Archive for the ‘Obamanation’ Category
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To my Readers, I am sorry to have been so very lax these past months in keeping up with my blog, but it just seemed that the news was so very depressing. More and more scandals which our President and his cohorts refused to do anything about or even to investigate. Remember the Presidents words that “there is not even a smidgen of evidence” of wrong doing by anyone in the IRS! when all know that Americans rights were being trampled and denied and the President and all involved were lying. Remember Benghazi and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s outburst of “what dopes it matter?” when 4 people died while everyone who could have possibly come to their aid had orders from on high to stand down! And it goes on and on! Those of you who follow FOX NEWS know what is going on and my comments would not have added anything. I would sincerely suggested that if you do not subscribe to Heritage Online you do so as an added source of in-depth information. Here is the latest issue.
I hope and believe that the American people have finally awakened to the evil monster that Obama is and will vote in a Republican Senate this year so that we may begin to undo some of the great damage he and his appointees have done to our country. It will of course take decades to rec0ver from this assault on our nation and values, and in some areas we may never become the America that we once were . I do have hope however. First we must vote in a Republican Senate and then in 2016 a Republican President. Then we MUST begin to replace the old dogs in both the House and the Senate who have grown lazy, complacent and greedy with power with younger Americans who are trying to remember what our country stood for when formed: a government by the people and for the people. Yours sincerely, Brenda Bowers
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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A Conservative solution to our health care problems is what is needed now I have heard people say. Well there has been this Conservative solution since before Obamacare was forced thru the Congress by the Democrats who were in control of both houses and the Presidency. These same Democrats who refused to allow any Republican input at all during the drafting of this bill. the same Democrats who refused to be bothered reading the 2000+ page bill that they passed without one Republican vote for it. If you check back on this blog site you will see the Republican plans and proposals that were submitted in both the House and the Senate that were never allowed by the Democrat leaders to see the light of day. They were trash canned. What we got stuck with is a so-called Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare) that we are now finding out is not at all affordable for the few people who have been able to get a look at the available plans on a web site set up to show these plans to people and allow them to enroll in and purchase insurance. There were, we are now being told, all of 6 people in the entire country who managed to enroll in Obamacare and purchase an insurance policy the first day before the site crashed and burned. The same web site that cost $6 billion and three years to get up and running but isn’t running at all. The web site that was built by a Canadian company but is now being fixed by what the President assures us are experts, or this same Canadian company. Funny I thought the “experts” on the Internet and building programs for the Internet would be the very Americans who built the Internet in the first place. Guess none of these people had a friend in the White House. Or maybe they were willing to take less time and cost less money to build a web site that probably would have worked almost as well as the Internet they built in the first place. Ya think?? But no “friend” in the WH gets no contract.
The following letter is from Jim DeMint who outlines the Republicans and Conservatives Healthcare Plan that is affordable and available and more important, Constitutional. Please check it out. BB
The Conservative Alternative to Obamacare11/01/13Dear friends,We’ve been very critical of Obamacare because it’s hurting Americans. But that has caused some to ask, “What’s your alternative?”
The truth is, we’ve always had alternatives, but our critics weren’t ready to listen. Now, the disastrous rollout of Obamacare has a lot of people asking for alternatives to government-run health care. And conservatives are ready.
With each passing day, it becomes clearer that Obamacare will not reduce premiums for average American families, bring down health care spending, or truly improve health care in this country. Instead, people are receiving notices from their insurance companies that their policies are being canceled or their premiums are skyrocketing.
At The Heritage Foundation, we are envisioning a health care system where you and your family come first.
What if you could choose and control your own health insurance? What if you could buy the insurance and health care services you want and need? What if your health insurance didn’t go away when you changed jobs?
The good news is, all of these things are possible. There can be life after Obamacare—and it doesn’t mean going back to the status quo that we had before. We can move ahead, taking the best health care system in the world and making it even better.
Our experts in the Center for Health Policy Studies have put together a new paper that explains how these conservative ideas work. It includes:
- How we will help people with pre-existing conditions
- How we will help you keep your health insurance when you change jobs
- How we can lower costs and improve health care quality—no matter what your income is
- How we can honor people’s faith and protect the right of conscience in health care
We are excited to share this set of commonsense solutions with you—not just because they are good public policy solutions, but because they bring hope. We have hope for life after Obamacare, and these policies would give you back control over your own health care.
Now that’s worth working toward. I hope you’ll join us.
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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).
- In: Barack Obama | Communism in America | Economy/Money | Health Care | Know the enemies of America | 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 | Radical Left at War with America | Subverting America by Uri Bezmenov
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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.
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.
- Thousands of people took down the shutdown barricades to visit and demonstrate at the World War II Memorial yesterday.
- Are you ready to hear about Obamacare from characters on your favorite TV show?
- Tom Hanks stars in the movie that opened this weekend, but the real-life Captain Phillipssaid the movie tones down his experience.
- A women’s fashion magazine with a no-Photoshop policy? Yes, it exists!
- Here’s our exclusive interview with Dr. Ben Carson.
- Have you gotten a letter from your insurance company about your premiums going up? Don’t forget to take a photo and send it to us using the hashtag #ObamaHikes!
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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.
I received this from a friend and simply had to pass it on to my readers. BB
Came from my long time Czech friend.JessQUOTE OF THE CENTURY. Some people have the vocabulary to sum up things in a way you can understand them. This quote came from the Czech Republic. Someone over there has it figured out.“The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president.”