Archive for the ‘Taxes’ Category
The best that can be said for the budget deal Congress is now considering is that it appears to be a bit of cooperation between the Republicans and the Democrats, the House and the Senate for the first time in years. Other than that it is no “deal” for the American people. Read the following report from Heritage and decide for yourself. For myself I don’t like it but rather have this than nothing at all because nothing at all but “continuing resolution” puts Obama in charge of spending what he wants with no input or control from the Congress or the people. BB
The Budget Deal’s Sneaky Tax Increases
The Heritage Foundation
The Budget Deal’s Sneaky Tax Increases
The congressional budget deal includes some “user fees.”
For the Washington establishment, that’s apparently the politically correct way of telling Americans they’ll be paying more to the federal government. For the rest of us, it’s a tax increase.
The Ryan-Murray budget deal, which passed the House on a 332-94 vote, includes a number of “fee” increases. One would make flying more expensive. Travelers are currently charged $2.50 per flight under the Transportation Security Administration’s airline security “fee.” Under the budget deal, that would increase to $5.60 per flight or $11.20 for a round-trip ticket.
Supporters of the deal are claiming this isn’t a tax increase—but take a look at your airline receipt. The airline security charge is just one of the taxes you’ll see. According to Delta Airlines, there’s also the Domestic Transportation Tax (7.5 percent), Travel Facilities Tax ($8.40), and U.S. International Transportation Tax ($17.20). These are all considered taxes.
When asked if the “user fees” were a code name for a tax increase, Representative Tom McClintock (R-CA) explained it this way: “I happen to believe once government spends a dollar they have decided to tax that dollar. The only question is when and by what means.”
And in the case of this airline security fee increase, the money isn’t even going back to the TSA to fund or improve security. Instead, as Heritage’s Cassandra Lucaccioni explained, “it will be deposited annually into a general fund of the Treasury.”
Not all government user fees are problematic. If they’re used to provide services to distinct groups of individuals or specific businesses or industries, they might make sense. That’s not what’s happening here.
“If a higher fee does not directly cover the cost of a government service and instead goes to pay for more spending, then it is akin to a tax increase,” said Curtis Dubay, Heritage’s senior tax policy analyst. “The budget deal uses the higher fees to cover the cost of more spending; hence it is essentially a tax hike.”
Taxpayers are tired of Washington’s gimmicks and games—and conservatives on Capitol Hill shouldn’t fall for this sneaky wordplay. The $63 billion spending hike in the Ryan-Murray budget has to come from somewhere.
Only in Washington could something like this fly. The American people shouldn’t buy it—or, in this case, pay for it.
Read the Morning Bell and more en español every day at Heritage Libertad.
- Ever wondered how America got $17 trillion in debt? In his latest column, Heritage President Jim DeMint says Congress’ budget deal provides an example.
- PolitiFact awarded President Obama with its “Lie of the Year” designation. Click here to find out the winner.
- Dishonest, Orwellian word games undermine the GOP’s credibility, argues Sean Davis at The Federalist.
- Do you know who Paul Teller is? Here’s why it matters that he got fired from a Republican group.
- Even the “Sexiest Man Alive” can’t make this unpopular, unworkable law appealing.
- Want to know how Interpol works? Don’t trust Hollywood. A Heritage expert explains how the system really works.
- With his popularity dropping, President Obama seems to be distancing himself from his “signature legislation.”
- Is the “Buffett Rule” already happening? The facts show the top 1 percent of earners already pay three times the effective rate of the middle class.
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I and others have been trying to get the word out to people since the monster was passed by the Democrats that Obamacare will cost much more than the current cost of healthcare insurance but 51% of the voters didn’t listen. Now the word is finally out and Heritage got the answers for us. check out what you will pay for health care insurance by checking out the state you live in. BB
How Will You Fare in the Obamacare Exchanges?
There are literally no comparisons to current rates. That is, [the Department of Health and Human Services] has chosen to dodge the question of whose rates are going up, and how much. Instead they try to distract with a comparison to a hypothetical number that has nothing to do with the actual experience of real people.
President, American Action Forum
Enrollment in Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges has proven to be a somewhat difficult process amidst technical glitches and delays. Aside from the issues associated with actually purchasing health care, once an individual gets a quote for health insurance on an exchange, is the premium higher or lower than before?
Our research finds that for many states, the insurance on health exchanges will cost more than existing insurance. This study illustrates that the general experience for individuals shopping on the exchange is that of increasing premiums from what was available to them prior to implementation of the exchanges. Many families and individuals will face this reality as they apply for coverage, and the implications of experiencing sticker shock are important to consider if enough people choose not to sign up for coverage for various reasons.
The Heritage Health Insurance Microsimulation Model (HHIMM), in concordance with insurer data compiled by Mark Farrah and Associates, is used to create a snapshot of what it looks like to shop for insurance prior to exchange implementation. This data is used to build weighted average premiums within the rating areas, similar to the process described in the most recent release from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
First, we use expected age distribution in the individual market from the HHIMM. Next, we use census data for the county populations in order to scale up to the state level, creating something that is roughly comparable to the weighted averages presented by HHS. This comparison is different from others in that, rather than comparing specific plans, it is designed to capture the difference in premium levels between the exchange and what could be acquired in the market.
This paper is meant to provide a necessary segue to HHS’s data summary, creating an apples-to-apples comparison of exchange data to what the costs are for individuals. Effectively, we have used the same methods that were employed to provide summary data on the exchange markets to prior insurance data in order to get the closest comparison.
Some state-based exchanges have data releases that are more limited than the 36 federal exchanges. For state exchanges, some premiums must be estimated. As is the case with all studies built to address the changes in exchange premiums, it is important to note that when more data becomes available, results could vary slightly.
This study considers the data as released by HHS. States with little data released are omitted from this study.
Individuals in most states will end up spending more on the exchanges. It is true that in some states, the experience could be the opposite. This is because those states had already over-regulated insurance markets that led to sharply higher premiums through adverse selection, as is the case of New York. Many states, however, double or nearly triple premiums for young adults. Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, and Vermont see some of the largest increases in premiums.
The Obama Administration is desperate for younger people to enroll to prevent an adverse selection death spiral. As pointed out by Sam Cappellanti at the American Action Forum, “The enrollment of these low cost young adults…is essential as they are required to subsidize the costs of insuring the elderly and chronically ill.” However, young adults face a penalty for not enrolling that is projected to be far less than the insurance coverage they could receive.
Our findings confirm that younger populations see larger percentage increases in premiums. A state that exhibits this clearly is Vermont, where the increase for 27-year-olds is 144 percent and the increase for 50-year-olds is still 60 percent, but far less. All states exhibit this relationship.
Many individuals will experience sticker shock when shopping on the exchanges. It is clear that many policies and cross-subsidization within Obamacare will lead to upward shifts in premiums. These policies include the health insurance tax, essential health benefit and actuarial value regulations, less allowed age variability in premiums, community rating, and guaranteed issue. However, real uncertainty, amidst a rocky start, surrounds what enrollment will look like in the exchanges.
Obamacare will leave many people paying more for their health insurance. The healthcare.gov website is learning to crawl, with additional data trickling in. However, based on information already released by HHS, states, and insurance plans, the claims of savings on premiums for the average participant is a fantasy.
—Drew Gonshorowski is a Policy Analyst in the Center for Data Analysis at The Heritage Foundation.
————————-Quoted in Avik Roy, “Double Down: Obamacare Will Increase Avg Individual Market Insurance Premiums by 99 Percent for Men, 62 Percent for Women,” Forbes, September 25, 2013,http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2013/09/25/double-down-obamacare-will-increase-avg-individual-market-insurance-premiums-by-99-for-men-62-for-women/ (accessed October 11, 2013).
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Health Insurance Marketplace Premiums for 2014,” September 2013,http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/2013/MarketplacePremiums/ib_marketplace_premiums.cfm(accessed October 10, 2013).
HHS’s main exchange dataset can be found here: https://www.healthcare.gov/health-plan-information/ (accessed October 10, 2013).
Massachusetts and Hawaii are omitted. Minnesota, Kentucky, and Maryland have issued small releases.
Virginia’s data likely has data entry errors. Omitting the entries that are likely incorrect suggests that Virginia’s likely premium increases are 115 percent for 27-year-olds, 65 percent for 50-year-olds, and 30 percent for a family of four.
Sam Cappellanti, “Premium Increases for ‘Young Invincibles’ Under the ACA and the Impending Premium Spiral,” American Action Forum, October 2, 2013,http://americanactionforum.org/research/premium-increases-for-young-invincibles-under-the-aca-and-the-impending (accessed October 10, 2013).
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The lastest today: Catholic priest and Protestant ministers in the military will be arrested if they perform any services even tho they would be volunteering their time since they are not being paid. None of our military are being paid. Also the commissaries which are totally self supporting have been closed. The President is doi8ng every thing he can to make this as unpleasant on people as possible. Stupid, petty thing like the above and like shutting down the out door WWII Memorial for Gods sake. It is outside with no charge to get in and walk around! And still the Democrats and the President refuse to sit down and talk to the House of Representatives to resolve their differences as our Constitution was set up to require. I sincerely hope the American people are finally waking up to the monster who we let into our White House.
Much great information in the following Newsletter from the Heritage Foundation. You can pick and choose the articles that interest you most. Be informed People! 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.
October 5, 2013
Latest Studies: 92 new items, including the Fraser Institute’s “Economic Freedom of the World” report, and a report from the Rio Grande Foundation on how New Mexico could manage its federal lands better than the federal government
Notes on the Week: Somebody was worried the shutdown wouldn’t hurt, the last shutdown was good for the economy, the federal income tax turns 100, and more
To Do: Learn the truth about gun control
Budget & Taxation
• Tax Reform, the Family, and the Pursuit of Happiness – American Enterprise Institute
• Could Dan Snyder End Publically Financed Stadiums? – Cato Institute (These stadiums financed by you the tax payers are built for millionaire owners for million air players to play in and then the public is charged an arm and a leg to get in to watch the games. About time the People refused to subsidize millionaires. Let them build and finance their own stadiums just as movie theaters owners have to build and finance their own theaters or bar owners have to build and own their own bars! BB)
• Tax Reform Should Eliminate the Deduction for State and Local Taxes – The Heritage Foundation (Tax reform from top to bottom needs done NOW. The IRS is corrupt to the core and the middle class has to carry the burden of taxes as a share of their income while the rich have all kinds of loop holes and at the other end 47% of Americans pay no taxes at all. This is wrong. We need a tax that is fair to all and where all pay. BB)
• Average Government Pensions in Illinois – (Illinois Policy Institute This is shocking! Tell your kids to get a government job and get on the gravy train. You can never be fired no matter how bad you do your job or how corrupt you are and the pay is outstanding. BB) BB)
• State Pension Contributions: Taxpayers Bear the Brunt of Increasing Pension Costs – Illinois Policy Institute
• Tax Reform 2013: Setting the Stage for Economic Growth – John Locke Foundation
• A Tale of Two Labor Markets: Government Spending’s Impact on Virginia – Mercatus Center
• New Evidence of the Effects of City Earnings Taxes on Growth – Show-Me Institute
• Building on Success: A Guide to Fair, Simple, Pro-Growth Tax Reform for Nebraska – Tax Foundation
• How Tax Reform Can Address America’s Diminishing Investment and Economic Growth – Tax Foundation
• The Effects of Terminating Tax Expenditures and Cutting Individual Income Tax Rates – Tax Foundation
• The Inequality Illusion – American Enterprise Institute
• Economic Freedom of the World 2013 Annual Report – Fraser Institute
• It’s the Government, Stupid – Hoover Institution
• What Economic Recovery? – Hoover Institution
• Corporate Governance and Shareholder Activism – Manhattan Institute
• Protecting Students and Taxpayers: The Federal Government’s Failed Regulatory Approach and Steps for Reform – American Enterprise Institute
• The Most Interesting School District in America? Douglas County’s Pursuit of Suburban Reform – American Enterprise Institute
• Expanding College Opportunities – Education Next
• Graduations on the Rise – Education Next
• Understanding Illinois’ Broken Education Funding System: a Primer on General State Aid – Illinois Policy Institute
• 60 Questions About Common Core – John Locke Foundation
• The Missing Half of School Reform – National Affairs
• Veterans and Higher Education – National Center for Policy Analysis
• How to Correct Our Schools of Ed – Wisconsin Policy Research Institute
Foreign Policy/International Affairs
• Honduras under Siege – American Enterprise Institute
• Framework for Removing Syrian Chemical Weapons: Reasons for Skepticism – The Heritage Foundation
• India: Congress and White House Should Have Modest Expectations for PM Singh Visit – The Heritage Foundation
• International Affairs Budget Needs Stronger Congressional Scrutiny – The Heritage Foundation
• Sri Lanka: Northern Provincial Council Election Could Be Step Toward Reconciliation – The Heritage Foundation
• U.S.-Japan Security Agreement Enhances Allied Goals – The Heritage Foundation
• Syria and American Leadership – Hoover Institution
• The Perilous Future of Afghanistan – Hoover Institution
Health Care (Need to read all of these People)
• Health Care Exchanges Impose $5.3 Billion in Costs, 16 Million Hours – American Action Forum
• Premium Increases for “Young Invincibles” Under the ACA and the Impending Premium Spiral – American Action Forum
• More Consolidation and More ‘Political’ Competition, Less Patient-Centered Market Competition – American Enterprise Institute
• Obamacare: Destined to Flop? Part II – American Enterprise Institute
• Obamacare: Destined to Flop? Part III – American Enterprise Institute
• Obamacare: Destined to Flop? Part IV – American Enterprise Institute
• More Good News as the Medicare Drug Benefit Approaches Ten Years – e21 – Economic Policies for the 21st Century
• Obamacare’s Insurance Exchanges: “Private Coverage” in Name Only – The Heritage Foundation
• Part-Time Illinois: Work Hours Have Dropped Since ObamaCare Signed into Law – Illinois Policy Institute
• Reforming Medicaid with Technology – Institute for Policy Innovation
• Conservative Health-Care Reform: A Reality Check – National Affairs
• The Uninsured Crisis under Obamacare – National Center for Policy Analysis
• Biometric Exit Tracking: A Feasible and Cost-Effective Solution for Foreign Visitors Traveling by Air and Sea – Center for Immigration Studies
• Remittances Abet Mexican Officials’ Irresponsible Behavior – Center for Immigration Studies
• Shaping our Nation: How Surges of Migration Transformed America and its Politics – Crown Publishing Group
• Consumers Would Benefit from Deregulating the Video Device Market – Free State Foundation
• No Picking Favorites: The Proper Approach to the Upcoming Incentive Auction – Free State Foundation
• Proposals Like the AT&T/Leap Merger Promise Consumer Benefits – Free State Foundation
• Two Sides of the Internet’s Two-Sidedness: A Consumer Welfare Perspective – Free State Foundation
• Above the Law: Unions are Often Exempt from Laws on Extortion, Identity Theft, and Whistleblower Protection – Capital Research Center (This is especially true concerning the public sector or government workers unions. These are the people who are paid with your taxes but do not have to conform to the same rules you have to conform to on your job. The “rubber room” teachers in New York who can not be fired so they sit all day in a room and read newspapers or play cards while still getting paid. Other cities and states have “rubber rooms” too! Also if you have been watching the farce of the IRS hearings you know that government workers don’t even have to answer to Congress! BB)
Monetary Policy/Financial Regulation (more heart-burn news you should be aware of. BB)
• What Now for Monetary Policy? – American Enterprise Institute
• Dodd-Frank Strikes Again – Hoover Institution
• Fannie, Freddie, and the Crisis – National Affairs
• AQAP’s Role in the al Qaeda Network – American Enterprise Institute
• DHS Acqusition Practices: Improving Outcomes for Taxpayers Using Defense and Private-Sector Lessons Learned – American Enterprise Institute
• NATO at Sea: Trends in Allied Naval Power – American Enterprise Institute
• Biofuel Blunder: Navy Should Prioritize Fleet Modernization over Political Initiatives – The Heritage Foundation
• Kenya Attack Reminds the U.S. of the Need to Maintain Effective Domestic Counterterrorism Programs – The Heritage Foundation
• Kenya Attack: Vigilance Required to Combat al-Shabaab’s Resurgence – The Heritage Foundation
• U.S. Counternarcotics Policy: Essential to Fighting Terrorism in Afghanistan – The Heritage Foundation
• The Strategic National Stockpile: Vital to Maintain, Critical to Improve – Hudson Institute
• Journalism or Espionage? – National Affairs
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & Science
• Small Business Implications of Greenhouse Gas Regulation – American Action Forum
• Climate Data vs. Climate Models – Cato Institute
• The Energy Wealth of Indian Nations – George W. Bush Institute
• Congress Should Stop Regulations of Greenhouse Gases – The Heritage Foundation
• A Tale of Two Parks – PERC – The Property and Environment Research Center
• The Economic Possibilities of Unlocking Energy Resources on New Mexico’s Federal Lands – Rio Grande Foundation
• A Texas Capacity Market: The Push for Subsidies – Texas Public Policy Foundation
• Does Competitive Electricity Require Capacity Markets? The Texas Experience: A Summary – Texas Public Policy Foundation
• ACORN International: Wade Rathke Shakes Down the Whole Wide World – Capital Research Center
• Philanthropy by the Numbers – Manhattan Institute
Regulation & Deregulation
• Insurance as Gun Control? – Cato Institute
• Kosher Certification as a Model of Private Regulation – Cato Institute
• Reconceptualizing Corporate Boards – Cato Institute
• Government Overreach Threatens Lives – Hoover Institution
• Reinvigorating, Strengthening, and Extending OIRA’s Powers – Mercatus Center
• Reforming Old Age Security: A Good Start but Incomplete – Fraser Institute
The Constitution/Civil Liberties
• Concealed Carry: Illinois Supremes Catch Up on the Second Amendment – The Heritage Foundation
• Protecting the First Amendment from the IRS – The Heritage Foundation
• The Fourth Amendment and New Technologies – The Heritage Foundation
• Real Judicial Restraint – National Affairs
• The Libertarian Challenge to Obamacare – Reason Foundation
• Government Shutdown and the Future of Transportation Funding – The Heritage Foundation
• Why the DOT’s Role in Funding and Regulating Transportation Should Be Reduced – Mercatus Center
• A New Approach to SSDI Reform – Cato Institute
Somebody was worried the government shutdown might not hurt enough. The tactic of government officials impairing the most highly visible and valuable services in order to make funding cuts really hurt is so well known that it has a name and even a Wikipedia entry: The Washington Monument Syndrome. That means us rubes just might look it up and realize what’s going on this week during the government shutdown—or, as Fox News more appropriately calls it, “government slimdown.”
In theory, a total lapse in funding shouldn’t be an opportunity for bureaucratic game playing: Services are either essential and remain functioning as per the Anti-Deficiency Act, or they are closed. But under the Obama administration, shutdown means finding ways to turn off things that don’t have an off switch or don’t require work to maintain. A few examples:
The National Mall: The Obama administration’s Office of Management and Budget instructed the National Park Service to put up barriers to the monuments on the National Mall. That included the World War II Memorial (funded mostly by private money, by the way). On Tuesday, a group of World War II veterans arrived to visit the memorial as part of the Honor Flight program. The barriers carried the message “Because of the Federal Government SHUTDOWN, All National Parks Are CLOSED,” but someone moved the barriers aside, letting World War II veterans visit the World War II Memorial.
The group had appealed for help arranging its visit directly to the White House, but was turned down. [Daily Caller, October 1] The Park Service also told one Honor Flight group that was planning a Friday visit that its members faced arrest if they tried to enter the closed monument. [NorthWestOhio.com, October1]
On Wednesday, as Paul Bedard notes, more federal employees were sent to re-fortify the barricade at the World War II Memorial than were detailed to stop Islamic terrorists attacking U.S. embassy personnel in Benghazi, Libya. [Washington Examiner, October 2] Later on Wednesday, the Park Service announced that the World War II Memorial would be opened—but for veterans only!
Park Service Police are still on duty because they are deemed essential employees. They are essential, we gather, for telling citizens to leave open-air spaces that are not normally patrolled. That’s how shut down this government is!
Claude Moore Colonial Farm: The Park Service also shut down Claude Moore Colonial Farm in McLean, Va., even though it is entirely funded by a private non-profit organization. The Park Service says it has to shut down the site because it sits on federal land. However, Anna Eberly, Managing Director of Claude Moore Colonial Farms, told supporters by email that the Farm had never been closed down during previous budget impasses. Eberly continued: “You do have to wonder about the wisdom of an organization that would use staff they don’t have the money to pay to evict visitors from a park site that operates without costing them any money.” [Townhall.com, October 2]
Bus turnaround lane at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. George Washington’s Mount Vernon is also operated by a private foundation, and the Park Service can’t close it down because it doesn’t own the land either. But the service still did what it could to make itself a nuisance by putting up barriers to the bus turnaround lane just outside the site. The bus turnaround lane is on land owned by the Park Service. Check out the photo posted by Newt Gingrich:
Government websites. A number of government websites are carrying the message: “Due to a lapse of federal government funding, this website is unavailable. We sincerely regret this inconvenience.” But if you go to a government page and get that message, then you’re still on the government page. Nobody turned anything off; they just changed the content. Does that make sense? Julian Sanchzez says it’s possible but unlikely there is a security reason for walling off the regular content. He notes:
The main page at NASA.gov redirects to a page saying the site is unavailable, but lots of subdomains that, however cool, seem “inessential” remain up and running: the “Solar System Exploration” page at solarsystem.nasa.gov; the Climate Kids website atclimatekids.nasa.gov; and the large photo archive at images.jsc.nasa.gov, to name a few. There are any number of good reasons some of those subdomains might be hosted separately, and therefore unaffected by the shutdown—but it seems odd they can keep all of these running without additional expenditures, yet aren’t able to redirect to a co-located mirror of the landing page.
Still weirder is the status of the Federal Trade Commission’s site. Browse to any of their pages and you’ll see, for a split second, the full content of the page you want—only to be redirected to a shutdown notice page also hosted at FTC.gov. But that means… their servers are still up and running and actually serving all the same content. In fact they’re serving morecontent: first the real page, then the shutdown notice page. If you’re using Firefox or Chrome and don’t mind browsing in HTML-cluttered text, you can even use this link to navigate to the FTC site map and navigate from page to page in source-code view without triggering the redirect. [Cato Institute, October 1]
Bonus shutdown melodrama: FLOTUS’s fingers furloughed from tweeting:
Due to Congress’s failure to pass legislation to fund the government, updates to this account will be limited. #Shutdown
— FLOTUS (@FLOTUS) October 1, 2013
FLOTUS, of course, is the Twitter handle for First Lady Michelle Obama.
It might be that a lot of inessential government really is inessential. The political prognosticators say the 1995/1996 government shutdowns show that budgetary impasses are a bad idea, but the economics, says Tim Cavanaugh, tell a different story:
Despite the greatly ballyhooed furloughs of government employees, unemployment stayed even at 5.6 percent during November 1995, the period of the first spending gap, which ended when a deal cut by President Bill Clinton and Republican legislators allowed government to stay funded at 75 percent.
Unemployment actually dropped to 5.5 percent during the second spending gap, which was more complete than the first.
Unemployment continued to plummet in the months following the shutdown, as a hamstrung Clinton allowed the rate of government spending increases to slow and headed toward the eventual budget surpluses that became the highlight of Clinton’s legacy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment dropped half a percentage point within a year of the first shutdown and had dipped below five percent by the spring of 1997.
More surprisingly, gross domestic product increased during both quarters covered by the Clinton-era shutdowns. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, GDP began the fourth quarter of 1995 at $7.7 trillion and ended the second quarter of 1996 at $7.9 trillion. By the end of the second quarter 1996 GDP had topped $8 trillion.
Personal consumption expenditures, gross private domestic investment and personal income also increased during and immediately after the shutdown.
The GDP numbers are particularly striking because government spending is given outsized weight in GDP measures, which assume that every dollar in federal spending results in a full dollar’s worth of economic activity. Nevertheless, GDP continued to climb despite the suspension of transfer payments. [Daily Caller, September 29] ( if 800,000 government workers are considered “non-essential” for this shut down then it makes one wonder just how many are non-essential for good doesn’t it?? This is especially true when these government workers make on average 30% more than those of us who pay their salary and the fact that their performance of their jobs whether good or bad is protected by government employee unions so they can’t be fired no matter what they do or don’t do. BB))
A glitchy MacGuffin: This week Democrats in the Senate shut down the federal government in order to keep Obamacare open. But Obamacare is not exactly open in the way that its supporters were hoping: (READ ON:)
The Borinquen Health Center in Florida said only about 5 percent of the nearly 400 people who sought guidance in a 48-hour period were able to access Healthcare.gov, the website portal for consumers in 36 states where the federal government is operating exchanges, also known as marketplaces. [Insurance Journal, October 4]
Even MSNBC had trouble:
But beyond the software glitches is an even bigger problem with the online portals. John McAfee, a pioneer in anti-computer virus software, tells Neil Cavuto:
There is no central place where I can go and say, “OK, here are all the legitimate brokers, the examiners for all of the states” and pick and choose one.
Instead, any hacker can put a website up, make it look extremely competitive, and because of the nature of the system—and this is health care, after all—they can ask you the most intimate questions, and you’re freely going to answer them. What’s my Social Security number? My birth date? What are my health issues? […] (BEWARE! BB)
It’s not something software can solve. I mean, what idiot put this system out there and did not create a central depository? There should be one website, run by the government, you go to that website and then you can click on all of the agencies. This is insane. […] [Y]ou can imagine some retired lady in Utah, who has $75,000 dollars in the bank, saving her whole life, having it wiped out in one day because she signed up for Obamacare. And believe me, this is going to happen millions of times. This is a hacker’s wet dream. I mean I cannot believe that they did this.
Video of the week: Another fine entry in the Health and Human Services’ ObamaCare Video Contest. You know who takes no prisoners when it comes to ObamaCare? Remy:
September 30 was a good day in the courts for free speech, thanks to the Institute for Justice. The libertarian public interest law firm won two decisions striking down campaign finance regulations in both Mississippi and Arizona that prevented ordinary citizens from speaking out on politics:
In the Mississippi case, Justice v. Hosemann, Judge Sharion Aycock of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi ruled that Mississippi’s campaign finance scheme was an unconstitutional burden on small groups and individuals. Mississippi’s restrictions applied to any individual or group that spent more than $200 to talk about an initiative to amend Mississippi’s Constitution. The law was challenged by five friends from Oxford, Miss.—Vance Justice, Sharon Bynum, Matt Johnson, Alison Kinnaman and Stan O’Dell—who simply wanted to join together and speak out in favor of then-Initiative 31—an effort that would provide Mississippi citizens with greater protection from eminent domain abuse. But Mississippi’s $200 threshold is so low that it was impossible for them to even run a single quarter-page ad in their local newspaper without having to become a political committee.
Judge Aycock found that Mississippi’s campaign finance requirements were so complicated that “a prudent person might have extraordinary difficulty merely determining what is required” and that “potential speakers might well require legal counsel to determine which regulations even apply, above and beyond how to comport with those requirements.”
In the Arizona case, Galassini v. Town of Fountain Hills, Judge James A. Teilborg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona struck down Arizona’s similar regulatory scheme. The Arizona laws had been challenged by Dina Galassini, a resident of Fountain Hills, Ariz., who in 2011 sent an email to 23 friends and neighbors, inviting them to join her in a protest against a $44 million road bond by making homemade signs and joining her on a street corner. “Little did she realize,” as Judge Teilborg noted, “that she was about to feel the heavy hand of government regulation in a way she never imagined.”
Almost immediately she received a letter from the town clerk telling her to stop speaking until she had registered with the town as a “political committee” under Arizona’s campaign finance laws. Represented by IJ, Galassini challenged the Arizona law, securing an injunction that allowed her to hold her street-corner protests.
Galassini said, “I was stunned to learn that I needed to register with the government just to talk to people in my community about a political issue. All I could think was, ‘How can this be allowed under the First Amendment?’”
Now Judge Teilborg has granted Galassini a final victory, declaring that Arizona’s definition of “political committee,” under which she was regulated, is vague, overbroad, and unduly burdensome. [Institute for Justice, October 1]
Happy 100, federal income tax! My how you’ve grown! From Dan Mitchell, here are some snapshots of your younger years, starting in 1913:
The top tax rate was only 7 percent, the tax form was only 2 pages, and the entire tax code was only 400 pages. And a big chunk of the revenue actually was used to lower the tax burden on international trade (the basic tariff rate dropped form 40 percent to 25 percent).
But just as tiny acorns become large oak trees, small taxes become big taxes and simple tax codes become complex monstrosities. And that’s exactly what happened in the United States.
We now have a top tax rate of 39.6 percent, and it’s actually much higher than that when you include the impact of other taxes, as well as the pervasive double taxation of saving and investment.
In case this week hasn’t provided enough liberal media bias, check out the highlights from last year. Last week we were in Oklahoma City for the State Policy Network Annual Meeting, but if we hadn’t been there, we’d surely have been at the annual Media Research Center Gala, featuring the Dishonors Awards. The event is always a hoot for recognizing the worst and the dimmest media personalities of the year for their liberal bias. We’ll point to one highlight: With a quote that you probably remember, Melissa Harris-Perry won the Dan Rather Memorial Award for Stupidest Analysis :
We have never invested as much in public education as we should have, because we’ve always had kind of a private notion of children. Your kid is yours, and totally your responsibility. We haven’t had a very collective notion of these are our children. So, part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents, or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to whole communities. Once it’s everybody’s responsibility, and not just the household’s, then we start making better investments.
Charles Krauthammer won an award of a different sort: the 7th Annual William F. Buckley Jr. Award for Media Excellence. You can see all the fun in the video below:
On the front lines: Last week we enjoyed seeing the State Policy Network hand out three deserving awards at its annual meeting in Oklahoma City.
Fighting for worker rights in Michigan: Joseph Lehman, President of the Mackinac Center, won the Roe Award, which is given every year to a leader “in the state public policy movement whose achievements have greatly advanced the free market philosophy.” The award is named after Thomas A. Roe Jr., founder of the State Policy Network. Lehman first worked for the Mackinac Center in 1995, and became President in 2008.
The Center achieved its biggest victory last December when Michigan lawmakers passed right-to-work legislation, which says joining a union can’t be made a condition of employment. The Center had been working for that policy since 1994. Lehman said: “The Roe Award created an occasion to focus attention on the Mackinac Center’s influence on better policies for Michigan, such as freedom to work. I accept the award on behalf of our team and dedicate it to them.” [Mackinac Center, September 30]
The Center has also been at the forefront of fighting the involuntary unionization of home health care and home daycare workers. We interviewed Lehman about those battles and more for our Winter 2013 issue of The Insider.
Promoting liberty in North Carolina: The John William Pope Foundation and the North Carolina-based think tanks the John Locke Foundation, the Civitas Institute, the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law, the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, and the N.C. Education Alliance won SPN’s Network Award. The Network award recognizes the accomplishments of state-based organizations promoting free enterprise. These six organizations won the award for their close work together on a variety of issues in North Carolina, from taxes, to corruption, to education. [John William Pope Foundation, October 2]
Fighting backdoor unionization in Minnesota: Jennifer Parrish, an in-home child care provider in Rochester, Minn., won the Unsung Hero Award (sponsored by the Vernon K. Krieble Foundation). In 2005, Parrish became active in fighting efforts to unionize home child care workers when a union organizer come to her house and used bullying tactics and deceptive claims to get her to sign a petition for unionization. Eventually, Parrish become a leader in the anti-unionization movement—all on her own time and using her own resources. [PostBulletin.com, September 27]
• Check out the new film, Assaulted: Civil Rights Under Fire, which explores the racial and class biases of gun control proponents and shows how those biases still operate. The film is narrated by rapper and actor Ice-T. You can catch a special screening of filmat 7 p.m., October 8, at the Muenzinger Auditorium at the University of Colorado-Boulder. The screening will be followed by a Q&A session featuring Second Amendment scholar and Independence Institute research director David Kopel.
• If you’re in the D.C./Northern Virginia area you might consider visiting George Washington’s Mount Vernon—since it’s open! It’s unaffected (mostly) by the government shutdown, because it is funded entirely by private money. It also happens to be one of the best of the presidential historical sites.
• Get ready for the Values Voter Summit, which will be held October 11-13 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. This year’s theme: “Standing for Faith, Family and Opportunity for All.” Among the confirmed speakers: Ryan Anderson, Star Parker, Sen. Rand Paul, and Cal Thomas.
• Learn how GMO labeling laws spread consumer misinformation. The Heritage Foundation will host a discussion with Gregory Conko of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, L. Val Giddings of the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, and Julie Gunlock of the Independent Women’s Forum. The discussion begins at noon on October 8.
• See a movie about a real-life American hero. Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks, chronicles the 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates and the ensuing standoff in which Captain Richard Phillips was taken hostage aboard a lifeboat. The film opens nationwide October 11.
• Help honor Vaclav Klaus, former President of the Czech Republic who helped guide his country from Communism to freedom. The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation will award Klaus its Truman-Reagan Freedom Medal at a ceremony at the George Town Club in Washington, D.C. on October 8. The ceremony begins at 8 p.m. with a reception to follow. For more info or to RSVP, email email@example.com.
Posted September 19, 2013on:
- In: Barack Obama | Economy/Money | Federal Reserve | Know the enemies of America | national deficit, taxes, national budget | Obama 2013 and beyond | Obama Against America | Obama and ethics | Obama Executive Decress | Obamanation | Obamcare repeal and replace | Progressives Movement to Destroy America | public service employees | Subverting America by Uri Bezmenov | Taxes | Unfunded liabilities
- 3 Comments
People this is where the rubber hits the road and we are going down the drain. Warnings are coming from everywhere that the United States is on the skids and when we go there will be no way back. And when we go the world will rip us to pieces—-you better believe it. Top dogs are always ripped apart when they finally fall. Our economy is the only one in the world failing because of Obama’s policies. the rest of the world managed to come thru the bad time of the 2009 crash and are are the rebound. The United
States is still staggering around and losing businesses and therefore jobs daily. The government is telling us that the economy is growing however slowly. That is a lie! 47 million Americans are on food stamps for God’s sake. Only 24% of these are children so when the Progressives yell about starving children just don’t believe it! Many of these people are not really in need but have gotten on the gravy train because Obama lowered the requirements to get on. There is no work requirement for able bodied people before they can get on welfare in our country today. Obama did this by making things like “reading library books” a so-called “work fulfillment”. And when the reports come out about how many people are unemployed the numbers do not include the people who have simply given up and are no longer even trying to get a job. The real unemployment rate is near 17% which is almost as high as that of the Great Depression! All this due to Obama. Call and write your Congressman to stop Obama. Also tell them to rollback his Presidential Decrees. So many bad things have happened because Presidents have the right to make laws all by themselves without Congress.
We are in the mess with Public service (government workers) unions right now not from a law by Congress but because President Kennedy allowed it with a Presidential Decree! President Nixon took us off the gold standard where our money was backed by gold instead of the word of our government which isn’t worth the paper it is printed on. From that time the dollar has lost value and so has your standard of living and the wages you earn. You are making more money than you Dad but it is worth less!
The Federal Reserve ( a private company!) is printing money at the rate of $85 billion dollars a month in order to keep the economy from a total melt down. This money being printed is worthless—totally worthless , and at some point the house of worthless dollars will fall taking us into a hole we can never get out of because of the debt our government has saddled us with.
The following article should help you see what is happening. BB
The Congressional Budget Office just dropped a budget update on Washington, and it’s not good. The U.S. government is spending recklessly—and Obamacare is adding fuel to the fire.The new report comes at a crucial time, as negotiations over the debt limit are starting up again. Here are some basics to help you cut through all the political spin.
What is the debt limit?
Yes, it’s the legal limit on federal government borrowing—but the debt limit is a wake-up call. It’s a chance for Congress and the President to stop the spending insanity.
Why does it matter?
Government spending is accelerating with no end in sight as long as entitlement programs keep expanding.
Entitlement spending is the biggest driver of skyrocketing debt. In only 10 years, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid will devourhalf of the federal budget.
Of course, Obamacare’s new entitlements only add to this mess. Think health care spending is out of control now? “Obamacare is the single biggest factor driving the growth in mandatory health care spending over the next decade,” warns Heritage expert Alyene Senger. The insurance exchanges, the Medicaid expansion… it’s all adding to our spending problem. (continues below chart)
What should Congress do?
In a new Rasmussen poll, 58 percent of Americans “favor a federal budget that cuts spending.” Right on. Congress should cut spending, reform these programs that are ballooning the debt, and put the budget on a path to balance within 10 years. Facing the debt ceiling gives them the opportunity to correct the catastrophic course we are on.
Posted July 10, 2013on:
I hope you read this Heritage article because so many people think that once a law becomes a law it is set in stone—–NOT SO. But this is how most liberals now feel about Obamacare and they are so fast to throw it in our faces that “it’s the law so get over it!”
Well it may be the law but laws have been changed and destroyed before and this abomination will be too.
Also in this report is the shocking fact that there are now 101 million people getting free food from the tax payers. That is 101 million people out of our nations population of 316 million people who are living off of the government dole. There are only 97 million workers in the United States so there are now more free loaders than workers. i am all for helping the poor and feeding the hungry but I can not, and will not!, believe that there are 101 million hungry or poor people in the United States. This is especially true when I live in a “nice” community and know for a fact that 5 of my 15 closest neighbors are on the government dole for food stamps and a whole lot of other government handouts. They certainly are living better than I can afford to! But this was the plan of those who want to over throw our country: overload the welfare rolls until you have more takers than givers because the takers will keep voting in office those who keep giving them handouts and then the country will go bankrupt and fall. the corrupt and communist will be there to pick up the pieces and remake America.
Do read the following article and go to the referred pages for more complete information. BB
Don’t you love it when the conventional wisdom gets turned on its head?
What was supposed to happen in Washington a couple of weeks ago—passing the pork-laden food stamp bill known as the “farm” bill—didn’t happen.
The special interests expected it to happen. Most of official Washington expected it to happen. But Heritage and our allies made the case that food stamps and farm programs don’t belong together in one big, fat bill.
Taxpayers deserve better. They deserve transparency about how their money is being spent—and bloated programs desperately need an overhaul.
Now, the House has a chance to get it right—and splitting the actual farm-related programs from the food stamps is only the first step.
Breaking the farm programs and food stamps into two bills is a start—but then the House needs to start over. Why does the “farm” bill need a Christmas tree tax? Why does it support driving up consumer food prices?
The food stamp program has its own problems. As Heritage’s Elliot Gaiser points out, “Food stamp rolls have also been climbing for decades, regardless of the economic situation.” This program is supposed to help people get back on their feet, not steer them toward dependence on government.
Want to hear from a fourth-generation farmer? At 11:30 a.m. ET today, Representative Marlin Stutzman (R), a farmer from Indiana, will speak at Heritage’s Bloggers Briefing, which you can watch live here. He will make the case for splitting farm programs and food stamps.
Read the Morning Bell and more en español every day at Heritage Libertad.
- President Obama is planning a cross-country trip to campaign for the immigration bill.
- Here are a few things the Obama Administration didn’t want you to know about Obamacare—so it released them last Friday.
- More deaths have been linked to the Obama Administration’s Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal.
- The only item on today’s schedule in the Texas House of Representatives is its controversial abortion bill.
- This American outlaw has been wanted for the past 11 years because he refused to give the government his raisins.
- There are now more people receiving food aid from the U.S. government than there are private-sector workers in America.
Posted July 8, 2013on:
- In: amnesty | Arizona Immigration Law | Barack Obama | Communism in America | Economy/Money | Health Care | Health Care Reform Summary | illegal immigration | Immigration | national deficit, taxes, national budget | Obama 2013 and beyond | Obama admistration | Obama Against America | Obama and ethics | Obamanation | Obamcare repeal and replace | Progressives Movement to Destroy America | Radical Left at War with America | State Immigration Protests | Subverting America by Uri Bezmenov | Taxes
- 1 Comment
The Chicago gang in the White House at at it again with this move to put off the employer mandate until after the 2014 elections. You see when employers are forced to give expensive coverage to their full time employees they will do one of two things: 1) cut the employees hours back so they are part time employees or 2) pay the fine to the government which costs much less than the insurance premiums and force their employees to go into the government sponsored so-called “exchanges” which is just another way of saying Medicare or Medicaid. Which ever it won’t be good for We the People I promise you. Insurance rates are going sky high over this abomination that the Democrats and Obama have pushed onto the American people. The following articles from Heritage Outlook are interesting reading and explain very well what is ahead for the American public.
Also some more information on how the Immigration Bill passed in the Democrat Senate and now in the Republican House is playing at home while the Congress is on recess. I can tell you the American public does not like the Senate bill and want the borders secured FIRST. The Senate bill doesn’t do this. It does make some funds available to secure the border but then it gives the President and the National Security Secretary Napolitano the option of saying just exactly when the border is secure so that amnesty can begin. Well guess what People, these two already think the border is already secure!
Note: Remember when you click on one of the names of authors below to page down to the articles they have written for all the they have written on the subject so that you have all the information you need. I have featured some of these aerticles as individual blog p[osts but it helps you to see all of them if you have a particular interest in the subjects. BB
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How employer mandate delay wreaks havoc with Obamacare
- In: Barack Obama | Big Labor Unions | Communism in America | Economy/Money | Health Care | Health Care Reform Summary | Ineffective Government Programs | national deficit, taxes, national budget | Obama 2013 and beyond | Obama admistration | Obama Against America | Obama and ethics | Obama Executive Decress | Obamanation | Obamcare repeal and replace | Progressives Movement to Destroy America | public service employees | Radical Left at War with America | Redistributing wealth | Subverting America by Uri Bezmenov | Taxes | Unfunded liabilities
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Could have seen this one coming: Chicago and Detroit both Obama strongholds are using Obamacare to help bail them out of their fiscal woes by using Obamacare exchanges to dump theri public sector employeees into the Obamacare exchanges and off of their gold plated health care policies. Look for more big cities to do the same and dump their profligate spending off on the federal tax payers to bail them out. Ironically the public employees of these cities don’t care for what their leaders are planning and just may be the instrument that will finally put an end to Obamacare. Wouldn’t that be just dandy. The very unions who put and kept this abomination in office to turn against him and his signature piece of destruction of the American way of life!
Washington has always been a city filled with crooks but never to the extent it has now risen to under Barack Obama with his Chicago style governing. At this point with any other President doing what Obama has done to our laws and Constitution the President would have been thrown out of office by election if not impeached, but the first Black President and his entire administration and departments have a pass for any thing he wants done. I hope We the People come to our senses before too much more damage is done. Obama and his Chicago gangland thugs are responsible for all the scandals now hitting Washington. and People stay tuned because the Pandora’s Box has just been opened and there are many more to come! The following article explains just one more. BB
The Obamacare Big City Bailout
July 6, 2013 at 7:00 am
Bloomberg reports this week on the latest Obamacare trend sweeping across the country: Cities and states may soon attempt to unload unsustainable health costs on the federal government by dumping employees and retirees onto exchanges.
Both Chicago and Detroit have explored using the exchanges to reduce massive budget shortfalls, and it could set an example for others. Bloomberg quotes one expert from the Rockefeller Institute of Government: “We can expect other cities to pick up on this.… I expect [employee dumping] to mushroom.”
The incentives for cities—or even states—to dump their workers onto exchanges are significant. Bloomberg notes that reducing retiree health costs could save Detroit approximately $150 million per year—at a time when the city faces a $386 million budget deficit and $17 billion in long-term debt.
Of course, these budgetary maneuvers aren’t really “savings”—they merely represent a shift of unsustainable costs from cities and states onto the backs of federal taxpayers. If more individuals than expected—particularly retirees, who are likely to be older and sicker than the population as a whole—require federal exchange subsidies, the cost of Obamacare could rise by trillions. And if cities and even states set an example by dumping their health care obligations on the federal government, private-sector employers could well follow suit.
The spokesman for Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel called the city’s retiree health system “fiscally unsustainable,” but merely shifting that responsibility to Washington may be about as effective as moving deck chairs on a budgetary Titanic.
Meanwhile, like other Americans losing their coverage due to Obamacare, retirees themselves appear none too keen on getting dumped onto the exchanges. Bloomberg quotes one retired Detroit police officer expressing his outrage:
Imagine if they said tomorrow your Social Security, your Medicare is going away and you’re going on Obamacare.… How would you feel?
Many Americans may soon find out.