And So I Go: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Posts Tagged ‘Obamacare

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.

Good newsletter from Heritage on the monsters that Washington can not ignore but are ignoring and the impact is bad for the American people.  Also a good article on Dr. Ben Carson whom I personally like a lot.  BB

Two Things Washington Cannot Ignore10/14/2013Members of Congress are still at an impasse—they cannot agree on the debt limit, spending cuts, Obamacare, or funding the government.

The House has passed a variety of bills that would have reopened portions of the federal government, but the Senate has rejected them all. As they volley proposals back and forth, there are two things they cannot ignore.

Her-2-Oct11-MoveAlong_300

1. Obamacare

Obamacare is not even fully implemented, but it is negatively impacting people today. Just look at these responses we received when we asked readers about their health insurance costs. Premiums are going up—by hundreds of dollars per month for many. (Read here about how to send us your cost increases.)

It’s negatively impacting the practice of medicine. See what neurosurgeon and author Dr. Ben Carson told us about Obamacare getting between doctors and patients.

Conservatives across the country have made their voices heard—Obamacare must be stopped. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) told the activists at the Values Voter Summit on Friday that it is your voices that have helped House Members stand strong against Obamacare. And it’s not time to quit.

2. Spending Cuts

Obamacare creates new entitlement programs—which is the last thing the country needs as the existing entitlement programs are driving our spending and debt crisis. Even in the face of these huge problems, though, many Members of Congress are trying to go back and haggle over the 2.5 percent spending cuts agreed to in the sequestration deal that hails from 2011.

This is not only unproductive; it is absurd.

What Romina Boccia, Heritage’s Grover M. Hermann Fellow, wrote in August remains every bit as true today:

It is irresponsible for lawmakers to spend valuable negotiating time on how they can spend more of taxpayers’ money on discretionary programs when they should be pushing for an agreement to resolve the spending and debt crisis brought about by entitlement programs. Defunding Obamacare should be their first priority. Congress should cut spending and fix the real debt crisis—out-of-control entitlement spending—before or as part of any increase in the debt ceiling.

Obamacare and out-of-control government spending are holding back our economy and keeping people from jobs. These are two monsters Congress and the President cannot wish away.

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

Quick Hits:

Some very important articles in this weeks Insider Online Newsletter so do pan down and read any articles that interest you.  BB

Oct 12 at 8:05 AM


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


October 12, 2013

Latest Studies: 37 new items, including a Pioneer Institute report on Common Core’s bad math standards, and a Mercatus Center report on debt limit myths

Notes on the Week: Shutdown government seems busier and more annoying than ever, the power of the purse is the power to change policy, and more

To Do: Find out how ObamaCare will affect your insurance premiums

Latest Studies

Budget & Taxation
MUST READ• The President’s Legal Authority at the Debt Limit – The Heritage Foundation
MUST READ The Debt Limit Debate 2013: Addressing Key Myths – Mercatus Center
• What Makes a Good Tax Structure? – Show-Me Institute
• 2014 State Business Tax Climate Index – Tax Foundation
• Loosening the Federal Straightjacket – Texas Public Policy Foundation

 

Economic and Political Thought
• America’s Debt, Through the Eyes of the Founders – The Heritage Foundation

 

Economic Growth
• Why Growth Is Getting Harder – Cato Institute
• Has Income Inequality Really Risen? – e21 – Economic Policies for the 21st Century
• A Comparison of the House and Senate Farm Bills – The Heritage Foundation

 

Education
• Dollars, Flexibility, and an Effective Education: Parent Voices on Arizona’s Education Savings Accounts – Goldwater Institute
(MUST READ as it may be coming to your school soon. BB)  Common Core National Standards and Tests: Empty Promises and Increased Federal Overreach Into Education – The Heritage Foundation
• Why the Gap? Special Education and New York City Charter Schools – Manhattan Institute
• Closing America’s High-Achievement Gap – Philanthropy Roundtable
(MUST READ and understand what the government is doing to dumb down the population because a stupid populus is easier to control!  BB )• Lowering the Bar: How Common Core Math Fails to Prepare Students for STEM – Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research

 

Elections, Transparency, & Accountability
MUST READ THIS ARTICLE!  These people are out of control and they have almost unlimited power over us!  BB)(• The Truth About the IRS Scandals – Encounter Books

 

Family, Culture & Community
• Why We Won’t Talk Honestly About Race – Encounter Books

 

Foreign Policy/International Affairs
• Crunch Time for the Trans-Pacific Pact — and for U.S. Leadership in Asia – American Enterprise Institute
• Falling Short: How Bad Economic Choices Threaten the U.S.-India Relationship and India’s Rise – American Enterprise Institute
• German Hard Power: Is There a There There? – American Enterprise Institute
• 2014 NATO Summit: Laying the Groundwork Now – The Heritage Foundation
• U.S.-Japan Security Agreement Enhances Allied Goals – The Heritage Foundation
• Prestige and Power in Statecraft – Hoover Institution
• The Decline of Europe’s Military Might – Hoover Institution

 

Health Care
• How Medicaid Fails the Poor – Encounter Books
• Race, Medicine, and Political Correctness – Hoover Institution

 

Immigration
• Biometric Exit Improvement Act: Wrong Solution to Broken Visa and Immigration System – The Heritage Foundation

 

International Trade/Finance
• In Name Only: Are Free Trade Zones Assisting Capitalism or Criminals and Crony Capitalists? – American Enterprise Institute

 

Labor
• Unions Take High Culture Hostage – Hoover Institution

 

Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & Science
• The ‘Science’ of Global Warming, Part 1 – American Enterprise Institute
• The ‘Science’ of Global Warming, Part 2 – American Enterprise Institute
• The EPA’s War Against the States: States Are Supposed to Lead in Fighting Pollution, but Federal Bureaucrats Have Usurped the States’ Role – Capital Research Center
• Let the Wind PTC Die Down Immediately – The Heritage Foundation
• The Global Environmental Facility: A Dismal Failure – National Center for Policy Analysis

 

Philanthropy
• A Triumph for Donor Intent: The Daniels Fund Achieves a Rare Victory – Capital Research Center

 

Regulation & Deregulation
• The Regulatory Improvement Act: A ‘Least-Best’ Solution for Regulatory Inefficiency – American Enterprise Institute

 

The Constitution/Civil Liberties
• Terms of Engagement: How Our Courts Should Enforce the Constitution’s Promise of Limited Government – Encounter Books
• The Supreme Court Considers the President’s Power to Make Recess Appointments – The Heritage Foundation

 

 

Notes on the Week

The federal government is still shut down, which means it’s busier than ever finding ways to annoy you. “If you loved this country, you would not be closing it down,” said Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.) last week. Scott was blaming Republicans for the government shutdown. As David Boaz points out, however, Scott was confused: The government and the country are not the same thing; Congress can’t shut down the country merely by failing to fund the government. [Cato Institute, October 3]

It turns out, however, that a shutdown government can be awfully pushy. As many news stories reported last week, the administration’s idea of shutting down means doing things the government doesn’t normally do, like putting up barricades to otherwise fenceless open-air spaces, telling people to leave privately-run establishments that sit on federal land but require no federal resources to operate, and creating “website not available” redirect pages instead of just leaving static content up on federal websites. The stories about National Park Service bullying keep coming from around the country:

• The Park Service told Joyce Spencer, 77, and Ralph Spencer, 80, they had to leave their house on Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Nevada. The Spencers own the house, but not the land. [KTNV, October 4]

• The Park Service told private boat operators that they could not operate their own boats launching from their own docks on the St. Croix River, which is designated a National Scenic Riverway. “[P]roviding visitor services within the riverway during a government shutdown is a breach of your (permit), and noncompliance with the shutdown could result in permits not being renewed during the next two-year cycle,” said the Park Service in a letter to boat operators. [TwinCities.com, October 3]

• The Park Service issued a notice forbidding charter boats, tour boats, fishing boats, and paddling boats from going out onto the Florida Bay—i.e., 1,100 square miles of ocean. [Miami Herald, October 3]

• The Park Service closed the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, including the Foothills Parkway in Tennessee. That closure left some residents in Eastern Tennessee with few good options for getting around: “The closure caught locals by surprise and left the school district scrambling to alert parents that they would need to find a way to get their kids back home. And until the partial government shutdown ends, school buses will not run. That means parents will have to transport their children to and from school using treacherous ‘white knuckle routes.’” [Fox News, October 7]

• Armed park rangers issued John Bell a $100 ticket for taking a jog in Valley Forge National Historic Park. Bell saw a sign announcing the park’s closure, but he also saw other joggers and bikers. Also, there was no barrier blocking entrance to the park, so he figured the sign was meant for vehicles. He was wrong. Rangers were waiting to give him a ticket when he exited the park. [Fox News, October 8]

• A bus carrying senior citizens through Yellowstone National Park stopped briefly when a herd of bison passed by. The tourists got out to take pictures and were immediately confronted by armed park rangers who told them that taking pictures was recreating, which they could not do. Later, when the seniors—some from Japan, Australia, and Canada—were sent out of the park on a two-and-a-half-hour ride, they were told the bus could not stop for bathroom breaks. [Eagle Tribune, October 8]

• Volunteer Chris Cox of South Carolina spent a number of days mowing the grass and picking up trash on the National Mall because he thought veterans visiting the war memorial shouldn’t have to trip over banana peels. When Park Police eventually told him to leave, Cox said: “I’m not here trying to make headlines. I’m here trying to prevent headlines.” The officer replied: “Well, maybe there should be a picture of the trash cans overflowing in the newspaper. Maybe that would help us.” [Daily Mail, October 9]

Mark Steyn explains the point of these harassments: “[T]he thug usurpers of the bureaucracy want to send a message: In today’s America, everything is the gift of the government, and exists only at the government’s pleasure, whether it’s your health insurance, your religious liberty, or the monument to your fallen comrades.” [National Review, October 4]

[See also: “The List: Unnecessarily Shut Down by Obama to Inflict Public Pain,” by John Nolte, Breitbart.com, October 5.]

 

 

Some governments truly are shutdown. For example:

 

 

Cherry-picking the government you want is the how you get the government you want instead of the government you don’t want. The President and his allies keep telling people that using a funding bill to change Obamacare is out-of-bounds. But this crowd has also said that changing Obamacare without passing any bill at all is A-OK. According to the Congressional Research Service, the President has changed Obamacare five times on his own, including delaying the mandate on employers to provide qualifying health insurance. (He’s also signed 14 bills that amend the law, for a total of 19 changes since Obamacare became law.) [Washington Times, September 11

In a letter sent to his Republican colleagues on August 21, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) quotes a Founding Father approving of the House of Representatives tying policy changes to funding decisions. The full quote comes from Federalist 58, written by James Madison and published February 20, 1788:

The House of Representatives cannot only refuse, but they alone can propose, the supplies requisite for the support of government. They, in a word, hold the purse that powerful instrument by which we behold, in the history of the British Constitution, an infant and humble representation of the people gradually enlarging the sphere of its activity and importance, and finally reducing, as far as it seems to have wished, all the overgrown prerogatives of the other branches of the government. This power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure.

Now comes the Washington Post with an article by Valerie Strauss titled: “Stop Blaming James Madison for the Shutdown.” Since the word “shutdown” appears nowhere in either Madison’s Federalist 58 or Meadow’s missive, we’d have to agree. But here is University of Virginia professor J.C.A. Stagg, the article’s only source:

Rep. Meadows’s quote is also correct — but again only so far as it goes. None of the Founders doubted that the power of the purse could be an ultimate sanction in the hands of the House, though it would be impossible to prove that their understanding of this would have extended to the point of shutting down the entire government as opposed to refusing appropriations for particular policies.

Prof. Stagg is an authority on Madison, but he’s no authority on the last few weeks. To recap: Since September 20, the House of Representatives has passed at least a dozen bills to fund various parts of the government. That includes one bill that preserved funding for ObamaCare but made some changes to the program such as delaying the individual mandate and repealing the medical device tax. The Senate either amended and then refused to go to conference on the bills, or ignored them. The President said he would veto partial funding bills. [ABC News, October 9]

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid explained: “Why would we want to have the House of Representatives, John Boehner, cherry-pick what stays open and what should be closed?”

As a matter of logic, the House cannot simultaneously cherry-pick what government it wants to remain open while also shutting it down entirely. It’s the Senate and the President who want the budget to be an all-or-nothing choice in order to get one particular policy they want. If Strauss’s article was meant to be a debunking, it failed.

 

 

Government shutdowns used to be common. Contrary to President Obama and his supporters, it’s not unusual at all for policy choices to get mixed up in bills that fund the government. From Dylan Matthews’s shutdown rundown, we learn that between 1981 and 1990, when Democrats controlled Congress (mostly) and Republicans were in the White House, there were nine government shutdowns. Those shutdowns happened because Congress and the President couldn’t agree on major policy issues such as supporting the Nicaraguan Contras, foreign aid for Syria and El Salvador, the Fairness Doctrine, the MX missile, and welfare expansions. Also, the issue of abortion figured prominently in five shutdowns when Democrats controlled Congress and another Democrat, Jimmy Carter, was in the White House. [Washington Post, September 25]

 

 

Video of the week: Environmental exaggeration makes people poorer. Also, it doesn’t help the environment, explains Ivo Vegter, in this recent TEDx talk:

 

 

Canada is still beating the United States. For the eighth year running, the United States has less economic freedom than Canada, according to the Fraser Institute’s latest Economic Freedom of the World Report. Higher U.S. taxes and more U.S. regulations account for much of the gap, explains Jared Meyer:

Canada has a federal corporate tax rate of just 15 percent whereas the United States has a top rate of 35 percent, the highest among OECD countries. Canada’s federal debt-to-GDP ratio is 35 percent. It is targeting a ratio of 25 percent by 2021 thanks to a strong commitment to spending cuts from Conservative Party Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The U.S. ratio is 73 percent and rising. Mr. Harper has publicly pushed for approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would benefit the economies of both countries, while President Obama has done all he can to block the State Department’s permit. Canada also has an unemployment rate of 7.1 percent, lower than America’s.

From 1980 until 2000 the United States was generally rated the third freest country behind only Hong Kong and Singapore. Now it is #17. It is not only developed countries, such as New Zealand (#3), Switzerland (#4), and Finland (#7), overtaking the United States—developing countries are catching up. America’s ranking fell 10.5 percent from 2000 to 2011. Over that same period the world’s economic freedom rose by two percent. This is not a good sign for the future of America in an age of global competition.

U.S. rankings fell from the previous year in every category. According to Fred McMahon of the Fraser Institute, a co-author of the Index with Robert Lawson and Joshua Hall, the main factors that brought down America’s scores were overspending, weakened rule of law, and regulatory overkill.

If the United States continues to lag in economic freedom, its standard of living will also fall below those of the more economically free countries: “Those people living in the freest quartile of countries produce a GDP per capita that is on average eight times larger than those in the least free quartile. They produce two times as much per capita as those in the second freest quartile.” [Economics 21, October 9]

 

 

Is your state’s tax system competitive? Which states have tax systems that enhance (or harm the least) the business environment? According to the Tax Foundation’s 2014 State Business Tax Climate Index, the 10 best states are Wyoming, South Dakota, Nevada, Alaska, Florida, Washington, Montana, New Hampshire, Utah, and Indiana while the 10 worst are Maryland, Connecticut, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Vermont, Rhode Island, Minnesota, California, New Jersey, and New York.

 

 

What’s gone wrong with HealthCare.gov? Wall Street Journal:

Information technology experts who examined the healthcare.gov website at the request of The Wall Street Journal said the site appeared to be built on a sloppy software foundation. Such a hastily constructed website may not have been able to withstand the online demand last week, they said.

Engineers at Web-hosting company Media Temple Inc. found a glut of stray software code that served no purpose they could identify. They also said basic Web-efficiency techniques weren’t used, such as saving parts of the website that change infrequently so they can be loaded more quickly. Those factors clog the website’s plumbing, Media Temple said.

The identity-checking foul-ups are also triggering problems for state-run exchanges, which rely on the federal system. The problem caused delays last week for users of MNsure, Minnesota’s exchange, as they waited for federal confirmation to create their accounts, said April Todd-Malmlov, MNsure’s executive director. She said the issue in her state was largely resolved by Friday. [Wall Street Journal, October 6]

One of the problems that surfaced this week, reports Sean Gallagher, is that “individuals whose logins never made it to the site’s database will have to re-register using a different username, as their previously chosen names are now stuck in authentication limbo.” Also: “[C]hanges made to profiles already within the system may not be saved either—a problem that is only indicated by a very non-descriptive error message.” [Ars Technica, October 8]

Remember, Obamacare requires you to enroll in the exchanges or pay a fine if you don’t receive qualifying health insurance from your employer. But enrollment hasn’t taken off yet, reports David Martosko:

Just 51,000 people completed Obamacare applications during the first week the Healthcare.gov website was online, according to two sources inside the Department of Health and Human Services who gave MailOnline an exclusive look at the earliest enrollment numbers. […]

The open enrollment period for Obamacare coverage is slated to last for six months. If the first week’s total were an indication of how many Americans will sign up during that time through the Obama administration’s website, its final tally would reach a paltry 1.32 million. […]

If the state-run exchanges were to have a similar response rate for six months, the national enrollment total would be approximately 2 million.

That number is less than 29 per cent of the 7 million the Obama administration would need, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, in order to balance the new health insurance system’s books and keep it from financial collapse. [Daily Mail, October 10]

Democrats shut down the government in order to make sure this mess launched on time.

 

 

To Do: Find Out How ObamaCare Will Affect Your Health Insurance Premiums

• Find out how Obamacare will affect health insurance rates across the country. Heritage Foundation analyst Drew Gonshorowski will reveal the findings of his new study at a panel discussion at Heritage. The discussion begins at 10 a.m. on October 16.

• If you’ve found out how Obamacare will affect your own insurance premiums and would like to share the information, then please let The Heritage Foundation know. Take a picture, as George Schwab did (featured in Friday’s Heritage Morning Bell) and send it to morningbell@heritage.org, or post it on The Heritage Foundation Facebook page, or tweet it to@Heritage and with the hashtag #ObamaHikes, or post it on Instagram with the hashtag #ObamaHikes.

• Learn how economic freedom helps people from around the world build better lives for themselves and their communities. The Cato Institute will host a screening of Economic Freedom in Action: Changing Lives. The film is based on the Fraser Institute’s annual Economic Freedom of the World report. Discussion will follow featuring Michael Walker of the Fraser Institute and Johan Norberg of the Cato Institute. The screening starts at 4 p.m. on October 16.

• Examine the case for a U.S. nuclear arsenal based on the concept of minimum deterrence. Douglas Feith, Ambassador Robert Joseph, and Keith Payne will be among the panelists at a Hudson Institute discussion. The event begins at noon on October 16.

• Hear Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) discuss the National Park Service’s shuttering of open-air, previously unfenced spaces around America’s national monuments—supposedly an activity that’s now essential because the Park Service has no authority to spend money. Bishop’s talk begins at noon on October 15 at The Heritage Foundation.

• For those in the nation’s capital, greet an Honor Flight when it arrives at the airport. The program to bring World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., to see the World War II Memorial is continuing, despite the government shutdown. A lot of folks come out to greet the veterans at the gate when they arrive at Reagan National Airport. If you want to do that, too, you’ll need to request a gate pass by e-mailing dca.honorflight@gmail.com. A schedule of Honor Flights arriving at Reagan National Airport is available online. Volunteers are also welcome to greet veterans at the memorials, too.

• Discover the seven principles of sound public policy. Lawrence Reed, President of the Foundation for Economic Education, will talk about the principles during a discussion hosted by the Illinois Public Policy Institute. Reed’s talk begins at 6 p.m. on October 17 at the Illinois Policy Institute in Chicago.

• Help the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs celebrate 20 years of working for free markets. OCPA will hold its 2013 Liberty Gala on October 17 at the Tulsa Hyatt Regency. President George W. Bush will address the diners. The reception begins at 5:45 p.m.

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.

The Heritage Foundation
214 Massachusetts Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4999
phone 202.546.4400 | fax 202.546.8328

I have stated again and again that any other president would have been impeached long ago for what this one has gotten away with.   Today Heritage reports on five things that he has done that a egregious sins against the Constitution of the United States and therefore egregious sins against the people of the United States.  Why do we the people put up with this behavior????   BB

 

5 Ways Obama Has Trampled the Constitution09/17/2013

Today, the Constitution turns 226 years old. Let’s not forget it states that the President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”

The Obama Administration has done the opposite, turning the law on its head and ignoring constitutional limitations on its power.

>>> Read the Constitution now

Here are five of the Administration’s largest violations:

1. Changing Obamacare on the fly without congressional action

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires that businesses employing 50 or more full-time employees must provide health insurance or pay a fine per uncovered employee. The law schedules this mandate to begin in January 2014. Yet the Administration has already announced that it will put this requirement on hold.

Meanwhile, Congress explicitly considered and rejected proposed amendments to Obamacare that would have created a specific allowance for a congressional health insurance subsidy in the exchanges, and indeed, such an exemption is illegal. But the Administration told Members of Congress and their staffers that it would give them a generous taxpayer-funded subsidy just the same.

Obamacare won’t work as written, and the Administration is just seizing power unilaterally to rewrite it.

2. Implementing the DREAM Act by executive fiat 

Congress has repeatedly considered, and rejected, a bill known as the Dream Act that would effectively grant amnesty to many illegal aliens. Yet in June 2012, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano issued a directive to immigration officials instructing them to defer deportation proceedings against an estimated 1.7 million illegal aliens. Oddly, this happened about a year after President Obama admitted that “the President doesn’t have the authority to simply ignore Congress and say, ‘We’re not going to enforce the laws you’ve passed.’”

3. Making “recess appointments” while the Senate was in session

In January 2012, President Obama made four “recess” appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, claiming that the Senate was not available to confirm those appointees. Yet the Senate was not in recess at that time. The Recess Appointments Clause is not an alternative to Senate confirmation and is supposed to be only a stopgap for times when the Senate is unable to provide advice and consent. Eventually, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit struck down the appointments to the NLRB as unconstitutional.

4. Waiving welfare work requirements

In July 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services gutted the work requirements out of the welfare reform law passed in 1996. It notified states of Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s “willingness to exercise her waiver authority” so that states may eliminate the work participation requirement of Section 407 of the 1996 reforms. This flatly contradicts the law, which provides that waivers granted under other sections of the law “shall not affect the applicability of section 407 to the State.” Despite this unambiguous language, the Obama Administration continues to flout the law with its “revisionist” interpretation.

5. Encouraging federal contractors to violate the law

The WARN Act requires that federal contractors give 60 days’ notice before a mass layoff or plant closing. Employers who do not give notice are liable for employees’ back pay and benefits as well as additional penalties. With defense-related spending cuts set to start on January 2, 2013, defense contractors should have issued notice by November 2, 2012 (just four days before the presidential election). Yet, the Department of Labor instructed defense contractors not to issue notice for layoffs due to sequestration until after the election—and assured them they would be reimbursed with taxpayer funds for any subsequent liability for violating the law.

One of the Constitution’s strongest features is its simplicity. It doesn’t serve as a laundry list of rights, as many modern constitutions attempt to do. Instead, it lays out a governing framework, divides power among three co-equal branches, and protects Americans from having their rights usurped by an overreaching government.

But for the Constitution to survive the next quarter-century, we need leaders who are dedicated to maintaining it, not stretching it to suit their immediate political needs.

From the beginning it was clear to me that controlling our health care was the federal government final grab for complete control of Americans.  Yes!  Control!   Everything about Obamacare is about taking our rights away and learning everything about us and our lives so that the government can control our lives in all areas not just health care.   Jim DeMint lays it out very well in the following article.  Sincerely, BB

 

Obamacare Is About Power

05/16/2013

By Jim DeMint

Members of the House of Representatives are scheduled to vote Thursday to repeal all of Obamacare. Given that the House voted to repeal the law last year, some commentators and observers have questioned the need for another repeal vote. (actually there have been 37 votes in the Republican control House of Representatives repealing all or parts of Obmacare.  BB)

However, the scandals coming to light over the last week perfectly make the case for why Congress must eradicate the law from the statute books.

On Friday, the Internal Revenue Service finally disclosed that it had spent years targeting tea party and other conservative groups, delaying their applications for non-profit status and giving those applications additional scrutiny — solely because of those groups’ political beliefs.

Also on Friday, The Washington Post revealed that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius personally asked health industry groups to contribute to Enroll America, a pro-Obamacare front group working to “educate” the public about the law’s supposed benefits.  

While we don’t yet know all the details about these scandals, we do know that the IRS grossly abused its power at a time when Obamacare grants it massive new authority. The Treasury Department’s Inspector General has said Obamacare represents “the largest set of tax law changes in 20 years,” with at least 42 provisions adding to or amending the tax code.  (AND, at least 18 new taxes on the American tax payer.  that is 18 that we have discovered so far.  BB)

Obamacare taxes most people with health insurance, and most people without health insurance. Likewise, the law taxes many employers who provide health insurance, and most employers who don’t provide health insurance.

Obamacare’s heavy reliance on the IRS seems somehow fitting, as the entire law relies on a scheme of government controls and regulations to work its will on the health care system. The law imposes price controls on insurance companies and extends a system of price controls for pharmaceutical companies. Obamacare also places a board of unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats at the center of its plans to control health care costs.

A 2010 Congressional Research Service report found that the number of new bureaucracies “that will ultimately be created” by Obamacare “is currently unknowable.” Little wonder that Vice President Biden boasted shortly before the law was passed, “We’re going to control the insurance companies.”

That’s what Obamacare is about. It’s not about health care. It’s about government control and power. And the record of this Administration shows its willingness to use this power in arbitrary and harmful ways.  (We the People MUST accept and fully understand and accept this fact!  BB)

Secretary Sebelius’s recently disclosed fundraising campaign tried to make an end-run around Congress, forcing private companies to give money for a pro-Obamacare marketing campaign that Congress itself has refused to fund.

It isn’t the first time the secretary has skirted the law, either. HHS’s infamous waivers, the majority of which went to individuals in union health plans, weren’t mentioned in Obamacare. And in recent weeks, Democrats who support the law have criticized the secretary for taking funds from other programs to fund Obamacare implementation.

Just like the IRS, HHS has also targeted the First Amendment rights of private organizations. In 2009, the department applied an infamous “gag order” on Medicare Advantage plans, ordering them not to communicate with seniors about how Obamacare’s cuts to Medicare Advantage would affect their coverage.

If past experience is any guide, IRS and HHS could use their newfound Obamacare powers to target their political opponents. Will individuals who choose not to buy insurance under Obamacare’s mandate find themselves subjected to government audits?

Will corporations who choose not to “donate” to Sebelius’s fundraising campaign find themselves targeted by Obamacare regulators — or even the IRS itself? Given the events of the past week, few can answer these questions with an unequivocal “no.”

There’s one easy way to stop the rot, and that’s to repeal Obamacare once and for all. At a time when this week’s revelations show how the government has abused its existing powers, it’s exactly the wrong time to give the government yet more authority. Congress should instead focus on repealing Obamacare and restoring freedom.

This piece originally appeared in The Washington Examiner.

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

Quick Hits:  (You may want to read some of these other Heritage reports.  BB)

 

 

  • The acting commissioner of the IRS has been ousted, but congressional committees and the FBI are still investigating potential civil rights violations in the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups.  (Big deal this is when the man was due to leave the department next month anyhow.  What a farce!  And he was only appointed last November and this  breaking of the laws has been going on since at least 2010.  BB)

 

  • Attorney General Eric Holder went before a congressional committee yesterday on the AP phone record scandal, though the hearing yielded few answers.   (The last count I heard was that he said “I don’t know” 87 times.  He claims he knew nothing about this because it was his staff that handled the whole thing.  Yeh!  BB)

 

  • Google has launched a new music streaming service to compete with Pandora and Spotify.  (I like Pandora and don’t really trust Google with all the shenanegans I have read and heard about Google being involved in.  BB)

 

This man has so much to say and makes just entirely tooo much sense!  Our problems are indeed great but the answers are relatively simple if we but had the guts and intelligence to take  our medicine after all these years of living high on the hog on a credit card from China and other countries we are now indebted to.  BB

VIDEO: Dr. Ben Carson Speaks Truth to Power at National Prayer Breakfast

Josh Shepherd  (CLICK  NAME OF AUTHOR TO LISTEN TO THE ENTIRE VIDEO)

February 8, 2013 at 4:30 pm

Yesterday, world-renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson presented the keynote address at the 61st Annual National Prayer Breakfast. With President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and other national leaders in attendance, Dr. Carson spoke plainly about the great challenges America faces today: “moral decay and fiscal irresponsibility.”

“One of our big problems right now is our deficit,” Dr. Carson states. “Our national debt, 16 and a half trillion dollars—you think that’s not a lot of money? Counting one number per second, you know how long it would take to count to one trillion—507,000 years.”

Dr. Carson continued:

I don’t like to bring up problems without coming up with solutions… What about our taxation system? It is so complex, there is no one who can possibly comply with every jot and tittle. That doesn’t make any sense.

What we need to do is come up with something that’s simple. The inherently fair principle is proportionality: you make 10 billion dollars, you put in a billion. You make 10 dollars, you put in one. Of course, you have to get rid of the loopholes.

Some people say, ‘That’s not fair! It’s doesn’t hurt the guy who made 10 billion dollars.’ Where does it say you have to hurt that guy? He just put a billion dollars into the pot!

Similar to Dr. Carson’s ideas, The Heritage Foundation has proposed a new flat taxas part of the landmark reform plan Saving the American Dream.

Growing up in dire poverty, Dr. Carson tells of taking responsibility for his own decisions thanks to “a mother who believed in me, who would never allow herself to be a victim no matter what happened—she never made excuses, and she never accepted excuses from us.”

Carson says his mother paved the way for a better life by insisting he and his brother read rather than watch television:

After awhile, I actually began to enjoying reading those books. I read about people of great accomplishment.

As I read those stories, I began to see a connecting thread: the person who has the most to do with what happens to you in life is you. You make decisions, and you decide how much energy you put behind those decisions. At that point I didn’t hate poverty anymore, because I knew it was only temporary: I could change that.

Dr. Ben Carson, whose life was dramatized in the 2009 film Gifted Hands, recently authored the book America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great with his wife Candy.

An annual event in Washington, D.C., the National Prayer Breakfast presents “a call to spiritual mobilization” to Congress and “leaders in our nation who carry great burdens.” As keynote speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast, Carson follows in the footsteps of author Eric Metaxas who in 2012 delivered a speech equally as challenging to national leaders.

Related Posts

We Americans believe that we are the truly free people in the world, but this since Obama is a myth,  a lie!  We are not at all FREE because the one thing that made us Free–our capitalist system— has been almost destroyed by Obamanation.  Thru the overwhelming intrusion of the Environmental  Protection Agency (EPA) regulations and Obama’s pandering to the unions with his radical liberal stacked National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) our economy and the business (capitalism) that fuels it has been so handicapped as to be crippled.  The United States now ranks 10th. in the world in the list of  free economies.   Hong Kong and Singapore rank as 1 and 2!    How did we get here?  Why are We the People willing to accept this situation?  When will the workers of America realize that it is in our best interest for the FREE Market to truly be free?   Have any of you ever gotten a job from a poor man?  NO! NO!  It is the rich man who invests in companies which then provide the jobs for all of us to get ahead.  Damnit anyhow.  I am so tired of hearing “tax the rich” and “spread the wealth around”.  The government taxes the rich means the rich do two things:  stop investing  and creating  American businesses  and 2.  move their money out of the United States.  People do you remember the tax payer bail out of Chrysler and the Unions by Obama?  Well don’t look now but Chrysler is now producing JEEPS in China.  Yes!  They took our tax payer dollars and politely moved their operation to a freeier  less government intrusive and union demanding China.  (But don’t you union guys worry because your pensions and benefits have been protected.  Of course your kids and grandkids will not have a decent life and will be paying for your demands,  but who cares , right? )

Well, my rant for today.   Read the following article and weep.  sincerely, BB

 

e America’s Ranking in the 2013 Index of Economic Freedom

When we talk about “economic freedom,” what do we mean—and why does it matter?

Economic freedom is the fundamental right of every human to control his or her own labor and property. In an economically free society, individuals are free to work, produce, consume, and invest in any way they please, with that freedom both protected by the state and unconstrained by the state.

Since reaching a global peak in 2008, sadly, economic freedom around the world has continued to stagnate.   (Now refresh my poor memory:  what happened in 2008?  Oh yes, Obama and the Democrats took over the government!  that’s what happened!  BB)

Today launches the 19th edition of the Index of Economic Freedom, produced by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. The 2013Index was edited by Ambassador Terry Miller, director of Heritage’s Center for International Trade and Economics; Kim Holmes, Ph.D., Heritage’s Distinguished Fellow; and Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D., Heritage’s president.

What are the reasons for the worldwide sluggishness? As Ambassador Miller writes in The Wall Street Journal, “Particularly concerning are the rise of populist ‘democratic’ movements that use the coercive power of government to redistribute income and control economic activity.”

While “corrupt political and legal environments cause underdevelopment in poorer countries,” Miller writes, “unfortunately, economic favoritism and cronyism exist in advanced democracies, too.” Americans are well aware, and the overall U.S. score has been dropping since 2009. From 2009 to 2010, the U.S. declined from being a “free” economy to “mostly free.” This year, it ranks 10th in the world.

 

The Most Free

1. Hong Kong
2. Singapore
3. Australia
4. New Zealand
5. Switzerland
6. Canada
7. Chile
8. Mauritius
9. Denmark
10. United States

One reason for America’s lack of freedom is that its scores on regulatory efficiency—which include business freedom and labor freedom—have dropped. The editors point to the fact that “over 100 new major federal regulations have been imposed on business operations since early 2009 with annual costs of more than $46 billion.”

Miller explains that what happens in Washington affects not only every corner of America, but of the world:

It is no exaggeration to blame the recent slowdown in economic liberalization around the world on the lack of U.S. leadership. Trade flows—the engine of world growth—have declined as the U.S. economy has stagnated. Protectionism threatens consumers and businesses with higher costs and restrictions in supply. Ill-conceived banking regulations such as the Dodd-Frank law generate uncertainty and anxiety. And investment freedom declines in the face of higher costs and new legal and tax liabilities such as those introduced by ObamaCare. These misguided U.S. policies hurt Americans first, but others feel the harm as well.  (READ this paragraph again and again until you understand it!  Dodd-Frank and Obamacare  are bad news for Americans!  BB)

North America continues to be the world’s freest region, though Mexico was the only economy that improved its Index score over the last year. The region boasts two “mostly free” economies (Canada and the United States) and one “moderately free” economy (Mexico). It leads the world in terms of rule of law, regulatory efficiency, and open markets, but is getting worse where government spending is concerned.

About the Index

Launched in 1995, the Index evaluates countries in four broad areas of economic freedom: rule of law; regulatory efficiency; limited government; and open markets. Based on an aggregate score, each of 177 countries graded in the 2013 Index was classified as “free,” “mostly free,” “moderately free,” “mostly unfree,” or “repressed.”

The broader areas are broken down into 10 measures: property rights, freedom from corruption, fiscal freedom, government spending, business freedom, labor freedom, monetary freedom, trade freedom, investment freedom, and financial freedom.

The New Website

The updated website, launched today, is interactive:

  • Compare up to three countries of your choice on all 10 measures of economic freedom with an interactive, color-coded chart feature.  (Do this now to see how America has fallen in all areas since Obama!  BB )

Each country’s profile includes quick facts such as its population, gross domestic product (GDP), unemployment rate, and the amount of foreign investment flowing into the country—and you can embed this data in your blog or website.

Visit the 2013 Index of Economic Freedom


See topic cloud at bottom of page for specific topics.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 93 other followers

BB’s file cabinet

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 93 other followers