Saturday, November 29, 2014

Tax Deductions to Expire : Who Loses?

It seems we are always wondering how we will pay for the government spending but never how we should spend less. As the deductions ratchet down the tax bill goes up and our elected representatives smile as they will have more of your money to waste.

Which Tax Deductions Expired this Year?
Source: Kelly Phillips Erb, "10 Expired Tax Provisions That Might Affect You In 2014,", November 24, 2014.

November 26, 2014

Each year, Congress votes on a group of bills known as "tax extenders" -- various deductions or tax credits that must be renewed year-to-year, or else they expire. Several of the provisions expired at the beginning of 2014 and have yet to be renewed. Some are speculating that Congress will vote on the extenders before Christmas. Until then, Kelly Erb at Forbes offers a list of expired tax provisions that taxpayers should take note of when they go to file their taxes:
  • Educators were previously able to deduct up to $250 for books and other classroom supplies that teachers had not been reimbursed for during the school year.
  • When a lender writes off a debt, the individual being forgiven is supposed to report that forgiven debt to the IRS to be counted as income. There was an exception to this rule, however, for underwater homeowners, though the provision expired last year.
  • Federal tax law allows taxpayers to deduct their state income taxes for federal income tax purposes. Previously, taxpayers were instead allowed to deduct state sales taxes -- a provision that was aimed at taxpayers in states that lacked an income tax. That provision expired last year.
  • One tax provision had allowed IRA holders to exclude up to $100,000 from their income if they paid IRA funds to charity. As that provision has expired, IRA holders must pay taxes when they withdraw their IRA funds for charity donations.
  • Employers who hired veterans and other specified workers were previously given a tax credit of up to $9,600 per veteran, but the credit has expired for employees hired this year.
These are just a few of the 55 tax extenders that expired at the start of the year.
Which Tax Deductions Expired this Year?

Citizen Savings Accounts Meager : Capital Lost for Growh

I think one of the reasons not mentioned here as to why the average savings accounts are small, it's patricianly due to the "lotto mentality", working and denying one self each month to save for the future loses out to hope for the big luck ticket where we can live on easy street without doing anything.

A life lived for only the short run based on a fantasy of getting rich quick will fail.

Where did we go wrong? How did we lose the spirit to take pride in a job well done, those that actually have jobs that is. Where people plan for the future with hard work and common sense, starting with a  saving account and reduced spending. Where people understand who they are and then live a life the best they can with what they have. The future is dependent on hard work and a plan.

Just like the saying. 'there's no free lunch', if you believe others will always be there to take care of you, Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, your life after work is guaranteed to end badly. These mandates are broke and if you decided to live the good life without giving any thought for the future by maintaining a savings account and a retirement plan, and are broke when you retire, the golden years of your life will not be much fun.

Reduced Saving Means Fewer Jobs and Growth
Source: Veronique de Rugy, "Why Don't Americans Save Their Money?" Reason Magazine, December 2014

November 26, 2014

Various studies have claimed Americans' retirement savings are in trouble, with some estimates suggesting that up to 84 percent of Americans have insufficient savings targets. Veronique de Rugy of the Mercatus Center says that those figures are somewhat overblown. Still, she says the United States does have a saving problem:
  • In 1975, Americans had a personal savings rate of 17 percent. In 2005, it fell to a low of 2.2 percent. While that rate has increased somewhat, de Rugy says it is unlikely to continue to increase.
  • With less saving, there is less capital, which slows economic growth and investment.
  • Recent studies suggest that older businesses are increasingly dominating the American market -- a problem, because it is the young and new firms that create new jobs. This has been attributed to the fall in the personal savings rate.
What to do about this? The answer is not making Social Security even bigger, says de Rugy. While some have suggested strengthening the program, it is unsustainable and underfunded by trillions of dollars. Moreover, she notes that the existence of the program disincentivizes saving; by one count, $100 in Social Security wealth reduces private saving by $40.
Instead, de Rugy suggests that the government do the following:
  • Get rid of policies that penalize savings or artificially encourage consumption.
  • Replace the tax system with a consumption-based tax.
  • Get rid of the Federal Reserve's zero-interest rate policy -- it only discourages saving.
  • Reform housing policies that encourage Americans to spend and take on debt.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Obama Ideology : A Picture Explains All

Here is a picture that explains the Obama administration and the results of progressive socialist liberal democrats when they have the reigns of power.

What good reason to continue to vote democrat. But in a just a few words to understand the 47%, willingly and knowingly accept self destruction.

The 1% Rich Not Always 1% : The Numbers Are Fluid

It really doesn't matter that the rich are rich one day and then not so rich the next. What the demand from the progressive socialist liberals is that they have more money then they need to survive. no matter how they earned it. The term 'earned' is of no consequence to socialist democrats that instigate class warfare as a means to take from others what the democrats believe belongs to everyone, especially other democrats.

Of course, when the rich are no longer rich because the socialists have taken their earnings, what then? Who will they steal from next to support their voter base, campaign coffers and their personal banks accounts.

Taking what others have earned is a decades long agenda plank in their ideology of the progressive democrats. It's known that democrat politicians don't hold jobs that actually earn legitimate incomes, democrat politicians are government employees without limits. 

Know this, if there weren't any money to steal from others, real wages earners, industry and or taxpayers, there wouldn't be any democrats.

Top Earners Change from Year to Year
Source: Mark J. Perry, "IRS data show that the vast majority of taxpayers in the 'Fortunate 400' are only there for one year," American Enterprise Institute, November 25, 2014.

November 26, 2014

Are America's highest earners the same, static group of ultra-wealthy individuals, sitting atop the income distribution from year to year? Not at all. As Mark J. Perry of the American Enterprise Institute explains, the wealthiest Americans are an ever-changing group, and Americans move up and down the income ladder throughout their lives.

The IRS recently issued new data regarding how often American taxpayers appeared in the list of top 400 earners, analyzing tax returns across the 19-year period from 1992 to 2010. What they found differs markedly from most commentary on income mobility. There were 4,024 unique taxpayers whose tax returns filed from 1992 to 2010 placed in the top 400 earners. Of those:
  • The vast majority -- 72.3 percent -- of the 4,024 taxpayers were in the top 400 only once during the period.
  • Just 27.7 percent of the top 400 taxpayers made the list more than once during the period.
  • Eighty-five percent of top earners (3,413 of the 4,024 taxpayers) made it into the group only once or twice.
  • Just 95 taxpayers (2.4 percent of the total) sat in the top 400 for at least a decade.
Perry says the data contradicts the widely-held belief that America's top income earners are a set group that doesn't move down the income ladder.

FEMA - A Democrat Whipping Boy : No Crisis Gone to Waste

I wonder how long it will take for the people to wake up to the reality that an over reaching federal government is not in our best interest? While $billions are wasted and progressive democrat politicians demand more control of events that they have no idea what the situation consists of, they stream to the disaster screaming 'all is coming to an end without more funds'. But no matter, more federal funds can be acquired and stolen with ease.

"Never let a crisis go to waste". Need more proof? Katrina, or Sandy where the efforts of the government are still not complete or effective, and the BP oil spill where the feds sat on their hands until the oil came ashore so $billion could be demanded to 'save the people' by ripping off the taxpayers and BP to mention only a few disaster where democrats as stealing us all blind.

The corruption and waste is incomprehensible. No, I haven't forgotten New Jersey or our rotund governor squealing for federal money , more then willing to kiss the ring that smacks him the mouth. 

FEMA Playing a Greater Role in State Disasters than Intended
Source: Chris Edwards, "The Federal Emergency Management Agency," Cato Institute, November 18, 2014.

November 26, 2014

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is considered by many to be the nation's "first responder" in the event of a disaster, but a new report from Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute contends the agency is supposed to be a financial aid organization only -- not to replace state and local responders. That, however, has not been the case, as FEMA has become more involved in handling state disasters.

Under the Stafford Act of 1988, the federal government is only supposed to involve itself in state disasters if responding to the disaster is beyond the state's capability. But in practice, says Edwards, the federal government routinely agrees to declare state disasters "major disasters" so that they qualify for aid from FEMA. While just 51 disasters were declared in the 1970s, 127 were declared in the 2007s. Already in the 2010s there have been 139 disaster declarations. What's the problem? Edwards explains:
  • Federal intervention creates a great deal of paperwork which inhibits recovery and response.
  • Residents of non-dangerous states are forced to subsidize those who choose to live in more dangerous locations.
  • States and localities are disincentivized from preparing for disasters themselves, because they expect federal monetary aid. As a result, states have cut disaster preparedness budgets.
Edwards explains how FEMA has actually obstructed local relief efforts, despite that local actors are often better equipped to handle disasters because they are familiar with the area. Moreover, the program has been plagued with waste: a GAO report estimates that at least $1 billion in Hurricane Katrina aid payments were invalid, and a report from the Associated Press found that individuals received up to $1 billion in taxpayer funds by claiming to have lived in homes that did not actually exist before the hurricane.

Dodd/Frank Banking Bill Destructive : Shut It Down - Repeal or Defund It

More insanity from the progressive socialist liberal democrats that have subjected our country to so much pain and dysfunction. No has not been other government ideology thrust upon the people and that has been so destructive to our way of life in our history. The Dodd/Frank Banking regulation bill must be shut down, and to use the agenda of the democrats themselves so defectively to gain power, 'by any means necessary'.

What the Republicans don't seem to understand, the democrats are at war with the people and our Constitution to gain permanent control 'by any means necessary'.

Shut Dodd/Frank down by repeal or defund it; just do it and do it now for the sake of the country. Politics as usual is not acceptable any longer.

Challenging Dodd-Frank in Court
Source: Iain Murray, "Dodd-Frank Court Case Could Provide Injunctive Relief for America

November 26, 2014

The Dodd-Frank Act has created a host of problems, for consumers, banks and other financial entities. According to the Financial Services Roundtable, there are now 40 percent fewer free checking accounts as a result of the law, and banks have seen large drops in annual earnings. The bill also requires 26,000 full-time employees devoted to paperwork compliance. The Economist notes that financial regulation, in general, has been unpredictable and opaque, with new Dodd-Frank regulations continuing to be developed years after its passage.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) has actually filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the Dodd-Frank Act, and oral arguments were heard in the case in November. Specifically, the suit focuses on the Consumer Financial Protection Board (CFPB) and the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC). The CFPB has extensive control over the consumer finance industry, while FSOC has a great deal of power to regulate large financial companies. Iain Murray of CEI explains the plaintiffs' arguments:
  • The CFPB is unaccountable to the other branches of government. Its $400 million annual budget comes not from Congress but from the Federal Reserve, leaving legislators without power over the agency's purse.
  • Only in very limited circumstances can the president remove the CFPB director, limiting his ability to ensure that laws are "faithfully executed."
  • Dodd-Frank tells courts to defer to CFPB legal interpretations, limiting judicial scrutiny of CFPB actions.
  • FSOC can liquidate private companies, which CEI calls a violation of due process and the law's guarantee that bankruptcy laws will be "uniform."
Murray notes that there may be an effort among the new Congress to reform Dodd-Frank in 2015.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Day : How Mr Obama Saved America

Things to be thankful for on this day of reflection on our great country and what it means to be an American. Proud of what we have accomplished over the last 236 years and confidence we can do even more.

God bless America!

(Author unknown)
Different Slant on the Obama Presidency
One 82-year-old lady loves Obama and she may have a very good point.  She says that Obama is amazing, and is rebuilding the American dream!  She gives us an entirely new slant on the "amazing" job Obama is doing,  and she says that she will thank God for the President.  Keep reading for her additional comments and an explanation. When discussing Obama, she says:

        1.  Obama destroyed the Clinton Political Machine, driving a stake through the heart of Hillary’s presidential aspirations - something no Republican was ever able to do.

        2.  Obama killed off the Kennedy Dynasty - no more Kennedys trolling Washington looking for booze and women wanting rides home.

        3.  Obama is destroying the Democratic Party before our eyes!  Dennis Moore had never lost a race.  Evan Bayh had never lost a race.  Byron Dorgan had never lost a race.  Harry Reid - soon to be GONE!  These are just a handful of the Democrats whose political careers Obama has destroyed.  By the end of 2016, dozens more will be gone.  Just think, in December of 2008 the Democrats were on the rise.  In the last two election cycles, they had picked up 14 Senate seats and 52 House seats.  The press was touting the death of the Conservative Movement and the Republican Party.  However, in just one year, Obama put a stop to all of this and will probably give the House - if not the Senate - back to the Republicans. (Republicans did take the Senate and many House seats)

        4.  Obama has completely exposed liberals and progressives for what they are.  Sadly, every generation seems to need to re-learn the lesson on why they should never actually put liberals in charge.  Obama is bringing home the lesson very well: Liberals tax, borrow and spend. Liberals won't bring themselves to protect America.  Liberals want to take over the economy. Liberals think they know what is best for everyone. Liberals are not happy until they are running YOUR life.

        5.  Obama has brought more Americans back to conservatism than anyone since Reagan.  In one year, he has rejuvenated the Conservative Movement and brought out to the streets millions of freedom loving Americans.  Name one other time when you saw your friends and neighbors this interested in taking back America!

        6.  Obama, with his "amazing leadership," has sparked the greatest period of sales of firearms and ammunition this country has seen.  Law abiding citizens have rallied and have provided a "stimulus" to the sporting goods field while other industries have failed, faded, or moved off-shore.

        7.  In all honesty, one year ago I was more afraid than I have been in my life.  Not afraid of the economy, but afraid of the direction our country was going.  I thought, Americans have forgotten what this country is all about.  My neighbors and friends, even strangers, have proved to me that my lack of confidence in the greatness and wisdom of the American people has been flat wrong.

        8.  When the American people wake up, no smooth talking teleprompter reader can fool them!  Barack Obama has served to wake up these great Americans! Again, I want to say:  "Thank you, Barack Obama!"  After all, this is exactly the kind of hope and change we desperately needed!!

        9. He made Jimmy Carter happy since Jimmy is no longer the worse president we've ever had.

Renewable Fuel Standard (Green Energy) : A Tyranny by The Few for The Ignorant Many

Green energy and the Renewable Fuel Standard, wind, solar and biofuels, is just another tool for the progressive socialist environmentalists democrats to bludgeon the public into submission to their ideology of 'the few ruling the many'. This is nothing new as history is riff with the bones of those that have gone before. Failing to understand this guarantees our demise.

At this time of thanksgiving for our country and all of the things we have that makes life in this great country a God given blessing, it's a good time to reflect on how freedom is such a fragile thing. It's also important to never forget there are those that do not have the same understanding of what are country stands for and how it's still the shining city on the hill that million stand in line to come here.

But given all the great things we have to be thankful for, we have to be aware the enemy of freedom is at the gate. The progressives socialist liberals are here to "fundamental change" America into something that the founders could never have envisioned, a group of individuals that want to destroy the Constitution as written of this great country, and rewrite it to benefit a completely different vision of what freedom means and what freedom to chose one's own destiny means.

The progressives see the population as just willing tools to be used to gain their 'fundamental change'. Understand, the progressives truly want to enslave the population, not with chains, but with the publics willingness to be ruled by the 'few' from a distance that believe they are smarter and better equipped to rule the masses. Millions are willing to exchange personal freedom for promised future government security?

You have seen and heard  Jonathan Gruber explain progressive socialism, right?

And as a result of the publics ignorance of what they are losing, personal freedom, and a complacency with what they think can't be taken away, that shining city on the hill will go dark as the light of freedom will be shut off, leaving those that fell asleep wondering how it all happened and how it happened so quickly.

Reasons to Get Rid of the Renewable Fuel Standard
Source: Katie Tubb and Nicolas Loris, "The Ethanol Mandate Proves the Government Is a Poor Central Planner," Daily Signal, November 24, 2014.

November 25, 2014

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) needs to be repealed, argue Nicolas Loris and Katie Tubb of the Heritage Foundation. They offer a few reasons why the RFS -- which requires that gasoline and diesel fuel contain ethanol -- is a problem:
  • It raises the price of gas. Regular gasoline is more energy-efficient than ethanol, requiring consumers to use more fuel.
  • Because ethanol comes from corn, the demand created by the RFS increases corn prices by up to 68 percent. Corn prices are important, because they raise the price of food for humans as well as for animals.
  • The government's energy targets have routinely been off base, and there is more ethanol than there is demand for the product.
Does anyone benefit from the renewable mandate? Corn growers, ethanol refiners and ethanol producers, say Tubb and Loris. Because the standard guarantees that there will be a market for ethanol, producers are not forced to compete in ways that other industry participants must, limiting innovation.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

DOL Overtime Pay Proposals Misguided : More Part Time / More Layoffs / More Chaos?

Just what we need in the labor market today given that ObamaCare has demanded ore heath care spending and coverage from businesses, raising the over-time pay for people that won't effect those that need it the most.

Just what is the intention of the Labor Department (DOL)? Is it like the intention of ObamaCare to subject the general public to centralized control? How will changing the status of workers from salaried to part time help the poor and dependent?

Oh wait, maybe it's actually the intention of DOL to have more poor and dependent people. Is this just more ideology politics?

Overtime Pay Would Have Little Impact on Poverty
Source:  Ben Gitis, "Primer: Overtime Pay Regulation," American Action Forum, November 20, 2014.

November 25, 2014

The Department of Labor is planning to expand overtime pay to more salaried workers. While the proposal is aimed at combating poverty, Ben Gitis of the American Action Forum explains in a new study that the proposal would do little to improve the earnings of low-income workers.

Currently, overtime pay is available to hourly workers who work more than 40 hours per week and salaried workers earning up to $455 weekly. Gitis examines what would happen were the administration to raise overtime pay for those earning above $455 weekly, analyzing raises for salaried workers earning up to $1,050 per week. According to the report, granting overtime pay to more workers would do little to impact poverty:
  • Depending upon the salary that the Department of Labor chooses to extend overtime pay to, between 0.5 percent (in the case of granting overtime pay to workers earning $550 weekly) and 6.7 percent (if the DOL grants overtime to workers earning up to $1,050 weekly) of salaried workers would benefit from the rule.
  • Of those who will be affected by the extension of overtime pay, less than 1 percent are in poverty.
  • Between 69 percent and 91.2 percent of affected workers have incomes twice the poverty line.
  • Most salaried overtime workers are not the only earner in their family -- they are the second or even third earner.
Moreover, in addition to doing little to combat poverty, Gitis explains that expanding overtime pay will have negative effects on the labor market, as the employers forced to comply with the new regulations will have to find ways to make up for the increased labor costs. Gitis cites a 2003 study which found that expanding overtime coverage led employers to substitute part-time work for full-time work.

FDR Revealed As Central Planner : FDR Lied? Who Knew?

It seems there isn't much change from the operation of the democrat party over the decades. The democrats from the past lied to the people as the progressive socialist liberal democrat lie today.

It's a genetic flaw that all democrats have, forcing them to into 'collective' thought that has directed them over the decades, believing that telling the truth will reveal too much information to the general public and thereby hamper their ideology that drives them to seek power over others.

Jonathon Gruber?

We have all heard the motto of the progressive democrats, 'by any means necessary' to get and keep power. Little wonder FDR is their champion, and that he lied about what he intended only enhances his status. A democrat by any other name is still a democrat and therefore corrupt.

Did FDR Campaign on Central Planning?
Source: Lawrence W. Reed, "Cliches of Progressivism No. 32: FDR Was Elected in 1932 on a Progressive Platform to Plan the Economy," Foundation for Economic Education, November 21, 2014.

November 25, 2014

President Franklin Roosevelt greatly expanded the role of the federal government in the economy when he set out to end the Great Depression. What he really did, according to economists Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian of UCLA, was extend the length of the Great Depression by seven years.

Lawrence Reed, president of the Foundation for Economic Education, writes that there are many myths surrounding FDR's time in office, including the claim that he lifted the country out of the Great Depression. Another involves his campaign for office: while many would say that Roosevelt was elected on a platform of central planning, Reed says that Roosevelt's campaign tells another story.

In 1930, while serving as Governor of New York, Roosevelt said that the last decade in Washington had involved too much "regulation and legislation by 'master minds,'" saying, "Were it possible to find 'master minds' so unselfish, so willing to decide unhesitatingly against their own personal interests or private prejudices, men almost godlike in their ability to hold the scales of justice with an even hand, such a government might be to the interests of the country; but there are none such on our political horizon, and we cannot expect a complete reversal of all the teachings of history."

He continued these sentiments when campaigning for President, says Reed:
  • Roosevelt called for reducing federal spending by 25 percent and balancing the budget.
  • He said that the government needed to be less involved in agriculture.
  • He criticized President Herbert Hoover for spending, raising taxes and increasing tariffs.
  • Roosevelt's running mate said that Hoover was leading America down the road to socialism.
Despite what he said to voters on the campaign trail, Reed writes that when Roosevelt took office, he raised taxes, increased spending and engaged in a great deal of central planning.

Progressives Attack Generic Drug Business : FDA Says No to Prosperity

Without sounding over the top, but it seems what Mr Obama has in mind for all of us is a driving desire for the citizens of this great country to be slowly subjected to the power that lies in the hands of Washington progressive socialists.

Never forget Mr Obama's plan for "fundamental change". It wasn't an idle statement. He meant it and stated it on many occasions.

Given all of the other crisis that has effected all of our lives from Mr Obama over the last 6 years, especially ObamaCare, little wonder the attack on generic drug business from the FDA comes as no surprise. Anything that allows for prosperity must be stopped. Prosperity brings independent thought and that can not be tolerated as this will destroy progressive socialism that demands obedience and dependency.

Some Generic Drug Costs Are Rising: Why?
Source: Scott Gottlieb, "Why Are Some Generic Drugs Skyrocketing In Price?" Testimony before the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, November 20, 2014.

November 25, 2014

Americans have benefited enormously from generic drugs. Scott Gottlieb, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, says that the average generic drug price is 75 percent less than its brand-name counterpart. From 1999 to 2010, generic drug use saved the American health system over $1 trillion; in 2010, it saved Americans $157 billion.

Some lawmakers have recently turned their attention to generic drug costs, because a few generics have seen substantial price increases. According to Gottlieb, however, the individual cost increases are not indicative of an overall trend but have to do with the specific circumstances of the individual drugs:
  • Of the 10 generic drugs that have seen significant increases in price over the last two years, some saw their prices rise because manufacturers experienced an ingredient shortage due to closures of pharmaceutical plants.
  • Some drugs rose in price because usage fell after consumers began using competing drugs in their same class; manufacturers limited production, leading to shortages.
  • At least one of the 10 drugs faced fewer competitors after a manufacturer quit producing it. Less competition leads to price increases -- Gottlieb notes that a generic drugs needs at least four manufacturers to achieve a price that is 40 percent of the cost of the brand-name drug.
While many generic price increases were the result of individual factors, Gottlieb does suggest that generic drug prices could rise, over the long run, due to government action:
  • He notes that FDA oversight of generic drug production has increased the barriers to entry to the generic market.
  • The FDA is facing a backlog of applications for generic drugs, limiting competition.
  • Due to FDA regulation, generic drug manufacturers are now required to change their warning labels without FDA approval (previously, that burden had been on the brand-name drug makers). This will expose generic drug makers to tort liability, which will raise costs.
  • Generic drug makers are subject to heavy user fees, which only raises costs for consumers. For example, an application fee for a new generic drug costs $58,730.
These are the real problems plaguing the generic drug industry, says Gottlieb.

ObamaCare's Cadillac Tax Comes Home : Everyone Pays! Who Knew?

More bad news for those that pay the bills in our country. That consumers will have to pay for the increased costs of their heath care is just one more lie that Obama has brought to all of us, even the morns that voted twice for Mr Obama and the progressive socialist liberal democrats promising everything and pay nothing, others will pay.

Just vote for us and all will be fun and games. The democrats have used this ploy for decades and it works every time.  Is Gruber right??

Cadillac Tax Will Hurt Employees
Source: Tevi Troy, "Another ObamaCare Deception," Wall Street Journal, November 16, 2014.

November 18, 2014

Obamacare's "Cadillac tax" will soon hit American consumers -- even those who do not have high-value health coverage, says Tevi Troy, president of the American Health Policy Institute.

The Cadillac tax is a tax on high-value insurance plans. Starting in 2018, employer plans worth more than $10,200 (or $27,500 for families) will be hit with the 40 percent Cadillac tax. That tax, while it's technically on employer insurance plans, is ultimately a tax on people, says Troy.

In a study with economist Mark Wilson, Troy showed how employers will pass on the costs of the tax:
  • Large employers hit by the Cadillac tax will pay more than $2,700 per employee annually starting in 2018.
  • Seventeen percent of all businesses and 38 percent of large employers will be hit with the tax in 2018.
  • To escape the tax, many employers will reduce the health care benefits that they provide to their employees, in order to lower its value and avoid being hit by the tax.
  • If those employers reduce health benefits without increasing monetary compensation, their employees will effectively lose up to $6,150.
  • If those employers reduce health benefits while raising monetary compensation to make up for the benefit loss, employees will face higher taxes (at an average of $1,050), despite receiving the same level of compensation.
The notion that the Cadillac tax will only affect the highest-value plans is incorrect, says Troy. By 2031, he estimates that average family insurance plans will be hit with the excise tax.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Global Terrorism Out of Control : "Good Men Doing Nothing"

I wonder who believes this is something that just happened this week? Anyone that has even the smallest grasp of world events for more then two years, starting with Syria, it is clear that those in the seats of power knew what was happening and did nothing to stop this nightmare. Why?

And who is sitting in the seats of power today in America, the world leader for freedom and Democracy? Mr Obama and the progressive socialist liberal democrats. Is it any wonder why chaos is the rule of the day.

Again, in words of someone that saw the problem, Edmund Burk, " - for tyranny to excel, all it takes is for good men to do nothing'.

Global Terrorism Index: 2013 Saw Huge Jump in Terrorism
Source:  "Global Terrorism Index 2014: Measuring and Understanding the Impact of Terrorism," Institute for Economics and Peace, 2014.

November 24, 2014

The Institute for Economics and Peace has released its annual Global Terrorism Index, analyzing terror trends and ranking countries in terms of their safety from terrorism. According to the report, terror activity in 2013 was much higher than in 2012, having grown from 11,133 deaths in 2012 to 17,958 deaths last year -- the highest year-to-year increase on record.

As for where most terrorism is occurring, the answer not surprising -- the top five countries were Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria. Last year, 82 percent of terrorism deaths took place in these five countries. Moreover, just four organizations took responsibility for 66 percent of terrorist attack deaths: ISIL, Boko Haram, the Taliban and al-Qa'ida and affiliates.

According to the report, countries with higher levels of terrorism were found to have three statistically significant factors:
  • Social hostilities between different ethnic, religious and linguistic groups.
  • Presence of state-sponsored violence such as extrajudicial killings and political terror.
  • Higher levels of other forms of violence, including violent demonstrations and levels of violent crime.
The report found no correlation between poverty and economic growth and terrorism.
The report ranked 162 countries based on four different indicators (number of terrorist incidents, number of fatalities, number of injuries and total property damage) over a five-year period. Where did the United States rank on the terrorism list? Number 30.

Medicaid Rolls Exploding : States CAN Reform System

The biggest stumbling block to fixing the Medicaid rolls is the political will to actually do the heavy lifting, even in the face of attacks from those that are benefiting from the fraud, mostly democrats who have for decades used the fear of this welfare benefit being reduces or eliminated by Republicans. 

If a state like Illinois can get it done that is dominated by liberal democrats, the rest of the states that are inundated but illegal individuals should be a walk in the park.

A Simple Way States Can Cut Their Medicaid Rolls
Source: Merrill Matthews, "How Two States Cut Medicaid and Saved Money," Institute for Policy Innovation, November 17, 2014.

November 24, 2014

There's a simple way to reduce Medicaid spending, says Merrill Matthews, resident scholar with the Institute for Policy Innovation. Just by reevaluating who was on their state's welfare rolls, Illinois and Pennsylvania were able to remove hundreds of thousands of people from their Medicaid programs, saving taxpayers a great deal of money.

Illinois had a Medicaid funding shortfall of $2.7 billion in 2013, and it was struggling to keep its program funded. So, lawmakers passed the SMART Act, which created a "redetermination" program -- a program that would reevaluate whether the people on the state's Medicaid rolls were still eligible. Matthews explains that after examining 1.3 million Medicaid case files covering 2.7 million people, the state removed 234,000 people from its Medicaid rolls in February 2014. Since then, the state has continued its redetermination program, having removed 173,469 people from the program between February and September. There were 8,000 dead people on the state's rolls, in addition to people who no longer qualified for the program for various reasons.

Pennsylvania embarked upon a similar initiative to tackle Medicaid and other welfare programs. After a year and a half, the state had removed 220,000 people from its welfare programs, resulting in a savings of $710 million.

Cleaning up Medicaid rolls is especially important today, as the program is growing rapidly, with enrollment having increased 15 percent since October 2013. Matthews explains that states that expanded their Medicaid programs are seeing even higher growth, and 10 states have seen growth of 30 percent.


Keystone Pipeline Off Limits for Obama : Not Our Oil? What?

Is Mr Obama actually this economically stupid, not just ignorant, stupid? No he isn't. Mr Obama knows exactly what he is saying and it is calculated to deliver the message that he has no intention of approving the XL pipeline. His political base demands his veto.

This is his ideology, his agenda to render this country an 'also ran', if not a third world basket case where the progressives of his party, the progressive socialist liberal democrats are in total control of all outcomes. The more chaos the better, the more unemployed, the more class warfare he can bring about the better. It's about the power to control.

In his world of narcisstic fantasism, he is the ruler of the world, everyone loves him. That the truth is something completely different is of no concern. When one believes they are center of the universe, what could possibly be more important then 'me'.

Fact Check: Will Keystone Oil Stay in the United States?
Source: Lauren Carroll, "Obama says Keystone XL is for exporting oil outside the U.S., experts disagree," Politifact, November 20, 2014.

November 24, 2014

President Obama has criticized the proposed Keystone XL pipeline for a number of reasons, one of which involves where the oil will go: will it be sold to refiners in the United States, or will it be shipped abroad? While the president claims the pipeline will only provide a path for Canada to ship its oil overseas, Lauren Carroll at Politifact says that's not the case: the oil will be bought and used in America.

The oil shipped from Canada down to the Gulf of Mexico via the pipeline would be crude oil, not refined oil. While the United States exports refined oil such as gasoline, it is a crude oil importer. American refineries, says Carroll, are located along the Keystone XL route, and U.S. refineries already get more oil from Canada than they do from other countries. Refineries in the upper Midwest as well as Texas are in need of crude oil and currently have to import it from nations such as Venezuela. Were they able to purchase Canada's crude, it would be cheaper, says Carroll.

She also notes that the State Department has reported that it would not make economic sense for Canada to export its Keystone oil to other nations.

ObamaCare Enrollee Numbers A Fraud : Progressive Democrat Ideology

Just because there's a new head of DHS, the power that makes the rules is in the hands of the White House and therefore corrupt. There is no reason to ever believe anything that comes from a government agency or an Obama administration individual.

Our present government is based on lies to accomplish the Obama "fundamental change" from a representative federalist government to a progressive socialist liberal democracy where the few rule the many. To believe otherwise is delusional.

The people who are opposed to the fundamental change are now enemies of the state.

Administration Adds Dental Plans to Its Obamacare Numbers
Source:  Alex Wayne, "Obamacare Sign-Ups Were Inflated With Dental Plans," Bloomberg News, November 20, 2014.

November 24, 2014

How many people signed up for Obamacare? While the administration in September said that 7.3 million had gotten insurance coverage through the exchanges (down from the 8 million that were reported in May), that 7.3 million figure included people who had signed up for dental -- not health insurance -- plans. Dental plans had not previously been included in government estimates.
According to Alex Wayne at Bloomberg News, subtracting those dental subscribers brings the total number of insured down to 6.7 million.

The Obama administration had set of a goal of 7 million sign-ups.

Republicans with the House Committee on Oversight discovered that dental plans were included in the administration's figures when they noticed that some plans were reporting low premiums and often weren't receiving tax credits (dental plans, explains Wayne, do not receive tax credits unless they are also part of a health plan).

Why has enrollment fallen from the original 8 million figure? Some enrollees never paid their premiums to begin with, while other have stopped paying after a few months. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who chairs the House Committee on Oversight, does not think the administration mistakenly added dental plans to its 7.3 million estimate, calling it a "concerted effort to obscure a heavy drop-out rate of perhaps a million or more enrollees by quietly adding in dental plan sign-ups to exchange numbers."

Court Rules For Property Owners Over Environmentalists : Hope for The Future

Interesting - how did our justice system actually work in determining that the people of Utah actually have rights over animals, especially when it comes to the environment and endangered species? It seems insanity has reigned supreme in our government and the courts for decades.

Understand, this ruling doesn't mean that our justice system is fixed, far from it as there are rulings on a daily basis that boggles the mind, completely devoted of common sense, but rulings handed down by progressive liberal judges that have no compunction deciding rulings by political ideology rather then on the merits of the law.

But given every now and then, something like this case in Utah gives all of us hope that there is some place in this great country of ours there resides actual justice based on common sense.

Federal Court Rules for Property Owners in Endangered Species Act Case
Source: Ron Arnold, "For Once, a Court Sided With People Rather Than ‘Threatened\' Rodents,", November 18, 2014

November 24, 2014

The Utah prairie dog -- a specific prairie dog species only found in the state of Utah -- is considered "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), despite that there are 40,000 Utah prairie dogs in the state, reports Ron Arnold for the Daily Signal.

The "threatened" designation places severe land use restrictions on property owners. The designation creates an especially serious problem in Utah, as prairie dogs have become a menace. In Cedar City, the rodents have overrun the town, torn up farmland and even destroyed an airport runway. And according to Derek Morton of the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners (PETPO), areas overrun with the animals struggle to attract new development to the area, because prairie dog removal costs are too high. The animals also carry a strain of plague that can be transmitted to humans.

Property owners have struggled, because the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) ordered that property owners could not "harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect" the prairie dogs.

So, PETPO sued the FWS for violating its property rights, and -- for the first time in ESA history - a federal court struck down the ESA regulation as going beyond federal power. The plaintiffs argued that the federal government had no authority under the Commerce Clause -- which allows for regulation of interstate commerce -- to regulate a species that exists purely in one state, and the judge agreed.

Now, the state of Utah is overseeing prairie dog management. The animal is still protected, but landowners can file for a permit to kill or remove the rodents.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Germany's Free Tuition : Progressive socialism Gone Crazy

The reason for fee tuition in Germany is social justice? This sounds a lot like Mr Obama's ideology of 'income redistribution' and "fundamental change" for America's way of life. The next question is has the entire world gone crazy for progressive socialism, neocommunism?

The Costs of Free Tuition in Germany
Source:  Natasha Bertrand, "Why Germany's Free College Education Is Actually Not That Great," Business Insider, November 19, 2014; Christopher Denhart, "There Is No Such Thing As A Free College Education,", October 3, 2014.

November 21, 2014

College education in Germany is now tuition-free, but what does that mean? According to Natasha Bertrand of Business Insider, it has increased student access to school -- but at a cost.

With free tuition, demand for college education in Germany has risen dramatically, not only for domestic students but for foreign students, who enrolled in German schools in record numbers in the 2013-2014 school year. But without tuition fees, schools are struggling to meet the increased demand. Says Bertrand:
  • Schools have had difficulty building additional classrooms and training new teachers.
  • There is a housing shortage among German universities, which receive 400,000 new students annually but have only 230,000 places for them.
Why did Germany turn to the tuition-free model? Its lawmakers believed the fees were "socially unjust," explains Christopher Denhart, administrative director for The Center for College Affordability and Productivity. Denhart says that the "free" German education will not be free for taxpayers, who will likely face higher tax rates as a result of the new policy.

He notes that Germany already has a problem with students who remain in college longer than they should, a problem that could increase with the free college model. In the United States, 50 percent of college students graduating from public schools do so within four years, compared to an 80 percent four-year graduation rate in private schools.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Constitutional Crisis Brought by Obama's Amnesty

What more can one say about Mr Obama and his progressive socialist friends in our government and around the country. Hollywood?

This is what "fundamental change" that he promised us all in 2008 looks like.

But where is the outrage that Mr Obama is actually destroying our way of life that we have enjoyed for 235 years?

Maybe we're ready to give up personal freedom for a promise of security from a government that has brought us ObamaCare, Fast and Furious, Benghazi, ISIS in Syria and Iraq attacking the entire middle east, Russia in Ukraine, China's claim over Japanese held islands and many more lies and deceptions.

Millions of citizens are on the side lines waiting to see who's side to come down on. Few are taking the attack to the progressives to save the country.

Climate Changers Cook the Books : EPA Regulations to Cost $Trillions

Consensus on Climate change? What this says is there is no limit to the effects of insanity, greed and ignorance, or for that matter, the general public's indifference, a serious sign of Gruberism. When our politicians continue to give time and money to a fraud, a scam, it's time for them to retire to the rubber room where they came from.

Flawed Model Hides Costs and Exaggerates Benefits of Climate Legislation
Source:  Kevin D. Dayaratna, Nicolas D. Loris and David W. Kreutzer, "The Obama Administration's Climate Agenda: Underestimated Costs and Exaggerated Benefits," Heritage Foundation, November 13, 2014.

November 21, 2014

A new report from Kevin Dayaratna, Nicolas Loris and David Kreutzer of the Heritage Foundation contends the Obama administration has ignored costs while exaggerating the benefits of climate change-related regulation. According to their calculations, the EPA's proposed regulation of greenhouse gases could reduce employment and lower GDP by more than $2.5 trillion over the next two decades.

Dayaratna, Loris and Kreutzer report that White House has misrepresented climate science and the need for expensive carbon regulations. When the U.S. Global Change Research Program issued its National Climate Assessment in May 2014, it claimed that human-caused (anthropogenic) global warming was already having negative effects in the United States, and it warned of increases in sea levels, extreme weather events and temperature. But Dayaratna, Loris and Kreutzer say the report was faulty:
  • The report claimed that there was a 97 percent consensus on anthropogenic global warming. However, that figure says nothing about the amount of warming that scientists believe should be attributed to humans, nor the degree of temperature acceleration or whether temperature increases would be catastrophic.
  • The report's concerns about sea level rise ignore that sea level rise has been slowing. In fact, sea levels have been rising since the end of the ice age but are rising at a much slower rate today.
  • The report's claims of more extreme weather events is at odds even with the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which concluded that the globe was unlikely to see an increase in extreme weather events.
  • Much has been said about melting ice caps, but the amount of global sea ice is actually above average, and Antarctica has record amounts of sea ice.
  • The report ignores more recent studies on how sensitive the climate is to carbon dioxide increases, thereby overstating climate predictions.
The authors cite research from Paul Knappenberger and Pat Michaels demonstrating that EPA climate regulations will only lower warming by 0.02 degrees Celsius by 2100.

Educational System Reform : Value From Free Market Innovation

How profound are these ideas to kick start our educational system. The very basis of all of these new ideas is free market innovations. It's so simple yet so many cannot see or understand this principle of what works, shows success, will be accepted, and what doesn't work, provide for the needs of the educational community, will have to change or be closed down.

Like most other government run institutions, whether local or federal, one can always rely on the fact someone will have there thumb on the scale to make sure certain individuals or interested groups will benefit in some manner other then students. Waste and corruption of the system is assured.

How to Inject Choice and Valuable Skills into Education
Source: Jim Geraghty, "An Uber for Education," National Review, November 19, 2014.

November 21, 2014

What should real education reform look like? Jim Geraghty of National Review says the education system needs a total overhaul, and he has some suggestions:
  • Real school choice: Why are parents limited in their choices of schools? All parents, says Geraghty, should be able to send their child to any school -- anywhere -- if the school will accept him. With parents and students as consumers, the best-performing schools would thrive, while poor schools would have to clean up their act, or fail.
  • Trade schools: Does everyone need a college degree? No, says Geraghty. Trade schools -- where students can learn needed skills -- prepare students for the workplace and teach them how to master a trade, without the college price tag.
  • Let businesses create schools: Geraghty suggests that allowing corporations to start their own schools would solve a problem that many businesses claim to face -- a lack of prepared workers. He suggests that a "Ford Academy of Automotive Engineering," for example, could offer standard core subjects while allowing students specialized training in a specific area.
Beyond these reforms, Geraghty stresses that parents and families play a vital role in a child's ultimate success, writing that a safe and supportive home life is critical to a child's achievement.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Obama's Amnesty : Promised "Fundamental Change" Is Here!

I wonder what nightmare that Mr Obama has planned for us next. His pledge of "fundamental change for America" has become realty. Worse, the brightest among us believe there is no way to stop the disaster that is Mr Obama's ideology, and that of the progressive liberal democrats that will bring a way of life without prosperity and a hope for a better life for our children.

The most depressing aspect of this criminal activity by Mr Obama is that the people that voted for twice, that are living the nightmare, but still don't understand what they have done to bring America to her knees.

Obama's Amnesty and the Impact on Jobs
Source: Neil Munro, "Obama's Amnesty Will Add As Many Foreign Workers As New Jobs Since 2009," Daily Caller, November 20, 2014.

November 21, 2014

The Obama administration's amnesty plan will give 5 million illegal immigrants work permits. According to Neil Munro at the Daily Caller, 4 million illegals who have been in the country for five years are eligible to apply for the permits, and another 1 million will be exempted from deportation in other ways.          

If one adds those permits, reports Munro, to the other 1 million permits that the administration has previously given out, it will equal 6 million -- the same number as the number of jobs that the economy has added since the president took office in 2009.

What does this mean for jobs and the economy? Munro notes that American wages have stagnated since 2000 due to a surplus of people seeking jobs. How many people are entering the job market every year?
  • The United States accepts 1 million new, legal immigrants every year. Over the last 5 years, 3.5 million have been of working-age.
  • Companies tend to hire 450,000 blue-collar guest workers and 200,000 white-collar guest workers each year.
  • 4.3 million Americans enter the workforce every year.
  • Currently, 9 million Americans are unemployed, while 7 million have given up looking for employment.
  • The number of native-born Americans with jobs has flat-lined since 2000.
According to Munro, some of the 5 million who will receive work permits are already working cash jobs or under false identities, but he says the newly permitted will compete with blue-collar workers and job seekers who were legally in the job market.

The Heritage Foundation recently released a report outlining steps to revive the American immigration system. The report, by Research Associate David Inserra, outlined many of the financial costs of illegal immigration, noting that illegal immigrants who are granted amnesty will tend to be tax consumers, not contributors. Inserra noted that were the United States to grant amnesty to 11.5 million illegals, they would pay just $3.1 trillion over the course of a lifetime in taxes while receiving $9.4 trillion in government benefits.

ObamaCare Medicine Cabinet Tax : Just Forced Insanity

There seems to be no end to the disaster that is the Affordable Care Act, ObamaCare! Never does a day that passes that we don't find something else that is in this nightmare health care brought to us by progressive democrats, and democrats alone!!!

Oh wait a minute, who voted for these people that gave them the power to kill our health care system and drive millions into poverty??

Repeal the Medicine Cabinet Tax on OTC Drugs
Source:  Devon Herrick, "Patient, Heal Thyself:  Why Congress Should Repeal the Medicine Cabinet Tax on Over-the-Counter Drugs," National Center for Policy Analysis, November 21, 2014.

November 21, 2014

When Americans think about medical care, they generally think about hospitals, doctors and prescription drugs. But in a new report from the National Center for Policy Analysis, Senior Fellow Devon Herrick says that many overlook the importance of inexpensive, over-the-counter (OTC) drug therapy; just 1 percent of health spending goes toward OTC drugs, despite that Americans first reach for a nonprescription drug 80 percent of the time when they have a health ailment.
How much cheaper are OTC drugs than their prescription drug counterparts?
  • The average price for a name-brand prescription was $268 in 2011, compared to only $33 for a prescription filled with a generic drug.
  • OTC drug products are available in numerous package sizes; many OTC drugs are $10 or less and will last for months.
  • Americans save themselves (and the health care system) $6 to $7 for every $1 spent on a nonprescription drug. 
Still, they could be cheaper, says Herrick. When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, it included what was essentially a tax on OTC drugs, because it made OTC medicines ineligible for reimbursement through health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs). These accounts allow the Americans who have them to deposit pretax dollars into their accounts, which can then be used for medical expenses. Prior to the ACA, account holders could use those pretax dollars to purchase OTC drugs, resulting in a significant savings on medication. For example:
  • A middle-income family may face a marginal tax rate of 25 percent, a payroll tax of 15.3 percent, and possibly a state and local tax of 5 percent.
  • Thus, if an individual can use his pretax income to purchase OTC medication, he escapes that 45.3 percent tax.
  • This so-called Medicine Cabinet Tax is equal to a price hike of more than 40 percent for many consumers buying drugs over the counter.
OTC drugs can still be purchased through a tax-preferred account if they are prescribed by a physician. However, Herrick says the effort of obtaining a prescription for an OTC drug would negate any savings from choosing the OTC drug. Herrick encourages the new Congress to repeal the Medicine Cabinet Tax. Over-the-counter drugs reduce doctors' office visits and cost less than prescriptions, saving Americans, and the health system, money.

War On Poverty Destroyed the Family : Third Rail Politics?

What was once a good idea turned into a disaster for the family of those that needed support to establish good relationships between husband and wife, raising the children, has now become a detriment, causing millions of women raising children alone and the children and mothers becoming wards of the state.

If there is one system in this country that needs reform it's the welfare system. As this article points out, the war on poverty, that started by president Johnson, is now become one of America's worst enemies cause untold problems now and for the future.

The War on Poverty Has Waged a War on Marriage
Source:  Robert Rector, "How the War on Poverty Has Hurt American Marriage Rates," Daily Signal, November 18, 2014.

November 20, 2014

When did marriage in America begin to decline? According to Senior Research Fellow Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation, marriage rates began to fall as welfare programs grew in number and scope -- a result that he calls "no accident."

At the outset of the war on poverty in 1964, there was one program -- Aid to Families with Dependent Children -- that provided aid to single parents. At that point, out of wedlock birth rates were less than 10 percent.

But today, there are more than 80 means-tested welfare programs that allow single parents to access government aid, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the Women, Infants and Children food program, public housing and Medicaid. While both married and single-parent families qualify for these programs, Rector writes that most assistance goes to single-parent families.

What's the connection between these programs and single parenthood? According to Rector, by providing aid to single-parent families, these programs enable a single parent to more easily raise children without another parent in the home providing support. Moreover, the programs effectively hurt the parents who do choose to marry, because benefits are reduced -- and cut off -- when household earnings increase.

A single mother who chooses to marry the father of her child may lose a significant amount of welfare benefits, but, by remaining single, she can retain those benefits. He offers the example of a single mother earning $20,000 annually -- if she marries a man with the same level of earnings, they will lose $12,000 per year in welfare benefits.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Steyer Spends $Millions On Election : Democrats Easily Bought

Given the $millions that Steyer spent, wasted, on the democrats this election cycle, will the press still trot out the old horse of 'Republicans are for the rich fat cats and the democrats are the party of the people''. In every sector to of the country the democrats out spent the republicans.
Where did all the money come from that the democrats say they don't have? How did Obama raise so much money from people that don't have any money to spend? Why do so many people still believe this crap coming from the media about the Republicans? Shouldn't the people that voted for the democrats, believing they were electing someone that really cared for them like they said during the campaigns be angry?
The reality is those that voted for the progressive democrats and got kicked in the teeth, are just happy that they have another chance to be kicked again like in years past. It appears they like to be abused.
The Tom Steyer Democrats - The Keystone XL filibuster reveals the new liberal coalition.
Tom Steyer          promoting a clean energy project at John Marshall High School          in Los Angeles in October.
Tom Steyer promoting a clean energy project at John Marshall High School in Los Angeles in October. Associated Press
Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu wanted a vote on the Keystone XL pipeline to show her clout before a runoff election against Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy on Dec. 6. Majority Leader Harry Reid gave her the vote after months of refusing, only to join most other Democrats and filibuster Ms. Landrieu’s bill.
Only 13 Democrats supported their comrade and 45 Republicans to approve Keystone, and four of those have lost their seats. Ms. Landrieu is now contemplating the undercarriage of her party’s bus, while Mr. Cassidy can credibly tell Louisiana voters he’ll deliver the votes if he joins 53 other GOP Senators next year.
Ms. Landrieu will no doubt prosper as a former Senator, so the vote is more important for what it says about the Democratic Party. The party of the private union working class is gone. Green money rules.

Opinion Journal Video

Assistant Editorial Page Editor James Freeman explains why the lame duck, Democrat-controlled Senate voted down the Keystone pipeline, 59-41. Photo credit: Associated Press.
Mr. Steyer made that clear when he refused to support any Democrat who backed the Keystone XL. This also explains why some of us have been wrong in thinking that President Obama would eventually support Keystone. How could he give up on an $8 billion investment and so many jobs in a weak economy? The reason is that the church of climate change carries a bigger check book. Now Mr. Obama is promising to veto a Keystone XL bill even if it does pass Congress.

Note the bitter reaction from Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union, who said Tuesday’s vote “took food off the table of our members.” He added that “the majority of Democrats in the Senate and the White House just don’t get it, even though the recent election results surely should have sunk in by now. They have lost their way, their purpose and their base.”
Sorry, Terry. They do get it. You’re simply not part of the “base” that matters to the new liberal “coalition of the ascendant.” That coalition is composed of minorities, single women who look to government for economic security, public unions and what political writer Michael Barone calls “gentry liberals.” Pipelayers aren’t gentrified enough.
For these liberals, climate change has become a totemic cultural issue, like abortion rights and gay marriage. It therefore doesn’t matter if the oil from Alberta will still be developed even if Keystone is never built, or that the oil will be transported by trains that are more dangerous and more carbon-intensive. What matters is that they are on the right side of the cultural and political symbolism.
With a few exceptions, the Democrats who will remain in the Senate next year are either gentry liberals themselves or are too afraid to risk losing the green cash on which they have become dependent. Either way, Tom Steyer owns them.

Urbanization As A Tool for Population Control : People Moving Out

This is interesting in that the progressive socialists, that seems to be in control of most city governments, believes that to control the population they have to group them in ever small areas, eliminating the need for cars with high rise condensed living construction and rail transportation that will make the citizens ability for movement limited. 

The control ideology is to limit the options that are available for the population and thereby dictating outcomes for everyone. But as this article points out there is push back as it seems personal freedom to chose is more important then allow a select few to make decisions for the many.

Despite Federal Policy, America Becoming More Suburban
Source:  Joel Kotkin, "The Progressives' War on Suburbia," New Geography, November 17, 2014.
November 20, 2014

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has pushed urbanization policies that promote urban living by issuing dense development grants and promoting high-speed rail. But according to Joel Kotkin, executive editor of, such policies are out of tune with Americans' preferences. In fact, Americans are not flocking to cities, but to the suburbs:
  • According to the most recent census data, 90 percent of all metropolitan population increases were due to suburban growth.
  • From 2000 to 2010, "core cities" (areas within two miles of a city's downtown) gained over 250,000 net residents, while areas 10 to 20 miles from the city center gained 15 million net residents.
  • Since 2010, suburbs have seen an increase of 4.4 million people, while "core cities" have seen an increase of less than 2 million.
  • According to Wendell Cox, over 80 percent of residents in metropolitan residents have suburban lifestyles.
This trend, writes Kotkin, makes the suburban vote critical to electoral success, noting that the most recent Republican Senate victories by Joni Ernst in Iowa, Corey Gardner in Colorado and Thom Tillis in North Carolina were largely due to large numbers of suburban support.


Rent Control Brings Scarcity : Free Markets The Solution

Here is another reason that anytime one denies the power of the free market to bring prosperity will find only chaos. Rent control is just one of the many situations that demands the "invisible hand" to find it's own level in the open and free market.

What's Wrong with Rent Control?
Source: Robert P. Murphy, "The Case Against Rent Control," Foundation for Economic Education, November 12, 2014.

November 20, 2014
Price ceilings on rent for apartments in large cities have dangerous economic consequences, asserts Robert Murphy, research fellow at the Independent Institute.

Rent control is a policy whereby a city sets a ceiling price on the rent that a landlord can charge a tenant. Many people think the policy sounds great, because it keeps prices low, making housing more affordable. But Murphy explains the laws have a series of unintended consequences:
  • They create apartment shortages. If prices are lowered, the demand for rental housing will rise, and tenant demand will not match up with apartment supply. In the long run, rent control tends to keep developers from constructing new apartment buildings because other projects -- those without price ceilings -- are likely to be more profitable.
  • They reduce housing quality. Because rent control increases housing demand, landlords are disincentivized to maintain their properties (replacing broken appliances or light bulbs, for example) or update them, because they have a steady supply of potential tenants.
While many promote rent control as a way to provide cheaper housing for low-income residents, Murphy says the policy only reduces the supply and quality of housing, reducing the profitability of the real estate industry and creating a more dangerous environment for consumers.

Women(Mothers) Under Attack From Democrats : Regulaions On Womens Pay

WOW - who knew? A war on working mothers by the progressive democrats. But then we all knew the democrats were always the party that sought to inflict as much damage to women as the could through regulation and law, and then use their dissatisfaction with their circumstances to blame the Republicans.

What good reason to not vote for Republicans, they believed it was reasonable for women to buy their own contraception. Is this a catastrophic attack on their freedoms? $20 a month? Are women that easily coopted? Apparently they were.

In the election of 2012, the election brought out the 18 to 29 year old women to vote for democrats that were told those terrible Republicans wanted to destroy them. The sad part is so many didn't have the ability to understand they were being used and abused.

In reality, it always been the democrats that use women, minorities and seniors as tools for political gain along with media that are all to willing to accept their abuse by covering democrat advances on all fronts.

War on Women? Overtime Pay Regulations
Source: Diana Furchtgott-Roth, "Obama's War On Working Women," Real Clear Markets, November 18, 2014.

November 20, 2014

The Obama administration is proposing to change the regulations surrounding overtime pay.  While hourly workers can expect overtime pay for any work over 40 hours in one week, as can salaried workers earning less than $23,660 per year, salaried workers earning above that amount are not entitled to receive overtime pay.

A new regulation from the Obama administration, however, would require overtime pay for those who make less than $50,000. What's the problem? It could significantly reduce flexibility. According to Diana Furchtgott Roth, director of Economics21 at the Manhattan Institute, employees -- especially working parents -- should think twice before applauding the proposed rules. She explains:
  • Many of the affected salaried workers would prefer to be able to take time off in exchange for their extra hours worked. Instead, those hours will be subject to overtime pay requirements.
  • Employers will have to keep close track of workers' hours for fear of lawsuits. This could lead many employers to quit allowing employees to work from home, a benefit that many working parents rely on.
Furchtgott-Roth explains that many working mothers need to be able to balance work and home priorities -- if their child becomes sick, they could exchange extra hours of work for time off. Mandating overtime pay, on the other hand, reduces that flexibility and limits mothers' ability to ask for needed time off.

Furchtgott-Roth suggests a different solution to the administration's overtime pay proposal: allowing employers to provide employees with 1.5 hours of time off for every hour of overtime worked.

Doctors Opting Out of Medicare and Medicaid : ObamaCare ; Health Care Imploding

Welcome to the real world of progressive socialism brought to us by the American voter that couldn't stay awake long enough to understand they were committing themselves to perpetual dependency and poverty.

Is Gruber right - the typical American voter is stupid? Two election in the midst of living the nightmare of progressive socialism brought to us all by the liberal democrats and still more the 40% believe Mr Obama is the "One". The mid term election does give us some hope, but the question that still remains is can American be saved? The jury is out.

How Obamacare Is Ruining Access to Doctors
Source:  Scott Atlas, "If you like choice in health care, look to Republicans,", November 18, 2014.

November 20, 2014

Dependence on government health care, both Medicare and Medicaid, is only growing. Over the last 10 years, the number of Americans over the age of 65 has risen by 6 million. Of the 8.5 million who enrolled in the exchanges during 2014, over 6 million enrolled in Medicaid. Scott Atlas, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, says that 140 million Americans will have government health insurance by 2020.

What does the rise in the number of Americans on Medicare and Medicaid mean for health care? Reduced access to care. Already, a majority of American doctors refuse to treat Medicaid patients, and more than 20 percent of primary care doctors refuse to accept new Medicare patients -- five times larger than those who refuse to accept new patients with private insurance. And the number of those refusing to accept Medicare is growing: 10,000 doctors chose not to participate in Medicare in 2012, three times larger than those who opted out in 2009.

America is also facing a doctor shortage of 124,000 physicians by 2025, two-thirds of which will be in specialist care. This is significant, because seniors (who are on Medicare) rely heavily on specialists. Unfortunately, writes Atlas, fewer doctors are going to want to enter the profession due to cuts, noting that the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission has recommended cuts to specialists that, after adjusting for inflation, will amount to a 50 percent drop in payments after a decade.

Not only will there be fewer doctors to choose from, but insurance plans are limiting access to those doctors who are available in order to keep premium costs down, offering insurance plans that offer relatively few health care providers. According to a report from McKinsey, the vast majority (68 percent) of Obamacare insurance plans provide enrollees with access to narrow or "very narrow" networks, and most of America's best cancer care hospitals are not included in state exchange plans.

As Atlas explains, government policy is reducing the attractiveness of becoming a doctor and limiting patients' ability to access specialists and seek care at the nation's best hospitals.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Teachers Evaluate Peers : 13% As D's or F's

What a good way to start the evaluation process of teachers, for the long run, and that's by using peer evaluation as an asset. Who knows teachers better then those that work side by side with each other.

And like Wisconsin that has Act 10 in play, teachers don't have to worry about retribution from the unions for speaking up on the evolution process and tenure.

Teachers Grade 13 Percent of their Peers as Ds or Fs
Source: Paul E. Peterson, "Do Teachers Support the Vergara Decision?" EducationNext, November 18, 2014.

November 19, 2014

How do teachers themselves feel about tenure? Paul E. Peterson relates the results of EducationNext's most recent survey of teachers and parents:
  • When teachers were asked to grade their fellow teachers in their local school district on a standard grading scale, they ranked 69 percent of teachers as earning an A or a B. Eight percent, however, were given a D, and 5 percent were given an F.
  • Parents gave 56 percent of teachers an A or a B, 11 percent a D and 10 percent an F.
  • Just 41 percent of teachers reported being in favor of tenure and believing that it should be unrelated to students' academic performance.
Peterson notes that teacher tenure has been under scrutiny ever since a court in California ruled the scheme unconstitutional. He notes how critical good teachers are to student achievement: according to a study by Eric Hanushek, an economist at Stanford, replacing the bottom 5 to 7 percent of teachers with merely "average" teachers would increase economic grow by up to 1 percent annually.

Gruberism From Energy Department for Taxpayers : 'We Made a Profit'

Let's see now, the department of energy, a wholly controlled agency by progressive socialist from the White House, they are expecting us to believe they are making a profit even after 24 out of 26 'green energy' programs, that the energy department has funded, have failed?

If we are to believe anything that is associated with Mr Obama and his progressive liberal friend have to say, then Gruber is, we are stupid.

Department of Energy Falsely Claims Loan Profits
Source: Donald Marron, "Spin Alert: DOE loans are losing money, not making profits," Urban Institute, November 17, 2014

November 19, 2014

The Department of Energy has just released a report that seems to indicate that its clean energy loans have been profitable. But that's not at all true, writes Donald Marron, director of economic policy initiatives at the Urban Institute. According to Marron, the Department of Energy (DOE) is ignoring borrowing costs in order to show inflated figures.

The report shows the DOE as having earned $810 million in interest while losing $780 million on the loans -- a $30 million profit. The problem, says Marron, is that the $810 million in interest does not take into account the Treasury's borrowing costs, as the Treasury first borrowed money (with interest) in order to make loans to the energy companies at very low interest rates. Taking into account those borrowing costs, Marron says that taxpayer losses on the loans are likely in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Similarly, the report says that the loan program is expecting $5 billion in interest payments. But that $5 billion is not a profit, says Marron -- it is only interest payments, without accounting for borrowing costs or possible defaults on the loans.

Wisconsin Long Term Care Needs Review : Will Lead the Nation

Wisconsin is leading the nation for funding public employees retirement programs and now it seems they have to fix their long term care programs to lead in all aspects of citizen care.

And with Scott Walker  success in the election for his second term as governor and his signature legislation, Act 10, that brought  the teachers union into the free market, the reform of long term care should be in the mix over the next two years.

Improving Long-Term Care in Wisconsin
Source: Pamela Villarreal, "Improving Long-Term Care in Wisconsin," National Center for Policy Analysis and the MacIver Institute, November 19, 2014.

November 19, 2014

Wisconsin's population is aging quickly -- while the amount of 85-year-olds in the United States will grow by 2 percent annually over the next few years, it will grow by more than 3 percent annually in Wisconsin. As a result, explains Senior Fellow Pam Villarreal in a report for the National Center for Policy Analysis and the MacIver Institute, more Wisconsinites will need long-term care, and the state will have to find ways to fund it.

Already, 80,000 Wisconsin residents are receiving long-term care in some form, and 15 percent of Wisconsin residents over the age of 65 are in a nursing home -- two percentage points higher than the national average of 13 percent. This is a significant issue for the state, because the federal/state Medicaid program spends a significant amount of money funding long-term care services.

Villarreal explains that while just 7 percent of Wisconsin Medicaid enrollees were receiving long-term care services, 40 percent of state Medicaid expenditures were spent on long-term care.

With Wisconsin's growing elderly population, the state has taken several steps to reduce long-term care costs while offering residents options outside of typical nursing home care, such as encouraging the purchase of long-term care insurance and creating programs that allow residents to use Medicaid funds for home care. Villarreal offers a few more suggestions:
  • Currently, the federal government sets limits on home values in order for a person to qualify for Medicaid, which states can increase as they see fit. Villarreal encourages the federal government to allow states to set their own home equity limits or do away with them altogether.
  • Wisconsin has a public-private partnership program that encourages the purchase of long-term care insurance and was meant to help low-income residents. In reality, it has been used by higher income households. Villarreal suggests doing away with the program and instead providing those who purchase long-term care insurance with a tax credit.
  • Currently, federal law requires states to recover assets from a deceased person if it is cost effective to do so in order to repay Medicaid costs. However, asset recovery tends to be very small. Villarreal instead suggests allowing Medicaid to require reverse mortgages (which allow homeowners to borrow against their home equity) in order to pay for long-term care.
  • Home-based care is significantly less expensive than institutional care. Villarreal encourages the state to increase home care opportunities for Wisconsin residents.
If Wisconsin takes steps to tackle long-term care costs, it could serve as a model for other states, says Villarreal.