Sequester: In his State of the Union speech, President Obama is sure to issue dire warnings about the automatic spending cuts resulting from the "sequester." But look closer, and the cuts are far less than meet the eye. As the March deadline for the sequester draws closer, Obama´s rhetoric about the cuts it will impose grows more overheated. In his radio address over the weekend, he said they would be "a huge blow to middle-class families and our economy as a whole."
I won´t be watching the SOTUS tonight, but two things I hope for: That he doesn´t forget to thank John Roberts for his perfidious vote for Obamacare and that Joe Wilson or somebody shouts out"You lie!" Both would be entirely appropriate.
How many people think there is at least 10% fat in the federal budget? This "cut" is a bit over 2%. You could cut 5 times as much without significantly affecting programs.
The reason politicians are upset is that the payoffs are slowing down. Not stopping or decreasing, just slowing down. It makes it harder to buy votes. If BO´s supporters ever wake up and realize the federal goobermint can´t buy them happiness no matter what it does, support for liberals will tank. That´s the danger to BO´s plans.
The average price for the lowest-cost ObamaCare "bronze" plan in eight states is 122% higher than the cheapest plan currently available in those states, according to an IBD analysis of rate filings and a recent Government Accountability Office report. The late July report, largely overlooked by the press, provides detailed information on insurance plans today in all 50 states, from the cheapest plans offered to a 30-year-old nonsmoker to the most expensive plans 55-year-old couples can buy. A separate report from the Maryland insurance department lists the lowest-cost "bronze" plans proposed for ObamaCare exchanges in eight states. Comparing the two
More than 76,000 workers went on the federal government´s disability program in July, according to the latest data from the Social Security administration, bringing the total number of new enrollees this year to 534,038. Although that is down somewhat from the same month last year, enrollment in the Social Security Disability Insurance program remains sharply higher than it has been historically. Since 2009, an average of about 1 million workers have gone on SSDI annually — a 31% increase from the average enrollment over the previous 10 years. As a result, a record 8.9 million workers are now collecting disability benefits
Cost-Shifting: Looks like Detroit might get a federal bailout after all, by offloading its retiree health costs onto federal taxpayers via ObamaCare. It´s a window into why Obama-Care costs will quickly spiral out of control. On Sunday, the New York Times noted that Detroit hopes to push its younger retirees who aren´t yet eligible for Medicare into the ObamaCare exchanges, where many will be eligible for subsidized insurance. Federal tax payers will pick up the tab, rather than those in Detroit.
Mea Culpa: The president is planning a major speech in Illinois Wednesday on economic policy. You don´t need a crystal ball to predict what he´ll say. But here´s what he arguably should say. My fellow Americans, eight years ago, I stood here on the steps of Knox College to deliver a commencement address, and I took the opportunity to lay out my vision for economic opportunity. The speech was an indictment of President Bush´s idea of a go-it-alone "ownership society." The key to America´s greatness, I argued, came from government programs like Social Security
President Obama complained Thursday that "despite all the evidence that the (Affordable Care Act) is working the way it was supposed to for middle-class Americans, Republicans in the House of Representatives voted — for nearly the 40th time — to dismantle it." The line, part of a talk touting all the great things ObamaCare is already doing, got a chuckle out of the audience. But what Obama didn´t say is that he himself has signed three bills that dismantled chunks of ObamaCare.
The avowed purpose of the immigration bill passed by the Senate and pending in the House is to provide a "path to citizenship" for the illegal immigrants in exchange for tough new enforcement measures that would prevent other such incursions in the future. But buried deep within the immigration bill are hidden multimillion-dollar slush funds for left-wing nonprofit groups to provide services to the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants now in the U.S. Once enacted, the slush funds would total almost $300 million over three years and grow over time.
House Republicans plan to vote this week on a bill that would delay ObamaCare´s individual mandate, adding to the one-year delay of the employer mandate the administration already announced. It´s a smart political move, since the law has never been more unpopular. A Gallup survey finds that 52% now disapprove of ObamaCare, up from 45% last November. [snip] But even if President Obama were to sign an individual mandate delay bill into law — highly unlikely — it would be largely meaningless in terms of avoiding ObamaCare´s long-term health care and budget disasters.
In September 2009, President Obama promised the country that "I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits — either now or in the future." But it turns out Obama did sign such a plan — in fact, ObamaCare could add upwards of 180 billion dimes to the deficit in its first 10 years, an IBD analysis of various official budget reports found. According to the Congressional Budget Office´s initial forecast made in March 2010, ObamaCare was supposed to cut the deficit a total of $124 billion in its first decade.
Regulation: We don´t often find ourselves agreeing with what most lawmakers say, but this week was an exception when a congressman explained why he wanted to prevent a federal ban on traditional light bulbs. "If the new energy-efficient light bulbs save money, and if they´re better for the environment, we should trust our constituents to make the choice on their own to move toward these bulbs," Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, said. "Let the market decide." Imagine that! Trust consumers. Let the market decide. A common-sense idea that expresses basic economic principles. But such simple wisdom...
The Health and Human Services Department earlier this year exposed just how vast the government’s data collection efforts will be on millions of Americans as a result of ObamaCare. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., asked HHS to provide “a complete list of agencies that will interact with the Federal Data Services Hub.” The Hub is a central feature of ObamaCare, since it will be used by the new insurance exchanges to determine eligibility for benefits, exemptions from the federal mandate, and how much to grant in federal insurance subsidies.
When Regal Entertainment Group in April blamed ObamaCare for the fact that it was cutting some of its workers’ hours, backers of the law mounted a furious backlash against the theater chain, among other things filling its Facebook page with boycott threats. “Greed and selfishness make me sick,” one of them said. [snip] Yet while private companies are getting all this unwelcome and hostile attention, local governments across the country have been quietly doing exactly the same thing — cutting part-time hours specifically so they can skirt ObamaCare’s costly employer mandate
Immigration Reform: The Senate on Tuesday voted against tough border security measures that it promised to put in place years ago. Tell us again why we should trust them to secure the borders later after granting amnesty first. In a pair of votes, the Senate turned down a border fence it promised to build seven years ago and a biometric entry-exit system it promised to put in place 17 years ago. The history of these previous efforts to secure the nation´s borders is illuminating.
Colin Powell has admitted to exchanging ´very personal´ emails with a Romanian diplomat but denies having an affair with the much younger woman after a hacker threatened to release their intimate messages. The 76-year-old retired general told the Smoking Gun that he met Corina Cretu, 45, roughly 10 years ago when she was working as an assistant to the president of Romania. She is now a member of the European Parliament. ´After I left the Department of State in January 2005 we stayed in touch via email,´ he told TSG.
CNN has uncovered exclusive new information about what is allegedly happening at the CIA, in the wake of the deadly Benghazi terror attack. Four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed in the assault by armed militants last September 11 in eastern Libya. Sources now tell CNN dozens of people working for the CIA were on the ground that night, and that the agency is going to great lengths to make sure whatever it was doing, remains a secret. CNN has learned the CIA is involved in what one source calls an unprecedented attempt to keep the spy
The United States will temporarily shut down its embassies and consulates around the world Sunday, including those in Iraq, Afghanistan and Egypt, as a precautionary measure, the State Department said Thursday. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf did not say how long the international installations would stay closed -- only that the decision was taken “out of an abundance of caution and care for our employees and others who may be visiting.” Sunday is a normal workday in many Arab and Middle Eastern countries. Embassies in Europe and Latin America would be shuttered that day anyway.
American scientists claim the planet is undergoing one of the largest changes in climate in the past 65 million years. Climatologists at Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment have warned the likely rate of change over the next century will be at least 10 times quicker than any climate shift since the dinosaurs became extinct. If the trend continues at its current rapid pace, it will place significant stress on terrestrial ecosystems around the world, and many species will need to make behavioral, evolutionary or geographic adaptations to survive, they said.
About 400 area retail and fast-food workers, together with colleagues nationally, participated in a strike Thursday to demand raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. “If not $15, then something. I mean give us something. I work 36 hours a week and barely make enough to pay my rent, gas bill, light bill. It gets to the point where I barely have enough for lunch sometimes,” said Angel Richardson, 21, who works at McDonald’s. “I’m five months pregnant, what am I going to do in four months? I hope something changes.” The minimum wage is $7.25 nationally and $8.25
Executive Director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns Mark Glaze gave some ambiguous and potentially dangerous self defense advice Friday on “Hardball.” Glaze, speaking in opposition to “Stand Your Ground” laws, said in a circumstance where someone “comes at you” with an axe handle one should attempt to either “talk,” “fight with your fists,” “run away,” or “deescalate the situation,” but not shoot the attacker: MARK GLAZE: Very often somebody will come at you. They might want to have a fistfight. They might come at you with an ax handle. CHRIS MATTHEWS: Would you consider the guy with the ax handle armed or not?
The administration has popped the bubble of hope some small business had that switching to part-time staff would let them escape the high costs of Obamacare. The Small Business Administration on Thursday created a website to explain to businesses that the government will simply tally up the number of part-time employees firms have to determine if enough hours have been worked to essentially create a "full-time equivalent." Some smaller businesses had thought that if they could get under the 50 full-time employee cap that activates Obamacare by cutting full-time workers and hiring more part-time workers they would escape
Government workers in the city of Seattle have been advised that the terms "citizen" and "brown bag" are potentially offensive and may no longer be used in official documents and discussions. KOMO-TV reports that the city´s Office of Civil Rights instructed city workers in a recent internal memo to avoid using the words because some may find them offensive. "Luckily, we´ve got options," Elliott Bronstein of the Office for Civil Rights wrote in the memo obtained by the station. "For ´citizens,´ how about ´residents?´"
Citing a potential al Qaeda attack, the State Department on Friday issued a worldwide travel alert and warned American citizens that the terrorist group may be plotting a strike in the Middle East, North Africa or elsewhere. “Current information suggests that al Qaeda and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August,” reads a portion of the alert, which lasts until the end of the month.
Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) suggested on Friday morning that the tea party movement is comprised of the same types of people who fought against the civil rights movement during the 1960s. Speaking with the Daily Beast, Rangel said of the movement: “It is the same group we faced in the South with those white crackers and the dogs and the police. They didn’t care about how they looked. He added that the tea party movement can be defeated similar to how the civil rights movement eradicated Jim Crow mentality: “It was just fierce indifference to human life that caused
The nation´s most active death penalty state is running out of its execution drug. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice said Thursday that its remaining supply of phenobarbital expires in September and that no alternatives have been found. It wasn´t immediately clear whether two executions scheduled for next month would be delayed. The state has already executed 11 death-row inmates this year, and at least seven more have execution dates in coming months. "We will be unable to use our current supply of phenobarbital after it expires," agency spokesman Jason Clark said. "We are exploring all options at this time."
Congressional investigators this week released emails suggesting that staff at the Federal Election Commission have been engaged in their own conservative targeting, with help from the IRS´s infamous Lois Lerner. This means more than just an expansion of the probe to the FEC. It´s a new link to the Obama team. In May this column noted that the targeting of conservatives started in 2008, when liberals began a coordinated campaign of siccing the federal government on political opponents. The Obama campaign helped pioneer this tactic. In late summer of 2008, Obama lawyer Bob Bauer took