Posted: January 25, 2017 Filed under: Economics, Entertainment, Mediasphere, Politics, White House | Tags: Barack Obama, Congressional Budget Office, Donald Trump, Medicaid, Medicare (United States), Nancy Pelosi, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Republican Party (United States), United States, United States Congress Joint Committee on Taxation
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.
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.
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%.
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 »
Posted: September 21, 2016 Filed under: Law & Justice, Politics, Think Tank | Tags: 111th United States Congress, Aetna, Affordable Health Care for America Act, Barack Obama, Health Care, Health Insurance, Insurance Claims Process, James Baker Institute, Medicaid, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Public policy, Rice University, State Children's Health Insurance Program, United States Census Bureau, Young invincibles
Lawmakers, press and the public need to understand the strength of this “doubling down” phenomenon of and guard against it when adopting policy positions.
In simplified form, the dynamic runs as follows:
1) Government, in response to a perceived need, takes action to meet that need in a manner that distorts economic behavior and produces predictable adverse effects.
2) The public consequently experiences problems and expresses concern.
3) The problems themselves become justification for additional government actions that worsen the distortions and the resultant problems.
4) As problems worsen, the public more urgently demands corrective actions.
5) Steps #3 and #4 are repeated ad infinitum.
We have seen and continue to see this dynamic operate in many areas of economic policy. To cite but a few:
Worker Health Benefits
With the best of intentions the federal government has long exempted worker compensation in the form of health benefits from income taxation. Lawmakers aren’t scaling back the flawed policy that fuels these problems.There is wide consensus among economists that the results of this policy have been highly deleterious. As I have written previously, this tax exclusion “depresses wages, it drives up health spending, it’s regressive, and it makes it harder for people with enduring health conditions to change jobs or enter the individual insurance market.” Lawmakers have reacted not by scaling back the flawed policy that fuels these problems, but rather by trying to shield Americans from the resulting health care cost increases. This has been done through the enactment of additional health programs and policies that further distort health markets and which themselves drive personal and government health spending still higher.
Federal Health Programs
The federal government has enacted programs such as Medicare and Medicaid to protect vulnerable seniors and poor Americans from ruinous health care costs.
The positive benefits of these programs co-exist with well-documented adverse effects. For example, it is firmly established that creating these programs pushed up national health spending, driving health costs higher for Americans as a whole. Consumer displeasure over these health cost increases subsequently became a rationale for still more government health spending, rather than reducing government’s contribution to the problem. Examples of this doubling down include the health exchange subsidies established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as well as its further expansion of Medicaid. As the problem of high health care costs remains, proposals have proliferated to expand government’s role still further; for example, some have proposed making Medicare available to the entire US population. Though intended to provide relief, such legislation inevitably adds to national health spending growth. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 24, 2015 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Guns and Gadgets, Self Defense | Tags: Bank Robbery, Bp, Carjacking, Conceal Carry, Concealed carry, Detroit, Johns Hopkins, Maryland, Medicaid, Michigan, murder, Robbery, The Citizens Bank, Warren, WJBK
DETROIT – Another robbery victim fights back after he’s targeted at a Detroit bus stop. The 23-year-old had officially become a Concealed Pistol License holder a couple of weeks ago and after what happened Sunday night – it was just in time.
Tremain, who doesn’t want to be identified because his family fears retaliation, says his brother had just finished work and was waiting for the bus at Schaefer and West Outer Drive on the west side when three teens confronted him.
One pulled out a gun and demanded his money.
“They threatened him and told him if he moved they were going to blow him which is a term for I’m going to kill or shoot you if you move,” Tremaine said. “And that’s what ended up happening.”
One of the suspects reached into the victim’s pocket and stole $220. The trio became excited about the money they just nabbed and became distracted – at that moment the CPL holder pulled out his gun and fired.
He hit the16-year-old in the chest and the 17-year-old in the leg. The 19-year-old took off running. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: March 5, 2015 Filed under: Law & Justice, Think Tank, White House | Tags: Barack Obama, Health Insurance, Health insurance exchange, Internal Revenue Service, Medicaid, Oral argument in the United States, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Subsidy, Supreme Court of the United States, Tax credit
What happens to the subsidies should not be the court’s concern. The only question that matters in King is whether the administration used the IRS to rewrite a law Congress passed
John Davidson writes: The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments today in what is probably one of the most straightforward questions of statutory interpretation ever to come before the court.
“Over and over, the law says premium subsidies are only to be disbursed ‘through an Exchange established by the State.’ It says this nine times.”
At the heart of King v. Burwell is whether the text of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) means what it says. Specifically, the case hinges on what the word “state” means. Does it mean one of the fifty states, or does it mean the states and the federal government?
At issue are the tax credits (subsidies) the law doles out to help Americans pay for health insurance premiums sold through the exchanges. Over and over, the law says premium subsidies are only to be disbursed “through an Exchange established by the State.” It says this nine times.
“Their assumption was that states would set up the exchanges and federal subsidies would flow through them, as described in the law. When 37 states opted instead to let the federal government set up exchanges, it exposed the weakness of the law’s reliance on cooperative federalism.”
If Obamacare is to be faithfully executed, say the challengers in King, then federal subsidies for health insurance are not allowed in the 37 states that failed or refused to set up a state-based exchange and instead have federal “default” exchanges. Two different sections of the law authorize exchanges and distinguish in statute between an exchange a state has established (section 1311) and an exchange the Secretary of Health and Human Services has established in states that fail to create one (1321). Subsidies are available only to those who purchase coverage on a state-based—section 1311—exchange.
Cooperative Versus Competitive Federalism
Suffice to say that Obamacare’s exchanges are built on the idea of cooperative federalism: the federal government, unable to simply commandeer state agencies, invites states to implement federal policies in return for federal funding or favorable regulatory treatment.
States carry out a great many federal policies and programs using cooperative federalism, like Medicaid, Common Core, and a host of environmental regulations.
“It comes down to a question about the rule of law and whether, in an advanced administrative state, laws can have a fixed meaning.”
States carry out a great many federal policies and programs using this scheme, like Medicaid, Common Core, and a host of environmental regulations. Because Obamacare meddles so much with health insurance markets, which states traditionally regulated, it relies on the practice of cooperative federalism to an astonishing degree. Congress had hoped to induce states to cooperate by making subsidies contingent on states setting up their own exchanges—a policy proposition that, like Medicaid expansion, could bring millions or even billions of federal dollars into a state. At least, that’s what the Kingchallengers contend.
That’s where Obamacare’s legislative history comes into play. When Senate Democrats passed the ACA in December 2010, they hadn’t a vote to spare. When Republican Scott Brown won a special election the very next month to fill the seat vacated by Sen. Edward Kennedy’s death, Senate Republicans gained enough votes to filibuster a conference report on the House and Senate bills. Congressional Democrats therefore had to resort to the budget reconciliation process to pass the final version of the law: they opted for an imperfect bill, one that didn’t go as far as many Democrats had originally wanted, instead of no bill at all.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 14, 2015 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Economics, Mediasphere, Think Tank, U.S. News | Tags: Federal Government, fraud, Health Insurance, Medicaid, Obamacare, Reason (magazine), U.S. government, Waste
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Posted: February 1, 2014 Filed under: History, Politics, U.S. News | Tags: Death, Detroit, Detroit News, Infant mortality, Kevin D. Williamson, Medicaid, National Review, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, United States
Detroit is not healthy for children and other living things
Kevin D. Williamson writes: There are many horrific stories to be told about the implosion of Detroit, once the nation’s most prosperous city, today its poorest. There is the story of its corrupt public institutions, its feckless leaders, its poisonous racial politics, its practically nonexistent economy, the riots that have led to its thrice being occupied by federal troops. The most horrific story may be that of the death of its children.
“Detroit represents nothing less than progressivism in its final stage of decadence”
Detroit has the highest child-mortality rate of any American city, exceeding that of many parts of what we used to call the Third World. The rate of death before the age of 18 in Detroit is nearly three times New York City’s, and it’s infant-mortality rate exceeds that of Botswana. The main cause of premature death among the children of Detroit is premature birth — the second is murder. While the city’s murder rate among adults is nothing to be proud of, more horrifying is the fact that between 30 and 40 children are murdered in Detroit in a typical year. Some of those children are nine-month-olds killed by rifle fire in their beds; some are budding criminals in their late teens — and each of those situations offers its own unique horrors.
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Posted: December 28, 2013 Filed under: Economics, Politics, Think Tank | Tags: Cadillac, Democratic Party, Medicaid, Middle class, Obamacare, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Tea Party, United States
Victor Davis Hanson writes: On almost every left-right issue that divides Democrats and Republicans — as well as Republicans themselves — there is a neglected populist constituency.
The result is that populist politics are largely caricatured as Tea Party extremism — and a voice for the middle class is largely absent.
The problem with ObamaCare is that its well-connected and influential supporters — pet businesses, unions and congressional insiders — have already won exemption from it.
The rich will always have their concierge doctors and Cadillac health plans. The poor can usually find low-cost care through Medicaid, federal clinics and emergency rooms.
In contrast, those who have lost their preferred individual plans, or will pay higher premiums and deductibles, are largely members of the self-employed middle class. They are too poor to have their own exclusive health care coverage but too wealthy for most government subsidies. So far, ObamaCare is falling hardest on the middle class.
Consider the trillion-dollar student loan mess. Millions of young people do not qualify for grants predicated on either income levels, ancestry or both. Nor are their parents wealthy enough to pay their tuition or room-and-board costs. The result is that the middle class — parents and students alike — has accrued a staggering level of student loan debt.
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Posted: November 14, 2013 Filed under: History, Think Tank | Tags: Congressional Budget Office, Lyndon B. Johnson, Medicaid, Medicare, Mercatus Center, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, United States, United States Congress
Charles 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 »
Posted: November 14, 2013 Filed under: History, Politics, Think Tank | Tags: Barack Obama, California, Colorado, Gun politics, Medicaid, New Hampshire, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, United States
“We told you so”
Steve Chapman writes: No issue in recent years has polarized Americans as much as Obamacare. It produced a party-line vote in Congress, a near-fatal court battle, a revolt by states that refused to run exchanges or expand Medicaid, dozens of House votes to repeal it and, now, a bungled launch that could be its undoing. It’s a barroom brawl that never ends.
Barack Obama’s health care plan hit nerves that are still radiating pain among many people. But being a federal program, it couldn’t accommodate the many Americans who want a different approach. It’s a zero-sum game. One side has to win, and the other has to lose. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: November 1, 2013 Filed under: Entertainment, Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: Barack Obama, Christine O'Donnell, Kevin Williamson, Medicaid, National Review, Obamacare, Pat Toomey, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
“Hell comes in small steps. And before you know it you’re there.”
Breitbart News: What do conservatives have to do to resonate with young people?
GG: They have to explain, succinctly, why their stuff works. And you have to do it with humor, minus jargon, minus anger. Freedom is fun. It’s not shrill.
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