While perusing a Frank Bruni op-ed in the NYT, I ran across this:
Conventional wisdom says that better unemployment and job-creation numbers could save Democrats. But many Americans aren’t feeling those improvements. When asked in the Journal/NBC poll if the country was in a recession — which it’s not — 49 percent of respondents said yes, while 46 percent said no.
Got that, despite what 49% believe, the country is “not” in recession? Why? Because some obscure organization (NBER) that determines that has said so.
But here’s a little clue, if 49% believe that, no matter what is declared, how does one suppose they’ll act when it comes to their own little piece of the economic pie? Yup, that’s right, like we’re in a recession. In other words, it really doesn’t matter whether or not the recession is “official” or not, like Bruni says, but then seemingly ignores, “many Americans aren’t feeling those improvements”. That’s because vastly more than the “official” unemployment number remain unemployed. Then there are the underemployed. They don’t give a rip what NBER says. They know how they’re living, how their lives have changed and what they’re facing. Which is why you see:
There’s a feeling of helplessness that makes the political horizon, including the coming midterm elections, especially unpredictable. Conventional wisdom has seldom been so useless, because pessimism in this country isn’t usually this durable or profound.
A feeling of helplessness has never been something, at least in my life time, that this country has ever had. I’m sure during the Depression, there was certainly some of that, but then, I wasn’t living then.
The interesting point there though is the Depression is where the citizens of this country began to look more toward government as an institution of hope. However misplaced that was, it is indeed what happened. FDR. The New Deal. Yatta, yatta, yatta – for years it was credited with pulling us out of the economic pit we found ourselves in. Popular myth had it that without government we’d still be mired in a substandard economy (nevermind the growing body of evidence which puts the onus of the Depression on government failure). Of course, in reality it was WWII that pulled us out. But that myth was popular and a certain segment of the political sphere nurtured and grew it.
Well, as I’ve always said, reality has a way of bitch slapping fantasy at some point in time and that’s pretty much what has finally happened in the last 6 years. Reality has set in. The myth of big government being able to handle such a crisis has been blown to hell. Result?
In the most recent of Sosnik’s periodic assessments of the electorate, published in Politico last month, he wrote: “It is difficult to overstate the depth of the anger and alienation that a majority of all Americans feel toward the federal government.” He cited a Gallup poll in late June that showed that Americans’ faith in each of the three branches had dropped to what he called “near record lows,” with only 30 percent expressing confidence in the Supreme Court, 29 percent in the presidency and 7 percent in Congress.
There should be no surprise for anyone in those numbers. None. Big government has failed. After all the promises, all the money, all the “policies”, all the assurances and all the faith put in its ability to handle any crisis, especially the economic crisis, the myth has exploded. The gullible, who have believed the myth all these years, now feel angry with the institution into which they put so much faith. It was literally a secular religion for some.
Well if there’s a silver lining in all of this mess is the fact that in the future, when this myth again tries to reemerge, we have an era to point to which demonstrates its bankruptcy. We’ll call it “the cash for clunkers” era of government – when government came up a clunker.
I’m not sure how else you interpret this “inversion” nonsense.
Burger King Worldwide Inc. is in talks to buy Canadian coffee-and-doughnut chain Tim Hortons Inc., a deal that would be structured as a so-called tax inversion and move the hamburger seller’s base to Canada.
The two sides are working on a deal that would create a new company, they said in a statement, confirming a report on the talks by The Wall Street Journal. The takeover would create the third-largest quick-service restaurant provider in the world, they said.
The point of this sort of a merger, beside the business aspect, is to move the headquarters of Burger King to a lower tax nation:
Inversion deals have been on the rise lately, and are facing stiff opposition in Washington given that they threaten to deplete U.S. government coffers. A move by Burger King to seal one is sure to intensify criticism of them, since it is such a well-known and distinctly American brand.
By moving to a lower-tax jurisdiction, inversion deals enable companies to save money on foreign earnings and cash stowed abroad, and in some cases lower their overall corporate rate. Even though many of the headline-grabbing inversion deals of late have involved European companies, Canada has also been the focal point for a number of them, given its proximity and similarity to the U.S. Canada’s federal corporate tax rate was lowered to 15% in 2012.
And surprise – Canada’s economy is picking up steam and corporations are eyeing it as a place to locate. Imagine that.
Canada’s corporate tax rate in Ontario of 26.5% (the federal rate of 15% plus Ontario’s provincial corporate tax rate of 11.5%) is considerably favorable to the American corporate tax rate of 35% thanks in large part to the conservative Canadian government led by Stephen Harper. The Harper government lowered the federal tax rate to 15% in 2012 down originally from 28% since it took office in 2006.
In fact, a recent KPMG Report, Focus on Tax, ranked Canada as the #1 country with the most business-friendly tax structure among developed countries when adding up a wide range of tax costs to businesses from statutory labor costs to harmonized sales tax. When comparing developed countries to what companies pay in the U.S.; Canada came in at 53.6%, the U.K. came in at 66.6%, and the Netherlands at 74.5% of the U.S. corporate tax burden.
Meanwhile, our politicians are trying to find a way to prevent that, because, well because they apparently think corporations work for them and exist to pay whatever tax rate they deem necessary. Of course, in a free country, this wouldn’t even be an issue. Corporations, like people, have the right to move wherever they wish. It is their call, not the government’s.
But, here that’s not the case:
Burger King’s possible merger to obtain the favorable Canadian corporate tax rate is a true reflection of the American corporate tax rate being the highest in the OECD. However, rather than taking the same stance on outright cutting the corporate tax rate as the Harper government did to keep the U.S. a competitive place to do business, President Obama calls tax inverting companies like Burger King “corporate deserters who renounce their citizenship to shield profits”. At the urging of President Obama, Congress is considering a bill to make it harder for companies to change addresses abroad. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew called for a “new sense of economic patriotism,” asking Congress to pass curbs to inversions. The Treasury Department currently is also preparing options to deter or prevent corporate tax inversions potentially on its own.
“Corporate deserters”. “Economic patriotism”. It’s Orwellian Newspeak at its finest. Imagine anyone trying to “shield profits” from a grasping and out-of-control government. It is also another, in a long line of indicators, that this is no longer a free country in the sense we used to believe it was. It is now a country where every other entity is subservient to the needs or wants of intrusive, controlling government.
How do you argue a point with a side which hasn’t a clue how the real world works or what a logical “non-sequitur” is?
I think we all know which side that is.
Here’s the premise put forth by an article in The New Republic:
“Libertarians Who Oppose a Militarized Police Should Support Gun Control”
Here’s a sketch of the argument:
There is indeed agreement between many liberals and libertarians that the militarization of the police, especially in its dealings with racial minorities, has gone too far. But this consensus may crumble pretty quickly when it’s confronted with the obvious police counter-argument: that the authorities’ heavy firepower and armor is necessary in light of all the firepower they’re up against. At that point, many liberals will revert to arguing for sensible gun control regulations like broader background checks to keep guns out of the hands of violent felons and the mentally ill (the measure that police organizations successfully argued should be the gun control movement’s legislative priority following the Newtown, Connecticut shootings) or limits on assault weapons and oversized ammunition clips. And liberals will be reminded that the libertarians who agree with them in opposing police militarization are very much also opposed to the gun regulations that might help make the environment faced by police slightly less threatening.
But it doesn’t “crumble” at all. You have to buy into the premise that it is a more lethally dangerous out there for police than it appears to be. But it isn’t:
The number of law-enforcement officers killed by firearms in 2013 fell to levels not seen since the days of the Wild West, according to a report released Monday.
The annual report from the nonprofit National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund also found that deaths in the line of duty generally fell by 8 percent and were the fewest since 1959.
According to the report, 111 federal, state, local, tribal and territorial officers were killed in the line of duty nationwide this past year, compared to 121 in 2012.
Forty-six officers were killed in traffic related accidents, and 33 were killed by firearms.
The number of firearms deaths fell 33 percent in 2013 and was the lowest since 1887.
And the drop is credited to bullet proof vests, not SWAT Teams and MRAPS. Pretending that the threat is any higher now than it always has been seems obviously wrong, given the facts. Certainly there are toxic cultures within our society who believe that violence is the answer to whatever they encounter as a problem. And yes, police have to face that potential threat all the time. Do I think police should be armed adequately? Yes, but that doesn’t at all begin to cover what we see among today’s police forces in terms of both equipment and tactics. In fact, I believe it is all of these “wars” on everything from drugs to terrorists which have had a hand in helping to militarize the police.
That said, agree or disagree with that point, gun control is essentially not only been shown to be ineffective but is a non-sequitur in this “argument”. See Chicago, Detroit, Washington DC for proof the ineffectiveness of the ban. But you have to ask, who in this day and age but a clueless journalist would even begin to believe that “broader background checks” are going to keep guns out of the hands of “violent felons?” Have they in the past (their answer is they just haven’t be stringent enough)? Honestly, do they really believe a felon is going to waltz into a gun store to buy what he wants knowing full well he’ll have a background check run? Really?
Have these rubes never heard of a black market (they can buy guns from Mexican cartels, thoughtfully provided by the DoJ)? Do they not realize that any “violent felon” who wants a gun isn’t going to even try to get one legally? So, knowing that, why in the world would any libertarian grant the absurd premise knowing full well that doing so only limits the freedom of the law abiding citizenry? It’s absurd on its face. And, logically, it is a non-sequitur to any libertarian (again, libertarianism isn’t about shrinking rights and freedoms for heaven sake). How does making it more inconvenient for citizens who aren’t “violent felons” to buy a gun for self-protection going to stop a felon from obtaining his gun illegally? It isn’t.
Because, of course, that’s not what they really want (i.e. incremental change via “broader background checks”). They want a total ban on guns, for government and felons to be the only people with guns and to essentially outlaw then outright. Obviously they are oblivious to the danger of only government having guns and they certainly don’t seem to be able to wrap their heads around the fact that felons aren’t going to pay any attention to the law. Nor will the black market in illegal guns. So why, again, should anyone grant this argument credence?
I swear, you just wonder at times what goes on between their ears all day, because it certainly has nothing to do with the real world or reason.
I think George Will is on to something:
In physics, a unified field theory is an attempt to explain with a single hypothesis the behavior of several fields. Its political corollary is the Cupcake Postulate, which explains everything , from Missouri to Iraq, concerning Americans’ comprehensive withdrawal of confidence from government at all levels and all areas of activity.
Washington’s response to the menace of school bake sales illustrates progressivism’s ratchet: The federal government subsidizes school lunches, so it must control the lunches’ contents, which validates regulation of what it calls “competitive foods,” such as vending machine snacks. Hence the need to close the bake sale loophole, through which sugary cupcakes might sneak: Foods sold at fundraising bake sales must, with some exceptions, conform to federal standards.
What has this to do with police, from Ferguson, Mo., to your home town, toting marksman rifles, fighting knives, grenade launchers and other combat gear? Swollen government has a shriveled brain: By printing and borrowing money, government avoids thinking about its proper scope and actual competence. So it smears mine-resistant armored vehicles and other military marvels across 435 congressional districts because it can.
Examples? Will provides plenty of them.
Here’s the point though:
A cupcake-policing government will find unending excuses for flexing its muscles as it minutely monitors our behavior in order to improve it …
“Improve” should be in scare quotes, because the deeper the medling, the more it “minutely monitors our behavior”, the less it improves it and the more it interferes with it.
But … that’s the state of being now in the US.
Nick Gillespie at Hit and Run agrees with Will but issues this warning:
He’s right that confidence in government is plummeting mostly because of the simultaneously stupid and overreaching actions of politicians, administrators, and bureaucrats at all levels. Recognizing such a reality may be the beginning of (libertarian) wisdom, but as I’ve written before, it also carries a very serious potential risk. Counterintuitively, distrust in government may lead to calls for more government.
And that’s one of the reasons we suffer Leviathan today. Many of our “problems” in the past have had their roots in government interference or over-reach. The real problem is we petition government for relief and government’s answer is always more government.
Here’s a clue: when you ask government to fix any problem it will always answer with more government, regulations, laws, whatever – nature of the beast. Unfortunately, we’ve been conditioned to look to government for relief from all our problems. The end-state of that is always more government control and less citizen control. And here we are.
A major ray of hope—indeed, the beam of sunshine that’s warming up this libertarian moment—is really the ways in which people are creating workarounds that simply bypass government whenever possible. Taxi regulations screw consumers? Create Uber. Public-school educators are unresponsive? Create your own curriculum or even your own school. Can’t sell unpasteurized milk products? Create a buyers club. Major parties won’t listen? Create the Tea Party. And on and on.
As Matt Welch and I discussed at length in The Declaration of Independents, workarounds are a great thing and easier to pull off than ever, but they have serious limitations (witness foreign policy, Ferguson, the drug war, and so much more). It’s well past time that we start insisting on a limited, trustworthy government that is actually competent and restrained at the few things that it should be doing. That will not only reduce the desire for more government, it will free up even more time and resources for the free-range experiments in living that will actually make the world better, more interesting, and more prosperous.
Btw, I disagree this is necessarily a “libertarian moment” (although like the “Tea Party”, I see the liberals loading up the rhetorical guns to shoot down anything that might take flight suggesting it). However, what Gillespie talks about above is where this sentiment that has grown tremendously over the past 6 years (surprise, huh?) needs to be herded. Whether that’s possible or not will tell us all how “libertarian” the moment has been.
Until then, enjoy your cupcakes.
How else to describe this president when he makes remarks like this:
President Barack Obama claimed Monday night during a Democratic Party fundraising dinner that the United States is ‘stronger’ than it was when he assumed office in January 2009.
His statement, though, appears to be at odds with key economic indicators, America’s sliding reputation abroad, and the American public’s estimation of the direction the country has taken under the Obama administration.
‘In all sorts of ways,’ Obama told Democratic partisans who paid between $15,000 to $32,400 to hear him speak, ‘we are not just stronger than when we – where we were when I first came into office.’
‘It’s fair to say that America has the best cards when you look at other countries around the world. There’s no other country you’d rather be than the United States.’
‘Nobody can compete with us when we’re making the right decisions,’ he said.
The unspoken implication here is since we’re “stronger”, he’s made all the “right decisions”. Of course that absurd implication can be confronted factually at all sorts of levels.
Take the economy:
Grove City College economics professor Tracy Miller wrote Monday in an op-ed for The Daily Caller that ‘[o]ver the first five years of Obama’s presidency, the U.S. economy grew more slowly than during any five-year period since just after the end of World War II, averaging less than 1.3 percent per year.’
The percentage of working-age Americans who are part of the U.S. workforce has reached the lowest level since 1978, with one out of every three staying on the sidelines and not working.
And the federal government’s debts have ballooned by $7 trillion since Obama took office, a sum larger than the accumulated U.S. debts between 1776 and the end of the Clinton administration.
Consumer confidence is at -17. That’s right, minus seventeen according to Gallup’s recent Economic Confidence Index.
You don’t even have to cite the debacle his lack of foreign policy has wrought (or his lack of leadership on the illegal immigration flood) to make the point that he’s either lying through his teeth or he’s delusional. He seems be reading a script from spin doctors and seems to be nothing but a propaganda mouthpiece now. An empty suit. The “face.” He doesn’t seem to even care. Most of the recent optics (vacation after vacation while the world is in crisis) are simply not what anyone who cared would do if in a leadership position. But he seems to think he’s entitled and we peasants should just suck it up and cope. “Imperial presidency” doesn’t even begin to describe this crew.
Credibility? Not much:
By a 20-point margin, they believe the nation is weaker under Obama’s leadership, according to a Fox News poll released in June. Just 35 per cent told pollsters they agreed with what Obama said Monday night.
The “Monday night” refers to the bucket of slop above that he served up to those true believers paying 32K for dinner.
And that has led to this from a CNN poll:
The poll also indicates that the public’s trust in government is at an all-time low.
Frankly, you won’t find me lamenting this particularly, but it is an illustration as to how poorly this administration had done its job (Remember, one of Obama’s stated goals was to increase trust in government). Gallup piles on with this:
Many more Americans now mention a non-economic issue — such as dissatisfaction with government, immigration, or ethical and moral decline — than an economic one as the top problem.
This presidency has been a disaster. And it continues, without seeming end, to make all the wrong decisions almost without exception. The fact that the public seems to finally be waking up to it tells me a lot about how this presidency and administration have benefitted from a press reluctant to lay it all out as it happened. The problem the press faces now is it has become so bad that their credibility (such that it is) is at risk if they continue to ignore and/or attempt to explain away what has become obvious to almost everyone. That and the “Bush is to blame” blanket excuse has expired for all but the sycophants (although Obama again tried to deploy it this week when denying responsibility for the problems in Iraq).
This has been an awful era for this country. Almost everything this president promised has been found to be either nonsense, demonstrably false or a lie. Instead of the “most transparent” administration in history, it has become the most opaque. We see indications of criminal conduct by apparatchiks every day (really, 20 people under suspicion all had their emails destroyed? Really?). We see a “Justice” department that ignores the law and/or selectively enforces it depending on whether the group in question is a favored one or not (New Black Panthers and video of voter intimidation? Nah. Vote ID laws? You bet.). We see executive department bureaucrats assuming powers and making rules that are beyond their scope (just about everything the EPA has done). And, in fact, we see an administration that has mostly ignored the Constitution and the limits on power it imposes on the executive.
Now we’re engaged in redefining what “stronger” means. Apparently, in Obama Newspeak, stronger is really “weaker and poorer”. If that’s what he was striving to accomplish, then he can claim to have been remarkably successful in making us “stronger”.
Seriously, that’s the question some whackadoo feminist columnist in the UK is asking (it makes you wonder if the paper that published it is a serious news source).
But this is less an issue of costliness than it is of principle: menstrual care is health care, and should be treated as such.
She wouldn’t know true principle if it throat punched her. However, what is clear is when you allow yahoos to redefine “health care” and get government to take control of it, well then everything should be ‘free’.
Her authority? Not to worry, feminists have declared a few things to be “true”, and that make this a no-argument, slam-dunk:
Sanitary products are vital for the health, well-being and full participation of women and girls across the globe. The United Nations and Human Rights Watch, for example, have both linked menstrual hygiene to human rights.
Well there you go. I’m not sure where the human right not to be coerced by government into subsidizing another’s wants went, but apparently that’s a real right that is to be forever ignored.
If it is “health care” then it is a “right”. And if it is a “right” then it should be “free”. And if it is “free”, someone else should pay for it – or so the “reasoning” goes. /sarc
Of course the fact that any such product has to be produced at a cost, transported at a cost and distributed at a cost that someone has to pay is just lost on these sorts of folks. It doesn’t register.
As far as they’re concerned tampons come from magic tampon trees and when they need them, well, they’re just there. And because they’re just there, they should be free! Don’t you get that, you neanderthal?
Frankly I like this answer from a commenter to the article
Why aren’t tampons free?
Why isn’t soap free or wet wipes or shampoo?
If your argument is that sanitation should be provided for all cheaply then fine [Ed. sorry, but it already is].
But it isn’t. Your argument is that its all a plot to make women pay for stuff they need. At the end of the day its not free because in the real world you have to pay for stuff. Your right to a hygienic lady area is no more compelling than mine to a clean backside or clean hands. You are once more guilty of making women victim’s of their vaginas.
The commenter is right – the unspoken part of this attempt to fleece others is supposed victimhood. Read the article – it reeks with it.
In reality this is just the inevitable extension of the Sandra Fluke argument that all women are entitled to free contraception because it is a “right” or something.
Where I come from “rights” aren’t something others pay for with either time, labor, material or money.
But hey, if you can redefine “health care” you can certainly redefine “rights”, no?
The New Republic publishes an article saying, in essence, “see, the ObamaCare increases are nothing to really get excited about“. And to emphasize the point, they issue this Price-Waterhouse map (the reason they use it is as an appeal to authority):
If you look at it, you’d likely conclude that they were mostly right … where’s the problem? Only Indiana seems to have a real problem and its increases are only around 15%.
And, you know, if Price-Waterhouse says it, it must be true.
Researching it beyond that, well, that would be journalism:
INDIANA: 2015 premiums increases ‘as high as … 46-percent’ “Initial 2015 premiums filed for the Obamacare exchanges in Indiana ranged from as high as a 46-percent hike to as low as a 9-percent cut.” (Indianapolis Business Journal, 5/19/14)
MARYLAND: 2015 premiums could increase up to 30% “Maryland’s dominant insurance company, CareFirst, is proposing hefty premium increases of 23 to 30 percent for consumers buying individual plans next year under the federal health-care law, according to filings released Friday.” (The Washington Post, 6/6/14)
WASHINGTON: 2015 premiums could increase ‘up to 26%’ “If approved, rate increases for 2015 individual health plans proposed by 12 insurance companies may affect most policyholders… [up] to an increase of 26 percent…” (The Seattle Times, 5/13/14)
ARIZONA: 2015 premium increases up to 25.5 percent “New filings trickling into the Arizona Department of Insurance show at least two health insurers plan to increase rates more than 10 percent. Cigna Wants To Increase Rates An Average Of 14.4 Percent And Humana, 25.5 Percent.” (The Arizona Republic, 6/2/14)
LOUISIANA: ‘Double-digit increases’ up to 24% possible “Some Louisiana private health insurers filed for double-digit percentage increases in 2015 for policies sold under the Affordable Care Act’s health exchange, according to filings this week with the Louisiana Department of Insurance.” (New Orleans Times Picayune, 7/15/14)
· “Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, the state’s largest provider, is proposing rate increases of between 18.3 percent and 19.7 percent for policyholders in its Blue Saver, Blue Max and its Multi-State individual health plans. The plans cover 52,638 people. … The 4,947 people who signed up with Human Louisiana facea hike of 15.7 percent, while the 966 insured residents with Time Insurance Company face a hike of 24 percent, according to the filings made public this week.”(New Orleans Times Picayune, 7/15/14)
TENNESSEE: 2015 Premiums Could Increase up to 21.7% “BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee — the state’s dominant health insurance provider — is asking to raise rates by an average of 19 percent for its exchange plans in 2015, according to documents filed with the state of Tennessee. …the consumer will experience a rate increase between 6.1 percent and 21.7 percent, depending on the product he or she has bought.” (Chattanooga Times Free Press, 7/17/14)
· “Meanwhile, Cigna is requesting an average rate increase of 7.5 percent in 2015, while Kentucky-based Humana would like to boost marketplace rates by an average of 14.4 percent.” (Chattanooga Times Free Press, 7/17/14)
NEW YORK: 2015 premiums could increase up to 19.7% “Insurance firms participating in New York’s ObamaCare health exchange are seeking double-digit hikes for patient medical premiums in 2015, new figures reviewed by The Post reveal. The average hike sought by insurers for individual plans is 12 percent—but a number of firms serving large numbers of patients want to boost individual premiums by nearly 20 percent. Leading the charge is Excellus Health Plan, which is seeking to sock more than 24,000 customers with a 19.7 percent hike.” (New York Post, 7/3/14)
VERMONT: 2015 premiums could increase up to 18.3% “The two companies that sell policies on the state’s online health insurance marketplace — Vermont Health Connect — have filed requests with state regulators for big rate increases for 2015. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont has asked for an average increase for its plans of 9.8 percent. … the increases would have averaged 3.3 percent if not for federal and state mandates. … MVP Health Care proposed an even bigger rate increase — an average 15.4 percent, with a range starting at 10.7 percent and rising to 18.3 percent.” (Burlington Free Press, 6/3/14)
MICHIGAN: 2015 premium increases up to 18 percent “Most people buying their own health insurance in Michigan could see near double-digit premium increases next year. State insurance regulators said Wednesday that dominant insurers Blue Care Network and Blue Cross Blue Shield want to raise rates by an average of 9.3 percent or 9.7 percent in 2015. … Humana is the insurer with the third most customers in Michigan’s individual market and seeks an average 18 percent rate increase affecting 16,600 customers.” (The Associated Press, 6/26/14)
VIRGINIA: 2015 premiums could increase up to 14.9% “…the Anthem HealthKeepers Inc. plan offered by a unit of WellPoint Inc. said it would raise premiums by an average of 8.5% across its individual plans in Virginia, which cover about 110,000 people and are sold on the online insurance exchange set up by the health law, as well as directly to consumers. … The Virginia filings show other health plans proposing rate increases ranging from 3.3% for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc., with around 10,000 members in the state, to 14.9% for CareFirst BlueChoice Inc., which said it had about 32,000 members.” (The Wall Street Journal, 5/11/14)
IOWA: 2015 premium increases up to 14.5 percent “About a quarter of a million Iowans would see their insurance rates rise next year should the state approve a request from Iowa’s dominant health insurer. Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield announced Friday that it is seeking to raise premium rates for 253,000 policyholders in Iowa. Those rate increases would affect individual policyholders and small businesses. Most — 92 percent — of the proposed rate increases would be less than 5.9 percent, according to numbers provided by Wellmark. … For the remaining 7.5 percent of policyholders — those who have post-Affordable Care Act plans for individuals under 65 — Wellmark is asking for a rate increase between 11.9 percent and 14.5 percent.” (Des Moines Register, 6/20/14)
OHIO: “Premiums would increase 13 percent next year for Ohioans who buy health coverage through the federally run insurance exchange, the Ohio Department of Insurance said yesterday.” (The Columbus Dispatch, 5/30/14)
OREGON: 2015 premiums could increase up to 12.5% “Moda Health captured more than 40 percent of the state’s exchange enrollees this year, with about 95,000 people covered under its plans. The company is proposing to increase prices by an average of 12.5 percent. Only one other carrier proposed a double-digit price increase.” (The Hill, 6/11/14)
RHODE ISLAND: 2015 premium increases ‘averaging 12 percent’ Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is proposing 2015 premium increases averaging 12 percent for individuals and families, and 8 percent for small groups.” (Providence Journal, 5/19/14)
DELAWARE: 2015 premiums could increase 5% “Delawareans could face higher insurance costs under the Affordable Care Act next year under new rate requests from insurers. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield is seeking average premium increases of 5 percent for individuals who bought insurance through Delaware’s exchange.”(The Associated Press, 7/15/14)
Premiums would rise an average 13.2 percent for Floridians, according to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. But actual increases would vary greatly on families’ size, financial circumstances, county of residence and the types of plans they select.
All that said, that’s not the argument is it? Wasn’t the promise that ObamaCare would save families an average of $2,500 a year?
That’s what I remember.
But, you know, it’s a great success.
When they do we see scandals like the VA. What the left will tell you is that’s an exception. That the government can run health care vastly better than the private sector because it knows how to control costs.
NHS doctors are prematurely ending the lives of thousands of elderly hospital patients because they are difficult to manage or to free up beds, a senior consultant claimed yesterday.
Professor Patrick Pullicino said doctors had turned the use of a controversial ‘death pathway’ into the equivalent of euthanasia of the elderly.
He claimed there was often a lack of clear evidence for initiating the Liverpool Care Pathway, a method of looking after terminally ill patients that is used in hospitals across the country.
It is designed to come into force when doctors believe it is impossible for a patient to recover and death is imminent.
There are around 450,000 deaths in Britain each year of people who are in hospital or under NHS care. Around 29 per cent – 130,000 – are of patients who were on the LCP.
Need beds? LCP an oldie. Problem solved. Because with the bureaucracy, you’re not an individual or a patient, you are literally a number to be managed in a way that best benefits the bureaucracy.
Professor Pullicino claimed that far too often elderly patients who could live longer are placed on the LCP and it had now become an ‘assisted death pathway rather than a care pathway’.
He cited ‘pressure on beds and difficulty with nursing confused or difficult-to-manage elderly patients’ as factors.
Now it’s not like we don’t have examples that confirm this – this is one, the other is in our own backyard.
Death panels? Don’t need ‘em. Doctors – you know, the guys who swear to the Hippocratic oath – are empowered by the bureaucracy to arbitrarily assign you to the death pathway. Or, in the case of the VA, simply ignore you by leaving you on a wait list until you die. Either way, a smart person would quickly see where the movement here in this country is going. A bigger version of the NHS.
I imagine there are those out there who will write this off as the usual political squabble, but there’s a larger point here, and if you look closely you’ll see it:
Top White House political adviser David Simas refused again Friday to honor a congressional subpoena, prompting Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to vote to rebuke the administration.
The Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted 19-14 to reject the White House’s claim that Simas has absolute immunity from a subpoena from Congress.
Republicans said they were standing up for the principle that no one is above the law, and Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa quoted a long list of Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, who have backed Congress’ right to subpoena top administration officials.
Democrats, led by ranking member Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, said they strongly disagree with the White House’s claim of absolute immunity but also strongly disagree with Issa’s push to press the issue, warning it could hurt the institution if they take a case to court.
The White House informed Issa at 7:30 a.m. Friday that Simas would not appear, Issa said. The absence was “not excused,” the California Republican added.
White House Counsel W. Neil Eggleston asked Issa to withdraw the subpoena to discuss his late Thursday offer for Simas to give a deposition instead of subpoenaed testimony.
Issa refused to do so.
“We have an absolute right and obligation” to investigate the new White House Office of Political Strategy and Outreach, he said.
It is about this presidency’s seeming desire to be unlawful. Screw Congress, screw the law, screw oversight, we (the Executive branch) get to decide what is or isn’t lawful. And we’ve decided that we have full immunity.
Nice. And this isn’t even some big agency or the like. It’s a 4 person office. It’s about the Constitution and the law:
“This was intended to be a short, and I hope it will be, oversight of a relatively small but in the past controversial office, consistent with our requirement to do oversight even without a predicate of wrongdoing,” he said.
Issa said oversight of the previously troubled political office will help American people be more comfortable and ensure taxpayer dollars are being used properly.
“This is not alleging a scandal at any level,” Issa said of the subpoena. But oversight is still legitimate, he said. ”We are accusing neither the president nor anyone in this four-person office of any wrongdoing.”
Nope … this is just their normal duties. Oversight. What a concept. Make sure that executive agency entities are following the law, spending (or not spending) taxpayer’s money as prescribed by law, etc.
And, as I mentioned yesterday, perception is going to be what? That they’ve got something to hide. The optics on this sort of thing are horrible – but they either don’t seem to understand or they don’t care.
There’s no good reason at work here for this president, there’s just arrogance and defiance. Even the Democrats won’t buy into the total immunity nonsense.
So we sit and watch as this administration continues to thumb its nose at the lawful functions of government and obeying the law.
But why should they? They haven’t in the past and nothing has happened. Why should they worry now?
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.