Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, History, Law, Liberalism, National Security, Politics, Progressivism, Socialism, The United States | Tags: Abide by the Constitution, Preserve Liberty, The Scary Tea Party
Andrew Kohut is founding director and former president of the Pew Research Center. He served as president of the Gallup Organization from 1979 to 1989. Pew is a very liberal organization.
He says: “The recent polarization of American politics has been far more obvious on the right than the left. The emergence of the tea party movement and its influence in Congress has brought to the fore political values that are more conservative than the average voter.”
Democrats have been remarkably frightened by the Tea Party. They are unaccustomed to Republicans carrying signs and flags and demonstrating. Demanding that the Constitution be followed and honored. Republicans don’t normally do that sort of thing, so they must be radical rightists. “Radical Right”is a term that immediately calls up the epithet “racist” from Democrats because the Republicans are obviously the party of, um, abolition, freeing the slaves, making sure that blacks are treated as citizens and given the right to vote, desegregating the schools, and passing the civil rights bill. Democrats are the party of slavery, the Ku Klux Klan, Segregation, the “Solid South,” the Dixiecrats, Bull Connor, poll taxes, lynching, and burning crosses, so naturally they call everyone else “racist.” They’ve even gone so far as to try to convince blacks that Abraham Lincoln was a Democrat.
The Tea Party is remarkably scary. They gather together with flags with snakes on them, and sing and have a good time and clean up every scrap of litter after themselves. Scary!
Mr. Kohut continues: “Polarization is not a one-way street. While Republicans have become more conservative, Democrats have grown more liberal. The Pew Research Center’s values surveys, spanning 1987 to 2012, show that Democrats as a whole have moved to the left in recent years. They are much more socially liberal than they were even a decade ago, more supportive of an activist government, more in favor of increased regulation of business. Under the more centrist Obama administration, the leftward movement of Democratic voters has been of limited political consequence.” (Isn’t it wonderful how completely oblivious Liberals can be?) How could anyone suggest that the Obama administration is “centrist?”
Only 34 percent of Democrats called themselves liberal, compared with 63 percent identifying as moderate or conservative. In contrast, conservatives are a clear majority (67 percent) in the GOP while self-described moderate and liberal Republicans make up just 32 percent of the party. This might ensure that Democrats will not be come identified as an extremist party like the GOP.
First, in-depth Pew Research surveys find that many liberals are cynical about achievement. Most don’t agree with the statement that “people can get ahead if they work hard,” and relatively few fully agree that they admire people who have become rich through hard work.
Second, liberals give low priority to dealing with the budget deficit, a major concern for much of the electorate, and they are the only political segment that expresses majority support for paying higher prices for the sake of the environment.
Third, liberals are also significantly to the left of the rest of the Democratic Party on social issues. Unlike other Democrats, few liberals say prayer is an important part of their lives, most strongly favor same-sex marriage, nearly all support abortion rights, and a majority support a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.
And fourth, on foreign policy, most liberals reject the idea that the best way to ensure peace is through military strength; unlike other Democrats, a majority would find it acceptable if another country became as militarily powerful as the United States.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Health Care, Law, Liberalism, Progressivism, Regulation, Socialism | Tags: Explaining ACA Failure, Majority Leader Harry Reid, The People's Stories
The Majority Leader of the United States Senate, Harry Reid, is one of the most corrupt politicians in the country. He has used earmarks and influence to enrich himself and his family. He seems to have reached the point where he will announce anything he can think of to attack Republicans. Remember his nutty claim during the 2012 presidential claim that Mitt Romney didn’t pay any taxes.
Now he’s back with an hysterical rant against those who criticize the Democrat’s signature legislation:
Across the country Americans who were once denied insurance because they suffered for something like cancer or as simple as acne have been able to buy affordable health insurance they could afford and could trust. Despite all that good news, there’s plenty of horror stories being told. All are untrue, but they’re being told all over America.
Every “horror story” about ObamaCare is a lie? Five million people have lost their existing coverage and they are all liars?
The leukemia patient whose insurance policy was canceled could die without her medication. Mr. President, that’s an ad being paid for by two billionaire brothers. It’s absolutely false.
Harry Reid is obsessed with the Koch brothers. Billionaires are supposed to be Democrats, belong to George Soros’ Democracy Alliance and give money to Democrat campaigns, not to curing cancer.
The problem is that Republicans have the gall to use a favorite tactic of the Democrats against them. The Republicans are using “anecdotes” or stories of people who have been hurt by ObamaCare to explain the failures of ObamaCare.
Edie Littlefield Sundby, the stage-four cancer patient who lost her team of physicians, parents who can’t take their sick kids to the hospitals at which they were formerly treated. It is clear that ObamaCare is poorly devised, that Obama’s promises of keeping your insurance and keeping your doctors, and paying $2,500 less were all pure hooey, and that the vast number of Americans who receive their health care through their employers are being gulled until “after the election.”
As they usually do, Democrats were interested in getting people signed up, dependent on government for their health care, and in income redistribution. There is clearly little interest in the law about the actual health of the American people. Read the whole thing, for the response of Americans.
The “anecdotes” that Democrats used at the time to try to drum up enthusiasm for their plan — that our health care cost too much (costs had been declining for several years); the uninsured could not get insurance (the uninsured didn’t want insurance, and apparently still don’t); all the folks with pre-existing conditions (That seems to be the only anecdote to which they are still clinging) were not exactly true.
All the warnings about cost and incentives and unexpected consequences went unheeded. The Democrat politicians who drummed this stuff up have never done anything but politics, but locked in the back rooms of Congress they were sure that they could order one-sixth of the American economy, and it would all be ever so wonderful. Well, hubris. They’ve made a mess of it, but they will not give up. It has passed unworkable, descended into uncaring, and more horrors will be revealed as we get past Obama’s illegal executive revisions. They will attempt to revise it into a single-payer plan, which is what they really wanted all the time.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Environment, Progressivism, Regulation, Socialism | Tags: Overzealous Regulation, The EPA Strikes Again, Wood-Burnimg Stoves & Fireplace Inserts
The EPA is at it again. Having little to do that is useful, the EPA has gone after “fine particles” under the theory that anything in the air should be removed. A while back they were talking about regulating farm dust, but were essentially laughed out of town. Now they have turned to wood-burning stoves and fireplace inserts in the United States.
About 12 percent of American homes use wood stoves for heat. They are more common in rural areas. Again, the EPA is attempting to reduce “particle pollution” with new rules. Instead of limiting fine airborne particulate emissions to 15 micrograms per cubic meter of air, the change will impose a maximum 12 micrograms. That’s equivalent to a person smoking 3 to 4 cigarettes in a small confined space. The draconian EPA regulations will be spread out beginning in March and the rest in five to eight years. Stoves currently in use will not be affected yet, but getting them repaired will become more difficult.
Fireplaces are not yet included, but are being looked at. They are part of future research. Environmental zealots recognize no boundaries for their zealotry and control. Consider barbecues and fire pits. Forced air furnaces will also face drastic cuts and are headed for extinction over the next five years unless they can meet near-impossible limits to their emissions.
The EPA is in pursuit of pure air. They are generous about making up statistics about how many people will die if exposed to a certain “pollutant.” Asthma has been one of their favorites. Physicians don’t know what causes asthma, so the EPA feels free to list statistical numbers of future asthma deaths.
Regulations like these are forced through with fake lawsuits through a corrupt scheme known as “sue and settle.” This allows the EPA more freedom in advancing harsh regulations on the public. According to Senator David Vitter (R-LA) this is how it works:
A far-left environmental group sues a federal department or agency, like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), claiming that the government is not satisfying its regulatory obligations. Then, after the group and the EPA plan and discuss the matter – without the involvement of any others, including affected business, landowners, and state and local governments – they draft a settlement agreement committing the agency to regulate a certain sector of the economy or type of private property. All that’s left is to get the presiding judge to bless their friendly agreement.
There’s even a bonus prize in this scheme. Because such a settlement is counted as a “win” for the environmental group plaintiff, that suing group is awarded all of its costs and attorney’s fees, creating a revolving fund for its continuing activity, courtesy of our wallets.
Thus the left, including the Obama Administration, advances its aggressive environmental agenda. No need for messy Congressional hearings or opposing arguments.
During the first term of the Obama Administration, the EPA entered into more than 60 “sue and settle” agreements with environmental allies, including 34 lawsuits by the Sierra Club, 20 by WildEarth Guardians and 9 from the Natural Resources Defense Council.
One of the most successful on the EPA’s part, and most damaging to states are the “regional haze requirements under the Clean Air Act,” which are costing states hundreds of millions of dollars. Other regulations imposed by “sue and settle” chicanery are regulations on power plants, refineries, mining operations, cement plants, chemical manufacturers, and anything to do with coal.
The aim of the EPA seems to be control and power. Environmental zealots range from those who want no one messing up their enjoyment of the outdoors to those who would prefer to turn the earth back to a more pristine age, preferably without annoying humans.
(h/t: The Independent Sentinel)
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Health Care, Liberalism, Regulation, Socialism
The Congressional Budget Office’s report estimating that ObamaCare will cause the economy to lose the equivalent of 2.5 million jobs is a remarkable flashing red light in the debate about the Affordable Care Act. The reaction from the left is beyond comprehension. At one time, even Democrats agreed that full employment was a desirable aim. Desirable, but the most simple knowledge of economics seems to have escaped the Left.
The CBO says that because ObamaCare’s means-tested subsidies phase out as cash income rises, some people will choose to stay poorer to keep earning welfare benefits. Some, like Nancy Pelosi, are extolling ObamaCare for “liberating” workers from the adult responsibility of earning a living.
Jason Furman, the White House Chief Economist, said “this is a choice on the part of workers.” CBO’s lost workers are splendid, Mr. Furman argued, because it means they will simply be making a rational decision to drop out or cut back, and “that, in their case, might be a better choice and better option than what they had before.”
That is so insulting. The American people want jobs. The number one worry of the American people is jobs and employment. Something that seems not to have penetrated the blockheads in Washington. Economic confidence, according to Gallup, is at –12, and heading down. Liberals are trying to spin the CBO report as an endorsement of ObamaCare’s alleged “health security.” Mr.Furman cited “job lock”, a phenomenon in which people don’t switch employers or start their own business in order to preserve the benefits. “Job Lock” is really about employment flexibility, rather than the government extending subsidies so people don’t need or want jobs.
After the initial display of the workings of ObamaCare, doctors lost, hospitals lost, insurance lost, who in the world would trust the federal government?
It may be a surprise to Liberals, but there are limits to borrowing, limits to constantly increasing spending. There are limits to how much you can take away from “the rich” to support constantly increasing welfare.
The Administration’s dishonest attempt to embroider over the CBO report to disguise the report simply shows how damaging the report truly is with respect to ObamaCare.
As predicted by its conservative opponents, ObamaCare has destroyed jobs, increased spending, and made health care less accessible to everyone. In 2024, there will still be 31 million people in the U.S. without health insurance. Paychecks will be smaller, yet we are told that one half of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. How does that work?
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Freedom, Liberalism, Regulation, Socialism, Taxes, The Constitution, The United States | Tags: All is Politics-Politics is All, End the Tea Party, Senator Charles Schumer
Charles (Chuck) Schumer is the senior Senator from the state of New York. He was first elected to the state assembly when he was 23 years old, and has been in politics ever since, and is usually a reliable example of far left thinking.
He argues that the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision allowed Tea Party groups to “funnel millions of undisclosed dollars into campaigns with ads that distort the truth and attack government.” He wants the IRS and other government agencies to take on the Tea Party through their administrative powers.
Senator Schumer demands that the IRS use all its powers to make war on the First Amendment and free speech that he doesn’t like, in hopes of electing more Democrats. “We must redouble those efforts immediately” he said.
The Democrats master plan for annihilating the Tea Party movement calls for aggressive class warfare, demagoguery, and lies about the motives, goals and beliefs of Tea Party supporters. The Tea Party Schumer said, is successor to the “Know-Nothings, Prohibitionists, Father Coughlin, and Huey Long.”
That nice organization of ordinary people deeply offended by attacks on the Constitution, by ObamaCare, by government by executive order, by enormous federal debt, failed policies, unemployment, government fraud and waste, failed foreign policy and presidential lies and obfuscation — were so outraged that they went to Town Hall meetings and asked embarrassing questions, and they demonstrated, held protests, waved homemade signs that were covered in the nightly news. This would not do. Not only that, but the 2012 election turned many Democrats out of office and turned the House over to the despicable Republicans. The Tea Party must be stopped!
Schumer urges an orgy of new government spending. More financial aid for college students, more funding for kindergarten through grade 12, more roads and bridges, more job training programs, and more handouts for domestic industry. US corporate taxes, already the world’s highest, should be increases, the minimum wage should be raised and women need equal pay. (That myth never dies)
The electoral system “has been rigged to favor Tea Party candidates in Republican primaries” he said, calling for the system to be changed so Tea Party candidates can’t win elections. He essentially admitted he is terrified of the Tea Party and the threat it represents to the hardcore left.
So there you go. It’s the same old story. Free people vs. dependent people. A free country vs. 1984. Big government slips into totalitarianism, because people cannot be allowed to say unfavorable things about the government. They cannot be allowed to demonstrate, to object, to speak in public. At what point do the people become no longer free?
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Health Care, Law, Regulation, Socialism, Taxes | Tags: Enlightened Self-Interest, ObamaCare Fail, Perverse Incentives
Conservatives recognize that people usually act in accordance with their own self-interest. Hardly a startling revelation. Of course they do. Politicians claim to have the best interests of the people at the forefront, but support for large businesses or special interests in their district may trump “the people.” That’s not a startling revelation either. Votes can be bought, influence pedaled, interests horse traded. So how do we get things done in such an atmosphere?
When the Affordable Care Act was devised in the back rooms of Congress, Democrats tried to include favors for their supporter groups. Much was made of free contraceptives, for example. Democrats wanted it for their women voters.
Sandra Fluke gained her 5 minutes of fame by speaking in favor of it before a faux congressional committee. The Catholic church objected strenuously because it included the morning-after pill, an abortifacient, which is abhorrent to their religion, and required anyone offering health care to offer it to their workers. Conservatives, who are more apt to have taken Economics 101, noted that contraceptives were available for under $10 for a months’ supply, and the taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for them. You see the conflict of self-interest. Cases are still working their way through the courts.
The incentives created were perverse. An unnecessary favor to attract women voters has the effect of making health insurance unnecessarily more expensive. The law is loaded up with nice things for voter groups, benefits for which everyone must have coverage whether they need it or not. Because insurers were told what they must include in every policy, it meant 60 year-old women had to pay for maternity care and well-child visits. The cost of a policy is based on what is included. To keep premiums as low as possible deductibles are higher than what most people are used to, networks of doctors and hospitals skimpier, and lifesaving drugs not on the insurers’ formularies.
Under the Affordable Care Act, insurers are required to charge the same premium rate to anyone who wants to sign up, regardless of health status; and they are required to accept anyone who applies. This means that to make ends meet they must overcharge the healthy and undercharge the sick. It also means insurers have strong incentives to attract the healthy (on whom they make a profit) and avoid the sick (on whom they incur losses) by, in effect, making their plans less appealing to the sick.
Here’s how they seem to be doing it: In structuring the plans they offer on the exchanges, the insurers apparently assumed that the healthy will choose the plan they buy based on its price, while ignoring other features of the plan. It makes sense: If I am healthy why wouldn’t I shop for the lowest price? If I later develop cancer, I can move to a plan that has the best cancer care. By law, these plans will be prohibited from charging me more than the premium paid by a healthy enrollee.
Insurers also assume that people who already are ill or otherwise expect to use a lot of health care pay much closer attention to the cost of deductibles and which doctors and hospitals are in the insurer’s network. To have any hope of balancing their books, insurers must then attract the maximum number of customers who are likely to stay healthy and thus not use so much of the care they paid for, while unhealthy people in effect use more than they paid for. This is why most plans are apparently designed to attract people willing to overlook high deductibles and less access to health care in return for lower premiums.
Cities and towns have unfunded health-care commitments, and they will be dumping their retirees on the state exchanges. High cost older people. Some people are working only to get health insurance because they are uninsurable in the individual market. Their incentive is to quit and rely on the exchanges. A lot of high-cost patients will enroll through the exchanges.This will drive premium costs and deductibles higher.
The incentives are all wrong. We can do better.
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Economy, Europe, Health Care, History, Socialism | Tags: Privatized Health Care, Reform and Renewal, Scandanavia's Welfare State
Trends. It’s always hard to decide what is a trend and what is just a temporary aberration, but the Nordic countries are increasingly turning away from the welfare state. Swedes in the supposed socialist paradise are turning to private health insurance to reduce long wait times and rationed health care services. The country started cutting government spending as a percentage of GDP in the 1990s, and that has continued.
Throughout the Nordic countries the size and scope of government are being cut back as nations find themselves strapped for cash. In Denmark, when Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt’s government took power in 2011, there was little to suggest that she would make any dramatic changes to the country’s welfare state which is funded by the world’s highest tax burden.
However, the center-right government raised the retirement age and reduced the period for unemployment benefits from four years to two years. Corporate taxes were cut to 22 percent from 25 percent. Young people on benefits are required to undertake training and student aid is withdrawn from those taking too long to finish their studies.
Finland is moving to trim similar sorts of programs. Only Norway is unlikely to tackle serious reform because of its vast oil wealth and ironically, it has a conservative government. The new center-right Prime Minister Erna Solberg has pledged to preserve the welfare state.
About one in ten Swedes now has private health insurance, and the numbers are increasing. “It’s quicker to get a colleague back to work if you have an operation in two week’s time rather than having to wait for a year” privately insured Anna Norlander told Sveriges Radio on Friday. “It’s terrible that I, as a young person, don’t feel I can trust the health care system to take care of me.”
The Local noted that “visitors are sometimes surprised to learn about year-long waiting times for cancer patients.” Is that before or after they decide how aggressive the particular cancer is?
The welfare-state period may be regarded as a brief interlude. Until the 1970s, Sweden had strong market-oriented policies in place that increased wealth and standards of living, because of reforms introduced at the end of the 19th century. Light regulation and property rights were enforced, government was limited, and a private banking sector flourished. The cradle to grave socialist services implemented in the 1970s proved to be unaffordable.
Sweden has deregulated whole industries and encouraged the privatization of public services. Income tax in Sweden is lower than France, Belgium and Denmark, though that’s not saying much. Public spending as a share of GDP has declined from 71.0 percent in 1993 to 53.3 percent last year.
It is important to keep in mind that the Nordic States are all small homogeneous countries, though they have had significant Muslim immigration. Sweden is the largest with just over 9 million population, followed by Denmark 5.5 million, Finland 5.2 million and Iceland 308,000. Sweden’s population is roughly the same size as North Carolina, and Denmark is similar to Minnesota, if that helps to put things in perspective.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Health Care, Law, Politics, Socialism | Tags: Daniel Hannan M.E.P., Looking Back at 2009, Obamacare
I posted this warning from Britain’s Daniel Hannan, Member of the European Parliament way back in 2009, about imitating their National Health Service. He urged us then not to copy their system. But we didn’t have a choice. Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and the Presidency. They drew it up in Congressional back rooms, behind locked doors, and passed it without a single Republican vote and without any Republican input. It’s just kind of interesting to see how far we have come since 2009.
If you remember, many on the right posted this diagram of the enormous bureaucracy that was necessary to administer ObamaCare added on top of the networks of insurance companies and the medical profession. Each of these offices and agencies and bureaus is filled with bureaucrats who have to be paid high Beltway salaries and whose healthcare and pensions have to be paid for with taxpayer dollars. They expected to pay for this by taking $500 billion out of Medicare, paying doctors and hospitals less, limiting networks of providers, and eliminating your ability to get care if you travel. ……….(click to enlarge)
Filed under: Capitalism, Domestic Policy, Economy, Health Care, Politics, Socialism | Tags: Economist Milton Friedman, Simple Common Sense, Socialized Medicine
I love Milton Friedman’s clear explanations of simple economic principles. Do any of those on the Left ever watch any of these? Silly question, of course they don’t. Could we get all of these videos into the schools? Never mind, I’m fantasizing.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Economy, Election 2014, Health Care, Media Bias, Socialism | Tags: Media Failure to Inform, Not Affordable, The Affordable Care Act
More than half of the counties in 34 states using the federal health insurance exchange lack even a bronze plan that’s affordable — by the government’s own definition — for 40-year-old couples who make just a little too much for financial assistance, a USA TODAY analysis shows.
Many of these counties are in rural, less populous areas that already had limited choice and pricey plans, but many others are heavily populated, such as Bergen County, N.J., and Philadelphia and Milwaukee counties.
More than a third don’t offer an affordable plan in the four tiers of coverage known as bronze, silver, gold or platinum for people buying individual plans who are 50 or older and ineligible for subsidies. …
The prices of exchange plans have shocked many shoppers, especially those who had plans canceled because they did not meet the ACA coverage requirements. But experts are not surprised.
“The ACA was not designed to reduce costs or, the law’s name notwithstanding, to make health insurance coverage affordable for the vast majority of Americans,” says health care consultant Kip Piper, a former government and insurance industry official. “The law uses taxpayer dollars to lower costs for the low-income uninsured but it also increases costs overall and shifts costs within the marketplace.”
The law’s name notwithstanding! That’s why we call it “ObamaCare” not the Affordable Care Act.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Health Care, News of the Weird, Regulation, Socialism, Taxes | Tags: Collapsing Hopes, Democrat Pipe Dreams, Dysfunctional ObamaCare
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) says December has been a “great month” for ObamaCare sign-ups, and she says things will only get better as more people enroll. “It’s worth the trouble. It’s going to be a glorious thing,” Pelosi told a conference call on Monday.
“It’s about life, a healthier life, liberty, the freedom to pursue our happiness. It honors the vows of our founders. A person can follow his or her passion and not be chained by a policy, so they could start a business, be self-employed, change jobs. It’s a very, very exciting thing. And it’s about wellness and prevention. It’s about the health of America, not just the health care for Americans. So we’re very proud of it, and our enthusiasm for it…strengthens our determination to make sure it works.”
Pretty amazing, huh. Do you think she actually believes that?
Filed under: Economy, Health Care, Socialism, Democrat Corruption, Capitalism, Law, Regulation | Tags: Oregon's ObamaCare Exchange, No Signups No Customers, Head of Program Resigned
Oregon is standing out in a field of ObamaCare failure. So far, they have spent $160 million on an ObamaCare website and signed up exactly zero people. None, zero, zilch. The head of Oregon’s ObamaCare Exchange has resigned for, um, personal reasons. Carolyn Lawson, chief information officer at the Oregon Health Authority, decided that the state could manage the complex exchange itself, rather than hire a private-sector systems integrator, a decision since criticized by her superiors.
She was apparently close to Oracle Corp, the California technology giant that has been blamed for shoddy work and missing deadlines. Now, nearly three months after the federal deadline, Oregon’s exchange has emerged as a technological train wreck and a public relations nightmare. A fully functional website remains many weeks or months away.
State officials have been forced to spend even more money gearing up a system of temporary employees and contractors to manually process paper applications for health insurance.
Lawson began her job with the State of Oregon on July 1, 2011. The stat paid her $178,992 a year. Unfortunately Oregon’s leaders bragged for two years that it would have one of the most advanced insurance marketplaces. Then were embarrassed when the online system wasn’t ready to launch on schedule in October. As Ben at Ace of Spades said: “Everyone should work for the government, they over pay and don’t expect results.”