Friday, October 23, 2009

The Heritage Foundation

The Morning Bell


FRIDAY, OCT 23, 2009

The Unaccountable Obama Czar State

Yesterday the United States Department of the Treasury Special Master of Compensation Kenneth Feinberg announced a wage control scheme for the 175 executives of the seven companies that have received the most funds from the taxpayer funded Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). At first the Obama administration denied any involvement in Feinberg’s decision. Politico reports:

 In fact, sources within the administration say the decision to cap corporate pay was Kenneth Feinberg's, and his alone. A senior administration official tells POLITICO that Obama did not sign off on the pay master’s decision. Feinberg didn't even brief the White House on it, the official said, but he briefed Treasury officials instead.

But after yesterday’s announcement that the Federal Reserve released its own plan to control how banks compensate their employees, the New York Times reported:

The announcement was choreographed to coincide with the decision by the Obama administration this week to cut the pay of many high earners at the seven companies that received the most taxpayer help. Both decisions were announced amid growing public outrage over large pay packages at many of those companies.

So which is it? Are the new wage control schemes launched by the Pay Czar and the Fed the acts of independent experts, or are they the closely controlled policy decisions of the Obama White House?

The answer to that question goes to the core of the very real constitutional problems that the proliferation of czars in the Obama administration creates. Obama appointed Feinberg to be his Pay Czar without any input from the American people and without any approval from Congress. Heritage fellow Matthew Spalding explained the problem in his recent testimony to Congress:

The issue is not whether the proliferation of “czars” amounts to a usurpation of power by the executive branch. Rather, the fundamental issue is how the rise of modern administrative government has put us in an unsolvable dilemma: whether policy should be made by technical experts, insulated from public accountability and control, or whether policy should be made by our elected representatives in Congress and the executive branch. The rise of government by bureaucrats–due to the delegation of power from Congress to administrative agencies, combined with the removal of those agencies from the President’s control–has given rise to efforts by Presidents from both parties to get the bureaucratic state under control through various mechanisms. The rise of “czars” in the current administration is just another manifestation–albeit, an unfortunate one–of this phenomenon.

If the American people did want hold the Fed and the Pay Czar accountable for their wage control decisions, right now there is no way for them to do so.

NAGR GUN RIGHTS ALERT





Help NAGR fight for your right to keep and bear arms. Please listen to Congressman Broun’s message, and take all the actions he requests.


Congressman Paul Broun may be the gun owner's BEST FRIEND in Congress and he has a message you really need to hear about what Barack Obama plans for your gun rights. Just click the image below to listen.

NAGR Survey 

With your help, NAGR and Congressman Broun will defeat H.R. 45, Barack Obama’s National Gun Registration and Citizen Disarmament Act to preserve our liberties for the next generation.


In Liberty,


Dudley Brown
Executive Director
National Association for Gun Rights

P.S. H.R. 45 is the most draconian gun control measure of recent memory, and it's only the beginning. Obama's reign could last another seven years, and the anti-gun lobbies in Congress won't relent any time soon.

Help NAGR fight for your right to keep and bear arms. Please listen to Congressman Broun’s message, and take all the actions he requests.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Heritage Foundation

The Morning Bell


THURSDAY, OCT 22, 2009

A Whole New Health Care Ball Game

You have to read all the way to page A-25 in today’s New York Times to learn about it, but the Senate took its first floor vote on Obamacare yesterday and the White House lost. Big. The NYT reports: “Democrats lost a big test vote on health care legislation on Wednesday as the Senate blocked action on a bill to increase Medicare payments to doctors at a cost of $247 billion over 10 years. The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, needed 60 votes to proceed. He won only 47. And he could not blame Republicans. A dozen Democrats and one independent crossed party lines and voted with Republicans on the 53 to 47 roll call.”

As we reported on Monday and Tuesday, yesterday’s “doc fix” vote was part of a White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel strategy to smooth passage of President Barack Obama’s $1 trillion-plus health care overhaul by transferring a quarter of its cost into a separate, and completely unpaid for, bill. This transparently dishonest shell game was too much for honest Democratic Senators like Evan Bayh (D-IN), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Ron Wyden (D-OR). Wyden told the NYT: “On the eve of a historic debate on health care, it’s essential to show a commitment to real reform,” which includes fiscal responsibility.

Yesterday’s vote marks a significant failure of the Left’s special interest approach to passing Obamacare. From the beginning, the White House thought that if it bought off all of the business interests involved (the American Medical Association, the drug industry, health insurers, hospitals, etc.) opposition to the plan would whither. In one sense, the plan worked. USA Today reports PhRMA, Pfizer, America’s Health Insurance Plans, and the Federation of American Hospitals have all ponied up millions of dollars for lobbying and television ads in support of Obamacare.

But all these special interest television ads failed to rid Americans of their common sense objections to Obamacare’s government takeover of health care. Gallup reports today that Americans now more than ever believe the costs their family pays for health care will get worse if Obamacare passes. And more Americans now believe that Obamacare will lower the quality of care they receive, reduce their health care coverage, and complicate the insurance company requirements they have to meet to get certain treatments covered.

Instead of the massive overhaul being pursued by the White House, a solid majority of Americans tell Gallup they want to see Congress move in the opposite direction. By 58% to 38%, Americans would generally prefer to see Congress deal with health care reform “on a gradual basis over several years” rather than “try to pass a comprehensive health care reform plan this year.” Bipartisan, fiscally responsible, reform such as equalizing the tax treatment of health insurance purchases, freeing customers to purchase health insurance across state lines, and allowing states more flexibility on Medicaid spending are readily doable. And that is what the people want.

The Heritage Foundation 33 Minutes




U.S.- Ukraine Missile Defense Talks Concern Russia

Last week, the Russians once again expressed concerns about U.S. missile defense plans. This time, their objection came over U.S. plans to use a Ukranian radar station as part of the Obama Administration's revised plan for a missile defense shield to protect against the Iranian missile threat. Russia said it is worried about U.S.-Ukraine discussions and thinks continued talks about the proposal could jeopardize efforts by the Obama Administration to improve diplomatic ties between Russia and the U.S., according to Reuters.

Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S. Oleh Shamshur confirmed talks about using the radar station have already begun, according to Reuters. The plans are opposed by Moscow because they claim the Ukranian radar station would supply the U.S. with a missile defense installation that could be used against the Kremlin, despite U.S. assurances that none of the proposed defenses were aimed at Russia and are intended to protect the U.S. and its allies from the Iranian missile threat, Reuters reports.

This is not the first time Russia had concerns over U.S. missile defense proposals. The Kremlin opposed U.S. plans to put ground-based missile defense interceptors in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic. These installations, known more commonly as Third Site, were two key components to protect America and its allies from an Iranian long-range ballistic missile attack. Russia opposed these measures and last month, after continued diplomatic efforts by the Obama Administration to hit the "reset button" with the former Cold War foe, the plans to put missile defense installations in Poland and the Czech Republic were abandoned. This decision was entirely political and designed to appease Russia.

Now, the Kremlin is at it again. While there is nothing on the table yet to replace Third Site with a plan that would include the radar station in the Ukraine as a component, Russia is already objecting to the U.S. even talking to the former Soviet satellite country about missile defenses.

Russia continues to assure the U.S. that rolling back their missile defense plans in Europe will improve cooperation between the two countries. Yet, there is scant evidence that Russia will deliver anything credible in return for Obama's abandonment of the Third Site. Russia has failed to offer any concessions in return for this policy change. Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov refused to join with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and to call for tougher sanctions on Iran. Lavrov wouldn't even agree to threaten the rogue state with harsher sanctions, calling the exercise "counterproductive." Based on this type of rhetoric, it remains unlikely Russia will support greater U.N. sanctions against Iran anytime soon.

The Obama Administration must take the Russians at their words and their inactions and not submit to pressure from Moscow when it comes to U.S. missile defense plans. It was shameful for the Administration to turn their back on Poland and the Czech Republic. Now is not the time to add Ukraine to the list of allies Obama has deserted.

Now is the time for the Obama Administration to reverse course and fully fund our missile defenses, thereby preparing America and its allies for all potential threats. Giving into the Russians is a strategic loss, a security loss, a diplomatic loss, and another black eye for America's prestige on the world stage.

Cap And Trade Calamities

A Second Call for Transparency

Cap and trade proposes a new national tax of historic proportions

Our Tuesday rendition of Cap and Trade Calamities discussed how only the EPA was given the semi-draft form of the Boxer-Kerry cap and trade bill to model the economic effects. The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis, along with several other organizations (including other government organizations) that modeled the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill, do not have access. We have another call for transparency – this time from the House side.

On October 2, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Henry Waxman sent a letter to Heritage’s David Kreutzer, lead author of our analysis of the Waxman-Markey cap and trade legislation. The letter included 33 questions about the details of our model, the details of our assumptions, the details of our policy assumptions and the interpretation and presentation of our results.

As David Kreutzer writes in his Politico op-ed, “We were delighted to engage. Our study had reached conclusions not at all pleasant to the eyes of the bill sponsors. It showed that, when all the tax impacts were added up, the Waxman-Markey legislation would cost the average per-family-of-four cost almost $3,000 per year. Over the 2012-2035 time period, we forecast total per-family-of-four costs would tally roughly $71,500.

This back and forth is not only a civic obligation as Congress debates this legislation, but it is also a useful exercise in transparency. There has been a shroud of secrecy over negotiations on energy taxes, health care reform and stimulus legislation this year. Closed door meetings and private backroom negotiations have largely prevailed, while the general public and most of Congress are left outside.

We commend Chairman Waxman and Chairman Markey for opening these doors. We humbly believe that our research models are second to none, and welcome the chance to share our research and results with anyone who is interested, regardless of their political affiliation.”

All of the questions, as well as our detailed answers, are publicly available here.
Several other organizations that modeled the effects of cap and trade were sent the same letter. These include: Charles River Associates (commissioned by National Black Chamber of Commerce), The American Council for Capital Formation (commissioned by National Association of Manufacturers), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Energy Information Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Interestingly, some groups such as the Political Economy Research Institute, the Congressional Budget Office and the Brookings Institute were omitted from Chairman Waxman’s request. In an effort to promote transparency, we sent letters to these organizations asking them to respond to the same questions where we can post them for the public to see on Heritage.org. We also formally invited the other organizations who were asked these questions by Chairman Waxman to post their responses, in the interest of full transparency

Newspeak

From The American Thinker and Janet Levy

October 22, 2009


Welcome to the World of Newspeak

By Janet Levy

In George Orwell's novel, "1984," Newspeak refers to language designed by a totalitarian regime to control thought and make subversive speech impossible. It destroyed words with prohibited meanings so that heretical thoughts couldn't be expressed. A form of censorship, Newspeak employed euphemisms and words deliberately opposite the reality they described. For example, "joycamp" was the term assigned to forced-labor camps. The "Ministry of Truth" was in actuality an organ of disinformation.

Newspeak was created to institute thought control and thereby exert political control through restrictive changes to the language. The term is now commonly used to refer to attempts to obscure the truth, especially in political rhetoric which abounds with instances of it. For example, President Obama's administration has officially replaced "terrorism" with the phrase "man-caused disasters." Terrorist activity, such as suicide bombings perpetuated by Al Qaeda and other Islamic groups, is now benignly called "anti-Islamic acts." In abortion debates, the taking of a human life is reframed as a "woman's right to choose."

Newspeak usage also crops up in legislation with titles that are the exact opposite of a bill's intent. With ever-shortening American attention spans and media's increasing focus on entertainment news, Newspeak is not simply a fictional danger but a real threat to the practice of democracy in America. Some recent examples include: "The Respect for Marriage Act," "The Employee Free Choice Act," "Internet Freedom Preservation Act," "American Clean Energy and Security Act" and "America's Healthy Future Act." A quick examination of each reveals Newspeak at work.

H.R. 3567 or "The Respect for Marriage Act"

Introduced in Congress last month, this measure would repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act , which makes it clear that states have the right to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. "The Respect for Marriage Act" would redefine marriage to include the union of any two people in a committed relationship, essentially forcing same-sex "marriage" on all states.

This, despite a national Rasmussen poll indicating that 68% of likely voters hold traditional views of the institution of marriage and 67% believe that voters, not activist judges or government bureaucrats, should make decisions defining marriage. A May 2009 Gallup poll found that 48% of Americans felt that allowing legal same-sex marriages would "change our society for the worse." "The Respect for Marriage Act" is anything but. Nothing "respectful" exists about the government repealing existing legal protections of marriage against the wishes of American voters.

The "Employee Free Choice Act" (H.R. 800)

This measure would replace the existing secret ballot elections for union membership with a system in which workers must publicly sign union cards; in effect, no free choice. Under the bill's provisions, once a majority of company employees sign union cards, all the company's workers will be forced to join the union without necessarily having an opportunity to vote on the decision; in effect, no free choice.

Public knowledge of voting results leaves workers vulnerable to harassment and intimidation, thereby eliminating employee ability to choose freely. In addition, the Employee Free Choice Act requires binding arbitration in employment disputes by government officials who have little knowledge of the workings of the business and are unaccountable for the consequences of their rulings. This denies workers the ability to bargain and vote on their employment contracts.

In reality, "free choice" is maintained by the current, secret ballot elections that respect worker privacy and limit union coercion. In actuality, card-checking union preferences strips workers of free choice, while mandatory arbitration robs them of the ability to bargain with their employers.

The "Internet Freedom Preservation Act"

Also referred to as "Net Neutrality," this proposal represents an unprecedented expansion of Internet regulation by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the exact opposite of Internet freedom. It would allow the FCC to regulate the speed and pricing of traffic across public and private broadband networks. It would create a bureaucratic structure to control competition and customer service. It would mandate what data companies can or cannot prioritize.

Further, it raises privacy concerns because it will enable the federal government to track users. Consumers have been well-served by an open Internet system in which private sector competition and innovation has nurtured an environment that anyone can use to develop new applications and content. This freedom will be stifled rather than "preserved" with the unbridled expansion of federal government power over the Internet that will be put in place with "Net Neutrality."

The "American Clean Energy and Security Act"

This bill provides no energy security at all for Americans because it would substantially raise energy prices while subsidizing unproven energy sources and taxing reliable energy sources. It is an attempt by the government to force costlier energy options on the public by lavishing substantial tax breaks on so-called renewables. The contention that this bill will improve the environment is a fallacy.

In fact, the American Clean Energy and Security Act will sacrifice economic growth and jobs and actually reduce funding for environmental protectionism. Even believing for a moment that carbon dioxide emissions harm the climate, U.S. consumption changes will pale in comparison to energy use in China, India and other developing countries that will not cut their emissions. Ironically, it is the wealthiest nations that have the cleanest environments. As far as "security" is concerned, a country with a contracted economy with costly or few energy options, is a country less able to defend itself and thereby less secure.

"America's Healthy Future Act"

This "Obamacare" is in essence government-controlled socialized medicine. It will reduce health care availability and increase wait times for medical services. It will harm the health of Americans, exact heavy costs and restrict freedom of choice.

Currently, 74% of U.S. citizens make scheduled doctors appointments within four weeks, compared to only 40% of Canadians with their government-sponsored healthcare. In the United Kingdom's socialized medicine system, breast cancer mortality is 88% higher and prostate cancer mortality is 604% higher than the incidence in the current U.S. system.

Rationing of services, which will directly affect the morbidity and mortality of the elderly, is a central feature of America's Healthy Future Act. With a goal of reducing health spending by 30% over the next two decades, the bill, in its "essential benefits" clause, expressly restricts the amount of money a person may spend on health care and, by extension, on certain interventions. In this way, the government takes control over quality of life and end of life decisions. It is not difficult to see how this bill will result in a less "healthy future" for Americans.

The titles of the above-cited bills are clearly at odds with their intent. The misleading language serves only to muddle their true objectives and befuddle the public. Thus, America seems to be drifting down the slippery slope that Orwell depicted in his fictional totalitarian society in "1984." Clarity of language is critical for sound decision-making and informed voting that are the pillars of our democracy. Deceptive language like "newspeak" is a grave threat to freedom and a sure route to greater government control. George Orwell may have been prescient when he wrote "1984;" he just had the wrong year.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A-HOLE OF THE WEEK

The Republican National Committee and the NRCC get the award this week for backing Scozzafava in the NY 23rd District race.
The Washington elite are dead set on destroying the Republican Party by backing this and other RINOS instead of Doug Hoffman and other solid Conservatives.
The disconect between them and us is glaring.






NAGR GUN RIGHTS ALERT



Gun Rights "Terminated"


Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of the People’s Republic of California, has “terminated” the Second Amendment in his state.

The “Ammo Surveillance Act,” Assembly Bill 962, requires California citizens to be fingerprinted and tracked for every single ammo purchase.

By signing AB 962 into law, Schwarzenegger’s liberal Hollywood roots are once again showing through.

Yes, the same guy who made millions sporting every weapon known to man in action flicks is mandating gun owners be treated like common criminals for exercising their Second Amendment right.

On top of that, the bill requires all purchases to take place “face-to-face” effectively banning online and catalog sales. Is this what the Founders intended by “shall not be infringed?”

Thank goodness Article II should keep the “governator” confined to California.
For more information, please read Luke’s post on the NAGR Blog.

In Liberty,

Dudley Brown
Executive Director
National Association for Gun Rights

Obama Flip Flop

It seems like ass kissing the Russians didn't work for Obama. Plugs just went over to Poland for a little remedial sucking up. Lets see if they shut the new deal down when the Russians make another mean face.
MGC

From Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.com

US reversing itself on missile defense … again?posted at 2:15 pm on October 21, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
Share on Facebook | printer-friendly In what has become a dizzying display of the diplomatic Hokey Pokey, the US has reached an agreement with Poland to install land-based missile interceptors. Vice President Joe Biden went to Poland to smooth ruffled feathers and apparently to execute a second reversal in the last six months from the Obama administration:
The Obama administration reached a new agreement Wednesday with top Polish government officials to place a new generation of missile interceptors on Polish soil, a surprising turnabout from just a few weeks earlier when it had appeared the U.S. was ready to abandon its missile defense program in Eastern Europe.
Vice President Biden and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk emerged from a lengthy private discussion to announce that Poland’s participation in the missile defense system was, essentially, back on — though in a new format that involves delivering a smaller number of defensive weapons in 2018.
Mr. Tusk said through a translator that he considered the revised proposal “a very interesting idea.” “We are ready to participate in this project,” he said.
The hastily arranged vice presidential trip, which will also include stops in Romania and the Czech Republic this week, was intended to soothe relations and reassure the fledgling NATO members that the missile program was not being scrapped, and that the evolving policy should not be viewed as a snub and a weakening of U.S. defense security commitments in the region.
In April, Barack Obama offered his support for missile-defense systems in eastern Europe, especially based in Poland and the Czech Republic. Last month, without warning American allies, Obama reversed himself and said the US would not be pursuing land-based missile defense systems in eastern Europe. The White House then hailed Russian remarks that appeared to indicate that Moscow would take a harder line on Iran, saying that their concession on missile defense had improved relations with Russia and allowed for more cohesion on a national security issue.
However, Russia reversed itself last week, calling further sanctions “unproductive” — or more accurately, never reversed its earlier position on sanctions on Iran. Russia has a badly stumbling economy, and they need trade with Tehran. That means more to them than “reset buttons” from Hillary Clinton, so they are not about to impose pain on themselves, regardless of what Obama does with missile defense.
And now it appears that the US has reversed itself again. The Obama administration insisted that they would opt for sea-based interceptors as a more feasible and less costly method of protecting against Iranian missile strikes, which got the support from some in the military community. Those supporters have to wonder what the White House is thinking now, or what rationalization they’ll offer for another flip-flop from Obama.

The Heritage Foundation

The Morning Bell

WEDNESDAY, OCT 21, 2009

Rules for a Radical White House

Politico’s Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei report today:

President Obama is working systematically to marginalize the most powerful forces behind the Republican Party, setting loose top White House officials to undermine conservatives in the media, business and lobbying worlds.

With a series of private meetings and public taunts, the White House has targeted the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the biggest-spending pro-business lobbying group in the country; Rush Limbaugh, the country’s most-listened-to conservative commentator; and now, with a new volley of combative rhetoric in recent days, the insurance industry, Wall Street executives and Fox News.
Obama aides are using their powerful White House platform, combined with techniques honed in the 2008 campaign, to cast some of the most powerful adversaries as out of the mainstream and their criticism as unworthy of serious discussion.

We are in no way the first to point this out, but this Obama administration strategy is taken directly from the pages of Chicago community organizer Saul Alinsky’s book Rules for Radicals. It identifies thirteen rules for progressive activists including, “The thirteenth rule: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Explaining just how far progressives must be willing to go to marginalize their “enemies” Alinsky explains a few pages later:

Many liberals during our attack on the then-school superintendent, were pointing out that after all he wasn’t a 100 percent devil, he was a regular churchgoer, he was a good family man, and he was generous in his contributions to charity. Can you imagine in the arena of conflict charging that so-and-so is a racist bastard but then diluting the impact of the attack with qualifying remarks such as, “He is a good churchgoing man, generous to charity and a good husband”? This becomes political idiocy.
And then in his final chapter, Alinsky reveals what progressives really think of the average American: “Our rebels have contemptuously rejected the values and way of life of the middle class. They have stigmatized it as materialistic, decadent, bourgeois, degenerate, imperialistic, war-mongering, brutalized, and corrupt. They are right.”
Contempt for average Americans, and the desire to marginalize their common sense questions is both at the core of the Progessive vision for governance and completely antithetical to the values of our Founding Fathers. Thomas G. West, author of The Progressive Revolution in Politics and Political Science, explains:

The Founders thought that laws should be made by a body of elected officials with roots in local communities. They should not be “experts,” but they should have “most wisdom to discern, and most virtue to pursue, the common good of the society” (Madison). The wisdom in question was the kind on display in The Federalist, which relentlessly dissected the political errors of the previous decade in terms accessible to any person of intelligence and common sense.

The Progressives wanted to sweep away what they regarded as this amateurism in politics. … Only those educated in the top universities, preferably in the social sciences, were thought to be capable of governing. Politics was regarded as too complex for common sense to cope with. … Only government agencies staffed by experts informed by the most advanced modern science could manage tasks previously handled within the private sphere.
The Progressives did not intend to abolish democracy, to be sure. They wanted the people’s will to be more efficiently translated into government policy. But what democracy meant for the Progressives is that the people would take power out of the hands of locally elected officials and political parties and place it instead into the hands of the central government, which would in turn establish administrative agencies run by neutral experts, scientifically trained, to translate the people’s inchoate will into concrete policies.

This is why you have Obama’s Energy Secretary telling auto makers how they must build cars. This is why Obama’s health care plan empowers a panel of health care “experts” to reorganize one-sixth of our economy from the top down. Commonsense questions like, “Won’t our electricity bills go up if we mandate power companies use more expensive alternative energy sources?”, and “Won’t our health insurance premiums go up if everyone is charged the same price and nobody can be refused coverage?” can’t be tolerated. People voicing such criticisms must be isolated and silenced. That’s what the White House campaign the Politico identifies today is all about.

Republican Leader Press Office

Opposing view: ‘We learned our lesson’

Republicans offer better solutions and a path to fiscal sanity.

By John Boehner

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

As I've stated before, Republicans lost our way on fiscal responsibility when we held the majority in Congress. Since then, we have held firm to our commitment to show the American people we learned our lesson by offering better solutions to hold the line on spending, rein in red ink and get the nation's fiscal house in order.

We offered an alternative economic recovery plan that, according to a formula used by one of President Obama's senior economic advisers, would have created twice the jobs at half the cost of the Democrats' trillion dollar "stimulus." We developed a budget that keeps spending under control without raising taxes by instituting a spending freeze for five years, exempting defense and veterans' benefits.

In stark contrast, the Obama administration and the Democrats in Congress have gone on a spending spree the likes of which our nation has never seen.

In fact, the federal government ran up a budget deficit of $1.4 trillion during the past fiscal year, more than triple the size of the previous record high. This level of reckless spending is unfathomable to out-of-work families struggling to make ends meet, but it has become the status quo for out-of-touch Washington Democrats.

What's worse, this spending binge hasn't produced the jobs this administration promised. The "stimulus" has failed to keep unemployment from rising to near 10%, and roughly 3 million private sector jobs have been lost since it became law. Families are rightfully asking: "Where are the jobs?"

Now, even while operating on a budget that doubles the debt in five years and triples it in 10, Democrats are proposing a new round of spending — and borrowing — to make up for the "stimulus" that isn't working. This is on top of a trillion dollar government takeover of health care, a cap-and-trade national energy tax and other costly initiatives passed this year.

By continuing to spend money we don't have, Democrats are making matters worse for our economy, not better. It's time to start working together to ensure the American people have a government that lives within its means.

Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, is the House minority leader.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Heritage Foundation

The Morning Bell


TUESDAY, OCT 20, 2009

The Senate Begins Voting on Obamacare This Week

After thousands of Americans attended hundreds of townhalls this summer, after the President of the United States delivered a rare speech to a Joint Session of Congress, after endless coverage of legislative markups in the relevant congressional committees, what if the Senate began actual floor votes on the health care overhaul and the drive-by media refused to cover it? Couldn’t happen? It already is.

 This week the Senate is set to vote on a measure that would approve spending for almost one quarter of Obamacare’s $1 trillion price tag. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) has introduced, and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is moving to the floor, S. 1776 which, as we explained yesterday, raises Medicare provider reimbursement rates by $247 billion over the next ten years and $3 trillion over the next 75. Under current law, doctors nationwide are set to take a 21.5% pay cut for every Medicare patient they see starting in January 2010. Such a cut would lead many doctors to abandon Medicare patients, thus significantly undermining our entire health care system.

Doctor’s reimbursement rates do need to be fixed. But such a fix must be part of comprehensive reform of our health care system. Instead, Reid and the White House are trying to pull a fast one on the American people, claiming “the Medicare doctors’ payment discrepancy is a budgetary problem” while “health insurance reform tackles a serious regulatory problem.” The Obama administration is trying to add $247 billion in deficit health care spending one week, and then turn around and claim their health care plan is deficit neutral the next. The trickery has come in for some heavy bi-partisan criticism. Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said he thought the tactic is a “mistake”, and Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) told Politico: “I am for the fix, but I don’t think we should blow the roof off the deficit — not at a time when we are already running record deficits.”

Robert Bixby, Director of the nonpartisan, grassroots Concord Coalition clearly articulates why the Medicare reimbursement fix must be considered part of health care reform:

Dealing with the ‘doc fix’ in a separate bill, outside of health care reform, would change the scoring of the bills but not the effect on the deficit. If policymakers believe that the current SGR [Sustainable Growth Rate] formula is unrealistic, they should replace it with a more appropriate policy and pay for the change in keeping with their pledge to reform health care in a deficit-neutral way. If paying for this SGR change means there would be fewer offsets on the table to pay for expanded coverage, then policymakers would be forced to appropriately weigh their priorities and make the necessary tough choices — either scale back other costs in the health reform package or find more ways to pay for the larger bill.

The Tea Party movement that swept the nation this summer is already making life difficult for politicians that say they care about deficit spending but then support policies that undermine that goal. The Boston Tea Party of 1773 set the stage for the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Will the debate over S.1776 set the stage for something much larger and important?

Cap And Trade Calamities

As you read this, the Environmental Protection Agency is modeling the economic impacts of a semi-draft form of the Boxer-Kerry cap and trade legislation. “Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer said a bill EPA is analyzing should be marked up in her panel by the second week in November. An EPA official said the agency has pledged to deliver the cost analysis Friday, in time for a three-day set of hearings starting Oct. 27.”

We’d do it too. But we can’t. According to Congressional Quarterly, the senators “produced a ‘semi-final draft’ of the legislation -- including the critical formula for distributing billions of dollars’ worth of pollution credits to different industries and interest groups.” But that draft is unavailable to the public. It has only been given to the EPA to model the economic impacts.

President Obama, in his memorandum for the heads of executive departments and agencies, wrote that “Government should be transparent. Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing. Information maintained by the Federal Government is a national asset. My Administration will take appropriate action, consistent with law and policy, to disclose information rapidly in forms that the public can readily find and use.”

Bill Beach, the director of The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis, wrote a letter to Senator Boxer (CCing Senator Kerry, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and Senator Inhofe) asking for a copy of the semi-draft legislation to model the economic effects of the bill.

Charles River Associates (commissioned by the National Black Chamber of Commerce), The American Council for Capital Formation (commissioned by National Association of Manufacturers) The Brookings Institution, the Energy Information Administration, the Congressional Budget Office, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Political Economy Research Institute and The Heritage Foundation all produced economic analyses of the Waxman-Markey House cap and trade bill, but only the EPA has the semi-draft legislation of the Boxer-Kerry version.

For the sake of transparency, we’d like the EPA or Senator Boxer to publicly release the most recent version of the Boxer-Kerry cap and trade bill that includes the all-important allocation of billions of dollars of allowances. Clearly the more details we have about the bill, the better economic analysis we can provide in a timely manner for Members of Congress and for the general public.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Lots Of Rock Salt

Last week Erick Erickson from RedState.com  asked readers to ship a bag of rock salt to Olympia Snowe of Maine in protest to her vote on the Baucus Bill. Well we got into the Wall Street Journal for it. That's AWSOME!!!
MGC 


Hot Air ALLAHPUNDIT

ALLAHPUNDIT's post on Hot Air.com concerning Romney and Huckabee out polling Sarah Palin goes to show that the field is wide open for presidential candidates for the 2012 elections.
Even if those two clowns run again why would anyone take them seriously?
They lost against McCain enough said on that.
Now if Palin actually makes a run for president that's left to be seen.
What is important is that by 2012 Americans will be sick and tired of the Marxist administration now ruling and will be ready to get a solid conservative back in the White House. With three years left before the election short stroking this Rasmussen poll is a waste of time and effort.
MGC


NAGR GUN RIGHTS ALERT

The gun grabbers in Congress rarely sleep in their efforts to disarm America.


But at least one Congressman is actively fighting for your Constitutional rights in Washington, and he has a special message for you.

A longtime Second Amendment stalwart, Congressman Paul Broun (R-GA) has teamed up with the National Association for Gun Rights to fight the most extreme legislation currently threatening your right to keep and bear arms.

Of course, I’m talking about H.R. 45, Barack Obama’s National Gun Registration and Citizen Disarmament Act.

With your help, NAGR and Congressman Paul Broun will defeat Barack Obama’s National Gun Registration and Citizen Disarmament Act to preserve our liberties for the next generation.

Click here to listen to an urgent message from U.S. Congressman Paul Broun, and please take all the actions he requests.

In Liberty,
Dudley Brown
Executive Director
National Association for Gun Rights

P.S. H.R. 45 is the most draconian gun control measure of recent memory, and it's only the beginning. Obama's reign could last another seven years, and the anti-gun lobbies in Congress won't relent any time soon.
Please listen to Congressman Broun’s message, and take all the actions he requests.

Common Sense

Common Sense


By Thomas Paine

Introduction

PERHAPS the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not yet sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favor; a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defence of custom. But tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.

As a long and violent abuse of power is generally the means of calling the right of it in question, (and in matters too which might never have been thought of, had not the sufferers been aggravated into the inquiry,) and as the king of England hath undertaken in his own right, to support the parliament in what he calls theirs, and as the good people of this country are grievously oppressed by the combination, they have an undoubted privilege to inquire into the pretensions of both, and equally to reject the usurpations of either.

In the following sheets, the author hath studiously avoided every thing which is personal among ourselves. Compliments as well as censure to individuals make no part thereof. The wise and the worthy need not the triumph of a pamphlet; and those whose sentiments are injudicious or unfriendly, will cease of themselves, unless too much pains is bestowed upon their conversion.

The cause of America is, in a great measure, the cause of all mankind. Many circumstances have, and will arise, which are not local, but universal, and through which the principles of all lovers of mankind are affected, and in the event of which, their affections are interested. The laying a country desolate with fire and sword, declaring war against the natural rights of all mankind, and extirpating the defenders thereof from the face of the earth, is the concern of every man to whom nature hath given the power of feeling; of which class, regardless of party censure, is

THE AUTHOR.
Philadelphia, Feb. 14, 1776.




I decided to post this great document through the week  to show the relevance of then and now. Seeing that free speech is comming under attack from the Obama administration.
MGC

The Heritage Foundation

Energy & Environment Update

Advancing freedom and prosperity by unleashing free enterprise, protecting America's energy interests, and advancing free global energy markets.

Featured Research

When Environmental Activism Does More Harm Than Good

By Nick Loris

Last night Heritage hosted the world premiere of “Not Evil Just Wrong,” a feature-length documentary that reveals the true cost of global warming hysteria and the unintended consequences of radical environmental policies that have been going on for decades. The film was broadcast live on Ustream.tv and screened at 6,000 different locations in 27 countries.

The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis recently exposed what would be the unintended consequences of the Waxman-Markey cap and trade legislation. CDA found that far more jobs would be destroyed than green jobs created, households will lose income, and the economy as a whole will be operating $9.4 trillion under its potential from 2012-2035 – all because of cap and trade.

“Not Evil Just Wrong” puts a face on the story that Heritage economic modeling has been telling as it documents the story of working Americans who work for industries that rely on fossil fuels, which is a massive part of the nation’s economy. For instance, “Small towns in the heartland, like Vevay, Ind., will become bastions of unemployment and poverty. Breadwinners like Tim McElhany in Vevay will lose their jobs -- and will have to start borrowing money again just to buy bread for their families.”

The real work on the Kerry-Boxer cap-and-tax bill continues behind closed doors at the Environmental Protection Agency, which is producing a cost analysis. Unfortunately, the public has been denied access to the latest draft of the legislation, which includes the distribution of hundreds of billions of allowance revenues to special interests and targeted industries. Ironically, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday to discuss how allowances could be distributed. Of course, the hearing misses the entire point, which is that any cap-and-trade scheme will increase energy prices and slow the economy.

The Heritage Foundation

The Morning Bell


MONDAY, OCT 19, 2009

Exposing the Obamacare Shell Game

In his primetime health care address before a Joint Session of Congress, President Barack Obama promised the American people: “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits – either now or in the future. Period.” But it is hard work adding $1 trillion in government spending while claiming with a straight face that you are not adding to the deficit. Enter White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel who has just the solution: just strip out $247 billion of the spending in the bill, pass it separately, and voila … your job just got one-fourth easier.

The specific issue at hand is the centrally planned price control regime the federal government uses to reimburse doctor’s who participate in Medicare. Medicare reimburses doctors and other medical professionals for their services according to a congressionally created fee schedule that is annually adjusted by the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. The idea is relatively simple: If Medicare spending grows faster than our overall economy (which is almost always the case), then payments to Medicare providers are supposed to be reduced proportionately to keep expenditures in line over a period of time.

Problem is every year Congress–under both Democratic and Republican leadership–routinely blocks the cuts from going into effect. Subsequently, the necessary cumulative cut in Medicare payments grows bigger. Without a change to current law, payments to physicians would be reduced by 21.5% as of January 1, 2010. The Senate Finance Committee bill addresses this problem by raising the reimbursement rate for one year and then pretending that Congress will allow massive cuts for the next 9 years. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) rightfully called the Senate Finance Committee proposal a fa├žade.

The Obama administration’s proposed solution, however, is no more honest. Instead of pretending Congress will cut doctor’s Medicare reimbursement rates, the Senate wants to pretend the doc fix isn’t part of health care reform. So Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) dissembled Friday: “Correcting the Medicare doctors’ payment discrepancy is a budgetary problem — health insurance reform tackles a serious regulatory problem. That’s why we need to fix the Medicare doctors’ payments first, outside of health reform.” The Washington Post editorial board responded this morning:

Mr. Reid’s attempt to distinguish the budgetary and regulatory issues is nonsensical. The health reform measure includes all sorts of changes in the ways that various providers are compensated. True, the problem with inadequate Medicare payments is something of a preexisting condition to health reform, but that does not make it unrelated. The so-called doc fix is being rushed to the Senate floor this week in advance of health reform not because it has nothing to do with health reform but because it has everything to do with it.
…A president who says that he is serious about dealing with the dire fiscal picture cannot credibly begin by charging this one to the national credit card, with no concern for the later generations who will have to pay the bill.

And it is the later generations that should be particularly concerned with this shell game. That $247 billion price tag is just the ten year cost of the doc fix. Looking over the long-term, the 75-year cost to our national debt is another $3 trillion. This past Friday the Obama administration admitted that the federal budget deficit for the fiscal year that just ended was $1.4 trillion, nearly a trillion dollars greater than the year before and the largest shortfall relative to the size of the economy since 1945. Just like Obamacare’s massive expansion of the Medicaid rolls, the doc fix shell game exposes the fact that Obamacare is just a continuation of the current budget busting health care system, not real reform.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

What the Bamster Really Thinks

I don't think the Insurance Companies will be donating to the DNC next year. And Barry is still lying to us.
MGC

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