And So I Go: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Dear Readers,  I am sure you will find many of the articles in this month’s  Heritage   Insider-Online   of interest so for those who do not subscribe I am putting them on my blog for you use.    I have gotten emails from many asking why I am no longer blogging.  Frankly because I have said all I can say about the evil of Barack Obama and now can only sit back and cry for my country.  Even if the Senate becomes Republican this November  and a sane President is elected in 2016 there has been so much damage done that it will take decades to just claw ourselves back to the point we were at when this monster was first elected in 2008.  Being an old lady I won’t live to see our America return to the respected place in the world and a country of independent proud people  that I knew as a young woman.

I have watched the downward slide of America from the mid 1960’s  with Democrat President Lyndon Johnson and his failed “Great Society”.  Even at age 23 I knew that Medicare was wrong!  Only 40% of elderly Americans were unable to afford health care insurance but instead of helping those individuals the insurance companies insisted that ALL the elderly must be given health insurance paid for by the younger tax payers.    The same thi9ng is happening now with Obamacare—the only way the insurance companies will accept  everyone with coverage regardless of health or life style or preexisting conditions  is if every0ne  is forced into the system.    So stupid!  Give help to those few who need it and let the rest of us take care of ourselves as independent decent Americans always have.   It is a fact that has been proven over and over: Any thing the government gets into  is badly run, in efficient, full of fraud and outright thievery  and therefore very very costly to the tax payers.  Medicare, Medicaid and student loans are prime examples of this rule!

I watched the schools and universities as an educator  being “dumb down to the lowest common denominator by see and say reading and new math and  rewriting history and replacing it with social studies and social justice.

Now during these past 6 years I have watched a President of the United States again and again ignore and  violate the  laws  stated in the Constitution of the United States and  no one stopping him!   Yes, I  have live thru the down fall of a great civilization and I will not live to see the rise to greatness again, but I have faith in Americans.  We are a unique  nation form by outstanding people who were wise far beyond their times.  We today have the blood of those pioneers beating in our hearts and this is augmented daily by new blood of those who leave the old behind and come to the land of the freedom and rights of man so that they too can soar above the masses in the world in the only country on earth that allows its citizens that freedom. .I have faith that we Americans will walk proud again but after the damage done during these 50+ years it will take decades to return.

You, the readers of my blog are the people who will lead the way.  God bless you.  Sincerely, BB

 

The Heritage Foundation

To Me
Aug 9 at 8:07 AM
Updated daily, InsiderOnline (insideronline.org) is a compilation of publication abstracts, how-to essays, events, news, and analysis from around the conservative movement. The current edition of The INSIDER quarterly magazine is also on the site.

August 9, 2014

Latest Studies
34 studies, including a Pacific Research Institute handbook on tobacco taxation, and a Hudson Institute report on Iraq’s second Sunni insurgency

Notes on the Week
The environmental costs of delaying Keystone, What does the strategic trade lit really say about the Export-Import Bank? Is administrative law running off the rails?

To Do
Figure out what now for ObamaCare

Latest Studies

Budget & Taxation
The Export-Import Bank: What the Scholarship Says – The Heritage Foundation
Abolishing the Corporate Income Tax Could Be Good
for Everyone
– National Center for Policy Analysis
Handbook of Tobacco Taxation – Pacific Research Institute
Sales Tax Holidays: Politically Expedient but Poor Tax Policy – Tax Foundation

The Constitution/Civil Liberties
An Originalist  Future – Federalist  Society
Repression in China and Its Consequences in  Xinjiang – Hudson Institute
Private Property Interrupted: Protecting Texas Property Owners from  Regulatory Takings Abuse –  Texas Public Policy Foundation

Crime, Justice & the Law
Criminal Law and the Administrative State: The Problem with Criminal Regulations – The Heritage Foundation

Economic Growth
The Long-Hours Luxury – American Enterprise Institute
Misallocation, Property Rights, and Access to Finance – Cato Institute
Do Labour Shortages Exist in Canada? Reconciling the Views of Employers and Economists – Fraser Institute
“Middle-Out” Economics? – Hoover Institution
How Many Jobs Does Intellectual Property Create? – Mercatus Center
Thomas Piketty’s False Depiction of Wealth in America – Tax Foundation

Education
Philadelphia School Trends, 2002-03 to 2012-13 – Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives

Foreign Policy/International Affairs
Setting a Course for Obama’s Rudderless Africa Policy – The Heritage Foundation
The Failure of the E.U. – Hoover Institution
Iraq’s Second Sunni Insurgency – Hudson Institute
The Collective Security Treaty Organization: Past Struggles and Future Prospects – Hudson Institute

Health Care
Changing the Rules of Health Care: Mobile Health and Challenges for Regulation – American Enterprise Institute
Direct Primary Care: An Innovative Alternative to Conventional Health Insurance – The Heritage Foundation
How Obamacare Fuels Health Care Market Consolidation – The Heritage Foundation
A Time for Reform: Close and Consolidate Texas’ State Supported Living Centers – Texas Public Policy Foundation

International Trade/Finance
Sustaining the Economic Rise of Africa – Cato Institute
Market Solutions Should Be Central to U.S.’s Taiwan Policy – The Heritage Foundation

Labor
Asserting Influence and Power in the 21st Century: The NLRB Focuses on Assisting Non-Union Employees – Federalist Society

Monetary Policy/Financial Regulation
“Choking Off” Disfavored Businesses and Their Clients: How Operation Choke Point Undermines the Rule of Law and Harms the
Economy
– The Heritage Foundation

National Security
Autonomous Military Technology: Opportunities and Challenges for Policy and Law – The Heritage Foundation
Size Isn’t All that Matters – Hoover Institution

Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & Science
The Keystone Delay Is Costing us More than Jobs and Revenue – American Action Forum
Who Watches the Watchmen? Global Warming in the Media – Capital Research Center
Rethinking Energy: Supplying Competitive Electricity Rates – Center of the American Experiment

Retirement/Social Security
A Guide to the 2014 Social Security Trustees Report – e21 – Economic Policies for the 21st Century
Social Security Trustees Report: Unfunded Liability Increased $1.1 Trillion and Projected Insolvency in 2033 – The Heritage Foundation

 

 

Notes on the Week

The environmental costs of delaying Keystone: The delay in the Keystone pipeline costs more than jobs and income. There are also environmental consequences that come from shifting pipeline transport of oil to rail transport. Catrina Rorke extrapolates what the costs may be:

If the president had approved the Keystone XL pipeline, it would have prevented the release of an additional 2.7 to 7.4 million tons of CO2 to the atmosphere – the equivalent of taking 500,000 to 1.5 million passenger vehicles off the road or shutting down one coal facility. […]

From the State Department report, we know that the rail options emit 28-42 percent more during normal operations as compared to the Keystone XL pipeline. […]

Replacing the capacity of the Keystone XL pipeline with rail transport risks additional oil spills and the release of up to 23,318 additional barrels of oil – nearly a million gallons of useful fuel entering the environment instead of the economy. […]

The delay in building the Keystone XL pipeline risks up to 1,065 additional injuries and 159 additional fatalities.

By virtue of serving urbanized areas, railroads carry a certain risk to the public. A July 2013 train derailment in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec devastated the downtown and caused 47 deaths. Though this tragedy is unique in size, the paths of railways intersect frequently with population centers. The Keystone XL pipeline is designed to minimize this risk, routed to avoid sensitive, sacred, and historic sites, as well as densely populated areas. [American Action Forum, August 6]

Rewarding work: “One factor that is often overlooked in the debate over causes of income inequality is a shift in the distribution of working hours,” writes Tino Sanandaji: “The rich now work more than the poor.”

Between 1979 and 2006, the share of low-wage earners who worked long hours declined from 22 percent to 13 percent. In the same time period the share of high-wage earners who worked long hours increased from 15 to 27 percent. Results were similar when education rather than income is used to segment the labor market. Most of the change is driven by changes in hours worked per employee, not by changes in employment rates. For men lacking high-school education, one-third of the decline in hours is driven by reduced employment rates, while the rest is driven by decline in hours among the employed. Among college-educated men, the entire increase in the long hours is driven by those with employment working more hours.

And the decline of work among the poor is a tragedy, he writes:

In simple economic models, working less and having more leisure increases well-being. A common but mistaken view of this reversal in work inequality is that it has benefited the low skilled because they can consume as much as before without having to work as hard. This ignores the complexity of human psychology.

Humanist theories of happiness, starting with Aristotle, have long argued that the key to life satisfaction is living a purpose-driven life and aiming for higher goals. Modern psychology similarly emphasizes work and purpose for a full life. Abraham Maslow viewed fulfilling one’s potential or “self-actualization” as the pinnacle level of happiness. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi argued that people are happiest when they are in a state of “flow,” or a complete absorption in a challenging and intrinsically motivated activity. [The American, August 4]

What does a gas company have to do with ObamaCare? If you’ve been following the debate about whether ObamaCare creates tax credits in just the state exchanges or in both the federal and state exchanges, you may have heard the word “Chevron.” What’s that all about?

“Chevron” refers to Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council a Supreme Court decision from 1984. Randolph May, observing the 30th anniversary of the decision, describes Chevron’s central holding this way: “When a statutory provision is ambiguous, if the agency’s interpretation is ‘based on a permissible construction of the statute,’ then the agency’s interpretation is to be given ‘controlling weight.’”

When there is ambiguity, why not defer to the agencies? May explains the problem:

Chevron, by virtue of giving agency interpretations of ambiguous statutory provisions “controlling weight,” has facilitated the steady growth of the regulatory state. This certainly is a likely result because of the natural bureaucratic imperative for agencies, granted leeway to do so, to interpret delegations of authority in a way that expands, rather than contracts, their own authority. […]

To the extent that the Chevron doctrine—the counter-Marbury—in fact facilitates aggrandizement of power by government officials all too eager to expand administrative authority, there is a ready remedy. Congress can choose to legislate in a way that makes its intent unmistakably clear. Remember, absent ambiguity in the statute, a reviewing court never reaches the question of how much deference is due the agency’s own interpretation.

Congress legislating with unmistakable clarity? I understand that in the legislative sausage-making process this is an ideal infrequently realized. In many instances, Congress actually intends, whether or not it says so explicitly, to leave “gap-filling” for the agencies. That way, when an agency’s action rouses the public’s ire, Congress can blame the bureaucrats for overreaching. [The Hill, August 8

In King v. Burwell, the Fourth Circuit relied on Chevron analysis to find that tax credits were permissible in the federal exchanges; in Halbig v. Burwell, the D.C. Circuit decided that the meaning of “an Exchange established by the State,” was plain enough that there was no gap for the IRS to fill. Thus, there was no Chevron analysis needed.

The Constitution doesn’t exist for the convenience of the government. For the past century or so, the federal government has been using its spending and regulatory powers to “turn states into mere field offices of the federal government,” write Richard Epstein and Mario Loyola. Their article in The Atlantic explains not only how we got here but why we should care:

A common justification for federal overreach is that it allows for administrative convenience, but the Constitution doesn’t exist for the convenience of the government. Its purpose is to protect the people from government abuse. By leaving most government spending and regulation within the exclusive domain of states, the original Constitution created a dynamic framework of interstate regulatory competition. Citizens and businesses could choose to live in whatever state they wanted, a choice they could make with increasing ease as the nation’s communications and transportation dramatically improved, and states competed to offer an attractive package of services and taxation.

Just like cable-TV providers offer premium channels in pricy packages and basic cable at a cut rate, some states and municipalities offered lots of services and benefits—and higher taxes—while others offered smaller government and a lower tax bill. That larger menu meant more choices.

This interstate regulatory competition could accommodate a wide diversity of approaches, from the progressive safety blanket of Wisconsin to the frontier freedom of Texas. Vigorous interstate competition tended to punish excessive government, leading for example to higher growth rates in states with less restrictive labor laws. It also made it more difficult for special interests to wield government as a tool for extracting benefits from the rest of society in the form of hidden subsidies, cartels, and monopolies. Where special interests reign, market efficiency is lost, leaving everyone worse off.

Even today, states with high taxes, tough zoning laws, and restrictive labor laws tend to lose out to those with a lighter footprint—witness the tens of thousands of people—especially poor people—moving to Texas every year. The easier it is for people to choose between state options, the weaker the case for federal control of markets.

That leaves heavily regulated and highly taxed states at a disadvantage in the competition for people and businesses. Those states have cleverly solved much of their problem by using the federal government to impose higher taxes and regulation across the states. Burdened by often-costly progressive policies, states such as California, Massachusetts, and New York form coalitions in Congress to neutralize the advantage of states like Wyoming, Texas, and Florida. Protection from competition is the strongest impetus for the integration of federal and state governments under an umbrella of overall federal control.

That process undercuts one of the great advantages of a modern economy: the choice that mobility offers to families and businesses. It hastens the erosion of one of our most essential constitutional protections, the separate domains of federal and state governments, each confined to its proper sphere of authority. [The Atlantic, July 31]

The courts aren’t on board with the plan for unrestrained executive power—at least not all of them, yet. To hear liberals tell the story, the most important thing to know about Halbig v. Burwell is that the D.C. Circuit Court denied ObamaCare subsidies to millions of people in the 36 states that chose not to establish an exchange. The detail that the law says the subsidies are available “through an Exchange established by the State” gets second billing if it shows up at all. Liberals thus blame the court for striking down that which Congress failed to create. What an odd way of looking at judicial decisions. As Michael Greve notes, the acceptance of the government’s arguments as at all plausible is a signal that administrative law is coming apart at the seams. He writes:

[W]ould we actually be having this overwrought discussion over a perfectly straightforward Administrative Law and statutory interpretation question—and a perfectly conventional judicial resolution—if Halbig were about something other than Obamacare? Hardly.

By way of illustration, take a look at Sierra Club v. EPA, 536 F.3d 673 (D.C. Cir. 2008), a case over Title V permitting under the Clean Air Act. In defense of a regulation that took some liberty with the language of Title V, the EPA argued that (1) the statutory language (“each” permit) didn’t quite mean what it said, when read in connection with other provisions; (2) the statutory context warranted a more latitudinarian reading; and (3) EPA’s “programmatic” reading would better serve congressional purposes. In substance, that’s the government’s Halbig defense. Sierra Club rejected all three arguments; and you can clip entire paragraphs from the opinion and paste them into Halbig without anyone noticing. (Judge Griffith wrote both opinions.) No, it’s not a conservative cabal: in Sierra Club, the enviros won. And no, it’s not an outlier: some Administrative Law textbooks excerpt Sierra Club as an example of how Chevron(Step I) analysis works.

And:

Why isn’t the supposed error precisely a case for a “we-messed-up-and-here-is-what-we-meant” statutory override, of the sort that Congress has enacted time and again for civil rights laws, Medicaid, Medicare, and any number of other entitlement statutes? In short, why isn’t Halbig obviously right? And why isn’t that answer congenial to liberals who, from the New Deal to infinity and beyond, have extolled statutory and even constitutional litigation as a “dialogue” between the Court and the political branches, especially the Congress?

Because they no longer believe it. Obamacare was no inartful compromise; it was a brutal cramdown. There’s no kicking this back to Congress; the judges’ rulings, Obamacare supporters wail, spell the life or death of the statute. And when in doubt, the liberals say (for once), choose life. [Library of Law and Liberty, August 6]

Video of the week: Economics is everywhere, including between the goalposts. The start of football season is less than a month away. From Steve Horwitz and Learn Liberty, here’s a look at how the game’s concussion crisis reveals an important lesson about public policy:

footballconcussion.jpg

Pulling back the curtain on Healthcare.gov: Remember the fiasco that was the launch of Healthcare.gov? The Government Accountability Office has looked into the matter and the agency recently told Congress that, indeed, there was a fiasco. Peter Suderman reports some of the details of the GAO’s testimony:

One of the big problems was that federal health bureaucrats kept changing their minds during the development process. The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), which was charged with building the exchange system, “incurred significant cost increases, schedule slips, and delayed system functionality.” These delays were largely due to “changing requirements that were exacerbated by inconsistent oversight.” The dithering cost time, and it also cost money. Between September 2011 and February 2014, development cost estimates blew up, from about $56 million to $209 million for the federal marketplace. Costs for the data hub, another key part of the exchange, went from $30 million to $85 million.

It was a classic bureaucratic circus. No one knew who actually had the authority to tell contractors what to do, so contractors got jerked around and sent on fruitless tasks, or asked to do work that they shouldn’t have been doing. The GAO report says that CMS improperly spent $30 million on bonus features that it didn’t technically have the authority to order.

Delays and costs piled up, with some held off until weeks before launch, and when it came time to flip the switch, no one knew if it would work. “CMS launched Healthcare.gov without verification that it met performance requirements.”

But don’t think all the problems are in the past:

CMS Deputy Administrator Andy Slavitt said this morning that “there will clearly be bumps” when the exchanges open for all business again in November, according to a report in Politico.

Slavitt also confirmed that the exchange still isn’t built yet, with key backend payment systems that have already been delayed multiple times still incomplete. Slavitt said that the administration doesn’t expect work to be finished on those systems until next year—after the second open enrollment period is over.
[Reason, July 31]

 

 

To Do: Figure Out What Now for ObamaCare

Assess how the legal challenges to ObamaCare’s subsidies and mandates will unfold now that two federal courts have issued contrary rulings. The Cato Institute’s Michael Cannon and Case Western Reserve University’s Jonathan Adler—the guys who noticed that ObamaCare doesn’t allow subsidies in
federal exchanges—will discuss the Halbig and King decisions. The discussion will begin at noon on August 12 in Room B-354 of the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C.

• Experience one young man’s harrowing journey to secure his life and liberty in a repressive future society. The Heritage Foundation will host a private advance screening of The Giver, starring Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep, at 7:00 p.m. on August 12. To attend, RSVP to enoren@crcpublicrelations.com.

Shoot guns, eat BBQ, and smoke cigars. The second annual Northwest Freedom Shootout is a fun afternoon event where you’ll meet other fans of the Second Amendment. The Shootout will begin at noon on August 16, at the Evergreen Sportsmen’s Club in Littlerock, Wash.

Make your own declaration for Think Freely Media’s Great Communicators Tournament. Shoot a video in which you describe a policy issue using moral arguments to support a free enterprise or limited government. Submit it by August 15. The prize for first place is $10,000!

Get an update on the right-to-work movement. The Heritage Foundation will host a panel featuring two teachers and a home healthcare provider grappling with union power in California, Michigan, and Minnesota. The event will begin at noon on August 12.

• Save the dates: Americans for Prosperity’s 8th Annual Defending the American Dream Summit will take place on August 29 at the Omni Dallas Hotel. The Mont Pelerin Society will meet August 31 at the Kowloon Shangri-La Hong Kong Hotel to discuss the future prospects for liberal reform in Asia.

To my Readers,  I am sorry to have been so very lax these past months in keeping up with my blog, but it just seemed that the news was so very depressing.  More and more scandals which our President and his cohorts refused to do anything about or even to investigate.  Remember the Presidents words that “there is not even a smidgen of evidence” of wrong doing by anyone in the IRS!  when all know that Americans rights were being trampled and denied and the President and all involved were lying.   Remember Benghazi and  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s outburst of “what dopes it matter?”  when 4 people died while everyone who could have possibly come to their aid had orders from on high to stand down!   And it goes on and on!     Those of you who follow FOX NEWS know what is going on and my comments would not have added anything.    I would sincerely suggested  that if you do not subscribe to  Heritage Online  you do so as an added source of  in-depth information.   Here is the latest issue.

 

I hope and believe that the American people have finally awakened to the evil monster that Obama is and will vote in a Republican Senate this year so that we may begin to undo some of the great damage he and his appointees have done to our country.  It will of course take decades to rec0ver from this assault on our nation and values, and in some areas we may never become the America that we once were .  I do have hope however.    First we must vote in a Republican Senate and then in 2016 a Republican President.  Then we MUST begin to replace the old dogs in both the House and the Senate who have grown lazy, complacent and greedy with power with younger Americans who are trying to remember what our country stood for when formed: a government by the people and for the people.  Yours sincerely, Brenda Bowers

 

 

 


Updated daily, InsiderOnline (
insideronline.org) is a compilation of publication abstracts, how-to essays, events, news, and analysis from around the conservative movement. The current edition of The INSIDER quarterly magazine is also on the site.

May 31, 2014

Latest Studies: 28 studies, including a report from the John Locke Foundation on what helps schools succeed, and a report from the Fraser Institute on the deadly consequences of rationing health care via wait times

Notes on the Week: Over 1 million restrictions in federal regulations, reasons an Article V convention wouldn’t work, The Insider looks at Obama’s disastrous foreign policy, and more

To Do: Remember the victims of Tiananmen Square, examine China’s human rights practices

Latest Studies

Budget & Taxation
Four Myths about American Taxes – Independent Women’s Forum
A U-Turn on the Road to Serfdom – Institute of Economic Affairs

Crime, Justice & the Law
New York’s Next Public Safety Revolution – Manhattan Institute

Economic and Political Thought
Catholic Social Teaching and the Market Economy (Revised Second Edition) – Institute of Economic Affairs

Economic Growth
Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed – Encounter Books
Patent Trolls: Predatory Litigation and the Smothering of Innovation – Independent Institute
Machines v. Lawyers – Manhattan Institute
The Economic Situation, June 1, 2014 – Mercatus Center

Education
Educational Freedom Works – John Locke Foundation
Blended Learning: Leveraging Teachers and Technology to Improve Student Outcomes – Maine Heritage Policy Center
How to Address Common Core’s Reading Standards: Licensure Tests for K-6 Teachers – Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research

Elections, Transparency, & Accountability
Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment – Encounter Books

Foreign Policy/International Affairs
Al Qaeda Isn’t ‘On Its Heels’ – American Enterprise Institute

Health Care
The Effect of Wait Times on Mortality in Canada – Fraser Institute
How to Sustain Sound Dietary Guidelines for Americans – Hudson Institute
The Political Roots of Health Insurance Benefit Mandates – Mercatus Center
Specialty Drugs and Pharmacies – National Center for Policy Analysis
The Biggest Myths of ObamaCare – National Center for Policy Analysis
The VA Health System Is a Tragic Warning Against Government-Run Health Care – Reason Foundation

Immigration
The ENLIST Act: A Back Door to Instant Citizenship – Heritage Foundation

Labor
Why the Earned Income Tax Credit Beats the Minimum Wage – Independent Women’s Forum

National Security
From Black Boots to Desert Boots: The All-Volunteer Army Experiment Continues – Foreign Policy Research Institute
Reforming DHS Through the Appropriations Process – Heritage Foundation

Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & Science
Ending Ex–Im Would Remove Wasteful Energy Subsidies – Heritage Foundation
Property Rights Save the Environment – Hoover Institution
Smaller, Faster, Lighter, Denser, Cheaper: How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong – PublicAffairs

Regulation & Deregulation
Evaluating Regulatory Reforms: Lessons for Future Reforms – Mercatus Center

The Constitution/Civil Liberties
The Case Against Reparations for Slavery – Hoover Institution

 

Notes on the Week

Image of the week: Federal regulations now contain over 1 million restrictions.

How many of those regulations are beneficial on net? How would anybody know? As Patrick McLaughlin and Richard Williams point out: “The American regulatory system has no working, systematic process for reviewing regulations for obsolescence or poor performance […] .” [Mercatus Center, May 27]

Maybe the federal government should take a cue from Minnesota and hold an “unsession”:

It’s no longer a crime in Minnesota to carry fruit in an illegally sized container. The state’s telegraph regulations are gone. And it’s now legal to drive a car in neutral – if you can figure out how to do it.

Those were among the 1,175 obsolete, unnecessary and incomprehensible laws that Gov. Mark Dayton and the Legislature repealed this year as part of the governor’s “unsession” initiative. His goal was to make state government work better, faster and smarter.

“I think we’re off to a very good start,” Dayton said Tuesday at a Capitol news conference.

In addition to getting rid of outdated laws, the project made taxes simpler, cut bureaucratic red tape, speeded up business permits and required state agencies to communicate in plain language. [St. Paul Pioneer-Press, May 27]

As the governor said: A very good start.

 

 

The dose of Rachel Carson makes the poison. May 27 was the 107th birthday of Rachel Carson, and Google decided to devote a doodle to celebrating the environmentalist on its homepage. Carson is most famous for her 1962 book Silent Spring, which warned of the detrimental effects of pesticides on the environment. Carson’s warnings were particularly influential in curbing the use of DDT, an insecticide that had been widely used in agriculture and to control mosquito-spread malaria and typhus. The book is not without its critics, including Henry I. Miller of the Hoover Institute. In 2012, on the 50th anniversary of the publication of Silent Spring, Miller wrote that the book was “an emotionally charged but deeply flawed denunciation of the widespread spraying of chemical pesticides for the control of insects.” Miller continued:

In the words of Professor Robert H. White-Stevens, an agriculturist and biology professor at Rutgers University, “If man were to follow the teachings of Miss Carson, we would return to the Dark Ages, and the insects and diseases and vermin would once again inherit the earth.”

In 1992, San Jose State University entomologist J. Gordon Edwards, a long-time member of the Sierra Club and the Audubon Society and a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, offered a persuasive and comprehensive rebuttal of “Silent Spring.” As he explained in “The Lies of Rachel Carson,” a stunning, point by point refutation, “it simply dawned on me that that Rachel Carson was not interested in the truth about [pesticides] and that I was being duped along with millions of other Americans.” He demolished Carson’s arguments and assertions, calling attention to critical omissions, faulty assumptions, and outright fabrications.

Consider, for example, this passage from Edwards’ article: “This implication that DDT is horribly deadly is completely false. Human volunteers have ingested as much as 35 milligrams of it a day for nearly two years and suffered no adverse effects. Millions of people have lived with DDT intimately during the mosquito spray programs and nobody even got sick as a result. The National Academy of Sciences concluded in 1965 that ‘in a little more than two decades, DDT has prevented 500 million [human] deaths that would otherwise have been inevitable.’ The World Health Organization stated that DDT had ‘killed more insects and saved more people than any other substance.’”

In addition, DDT was used with dramatic effect to shorten and prevent typhus epidemics during and after WWII when people were dusted with large amounts of it but suffered no ill effects, which is perhaps the most persuasive evidence that the chemical is harmless to humans. The product was such a boon to public health that in 1948 the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Dr. Paul Müller for his discovery of the “contact insecticidal action” of DDT. [Forbes, September 5, 2012]

Also in 2012, Roger Meiners and Andrew Morris examined the book in some detail, highlighting the book’s impact on the mindset of the environmental movement. They noted that Carson was inconsistent in claiming on the one hand that she was against only the overzealous application of pesticides while also suggesting that policy should strive to reduce chemical residues to zero. Meiners and Morris:

The problem is that a “no-residue” policy is tantamount to a no-use policy. As Larry Katzenstein explains‚ Carson’s rhetorical question is an articulation of the present-day environmentalists’ version of the precautionary principle. Carson’s view that policy regarding synthetic chemicals should be “no risk” was not uncommon in her time‚ as exemplified in the Delaney Amendment. The policy is not only unrealistic but poses significant harm […] .

The contradiction could be reconciled by striving to balance the risks and benefits of not using pesticides against those of using them. Many of Carson’s disciples‚ however‚ do not favor such balancing of the risks of using DDT versus the risk of abandoning its use. This is evident from their support of a global ban on all DDT uses prior to the signing of the Stockholm Convention’s ban on persistent organic pesticides and the continuing efforts to phase out DDT despite its public health benefits. [“Silent Spring at 50: Reflections on an Environmental Classic,” by Roger Meiners and Andrew Morris, Property and Environment Research Center, April 2012]

See also: “Rachel Was Wrong: Agrochemicals’ Benefit to Human Health and the Environment,” by Angela Logomasini, Competitive Enterprise Institute, November 2012.

 

 

The Insider: Why the Obama foreign policy has been a disaster: Making the world safe for classical liberal values like individual liberty, free trade, and constitutionally constrained government requires a foreign policy that does more than just not start wars. Our cover story for the Spring 2014 issue takes up that theme. The editor’s note:

If you follow the news, you probably know that a Select Committee of the House of Representatives is investigating whether the Obama administration has been sufficiently forthcoming about the security situation in Benghazi in the fall of 2012 and about how it responded to terrorist attacks on U.S. government facilities there on the 11th anniversary of 9/11. In particular, investigators are trying to determine why the administration downplayed terrorism and insisted that the attack had been merely a spontaneous protest against an Internet video that got out of hand.

Indeed, there are unanswered questions about Benghazi, but one thing we do know is that Islamist terrorism has not gone away. That was clear enough when we learned that the supposed spontaneous demonstration in Benghazi consisted entirely of men bearing rocket launchers driving trucks displaying Ansar al-Sharia logos. Two years later, foreign policy failures abound. Russia is in the Crimea, democratic reformers have been marginalized in the Middle East, and nobody takes our “red lines” seriously, to name just a few.

The problem, as Mackubin Thomas Owens explains, is that the Obama administration thinks peace and order are the natural conditions of world affairs, and that military force is only an alternative to diplomacy not an integral part of an overall diplomatic strategy. These confusions leave the administration unable to meet the challenges of maintaining a world order based on liberal democracy and open trade. And that is a tragedy for the whole world, not merely the United States.

Also in this issue, we have Bob Moffit and Nina Owcharenko reminding us that fixing health care doesn’t mean just repealing ObamaCare; it means implementing the consumer-oriented reforms that conservatives have been championing for decades. Nathaniel Ward and Tim McGovern show how a culture of testing can help you improve your marketing. Mike Gonzalez reveals the Left’s complaints about partisan commentary to be rather, well, partisan. And finally, if you’ve ever wondered what studies actually show about which policies lead to economic growth, then you should read John Hood’s summary of the literature.

 

 

There’s no theory in that theory. There’s something missing from Thomas Piketty’s argument (contained in his bestseller Capital in the Twenty-First Century) that year-in and year-out the returns to capital exceed the growth rate of the economy as a whole. As Don Boudreaux points out, Piketty offers no explanation for why that must be so:

The entire tenor of Piketty’s volume suggests that he thinks capital reproduces itself, both from the perspective of its individual owners and from the perspective of society at large.

The creativity and fortitude of entrepreneurs, the skillful risk-taking by investors and the insight and effort of managers are all strangely absent throughout Piketty’s performance. These very fonts of modern prosperity are at best assumed to play uninterestingly routine and unseen roles backstage. Onstage, capital—the stuff that is in fact created and skillfully steered by flesh-and-blood entrepreneurs, investors and managers—appears to grow spontaneously, without human involvement. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, May 27]

Of course, when you attempt to explain economic conditions—like inequality—you run the risk of discovering that capitalism might not be the problem. For example, here is this point from Robert Murphy:

[…] Mother Jones loved this chart showing income inequality soaring in the late 1920s and in the mid-2000s: Look everyone, if we let the 1% earn too much, it sets the world up for a giant financial crash! But actually what happened is that loose monetary policy drove down interest rates, thereby fueling asset price booms, which showed up as huge income (in the form of capital gains) accruing disproportionately in the hands of the wealthy. It’s not surprising that these Fed-fueled asset bubbles eventually collapsed, leading to the Great Depression and Great Recession. To prevent a repeat, the government doesn’t need to confiscate property from the super-rich; instead the Fed needs to stop inflating asset bubbles. [Rare, May 29]

 

 

Beth March, scarlet fever, and Thomas Piketty: One secret to Thomas Piketty’s success in selling Americans his book Capital in the Twenty-First Century is his embrace of great literature. Piketty retells key moments in Honore de Balzac’s Pere Goriot to illustrate the importance of inheritance in the 19th century and draws on Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park when he discusses the value and the vexation of overseas investments. Piketty’s insight is that books capture the sense and flavor of their era—and occasionally report typical prices and incomes.

The writers of the past are equally valuable for illuminating the astounding progress of economic growth in the past two hundred years, a fact Piketty acknowledges but to which he devotes little ink. Reading Capital, one comes away with the impression that the distribution of wealth and income is the central fact of each era: He reports most statistics as percentages of national income. But when per-person national income was doubling every generation, it was surely a more noticeable phenomenon than a few percentage points of national wealth more or less in the portfolios of the top centile.

Long-term comparisons of income levels are tricky: How many buggy whips is an iPhone worth? Stories of human life under different conditions can help us appreciate the immensity of growth.

In One Thousand and One Nights, hilarity ensues when characters meet in the dark and fail to recognize one another. Artificial light was expensive. Roger Fouquet and Peter J. G. Pearson estimate that a dollar’s worth of lighting in the year 2000 would have cost $3,000 two centuries before. Like all long-term economic growth, the cheapness of modern light comes from applying free enterprise to technological innovation. At times, the British government stood athwart history, taxing windows and Dutch whale oil. [“Seven Centuries of Energy Services: The Price and Use of Light in the United Kingdom (1300-2000)“ by Roger Fouquet and Peter J.G. Pearson, The Energy Journal, Vol. 27, No. 1 (2006)]

In Little Women, Beth March dies of strep throat (scarlet fever) despite being an affluent New Englander. Today, an antibiotic would have cured her quickly, and the entire episode might warrant a few Facebook status updates. Oliver Twist is thrown into a life of poverty and loneliness by the death of his mother in childbirth, a common occurrence in 19th-century London. The advances in medicine alone make the era of enterprise and innovation a success.

Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days celebrates the breakneck speed of an era of dynamic growth and technological progress. Steam, rail, and telegraphy remade the world in a generation.

Although Piketty has introduced some new data on the distribution of income and wealth in different eras, we should not lose sight of the great progress that has lifted all standards of living since the times of Charles Dickens and Jules Verne. —Salim Furth

 

 

A note from Martin Feldstein: A couple of weeks ago, we pointed to some analysis by Martin Feldstein on the inequality argument put forth by Thomas Piketty in his book Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Feldstein had pointed out that Piketty was looking at U.S. income tax return data, which is misleading because the tax reforms of 1986 encouraged high earners to increase the amount of income reported on individual income tax returns. The income didn’t change so much as how it was counted on tax forms.

Dr. Feldstein has let us know that his article, originally published behind a paywall at Wall Street Journal, is now available ungated at www.nber.org/feldstein/wsj05152014.pdf.

Piketty’s book, we see, is still in the news—perhaps more so this week than in previous weeks—because of some questions about his data. Those who are following the argument should be sure to read Dr. Feldstein’s contribution.

 

 

The contradictions of European union: A report on Greece, from Alexander Skouras:

Golden Dawn’s rise from a tiny group of radical Hitler-sympathizers to the third largest party in Greece occurred when the Greek economy was collapsing. The origins of this crisis are well-known and well-documented: excessive borrowing, low productivity, corruption, and a profligate welfare state. At the height of the crisis the entire nation was angry; the people felt betrayed by their political elites. The Nazi party arose from the need to blame outsiders and to feel special. […]

In this political climate Golden Dawn rose from 0.3 percent of the vote in 2009 to approximately 7 percent in the 2012 national elections. For the last year many analysts thought that the prosecution of Golden Dawn members on charges of organized crime and the imprisonment of many of its elected leaders, including General Secretary Nikos Michaloliakos, would keep the party from further electoral success. But the May 18 municipal and gubernatorial elections and the May 25 European ones told a different story. Golden Dawn received 9.4 percent of the European parliamentary vote, enough to elect three members. Among them there are two former high-ranking army officers. The week before that, in Athens, the country’s capital and largest city, Golden Dawn’s municipal candidate and MP, Ilias Kassidiaris, who made global headlines when he slapped a female communist MP on live television, gathered 16 percent of the vote, securing him fourth place in a close election. Ilias Panagiotaros, Golden Dawn’s gubernatorial candidate in Attica, the region that includes Athens and its suburbs, won 11 percent and also finished fourth.

From these results it is safe to assume that Golden Dawn is no longer merely the beneficiary of a protest vote. The Greek electorate has been fully informed of the party’s Nazi affiliation, Holocaust denial, anti-immigrant slurs, and raw violence in the streets of Athens. We can now safely conclude that Greece has a viable, robust, and dangerous national socialist political force. [AtlasOne, May 28]

Wasn’t preventing a rebirth of nationalist parties the point of a united Europe?

 

 

Video of the week: Reasons an Article V convention would not give conservatives what they want: The main problem with the country’s constitutional set-up, says Trent England, is not the words of the Constitution but a lack of fidelity to what those words mean. Amending the Constitution will just give liberals different words to ignore. England is the Executive Vice President of the Freedom Foundation, Washington State’s free-market think tank. Talking with the Daily Caller’s Ginny Thomas, England outlines some other reasons conservatives should be wary of an Article V constitutional convention.

For one thing, says England, the convention would not necessarily work the way conservatives imagine it would work. Convention delegates would have their own constitutional standing, and their work could not simply be constrained by an act of Congress. Furthermore, says England, sitting federal judges—most of whom are not conservatives—would likely play a bigger role than Congress in shaping any convention.

Also, it’s not easy to amend the Constitution and conservatives might be wiser to invest their resources pushing other levers of change (e.g., the Senate). And England notes that it’s probably a good thing that the Constitution is hard to amend because the Left has bigger dreams of changing the Constitution that conservatives do; there’s a lot of freedom that could be lost at an Article V convention, too.

 

 

The point of federalism is to protect the rights of the people, not the rights of states. Noting the rash of stories about new federal requirements for school lunches, David Corbin and Matt Parks point out how inadequate is the Republican waiver-based defense of federalism, which they say “simply shovels a little less dirt on [federalism’s] grave”:

Approximately one out of every fourteen Americans is a government employee today, compared to one in twenty-two Americans in 1955. The greatest part of the total increase of government employees amounts to the enlargement of state and local government employment. It matters little if the lunch lady pouring chocolate milk down the sink and serving fruits and vegetables is a local government employee if her job ultimately depends on monies slopped out by federal bureaucrats wielding carrot sticks.

Which brings us to the third part of Madison’s argument as to why the proposed federal republic was a great improvement over the earlier confederation; namely, its powers would be “few,” “defined,” and “exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce.” Madison likely never could have imagined the Federal government adding management of sodium intake to this list as the American people sat listless on the political sidelines.

As troubling as the death of federalism is, we need more fundamental reform, as the Republican response to the school lunch mandates makes clear. There is, after all, an even more important third leg to the governing stool, implicit in Madison’s argument, but made explicit in the 10th Amendment: the people. Often conservatives read that Amendment as if it is meant to protect the rights of the states. But it is much better understood, both textually and historically, as an attempt to protect the people’s distribution of powers among themselves, the states and the national government. If we really want to restore 10th Amendment government, we’ll need to work much harder at removing power from both state and federal hands than at replacing the divine right of the Washington King with the divine right of state Barons. [The Federalist, May 26]

Michael Greve made a similar argument in a recent issue of The Insider:

The balance question isn’t just beside the point; it is an assault on the foundations of the republic. To quote Madison’s impassioned language in Federalist 45:

Was … the American revolution effected, was the American Confederacy formed, was the precious blood of thousands spilt, and the hard-earned substance of millions lavished, not that the people of America should enjoy peace, liberty, and safety, but that the government of the individual states, that particular municipal establishments, might enjoy a certain extent of power, and be arrayed with certain dignities and attributes of sovereignty?

The answer he is trying to evoke is: Hell, no. […]

States are Purely Instrumental. If they can advance the “real welfare of the great body of the people,” good for them. If they stand as a hindrance, ignore them or get rid of them. That is the fundamental calculus and the irreducible premise of the United States Constitution. The cartel federalism we have is profoundly state-friendly: It serves the interests of the political class. The constitutional, competitive federalism we need is citizen-friendly: It would discipline government, not help it grow. [“But What Kind of Federalism?“ by Michael S. Greve, The Insider, Winter 2013.]

 

 

And speaking of states doing the wrong things … Low-income people in Arkansas used to be able to get their teeth cleaned cheaply, thanks to Dr. Ben Burris. Now, instead of paying $99 (or $69 for children), they have to pay hundreds of dollars for a cleaning. Burris, who is a dentist, had to stop offering the cleanings because the state board of dental examiners told him that he couldn’t offer basic dental services.

According to the board, Arkansas law says dentists can’t offer dental services if they are also licensed as a specialist. Burris is a licensed orthodontist. Orthodontists, by the way, normally employ dental hygienists who clean teeth, and that’s all perfectly legal as long as the teeth getting cleaned also get fitted for braces later.

Of course, the restriction on specialists offering services outside their specialty has nothing to do with protecting consumers and everything to do with limiting competition in basic dental services—so that dentists can charge more. No patients had complained about Burris’s service. At a hearing of the dental board, notes the Institute for Justice, “Board members and general dentists condemned Ben for offering the cleanings. There was no allegation that Ben had endangered, much less harmed, anyone.”

On behalf of Burris and his colleague Elizabeth Grohl, IJ filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against the board of dental examiners. The lawsuit contends that the restriction against specialists offering basic dental services serves no purpose except to protect general dentists from competition, and that the restriction thus violates the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection, Due Process and Privileges or Immunities Clauses.

 

 

To Do: Remember the Victims of Tiananmen Square, Examine China’s Human Rights Practices

Learn about the human rights situation in China on the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng will talk with American Enterprise Institute president Arthur C. Brooks. The conversation will begin at 1:45 p.m. at the American Enterprise Institute on June 3.

Examine the connection between liberty and character. The Beacon Center of Tennessee will host a talk by Lawrence Reed, President of the Foundation for Economic Education. Reed will speak at the Nashville City Club on June 3 at 6 p.m.

Show what a great communicator for liberty you are by entering Think Freely’s Great Communicators Tournament. All you have to do is make a one- to three-minute video in which you take the moral high ground while making an argument for liberty. Submissions are due by July 15. Twelve finalists will be selected to compete in the Great Communicators Tournament at the State Policy Network’s Annual Meeting in Denver in September.

Discover whether administrative law is even lawful. Philip Hamburger, Professor of Law at Columbia University, thinks it is not, and he’ll explain why at the Cato Institute at noon on June 5.

Find out how sex education courses have become caught in the crosshairs of the “war on women” debate. Valerie Huber, President of the National Abstinence Education Association, will speak at the Family Research Council at noon on June 4.

Learn how the Left want to amend the First Amendment so they can stifle criticism of elected officials. The Heritage Foundation will host a panel discussion featuring Bobby Burchfield, who argued the recent and important McCutcheon case before the Supreme Court; Don McGahn, former Chairman of the Federal Election Commission; and Hans von Spakovsky, Senior Legal Fellow at The Heritage Foundation. The discussion will begin at 2 p.m. on June 2.

Cartoonists, get your submissions in for the Center for International Private Enterprise’s 2014 Global Editorial Cartoon Competition. Hurry—the submission deadline is June 2.

• Check out The Daily Signal, The Heritage Foundation’s new media platform, launching June 3.

(Want more stuff to do? Check out InsiderOnline’s Conservative Calendar.)

Have a tip for InsiderOnline? Send us an e-mail at insider@heritage.org with “For Insider” in the subject line.

Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/InsiderOnline.

Looking for an expert? Visit PolicyExperts.org.

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The best that can be said for the  budget deal Congress is now considering is that it appears to be a bit of cooperation between the Republicans and the Democrats, the House and the Senate for the first time in years.   Other than that it is no “deal” for the American people.   Read the following report from Heritage and decide for yourself.   For myself I don’t like it but rather have this than nothing at all because nothing at all but “continuing resolution” puts Obama in charge of spending what he wants with no input or control  from the Congress or the people.  BB

The Budget Deal’s Sneaky Tax Increases

The Heritage Foundation

The Budget Deal’s Sneaky Tax Increases

12/13/2013

The congressional budget deal includes some “user fees.”

For the Washington establishment, that’s apparently the politically correct way of telling Americans they’ll be paying more to the federal government. For the rest of us, it’s a tax increase.

The Ryan-Murray budget deal, which passed the House on a 332-94 vote, includes a number of “fee” increases. One would make flying more expensive. Travelers are currently charged $2.50 per flight under the Transportation Security Administration’s airline security “fee.” Under the budget deal, that would increase to $5.60 per flight or $11.20 for a round-trip ticket.

Supporters of the deal are claiming this isn’t a tax increase—but take a look at your airline receipt. The airline security charge is just one of the taxes you’ll see. According to Delta Airlines, there’s also the Domestic Transportation Tax (7.5 percent), Travel Facilities Tax ($8.40), and U.S. International Transportation Tax ($17.20). These are all considered taxes.

When asked if the “user fees” were a code name for a tax increase, Representative Tom McClintock (R-CA) http://links.heritage.org/ct/16404994:18066827961:m:1:348519099:779EB473BBAB19B343CA8EC17FE7C637:r” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>explained it this way: “I happen to believe once government spends a dollar they have decided to tax that dollar. The only question is when and by what means.”

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And in the case of this airline security fee increase, the money isn’t even going back to the TSA to fund or improve security. Instead, as Heritage’s Cassandra Lucaccioni explained, “it will be deposited annually into a general fund of the Treasury.”

Not all government user fees are problematic. If they’re used to provide services to distinct groups of individuals or specific businesses or industries, they might make sense. That’s not what’s happening here.

“If a higher fee does not directly cover the cost of a government service and instead goes to pay for more spending, then it is akin to a tax increase,” said Curtis Dubay, Heritage’s senior tax policy analyst. “The budget deal uses the higher fees to cover the cost of more spending; hence it is essentially a tax hike.”

Taxpayers are tired of Washington’s gimmicks and games—and conservatives on Capitol Hill shouldn’t fall for this sneaky wordplay. The $63 billion spending hike in the Ryan-Murray budget has to come from somewhere.

Only in Washington could something like this fly. The American people shouldn’t buy it—or, in this case, pay for it.

Read the Morning Bell and more en español every day at Heritage Libertad.

Quick Hits:

 

I am a fan of Daniel Hannan and can’t wait to read his new book.  Thought you might like to learn a bit about him too so passing this newsletter from Heritage on to my readers.  BB

VIDEO: Daniel Hannan Explains Why the English-Speaking World Is the Most Committed to Individual Liberty

In his new book, Inventing Freedom, Daniel Hannan explains how liberty originated from the Anglosphere and why the English-speaking people of the world have created and fostered liberty throughout the world.

Speaking at a recent Heritage event, Hannan, member of the European Parliament representing South East England, said he believes the Anglosphere is, in fact, liberty’s strongest friend.

In 1968, Hannan and almost all of the Anglo-Peruvian community—amid mob attacks, seizures, and confiscations—fled the grasp of the leftist regime of Peruvian General Juan Velasco Alvarado.

“I am someone who has moved from the Hispanosphere to the Anglosphere,” Hannan said. “I can’t help noticing that the movement has been overwhelmingly one-way. It’s worth standing back and asking why that is.”

Hannan asked, “What made the Anglosphere miracle possible? That’s the question that I set out to answer in Inventing Freedom.”

Perhaps the most striking characteristic Hannan noted was “the miracle of common law.”

“The law came up from the people, not down from the regime,” he said. “It was an ally of freedom, not an instrument of state control. … That beautiful, anomalous system that John Adams recognized as the foundation of all Anglosphere freedoms [is] almost without precedent in the world.”

Hannan noted that visitors to North America and Great Britain found these countries to be remarkable. Voltaire, Montesquieu, Tocqueville, and others observed the emphasis on individual freedom, religious freedom, the plurality of religions, and free-market enterprise.

Heritage hosted Hannan on November 22. His discussion and the question-and-answer session run about 55 minutes.

The post VIDEO: Daniel Hannan Explains Why the English-Speaking World Is the Most Committed to Individual Liberty appeared first on The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation.

I imagine my Readers have been watching the circus going on in Washington as Obamacare does its predicted  nose dive  dropping  the  nasty  little factoids as it goes.   Everyday wqe learn another way this law will hurt Americans.  Here is just a couple more for you all to consider.

You may also want to check out some of the “Quick Hits” at the bottom of the page.  Like who is paying for all those “Obamaphones” being passed out all over the country?  How good is that CANADIAN company whom our government paid to build the Obamacare website and are paying to fix it now? BB

From Heritage:

How Obamacare Discourages Work and Marriage

While President Obama and his fellow liberals may have held the best of intentions while ramming Obamacare through Congress, the law’s policies are far from compassionate toward the uninsured and Americans with low and modest incomes.

In fact, the law perpetuates some of the country’s worst trends that trap people in poverty. It includes disincentives for individuals to marry and for Americans of low and modest incomes to work. Discouraging work and marriage will only perpetuate poverty and income inequality, not alleviate them.

Discouraging Work

The way Obamacare calculates federal premium subsidies and cost-sharing subsidies includes several “cliffs.” A person might qualify for a hefty subsidy at his current income, but if he gets a raise and makes a little more, that Obamacare subsidy disappears.

At these cliffs, individuals and families will actually benefit more by working less because additional earnings could cause them to lose thousands of dollars in taxpayer-funded subsidies.

Families facing these kinds of poverty traps may ask the obvious question: If I will lose so much in government benefits by earning additional income, why work?

Rather than encouraging hard work, initiative, and entrepreneurship, Obamacare instead undermines these essential American values.

Discouraging Marriage

Obamacare contains not one, but two penalties on marriage—one for families with low and moderate incomes and another for families with higher incomes. By continuing failed policies that undermine the institution of marriage, Obamacare will accelerate a root cause of income inequality in the United States.

Here’s an example. A 50-year-old non-smoker making $35,000 per year would qualify for a sizable insurance subsidy, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s insurance subsidy calculator. The individual’s premium would be capped at 9.5 percent of income, resulting in an insurance subsidy of $2,065 paid by the federal government.

However, if this 50-year-old is married to another 50-year-old who also makes $35,000 per year, the couple would receive no insurance subsidy at all. This couple would incur a marriage penalty of $4,130 in one year—equal to the $2,065 that each individual could have received if they were not married.

As Urban Institute fellow Gene Steuerle has said: “Our tax and welfare system thus favors those who consider marriage an option—to be avoided when there are penalties and engaged when there are bonuses. The losers tend to be those who consider marriage to be sacred.”

Obamacare sends a clear message that reliance on government is preferable to these traditional American values—work and marriage.

Our health care policy should not be undermining these foundations of society. For a more commonsense approach to health care reform, check this out.

obamacare-alternative

Read the Morning Bell and more en español every day at Heritage Libertad.

Quick Hits:

Congress still at their games with the American people.  I am a conservative with no apologies and have voted Republican most of my life altho I vote for the person and NOT the party so I put a pox on both their houses.  Republicans and Democrats alike are responsible for taking care of their own bums before they give a thought to the people who elected them.  Now that Obamacare seems to be blowing up in their faces the Congress is still taking care of their personal business first.

As for the farce now playing out with Obamacare all I can say is:  there is a God!  because apparently no one else can control this President.  BB

The following article from Heritage is interesting.:

Congress and Obamacare: A Big Double Standard

Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) (KEVIN DIETSCH/UPI/Newscom)

Are lawmakers and  their personal staffs “exempt” from Obamacare, as some conservative critics are saying?

Well, not exactly. Members of Congress and their staffs  must be enrolled in the Obamacare exchange plans effective January 1, 2014.   Under Section 1312 (D) of the Affordable Care Act,   they can no longer get their health coverage  through the  Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), the largest group health insurance program in the world. Because they lost their FEHBP coverage, they also lost their generous FEHBP subsidy,   amounting to roughly $5,000 for individual coverage, and more than $10,000 for family coverage. Just like ordinary Americans who lose their employer–based health insurance, Congress and staff  would only be eligible for the exchanges’ income –related subsidies.

How did this happen? During the 2010 debate on the Senate version of Obamacare,  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid inserted language  that Congress and staff would henceforth have to get their insurance in the Obamacare exchanges and would thus be ineligible to purchase coverage through the FEHBP.  The language was  an early committee amendment  authored by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), who argued that Congress should not treat itself differently from other Americans.

After passing Obamacare, Congressmen soon realized  they all faced higher premiums and out-of- pocket costs, just like millions of their fellow citizens.  While a lower-paid staffer who makes less than $46,000 annually would qualify for the new exchange subsidies, senior staff and Members of Congress (who make $174,000 annually) would not. Just like many private-sector employers, Congressmen also worried about Obamacare’s impact on attracting and retaining  employees.

Anxious about  the consequences of Obamacare for themselves, Congressional leaders  were nonetheless afraid to go to the House or Senate floor and vote themselves the equivalent of their previous employer-based insurance subsidy.

So, in August 2013, President Obama came to their rescue. The White House pressured the U.S Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the agency that runs the FEHBP, to give Congressmen and their staffers the same employer’s subsidy in the exchanges for next year that they would otherwise get if they had remained in the FEHBP in 2014.

This is curious. Politico reported, on  Oct. 1, 2013, that OPM had concluded – before the White House intervention- that Congress could not get FEHBP subsidies for  coverage in the  Obamacare exchange..

In an August. 2, 2013 paper for The Heritage Foundation (Backgrounder 2831), my colleagues, including former OPM General Counsel Joseph A. Morris, published the same conclusion. The statute did not even mention OPM or grant OPM regulatory authority to implement it; nor did it provide for any additional subsidy for members of Congress and staff enrolled in the exchanges. Under the FEHBP, law, Heritage argued, OPM simply has no authority to transfer funds outside of the FEHBP program, or to make government payments to any plan other than a participating FEHBP plan.

Heritage also anticipated – correctly — that OPM might try to pull a fast one, and offer Congress administrative relief. This would spare House and Senate members a politically embarrassing floor vote to get special treatment for themselves. But OPM could only do so, Heritage warned,  by ignoring the plain language of the statute.

That’s exactly what happened. Under pressure from the White House, on Aug. 7, 2013, OPM gave Congress and staffers the special taxpayer subsidies anyway. They are, in fact, “special”- since there is no Congressional authorization for the Obama Administration to provide them.

In response, Sen. David Vitter (R- LA.) is proposing  an amendment that would require the president, cabinet officials and all administration political appointees,  as well as Congress and  staff, to enroll in the Obamacare exchanges on the same terms and conditions as millions of other Americans.

In other words, Washington’s ruling class would not get any special taxpayer subsidies. President Obama has indicated that he will veto the Vitter amendment if it gets to his desk.

Sen. Vitter’s amendment simply requires those who make and enforce the laws to live under the same rules that they impose on other Americans. President Obama, the Democratic congressional leadership and many staffers, regardless of party affiliation, and their many allies in academia and the media, strongly disagree. They think the  OPM process is legal and legitimate.

That’s perfectly fine. They can argue that case in the court of public opinion. And maybe the federal courts, too.

Originally appeared in Human Events

The post Congress and Obamacare: A Big Double Standard appeared first on The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation.

A Conservative solution to our health care problems is what is needed now I have heard people say.  Well there has been this Conservative solution since before Obamacare was forced thru the Congress by the Democrats who were in control of both houses and the Presidency.  These same Democrats who refused to allow any  Republican input at all during the drafting of this bill.  the same Democrats who refused to be bothered reading the 2000+ page bill that they passed without one Republican vote for it. If you check back on this blog site you will see the Republican plans and proposals that were submitted in both the House and the Senate that were never allowed by the Democrat leaders to see the light of day.  They were trash canned.  What we got stuck with is a so-called  Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare) that we are now finding out is not at all affordable  for  the few people who have been able to get a look  at  the available plans on a web site set up to show these plans to people and allow them to enroll in and purchase insurance.   There  were,  we are now being told,  all of 6 people in the entire country who managed to enroll in Obamacare and purchase an insurance policy the first day before the site crashed and burned.  The same web site that cost $6 billion  and three years to get up and running but isn’t running at all.  The web site that was built by a Canadian company  but is now being fixed by what the President assures us are experts, or this same Canadian company.  Funny I thought the “experts” on the Internet and building programs for the Internet would be the very Americans who built the Internet in the first place.  Guess none of these people had a friend in the White House.  Or maybe they were willing to take less time and cost less money to build a web site that  probably would have worked almost as well as the Internet they built in the first place.  Ya think??  But no “friend” in the WH gets no contract.

The following letter is from Jim DeMint who outlines the Republicans and Conservatives Healthcare Plan that is affordable and available and more important, Constitutional.  Please check it out.  BB

The Conservative Alternative to Obamacare11/01/13Dear friends,We’ve been very critical of Obamacare because it’s hurting Americans. But that has caused some to ask, “What’s your alternative?”

The truth is, we’ve always had alternatives, but our critics weren’t ready to listen. Now, the disastrous rollout of Obamacare has a lot of people asking for alternatives to government-run health care. And conservatives are ready.

demintmbthumb

With each passing day, it becomes clearer that Obamacare will not reduce premiums for average American families, bring down health care spending, or truly improve health care in this country. Instead, people are receiving notices from their insurance companies that their policies are being canceled or their premiums are skyrocketing.

At The Heritage Foundation, we are envisioning a health care system where you and your family come first.

What if you could choose and control your own health insurance? What if you could buy the insurance and health care services you want and need? What if your health insurance didn’t go away when you changed jobs?

The good news is, all of these things are possible. There can be life after Obamacare—and it doesn’t mean going back to the status quo that we had before. We can move ahead, taking the best health care system in the world and making it even better.

Our experts in the Center for Health Policy Studies have put together a new paper that explains how these conservative ideas work. It includes:

  • How we will help people with pre-existing conditions
  • How we will help you keep your health insurance when you change jobs
  • How we can lower costs and improve health care quality—no matter what your income is
  • How we can honor people’s faith and protect the right of conscience in health care

We are excited to share this set of commonsense solutions with you—not just because they are good public policy solutions, but because they bring hope. We have hope for life after Obamacare, and these policies would give you back control over your own health care.

Now that’s worth working toward. I hope you’ll join us.

demint_signature

Jim DeMint

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