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.
Perhaps I should say the building myth and the reality.
What is the building myth? That the worst is behind it. Megan McArdle fills you in:
Many of the commentators I’ve read seem to think that the worst is over, as far as unpopular surprises.
But she then takes a chain saw to that particular notion:
In fact, the worst is yet to come.
· 2014: Small-business policy cancellations. This year, the small-business market is going to get hit with the policy cancellations that roiled the individual market last year. Some firms will get better deals, but others will find that their coverage is being canceled in favor of more expensive policies that don’t cover as many of the doctors or procedures that they want. This is going to be a rolling problem throughout the year.
· Summer 2014: Insurers get a sizable chunk of money from the government to cover any excess losses. When the costs are published, this is going to be wildly unpopular: The administration has spent three years saying that Obamacare was the antidote to abuses by Big, Bad Insurance Companies, and suddenly it’s a mechanism to funnel taxpayer money to them?
· Fall 2014: New premiums are announced.
· 2014 and onward: Medicare reimbursement cuts eat into hospital margins, triggering a lot of lobbying and sad ads about how Beloved Local Hospital may have to close.
· Spring 2015: The Internal Revenue Service starts collecting individual mandate penalties: 1 percent of income in the first year. That’s going to be a nasty shock to folks who thought the penalty was just $95. I, like many other analysts, expect the administration to announce a temporary delay sometime after April 1, 2014.
· Spring 2015: The IRS demands that people whose income was higher than they projected pay back their excess subsidies. This could be thousands of dollars.
· Spring 2015: Cuts to Medicare Advantage, which the administration punted on in 2013, are scheduled to go into effect. This will reduce benefits currently enjoyed by millions of seniors, which is why they didn’t let them go into effect this year.
· Fall 2015: This is when expert Bob Laszewski says insurers will begin exiting the market if the exchange policies aren’t profitable.
· Fall 2017: Companies and unions start learning whether their plans will get hit by the “Cadillac tax,” a stiff excise tax on expensive policies that will hit plans with generous benefits or an older and sicker employee base. Expect a lot of companies and unions to radically decrease benefits and increase cost-sharing as a result.
· January 2018: The temporary risk-adjustment plans, which the administration is relying on to keep insurers in the marketplaces even if their customer pool is older and sicker than projected, run out. Now if insurers take losses, they just lose the money.
· Fall 2018: Buyers find out that subsidy growth is capped for next year’s premiums; instead of simply being pegged to the price of the second-cheapest silver plan, whatever that cost is, their growth is fixed. This will show up in higher premiums for families — and, potentially, in an adverse-selection death spiral.
In fact, she is exactly right. Note how many of these surprises happen before 2016. And, as they come true, perhaps … just perhaps … when voters are told that the rest of this nonsense is likely to come true too (it is the law, you see), they might believe it.
Perhaps. The “Cadillac tax” was inartfully delayed until after the election. However, the snowball will already be rolling down hill by then and you’d think the public would be open to believing that the rest of this abomination, that which was delayed, will indeed happen. And you’d also believe they’d want to do something about that (that, of course assumes Obama doesn’t wave the magic executive pen and waive all of this until after the election).
But then, doing something would depend on what? Well, getting elected officials that want to actually get rid of most of this monstrosity and are willing to say that and then do it. Uh, that won’t be Democrats (well except perhaps blue dog Democrats, if they’re not extinct by then).
What it all boils down too is that voters will have to depend on Republicans to do the heavy lifting. The question is will they do that if elected? In other words, will Republicans be up to the job?
If I had to base it on the current crop – yeah, not so much.
It is something government is quite good at doing, even though the solution usually ends up being worse than the problem.
And then there are “problems” that aren’t really problems, but government sees an opportunity to step in and “solve” it via, well, more government and less freedom, of course.
Two out of three Americans are dissatisfied with the way income and wealth are currently distributed in the U.S. This includes three-fourths of Democrats and 54% of Republicans.
On it’s face, you might not think much about this, since very few people are satisfied with their condition, regardless of how good it really is. Everyone thinks they should be doing better. And, for the most part, many like to blame others for their inability to realize whatever goals and dreams they’ve set out for themselves. It’s certainly not their fault they aren’t the CEO of a Fortune 100 company … it has to be the “elite” or the “rich” or the “old boy network” that’s kept them from their dream. And they certainly think they should be making more than they do. They’re worth it, just ask them.
They’re also fertile ground for the biggest con artist in the world to use their dissatisfaction to promise them their dream at the expense of others. Instead of saying, “Don’t like your situation? Work harder and smarter then”, this bunch of grifters promise to use their power to help the dissatisfied get “their due”. And so:
President Barack Obama spoke about income disparities in a Dec. 4, 2013, speech, saying he wanted to prioritize lowering income disparity and increasing opportunities, particularly for the poor, during the rest of his second term. He most likely will return to that topic in his State of the Union speech at the end of the month. Gallup’s Jan. 5-8 Mood of the Nation survey included a question asking Americans how satisfied they are with income and wealth distribution in the U.S. Few, 7%, report that they are “very satisfied” with the distribution, while 39% of Americans say they are “very dissatisfied.”
Who says a failing economy can’t be used to increase political and governmental power? Just hide and watch. Of course, it is no coincidence that the “dissatisfaction” with the “distribution” of “income and wealth” took a nose dive with the economy, is it?
But you know the old Rahm Emanuel saying – “never let a crisis go to waste”, even if it is a manufactured crisis. If it is an opportunity to expand government (especially if that expansion accrues more power to government and less to the people) then it’s all good.
They’ll have to move fast though:
Obama will almost certainly touch on inequality in his State of the Union address on Jan. 28. This will certainly resonate in a general sense with the majority of Americans who are dissatisfied with income and wealth distribution in the U.S. today. Members of the president’s party agree most strongly with the president that this is an issue, but majorities of Republicans and independents are at least somewhat dissatisfied as well.
Although Americans are more likely to be satisfied with the opportunity for people to get ahead through hard work, their satisfaction is well below where it was before the economic downturn. Accordingly, improvement in the U.S. economy could bring Americans’ views back to pre-recession levels.
Heaven forbid the economy get better before more useless programs can be “funded” and more plans executed to relieve the “rich” and “wealthy” of their money for the usual vote buying schemes.
But with this crew in charge, an economic turnaround isn’t very likely anytime soon … so I’m sure they feel pretty darn safe at the moment and believe that they have plenty of time.
I’m not sure that this will surprise anyone, given the size and intrusiveness of our government:
World economic freedom has reached record levels, according to the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom, released Tuesday by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. But after seven straight years of decline, the U.S. has dropped out of the top 10 most economically free countries.
For 20 years, the index has measured a nation’s commitment to free enterprise on a scale of 0 to 100 by evaluating 10 categories, including fiscal soundness, government size and property rights. These commitments have powerful effects: Countries achieving higher levels of economic freedom consistently and measurably outperform others in economic growth, long-term prosperity and social progress. Botswana, for example, has made gains through low tax rates and political stability.
Obviously the decline began before the Obama administration, but the policies of this administration have certainly hastened the decline and are certainly a primary reason for the US dropping out of the top 10:
Those losing freedom, on the other hand, risk economic stagnation, high unemployment and deteriorating social conditions. For instance, heavy-handed government intervention in Brazil’s economy continues to limit mobility and fuel a sense of injustice.
It’s not hard to see why the U.S. is losing ground. Even marginal tax rates exceeding 43% cannot finance runaway government spending, which has caused the national debt to skyrocket. The Obama administration continues to shackle entire sectors of the economy with regulation, including health care, finance and energy. The intervention impedes both personal freedom and national prosperity.
And that’s certainly been the case these past 5 years. Regulation has exploded, government intrusiveness has increased, freedom is in retreat.
Despite financial crises and recessions, the global economy has expanded by nearly 70% in 20 years, to $54 trillion in 2012 from $32 trillion in 1993. Hundreds of millions of people have left grinding poverty behind as their economies have become freer. But it is an appalling, avoidable human tragedy how many of the world’s peoples remain unfree—and poor.
The record of increasing economic freedom elsewhere makes it inexcusable that a country like the U.S. continues to pursue policies antithetical to its own growth, while wielding its influence to encourage other countries to chart the same disastrous course. The 2014 Index of Economic Freedom documents a world-wide race to enhance economic opportunity through greater freedom—and this year’s index demonstrates that the U.S. needs a drastic change in direction.
Drastic action needed, dithering and inaction expected, continued decline the result.