One of the sad and dangerous signs of our times is how many people are enthralled by words, without bothering to look at the realities behind those words.
One of those words that many people seldom look behind is “education.” But education can cover anything from courses on nuclear physics to courses on baton twirling.
Unfortunately, an increasing proportion of American education, whether in the schools or in the colleges and universities, is closer to the baton twirling end of the spectrum than toward the nuclear physics end. Even reputable colleges are increasingly teaching things that students should have learned in high school.
We don’t have a backlog of serious students trying to take serious courses. If you look at the fields in which American students specialize in colleges and universities, those fields are heavily weighted toward the soft end of the spectrum.
When it comes to postgraduate study in tough fields like math and science, you often find foreign students at American universities receiving more of such degrees than do Americans.
A recent headline in the Chronicle of Higher Education said: “Master’s in English: Will Mow Lawns.” It featured a man with that degree who has gone into the landscaping business because there is no great demand for people with Master’s degrees in English.
Too many of the people coming out of even our most prestigious academic institutions graduate with neither the skills to be economically productive nor the intellectual development to make them discerning citizens and voters.
Students can graduate from some of the most prestigious institutions in the country, without ever learning anything about science, mathematics, economics or anything else that would make them either a productive contributor to the economy or an informed voter who can see through political rhetoric.
On the contrary, people with such “education” are often more susceptible to demagoguery than the population at large. Nor is this a situation peculiar to America. In countries around the world, people with degrees in soft subjects have been sources of political unrest, instability and even mass violence.
Nor is this a new phenomenon. A scholarly history of 19th century Prague referred to “the well-educated but underemployed” Czech young men who promoted ethnic polarization there– a polarization that not only continued, but escalated, in the 20th century to produce bitter tragedies for both Czechs and Germans.
In other central European countries, between the two World Wars a rising class of newly educated young people bitterly resented having to compete with better qualified Jews in the universities and with Jews already established in business and the professions. Anti-Semitic policies and violence were the result.
It was much the same story in Asia, where successful minorities like the Chinese in Malaysia were resented by newly educated Malays without either the educational or business skills to compete with them. These Malaysians demanded– and got– heavily discriminatory laws and policies against the Chinese.
Similar situations developed at various times in Nigeria, Romania, Sri Lanka, Hungary and India, among other places.
Many Third World countries have turned out so many people with diplomas, but without meaningful skills, that “the educated unemployed” became a cliche among people who study such countries. This has not only become a personal problem for those individuals who have been educated, or half-educated, without acquiring any ability to fulfill their rising expectations, it has become a major economic and political problem for these countries.
Such people have proven to be ideal targets for demagogues promoting polarization and strife. We in the United States are still in the early stages of that process. But you need only visit campuses where whole departments feature soft courses preaching a sense of victimhood and resentment, and see the consequences in racial and ethnic polarization on campus.
There are too many other soft courses that allow students to spend years in college without becoming educated in any real sense.
We don’t need more government “investment” to produce more of such “education.” Lofty words like “investment” should not blind us to the ugly reality of political porkbarrel spending.
The government goes on as if there is no $16 trillion debt with Social Security and Medicare near broke. Do we really need this crap?
For those of you who wonder why so many women, Catholics and Hispanics voted with the TEA Party in 2010, this nonsense is one of the reasons.Democrats will not make priorities and the cuts we eed to keep the important programs going and pay the debt. The GOP will only do it if we keep their feet to the fire.
That’s the idea behind a $2 million project being unveiled Wednesday in the lunchroom of a San Antonio elementary school, where high-tech cameras installed in the cafeteria will begin photographing what foods children pile onto their trays — and later capture what they don’t finish eating.
Digital imaging analysis of the snapshots will then calculate how many calories each student scarfed down. Local health officials said the program, funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant, is the first of its kind in a U.S. school, and will be so precise that the technology can identify a half-eaten pear left on a lunch tray.
“This is very sophisticated,” said Dr. Roberto Trevino, director of the San Antonio-based Social & Health Research Center, which will oversee the program.
The grant from the USDA will fund the study for four years. Trevino said the coming school year will be very experimental, with programmers fine-tuning the cameras and imaging software to accurately identify what’s a pear and what’s an apple. He expects the “prototype” to be in place by the second year.
Where is the “Islamic tolerance” crowd when it comes to the slaughter of Christians in Islamic countries; the stoning of women; the denial of rights to women; and the banning of Bibles and the banning of the building of Christian and Jewish steeples in Islamic countries? Where is their outrage then?
Swiss ban on minarets was a vote for tolerance and inclusion. The Swiss vote highlights the debate on Islam as a set of political and collectivist ideas, not a rejection of Muslims.
The recent Swiss referendum that bans construction of minarets has caused controversy across the world. There are two ways to interpret the vote. First, as a rejection of political Islam, not a rejection of Muslims. In this sense it was a vote for tolerance and inclusion, which political Islam rejects. Second, the vote was a revelation of the big gap between how the Swiss people and the Swiss elite judge political Islam.
In the battle of ideas, symbols are important.
What if the Swiss voters were asked in a referendum to ban the building of an equilateral cross with its arms bent at right angles as a symbol of the belief of a small minority? Or imagine a referendum on building towers topped with a hammer and sickle – another symbol dear to the hearts of a very small minority in Switzerland.
Political ideas have symbols: A swastika, a hammer and sickle, a minaret, a crescent with a star in the middle (usually on top of a minaret) all represent a collectivist political theory of supremacy by one group over all others.
On controversial issues, the Swiss listen to debate, read newspapers, and otherwise investigate when they make up their minds for a vote.
What Europeans are finding out about Islam as they investigate is that it is more than just a religion. Islam offers not only a spiritual framework for dealing with such human questions as birth, death, and what ought to come after this world; it prescribes a way of life.
Islam is an idea about how society should be organized: the individual’s relationship to the state; the relationship between men and women; rules for the interaction between believers and unbelievers; how to enforce such rules; and why a government under Islam is better than a government founded on other ideas. These political ideas of Islam have their symbols: the minaret, the crescent; the head scarf, and the sword.
The minaret is a symbol of Islamist supremacy, a token of domination that came to symbolize Islamic conquest. It was introduced decades after the founding of Islam.
In Europe, as in other places in the world where Muslims settle, the places of worship are simple at first. All that a Muslim needs to fulfill the obligation of prayer is a compass to indicate the direction of Mecca, water for ablution, a clean prayer mat, and a way of telling the time so as to pray five times a day in the allocated period.
The construction of large mosques with extremely tall towers that cost millions of dollars to erect are considered only after the demography of Muslims becomes significant.
The mosque evolves from a prayer house to a political center.
Imams can then preach a message of self-segregation and a bold rejection of the ways of the non-Muslims.
Men and women are separated; gays, apostates and Jews are openly condemned; and believers organize around political goals that call for the introduction of forms of sharia (Islamic) law, starting with family law.
This is the trend we have seen in Europe, and also in other countries where Muslims have settled. None of those Western academics, diplomats, and politicians who condemn the Swiss vote to ban the minaret address, let alone dispute, these facts.
In their response to the presence of Islam in their midst, Europeans have developed what one can discern as roughly two competing views. The first view emphasizes accuracy. Is it accurate to equate political symbols like those used by Communists and Nazis with a religious symbol like the minaret and its accessories of crescent and star; the uniforms of the Third Reich with the burqa and beards of current Islamists?
If it is accurate, then Islam, as a political movement, should be rejected on the basis of its own bigotry. In this view, Muslims should not be rejected as residents or citizens. The objection is to practices that are justified in the name of Islam, like honor killings, jihad, the we-versus-they perspective, the self-segregation. In short, Islamist supremacy.
The second view refuses to equate political symbols of various forms of white fascism with the symbols of a religion. In this school of thought, Islamic Scripture is compared to Christian and Jewish Scripture. Those who reason from this perspective preach pragmatism. According to them, the key to the assimilation of Muslims is dialogue. They are prepared to appease some of the demands that Muslim minorities make in the hope that one day their attachment to radical Scripture will wear off like that of Christian and Jewish peoples.
These two contrasting perspectives correspond to two quite distinct groups in Europe. The first are mainly the working class. The second are the classes that George Orwell described as “indeterminate.” Cosmopolitan in outlook, they include diplomats, businesspeople, mainstream politicians, and journalists. They are well versed in globalization and tend to focus on the international image of their respective countries. With every conflict between Islam and the West, they emphasize the possible backlash from Muslim countries and how that will affect the image of their country.
By contrast, those who reject the ideas and practices of political Islam are in touch with Muslims on a local level. They have been asked to accept Muslim immigrants as neighbors, classmates, colleagues – they are what Americans would refer to as Main Street. Here is the great paradox of today’s Europe: that the working class, who voted for generations for the left, now find themselves voting for right-wing parties because they feel that the social democratic parties are out of touch.
The pragmatists, most of whom are power holders, are partially right when they insist that the integration of Muslims will take a very long time. Their calls for dialogue are sensible. But as long as they do not engage Muslims to make a choice between the values of the countries that they have come to and those of the countries they left, they will find themselves faced with more surprises. And this is what the Swiss vote shows us. This is a confrontation between local, working-class voters (and some middle-class feminists) and Muslim immigrant newcomers who feel that they are entitled, not only to practice their religion, but also to replace the local political order with that of their own.
Look carefully at the reactions of the Swiss, EU and UN elites. The Swiss government is embarrassed by the outcome of the vote. The Swedes, who are currently chairing EU meetings, have condemned the Swiss vote as intolerant and xenophobic. It is remarkable that the Swedish foreign minister, Carl Bildt, said in public that the Swiss vote is a poor act of diplomacy. What he overlooks is that this is a discussion of Islam as a domestic issue. It has nothing to do with foreign policy.
The Swiss vote highlights the debate on Islam as a domestic issue in Europe. That is, Islam as a set of political and collectivist ideas. Native Europeans have been asked over and over again by their leaders to be tolerant and accepting of Muslims. They have done that. And that can be measured a) by the amount of taxpayer money that is invested in healthcare, housing, education, and welfare for Muslims and b) the hundreds of thousands of Muslims who are knocking on the doors of Europe to be admitted. If those people who cry that Europe is intolerant are right, if there was, indeed, xenophobia and a rejection of Muslims, then we would have observed the reverse. There would have been an exodus of Muslims out of Europe.
There is indeed a wider international confrontation between Islam and the West. The Iraq and Afghan wars are part of that, not to mention the ongoing struggle between Israelis and Palestinians and the nuclear ambitions of Iran. That confrontation should never be confused with the local problem of absorbing those Muslims who have been permitted to become permanent residents and citizens into European societies.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author of “Infidel,” is the Somali-born women’s rights advocate and former Dutch parliamentarian. Her forthcoming book is entitled “Nomad.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali:
Multiculturalism is a form of racism. Leftist westerners believe that multiculturalism is a form of generosity. In reality it is a form of generosity to the perpetrators of tyranny.
When a culture performs female genital mutilation… the leftist thinks that there must be something good about it that “we” don’t understand. Who suffers?
When the Muslim father of a female student wants to pull her out of school and marry her off. She goes to her teacher and says “I do not want to go and be married and be a baby factory for a man I don’t even know, I want to stay in school and learn”.
So the teacher has a meeting with the father. The father says “If you go so far as to mention this to me or my daughter again I will go to the anti-discrimination authority and bring you up on charges.” The next thing you know the student is gone and no one dares have anything to say about it.
Leadership is never a political strategy, it is a moral one.
Wow, Geithner is spinning hard. 3% of businesses. Most businesses are on paper or are 1-2 man operations. Small businesses used to do almost 80% of the hiring in this country, now it is only 64%. The tax he wants will affect most businesses who actually hire. That is the point he is so desperate to avoid. Congressman Ellmers almost put him away and the following two questions in red text would be the key followups that would have finished him, “Mr. Geithner, how much of that 3% of small businesses you want to tax actually employ five or more people?”
At the same time the Obama Administration is fine with his friends at Google paying 2.4% on $3.1 billion in profits. General Electric, which was ran by Obama’s friend GE CEO Jeffery Immelt who just took a job at the White House, paid no tax on $14.2 billion in income and actually got government subsidies. GE also owned MSNBC until just recently, but I am sure that is just another one of those funny coincidences.
Geithner talks about the top 2%, but what he didn’t tell you is that the way the tax code works that top 2% excludes much of the very wealthy [see this link for details why]; who such a tax smacks are the genuine wealth creators , upper middle class risk takers and small businesses. A husband and wife with two kids may own and operate three local pizza shops and on paper that small business will bring in $250,000 a year in income (notice I did not say profits, I said income), but most of that money will go to paying employees, buying the pizza delivery man’s gasoline, food, energy for the ovens and freezers, boxes, cleaning supplies, wages, other taxes etc. Everyone must get paid before the owners do and they will be lucky to scrape $50K for themselves, which in turn they will be paying more taxes on.
Then comes the right hook, “Mr. Geithner, how can one be against small businesses that actually hire (pause for effect) and for jobs at the same time?”
I just talked to Addison Scott, who is on Congressman Ellmers’ staff, and I passed those two questions on to them. I can’t wait to see her lay these two questions on Geithner and watch him squirm.
Geithner’s explanation of the administration’s small-business tax plan came in an exchange with first-term Rep. Renee Ellmers (R.-N.C.). Ellmers, a nurse, decided to run for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 after she became active in the grass-roots opposition to President Barack Obama’s proposed health-care reform plan in 2009.
“Overwhelmingly, the businesses back home and across the country continue to tell us that regulation, lack of access to capital, taxation, fear of taxation, and just the overwhelming uncertainties that our businesses face is keeping them from hiring,” Ellmers told Geithner. “They just simply cannot.”
She then challenged Geithner on the administration’s tax plan.
“Looking into the future, you are supporting the idea of taxation, increasing taxes on those who make $250,000 or more. Those are our business owners,” said Ellmers.
Geithner initially responded by saying that the administration’s planned tax increase would hit “three percent of your small businesses.”
Ellmers then said: “Sixty-four percent of jobs that are created in this country are for small business.”
Geithner conceded the point, but then suggested the administration’s planned tax increase on small businesses would be “good for growth.”
Good for the growth of government perhaps, not the economy.
Bill Whiddle, who is as solid and bright as any communications strategist I have ever seen, in the video below gives us a great refresher in advertising techniques, branding, political messaging, and what he calls “iconography”. The best modern text on this very subject comes from author David Kupellian in his book The Marketing of Evil.
Let me give you an example of what is meant by iconography.
The Nazi Brand:
We all know what the Nazi Swastika is. Today it represents the kind of leviathan state evil that resulted in the murder of millions. It is important to keep in mind that the perception of the Swastika icon or brand was not always so negative. In the 1930’s Hitler was the darling of a large portion of American leftist academia, the media and many leftist political groups. For several years until Hitler took the rest of the Czechoslovakia after being handed the Czech Sudetenlands his brand was largely respected by large groups of people. For years Hitler and Mussolini were treated as brilliant visionaries who had discovered a “third way” as it were.
A brand can have its meaning changed, but the iconography stays virtually forever. Just like…
The GM Brand:
Here is another icon whose brand has changed and is in the process of changing at this moment.
The brand the GM symbol represents also used to be highly respected and in many ways revered. A true American icon. In short the GM brand used to mean this:
Now the GM brand is in the process of becoming a joke. Government Motors it is called. They make cars that are too expensive, do not hold up well, and that people do not want to drive. Ironically those are the qualities of the current status of government today.
Like all iconography, as we will see more of in the video below, the icon can be used against the brand.
The Obama Brand:
One will find that much of the same manipulation of iconography is used by the Obama brand and against it.
[Note: Disclaimer for leftists and idiots – We are NOT saying that Obama is the same thing as Hitler and neither is Bill Whiddle in the video below, so don’t even go there. This is about the iconography ONLY!]
When I was growing up, gas was 70 cents a gallon and when you went to get gas, a young person who was apprenticing at the service center attached to most every gas station would come out, pump your gas, check your tires and fluids, wipers etc. That young person was apprenticing under an experienced mechanic and learning valuable skills.
Those days are gone. Now gas is $4.00 and you pump it yourself. Service? Forget it, you will be lucky if the clerk speaks English. The minimum wage, labor regulations, and government regulations have brought such apprenticeships to a screeching halt.
Central planning of an economy doesn’t work in large, diverse, environments, and works poorly in small homo-genius societies (Greece, Spain, Portugal all collapsing).
Government spending does not create wealth and in only limited circumstances does it have a long term positive impact with a high velocity of money. Politicians do not spend money on the greatest needs of individuals, businesses and communities; rather they spend those dollars with the hope that it will buy votes, increase influence, and come back in the form of campaign donations. People tend to act in their own self interest, so how can a politicians best interest be everyone else’s?
Central planners are also very fond of “tax credits” which they call “tax cuts”. You get a tax credit if you engage in a behavior that the government approves of. This causes people and businesses to act not in what is best for them, their family, their business, their economic needs or the needs of their customers, rather they are acting in the interests of a politician. How is that good for the economy when it comes down to you feeding and taking care of your family? This also results in mass corruption as the tax code becomes a behemoth filled with politicians picking winners and losers. This is called “crony capitalism” or “state run capitalism” (all of which is just a mutation of socialism/corporatism).
Tax credits are also used as the politicians rhetorical ruse. Very often government tax credits are such a regulatory burden they are an economic non starter or they are so “targeted” it means that almost no one will qualify for them [Example: Tax credit for a family of four who makes under $40,000 per year, who is buying house over 2,000 square feet, that is ran by solar power].
The more the planner’s plans fail the more the planner’s plan – Ronald Reagan.
With a flamboyant downgrade of the outlook for economic growth, jobs and profits, Wednesday’s 280-point Dow plunge to launch the so-called June stock swoon is a warning shot across the bow.
The Dow tanked alongside a batch of dismal economic data. The ISM manufacturing index, ADP employment, Case-Shiller home prices and consumer confidence are all pointing to 2 percent growth or less, rather than the kind of 5 percent growth we ought to be getting coming out of a deep recession.
The economy now looks like a Government Motors engine that’s stalling out. Or perhaps, with energy and food inflation, and housing deflation at the same time, the economy is acting like a pinball machine on permanent tilt.
There’s a key message here: Big-government stimulus never works.
First there was the massive Barack Obama stimulus spending. Then QE1. And now QE2 is winding down. And what did we get for all this? Slower growth overall, paltry job creation, more energy and commodities inflation, continued housing deflation, and virtually no new business start-up entrepreneurship.
We know the Obama spending package failed to create a 7 percent to 8 percent unemployment rate, as advertised. And now we’re learning that the Fed’s QE2 has actually done more harm than good.
All that money-printing stimulus worked to depreciate the dollar and jack-up commodity prices, especially oil and gasoline, but also food. So both companies and consumers have been punished.
Some demand-side boneheads on Wall Street want the Fed to move to QE3, allegedly to fight a stalling economy. But if the central bank prints another $600 billion or so, all that will do is sink the greenback another 10 percent and drive oil and gasoline prices higher and higher. And that, in turn, will slow business and consumers even more.
OK on one hand I am totally in favor of this because I do not have to watch them.
On the other hand they are a violation of the Obama Administration’s repeated promises of openness and transparency.
A little more than a week ago, Vice President Joe Biden traveled to fundraisers in two battleground-state cities, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.
Neither stop included the White House press corps; requests by local media to cover the events were denied by the vice president’s press office. The Democratic National Committee arranged the events for the Obama Victory Fund.
A number of seasoned political reporters and former White House press-office staffers consider that lack of coverage a dangerous precedent.
“It would behoove the Obama administration to keep its promise of transparency even with fundraisers,” agrees Jeff Brauer, a political history professor at Keystone College. “The United States is a democracy, after all.”
Having press coverage of fundraising events that feature the president or vice president matters for at least two reasons, Brauer explains.
“One, large amounts of taxpayer dollars are being used for personal security at such events. As with all tax dollars, they should be spent with accountability.
“Two, it is important for the public to know what the president and vice president are saying to donors. Is it the same message they are saying to the electorate at large?”
Such knowledge helps citizens judge officeholders’ authenticity and integrity.
Days before Biden was sworn in as vice president in 2009, he promised to be more open than his predecessor, Dick Cheney.
Yet his official schedule more often than not lists meetings as “closed press” or shows no public events at all.
The best way to “fundamentally transform America” is to make sure new generations forget what it is all about.
A third of graduated and rising high school seniors – who will be voting in the 2012 elections – have never studied the U.S. Constitution.
A recent study by the National Assessment for Educational Progress reported that only 67% of all high school students have spent any time studying the nation’s founding document. Every four years, the NAEP polls 10,000 students about their knowledge of – or even exposure to – the Constitution. The percentage of knowledgeable students is continually decreasing and, since 2007, the numbers have fallen another five percentage points from 72%. Maybe this is obvious, but shouldn’t a responsible and informed citizenship be one of the goals of public education?
Without basic knowledge of this foundational document, these voters will be hard pressed to answer some of the most important political questions in 2012. The next election is going to depend on every voter’s understanding of constitutional authority. For instance, does Obamacare’s individual mandate fall under the commerce clause? Other recent questions – like which branches are involved in the decision to declare war – cannot be answered without a thorough understanding of the Constitution.
But a basic understanding of the Constitution is useful well beyond just the next election. The Constitutionspells out both the powers and limitations of the federal government. It seems that it could become rather difficult to secure the blessings of liberty without teaching the next generation how our government is designed to protect these liberties.
This is a great post by former Governor Sarah Palin. She covers most of the pertinent facts we have been bringing you for a year on my old college blog in our health care round-up posts and our Health Law category, and all in one very well articulated note.
It’s now six months since President Obama took control of one-sixth of the private sector economy with his health care “reform,” and the first changes to our health care system come into effect today. Despite overwhelming public dislike of the bill, we were told that D.C. knows best, and there was nothing to worry about, and we’d be better off swallowing the pill called Obamacare; so, in defiance of the will of the people, the President and his party rammed through this mother of all unfunded mandates. Nancy Pelosi said Congress had to pass the bill so that Americans could “find out what is in it.” We found out that it’s even worse than we feared.
Remember when the president said, “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor”? Not true. In Texas alone a record number of doctors are leaving the Medicare system because of the cuts in reimbursements forced on them by Obamacare! The president of the Texas Medical Association, Dr. Susan Bailey, warns that “the Medicare system is beginning to implode.”
Remember the Obama administration’s promise that Obamacare would cut a typical family’s premium “by up to $2500 a year”? Not true. In fact, fueled by reports that insurers expect premiums to rise by as much as 25 percent as a result of Obamacare, Senate Democrats are contemplating the introduction of price controls.
Remember when the president said in his address to Congress that “no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions”? That turned out to be yet another one of those “You lie!” moments. We found out that Obamacare-mandated high risk insurance pools set up in states like Pennsylvania and New Mexico will fund abortions after all.
Remember the promise that Obamacare would “strengthen small businesses”? Not true either. The net result of Obamacare is that small businesses will face higher health care costs, new Medicare taxes, and higher regulation compliance costs, while the much-hyped health care tax credit for small businesses turns out to be almost impossible to obtain.
Remember the president’s promise that his bill would ensure “everyone [has] some basic security”? False again. Besides the great uncertainty that Obamacare hampers businesses with, companies now find it is actually cheaper to pay the $2000 per employee fine imposed by Obamacare than to keep insuring their workforce. This leaves millions of American workers at risk of losing their employer-provided health insurance.
And remember when the Obama administration said they would not be “rationing care” in the future? That ol’ “death panels” thing I wrote about last year? That was before Obamacare was passed. Once it passed, they admitted there was going to be rationing after all. There has to be. The reality of Obamacare is that it enshrines what the New York Times called “The Power of No” – the government’s power to say no to your request for treatment of the people you love. The fact that the president used a recess appointment to push through the nomination of Dr. Donald Berwick as head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services tells you all you need to know about this administration’s intentions. After all, Berwick is the man who said, “The decision is not whether we will ration care – the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open.”
By the way, when the administration was talking about that independent board that has the statutory power to decide which categories of treatment are worthy of funding based on efficiency calculations (that, again, sounded to me like a panel of faceless bureaucrats making life and death decisions about your loved ones – which, again, is what I referred to as a “death panel”), it was another opportunity for Americans to hear the truth about Obamacare’s intentions.
So, yes, those rationing “death panels” are there, and so are the tax increases that the president also promised were “absolutely not” in his bill. (Aren’t you tiring of the untruths coming from this White House and the liberals in Congress?) When the state of Florida filed a challenge to Obamacare on the basis that the mandates in the bill are unconstitutional, the Obama Department of Justice filed a motion to dismiss the suit by citing the Anti-Injunction Act, which blocks courts from interfering with the federal government’s ability to collect taxes. Yes, taxes! Once the bill was passed it was no longer politically inconvenient for the Obama administration to admit that it makes no difference whether the payment is a tax or a penalty because it’s “assessed and collected in the same manner.” The National Taxpayer Advocate has already warnedthat “Congress must provide sufficient funding” to allow the IRS to collect this new tax. Pretty soon we’ll be paying taxes just to make it possible for the IRS to collect all the additional taxes under Obamacare! Seems as if this is another surprise that the public found out about after the bill was rammed through.
But perhaps the most ridiculous promise of all was the president’s assurance that Obamacare will lead to “bending the curve” on health care spending. Yes, rationing is a part of the new system, and yes, Obamacare does raise taxes. But because the new government managed system is so incredibly complicated and expensive to run, health care spending will actually rise instead of fall. Don’t believe me? Then take a look at the Congressional Budget Office’s admittance that the CBO’s original estimate of the total costs of the bill were off by around $115 billion. Its new estimate is now above $1 trillion, and even that may be way too low. A more realistic figure calculated by the Pacific Research Institute puts the number at $2.5 to $3 trillion over the next 10 years! This is probably what President Obama was referring to when he admitted recently that he had known all along that “at the margins” his proposals were going to drive up costs. Give us a break! Only in this administration would they refer to a $3 trillion spending increase as “marginal.” Next time he comes to us with another one of his harebrained proposals for a budget-busting federal power grab, let’s make sure we remember the president’s admission that he was lying all along when he told us his health care plan was going to cut costs. He is increasing costs. He admits it now. Period.
Higher costs and worse care – is it any wonder why people are overwhelmingly in favor of repealing and replacing Obamacare? Politicians who have vacillated on this issue need to be fired. Candidates who don’t support “repeal and replace” don’t deserve your support. No amount of money spent on Washington’s “government-wide apolitical public information campaign” (otherwise known as “propaganda”) will convince Americans that this awful legislation is anything other than a debt-driven big government train wreck. We need to repeal and replace it, and that can only happen if we elect a new Congress that will make scrapping Obamacare one of its top priorities. We can replace it with pro-private sector, patient-oriented reform that the GOP has proposed.
On March 23, when Obamacare was signed into law, I launched my “Take back the 20” campaign, focusing on 20 congressional districts that John McCain and I carried in 2008 which are or were represented by members of Congress who voted in favor of Obamacare. They need to be held accountable for those votes. They voted for Obamacare. Now we can vote against them. We need to replace them with representatives who will respect the will of the people.
TakeBackthe20.com provides information about the candidates in these 20 districts who are committed to repealing and replacing Obamacare. It has links to their personal websites and their donation pages. It allows you to read up on them, and then support them in their race to defeat those who gave us this terrible bill.
We have to send Washington a message that it’s not acceptable to disregard the will of the people. We have to tell them enough is enough. No more defying the Constitution. No more driving us off a financial cliff. We must repeal and replace Obamacare with patient-centered, results-driven, free market reform that provides solutions to people of all income levels without bankrupting our country.
It’s time to make a stand! Let’s take back the 20!
– Sarah Palin
Previously from my old college blog:
“There will be zero tolerance for this type of misinformation and unjustified rate increases.”
That sounds like a stern headmistress dressing down some sophomores who have been misbehaving. But it’s actually from a letter sent Thursday from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to Karen Ignagni, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans — the chief lobbyist for private health insurance companies.
Secretary Sebelius objects to claims by health insurers that they are raising premiums because of increased costs imposed by the Obamacare law passed by Congress last March.
She acknowledges that many of the law’s “key protections” take effect later this month and does not deny that these impose additional costs on insurers. But she says that “according to our analysis and those of some industry and academic experts, any potential premium impact . . . will be minimal.”
Well, that’s reassuring. Er, except that if that’s the conclusion of “some” industry and academic experts, it’s presumably not the conclusion of all industry and academic experts, or the secretary would have said so.
Sebelius also argues that “any premium increases will be moderated by out-of-pocket savings resulting from the law.” But she’s pretty vague about the numbers — “up to $1 billion in 2013.” Anyone who watches TV ads knows that “up to” can mean zero.
As Time magazine’s Karen Pickert points out, Sebelius ignores the fact that individual insurance plans cover different types of populations. So that government and “some” industry and academic experts think the new law will justify increases averaging 1 or 2 percent, they could justify much larger increases for certain plans.
Or as Ignagni, the recipient of the letter, says, “It’s a basic law of economics that additional benefits incur additional costs.”
But Sebelius has “zero tolerance” for that kind of thing. She promises to issue regulations to require “state or federal review of all potentially unreasonable rate increases” (which would presumably mean all rate increases).
And there’s a threat. “We will also keep track of insurers with a record of unjustified rate increases: Those plans may be excluded from health insurance Exchanges in 2014.”
That’s a significant date, the first year in which state insurance exchanges are slated to get a monopoly on the issuance of individual health insurance policies. Sebelius is threatening to put health insurers out of business in a substantial portion of the market if they state that Obamacare is boosting their costs.
“Congress shall make no law,” reads the First Amendment, “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”
Sebelius’ approach is different: “zero tolerance” for dissent.
The threat to use government regulation to destroy or harm someone’s business because they disagree with government officials is thuggery. Like the Obama administration’s transfer of money from Chrysler bondholders to its political allies in the United Auto Workers, it is a form of gangster government.
“The rule of law, or the rule of men (women)?” economist Tyler Cowen asks on his marginalrevolution.com blog. As he notes, “Nowhere is it stated that these rate hikes are against the law (even if you think they should be), nor can this ‘misinformation’ be against the law.”
According to Politico, not a single Democratic candidate for Congress has run an ad since last April that makes any positive reference to Obamacare. The First Amendment gives candidates the right to talk — or not talk — about any issue they want.
But that is not enough for Sebelius and the Obama administration. They want to stamp out negative speech about Obamacare. “Zero tolerance” means they are ready to use the powers of government to threaten economic harm on those who dissent.
The closing paragraph of Sebelius’ letter to AHIP’s Karen Ignagni gives the game away. “We worked hard to change the system to help consumers.” This is a reminder that the administration alternatively collaborated with and criticized Ignagni’s organization. We roughed you up a little but we eventually made a deal.
The secretary goes on: “It is my hope we can work together to stop misinformation and misleading marketing from the start.” In other words, shut your members up and play team ball — or my guys with the baseball bats and tommy guns are going to get busy. As Tyler Cowen puts it, “worse than I had been expecting.”
Michael Barone,The Examiner’s senior political analyst, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears Wednesday and Sunday, and his stories and blog posts appear on ExaminerPolitics.com.
UPDATE – Barone continues:
A few days before my Examiner column accusing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of thuggery and gangster government for her threats against health insurers who contradict the administration line on the costs of Obamacare, my friend John Hoff, who worked on health care policy in the Bush administration, published a piece on the Heritage website describing some of the things the administration might be able to do under Obamacare. Including de facto price controls without explicit authority. Sounds like a primer on gangster government—taking away people’s property without due process of law. All the more reason to repeal this appallingly bad legislation.
A not on the elite media, the only one who would publish Dr. Wolf’s editorial was The Washington Times…. This is a big story.
Being Obama’s cousin this means that Dr. Wolf is 12.5% pure hope!
“Primum nil nocere.” First, do no harm. This guiding principle is a bedrock of medical care. Sadly, those politicians who would rewrite our health care laws do not live in the same universe as do the doctors and health care professionals who must practice it.
Imagine if, like physicians, politicians were personally held to the incredibly high level of scrutiny that includes civil and financial liability for any unintended consequence of their decisions. Imagine if they were forced to spend tens of thousands of dollars each year on malpractice insurance and still faced the threat of multimillion-dollar lawsuits with every single decision they made. If so, a government takeover of health care would be the furthest thing from their minds.
Obamacare proponents would have us believe that we will add 30 million patients to the system without adding providers, we will see no decline in the quality of care for the millions of Americans currently happy with the system, and – if you act now! – we will save money in the process. But why stop there? Why not promise it will no longer rain on weekends and every day will be a great hair day?
America has the finest health care delivery system in the world. Let’s not forget that and put it at risk in the name of reform. Desperate souls across the globe flock to our shores and cross our borders every day to seek our care. Why? Our system provides cures while the government-run systems from which they flee do not. Compare Europe’s common cancer mortality rates to America’s: breast cancer – 52 percent higher in Germany and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom; prostate cancer – a staggering 604 percent higher in the United Kingdom and 457 percent higher in Norway; colon cancer – 40 percent higher in the United Kingdom.
Look closer at the United Kingdom. Britain’s higher cancer mortality rate results in 25,000 more cancer deaths per year compared to a similar population size in the United States. But because the U.S. population is roughly five times larger than the United Kingdom’s, that would translate into 125,000 unnecessary American cancer deaths every year. This is more than all the mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, cousins and children in Topeka, Kan. And keep in mind, these numbers are for cancer alone. America also has better survival rates for other major killers, such as heart attacks and strokes. Whatever we do, let us not surrender the great gains we have made. First, do no harm. Lives are at stake.
Obamacare: Fixing price at any cost
The justification for Obamacare has been to control costs, but the problem is there is little in Obamacare that will do that. Instead, there are provisions that will ration care and artificially set price. This is a confusion of costs and price.
As one example, consider the implications of Obamacare’s financial penalty aimed at your doctor if he seeks the expert care he has determined you need. If your doctor is in the top 10 percent of primary care physicians who refer patients to specialists most frequently – no matter how valid the reasons – he will face a 5 percent penalty on all their Medicare reimbursements for the entire year. This scheme is specifically designed to deny you the chance to see a specialist. Each year, the insidious nature of that arbitrary 10 percent rule will make things even worse as 100 percent of doctors try to stay off that list. Many doctors will try to avoid the sickest patients, and others will simply refuse to accept Medicare. Already, 42 percent of doctors have chosen that route, and it will get worse. Your mother’s shiny government-issued Medicare health card is meaningless without doctors who will accept it.
Obamacare will further diminish access to health care by lowering reimbursements for medical care without regard to the costs of that care. Price controls have failed spectacularly wherever they’ve been tried. They have turned neighborhoods into slums and have caused supply chains to dry up when producers can no longer profit from providing their goods. Remember the Carter-era gas lines? Medical care is not immune from this economic reality. We cannot hope that our best and brightest will pursue a career in medicine, setting aside years of their lives – for me, 13 years of school and training – to enter a field that might not even pay for the student loans it took to get there.
Giving power back to people
I believe there is a better way. The problems in the American health care system are not caused by a shortage of government intrusion. They will not be solved by more government intrusion. In fact, our current problems were precisely, though unintentionally, created by government.
World War II-era wage-control measures – a form of price controls – ushered in a perverted system in which we turn to our employers for insurance and the government penalizes us if we choose to purchase insurance for ourselves. You are not given the opportunity to be a wise consumer of health care and compare prices as well as quality in any meaningful way. Worse still, your insurance company is not answerable to you because you are not its customer. It is answerable to your employer, whose interests differ from your own.
Insurance companies have been vilified for following the perverse rules that government has created for them. But it gets worse. The government, always knowing best, deploys insurance commissioners across the land to dictate what the insurance companies must provide, whether you want it or not, and each time, your premiums increase. Obamacare will make all of this worse, not better.
One of America’s founding principles is our trust in the people and their economic freedom to rule their own lives. We should decouple health insurance from employers and empower patients to be consumers once again. Allow them to determine the insurance plan that best meets their families’ needs and which company will provide it. This will unleash a wave of competition that will drive costs down in a way that price controls never have. Eliminate the artificial state boundary rules that protect insurance companies from true competition and watch as voters demand that their state insurance commissioners get the heck out of the way. Innovative companies will drive down costs similar to how Geico and Progressive have worked for automobile insurance. And it won’t cost taxpayers a trillion dollars in the process.
This free-market approach has worked for everything from high-definition TVs to breakfast cereals, but will it work for medicine? It already is. Take Lasik eye surgery, for example. Because patients are allowed to be informed consumers and can shop anywhere, doctors work hard for their business. Services, availability and expertise have all increased, and costs have decreased. Should consumers demand it, insurance companies – now answerable to you rather than your employer – would cover it.
Between Barack and a hard place
I have personally trained and practiced in both the government-run and free-market segments of American medicine. The difference is vast. Patients see this for themselves, and this may be why, according to a recent CNN poll, they oppose Obamacare nearly 3 to 1. I am with them. It is difficult for me to speak publicly against the president on his central issue, but too much is at stake.
I wish my cousin Barack the greatest of success in office. But I feel duty-bound to rise in opposition to Obamacare. I must take a stand for my patients, my profession and, ultimately, my country. The problems caused by government will not be solved by growing government. Now that this new era of big-government takeovers has spread to our health care system, it’s not just our freedoms or our wallets that are at stake. It’s our lives.
But they are still lying…
Via Ed Morrissey at Hotair:
Not exactly a shocker, but Dick Durbin gives the nuanced explanation that they’re looking to slow down the rate of increases, not stop increases altogether. Unfortunately, that misrepresents what the CBO has already said about premiums under ObamaCare — and ignores what has already happened to premiums without it:
The truth is that premiums have gone up in part because of government intervention, not despite of it. Further government intervention will make the problem worse — and the CBO agreed in November.
We love Robert Reich, one of the worst economists ever. He will say anything for political reasons and claim that it is economic science. The truth is that one has to forget a great deal of macro-economics to come up with the obvious nonsense he does. But why do we love him, because sometimes he just lets the truth slip like he did HERE and HERE. These two linked comments and the one below have a common theme, you the American people, are idiots who cannot get along in life without the direction of Robert Reich.
ROBERT REICH: The health insurers are not, George, you said they’re popular and everybody likes their health insurer. They like their doctor. They hate their health insurer. And health insurance is going up in terms of rates 20, 30, 40, 50 percent in many states. In fact, Goldman Sachs just this past week has said to its many of its investors, “Invest in some insurance companies because they don’t have competition, and they have, are exhibiting huge profits.” That is money directly out of the pockets of Americans.
GEORGE WILL: You say they have huge profits. As you know, confiscate all the profits of all the health insurance companies, with those profits you could finance our healthcare for 48 hours. What you do for the next 363 days I don’t know. Second, you say there’s not enough competition? Fine, let them compete in a national market across state lines.
REICH: Yes, let them compete across state lines, fine. But not a race to the bottom. Set minimum federal standards because we’ve seen over and over again that the recipients of health insurance don’t know what they are buying very often. Until there are common standards, minimal standards, then people are going to be taken. And that is what’s happened over and over again.
WILL: There you have the premise of this legislation and the core of today’s liberalism: the American people are such dopes they can’t be counted upon to buy their own insurance.
For the record, as NewsBusters has previously reported, health insurance companies are amongst the least profitable of all America’s industries. Here are 2008’s rankings done by Fortune magazine:
2008 Industry Rank as % of Revenues
1 Network and Other Communications Equipment 20.4
2 Internet Services and Retailing 19.4
3 Pharmaceuticals 19.3
4 Medical Products and Equipment 16.3
5 Railroads 12.6
6 Financial Data Services 11.7
7 Mining, Crude-Oil production 11.5
8 Securities 10.7
9 Oil and Gas Equipment, Services 10.2
10 Scientific, Photographic, and Control Equipment 9.9
11 Household and Personal Products 8.7
12 Utilities: Gas and Electric 8.7
13 Aerospace and Defense 7.6
14 Food Services 7.1
15 Industrial Machinery 6.9
16 Food Consumer Products 6.7
17 Electronics, Electrical Equipment 6.5
18 Commercial Banks 5.2
19 Telecommunications 5.1
20 Chemicals 5.0
21 Construction and Farm Machinery 5.0
22 Insurance: Life, Health (stock) 4.6
23 Information Technology Services 4.5
24 Computers, Office Equipment 4.3
25 Metals 3.9
26 Wholesalers: Diversified 3.5
27 Insurance: Property and Casualty (stock) 3.3
28 Specialty Retailers 3.2
29 General Merchandisers 3.2
30 Health Care: Pharmacy and Other Services 3.0
31 Packaging, Containers 3.0
32 Beverages 2.9
33 Engineering, Construction 2.7
34 Health Care: Medical Facilities 2.4
35 Health Care: Insurance and Managed Care 2.2
36 Petroleum Refining 2.1
37 Food and Drug Stores 1.5
38 Pipelines 1.5
39 Wholesalers: Health Care 1.3
40 Semiconductors and Other Electronic Components 1.0
41 Energy 0.9
42 Home Equipment, Furnishings 0.7
43 Food Production 0.6
44 Wholesalers: Electronics and Office Equipment -0.3
45 Diversified Financials -0.6
46 Motor Vehicles and Parts -0.7
47 Insurance: Life, Health (mutual) -3.0
48 Hotels, Casinos, Resorts -4.5
49 Automotive Retailing, Services -7.9
50 Forest and Paper Products -9.6
51 Entertainment -10.0
52 Real Estate -13.4
53 Airlines -13.5
So, in 2008, health insurers ranked 35th in profitability returning a meager 2.2 percent on revenues. What this means is that for every dollar health insurers brought in, they made 2.2 cents.
Sadly, for liberal media members like Reich, that’s considered TOO MUCH! Nice job of Will to point out his inanity.
Of course, he’ll probably be the next liberal economist in the media to win a Nobel Prize.
But for now, Reich was just the second media darling in eight days to go head to head with Will and lose.
For those that have forgotten, George smacked around New York Times columnist Paul Krugman on last Sunday’s “This Week.”
It is just like I said back in my college blog days:
Seniors enrolling in private Medicare policies starting this week are finding fewer options, as health insurers close down certain types of plans due to legislative changes and looming cuts to federal funding.
Cigna Corp., Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, several Blue Cross Blue Shield plans and others aren’t renewing hundreds of Medicare Advantage plans, which are Medicare policies administered by private insurers. The moves will displace some 700,000 beneficiaries who must find new policies, according to Humana Inc., a large seller of Advantage plans.
For 2011, the Kaiser Family Foundation said there will be a 13% decline in the number of Medicare Advantage plans.
The pullback is largely due to a 2008 law that required the plans to have networks of preferred doctors, with the idea that managed care could be less costly and aggressive marketing could be curbed. Some providers of traditional fee-for-service policies decided to close the plans rather than invest in networks. But some insurers say the federal health-care overhaul, which includes $140 billion in cuts to reimbursements for Advantage plans over 10 years, is a factor as well.
Nancy Pelosi used IUSB Vision Editor Chuck Norton’s exact words “make them cry out for a public option” on C-Span. Video at bottom of post HERE.
WASHINGTON – AARP’s endorsement helped secure passage of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. Now the seniors’ lobby is telling its employees their insurance costs will rise partly as a result of the law.
In an e-mail to employees, AARP says health care premiums will increase by 8 percent to 13 percent next year because of rapidly rising medical costs.
And AARP adds that it’s changing copayments and deductibles to avoid a 40 percent tax on high-cost health plans that takes effect in 2018 under the law. Aerospace giant Boeing also has cited the tax in asking its workers to pay more. Shifting costs to employees lowers the value of a health care plan and acts like an escape hatch from the tax.
AARP raising premiums, citing ObamaCare, but said when they were pushing it that this wouldn’t happen…
White House on Health Care: ‘Nothing’ From Election Suggests People Want Repeal –
IBD – 3M cites ObamaCare – Forced to drop care for 23,000 retirees:
Here’s a Post-it note for ObamaCare supporters and opponents: Over the weekend 3M (MMM), the maker of the ubiquitous sticky message pads, along with electronics, optics and more, decided to end its retirees’ access to its health care plan beginning in 2013. According to the Wall Street Journal:
“health care reform has made it more difficult for employers like 3M to provide a plan that will remain competitive,” (3M said in a) memo. The White House says retiree-only plans are largely exempt from new health insurance regulations under the law.
The company didn’t specify how many workers would be impacted. It currently has 23,000 U.S. retirees.
Americans become eligible for the Medicare insurance program at age 65. Starting in 2015, 3M retirees too young to qualify for Medicare will receive financial support through what the company called a “health reimbursement arrangement” and won’t be able to enroll in the company’s group insurance plan. The company described that as an account retirees can use to purchase individual insurance through exchanges that the health law will create in 2014. 3M didn’t provide details on the financial contributions. [Grats that taxpayer subsidized so WE pay for it – Editor]
Or, as opponents of ObamaCare predicted, they’re finding it cheaper to dump their retirees onto the exchange.
That comes on the heels of a report Thursday that McDonald’s was considering dropping its “mini-med” plan for its employees because those plans may run afoul of the forthcoming medical-loss ratio regulations.
Also on Thursday, the Principal Financial Group (PFG) announced it would stop selling health insurance, which means 840,000 employees who receive Principal coverage through their employers will have to look elsewhere. Just the day before, President Obama said, “So there’s nothing in the bill that says you have to change the health insurance that you’ve got right now.” And he’s right: the bill doesn’t say it; it just causes it.
Indeed, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care was giving the lie to Obama’s statement as he was making it. Harvard Pilgrim announced that it would end its Medicare Advantage plans at the end of the year, leaving its 22,000 Advantage customers scrambling for coverage.
A week before that, a number of health plans including Anthem (WLP), Aetna (AET), Cigna (CI), Humana (HUM), CoventryOne (CVH) and some Blue Cross Blue Shield companies decided that they would stop selling coverage in the child-only market. It makes sense, given that under the new ObamaCare regulations, no child can be denied health insurance for a pre-existing condition and insurers can no longer vary premiums based on health status. Thus, the cagey parent will now wait until his or her child is sick before getting insurance. This is known as adverse selection: The healthy drop out, and those remaining in the insurance pool tend to be sicker. As insurers found out when a number of states tried this in early 1990s, it doesn’t make for a very viable business plan.
Of course, the evidence of what happened when these reforms were tried on the state level was available in a short, easy-to-read format for all of the so-called reformers. But, as IBD has noted before, since when has health care reform been about evidence? It has always been about power — the power politicians have over insurance companies, doctors, hospitals and, ultimately, patients.
Remember we were told the bill would lower premiums?
The Promises –
August 6, 2008
OBAMA: A system where we’re gonna work with your employers to lower your premiums by up to $2,500 per family per year.
October 4, 2008
OBAMA: We will start by reducing premiums by as much as $2,500 per family.
September 6, 2008
OBAMA: Here’s what change is saying to people who already have health insurance and the employers who are providing it: We’ll work to lower your premiums by up to $2,500 per family per year.
May 3, 2008
OBAMA: I also have a health care plan that would save the average family $2,500 on their premiums.
January 3, 2008
OBAMA: And if you already have health care, then we’re gonna reduce costs an average of $2,500 per family on premiums.
October 7, 2008
OBAMA: We’re gonna work with your employer to lower the costs of your premiums by up to $2,500 a year.
OBAMA: And we’ll cut the costs of a typical family’s health care by up to $2,500 per year.
March 14, 2008
OBAMA: And if you’ve got health care, we’re gonna work with your employer to lower your premiums by $2,500 per family per year.
February 23, 2008
OBAMA: And we will lower premiums for the typical family by $2,500 a year.
June 17, 2007
OBAMA: And cut the cost of health care by up to $2,500 per family.
August 17, 2008
OBAMA: And if you already have health care, then we’re gonna work with your employer to lower your premiums by up to $2,500 per family per year.
EVAN BAYH: Barack’s policies will provide health care cost reductions of about $2,500 for the typical family.
June 27, 2008
OBAMA: It’s time to bring down the typical family’s premium by about $2,500. And it’s time to bring down the costs for the entire country.
February 19, 2008
OBAMA: And if you already have health insurance, we will lower your premiums by $2,500 per family per year.
April 22, 2008
OBAMA: We’re gonna work with your employer through a catastrophic reinsurance plan to lower premiums by $2,500 per family per year.
October 15, 2008
OBAMA: The only thing we’re gonna try to do is lower costs so that those cost savings are passed on to you. And we estimate we can cut the average family’s premium by about $2,500 a year.
March 1, 2008
OBAMA: We’ll work with your employer to lower your premiums by $2,500 per family per year.
NARRATOR: Barack Obama will provide rural America with affordable health care, and save the typical American family $2,500 a year.
May 30, 2008
OBAMA: And reduces every family’s premiums by as much as $2,500.
April 20, 2008
OBAMA: If your employer does offer you health care, then we’re gonna work with your employer to lower premiums by up to $2,500 per family per year.
March 13, 2008
OBAMA: And cut the cost of a typical family’s premiums by up to $2,500 per family per year.
It has been happening for a long time, I wrote this post in April 2010 on my old college blog…
And after the New York Times and the Dept of HHS confirmed that we conservatives were right all along…
Via Paul Ryan:
WASHINGTON – House Budget Committee Ranking Republican Paul Ryan (WI) highlighted the latest evidence that the recently enacted health care overhaul exacerbates the problems in health care and violates the President’s central promises.
Yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office [CBO] released an analysis that estimates large tax increases will hit millions of Americans making well below $200,000. The CBO findings stand in stark contrast to President Obama’s promise not to tax any individual making less than $200,000 a year. According an analysis analysis by the House Ways and Means Committee Minority Staff, the President has already signed into law 14 separate violations of his tax pledge.
Adding insult to injury, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services [CMS] issued another damaging blow to the President’s central case for health care reform: the need to get a grip on sky-rocketing costs. In a detailed analysis, the CMS Chief Actuary made clear that the new health care law will further drive costs upward, increasing national health expenditures by an additional $311 billion above projected costs. The new law would adversely impact Medicare providers and reduce Medicare Advantage enrollees by 50%, according the government report.
Following the release of the CMS and CBO reports, Ranking Member Ryan issued the following statement:
“As Washington is moving fast to takeover other sectors of our economy, we are learning more about the costly consequences of their most recent overreach on health care. President Obama reiterated a number of false promises throughout the partisan health care campaign, including a pledge that his overhaul would lower health care costs and would not increase taxes on individuals making less than $200,000 a year. This week’s double-whammy from CMS and CBO exposes the emptiness of the President’s rhetoric, confirming what Americans feared throughout the debate.”
“Rather than fix what’s broken in health care, this deeply flawed law will exacerbate the problems in health care. Two independent, nonpartisan analyses make clear that the onslaught of mandates, controls, taxes, and entitlement spending will impose a heavier burden on American families, including those already struggling to make ends meet. We must begin anew to mitigate the disaster from this health care debacle: let’s repeal this costly misstep and replace it with patient-centered, fiscally-responsible reform.”
Dr. Pinsky of course is the famed radio doctor.
Special thanks to our friends at The Daily Caller.
They told us that we would not lose our health insurance and that the cost of insurance is going down. We know as we have covered in our ObamaCare Round-Up posts of elite media coverage that neither is the case. Premiums are rising, companies are dumping their insurance plans, insurers are getting out of some markets and prices have gone up quickly with those who had to do so stating clearly that the new legislation is to blame.
Now we are seeing the effects of big government economics in the aggregate. Prices up and wealth being destroyed so employers and people cannot afford it. Unemployment, uncertainty, debt crisis, monetizing, the cap & trade threat, and ObamaCare all add up. The damage is even worse now as these numbers came out in December 2010.
In U.S., New Low of 44.8% Get Healthcare From Employer
Government healthcare up, employer-based care down in 2010 vs. 2009
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new low of 44.8% of American adults report getting their health insurance through an employer in November, down from 50% in January 2008, when Gallup began tracking it. The percentage of Americans with government-based healthcare remains elevated, with the 26% who report having it last month similar to the high of 26.3% found in September.
At President Obama’s infamous Summit on February 25, Nancy Pelosi boldly stated that ObamaCare would create “400,000 jobs almost immediately”, 4 million over the life of the bill. If so, it’s off to a rocky start.
Prior to the passage of ObamaCare, many experts and organizations closer to the reality of the work place and the San Francisco Speaker of the House predicted serious negative economic consequences from the legislation. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) estimated 1.6 million in job loss from ObamaCare along with a $200 billion reduction in GDP. The Heritage Foundation wasn’t as optimistic as they predicted 5.2 million jobs would be at risk of going away, and 10.2 million jobs would be at risk of slower wage growth and cuts in benefits.
Below is a partial list of the immediate economic damage report in only the first week in the life of ObamaCare:
Zoll Medical Corp: This bill is a jobs killer,” said Ernie Whiton, chief financial officer of Chelmsford’s Zoll Medical Corp., which employs about 650 people in Massachusetts. Many of those employees work in Zoll’s local manufacturing facility making heart defibrillators. “We could be forced to (move) manufacturing overseas if we can’t pass along these costs to our customers,” said Whiton.
“AT&T Inc. will take a $1 billion non-cash charge in the first quarter because of the health care overhaul and may cut benefits it offers to current and retired workers… The telecommunications company also said it is looking into changing the health care benefits it offers because of the new law. Analysts say retirees could lose the prescription drug coverage provided by their former employers as a result of the overhaul.
Verizon: In an email titled “President Obama Signs Health Care Legislation” sent to all employees Tuesday night, the telecom giant warned that “we expect that Verizon’s costs will increase in the short term.” While executive vice president for human resources Marc Reed wrote that “it is difficult at this point to gauge the precise impact of this legislation,” and that ObamaCare does reflect some of the company’s policy priorities, the message to workers was clear: Expect changes for the worse to your health benefits as the direct result of this bill, and maybe as soon as this year.
Valero Energy Corp, the largest independent U.S. refiner, said on Friday it expected to take a first-quarter charge of $15 million to $20 million due to the tax impact of a new healthcare law. “There will be further tax costs due to the legislation in the future, but we don’t have calculations on those yet,” Valero spokesman Bill Day said in a emailed statement. Valero shares were down about 1.3 percent at $19.62 in midday trading on Friday, bringing their loss this week to more than 3 percent.
3M Company said today that it expects to record a one-time non-cash charge of $85 to $90 million after tax, or approximately 12 cents per share, in the first quarter of 2010, resulting from the recently enacted Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, including modifications made in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 passed by Congress on March 25, 2010. The charge is due to a reduction in the value of the company’s deferred tax asset as a result of a change to the tax treatment of Medicare Part D reimbursements.
AK Steel Holding Corp., the third largest U.S. steelmaker by sales, said it will record a non-cash charge of about $31 million resulting from the health-care overhaul signed into law by President Barack Obama.
Caterpillar Inc. said the health-care overhaul legislation being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives would increase the company’s health-care costs by more than $100 million in the first year alone.
Deere & Company, Iowa’s largest manufacturing employer, said in a statement this morning that the recently-passed health care legislation will cost the company $150 million after tax this year.
Medtronic: Medical device maker Medtronic warned that new taxes on its products could force it to lay off a thousand workers.
Retiree Benefits: As many as 1.5 million to 2 million retirees could lose the drug benefits provided by their former employer because of the tax changes, according to a study by the Moran Company, a health care consulting firm.
Massachusetts: “A Dire Warning From Bay State Medical-Device Companies That A New Sales Tax In The Federal Health-Care Law Could Force Their Plants – And Thousands Of Jobs – Out Of The Country Has Rattled Gov. Deval Patrick, a staunch backer of the law and pal President Obama.”
Colorado: Steamboat Ski Area officials said Tuesday that the federal health care overhaul could cost their business as much as $2 million a year beginning in 2014.
The health care overhaul includes a policy that would assess a fine, per employee, to large businesses that do not provide health care to full-time workers. The policy’s potential impact is ringing alarm bells with the Colorado ski industry, which has a large number of uninsured seasonal employees who work enough days to qualify as full-time workers.
New Hampshire: The state’s seasonal tourism industry is only now beginning to realize that it could get hammered by the new health care reform law.
Muncie, Indiana: Just to be clear, we’re not discussing the pros or cons of the health bill; it’s the Christmas tree ornaments that Congress hung off it to assure its passage. The main one (at least that we know of so far; it takes time to wade through 2,409 pages of legislation) will expand the government’s Pell Grant programs at the expense of private student loan originators such as Sallie Mae. The result: Under a worst-case scenario, Muncie might lose 700 jobs at its Sallie Mae call center on the city’s north side. A Star Press article on Tuesday said the company might have to cut its 8,600 total workforce by 2,500 workers and reduce its national locations from 25 to about six. It’s unknown how Muncie might fare if the company starts closing offices.
Fishers, Indiana: Sallie Mae, a major student loan provider, has its largest office in Fishers, Ind…The effects of this portion of the health care bill have concerned several of the 35,000 people employed in the lending industry. Phillip Walsh, a senior director at Sallie Mae’s office in Fishers, said the company will lose approximately 2,500 of its 8,500 jobs.
State Budget Impacts: Because of the new health care law, Arizona lawmakers must now find a way to maintain insurance coverage for 350,000 children and adults that they slashed just last week to help close a $2.6 billion budget deficit. Louisiana officials say a reduction in federal money to hospitals that treat the uninsured under the bill could be a death knell for their state-run charity hospital system. In California, policymakers estimate they will have to come up with an additional $500 million a year to make necessary increases in payments to Medicaid providers. Across the country, state officials are wading through the minutiae of the health care overhaul to understand just how their governments will be affected. Even with much still to be digested, it is clear the law may be as much of a burden to some state budgets as it is a boon to uninsured consumers.
The latest talking point from the left is that 95% of Americans got a tax cut. No they didn’t; what they got was a temporary reduction in the tax withholding tables but the rate didn’t change, so come tax time you have to make up for it with a check to the IRS or a smaller return. Don’t believe me? Check HERE and then look right at the IRS web site HERE. I love this part:
If you wind up owing tax because too little was taken out of your paychecks during 2009, you may qualify for special relief on a penalty that sometimes applies.
This “Obama tax credit” is actually a tax increase for some. Why? Because more people will end up not having enough withholding taken out and will have to pay the penalty.
Charles Krauthammer responds to the latest deceptive DNC talking point:
Obama claims that he is the great tax cutter, but the Republican Staff of the House Ways & Means Committee reminded us of the record so far:
Of course there are also the hidden taxes which we pay in the form of higher prices:
Cap & Trade broadbased energy tax is next on the agenda.
Previous Congress’ tax cuts to expire next year raising tax rates.
“Ask not for whom the tax bell tolls, it tolls for thee.”
Of course there is also the matter of the economic consequences of the government eating up credit – Just how out of control is government spending?
A New York Times/CBS Poll shows that Tea Party participants are wealthier and more educated than the general public:
Tea Party supporters are wealthier and more well-educated than the general public, and are no more or less afraid of falling into a lower socioeconomic class, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
President Obama and congressional supporters estimate that his health care plan will cost between $50 and $65 billion a year. Such cost estimates are lies whether they come from a Democratic president and Congress, or a Republican president and Congress. You say, “Williams, you don’t show much trust in the White House and Congress.” Let’s check out their past dishonesty.
At its start, in 1966, Medicare cost $3 billion. The House Ways and Means Committee, along with President Johnson, estimated that Medicare would cost an inflation-adjusted $12 billion by 1990. In 1990, Medicare topped $107 billion. That’s nine times Congress’ prediction. Today’s Medicare tab comes to $420 billion with no signs of leveling off. How much confidence can we have in any cost estimates by the White House or Congress?
Another part of the Medicare lie is found in Section 1801 of the 1965 Medicare Act that reads: “Nothing in this title shall be construed to authorize any federal officer or employee to exercise any supervision or control over the practice of medicine, or the manner in which medical services are provided, or over the selection, tenure, or compensation of any officer, or employee, or any institution, agency or person providing health care services.” Ask your doctor or hospital whether this is true.
Lies and deception are by no means restricted to modern times. During the legislative debate prior to ratification of the 16th Amendment, President Howard Taft and congressional supporters said that only the rich would ever pay federal income taxes. In 1916, only one-half of 1 percent of income earners paid income taxes. Those earning $250,000 a year in today’s dollars paid 1 percent, and those earning $6 million in today’s dollars paid 7 percent. The lie that only the rich would ever pay income taxes was simply a lie to exploit the politics of envy and dupe Americans into ratifying the 16th Amendment.
The proposed tax increases that the White House and Congress are proposing will probably pass. According to the Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation, during 2006, roughly 43.4 million tax returns, representing 91 million individuals, had no federal tax liability. That’s out of a total of 136 million federal tax returns. Adding to this figure are 15 million households and individuals who file no tax return at all. Roughly 121 million Americans — or 41 percent of the U.S. population — are completely outside the federal income tax system. These people represent a natural constituency for big-spending politicians. Since they have no federal income tax obligation, what do they care about higher taxes or tax cuts?
Another big congressional lie is Social Security. Here’s what a 1936 government pamphlet on Social Security said: “After the first 3 years — that is to say, beginning in 1940 — you will pay, and your employer will pay, 1.5 cents for each dollar you earn, up to $3,000 a year … beginning in 1943, you will pay 2 cents, and so will your employer, for every dollar you earn for the next 3 years. … And finally, beginning in 1949, twelve years from now, you and your employer will each pay 3 cents on each dollar you earn, up to $3,000 a year.” Here’s Congress’s lying promise: “That is the most you will ever pay.” Let’s repeat that last sentence: “That is the most you will ever pay.” Compare that to today’s reality, including Medicare, which is 7.65 cents on each dollar that you earn up to nearly $107,000, which comes to $8,185.
The Social Security pamphlet closes with another lie: “Beginning November 24, 1936, the United States government will set up a Social Security account for you … The checks will come to you as a right.” First, there’s no Social Security account containing your money, but more importantly, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on two occasions that Americans have no legal right to Social Security payments.
We can thank public education for American gullibility.
Six million in less than three months…
Every once in a while we need a little distraction.
Ships of the Line (DVD Edition)
Star Trek Enterprise: alternate intro (DVD Edition)
Star Trek Voyager: alternate intro (DVD edition)
Star Trek DS-9: alternate intro (DVD edition)
Star Trek: Ships of the Line – Active Duty
Taqiyyah: …I’ll bet he isn’t offended—and if he were he wouldn’t show it. The first principle in the Methodology of Dawa (339 KB, source) is to present the friendly, peace-loving face of Islam to possible converts. Then involve them in the life of a close-knit community, shear off their ties to their previous lives, and only then, once they have completely committed themselves to their new faith, inform them “what revolution it must bring in the life of an individual and the society in which he lives.”….
The entire documentary that aired on British Television.
Did you even know we had a depression after Woodrow Wilson’s experiment in progressivism? Did you know that the 1020’s had it’s own Ronald Reagan who lowered taxes, spending, and government controls? The economy recovered in a short time and in fact went on a fantastic growth cycle. How could you not know about this? How come your teacher doesn’t know? This is a 49 minute lecture that is a very good lesson in economics and how propagandized our schools are.
By Rhetorical Gladiator
There is nothing wrong with expressing concerns about a candidate. We should ask tough questions and expect good answers.
It does not take long to notice that those in the GOP who “Palin bash” go out of the way to avoid discussing her record. They have been caught up in the elite media narrative and have not done their homework. To be frank, Republicans should not be so foolish to Palin bash for the sake of bashing as it can have serious consequences.
The first problems is obvious. If Republicans buy into baseless and mindless elite media spin they might as well just ask NBC to pick the nominee for them.
Related to that problem is that the elite media went all out to try and destroy a GOP nominee. They took every allegation from her political opponents and reported them as if they were facts and in most cases would not offer retractions when such stories were proved wrong. They accused her of faking a pregnancy, accused her of being a book banner, accused her of trying to deny sexual assault victims rape kits, accused her of ravaging programs to help teen mothers, and even accused her of being an accomplice to the murderous shooting by Jarred Loughner and continued that narrative even after it came out that he was a dedicated Bush hater who had gone schizophrenic. The aforementioned is just a sampling of the lies the elite media has willingly propagated. The idea of Republicans standing by and doing nothing about this doesn’t sit well with me.
You can be sure if a shooting incident happens closer to election time, the commercials and “rhetoric” from the nominee will be blamed for it by the Democrats and their friends in the elite media.
You can also be sure, it will not matter who the GOP nominee is, be it if Mitt Romney or Michelle Bachmann, the elite media will accuse him/her of some kind of sexual misconduct. The New York Times baselessly accused Senator McCain of having an affair with a 40 year old lobbyist the day after he secured the primary.
Recently I had a conversation with some Palin bashers and in every case not a one of them was familiar with her actual governing record.
Palin Bashing Republican #1:
No, we don’t like her because she doesn’t have the leadership qualities to be president.
You might enjoy how I handled this “objection”:
I Agree, everything Sarah has touched has been a disaster. Here are some examples:
She cut the state budget by 9.8% while maintaining state services. Heck, name me one GOP governor who didn’t accomplish the same and cut the budget by at least 13%.
She cut the governors personal expenses by 80% over the previous Republican governor, who cares if she had three young kids to cart around.
She implemented a plan to begin weaning the state off federal “earmarks” and cut the number of earmark requests three years in a row. No one cares about that, after all earmarks are only less than 1% of the federal budget.
Cut Alaska’s Medicaid backlog by 83%. There are no long wait lists or backlogs in Massachusetts… oh wait…
Sarah was terrible for the Alaska GOP machine. When she rooted out the corruption of bought off Republicans in state government and sent many bad actors packing lots of party people were even fined. That is no way to lead a machine /nods.
She was able to pass sweeping ethics reforms and reform a state contract bidding process that was rigged and controlled by cronies? Doesn’t Sarah understand that when WE own the machine those are OUR cronies? Sheesh!
Sarah is SO behind the times. She had the NERVE to develop a competitive process to construct a gas pipeline [which languished for decades and is the largest state financed infrastructure project in US History]. Doesn’t she understand that “green jobs” are in?
And everyone knows that nothing got done when she:
Chaired the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission
Chaired the National Governor’s Association (NGA) Natural Resources Committee.
Chaired the Alaska Conservation Commission.
Presided over the Alaska Conference of Mayors.
Of course her record as mayor is equally pale.
According to Wasilla City documents that are posted on their web server. The propagandists who are obviously her cronies rigged the paperwork to indicate that Sarah oversaw the economic growth of Wasilla by a factor of four as a leader in city government from 1992 to 2003. They have the nerve to claim that while Wasilla’s population increased by 80%, city services were grown at a level to meet the challenge while property and business taxes rates were dropped. They even claimed Wasilla’s tax revenue still increased by nearly 250%. How laughable. Everyone knows that when you lower the tax rate you get less revenue….
Rigged paperwork, crony government, constant under performance. That’s Sarah Palin!
As you would expect, this completely shut the GOP Palin basher #1 down. She had no response.
GOP Palin Basher #2:
Chuck- I think if Sarah Palin had stayed on as governor instead of becoming more of a “celebrity” she would have retained the support of conservative women. This is where I think she went wrong. And I don’t think that women hate her because of her looks (jealousy), most conservative women I know believe in being/staying attractive. You are right , she has an excellent record- just wish she stayed on that path.
Again I went back to the facts:
[Editor’s Note – A legal loophole in Alaska Law allows anyone to file a lawsuit or phony “ethics complaint”, each requires an investigation and a ruling – the Governor must pay their own legal bills to fight them. Democrats filed dozens of these bogus lawsuits. Sarah easily won each of them, but it was eating up the Governor’s staff’s time and had put her into half a million dollars in personal debt.]
Palin Basher 2, if Sarah has stayed in office would have been endless bad press as the left continued to file one frivolous lawsuit after another against her using that legal loophole . I find it interesting that those who blast her for “quitting” never have anything to say about why she did it, or have anything bad to say about how sleazy the Democrats were in their behavior. Forgive me for being skeptical when people are far more willing and eager to blast our nominee than Democrats who behaved horribly.
Also, if Sarah had not taken on ObamaCare on her nation wide tour, not taken the slings and arrows for other conservatives, and not gone after Obama constantly to drive up his negatives, the 2009 and 2010 elections win margins would not have been what they were for us, so again if Sarah had taken any other course, Democrats would have been the ones who benefited. Who needs Democrats when “Republicans” are writing their spin and talking points for them?
Said Palin basher had no response. What is there to say? These facts are irrefutable and I am confident they felt embarrassed after being shut down with such authority.
Still, in the same conversation, entered a rather clueless Palin Basher #3:
And now we are rewriting history! Paul Revere warned the BRITISH that the British were comming! For me Intelligence is one of the must have traits to be President.
Palin Basher #3 did not bother to look up the record or the news all over the internet that Palin was correct in her account.
NPR’s historian said that Palin was absolutely right about that. So did Prof William Jacobson at Cornell Law School who posted the quote from Paul Revere himself about it. Palin is a voracious reader of the Founders and if you watch her interviews she quotes them at length from memory from time to time. It is all over the net how the Palin bashers are easting crow on that one. So why are we bashing a nominee when we are not doing the homework and getting it wrong? If our “best” are going to believe the elite media narrative and not do any homework we might as well just ask NBC to pick our next nominee.
Another GOP’er claiming to be wise who has not done a lick of homework and had no response. Republicans are not supposed to behave that way and will pay a price as long as they do.
Words of Wisdom
Here is a 25 minute interview with Sarah where Chris Wallace throws every policy question in the book at her, and she answers each one with the proper detail – www.therightscoop.com/full-interview-sarah-palin-on-fox-news-sunday/ so to say that she is unintelligent is not only wrong, but foolish for Republicans in the long run. On at least 70% of the issues all of the potential candidates agree so if Sarah is an idiot and our nominee agree on most issues, what does that say about our nominee? Do you think the left will not take advantage of that? Sarah may decide to run for Senate, what then? Make no mistake, since Sarah Palin is a GOP VP Nominee, smearing her is smearing the Republican Brand.
The simple truth is that Sarah Palin has posted detailed policy positions on almost very issue imaginable. Most of the others do not.
This early in the primary season, it is wide open. ANYTHING could happen and the political landscape can change radically in a single day. Never forget that.
Early in the primary season for Reagan he was in double digit negatives as well. We need to support all of our potential candidates. I will be supporting all of them (except Ron Paul as he goes places I simply cannot follow). Early in his campaign season Ross Perot had double digit positives.
Now is NOT the time to be violating the 11th Commandment. We should express concerns about our candidates, ask tough questions and expect good answers from all of them, but we should not trash them. Anyone who says that X can win and Y cant at this stage in the game is just off their rocker. At this stage before the last election people were like “What is an Obama?” or “Someone with a last name like Obama (Usama) could never get elected”. Well here we are.
Lastly, Sarah Palin keeps score and is very good at political payback as Mitt Romney, Ed Rollins, Chris Christie, and a pile of now former political players in Alaska have found out the hard way. As the Alaska Daily News points out, “The landscape is littered with the bodies of those who crossed Sarah”.
If Sarah Palin becomes our nominee she will control the RNC and perhaps the White House. All of those who smeared her will be on the outs for a long time.
So why be so invested in Sarah Palin?
The simple answer is that I am not. The the elite media is beyond incompetent and is in fact corrupt and there is no better or more numerous example of this truth than the elite media coverage of Sarah Palin, which is more wrong than it is right, and in which journalistic ethics is completely abandoned more often. I take an interest in correcting the record of the elite media, it is just that in the case of Sarah Palin, more correction is needed.