Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Very Dishonest Harry Reid.

The Very Dishonest Harry Reid.

Here are 2 recent articles which discuss the dishonest and fraudulent practices of our Senate Majority Leader - Dem. Harry Reid, from Nevada...

Reid's Bait and Switch Tactics
Dick Morris and Eileen McGann
Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Harry Reid had two problems. How would he get the health care bill out of the Senate Finance Committee without revealing the glaring potential fissures in his party over the public option on health care? And, how could he lend a veneer of bipartisanship to a one-party bill?

He couldn't allow a vote on final passage out of the committee with a public option in the bill because he knew that he would lose Democrats and would have no GOP support. But real compromise was always out of the question. He wanted his public option. So he evolved a strategy where the only bill that would be voted on in committee would be one that did not have a public option, all the while planning for the final product to have one.

So he used the bait of a bill with no public option to hook moderate Democrats like Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., and the gullible Republican Olympia Snowe, R-Maine.

When the bill emerged from Finance, by a lopsided 15-to-nine vote, it restored the momentum to health care reform that had stalled due to the public outrage so evident during the August recess.

Then, the dexterous Reid capitalized on that momentum to put the public option back into the bill, reversing the commitment to compromise that allowed the bill to clear the committee in the first place.

This tactic of bait and switch offers a foretaste of what Reid will attempt on the Senate floor. He obviously hopes to replicate these tactics in getting the bill through the Senate.

As he did in the Finance Committee, Reid has opened his gambit on the Senate floor by embracing a public option. He does this for two reasons: First, he wants to send a signal to the House and Senate militants that his heart is in the right place and that the final bill will probably have a public option. Second, he needs to have room to compromise so the final Senate version attracts the moderates he needs. He first veers left in order to then swing right.

His next move is predictable. As he awaits House action, he stands firm in backing the public option. And, as he nears the point of a Senate floor vote, he will pretend to modify that option in order to attract moderates and perhaps a few stray Republicans. As he and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., did in committee, he will truncate or even abandon the public option to win unanimous Democratic support (and perhaps one or two Republicans).

Then, in conference with the House, he will pull the old bait-and-switch tactic again, jettisoning the Senate bill and embracing a full-throated public option in the final version that will return to the Senate.

At that point, he hopes to use the momentum of House passage and the imprimatur of the conference committee to try to persuade senators, and the public, that it is this bill or no bill and that only a proposal with a robust public option can pass.

The point of this strategy is never to ask moderates to vote for a public option until the final vote after the conference committee. Let them build a record of having opposed the public option to sell back home. Let Reid show that he tried to compromise. And only put the final test to the moderate senators at the very last minute when all the momentum is on the side of final passage.

If he succeeds, Reid gets a bill with his public option. But, even if he fails and has to delete the public option at the last minute to get Senate support, he will still have gotten the health care bill through.

By making such a fuss over the public option, with the connivance of the liberals, he keeps the spotlight away from the Medicare cuts, the end of Medicare Advantage, the inevitable rationing of health care, the taxes on the uninsured and the sick, and the cuts in medical reimbursement. A bill with all these provisions -- even without a public option -- is pernicious enough!

And, these tactics can still produce a bill with a public option.

Will this tactic work? It all depends on the political environment outside Washington. If the bill is only marginally unpopular (the current 40 percent to 55 percent), it will probably pass. But if public opinion moves another 5 or so points (to, say, 35 percent to 60 percent against), then the moderates will probably refuse to cave in.

A Tale of Two $250s
Ed Feulner
Wednesday, October 28, 2009

This fall, as American families anticipate the holiday season and an uncertain economy in 2010, they’re likely to decide to cut back. Maybe they’ll stay home for Thanksgiving instead of flying to Grandma’s house. They’ll put fewer gifts under the Christmas tree.

It’s a pity our political leaders aren’t inclined even to consider such frugality.

Two recent stories prove that, far from cutting back in the face of recession, Congress and the Obama administration are eager to expand entitlement spending. Take Social Security.

Every January, recipients’ benefits are adjusted for inflation. This cost of living adjustment (COLA) usually results in retirees receiving a larger payment, because the cost of living usually goes up. But it didn’t this year.

The recession has driven prices down across the board, and the cost of living has actually declined by almost 5 percent. Because of that, and because Medicare premiums won’t increase next year, spending analyst Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute estimates that the average Social Security recipient will have about $725 more in purchasing power next year. So, reasonably, Social Security plans to skip the COLA.

But not if the Obama administration can help it. The president wants to give each person on Social Security $250 next year. That may not sound like a lot, yet this little giveaway would cost future taxpayers $13 billion. And, as Social Security expert David John of The Heritage Foundation writes, it would start “the process of converting the program from an earned benefit funded by a worker’s own contributions to a welfare program.” With the program already facing massive unfunded deficits in the decades ahead, the proposed giveaway is exactly the wrong approach.

At the same time Obama was prepping to shower seniors with $250 checks, Congress was trying to spend a much bigger sum -- almost $250 billion -- without actually paying for it.

Here’s how lawmakers got into this trap. While stumping for his version of health reform, President Obama has repeatedly insisted he wouldn’t sign a bill that “adds one dime to our deficits, either now or in the future, period.” But one of the reasons federal spending on health care is out of control is because Medicare spending grows faster than the economy as a whole almost every year.

More than a decade ago, lawmakers passed a law that was supposed to solve that problem by capping payments to doctors. According to the law, fees paid to doctors under Medicare will be slashed by 21.5 percent this year, and by 40 percent over the next five years. Of course, no lawmaker wants to be accused of cutting payments to doctors. So every year lawmakers in both parties vote overwhelmingly to override their own law.

And that’s the problem. Overriding the scheduled cuts this year would add about $250 billion to the cost of ObamaCare, and put the president at risk of violating his promises not to increase the deficit. Instead, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid proposed a stand-alone bill that pundits called the “doc-fix” bill. It aimed to spend $250 billion over the next 10 years without that spending counting toward the price of any proposed health care reform bill.
Senators used a procedural maneuver to prevent that bill from being voted on. But the idea of shifting spending from one column to another to hide costs may make a comeback as lawmakers debate health reform behind closed doors.

The late Sen. Everett Dirksen supposedly said, “A billion here, a billion there -- and pretty soon you’re talking real money.” We could paraphrase that today: “$250 here, $250 billion there -- eventually you destroy an already teetering entitlement system.”

These are changes our government can’t afford. And they’re ones the American people shouldn’t stand for.

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