Saturday, December 07, 2013
By Nancy Thorner and Al Boese -
Three very different Black men — author Walter Williams, baseball player Jackie Robinson and President Barack Obama — have played very different roles in American history.
First, Walter Williams. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Dr. Walter E. Williams holds a B.A. in economics from California State University, Los Angeles, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in economics from UCLA. He also holds a Doctor of Humane Letters from Virginia Union University and Grove City College, Doctor of Laws from Washington and Jefferson College, and Doctor Honoris Causa en Ciencias Sociales from Universidad Francisco Marroquin, in Guatemala, where he is also Professor Honorario.
So Dr. Williams is not a radical, but a scholar, an historian, an economist, a professor, and also an African American. To some, Williams is an Uncle Tom.
On December 4, Williams published on Townhall.com a short piece which drew a comparison of Obama to Jackie Robinson.
Those of us old enough to remember were introduced to Jackie Robinson through baseball, a passion held by many in that bygone era. We, therefore, knew Jackie Robinson and respected him, not as a personal friend, none the less we knew him. We also know Barack Obama, and Barack Obama is no Jackie Robinson.
As Walter Williams so eloquently but briefly reminds us in Blacks and Obama:
In 1947, Jackie Robinson, after signing a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers organization, broke the color barrier in Major League. He encountered open racist taunt and slurs from fans, opposing tam players and even some members of his own team. Despite that, his batting average was nearly .300 in his first year. . . There’s no sense of justice that requires a player be as good as Robinson in order to have a chance in the major leagues, but the hard fact of the matter is that as the first black player he had to be. (Today we can afford an incompetent black ball player.)
It was in a March, 2008 column that Walter Williams argued the importance of the first black president being of the same caliber as a Jackie Robinson, which Williams noted, Obama definitely is not. Then Williams goes on to speak of Obama’s long history of associations with people that hate our nation, further of his association with William Ayers, a former member of the Weather Underground.
According to Williams:
. . . I’m all too fearful that a future black presidential candidate will find himself carrying the heavy baggage of a failed black president, making it a problem for future generations of black Americans.
With the death of Nelson Mandela on Tuesday, December 5 at 95 years, what might Walter Williams set out to write about the behavior of the media and the White House regarding President Obama since Mandela’s death?
As with Jackie Robinson, Walter Williams would likely conclude that Barack Obama is no Nelson Mandela, even though both were the first black presidents of their countries.
As media spin would have it, there would be no Obama if not for a Mandela. The White House even had the audacity to release a photo of Obama in Mandela’s jail cell (which was a museum at the time), almost as if Obama had likewise spent 27 years himself in prison.
Concerning the political ideology of Mandela, media noted his early ties to Marxism. But as behooves the scholarly and forthright nature of Walter Williams, might he select words such as the following to describe the ideology differences between Mandela and Obama?:
Mandela was a militant Marxist turned democratic pacifist. Obama, embracing Marxism early on from his mentor Saul Alinsky, has turned into a Marxist Dictator want-a-be manifest by his alarming Executive Orders and imposition of top down planning, use of the IRS as his enforcement vehicle, and the Justice Department as his Judicial System. Finally, Mandela was modest enough to voluntarily step down after only five years in office while Obama would likely go for a third term driven by his narcissism.
In the final analysis, Mandela had more in common with Clarence Thomas than with Barack Obama. Like Thomas, Mandela believed in compliance with his nation’s Constitution, unlike Obama who makes end runs around the Constitution every day.
Saturday, December 07, 2013 at 09:40 AM | Permalink
December 4, 2013
Do you hear words being parsed?
By Nancy Thorner and Ed Ingold -
Jay Carney held a press conference in advance of the President’s address on Tuesday, December 3rd, which was billed as the start of a three-week push to redirect the conversation about HealthCare.gov and the health care reform law.
As on so many other occasions, the Press Secretary chooses words very carefully, seeming to say one thing but often meaning quite another. This goes beyond misleading, and the technique is used by this administration more than any others in recent history. You have to listen very carefully, and be prepared to consider what is not being said as much as the words themselves. Ask yourself, “Do I hear words being parsed?”
Although President Obama is no stranger to parsing words, and excels at it, if you listen carefully you can hear Press Secretary Jay Carney likewise exhibit proficiency in parsing his words when speaking in front of a press gaggle.
Perhaps the most egregious example occurred during the second Presidential debate in 2012. When challenged by Governor Romney over his misstatements regarding the Benghazi attack, the President interrupted with the declaration, “I recognized it as terrorism the very next day at a press conference in the Rose Garden.” He produced a document which moderator Candy Crowley quickly confirmed.
In fact, the President described Benghazi as “… an act of terrorism.” This is not the same as saying “an act of terrorists,” leaving him free to describe the event as “a spontaneous attack, instigated by an offensive video.” The President and his staff continued to mislead the public with this narrative for over two weeks.
Perhaps reporters don’t listen carefully enough either? Then too, reporters are apt to take words at face value if the words spoken don’t deviate from their held perception of the individual or situation.
Good reporters don’t insert their own opinions directly, rather use only words uttered by the speaker. (Opinions come from the selection of those words.) Despite some push back by the press media, much of the press gaggle is still enamored with Obama’s agenda.
Following are some gems from Carney’s press conference of December 3, and several examples of Obama’s parsing of words. Each statement is followed by what Carney or Obama didn’t say, but which could be construed from their parsed words. Statements credited to Carney and Obama are paraphrased:
1. Carney: Millions of people started receiving benefits of the Affordable Care Act in 2014, like coverage for pre-existing conditions and no lifetime benefit limits. Moreover, they don’t have to pay any more for these benefits.
Translation: They don’t have to pay more than everyone else, since the mandates apply to everyone, whether you need them or not. These two mandates alone roughly double the cost of providing health insurance. The added cost is offset by doubling or tripling the deductible amount from the benefits. Since about 62% of Americans will receive discounts on their premiums, 38% of the population must make up the difference. There’s no free lunch.
2. Carney: People using healthcare.gov aren’t getting error messages any more (in response to a reporter’s question).
Translation: Error messages have been replaced with a message advising you to wait in a queue, or try again when the system is not so busy. (Amazon routinely handles twenty times the number of simultaneous users as healthcare.gov.) Once you are in a “queue”, you never get out unless you hang up and try all over again. Error messages aren’t automatic, they’re programmed into the system. They say what the programmer makes them say. (If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck.
3. Obama (to Barbara Walters): People still trust me. That’s why they elected me in 2012.
Translation: They elected me, in part, because they believed my false promises about keeping their plans and doctors, while accusing my opponent of wanting to deny them health care.
4. Obama: Romney lost because he falsely accused 47% of the country of voting for me because of the promise of a free stuff that only the rich people would pay for.
Translation: The number is actually over 60%.
5. Obama: If it weren’t for the Affordable Care Act, 30 million people would be without health insurance.
Translation: According to White House emails, by the time Obamacare is fully implemented in 2017, there will remain 30 million people without health insurance. Due to mandates of Obamacare, this number is closer to 40 million in 2014.
It is any wonder why both President Obama and Jay Carney become testy at times. There is power in the spoken words but their is also power behind the unspoken word. In time it becomes more and more difficult to parse words as public distrust and disbelief set in (and understanding).
Like Humpty Dumpty, who secure on the wall was shattered in a great fall and couldn’t be put back together again, will Obama, once secure and adored as president parse words one too many time, only to have his administration and his dreams come tumbling down around him?
Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 01:00 PM | Permalink
December 4, 2013
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
CNS News reported in October of this year that according to the U.S. Treasury the government’s federal debt had jumped by $409 billion. This equals approximately $3,546 for each of the Census Bureau’s estimated 114,663,000 U.S. households, and makes October’s spending the largest one-month jump in debt in this nation’s history.
What is troubling is that Congress is not currently restrained by a debt limit. Since October 17 when Congress enacted the Continuing Resolution (CR) with a deal that ended the government shutdown and pushed the debt ceiling level to February 7, 2014, no set dollar amount exists to restrict spending.
With nothing to stop legislators from piling even more spending and debt on taxpayers before February 7, 2014, it is folly to believe that legislators will restrain their spending, nor have they done so. Noted was how an additional $409 billion of debt was accrued through the end of October. While on October 17 the debt subjected to limit stood at $16,699,396,000,000, just $25 million shy of the legal limit of $16,699,421,095,673.60, by October 31 the debt now subject to limit had grown to $17,108,378,000,000.
Troubling is that even with this nation’s credit card maxed out (along with taxpayers’ wallets), Washington aims to continue its spending spree. Instead of addressing future debt by controlling the growth in entitlement spending and enforcing lower levels of spending, the budget conference committee is considering an option that could increase spending by up to an additional $100 billion; that is, if a compromise deal can be fashioned to bust the sequestration spending caps by up to $100 billion.
An increase in user fees (really a disguised tax increase) would be employed to offset mandatory spending with necessary revenue. Although gimmicks are nothing new in Washington, D.C., raising user fees to pay for more spending is what has helped fuel our now $17.2 trillion national debt.
- Illinois taxpayers’ debt from borrowing = $44.3 billion
- Illinois taxpayers’ unpaid bills = $8 billion
- Illinois’ unfunded pension and retiree health care liabilities = $140
Each Illinois family shoulders this debt = over $40,000 per household Moody’s rates Illinois as the worst credit risk of all the states in the nation, which raises the cost of borrowing money, which, in turn, adds billions of dollar in the repayment of bond issuances.
Later on today Illinois legislators will address in a one-day special session a pension reform deal crafted by the Illinois House and the Senate. Numerous reports about the bill leave much to be desired, making today’s exercise seemingly geared to convince the pubic that legislators are finally taking the state’s $100 billion pension shortfall seriously.
According to a report by Ted Dabrowski, Vice President of Policy at the Illinois Policy Institute, House speaker Mike Madigan’s latest proposal is just the next in a long line of disastrous pension maneuvers and does nothing more than delay real reform and keep Illinois in a chronic state of crisis.
In typical Illinois fashion, little advance information was shared with the media, the public, and legislators about a bill so critical to the financial well-being of this state. Just what might be the language of a bill that is being kept under wraps until only hours before legislators cast their votes?
In addition to federal and state tax obligations, there are also local taxing bodies that make financial demands. Significant is that Illinois has more “local” governments than any other state in the country, 6,963, which is one-thousand more than any other state when factoring in state population. As it is, Illinois residents pay the second-highest-owner-occupied property tax rates in the country, and their state is the third most corrupt.
Having so many units of government at the local level put taxpayers on the hook for unnecessary layers of government that duplicate services and cause taxes to soar. It is not uncommon for Illinois residents (61% of them do) to live under the burden of three levels of local government (municipal, township or county government), resulting in a huge outlay of funds allocated for salaries.
Lake County in northern Illinois, Thorner’s home county, ranks No. 1 for the Midwest region on Forbes’ list of U.S. counties with the highest property taxes, the average being $6,052.
Thorner also lives under a township government, that of Shields, in addition to her Village of Lake Bluff. In Shields Township a whole department exists to handle the scattered township roads and bridges whose trucks criss-cross the same area when snow plowing far fewer mile, than do municipal trucks.
Also adding to the tax burden at the local level are the high number of school districts in Illinois, 911 in all. Two hundred of them are single school districts. These single districts (Lake Bluff Elementary School District 65 is a single district) cost more per student to educate than do multi-school districts.
Federal, state, and local tax liability has become a burden to many. Often asked is how much is too much to pay in taxes? Although little can be done to fight taxation at the state and federal levels, citizens have more of a say at the local level. Unfortunately many officials are opposed to doing away with the positions they hold, either elected or appointed, even if they hold positions that duplicate work done by others.
And so our tax burden continues to grow to keep the hungry beast that is government fed, with many legislators indifferent about the way taxpayers’ money is wasted and spent as long as it suits their own political interests to be re-elected, thereby ensuring that they will continue to enjoy all the attractive perks they have grown so accustomed to receiving over the years.
Tuesday, December 03, 2013 at 01:27 PM | Permalink
December 1, 2013
One of many examples of government’s profound incompetence can be observed in the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency with its attempts to be the nation’s super-regulator of the nation’s carbon economy. Several days ago the White House announced what might jokingly be called the EPA’s “Christmas Gift” to this nation, 134 more regulations!
Noteworthy among the proposals are the agency’s move toward unprecedented control over private property under a massive expansion of its Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water Act authority and new rules for power plant regulations to curb CO2 emissions.
Perhaps the EPA should first try to regulate its own employees, at least James C. Beale, who was found masquerading as a James Bond? The ‘Spy’ Who Fooled the EPA (Under deep CIA cover at the Office of Air and Radiation) appeared as a commentary in The Wall Street Journal on Friday,November 22.
The Environmental Protection Agency allowed Beale to be absent for 2.5 years in less than 23 years of service, take expensive trips to see relatives, all the while claiming to be a CIA spy. Then Beale retires with a big sendoff and the agency forgets to take him off the payroll. Beale further received retention incentive bonuses on top of this scam. What was his punishment? In late September the Department of Justice announced a pleas agreement with John C Beale who admitted devoting most of his 23-year career to bilking taxpayers of some $900,000 in pay and expenses.
At long last the bloom seems to be coming off the rose for President Obama. The American people are catching on to how Obama lies about his lies, only to lie that he didn’t lie about his lies. Also contributing to Obama’s downfall is how he has surrounded himself with sycophants who do the same for him.
Unlike President Obama, why might Abraham Lincoln be revered and considered a competent leader? Lincoln was president during the Civil War — the worst crisis in American history – but unlike President Obama, Lincoln fired incompetent leaders when he encountered them. Half a dozen generals were fired before Lincoln found Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman, who won the war after Lincoln’s fired generals had been losing it.
Yet in a recent display of utter arrogance at a private Democratic fundraiser in Beverly Hills, CA, Obama touted himself and Democratic leaders for surpassing the likes of Abraham Lincoln. And this is not the first time Obama has compared himself to Lincoln. According to Obama, his administration has been the most productive in history, going on as he did to list his many accomplishments among them being: Saving the economy from a Great Depression; revitalizing an auto industry; doubling our exports; reducing our dependence of foreign oil; doubling our production of clean energy; reducing the pace of our carbon emissions; etc.
Not willing to deal with incompetency dove tails with Obama’s inherent feeling of superiority, in that Obama fathoms to know what is best for the American people. For hasn’t Obama indicated time and time again that the American people are in need of government guidance as they are incapable of making decisions on their own?
Such arrogance, President Obama, will only guarantee continued incompetency and will continue to drive your poll numbers downward.
Maybe, as Alan West suggested, this is what Obama wants? Maybe Obama feels little loyalty to this nation to care what happens to it on the world stage or to its people, or even about his poll numbers, as long as his progressive policies are set firmly in place when he leaves office in 2016, and that progressive judges are in place to see that Obama’s policies are carried out.
Those knowing the background of Barack Obama before his 2008 election should not be surprised, as Obama did promise change with a dose of hope.
What is surprising is how fast Obama’s change is happening right before our eyes with the purposeful shredding of our Constitution as Obama moves this nation rapidly down the pathway toward socialism.
What is alarming is the lack of objection or push back coming from those Americans who do understand what is happening, as Obama continues to mandate policies that Congress is unwilling to approve to achieve his goal, that of his puppet-master, George Soros.
Incompetence is not relegated to one party. Where is the Republican leadership as Obama continue to shred the Constitution? If the Republican Party continues to function as a go-along-to-get-along political party, blame and failure will also befall the Party of Lincoln. Amnesty without border security would spell the death knell for the Republican Party.
Pretending to stand for smaller government and less taxes, Republican Party leaders and pundits display incompetence, if when push comes to shove, they allow government to keeps growing and adding more debt to this nation’s already unattainable and incomprehensible debt. A billion here and a billion there means nothing any more to legislators, and speaking about a trillion no longer sounds foreign to the American people.
Throw the “bums” out is easier said than done, but these are times that demand citizen action. This nation cannot possibly survive as a viable nation under another arrogant and incompetent president with an equally incompetent administration.
One thing certain is that for the first time in the history of this nation, founded with such promise and hope and as a nation under God, what we pass along to future generations will be less than what we inherited.
Future generation might question as they look back to the “now” times: “How did our ancestors allow this to happen?” Was it laziness, indifference, too busy to care, etc.? What would be your excuse if you could have your say?
Sunday, December 01, 2013 at 06:39 AM | Permalink
Saturday, November 30, 2013
With the election of President Obama in 2008, many perceived his election to be a forerunner of the hope and promise candidate Barack Hussein Obama had offered at campaign rallies meant to open up a new era of unlimited possibilities for those who had branded President George W. Bush as a failed and incompetent two-term president.
Obama’s youthfulness and his intelligence were admired by Obama supporters. Without a lull the main steam media continued its post-election rhetoric of glowing praise for Obama’s talent and skills as this nation’s 44th President and Commander in Chief, while continuing to bury Obama’s deceptions and misstatements as he advanced along in his presidency.
For those of us who were not fooled initially by the media’s messiah-like portrayal of Obama, and who now remain concerned over the direction of this nation under President Obama whose leadership resembles that of an imperialistic president, what more could be expected from one newly elected to the White House whose perceived self image is paramount and who had never before even managed a candy store?
History tells us that narcissistic pride (love) of self and the aura of superiority, such as surrounds and abides in Obama, is bound to be pierced in time. Looking upon himself as another Peter Drucker (a preeminent management guru) or a Ted Levitt (a Harvard Business School Professor of great renown) is foolish, childish and immature, if there is no their there for Obama to claim as the end result.
President Barack Obama might heed the warning of Proverbs 16:18. From the New Living Translation: Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.
The incompetence of President Obama and his administration can best be described as The Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight,a 1969 novel written by Jimmy Breslin. A film of the same name and based on the book was released in 1971.
Former Rep. Allen West (R-Florida) questioned on Wednesday, November 20, whether there was some “nefarious, malicious intent” behind Obama’s “Incompetence.” In speaking about Obama’s health care website glitches, his foreign policy struggles and his overall leadership, West mused:
This cannot all be happening by happenstance. This cannot all be happening by just sheer incompetence. If it is, then this entire administration needs to go away, but there has to be some questions. What’s the intent behind this? I mean no one can purposely wake up and say, ‘Let’s screw this up today.’
Through Incompetency and the absence of accountability – either by design or otherwise — Obama and his administration are currently reaping irreversible damage now five plus years into Obama’s presidency.
But what is negative for Obama is a positive development for the American people, as more and more of them are perceiving Obama to be dishonest and untrustworthy, unwholesome impressions brought about by Obama’s own arrogance in believing that his charm and rhetorical skills would win the day and cement his progressive, “redistribution of wealth” agenda.
In September of this year Charles Krauthammer rightly called out the incompetence of President Obama in his handling of Syria after Assad had used chemical weapons on his own people. After issuing an ultimatum that Assad must go, Obama gladly grabbed the lifeline tossed him by Putin. The result: Obama was able to slink away from the Syrian debacle of his own making. As stated by Krauthammer: ”Such are the fruits of a diplomacy of epic incompetence.”
Incompetence, deception and the lack of accountability was brought to the forefront in the failure of the Obamacare roll out website on October 1st. As President Obama’s signature program, the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a Obamacare) suffered the fate typical of a chief executive who seemingly designates too many of his responsibilities.
The Obamacare fiasco from its inception was riddled with deception and the lack of accountability, and its future promises more of the same. Kathleen Sebelius serves as a prime example of Obama’s incompetence and utterly failed leadership. Will Obama wait until the complete failure of Obamacare before firing Sebelius so she can be blamed for EVERYTHING?
Part 2: Will tackle the incompetency of the EPA, Obama’s arrogance in comparing self to Lincoln, and an omen for the Republican Party if legislators continue to cling to their do-nothing-to-get-along policies.
Saturday, November 30, 2013 at 09:00 AM | Permalink
November 30, 2013
Wednesday, November 27, 201
By Nancy Thorner -
Having already examined the farm subsidy measure of the farm bill in an Illinois Review article published Tuesday, November 26 , it is necessary to bring understanding to the other part of the farm bill, the food stamp measure, which amount to a whopping $750 billion of the trillion dollar farm bill and where waste and fraud are rampant.
Research quickly uncovered six fairly recent noteworthy and eye-opening accounts that tell of a SNAP program (food stamps) badly out-of-control and in desperate need of reform.
- August 13: Ted Dabrowski, Vice President of Policy at the Illinois Policy Institute: Reported how more than 2 million Illinoisans — 16.7% of the state’s population — are on food stamps. These figures represent data taken from the May, 2013, U.S. Department of Agriculture information. Illinois is better at putting residents on food stamps than it is at creating jobs!
- August 15: The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) is soliciting people to receive food stamps in the manner of a drug dealer on a grade school playground, such as: “Psst – hey you! I’ve got something for you… it’s free…come on, try it. You’ll like it!” In many locations outreach programs are taking place. The USDA are effectively hunting people down and talking them into accepting benefits that folks never realized they needed or were qualified to receive.
- August 19: Aren’t food stamps supposed to be for food? Study by Department of Agriculture indicates how more and more food stamp recipients are using this government benefit for items other than food. Food stamps are also being turned into cash, resulting in tax dollars being spent on alcohol, cigarettes, and a host of other non-food items.
- Sept. 10: “Almost one in six, or 47.5 million, Americans now receive food stamps. Over 13 million more people receive the food subsidies today than when Obama took office. . . Despite spending a whopping $80 billion on food stamps last year, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) argues the program needs more funding. . . Documents obtained by Judicial Watch revealed that the USDA works with the Mexican government to promote participation by illegal immigrants.”
- Sept. 17: Households on Food Stamps (SNAP) during the month of June outnumbered all households in the Northeast U.S.– a record 23,116,928 American households. This June figure represented 52% more households on Food Stamps than there were in the average month of the first year President Obama took office.
- Sept. 26: Even as the economy improves, food stamp enrollment continues to hit record highs. In the second-quarter of this year, despite household wealth increasing $1.3 trillion within the same time period, enrollment in the program jumped up by 211,708 people.
Food for thought by Dawen Bakst and Rachel Shefield of The Heritage Foundation, which merits serious consideration by House and Senate legislation:
Congress continues to treat agriculture as if it were 1933 instead of 2013. . . Yet every five years when the farm bill is up for renewal, many legislators, including those who claim to be pro-free market and limited government, push a farm bill that is a model of central planning. Agriculture policy continues to emphasize price supports, supply restrictions, import quotas government-subsidized international marketing programs for major corporation, and much more. Quite simply, almost any subsidy that can be dreamed of exists in one form or another in the current farm bill.
Further, food stamps should be reformed to promote self-sufficiency among able-bodied adults. Adults who are able should be required to work, prepare for work, or at least look for work in exchange for receiving food stamp assistance. This principle of reciprocal obligation does not currently exist in the program. Additionally, loopholes that have led to an increase in the food stamp rolls should be closed.
The administration of Indiana’s Gov. John Kasich rightly believes that able-bodied adults should work for food stamps. Starting on January 1st, food stamps will be limited for more than 130,000 adults in all but a few economically depressed area. To qualify for benefits all able-bodied adults without children will be required to spend a least 20 hours a week working, training for a job, etc., unless they live in one of 16 counties exempt because of high unemployment.
With Pat Quinn as governor, there isn’t a ghost of a chance that Illinois would ever echo the reform restrictions imposed by Kasich in Indians on food stamp recipients, of which there are 2 million here in Illinois!
Politically speaking, the political ruse of combining food stamps and agriculture policy into one bill has been successful in passing prior farm bills. Combining the two unrelated entities allowed urban legislators (supporter of food stamps) and rural legislators (supporters of farm programs) to form coalitions to pass farm bills lacking proper scrutiny of their merits.
According to The Heritage Foundation, substantive reform will only occur if the agriculture policy and food stamps are separated into different bills now and in the future, so each bill can be addressed independently. It is not acceptable to raise another bumper crop of agriculture subsidies and to offer food stamps recklessly and often without means testing.
After all, have legislators forgotten that it is taxpayer’s money that is being wasted and spent like there is no tomorrow.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at 07:05 AM | Permalink
November 30, 2013
By Nancy Thorner and Edward Ingold -
As reported by Fox News on November 22, President Obama postponed the 2014 sign-up date for Obamacare until two weeks after the mid-term elections: Obamacare enrollment for 2015 to reportedly be delayed until after midterms.
On the same day, November 22, David Martosko, U.S. Political Editor at the Daily Mail, United Kingdom, reported Obama’s arbitrary change of the Obamacare sign-up date in far more strident and honest terms with this headline than were found in U.S. media account with this headline: ‘How nakedly political can you get?’: Obamacare year-two signups delayed until after 2014 election .
Following were these statements made by Martosko:
1. Voters in the insurance exchanges won’t know 11 days after the 2014 election just how much they’ll pay for coverage in 2015.
2. The Treasury department has already delayed implementation of the employer mandate, and its fines, until Election Day has come and gone.
3. Millions of Americans are receiving private-insurance cancellation letters, with many experiencing sticker shock when they learn their options.
4. One poll released Wednesday [November 20] shows that 48 per cent of taxpayers now want the Obamacare law repealed.
As was conveyed in the UK Mail headline, there was no plausible reason to postpone the 2014 sign-up date for Obamacare other than to keep bad news from reaching voters until after the General Election in November. What could they be?
As set forth in terms that put the cheese on the cracker:
- Insurance mandates for employee benefit plans were previously deferred until 2014. At that time, all insurance plans must include the ten mandates specified in the Affordable Care Act of 2010. These same mandates resulted in the cancellation of about 6 million private insurance policies, and doubled the cost of insurance of policies offered in their place. Most of the added cost comes from two popular mandates – coverage for pre-existing conditions, and the elimination of lifetime benefit limits.
- The huge price increase is concealed in two ways. Nearly half of those affected will receive subsidized health care, and the maximum out-of-pocket expense (deductible) have been doubled or tripled for most policies. Cost of these subsidies are supposed to come from higher premiums for those can afford it, resulting in a charges of up to 4 times the pre-Obamacare costs. In other words, income will be redistributed from those who have to those to do not. It is such a politically toxic term, that the term “redistribution” has been banned from the White House lexicon.
- Many insurance companies wishing to participate in state and federal insurance exchanges were required to cancel all non-conforming policies as a condition of doing business with the government
But the other shoe is yet to drop.
- Pricing for insurance offered through the exchanges is based on young, healthy participants in the insurance pool. The strategy behind the millions of cancellations this fall was to force those people into participation. However, the unemployment among this age group is very high, as much as 25% for college graduates. They simply can’t afford health insurance, and will probably either pay the fines do nothing at all. The “fines” for failing to secure health insurance are imposed on income tax refunds (the Democrats were not willing to impose them directly, or call them a “tax.”) If you aren’t working, or working at minimum wage, you probably don’t owe taxes, hence no refund, hence no Obamafines.
- The early adopters of Obamacare fall mainly in two categories – those who couldn’t get insurance due to pre-existing conditions, and those who couldn’t afford insurance without subsidies. The majority of early adopters were, in fact, seeking Medicaid at no cost to themselves. The Affordable Care Act doubled the maximum allowed income to qualify for Medicaid to $32,000, which is twice the presumed poverty level. Subsidies will be granted to those making up to $62,000, four times the “poverty level,” and nearly twice the median wage ($35,000) for working citizens. Somebody has to pay for those shortfalls and subsidies.
- Finally, the deeply flawed www.healthcare.com software has greatly delayed applications through the exchanges, and unresolved security questions will keep many from even trying. This further skews the risk pool and increases the deficit.
The facts so far presented offer a grim picture. It is little wonder why so many Americans are duped, confused and running scared? With such a scenario present, Steven Hayward who writes for Forbes, made this prediction on Monday, November 11th:
Even if HealthCare.gov is fixed by the end of the month (unlikely), Obamacare is going to be repealed well in advance of next year’s election. And if the website continues to fail, the push for repeal — from endangered Democrats — will occur very rapidly. The website is a sideshow: the real action is the number of people and businesses who are losing their health plans or having to pay a lot more. Fixing the website will only delay the inevitable.
It remains to be seen, as predicted by Haywood, whether endangered Senate Democrat up for re-election will lead the charge for repeal perhaps as soon as this January after getting an earful over the Christmas break Unclear also is whether the delay to sign-up for Obamacare until after the November election will mask the bad news the American people will receive regarding sticker price, etc., that will follow in the election’s aftermath.
If Obamacare should remain in place and limping along, Insurance rates for 2015 will be based on a more realistic risk pool, which is weighted to those who will use a lot of health care. As a result, as many as 160 million people, including those now covered by employee benefit plans, will see those plans greatly increased in cost or cancelled altogether. This will drive up the cost of both private policies and of employer benefit plans.
If these plans exceed $10,200 for individuals or $27,500 for a family, they will be deemed a “Cadillac” plan, and subjected to a 40% tax on the difference. Unless the quality of coverage is reduced, for example, by greatly increasing the out-of-pocket deductions, nearly all of these plans will fall victim to this surcharge. The more likely outcome is that the benefit plans will be dropped, and employees sent involuntarily to the government exchanges.
By 2016, Obama will have applied a wrecking ball to the health care industry, our lives and our fortunes. The only way out is for Republicans to gain a majority in both houses of Congress in 2014, and the White House in 2016.
Friday, November 29, 2013 at 07:00 AM | Permalink
November 27, 2013
By Nancy Thorner -
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) initially announced on November 17 that bipartisan progress was being made on the farm bill. Lucas further desired that a framework be set up when legislators met again on November 21 for the purpose of passing a House farm bill conference agreement before Congress adjourned for the year on December 13. The current 2008 farm bill expired on October 1st. The bill is up for renewal every five years. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) is the Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman.
Hopes, however, were dashed that a framework agreement be reached after leaders of the House-Senate farm bill conference committee, having met twice on November 21, hit a wall over food stamps cuts and other things.
About the farm bill, it consists of two separate and diverse measures – farm subsidies and food stamps. Together they represent $1 trillion dollars in government spending, with a whopping $750 billion of the trillion going for the food stamp program now know as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/agricuture/191103-farm-bill-tal...
The U.S. House did rebel earlier in the year when it managed to pass a version of the farm bill which separated food stamps from the agriculture program. It was the first time in nearly 40 years that the House had voted on and passed separate and substantive reform bills governing farm and food stamps. At the first meeting of the Farm Bill Conference Committee on October 30, U.S. Congressman Marlin Stutzman lead a group of 27 House members with its message to keep farm policy and food stamp policy separate. http://www.hoosieragtoday.com/stuztman-and-colleagues-urge-continued-farm-bill-separation/
According to Ed Feulner, past president of the Heritage Foundation, in a November 18th commentary: http://cnsnews.com/commentary/ed-feulner/farm-bill-name-only `
It is not surprising that disagreement exists between the House and Senate version of the farm policy measure on how to deliver the safety net to producers. After all, insurance is the most expensive subsidy in the farm program.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013 at 06:00 AM | Permalink
November 23, 2013
By Nancy Thorner and Ed Ingold -
The concept of “grandfathered” insurance plans has always been a complete myth, touted for strictly political reasons. The plans to overturn the current insurance system and create a single-payer plan were formulated by HHS (and Sebelius) in 2010, within a month of the ACA (Affordable Care Act) passage.
In a stunning report by Andrew McCarthy on November 18th, he cites evidence that between 50% and 80% of Americans will lose their current health care plans in 2014, including employer provided benefits. This is based on the Administration’s own estimates, documented in a court brief filed by the DOJ in Federal court in opposition to a suit to preserve religious freedom of choice.
With such facts available to the public, how does President Obama have the audacity to continue to repeat that the current rash of insurance cancellations apply to only 5% of the population? In fact, nearly 8% of the population has individual insurance plans which are being systematically canceled (“trasitioned” in Obama-speak). The same standards, however, will apply immediately to small business and group plans and to major corporations by the end of 2014 after Obama arbitrarily changed the healthcare law to grant businesses a year’s extension.
In a spirit of generosity, might it be that Obama doesn’t want to know the details (or pretends he doesn’t know?), for reasons of “plausible deniability?” Even Obama’s mea culpa lasted no longer than a day or so until before he started to blame the start up problems on Republicans and their lack of cooperation.
The official line is that once the software is fixed all will be well. But the same talking points will continue to be used by Democrats, even though Republicans had nothing to do with the implementation of Healthcare.com nor any other facet of the policy or the website.
Republicans would rather not have the American people endure this dystopian program. As the past has taught us to expect from the Obama administration, it is the messenger, not the message, that is to blame.
Consistent with President Obama’s standards, he sets the general goals and rewards those who put out the most punitive regulations consistent with those goals. If anything hits the fan, Obama “heard about it in the news, just like everyone else.” If anyone brings forth bad news, or contradicts the official line in any way, that person is summarily fired or publicly disgraced, as was the insurance official for the District of Columbia just a day after he questioned a decision by President Obama to reverse a provision of the Affordable Care Act. This way of doing business permeates the Democrat’s establishment at all levels.
The insurance debacle is a prime example of the Obama business plan which President Obama was able to sell to many Americans because they were asleep at the switch with only one thought in mind, what’s in it for me. Destruction of 80% of existing insurance plans while doubling the cost is not exactly a ‘”glitch” in the startup!
So President Obama plan of operation took hold and evolved. Let us construct a timeline for the Obamacare debacle:
- Announce at every opportunity that “If you like your …, you can keep it. Period!’ Pass this script to every Democrat in public office, to be repeated without variation. By inference, the Republicans would deny this right.
- Behind the scenes, conspire with HHS to establish regulations that keep nearly all existing policies from being “grandfathered” as promised.
- Count on the web service to work on time, or reasonably close to schedule (More important to be on schedule than functional), without assuming constructive leadership, nor monitoring the actual progress.
- As a result of this policy, millions of policies are canceled, forcing their owners to the exchanges to purchase Cadillac insurance plans which meet the mandated standards.
- Postpone the same regulations by executive fiat as they apply to company benefit plans until after the 2014 elections. Then repeat the cancellation debacle twenty or thirty fold.
- When the web service fails, unilaterally announce that the rules are temporarily suspended, and old policies can be sold (Thank you, Valerie Jarrett, for this strategy.).
- Do so knowing that this is impossible without months of planning, but shifting blame to insurance companies rather than the Administration. If the state regulatory agencies don’t cooperate, they will share the blame. (In breaking news, the President invited state insurance regulators to the White House, and issued a thinly veiled threat that if they impede his latest fiat, they will be pushed aside in the national interest.)
- Continue to blame the web service rather than a defective policy, until it is no longer newsworthy to the main stream media, hence falls out of the public view. This is commonly known as “bunkering.”
- Refuse to allow Congress to codify the same actions (in case Obama changes his mind later).
Obamacare Exchange facts:
1. The mandated benefits under the Obamacare Exchange roughly double the cost of insurance, primarily through the high risk of covering pre-existing conditions and unlimited benefit ceilings. These same mandates are touted as the reason “the majority of people like” Obamacare.
2. Obamacare also provides substantial discounts for those with incomes up to $62M. To pay for those discounts, those making more than $62M are expected to pay three to four times as much for the same insurance. Those enrolled in Medicaid continue to pay nothing, while income limits for qualification were doubled in 2014 to roughly $32M. As a result, roughly half of the population will receive subsidies, ingratiating them to the party which delivers this largess.
3. Insurance companies are required to cancel non-conforming policies in order to participate in the exchanges. In return, Obamacare indemnifies insurance companies for risk losses for a two year transition period, if those losses exceed 3% of revenue. Losses over 8% are fully indemnified for that period. In return, insurance executives are warned to remain silent about any problems, nor to blame the policy or Administration for any SNAFUs.
The next shoe to drop will be backlash over another Obamacare broken promise, “You can keep your own doctor.” How will President Obama deal with this broken promise? In his usual and predictable way, he will blame the doctors for sabotaging Obamacare, and not on the over reaching and unaffordable healthcare act itself which will have a negative impact on every American.
Obamacare has always been about control and not about healthcare, in keeping with the progressive redistribution of wealth mantra.
It is a given that the longer Obama is allowed to skirt Congress to get polices he deems necessary without congressional approval, the easier it will be for him to claim executive privilege and get away with it. The constitutionality of these actions will never be successfully challenged as long as Democrats control the Senate. It will take citizen involvement all over this nation to let our elected officials know that we have had enough. The status quo is no longer acceptable, and that includes re-electing the same individuals who have participated in the screw up of this nation.
Saturday, November 23, 2013 at 12:01 PM | Permalink
November 22, 2013
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Things continue to happen under the radar while this nation and its people are immersed in headlines about Obamacare and the tussle in Congress over the delays fostered by the disastrous October 1st roll out of the Obamacare Government Exchange. But juggling lots of balls in the air at any one time is part and parcel of the Obama administration, so confusion reigns and measures that greatly affect this nation and its people get lost in the tumult and confusion of other events. Check out #8 of Saul Alinsky’s 12 Rules for Radicals used by Barack Obama’s as his guide when a community organizer in Chicago.
Such is the under-the-radar situation as the Obama administration is moving stealthily toward unprecedented control over private property under a massive expansion of its Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water Act authority.
Since 1972, the Clean Water Act has protected our health and environment by reducing the pollution in streams, lakes, rivers, wetlands, and other waterways. According to the EPA website, a court ruling since the 1974 passage of the Clean Water Act has caused confusion about which waters and wetlands remain protected, making improvements to the Clean Water Act essential to clarify the jurisdiction necessary to reduce costs and minimize delays in the permit process. The achieved result will be to protect water that is so vital to public health, the environment, and the economy.
In other words, the parameters of the CWA are currently quite muddled. The proposed rule to expand the EPA’s authority under the Clean Water Act was prompted by a decision reached in March of 2013, Decker v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center. The nearly unanimous decision re-affirmed that federal agencies are granted a wide berth in interpretations of their own rules.
Last month Lou Dobbs and Andrew Napolitano of Fox Business and Fox News respectively, along with Republican lawmakers, accused the EPA of a “Power Grab.” Lou Dobbs on Fox Business claimed that the clarified parameters represented “unprecedented control over private property” — “maybe” extending to “mud puddles.” Legal analyst Andrew Napolitano branded the EPA’s Science Board study as “bogus” – merely a rationalization to “regulate all bodies of waste” and “control more behavior.”
The EPA’s Science Board study referred to above by Judge Andrew Napolitano — based on the extent to which small streams and wetlands connect to larger bodies of water downstream — claims that small streams, even those that only flow at certain times, “are connected to and have important effects on downstream waters. The wetlands are likewise similarly integrate, making them also subject to CWA protection.
The study, Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters, contains more than 1,000 pieces of relevant peer reviewed Scientific literature. Regarding this draft study of the EPA’s Science Advisory Board, procedure calls for public comments to be submitted and public peer review meetings held before the end of this year.
Procedure, however, is being thrown overboard according to Chair of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, Representative Larmar Smith (R-Texas). For on the same day (November 12) the EPA submitted the proposed water rule to the White House for approval, the EPA provided Smith with the draft scientific assessment for peer review. This was but two day before November 14 when EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy testified before Rep. Smith’s House Science Committee.
As noted by Rep. Smith, an open peer review of the scientific basis for the new Water Rule should have happened before sending the EPA’s water rule to the White House for approval. After all, the proposed water rule would have a potential impact of more that $500 million in any one year on either the public or private sector.
A letter sent the first week of November by Rep. Smith, and his colleague, Subcommittee Chairman Chris Steward (R-Utah), to the Office of Management and Budget, expressed concerns that the EPA was “rushing forward, regardless of whether the science actually supports the rules.”
As expressed in the letter by Smith and Steward:
This rule could represent a dramatic expansion of EPA’s authority to include isolated wetlands, streams and ditches. Such unrestrained federal intrusion poses a serious threat to private property rights, state sovereignty and economic growth.
Just what can be done to stop this and other power grabs by the President and his administration? Not being a constitutional scholar the remedy must be left to others.
Notwithstanding, if the out-of-control EPA is allowed to get its way unchecked in rule-making by rubber stamping their predetermined regulatory agenda, its flouting of power will continue and will further violate this nation’s Constitution by ignoring its commitment to Congress and the American people.
Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 11:30 AM | Permalink