Monday, November 23, 2009

The Heritage Foundation

The Morning Bell

MONDAY, NOV 23, 2009

The Impending Obama Borrow and Spend Disaster

Speaking at Georgetown University on April 14th, President Barack Obama promised: “We cannot rebuild this economy on the same pile of sand. We must build our house upon a rock. We must lay a new foundation for growth and prosperity — a foundation that will move us from an era of borrow and spend to one where we save and invest.” Nice words. But the Obama administration actions have produced all sand and no rock. From the Wall Street Bailout, to Cash for Clunkers, to Obama’s failed stimulus, this administration has been all about borrowing and spending. And as the New York Times reports today, it will not be long before we begin paying a real price for these policies:

With the national debt now topping $12 trillion, the White House estimates that the government’s tab for servicing the debt will exceed $700 billion a year in 2019, up from $202 billion this year, even if annual budget deficits shrink drastically. Other forecasters say the figure could be much higher.

In concrete terms, an additional $500 billion a year in interest expense would total more than the combined federal budgets this year for education, energy, homeland security and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

$700 billion a year in interest payments alone. That is more money than our entire defense budget for next year including the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan. And that is a low end estimate. As Heritage fellow J.D. Foster has previously noted, governments around the world are also furiously borrowing, feeding a global debt bubble that will eventually force the U.S. Treasury to pay much higher interest rates. And much of the debt we took on this past year is coming due soon. The NYT reports that to take advantage of low rates today, the Treasury issued a huge amount of short-term debt. Treasury officials estimate that about 36 percent of the government’s marketable debt — about $1.6 trillion — is coming due in the months ahead. The Concord Coalition’s Robert Bixby comments: “The government is on teaser rates. We’re taking out a huge mortgage right now, but we won’t feel the pain until later.”

The American people are rightly concerned about this impending disaster. According to Rasmussen Reports, deficit reduction has remained the number one issue for voters ever since President Obama listed his four top budget priorities in a speech to Congress in February. Forty-two percent (42%) say cutting the deficit in half by the end of the president’s first term is most important, while only 24% say health care reform should be the top priority. Despite the clear wishes of the American people, the Senate voted Saturday night to move forward on a $4.9 trillion in new health care spending. The leftist majorities in Congress say that they will follow with the promised spending cuts and tax hikes to make their bill deficit neutral, but nobody believes them. According to the latest Quinnipiac University poll only 19% of Americans believe President Obama’s promise that health insurance reform will not add to our federal budget deficit over the next decade. 72% of Americans tell Quinnipiac they right understand that Obamacare will only add to our nation’s record breaking $12 trillion national debt.

There are a number of highly credible conservative plans for reducing our national debt. But Congress should take a tip from the medical profession on health reform and “first do no harm.”

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Radical Plan Of Action

 reasonsjester's post at
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Forum for fans of Mark Levin
by reasonsjester » Wed Nov 18, 2009 10:08 pm

The statist assault upon the republic has been relentless since the founding. The constitutional order has been threatened from the right by national statists like Hamilton and Lincoln, and from the left by progressives like Wilson and FDR. But despite the vicissitudes of fortune that have tested the mettle of the American people, under no other government in the history of the republic has the fate of a people been more in doubt.

The Constitution is tattered, the justice system is co-opted, the economy is largely nationalized, private property is obsolete, the currency is debauched, the debt is skyrocketing, the schools are indoctrination centers, the universities are propaganda mills, the news media are absent, national security is compromised, our wars overseas are stalling, the election system is fraudulent, the government is unrepentantly corrupt, the party system is broken, and the free speech necessary to alert our fellow citizens is being stifled by political correctness.

How did we arrive to the precipice of national ruin, and what is the ultimate solution to the challenges that confront those who prize liberty?

No political or economic system is ideal, the American system of government included. But at least in years past the American republic was designed to succeed. The political, economic, and educational systems now appear intended to demoralize those who prize liberty and freedom, those values that nurtured the United States in its historic rise over two centuries from fledgling alliance of former British colonies to powerful leader of the free world.

Some on the left would make it out that conservatives are rubes who pine for the halcyon days of slavery and more restricted suffrage, but these relics of the past are anathema to the views of those who respect the founding. Conservatives recognize that the kernel of political and true economic emancipation could always be found at the heart of America's constitutional order. Thus the developments over the course of two centuries that progressives claim are the fruits of their "struggle" against the unjust American system are actually the natural and logical consequences of The Declaration of Independence and the ratification and enshrinement of The United States Constitution.

The reversals of the founders' vision of a political system of organized liberty mounted nearly from the start. The Alien and Sedition Acts, the chartering of a central bank in direct contravention of the ruling of the Constitutional convention, and the suppression of rebellions all posed threats to the furtherance of a government founded on freedom. The War Between the States, counter-intuitive as it may be for some to grasp, may have freed the slaves, but it crushed State's Rights and cleared the path to oppressive centralized government. The Tenth Amendment is now such a foreign notion that when used as an objection to the encroachment of state power, one might be brandished a radical extremist by the "federal" government.

The turn of the twentieth century reversed the trend of national power statism to progressive statism. From the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 to the progressive income tax authorized by the Sixteenth Amendment, two planks of the Communist Manifesto, it was a smooth transition to the proto-fascism of the FDR-era through the Johnson administration. When Nixon closed the gold window in 1971, and authorized fiat currency, the ability of the government to manipulate the economy for political ends became virtually unbounded. Within two generations' time, the national debt mounted to the point of overwhelming the economy, all underwritten by the socialist mandate for the government to right the supposed injustice of requiring that people actually work for a living.

The political economy of the United States is now structurally distorted beyond recognition through the malinvestment that comes with the Fed's easy credit policies and the flooding of the market with money during economic downturns. Over the last thirty years, industries have been pushed overseas due to the highest corporate taxes in the world; this has exacerbated the inflation that comes through monetary expansion, which can be demonstrated by rising commodity prices like gold. The economy, between the bloated civil service and the government (which are net consumers and not producers) and the increase of the debt load for each family above $100,000 on average, is now cited at about 70% consumption. It doesn't take a Harvard economics degree to see that the fundamental political economy of the United States is literally unsustainable. This is irrefutably by design.

It is time for the American conservative to face a few hard truths. It is irrelevant whether the progressive believes himself to be a friend of the working class or a liberator of men or an erector of utopias or the usherer in of a new world order of perpetual peace and universal "social justice." The effect of progressive policies are exactly like those that would be designed by the worst enemy of freedom, liberty, prosperity, and success of the United States imaginable. If a general one hundred years ago was faced with the task of destroying the United States, the crown jewel of the Enlightenment and the nemesis of tyranny and oppression around the world, he could literally do no better (or worse) than the progressive Fabian socialist has done incrementally from within. Again, the damage to the country has been wrought by design, as can be clearly and unmistakably gleaned from the leftist tracts of a Marx, a Gramsci, a Horkheimer, or an Alinsky.

It is now beyond the point of arguing with indoctrinated neomarxists, who are literally unequipped to fathom the conservative's warning that the country is headed toward ruin and not toward millenarian rapture and on into a socialist paradise. Their consciences are carefully conditioned to react to all rational judgment as necessarily discriminatory or unjust. The progressive's views revolve around empathy and compassion, which are resistant to any rational arguments, which require a recognition of reality. The insertion of facts, evidence, and history into an argument with a leftist is like throwing a stone into a raging river; it will only appear from the perspective of the leftist as a barrier to progress, and in any event the fluidity of his mind will find a way to circumvent it.

The conservative must face the fact that he has now become the radical, the same kind of radical as our founding fathers were. The left has proceeded from the assumption of "the ends justify the means," and has approached the coercive apparatus of government with an instrumental rationality in order to effect its utopian vision. The legal system is a tool to the left; the education system is a tool to the left; the media is a tool to the left; and so forth; all institutions are seen as potential power for them to be seized for the cause. Conservatives believe in honoring institutions and thus refrain from utilizing their potential power to accomplish the vision of liberty, freedom, and individual rights.

This must change. We must see institutions in this country as more than sacred traditions to be preserved. We must see institutions as a means to power, with the battle cry of going on the offensive in the name of liberty. All manifestations of injustice and unfreedom must be attacked and swept away.

It is time to go to war with the left in a way that it can understand. There is no more time for civility and free discourse with the left, the way the left has gotten used to; the value that will be propagated will be liberty and freedom. There is no more "agree to disagree." It is the way of freedom or the highway. No longer should the university be permitted to capitalize on freedom to teach unfreedom; no longer should the lawyer be able to seize property in the interest of violating property; no longer will the left be permitted to take liberty with violating our liberties. This is not dogmatism, this is taking a principled stand in defense of freedom.

No, now is time for the leftists to be criminalized and exposed as parasites upon the system that has nurtured them. The leftists must be seen as the ultimate of hypocrites, infiltrators who tells pretty lies and who manipulate the institutions of society in order to achieve their grandiose and narcissistic goal of perfecting the world.

We must ourselves found, support, and co-opt institutions to propagate and inculcate the values of liberty and freedom in our culture. We must go on the offensive and attack the left intellectually. We must no longer tolerate the left's misuse of freedom to institute unfreedom. We must be relentless and we must be bold. Our founding fathers, the nation's first radicals, would do no less.


Friday, November 20, 2009

The Heritage Foundation

November 20, 2009

By Amanda Reinecker

The Senate health care bill: no improvement

Congress has outdone itself. On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid unveiled a health care bill weighing in at 2,074 pages, a new record. A vote on the bill is expected Saturday.

Heritage Foundation experts are still working through the specifics of the massive, $849 billion health care bill, as it is estimated to take up to 34 hours to read the entire thing. But they already know that "the major outlines of the bill are no different than the policy train wreck the House passed earlier this month," reports Heritage's Conn Carroll.

Both the House and Senate health care "reform" bills include:

A government "option." Both the House and Senate proposals would create a one-size-fits-all public plan to "compete" with private insurers. But the government will retain its role as regulator and thus stifle any competition and causing millions to lose their private coverage.

More people in failed programs. Both bills would place millions of Americans under the failing government-run Medicaid program, reducing subsidized benefits from those who truly need them and increasing the financial burden on the states.

Employer mandates. All employers of 50 people or more will be required to provide coverage that meets new federal standards or else face a hefty penalty. This mandate will disproportionately impact low-income workers.

Individual mandates. For the first time in history, all Americans will be forced to purchase federally approved coverage minimums. Those who fail to comply are subject to new tax penalties and, in some cases, jail time.

The bill's supporters may be congratulating each other for producing a health care bill that meets the President's $900 billion cap. But its $849 price tag is a preliminary estimate only, and it really only has one place to go -- up. "As history has proven, government health care programs end up costing much more than first promised," writes Carroll.

Both the House and Senate health care reform bills require individuals to purchase federally-approved health insurance, and those who fail to do so could face criminal prosecution. "Using [criminal law] to enforce one particular notion of appropriate insurance coverage is nothing less than a tyrannical assertion of raw government power over the private lives and economic rights of individual Americans," write Heritage legal scholars Brian Walsh and Hans von Spakovsky. This abuse of governmental power does not bode well for freedom, as it specifically targets those who choose to make their own decisions regarding their health insurance.

Visit Heritage's to read the entire Senate health care bill and to find more in-depth analyses as our analysts continue to dissect this massive legislation.

Protecting America's interests in Copenhagen

In December, members of the United Nations Framework Convention will meet in Copenhagen to discuss climate change and draft a new global warming treaty. "This is the most important international conference on global warming since the 1997 Kyoto conference that produced Kyoto Protocol," writes Heritage expert Ben Lieberman.

The Kyoto Protocol is an international environmental treaty which the United States never ratified because of the overwhelming financial and regulatory burdens it would impose on the country. Set to expire in 2012, however, the Kyoto Protocol is now the prototype for a new, even more stringent global warming treaty that would pose an even greater threat to American prosperity than its predecessor.

Lieberman explains how a new global warming treaty would hurt America:

Inflicting economic harm. The contemplated global warming treaty -- like the highly controversial cap-and-trade legislation under consideration in Congress -- would act as a large energy tax that would drive up energy costs for individuals and consumers. This would result in massive job losses.

Achieving little environmental gain. Leaving aside all scientific questions about global warming, the treaty's targeted emissions reductions will have a nominal, if any, impact on the earth's temperature. This is especially true if developing nations, whose emissions are growing fastest, remain exempt, as they are under Kyoto.

Undermining U.S. sovereignty. Unlike the Kyoto Protocol, a new global warming treaty would impose binding international enforcement mechanisms. An international authority will be established to ensure that all signatories are in compliance with the international provisions, as well as to determine penalties for non-complying entities.

Countless studies from both sides of the political aisle reveal the devastating effects of global warming controls. This is why cap-and-trade legislation has been stalled in the U.S. Senate.

President Obama has repeatedly promised to reduce America's greenhouse gas emissions and he is under immense pressure from radical environmentalist groups to keep this pledge. But surrendering American prosperity and sovereignty is no bargain.

"The American people need to know that, in addition to harming the U.S. economically and environmentally, a new global warming treaty would threaten U.S. sovereignty," explains Lieberman. The United States' decision not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol was a prudent one that served America's best interests. In Copenhagen this December, American negotiators should again keep our best interests in mind.

> Other Heritage work of note
"It is a tragic mistake to now bring the detained war combatants into the United States and to employ civilian criminal procedures which were never intended for this type of situation," former Attorney General and Heritage scholar Edwin Meese said this week. Last Friday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and five other terrorists would be tried in a civilian court in New York City rather than before a military tribunal. This decision blurs the distinction between crimes and acts of war, which are handled in military tribunals, not civilian court.

» Read Meese's full statement online
To prevent a "rerun of the Great Crash of 2008" and stave off the need for bailouts, Heritage Vice President Stuart Butler suggests reforming bankruptcy policy. "Without a realistic bankruptcy option, Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and then-Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. had to make it up on the fly, often stopping up the breaking dam with taxpayers' money." To prevent further bailouts, we should enact serious reforms that "give the bankruptcy courts the tools they need to take care of failing giants."

In less than a year, the Pelosi-Reid Congress has introduced four nation-altering proposals: the $787 billion economic stimulus plan, the massive 2010 budget plan, cap-and-trade legislation, and health care reform. Heritage Vice President Michael Franc points out that "House Republicans have been virtually unanimous in their opposition to this agenda, but House Democrats have been divided in important ways." The Left has kept this ambitious schedule despite the split between moderate liberals and radical progressives, Franc argues, because of "the San Francisco speaker's ability to persuade her troops to line up behind a breathtakingly liberal legislative agenda."

The Heritage Foundation

The Morning Bell

FRIDAY, NOV 20, 2009
A Health Bill Nobody Believes In

Last Saturday night Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) forced through a vote on her 2,032 page health care bill only a few days after releasing it to the public. Now Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is poised for another Saturday night cram down, forcing a Senate cloture vote mere days before his 2,074 page bill was given to Senators. Yet again, Congress will be forced to vote on a bill that none of them have actually read. More importantly, as we pour through the details, it becomes obvious that none of them even believe the plan will do what the bill says.

Kills Jobs: All told, the Reid Bill raises taxes by $370.2 billion over the next ten years with many of those taxes starting to be collected this year while unemployment is at 10.2% and rising. Worse, the bill includes a job killing employer mandate which taxes companies for hiring people. Specifically, companies with more than 50 employees that do not offer a health plan approved by federal bureaucrats will be forced to pay a $750 per employee job tax.

Hurts Small Businesses: The Reid Bill acknowledges it is terrible public policy for small businesses and tries to address this problem by including a “small business tax credit” to minimize the impact of the job killing employer mandates and regulation-caused rises in private health insurance premiums. But the tax credit only lasts two years and largely excludes small business owners, small businesses with high-average payrolls, and firms with 25 or more workers. After all exclusions, essentially the only eligible firms are those firms with 10 or fewer workers as well as those with low-income workers—the least likely to offer coverage even with a significant price reduction.

Hurts Families: The Reid Bill includes an individual mandate that forces any American who does not have a federal bureaucrat approved health plan to pay an annual tax penalty of $750 per adult family member and $375 per child, with a maximum penalty of $2,250 per family. These penalties are indexed for inflation, which means they are likely to increase nearly every year. These taxes are fixed amounts based on family size, not income. A family of at least two adults and two children is actually worse off under the Senate bill if they make less than $99,350 a year. The only nod to affordability is a “hardship exemption” if the lowest available premium for a bare-bones plan is more than 8 percent of your income. But that saves you money only if your income is less than $28,125 a year.

Hurts Poor: The Reid Bill’s employer mandate is especially punitive on poor families. Firms that hire an employee from a low-income family who qualify for an insurance subsidy are charged a tax penalty of $3,000. So a company could save $3,000 by hiring, say, someone with a working spouse or a teenager with working parents, rather than a single mother with three children. Worse, companies only have to pay $750 an employee instead of $3,000 if one quarter of employees are low-income. This creates a situation where, if a company has a lot of low-income workers, they can actually save money by dropping their health plan and just dumping all their employees into the federal exchange at their own expense.

Hurts States: The Reid bill expands Medicaid eligibility for people below 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). Even with a provision aimed at Senator Landrieu’s Louisiana that picks up some state costs, the CBO estimates that state spending under the Medicaid provisions will still increase by $25 billion. The Democratic Governor of Tennessee Phil Bredesen told a state budget meeting this Wednesday: “I wish every member of Congress would have to come sit in this room and listen to the real world of what’s going on in Medicaid today. I mean how can you listen to this stuff and the stuff you are talking about eliminating just to get through this and then talk about adding a whole bunch of new expenses onto the states.”

Funds Abortion: Unlike the House-passed Stupak-Pitts amendment which treats abortion funding the same way the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan does (the same health insurance all members of Congress have), the Reid Bill fosters taxpayer funding of elective abortion by authorizing the HHS Secretary to create a funding scheme that will permit inclusion of abortion coverage in the bill’s public option and mandates the inclusion of at least one plan with elective abortion coverage in each state’s health insurance exchange.

Hides True Costs: According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Reid Bill as written would spend less than $900 billion over the next ten years. But the CBO is only allowed to score what Congress says it will do, not what everybody knows it actually will do. So the CBO warns: “These longer-term calculations assume that the provisions are enacted and remain unchanged throughout the next two decades which is often not the case for major legislation … The long-term budgetary impact could be quite different if key provisions of the bill were ultimately changed or not fully implemented.” The Senate bill depends on using cuts to Medicare to pay for its $1.2 Trillion coverage expansion. These dramatic savings, of course, assume that these spending cuts stay intact. Nobody believes they will. And the Massachusetts experience proves just that. Harvard Medical School Dean Dr. Jeffrey Flier explains:

There are important lessons to be learned from recent experience with reform in Massachusetts. Here, insurance mandates similar to those proposed in the federal legislation succeeded in expanding coverage but—despite initial predictions—increased total spending.

Selling an uncertain and potentially unwelcome outcome such as this to the public would be a challenging task. It is easier to assert, confidently but disingenuously, that decreased costs and enhanced quality would result from the current legislation.

That is exactly what the Reid health care bill is: a completely disingenuous plan to increase coverage while reducing cost. Nobody believes Congress can or will follow through with spending cuts required to keep this scheme from bankrupting our country. That is why the AMA can support Obamacare despite the fact that both the House and Senate bills call for at least a 21% cut in doctor pay starting in 2011. Nobody believes those cuts are going to happen. Nobody believes in this bill

Republican Leader Press Office

The Republican Alternative

By Peter Ferrara on 11.18.09 @ 6:08AM

Democrats have been telling us all year that the Republicans have no health reform alternative. They are just the party of no! So we must have all been hallucinating when, lo and behold, just before the recent House vote on the Pelosi/Obama government health care takeover bill, there was a vote on…the Republican alternative.

Exactly the opposite of the House Democrat health plan, the Republican alternative would actually reduce the cost of health insurance and care. It would also expand coverage and provide a safety net ensuring that no one would be excluded from essential health coverage or care. It would also expand consumer choice and control over health care.

At the same time, the Republican plan involves no tax increases, no Medicare cuts, no rationing, and no increased deficits now or in the future. Exactly how all this is accomplished is fully explained below.

Lower Costs

The Republican plan allows insurers to sell health insurance across state lines. This would greatly expand competition, enabling the more than 1,000 private insurance companies to each compete nationally. That vastly increased competition would reduce health insurance premiums and costs. It would also greatly expand consumer freedom of choice.

We hear liberal complaints about areas within some states that only have a couple of insurance companies competing. That is entirely due to government regulation. We see ads for car insurance, and every other type of insurance, competing nationally all the time. There is no reason why we can't enjoy the same for health insurance.

The Republican plan, of course, includes medical liability tort reform modeled after successful reforms in California and Texas. This would sharply reduce costly junk lawsuits and the resulting costly defensive medicine pursued just to protect against frivolous claims. Democrats crassly oppose this because of the enormous contributions they receive from Plaintiffs' attorneys, which has been openly admitted.

The Republican plan would further reduce costs by enhancing Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), which are themselves a Republican reform fundamentally changing health care by introducing market incentives to reduce costs. Individuals with HSAs keep most of their money for health care in a savings account, earning tax-free interest, with the rest going to purchase a high-deductible, catastrophic insurance policy. The premium cost for such catastrophic coverage, with deductibles generally ranging from $2,000 to $6,000 a year, is much lower than for standard, low-deductible health insurance, allowing the savings in the account to grow quickly to cover the entire deductible. Patients with HSAs are free to use the money in their accounts for any health care, including preventive care, check-ups, prescriptions, dental care, eye care, and the full range of alternative medicine. Nothing could do more to increase consumer freedom of choice and to put patients in control of their own health care.

Money kept in HSAs can be used for health care in later years, or for anything in retirement. So patients are effectively using their own money for non-catastrophic care. That provides powerful incentives to avoid overly costly or unnecessary care and to look for doctors and hospitals that can provide quality care at lower cost, creating real market competition to reduce costs.

The Republican House alternative would allow consumers to use funds saved in HSAs to pay for the catastrophic insurance covering costs above the deductible. Broadly expanding HSAs across the entire health system, including Medicare and Medicaid, would essentially solve the health cost problem.

CBO confirms that this Republican alternative plan would reduce health insurance costs, exactly the opposite of the Pelosi/Obama plan that CBO confirms would increase health insurance costs. The CBO analysis shows that for millions of families health insurance premiums would be almost $5,000 per year less under this GOP plan than the cheapest health insurance under the Pelosi bill.

Expanded Coverage and a Safety Net

The GOP alternative also includes several provisions to expand health insurance coverage. Most important are the Universal Access Programs that would expand uninsurable risk pools to ensure that all Americans would be able to obtain coverage for any pre-existing condition. The uninsured who become too sick to buy private health insurance covering their condition can turn to their state's risk pool for coverage. They are charged premiums for such coverage based on their ability to pay. Each state then subsidizes its uninsurable risk pool to ensure that it could cover all costs.

Few people become truly uninsurable because of their health condition, so the risk pools are a low cost solution. But trying to force these people into the same market risk pools as everyone else through such policies as guaranteed issue (requiring insurers to accept all applicants for coverage regardless of health condition) and community rating (requiring insurers to charge everyone the same regardless of health condition) just ruins health insurance for the general public, making it too expensive and sharply increasing the uninsured as a result. Providing for the uninsurable separately through their own pool is consequently a much better policy.

The GOP plan would also enable small businesses to pool together to offer health insurance at lower prices, like big corporations and labor unions, which would further increase coverage. The proposal would also allow and encourage coverage for young adults on their parents' insurance through age 25. And though this has already been the law for many years, the Republican plan would also expressly prohibit insurers from canceling health insurance policies as long as payments continue, unless the insured commits fraud or conceals a material fact about a health condition.

The lower costs from the provisions above would also expand health coverage, as lower insurance costs reduce the number of uninsured. Wider availability of low cost HSA insurance would also expand coverage.

Blue Dog Fraud

Again, exactly the opposite of the House Democrat health care scheme, this Republican plan includes no tax increases, no Medicare cuts, and no health care rationing. In sharp contrast, the latest numbers from CBO show the costs of the Pelosi plan already exploding. Once that plan is fully phased in, over the first 10 years (2014-2023) total government spending would increase by over $3 trillion, not the $1 trillion that has been so widely reported. Total Medicare cuts over those 10 years would be over $1 trillion, and total tax increases would run over $1 trillion as well.

Yet, not one of the supposedly fiscal conservative Blue Dog Democrats voted for this Republican plan. Every single Democrat in the House voted against it. The so-called Blue Dog Democrat phenomenon is a scam. These Democrats were elected to the House in conservative districts on the promise that they were, honest to God, real conservatives. But once elected, they play a game with the left-wing House Democrat leadership providing just enough votes to pass Pelosi/Obama socialism every time, with the rest free to vote against it to keep the scam going back home. Whenever the leadership needs their vote, however, they are there.

It is these Blue Dog Democrats that keep the ultraleft House Democrat leadership in power, from Speaker Nancy Pelosi from San Francisco, to Banking Committee Chairman Barney Frank from Boston, to Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman from Hollywood, to Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charley Rangel from Harlem, to Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers from Detroit. If this is not the kind of leadership you want for America, then the so-called Blue Dog Democrats all need to be replaced.

The Democrats' Death Panel for Grandma

Whether they vote for any of the Obamacare bills or not, the so-called Blue Dogs in both the House and the Senate are enabling the ultraleft Democrat Congressional leadership in the passage of legislation that imposes government health care rationing on seniors under Medicare, which will deny them essential health care, and begins the implementation of such rationing for everyone else.

Included in these Democrat health bills is a new, unelected, Medicare "Commission" which would implement a new "global budget" for Medicare each year. That global budget would set an arbitrary limit on how much would be spent on health care for seniors every year. The Commission is to enforce that budget by deciding what health care treatments, procedures, surgeries, drugs, etc. would be covered under Medicare and paid for, and which would not. If the Commission decides that the expensive surgery or treatment that Grandma needs to stay alive is just not worth the cost, then the doctors will just come to tell you they are sorry, but there is nothing they can do.

The Wall Street Journal explained the result on Monday by quoting prominent health economist Alain Enthoven, who "has likened a global budget to ‘bombing from 35,000 feet, where you don't see the faces of the people you kill.'" The Journal explained further:

"The hard budget cap means there is only so much money to be divvied up for care, with no account for demographic changes, such as longer life spans, or for the increasing incidence of diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions. Worse, it makes little room for medical innovations. The commission is mandated to go after "sources of excessive cost growth" meaning treatments that are too expensive or whose coverage will boost spending. If researchers find a pricey treatment for Alzheimer's in 2020, that might be banned because it would add new costs and bust the global budget. Or it might decide that "Maybe you're better off not having the surgery, but taking the pain-killer," as President Obama put it in June."

No true liberal would support allowing the government to play God in this way, deciding who will live and who will die. But today's so-called liberals are so fiercely partisan now that they have become mentally disengaged. They refuse to even consider any conservative or Republican arguments on any issue, from global warming, to tax policy, to economic policy, to the budget. As a result, they have become dangerous people. What they are supporting is an outright assault on the health care of America's seniors. But they don't have a clue.

The House Republican health bill alternative not only includes no such rationing or Medicare cuts. It actually tries to roll back rationing provisions that have already been adopted. The Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness is a new bureaucracy created in the so-called stimulus bill. President Obama's Council of Economic Advisors explained the role of "comparative effectiveness" in controlling health costs in a report it issued in June, "The Economic Case for Health Reform." The government bureaucracy in Washington would decide what health care works and what doesn't for everybody. It would then enforce its decisions through the payment system for doctors and hospitals. Those doctors and hospitals that don't follow the received wisdom of the wise and all-knowing federal bureaucrats would be penalized in their payments for your care, if they get paid at all.

The Journal again further explained this policy on Monday, saying:

"The reason that physician discretion -- not Washington's cost minded judgments -- is at the core of medicine is that usually there are no "right" answers. The data from large clinical trials produce generic conclusions that rarely apply to individual patients, who have vastly different biologies, response rates to treatments, and often multiple conditions. A breakthrough drug like Herceptin, which is designed for a certain genetic subset of breast cancer patients, might well be ruled out under such a standardized approach."

You might think that your doctor who knows you and your illness would know what will work for you and what won't far better than faraway government bureaucrats that don't know you at all. But don't tell that to today's Washington Democrats, who know everything about everything, and don't need to hear anything from anybody.

This health care rationing involves a radical decline in America's standard of living. Today, Americans enjoy the best, most advanced, high tech, patient-centered health care in the world, devoted to improving and saving their lives. But after the Democrats get through imposing their throwback socialized medicine philosophy, this will all be gone, and we will suffer with the same third rate health care as in other socialized medicine systems around the world. This suits President Obama, whose "moral" vision is that America is just another country, and that it is embarrassingly immoral for America to have more prosperity or power than anyone else. That is why all of his policies are leading to this same dead end for America.

Peter Ferrara is director of entitlement and budget policy at the Institute for Policy Innovation, and general counsel of the American Civil Rights Union. He served in the White House Office of Policy Development under President Reagan, and as Associate Deputy Attorney General of the United States under the first President Bush. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Levin Surge

Fellow Conservatives we do not believe in destruction we believe in reform. Mark Levin has called for a surge tonight against the People who will vote for Obamacare. Please click on the link below. Also read the Federalist Paper #51

The Mark Levin Show

Federalist No. 51
The Structure of the Government Must Furnish the Proper Checks and Balances Between the Different Departments

From the New York Packet.

Friday, February 8, 1788.

Author: Alexander Hamilton or James Madison

To the People of the State of New York:

TO WHAT expedient, then, shall we finally resort, for maintaining in practice the necessary partition of power among the several departments, as laid down in the Constitution? The only answer that can be given is, that as all these exterior provisions are found to be inadequate, the defect must be supplied, by so contriving the interior structure of the government as that its several constituent parts may, by their mutual relations, be the means of keeping each other in their proper places. Without presuming to undertake a full development of this important idea, I will hazard a few general observations, which may perhaps place it in a clearer light, and enable us to form a more correct judgment of the principles and structure of the government planned by the convention. In order to lay a due foundation for that separate and distinct exercise of the different powers of government, which to a certain extent is admitted on all hands to be essential to the preservation of liberty, it is evident that each department should have a will of its own; and consequently should be so constituted that the members of each should have as little agency as possible in the appointment of the members of the others. Were this principle rigorously adhered to, it would require that all the appointments for the supreme executive, legislative, and judiciary magistracies should be drawn from the same fountain of authority, the people, through channels having no communication whatever with one another. Perhaps such a plan of constructing the several departments would be less difficult in practice than it may in contemplation appear. Some difficulties, however, and some additional expense would attend the execution of it. Some deviations, therefore, from the principle must be admitted. In the constitution of the judiciary department in particular, it might be inexpedient to insist rigorously on the principle: first, because peculiar qualifications being essential in the members, the primary consideration ought to be to select that mode of choice which best secures these qualifications; secondly, because the permanent tenure by which the appointments are held in that department, must soon destroy all sense of dependence on the authority conferring them. It is equally evident, that the members of each department should be as little dependent as possible on those of the others, for the emoluments annexed to their offices. Were the executive magistrate, or the judges, not independent of the legislature in this particular, their independence in every other would be merely nominal. But the great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachments of the others. The provision for defense must in this, as in all other cases, be made commensurate to the danger of attack. Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions. This policy of supplying, by opposite and rival interests, the defect of better motives, might be traced through the whole system of human affairs, private as well as public. We see it particularly displayed in all the subordinate distributions of power, where the constant aim is to divide and arrange the several offices in such a manner as that each may be a check on the other that the private interest of every individual may be a sentinel over the public rights. These inventions of prudence cannot be less requisite in the distribution of the supreme powers of the State. But it is not possible to give to each department an equal power of self-defense. In republican government, the legislative authority necessarily predominates. The remedy for this inconveniency is to divide the legislature into different branches; and to render them, by different modes of election and different principles of action, as little connected with each other as the nature of their common functions and their common dependence on the society will admit. It may even be necessary to guard against dangerous encroachments by still further precautions. As the weight of the legislative authority requires that it should be thus divided, the weakness of the executive may require, on the other hand, that it should be fortified. An absolute negative on the legislature appears, at first view, to be the natural defense with which the executive magistrate should be armed. But perhaps it would be neither altogether safe nor alone sufficient. On ordinary occasions it might not be exerted with the requisite firmness, and on extraordinary occasions it might be perfidiously abused. May not this defect of an absolute negative be supplied by some qualified connection between this weaker department and the weaker branch of the stronger department, by which the latter may be led to support the constitutional rights of the former, without being too much detached from the rights of its own department? If the principles on which these observations are founded be just, as I persuade myself they are, and they be applied as a criterion to the several State constitutions, and to the federal Constitution it will be found that if the latter does not perfectly correspond with them, the former are infinitely less able to bear such a test. There are, moreover, two considerations particularly applicable to the federal system of America, which place that system in a very interesting point of view. First. In a single republic, all the power surrendered by the people is submitted to the administration of a single government; and the usurpations are guarded against by a division of the government into distinct and separate departments. In the compound republic of America, the power surrendered by the people is first divided between two distinct governments, and then the portion allotted to each subdivided among distinct and separate departments. Hence a double security arises to the rights of the people. The different governments will control each other, at the same time that each will be controlled by itself. Second. It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. Different interests necessarily exist in different classes of citizens. If a majority be united by a common interest, the rights of the minority will be insecure. There are but two methods of providing against this evil: the one by creating a will in the community independent of the majority that is, of the society itself; the other, by comprehending in the society so many separate descriptions of citizens as will render an unjust combination of a majority of the whole very improbable, if not impracticable. The first method prevails in all governments possessing an hereditary or self-appointed authority. This, at best, is but a precarious security; because a power independent of the society may as well espouse the unjust views of the major, as the rightful interests of the minor party, and may possibly be turned against both parties. The second method will be exemplified in the federal republic of the United States. Whilst all authority in it will be derived from and dependent on the society, the society itself will be broken into so many parts, interests, and classes of citizens, that the rights of individuals, or of the minority, will be in little danger from interested combinations of the majority. In a free government the security for civil rights must be the same as that for religious rights. It consists in the one case in the multiplicity of interests, and in the other in the multiplicity of sects. The degree of security in both cases will depend on the number of interests and sects; and this may be presumed to depend on the extent of country and number of people comprehended under the same government. This view of the subject must particularly recommend a proper federal system to all the sincere and considerate friends of republican government, since it shows that in exact proportion as the territory of the Union may be formed into more circumscribed Confederacies, or States oppressive combinations of a majority will be facilitated: the best security, under the republican forms, for the rights of every class of citizens, will be diminished: and consequently the stability and independence of some member of the government, the only other security, must be proportionately increased. Justice is the end of government. It is the end of civil society. It ever has been and ever will be pursued until it be obtained, or until liberty be lost in the pursuit. In a society under the forms of which the stronger faction can readily unite and oppress the weaker, anarchy may as truly be said to reign as in a state of nature, where the weaker individual is not secured against the violence of the stronger; and as, in the latter state, even the stronger individuals are prompted, by the uncertainty of their condition, to submit to a government which may protect the weak as well as themselves; so, in the former state, will the more powerful factions or parties be gradnally induced, by a like motive, to wish for a government which will protect all parties, the weaker as well as the more powerful. It can be little doubted that if the State of Rhode Island was separated from the Confederacy and left to itself, the insecurity of rights under the popular form of government within such narrow limits would be displayed by such reiterated oppressions of factious majorities that some power altogether independent of the people would soon be called for by the voice of the very factions whose misrule had proved the necessity of it. In the extended republic of the United States, and among the great variety of interests, parties, and sects which it embraces, a coalition of a majority of the whole society could seldom take place on any other principles than those of justice and the general good; whilst there being thus less danger to a minor from the will of a major party, there must be less pretext, also, to provide for the security of the former, by introducing into the government a will not dependent on the latter, or, in other words, a will independent of the society itself. It is no less certain than it is important, notwithstanding the contrary opinions which have been entertained, that the larger the society, provided it lie within a practical sphere, the more duly capable it will be of self-government. And happily for the REPUBLICAN CAUSE, the practicable sphere may be carried to a very great extent, by a judicious modification and mixture of the FEDERAL PRINCIPLE.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Heritage Foundation

The Morning Bell


Keeping Up Our End of the Bargain With Those Who Serve
Today, we at The Heritage Foundation will honor Veterans Day by pausing to remember those who sacrifice in defense of freedom for our country. Heritage honors all who serve past and present in the United States Armed Forces, their families, and all military retirees and veterans. We solemnly remember those fallen men and women who gave the last full measure of devotion and will also not forget those who have yet to come home and remain missing in action.

This national holiday warrants a diversion from discussing domestic priorities to take a closer look at what Congress and the White House are doing about many pressing defense issues.

Some policymakers seem want to keep defense and military issues out of the headlines, choosing instead to continue cutting the defense budget to fund domestic programs. This observation is based on actual outcomes from this year’s defense budget debate.

During the past few months, Congress and the President effectively shut down the purchase of next-generation equipment for the military. That includes: the Air Force’s F-22 fifth-generation fighter aircraft, the most sophisticated in the world; the Army’s ground vehicles designed to replace a combat fleet built in the 1970s and 80s; two types of helicopters-one which fulfills the unique duty of rescuing military personnel held behind enemy lines; and large cuts to the missile defense program designed to thwart the threat of long-range ballistic missiles from hitting U.S. shores and cities.

What’s likely next year? Jack Reed (D-RI), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, recently opined that the Department of Defense should buckle up for some (more) “painful adjustments”-as if any more could be borne by those in uniform-and get ready to do the following:

sacrifice defense dollars to pay for TARP, the stimulus bill, domestic programs and the federal debt;

hand over another chunk of the defense budget to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for civilian aid or “soft power” programs; and

delay or cut weapons programs that are not “absolutely essential.”

Unfortunately, Congress set a horrible precedent, having given the President so many of his defense cuts during a time of war. That just makes more devastating cancellations likely in the coming years.

The problem is that, since they have no new weapons systems to slash, politicians will need to start eliminating equipment that today’s troops are using everyday. This includes replacements for tanks, trucks, ships and planes that are already worn out after nine years of consecutive warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In short, finding further “savings” in the defense budget would require cutting to the bone and hurting those in uniform. Having a world-class military and truly honoring those who serve requires policymakers to provide the same technologically-advanced equipment to defeat any enemy when necessary and protect those in harm’s way.

Providing the military just enough to barely get by is dangerous, and an outright dereliction of duty by federal policymakers whose first job is found in the preamble of the U.S. Constitution: to provide for the common defense of the American people.