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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.
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.
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Dear reader this is a great article that you really need to read and understand AND do go to all the referred articles and sites. What it comes down to of course is that is our fault because We the People allowed sat on our haunches and blithely allowed this all to take place while we played. It is still not too late to turn things around and take our country back but it will not be done without pain and without fully understanding what is happening. This is why I keep passing on these best of the best in my opinion news articles to you so that you understand and can make the right choices and vote for men and women who share your values and need to save America.
The following article is from my favorite site: Heritage. I read many sources but use the Heritage often because their articles seem to me to be the most informative and concise. BB
6 Reasons Why the National Debt Keeps Rising
Out-of-control spending by Congress and the Obama Administration has once again maxed out the latest debt limit—a nearly $17 trillion burden that harms job growth, gives special interests a pass, and lowers American families’ personal income.
($17 billion up from $9 billion just in the 5 years since Obama took office! BB)
Inspired by Dave Ramsey’s recent post “6 Reasons People Stay in Debt,” we compiled six reasons why Members of Congress, the Obama Administration, and others in Washington avoid the path to financial stability in favor of big spending…
1. They want to keep up appearances.
The truth is, ever-growing entitlement programs drive ever-greater government spending. Everyone knows it. Some leaders in both parties have even worked together on first-step solutions agreeable to both sides. Yet rather than risk Warren Buffett’s taxpayer-funded benefits decreasing, politicians pretend America’s national budget can handle all the extensive promises they’ve made over the past several decades.
2. They are unwilling to sacrifice even wasteful spending.
Like a recent guest on “Hannity,” some in Washington will defend even the most ridiculous spending. Yet Congress could eliminate billions in spending tomorrow. Heritage expert Patrick Louis Knudsen, who spent two decades working on the House Budget Committee, recently went line-by-line through the federal budget to find $42 billion in unnecessary, poorly run, and duplicative federal government programs.
3. They fear changing “business as usual” in Washington.
Politicians are masters at playing the game. Because Americans are waking up to the fiscal crisis we are in, today policymakers in both parties use any number of legislative “back doors” to increase the debt ceiling—without looking like they did. CNN reports:
Since it’s a politically tough vote, they occasionally devise clever ways to tacitly approve increases without ever having to publicly record a “yes” vote.
For example, as part of the deal to resolve the 2011 debt ceiling war, Congress approved a plan that let President Obama raise the debt limit three times unless both the House and Senate passed a “joint resolution of disapproval.” Such a measure never materialized. And even if it had, the president could have vetoed it.
4. They’re addicted to stuff.
Policymakers in Washington enjoy a good haircut, lavish conference vacations, and even renovating their bathrooms… all at our expense. How does so much wasteful spending get into the federal budget? Follow the money. When government keeps doling out so much to so many, it’s inevitable thatWashington’s 10,000+ registered lobbyists get in on the bureaucrats’ action—while helping along a few re-election campaigns in the process.
5. They don’t know how to see long-term.
Word has it that the 2013 deficit will be lower than previous years. Let’s not break out the confetti just yet. This short-term change is due in part to massive tax increases signed into law by President Obama. Moreover, this year’s $642 billion deficit adds to the already massive national debt. Nearing $17 trillion, the debt is depressing job growth and opportunity for American families.
6. They lack the courage to lead on spending reform.
Clearly there are real proposals on the table to get the budget under control. Heritage offers Saving the American Dream, a budget framework that wisely resets spending levels back to historical norms. Even with recent legislative action on defunding Obamacare, it is unclear whether Congress will ultimately follow through and fully defund this unfair, unworkable, unaffordable law before its massive new entitlements go into effect.
We can change our current course, support a budget based on real Constitutional priorities, and set free the unlimited genius of Americans to create jobs, wealth, and prosperity. Find out how you can spread the word >>
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I hope my Readers have been watching the Senate with the new immigration bill. it gives instant legality to all comers. And the so-called “securing the border first” doesn’t take effect until 2017! Then the over 1000 page bill which no one has read (remember the over 2000 page Obamacare bill??)! This bill is another hugely expensive train wreck for the American people and now the Senators are busy loading it down with pork. Yes, every vote needs to be bought with something. Senator leader Harry Reid is asking for $1.5 million for the casinos in his Los Vegas. Can you find a business less in need of money than the gaming industry? But they are friends with Dear Harry and they did get him reelected so he needs to pay them back for this favor. Of course it is with your money.
One more very interesting thing about this bill: it has 94 “exemptions ” which would allow Secretary of Home Land Security Napolitano or her successor to NOT follow the law as written but to make up their own law and actions regarding illegal immigrants and border security. This is the same lady who has been telling us the border is the most secure it has ever been as an estimated 1000 new illegals cross the border every day. I was there, I saw the border and people coming into our country just by walking across the Rio Grande River within sight of the border check. Then they would walk up to the highway and try to thumb a ride into Yuma!
EXTRA! EXTRA! as I learn things about the Democrats controlled Senate Immigration bill I will try to add them to this list as an extra. Just found out from a reliable source that one provision in the bill states that any illegal who comes forward and registers and who has committed crimes in our country will have their arrest records cleared. Now hain’t that right nice of us Americans to let people who broke our laws to get here and then broke our laws after getting here will be made lily white and clean just by telling the Democrats they are willing and able to vote for them! Can’t make these things up People.
You may find the following article from Heritage informative. BB
The immigration debate barrels ahead in the Senate this week—and the Gang of Eight wants you to believe it’s a done deal.
The media and many Senators have been trumpeting a new amendment to the bill by Senators Bob Corker (R-TN), John Hoeven (R-ND) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY), saying it would fix the border security holes in the original legislation. But Heritage experts have explained why the amendment is deeply flawed and “does not even promise a reduction in illegal immigration.”
The new border-security language isn’t the only change. When the revised bill was released Friday afternoon, it had ballooned to 1,190 pages. Our colleagues at Heritage Action spent the weekend combing through the bill for other changes. Several sweetheart deals are included in the new bill text, such as special treatment for Alaskan seafood processing and $1.5 billion for youth job training.
Today, the U.S. Senate will vote at 5:30 p.m. to end debate. That’s typical Washington—rush to pass a bill before lawmakers can find out what is in it.
To help you understand what’s at stake, the Heritage Immigration and Border Security Reform Task Force released a paper detailing the top 10 concerns about the bill. Here is an infographic you can share with some of the highlights.
Read the Morning Bell and more en español every day at Heritage Libertad.
- This week, the Supreme Court will decide two cases dealing with the definition of marriage. Here are five things you need to know about these cases.
- If the Internet sales tax were to become reality, here’s what would happen to this entrepreneur who sells helpful products to the elderly.
Posted June 23, 2013on:
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The following article is from the Heritage Foundation and is a listing of studies made by various groups on the state of our government and social programs. I found many of them informative and felt that perhaps my Readers would also. Just check out the listings and click on the topics that interest you. You may also wish to subscribe and have the Insider Online newsletter delivered to your home page. sincerely, BB
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.
June 22, 2013
Latest Studies: 38 new items, including a Manhattan Institute report on the student debt problem, and an American Legislative Exchange Council report on environmental overcriminalization
Notes on the Week: Not even low-income workers can count on benefiting from ObamaCare, things to know about the CBO’s immigration scoring, and more
To Do: Keep an eye on Russia
Budget & Taxation
• Four Tenets to Less Government Spending – e21 – Economic Policies for the 21st Century
• The Municipal Government Debt Crisis – Heartland Institute
• Proposed New Farm Programs: Costly and Risky for Taxpayers – The Heritage Foundation
• Soaring National Debt Remains a Grave Threat – The Heritage Foundation
• Taxing Online Sales: Should the Taxman’s Grasp Exceed His Reach? – The Heritage Foundation
• The Big Choice for Jobs and Growth: Lower Tax Rates Versus Expensing – The Heritage Foundation
• The Many Real Dangers of Soaring National Debt – The Heritage Foundation
• The Simple Economics of Pro-Growth Tax Reform – The Heritage Foundation
• Turn Down the Heat, Switch On the Light: A Rational Analysis of Tax Havens, Tax Policy and Tax Politics – Institute of Economic Affairs
• The Best Solution from Both Budgets: “Reverse Logrolling” Shows the Best Option for Government Spending and Tax Reform – John Locke Foundation
• Creating a Fair Property Tax System: Is it Possible? – Public Interest Institute
• Kansas 2013 Tax Reform Improves on Last Year’s Efforts – Tax Foundation
• New Zealand’s Experience with Territorial Taxation – Tax Foundation
• A Review of the 83rd Session of the Texas Legislature – Texas Public Policy Foundation
• Virginia Economic Forecast 2013-2014: State to Add Jobs Despite Sequestration – Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy
Crime, Justice & the Law
• Ignorance of the Law Is No Excuse, But It Is Reality – The Heritage Foundation
• Comeback States Report: Reducing Juvenile Incarceration in the United States – Texas Public Policy Foundation
• Scientific Evidence in State Courts: Florida Reform as a Model – Washington Legal Foundation
• Beyond Retrofitting: Innovation in Higher Education – Hudson Institute
• College Credit: Repairing America’s Unhealthy Relationship with Student Debt – Manhattan Institute
Foreign Policy/International Affairs
• Beyond the Border: U.S. and Canada Expand Partnership in Trade and Security – The Heritage Foundation
• The Right Way to Fight Obesity – Hoover Institution
• An Analysis of the Proposed Medicaid Expansion in Michigan – National Center for Policy Analysis
• Veterans Affairs Fails to Curb Suicide Epidemic – National Center for Policy Analysis
• Advancing the Immigration Nation: Heritage’s Positive Path to Immigration and Border Security Reform – The Heritage Foundation
• Senate Immigration Bill Does Not Require Payment of All Back Taxes – The Heritage Foundation
• FCC Must Maintain Open Eligibility for Incentive Spectrum Auction – Free State Foundation
• Obama’s Wish to Cut Nuclear Arsenal Undermines National Security – The Heritage Foundation
• Preventing the Next “Lone Wolf” Terrorist Attack Requires Stronger Federal–State–Local Capabilities – The Heritage Foundation
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & Science
• Efficiency Policy – American Action Forum
• Five Solutions for Addressing Environmental Overcriminalization – American Legislative Exchange Council
• Improving Incentives for Federal Land Managers: The Case for Recreation Fees – Cato Institute
• Denial of Supreme Court Review Leaves Ninth Circuit ESA Case Intact – Washington Legal Foundation
• Ohio Court Limits Localities’ Authority over Energy Exploration – Washington Legal Foundation
• Paint Is Cheaper Than Rails: Why Congress Should Abolish New Starts – Cato Institute
• Moving the Road Sector into the Market Economy – Institute of Economic Affairs
Rector on CBO on immigration: The Congressional Budget Office told us this week that letting large numbers of immigrants into the country and changing the status of those currently here illegally will be great for the economy and the federal budget. Robert Rector has a few things to say about the CBO’s scoring of the Gang of Eight immigration bill. Here are the highlights:
[T]he immigration coming in under this bill looks like previous immigration in the sense that its predominantly lower-skilled plus the fact that you’re taking 11 million illegal immigrants and giving them access to the welfare and entitlement states. They have an average education of 10th grade, so it’s very difficult to imagine that those households would somehow pay enough in taxes to equal their benefits […] .
The trick is the CBO 10-year budget window. […] For mysterious reasons, when an amnesty bill is written, the amnesty recipients become eligible for everything under the sun in about the 11th year. So that they pay taxes in the first 10 years and they don’t get additional benefits for some mysterious reason until you move outside the CBO budget window. […]
[T]he federal government, because of Social Security and Medicare, inherently transfers from the non-elderly to the elderly. State and local governments kind of do the opposite. If you just look at state and local governments you would find that they transfer from the elderly to the non-elderly to pay for education. The elderly pay a lot of property tax; they don’t get any education benefits any more. […] Of course immigrants are not elderly themselves. For a limited period of time they pay in but then they take out more than they have paid in. It’s important to put both flows together because the opposite process is happening down at the state and local level. […]
One of the interesting things that CBO does tell us is that the number of illegal immigrants who will enter the country over the next 20 years goes down by only 25 percent. There would have been, they estimate, 10 million illegal immigrants entering over the next 20 years. They estimate that that will drop to 7.5 million illegal immigrants entering the country […] . The net cost of those illegals alone would be about $400 billion over that period. […]
When you look at the Gang of Eight explain their bill they always say: Oh, we’re shifting from low-skill immigration to high-skill immigration. You can trust us. That’s what we do. But in fact the numbers from CBO show exactly the opposite. Roughly 80 … 85 to 90 percent of the individuals getting green card status are not skill-based. [The Foundry, June 21]
Many online programs generate large revenues because most colleges charge the same price (or more!) for students enrolled online as for those on campus. A survey of 199 universities by the educational technology arm of the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education found that 93 percent of universities charged the same or higher tuition for their online programs. This is bizarre, given that online courses are less costly to deliver than in-person courses. But instead of competing on price (meaning that cost savings get passed to the student), institutions have maintained in-person prices for online courses—even as the cost of delivery has fallen.
What do colleges do with that extra revenue? They cross-subsidize activities on the brick and mortar campus: unfunded research, student life, institutional aid programs, and so on. Put more genteelly, they “reinvest” it in their traditional campus.
Real innovation, as Kelly and Hess point out, is about unbundling the research-based university, and that’s not going to happen until the government regulations, subsidies, and accreditation policies that protect that model from competition are reformed. [“Beyond Retrofitting: Innovation in Higher Education,” by Andrew P. Kelly and Frederick Hess, Hudson Institute, June 2013.]
Not even low-income workers can count on coming out ahead under ObamaCare. Some low-income workers could end up paying a lot more for health insurance than they paid before ObamaCare became law, reports Jillian Kay Melchior. ObamaCare requires employer-provided health insurance to cover at least 60 percent of health-care costs while not costing employees more than 9.5 percent of their household incomes. Since low-income households may have multiple sources of income, it can be difficult for companies to figure out if a particular plan is sufficient to avoid penalties. The federal government has proposed “safe harbor” standards in order to provide clarity: Companies offering plans that have a $3,500 deductible, a $6,000 cap on out-of-pocket costs, and premiums of $90 or less per month would put companies in the clear of any penalties. Under those standards, says Melchior, a low-income worker not eligible Medicaid has few good options:
He could take the employer’s plan — but if it’s a safe-harbor plan, it would cost, at minimum, $1,080 a year. And that’s before the deductible is even factored in. For someone who earns $28,725 a year, falling at 250 percent of the poverty level, these costs are sizeable.
Option two: He could shop around on the health exchange for an alternative. But because his employer provides a sanctioned plan, he’s disqualified from any subsidy he might have received to help offset costs. Even a very basic plan would cost up to $2,316 a year in premiums alone.
Option three: Forgo insurance altogether and pay the steadily increasing penalty to the federal government. In 2014, for an individual, that’s $95 for the year or 1 percent of household income, whichever is greater. But by 2016, it will rise to either $695 or 2.5 percent of household income. And that’s not even factoring in whether the worker has kids. In that case, he could face an annual penalty of $2,085 or more by 2016. […]
Before, many employers who paid by the hour offered limited medical plans. These policies often got a bad rap because of their lack of catastrophic coverage. But to their credit, they were inexpensive and contributed to health-care costs immediately, without workers needing to first meet a deductible.
Now, these low-wage hourly workers would be forced to spend at least $5,300 before their coverage really begins to benefit them. [National Review, June 17]
Who elected those guys? ask teachers in Kansas. Last week, teachers in Deerfield, Kansas, did something that almost never happens, report James Sherk and Michael Cirrotti: They voted to decertify their union:
Unlike most public officials, unions do not stand for re-election, so their members cannot regularly hold them accountable. Workers can remove an unwanted union only by filing for decertification. But bureaucratic obstacles make it difficult to hold a vote on decertification. The hoops Deerfield’s teachers had to jump through illustrate this problem.
Joel McClure, the teacher who led the effort, submitted the appropriate paperwork to the Kansas Department of Labor in November 2012. But Kansas teachers can request a vote only in a two-month window every three years. KNEA officials contested the petition by claiming that the teachers missed the December 1 deadline. (The Department of Labor had misplaced the initial petition paperwork.) Then the KNEA objected that the teachers’ attorney was not certified in Kansas and that they did not have enough signatures. However, the teachers prevailed and voted out their union—in June, just eight months after the initial submission.
When asked why they went through such protracted effort, the teachers said their union ignored their concerns. They wanted instead to be actively involved in negotiations and work collaboratively with the school district. “The desire is for teachers to participate at the [bargaining] table, to have free access to information,” McClure said. “In our little school district, there’s no reason we can’t sit down at the table and work out our issues.” [The Foundry, June 18]
Did we mention that next week is National Employee Freedom Week?
The death panel is coming. Last week, a federal judge in Philadelphia blocked the enforcement of an age-limit rule on lung transplants, thus allowing a very sick 10-year-old girl to obtain a new set of lungs. Doctors had said the girl, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, would live only three to five weeks without new lungs. Earlier, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius had said she would not to intervene in the case by overturning the rule.
When the ObamaCare-created Independent Payment Advisory Board is up and running in two years, it too will make decisions on matters of life and death, but unlike Sebelius’s decision on lung rules, the decisions of the IPAB cannot be reviewed by courts. Those decisions are also protected from politics in some extraordinary ways. As David Rivkin and Elizabeth Foley explain, the IPAB set-up is certainly unconstitutional, but likely not challengeable in the short run because no one would have standing to sue:
Once the board acts, its decisions can be overruled only by Congress, and only through unprecedented and constitutionally dubious legislative procedures—featuring restricted debate, short deadlines for actions by congressional committees and other steps of the process, and supermajoritarian voting requirements. The law allows Congress to kill the otherwise inextirpable board only by a three-fifths supermajority, and only by a vote that takes place in 2017 between Jan. 1 and Aug. 15. If the board fails to implement cuts, all of its powers are to be exercised by HHS Secretary Sebelius or her successor. […]
The power given by Congress to the Independent Payment Advisory Board is breathtaking. Congress has willingly abandoned its power to make tough spending decisions (how and where to cut) to an unaccountable board that neither the legislative branch nor the president can control. The law has also entrenched the board’s decisions to an unprecedented degree.
In Mistretta v. United States (1989), the Supreme Court emphasized that, in seeking assistance to fill in details not spelled out in the law, Congress must lay down an “intelligible principle” that “confine[s] the discretion of the authorities to whom Congress has delegated power.” The “intelligible principle” test ensures accountability by demanding that Congress take responsibility for fundamental policy decisions.
The IPAB is guided by no such intelligible principle. ObamaCare mandates that the board impose deep Medicare cuts, while simultaneously forbidding it to ration care. Reducing payments to doctors, hospitals and other health-care providers may cause them to limit or stop accepting Medicare patients, or even to close shop.
These actions will limit seniors’ access to care, causing them to wait longer or forego care—the essence of rationing. ObamaCare’s commands to the board are thus inherently contradictory and, consequently, unintelligible.
Moreover, authorizing the advisory board to make rules “relating to” Medicare gives the board virtually limitless power of the kind hitherto exercised by Congress. For instance, the board could decide to make cuts beyond the statutory target. It could mandate that providers expand benefits without additional payment. It could require that insurers or gynecologists make abortion services available to all their patients as a condition of doing business with Medicare, or that drug companies set aside a certain percentage of Medicare-related revenues to fund “prescription drug affordability.” There is no limit. [Wall Street Journal, June 19]
What is candy? Depends on which state wants to tax it online. Forcing online retailers to remit sales taxes to the state where the purchaser resides, as the federal Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) does, is not going to level the playing field between online and bricks-and-mortar retailers. Rather, as James Gattuso explains, it will tilt the playing field heavily against online retailers—especially smaller ones:
While the legislation does require states to provide retailers with free software for managing tax compliance, that software need only cover the individual state. Retailers are left on their own to get nationwide software, unless they want to integrate 46 individual software packages. No compensation is offered for recurring costs incurred by retailers, such as accounting services or online tax management services.
In addition, internal staff time would be needed for an array of tasks, including handling claims by tax-exempt customers, fielding inquiries from tax authorities, and addressing the inevitable glitches.
Even the simple act of classifying the item being sold can be problematic, with thousands of idiosyncratic distinctions and definitions through each state’s tax code. In Wisconsin, the Wisconsin flag as well as the U.S. flag is not subject to tax. All other flags are taxable. Unless they are bundled with flagpoles, in which case the rules change yet again.
Similarly, candy is defined—under the “streamlined” sales tax agreement, as “a preparation of sugar, honey, or other natural or artificial sweeteners in combination with chocolate, fruits, nuts or other ingredients in the form of bars, drops, or pieces.” But sellers beware: “‘Candy’ shall not include any preparation containing flour and shall require no refrigeration.” Thus defined, states still vary on whether the concoction is taxable or not.
The problems do not end with the sale. Each of the 46 state tax authorities with which retailers would have to deal directly require tax returns to be completed, on an annual, quarterly, or even weekly basis. To ensure that it is all done correctly, sellers would be subject to audits from each of 46 states. (If tax authorities on Indian reservations are included—as they are in the MFA as passed by the Senate—the number of tax forms and potential audits jumps to the hundreds.) [The Heritage Foundation, June 19]
Carbon taxers forget the externalities of not using cheap, abundant energy. One reason putting a tax on carbon in order to price its negative externalities is not a free-market idea:
[E]ven if SCC [social cost of carbon] estimates were not assumption-driven hocus-pocus, their use by activists, policymakers, and agencies would still be biased and misleading, because proponents of “climate action” always ignore the social costs of carbon mitigation.
As Cato Institute scholar Indur Goklany explains in a recent study, fossil fuels are the chief energy source of a “cycle of progress” responsible for the amazing improvements of the past 250 years in life expectancy, health, nutrition, safety, comfort, human capital formation, and per capita income. The cycle of progress is to no small extent a “positive externality” of fossil fuels. Thus, policies that suppress the extraction, delivery, and consumption of fossil fuels, or that make fossil energy less affordable, have social costs in addition to whatever compliance burdens and economic losses the policies entail.
For example, the more stringent the carbon mitigation scheme, the more severe the impacts on household income and job creation. Numerous studies find that poverty and unemployment increase the risk of sickness and death. Carbon tax advocates never acknowledge this side of the ledger.
Given the continuing importance of fossil fuels to human flourishing and the undeniable connection between livelihoods, living standards, and life expectancy, carbon taxes can easily do more harm than good to public health—even if one accepts the IPCC’s version of the science.
That’s from Marlo Lewis’s excellent summary of the recent R Street-Heartland Institute debate on the carbon tax. [GlobalWarming.org, June 16]
Progressives make use of rights that progressives think should not exist. It’s a good thing for progressives—and everybody else—that one particular progressive idea hasn’t been adopted, observes Wendy Kaminer:
If progressives had their way, the ACLU’s latest challenge to the NSA’s domestic surveillance would easily be dismissed.ACLU v Clapper, filed in the wake of the Snowden revelations, is based on the ACLU’s First and Fourth Amendment rights, which, according to progressives, ACLU should not possess. It is, after all, a corporation, and constitutional amendments aggressively promoted by progressives would limit constitutional rights to “natural persons.”
“The words people, person, or citizen as used in this Constitution do not include corporations, limited liability companies or other corporate entities,” the popular People’s Rights Amendment declares. [The Atlantic, June 17]
Arthur Koestler’s protagonist in Darkness at Noon referred to the first-person singular as a “grammatical fiction” because it conflicted with the logic of self sacrifice demanded by the party. Today’s real progressives are now trying to subvert the plural form. By insisting that only individuals, not corporations, have rights, they elide the fact that corporations are made up of individual people. Individuals can’t fully exercise their rights if the things they choose to do cooperatively with others do not have the same protections as the things they choose to do alone. Maybe the American Civil Liberties Union can spread the word.
• Find out what Russia is up to with its efforts to construct a Eurasian Union. The Heritage Foundation will host a half-day conference on June 27 in Washington, D.C.
• Reflect on the Battle of Gettysburg and its meaning for the nation, which happened 150 years ago this July. Allen Guelzo of Gettysburg College will make remarks at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., at 4:30 p.m. on June 26.
• If you are a young, professional, conservative woman, come meet other young, professional, conservative women at the Network of enlightened Women’s National Conference. The conference will be held June 27 – June 28 at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. Christina Hoff Summers will deliver a keynote address.
• Request a free copy of the movie Amazing Grace, which tells the true story of William Wilberforce’s fight to abolish slavery. The offer is part of the Foundation for Economic Education’s Blinking Lights Project, which educates about the importance of personal character as a vital element of free society. Be sure to check that out, too.
• Don’t forget that next week is National Employee Freedom Week, “a national effort to inform union employees of the freedom they have regarding opting out of union membership and making the decision about union membership that’s best for them.”
• Save the dates! These events are no longer classified, are they?
—The annual IEA Hayek Memorial Lecture, delivered this year by Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, talking on “The Leave Us Alone Coalition vs. The Takings Coalition: The On-going Struggle” at 6:30 p.m. in London;
—The 42nd National Fourth of July Soiree, featuring barbeque, blue grass, balloon artists, and more at Bull Run Regional Park in Centreville, Va., on July 4 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.;
—The Heritage Foundation’s annual Scholars & Scribes review of the Supreme Court’s 2012-2013 term, July 11, in Washington, D.C.;
—Freedom Fest, the largest gathering of free minds, July 10 – July 13 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas;
—and Cato University, July 28 – August 3 at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C.
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- 5 Comments
I sincerely hope my readers have been watching FOXNEWS and the revelations coming out about our current government. Not that some of what is happening hasn’t been done before but this President has made making the United States a police state a major goal of his administration and I am sooo happy the stuff has finally hit the fan. I especially enjoy the outrage of my sister-in-law who voted for him because “Romney hates poor people!”. Obama so loves poor people that he wants to gather them all under his benevolent arms and tell them exactly what to wear, eat, speak and especially vote. And to ensure that they do all these things as he directs he puts his dogs on them when they refuse to listen to papa. Do read the following article to bring yourself up to date on the agency that will implement and control Obamacare and is now under the gun for doing their part to make sure that Obama was elected in 2012. BB
Chilling new details emerged yesterday about the IRS targeting scandal, as representatives from six conservative groups testified before Congress about the scrutiny and demands they faced from Obama administration bureaucrats.
Yesterday’s testimony reminded us once again why Washington bureaucrats cannot be trusted, and why Americans should be so concerned about the new powers granted to the IRS as a result of Obamacare.
These powers are so vast, in fact, they’re difficult to put into words. So instead, we decided to give you the numbers:
47—New provisions Obamacare charges the IRS with implementing, according to the Government Accountability Office.
$695—Tax for not buying “government-approved” health insurance the IRS will be charged with enforcing on all Americans.
1,954—Full-time bureaucrats the IRS wants to devote to Obamacare implementation and enforcement in the upcoming fiscal year.
60,000,000—Medical records the IRS has been charged with improperly seizing, raising concerns about whether the agency can handle the personal health insurance information all Americans will be required to submit to the IRS.
6,100,000,000—Man-hours Americans already devote to tax compliance, according to the National Taxpayer Advocate, a burden that will rise significantly thanks to Obamacare.
$1,000,000,000,000—New revenue raised by Obamacare in its first 10 years alone, according to the Congressional Budget Office, sums that will only rise in future decades.
If ever there were an argument as to why Obamacare should be repealed and defunded, these numbers—coupled with the IRS revelations of recent weeks—tell the tale.
- Four of the most memorable moments from the IRS hearing, courtesy of The Blaze.
- President Obama’s Christmas tree tax is back, revived by House Republicans.
- The food stamp program shouldn’t be part of the farm bill, write Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham.
- A debate over the libertarian populist agenda.
- Individual citizens can now “cosponsor” bills, thanks to an initiative from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA).
- Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) wants to know why HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius won’t use her authority to save the life of a 10-year-old child dying of cystic fibrosis.
- In: Att. Gen. Eric Holder and Obama administration obstruct justice | Barack Obama | Communism in America | Constitution of the United States of America | Economy/Money | Know the enemies of America | Leftist violence in America | Obama 2013 and beyond | Obama admistration | Obama Against America | Obama and ethics | Obamanation | Progressives Movement to Destroy America | Subverting America by Uri Bezmenov | Taxes | United States taxes
- 2 Comments
This article from The American Thinker is a good overview of the IRS scandal in case you need to get the facts straight or understand just what it all means to you. The Internal Revenue Service is the most powerful department in the government. No one, but NO ONE dares to go up against the IRS. This being the case it is a powerful weapon for any congressman or President to use to get back at anyone they don’t like. This is what has happened with the conservatives in our country who dared to oppose the Democrats and Obama: The IRS was notified to “look into the activities” of any groups who applied for tax exempt status with certain words in their names. Words like “Tea Party, “Conservative”, “Constitution”. The Treasury Department Inspector General (Treasury oversees the IRS) sat right beside the IRS Director in the Congressional hearing Friday and refuted every lie the IRS Director told! The Inspector General stated without a doubt that certain groups were “targeted” by the IRS deliberately. The Inspector General also stated that he told members of the Obama White House of his findings last summer well before the elections and yet Obama is playing deaf and dumb!
Inspectors General are people who have no political affiliation and whose job it is to police the departments in the government. These people are the public’s watch dogs and are chosen for their high standards and integrity. Many of them have been denigrated by this administration in the past four years when they have dared to speak up so I expect this one (Mr. George) to be vilified also in the next week or so.
Anyhow, the following article may be useful to you when trying to argue the points while some bone head or other damned fool. :) BB
May 18, 2013
The IRS Scandal — a Basic PrimerConfusion about the IRS scandal is distracting from its importance, so that thinking conservatives should be prepared to debate the issue. Some basics matter. Conservatives may need to share a summary such as this article to help convince moderate friends.
Callers to C-SPAN badly misunderstood these details when Jenny Beth Martin, Coordinator of Tea Party Patriots, appeared on C-SPAN television last week. I interviewed Keli Carender of Tea Party Patriots on the radio on May15, who helped clarify some of the pushback and distractions from liberals.
First, don’t let people forget: the IRS scandal is not about conservative accusations. The Inspector General of the U.S. Treasury issued a report finding that the Internal Revenue Service sharply discriminated against conservative organizations. This is confirmed by Treasury’s Inspector General.
Second, a group’s political beliefs and positions ought to be totally irrelevant. Tax exemption must be based on what an organization does, not what it believes or what positions it supports. Whether a group teaches the Constitution or teaches union tactics doesn’t matter, it is educating either way. Therefore, the IRS should not have been looking at the name of the organization, whether liberal or conservative, but on the substance of the organization.
Third, many people don’t realize that nearly all liberal political organizations are tax exempt. There has been a lot of distraction and diversion focused on whether or not the IRS should have scrutinized tea party groups. However, MoveOn.org, NARAL Pro-Choice America, People for the American Way, Planned Parenthood (which has been active in partisan election campaigns), Media Matters, etc., are all tax exempt. Organizations on the Left similar to tea party groups have had tax exempt status forever.
Fourth, don’t allow people to wander away from the central point that the scandal is about a double standard — not whether people believe political organizations should be tax exempt. Conservatives seeking tax exempt status were treated very differently from similarly-situated liberal organizations. Sure, some liberal groups were scrutinized. But conservatives were treated differently.
IRS official Lois Lerner fast-walked the tax-exempt application of Barack Obama’s half-brother, the best man at President Obama’s wedding. Abon’go “Roy’ Malik Obama got tax-exempt status in a bureaucratic breakneck speed, in only 30 days, in May 2011, even though it is unclear what if anything the Barack H. Obama Foundation actually does or has done since being approved.
When a conservative organization Media Trackers couldn’t get approved after 8 months, it changed its project to the liberal-sounding name “Greenhouse Solutions.” With the new name, the exact same project was approved within 3 weeks.
Liberal groups — even with very political activities — were systematically approved, and quickly, with relatively little burden or scrutiny, as reported by USA Today.
Groups supporting Israel were discriminated against. In August 2010, a pro-Israel group “Z Street” filed a Federal lawsuit when an IRS staff member admitted that all Israel-related groups were singled out by the IRS for extra scrutiny. There will be a hearing this July 2013, after the case was transferred to the Federal district in Washington, D.C.
The IRS demanded that a Pro-Life group promote abortion in order to get tax-exempt status. No liberal group has such a requirement. NARAL and Planned Parenthood are not required to promote abstinence, adoption, or Pro-Life Crisis Pregnancy Centers.
It is the law that the IRS must answer within 270 days for 501(c)(3) organizations, yet the IRS delayed conservative organizations for more than 540 days.
Fifth, there are many different types of tea party organizations. Some tea party organizations are Political Action Committees (PAC’s) which are directly involved in election campaigns. Others focus purely on training tea party organizers and members on how to be effective in organizing events and lobbying on legislation. Some purely educate about the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Federalist Papers, etc. Others lobby on pending legislation.
So when the public hears about tea party organizations applying for tax exempt status, they often imagine only campaigning for or against a candidate. That is not tax exempt. Some tea party groups qualify. Some don’t.
Sixth, many have questioned whether the IRS wasn’t doing the job it should have done by asking questions of tea party groups seeking tax exempt status. No one objects to the IRS obtaining basic information and asking reasonable questions. The problem is that the IRS bombarded tea party and conservative groups with multiple waves of a huge number of very intrusive questions. And the wave after wave of questions seemed aimed at never getting around to finishing the process or persuading groups to simply give up and abandon their application.
Seventh, many don’t recognize what ‘tax exempt’ means. It means that if someone donates to a tea party group, the donations are not taxed as income. Otherwise, any political organization would have to pay income taxes on donations.
A tax-exempt organization may still have to pay taxes on other income, such as sales of products or services. Some C-SPAN callers imagined that people in such groups don’t pay income taxes. Of course, people running or working in tax-exempt groups pay income taxes on their salary the same as everyone else.
There are four important categories:
1. A 501(c)(4) organization is tax-exempt (they don’t pay income taxes on donations). A 501(c)(4) organization is allowed to lobby for or against legislation, but is not allowed to advocate for or against a candidate. A 501(c)(4) also can do anything a 501(c)(3) can do.
2. A 501(c)(3) organization is both tax-exempt and tax-deductible. That is, contributors can deduct their donations from their income taxes. It is much more difficult to qualify for 501(c)(3) status. A 501(c)(3) cannot lobby for or against legislation (except to an insignificant extent) and may not engage in any partisan’ (campaign) activity. A 501(c)(3) can educate the public on policy, issues, the advantages and disadvantages of various political policies and topics like the Constitution, concepts of our Founding Fathers, etc. or train citizens.
3. A Political Action Committee (PAC or Super-PAC) intervenes directly in partisan campaigns and does not qualify as tax exempt.
4. A 527 organization is a recent development, which also intervenes directly in partisan campaigns and does not qualify as tax exempt.
Eighth, many are not aware of the difference between ‘political’ and ‘partisan.’ Tax exempt organizations are allowed to engage in public discussion and lobbying of ‘political’ issues affecting society. That is very different from ‘partisan’ activity. ‘Partisan’ means influencing a campaign — that is, advocating for or against a candidate in an election (not necessarily just discussing policy or issues).
An example is the liberal Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). CREW is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, tax deductible foundation. Its head Melanie Sloan earns $230,000 per year. CREW does nothing but slander conservative Republicans and a few Democrats who get out of line with mostly false accusations.
Christine O’Donnell won the Republican primary for United States Senate from Delaware. This was learned at 8:00 PM on September 14, 2010. By about 11:00 AM on September 15, 2010, CREW started attacking Christine O’Donnell and publicly declaring that Christine belongs in jail not in the Senate.
Advocating for or against a candidate is the test of ‘partisan’ (campaign) activity that is prohibited for a tax-exempt organization. CREW ignored Christine until she won the GOP Primary. But within hours CREW started attacking her. CREW explicitly referenced her status as a candidate, and specifically that she does not belong in the Senate. Melanie Sloan explicitly said that the voters should know all this when they go to vote in November 2010.
I noticed this pattern and conceived, developed, planned, and drafted the complaint against CREW to the IRS, which ChristinePAC later filed with the IRS in July 2011. Yet two years later, the IRS has done nothing. Melanie Sloan’s parents are big donors to former Delaware Senator Joe Biden and CREW attacks conservatives. Don’t expect the IRS to hold liberals responsible for anything.