Saturday, June 30, 2012
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
By Burt Prelutsky
When you look at the state of the nation, clearly someone is to blame. If you’re a Democrat, you blame Republicans. If you’re a Republican, you blame Democrats. If you’re Barack Obama, you blame George W. Bush. If you’re at least halfway sane, you blame Barack Obama and his stooges in Congress, in the EPA and the Department of Justice.
If you spend any time at all on the Internet, you have probably received the electoral map of the United States that tries to convince you that Obama’s re-election is a done deal. Fortunately, the map is all wet. For one thing, it concedes Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin and Indiana, to Obama. For another, it insists that Florida, Virginia and Ohio, are toss-up states, while I’m convinced they’re all going for Romney.
Frankly, the question that comes to mind is whether it was drawn up by Curly, Moe or James Carville. How is it that the mapmaker manages to ignore all the elections that have taken place since Obama was elected in 2008? How is it that no consideration is given to the fact that a mere two years into his term, the Democrats lost six seats in the Senate and 60 more in the House?
Why was no attention paid to the fact that Scott Brown won Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, that a conservative Catholic won Anthony Weiner’s House seat and that Marco Rubio knocked off Charlie Crist? Shouldn’t it make any difference this November, that within the past two years, Republicans named Kasich, Christie, O’Donnell, Walker, Haslam, LePage, Corbett, Snyder, Brownback, Fallin, Mead, Martinez and Scott, all took over the governor’s mansions formerly held by Democrats in Ohio, New Jersey, Virginia, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Maine, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Kansas, Oklahoma, Wyoming, New Mexico and Florida?
Are we supposed to assume that it makes no difference at all that, thanks to the 2010 census, while the liberal northeast has been losing House seats, and therefore Electoral College votes, the conservative southwest has been picking them up?
It doesn’t help Obama that he vetoed the Keystone pipeline, that he wasted nearly two years steamrolling ObamaCare through Congress, and that he squandered about a trillion dollars on a stimulus package that stimulated nothing, but helped cost us our triple-A credit rating.
You really think that Obama’s Department of Justice, with its record of turning a blind eye to blacks intimidating white voters and “Operation Fast & Furious,” is going to garner Obama support among independent voters? Forget about tying Obama to Jeremiah Wright, Tony Rezko and William Ayers; Eric Holder is albatross enough.
Even people who have trouble balancing their checkbooks know that a $16 trillion dollar deficit and record unemployment are sucking the economy dry.
Obama is so desperate that he is running a TV ad that attempts to make out Bain Capital’s Mitt Romney to be the mustachioed villain in an old-fashioned melodrama, tossing widows, orphans and a few disgruntled steelworkers, out into the snow. The fact that Bain Capital, not having been either a major bundler for Obama’s campaigns or the UAW, couldn’t count on being bailed out with taxpayer dollars the way that Solyndra, GM and Chrysler, were, bears out the rewards and pitfalls of the capitalist system.
Only the lamebrains on the Left would try to make a case against an honest businessman by pointing out that he occasionally suffered a setback. Because the Left consists mainly of academics, state and federal bureaucrats, sluggards, media leeches and college kids, they have no actual concept of how the private sector works.
That’s why they fail to see that Bain could invest in a steel plant in good faith and nine years later, because of competition and circumstances, the plant could go bankrupt. At the same time, they fail to acknowledge that putting a free-spending Marxist in the Oval Office would inevitably lead, a scant three years later, to a nation’s being on the verge of bankruptcy.
Still, if you personally oppose a system that rewards risk takers and entrepreneurs, you might find life more to your liking in China, Cuba, Venezuela, France or Greece. A few of those locales even boast pleasant climates, perfect for cultivating citrus fruits and socialist fruitcakes.
A recent poll suggested that 46% of American leftists believe that rich people do the country no good. I suppose a case could be made if you exclude the businesses wealthy people create and develop; the paychecks they sign; the schools, museums and opera houses, they underwrite; the taxes they pay; and the medical research institutes they endow.
Now if they broke down those rich people by political affiliation, I just might go along with the crowd, because there’s very little societal good for which I could credit the wealthy likes of Warren Buffet, George Clooney, Rosie O’Donnell, Michael Bloomberg, Danny Glover, Jane Fonda, Sean Penn, David Letterman, Bill Maher, Timothy Geithner, Michael Moore, Barack Obama and George Soros.
In the wake of Obama finally giving up the charade and coming out of the closet for same-sex marriage, I hear liberals making the claim that most Americans now favor it. If that were the case, you would think that at least one state out of 50 would have voted for it. Instead, the voters in 38 states have opposed it. In fact, the only places where it is legal are those states where either left-wing judges or state legislatures decided to cave in to homosexual hissy fits.
I have even heard liberals discount those 38 resounding defeats by insisting that some of those elections took place years ago, before America had reversed itself on the issue. Those knuckleheads naturally choose to ignore the recent election in North Carolina, where 61% of the voters chose to restrict marriage to one man and one woman. The indisputable fact is that it is mainly thanks to blacks, usually the most left-wing voting bloc in America, that homosexuals keep losing these elections.
There is a rumor floating around that Hillary Clinton might replace Joe Biden on the ticket. I don’t think that’s likely. First of all, I am not convinced that she would add to his vote total, whereas it would definitely cost Obama Biden’s vote. After all, the folks who adore Hillary already adore Obama. Two, I am convinced that Michelle despises Hillary, regarding her as a white hussy, and will never forgive her for giving rise to the “birther” movement during the 2008 primaries.
Even psychologically, it doesn’t make sense. By dumping Biden, Obama would be acknowledging that he might have made a mistake in naming him in the first place. He would also be sending an obvious signal that he actually needed Hillary’s help in order to win re-election. That doesn’t sound like the narcissist-in-chief so many of us have come to know and hate.
Finally, Biden has spent nearly four years proving his devotion to Obama. At times, when Obama gazes at his vice-president’s wagging tail, he’s probably reminded of the Cocker Spaniel he noshed on back in Indonesia.
Biden locked his lips on Obama’s derriere in 2008 and he hasn’t let loose since. The only display of public affection that even comes close is the one that Bill O’Reilly shows towards himself when he insists that at least half the letters he posts at the end of The Factor are from readers gushing about “Killing Lincoln.”
To read another article by Burt Prelutsky, click here.
Posted by Brett at 11:18 PM
By Derek Hunter
Many have weighed in on the Supreme Court decision on ObamaCare much better than I could. Two of the best were Rush Limbaugh’s and Mark Levin (download the June 28th show for free and share it widely). But a few things remain unmentioned as far as I can tell.
First, the SCOTUS decision means the low-income uninsured won’t likely see any change to their status.
How is that? How can a law designed in large part to help the poor obtain insurance, a law that taxes and spends so much, end up with no real change? Because the one ”bright spot” of the ruling was on the matter of Medicaid expansion.
Medicaid is the joint federal-state health insurance program for the poor, in which both governments split the cost. ObamaCare mandated states accept more federal money and expand eligibility to ensnare a larger number of Americans in this dismal government-run plan. But along with that mandate for the states to spend hundreds of millions more than they can afford, the law included a penalty for states that didn’t expand the Medicaid eligibility – the loss of all federal Medicaid money. Essentially it was a choice between spending more money that states don’t have or receiving no federal money, yet still being obligated to provide Medicaid.
The Supreme Court rejected that provision. It said states can be offered the option but can’t be forced to accept the expansion money, nor to extend Medicaid to people who don’t currently qualify. Given many states are going broke now, and Medicaid is their largest expenditure already, it’s highly doubtful many will spend more on this program.
So, given Medicaid was a key component to extending coverage to all Americans under ObamaCare, and given it’s now dead or at least an unlikely option, the uninsured near-poor – the people this whole mess was designed to help – won’t be getting Medicaid. Since they also probably won’t soon earn enough to buy insurance on their own, they finish right where they started – in no-man’s land.
Middle-class Americans without insurance will have to pay an Obama Tax that will grow with each passing year. The near-poor were exempted from the tax, but they won’t get insurance either.
Given the ease – relative to the rest of the world – with which Americans can move up the economic ladder, many will work at jobs that can’t afford to provide insurance under ObamaCare and are too small to be required to provide it. But those jobs will pay enough so employees eventually will qualify for the Obama Tax. So, just as these near-poor approach some semblance of economic security, the IRS (which Obamacare empowered to enforce the Obama Tax) will be right there to whack them back down.
Therefore, and not for the first time, the people ObamaCare was supposed to help will be hurt the most.
Middle-class families also will take a hit.
Most Americans work for small businesses. The law requires businesses with more than 50 employees to provide health insurance or pay a fine. Since ObamaCare forces insurance companies to accept everyone with pre-existing conditions – which is like requiring car insurance companies to insure cars after their owners have wrapped them around a tree – premiums will skyrocket. Companies quickly will notice it’s easier to simply pay the fine. This means a new group of uninsured Americans.
If the slight bump in pay doesn’t permit them to afford insurance, they will be hit with the Obama Tax. (And for those of you keeping score at home, they make significantly less than the $250,000 per year the President promised to never, ever raise taxes on. “Read my lips!” anyone?)
The government doesn’t care about your expenses. It doesn’t care about your kids in private school, your mortgage or student loans or the relatives you’re trying to help through a bad time. It doesn’t care how or really even whether you make ends meet as the Obama Recession rolls into another year. It sees you as a number – the number of dollars you make, whether you make enough to buy insurance according to its formula.
Don’t believe me? Try discussing with a bureaucrat anything you owe government on any level and see if you can appeal to their mercy. You might get a traffic fine reduced occasionally if you catch the right bureaucrat on the right day. But the IRS deals with tens of millions of people over hundreds of billions of dollars. Bureaucracies are not in the mercy business.
So now that Obamacare has morphed into a tax on staying alive, it will become yet another liberal “well-intentioned” attempt to “strengthen the social safety net” that ends up functioning more like a spider web that ensnares people in the life it was supposed to help them escape.
It also forces the health insurance market into a bastardized market that threatens its very existence. It will cause many insurers to fail, which will lead to consolidation, concentration and ultimately corporate welfare. Or the government will step in, take over the entire market and give us the American version of Britain’s detestable National Health Service, which is something Democrats have been working towards for decades. Either way, government wins and we – all of us – lose.
Of course none of these taxes and insurance drops will take effect for these impacted people until after the election, which was by design. Costing people you need to vote for you more before they vote is fool’s errand, a lesson Barack Obama learned from President George H.W. Bush. But once he no longer need their vote, ever, for the rest of his life…lookout.
Did we reject a tyranny 236 years ago to gradually create our own without the accent and powdered wig? Did we replace “No taxation without representation” with “Taxation through misrepresentation”? As you celebrate our nation’s independence this week, commit yourself to talk to as many people as you can about how we’ve lost that which we are celebrating and how November is our next, and maybe our only, chance to declare it again.
To read an article about Obamacare, click here.
To read another article by Derek Hunter, click here.
Posted by Brett at 11:10 PM
By Kevin McCullough
I would caution my fellow conservatives on the frustration they may be enticed to express at Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. It is unwarranted, and it is unwise.
The reason I state such is that it is my firm belief that the Roberts' decision on the Obamacare mandate will without question bring about ultimate doom to the government control of healthcare, and through the best means possible--not judicial activism--but through the democratic process.
In boxing terminology no one has pulled a "rope-a-dope" this effective since Muhammad Ali himself. In doing so, it is clear that John Roberts duped the liberal wing of the Supreme Court into agreeing with him on calling out President Obama as legislatively dishonest, while assisting the conservative wing of the court into dismantling punitive measures against the states, and greatly limiting the ability of the legislature to use the powers of the commerce clause of the constitution to quietly take over people's lives.
Yes, conservative friends there are many silver linings in Thursday's odd verdict but let me assert merely four here:
1. Obamacare has been outed--by the authoritative voice of the nation's highest court-as a fraud. Yes the administration pitched it as a "penalty," as something that would not carry with it the burdensome label and politically repulsive thought of a tax. But Chief Justice Roberts seduced the four Obama supporters on the bench into agreeing that President Obama had in fact lied to the nation all through his 2008 campaign. Promising tax-cuts for 95% of the nation (a promise wrapped in a lie all its own), he has instead raised taxes--primarily on middle class families to the tune of $1.7 trillion dollars for the next decade. (And THAT'S just the starting point!) A tax, and nothing but a tax, is the only way the mandate funding could be understood in order for President Obama's only domestic initiative to survive. So a tax it is...
2. The commerce clause has been severely restricted. Roberts sided with the conservative wing of the court in asserting rightly that the Congress can't wander into a grey area of regulation, by attempting to force behavior of the population through manipulation of the commerce clause. The court rightly examined and asserted that the legislature has no right to legislate what people choose not to do. Punishments can not be levied on inaction. And if they attempt to do so, they must come in the form of a tax that the nation has recourse to change and remove through the electoral process.
3. The true cost to America's middle class was unveiled. Hiking taxes by close to $5 billion, with an additional $5 billion in medicare cuts, didn't close the loophole, no matter how much President Obama attempted to argue that it would. In reality the middle class families of America--already under assault by a horrible economy with limited prospects of improvement--will be forced to fork over another $1.7 trillion in forward looking deficits. Yes the families who earn $60-$90,000 per year will be the ones who make too much to qualify for the low income freebies, and not be making enough to be able to afford plans that they can buy in to. It will be these families who will be punitively crunched with this penalizing tax called Obamacare, and the Roberts' decision has removed the veil to allow this to be seen.
4. Perhaps the most important thing of all, the Roberts' decision will likely hand Governor Mitt Romney a 40 state victory in the upcoming elections. The Tea Party has been reignited. Grassroots groups have reawakened. And the roar of 2010 will be a distant memory when the voters take Governor Romney's advice and change Obamacare by removing President Obama.
To be very candid, I was more worried about the political outcomes of the case, had the justices thrown out the law all together in essence neutralizing one of the most glaring differences between the two sets of solutions being offered in this election cycle.
Instead we've been given an HD-retina-screen level upgrade in seeing the differences starkly and in greater contrast.
Re-elect President Obama and it will be the full implementation of the biggest small-business-killer ever invented by the Congress--Obamacare. Choose another path and you will set a course for the complete repeal of Obamacare, and the beginning of a new day for small business owners across the nation.
The choice is simple.
And John Roberts was the secret weapon that made it all happen, by outthinking everybody, and staying true to the Constitution.
Overall, not a bad outcome!
To read more about Obamacare, click here.
To read another article by Kevin McCullough, click here.
Posted by Brett at 10:56 PM
Friday, June 29, 2012
by Burt Prelutsky
I used to think that if the GOP could ever get a sufficient number of black Americans to leave the huge plantation known as the Democratic Party, liberals would never again win a presidential election. After all, I knew for a fact that the last Democrat to garner a majority of the white vote was Lyndon Johnson, and that was 48 years ago. But I recently discovered that there is an even larger hurdle to get over, and that, I’m sad to say, are female voters.
While I understand that roughly one in seven American females is black, the same holds true when it comes to the percentage of male voters. So, although I am rarely shocked, I must confess I was absolutely flummoxed when I went back and checked the statistics for every election since 1980 and found a gender gap that led me to reconsider the wisdom of the 19th Amendment. Now, I’m not one of those Neanderthals who thinks women should be kept barefoot and pregnant, but the evidence strongly suggests they shouldn’t be allowed to get too near a ballot box.
Scoff all you like, but consider the facts. In 1980, even after Jimmy Carter had overseen record inflation, record unemployment, record gas prices and seen to it that the Ayatollah Khomeini would be allowed to displace the Shah of Iran, women only gave Reagan a one-point edge over the incompetent incumbent, 46%-45%. Men favored Reagan 54% to 37%. Each group included enough ninnies to provide John Anderson with 7% of their votes.
In 1984, women wised up long enough to split their vote 56% for Reagan, 44% for Mondale, still falling short of men, who divided their vote 62%-37% for The Gipper.
In 1988, which was the last time that women favored the Republican, they went 50% for Bush, 49% for Dukakis, whereas men split 57%-41% for Bush.
In ’92, women gave Clinton 45%, Bush 37% and Perot 17%; men went 41% for Clinton, 38% for Bush, 21% for Perot.
In ’96, 54% of women went for Clinton, 38% for Dole, 7% for Perot, while men split 44% for Dole, 43% for Clinton and 10% for Perot.
In 2000, women went 54% for Gore, 43% for Bush, 2% for Ralph Nader; 53% of the male vote went to Bush, 42% to Gore and 3% for Nader.
In 2004, women naturally went for Kerry over Bush 51% to 48%; fortunately, men favored Bush 55% to 41%.
In 2008, both genders went crazy, but even then males split their vote 49% for Obama, 48% for McCain, while women, no doubt dazzled by Obama’s smile, provided him with a 13% margin, 56-43.
Most men, I believe, are willing to acknowledge that they are not very good at multi-tasking, asking for directions or talking about anything except sports and hunting. In the face of all this indisputable evidence, I don’t know why women can’t acknowledge that they simply aren’t at the top of their game when it comes to electing presidents.
Recent polls indicate that even in the upcoming election, which pits the totally inept, corrupt and two-faced, Obama against a challenger who is not only honest, successful and capable, but a faithful husband, a loving father, and who just happens to be taller and better-looking, women continue to confound by favoring Obama. What more do we need to know about their inadequacies when it comes to electing presidents?
If nothing else about Obama disturbs women, you would think that his general lack of machismo -- he throws a ball like a girl -- and his general smugness and vanity would be more than sufficient reasons for women to be turned off.
I mean, just a few months ago, he insisted with a straight face that there have only been two or three presidents who have been his equal when it comes to getting things accomplished. Then, just recently, after describing himself as the best friend that Israel has ever had in the Oval Office, he told a group of rabbis that he knew more about Judaism than any of the other presidents because he had studied it when he was a youngster. Now let us keep in mind that his earliest studies would have taken place in Indonesia, the largest Islamic nation in the world. One can easily imagine that those studies would have consisted of differentiating between the two most common types of Jews, those who are pigs and those who are monkeys.
His expertise when it comes to Judaism would have been news to John Adams and James Madison, who were both fluent in Hebrew. In fact, I find it annoying that in spite of the fact that in 2008 the Obamas suggested we all learn Spanish, the only language other than English, for which he requires the use of a Teleprompter in order to appear even slightly coherent, the only language in which Obama claims to be conversant is Indonesian. That hardly compares to the 12 presidents who could write and speak Latin, the 10 who knew Greek, the seven who were fluent in French and the five who spoke German. Herbert Hoover and his wife would often speak Mandarin Chinese when they didn’t want anyone eavesdropping.
Speaking of the man whose Native American name would have been Speaks with Forked Tongue, I was recently sent an enlightening email that finally explained what Obama means when he repeatedly tells us that his energy policy involves All of the Above. Quite literally, it means everything above ground (sun, wind, corn), but nothing below (oil, coal, natural gas).
When I read that 400 Spaniards missed a soccer match in Bucharest because they had mistakenly flown to Budapest, I couldn’t help thinking that if they had been Americans I would have wagered they were all Democrats.
Finally, it has annoyed me for the longest time that a great many conservative pundits joined the chorus of liberals who denounced anyone who dared to question Obama’s birthplace. Perhaps if I had heard them at least ponder why Obama has kept his college application, his earliest passport and his academic records, under lock and key, it wouldn’t have galled me quite as much. But after we recently discovered that in the biographical material he’d sent to his literary agent 20 years ago, Obama claimed he’d been born in Kenya, their continuing to insist he was hatched in Hawaii verges on lunacy.
I even heard one of these talk show hosts insist that Obama only mentioned Kenya in order to make himself appear more exotic, in the hope of hyping book sales.
Call me a cynic, but is there anyone out there who believes that when my new book, “Barack Obama, You’re Fired!” comes out, and my bio just happens to mention that I was born several thousand light years ago on Mars, these same loons will also give me a pass?
To read another article by Burt Prelutsky, click here.
Posted by Brett at 10:18 PM
Paul Ryan: The American people have one last chance
posted at 2:41 pm on June 29, 2012 by Erika Johnsen
On Fox & Friends this morning, House Budget Committee chairman, bigtime Romney surrogate, and all-around fiscal guru Paul Ryan had what I thought was a very reasoned view on Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling on ObamaCare (emphasis mine):
“Absolutely,” said Ryan. “There are 21 taxes in this bill, 12 of which hit people making less than $250,000 per year. That in and of itself is a violation of the President’s promise not to tax people making less than $250,000.”
Ryan said that the way the President and Congressional Democrats sold this bill has been proven false by the Supreme Court ruling. “I agree with the dissenting opinion that they rewrote this law calling it a tax,” said Ryan.
“We have a law that we have one more chance to repeal, and that’s this November election,” Ryan continued. “That’s basically what the Supreme Court did; they raised the stakes of this election. We have one more chance – and that’s basically what they said. The people of this country are going to be the final arbiters of this.”
For one reason or another, I’m sure many of us will be bristling with Chief Justice Robert’s mandate-permitting opinion on ObamaCare for some time to come, but everybody’s been discussing at least one key takeaway from his decision that I thought very profound:
Members of this Court are vested with the authority to interpret the law; we possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments. Those decisions are entrusted to our Nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them. It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.
At the end of the day, it is absolutely true that we did this to ourselves. As the years have worn on, we’ve consistently demonstrated a prevailing penchant for electing people into office who do little to safeguard our personal freedom and responsibility. Instead, we reward politicians for signing more ‘free’ stuff into law and sending home as much pork as possible. If we don’t stop living in our little bubbles of willful ignorance and summon the political will to reverse the bacchanalian frenzy of entitlement spending and big government, America’s best days really are behind us — and it’ll be nobody’s fault but our own.
So I have to agree with that point of Justice Roberts’ (not his entire decision, mind you) and with Paul Ryan here — this election really is going to be about a fundamental choice. We’re wildly mistaken if we think that our position as the wealthiest, freest, most exceptional country in the world is a secure one — you’d think that was obvious, but here we are, with Mitt Romney and Barack Obama neck and neck in the polls. The core question of this election is going to come down to Ben Franklin’s warning after completing the Constitution: “A republic, if you can keep it.” I think we can still do this, America — I’m not ready to give up on you yet!
To read another article about Obamacare, click here.
Posted by Brett at 12:36 AM
By Leah Barkoukis
The audacity of the Obama administration never ceases to amaze. On Friday, they threatened to veto a defense appropriations bill because it, in part, does not include hikes in healthcare fees for members of the military. The House bill passed 299-120 in May. The official policy statement offers this objection:
TRICARE Fees and Co-Payments. The Administration is disappointed that the Congress did not incorporate the requested TRICARE fee initiatives into either the appropriation or authorization legislation. The Administration asks the House to reconsider the TRICARE fee proposals, which are essential for DOD to successfully address rising personnel costs. The $1.8 billion in savings are part of a carefully balanced FY 2013 Budget request.
The proposed increases in healthcare payments for members of the military members were reported by The Washington Free Beacon in February:
“The Obama administration’s proposed defense budget calls for military families and retirees to pay sharply more for their healthcare, while leaving unionized civilian defense workers’ benefits untouched. The proposal is causing a major rift within the Pentagon, according to U.S. officials. Several congressional aides suggested the move is designed to increase the enrollment in Obamacare’s state-run insurance exchanges.
The disparity in treatment between civilian and uniformed personnel is causing a backlash within the military that could undermine recruitment and retention.
The proposed increases in health care payments by service members, which must be approved by Congress, are part of the Pentagon’s $487 billion cut in spending. It seeks to save $1.8 billion from the Tricare medical system in the fiscal 2013 budget, and $12.9 billion by 2017.”
Of course, it all goes back to propping up ObamaCare…
“Administration officials told Congress that one goal of the increased fees is to force military retirees to reduce their involvement in Tricare and eventually opt out of the program in favor of alternatives established by the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.”
If the administration had their way:
"Significantly, the plan calls for increases between 30 percent to 78 percent in Tricare annual premiums for the first year. After that, the plan will impose five-year increases ranging from 94 percent to 345 percent—more than 3 times current levels.
According to congressional assessments, a retired Army colonel with a family currently paying $460 a year for health care will pay $2,048.
The new plan hits active duty personnel by increasing co-payments for pharmaceuticals and eliminating incentives for using generic drugs.
The changes are worrying some in the Pentagon who fear it will severely impact efforts to recruit and maintain a high-quality all-volunteer military force. Such benefits have been a key tool for recruiting qualified people and keeping them in uniform."
This just makes it abundantly clear how the administration regards those who serve this country and have already given so much.
To read another article about Obamacare, click here.
Posted by Brett at 12:27 AM
By Cal Thomas
When is a tax not a tax? When President Obama says it isn't, or when the Supreme Court says it is?
Obamacare was sold on several fraudulent lines. The president knows the country doesn't want to pay higher taxes, given the deplorable way their government spends the money. And so the administration packaged it as something different.
That's called bait and switch, which is defined as "an illegal tactic in which a seller advertises a product with the intention of persuading customers to purchase a more expensive product." And Obamacare, if it is not repealed, is guaranteed to be more expensive, not to mention more bureaucratic, delivering lower-quality care and eventually rationing to save money.
Does it matter what this president promises since so many have turned up empty?
This ruling will impose a massive tax increase during a lingering recession. Twenty-one new taxes are associated with Obamacare, according to the House Ways and Means Committee. That doesn't include the scheduled year-end expiration of the Bush tax cuts. President Obama has said taxes shouldn't be raised during a recession.
Simply put, if government is going to take more money from the people who earn it -- mostly small businesses -- it will result in those businesses hiring fewer people, or laying off more employees, or both, thus increasing already high unemployment. People who have never run a business, or made a payroll, like most in this administration, have no sense of that.
The list of lies and deceptions by this administration is long and growing. When campaigning for president in 2008, candidate Obama made "a firm pledge" not to raise taxes: "Not your income taxes, not your payroll taxes, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes." In 2009, he vigorously denied to George Stephanopoulos of ABC that the individual mandate is a tax. Now Chief Justice John Roberts says it is. If money leaves your pocket and goes to government, it's a tax, no matter the label.
Some congressional Democrats, especially those running for re-election in traditionally Republican districts, might not have voted for this law had it been presented as a tax increase. They will now have to either defend the tax hike or vow to repeal the law. One way, they appear not to have known what they were doing. The other way, they will be portrayed as having lied.
In the short term, the president may have won the argument, but the Supreme Court has given Mitt Romney and the Republicans three issues: higher taxes, a loss of individual freedom and the wrong solution to reforming health insurance.
The Founders sought to "secure the blessings of liberty." This president wants to secure the power of government. And so government, which has done a poor job of running Medicare and Medicaid, will now be responsible for an even bigger program. This is like renewing the license of a serial drunk driver.
Roberts joins a long line of justices nominated by Republican presidents, beginning with Earl Warren, who agreed with the liberal wing of the court on cases favored by the Left. Rarely, if ever, does a liberal justice vote with the conservatives.
Roberts suggested he wouldn't do the work of the people. If they don't like Obamacare, they can change the leadership. The Republican Governors Association is planning to do nothing on Obamacare until after the election, an indication they believe a Romney presidency and a Republican Congress will repeal the law.
In a statement following the court's decision, President Obama promised to implement the law with all deliberate speed. He apparently hopes that with more of it in place (except the taxes that come in 2014), people will become dependent on it and won't want to do away with it.
In just four months, voters will have the opportunity to live up to the responsibility that Roberts says is theirs. Otherwise, voters will become co-conspirators in the weakening of health care and the further destruction of our liberties.
The Senator from Florida, Marco Rubio speaks about Obamacare - view here.
To read more about Obamacare, click here.
To read another article by Cal Thomas, click here.
Posted by Brett at 12:13 AM
Friday, June 29, 2012
By David Limbaugh
The Supreme Court's ruling in Obamacare v. the United States of America is yet another body blow to the U.S. Constitution's principle of limited government and the freedom tradition, but there is a major upside.
Despite President Obama's opposition to an individual mandate when he was debating Hillary Clinton during the Democratic presidential primaries and despite his postelection insistence that Obamacare's mandate does not constitute a tax, his lawyers insisted otherwise, and the Supreme Court bought it. So we have a law with enormous reach -- one-seventh to one-sixth of the economy -- having been fundamentally misrepresented to the American people from the beginning.
Conservatives who believe that the Constitution should be interpreted according to the plain meaning of its language and the original intent of the Framers have long been troubled by the court's decisions expanding the commerce clause to authorize Congress to regulate the most local of matters within a state's borders.
Many legal analysts were predicting the court would declare the mandate unconstitutional because it goes further than all other previous cases in forcing Americans to purchase a commodity. Surely, they reasoned, the court would not go that far.
Well, as it turns out, the court didn't have to. It simply chose to consider the mandate a tax rather than a fine or penalty and held that the court has ample authority under the general welfare clause to impose a tax. Voila, problem solved.
There is little to be gained at this point in crying over spilled judicial milk. That chapter, on this essential issue, is closed for now. But the substantive issues -- the questions of the wisdom of the law itself and the people's opinion about it -- are very much alive, especially considering that we have our national elections in November.
It is not an overstatement to say that Obamacare was the single most important catalyst leading to the tea party movement. Americans were outraged and horrified by this president's reckless spending and his endless assaults on the Constitution, but no issue drove them to rise up and fight back like Obamacare -- both the abominable legislative monstrosity itself and the tyrannical, corrupt manner by which Obama crammed it through the legislative process.
Americans oppose Obamacare because they understand that it is inconsistent with our liberties and our idea of limited government and that it will destroy the best health care system in the world.
Almost everything about Obamacare has been a lie. Let's just start with the gloating Democrats' assertion that the court has validated their effort to make quality health care affordable for every American.
Contrary to Obama's misrepresentations, Obamacare will bend the cost curve up, not down, and will do so significantly; the Congressional Budget Office has already told us that it will cost almost double what Obama promised. The law's other main ostensible purpose -- to increase access -- is another sham.
There is a world of difference between increasing the number of people who have insurance coverage and increasing their actual access to quality medical care, and it's care that we should be concerned about, not insurance. The only way health care costs under a socialized system can be contained at all is by rationing. This is the history of every other socialized health care system in the world. It is the history of Medicare. It is why Obamacare creates an egregious 15-member bureaucratic board -- the Independent Payment Advisory Board -- that will make decisions as to the costs of treatments. As a necessary consequence, the patients' choices of and access to various treatments will both be severely diminished under Obamacare.
The quality of health care will also diminish. Doctors are already planning to leave the medical profession in droves. They are advising their family and friends not to choose the profession. People are not being allowed to keep their plans as Obama cynically promised. The Willis survey reports that only 30 percent of employers will keep their same plans under Obamacare.
The anxiety brought on by Obamacare -- including that brought on by the tsunami of additional federal rules, regulations and taxes it will impose on small businesses -- is having a crippling effect on job creation in this country. Seventy-four percent of small businesses say they are not expanding because of Obamacare.
The American people overwhelmingly oppose this federal power grab, which is why Mitt Romney and the Republican Party had better read their cue cards and understand that now is not the time for fecklessness. It is the time to draw clear contrasts between the Republican vision and the Obama record.
I believe that this ruling by the court will reinvigorate the tea party movement in a way that nothing else could have and, provided Republicans don't blow it by refusing to take the gloves off in the campaign, could help lead to a GOP landslide in November.
To read another article about David Limbaugh, click here.
To read a related article, click here.
Posted by Brett at 1:00 PM
By John Hawkins
Dear People Crying Racism:
We're all friends here, right? All right, maybe we're not. But, we can still have an open honest conversation, can't we? Okay, we may not be there yet, but someone has to open up the lines of communication and say what we're all thinking: Crying racism just doesn't work like it used to, does it? There was a time when someone like Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton could scream "racism" and people were horrified and swarmed around like ants at a picnic trying to make that awful word go away. Now, you cry racism and it produces eye rolls and smirks. It's almost as if the person calling someone the bigot is actually the bad guy. Who'd have ever thought we'd get to that point in a country like America?
But that's just it, isn't it? Sure, this used to be a racist country. We had slavery, the KKK, segregation, Jim Crow laws...the operative words there being "used to." Slavery ended in 1865, segregation and Jim Crow laws ended in 1964, and although the KKK is still around, it’s a running joke. In other words, if you're 48 years old or younger, you've always lived in a country where whites are the only race the government can legally discriminate against via affirmative action and racial set asides. That's not to say that the racial discrimination against whites is remotely comparable to the discrimination that black Americans endured. It most certainly isn't, but it is racial discrimination against people whose only crime is being born the wrong skin color and that skin color is white, not black.
Of course, that just hammers the truth home. This isn't the same country as it was in 1865 or even 1964. The party of slavery, the KKK, segregation, and Jim Crow laws now has a black man representing it in the White House. The party that fought slavery, the KKK, segregation, and Jim Crow laws appointed a black justice to the Supreme Court. That party also selected the first black man and first black woman as Secretary of State, had a black head of the Republican National Committee -- and had a black man who for a while, was on top in the race to capture the GOP presidential nomination.
That doesn't mean there's no longer any racism. There will always be a few racists just like there will always be a few misogynists, misandrists, people who hate Christians, Muslims, and Jews, and diehard partisans who hate people of the opposing political persuasion. If you're hoping for a world where no one hates anyone else, you might as well hope for a genie to show up and give you three wishes. On the other hand, if you're hoping for a country where racism is no longer a serious problem, then you're living in it.
How can that be if there are still racists? Well, percentage wise, there are probably as many anti-Semites out there as there are people who hate black or Hispanic Americans and it doesn't seem to be slowing Jewish Americans down. Then how can all the criticism of Barack Obama be explained? Ehr, by the fact that he's the President of the United States? Is there anyone who thinks the never ending, extraordinarily nasty criticism of George W. Bush was based on his race? Of course not. So, why would it shock anyone that diehard, conservative, capitalistic Republicans disagree with a hardcore, left-wing, socialistic Democrat in the strongest of terms? If anyone thought Barack Obama was going to have Republicans singing his praises while he systematically attacked them and pushed policies that they consider to be unconstitutional socialism, then that person must have been kicked in the head by a mule.
Furthermore, to conclude that opposition to illegal immigration is driven by racism requires you to be completely ignorant of the fact that even large waves of LEGAL immigration have often produced backlashes in American history. In fact, from 1920-1965, this country dramatically restricted even legal immigration. When you understand that, it's not a surprise that most Americans aren't particularly fond of 10-20 million people who broke the law to come here, who take jobs from American citizens, and who fill up our jails, hospitals, and schools while other people pay the bills. Judging by American history, if there were 10-20 million Irishmen or Italians doing the same thing, there would be just as much resentment, if not more so.
In other words, "racism" has turned into a political hustle. You play a role in killing more than 300 people like Eric Holder with Operation Fast and Furious and the real scandal is supposed to be the motive of people questioning it. If you're here in this country illegally, using someone else's Social Security number, claiming that you have 14 kids to get a huge earned income tax credit -- anyone who has a problem with that is supposed to be a racist. People who are going that far are essentially engaging in "my race, right or wrong" tribalism that runs counter to everything this country has stood for in the post-Civil War era.
Here's something that should make a lot of people feel better, but probably won't. I'm a conservative Tea Partier who grew up in a small southern town. If you listen to the media, you'd think that's the ultimate breeding ground for bigotry in this country. Yet, southern whites don't drop the N-bomb in private conversation or talk much about racial issues. Conservatives don't talk about race issues all day or for that matter, much at all, unless they're complaining about being falsely accused of racism. As to Tea Partiers, the only time race ever comes up is if they're complaining about being smeared as bigots or if they're trying to figure out how to get more minorities to come to Tea Parties. We always claim to be fighting "wars" against things in this country -- poverty, obesity, drugs, etc., etc., etc. Well, the truth is that the "war on racism" is one of those rare fights that we've won.
But, some people just can’t bear the idea of declaring victory. Maybe they're using it as an excuse, as a political tool, or a way to fundraise. So, they gin up fake political controversies from nothing, shoehorn tragic, non-racial events like the Trayvon Martin shooting into the template, or grasp at nobodies blurting out the N-word like they're Congressmen as opposed to isolated, powerless hicks. They imagine "dog whistles" that don't exist and invent silliness like "white privilege" to explain how prevalent racism still is despite the fact that it seems to have been largely eradicated. Tell some white factory worker making $40,000 a year about how easy he's had it because of race compared to say, Barack Obama. Explain to him how easy life is for him in comparison to a black co-worker whom the plant won't fire despite poor performance because it’s afraid of a lawsuit. Tell him how much better he has it when a black doctor's son gets into college over his better qualified child, solely because of the color of his skin. Start asking some people under 40 outside of the effete, pampered liberal enclaves what advantages they've had in life because they're white and don't be surprised at how many people scratch their heads in puzzlement while they try to come up with something.
Long story short, this isn't an attack or any sort of racial grievance mongering. It's just an explanation of why people are more likely to tell you to “go screw yourself” than offer sympathy if you cry "racism" these days. Americans abhor racism, but they also don't like rackets, being falsely accused, or lame excuses for poor performance. So, if you're wondering why no one cares after you cry racism, then maybe the problem isn't racism, maybe it's just you.
To read another article by John Hawkins, click here.
Posted by Brett at 12:53 PM
By Katie Pavlich
By now you know what the Supreme Court verdict is: ObamaCare is a tax. So what does that mean in terms of actual dollar amounts for Americans and businesses who will pay this new tax? The Heritage Foundation and Americans for Tax Reform have released a series of summaries, tables and charts to help families understand what this means for their wallet.
Just to show Obama's complete arrogance (see photo), here's one of his recent tweets...
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) imposes numerous tax hikes that transfer more than $500 billion over 10 years—and more in the future—from hardworking American families and businesses to Congress for spending on new entitlements and subsidies. In addition, higher tax rates on working and investing will discourage economic growth both now and in the future, further lowering the standard of living.
1. Excise Tax on Charitable Hospitals (Min$/immediate): $50,000 per hospital if they fail to meet new "community health assessment needs," "financial assistance," and "billing and collection" rules set by HHS. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,961-1,971
2. Codification of the “economic substance doctrine” (Tax hike of $4.5 billion). This provision allows the IRS to disallow completely-legal tax deductions and other legal tax-minimizing plans just because the IRS deems that the action lacks “substance” and is merely intended to reduce taxes owed. Bill: Reconciliation Act; Page: 108-113
3. “Black liquor” tax hike (Tax hike of $23.6 billion). This is a tax increase on a type of bio-fuel. Bill: Reconciliation Act; Page: 105
4. Tax on Innovator Drug Companies ($22.2 bil/Jan 2010): $2.3 billion annual tax on the industry imposed relative to share of sales made that year. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,971-1,980
5. Blue Cross/Blue Shield Tax Hike ($0.4 bil/Jan 2010): The special tax deduction in current law for Blue Cross/Blue Shield companies would only be allowed if 85 percent or more of premium revenues are spent on clinical services. Bill: PPACA; Page: 2,004
6. Tax on Indoor Tanning Services ($2.7 billion/July 1, 2010): New 10 percent excise tax on Americans using indoor tanning salons. Bill: PPACA; Page: 2,397-2,399
Taxes that took effect in 2011
7. Medicine Cabinet Tax ($5 bil/Jan 2011): Americans no longer able to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin). Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,957-1,959
8. HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike ($1.4 bil/Jan 2011): Increases additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,959
Tax that took effect in 2012
9. Employer Reporting of Insurance on W-2 (Min$/Jan 2012): Preamble to taxing health benefits on individual tax returns. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,957
Taxes that take effect in 2013
10. Surtax on Investment Income ($123 billion/Jan. 2013): Creation of a new, 3.8 percent surtax on investment income earned in households making at least $250,000 ($200,000 single). This would result in the following top tax rates on investment income: Bill: Reconciliation Act; Page: 87-93
*Other unearned income includes (for surtax purposes) gross income from interest, annuities, royalties, net rents, and passive income in partnerships and Subchapter-S corporations. It does not include municipal bond interest or life insurance proceeds, since those do not add to gross income. It does not include active trade or business income, fair market value sales of ownership in pass-through entities, or distributions from retirement plans. The 3.8% surtax does not apply to non-resident aliens.
11. Hike in Medicare Payroll Tax ($86.8 bil/Jan 2013): Current law and changes:
12. Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers ($20 bil/Jan 2013): Medical device manufacturers employ 360,000 people in 6000 plants across the country. This law imposes a new 2.3% excise tax. Exempts items retailing for <$100. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,980-1,986 13. Raise "Haircut" for Medical Itemized Deduction from 7.5% to 10% of AGI ($15.2 bil/Jan 2013): Currently, those facing high medical expenses are allowed a deduction for medical expenses to the extent that those expenses exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI). The new provision imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI. Waived for 65+ taxpayers in 2013-2016 only. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,994-1,995
14. Flexible Spending Account Cap – aka “Special Needs Kids Tax” ($13 bil/Jan 2013): Imposes cap on FSAs of $2500 (now unlimited). Indexed to inflation after 2013. There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children. There are thousands of families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education. Bill: PPACA; Page: 2,388-2,389
15. Elimination of tax deduction for employer-provided retirement Rx drug coverage in coordination with Medicare Part D ($4.5 bil/Jan 2013) Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,994
16. $500,000 Annual Executive Compensation Limit for Health Insurance Executives ($0.6 bil/Jan 2013). Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,995-2,000
Taxes that take effect in 2014
17. Individual Mandate Excise Tax (Jan 2014): Starting in 2014, anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance must pay an income surtax according to the higher of the following
Exemptions for religious objectors, undocumented immigrants, prisoners, those earning less than the poverty line, members of Indian tribes, and hardship cases (determined by HHS). Bill: PPACA; Page: 317-337
18. Employer Mandate Tax (Jan 2014): If an employer does not offer health coverage, and at least one employee qualifies for a health tax credit, the employer must pay an additional non-deductible tax of $2000 for all full-time employees. Applies to all employers with 50 or more employees. If any employee actually receives coverage through the exchange, the penalty on the employer for that employee rises to $3000. If the employer requires a waiting period to enroll in coverage of 30-60 days, there is a $400 tax per employee ($600 if the period is 60 days or longer). Bill: PPACA; Page: 345-346
Combined score of individual and employer mandate tax penalty: $65 billion/10 years
19. Tax on Health Insurers ($60.1 bil/Jan 2014): Annual tax on the industry imposed relative to health insurance premiums collected that year. Phases in gradually until 2018. Fully-imposed on firms with $50 million in profits. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,986-1,993
Taxes that take effect in 2018
20. Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans ($32 bil/Jan 2018): Starting in 2018, new 40 percent excise tax on “Cadillac” health insurance plans ($10,200 single/$27,500 family). Higher threshold ($11,500 single/$29,450 family) for early retirees and high-risk professions. CPI +1 percentage point indexed. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,941-1,956
Also, ATR is warning Americans of Taxmageddon, which will happen on January 1, 2013. This will be the largest tax hike in American history and will come in three waves.
First Wave: Expiration of 2001 and 2003 Tax Relief
In 2001 and 2003, the GOP Congress enacted several tax cuts for small business owners, families, and investors (later re-upped by President Obama and Democrat Congress in 2010). The following tax hikes will occur on January 1, 2013:
Personal income tax rates will rise on January 1, 2013. The top income tax rate will rise from 35 to 39.6 percent (this is also the rate at which the majority of small business profits are taxed). The lowest rate will rise from 10 to 15 percent. All the rates in between will also rise. Itemized deductions and personal exemptions will again phase out, which has the same mathematical effect as higher marginal tax rates. The full list of marginal rate hikes is below:
- The 10% bracket rises to a new and expanded 15%
- The 25% bracket rises to 28%
- The 28% bracket rises to 31%
- The 33% bracket rises to 36%
- The 35% bracket rises to 39.6%
Higher taxes on marriage and family coming on January 1, 2013. The “marriage penalty” (narrower tax brackets for married couples) will return from the first dollar of taxable income. The child tax credit will be cut in half from $1000 to $500 per child. The standard deduction will no longer be doubled for married couples relative to the single level.
Middle Class Death Tax returns on January 1, 2013. The death tax is currently 35% with an exemption of $5 million ($10 million for married couples). For those dying on or after January 1 2013, there is a 55 percent top death tax rate on estates over $1 million. A person leaving behind two homes and a retirement account could easily pass along a death tax bill to their loved ones.
Higher tax rates on savers and investors on January 1, 2013. The capital gains tax will rise from 15 percent this year to 23.8 percent in 2013. The top dividends tax will rise from 15 percent this year to 43.4 percent in 2013. This is because of scheduled rate hikes plus Obamacare’s investment surtax.
Second Wave: Obamacare Tax Hikes
There are twenty new or higher taxes in Obamacare. Some have already gone into effect (the tanning tax, the medicine cabinet tax, the HSA withdrawal tax, W-2 health insurance reporting, and the “economic substance doctrine”). Several more will go into effect on January 1, 2013. They include:
Medicare Payroll Tax Hike takes effect on January 1, 2013. The Medicare payroll tax is currently 2.9 percent on all wages and self-employment profits. Starting in 2013, wages and profits exceeding $200,000 ($250,000 in the case of married couples) will face a 3.8 percent rate.
“Special Needs Kids Tax” comes online on January 1, 2013 Imposes a cap on FSAs of $2500 (now unlimited). Indexed to inflation after 2013. There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children. There are thousands of families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education. This Obamacare cap harms these families.
Medical Device Tax begins to be assessed on January 1, 2013. Medical device manufacturers employ 360,000 people in 6000 plants across the country. This law imposes a new 2.3% excise tax. Exempts items retailing for <$100. “Haircut” for Medical Itemized Deductions goes into force on January 1, 2013. Currently, those facing high medical expenses are allowed a deduction for medical expenses to the extent that those expenses exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI). The new provision imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI. Waived for 65+ taxpayers in 2013-2016 only. Third Wave: The Alternative Minimum Tax and Employer Tax Hikes
When Americans prepare to file their tax returns in January of 2013, they’ll be in for a nasty surprise—the AMT won’t be held harmless, and many tax relief provisions will have expired. These tax increases will be in force for BOTH 2012 and 2013. The major items include:
The AMT will ensnare over 31 million families, up from 4 million last year. According to the left-leaning Tax Policy Center, Congress’ failure to index the AMT will lead to an explosion of AMT taxpaying families—rising from 4 million last year to 31 million. These families will have to calculate their tax burdens twice, and pay taxes at the higher level. The AMT was created in 1969 to ensnare a handful of taxpayers.
Full business expensing will disappear. In 2011, businesses can expense half of their purchases of equipment. Starting on 2013 tax returns, all of it will have to be “depreciated” (slowly deducted over many years).
Taxes will be raised on all types of businesses. There are literally scores of tax hikes on business that will take place. The biggest is the loss of the “research and experimentation tax credit,” but there are many, many others. Combining high marginal tax rates with the loss of this tax relief will cost jobs.
Tax Benefits for Education and Teaching Reduced. The deduction for tuition and fees will not be available. Tax credits for education will be limited. Teachers will no longer be able to deduct classroom expenses. Coverdell Education Savings Accounts will be cut. Employer-provided educational assistance is curtailed. The student loan interest deduction will be disallowed for hundreds of thousands of families.
Charitable Contributions from IRAs no longer allowed. Under current law, a retired person with an IRA can contribute up to $100,000 per year directly to a charity from their IRA. This contribution also counts toward an annual “required minimum distribution.” This ability will no longer be there.
Watch these 5 videos to see how Obamacare will adversely affect everyone...
Watch: Obamacare's impact on families and future generations.
Obamacare's impact on the states.
Obamacare's impact on businesses and the economy.
Obamacare's impact on Doctors.
Obamacare's impact on Seniors.
To read more about Obamacare, click here.
To read another article by Katie Pavlich, click here.
Posted by Brett at 9:25 AM
By Ross Kaminsky on 6.29.12 @ 6:10AM
And his supporters by more than half.
On Thursday morning, in the most anticipated Supreme Court ruling in recent American history, Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the Court's four liberal Justices to uphold Obamacare's "individual mandate" as a tax, even while Roberts agreed with the four conservative members of the Court that the mandate would be unconstitutional if considered only based on the Commerce Clause.
The liberal mass media began immediate preening for their president, with the New York Times calling the ruling a "victory for Obama," the Washington Post proclaiming "a win for Obama today," and MSNBC announcing "a dramatic victory."
They may be right, but the decision may equally turn out to be a pyrrhic victory for President Obama, motivating conservatives across the country and pushing independent voters along with skeptical conservatives and libertarians fully into the arms of Mitt Romney.
Since the Court found the mandate constitutional (despite an embarrassing headline by CNN to the contrary), it rendered moot challenges to other important aspects of the Act, including guaranteed issue and community rating (requiring insurance companies to issue insurance to everyone regardless of pre-existing conditions and without considering most factors specific to a given applicant other than age and tobacco use).
The only aspect of Obamacare which was overturned, on a 7-2 vote, was the provision that would strip a state of its existing federal Medicaid funds if the state refused to comply with the law's provisions to expand Medicaid.
In opening his reading from the conservative Justices' dissent, Justice Anthony Kennedy, who just relinquished -- though perhaps unfairly -- the title of most suspect conservative on the Court to Chief Justice Roberts, noted "In our view, the entire Act before us is invalid in its entirety." I agree entirely.
The Court's majority found that the mandate is constitutional as a tax, with the implication being that Congress is allowed to impose almost any tax it wants to (other than things like poll taxes which impede fundamental rights of Americans). The dissenters disagreed: "Whatever may be the conceptual limits upon the Commerce Clause and upon the power to tax and spend, they cannot be such as will enable the Federal Government to regulate all private conduct and to compel the States to function as administrators of federal programs."
Regarding mandating of healthy young people to buy insurance to mask the costs of the rest of Obamacare, the dissenters were not shy: "If Congress can reach out and command even those furthest removed from an interstate market to participate in the market, then the Commerce Clause becomes a font of unlimited power, or in Hamilton's words, 'the hideous monster whose devouring jaws… spare neither sex nor age, nor high nor low, nor sacred nor profane.'"
The Court's dissenters also noted that the law was specifically passed with the mandate as a penalty, not a tax: "We cannot rewrite the statute to be what it is not. Although this court will often strain to construe legislation so as to save it against constitutional attack, it must not and will not carry this to the point of perverting the purpose of a statute ... or judicially rewriting it." Critics of the majority's decision will say for the foreseeable future that Chief Justice Roberts rewrote Obamacare to save it. Michael Carvin, who argued against Obamacare before the Supreme Court, noted dryly, "I'm glad he rewrote the statute instead of the Constitution."
Carvin's summary of the Supreme Court's ruling was on target: "What the Obama Administration… thought they were doing was completely unconstitutional; what they lied to the American people about was constitutional.… Unfortunately they got away with that bait-and-switch. A fraud has been perpetrated on the American citizenry."
In oral arguments before the Supreme Court, the administration's attorneys argued -- as they knew they had to -- that the mandate was constitutional as a tax. This despite the fact that Democrats passed Obamacare by stating specifically and repeatedly that the mandate was not a tax, including a testy response by President Obama himself to unusually challenging questioning by ABC's George Stephanopoulos in 2009.
As recently as a few months ago, President Obama's budget director said in a Congressional hearing that the mandate is not a tax, with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius saying "it operates as a tax, but it is not per se a tax."
If the bill had been marketed to members of Congress and the public as a tax, it is unlikely that even the Cornhusker Kickback and the Louisiana Purchase would have been enough to pass the law, despite the large Democrat congressional majorities at the time. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said that "if it had been seen as a tax, they wouldn't have gotten ten votes, much less sixty."
As for those Democrats in Congress who have argued, and may continue to argue, that the Obamacare mandate is not a tax, Graham said "they either don't know what they're doing, or they lied to us. So this is a huge issue in the fall." Graham called for every Congressional Republican who is up for election to ask their Democratic opponents whether they support this tax increase; given that Democrats have little choice but to support Obamacare, this is the political equivalent of asking someone if he has stopped beating his wife yet, and a solid political tactic.
Thus, the fact that the Court found the mandate to be a tax offsets some of the political gains for Obama. The question is how much.
THOSE WHO DISLIKE Barack Obama or his "signature achievement" may be motivated by the Thursday's events, but the ruling remains an important victory for the president, even as it is likely a negative for individual Democratic members of the U.S. Senate facing difficult reelection campaigns in November. How big a victory this is for Obama depends on whether Republicans get better at messaging than they have been during the quarter-century since Ronald Reagan left the White House.
Republicans and conservative activists didn't take long to figure this out: Representative Jeff Landry (R-LA) called the individual mandate "the largest tax increase on the poor and the middle class in the history of this country." Statements from pro-liberty and pro-jobs organizations included many phrases like "the nation's largest and broadest tax increase in history" (from Americans for Job Security) and "Obamacare today became the largest tax increase in American history. The health care law has nearly doubled in cost from $940 billion to $1.76 trillion and taxpayers deserve nothing less than full repeal and defunding by Congress. American taxpayers can't afford the tax increases in the law…" (from the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.)
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) got into the act within minutes of the Supreme Court ruling, making a statement from the Senate floor calling for full repeal of Obamacare and observing that "it's not just that the promises about this law weren't kept. It's that it has made the problems it was meant to solve even worse." House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) announced that the House will take up a vote on the repeal of Obamacare following their July 4th recess. That effort will be dead-on-arrival at the Democrat-controlled Senate but makes for good political theater.
Not surprisingly, Democratic reaction was rather different, with Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) saying that the Court's ruling "not only upholds the effort but it upholds one of the methods that we spent a lot of time trying to get it into law.… Big, big victory for Obama."
The ruling is an epiphany for Democrats: Any time we want to regulate anything, we can now do so -- as long as we impose a tax for non-compliance, and we probably don't even have to call it a tax until we get to court!
If there is a shred of judicial good news from Thursday's Court ruling, it is that a majority of the Justices would have struck down the mandate if the question were only related to the Commerce Clause. The Court has allowed Congress to run roughshod over economic liberty since FDR's court-packing scheme cowed the Supreme Court into reserving "strict scrutiny" for non-economic issues while allowing economic regulations and law to be deemed constitutional as long as Congress could make a "rational basis" claim. Perhaps the best measure of how beneficial the judicial hidden gem in the Obamacare ruling is comes from the opinion of the far-left Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in which she decries "the Chief Justice's novel constraint on Congress' commerce power."
This is the first time in recent memory that an economic issue would have been found unconstitutional on a Commerce Clause basis, which bodes well for those who would fight future Congressional overreach -- unless Congress finds a way to impose that overreach as a tax, which today's ruling will of course make Democrats (and their occasional Republican allies in regulation) attempt to do. The good news is that imposing new taxes is near the top of the list of politically perilous pursuits.
For the hard-core constitutional thinkers, there was another piece of good news on Thursday: According to legal scholar David Kopel of the Independence Institute, "For decades, advocates of unlimited government have asserted that the Necessary and Proper Clause gives Congress the power to enact anything that Congress thinks is a good idea. Today's decision slams the door on that notion, and returns the Necessary and Proper Clause to originalist principles."
THE POLITICAL IMPACT of the ruling will be fascinating to watch evolve. In his first public remarks following the Court's ruling, Mitt Romney stated that "Our mission is clear: if we want to get rid of Obamacare, we're going to have to replace President Obama." Romney added "What the Court did not do on its last day in session, I will do on my first day if elected President of the United States."
In his comments, Romney suggested that the Supreme Court "did not say that Obamacare is good law or that it is good policy. Obamacare was bad policy yesterday; it is bad policy today. Obamacare was bad law yesterday; it is bad law today." He went on to discuss the negative impacts of Obamacare:
[Despite raising taxes and cutting Medicare], Obamacare adds trillions to our deficits and to national debt and pushes those obligations on to coming generations. Obamacare also means that for up to 20 million Americans, they will lose the insurance they currently have, the insurance that they like and they want to keep. Obamacare is a job killer…three quarters of those surveyed by the Chamber of Commerce said Obamacare makes it less likely for them to hire people. And perhaps most troubling of all, Obamacare puts the federal government between you and your doctor. For all those reasons, it is important for us to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Clearly some people agreed: Romney's campaign reported a million dollars in online campaign contributions in the three hours after the ruling was announced. In that same time frame, in political betting on intrade.com, the odds of President Obama winning re-election rose very slightly from just under 54 percent to about 55 percent, still well below the 60 percent betting odds that persisted for Obama for most of the last six months.
About half an hour after Romney spoke, President Obama began his reaction to the ruling by dodging the real issue of the day, claiming that the Supreme Court's ruling "reaffirmed a fundamental principle that here in America, in the wealthiest nation on earth, no illness or accident should lead to any family's financial ruin." Of course, this is not what the Court "reaffirmed" nor is it about any "fundamental principle."
The president made specific reference to the political impact of the Court's action, saying that is a conversation for later; clearly Barack Obama knows that this "win" is a double-edged sword.
Needless to say, Obama did not mention the word "tax" in his remarks.
Instead, he went right to heartstring-pulling talking points about insurance companies "not being able to discriminate against children with preexisting conditions." Obama's laundry list of items which insurance companies must and must not do was a perfect reflection of the Democrat mentality that they can raise costs to insurers and health care providers without hurting quality, availability, or affordability for the public. It is the economic equivalent of believing, as my six-year old daughter does, in magical flying unicorns.
Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) went down the same path with a statement that thanks to Obamacare, "being a woman is no longer a pre-existing medical condition." And leftist activists are continuing in the Democrats' divide-and-conquer mode, such as a spokesperson for ProgressNow Colorado saying that the ruling is "a victory for… sick children, women, rural residents who need better health care, and small businesses." Of course, this will all be free in the left's Big Rock Candy Mountain world of economics.
The challenge for Republicans will be to remind people that essentially all of Obamacare's "popular" provisions raise costs of health care and health insurance, that there is no such thing as a free lunch. It will take some clever message framing to be able to counter the Democrats' arguments which will be misleading or simply wrong but easy to understand and superficially appealing.
Republicans have a favorable climate in which to deliver their message. As pollster Scott Rasmussen put it, Obamacare "has already lost in the Court of Public Opinion" with 54 percent of Americans currently wanting the law repealed -- the exact same percentage as one week after Obamacare was passed.
REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTS HAVE A SAD HISTORY of nominating to the Supreme Court people who end up trampling both the letter of the Constitution and the clear intent of the Founders. But Gerald Ford's nomination of John Paul Stevens and George H.W. Bush's nomination of David Souter may, when history is written with more than a few hours of reflection, pale in comparison to conservatives' revulsion at Chief Justice John Roberts. As Conn Carroll presciently noted three months ago, "If Roberts does end up being the fifth and deciding vote to uphold Obamacare, Bush's Supreme Court legacy will be regarded as a failure too. His reputation among conservatives will never recover." Perhaps his reputation should not be quite as damaged to begin with as Carroll suggests.
Roberts' majority opinion on the issue of the mandate is a painful but perhaps necessary reminder that we have a serious political problem in this country -- that Americans must start electing the right members of Congress, not counting on judges to bail us out from bad decisions made by those we have elected. Roberts makes us look in the mirror, perhaps reminding voters that people get the government they deserve. Indeed, the Chief Justice put it in black and white in his opinion: "It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices."
While Roberts has a point that we should elect better politicians, I would argue that it is, in fact, the Court's job to protect us from time to time; framing it as protecting us from ourselves rather than from those we elect is a distinction without a difference as the members of the Court swear, as do other elected federal officials, to support and defend the Constitution, not the people.
While even some conservative pundits, such as Erick Erickson, are looking for a way to give John Roberts a pass on his collaboration with the Court's liberals, it bears reminding that Roberts could have voted to overturn Obamacare and dealt a blow for liberty, by saying that the power to tax cannot be justified when the tax is levied for an action a person does not take. Many conservatives may find that John Roberts was very clever on Thursday, but he was too clever by (at least) half. Some will call it finesse; but perhaps cowardice would be equally accurate.
As my Spectator colleague Jim Antle put it, "Until you can find a real-world expansion of government power worse than Obamacare that this decision would enjoin, it seems that Roberts' conservative defenders are being too clever by four-fifths."
In a statement on the Supreme Court ruling, Colorado's Attorney General John Suthers (who was a party to the multi-state Obamacare challenge) argued that "Whatever limits remain on Congress's power will now be left to the political arena." While one might hope that the next election will offer a pro-liberty reaction by voters against President Obama and Obamacare, Suthers is less optimistic about the longer term, noting that if our liberty is dependent on the voters, "history has proven that little stands in the way of further encroachments on individual and state rights."
Nevertheless, there is no other route left to Americans. Lindsey Graham has figured it out: When asked by a Fox News interviewer "how do you hold the president accountable, Senator?" Graham's responded: "It's called an election."
The problem is that between voter ignorance and apathy, and the bias of much of the media, sustainable better election outcomes is a thin reed on which to hang our nation's liberty.
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Posted by Brett at 8:48 AM
By Mark Tooley on 6.29.12 @ 6:08AM
Thursday's ruling was step one. The real goal remains single-payer social justice.
The Religious Left already had their celebratory news releases primed and ready for the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare.
"We as churches follow the bold example of Jesus, who healed the sick, sometimes breaking the religious law that governed society," the National Council of Churches (NCC) somewhat boastfully explained. "Our members have always believed that health care is not simply another worthy cause to which we lend our name."
The NCC claims to speak for 40 million U.S. church members in 37 denominations, although few church goers likely are aware of their purported spokesman. As the NCC further outlined:
"Christians believe that human beings -- all of them -- are infinitely-valued children of God, created in God's image. Adequate health care, therefore, is a matter of preserving what our gracious God has made. That is why churches (and other religious communities) have established so many hospitals and other places of healing. And why we are convinced that health care is not a privilege, reserved for those who can afford it, but a right that should be available, at high quality, to all."
The recollection of church founded hospitals is ironic, because as usual the NCC interprets a social good to mean primarily government controlled and/or provided. The United Methodist Board of Church and Society on Capitol Hill also chimed in that Obamacare is a "huge step in the right direction and we celebrate provisions in that law that continue to fill the gaps and expand existing health care, particularly to low-income Americans."
Notice the Methodist lobbyist said Obamacare is only a "step" towards what is the denomination's official position, which is single payer health care. The Methodist lobbyist noted their church's position is "informed by biblical and theological witness."
The Presbyterian Church (USA) Stated Clerk also joined the celebration: "We rejoice today as the Supreme Court rules to uphold constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act." The Presbyterian rooted their pro-Obamacare stance in being "Reformed Christians," as though socialized medicine were intrinsically Calvinist. And he made clear his church's support for "single payer" as the "best vehicle for providing such health care resources."
The most left-leaning Mainline denomination is the United Church of Christ, whose president rhapsodized about the Obamacare court ruling: "The Supreme Court decision today is a clear signal that we as a country are moving toward the realm of God on earth -- the realm of this merciful, compassionate God, full of love for all."
So Obamacare is ushering in God's Kingdom. There is the old Social Gospel confidence, still expressed by dying denominations captive to it, that equates Big Government with divine rule. An interfaith statement organized by the by the Washington Interreligious Health Care Working Group and Faithful Reform, both of which are pro-Obamacare lobby groups, expressed hope that with "legal challenges behind us," the nation will embrace Obamacare . More so, they hope Congress will take the next logical "next step toward health care justice, by adopting a single-payer health system for the good of all." And, "We pray that our elected leaders will accept the decision of the Supreme Court and will diligently facilitate the full implementation of this vital, life-giving law."
In stark contrast, a leading spokesman for the 16 million member Southern Baptist Convention failed to discern Obamacare's "life-giving" nature. "It is astonishing that the majority of the justices did not see the bill for what it really is: a blatant violation of the personal freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution and perhaps a mortal blow to the concept of federalism," thundered Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. "When a government begins forcing citizens to purchase what it thinks is important or necessary, that government takes a dangerous step away from the freedom-embracing, democratic model," Land said.
Land also warned: "Greater government involvement in medical care also means that the sick, elderly and terminally ill will suffer." And ultimately, Obamacare "will destroy much of what Americans hold dear." Land cited the infamous contraceptive/abortifacient mandate on religious groups still facing litigation. The U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops reiterated their opposition to Obamacare, after the court ruling, based on the mandate and Obamacare's facilitation of abortion funding.
Major Evangelical Left voices are so far mostly quiet, maybe calculating how carefully to navigate their hope for government controlled health care while retaining credibility with pro-life and mostly instinctively conservative evangelicals. Overall, the Religious Left embraces Obamacare because it locates transcendent authority in centralized Big Government without really caring about the cost to civil society and liberty. In contrast, traditional faith is more realistic about the moral and practical limits of a huge and coercive regulatory welfare state that aspires to solve every human need.
The debate over Obamacare showcases competing religious visions of America. One has faith in centralized state power as the primary guarantor of justice. The other less bureaucratically believes health care and other human goods are better achieved through the efficiency, accountability, and greater compassion of civil society. One vision implies religion is ultimately subordinate to the state, while the other retains faith that religion transcendently includes much more than the temporal delivery of material goods and services.
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Posted by Brett at 8:34 AM