The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit delivered a huge blow to Obamacare this morning, ruling that the insurance subsidies granted through the federally run health exchange, which covered 36 states for the first open enrollment period, are not allowed by the law.
The highly anticipated opinion in the case of Jacqueline Halbig v. Sylvia Mathews Burwell reversed a lower court ruling finding that federally run exchanges did have the authority to disburse subsidies.
Today’s ruling vacates the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulation allowing the federal exchanges to give subsidies. The large majority of individuals, about 86 percent, in the federal exchange system received subsidies, and in those cases the subsidies covered about 76 percent of the premium on average.
The essence of the court’s ruling is that, according to the law, those subsidies are illegal. They were always illegal, and the administration never had the authority to offer them. (According to an administration official, however, the subsidies will continue to flow throughout the appeals process.)
Don’t get to excited about this yet. It was a 3 judge panel. And it will likely go to the Supreme Court. Finally, in a different Circuit (4th) a ruling says the subsidies are legal:
A different circuit court ruled today that subsidies offered through federally run exchanges are authorized on the law. This creates a circuit court split, which increases, but does not guarantee, the chances of an eventual hearing by the Supreme Court. It is also possible, and arguably even more likely, that the circuit split will be dealt with via en banc review.
Bottom line: a heavy shot across the bow of the sinking ship ObamaCare. If the DC Circuit finding survives the review and an appeal to the Supreme Court, then foundering ship will take the next shot below the water line. As for the law, it’s not going to get changed anytime soon with a Republican House.
As for the law, the DC Court said it was pretty clear to them:
“We conclude that appellants have the better of the argument: a federal Exchange is not an ‘Exchange established by the State,’ and [the relevant section of the law] does not authorize the IRS to provide tax credits for insurance purchased on federal Exchanges,” the decision says.
The law “plainly makes subsidies available only on Exchanges established by states,” the ruling says. “And in the absence of any contrary indications, that text is conclusive evidence of Congress’s intent. To hold otherwise would be to say that enacted legislation, on its own, does not command our respect—an utterly untenable proposition.”
Plain law, literally interpreted and applied. Certainly not what we’re used too. So let’s see how convoluted this gets moving up the line. My guess is it will be unrecognizable after the lawyers begin to redefine terms and words and make their arguments. By the end of it, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to learn that “federal exchanges” now means whatever the IRS wants it to mean. But clearly, the way to kill this monstrosity is to starve it. And the way you starve it is to defund it … even if you have to do it bit by bit.
This article has been making the rounds. It’s a list of 10 reasons a person who was firmly ensconced on the left decided they could no longer abide on the left. You see that on the other side as well. Just think Little Green Footballs and you’re there.
Usually these sorts of articles are all about self-justification as the person tries very hard to justify to themselves and their erstwhile friends on whichever side they’re deserting the reasons for their departure.
But the person who wrote this article does more than that. She manages to actually touch on and articulate things I’ve observed over the years as well. You might say that due to a certain amount of introspection, the scales suddenly fell away from her eyes.
What struck me as genuine was her description of someone we see show up here often and pretty much do exactly this:
Straw men and “In order to make an omelet you have to break a few eggs.”
It astounds me now to reflect on it, but never, in all my years of leftist activism, did I ever hear anyone articulate accurately the position of anyone to our right. In fact, I did not even know those positions when I was a leftist.
“Truth is that which serves the party.” The capital-R revolution was such a good, it could eliminate all that was bad, that manipulating facts was not even a venial sin; it was a good. If you want to make an omelet, you have to break a few eggs. One of those eggs was objective truth.
Ron Kuby is a left-wing radio talk show host on New York’s WABC. He plays the straw man card hourly. If someone phones in to question affirmative action – shouldn’t such programs benefit recipients by income, rather than by skin color? – Kuby opens the fire hydrant. He is shrill. He is bombastic. He accuses the caller of being a member of the KKK. He paints graphic word pictures of the horrors of lynching and the death of Emmett Till and asks, “And you support that?”
Well of course THE CALLER did not support that, but it is easier to orchestrate a mob in a familiar rendition of righteous rage against a sensationalized straw man than it is to produce a reasoned argument against a reasonable opponent.
On June 16, 2014, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank published a column alleging that a peaceful Muslim was nearly verbally lynched by violent Islamophobes at a Heritage Foundation-hosted panel. What Milbank described was despicable. Unfortunately for Milbank and the Washington Post’s credibility, someone filmed the event and posted the film on YouTube. Panel discussants, including Frank Gaffney and Brigitte Gabriel, made important points in a courteous manner. Saba Ahmed, the peaceful Muslim, is a “family friend” of a bombing plotter who expressed a specific desire to murder children. It soon became clear that Milbank was, as one blogger put it, “making stuff up.”
Milbank slanders anyone who might attempt analysis of jihad, a force that is currently cited in the murder of innocents — including Muslims — from Nigeria to the Philippines. The leftist strategy of slandering those who speak uncomfortable facts suppresses discourse and has a devastating impact on confrontations with truth in journalism and on college campuses.
Ironic chuckle bubbling up? The “omelet/eggs” metaphor is a favorite of whom? And who is the Don Quixote of straw men, constantly putting them up and whacking them a good one.
Read the whole thing … it’s worth it. It’s just that particular one of the ten listed reasons hit right on the spot we’ve all witness any number of times right here at QandO with our “visiting professor”. It’s like she knows him personally down to one of his favorite sayings.
Energy Matters takes a look at the progress of the green energy renewables that were supposed to be saving the day and justifying the “war on coal”:
“So while we can expect that hydro will continue to provide most of the energy generated by renewables for some time to come it isn’t likely to contribute to decarbonizing global energy generation any more than it already has. If decarbonization is to be achieved by expanding renewables the expansion will have to come in wind, solar and biomass. So let’s take hydro out and see how far growth in wind, solar and biomass has carried us along the decarbonization path so far…Clearly they still have a long way to go.”
“Economic patriotism” is the new meme that Democrats are throwing around to demonize companies that try to avoid taxes here in the US, i.e. you’re not a patriotic company if you attempt to avoid taxes the Dems think you should be paying. Kevin Williamson covers it:
Jack Lew, late of Citigroup and currently of the Obama administration, has issued a call for “economic patriotism.” This phrase, which is without meaningful intellectual content, is popular in Democratic circles these days. Ted Strickland, the clownish xenophobe and nearly lifelong suckler upon all available taxpayer teats who once served as governor of Ohio, famously denounced Mitt Romney as a man lacking “economic patriotism” during the 2012 Democratic convention. President Barack Obama has used the phrase. It’s not that I do not appreciate lectures on “economic patriotism” from feckless former executives of dodgy Wall Street enterprises, guys who get rich monetizing their political celebrity, and second-rate ward-heelers from third-rate states; it’s just that nobody ever has been able to explain to me what the term is intended to mean.
The proximate cause of Mr. Lew’s distress is the fact that many U.S. firms either are up and leaving the country entirely or are acquiring foreign competitors in order to reorganize themselves as companies legally domiciled in friendly tax jurisdictions.
Now we’re not talking about 3rd world countries here … just countries that are much friendlier to business and have a lower tax rate. For instance:
U.S. pharmaceutical firms in particular have been in a rush to acquire partners in order to escape punitive U.S. corporate taxes for the relatively hospitable climates of Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. Walgreen’s, a venerable firm that, like the lamentable political career of Barack Obama, has its origins in Chicago, is considering abandoning its hometown of 113 years for Switzerland. Eaton, a Cleveland-based manufacturer of electronic components, moved to Ireland. The list goes on.
Note that in spite of the would-be class warriors’ “race to the bottom” rhetoric, these firms are not moving to relatively low-wage countries such as China or India. Switzerland is not a Third World hellhole — especially if your immediate point of comparison is murderlicious Chicago, which endures more homicides in a typical July than gun-loving Switzerland sees in a typical year. The Netherlands is not Haiti, and Ireland is not Bangladesh.
Got an ironic chuckle out of his point about Chicago. Maybe some might consider they’re moving out of a 3rd world country if they’re Chicago (or Detroit) based.
Anyway, all of these places have one thing in common – lower taxes, less regulation and a friendlier business climate than exists in the US. What they face here is the reason they’re becoming “unpatriotic”. It is more than just taxes:
Mr. Lew is correct in his assertion that relative tax rates are a main driver in the desire of firms to relocate, though it is not the only driver — arbitrary and unpredictable regulation, a lousy tort environment, and unstable public finances surely play a role as well. The United States has the highest statutory corporate-income-tax rate in the developed world, and though effective rates are typically lower than the nominal rate, that is more of a bug than a feature: Our corporate-income-tax regime is riddled with handouts and political favoritism. Crony capitalism is not an inspiring condition for firms looking to make long-term investments.
The point of Democrats and their use of “economic patriotism”, of course, is to demonize and attempt to shame companies that seek relief from the business crippling effects of this government. If the company doesn’t stay to be bled dry by the Dems to finance their utopian and big government schemes, well, they’re just “unpatriotic”.
“Economic patriotism” and its kissing cousin, economic nationalism, are ideas with a fairly stinky history, having been a mainstay of fascist rhetoric during the heyday of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s favorite “admirable Italian gentleman.” My colleague Jonah Goldberg has labored mightily in the task of illustrating the similarities between old-school fascist thinking and modern progressive thinking on matters political and social, but it is on economic questions that contemporary Democrats and vintage fascists are remarkably alike. In fact, their approaches are for all intents and purposes identical: As most economic historians agree, neither the Italian fascists nor the German national-socialists nor any similar movement of great significance had anything that could be described as a coherent economic philosophy. The Italian fascists put forward a number of different and incompatible economic theories during their reign, and the Third Reich, under the influence of Adolf Hitler’s heroic conception of history, mostly subordinated economic questions as such to purportedly grander concerns involving destiny and other abstractions.
Which is to say, what the economic nationalism of Benito Mussolini most has in common with the prattling and blockheaded talk of “economic patriotism” coming out of the mealy mouths of 21st-century Democrats is the habit of subordinating everything to immediate political concerns. In this context, “patriotism” doesn’t mean doing what’s best for your country — it means doing what is best for the Obama administration and its congressional allies.“Economic patriotism” and its kissing cousin, economic nationalism, are ideas with a fairly stinky history, having been a mainstay of fascist rhetoric during the heyday of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s favorite “admirable Italian gentleman.” My colleague Jonah Goldberg has labored mightily in the task of illustrating the similarities between old-school fascist thinking and modern progressive thinking on matters political and social, but it is on economic questions that contemporary Democrats and vintage fascists are remarkably alike. In fact, their approaches are for all intents and purposes identical: As most economic historians agree, neither the Italian fascists nor the German national-socialists nor any similar movement of great significance had anything that could be described as a coherent economic philosophy. The Italian fascists put forward a number of different and incompatible economic theories during their reign, and the Third Reich, under the influence of Adolf Hitler’s heroic conception of history, mostly subordinated economic questions as such to purportedly grander concerns involving destiny and other abstractions.
Which is to say, what the economic nationalism of Benito Mussolini most has in common with the prattling and blockheaded talk of “economic patriotism” coming out of the mealy mouths of 21st-century Democrats is the habit of subordinating everything to immediate political concerns. In this context, “patriotism” doesn’t mean doing what’s best for your country — it means doing what is best for the Obama administration and its congressional allies.
Another adventure in short-term political gain trumping a coherent economic policy that is pro-growth, pro-jobs, etc. Nothing new in that, but I think the summary helps focus it’s purpose. And it has nothing to do with “patriotism” or “economics”.
CBO has extrapolated the budget for the government out to 2039 and using current law paint a picture of the same old crap with a continuing rise in public debt:
Note that the spending an revenue lines are essentially as close as they’re going to get this year, with spending outpacing revenue and widening the gap from now on.
Oh, and this little goodie:
- Federal spending for Social Security and the government’s major health care programs—Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and subsidies for health insurance purchased through the exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act—would rise sharply, to a total of 14 percent of GDP by 2039, twice the 7 percent average seen over the past 40 years. That boost in spending is expected to occur because of the aging of the population, growth in per capita spending on health care, and an expansion of federal health care programs.
So much for “and we’ll save every family $2,500 a year on their health care insurance”. Costs aren’t going anywhere but up. Of course, you can count on the propagandists to now claim they’ll be going up slower than had they let the market work. As with most of the “facts” these yahoos throw around, it will be a baseless claim meant to excuse their failure.
And as the debt piles up even more, so does the amount of money it takes to pay the interest:
- The government’s net interest payments would grow to 4½ percent of GDP by 2039, compared with an average of 2 percent over the past four decades. Net interest payments would be larger than that average mainly because federal debt would be much larger.
No kidding. Which means:
- In contrast, total spending on everything other than Social Security, the major health care programs, and net interest payments would decline to 7 percent of GDP by 2039—well below the 11 percent average of the past 40 years and a smaller share of the economy than at any time since the late 1930s.
Can anyone yet guess the solution to this problem? That’s right, is some form or another, a tax increase. One of the reasons a carbon tax is so popular among some politicians is it taxes thin air and creates a revenue stream out of it.
This is the continuing situation the incompetents who run this government (and yes that includes both parties) have managed to produce for this once proud nation. A debtor nation which is slowly dying under the weight of its own debt, brought to us by spendthrift politicians who will all deny they’re the problem.
But that single picture tells a different story doesn’t it?
Here’s our future:
- The large amount of federal borrowing would draw money away from private investment in productive capital in the long term, because the portion of people’s savings used to buy government securities would not be available to finance private investment. The result would be a smaller stock of capital and lower output and income than would otherwise be the case, all else being equal. (Despite those reductions, the continued growth of productivity would make output and income per person, adjusted for inflation, higher in the future than they are now.)
- Federal spending on interest payments would rise, thus requiring higher taxes, lower spending for benefits and services, or both to achieve any chosen targets for budget deficits and debt.
- The large amount of debt would restrict policymakers’ ability to use tax and spending policies to respond to unexpected challenges, such as economic downturns or financial crises. As a result, those challenges would tend to have larger negative effects on the economy and on people’s well-being than they would otherwise. The large amount of debt could also compromise national security by constraining defense spending in times of international crisis or by limiting the country’s ability to prepare for such a crisis.
While the DOJ won’t even look into voter intimidation by the New Black Panthers in Philadelphia in 2008, it certainly will move itself to check out what Nebraska Democrats claim is the “worst shows of racism and disrespect for the office of the presidency that Nebraska has ever seen.”
Here’s a description of the float:
A Fourth of July parade float featured at the annual Independence Day parade in Norfolk sparked criticism when it depicted a zombie-like figure resembling Mr. Obama standing outside an outhouse, which was labeled the “Obama Presidential Library.”
It was a “zombie-like figure” of Obama? Now, as far as I know, zombies aren’t race specific. Anyone of any race can be a “zombie”, no? However, they are defined as an “animated corpse”. That a pretty fair description of the man who now holds the office of the Presidency. And my statement, I guess, is somehow a horrible show of disrespect for the office of the presidency.
Uh, no. No it’s not.
It is certainly a bit of disrespect for the man holding the office. And I have to wonder where Nebraska Democrats were when George W Bush was in office, if this is the “worst” they’ve ever seen. Frankly, I think it is exceedingly mild.
And, the outhouse? Precisely where I’d say this presidency belongs. The man in the White House is awful. He’s the worst president I’ve seen during my lifetime and I thought Jimmy Carter was hard to beat.
So an animated corpse outside an outhouse is a pretty good bit of political satire if you ask me.
But apparently our DOJ now tries intimidate those exercising their right to free speech (you know, the 1st Amendment? The one that prohibits government from trying to stifle it?). Not that the DOJ or this administration is in anyway worried about allowing the Constitution or Bill of Rights to get in their way of a political vendetta.
This should be interesting:
A federal judge has ordered the IRS to explain “under oath” how the agency lost a trove of emails from the official at the heart of the Tea Party targeting scandal.
U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan gave the tax agency 30 days to file a declaration by an “appropriate official” to address the computer issues with ex-official Lois Lerner.
The decision came Thursday as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, which along with GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill has questioned how the IRS lost the emails and, in some cases, had no apparent way to retrieve them.
The IRS first acknowledged it lost the emails in a letter to senators last month.
“In our view, there has been a cover-up that has been going on,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said. “The Department of Justice, the IRS, had an obligation, an absolute obligation … to alert the court and alert Judicial Watch as soon as they knew when these records were supposedly lost.”
This isn’t Congress we’re talking about here. Dissembling “under oath” in a Federal Court has (or at least used to have) severe consequences. That ass that is the director of the IRS won’t be able to play his arrogant games this time. And, his agency will actually have to have a plausible explanation and proof instead of hand-waves and fake outrage at the questions asked and answers demanded.
As polls have demonstrated, almost no one in the country believes the IRS’s convenient explanations – convenient for them. And, as others have pointed out, they were in violation of the law when they didn’t archive all correspondence pending lawsuits they were involved in. This wasn’t just some “slip up”. The IRS knows what its legal responsibilities are and have exercised them in the past. Their legal department knew that they were required, under the law, to ensure all internal correspondence was available.
This isn’t about a couple of “rogue agents in Cincinnati”. This is about a rogue agency … period. Time to bring it under control again and for once, figuratively speaking, seeing some bureaucratic heads roll.
As usual our “Blamer-in-Chief” is trying to lay off the blame for the crisis at the border on others. Adriana Cohen of the Boston Herald points out why that dog won’t hunt:
The massive crisis of tens of thousands of illegal children and hundreds of thousands of illegal adults flooding over our borders is, no surprise, not President Obama’s fault. It may have been entirely preventable, and certainly was highly predictable. But as usual, six years after he took office, the blame belongs elsewhere.
It’s the Republicans, blocking immigration reform, the Obama administration wants you to believe. They’re even trying to hang it on Obama’s favorite blame target, George W. Bush, saying deportations are being slowed by a bipartisan 2008 law aimed at human trafficking — a claim none other than Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein says doesn’t hold water, while other critics note it’s a little thin, blaming a crisis now on a law that’s been around for six years.
As Mitt Romney noted in 2012, “For two years, this president had huge majorities in the House and Senate — he was free to pursue any policy he pleased. But he did nothing to advance a permanent fix for our broken immigration system.”
The crisis is in fact wholly owned by the Democrats.
Democrats — here and elsewhere — have been pushing for years to let people without Social Security numbers have driver’s licenses and welfare benefits. They’ve pushed for in-state university tuition for people who don’t belong here. Obama himself acted to dramatically reduce deportations — specifically of children — and has broadly signaled he wants to legalize the estimated 12 million illegals.
Who can blame the hundreds of thousands flooding across our borders for thinking they are welcome? The Democrats told them so. Never mind that 92 million Americans are unemployed or no longer looking for jobs.
And now he’s out fundraising while refusing yet again to take a leadership role in solving the crisis. While in Texas, one of the states effected by this crisis, he refused the governor’s invitation to visit the border, preferring again, to talk about it instead (another of his endless and useless roundtables that solve zip).
Can the President really come to Texas to fundraise and avoid going to the border? Now two Southwest Democrat congressmen have spoken out, saying it’s an important issue and he should schedule a visit. Henry Cuellar said exactly that while making the comment that this issue could be Obama’s Katrina Moment, and then Raul Grijalva, representing Arizona’s 3rd district, chimed in,urging the President to go.
The answer to the question is “yes”. And not only that he can then go to Colorado, swill beer, play pool and pretend all is well. Beer and pool – the modern version of Nero’s fiddle.
I see the left hyperventilating over all this impeachment talk, but if ever a guy was working hard to give good cause to be removed, it is this clown.
Nothing new here, but let’s repeat it for the umpteenth time so perhaps somewhere some lefty will actually figure out why minimum wages are a bad idea:
One of the results of the state and local minimum wage increases across the country is more young people out of work, according to Puzder. The more entry-level jobs pay, the more willing experienced, qualified workers will be to take them, thereby bumping the young and inexperienced out of the work force. Puzder says that is causing a real problem for the young people of America.
“The real problem with youth is: You have to have these entry-level jobs to get the experience you need to move forward in your life. If they don’t have those jobs, they’re sitting at home – I don’t know – looking at the posters from the last election or waiting for mom to make dinner, as opposed to being out there actually working and getting the experience that they need to go forward in life,” argues Puzder. “The experience is the important part and we’ve got a whole generation of kids ages 16 to 29 who are missing out on that.”
So how does the economy regulate the price of labor?
“When there’s a demand for labor, the cost of labor goes up. When there’s no demand for labor, it goes down and you can’t solve that problem by having the government artificially mandate a wage increase when there’s no economic growth to support that,” says Puzder. “What businesses do is they increase their prices and they move to automation so you have less jobs.”
Yes, as usual, central planning will fail and have negative consequences. I know, you’re shocked.
Oh, and this:
“When politicians tell people, ‘We’re going to increase the minimum wage and your check will be bigger,’ what they don’t say and [what] the next sentence should be [is]: ‘However, it’s not going to be worth as much as the increase, because everybody’s going to increase their prices so you’re not going to be able to buy as much as you could have if we’d just had economic growth that justified that increase.”
So what does Andy Puzder propose instead of artificially inflated minimum wages? “Government needs to get out of the way. If government gets out of the way, businesses will create jobs,” he says. “Wages will go up and the country will go back to a state of prosperity instead of what we’re in now.”
So you get the usual self-serving half-truth from pols when they claim they’re doing something to help the “little people”. By the way, Andy Puzder is the CEO of CKE Restaurants. He and I disagree on one thing:
Puzder says he believes states and municipalities have the right to raise the minimum wage, but he believes people need to understand the consequences, including higher prices and increased automation, which his company is undertaking using iPads to take orders at some restaurants instead of people.
Uh, no, Mr. Puzder … states have the power to raise the minimum wage, but unless you believe some entity other than yourself has a “right” to mandate how you spend your labor dollar, they have no “right”.
Anyway, prepare for some lefty to come by and assure us that the laws of economics aren’t really iron-clad at all, that supply and demand regulated by the market is old thinking and that central planning has a much better chance of assuring a “living wage” … if, given their skills, anyone can find a job at that price.
So, when you hear Obama and the alarmist bleating incessantly about the crisis of “global warming” or “climate change” or whatever phrase they choose to characterize the hoax they’re trying to perpetrate on the people of the country, ensure you point out that not even their own data supports their claim:
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s most accurate, up-to-date temperature data confirm the United States has been cooling for at least the past decade. The NOAA temperature data are driving a stake through the heart of alarmists claiming accelerating global warming.
Responding to widespread criticism that its temperature station readings were corrupted by poor siting issues and suspect adjustments, NOAA established a network of 114 pristinely sited temperature stations spread out fairly uniformly throughout the United States. Because the network, known as the U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN), is so uniformly and pristinely situated, the temperature data require no adjustments to provide an accurate nationwide temperature record. USCRN began compiling temperature data in January 2005. Now, nearly a decade later, NOAA has finally made the USCRN temperature readings available.
According to the USCRN temperature readings, U.S. temperatures are not rising at all – at least not since the network became operational 10 years ago. Instead, the United States has cooled by approximately 0.4 degrees Celsius, which is more than half of the claimed global warming of the twentieth century.
But, but, that’s only the US … yup, and that supports the observation that globally there has been no warming for the past 17 years. The models are wrong. Just flat wrong and it’s time we started saying that. There is no credence to be found in their predictions and certainly nothing to support the alarmist’s claims.
Carly Fiorino, former CEO of Hewlett Packard and a senate candidate remarked this weekend on the cobbled up “war on women”. On CNN, she pulled out a fortune she’d gotten from a fortune cookie and said:
“‘Strong and bitter words indicate a weak cause,’” Fiorina read. “And that’s exactly right. The War On Women is shameless, baseless propaganda. There’s no fact to it. But it’s worked because it’s scared women to death. Enough.”
Substitute the alarmist’s “climate change” for “war on women” and it describes precisely what is going on with them. They have no case, only propaganda, and their only “argument” is to call the other side names and call for violent action against them.
Meanwhile, the case against the alarmist cause just keeps on getting stronger and stronger, not that it will slow them down or cause them to decrease the volume of screaming. It’s not about science, it’s abotu power and money … and they want both. More power over the way you live and more money to use against you to enforce their edicts.