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Why Didn’t ObamaCare Make Us Healthier? 

Bernie Sanders inadvertently raises a critical question as Republicans pursue reform.

writes: Vermont Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders deplored the actions of his former campaign volunteer James T. Hodgkinson, who was killed after opening fire on participants at a congressional baseball practice for Republicans on June 14. More recently, Mr. Sanders has been accusing his Republican colleagues of hatching a plan that will result in thousands of deaths.

The anti-Trump ”resistance,” still smarting from its recent loss in a Georgia House race, has apparently decided that it needs someone more radical than Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) to lead the opposition to GOP health care reforms. So the organization MoveOn.org has been staging a multi-state tour with Mr. Sanders as the headliner.

The basic Sanders argument, which he has been articulating in various fora in recent days, is that fewer people on government insurance plans will mean more people dying. It seems likely that any health reform plan that makes it to the President’s desk will no longer force people to buy ObamaCare plans, and will give states at least some flexibility in choosing not to provide insurance to people who aren’t sick, aren’t poor and don’t have children.

But will fewer people on government-mandated insurance plans automatically make them less healthy? Mr. Sanders appears to be convinced. He tweeted on Friday: “Let us be clear and this is not trying to be overly dramatic: Thousands of people will die if the Republican health care bill becomes law.” Asked to defend such remarks on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Mr. Sanders said:

I wish I didn’t have to say it. This is not me. This is study after study making this point. It is common sense. If you have cancer and your insurance is taken away from you, there is a likelihood you will die and certainly a likelihood that you will become much sicker than you are today. That’s the fact. Unpleasant, but it’s true.

Speaking of studies, all of America has been participating in an experiment since 2010 to see if a federal effort to extend government-mandated insurance coverage to millions more people can improve our lives. Read the rest of this entry »

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Peggy Noonan: High Anxiety Over Health-Care Reform 

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People need simplicity and clarity. They deserve it. They’ll pay for it as best they can, a lot if they have to. But they need not to be jerked around anymore. And that is what Congress doesn’t know.

Peggy Noonan writes: What politicians, those hardy folk, don’t understand about health care is how anxious it makes their constituents. Not suspicious, not obstinate, but anxious. Because unlike such policy questions as tax reform, health care can be an immediate life-or-death issue for you. It has to do with whether, when, and where you can get the chemo if you’re sick, and how long they’ll let you stay in the hospital when you have nobody, or nobody reliable and nearby, to care for you. To make it worse, the issue is all hopelessly complicated and complex and pits you as an individual against huge institutions—the insurance company that doesn’t answer the phone, the hospital that says “I’m afraid that’s not covered”—and you have to make the right decisions.

It’s all on you.

Politicians don’t understand all this, in part because they and their families are well-covered on a government insurance policy, and they have staff to put in the claim and argue with the insurance company, which, when it’s a congressman calling, answers the phone in one quick hurry. They don’t know it’s not easy for everyone else. Or rather they know on some abstract level but forget in the day-to-day, as one does with abstractions.

But I want to speak of how it’s all on you: You don’t want to be seen—by others, by yourself—as someone who couldn’t make the right decisions for yourself and your family. “She didn’t know she needed Part B.” “She got the supplement that says she can’t be treated in Jersey.” You don’t want to be humiliated. “What a dope.” “What fatal lack of sophistication.”

“Seven years ago it’s Democrats: “Wow, we’re so supercompetent, we’ll make it better!” And suddenly you lose your doctor or your coverage, or your premiums spike, and it’s a mess. They can’t even make the website work. And you’re anxious, and you have to renavigate an entire opaque empire of rules and passive-aggressive clerks. It’s a shadow on your life.”

And then these jokers in Congress come along. Seven years ago it’s Democrats: “Wow, we’re so supercompetent, we’ll make it better!” And suddenly you lose your doctor or your coverage, or your premiums spike, and it’s a mess. They can’t even make the website work. And you’re anxious, and you have to renavigate an entire opaque empire of rules and passive-aggressive clerks. It’s a shadow on your life.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

And then it settles down, as things do after seven years. You hate the system, but it is what it is and you’re used to it. And now these new jokers come along and say, “We’ll make it nice, trust us!” And it’s all big and complicated—so complicated the president negotiating it appears to have no idea what he’s saying yes or no to. But the effects and implications of his decisions will all be left on you. And you watch from the corner of your eye as you pass the TV, and suddenly your blood pressure’s spiking again. For you it’s all more anxiety and dishevelment and confusion, but in a new package, this time delivered by Republicans.

When all you want is the card in the wallet so when you’re strapped to the gurney in the emergency room, they’ll see it and they’ll say the word you want to hear: “Covered.” Then you can happily pass out.

People need simplicity and clarity. They deserve it. They’ll pay for it as best they can, a lot if they have to. But they need not to be jerked around anymore.

And that is what Congress doesn’t know.

We go now to the failure of the ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill.

Politically it’s all obvious. For the new administration it is a loss and a significant one. It has damaged the new president’s prestige. Every president until he fails has the aura of unused power. Boy, when I use it, you’re gonna see muscle. He used it. No muscle. Fatal? No. Damaging and diminishing? Yes. It is an embarrassment too for Speaker Paul Ryan. Together they could not get a win on the board after they threw everything they have into it. This does not speak well for everything they have. Read the rest of this entry »


Obama’s Parting Gift: Trillion-Dollar Deficits As Far As The Eye Can See

Sparkly-Obama-Unicorn-Gold-Coins

Legacy:  Barack Obama came into the White House in 2009 promising a “new era of responsibility.” What he’s left President Trump is a government careening toward fiscal ruin.That’s what the latest report from the Congressional Budget Office shows.

The CBO report looks at what federal spending and revenues will look like over the next decade if the government is left on autopilot. The picture is grim.

(AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Deficits this year are expected to be $559 billion. By 2023, the government will once again be running trillion-dollar annual deficits that will quickly climb in the following years.

Left unchanged, the national debt will worsen by an additional $10 trillion in a decade, equaling almost 90% of the economy.

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And that’s despite the fact that, thanks to Obama’s multiple tax increases, revenues are on track to consume more than 18% of the nation’s economy, which is a full percentage point above the average since 1967.

Spending, however, is completely out of control. It’s set to climb from 20.5% of GDP next year to 23.4% by 2027. The post-1967 average was 20%.

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ObamaCare subsidies alone will, according to the CBO, climb 22% this year and 20% the next — thanks to the massive increase in premiums. This cost explosion is in addition to the vast increase in Medicaid spending ObamaCare already generated. And it’s all on top of fast-growing Social Security and Medicare, both of which are rapidly headed toward insolvency.

Perhaps the biggest driver of future deficits, however, is the incredibly sluggish economy the CBO expects current economic policies to produce. Read the rest of this entry »


ObamaCare’s death Spiral, Stage One: Denial 

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Enrollment is falling short. The Obama administration projects that it will have roughly 10 million people on the state and federal exchanges by the end of next year, a staggering climb-down from prior expectations.

lowryRich Lowry writes: For the press, the debate over ObamaCare is over. There may be a few proverbial Japanese soldiers wandering on isolated islands yammering on about the failure of ObamaCare, but word will eventually filter down to them, too. This assumption is so deeply embedded that it is impervious to new evidence that ObamaCare is an unwieldy contraption that is sputtering badly.

“ObamaCare is a monopoly. It gives money to people to buy its product and through the individual mandate punishes those who don’t. And yet it’s still having trouble making the sale.”

Yes, ObamaCare has covered more people and has especially benefited those with pre-existing conditions (to be credible, Republican replacement plans have to do these things, as well), but the program is so poorly designed that, surely, even a new Democratic president will want to revisit it to try to make it more workable.

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“Premiums are rising. Not everywhere, but steeply in some states. Indiana is down 12 percent, but Minnesota is up 50 percent.”

Enrollment is falling short. The Obama administration projects that it will have roughly 10 million people on the state and federal exchanges by the end of next year, a staggering climb-down from prior expectations. The Congressional Budget Office had predicted that there would be roughly 20 million enrollees.

[Also see – Giving Voters Exactly What They Deserve: Health Insurance Premium to Spike Again]

[More – Broke U.S. Government Needs Millions of New Obamacare Enrollees to Prevent Program Collapse]

If the administration is to be believed, enrollment will only increase about another million next year from its current 9 million and only sign up about a quarter of the eligible uninsured.

[Read the full story here, at the New York Post]

Premiums are rising. Not everywhere, but steeply in some states. Indiana is down 12 percent, but Minnesota is up 50 percent. Health care expert Robert Laszewski points out that it’s the insurers with the highest enrollment and therefore the best information about actual enrollees that have tended to request the biggest increases — a sign that they don’t like what they’re seeing in their data. Read the rest of this entry »


Obama Presidency to End with $20 Trillion National Debt 

Dave Boyer reports: When President Obama signs into law the new two-year budget deal Monday, his action will bring into sharper focus a part of his legacy that he doesn’t like to talk about: He is the $20 trillion man.

“The Boehner-Obama spending agreement would allow for unlimited borrowing by the Treasury until March 2017. This deal piles on billions of dollars to the national debt by increasing spending over the next three years and then not paying for it for a decade — with half of the offsets not occurring until 2025.”

— Paul Winfree, director of economic policy studies at The Heritage Foundation

Mr. Obama’s spending agreement with Congress will suspend the nation’s debt limit and allow the Treasury to borrow another $1.5 trillion or so by the end of his presidency in 2017. Added to the current total national debt of more than $18.15 trillion, the red ink will likely be crowding the $20 trillion mark right around the time Mr. Obama leaves the White House.

“Of this $154 billion, about $78 billion is paid for honestly. The remaining $56 billion of the legislation — mostly the war spending increase and interest costs — is not paid for at all.”

When Mr. Obama took over in January 2009, the total national debt stood at $10.6 trillion. That means the debt will have very nearly doubled during his eight years in office, and there is much more debt ahead with the abandonment of “sequestration” spending caps enacted in 2011.

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“When Mr. Obama took over in January 2009, the total national debt stood at $10.6 trillion. That means the debt will have very nearly doubled during his eight years in office, and there is much more debt ahead with the abandonment of “sequestration” spending caps enacted in 2011.”

“Congress and the president have just agreed to undo one of the only successful fiscal restraint mechanisms in a generation,” said Pete Sepp, president of the National Taxpayers Union. “The progress on reducing spending and the deficit has just become much more problematic.”

“We will be raising the debt ceiling in an unlimited fashion. We will be giving President Obama a free pass to borrow as much money as he can borrow in the last year of his office. No limit, no dollar limit. Here you go, President Obama. Spend what you want.”

— Sen. Rand Paul

Some budget analysts scoff at the claim made by the administration and by House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, that the budget agreement’s $112 billion in spending increases is fully funded by cuts elsewhere. Mr. Boehner left Congress last week.

[Read the full text here, at the Washington Times]

“The Boehner-Obama spending agreement would allow for unlimited borrowing by the Treasury until March 2017,” said Paul Winfree, director of economic policy studies at The Heritage Foundation. “This deal piles on billions of dollars to the national debt by increasing spending over the next three years and then not paying for it for a decade — with half of the offsets not occurring until 2025.” Read the rest of this entry »


U.S. to Deploy Special Operations Forces in Syria

US President Barack Obama attends a military briefing with US Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham (L) at Bagram Air Field, north of Kabul, in Afghanistan, May 25, 2014. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Sending U.S. troops to intervene in Syria is a poorly thought out strategy that is likely to backfire. 

In Senate testimony on October 27th, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter indicated that the U.S. might be taking on a more direct combat role in Syria’s civil war. Later today, President Obama is expected to announce the deployment of U.S. troops to northern Syria.

“It is time for the president to forcefully state what everyone knows to be true: the United States has no magic formula for solving the Syrian conflict…Outside involvement has fueled the multisided civil war, but failed to deliver a decisive victory for any one faction.”

— Christopher Preble, Cato’s Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies

According to Cato Institute experts, this is a terrible idea.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s statement…that the U.S. military ‘won’t hold back’ from engaging in ‘direct action on the ground’ in Syria is a troubling development,“ says Benjamin Friedman, Research Fellow in Defense and Homeland Security Studies at the Cato Institute. “It does not so much indicate mission creep as continuity of flawed policy. Competing objectives burden U.S. policy: helping weak rebels overthrow Assad, which prolongs the war and aids ISIS, and defeating ISIS, which aids Assad. Until we resolve that contradiction, the value of tactical gains against either foe will be limited. We should cease helping rebels and attack ISIS alone.”

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Unfortunately, there is probably little constructive the United States can do at this point to resolve the conflict in Syria and establish a stable new government. The Obama administration, therefore, should take care not to make a bad situation worse.”

— Visiting Research Fellow Brad Stapleton

Even without U.S. ground troops, the Obama administration’s policy of continuing to fund and arm Syrian rebel groups is problematic enough, especially now that Russia is more deeply involved in backing the Assad regime militarily. According to Visiting Research Fellow Brad Stapleton, this risks getting into a messy proxy war that won’t end well for Washington. “Unfortunately, there is probably little constructive the United States can do at this point to resolve the conflict in Syria and establish a stable new government,” Stapleton writes. “The Obama administration, therefore, should take care not to make a bad situation worse.”

Many commentators have proposed imposing no-fly zones or safe zones in Syria to ease the humanitarian crisis. But, as Emma Ashford, Visiting Research Fellow, explains, this is likely to backfire. “U.S. involvement in Syria displays no strategy, no boundaries and no clear goals,” Ashford writes. “The only viable long-term solution to Syria’s problems is diplomacy. But that has been pushed to the side in favor of airstrikes and limited, ad hoc rebel training programs.” Read the rest of this entry »


Seattle’s Socialist Experiment: When it Comes to the Impacts of a High Minimum Wage, a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

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Erin ShannonErin-S-web-103cropw writes: This sign in a Seattle nail salon is a perfect illustration of the unintended consequences of forcing employers to pay an aritificially high minimum wage.

Contrary to the claim that employers can afford to pay their workers more and will just absorb the higher labor costs, Madison Avenue Nail Spa shows what really happens–employers find ways to mitigate those costs.  This business owner has decided to pass the extra costs to consumers.

“All of these employers are doing what they must in order to deal with a mandated wage that is higher than the value of the job.”

They aren’t alone. Ivars Salmon House is also raising prices.  Ivars is also implementing a 17% service charge in lieu of tips.  The Icon Grill in Seattle is taking a different strategy; they aren’t increasing prices, but instead eliminating three weeks of paid vacation. All employees will now only earn one week of paid vacation time; before Seattle’s new minimum wage law went into effect on April 1, some long-time employees of the restaurant received four weeks of paid vacation per year.

From the dustbin of history, the zombie socialists

From the dustbin of history, the zombie socialists

“All employees will now only earn one week of paid vacation time; before Seattle’s new minimum wage law went into effect on April 1, some long-time employees of the restaurant received four weeks of paid vacation per year.”

Then there is Z Pizza–that business is closing in August, leaving 12 workers without jobs.  And long-time Seattle manufacturer Cascade Designs will move 100 of its lowest-skilled manufacturing jobs from Seattle to Nevada. Read the rest of this entry »


Giving Voters Exactly What They Deserve: Health Insurance Premium to Spike Again

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Stephen Dinan reports: Obamacare exchange customers could see a significant spike in their premiums over the next few years as insurers face pressures from both the government and the marketplace, the Congressional Budget Office said Monday in a new analysis finding Obamacare is both cheaper and less comprehensive than predicted.

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

The CBO said the exchanges and other new medical coverage under the Affordable Care Act will cost the government slightly more than half a trillion dollars over the next five years…(read more)

Washington Times


A Simple Cure for ObamaCare: Freedom

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The GOP needs a politically defensible alternative if the Supreme Court overturns federal-exchange subsidies

Phil Gramm writes: On March 4 the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in King v. Burwell, with a decision expected in late June. If the court strikes down the payment of government subsidies to those obamacare-design-250who bought health insurance on the federal exchange, Republicans will at last have a real opportunity to amend ObamaCare. Doing so, however, will be politically perilous.

“Of all potential Republican proposals, the freedom option seems the most likely to garner the six Democratic votes in the Senate needed to break a filibuster, pass the bill and put it on the president’s desk.”

The language of the Affordable Care Act states that subsidies should only be paid through state exchanges. The bill’s authors perhaps believed that pressure from citizens and the health-care providers who would benefit would entice states to set up exchanges. But, faced with mounting technical problems in setting up the exchanges, the Obama administration decided—legally or illegally—to allow subsidies to be paid through a federally run exchange. Therefore, political pressure that might have convinced states to set up exchanges never developed.

“The opposition would come solely from those who understand that ObamaCare is built on coercion—and that unless young, healthy Americans are forced into the program to be exploited with above-market insurance rates, the subsidies will prove unaffordable. That will be an exceedingly difficult case to make to the public.”

The political pressures to set up state exchanges if federal subsidies are now struck down will be enormous. The Kaiser Family Foundation used Congressional Budget Office data to estimate that 13 million people will receive subsidies in 2016 through the federal exchange. If the Supreme Court strikes down these subsidies, 13 million people would lose an average of $4,700 a year, and health-care providers would certainly fight to protect some $60 billion a year in subsidies.

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The president’s most likely response to an adverse court decision would be to refuse to work with Congress to fix ObamaCare. Instead he will likely mount an effort to force the 37 states now using the federal exchange to set up state exchanges to qualify for the subsidies. His administration could make it easy for states to continue to use the federal exchange while nominally taking ownership through a shell state entity. Ten states already have some form of partnership with the federal exchange.

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Absent a strong Republican alternative, the president’s strategy would unleash powerful political pressure on Republican governors and legislators and force them to establish state exchanges. Such a result would saddle Republicans with a partial ownership of ObamaCare, alienating their political base and producing substantial fallout in the 2016 elections.

Republicans need a strategy that is easy to understand, broadly popular and difficult to oppose. Read the rest of this entry »


Open the Champagne: U.S. Budget Deficit Running 6.2 Percent Higher Than Last Year

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government ran a bigger deficit in January, pushing the imbalance so far this budget year up 6.2 percent from the same period a year ago.

The Treasury Department said Wednesday the deficit for January stood at $17.5 billion compared to $10.3 billion a year ago. For the first four months of the budget year that began in October, the deficit widened to $194.2 billion from $182.8 billion during the same period last year.

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“President Barack Obama unveiled last week his new budget proposal, which projects the 2015 deficit to rise to $583 billion, sharply higher than the CBO’s latest estimate.” 

The budget deficit has gradually narrowed since 2012, which was the fourth straight year in which it topped the $1 trillion mark. The improvement reflects the country’s economic recovery from recession. The government is seeing higher tax revenues as people go back to work and smaller payments for safety-net programs such as unemployment assistance. It also represents efforts by Congress to control deficits through higher taxes and across-the-board spending cuts.

Ask AP

Last year’s deficit benefited from a $24 billion special payment Freddie Mac made for the support it received during the financial crisis. The Congressional Budget Office forecasts a deficit of $468 billion for the full 2015 budget year, 3.1 percent lower than in 2014.

“Obama’s new budget is asking Congress for authorization to spend $4 trillion next year and projects a 2016 deficit of $474 billion. The president’s budget proposal will set off months of wrangling in Congress.”

For the current budget year, government revenues total $1.05 trillion, an increase of 8.7 percent from the same period a year ago. Government spending totals $1.24 trillion, up 8.3 percent over last year. Read the rest of this entry »


Scott Gottlieb: ObamaCare’s Threat to Private Practice

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A true legislative alternative to ObamaCare would support physician ownership of independent medical practices, and preserve local competition between doctors and choice for patients.

Scott Gottlieb writes: Here’s a dirty little secret about recent attempts to fix ObamaCare. The “reforms,” approved by Senate and House leaders this summer and set to advance in the next Congress, adopt many of the Medicare payment reforms already in the Affordable Care Act. Both favor the consolidation of previously independent doctors into salaried roles inside larger institutions, usually tied to a central hospital, in effect ending independent medical practices.

“ObamaCare has accelerated many of the detrimental trends doctors see in their profession, and introduced new ones.”

Republicans must embrace a different vision to this forced reorganization of how medicine is practiced in America if they want to offer an alternative to ObamaCare. The law’s defenders view this consolidation as a necessary step to enable payment provisions that shift the financial risk of delivering medical care onto providers and away from government programs like Medicare. The law’s architects believe that doctors, to better bear financial risk, need to be part of larger, and presumably better-capitalized institutions. Indeed, the law has already gone a long way in achieving that outcome.

“Reformers in Washington need to do a better job of explaining how market-based alternatives to ObamaCare are a better outcome for the structure and delivery of health care. And how they intend to preserve the entrepreneurship, autonomy and physician ownership that have long been the hallmark of American medicine.”

A recent Physicians Foundation survey of some 20,000 U.S. doctors found that 35% described themselves as independent, down from 49% in 2012 and 62% in 2008. Once independent doctors become the exception rather than the rule, the continued advance of the ObamaCare agenda will become virtually unstoppable. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] REWIND: Harry Reid’s Glowing Praise for Obamacare Designer Jon Gruber

In 2009, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., heaped praise on Jonathan Gruber, one of the chief architects of the Affordable Care Act, calling the MIT health economist “one of the most respected” in his field of expertise.

“Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Jonathan Gruber, who is one of the most respected economists in the world, said in today’s Washington Post: ‘Here’s a bill that reduces the deficit, covers 30 million people and has the promise of lowering premiums.’ Pretty good statement.”

“The Congressional Budget Office said yesterday the majority of American families who buy insurance in the new marketplace we will create — what we call health insurance exchanges — what they will see is their premiums go down,” Reid said from the floor of the U.S. Senate…(read more)

WashingtonExaminer.com


[VIDEO] HHS Secretary Tries to Distance Admin from Gruber Comments

When asked if Gruber will be welcomed back by the administration for consultation on the law, Burwell refused to answer, twice dodging Todd’s questions

At The CornerAndrew Johnson writes:

Health and Human Service secretary Sylvia Burwell disavowed the series of comments by MIT professor and Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber that surfaced throughout the week, in which he mocked the intelligence of American voters and told an audience that the law passed due to a lack of transparency(read more)

Big Brother Bonus: see next post.


[VIDEO] Yet Another Video Emerges Of Gruber Calling Americans Stupid

Alex Griswold reports: Yet another video has emerged of MIT professor and Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber calling Americans “stupid,” and bragging about how the Affordable Care Act’s drafters had to deceive the public in order to pass the law.

“…the American people are too stupid to understand the difference.”

Fox NewsMegyn Kelly was the first to air the video on her program, “The Kelly File.” Kelly played the video of Gruber appearing on MSNBC’s “Ronan Farrow Daily” apologizing for his earlier remarks. “I was speaking off the cuff and I spoke inappropriately, and I regret making those comments,” he said.

“But now tonight,” Kelly reported, ” more video has surfaced showing this was not the first time Mr. Gruber called the American people stupid in an ‘off-the-cuff’ remark. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Gruber may believe that American voters are stupid, but he was the one who was dumb enough to say all this on camera’

 writes: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Jonathan Gruber was, by most accounts, one of the key figures in constructing the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare….(read more)

Here’s the full quote:

“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO [Congressional Budget Office] scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Okay, so it’s written to do that.  In terms of risk rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in – you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed… Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical for the thing to pass….Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.”

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This validates much of what critics have said about the health care law, and the tactics used to pass it, for years.

For one thing, it is an explicit admission that the law was designed in such a way to avoid a CBO score that would have tanked the bill. Basically, the Democrats who wrote the bill knowingly gamed the CBO process.

[Also see Of Course Jonathan Gruber Said That by Charles C. W. Cooke]

It’s also an admission that the law’s authors understood that one of the effects of the bill would be to make healthy people pay for the sick, but declined to say this for fear that it would kill the bill’s chances. In other words, the law’s supporters believed the public would not like some of the bill’s consequences, and knowingly attempted to hide those consequences from the public. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Obamacare Architect Jonathan Gruber Bragging About Deceiving the American People, Who He Thinks Are Stupid

Gruber: ‘Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage’

“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Okay, so it’s written to do that.  In terms of risk rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in – you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed… Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical for the thing to pass… Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.”

Also see – Obamacare Architect: ‘Stupidity of the American Voter’ Made Obamacare Possible

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Daily Caller – YouTube


Bloated Rotting Whale Corpse Huge: Report Shows U.S. Deficit for Just This Year Is HUGE

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For Daily Signal, Romina “Rom Raincloud” Boccia reports: While many reports will focus on the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) 2014 deficit and economic forecast released today, a less-told story is what’s driving the growth in government spending over the next decade. Beyond current reporting on the federal government’s balance sheet, CBO reports also serve the important purpose of informing Congressional decision-making.romina-raincloud

Today’s report unequivocally communicates: reform entitlement programs or watch government grow.

The Congressional Budget Office’s “Update to the Budget and Economic Outlook: 2014 to 2024” reports a federal deficit of $506 billion for fiscal year 2014 (which ends on September 30), slightly above its April projection of $492 billion. Spending in 2014 will be about $3.5 trillion, growing by about 2 percent compared to the previous year. The debt will rise slightly as a percentage of GDP to 74 percent, staying at a level not seen since World War II. Read the rest of this entry »


Federal Government Approves $20 Billion Presidential Helicopter Replacements

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Marine One-to-be: An artist’s rendering shows what Sikorsky’s proposed ‘VXX‘ presidential helicopter might look like

For  Mail Online, David Martosko reports: The Department of Defense awarded a contract on Wednesday to a Connecticut company that will build a fleet of helicopters to replace the Marine One fleet that ferries U.S. presidents short distances.

The contract, given to Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, will cost an initial $1,244,677,064 ‘for the engineering and manufacturing development phase of the Presidential Helicopter Replacement program.’ For that price the U.S. Navy will get six test aircraft and all the necessary research & development.

The Pentagon made a similar attempt to replace the aging fleet of Sikorsky choppers, spending $3.2 billion on a landing pad to nowhere.

Adding in the likely $17 billion price tag for the new project – a numberestimated by the Congressional Budget Office – the $20 billion total makes the fleet the most expensive helicopters ever built.

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Seeing double? If the current fleet of presidential choppers looks a lot like the new one, it’s because the same company will build them, and it was the only firm to bid on the project

The CBO reports that the projected cost also ‘does not include costs to keep the 19 existing presidential helicopters in operation until they are replaced by new helicopters.’ Read the rest of this entry »


Progressives in Paradise: Obama Calls for Highest Sustained Taxation in U.S. History

BARACK OBAMA-AP_TAXES

(CNSNews.com) – Terence P. Jeffrey writes: In the budget proposal he presented to Congress last month, President Barack Obama called for what would be the highest level of sustained taxation ever imposed on the American people, according to the analysis published last week by the Congressional Budget Office.

Under Obama’s proposal, taxes would rise from 17.6 percent of Gross Domestic Product in 2014 to 19.2 percent in 2024. During the ten years from 2015 to 2024, federal taxation would average 18.7 percent GDP.

America has never been subjected to a ten-year stretch of taxation at that level.

Highest Sustained Taxes

In the twelve fiscal years preceding the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (1930 through 1941), federal taxation averaged 5.3 percent of GDP.

In the five fiscal years encompassing U.S. involvement in World War II (1942 through 1946), federal taxation averaged 16.1 percent of GDP.

In the fiscal years since World War II (1947 through 2013), federal taxation has averaged 17.1 percent of GDP. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] The Hammer: CBOs New, Lower Obamacare Score Still Gargantuan

Charles Krauthammer: Under this administration, the American national debt has still managed to racked up $7 trillion over 5 years.

“This is unimaginable — almost undoable but Obama has succeeded in doing it.”

In order to address the issue of excessive spending, Congress and the president must work towards reforming entitlements, but he remained doubtful that it would take place with the current makeup of Washington…(read more)

National Review Online


8 Infuriating Facts To Remember On Tax Day

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For The Federalist,  writes:  Happy Tax Day, America! It’s not every day that you either get to write a big fat check to Uncle Sam or discover that you’d been loaning him money interest-free for the last year. But have no fear: at least your hard-earned money has been spent on vital projects essential to America’s well-being. Projects like studying shrimp running on treadmills (seriously, you paid for that), or Bridges to Nowhere. Super important stuff like that.

In honor of tax day, here are 8 facts that will make you even angrier than you already are about the state of the U.S. tax system.

1. It will take you 111 days this year just to pay off the government.

According to the Tax Foundation, a non-profit which compiles detailed tax statistics, it will take 111 days this year for American workers to collectively pay their tax bills. That means that every cent you earn throughout those first 111 days of the year gets collected and consumed by government. The Tax Foundation pegs Tax Freedom Day — the day on which the money you earn effectively belongs to you rather than America’s governmental bureaucracy — as April 21 this year. So as you sign your tax returns today, you can rest easy knowing that you’ll still need to work another 6 days before the American tax leviathan will be satisfied.

While millions of Americans continue to send back portions of their hard earned wages to Washington, many federal employees are tax cheats.

During the year of sweeping budget cuts, millions of federal employees faced layoffs, furloughs, and other cutbacks as a result of Congress’ failure to replace sequestration with responsible, targeted cuts. Most of these federal employees are responsible citizens who pay their taxes. Some, however, don’t feel they have to live by the rules like other Americans.

In 2011, the IRS found nearly 312,000 federal employees and retirees were delinquent on their federal income taxes, owing a total of $3.5 billion in unpaid federal income taxes. This represented an 11.5 percent increase in the number of federal employees failing to pay their taxes, and a 2.9 percent increase in the total taxes owed the Treasury by these public servants.

2. Those federal bureaucrats whose salaries you pay? A bunch of them are tax cheats.

According to an investigative report by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), over 300,000 federal employees and retirees were delinquent on their own taxes to the tune of $3.5 billion:

While millions of Americans continue to send back portions of their hard earned wages to Washington, many federal employees are tax cheats. During the year of sweeping budget cuts, millions of federal employees faced layoffs, furloughs, and other cutbacks as a result of Congress’ failure to replace sequestration with responsible, targeted cuts. Most of these federal employees are responsible citizens who pay their taxes. Some, however, don’t feel they have to live by the rules like other Americans. In 2011, the IRS found nearly 312,000 federal employees and retirees were delinquent on their federal income taxes, owing a total of $3.5 billion in unpaid federal income taxes. This represented an 11.5 percent increase in the number of federal employees failing to pay their taxes, and a 2.9 percent increase in the total taxes owed the Treasury by these public servants.

3. You probably pay more in Medicare and Social Security taxes than you do in income taxes…

A lot of tax day commentary focuses on the income tax, but the vast majority of Americans — 80 percent or more — actually pay more in federal payroll taxes (the FICA line on your pay stub) than they do in federal income taxes. Those payroll taxes pay for Medicare and Social Security, the two largest federal entitlement programs.

2013 study from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that each of the bottom four quintiles of income earners in America (the bottom 80 percent) pays a higher effective payroll tax rate than income tax rate. The middle quintile, for example, pays an average payroll tax rate of 8.3 percent and an average effective income tax rate of 1.6 percent. Only the top quintile pays a higher effective income tax rate than it does a payroll tax rate.

 

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Michael Barone: Lower Crime Now May Be a Fruit of Welfare Reform 20 Years Ago

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Welfare reform work requirements may be contributing to the remarkable decline in violent crime  (AP File)

Michael Barone writes: As I was looking over the depressing jobs data for the last five years and the large number of working-age people leaving the work force, I came up with a hypothesis on a related subject, one worth testing and, if valid, acting on.

The jobs data are certainly depressing, as economists of just about every ideological stripe agree. Total national employment is down from the 2007 peak of 147 million to 144 million.

“The most important factor in reducing crime has been improved policing, pioneered by New York Mayors Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg and imitated and adapted by others elsewhere.”

Labor-force participation–the percentage of the adult population with jobs–has been hovering around 63 percent, the lowest since 1978. The Millennial generation is getting socked the hardest. Labor-force participation for those age 20 to 24 is down to the lowest level since 1971.

Read the rest of this entry »


Binge: Obamas Budget Bursting with Sparkly New Spending and Tax Hikes, Never Balances

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Guy Benson  reports:  For the fifth time in six years, Barack Obama missed his budget deadline — and for the sixth time in six years, the spending blueprint he eventually produced never comes close to balancing. The Washington Post previewed Obama’s budget last month, noting that the White House would peddle it as an end to America’s “era of austerity.” That’s rich. Under this president, the federal government has spent more money annually than at any other time in US history.

“Gun control, immigration reform and climate change are extremely low priorities for most Americans, but not for Barack Obama…”

Annual deficits have ranged between $500 billion and $1.4 trillion. Prior to Barack Obama’s presidency, the United States had never racked up a single trillion-dollar annual shortfall. On his watch, Washington has done so four times. The Congressional Budget Office projects that on our current trajectory, we’ll hit $1 trillion again within eight years. Various fact-checkers have confirmed that among his many predecessors, President Obama is the “undisputed debt king,” having added more than $6 trillion to the nation’s red ink since taking office in 2009. In his first campaign, Obama called President Bush “unpatriotic” for amassing more than $4 trillion in gross national debt over two full terms in office.

“This president’s fiscal recklessness and partisan cynicism is has been a calling card of his administration…”

So that, ladies and gentlemen, is the “era of austerity” that Obama has magnanimously decided to end. His new grand vision, the Associated Press reports, will “appeal to Democrats,” and is a politically-charged “messaging” document, according to Time:

Obama’s $3.9 trillion budget represents a laundry-list of policy proposals designed to help Democrats hold the Senate and pick up seats in the House. Obama essentially conceded the point last month, when the White House announced he is dropping calls for an unpopular, but cost-saving measure to change the way inflation is calculated for the purposes of entitlement programs like Social Security…

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The Obamacare Lock-Out Effect

How the president’s health reform will harm the working poor

0000072500001497298482For City Journal,Joel Zinbberg writes:  The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently projected that the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—better known as Obamacare—will lead Americans to reduce the hours they work by 2 percent. This will reduce the overall labor supply by the equivalent of 2.5 million full-time workers over the next decade. The decrease in labor supply will occur because the ACA mandates that everyone buy health insurance and provides large subsidies to low-income individuals and families to buy insurance on the new exchanges. As CBO director Douglas Elmendorf recently testified, “By providing heavily subsidized health insurance to people with very low income, and then withdrawing those subsidies as income rises, the act creates a disincentive for lockoutpeople to work.” Thanks to this implicit tax on extra work, spending a few more hours on the job will, at the margins, result in minimal or even negative income for those qualifying for the ACA’s subsidies. The CBO reports that some will choose to work fewer hours in order to qualify for a subsidy. Others will choose not to work at all.

Normally, when the well-respected CBO finds that a law will significantly decrease the labor supply and harm economic growth, it becomes a great embarrassment to the law’s authors. But the White House insists that critics have misconstrued the CBO report. It’s not a bad thing if people work less, they say. On the contrary, the law will give workers the flexibility to leave jobs that they’re currently “locked” into because of their health-insurance benefits. According to Jason Furman, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, the law will alleviate such “job lock,” giving workers the freedom to work less, enjoy more family time, or start a new business.

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Obama in Wonderland Budget 2015: It’s Time to ‘End to the Era of Austerity’

wonderlandPresident Obama’s forthcoming budget request will seek tens of billions of dollars in fresh spending for domestic priorities while abandoning a compromise proposal to tame the national debt in part by trimming Social Security benefits.Obama-roll-of-diceWith the 2015 budget request, Obama will call for an end to the era of austerity that has dogged much of his presidency and to his efforts to find common ground with Republicans. Instead, the president will focus on pumping new cash into job training, early-childhood education and other programs aimed at bolstering the middle class, providing Democrats with a policy blueprint heading into the midterm elections.

“This reaffirms what has become all too apparent: the president has no interest in doing anything, even modest, to address our looming debt crisis”

–Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner

As part of that strategy, Obama will jettison the framework he unveiled last year for a so-called grand bargain that would have raised taxes on the rich and reined in skyrocketing retirement spending. A centerpiece of that framework was a proposal — demanded by GOP leaders — to use a less-generous measure of inflation to calculate Social Security benefits.

President Bambi

It’s not just Congressional Republicans objecting to catastrophic levels of spending. The most influential critic of irresponsible budgets now holds the nation’s highest office:

“We’ve lived through an era of easy money, in which we were allowed and even encouraged to spend without limits; to borrow instead of save….

Once we get past the present emergency, which requires immediate new investments, we have to break that cycle of debt.

–Barack Obama, 2008

Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey notes:

…If the new budget ends “austerity” by returning to Obama’s original top-line outlay demand of last year’s budget request, that will mean an additional increase of federal spending of 6.7% in just one year. If it’s just $56 billion more than the actual FY2014 outlays, then the notion that this ends “austerity” is doubly laughable.

The notion that we’ve been laboring under an “era of austerity” is as ridiculous and out of touch as … well, as most of Obama’s budget requests during his presidency…”

Republicans said emerging details of the president’s budget prove he was never serious about addressing the nation’s long-term debt problems.

Reality check:

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“This reaffirms what has become all too apparent: the president has no interest in doing anything, even modest, to address our looming debt crisis,” Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), said in a statement. “The one and only idea the president has to offer is even more job-destroying tax hikes, and that non-starter won’t do anything to save the entitlement programs that are critical to so many Americans.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Ed Driscoll: Is Peak Orwell Sustainable?

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Props to Ed Driscoll for the great headline.

Ed Driscoll writes:  It’s no coincidence that the left seems rather Orwellian at times; after all, Ingsoc in1984 was Orwell’s 1949 warning regarding what English Socialism could metastasize into a generation down the line. Why not American socialism?

One of the left’s current (and frequently Orwellian) buzzwords is “sustainability.” Lately, based on recent headlines, the left seems to reaching peak Orwell. Is such a condition sustainable? There seem to be an enormous amount of euphemisms, doublethink and moral evasions in the headlines these days. Here’s a just a taste:

In order to play the losing hand the left have chosen to deal to themselves and the rest of the country via Obamacare, some Ministry of Truth-style euphemisms regarding work and employment have recently become necessary. As Michael Goodwin noted yesterday at the New York Post, “America now has a government that views work as a trap and celebrates those who escape it:”

That is the upshot of last week’s remarkable exchange over ObamaCare. It began when the head of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported that the interplay of taxes and subsidies in the law “creates a disincentive for people to work.” The report predicted the mix would lead to fewer hours worked, costing the equivalent of nearly 2.5 million jobs.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Hammer: Debating CBO’s Obamacare Findings …

 “If you have a part-time job and you’re getting a big subsidy, and you’re offered a better job, you do the calculation…”

Charles Krauthammer pushed back against National Journal’s Ron Fournier’s belief that the recent Congressional Budget Office’s report on Obamacarewas being manipulated to score partisan points…

“…It’s a huge incentive not to take that job — it’s irrefutable”

Read the rest of this entry »


How to Kill The Work Ethic: Obamacare and The Dependency Agenda

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Changing people’s incentives doesn’t make them freer. 

Charles C. W. Cooke writes:  There is a point in almost every debate at which the losing party recognizes its predicament and concludes that its only remaining play is to try to corrupt the language. In Texas, pro-choice hero Wendy Davis has begun, risibly, to describe herself as “pro-life”; in his second inaugural, President Obama cloaked the most ambitious statist agenda in a half-century in the patois of limited government and rebellion; and, in my own country of birth, authorities that lock people up for speaking do so in the ostensible name of “respect.” If you can’t beat ’em, confuse ’em.

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CBO: O-Care will Cost 2.3M workers

jobkill

Erik Wasson  reports:  The new healthcare law will cost the nation the equivalent of 2.3 million workers by 2021, contributing to a $1 trillion increase in projected deficits, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated in a report released Tuesday.

The nonpartisan agency’s report found the healthcare law’s negative effects on the economy will be “substantially larger” than what it had previously anticipated.

The findings immediately roiled the debate over the healthcare law on Capitol Hill ahead of a midterm election that Republicans hope will be dominated by the fight over ObamaCare.

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What if Americans rebel against the Obamacare mandate?

The Obama administration is trying to persuade millions of uninterested, or perhaps reluctant, Americans to purchase health insurance through the Obamacare exchanges. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File-Pool)

The Obama administration is trying to persuade millions of uninterested, or perhaps reluctant, Americans to purchase health insurance through the Obamacare exchanges. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File-Pool)

Byron York  writes:  The Obama administration is trying to persuade millions of uninterested, or perhaps reluctant, Americans to purchase health insurance through the Obamacare exchanges. But the heart of Obamacare is coercion. If Americans fail do what the law’s Democratic authors believe is best, the federal government will punish them, through the progressively higher penalties of the individual mandate, until it hurts more not to buy coverage than it does to give up and purchase it.

But what if many of those Americans rebel? Even if they know having health insurance is better than not having it, what if they refuse to be forced to buy the kind of coverage dictated by the government — which may not really meet their needs — at prices they don’t want to pay? What then?

Read the rest of this entry »


The Age of Envy

envy-riechx

The most embarrassing sin produces the worst politics.

Kevin D. Williamson writes:  Of the seven deadly sins, envy may not be the wickedest, but it is the most embarrassing. To be possessed by envy is to admit a humiliating personal inadequacy: We do not envy others those attainments that we think we too might achieve, but those we despair of ever possessing. Wrath, greed, pride, lust — all assume a certain self-possession. Sloth and gluttony are practically standard issue in times of plenty such as these. Wrath and pride are the sins of great (but not good) men. Envy is the affliction of the insignificant. It is the small man’s sin.

Which brings us to Robert Reich, who, having practically made a cult of envy, has taken to abusing the well-off for their acts of charity. Professor Reich, a ward of the taxpayers of California (at $246,199.84 per annum) and a federal ward before that, is persistently unhappy about how other people use their money, and he scoffs that America’s rich philanthropists are phony and self-serving, investing too much in opera and ballet and fancy colleges, and too little in feeding the hungry and housing the homeless. He particularly resents the fact that our tax code encourages such giving, with deductions that reduced federal revenue by some $39 billion last year — federal revenue that could have gone toward employing men such as Robert Reich.

This calls to mind Edmund Spenser’s description of Envy personified: “He hated all good works and virtuous deeds / And him no less, that any like did use / And who with gracious bread the hungry feeds / His alms for want of faith he doth accuse.”

Professor Reich being Professor Reich, you can guess how his argument unfolds. (If you have read one Robert Reich column, which is one too many, you have read them all.) He writes: “As the tax year draws to a close, the charitable tax deduction beckons. America’s wealthy are its largest beneficiaries. According to the Congressional Budget Office, $33 billion of last year’s $39 billion in total charitable deductions went to the richest 20 percent of Americans, of whom the richest 1 percent reaped the lion’s share.” It goes without saying that he makes no attempt to compare the apportionment of charitable tax deductions with charitable donations — that would only complicate things and invite an unpleasant encounter with reality.

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Reality Check: Only 3% of Americans Believe Immigration Most Important Issue

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Tony Lee reports:  Though Republicans and Democrats in favor of comprehensive immigration reform are ready to make a final push next year, a new national Gallup poll released on Thursday found that only 3% of the country believes immigration reform is the most important issue that needs to be addressed.

The top concern of Americans who were surveyed was “dissatisfaction with the government” (21%). That was followed by the economy (19%), healthcare (17%), unemployment (12), the budget deficit (9%), moral/ethical decline (7%), poverty/hunger/homelessness (5%), and education (4%).

Immigration also does not register among the top-five most important issues to Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.

Read the rest of this entry »


One Cheer for Our Unproductive Congress

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When so much of what government does makes matters worse, inactivity is a blessing

Michael Tanner writes:  As this session of the 113th Congress draws to a merciful close, much of the punditry has picked up on the refrain that this is the “most unproductive Congress in history.” Indeed, this Congress has passed just 28 bills, easily eclipsing the previous record for inactivity set by Congress in 2012, when it passed just 68 new laws. But why, we might ask, is this such a bad thing?

Sure, there are things we might have wished Congress had accomplished. Something to address immigration or entitlement reform springs to mind. And it certainly would have produced less chaos if Congress had actually managed to pass annual appropriations bills instead of cramming all spending into the usual last-minute continuing resolution.

But there is a presumption behind such handwringing that we really need Congress to be even more involved in our lives than it is. Consider the laundry list of new programs that President Obama introduced in his State of the Union address back in January: early-childhood education, green energy, more economic stimulus, a higher minimum wage, and so on. Would we really have been better off if those things had passed?

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How To Opt Out Of Obamacare

Know your options and become savvy self-pay patients

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 writes:  December has arrived, and the deadline to apply for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act that will be effective January 1 is looming large. Recent press accounts suggest the online exchanges are working somewhat better than before, although there are still problems with the federal site and several of the state sites as well.

At the same time that people are being urged to sign up for health insurance by the Obama administration and its allies, others are urging people to ‘opt out’ of Obamacare, particularly the young who are generally being asked to pay much higher premiums than before. A few of the groups urging people not to sign up for health insurance under Obamacare include Generation Opportunity,FreedomWorks, and the Citizens Council for Health Freedom.

I won’t bother repeating the arguments of either side here, I’ll simply note that it’s likely tens of millions of Americans will chose to ‘opt out’ of Obamacare for a variety of reasons. These reasons include not being able to afford health insurance, not finding value in health insurance, and political or ideological opposition to Obamacare. To cite just one source, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that about 30 million people will remain uninsured under Obamacare.

The one thing that is missing from most of the arguments urging people to opt out of Obamacare is what they should do instead. Since most of these messages are aimed primarily at the young, I thought I’d share a bit of info on three individuals I know who fell into the ‘young invincible’ category at one point:

So, in my view, there’s a right way to opt out of Obamacare and there’s a wrong way to opt out of Obamacare. Read the rest of this entry »


Hope ‘n Change: In Many States, the Recovery is Making the Income Gap Worse

A sign showing a foreclosed home in Texas for sale in August 2006. (David J. Phillip/Associated Press.)

A sign showing a foreclosed home in Texas for sale in August 2006. (David J. Phillip/Associated Press.)

Niraj Chokshi writes:  The income gap in America has been widening for decades and the modest three-year recovery did little to change that, according to new Census data.

The new data suggest that despite modest recoveries in many states, the middle class has been shrinking while households have been added in the lowest and highest income brackets. In many states and nationally, the highest income brackets saw more growth than the lowest, but households in the middle brackets continued to decline. The state-by-state data compare incomes from a pair of three-year periods: 2007 through 2009, a span that included the Great Recession, and 2010 through 2012, a period that included the ongoing and modest recovery.

For years, the wealthiest 1 percent have amassed income more quickly than the rest. From 1979 through 2007, for example, the top 1 percent of households saw income grow by 275 percent, according to a nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office study. Compare that to the bottom fifth of households, which saw income gains of only 18 percent over that time. Recent Nobel Prize winner for economics Robert Shiller, who is known for creating a closely tracked home-price index, last month called income inequality “the most important problem that we are facing now today.” And just last week, President Obama’s nominee to lead the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, called income inequality “an extremely difficult and to my mind very worrisome problem.”

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Why We Have Federal Deficits

6a00d8341c3e3953ef0167661243ea970b-320wiCharles Blahous writes: Today the Mercatus Center is releasing a study I completed earlier this year that comprehensively analyzes the policy decisions underlying federal deficits.  Too often partisan advocates focus on a limited time period to purposely throw blame on a targeted political figure.  Instead I dissected the entire budget, identifying deficit-driving policies regardless of when they were enacted.  The study was a mammoth undertaking; it required the digestion of practically every Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) budget report published over the past forty years.

The striking finding is that more than three-quarters of our long-term fiscal problem derives from a set of policy decisions made over a period of just seven years, 1965 to 1972.  1965 saw the establishment of Medicare and Medicaid, advocated for and signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson.  Both of these programs were later expanded in 1972 during the Nixon administration, as was Social Security.  Nothing done by any recent President or Congress carries long-term fiscal consequences as daunting as those arising from these 1965-72 decisions. Read the rest of this entry »


Credibility Crisis: NBC Interviews President, Concludes Obama ‘Does Not Believe He Lied’

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John Nolte reports:  NBC’s Chuck Todd scored a huge interview with President Obama Thursday and opened things by immediately drilling down on the president’s relentlessly repeated lie that under ObamaCare you can keep your current  insurance plan if you like it. The full interview is even more impressive than the clips that have been going around. Even after he elicits a “sorry” from Obama, Todd keeps after the point for almost ten minutes.

Ultimately, though, Todd came away with the impression that Obama doesn’t believe he lied. And Todd is probably right, which is a little unnerving.

During his own interview on the Hugh Hewitt show Friday with guest host Carol Platt Liebau, Todd said, “You know, he does not believe he lied on this, and that’s the sense I get.” Here is Todd’s entire quote:

You know, he does not believe he lied on this, and that’s the sense I get. I mean, I think that that’s, he’s taken issue with that before with folks off the record, and I got it’s a sensitive issue, felt like he did not sit there and say he intentionally lied. He said that he wanted to, he thought he was going to be able to keep this promise. I thought what was revealing in that answer, when I asked him that direct question about this, was this a political lie that you started to believe it, was he talked about well, you know, it turns out we had trouble in crafting the law.

If Obama has convinced himself he didn’t lie, that borders on pathological. We now know that as far back as 2010 the president knew eight to nine million people would lose their health insurance. We have him on video admitting to that:

The 8 to 9 million people you refer to that might have to change their coverage — keep in mind out of the 300 million Americans that we are talking about — would be folks who the CBO, the Congressional Budget Office,  estimates would find the deal in the exchange better. Would be a better deal. So, yes, they would change coverage because they got more choice and competition.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Daily Hammer

TheHammer

President Obama’s decision to tell people they could keep the healthcare they liked was not only unwise, it was untrue and the president knew it, Charles Krauthammer said Friday night.

“So now, it resolves the issue — was he himself deceived or ignorant of the law? Or did he know?” Krauthammer said.

Krauthammer went on the blast Obama for saying that only those who the CBO said it would get a better deal would get forced off their plans.

“I mean, this is compounding his problem of saying the truth,” he said.

National Review Online


The Transformation of the USA: Introducing America 3.0

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digi

The recent political deadlock and government shutdown, and the disastrous rollout of ObamaCare, show that something is seriously wrong in Washington, D.C.

What’s going on?

America is going through a transformation, on a scale that few people now realize. The last such fundamental change was from the rural and agrarian society of the Founding era (America 1.0) to the urban and industrial society which is now coming to an end (America 2.0).

That transition was disruptive and painful, but ultimately led to a better America.

We are now making a similar transition to a post-industrial, networked, decentralized, immensely productive America, with a more individualistic, voluntarist, anti-bureaucratic culture (America 3.0).

Today’s political regime is like legacy software, built for an earlier world.

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cpu-digi2

Institutions of the 20th Century welfare state that once looked permanent are crumbling. The old operating system has been kludged so many times it won’t work much longer. It has to be replaced.

The time-worn liberal-progressive wisdom is simple: See a problem, create a government program to fix it.

ObamaCare proves this approach no longer works.

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The ‘most disturbing sentence uttered during the debt ceiling debate…’

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JOHN HINDERAKER: As Tyler Durden notes, this is the “most disturbing sentence uttered during the debt ceiling debate/government shut down.” America is now going on $17 trillion in debt, a level of insolvency that would already be regarded as catastrophic if the Fed were not keeping interest rates close to zero.

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