When the Russians more or less militarily annexed the Crimea a couple of days ago , it was pretty obvious the West wasn’t going to go to war over it, any previously mumbled promises to Ukraine that implied we might aside. It’s still obvious, not that avoiding a war is a bad thing and all.
Who can blame Europe for not wanting another war? They’ve hosted so many, and I’m reliably told if you wander about you can still find nostalgic bits of wreckage to prove it. There are parts left over from wars everywhere. Castles, forts, the Kaiser Wilhelm church (what’s left of it) in Berlin. Graves….lots and lots of graves. Graves of local men, and graves of men who came from across the world, and graves of civilians.
In January of this year, in Euskirchen Germany, a bulldozer operator was killed by a bomb from WWII, and it’s not uncommon for unexploded ordnance to be found, some dating back to the big fandango they held 100 years ago this year. The Europeans have done a super job of cleaning up the place, and I’m 100% certain they aren’t interested in having to do it again anytime soon.
This is why, no one, not even the allegedly crazy Russians, really wants to die for real-estate to get it back into Russia. Maybe some Ukrainians are willing to die out of pride for Ukraine, but the Russians prefer it be done with the bare minimum of shooting, explosions and death. Even ‘crazy’ ‘evil’ people understand that upsets folks, and the shooting, explosions and death get out of control, and pretty soon it’s happening everywhere in sight. The Russians don’t want a war either, but they’re not averse to picking up (re-acquiring) some real-estate on the cheap.
For my entire life we, Americans, helped keep the Russians from taking over the joint by being in places they wanted to be before they could be there. Kudos to NATO and all for asking us to stay. But everybody knew when we parked Americans in their path all across Europe and the Russians did drive tanks through Fulda Gap…if they did it over American bodies; America was likely to take a war-like exception to it. Geo-politics and military science is brutally practical about things like that, and the Russians understood. America was across the ocean and much harder for Soviet tank division to blitzkrieg than a quick push to the east bank of the Rhine. We made it difficult for them by being where they wanted to be in ways that only war, or government over throw, could clear us out of. We stood in Western Europe and they stood in Eastern Europe and we glared at each other. The Europeans understood where the fight was going to happen if it happened. If some were nicer to the Soviets (now the Russians) than we liked, it was probably out of practicality. At times they glared at both us and the Russians.
The ‘other’ people further east, in the Russian zone, just had to live with the Russians because clearing them out would wreck the joint, and everybody knew that too. They didn’t glare at anybody because they didn’t dare. Then the Soviet Union/Eastern Bloc collapsed, they became Russians again and Ukrainians and Latvians and Estonians and Lithuanians and Moldovans and Serbs and you get the idea.
The Europeans don’t want a war, the Russians don’t want a war, we don’t want a war. Having so much experience in wars, and cleaning up after wars, one can understand the reluctance to do the centennial anniversary reenactment of 1914 this year with live rounds.
Still, Russian occupation of the Crimea should never have happened if the West was sincere about helping the Ukrainians keep their lands (especially after the Russians vs Georgia take-down in 2008). I have mixed emotions about our policing the world, and our commitments to far flung places. But our word has to mean something too, and if we bother to give it, we ought to keep it. Not keeping it leads to where we are, drawing red lines and erasing them just as quickly, making threats on an international basis and then barring a couple people from Disney World to show how much we mean it. There’s a whole set of posts that could be written on why we let down our guard in Europe. A quick hit list, military use fatigue, the cost, the simple hope that the not Soviet Russians weren’t going to start up the ‘let’s take over a country’ club again, resurgent Russian pride, feckless American policy, and a new world order.
The biggest one we hear about is this inane belief in some new order that has taken hold. A magic set of rules for countries came into being when we hit the millennium. Who knew? It’s not clear, to me anyway, why that is, must be a side effect of climate change or something because I don’t recall any burning bushes or Jewish prophets with stone tablets making the news recently. I do know our Secretary of State thinks they exist ( I mentioned feckless American policy); Angela Merkel seems to think they exist. But maybe no one forwarded the memos to Vladimir Putin, because all in all he seems pretty proud of using the old rules, and so are his constituents.
No, there is no magic set of new rules. I can’t even say it would be nice, because not only is it not real, it’s not even clearly laid out what it means internationally. Furthermore the old rules still work and still apply. Power and vacuums of power. In fact these new rules already seem remarkably ineffective against people who still use the old rules. As a result there aren’t any new magic formulas or methods for getting the Russians to give Crimea back now either. They certainly aren’t going to do it because we in the West tell each other that Russia is naked in the eyes of the world. They aren’t going to do it no matter how many times some idiot calls them ‘evil’. They aren’t going to do it because they suddenly understand they’re violating the 21st century rules.
Just because the West doesn’t want to apply power doesn’t mean the Russians can’t and won’t. When a country can take over a chunk of another country in a week, there really isn’t much threats that will take months to show effect are going to do to stop them. Done deals. Because people don’t want to wait that long for results (especially the Ukrainians in this case), and life, and business, and in Europe’s case, the need to heat their houses, goes on.
If the West is serious, and worried about the Russians moving into Kiev, park ‘non-threatening’ NATO forces in Kiev. Not just visiting, full time. Park a ‘non-threatening’ contingent of ground troops in Estonia (note the date of that article, last year…). See if the other Baltic countries would like to have permanent physical NATO contingents with troops who are not local. Go beyond ‘air policing’. Put the equivalent of a guard contingent on the equivalent of the Rhine bridges before the Russians do the equivalent of occupying the Rhineland.
And hit our own damn power reset button. Drill like hell for natural gas and oil here in the US and export it to Europe to cut their dependence on Russia. The Russians will understand, they’ll bitch, but they’ll stop because they really don’t want the same war we don’t want. There can’t be a whole lot in Estonia the Russians want to die for.
Project POWER back into the vacuum we’ve created before Putin again proves the old rules, the same ones Hitler used so well, still work just fine. Do it before Chamberlain calls to say he wants his ‘new’ rules back.
Not gonna happen, I realize. We have ‘smart’ diplomacy now, we lead from behind. We’re going to jaw about the new international rules the millennium brought us, and threaten the Russians with our economic power even while we struggle to keep that power turned on for ourselves.
If ever there was a poster woman for progressivism, MA Senator Elizabeth Warren fills the bill. Known as “Fauxahontas” for using fake indian credentials to cash in on minority preferences, she has taken the Ted Kennedy Senate seat from the hapless Scott Brown and is now on target to out-liberal the liberal Lion.
One of the more interesting things to do with her is to disect her thinking via reading what she has to say about certain subjects. It gives one a good peek behind the curtain and into the “progressive” mind. For instance, here she is talking about the school loan program the government unilaterally took over:
Right now, in order to finance the United States government, we take in billions of dollars of profits for student loans, but permit billionaires to have enough loopholes that they pay at tax rates that can be lower than those of their secretaries.
This is a straightforward choice: We can take $75 billion and either way we’ll use it to protect tax loopholes for billionaires or $75 billion can be used to help students to refinance their outstanding student loan debt. It’s billionaires or students.
This particular quote is instructive in so many ways. First, note how she makes the point that government “permits” billionairs to keep their money via loopholes. Obviously she believes that’s something that shouldn’t be permitted, but more importantly in infers a belief that everything you earn belongs to government. The student loan program is simply an excuse for taking it if she has her way. If it weren’t that, it would be something else. But bottom line she believes government has a right to that money in the name of … well you call it – fairness? Equality? Whatever.
Secondly, what is the problem right now in terms of the cost of schooling? The price is to high. How does one get the price down? Competiton. That and you don’t subsidize the cost and lay off the cost of that subsizidation on students. If there is limited competition and vast subsidization, what is the incentive for colleges and universities to cut costs to compete for students?
That’s right, none. So what the government program that she wants to tax billionaires for is doing is helping to sustain, maintain and grow the higher education bubble.
Heritage’s Brittany Corona, a research assistant in education policy, has criticized the federal government’s involvement in the student-loan business, citing, in particular, the unknown long-term costs to taxpayers.
“Continuing to expand higher education subsidies through subsidized federal student loans and grants does nothing to put pressure on colleges to lower costs,” Corona warned. “In fact, access to easy money does the opposite, enabling universities to raise prices, knowing students can return to the federal trough for more financing.”
Sound familiar at all? Have we had previous experience with this sort of nonsense in the last 5 or 6 years?
When this bubble pops and collapses, I’m sure the Warren’s of the world will find some “private” boogyman to blame it on. But in reality, it will again be a government program that fueled the expansion of the bubble and the eventual collapse.
And the students? Well, they’ll still be on the hook to pay for their overpriced education for the rest of their lives, regardless of the interest rate.
Give government bureaucracy the power to nullify your ownership rights in the name of a “higher good”.
You’re all familiar with the poly. The WSJ describes it:
In partnership with green activists, the Department of Interior may attempt one of the largest federal land grabs in modern times, using a familiar vehicle—the Endangered Species Act (ESA). A record 757 new species could be added to the protected list by 2018. The two species with the greatest impact on private development are range birds—the greater sage grouse and the lesser prairie chicken, both about the size of a barnyard chicken. The economic stakes are high because of the birds’ vast habitat.
Interior is expected to decide sometime this month whether to list the lesser prairie chicken, which inhabits five western prairie states, as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. Meantime, the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service are considering land-use amendments to protect the greater sage grouse, which would lay the groundwork for an ESA listing next year.
One of the birds resides mostly on federal land (remember, the federal government owns most of the west of the US). It is on these lands and the little private land there that the sage grouse is found:
The sage grouse is found in 11 western states—California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Most of the areas affected are federal lands routinely used for farming, ranching, mining, road building, water projects and oil and gas drilling.
Ah, gas drilling. Well here we go:
Interior’s proposed “land use” amendments are draconian. They require a four-mile “buffer zone” whenever a sage-grouse mating ground is discovered on federal land. The American Petroleum Institute calls the proposed rules a “de facto ban on drilling.” It fears that compliance could cost tens of millions of dollars in legal fees and cause years of drilling delays.
Well of course it would. That’s the whole point. To make it economically unfeasible to fight this. Never mind that the technology exists to make the foot print tiny (horizontal drilling), you still have to get permission to do it – time and mucho money.
But that’s on federal land. How about private land. Well it just so happens that’s where the prairie chicken comes in (along with the sage grouse). Any idea of where they’re found?
The prairie chicken sits atop Texas’s Permian Basin oil bonanza, and the sage grouse is near the Bakken Shale in North Dakota.
So a bird that is found in 11 western states is apparently “endangered” and also sits conveniently on one of the most productive finds in modern history (Bakken) and the other bird just happens to be in Texas’ big petroleum find? How ironic, no?
Politics in the service of activism. And if the activists don’t get their way?
Environmental groups have won victories by using a strategy called “sue and settle” under which groups propose species for protected status and then sue the federal government, which settles the lawsuit on terms favorable to the greens rather than fight. These settlements typically bypass a thorough review of the scientific evidence and exclude affected parties, such as industry and local communities.
According to Kent Holsinger, a natural resources attorney in Denver heavily involved in these cases, “Wildlife Guardians and Center for Biological Diversity have been party to more than 1,000 lawsuits between 1990 and the present.” The Center for Biological Diversity has made no secret of wanting to end fossil-fuel production in the U.S.
In the case of the Obama administration, it is more likely that this won’t be an antagonistic process, at least where the econuts are concerned. Instead it will be a cooperative process while they bleed the destroy the concept of private property once and for all.
If I’m not mistaken, not a single Obama budget (those few he’s submitted) over the years has gotten even one vote when it hit Congress. And that includes votes from Democrats.
This year is likely to be no exception.
Much of the president’s proposed budget’s rosy projections will require considerable tax financing and political restraint to come to fruition. If revenues are lower than anticipated or spending is not restricted as planned, the ten-year debt picture will look quite different. I have noted before that President Obama’s later mid-session review budget differed considerably from his early budget projections. Early revenue and outlay projections were higher than actual amounts, while deficit spending surged much higher than anticipated from 2010 to 2012. This budget will likely mis-project critical variables as well. The rosiest projections all too often turn out to be the most disappointing.
Talk about an understatement. And the rosy projection? Well here it is compared to the CBO projection:
You have to chuckle at a miss that bad. In the outlying years, look at the percent of GDP the CBO projects vs. Obama. Any guess as to which projection is most likely of the two?
Go back to a key line ins De Rugy’s analysis:
If revenues are lower than anticipated or spending is not restricted as planned, the ten-year debt picture will look quite different.
Point to a moment in recent history where our profligate politicians have actually followed a restrictive spending plan that would have the effect Obama says it will?
Yeah, I can’t point to it either.
Regardless, however, we’re supposed to believe that if the plan is followed as layed out in the Obama budget, we’ll see long term debt reduction.
Unfortunatly the next chart doesn’t at all support that claim:
In every year projected, spendin is greater than revenue. So what they’re assuming is massive growth in the eoncomy to make the debt they pile up in the later years a smaller percentage of the GDP.
Really? Taxes are going to go up, government spending will also go up and yet somehow the private economy is going to surge (10 more “recovery summers”, eh?)? Obama plans spending and taxation as a percentage of GDP that are at or near historic highs, but we’ll see huge economic growth to support that?
Wow, if you’re not flying the red BS flag, you need to take an Econ 101 class.
Yet this is what the President of the United States is presenting as a functional budget for this country 10 years into the future.
We’ve been told over the last few years that our economy is in a slump but not to worry. It’s temporary. The administration is on it. It’s going to be fixed.
What, we’ve had 5 recovery summers and are heading into our 6th?
Well, the CBO, that office the administration loves to cite when it suits them, has decided that this economy, the Obama economy, isn’t an outlier and we should get used to it:
The part of the past that you deem most relevant can be critical in determining your outlook for the future. And nowhere is that clearer than in the changing economic forecasts that come out of the Congressional Budget Office.
This year’s short-term and long-term economic forecasts are substantially worse than last year’s, even though the economy performed better than expected in 2013. What changed was that the C.B.O. economists essentially decided that they would no longer treat the recent years of poor economic performance as a sort of outlier. They have seen enough of a slow economy to begin to think that we should get used to sluggishness.
They think that Americans will earn less than they previously expected, that fewer of them will want jobs and that fewer will get them. They think companies will invest less and earn less. The economy, as measured by growth in real gross domestic product, will settle into a prolonged period in which it grows at an average rate of just 2.1 percent. From 2019 through 2024, job growth will average less than 70,000 a month.
So, how does it feel? You’ve lived through the “Golden age” and are now relegated to … this. Slow to non-existent job growth. Regulation out the wazoo. Rising health care costs. Taxes eating into earnings and no end in sight.
This is the economy this administration has helped fashion with an insensitivity to the economy and a policy cluelessness that is second to none. The fact that they’re still pushing a raise in the minimum wage in the face of half a million job losses (conservative estimate) says it all.
You reap what you sow, or don’t sow, in this case. What they didn’t sow was economic policies that would get the economy moving, create jobs and keep us in that Golden age. Instead we got ideology first, regardless of the economic consequences.
And this is the result.
As CBO says, get used to it.
But first a fond farewell to Piers Morgan – don’t let the doorknob hit you in the ass as you head back to the UK, you jackwagon. Oh, and would you mind taking Alex Baldwin and that Beiber thing with you?
Now to the point. One of the things that the Obama administration told us in the beginning is that it planned on putting “science” back in its proper place as something serious and non-political (an obvious political shot at the opposition who, candidate Obama claimed, used it for political purposes).
How’s that gone? Well we’ve watched the global warming bunkem. And the Keystone Pipeline nonsense. But here’s a story that will demonstrate best how much of a lie (and I don’t know how you describe what’s happened any other way) that original promise was:
A case in point is the story of DOI science adviser and scientific integrity officer, Dr. Paul Houser, who found out that by simply doing his job can be hazardous to one’s career. Dr. Houser is an expert in hydrology who was hired by DOI’s Bureau of Reclamation to evaluate scientific data used in the department’s decision making process. He was assigned several Western State projects including a scheme to remove four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River in Northern California—the largest dam removal project in U.S. history. When a summary of science posted on the web to support DOI’s claim for removal of the dams omitted several crucial factors from expert panel reports, Dr. Houser brought his concerns to his superiors. He was repeatedly told to refrain from sharing his concerns through electronic communication, which could be subject to Freedom of Information Act discovery.
Dr. Houser learned firsthand that policy was driving the science, rather than the other way around, when he was told by his superiors at DOI, “Secretary Salazar wants to remove those dams. So your actions here aren’t helpful.”
According to the DOI the premise for Klamath River dams removal is to restore Coho salmon spawning habitat above the dams. However, official DOI documents reveal scientific concerns that dam removal may, in fact, result in species decline based on millions of tons of toxic sediment build up behind the dams that will make its way to the ocean. Water temperature increases without the dams could also negatively impact the salmon. These studies were ignored. Concerns about the human toll and impact to local Klamath Basin communities were also brushed aside. Those most interested in the well-being of the environment they live and work in, were given a backseat to special interests thousands of miles away.
The Klamath hydroelectric dams provide clean inexpensive energy to thousands of local residents who will be forced to pay much higher premiums if the dams are removed because California has strict new laws for use of renewable energy. The town of Happy Camp sits on the banks of the Klamath River and could be wiped out with seasonal flooding without the dams. Once Coho salmon are introduced into the upper Klamath, farmers and ranchers will be faced with water use restrictions and invasive government regulation of private land. The economic impact will be devastating, property values will depreciate and the agriculture community, often operating on slim profit margins, will be subjected to the fate of the once vibrant logging industry which fell victim to the spotted owl crusades.
Last year, Dr. Houser raised these concerns and was subsequently fired by the DOI. “I put my concerns forward and immediately thereafter I was pushed out of the organization,” he stated. The agency sent a clear message to the rest of their employees and scientists – Salazar’s dam busting agenda cannot be subject to any internal scientific scrutiny. Goebbels would be proud. Truth must be repressed when it contradicts the objective.
Dr. Houser did the right thing. He did his job. His integrity as a scientist was more important than a paycheck. But he remains concerned about his colleagues in DOI, “There are a lot of good scientists that work for the government but they are scared, they are scared that what happened to me might happen to them. This is an issue (about) the honesty and transparency of government and an issue for other scientists in government who want to speak out.”
Those fish have an advocate. That advocate is named Salazar. Salazar has decided he wants a certain outcome. “Science’s” role is to justfy it. Never mind the human toll. Never mind the economic toll. Never mind any of the toll. Ken Salazar and his radical environmental cronies will feel just peachy about themselves if they accomplish this … even if the fish actually die as a result. Because, well because this is how nature did it to begin with, people are pests and it is more important that we let fish spawn where they once did than worry about how it will effect the pests. And by George he has the power of government and “science” behind him to do as he wishes. Houser didn’t toe the line, had actual scientific integrity and spoke out. And was fired.
Frankly, this doesn’t surprise me a bit.
The cult of the vicitim is alive and well in the US. It’s been fostered by politicians and lawyers who are open to the idea that one’s problems, whatever they are, are the fault of someone else.
And, given that doing so gives the pols more power (and the lawyers more money), the field is open for exploitation. Remember the tobacco settlement? Well guess who is next and why:
Lawyers are pitching state attorneys general in 16 states with a radical idea: make the food industry pay for soaring obesity-related health care costs.
It’s a move straight from the playbook of the Big Tobacco takedown of the 1990s, which ended in a $246 billion settlement with 46 states, a ban on cigarette marketing to young people and the Food and Drug Administration stepping in to regulate.
Yes, getting fat is the fault of “big food”. Being obese is just not your fault. So lets soak “Big Food” (and raise already high grocery prices through the roof, shall we?):
“I believe that this is the most promising strategy to lighten the economic burden of obesity on states and taxpayers and to negotiate broader public health policy objectives,” said Paul McDonald, a partner at Valorem Law Group in Chicago, who is leading the charge.
McDonald’s firm has sent proposals to AGs from California to Mississippi explaining how suing “big food” could help their states close budget gaps as billions in Medicaid expenditures eat a growing share of tax revenues.
In a letter to Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane last year, McDonald noted that the state faced a $3.7 billion budget shortfall in 2012 and had to cut back on certain services. The state’s total Medicaid burden that year was $10 billion — and getting a piece of that back could help close the gap.
Yes friends it is the “most promising strategy to lighten the economic burden on the states and taxapayers” … say what? Taxpayers? Aren’t they the one’s who will foot the bill for the “Big Food” pass-through of cost to litigate this idea and then, if the lawyers are successful, pay the settlement?
Name someone you know who isn’t a “food adicit” and doesn’t buy food from “Big Food”, will you? I’d be interested to meet them.
In the meantime, if this guy is successful in selling this to state AGs (and I’d not be surprised if they bit), the cost of food will go up as the cost of litigating this nonsense rises. After all, Big Government is now in charge of health care costs (something they’ve actually driven up) and are desperate for ways to make it cheaper.
You’re just a victim, slugger. And these guys have your best interests at heart, don’t you know? Let the demonization of Big Food begin.
As an aside, it is a bit ironic that the laywer pushing this full employment for lawyers scheme is named McDonald, no?
One of the most ironic and, if it weren’t so serious, amusing aspects of central planners is how they come to the conclusion that their plan – despite thousands of years of human nature – will manage to overcome human nature. What I mean by that akward sentence is they believe they can retrain us to like what they’ll make us do. Screw human nature. Screw the laws of economics. Screw just about every immutable law of nature. This crap sounded great in the beer haze of the dormitory among their liberal friends.
It’s a correlary of the “the only reason socialism hasn’t worked is we haven’t tried it my way” belief. And I do mean “belief”. An act of faith. More underpants gnomes.
The case in point? Megan McArdle brings it to us:
In December, I predicted that “doc shock” was going to be a major problem for the U.S. health-care overhaul, as people found out that the narrow networks insurers use to keep premiums low often don’t cover the top-notch doctors you’d like to see if you get really sick:
“If narrow networks could give everyone in the country access to health-care outcomes no worse than 90 percent as good as the folks with the best doctors at 75 percent of the price we’d pay for broader networks, the health-care wonks would jump on that deal as an unbelievable bargain. But I think it’s pretty clear that average folks don’t think like health-care wonks.
So what does ObamaCare do? Force people into narrow networks despite it being clear to anyone with the IQ of a turnip and a couple of years observing how humans do things, that narrow networks are going to fail.
“So even if narrow networks actually were better, people would resist them. And they’ll fight with every fiber of their being when you tell them to take their kid with leukemia to a community hospital rather than the top-notch children’s hospital nearby. Expect the fight over doc shock to be bitter and long — and to end when insurers cave and start adding pricey doctors back to their networks.”
That’s right … you’re relegated to whatever backwater network of care the particular insurance company you’ve been forced to buy from (or pay a tax too if you prefer) has contracted with. Want world-class care for your child? Tough beans. See your doc at the community hospital instead.
So what has happened? Well exactly what happened before when something like this was tried:
However much good, sound policy sense narrow networks might make, they are political poison. Regulators and politicians are going to find it very hard to withstand the appeals of constituents who have been restricted to the bargain basement of our nation’s health-care system. I simply don’t think they’ll be able to stand it for very long. This is basically what happened to the managed-care revolution that held down cost growth in the mid-1990s — people in those plans complained bitterly, in their capacity as both voters and employees. A combination of legal and market pressure forced insurers to open up their networks and approve more treatments. And then costs started rising again. As people begin using their Obamacare policies and start running into restrictions, the same sort of pressure will begin to mount.
But did our estwhile leaders learn anything from managed care’s failure?
Because, you know, they weren’t in charge at the time and besides, human nature is just overrated.
So, as with every other aspect of this nonsense, watch Obama do what is necessary to ensure the fewest number of people possible are hurt by this … until after midterms, at least and 2016 if Mr. “I can do whatever I want” can swing it.
Well the hits keep on coming with this atrocity of a law known as the Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare. More and more negative nonsense keeps emerging as we get deeper and deeper into its implementation:
In his State of the Union address, President Obama urged Congress to “give America a raise.” Well, it turns out that Obama is giving America a $70 billion annual pay cut, courtesy of Obamacare.
That is the overlooked nugget in the new Congressional Budget Office report detailing the economic costs of Obamacare. While much attention has been paid to the report’s finding that Obamacare will reduce employment by as much as 2.5 million workers, buried on page 117 (Appendix C) is this bombshell: “CBO estimates that the ACA will cause a reduction of roughly 1 percent in aggregate labor compensation over the 2017-2024 period, compared with what it would have been otherwise.”
Translation: Obamacare means a 1 percent pay cut for American workers.
How much does that come to? Since wages and salaries were about $6.85 trillion in 2012 and are expected to exceed $7 trillion in 2013 and 2014, a 1 percent reduction in compensation is going to cost American workers at least $70 billion a year in lost wages.
It gets worse. Most of that $70 billion in lost wages will come from the paychecks of working-class Americans — those who can afford it least. That’s because Obamacare is a tax on work that will affect lower- and middle-income workers who depend on government subsidies for health coverage. The subsidies Obamacare provides depend on income. If your income goes up, your subsidies go down. This means Obamacare effectively traps people in lower-income jobs by imposing an additional tax on every dollar of additional income they earn. Working hard to earn a promotion or get a raise, or taking on additional part-time work — all the things people do to pursue the American Dream — are discouraged by Obamacare. As Keith Hennessey, former chairman of the White House National Economic Council, explains it, “Obamacare punishes additional work, education, job training and professional advancement, anything that generates additional income for those trying to climb into the middle class.”
Emphasis mine. Obamacare provides a disincentive to succeed (as do the majority of government welfare programs). And what is the old saying? If you want more of a behavior, reward it. Want less? Tax it.
The new twist? They then subsidize the cost when they’ve knocked the victim’s income down enough to make insurance unaffordable.
Meanwhile Congressional Democrats and the administration are agitating for a raise in the minimum wage. They take it away with one hand, try to ignore the fact that they’ve done so and demonize the GOP because they’re not pro-minimum wage (or said another way, they actually understand the economic impact of a minimum wage).
If ever there was a picture beside the definition of “dysfunctional government”, it would be this administration’s along with Congressional Democrats.
And beside the definition of “punching bag?” The GOP.
As this Obamanation known as ObamaCare contiunes to unroll and unravell, we find more and more incompetence evident. At this point, you mostly are so in awe (in a negative way) of how badly this was done, that all you’re left to do is shake your head in wonder. The latest:
Amy Goldstein of The Post reveals that the appeals process guaranteed in the Obamacare law does not actually exist. The story outlines an almost comical process that requires citizens who seek a fair hearing to have an innocent, HealthCare.gov-generated mistake corrected to fill out a seven-page paper form that is then inexplicably shipped to Kentucky, where it is entered into a government database that isn’t actually connected to anything. It’s a digital dead end for those who dare to complain. Typical. As a result, 22,000 Americans who have submitted an appeals request remain without proper coverage and they have no recourse. And, according to The Post, in the latest show of non-transparency from this administration, officials have “not made public the fact that the appeals system for the online marketplace is not working.” There is “no indication that infrastructure . . . necessary for conducting informal reviews and fair hearings had even been created, let alone become operational,” and administration officials are refusing to give any information as to when the appeals process might start moving. This is an administration that wants to hide things rather than fix things.
So, the appeals process is analogus to filling out a long paper form and then just throwing it into a dumpster for all the good it does the person filling out the form. But has the administration made it clear that the process is – well not broken, how about nonexistent? Nope. People are still required to fill our their appeals forms, submit them and wait. Except there is no mechanism in the current system for anyone to see, much less review, the submission. The appeal is entered into a data base and that’s the end of the process. Those waiting are left without recourse.
One more time for the morons in the establishment GOP – here’s your issue.
Or, if you continue to pursue immigration – here’s your sign.