Thursday, October 15, 2009
Subject: txt 1st hcare
The Baucus bill severely undermines the employer rationale for offering insurance. Economist Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute points out two main reasons:
- The Baucus bill would substantially increase the costs of coverage -- for example by requiring rich benefits packages and coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions at far less than their actual expense; at some point, employers will decide that the appeal of offering insurance as a tool for recruiting and retaining employees no longer compensates for its soaring cost.
- The bill is based on perverse incentives that no one is even discussing -- the subsidies it offers to citizens are so rich that if companies were to drop their plans, the majority of workers would get the same lavish coverage - and extra cash in their paychecks to boot.
"Those two factors will change the equilibrium," ... "With the government providing huge credits, employers will feel a lot less guilty about dumping their plans."
In fact, the Baucus bill is practically inviting employers to do just that: It imposes a fine of just $400 per employee on companies that shed their plans.
So what happens if corporate America exits the health care field?
- The foundation of the Baucus bill would pretty much collapse.
- Upper-middle-class earners, who today make $65,000 and up, would suffer the equivalent of a huge tax increase.
- And the extra revenue the government would collect from those families wouldn't remotely pay for the millions of relatively low earners who would absorb big subsidies in lieu of the premiums their employers now pay.
[We've been warned.]
Subject: txt 1st hcare =
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that most voters continue to favor middle class tax cuts over spending more money for health care reform.
Thirty-three percent (33%) of voters say new spending for health care reform is more important. But 54% rate middle class tax cuts as the priority over more health care spending. Thirteen percent (13%) aren’t sure.
Moreover, Fifty-nine percent (59%) are opposed to paying more in taxes to provide universal health care, up five points since May, and favor putting a provision in the health care plan that would prohibit any new taxes, fees or penalties on families who make less than $250,000 a year.
Nearly every European country that has passed national health care has also eventually imposed a value-added tax, and it's foolish to think the United States will be different
Candor about taxes is rare in Washington, so when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi admits that Democrats may have to impose a huge new tax on the middle class to fund their spending ambitions, believe her, says the Wall Street Journal.
Speaking with PBS's Charlie Rose on Monday, Pelosi mused publicly about the rising possibility of enacting a value-added tax, or VAT, as part of broader tax reform.
"Somewhere along the way, a value-added tax plays into this," ... "Of course, we want to take down the health care cost, that's one part of it. But in the scheme of things, I think it's fair to look at a value-added tax as well."
- The allure of a VAT for politicians is that it applies to every level of production or service, rakes in piles of money, and is largely hidden from those who ultimately pay it -- namely, consumers.
- With a $9 trillion 10-year budget deficit, $4 trillion in spending in fiscal 2010 alone, and a $1 trillion (at a minimum) health care entitlement in the wings, Pelosi knows that not even the revenue from the expiration of the lower Bush tax rates in 2011 will cover the bills.
Pelosi is the second prominent Democrat to call for a VAT in recent weeks. Pelosi and Podesta argue a new tax is necessary to address the nation's exploding financial liabilities, as if those liabilities exploded on their own...
image toon - mny = Oby's money tree orchard
Subject: txt 1st hcare msm -
“Democrats can claim a smidge of bipartisan support and that’s because of one yes vote from one rebel Republican....When Olympia Snowe cast the lone Republican vote for the Senate Finance bill, she reaffirmed her place as a power player on Capitol Hill.”
This January, Snowe joined Democrats to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and was one of only two Republican senators to support President Obama’s stimulus package.
[The sad thing is she could have effectively killed it: if you recall the Specter brouhaha one of the unintended consequences was bills in committees need one minority vote to get out of committee.
That's the 'service' Snowe's 'power play' provided.]
image toon - crpt hcare reps libs - Snow Flaked
Subject: txt 1st hcare -
While the reform seems to have reduced the number of uninsured, it has also created incentives for costs to rise even faster:
- Massachusetts' expenditures on its health care initiative have been discounted by 50 percent, thanks to matching funds from the federal government [I.e., your money], which has encouraged a rapid increase in state expenditures.
- Growing burdens on businesses have meant that an increasing number are choosing to steer their employees into the state-subsidized system rather than provide health insurance themselves.
The case of Massachusetts offers cautionary lessons for the United Sates as the Obama administration seeks wide-ranging reforms that move more in the direction of mandatory health insurance...
Subject: txt 1st hcare -
A study by Britain's National Health Service shows up to one in 50 hospital patients requires additional treatment for problems caused by previous NHS care.
- In 68 percent of the cases, patients suffered a reaction after surgery or a medical procedure because problems had been missed.
- In 29 percent of cases, the patient suffered an adverse reaction to drugs and in 2 percent, there were "misadventures" during surgical or medical care.
- In 1 percent, the patient was involved in an adverse incident relating to medical equipment.
And the study only deals with serious complications that require re-hospitalization...
image toon - 1st hcare = Probable side effects to socialized medicine
Subject: txt 1st hcare gwot nsec -
Guest blog post by Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.)
Throughout my nearly nine years in Congress, I have been downrange with our troops every year in Afghanistan and Iraq. I also supported every defense authorization bill that came before the U.S. House of Representatives.
Therefore, it was with a heavy heart yesterday that I joined 130 of my House Republican colleagues in breaking that personal tradition and opposed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010.
The reason? The Democrat majority cynically included hate crimes provisions in the bill that threaten the very freedoms of speech and religion that draw our soldiers into the uniform of this nation.
I find it unconscionable that we would erode the freedoms for which our soldiers wear the uniform in a bill that is designed to provide resources those soldiers need to get the job done and come home safe.
It is simply wrong to use a defense bill as a vehicle for divisive liberal social policies that are wholly unrelated to our country’s national security. By doing so, Democrats in the majority, with the assent of this administration, are piling liberal social priorities onto the backs of our soldiers.
And as far as the hate crimes provisions themselves are concerned, they are unnecessary and antithetical to our First Amendment traditions... [snip]
Under this hate crimes legislation, any pastor, preacher, priest, rabbi, or imam who may give a sermon out of their moral traditions about sexual practices could presumably be found to have aided, abetted or induced in the commission of a federal crime, as defined by current federal law.
The provisions added to this legislation threaten religious freedom by criminalizing thought. It is simply wrong to further criminalize thought and chill religious expression of Americans.
Let us remember why they put on the uniform. Let us remember what our soldiers are fighting: they fight to defend freedom. It is [an insult] to America when Democrats pass liberal social policy on the backs of our troops.
A defense authorization bill ought to be about the national defense.
Subject: txt gwot nsec -
Byron York of the Washington Examiner focused attention on an unfolding story the liberal media doesn't want to highlight.
Some key parts of the Patriot Act are set to expire in December. Since the Democrats didn't really favor a War on Terror, their preference for the civil liberties of terrorist suspects over the civil liberties of future terrorist victims is becoming clear.
Even roving wiretaps, a widely accepted, common-sense feature of the Patriot Act, have come under question. At a Sept. 23 committee hearing, Sen. Al Franken, the newest member of the committee, challenged the constitutionality of such wiretaps, and in the process left an Obama Justice Department official -- who supports the law -- muttering in frustration.
That official, Assistant Attorney General David Kris, tried to explain to Franken that the law allows, and the courts have held, that investigators can wiretap a suspect based on a specific description of that suspect's activities, even if investigators don't know his name.
Franken, who pointed out that he is not a lawyer, was unimpressed. "That's what brings me to this," he said, pulling a copy of the Constitution from his coat pocket. He read aloud the Fourth Amendment re: unreasonable searches...
Kris seemed taken aback. "This is surreal," he said under his breath.
Indeed it was. Maybe Franken was serious, and maybe he was just clowning around. But it didn't make for an enlightening exchange -- or bode well for the Patriot Act.
Now the committee is down to the business of crafting an actual bill to reauthorize the act. Republicans believe they can beat back some of the more sweeping changes, but they are under no illusions about the Democratic majority's power to chip away at the government's ability to fight terrorism.
"I'm very worried that we could end up weakening the act, when we should be considering what we can do to make it stronger."
Subject: txt immig - gwot - nsec -
But for too many politicians, and even ordinary folks, support for border security is a cop out, a substitute for thinking about the overall immigration problem, only part of which has anything to do with our border with Mexico.
One vital issue that is neglected because of this tunnel-vision on border fences is visa overstays. The Dallas jihadist shows how important this is; I suspected he was an overstayer, and the Dallas Morning News confirmed [snip]
The brothers lived in a Santa Clara, Calif., apartment with an older relative until February 2008, when a small fire forced them to move. Smadi told his apartment manager, Joe Redzovic, that the family had come to America for a better life.
And when local cops checked on the Jordanian jihadist after an arrest earlier this month for not having a driver's license or insurance, they had no idea was an illegal alien... [snip]
So, are we getting serious about completing US-VISIT, the check-in/check-out system for foreign visitors? Of course not. This from a reader who works for a firm that worked on US-VISIT:
The outgoing part of USVISIT (Phase 2) – that would be the part that matched passports as people left, to make sure a) there was a record of them entering the US legally; b) the records showed that they had indeed left on or before the date stated on their entry papers; and c) that officials could compile lists of those who had NOT left on time so that they could be tracked – has never been funded...
We go round and round with the consulting firm each year, wondering if the Congress would fund the outgoing part of USVISIT – to no avail. They’ve finally dropped technical support for Phase 1, as they see no hope for funding for Phase 2...
image toon - gwot nsec - Oby's neutered guard dog poodle
Subject: txt islm -
Qatar’s Al-Qaradawi Center, which aims to direct its "moderation" towards "politicians and economists," train imams, and show the "huge difference between terrorism and jihad," is named for a scholar who has advocated killing Americans.
"The Islamic Movement should consider itself at the 'beck and call' of every Islamic Cause and respond to every cry for help wherever that cry may come from. It should stand with Eritrea in its jihad against the unjust Marxist Christian regime . . . It should stand by Sudan against the treacherous Christian racist rebellion . . . It should support the Muslims of Philippines against the biased Christian regime . . It should also help the Muslims of Kashmir in their struggle against Indian imperialism . . . Hamas is an embodiment of the Palestinian people's belief in its Muslim and Arab origins, and that jihad will be carried on by pure hands and clean hearts until victory is achieved with the Will of Allah."
"Conquest through da'wa [proselytizing], that is what we hope for. We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America! Not through sword but through da'wa."
Subject: txt edu - islm -
As yet more evidence that American campuses have become, in Abigail Thernstrom's apt description,
"islands of repression in a sea of freedom,"
St. Louis University has demonstrated that that free speech on campuses begins and ends according to how well that speech conforms to existing political orthodoxies.
The University's College Republicans and Young America's Foundation had invited conservative author David Horowitz to deliver a speech entitled, "An Evening with David Horowitz: Islamo-Fascism Awareness and Civil Rights," and university administrators, once again choosing to avoid a close examination of radical Islam, canceled Horowitz's planned appearance.
Their decision seems to belie the University's own feckless contention, in its "Policy Statement on Demonstrations & Disruption," that it
"encourages students, faculty and staff to be bold, independent, and creative thinkers," and that "fundamental to this process is the creation of an environment that respects the rights of all members of the University community to explore and to discuss questions which interest them, to express opinions and debate issues energetically and publicly"
There are troubling issues here, putting aside the basic question of fairness of denying certain students, with certain political beliefs, the opportunity to invite speakers to campus to share their views. Horowitz's speech was cancelled (and he has appeared, by his own account, on more than 400 campuses in the past), not because it might contain speech that was demonstrably false or even incendiary, but because some individuals might be ‘offended'...
[It's getting worse - Highly Recommended > ]
Subject: txt intl mny -
With U.S. debt set to exceed 100 percent of gross domestic product in 2011, it's no wonder people are looking for alternative ways to preserve wealth...
Unprecedented spending, unending fiscal deficits, unconscionable accumulations of government debt: These are the trends that are shaping America's financial future.
Even with the optimistic economic assumptions implicit in the Obama administration's budget, it's a mathematical impossibility to reduce debt if you continue to spend more than you take in:
By the end of 2019, according to the administration's budget numbers, our federal debt will reach $23.3 trillion -- as compared to $11.9 trillion today. To put it in perspective:
- U.S. federal debt was equal to 61.4 percent of GDP in 1999.
- It grew to 70.2 percent of GDP in 2008 (under the Bush administration).
- It will climb to an estimated 90.4 percent this year and touch the 100 percent mark in 2011.
- The projected federal debt will continue to equal or exceed our nation's entire annual economic output through 2019.
Source: Judy Shelton, "The Message of Dollar Disdain," Wall Street Journal, October 14, 2009.
Subject: txt reps libs bbro sclm bbro -
A meme is forming in the popular consciousness that Barack Obama is a do-nothing president. This meme is a dangerous fantasy: Obama is doing much, and much that is destructive to both our economic health and our national security.
The Obama administration has vowed to "reset" our relations with strategic adversaries like Russia -- a country which has been gobbling up and threatening its smaller democratic neighbors. Obama is equally proud of his "outstretched hand" to declared enemies like Iran, which for years provided the Iraqi insurgents with the munitions to kill American soldiers, and which recently has been shooting its own people in the streets. Meanwhile, loyal allies like Poland and the Czech Republic are sold out and left defenseless when Obama reneged on the long-planned deployment of anti-missile systems in Eastern Europe.
The administration's disastrous economic stewardship has destroyed the dollar. Countries all over the world are reportedly preparing to ditch the dollar as the reserve currency; experts warn of a global shift away from a dollar-centric world economy. Here at home, Obama's economy continues to hemorrhage jobs, with unemployment now nudging near 10 percent -- 17 percent if you count those who have given up looking for work altogether, or those who have had to take part-time work because they can't find full-time employment. Obama's budget and stimulus package, packed with pork and political paybacks, have exploded the deficit to a ruinous and record $1.4 trillion
No, far from being a do-nothing president, Obama is in fact a busy body of the worst sort: He is bombing the moon instead of Iran's nuclear facilities; he deploys himself to Europe to help bring the Olympics to Chicago, but fails to deploy the troops necessary to win the war in Afghanistan.
And it is our children who will pay the price for all of this -- they will live with a maniacal Islamist regime blackmailing the free world with nuclear weapons; they will struggle to pay this enormous and disgraceful debt that Obama is shoveling onto their backs...
The interest on the national debt makes our future unstable
- As of Sept. 30, 2009, the national debt was almost $12 trillion and interest on that debt was $383 billion for the year, according to the Treasury Department's Bureau of the Public Debt.
- The Congressional Budget Office on Oct. 7 estimated the 2009 budget deficit to be almost $1.4 trillion (about 10 percent of GDP).
- In August, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) estimated total government revenues at about $2 trillion; the revenue estimate included $904 billion from individual income taxes.
- This means the cost of interest alone on the debt represented more than 40 cents of every dollar that came in from individual income taxes.
It is against this background that Washington is now working to add health care entitlements of record breaking cost...
image toon - mny = USam's empty pockets getting deeper
bject: txt mny auto -
Amtrak and the ownership stakes in General Motors and Chrysler can go, as far as voters are concerned.
Just 28% say the government should retain ownership of the Amtrak rail service for a long time. Fifty-seven percent (57%) think the government should sell Amtrak to private investors as soon as possible. Fifteen percent (15%) aren’t sure.
Voters feel even more strongly that the government should sell off its ownership stakes in General Motors and Chrysler.
Seventy-six percent (76%) say the government should sell its ownership of the auto companies to private investors as soon as possible. Only 11% disagree and think the government should retain its shares of GM and Chrysler for a long time. These views remain virtually unchanged from June.
An inconvenient truth Al Gore can't bear, one that seals the case against his claim
The United Kingdom's High Court in London determined that An Inconvenient Truth contains "alarmist and exaggerated" content which can only be legally shown to school children if accompanied by a warning regarding the film's blatant "political brainwashing."
In his ruling, Judge Michael Burton said the "apocalyptic vision presented in the film was politically partisan and thus not an impartial scientific analysis of climate change."
Judge Burton mandated the creation of the detailed instructor's guide which is now required to be used by teachers in the U.K. in conjunction with classroom viewings of the movie. In its introduction, the guide states:
"...in parts of the film, Gore presents evidence and arguments which do not accord with mainstream scientific opinion."
Subject: txt grn engry -
The director of the Congressional Budget Office warned the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that proposed climate change legislation would impose "significant costs" on America's GDP and employment. That’s not exactly what proponents had promised.
According to CBO chief Douglas Elmendorf, the Waxman-Markey bill passed in the House last June would reduce GDP and equate to the average household annual costs of up to $925. Hardly the “cost of a postage stamp” promised by the White House.
And the CBO director admitted that even those figures may be severely understated:
"The uncertainties are very large, even for 2020, and they get larger over time”
He identified one of the uncertainties of “the cost of reducing carbon emissions” as just “how readily the economy can move" in response, admitting that the CBO is only "guessing the rate."
The highest accounting authority in the land is only guessing the rate used in its cost analysis of the proposed largest tax-hike in history?
Wow hardly covers it.
['Insanity' works better. If we're dumb enough to allow this we deserve the consequences - but our children?]
imag toon - grn engry - C&T pills: over 47M bought it
Subject: txt hcare lbrty -
North Carolina is about to become the second state to penalize its employees for being obese, with government workers who are overweight to pay more for their health insurance.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 63% are opposed to making overweight government workers pay more for health coverage.
A number of states penalize smokers already, but Alabama in January of this year became the first state to charge overweight employees more for their health insurance coverage...
[And within the same year is joined by a second.
Any remaining question as to how government control of health care will evolve? A: At the expense of your liberties.
Next up, meat eaters. Then high risk takers: mountain climb? hang glide? ride a motorcycle?
The list only expands, so it will eventually get to what's important to you...]
[Right. And running a 'moderate', say, someone like McCain, is the path to electoral victory. There's a reason the Left is so interested and full of advice on what would be 'good' for the GOP...]
She isn’t another summa cum laude graduate from Princeton like Sonia Sotomayor. She doesn’t strike anyone as an academic, or even draw upon her education during interviews with the media in order to impress upon people her knowledge and insights. That's what makes her so alluring to millions of Americans, and a fair share of Canadians, in the first place.
What makes her so popular is that she doesn't impress people with her five different institutions of education, or how many books she has written on Russian foreign policy. No, she manages it by what she accomplishes and, equally important to the vast majority of Americans, how and why she does so.
It doesn’t matter whether she 'finished' one term in office as Governor, or if she looked lost in one interview, or even that her book will likely be panned by elitist reviewers. Her supporters continues among the same people who aren’t going anywhere soon: the average American with 2 cars, and 3 or more kids, football practice during the week, hunting and fishing on the weekends, and the “down home” family values that seem to say “we’re not perfect, but we’re trying”.
You can’t buy that kind of “in” with the people. It has to come naturally, and that’s why Sarah Palin fits the bill.
[Which is why the left is so dreadfully afraid of her, as evidenced by the ceaseless ludicrous attacks.]
Sen. Kerry: ‘Too bad’ Gov. Sarah Palin didn’t go missing
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. John Kerry must have been channeling his inner Letterman:
“Too bad, if a governor had to go missing it couldn’t have been the governor of Alaska. You know, Sarah Palin."
The Democratic-centric crowd laughed.
[The fear continues...]