tell him yes, that’s really too bad and raise a little liberal. That may be a bit fanciful, but what is clear is that a goodly portion of young people have grown up with the idea that America is not fair, and needs fixing.
Irving Kristol once wrote “In every society the overwhelming majority of people live lives of considerable frustration and if society is to endure, it needs to rely on a goodly measure of stoical resignation.”
Liberals have never been ones for stoical resignation. They want to fix things. Republicans are inclined to oppose Big Government, and ascribe most of our country’s problems to Liberals’ fondness for Big Government. I think this is incorrect. Liberals want desperately to be in charge. They want to win. They want to defeat Conservatives utterly and so completely that they will never again be strong enough to annoy or compete. But Big Government or burgeoning bureaucracy is a result of their policies, not their initial aim.
I saved this quote from a 1999 Wall Street Journal editorial.
The error behind all these failures is the liberal faith in the perfectibility of politics. Liberals believe that the next law, or next federal agency, will somehow make up for imperfect human nature. But America’s founders understood that politics could never be perfected precisely because men weren’t perfect. So they designed a system with a minimum of bureaucratic and legal control in which disputes could be settled by political debate. They did not want to rely on lawyers or experts who could maneuver around or through a maze of campaign and ethics laws. It’s taken us twenty years of picking through the ruins of liberal reform to relearn how right they were.
The next law will make up for imperfect human nature. One of liberals’ most persistent desires is to eliminate poverty. They worry a lot about the gap between the rich and the poor. They have earnestly tried to fix that ever since Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” and his War on Poverty. We have spent $15 trillion of other people’s money and currently have more people on food stamps than ever before in the nation’s history. The EBT card is a combination of food stamps and cash benefits. The Tsarnave brothers apparently bought their bomb supplies with their EBT cards. We could give each person in poverty a yearly check for $69,000 and save money.
We need fixes for fat people, fixes for standard lightbulbs, fixes for cars not getting high enough mpg, or just using gasoline, fixes for home appliances, fixes for fat kids, fixes for unaffordable college, fixes (again) for infrastructure, fixes for bullies, fixes for transgendered people’s bathroom needs, fixes for women who don’t want to pay for their own contraceptives, fixes for people who try to capture rainwater, fixes for farm dust. So many, many annoyances.
The most evident case is, of course, the best health care system in the world. It must be fixed because government regulation is driving up the cost. (Never mind that the cost was declining). The British have National Health Service, which is socialized medicine. Horrible system, but it’s “free” at the point of service, and people are afraid to lose it and apt to continually vote for Labour to keep it. Note the important phrase. So they kill off a lot of their older people with neglect and denied care, but it’s “free at the point of service.”
Lots of new regulations, so providers have to expand their bureaucracies. And on top of the expanded health care system, comes a vast federal bureaucracy to control, deny, regulate, manage and expand. Liberals look at this diagram of the needed new bureaucracy with thousands of highly paid, unionized employees, and are absolutely convinced that President Obama’s promises about keeping your own doctor if you like him and keeping your own insurance and it will all cost less— “bend the cost curve down” was the phrase— are absolutely true and will come to fruition just as he says. It is and was an enormous lie.
So Democrats don’t go into a political campaign saying they want bigger government. Republicans accuse them of it, but it is obviously not true. We will get Big Government because that is the inevitable result of liberal faith in the perfectibility of politics. You have the perfect example before you this week in the machinations of the Internal Revenue Service. Mark Steyn recounts the travails of Frank VanderSloot, whose offense was that he decided to donate money to the Romney campaign. After audits of his return, his business return, and a Department of Labor investigation of his cattle ranch , the government could find nothing on Mr. VanderSloot, but it has cost him $80,000 in legal fees to fend off the bureaucrats. A big bureaucracy thinks it’s fine to demand that an evangelical group report in writing what they pray about. Anybody have relatives running for office?
It has often been said that every Liberal has a tyrant inside, struggling to get out. They don’t like studies. They’re uninterested in consequences and baffled by the idea of incentives. They need to be in charge so they can fix the things that aren’t fair.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Foreign Policy, Health Care, Intelligence, Law, Military, National Security, Politics, Taxes | Tags: Administration Scandals, Informing the Public, President Obama's Statement
There’s quite a bit there, and there’s this and that and these and those.
- There’s Benghazi, which is essentially a matter of character, or more specifically the lack thereof. We sent American representatives out under the American flag, on official duty, and refused to offer them security when they went, refused to secure the so-called consulate, refused to offer them security in a city already known to be so dangerous that the British and the Red Cross had evacuated. When the Ambassador was attacked, we denied the nature of the attack. When two former SEALS were told to “stand down,” they went to the aid of the beleaguered people at the consulate anyway, because that’s what SEALS do. They rescued the people at the consulate, and conducted a firefight with the attackers for hours, requesting backup, help, a Spectre gunship, anything, and all sorts of people who wanted to help were told to “stand down.” To far, Not enough time, A pass with a jet wouldn’t help… But they didn’t even try.
- The Internal Revenue Service has been targeting conservative-leaning groups, Tea Party groups, any group with “patriot” in its name, words like “conservative,” any group mentioning the Constitution, or the Declaration, any group criticizing the government — including those who worried about government spending, debt or taxes. The Tea Party Patriots filed a request for a 501-(c)4 tax exemption in December 2010. and still haven’t received it. High level officials were aware of this as early as 2010. Businessmen who spoke out in criticism of the government were targeted, as were big Republican donors before the election. Austan Goolsbee, President Obama’s former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, complained in a press conference that the Koch brothers weren’t paying enough taxes, which he would not know unless he has seen the returns, which is against the law.
- The Justice Department has secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press, a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news. The records listed outgoing calls for the work and personal phone numbers of individuals, for general AP office numbers and for the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP. AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said the government sought and obtained information far beyond anything that could be justified by any specific investigation. Attorney General Eric Holder said he values freedom of the press. CIA Director John Brennan said not me.
- Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has been denied additional funding for the roll out of ObamaCare by Congress, which presumably thinks they’ve spent enough already. So she is soliciting donations to help promote ObamaCare. She has asked industry and community groups to donate to “Enroll America,” an outside organization created to promote the health care law and encourage people to enroll in its new coverage options. HHS spokesman Jason Young said “Part of our mission is to help uninsured Americans take advantage of new affordable , high quality insurance options that are coming, thanks to the health law. For the last several months the Secretary has been working with a full range of stakeholders who share in the mission of getting Americans the help they need and deserve” They insist they have not made any fundraising requests to “entities regulated by HHS.”
- The Environmental Protective Service (EPA) is facing a number of lawsuits filed to release the emails sent privately, against the law, (transparency) to conduct EPA business out of the public eye. There seems to be a long list of officials conducting public work from personal accounts. EPA administrator Lisa Jackson resigned as lawmakers investigated her use of a private email account under the alias “Richard Windsor.” The EPA has not responded to other Freedom of Information Act requests It is believed they include conversations with green groups and anti-coal radical environmentalist groups, up to and including a potential carbon tax. This matter is again coming to the front as Obama’s nomination of Gina McCarthy as the new director for the EPA is up for Senate approval. Many describe Ms. McCarthy as a radical environmental activist.
- The Institute for Energy Research (IER) has reported that the most recent analysis shows that the Obama administration has created only 2,298 permanent green jobs, which used data from the Energy Department’s Loan Programs Office to reach this conclusion. The Daily Caller reported about a year ago that estimates from the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory show that of the nearly $9 billion that has so far been spent on green jobs, the government created just 910 new long-term jobs “with a cost to taxpayers of $9.8 million per job.Economist Veronique de Rugy testified to Congress that 2,378 jobs were claimed to be created under the guaranteed-loan program at a potential cost of $6.7 million per job.
- Thirty U.S. troops, including 17 Navy SEALS were killed in a helicopter downing in Afghanistan on Saturday August 6, 2011. At the memorial service conducted by the military, the military brass prohibited any mention of a Judeo-Christian God, and in the true spirit of political correctness, invited a Muslim cleric to peak at the funeral for the fallen Navy SEAL Team VI heroes. The cleric, speaking in Arabic, damned the servicemen as infidels, and directed them to hell. A video of the Muslim cleric’s “prayer” was shown at last week’s press conference with parents of Navy Seals and Army Guardsmen. The Military is consumed with political correctness. Twice as many American troops have been killed in Afghanistan under the Obama administration, as under the Bush administration. It has been said that the politically correct rules of engagement have endangered our troops.
That’s just the “there”in today’s news. Probably more tomorrow as more questions are asked that someone will try to answer.
ADDENDUM: I forgot about Pigford. A handful of black farmers who were arguably discriminated against in their dealings with the Agriculture Department were exploited by a racial grievance industry empowered by the administration to enact a multibillion dollar redistribution scheme to hand out money to any black who ever claimed to farm, and Hispanics and female farmers as well as American Indians. The time frame to file a complaint of discrimination was expanded by a decade, and more than 90,000 people have filed claims. The total cost could top $4.4 billion. The only proof required was a form stating that the claimant had “attempted” to farm (perhaps planting tomatoes in the back yard) and to have a family member vouch for that assertion. The government would then send the “farmer” a check for as much as $50,000. The New York Times examined 16 ZIP codes in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and North Carolina and found that “the number of successful claimants exceeded the total number of farms operated by people of any race in 1997, the year the original lawsuit was filed. “ If you wonder where your tax money went…
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Freedom, Health Care, History, Immigration, Law, Politics | Tags: 12 Million Unemployed, 867 Pages too Long, A Surprisingly Bad Bill
The Senate “Gang of Eight’s” Immigration bill is one of those massive conglomerates of a bill that attempts to do everything all at once and get the issue over and done with. The title of the bill alone is enough to sink the law of its own weight. It is the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity & Immigration Modernization act of 2013,” and it clocks in at 867 pages. This is not the way to make law.
Immigration is complicated. The present immigration rules are not only ignored by a goodly portion of the immigrants, but the president has ordered the Border Patrol to release any illegal immigrant under the age of 31, even if they are guilty of a crime. Executive order. Congress refused to pass the “Dream Act” which gives the children of illegals the opportunity to live here and become citizens and vote for Obama, but Obama wanted the Dream Act anyway, so he issued an Executive Order. He doesn’t like that separation of powers stuff.
So how many immigrants do you let in and from where? What about their wives, husbands, parents, aunts and uncles,and grandparents? This is called chain migration and it can be unending. About half of the illegal immigrants here came over the border, and about half have come here legally, but have overstayed the time they were allowed.
What do you do about the resorts in Tucson, for example, who welcome wealthy pregnant Latino women to come to their resort and have their baby in a Tucson hospital and give the baby American citizenship as a birth gift? Do we want to limit immigration to “your tired and poor, huddled masses yearning to be free,” or do we want highly educated people who are bringing special skills and the desire to build a great company? Or the wealthy person who already has a great company that he wants to bring to America? Democrats want reliable Democrat voters.
Congress voted in 2006 to build 370 miles of triple-layered fence and 500 miles of automobile barriers. It is now 2013, and we have 36.3 miles of border fence. As I said in an earlier piece, we keep doing the same thing over and over.
Senator Schumer (D-NY) persuaded Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) to be the public face of the immigration bill because he is the son of immigrants, close to the immigrant community, a Republican, and very popular. He has been everywhere, selling hard.
Politicians and the media are obsessed with two issues: gun control and illegal immigration. Guess what? According to a new Gallup Poll these two issues are at the bottom of a list of 12 priorities for Congress and the president to address.
Illegal border crossings peaked in 2000 and are down my more than 70% since then, net migration from Mexico is currently zero. Anecdotal evidence suggests that illegals are streaming over the border because of so much talk of “amnesty” in the news, and they want some of Obama’s amnesty. The people, and you won’t be surprised, want lawmakers to focus on job creation (86%), economic growth (86%) and making government work more efficiently (81%).
Lawmakers may face some real objections when the people discover that in spite of 12 million Americans who want a job, and countless employed people who have just been dropped to part-time because of ObamaCare — our lawmakers want to invite all sorts of new immigrants. The technology companies want a lot more H-1B immigrants with technology skills. The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) points out that we have way more trained STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) graduates than there are jobs. We are scheduled for a massive shortage of physicians when ObamaCare takes full effect next year.
Heritage warns that the new benefits that go to new immigrants, made legal, are hugely expensive. Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance and workmen’s compensation. Means-tested welfare benefits add up to $900 billion a year. Public education at a cost of $12,300 per student, and additional civic services like police, fire and so on. The Hoover Institution says additional H-1B workers would add billions to GDP and Federal Tax Revenue, but they’re in Silicon Valley.
So far, 300 amendments have been offered for the Senate immigration bill, but none of the amendments removes the $3,000 incentive it gives to some employers to hire a legalized immigrant over a U.S. Citizen.
Senator Rubio has a spot on his website where he asks citizens to read the bill and suggest things that are wrong and ways to fix them. Just go to Senate.gov, and scroll down to Senator Rubio’s page.
I would like to see the bill broken up into parts to be passed separately. Part One is securing the border. If we cannot secure the border, all the rest of the rules are useless. Part One should be passed, and the border secured, fenced, controlled, and border patrol agents and ICE agents allowed to do the work that they took an oath to do. At present ICE agents are suing Homeland Security because they are not allowed to do the job they swore to do.
Part Two is reforming out assimilation process. It is broken. New immigrants are not learning what it means to be an American. The melting-pot is broken. Fix it.
When those two things are fixed, finished, complete — and if there is the will to do so, it need not take years — then we can decide who gets to come and what the rules are. I welcome immigrants. They bring new skills, new ideas and even new food to our country. I just don’t want to keep doing this over and over and failing to complete the project because of partisan politics.
Simple. It might even pass.
Filed under: Capitalism, Domestic Policy, Health Care, News the Media Doesn't Want You to Hear, Progressivism, Taxes | Tags: Obama's False Claims, Obamacare, Unaffordable and Unworkable
On March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law what he billed as a triumphant reform of America’s health care system. Two days later in a speech at the University of Iowa, the president declared:
From this day forward, all of the cynics, all the naysayers — they’re going to have to confront the reality of what this reform is and what it isn’t. … They’ll see that if Americans like their doctor, they’ll be keeping their doctor. You like your plan? You’ll be keeping your plan. No one is taking that away from you. … It wasn’t Armageddon.”
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Freedom, Health Care, Law, Progressivism | Tags: Celebrate Achievement and Risk-Taking, Progressive Economic Policies, Supply Side Economics
Over the past five years we have been engaged in a test of progressive economic policies. The media happily tell us that we are recovering and offer up the 165,000 payroll jobs that were created in April. This is the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Establishment Survey, or the U-3 unemployment report which showed the rate declining by 0.1 percent to 7.5 percent. So that sounds good.
The Household Survey numbers looks a little deeper into the economy, and that’s where it gets a little more uncomfortable. Also known as the U-6 rate the unemployment figures increased by 0.1 percent. While total employment rose by 293,000 during April, part-time jobs increased by 441,000, meaning that full-time jobs actually declined by 148,000. The April jobs numbers describe a mass replacement of full-time workers with part-time workers, and a drop in the length of the average workweek. Which means that the BLS report was bad news, not the happy day portrayed by the media. And the results of the roll out of ObamaCare are as expected, as more full-time employees are reduced to part-time hours.
But wait, it gets even worse. During April, the Full Time Equivalent jobs ratio fell for the fifth month in a row, and to statistics-watchers this hints of a new recession.
Progressive economic policies involve Keynesian fiscal stimulus (intentionally increasing government spending to boost domestic “demand”), monetary stimulus (deliberate action to weaken the dollar in order to increase demand for our exports), higher marginal tax rates on “the rich” (they can afford it), and increased regulation to control more of just about everything. They have also expanded alternatives to actually working, including Social Security Disability, Food Stamps, and extended unemployment benefits.
What you get with progressive economic policies is pessimism. America is just in decline, not going to get better, everything is changed, we need to be more like every other country and stop thinking we’re something special. No exceptionalism here.
Supply-side economics has specific steps as well. Tight monetary policy, a strong dollar, incentive cuts in marginal tax rates, and a reassertion of American optimism and creativity with confidence in what government policies will be.
Jared Bernstein, who was Vice President Joe Biden’s economic adviser, wrote in the New York Times about the slowly improving job market (?) that persists in spite of ‘an economic expansion continuing since mid-2009.’
For decades in postwar America, the maintenance of full employment, defined as an unemployment rate below 5 percent, was enshrined in law, beginning with the Employment Act of 1946 and revisited in 1978 in the Humphrey-Hawkins Act. It was a central goal of the Democratic Party, labor unions and advocates of social and racial justice.
And it usually worked. While conservatives and businesses pushed back — tight labor markets meant more worker bargaining power, higher wages and less profitability — between 1949 and 1979 the market was at full employment over two-thirds of the time.
I’m not an economist, but Mr. Bernstein’s nostrums don’t pass my common sense smell test. The problem is those darn ATMs that are replacing bank clerks (?), our large trade deficits have exported too much demand (I thought trade was by definition always in balance. If we sell them too many apples, we get the money), the sequester, which he calls “austerity”and the “economic version of medieval leeching.” (can’t cut back on the increase in the budget from last year?), and the Federal Reserve continues to apply high doses of monetary stimulus (which is why the stock market is doing well). We need more investment in “the areas where clean energy intersects with production.”And we need a new subsidized jobs program. (The WPA returns). The Great Recession continues to imitate the Great Depression.
I have no confidence in progressive economic policies. They didn’t work for FDR, and they have not worked for Obama, nor are they going to. It’s scary to start a new business, and you need, at the most basic, confidence in what the government will do next, and the belief that government is on your side — encouraging start-ups . A country that celebrates achievement and risk-taking is likely to see more economic success than one that does not.
History shows that the money that individuals and businesses invest and spend, if left alone to do so generates far more wealth and new jobs than any government-directed spending. The most successful cities and states dedicate their resources to creating the kind of conditions that attract private investment, rather than pouring public money into centrally planned visions of economic development.
………………………………….Brian C. Anderson: City Journal
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Energy, Health Care, History, Immigration, Progressivism, Statism | Tags: 12 Million Missing Jobs, 63.3% Participation Rate, Regulatory Burden on Business
The preliminary April jobs number has come in at +165,000, on expectations of +140,000. March numbers were revised upward from 88,000 to 138,000. This brought the unemployment rate down from 7.6% to 7.5%.
The number of unemployed — 11.7 million — didn’t change over the month, and the labor participation rate remains flat, only 63.3% — the lowest since 1979. This is the sour spot in the jobs picture.
The rate at which entrepreneurs create new jobs is down significantly. The U.S,lost 8.8 million jobs during the ‘great recession’, we have gained back about 6.8 million leaving a gap of about 2 million. Even if job gains average 180,000 a month to reach a high in about a year, private sector jobs will still be way below the 1990-2007 trend line. That shortfall is nearly 12 million missing jobs.
The numbers of those involuntarily employed part-time increased by 278,000 to 7.9 million. That’s a direct result of ObamaCare. President Obama’s health care reform law is hurting full-time, high-wage employment.
National Journal expresses concern about the “missing workers”:
So, who are these “missing workers?” Frustratingly, no one knows exactly who they are, why they left, and if they’ll ever return. The size of the pool there and the gap between the potential labor force and the actual working force represents a huge loss of potential productivity.
The answers also have deep political and policy implications over the next decade for the economic and budget outlook: Do we want to pay for the missing workers through programs that help to spur job growth, or through an increased cost in federal benefits?…
Political leaders and policymakers must weigh the economic implications versus the budgetary ones. If no one attacks the jobs crisis with gusto and addresses the issue of the long-term unemployed and the missing workers now, the United States essentially consigns people to rely on government benefits. That will only hurt the budget.
And, if lawmakers decide to attack the problem of the missing workers now, they’ll need to spend more money on job-training programs or infrastructure projects—anything that puts people back into a job, even a temporary one.
Regulatory costs skyrocketed during the first term of the Obama Administration, which added nearly $70 billion to the already excessive annual burden of government do’s and don’ts. Every aspect of American’s lives is controlled to a varying extent by regulation, including how we light our homes, wash our clothes, fuel our cars, feed our families, and obtain our health care.
That’s 131 new major regulations. $1,800 has been added to the average cost of buying a new car. In 2012 alone, we added $23.5 billion to the burden on business with 25 new major rulemakings. Only two rules last year decreased the burden, in spite of initiatives to weed out unnecessary regulations. There are hundreds of rules in the pipeline from Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform and from ObamaCare.
The small business organizations have told us over and over that uncertainty is the villain. Nobody knows what the government is going to do next, or how they are going to cope with the added costs, and the added regulations. The federal government does not understand the effects of their grasp for power. The EPA is the source of most of the regulation and most of the cost, yet they have said specifically that they have no need to consider the cost or effect of their rulemaking. When uncertainty is this high, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists are more reluctant to take on the risk of a new business, or a major expansion.
The National Journal reporter above quite accurately portrays the leftist response. What new program should government issue? What new job-training programs should we try— if I remember correctly there are some 45 job-training programs duplicating each other and managing to be totally ineffective. What the government needs to do is get out of the way. Stop raising fees, issuing rules and regulations and drastically raising the cost of doing business.
Central planning does not work now, nor has it ever worked. Those “experts” doing the central planning are not expert but just the same old political hacks. They don’t know what they are doing, and they are making a mess of things. Just stop!
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Education, Health Care, Progressivism | Tags: Big Government Excess, Federal Parenting, Food and Drug Administration
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has decided that 15 year-old girls can purchase the “morning-after” pill over-the-counter without a prescription or without the knowledge of their parents. They remain not old enough to drive, not old enough to decide what they want for lunch, not old enough to get an aspirin for a headache, not old enough to go on a school field trip without an official signed permission slip from their parents, but the “morning after” pill — no problem. Go figure.
The so-called Sexual Revolution has a lot to answer for.
Filed under: Politics, Economy, Health Care, Democrat Corruption, Progressivism, Law, The United States | Tags: The ObamaCare Disaster, Unlikely 2014 Roll-Out, Unanticipated Difficulties
The Department of Health and Human Services, the designated agency for rolling out and making sense of ObamaCare, under the direction of Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has just doled out a $3.1 million Public Relations contract to improve the image of ObamaCare. Advertising Age reports that Weber Shandwick will help “roll out a campaign to convince skeptical — or simply confused — Americans that the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” ( I can’t write that name without snorting)” is good for them and convince them that they should enroll in a health plan.”
Administration officials insist the ads won’t be political, but just before the 2010 midterm election, HHS spent $3.2 million on an ad campaign featuring the late actor Andy Griffith, who told his fellow old folks that “more good things are coming from Medicare,” but neglected to mention the dramatic cuts to 10 million Medicare Advantage members, who may have already seen their plans ended or can expect to see them end soon. FactCheck said: “The words in this ad ring hollow, and the promise that benefits will remain the same” is as fictional as the town of Mayberry, when Griffith played the local sheriff.
In fact ObamaCare is becoming more unpopular as people begin to “find out what’s in it,” to quote Nancy Pelosi, and are faced with the astonishing rise in their health care premiums or with losing them entirely. Of course, the Democrats sneaky attempt to excuse themselves and their staffs and employees from having to participate, was exposed by the national media, and should sour anyone who is still wavering on the supposed wonderfulness of ObamaCare.
The thing is, nobody did know what was in it, nor understood what the consequences of what was in it were. There are always consequences. People respond to incentives and disincentives. Those who were responsible for drafting this bill were vaguely aware that they needed to figure out how to pay for it, so they decided to add a tax on medical devices. No big deal if granny had to pay a little extra for her walker.
The consequences were more complicated. Many of the manufacturers of medical devices are small businesses operating on tight budgets, as startups usually do. It’s a rapidly changing field with lots of expensive research and development. They are laying off workers — in an economy already suffering from high unemployment. And in a specific industry with many layoffs, those workers will have a hard time finding a new job. You can’t just put a new kind of stent, or a new kind of knee-joint out — they have to be tested on real people, and if they don’t work there’s a huge cost for insurance. Then you suddenly have a terrorist bombing in Boston and all sorts of people needing prosthesis. They didn’t plan on that kind of thing. Congress seems to agree that it was a bad idea and wants to repeal that part, but that’s complicated too.
The 22,000-member United Union of Roofers has issued a public statement calling for “repeal or complete reform” of ObamaCare. A Union. At no point since it passed has ObamaCare been regarded favorably by more than 45 percent, and the latest Kaiser Family Health Foundation pegs its nationwide support at only 37 percent.
Insurance premiums are expected to skyrocket next year, and it looks as if key parts of ObamaCare will miss their start date. Secretary Sebelius complained that “no one fully anticipated” the difficulties involved in setting up ObamaCare. (Republicans did) But of course she blamed “obstructionist Republicans” for engaging in “state-by-state political battles” to slow down the creation of the exchanges. Perhaps it would be less complicated if she hadn’t granted waivers to cronies and Democrats.
Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), one of the main architects calls the bill “probably the most complex piece of legislation” ever passed by the U.S. Congress. Max Baucus (D-MO) says “I just see a huge train wreck coming.” Coincidentally both Senators are retiring next year. A study by the Society of Actuaries has predicted that medical claims per policyholder will rise by 32 percent in the individual plans in the health care exchanges. In some states the increase could rise to 80 percent.
The Obama administration is preparing for the worst. Michael Cannon of Cato says they are getting ready to spend $600 billion that Congress never authorized on federally run state exchanges in order to ease the possibility of sticker shock. The old hide the increase game.
Advertising firm Weber Shandwick has their work cut out for them. This is a real case of putting lipstick on a pig, and no matter how you pretty-up the pig, it remains a pig. An emotional appeal with sob stories? A beloved character to be the public face? A tear-jerker with victims of Sandy, Newtown, or the Boston Marathon? The one thing they cannot do is tell the truth.
It is a pig of a law.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Health Care, Politics | Tags: Congress Wants An Exemption, Major Hypocrisy, The ObamaCare Mess
Real Clear Politics average of polls of Congressional Job Approval shows only 14 % approve of the job Congress is doing, while 80% disapprove. That may head South even more when people discover what Congress is up to now. Bipartisan consensus has emerged in secret conflabs over the unsuitability of ObamaCare’s insurance exchanges that they are mandated to join under ObamaCare. (We don’t like them either).
The talks are said to involve Harry Reid, John Boehner, other top lawmakers and the Obama administration. Politico has pointed out the obvious when it notes the political risks involved in exempting congressional lawmakers and thousands of staffers from a key component of ObamaCare. The rationale for such an exemption makes this even clearer. The astonishing fact that Congress is contemplating such a hypocritical move demonstrates the mess that is the law that they have imposed on America.
The problem stems from whether members and aides set to enter the exchanges would have their health insurance premiums subsidized by their employer — in this case, the federal government. If not, aides and lawmakers in both parties fear that staffers — especially low-paid junior aides — could be hit with thousands of dollars in new health care costs, prompting them to seek jobs elsewhere.
And Congressmen are concerned about the hit on their own wallets. Possibly this concern should have extended to ordinary Americans?
John Boehner has a ready-made rationale for considering a congressional exemption. His spokesman says:
The speaker’s objective is to spare the entire country from the ravages of the president’s health care law. He is approached daily by American citizens, including members of Congress and staff, who want to be freed from its mandates. If the speaker has the opportunity to save anyone from ObamaCare, he will.
Seth Mandel has a marvelous article at Commentary:
Congress started by trying to pass a massive bureaucratic overhaul of nearly one-fifth of the American economy, stared blankly at thousands of pages of regulations they wouldn’t even consider reading, and voted to make it the law of the land. Along the way, the treated the amendment process like a game of frat house beer pong, and their personal pride determined which amendments got through. Unsurprisingly , they passed amendments that made a hash of the law, because they didn’t read the law before enacting it.
When Nancy Pelosi suggested that it would just be tremendously exciting if no one looked at the bill and then we all found out together afterward to what extent Congress had just wrecked an entire industry, she was speaking for members of Congress as well as the public. So when Congress found out what Congress had wrought, they got to work trying to undo part of what they had done (the part, naturally, that affected them the most).
So now that they’ve been discovered, Reid has turned it over to the Office of Personnel Management. Always helps when Congress has got themselves in an embarrassing conundrum if it can be placed ‘out of their hands’ so they don’t have to vote on the record. Wouldn’t be a surprise if their job approval rating dropped even more. Perhaps we should even consider replacing them.
Filed under: Capitalism, Domestic Policy, Economy, Education, Energy, Health Care, Law, National Security | Tags: A Truly Tragic Figure, Every Program a Winner, Ten Million Unemployed
Barack Obama has been, as president, a very private person, in spite of his constant presence wherever there is a camera. .He doesn’t pal around with Congressional Democrats, nor with much of anybody else. Somebody actually called him “a man of mystery” a few days ago.
He does not reveal much of himself; and according to aides, associates with only a very few close allies, and keeps much to himself. He avoids meetings, and prefers that advisers present their ideas in writing, with three options for him to choose from, which he tackles late at night. Yet he loves large crowds, the cheering and applause — which explains the constant campaign.
Because he reveals so little of himself, people are quick to attempt to categorize him. He has made no secret of being drawn to radicals, and of seeking out the more radical teachers, advisers and mentors. Is he then a communist, as many have claimed, or a socialist? I think not, though he leans towards communitarianism and is concerned with “fairness” as an ideal.
I think Barack Obama is a truly tragic figure. Shuffled around from one country to another, from parent to grandparent, always the odd one out, the different one. He took his story and made it a triumph of the exotic and the different that destined him for something truly special. It came when he spoke to the Democrat Convention in 2004. A promising state legislator, and a candidate for the U.S. Senate, he was invited to give the keynote address. He stood before 4,322 Democrat delegates in the Fleet Center in Boston, and told them the story of his life, and they cheered and applauded.
Obama noted his unlikely presence on the convention stage. His father was a foreign student, born and raised in Kenya. He grew up herding goats. Obama’s mother was born in Kansas to a father who served with Patton and a mother who worked in a bomber factory. …I stand here today grateful for the diversity of my heritage, aware that my parents’ dreams live on in my two precious daughters. I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story, That I owe a debt to all who came before me and that, in no other country on earth is my story even possible.
The media were enchanted. To Obama it was the moment when he said to himself “I can do this.” His term in the United States Senate was extremely boring to him; he believed he was destined for bigger things. So he ran for President.
Michelle, according to reports, had doubts. He hadn’t done anything yet. She was right. He had no executive experience, no management experience, and no understanding of the private sector. But he really enjoyed being on the campaign trail, doing and saying whatever it takes to get elected, including lying shamelessly about his opponent, the nation and the world.
Supplied with vast political theatrics, from songs for children to a podium with an almost-presidential seal, and the infamous Greek Columns, it was a campaign such as Americans had never before seen.. He promised much, but the promises were empty. They were only designed to please.
Governing was something else again. Obama was an amateur. Confronted with a recession as so many other new presidents have been, he proclaimed it the worst since the Great Depression, the worst trouble ever left by a former president, and quickly rammed a Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) through Congress with the help of that former president, who went to great lengths to make the transfer of power easy.
So Obama embarked on a massive stimulus, $860 billion flooded into the economy only to learn that there weren’t any shovel-ready jobs. Much went to government agencies who sat on it, and the rest was simply wasted. The Auto Industry had to be saved from normal bankruptcy with another $63 billion, the bondholders were illegally shafted, a third of the company was given to the unions who were the reason the companies were bankrupt, and auto dealers (private businesses) were abruptly put out of business.
The federal government made a huge effort, behind closed doors, to take over the world’s best health care system to imitate instead the world’s worst health care system — Britain’s NHS. ObamaCare is an unworkable, unbelievable mess that will ruin lives, kill patients and destroy the medical industry. It is unaffordable, and its nature and its costs are not yet apparent to most people who think they are getting “free” health care.
The facts on climate science have changed, but no one in the administration has noticed. There has been no warming for over 15 years. CO2 continues to rise in the atmosphere and is greening the world, as CO2 is a natural fertilizer for plants. Fracking has changed the earth’s energy picture and the United States has exceeded Saudi Arabia in oil production; but the President is still trying to protect us from our “dependence” on “foreign oil.”And federal subsidies for wind farms and solar arrays continue to multiply although both only exist with constant support from fossil fuel fired power plants, and represent only a miniscule portion of electricity produced
The U.S. National Debt is $16,809,211,500,878 and climbing too fast to count. Our Gross Domestic Product is $15,692,319,919,688 and not climbing nearly as fast as the national debt. We have ten million Americans looking for work, and a president who has no idea how jobs are created.
The president’s narcissism and self-regard do not allow him to consider criticism as meaningful. After this morning’s temper tantrum in the Rose Garden, he will undoubtedly go out campaigning again. He “has a gift,” as he has told us. He can move crowds with the magic of his baritone voice, and he tells people what he believes they want to hear.
He is a tragic figure. Not a tragic hero. When he secured the presidential nomination, he said: “If we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless. This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal. This was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last best hope on Earth.” Looking back on that— it’s only words.
Many Democrats remain enthralled. He is theirs, the first black President of the United States of America, and he is their absolution. They have been burdened with guilt. Slavery and segregation are the history of the Democratic Party. Their parents and grandparents fought against the Civil Rights bill. Racism is the worst, the greatest sin of the modern world, and electing the first black President proves that they are no longer racist. They are absolved. That leaves them free to call everybody else “racist.”
Will the rules continue to be different for this president? I don’t know. Will the media continue to absolve Obama of every failure? Obama wants to bury the deficit, raise more taxes so he can “invest” taxpayer money in new projects.
When he demands a new entitlement of national preschool for every four-year-old to be paid for by raising the tax on cigarettes as a solution to America’s unemployment problem — does no one notice the absurdity?
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Freedom, Health Care, History, Law | Tags: Newtown Connecticut, President Barack Obama, Sheer Demagoguery
What is it that the President hopes to accomplish with gun control? It seems extremely odd that he has made gun control the big issue of his second term. He can’t possibly accomplish anything significant beyond tweaking the background check system, but the problem, if any, of that is a lack of enforcement rather than lacks in the system. There is a significant sector of the left that favors any gun legislation since they regard guns with horror, think hunters are bad people, and believe there shouldn’t be any guns at all. If you doubt the existence of this group, remember that PETA has been out demonstrating against fishing, for they believe it is cruel to the fish.
I presume that Mr. Obama’s aim is to portray Republicans who oppose more useless gun legislation, as people who don’t care about kids. The president has a habit of telling the American people that his political opponents are monsters. Though exploiting grief and tragedy for political purposes is in bad taste, that has never bothered the president who is a skilled demagogue. Here’s what he said at the University of Hartford:
I want to thank…all the Newtown families who have come here today….And we are so grateful for their courage and willingness to share their stories again and again, understanding that nothing is going to be more important in making sure the Congress moves forward this week than hearing from them. I want to thank all the educators from Sandy Hook Elementary who have come here as well— the survivors who still mourn and grieve, but are still going to work every day to love and raise those precious children in their care as fiercely as ever. …
We can’t forget. Your families still grieve in ways most of us can’t comprehend. But so many of you have used that grief to make a difference — not just to honor your own children, but to protect the lives of all of our children. So many of you have mobilized, and organized, and petitioned your elected officials “with love and logic,” as Nicole put it — as citizens determined to right something gone wrong. …
We have to tell Congress it’s time to restore the ban on military-style assault weapons, and a 10 round limit for magazines, to make it harder for a gunman to fire 154 bullets into his victims in less than five minutes. Let’s put that to a vote.
“This is not about politics.” the president said. ” Members of Congress have a simple choice to make. “What’s more important to you — our children, or an A grade from the gun lobby?” This is sheer demagoguery. There is nothing in any of the president’s proposals that would have prevented one death at Newtown.
A March 2013 survey of 15,000 law enforcement personnel on the Democrat’s proposed gun control bill found that the overall attitude of law enforcement is strongly anti-gun legislation and pro-gun rights, with the belief that an armed citizenry is effective in stopping crime.
Limits on the number of bullets in a magazine is particularly useless. It takes less than a second to change a magazine. It took twenty minutes for the police to arrive at Sandy Hook Elementary. Better mental health care would help, but what rules can you make? It’s always a subjective judgment, and we have a number of examples where professional psychologists and psychiatrists were presented with obvious evidence which they ignored. An order going out to mental health professionals and police departments to “Pay Attention” would help if the recipients acted upon the order.
The divide is not between people who care about school children and those who don’t care, though that’s how Mr. Obama wants to portray it. The divide is between those who want to do something and are willing to support any legislation because then they will be seen as “doing something,” however useless, and those who see no value in supporting something useless.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Energy, Health Care, Politics, Taxes | Tags: Changing the Language, Government Spending —"Investing", Raising Taxes — "Saving"
President Obama’s budget plan which will be released next week will, according to advance notice, limit how much wealthy individuals — like Mitt Romney — can keep in IRAs and other retirement accounts. “The proposal would save around $9 billion over a decade, a senior administration official said, while also bringing more fairness to the tax code.”
Notice the phrasing. The proposal would save around $9 billion. If the federal government manages to get more of your hard-earned money — it’s “saving.” The senior administration official said that wealthy taxpayers can currently “accumulate many millions of dollars in these accounts, substantially more than is needed to fund reasonable levels of retirement saving.” So the government will decide what a reasonable level of retirement saving is, and the rest is saved so the president can spend it?
Obama has also proposed to cut seniors’ Social Security benefits by using a less generous formula to calculate any increases in benefits. Naturally Democrats are outraged. He also wants to cut back on payments to healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies, which is brilliant since seniors are having a hard time finding doctors now. It would be perfectly reasonable to raise the retirement age slowly to match the increase in life expectancy, but Obama’s approach is to minimize the cost of the old folks.
If you look at official estimates of how much savings people have as they get close to retirement age, it is alarming. Yet the government’s conversation about Social Security benefits concentrates on those folks who have plenty of savings put away and still receive Social Security benefits. This is the governmental conundrum — It’s not fair if people get Social Security benefits they don’t need, yet if you only give benefits to those who need it, you have made Social Security a welfare program, but of course the left approves of welfare programs.
I keep going back to economist Alan Reynold’s remark “Barack Obama does not understand economics, and apparently he refuses to listen to anyone who does.”
Next week we will hear President Obama’s whole budgetary request. And the response. I think the president is intent on becoming a world class president. He wants to be remembered for great and lasting things — but so many of them aren’t working: the electric cars, the end of dependence on foreign oil (we have already surpassed Saudi Arabia, but that has been in spite of Obama, not because of his efforts), ending or diminishing the threat of CO2, high-speed rail, ending the threat of guns in private hands, the infrastructure bank, a country powered by clean wind and solar energy, a more peaceful and secure world without war. Those have all gone well. But the new project of mapping the brain, that will be a star in the crown, won’t it?
The president just needs more money to invest. His budget will request more so that he can do noble things. Just wait and see.