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Archive for the ‘national deficit, taxes, national budget’ 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

12/13/2013

The congressional budget deal includes some “user fees.”

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

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

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

When asked if the “user fees” were a code name for a tax increase, Representative Tom McClintock (R-CA) 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.”

McClintock quote on tax and spend

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jim DeMint

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.

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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.

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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

Latest Studies

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

Economic and Political Thought
• Hayek, the End of Communism, and Me – Cato Institute
• Kludgeocracy in America – National Affairs

Economic Growth
• 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

Education
• 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

Immigration
• 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

Information Technology
• 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

Labor
• 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

National Security
• 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

Philanthropy
• 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

Retirement/Social Security
• 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

Transportation/Infrastructure
• 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

Welfare
• A New Approach to SSDI Reform – Cato Institute

 

Notes on the Week

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:

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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 caseJustice 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.”

And:

In the Arizona caseGalassini 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.

And the relatively simply tax law of 1913 has metastasized into 74,000 pages of Byzantine complexity. [Cato Institute, October 3]

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]

To Do: Learn the Truth About Gun Control

• 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 info@victimsofcommunism.org.

Dear reader this is a great article that you really need to read and understand AND do go to all the referred articles and sites.  What it comes down to of course is that is our fault because We the People allowed  sat on our haunches and blithely allowed this all to take place while we played.    It is still not too late to turn things around and take our country back but it will not be done without pain and without fully understanding what is happening.  This is why I keep passing on these best of the best in my opinion news articles to you so that you understand and can make the right choices and vote for men and women who share your values and need to save America.

The following article is from my favorite site: Heritage.  I read many sources but use the Heritage often because their articles seem to me to be the most informative and concise.  BB

Mon, Sep 23, 2013 at 10:12 AM
Mon, 10:12 AM

Morning Bell: 6 Reasons Why the National Debt Keeps Rising

from The Heritage Foundation to you

6 Reasons Why the National Debt Keeps Rising

09/23/2013

Out-of-control spending by Congress and the Obama Administration has once again maxed out the latest debt limit—a nearly $17 trillion burden that harms job growth, gives special interests a pass, and lowers American families’ personal income.
($17 billion up from $9 billion just in the 5 years since Obama took office!  BB)
Inspired by Dave Ramsey’s recent post “6 Reasons People Stay in Debt,” we compiled six reasons why Members of Congress, the Obama Administration, and others in Washington avoid the path to financial stability in favor of big spending…

Ramsey_debt_300

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1. They want to keep up appearances.

The truth is, ever-growing entitlement programs drive ever-greater government spending. Everyone knows it. Some leaders in both parties have even worked together on first-step solutions agreeable to both sides. Yet rather than risk Warren Buffett’s taxpayer-funded benefits decreasing, politicians pretend America’s national budget can handle all the extensive promises they’ve made over the past several decades.

2. They are unwilling to sacrifice even wasteful spending.

Like a recent guest on “Hannity,” some in Washington will defend even the most ridiculous spending. Yet Congress could eliminate billions in spending tomorrow. Heritage expert Patrick Louis Knudsen, who spent two decades working on the House Budget Committee, recently went line-by-line through the federal budget to find $42 billion in unnecessary, poorly run, and duplicative federal government programs.

3. They fear changing “business as usual” in Washington.

Politicians are masters at playing the game. Because Americans are waking up to the fiscal crisis we are in, today policymakers in both parties use any number of legislative “back doors” to increase the debt ceiling—without looking like they did. CNN reports:

Since it’s a politically tough vote, they occasionally devise clever ways to tacitly approve increases without ever having to publicly record a “yes” vote.

For example, as part of the deal to resolve the 2011 debt ceiling war, Congress approved a plan that let President Obama raise the debt limit three times unless both the House and Senate passed a “joint resolution of disapproval.” Such a measure never materialized. And even if it had, the president could have vetoed it.


4. They’re addicted to stuff.

Policymakers in Washington enjoy a good haircut, lavish conference vacations, and even renovating their bathrooms… all at our expense. How does so much wasteful spending get into the federal budget? Follow the money. When government keeps doling out so much to so many, it’s inevitable thatWashington’s 10,000+ registered lobbyists get in on the bureaucrats’ action—while helping along a few re-election campaigns in the process.

5. They don’t know how to see long-term.

Word has it that the 2013 deficit will be lower than previous years. Let’s not break out the confetti just yet. This short-term change is due in part to massive tax increases signed into law by President Obama. Moreover, this year’s $642 billion deficit adds to the already massive national debt. Nearing $17 trillion, the debt is depressing job growth and opportunity for American families.

6. They lack the courage to lead on spending reform.

Clearly there are real proposals on the table to get the budget under control. Heritage offers Saving the American Dream, a budget framework that wisely resets spending levels back to historical norms. Even with recent legislative action on defunding Obamacare, it is unclear whether Congress will ultimately follow through and fully defund this unfair, unworkable, unaffordable law before its massive new entitlements go into effect.

We can change our current course, support a budget based on real Constitutional priorities, and set free the unlimited genius of Americans to create jobs, wealth, and prosperity. Find out how you can spread the word >>

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

Morning Bell: What You Need to Know About the Debt Limit

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.

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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)

BL-LTBO-2013

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.

This President has broken so many laws and has twisted so many of our Constitutional liberties to his advantage and no one yet has stopped him.  Those of you who know me know  I am not a racist ( at age 19 I volunteered to travel into southern states on my summer vacations to help Blacks register to vote.  From 1959 thru 1961 I did this.)  That said I hope you understand that it is not race that has brought me to this conclusion:  The only reason Barack Obama has not been impeached is because he is our first Black President.  This man is a traitor to America!  Every thing he has done has been a calculated move to destroy our country, our Constitution and our way of life.   Now he is using the most horrendously unpopular and destructive piece of legislation ever passed thru our legislature to manipulate our laws in his drive to destroy the United States.  Please take note and continue to fight against this.

Insurance companies in the wake of Obamacare have increased their prices!  In fact many have stopped selling their insurance in some states with liberal governments (like California) and/or stopped selling insurance to certain groups of people  due  to Obamacare  mandates and rulings.  Remember the 2000 page law has now given the pencil pushers in Washington, the people no one has elected and whom due to federal unions no on , not even Congress can fire are now writing the rules for this law.  It is now up to 25,000 , yes twenty five thousand pages of “rules”.  A  stack of paper  7 feet high of rules and regulations!

The following article is just a small listing of the things that Obamacare and Obama have done or is trying to do to change America. Knowledge is power. BB

Obamacare’s Dirty Dozen Implementation Failures

07/08/2013

Last week, the Obama Administration attempted to spin its announcement of a one-year delay in Obamacare’s employer mandate as an effort to implement the law “in a careful, thoughtful manner.” Don’t be fooled.  (Ask yourself just why Obama is doing this.  You better believe it is not to help the small businesses or the people.  It has to do with keeping the mobs quiet during the 2014 elections!  BB)  Even Democrats have admitted the law has turned into a massive “train wreck,” with delays, glitches, and problems aplenty. Here are a dozen more Obamacare implementation failures.

1. The CLASS Act: ABANDONED, THEN REPEALED

One Democrat famously called this new long-term care entitlement “a Ponzi scheme of the first order, the kind of thing that Bernie Madoff would have been proud of”—and so it proved. In the fall of 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) admitted CLASS could not be implemented in a fiscally sound manner—and Congress eventually repealed the program outright.

2. Exchanges: MISSED DEADLINES

Most states resisted Obamacare’s call to create insurance exchanges, choosing to let Washington create a federally run exchange instead. However, a Government Accountability Office report released last month noted that “critical” activities to create a federal exchange have not been completed, and the missed deadlines “suggest a potential for challenges going forward.”

3. HHS mandate: DELAYED; UNDER LEGAL CHALLENGE

Last year, the Administration announced a partial delay for Obamacare’s anti-conscience mandate. However, many employers have filed legal actions against the mandate, which forces them to fund products they find morally objectionable or pay massive fines.

>>> Get the latest on Hobby Lobby’s case against the HHS mandate

4. Small business plan choice: DELAYED

The Administration announced in April that workers will not be able to choose plans from different health insurers in the small business exchanges next year—a delay that liberal blogger Joe Klein called “a really bad sign” of “Obamacare incompetence.”

5. Child-only plans: UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES

drafting error in Obamacare has actually led to less access to care for children with pre-existing conditions. A 2011 report found that in 17 states, insurers are no longer selling child-only health insurance plans, because they fear that individuals will apply for coverage only after being diagnosed with a costly illness.

6. Basic health plan: DELAYED

This government-run plan for states, created as part of Obamacare, has also been delayed, prompting one Democrat to criticize the Administration for failing to “live up” to the law and implement it as written.

7. High-risk pools: UNDERPERFORMING; FUNDING LOW

This program for individuals with pre-existing conditions faced higher costs and lower enrollment than advertised. Though it was originally projected to cover up to 700,000 individuals, only about 110,000 have enrolled—yet the Administration had to halt new enrollment and take other radical measures to prevent the $5 billion program from running out of money.

8. Early retiree reinsurance: BROKE

The $5 billion in funding for this program was intended to last until 2014—but the program’s money ran out in 2011, two years ahead of schedule.

9. Waivers: UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES

After the law passed, HHS discovered that some of its new mandates would raise costs so much that employerswould drop coverage rather than face skyrocketing premiums. Instead, the Administration announced a series of temporary waivers—and more than half the recipients of those waivers were members of union health insurance plans.

10. Co-ops: DEFUNDED

Congress blocked additional funding to this Obamacare program in January, and with good reason: In one case, a new health insurance co-op was called “fatally flawed” by Vermont’s state insurance commissioner.

11. “Employee free choice”: REPEALED

This provision, which would have allowed certain workers to use contributions from their employers to buy exchange health plans, was repealed in April 2011, as businesses considered it too complex and unworkable.

12. Medicaid expansion: REJECTED BY MANY STATES

Last year, the Supreme Court made Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion optional for states, ruling that Obamacare as written engaged in “economic dragooning” that puts “a gun to the head of states.” Many states are resistingObamacare’s call to expand Medicaid, knowing that expansion will saddle them with additional, unsustainable costs.

As these examples demonstrate, it’s not just the employer mandate that’s flawed—it’s the entire law. Recognizing these myriad, massive failures, Congress should hold the line and refuse to spend a single dime on Obamacare implementation.

Dear Readers, now even the unions are against Obamacare because they have found that it causes not only lost hours as employers cut employees below the 30 hour a week so as not to have to give them health benefits, but it also is causing a loss as jobs as employers cut workers altogether and automate.  Who knew those damned employers would be so smart as to find ways around the money grab by the unions and the government??!!?

But before you get to excited about the union bosses finally getting smart too read the following article to see what they are now asking the tax payers to cough up for their members exclusively.  BB

Even Unions Are Turning on Obamacare

07/16/2013

It’s not every day that union bosses sound like policy experts at The Heritage Foundation.

But the beginning of the Obamacare letter from the heads of three major unions—the Teamsters, the United Food and Commercial Workers, and UNITE-HERE—to Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is eerily similar to our experts’ writings.

The unions, of course, were heavy supporters of Obamacare, but even they can’t deny its effects now.

“When you and the President sought our support for the Affordable Care Act, you pledged that if we liked the health plans we have now, we could keep them,” they wrote. “Sadly, that promise is under threat.”

It gets worse:

The unintended consequences of the ACA are severe. Perverse incentives are already creating nightmare scenarios: First, the law creates an incentive for employers to keep employees’ work hours below 30 hours a week. Numerous employers have begun to cut workers’ hours to avoid this obligation, and many of them are doing so openly. The impact is two-fold: fewer hours means less pay while also losing our current health benefits.

We couldn’t agree more. In fact, not only did Heritage experts predict these outcomes, but the non-partisan Medicare actuary also concluded the law would raise health costs by hundreds of billions of dollars. The Congressional Budget Office noted that Obamacare’s employer mandate “will probably cause some employers to respond by hiring fewer low-wage workers.”

Naturally, it’s on the question of solutions that we diverge from the unions.

The union leaders’ “solution” to these problems involves yet more government spending. They want to make union-run health plans eligible for Obamacare’s subsidies—subsidies that were supposed to go to people with no health coverage. In other words, increase taxpayer spending even more because of the consequences of bigger government.

If ever there were an argument to defund Obamacare in its entirety—to do away with both the spending and the costly regulations—it’s this one. The union letter accuses Obamacare of “shattering” hard-earned benefits and destroying the foundation of the middle class. In short, “We have a problem.”

The many ways liberal leaders keep marching forward, insisting nothing’s wrong, are becoming laughable. Appearing on “Meet the Press” Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said that “Obamacare has been wonderful for America.” And despite the Obama Administration’s multiple implementation failures, the Health and Human Services Department just released a video yesterday proclaiming that Obamacare is “on schedule.”

Even the law’s strongest supporters aren’t buying it any more.


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