Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Heritage Foundation

The Morning Bell

FRIDAY, NOV 6, 2009

10% Unemployment Shows Objective Failure of Obama Stimulus

Last week the Obama administration issued a report purporting to show that the President’s $787 billion economic stimulus plan had saved or created exactly 640,329 jobs. Such a precise number for such a fuzzy concept as jobs “saved or created” immediately raised doubts about the veracity of the report in any honest American’s mind.

And since that report was issued, a once compliant press has filed story after story tearing the credibility of the Obama administration’s job creation claims to shreds. Just enter the words “stimulus”, “jobs”, and “report” in a Google News search and these are just some of the headlines you will receive:

Stimulus Job Report Filled With Errors

Stimulus Watch: Salary raises counted as saved jobs

White House Tally Appears to Overstate Stimulus Jobs

Reports Show Conflicting Number of Jobs Attributed to Stimulus Money

Stimulus Watchdog: job counters confused, need guidance

Why stimulus jobs aren’t here to stay

Many California jobs ’saved’ by stimulus funds weren’t in jeopardy

Luckily the American people do not need to count on phony new jobs studies to provide the objective data necessary to hold President Barack Obama accountable for his economic policies. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics has been collecting accepted and standardized data employment data since the 1940s. When President Obama was selling his $787 billion stimulus to the American people he promised unemployment would never rise above 7.8% and that by 2010 the U.S. economy would employ 138.6 million jobs.

Today, BLS released its monthly jobs report and the numbers speak for themselves. The economy shed another 190,000 jobs in October, bringing the number of jobs lost since Obama was sworn in to 3.8 million. Worse still, the unemployment rate rose from 9.8% to 10.2% percent. With only 130.8 million jobs in the U.S. economy, President Obama is now 7.8 million jobs short of what he promised the American people. That makes President Obama’s stimulus an objective failure.

The Obama stimulus failed because it was based on faulty Keynesian beliefs. Heritage fellow J.D. Foster explains:

The Keynesian stimulus theory fails for the simple reason that it is only half a theory. It correctly describes how deficit spending can raise the level of demand in part of the economy, and ignores how government borrowing to finance deficit spending automatically reduces demand elsewhere.

Fortunately, the economy’s natural recuperative powers may be ending the recession. Last week the Commerce Department reported that the economy grew at 3.5%. But if this recovery is going to include job growth along with GDP growth, then job killing initiatives like Obamacare and cap and trade will have to be abandoned.

Republican Leader Press Office

From The Cininnati Enquirer

Republicans offer health care Americans want

By House Republican Leader John Boehner

Cincinnati Enquirer

November 7, 2009

Republicans are offering a step-by-step, common-sense approach to health care reform - an altogether better solution than the 2,032-page government takeover of health care being pushed through Congress by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

We’ve introduced a bill to lower costs, and increased access to high-quality care - a bill the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has confirmed will lower premiums by up to 10 percent, without imposing tax increases on families and small businesses.

As Ohio and other states across the nation continue to struggle with joblessness, rising costs of living and skyrocketing health care costs, our plan offers real relief.

In fact, the House Ways and Means Committee has determined that under the Republican plan, premiums for families will be nearly $5,000 lower than the cheapest plan in the Democrats’ government-run proposal.

Not only does the Republican plan lower health care costs, but it also expands access to quality care at a price our country can afford, and tackles the problems in our health care system that have contributed to the crisis we face today.

Specifically, our bill includes common-sense solutions to:

• Guarantee that all Americans - regardless of pre-existing conditions and past illnesses - have access to the care they need at affordable prices by creating Universal Access Programs that expand and reform high-risk pools and reinsurance programs.

• Encourage competition - which is key to lowering prices and increasing quality of care - by allowing Americans to shop for coverage from coast to coast and permitting Americans living in one state to purchase insurance in another.

• Empower small businesses to pool together and offer health care at lower prices, just as corporations and labor unions do.

• Reward innovation by providing incentive payments to states that reduce premiums and the number of uninsured.

• Help end costly junk lawsuits that contribute to higher health care costs by increasing the number of tests and procedures that physicians sometimes order, not because they think it is good medicine, but because they are afraid of being sued.

These are just a few highlights of our bill. To learn more about the responsible, common-sense solutions in the Republican plan and read the entire bill, visit

Clearly, our bill offers a stark contrast to Pelosi’s health care plan. Pelosi’s bill represents bureaucracy designed to centralize health care decision-making in Washington at the expense of patients and doctors.

It will create dozens of boards, bureaus and commissions in charge of coming up with new regulations and red tape that will inevitably make health care in this country more expensive.

And despite costing $1.3 trillion, it will push billions more in costs over to already cash-strapped states like Ohio, where our governor is already struggling to fill an estimated $850 million state budget hole.

Enough is enough. Americans are fed up. The trillion-dollar “stimulus” isn't working. Unemployment is rising. The debt to be paid by our kids and grandkids is exploding.

As members of the House of Representatives prepare to take a vote on a health care bill as early as today, they must make a decision:

They can vote for Pelosi’s bill that will raise premiums, increase taxes and cut Medicare benefits for seniors, or they can support the Republican plan that makes health care more affordable and accessible for our families.

The American people have made it clear where they stand. It is time for members of Congress to show they are listening

Republican Leader Press Office

From AOL
Opinion: Democrats’ Health Care Bill Will Destroy Millions of Jobs

by John Boehner


The federal government reported today that thousands of Americans lost their jobs last month. Earlier this year, President Obama presented the trillion dollar “stimulus” to the American people as a plan that would put people back to work immediately, but since it became law, our economy has lost more than three million jobs.

Now, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Democrats are getting ready to pass a 2,032-page, $1.3 trillion government takeover of health care that would destroy millions more.

Having been a small businessman before I came to Congress, I know that skyrocketing health care costs present a significant hurdle to meeting a bottom line and having the ability to add payroll, in both good times and lean times.

Washington Democrats have ignored these concerns and instead propose funding their government takeover of health care with more than $750 billion in new taxes that will fall heavily on entrepreneurs who run small businesses, and harsh mandates that require employers to either provide “government-approved” coverage or pay another steep tax.

According to a model developed by senior White House economists, these sorts of tax increases would result in as many as 5.5 million more American jobs lost over the next 10 years.

The effects of Speaker Pelosi’s bill will be felt not only in these job losses, but in higher premiums, drastic Medicare cuts, dozens of new Washington bureaucracies, and new debt to be paid by our kids and grandkids. Is it any wonder that the more the public learns about this plan, the less they like it?

There’s a better way. Republicans unveiled a plan in June to make health care more affordable and accessible at a price our nation can afford.

Our plan achieves this goal by implementing several smart, fiscally responsible reforms, including allowing small businesses to pool together and acquire health insurance at lower prices, just as corporations and labor unions do.

Our plan would also:

- Establish Universal Access Programs to guarantee all Americans – including individuals with pre-existing conditions – access to quality, affordable coverage;

- Let individuals and families purchase health insurance across state lines;

- Give states the tools to create their own innovative reforms that lower health care costs;

- End junk lawsuits that contribute to higher health care costs by increasing the number of tests and procedures that physicians sometimes order not because they think it’s good medicine, but because they are afraid of being sued.

As a result of these common-sense solutions, families’ premiums under our plan would be nearly $5,000 lower than under Speaker Pelosi’s bill, according to estimates by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). What's more, the CBO estimates that small business owners and their employees would see their premiums decrease by as much as 10%.

Just as important, the CBO estimates our plan would reduce the deficit by $68 billion over 10 years, without imposing tax increases on families and small businesses or cutting seniors’ Medicare benefits.

At this pivotal moment, when out-of-work families struggling to make ends meet are asking ‘where are the jobs,’ small businesses are sitting on their hands because Washington Democrats continue to pursue big-government programs that lead to more spending and higher taxes. We saw it with the cap-and-trade national energy tax that passed the House in June, and we’re seeing it now with this government takeover of one-sixth of our nation's economy. This is not a recipe for fostering job creation and lasting prosperity.

A vote for Speaker Pelosi’s health care bill is a vote to keep more people out of work longer. It’s that simple.
The American people deserve a better solution, and Republicans’ smart, fiscally responsible plan delivers exactly what they want.

Republican Leader Press Office

From The Detroit News

GOP offers cheaper approach to health reform
November 6, 2009

Republicans are offering an alternative health reform plan that should at least be debated before Congress rushes to turn the nation's health care system inside out.

But that likely won't happen. The House is poised to vote today or tomorrow on a health care package that, despite fierce objections from moderates and conservatives who fear it will result in higher taxes, bigger deficits and lesser coverage for most Americans, still contains most of the egregious elements of the initial proposal.

Republicans recognize that they have to do more than say "no" to the Democratic ideas. So they've put together a bill, with the help of Rep. Dave Camp, R-Midland, containing less costly and disruptive reforms.

The ideas are solid. Unfortunately, they come too late to have much influence on a bill that almost certainly will be passed in the House with few or no GOP votes. But perhaps Republicans can use the plan to force a more responsible compromise in the Senate.

The GOP bill is less ambitious than the plan being rammed through by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, taking an incremental approach to restructuring the system.

It uses market-based principles and does not include government subsidies or a public option.

But it would trim costs through strict limits on medical malpractice lawsuits, expanding health savings accounts, allowing consumers to buy insurance from out-of-state companies, providing tax breaks for insurance purchases, making it easier for small businesses to offer their employees insurance and breaking down barriers to coverage for the most hard-to-insure Americans.

While the proposal should increase the number of insured, it does not provide coverage for everyone. Tax deductions and health savings accounts aren't much use to those with no or very low income.

But it is far cheaper than the Democratic proposal, whose cost has soared to $1.3 trillion during the next decade; it won't add to the federal budget deficit and it does not require a massive new government bureaucracy to administer.

It fulfills many of the promises made by President Barack Obama -- it aggressively controls costs, it guarantees Americans can keep their existing plans, and it increases competition in the insurance industry -- far better than the Pelosi bill. The GOP plan deals strictly with cost and access and avoids the distractive intrusions into personal health care choices contained in the Democratic package.

The idea of enacting reform on a smaller scale and at a more deliberate pace ought to have some appeal to a Congress that has been inundated by concerns from constituents worried that the Democratic proposal will radically change the system, and not for the better.

Republicans are doing what a responsible opposition party should do -- offering an alternative that reflects their values and is a practical solution to an issue that has grown far too divisive.


Mega-Bureaucracy: J.E.C. Chart Shows Speaker Pelosi’s New Bill Will Create Unprecedented Health Care Labyrinth

Posted by GOP Leader Press Office on November 7th, 2009

Follow @GOPLeader on Twitter for updates.

The Joint Economic Committee (JEC) House Republican staff, which earlier this year created a chart mapping the bureaucratic complexity of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s original health care proposal (H.R. 3200), has combined similar analysis by the House Republican Conference with the earlier chart. The analysis details new additions to the health care bureaucracy contained in the new version of the Speaker’s bill (H.R. 3962) that were not previously listed. Let’s just say the Speaker’s vision for government-run health care hasn’t gotten any simpler.

“This is the blueprint for a taxpayer-funded mega-bureaucracy,” said House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH). “The new chart is an astonishing and unsettling glimpse of the future that awaits American health care, should H.R. 3962 be passed by the House and signed into law.”

The chart, completed at the direction of Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), the committee’s ranking House Republican Member, shows that the Pelosi plan has grown even more complex in the months since it was originally unveiled by congressional Democrats. The new bill - expected to be brought to a vote in the House as early as Saturday - contains all of the bureaucracy of the original plan, plus a whole lot more, the chart illustrates. The full chart can be seen here:

“The American people have spoken. They don’t want their health care replaced by massive government bureaucracy. This chart shows the Democratic leadership hasn’t listened,” Boehner said. “Instead of starting over on a common-sense plan to improve our health care system, Speaker Pelosi and her allies have created a bureaucratic beast that will end the American health care system as we know it. I commend Ranking House Republican Brady and his team for illustrating what’s at stake.”

In addition to establishing the Mother of All Bureaucracies, House Republicans note, the Pelosi health care bill will kill millions of small business jobs at a time when our nation’s unemployment rate has exceeded 10 percent. It will also cut Medicare, pile massive debt on future generations, increase Americans’ health care costs, and use federal funds to pay for abortion.

Republicans have offered a better solution: a common-sense, step-by-step approach to health care reform, which can be seen in full legislative text at

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Heritage Foundation

The Morning Bell


Cap And Trade’s Mandates And Subsidies Are Wrong

Following major defeats at the ballot box on Tuesday, the left’s legislative agenda suffered another huge setback yesterday when once wavering Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Judd Gregg (R-NH), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and Susan Collins (R-ME) all signed a letter supporting Sen. George Voinovich’s (R-OH) demand that the Environmental Protection Agency provide a thorough analysis of how the Kerry-Boxer cap and trade legislation will impact the U.S. economy. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) had been pressing for swift passage of her cap and tax legislation, but conservatives on the Environment and Public Works Committee thwarted her efforts by boycotting a vote on the legislation Tuesday.

An EPA analysis on the economic costs of cap and trade is no small issue. If Tuesday’s elections proved anything, it is that jobs and economic growth are the top concern on Americans’ minds. The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis has found that cap and tax legislation would cost the average family-of-four almost $3,000 per year, cause 2.5 million net job losses by 2035, and a produce a cumulative gross domestic product (GDP) loss of $9.4 trillion between 2012 and 2035. The EPA has issued preliminary reports reaching different conclusions; including an October 23 report on Kerry-Boxer that found it would only cost the average American family $80 to $111 dollars per year.

There are many fundamental problems with that EPA report, none more glaring than their fanciful assumption that nuclear power generation will nearly double in the next 25 years. This is the equivalent of about 100 additional nuclear power plants. The reality is that in the past 30 years, not one new nuclear power plant has been licensed. More importantly, the Kerry-Boxer approach to reviving the nuclear energy relies on the same failed policies that have crippled the U.S. nuclear energy for the past 30 years. Heritage fellows Jack Spencer and Nick Loris explain:

Washington has a role to play in reducing financial barriers, but not by funding projects with taxpayer dollars. The regulatory costs and uncertainty posed by the federal bureaucracy represent significant risk to the success of the nuclear industry, just as regulatory uncertainty significantly affected the timing and budget of past nuclear plant construction. Indeed, this risk and uncertainty results in the higher prices that are most often used to justify government subsidies for nuclear projects. Efforts to reduce that risk by reforming the most obvious areas, such as the regulatory process and waste management, are nowhere to be found in the bill.

Instead, the bill attempts to reduce the financial risk caused by regulatory delays and technological development by expanding the federal government’s responsibility — and authority — on the technical side. It promotes government intervention into areas that are either unnecessary or that should reside solely in the private sector. For example, the Boxer-Kerry bill creates a research and development program to assess plant aging, improve plant performance, engineer safer fuels, and lower overall costs. These are all areas currently being addressed by the private sector and already supported by public institutions and funds.

Instead of handing out more government subsidies to compensate for increased government regulation, Congress should be heading in the exact opposite direction. What the nuclear industry really needs is an end to market distorting loan guarantees, a streamlined permit process for new plants and reactor designs, market reforms for nuclear waste management, and the ability to recycle spent fuel. America can create thousands of new jobs through an expansion of the energy sector. But just as with oil, coal, and natural gas, the less government intervention in the market, the better.

Republican Leader Press Office

From The Washington Examiner

CBO: Republican health plan would reduce premiums, cut deficit


The Congressional Budget Office Wednesday night released its cost analysis of the Republican health care plan and found that it would reduce health care premiums and cut the deficit by $68 billion over ten years.

The Republican plan does not call for a government insurance plan but rather attempts to reform the system by creating high-risk insurance pools, allowing people to purchase health insurance policies across state lines and instituting medical malpractice reforms.

“Not only does the GOP plan lower health care costs, but it also increases access to quality care, including for those with pre-existing conditions, at a price our country can afford,” House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said.

According to CBO, the GOP bill would indeed lower costs, particularly for small businesses that have trouble finding affordable health care policies for their employees. The report found rates would drop by seven to 10 percent for this group, and by five to eight percent for the individual market, where it can also be difficult to find affordable policies.

The GOP plan would have the smallest economic impact on the large group market that serves people working for large businesses that have access to the cheapest coverage. Those premiums would decline by zero to 3 percent, the CBO said.

The analysis shows the Republican plan would do little to expand coverage, which Democrats were quick to point out in a late night missive to reporters.

“Here’s the Bottom line - Americans lose and Insurance companies win under the Republican plan,” Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami said.

The CBO found that under the Republican plan, insurance coverage would increase by about 3 million and that the percentage of insured non-elderly adults would remain at about 83 percent after ten years. The House bill would increase coverage to an additional 36 million people, raising the number of insured to 96 percent.

The CBO put the price tag for the GOP plan at $61 billion, a fraction of the $1.05 trillion cost estimate it gave to the House bill that lawmakers are set to vote on this weekend. And the CBO found that the Republican provision to reform medical malpractice liability would result in $41 billion in savings and increase revenues by $13 billion by reducing the cost of private health insurance plans.

Republican Leader Press Office

From The Los Angeles Times

House Republicans Offer Alternative Healthcare Proposal

Their modest, incremental approach focuses on controlling costs through market-oriented measures. But its larger purpose is to show that they’re not just the ‘party of no.’

By Janet Hook

November 5, 2009

After months of criticizing Democratic healthcare proposals from the sidelines, House Republicans this week began presenting their plan, an effort intended to undercut the portrayal of the GOP as the “party of no.”

Unlike the Democrats’ strategy of trying to provide near-universal coverage and force other major changes to the insurance system, the Republican approach is an incremental one with a different goal -- controlling healthcare costs.

GOP lawmakers propose to do so through market-oriented measures that would limit medical malpractice lawsuits, expand the use of tax-sheltered medical savings accounts, let people shop for insurance outside of their own states and make it easier for small businesses and hard-to-insure people to get coverage. The ideas reflect conservatives’ suspicion of sweeping new programs, federal spending and additional regulation.

The GOP plan is, by design, a less costly bill with more modest ambitions. Its price tag, which is still to be determined, surely will be far less than the House Democratic bill. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the cost of that plan would exceed $1 trillion over 10 years.

Unlike the Democratic plan, it does not include subsidies or other provisions that would make coverage more affordable to people of modest means.

“What we’ve learned over many, many years is that the reason people don’t have insurance is that they can’t afford it,” said Drew Altman, president of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, an nonpartisan health policy research group. “You can’t make much progress toward helping the uninsured unless you help them buy it.”

The Republicans’ proposals long have been on their wish list, yet they were not enacted even when the party controlled Congress and the White House. And they are being resurrected at a time when some Republicans warn that the party is in danger of being seen as guardians of an unpopular status quo in healthcare.

“Come campaign time, voters need to know what healthcare reforms Republicans have supported,” said Whit Ayres, a GOP pollster.

House Democratic leaders on Wednesday laid the groundwork for a Saturday vote on their massive healthcare legislation, after settling on a compromise to diffuse disagreement in their own ranks over how to restrict federal funding for abortions.

The proposal does not differ substantially from one in the original bill that required consumers to pay for any abortion benefit with their own money, rather than with federal insurance subsidies. Senior Democrats hope that by tightening that restriction further, they will be able to satisfy enough socially conservative Democrats to get a majority.

President Obama is going to Capitol Hill on Friday to meet with House Democrats ahead of the expected vote, according to a senior Democratic aide who requested anonymity when discussing the volatile healthcare issue.

Republicans, who harbor no hopes of passing their alternative plan during Saturday’s scheduled debate, have spent months criticizing the Democrats’ plan as an intrusive, expensive government program -- an argument with strong appeal for the party’s conservative base.

Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.) said that in his solidly conservative district, he has staged all of his healthcare speeches in front of signs that read “16 Reasons to Oppose Obamacare.” But this week, House Republican Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) shifted the emphasis by unveiling the GOP alternative and launching a campaign to raise his party’s public profile on the issue.

“This is an intentional strategic shift toward not being just the opposition party, but trying to be the alternative party,” said David Winston, a Republican pollster close to the congressional leadership.

The Republican bill lacks many major elements of the Democratic proposal: There is no expansion of Medicaid, no requirement that individuals buy insurance, no penalties for employers that do not offer coverage, and no subsidies to help the needy pay premiums.

In addition, the GOP proposal does not include one of the most popular elements of the Democrats’ plan -- a ban on denying coverage to people with preexisting medical conditions.

But the Republican plan has adopted some of the more modest Democratic provisions. It too would make it easier for young adults to remain on their parents’ health policies. It also would end the controversial insurance practices of imposing annual or lifetime limits on benefits and of canceling coverage after a policyholder becomes sick.

And rather than give more power to the federal government to address the nation’s healthcare problems, the Republican plan looks to states, market forces and individuals.

Their bill would provide aid to the states to form “high-risk” insurance pools that would cover people -- including those with preexisting conditions -- who cannot get coverage through their jobs or in the individual market. The GOP bill also would provide incentive grants for states that reduce premiums and the ranks of the uninsured.

Small businesses would be encouraged, but not required, to cover their employees under provisions that would make it easier to band together to get group rates.

To curb costs through increased competition, the GOP plan would make it easier for insurance companies to sell policies across state lines. And it would impose new curbs on medical malpractice lawsuits -- on the theory that healthcare inflation is fueled by defensive medicine and the rising cost of malpractice insurance.

To increase incentives for individuals to control their own health spending, the bill would expand the use of tax-favored health savings accounts. And it would allow employers to provide steeper discounts in insurance premiums to employees who adopt healthy lifestyles.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Republican Leader Press Office

From The Weekly Standared

Profit and Fraud

"Some troubling questions about our government's ability to manage a medical bureaucracy."

by Jeffrey H. Anderson

11/04/2009 12:00:00 AM

According to 60 Minutes, cocaine trafficking has now given way to Medicare fraud as the number-one illicit enterprise in South Florida. Both 60 Minutes and the Washington Post report that nationwide Medicare fraud now costs American taxpayers $60 billion a year.

The 60 Minutes story is fully of juicy anecdotes about government incompetence. There's the criminal who says that stealing from Medicare is so "easy" that "it was ridiculous." There's the lady who for six years has been telling Medicare officials that strange and extravagant charges keep showing up on her explanations of Medicare benefits--charges that officials still have yet to prevent from accruing, and from being paid by tax dollars. And there's the man on Medicare who used his own hands and arms to open up his explanation of benefits, only to read that Medicare had been billed--and had paid--for two new (prosthetic) arms on his behalf.

Even 60 Minutes says that the rampant nature of Medicare fraud raises "some troubling questions about our government's ability to manage a medical bureaucracy."

Given all of this, it's no wonder that since 1970 the costs of Medicare have risen over 25 percent more, per patient, than the combined costs of all other health care in America. And that's even without counting the Medicare prescription drug benefit.

Sixty billion dollars in Medicare fraud is a lot of money, but how can we really put it into perspective? President Obama talks a lot about insurance companies and their "record profits." Let's compare those numbers.

Fortune 500 tallies show that last year's profits for the ten largest private insurance companies in America were $8 billion--combined. Even the single most profitable insurance company didn't make five percent as much as what Medicare lost to fraud.

It may be surprising that you could multiply the profits of America's ten largest private insurance companies seven-fold and that Medicare would still have managed to lose more money than they make. But try this one on for size: The Washington Post reports that a high-school dropout in Miami submitted false Medicare claims from her laptop across four years, bilking Medicare out of $105 million. Four of the ten largest private insurance companies failed to make $105 million in combined profits. That's right: A lone criminal grossed more from Medicare fraud than four out of the ten largest private insurance companies collectively netted in profits.

All of this is important because, as everyone knows by now, the Democrats want to grant the federal government far greater control over our nation's health-care system, while Republicans want to leave that control in private hands. It turns out that the difference in costs between these two approaches is even greater than the difference between the $60 billion that Medicare loses to fraud and the $8 billion that private insurers make in profits.

The massive Democratic bills in the House and Senate would each cost in the range of $1 trillion. The Republican small bill, similar to the small bill proposed in these pages, would cost about $60 billion--about seven percent as much. The Democratic bills would increase taxes and penalties on Americans by over half a trillion dollars. The Republican bill wouldn't raise taxes at all. The Democratic bill would be paid for largely by siphoning about $400 billion out of Medicare. The Republican bill wouldn't touch Medicare.

But these tallies aren't all that is different between the bills. The Democratic approach is to increase access to health care by imposing government mandates, which in turn would raise costs. The Republican approach is to lower costs, which in turn would increase access. Thus, the Republican bill would meet both of the widely stated goals of health-care reform: It would decrease the number of uninsured and lower the costs of health care. The Democratic bills would address the number of uninsured at the expense of exacerbating health costs.

The 1,500-plus-page Democratic bills would result not only in higher taxes but higher insurance premiums. The 219-page Republican bill would make health insurance more affordable for everyone, across the board.

It would do so by allowing Americans to purchase health insurance across state lines and letting them shop for the best values from coast to coast; allowing small businesses to pool together to buy insurance; allowing private entities to follow the Safeway cost-cutting model of offering lower premiums for healthier lifestyles (which the federal government currently--amazingly--limits); and by preventing the runaway malpractice lawsuits that force doctors to practice costly defensive medicine. Despite felling forests of trees, the Democratic bills would do none of these four things.

The Republican bill would "allow" where the Democratic bills would "require." The former would increase personal freedom; the latter would restrict it.

For the small minority of Americans who are uninsured because they have prohibitively expensive preexisting conditions--last estimated in a federal government survey as well under one percent of the population--the Republican plan would create Universal Access Programs to expand and reform state-run high-risk pools. Such programs would guarantee that all Americans, regardless of preexisting conditions or past illnesses, would have access to affordable care, without needlessly raising health-care premiums across the board.

Furthermore, the Republican bill would start right away. The Democratic bills wouldn't kick in until after the next presidential election--although their "10-year" costs include the three years during which they would lie dormant. (So the Democrats are really offering seven years for the price of ten.)

The massive Democratic bills would entrust an entity that can't keep an eye on $60 billion with much greater control over our entire health-care system.
The Republican small bill, on the other hand, wouldn't dramatically increase government spending or control; wouldn't raise taxes, deficits, or insurance premiums; and wouldn't siphon money out of Medicare. Instead, it would keep our privately run health-care system in place, provide sensible and targeted reforms, and adhere to a guiding principle of medicine: first, do no harm.
If anyone doubts whether the Republican tally of $60 billion in new spending is enough to address our nation's pressing health-care concerns, remember this: That's seven times more than the combined annual profits of America's ten largest insurance companies. You can do a lot with $60 billion a year--if you don't lose it.
Mr. Anderson, director of the Benjamin Rush Society, was the senior speechwriter for Secretary Mike Leavitt at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Heritage Foundation

The Morning Bell


The State of Conservatism is Strong

Last night, elections were held in several states across the nation, and by most independent observations, the results served as a warning to liberals. Whether it was Republican victories in Virginia, New Jersey or even in typical liberal bastions like Westchester County, New York, the post-analysis was framed on what does this mean on Capitol Hill, and more importantly, what does this mean for the conservative movement. However, last night did not represent a new day for conservatives. On Monday, the same could have been said: the state of conservatism is strong.

The state of conservatism can be measured through its popularity, its policies and its people. Most observers would say Election Day 2008 was not a good day for conservatives. However, putting election results aside, President Obama campaigned as a centrist. Obama promised to address jobs, the economy, our national security and even hold teachers accountable for our children’s education. Obama promised that most of America would receive a tax cut. He promised to win a “necessary” war in Afghanistan. These are conservative principles.

While many Americans knew he would skew left on health care, the environment and diplomacy, they also took him at his word on his conservative window dressing. Matching reality to rhetoric, President Obama has made Jimmy Carter look conservative, promoting job killing policy after job killing policy. He has taken over nine months and counting to make a basic strategic decision on troop levels in Afghanistan, endangering our troops and our mission. This reality versus rhetoric is reminding the nation that conservatism is not merely a talking point but a first principle.

The Pew Research Center released a poll in May 2009 that was conducted in March and April when President Obama was still hugely popular. The poll showed that the overwhelming trend is toward conservatism, and not merely among Republicans. The number of Independents calling themselves conservative was increasing to 33%, up from 26% in 2005. The number of Democrats calling themselves conservative was up to 8%. In this poll 37% described themselves as politically conservative; almost double the number identifying as liberal (19%). The values of these respondents demonstrated an increasing trend away from big government as the solution and towards local and community based approaches.

These results were in line with a Gallup poll in June that showed Conservatives were the single largest ideological group (40%) and more recently on October 26, when Gallup showed that Conservatives maintain a two to one advantage over liberals (40%-20%). Conservatism wasn’t grounded in any one party or candidate. It was election neutral. In fact it was the only tri-partisan issue or philosophy overwhelming numbers of Americans seemed to agree on. The state of conservative popularity is strong.

This overwhelming conservative philosophy in America is the reason why failed liberal policies of the past are failing once again in 2009. President Obama promised jobs, but quickly learned that he can’t create 7 million jobs in government alone, although he tried. As of now, President Obama is 7.6 million jobs short of his promise to the American people, and that number is unfortunately growing. Obama’s response has been to support and liberal Cap and Trade bill that would kill millions of jobs. Obama signed a stimulus that not only hasn’t created jobs, but actually slowed down economic activity. Obama supports a health care plan that imposes mandates on employers to help fund it. Employer mandates would put 5.2 million low wage workers at risk of unemployment, and put another 10.2 million at risk of lower wages or reduced benefits.

Conservatives have been offering alternatives throughout. Conservatives support a health care plan that eliminates imaginary barriers from true competition by allowing insurance to compete across state lines, by allowing consumers to take their insurance from job to job, by giving them the same tax breaks the federal government gives big corporations. Conservatives understand that states are the best incubators for this reform. Conservatives have argued for reforming Medicare and other entitlements rather than growing their membership while cutting their benefits. Conservatives have proposed real energy solutions for America that include zero-emissions nuclear energy. Conservatives have proposed job creation through small business incentives and tax cuts. Conservatives have argued for a strong missile defense, rather than a raw deal for our eastern European allies, and a strong national security strategy that supports our troops and America’s leadership around the world. The state of conservative policies is strong.

And Conservatives have been seen and heard in 2009. They went to tea parties in April, town hall meetings in August, and to the U.S. Capitol in September. Pictures of multi-generational families spending the day together protesting big government expansion, increasing debt and deficits, and an apologetic footing by our President on the world stage. Conservatives have been re-energized to participate in the public policy process demanding transparency, dividing up 2,000 page bills among their friends and reading them, and pointing out where government has gone too far. The White House spent September 12 denying hundreds of thousands of conservatives were in their backyard. And last night, the White House promised again that they were paying no attention to the voices of the people. But conservatives are not universally being ignored, especially on Capitol Hill where conservative Republicans, Democrats and Independents are demanding bills be modified to represent the will of the people. The state of conservative people is strong.

Conservatives have a destiny. Conservatives can strengthen our economic and national security. Conservatives can offer real solutions to the nation’s challenges, without robbing Peter to pay Paul. Conservatives can continue to learn about the issues that affect their families, their communities, their businesses, and with this knowledge, they can affect real change. The Heritage Foundation has never been stronger, with over a half million members and growing. We thank you, and we invite those still waiting, to sign up to become a member now. Your conservative destiny starts here

Republican Leader Press Office

From The Miami Herald

Republicans have a much better plan

By John Boehner

November 4, 2009

By now, the American people have made it crystal clear to Washington that what they want out of healthcare reform is a plan focused on reducing costs, not growing government.

Unfortunately, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Democratic leaders ignored Americans' concerns and wrote a bill that would implement a government takeover of healthcare that actually increases costs and adds to our already skyrocketing debt.

Speaker Pelosi's healthcare bill represents 1,990 pages of bureaucracy designed to centralize healthcare decision making in Washington, D.C., at the expense of patients and doctors. It will require tens of thousands of new federal employees.

It will create dozens of boards, bureaus and commissions in charge of coming up with new regulations and red tape that will inevitably make healthcare in this country more expensive.

Indeed, Speaker Pelosi's bill will lead to higher health insurance premiums and impose new burdens on taxpayers from all walks of life and the nation as a whole.

Even though President Obama declared to Congress that the cost of healthcare reform would not exceed $900 billion over the next decade, Speaker Pelosi's bill clocks in at more than $1 trillion -- and counting.

The final price tag is sure to be higher as we continue to discover the bill's hidden costs.

There is nothing secret, however, about the fact that Speaker Pelosi's healthcare bill would raise taxes on working families. This applies even to those making less than $250,000, despite President Obama's repeated pledges to the contrary.

Speaker Pelosi's healthcare bill also delivers a crushing blow to small businesses in the form of burdensome mandates that will kill the jobs needed to get our economy back on track.

If that weren't enough, Speaker Pelosi's healthcare bill also calls for drastic Medicare cuts, leaving seniors with reduced benefits and fewer choices.

This will especially hurt those on Medicare Advantage, a successful program that nearly one million Floridians rely on.

In short, Speaker Pelosi's 1,990-page government takeover of healthcare fails to fix what's broken and undermines what works.

There is a better way. Republicans unveiled a plan in June that makes healthcare more affordable and accessible at a price our nation can afford. These are four smart, fiscally responsible reforms Republicans would implement right now to lower costs:

• Let individuals and families purchase health insurance across state lines;

• Allow individuals and small businesses to pool together and acquire health insurance at lower prices, the same way large corporations and labor unions do;

• Give states the tools to create their own innovative reforms that lower healthcare costs;

• End junk lawsuits that contribute to higher healthcare costs by increasing the number of tests and procedures that physicians sometimes order not because they think it's good medicine, but because they are afraid of being sued.

Visit to learn more about the Republican plan to lower healthcare costs.

We now have a choice: We can work together to implement smart, fiscally responsible reforms that improve Americans' healthcare or we can recklessly pursue this partisan government takeover that creates far more problems than it solves.

It's clear where the American people stand. They're frustrated and fed up.
The trillion-dollar ‘stimulus’ isn't working.
Unemployment is rising.

The debt to be paid by our kids and grandkids is exploding.
And now comes Speaker Pelosi's 1,990-page government takeover of healthcare.
We simply cannot afford another Washington program that overspends and underdelivers.

Republicans will continue to stand on principle and fight for our better solutions to make healthcare more affordable and accessible for American families.
Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, is the Republican minority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Republican Leader Press Office

From the New York Times

G.O.P. Counters With a Health Plan of Its Own


WASHINGTON — House Republicans have come up with an answer to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, drafting an alternative health care bill that would reward states for reducing the number of uninsured, limit damages in medical malpractice lawsuits and allow small businesses to band together and buy insurance exempt from most state regulation.

In its opening section, the Republican bill, which has no chance of passing, promises to lower health care costs and expand insurance coverage “without raising taxes, cutting Medicare benefits for seniors, adding to the national deficit, intervening in the doctor-patient relationship or instituting a government takeover of health care.”

The bill defines the differences between Republicans and Democrats, who intend to take up their bill on the House floor this week, after resolving intramural disputes over abortion and immigration.

The Republican bill differs from the Democratic measure in that it would not require people to obtain insurance or require employers to offer it. It is almost surely cheaper than the House Democrats’ bill because, unlike that proposal, it would not expand Medicaid or offer federal subsidies to low- and middle-income people to help them buy insurance. Nor would the Republican bill impose new taxes.

The House Republican bill would not explicitly prohibit insurers from denying coverage to people because of pre-existing medical conditions, even though many Republicans have said they agree with Democrats that the federal government should outlaw such denials.

House Republicans completed work on their measure as Senate Democratic leaders acknowledged that Senate floor debate on their bill was likely to slip to December, making it virtually impossible for Congress to achieve President Obama’s goal of enacting major health legislation this year.

If Congress is still wrangling over the legislation next spring, many of the 2010 midterm elections could turn into referendums on Mr. Obama’s health policies.

Pressed about the timetable, the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, declined to predict when Congress might complete a bill.

“We’re not going to be bound by any timelines,” Mr. Reid said at a news conference. “We need to do the best job we can for the American people.” He said that the bill would be posted on the Internet and that lawmakers would have ample time to study it.

Senate Democratic aides said it was still possible, but increasingly unlikely, that Congress would send a bill to Mr. Obama by Christmas.

The House Republican leader, Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, said his bill would “lower costs and expand access at a price our nation can afford.”

In a few ways, the House Republican bill resembles the one headed for the House floor. It would allow young adults to stay on their parents’ health plans at least through age 24, compared with 26 under the Democrats’ bill.

House Republicans, like the Democrats, would prohibit insurers from imposing annual or lifetime limits on spending for covered benefits. And they would prohibit insurers from canceling or rescinding coverage after a person became sick unless the person had intentionally concealed “material facts” about a medical condition.

Democrats, who have been hearing unofficial accounts of the Republican bill, said it was too little too late.

Representative Christopher S. Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, said the Republican bill would perpetuate the status quo for people with pre-existing conditions. And for millions of people who would still be unable to afford insurance, he said, the Republican message was, “Sorry, you’re out of luck.”

Reid H. Cherlin, a White House spokesman, said the House Republican bill “does nothing to provide more stability and security for people with insurance.”

The bill would offer $50 billion in federal “incentive payments” over the next 10 years to states that reduce the cost of health insurance or the proportion of their residents who are uninsured.

The bill would also make it easier for insurers to sell insurance across state lines. Policies would be subject to laws in a company’s home state, but would be exempt from many of the consumer protection laws, rating rules and benefit mandates in other states where the company sold coverage.

Republicans would also allow small businesses to pool their insurance buying power through “association health plans,” sponsored by trade and professional associations and chambers of commerce. These plans would have “sole discretion” over what services to cover.

Consumer groups, state officials and Blue Cross and Blue Shield executives have historically opposed such association health plans, saying they could engage in risky practices free from state regulation.

The House Republican bill would offer $15 billion to states to establish high-risk pools, for people who could not otherwise obtain coverage, and reinsurance programs, under which states act as a backstop to private insurers. Under a reinsurance program, a state pays a large share of the cost if claims — for an individual or a group — exceed some threshold.

The House Republican whip, Eric Cantor of Virginia, said high-risk pools and reinsurance programs would “guarantee that all Americans, regardless of pre-existing conditions or past illnesses, have access to affordable care.” Health policy experts say insurers can lower premiums if state reinsurance programs protect them against the risk of catastrophic costs.

In addition, the House Republican bill would impose new restrictions on consumer lawsuits against doctors, hospitals and makers of drugs and medical devices. In general, such lawsuits would have to be filed within three years after an injury became evident.

The bill would set a $250,000 limit on noneconomic damages, for physical and emotional pain and suffering. It would establish new hurdles for consumers to obtain punitive damages and would limit contingency fees for plaintiffs’ lawyers.


Rewriting the Bill of Rights

Make no mistake: Our Founders were onto something when they enshrined the right to keep and bear arms as the Second Amendment to our nation’s founding document, the United States Constitution.

Because the Second Amendment is part of our nation’s supreme law, attacking gun rights means attacking the very foundation of the country.

The gun grabbers know they have to deal with this supreme law at some point if they’re going to push their radical agenda through.

And so they’ve decided to rewrite the Bill of Rights to best suit their plans.

That’s right. In an attempt to circumvent our nation’s fundamental law, Barack Obama has rewritten his own version of the Bill of Rights and posted it on the White House website.

According to Obama, “The Second Amendment gives citizens the right to bear arms.”

I don’t know about you, but my right to defend myself comes from my Creator -- not from government, not from some bureaucrat or politician, but from my very nature as a human being.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that redefining a fundamental right as a privilege is a very dangerous path to start down.

A right is inherent in our humanity and can never be taken away.

A privilege can be removed at the whim of one’s rulers.

But the President’s redefinition of our nation’s fundamental law isn’t enough for some anti-freedom zealots.

Gun grabbers in our government-run education system are now seeking to brainwash your children into accepting their anti-gun agenda -- also by rewriting the Bill of Rights.

Lesson plans in Garland, Texas, (Texas?! Really?!) now teach the Second Amendment by summarizing as follows, “Amendment 2: We can get permission to own weapons to protect ourselves.”

This couldn’t be any further from what the Second Amendment clearly states!

“The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

I want you to call the White House and the Garland Independent School District and demand they restore the original language to the Second Amendment.

The White House Comment Line: 202-456-1111

GISD Superintendent Curtis Culwell: 972-487–3023

Tell them you will not stand for revisionist history or the weakening of our nation’s fundamental law. The Founding Fathers wrote it that way for a reason!

In Liberty,

Dudley Brown
Executive Director
National Association for Gun Rights

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Cap And Trade Calamities

Al Gore Going Green to Make Green

Cap and trade proposes a new national tax of historic proportions

John Broder of The New York Times has an interesting piece on Al Gore’s financial profit tied to his global warming alarmism and push for renewable energy. Gore’s venture capital firm invested in Silver Spring Networks, a company that makes hardware and software to improve efficiency in the nation’s electricity grid.

When President Obama told a crowd at a solar power plant in Florida, ironically on an cloudy day where the sun was nowhere to be found, that $3.4 billion of the so-called stimulus package would be allocated for smart grid investment, it significantly reduced the risk of Gore’s investment: “Of the total, more than $560 million went to utilities with which Silver Spring has contracts. Kleiner Perkins and its partners, including Mr. Gore, could recoup their investment many times over in coming years.” Broder calls Silver Spring “a foot soldier in the global green energy revolution Mr. Gore hopes to lead.”

If Al Gore wants to invest his money in green technology, windmills, solar panels or algae, he can do as he pleases. It’s his money. But the same cannot be said for taxpayers. Along with his money, the government is taking other people’s money to invest in these projects who do not have a say in the matter. It’s what economist Frederic Bastiat described as legalized plunder: “See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.”

When it comes to investment, that’s exactly what venture capitalist firms are for – to supply funding for the early stages of high risk, potentially high profit start-ups. The government footing a portion of the bill significantly reduces the risk and there’s a reason they need to do so. It’s because these projects are too expensive to compete in the market otherwise and even after years of subsidies and tax breaks, renewable energy still only provides a small fraction of our energy. Maybe wind and solar investments will occur without government support but that’s for the market to decide.

In a speech last year, the former vice president called for the United States to commit to having 100 percent of the country’s electricity supplied by renewable energy within 10 years. With cap and trade, a mandated renewable electricity standard, and billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded green energy investments, it’s no surprise “few have put as much money behind their advocacy as Mr. Gore and are as well positioned to profit from this green transformation, if and when it comes.” But it’s not just Gore. Large energy companies are hedging their bets on political policy designed to make renewable energy more competitive and are pushing for federal funding.

Gore responded to criticism of this saying, “I absolutely believe in investing in ways that are consistent with my values and beliefs. I encourage others to invest in the same way.”

That’s fine. Many Americans do invest in ways consistent with their values and beliefs and many hold stock where they work or what they think will be profitable. It becomes objectionable when the government forces people to invest in projects, whether they’re profitable or not. But if the government is investing in them, it’s a pretty telling sign they won’t be. This isn’t laizze-faire capitalism; it’s crony capitalism.

The Heritage Foundation

The Morning Bell

TUESDAY, NOV 3, 2009

The Public Option Is Neither Public, Nor An Option

When Mike Myers’ Linda Richman character would get a “little faklempt” on the Saturday Night Live skit Coffee Talk, she would give the audience a topic to discuss while she composed herself, like: “The Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire. Discuss.” If Linda were still hosting her show today, she could as accurately say about today’s health care debate: “The public option is neither public, nor an option.” Let’s discuss.

For the leftist base of the Congressional majority, the creation of a government-run health insurance company has been the defining issue of the health care debate. So, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has explained numerous times that: “The thinking on the public option has been that it gives consumers more choices and it helps keep the private sector honest because there’s some competition out there.” But is this true? Would the public have more choices if a government run health insurance company was created?

Five different organizations and offices have made predictions of how many Americans could end up enrolled in the public option, including: The Lewin Group, the Congressional Budget Office, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Urban Institute, and Health Systems Innovations Network. They all tell a similar story: the number of Americans that end up in the government run plan will greatly depend on who is allowed to buy into it, and how much they have to pay.

The Lewin Group–an independent health care analysis firm–was the first to estimate the impact of creating such a new public plan, when University of California at Berkeley professor of political science Jacob Hacker worked with them to create a model health plan for the Economic Policy Institute. The left loved the numbers Lewin produced for Hacker’s plan, but they immediately turned on Lewin and began attacking its credibility once Lewin analyzed the actual legislation in the House.

What so angered the left was Lewin’s finding that if the government-run plan were open to all employers, 103.4 million Americans would find themselves with government run insurance, including 88.1 million Americans who would lose their current employer-sponsored private coverage. What angered the left so much about this finding was that it exposed the fact that there is very little “optional” about the public option. Those 88.1 million Americans would not be the ones choosing the public plan. Instead, it would be their employers who decided to discontinue their current private coverage, leaving the 88.1 million Americans no choice but to enroll in the government plan.

The latest version of Obamacare in the House “fixes” this problem by severely limiting who the government can enroll in the government plan. Under the new bill, only employers with 25 employees or fewer are allowed to enroll in the plan in year one (2013), in year two (2014) individuals and employers with 50 employees or fewer become eligible, and in year three (2015) employers with at least 100 employees become eligible. In other words, the vast majority of Americans will not be eligible to enroll in the allegedly “public” plan. Worse still, even the poorest Americans are specifically denied access to the new government plan. The bill does expand Medicaid eligibility to 150% FPL but it also appears to deny access to those who are “eligible” for Medicaid. This simply gives the false impression that poor people will get a choice of better care under this bill. The reality is all they get is a chance to join the substandard government-run Medicaid plan.

With these restrictions, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that under the current bill (H.R. 3962) only 6 million people would enroll in the government plan. The Lewin Group has not analyzed H.R. 3962, but did estimate earlier that if a public plan was only open to employers with no more than 20 employees, 21 million people would enroll. The difference between the two numbers comes largely from the fact that the CBO estimates that the public plan would have higher, not lower, premiums than private plans.

Since the left in Congress has chosen to make the public option the defining issue of the health care debate, millions of Americans are set to be sorely disappointed if Obamacare passes and they suddenly learn that they are not eligible for the so-called public option they have been sold. The scariest part of Obamacare, however, is that the legislation also empowers the new Health Czar to unilaterally rewrite the regulations so that the public option can turn into President Barack Obama’s dream of “Everybody in, Nobody out” government run health care.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Heritage Foundation

The Morning Bell

MONDAY, NOV. 2, 2009

We Still Hold These Truths

A year ago this week, the American people elected a President who had promised during the campaign that he would: “cut taxes for 95% of workers and their families,” expand the Army by 65,000 and the Marines by 27,000, and enact “a net spending cut” for the federal government. Lower taxes, a strong defense and shrinking the size of government. Those are all core conservative beliefs. Accordingly, President Barack Obama entered the White House with sky high approval ratings.

But since being sworn into office, President Obama has raised taxes, weakened our defenses, and overseen arguably the largest expansion of government ever. As a result President Obama’s approval ratings have steadily declined, and the American people have only become more conservative. According to Gallup, Americans, by a 2-to-1 margin, say their political views in recent years have become more conservative. While independents and Democrats most often say their views haven’t changed, more members of all three major partisan groups indicate that their views have shifted to the right rather than to the left.

And this is before the more radical elements of the Obama agenda are to be forced on the American people. Both the cap and trade and health care legislation currently moving through Congress will transfer unprecedented power from the private sector to unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats in Washington. Search the texts of each bill for the phrase “shall” or “may establish.” Every time these phrases appear in these bills, the left in Congress is empowering unelected Obama Czars at the expense of your liberties. And this is not by accident. The empowerment of unelected bureaucrats is at the very core of Obama’s progressive agenda. Hillsdale College Associate Professor of Political Science Ronald Pestritto explains:

It is the Progressives’ desire to free bureaucratic agencies from the confines of politics and the law that allows us to trace the origins of the administrative state to their political thought. The idea of separating politics and administration–of grounding a significant portion of government not on the basis of popular consent but on expertise–was a fundamental aim of American Progressivism and explains the Progressives’ fierce assault on the Founders’ separation-of-powers constitutionalism.

The Heritage Foundation’s Center for American Studies Director Matthew Spalding details the rise of the progressive movement and their assault on the founding principles of our nation in his new book, We Still Hold These Truths: Rediscovering Our Principles, Reclaiming Our Future. The book is built around 10 foundational principles that created a free, prosperous and just nation unlike any other: Liberty, Equality, Natural Rights, Consent of the Governed, Religious Freedom, Private Property, The Rule of Law, Constitutionalism, Self-Government, and Independence.

The progressive movement represents a threat to these founding principles. For the left, “progress” means fundamentally transforming America with a new form of government that will engineer a “better” society by assuring equal outcomes. It would redistribute wealth through a distant, patronizing welfare state that regulates more and more of the economy, politics and society. President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society were grand steps toward achieving the progressive platform.

We Still Hold These Truths offers a different direction. Spalding makes the case that we don’t need to remake America, or discover new and untested principles. We need a great renewal of the true roots of American greatness–and a radical reapplication of America’s core principles to the great questions of our day.

These core principles can be the source of a new and unified American conservatism, one that reminds economic conser­vatives that morality and self-reliance are essential to limited govern­ment, reminds cultural conservatives that unlimited government threatens moral self-government, and reminds national-security conservatives that energetic but responsible government is the key to safety at home and prominence in the world.

The Heritage Foundation

By Derek Scissors

Many global environmental debates are chiefly about China. In the past, it has been acid rain made in the PRC but falling elsewhere. Eventually, the conversation will shift to water shortages and diversion that have already displaced millions and may eventually threaten conflict with some of China's neighbors. As the international community lurches toward the Copenhagen climate change conference, the main topic is carbon emissions and climate change. Again, the debate will center on the PRC.

The size of the country means conflicting processes exist simultaneously. Critics of Chinese ecologic and economic practice can point to ongoing devastation at the same time defenders point to important remedial programs. China and climate change is a topic broad and substantial enough for several books, but there are vital statistics that must be included in any conversation. These point to the PRC as by far the most powerful force, now and for the indefinite future, driving carbon emissions. The reason is coal.

Global Warming on the Hill

Halloween has come and gone, but Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has a ghoulish surprise in store for her fellow Senators on the Environment and Public Works Committee. Press reports suggest Boxer, who chairs the committee charged with overseeing the cap-and-trade legislation, may break long-standing precedent and proceed to a markup without the participation of at least two of the committee’s Republican Senators. The Republicans are boycotting the markup because there has been no thorough analysis of the legislation. Understanding the consequences of cap-and-trade legislation are important, especially considering the staggering economic consequences estimated by The Heritage Foundation. Opposition to the energy tax proposed by Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Boxer is broad-based. Late last week, Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) confirmed his opposition, saying, “I haven't been able to sell that argument to my farmers, and I don't think they're going to buy it from anybody else.” It is shaping up to be a long, cold winter for proponents of cap-and-trade legislation.