Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Pepublicans Fumble the Ball : Medigap Is Worse

I wonder who thought this monstrosity would solve our heath care nightmare problem? And even worse, Obama plan is better? Yikes!  Only time will tell how this all falls out as congress becomes more and more Conservative and when, if, we are fortunate enough to get a Conservative president in 2016.

Are House Republicans Wrong on Health Reform?
Source: John R. Graham, "With Medicare Doc Fix, House Republicans Move Left of Obama on Health Reform," National Center for Policy Analysis, March 27, 2015.

March 30, 2015

The fallout from last week's House vote to bind our children and grandchildren further into debt servitude to bail out an unreformed Medicare continues, says NCPA senior fellow John R. Graham.
Before the vote, Chris Jacobs of America Next (Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's think tank) warned Medicare could not survive reform if the so-called "doc fix" passed. Writing after the unfortunate vote, Jacobs explains House Republicans have actually moved left of Obama on Medigap reform:

The House legislation responds to this by making some types of Medigap coverage illegal. It would prohibit the sale or issuance of any policies that insulate beneficiaries from the Medicare Part B deductible of $147.
In contrast, the Obama administration's budget plan took a more conservative approach to this problem. It proposed a "premium surcharge for new beneficiaries beginning in 2019" choosing first-dollar Medigap coverage. Under its approach, insurers could still offer, and seniors could still purchase, insulating Medigap insurance—but they would have to repay taxpayers for additional Medicare spending engendered by their generous supplemental coverage.
The Committee on a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) has extended the estimate of the bill's fiscal effect to twenty years, double the ten years covered by the Congressional Budget Office. The result? $500 billion added to the debt.
Most encouraging is U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, who has written an excellent op-ed in Politico condemning the House GOP for rejecting its own budget resolution in favor of the seriously flawed doc fix:
Unfortunately, the House's SGR package misses an opportunity to solve Medicare's underlying problems. Rather than offering bold policy solutions, this bill relies primarily on command-and-control bureaucracy. It substitutes the flawed SGR formula for more than 120 pages of new rules to govern the practice of medicine.

Anthem Veterans Memorial, Arizona : Volunteers for Greatness

anthem veterans memorial                                                          arizona by                                                          renee                                                          palmer-jones                                                          (9)

A tribute to our military that will survive Mr Obama's progressive socialists and the Clinton's political corruptions.

Once a Year at 11:11 am the Sun Shines Perfectly on this Memorial At precisely 11:11 a.m. each Veterans Day (Nov. 11), the sun’s rays pass through the ellipses of the five Armed Services pillars to form a perfect solar spotlight over a mosaic of The Great Seal of the United States.

The Anthem Veterans Memorial, located in Anthem, Arizona , is a monument dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of the United States armed forces. The pillar provides a place of honor and reflection for veterans, their family and friends, and those who want to show their respects to those service men and women who have and continue to courageously serve the United States .      
The memorial was designed by Anthem resident Renee Palmer-Jones. The five marble pillars represent the five branches of the United States military. They are staggered in size (from 17 ft to 6 ft) and ordered in accordance with the Department of Defense prescribed precedence, ranging from the United States Army, the United States Marine Corps, the United States Navy, the United States Air Force and the United States Coast Guard.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Student Starts Club to Rise Money for ISIS(Video) : University Explains How

Interesting video on how our campuses are being run by people that are not from around here - they come from other partos of the world that believes living under constituioal law is for other peole, not for them.

A univerasity that believes it's okay to start a club that benefits mass killers is freedom of speech and assembley is main stream?  ISIS! I wonder how difficult it would be to start a club to raise money for sponsoring individuals that believe Jesus Christ is our Savior?


Massachusetts 2yr Revenue Steam : No Changes Needed?

Incredible - as the statement from a New York Senator when considering testimony from a certain general on the Iraq war surge even before he testified, " I have to have a willing suspension of disbelief" on the subject. I to must find an 'no change' two year projection on revenue hard to believe, especially in a state controlled by progressive democrats like Elizabeth Warren even with a Republican governor.

And now Massachusetts believes that through 2016 their economy will not suffer any necessary changes that will effect their collective revenue stream? What? Democrats not going for more taxes?

Massachusetts Tax Revenue Forecasts
Source: "Massachusetts Tax Revenue Forecasts for FY 2015 and FY 2016," The Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University, January 22, 2015.

March 18, 2015

The Beacon Hill Institute (BHI) predicts that Massachusetts tax revenues will be $24 billion in FY 2015, 4.9 percent over FY 2014, and $25,801 billion in FY 2016, 5.3% over FY 2015. Both of these increases are largely driven by a stronger recovery in the growth of state personal income.
BHI revenue forecasts assume there will be no additional major change in Massachusetts tax policy for the forecast period, which runs through June 2016.
For the first six months of FY 2015 (July 2014 through December 2014), tax revenues grew by 4.1 percent over the first six months of FY 2014, led by
  • A 26.3 percent increase in business excise taxes;
  • An 11.3 percent increase in other tax revenues (estate, room occupancy and deeds);
  • A 4.9 percent increase in personal income tax revenue;
  • And a 4.7 percent increase in sales tax revenues.
BHI sees this trend continuing for the rest of the fiscal with sales tax revenues increasing by 5.2 percent and personal income tax revenues by 6.3 percent. Corporate income tax revenues will decrease by 4.1 percent and business excise taxes revenues slowing to an increase of 6.8 percent. For FY 2015, they expect total tax revenues to increase by 4.9 percent over FY 2014.
For FY 2016, forecasts show a 5.3 percent increase in tax revenues over FY 2015.
  • Personal income tax revenues will increase by 7.2 percent. 
  • Sales tax revenues will increase by 3.3 percent.
  • Corporate income tax revenues will rise by 8.6 percent.
  • Business excise tax revenues will increase by 12.3 percent
  • Other tax revenues will fall by 11.3 percent.
  • Alcohol taxes will rise by 2.0 percent.
  • Motor fuels taxes will rise 2.3 percent.
  • Cigarette taxes will fall 0.9 percent.

Crimes And Misdemeanors : Clintons Surge Anew

This seems to be the old norm when it comes to the Clintons - it always worked wonders back in the old glory days where nothing was seen as criminal or high crimes and misdemeanors.

Lying is so easy for the Clintons, and once they work for you, like they did before, it becomes a habit that is nearly unbreakable as we are witnessing the new surge of Clintons on the national stage.

Nixon Lied on Breakins : Hillary & Obama lied About Homicide


Let's see, Nixon tried to cover up a break-in at the democrat head quarters for political reasons and was impeached for it. He was run out of office.

Hillary knew 'real time' what was happening in Benghazi where four Americans were murdered, including our ambassador, but ignored it and then lied about it for political reasons.

Hillary was and is responsibility for everything that happened at our embassies when she was Secretary of State, much like anyone that has command of any organization. What happened in Benghazi can be seen as negligent homicide when she and Mr Obama ignored the calls that came for help when they were under attack.

Remember Ted Kennedy and his girl friend Mary Jo Kopechne and the bridge in Chappaquiddick? This to was negligent homicide but was seen as just an accident. But guess what happens if you run a stop sign and kill someone, especially if you are under the influence of a foreign substance that alters judgment? You go to jail for many years.

But happened with good old Ted, the drunk and womanizer? He skates. Is this lost on anyone as to why Hillary will skate for the Benghazi murders, and her email server that is now been wiped clean? Or for that matter, how she skated on all of the other criminal acts she has committed over the years. And Bill, Bubba, was impeached but he didn't care, and neither did most everyone else. dah!

There are both progressive democrats. If you're a Republican or Conservative, well that's a completely different story all together. After all, there are certain moral standards that have to met I mean lying about 18 minutes of tape as against negligent homicide. "What difference does it make anyway".

Restaurants Sold : Why? ObamaCare (Who Knew?)

This is just more fall-out from the attack on personal freedom by progressive socialist democrats, and in particular Mr Obama's personal ideology of hate filled revenge for passed wrongs committed against his father and the Muslim community in general..

But there's more to come. Ever wonder why more the 30% of restaurants and other small businesses in Seattle are closing after the mandate for $15/hour minimum wages was passed?

This article is long but very informative, and a must read to further the understanding of just where we are and where Mr Obama and his socialist agenda is taking us all for the future.

This Longtime IHOP Owner Sold His 16 Restaurants Because of Obamacare
Rob Bluey /           

Four years ago, my reporting on Obamacare brought me to the city of Terre Haute, Ind. Located near the Illinois’ border, about an hour’s drive from Indianapolis, the city of 60,000 residents reminded me of the area where I grew up near Utica, N.Y.
“The Affordable Care Act must be repealed,” says @GovPenceIN
It was a brisk March morning, nearly a year after President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, and I had trekked to the Midwest with a camera crew to meet Scott Womack, owner of about a dozen IHOP restaurants in Indiana and Ohio.
Womack’s testimony before Congress earlier in 2011 caught my attention and I wanted to visit him at one of his restaurants to see firsthand how Washington’s policymaking had impacted his work.
The IHOP in Terre Haute is located on South 3rd Street, just a few minutes from the Interstate 70 interchange and a short drive from the Holiday Inn where we had stayed the night before. As we sat in the back of the bustling restaurant waiting for Womack to arrive, we ordered french toast, omelettes and other IHOP specialities.
At the time, Womack employed about 1,000 people at his 12 restaurants. When the Affordable Care Act became law on March 23, 2010, he had big plans for his franchise. He had purchased a development agreement in 2006 that would expand the company to 14 new IHOP locations in Ohio.
>>> Flashback: IHOP Owner Fears Obamacare’s Impact on Jobs and Economy

“You have to fund your development through your profits,” Womack said during my 2011 visit to Terre Haute. “And if you have no profits, you’re not building restaurants.”
During his testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee, Womack said those plans were now in jeopardy—and with it hundreds of jobs, not just at his restaurants but also in industries such as construction and manufacturing that would support his expansion.
“Let me state this bluntly,” Womack told lawmakers, “this law will cost my company more money than we make.”
The cost of Obamacare’s mandates—Womack estimated it would be $7,000 to provide health care coverage for each full-time employee—left him with few options: cut costs, eliminate staff, reduce hours or convert workers to part-time status.
The IHOP in Terre Haute, Ind., is located on South 3rd Street, just a few minutes from the Interstate 70 interchange. (Photo: Freethink Media)
Womack, a 30-year restaurant veteran, faced unique challenges in the industry, where profit margins ranged from 5 percent to 7 percent. Restaurants already produce the lowest revenue per employee, meaning there was a high labor cost associated with implementing the new law.
Four Years Later
Facing the prospect of Obamacare’s employer mandate on Jan. 1, 2015, Womack opted to sell his 16 IHOP restaurants last year to Romulus Restaurant Group. (The company, which operates 74 restaurants in nine states, didn’t get back to me but Womack believes everyone who worked at his restaurants remains employed.)
The restaurant industry has the lowest revenue per employee, making Obamacare’s employer mandate more challenging.
The restaurateur who got his start as a busboy and cook, then landed a job as an IHOP manager, decided the cost of running casual-dining restaurants under Obamacare wasn’t profitable.
“We had to keep evaluating the nature of the business and the impact of Obamacare along with all the other pressures on labor,” Womack told me. He cited actions by the National Labor Relations Board and the threat of a minimum-wage hike as other challenges.
Womack said he was able to weather the recession. He remained hopeful Congress would make changes to the law or the 2012 election would usher in a president who would repeal it.
Inside the IHOP in Terre Haute, Ind. (Photo: Freethink Media)
When that didn’t happen, he simply wasn’t confident about the long-term prospects of running a casual-dining operation. IHOP, with servers and cooks, is a labor-intensive business. At the time he sold last year, Womack had 16 restaurants and more than 1,000 employees.
“We felt that environment was not the place to be for the next 10 to 20 years,” he said.
Many of Womack’s restaurants were in a district represented by Mike Pence, a Republican who served in Congress for 10 years before his current stint as Indiana’s governor.
Pence told The Daily Signal the only way to stop the law from negatively impacting business owners like Womack is to repeal it.
“The Affordable Care Act must be repealed and at the same time states should be given the ability to craft their own solutions to the health care challenges facing their citizens,” Pence said. “There are two futures in health care—government-directed or consumer-driven.”
Gov. Mike Pence, R-Ind., wants Obamacare repealed. (Photo: Freethink Media)
The Cost of Obamacare
Today, Womack remains in the restaurant industry, albeit with fewer restaurants and significantly fewer employees. In 2014, Womack Restaurants purchased a group of Popeyes franchises in the Kansas City area.
Switching from casual dining to quick service has helped Womack better grapple with health care costs. He still faces challenges, however.
Womack’s Popeyes restaurants employ approximately 180 people, about 140 of whom are hourly workers. That puts him above the 50-worker cutoff under Obamacare, requiring him to offer health care coverage to everyone.
Scott Womack at his office in Terre Haute, Ind. (Photo: Freethink Media)
The Affordable Care Act created an employer mandate, which was supposed to go into effect Jan. 1, 2014, but was delayed for one year by the Obama administration. The mandate requires companies with more than 50 employees to offer “adequate” coverage or face a tax penalty.
Even though he reduced his labor costs by moving into quick-service dining, Womack still took a sizable hit on health insurance. His insurance provider boosted rates by 40 percent in one year, forcing him to cut back on coverage.
He offered the plan to all 180 employees. Only two of the 140 hourly workers signed up.
“For our industry, the employer mandate doesn’t work,” Womack told me. “You’re talking about a large percentage of people who are not inclined to buy the insurance coverage. They looked at how much it cost and they’re not buying it.”
Scott Womack decided to sell his 16 IHOP restaurants in 2014. (Photo: Freethink Media)
Womack described these employees as “younger people who are looking for part-time work.” Yet as a result of offering everyone insurance, his previously insured managers found themselves paying more for worse coverage.
“We had very generous health insurance benefits for our managers and we covered a substantial amount for dependents,” he said. “That’s all going to have to change so we can offer the same thing to everyone. We can’t afford to offer dependent coverage to our entire workforce. So our managers will actually take a hit in terms of the coverage they get.”
Facing Reality
Four years after testifying before Congress and urging Obamacare’s repeal, Womack remains alarmed at the law’s impact on his industry. He foresaw the challenges of offering attractive coverage in 2011 and is now facing that reality.
“For our industry, the employer mandate doesn’t work,” says Scott Womack
“Insurance rates are through the roof. Every year we get handed a 30 percent to 40 percent increase,” he said. “The only way we have to offset that is cutting our coverage way back. That’s happened every year since the law passed.”
Womack isn’t facing these challenges alone.
The International Franchise Association, which advocates on behalf of franchises in Washington, D.C., has argued the law is negatively impacting economic growth across America.
“Rather than helping existing and aspiring franchise owners expand by adding jobs, locations and more hours for their employees who need them most,” said spokesman Matthew Haller, “the law’s arbitrary definition of ‘large employer’ and ‘full-time work week’ have contributed to the steady increase in part-time employment in America and have been a drag on new franchise business formation.”
“For our industry, the employer mandate doesn’t work,” says Scott Womack. (Photo: Freethink Media)
So what does the future hold for Womack?
When I interviewed him four years ago, he spoke about living the American Dream and warned that everything would be “on the chopping block” if Obamacare wasn’t repealed. With that prospect unlikely to happen in the next two years, Womack remains frustrated with Washington’s failure to understand the implications.
It hasn’t dampened his spirit, however. After all, he remained a restaurateur after selling his IHOP restaurants.
“We’re going to continue to grow in quick-service dining, but we always need to be evaluating as things change,” Womack told me. “It’s a tightrope walk that you do, balancing between the risks in the industry vs. the reward of growing your business.”
This story has been updated to include information about the company that purchased Womack’s restaurants.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

GW Bush Visits Military Wounded : Where's Obama?

I wonder if Mr Obama ever did this kind of public relations work with our military wounded?

I know - fat chance.

Eric Holder Stepping Down : A Good Progressive Soldier

Eric Holder can be seen as just another face in crowd of Obama administration office holders that toed the progressive socialist party line.

History will show Eric Holder will be understood to be the least useful individual in the Office of Attorney General to administer justice.

One of the unwritten basic qualifications for the office of Attorney General, as Mr Obama sees it, was to help him divide  the country along racial and economic lines to support his agenda and ideology of progressive socialistic liberalism.

It isn't a stretch of the immigration to see how successful he was in doing just that. Eric Holder was a good soldier doing his part in the cause for 'Fundamentally changing" America. His use of the office of Attorney General was racially hateful and shamelessly corrupt to accomplish his part of destroying justice in America. His contempt for the Constitution and the law that it demands we all live by is unparalleled in history.

Believe it, there is a saying that works well here, 'good soldiers never die, they just move to the back of the rank'. You may not see Mr Holder, but you have to believe he will still be a ready and willing force for ideological change that Mr Obama has set in motion.

Words Do Matter : Little Johnny Speaks

Knowing the truth will set you free.

A teacher asked her 6th grade class how many of them were Obama fans.Knowing the teacher was an Obama fan, all the kids raised their hands except for Little Johnny Sharp .
The teacher asked Little Johnny why he has decided to be different ... again. Little Johnny said, "Because I'm not an Obama fan." The teacher asked, "Why aren't you a fan of Obama?"
Johnny said, "Because I'm a Conservative."

The teacher asked him why he's a Conservative.  Little Johnny answered, "Well, my Mom's an Independent and my Dad's a Republican, and both are Conservative, so I'm Conservative."

Annoyed by this answer, the teacher asked, "If your mom was an idiot and your dad was a retard, what would that make you?"

With a big smile, Little Johnny replied, "That would make me an Obama fan."

Obama's Love Of Country : Questions?

The question that is beginning to bubble to the surface is just who is Mr Obama and what are his intentions for our country.

And  now that people are asking questions concerning Obama's ideology and agenda of "fundamental" change, they are taking into consideration the comment by Rudy Giuliani indicating Mr Obama, given his attack on our domestic Constitutional foundation as written, doesn't love his country.

I contend, as I have in the past, that Mr Obama does love his country, it's just that the country he loves isn't America.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Student Test Scores Investigated & Sold : Questions Abound

The question is do we have to much access to information and the ability to collect it without restriction. As usual, it's the question of our right to free speech and our right to free association becoming repressive. 

But the next question then is, and probably more intrusive, where does freedom to chose over lap responsibility to a larger society?

More at Risk than Low Test Scores When Taking the SAT
Source: Megan Simons, "The Right to Privacy or the Right to Piracy?" National Center for Policy Analysis, March 26, 2015.

March 27, 2015

SAT test administrators go to great lengths to keep the playing field level for students across the nation. Students sign agreements to refrain from discussing questions with each other, parents, friend or teachers; adults monitor the classroom and halls for discussion during the tests; phones are turned off and placed at the front of the room.

Yet over the past few years, testing companies have begun monitoring students' social media accounts looking for test question leaks. In addition to the testing companies themselves, a whole industry has popped up whose express intent is to collect vast quantities of data on students' attitudes, activities, habits and schedule.

Compound this with the massive amounts of data that online education tools collect on children, and it paints a startling picture: Educators are allowing companies to collect invasive, intimate data on American students, and there is very little information available on how that data is used.

While the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects student test scores and basic records, it does nothing to protect anything outside of the student's official education record.
A new bill, the Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act of 2015, is seeking to fix that. Though the official bill has not been released, it aims to keep institutions from selling student data and protect children's privacy.

Opponents of the bill say it does not go far enough. Loopholes leave room for student data to continue to be sold, and there is no option for parents to opt out of having data collected on their child.

Education's Turning point : Parents Demand Choice

When parents universally become aware of how bad the public educational system really is, this will be the time when we will see real reform for how we educate our children, both for the private and public systems.

This is something that the unions must embrace if they want to have any hope for survival. As the saying goes, 'for whom does the school bell toll, it tolls for you.'

Parents Support More Educational Choice
Source: Jason Bedrick, "Who's Afraid of School Choice?" Cato Institute, March 17, 2015.

March 27, 2015

Education bureaucrats seem to think that giving parents more educational options will spell the end of the traditional district school system. Oklahoma City superintendent Rob Neu declared that the "greatest threat to public education" is legislative support for educational choice initiatives, such as Education Savings Accounts (ESAs).

Tulsa superintendent Keith Ballard predicted, "the first 500 kids that go to a private school are going to take a million dollars out of Tulsa public school."

A veteran district-school teacher wrote an article explaining why he is paying to send his daughter to a private school. He said it might be impossible to create an environment to show natural enthusiasm for knowledge at district schools because "everything is both free and compulsory." And a decade ago, a Fordham Institute study found more than 20 percent of district-school teachers enrolled their children in private schools, nearly double the national average of 11 percent.

Polling data confirm that parents want more educational options. Yet despite parents' desire to enroll their children in private schools, few actually do. The reason is that it is difficult to compete with "free". Parents who enroll their children in private schools have to pay tuition and they still have to pay taxes to support the local district school. However, despite the wishes of parents, the education establishment does not want any competition.

The education establishment sometimes complains that district schools cannot compete on a level playing field. They are fully subsidized, but they have to comply with more burdensome regulations because they are not directly accountable to parents.

Rather than fight educational choice, the education establishment should embrace it as an alternative to such top-down "accountability" measures so that they could dispense with the bureaucratic regulations and let parents vote with their feet.

GDP Forcast Uneven : Business & Industry Holding Back

What - the economy isn't booming like Mr Obama and is supporters in the democrat party have pronounced? It seems that just having Mr Obama say the words is enough proof we are doing well. Trust me is the catch phrase from Mr Obama.

Reality and common sense are left for the Republicans and Conservatives to explain actual outcomes of failed policies and then propose solutions that require sacrifice.

And given there are millions of people that do not have a clue about anything without the progressive socialist tag attached to it to lend it plausibility, the Republicans and Conservatives are then universally attacked as out of touch and allied against the people, especially minorities, the poor, the old and women.

Words do matter, especially when millions of people are willing to accept them as the truth without reservation as they are now being used by Mr Obama and the progressives to destroy our way of life.

As Durable-Goods Orders Fall So Does the GDP
Source: Kate Davidson, "Durable-Goods Orders Fall, Raising Worries Over GDP Growth," Wall Street Journal, March 25, 2015.

March 27, 2015

Many forecasters estimate the economy downshifted in the first three months of this year in a milder version of last year's disappointing start. The latest factor pushing down expectations was a drop in business spending and investment.
  • According to the Commerce Department, orders for durable goods declined a seasonally adjusted 1.4 percent in February from a month earlier. Excluding the volatile transportation sector, orders fell 0.4 percent, the fifth consecutive monthly decline.
  • Orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft dropped 1.4 percent from January. That marked the sixth straight monthly decline, which may have been due to lower oil prices hitting demand for oil equipment.
  • U.S. retail sales fell 0.6 percent in February, the third consecutive monthly decline.
The weak performance suggests U.S. companies remain cautious about spending amid weak global demand and a strengthening dollar. Severe winter weather has also likely played a role in recent economic softness, as homebuilders pulled back on new construction and consumers spent less at retailers and restaurants.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta on Wednesday put its gauge at an annualized 0.2 Percent, down from its earlier estimate of 0.3 percent.
  • Morgan Stanley economists lowered their estimate for first-quarter growth to an annualized 0.9 percent from an earlier forecast of 1.2 percent, pointing to light inventories and lower exports as weighing on GDP.
  • Barclays economists lowered their projection a tenth of a percentage point to 1.2 percent.
  • The forecasting firm Macroeconomic Advisers trimmed its estimate down to 1.2 percent from 1.5 percent.
  • J.P. Morgan Chase economists lowered their first-quarter forecast to an annualized 1.5 percent, from 2 percent.
Economists do not expect as big of a slump in output in the first quarter as in 2014, in part because the underlying health of the economy is better than it was a year ago. The fundamentals are stronger than they were last year.

Congress Must Balance the Budget : Crisis Coming

It's not that we 'should' balance the budget, it has to be we 'must' balance the budget. To believe others wise is to believe the government is actually here to help.

Congress Should Balance the Budget
Source: Romina Boccia, "Why Budget Matters," Heritage Foundation, March 25, 2015

March 26, 2015

Will Congress ever get spending under control? While both chambers of Congress have recently introduced their latest budgets, it remains to be seen if their efforts will reverse the United States growing deficit.

Currently, the U.S. debt is $18.1 trillion and is expected to grow by one trillion over the next decade. However, Congress has an opportunity to reduce the debt and improve the economy by balancing the budget.
  • The congressional budget has the most direct impact on next year's discretionary spending. It establishes the maximum level allowed for defense and discretionary domestic programs.
  • Congress should certainly eliminate bad discretionary spending that benefits special interests at the expense of the broader public, although this spending is not driving the growing debt crisis the way entitlement spending is.
  • Entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare and Social Security, are responsible for more than half of the projected growth in spending over the next decade. Including what the federal government is expected to pay to service the massive and growing debt, the share of projected spending growth due to these areas of the budget rises to 85 percent by 2025.
The budget is a critical tool in Congress's legislative arsenal to correct the current fiscal course. It is time to put the budget on a path to balance to protect Americans against undue debt and tax levels, and to unleash economic growth.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Student Loan Reform Plan : Poorer Students Hurt Most

This scheme by the most liberal democrat in the country, Warren, as she, and others with the same disease, are trying to make a bad situation even worse, The student loan program is more then a $trillion dollars in debt. 

But it's not about helping the students loan problems, this is about securing more democrat voters by freely giving away other peoples money. And securing more democrat voters means the demise of student loan program by default as well as our country as a free society.

But who cares, right? Is this about doing what ever it takes to get elected or reelected. This then begs more questions as to what exactly motivates Elizabeth Warren as a progressive socialist liberal democrat if not self empowerment?

Poorer Students Do Not Benefit From Lower Student Loan Interest Rates
Source: Kevin James, "Lowering Rates Isn't the Answer," American Enterprise Institute, March 24, 2015.
March 26, 2015

A group of Democrats, led by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), has unveiled a plan to reduce the interest rate on student loans, allowing many borrowers to refinance.  Kevin James, research fellow at the Center on Higher Education Reform, writes that such a reform will not benefit the poorest students:
  • According to data from the New York Federal Reserve Bank, 37 percent of the 43 million people currently repaying student loans have experienced delinquency or default at some point.
  • However, borrowers who default on federal loans generally have lower balances - think $5,000 rather than $50,000 - relative to those who repay successfully. Some researchers speculate these defaulting borrowers may often be students who dropped out of college.
  • A borrower with $5,000 in debt who refinances from 6.8 percent to 3.8 percent (the current rate for undergraduate borrowers) would save a mere $7 per month. At the same time, many other borrowers who are not struggling would get a huge break: One analysis found that the benefits of refinancing would accrue disproportionately to the richest 25 percent of households - often high-income individuals with expensive graduate degrees.
  • It is not that these loan programs are not generous enough. Rather, the existing protections they offer are poorly designed and difficult to use for the people who need them most.
Changes to student loan programs can be expensive, therefore, Congress could consider if expanding loan is worth the cost before adopting Senator Warren's legislation proposal.

Commuting Bad For Economic : Compacting People the New Norm

One has to wonder how local cities leaders will react to this information given the push to restrict suburban sprawl by buying up land that surrounds the city, and the imagined need for industry to locate in the inner city so workers can walk to work or take advantage of public transpiration, is an over reach by any standards of common sense or logic.

Yet, this seems to be the way of things in the new society of progressive activism.

More, the push is to bring more and more people into the city by demanding high-rise living conditions which will mean many people will not need cars for transport, will force people from moving out o the city to gain better living condition can now realize all the comforts of living in the suburbs in a down town socialist utopia.

It's a win win situation for city leaders believing they know what's best for everyone else. The bright light here is there is push back.

Longer Work Commutes Affect the Economy
Source: Elizabeth Kneebone and Natalie Holmes, "The Growing Distance between People and Jobs in Metropolitan America," Brookings Institution, March 2015
March 26, 2015

The commute to work is getting longer for most Americans, which takes a particular toll on minority populations. Proximity to employment can influence a range of economic and social outcomes, from local fiscal health to the employment prospects of residents, particularly low-income and minority workers.

An analysis of private-sector employment and demographic data at the census tract level reveals that:
  • Between 2000 and 2012, the number of jobs within the typical commute distance for residents in a major metro area fell by 7 percent. The number of jobs increased in only 29 of the nation's 96 largest metro areas.
  • As employment suburbanized, the number of jobs near both the typical city and suburban resident fell.
  • As poor and minority residents shifted toward suburbs in the 2000s, their proximity to jobs fell more than for non-poor and white residents. The number of jobs near the typical Hispanic (-17 percent) and black (-14 percent) resident in major metro areas declined much more steeply than for white (-6 percent) residents, a pattern repeated for the typical poor (-17 percent) versus non-poor (-6 percent) resident.
  • Residents of high-poverty and majority-minority neighborhoods experienced particularly pronounced declines in job proximity.
For local and regional leaders working to grow their economies in ways that promote opportunity and upward mobility for all residents, these findings underscore the importance of understand­ing how regional economic and demographic trends intersect at the local level to shape access to employment opportunities, particularly for disadvantaged populations and neighborhoods.

School Choice - The New Norm : The Free Market Works

Still more proof that the free market works and always has, it's only now that we find the public educational system in complete melt down that the obvious has become the new norm. Maybe there is hope for us after all.

School Choice More than a Private and Charter School Issue
Source: Lloyd Bentsen IV, "School Choice Benefits Both Public and Private Schools," National Center for Policy Analysis, March 24, 2015.
March 26, 2015

The addition of private school choice options and/or public school choice options gives students more choices in their education, writes Lloyd Bentsen, senior research fellow with the NCPA.  These new choices could come in the form of more specialized schools that focus on individual students.

Allowing parents to choose the school that best fits their children's needs not only benefits the family, it provides advantages to teachers, the local economy and taxpayers, as well as other students. Everyone benefits from the increased competition stemming from expanded school choice.

Public school choice options are needed as waiting lists for charter schools continue to rise, due to increased demand in every state with charter schools. These options are also needed to encourage public schools to compete and to specialize.

Private school choice options are a Win-Win Solution:
  • Opponents frequently claim school choice does not benefit participants, hurts public schools, costs taxpayers, facilitates segregation, and even undermines democracy.
  • In fact, the empirical evidence consistently shows choice improves academic outcomes for participants and public schools, saves taxpayer money, moves students into more integrated classrooms, and strengthens the shared civic values and practices essential to American democracy.
Unrestricted charter law and private school choice would increase competition and therefore improve school efficiency, teacher quality and student achievement. A properly implemented private school choice program gives families more control over their educational spending, and enables them to spend that money on the tuition of a school that is the best for their children.

Climate Change EPA Regulations : Insanity On Parade

Without reservation, anyone that can claim not to be a nitwit, or a half wit, can conclude the EPA is dedicated to the destruction of the American economy as more and more restrictive regulations are forced upon all industry, and especially the fossil energy producers.

The EPA actions are directed from the White House to ensure Mr Obama's ideology of his promised "Fundamental change" of America from a representative republic to a socialist democracy much like those in Europe. And as one of the most irresponsible agencies in our government, and the most out of control and unconstitutional, the EPA is spearheading the attack to make the fundamental change a reality.

And worse, with the first four years of the disastrous democratic nightmare on the books, the voting public voted again for more pain and destruction. Why is ignorance so prevalent and an obvious willingness to become subservient among the population?

The EPA Proposes New Climate Change Initiative Regulations
Source: "EPA to Regulate Methane Emissions Despite Huge Decline," Institute for Energy Research, March 5, 2015.

March 13, 2015

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants to regulate methane emissions from oil and gas sector as part of its ongoing climate change initiatives, mandating a reduction of 40 to 45 percent by 2015 from 2012 levels.

Even before EPA started promulgating these regulations — according to EPA's own data report — methane emissions fell by 35 percent from natural gas operations since 2007 while natural gas production increased by 22 percent due to the voluntary implementation of new technologies. This new regulation will accomplish very little but risk being a drain on one of the few booming industries in a stagnant economy.

The newly proposed methane regulations are being imposed for political reasons - to increase influence during December's United Nations climate meeting in Paris.
Methane emissions have accounted for about 9 percent of the greenhouse gases emitted in the United States. Only about 3 percent are subject to the proposed EPA regulations, of which they wants to reduce about half; while carbon dioxide emissions have accounted for 82 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. If the United States were to eliminate all carbon dioxide emissions now and forever, the amount of global warming would be just 0.10°C by the end of the century according to computer models. Therefore, the new EPA regulations would reduce 1.5 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions and produce just 0.002°C of temperature savings.

Having already targeted power plants, cars and other sources of emissions, the Obama administration is pushing to regulate the oil and gas sector, one of the greatest economic success stories of the past ten years.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Commander and Chief Meets the Troops

I wonder if our current president would be so interested in meeting the troops?

But hey, doesn't everyone hate this guy and love out maximum leader we have now?

Welfare Reform Crucial : (Ryan) ; States Get Block Grants

Paul Ryan offers up block grants to states and allows them to use the funds where ever they are needed for state budgetary welfare assistance. How cool is this as citizens can go to their individual state capitals to get information or the complain about the programs, instead now they having to petition some bureaucrat in Washington that doesn't care about noises coming from afar.

But wait - taking the power to control the flow of tax dollars from the feds and turning it over to the states is out of the question for democrats. My goodness, without power to control others they will have no meaning left in life.

Instructions for States Further Welfare Reforms
Source: Diana Furchtgott-Roth, "Welfare in America, 1998-2013," The Manhattan Institute, January 2015.

March 10, 2015

Spending on major United States federal welfare programs and Medicaid grew by 83 percent, from $225 billion in 1998 to $412 billion in 2013. Welfare eligibility and enrollment have expanded significantly since the Great Recession began in late 2007. While the U.S. economy has since improved, participation in such programs has generally not declined. Focusing on Medicaid, SNAP, and Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF), suggestions for further reforms are listed below:
  • Medicaid accounted for 13 percent of mandatory federal expenditures in 2013. Nearly one-fifth of the U.S. population is now enrolled in Medicaid. To improve Medicaid\'s effectiveness and reduce its strain on budgets, states should seek reforms limiting administrative costs and non-urgent emergency room visits, while increasing preventive care.
  • The recession officially ended in June 2009, but the number of Americans on food stamps has steadily increased. Despite the fact that eligibility has not changed in recent years and the U.S. economy has grown, SNAP enrollees continued to increase. Reform that caps the current, unlimited inflow of Washington money would allow states to adjust the number of people in the program, as well as the duration of benefits, without forgoing federal funds.
  • In 2003, 60 percent of families with a head of household on TANF stayed in the program for more than one year - 13 percent stayed four years or longer - with an average stay of two years. In July 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) notified states that they can apply to have TANF\'s work participation standards waived. However, alternative welfare-to-work strategies with formal evaluations would still be required.
Additionally, House Budget committee chairman Paul Ryan has proposed combining funding for SNAP, TANF, and various housing programs into single block grants, "Opportunity Grants," while offering states flexibility to use such funds in ways that best fit their particular circumstances.

Opportunity Grants retain a substantial role for the federal government while acknowledging the reality that states possess superior knowledge of the poverty situation within their borders.

Renewable Energy Resouce : Wind Power Nonsense

More nonsense from the progressive socialist democrats - like Ethanol, wind power is not an alternative to fossil energy and never will be, ever. Think about it, like the article states, just how much space is require and back-up energy resources for when the wind doesn't blow.

I wonder how much growth we will see when our energy resources depends on if the wind blows or not. Who are these people? This is crazy - insanity running wild.

Wind Power Is Not Economically Feasible
Source: Julian Morris, "White House Claims About Wind Power Are Implausible and Dangerous," Real Clear Markets, March 18, 2015.

March 25, 2015

The U.S. Department of Energy recently released a report claiming consumers and the environment would benefit from increasing the proportion of electricity derived from wind power. In the report, they estimate the nation can deploy wind power to economically provide 35 percent of our nation's electricity and supply renewable power in all 50 states by 2050.

A 2012 report from Reason Foundation found it is not economically feasible to expect wind generation to produce more than 20 percent of operating electricity capacity. Expanding wind penetration beyond about 10 percent requires a significant increase in the amount of available "spinning reserve."

That need for backup increases the capital costs of wind power because the spinning reserve generating capacity must be available even if it is not being used. Considering this, wind energy is not cost-competitive with fossil fuels by a wide margin, even the Department of Energy's own estimates put the leveled cost of wind at 20 percent higher than natural gas.

To achieve 35 percent by 2050, 11 gigawatts of wind generation capacity per year need to be installed. Such a massive investment (reaching $70 billion in 2050) would divert hundreds of billions of dollars away from other investment in innovations, which have the potential for far higher returns, generating greater benefits to a larger number of companies and providing more and better jobs.

Ethanol Costly AND Ineffectiive : Motorists Feel the Pinch

Nothing new here, the waste of taxpayer dollars is more the $.54/ gallon. This is not by accident or from unforeseen consequences from fact based proposals, this is about the contrived agenda of renewable fuels and Mr Obama's hate for fossil energy. Of course it helps to for getting out the vote from environmentalists and their collectives.

Ethanol is just a tool that Obama uses to limit personal freedom and the individual opportunity to gain prosperity. As stated on many other occasions, prosperity this is the death of socialism. And so, look no further as to way Mr Obama and the democrats demand Ethanol.

The Cost of the Renewable Fuel Standard to Motorists
Source: Robert Bryce, "The Hidden Corn Ethanol Tax," Manhattan Institute, March 2015.

March 16, 2015

Crude oil prices are dropping and Congress now wants a 15-cent increase in the federal gasoline tax, which currently stands at 18.4 cents per gallon. This increase would be in addition to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), a hidden tax that Congress could repeal. Lawmakers argue the gas tax has not kept pace with inflation and in order to keep the Highway Trust Fund in the black, increased revenues are needed.

A recent study from the Manhattan Institute found:
  • The RFS has been in effect since 2007 and requires fuel retailers to blend corn ethanol into the gasoline they sell.
  • American motor­ists pay more than $10 billion per year in extra fuel costs above what they would have paid if they had purchased gasoline alone.
  • Since 1982, on aver­age, ethanol costs 2.4 times more than an energy-equivalent amount of gasoline.
  • Ethanol-blended gasoline has lower energy density than pure gasoline, which means ethanol adulterated fuel renders poor fuel efficiency compared to its non-adulterated counterpart.
Congress has imposed a de facto fuel tax on American motorists by forcing them to consume fuel that is more expensive than gasoline on an energy-equivalent basis. Furthermore, by not eliminating the Renewable Fuel Standard, Congress' regulations prevent ethanol producers from competing in the motor fuel market.

Tax Reform Plan : Rubio/Lee - What? (Who Knew?)

I guess it's a good start, but if anyone that's awake will not know anything about it as the main stream media will do everything in their collective power to make sure that only the progressive democrat narrative is front and center, and that the Republicans and Conservatives have no plan to fix our economic problems that the democrats are responsible for in the first place.

To believe tax reform came even be discuses in this administration is nonsense.

The fact that Paul Ryan has proposed several plans over past years is lost in the media blitz for our dear leader's ideology of income redistribution, that is, taking from the productive and giving to the unproductive. This is the socialists dream for equality. The fact that redistributions of wealth has always resulted in abject failure, no mater where it's instituted, is of no concern to the democrats.

The agenda and ideology of the progressive is, and always has been, to gain control of the population by those in power that know what's best for everyone, and if you disagree, you will find yourself under attack from some member agency like the IRS and or the DOJ to get your head straight or be destroyed.

No? hmmmm  What exactly happen  to the Conservative organization called "True The Vote"? Reform? Welcome to the real world of progressive socialist liberal democrats.

Rubio-Lee Tax Reform Plan: Good but could be Better
Source: Daniel J. Mitchell, "Grading the Rubio-Lee Tax Reform Plan," Cato Institute, March 4, 2015.

March 6, 2015

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Mike Lee (R-UT) recently introduced the Economic Growth and Family Fairness Tax Reform Plan in an effort to incrementally reform the U.S. tax system. The plan is not without its problems.

To begin with, the top tax rate will be 35 percent, down only from 39.6 percent. Even worse, the 35 percent tax rate will be levied against any taxable income above $75,000 for single tax payers and $150,000 for married taxpayers. As a result, a significant number of taxpayers will face higher marginal tax rates.

On the bright side, Rubio and Lee's proposal does include attractive pro growth features. They include:
  • The corporate tax rate will be reduced from 35 percent (The second highest rate in the world) to 25 percent;
  • Elimination of the capital gains tax, the double tax on dividends and the second layer of tax on interest;
  • Elimination of punitive deprecation rules that force businesses to overstate their income in ways that discourage new business investment;
  • Elimination of the death tax;
Under the Rubio-Lee plan, the economy could grow faster, more jobs will be created and workers could enjoy higher wages.

Obama Budget : Designed for Economic Failure

Why would anyone expect anything different from a progressive socialist liberal? The progressive liberal democrats have a sorted history of saying one thing and then doing the complete opposite and then getting away with it, suffering no consequences for their continued malfeasance.

Mr Obama's budget is just more of same, more spending and more debt. Basically more smoke and mirrors to steal America's hopes for prosperity. But why is this so hard to understand by the voters?

A Dynamic Analysis of Obama's Budget Proposal Shows Productivity Will Be Disrupted
Source: Stephen J. Entin, "A Dynamic Analysis of President Obama\'s Tax Initiatives,"  Tax Foundation, March 3, 2015.

March 6, 2015

President Obama's 2016 budget proposal includes a long list of changes to the United States' current tax system. The plan could reduce Gross Domestic Product (GDP) between 2.4 percent and 3.0 percent, costing the workforce up to 809,000 jobs. The negative effects result from Obama's plan to increase taxes on savings and investments.

Indeed, Obama's budget proposal may also include tax credits and givebacks, but they do not effectively compensate for the added increased taxes. The president's budget proposal includes the following consequences:
  • If the revenue available for business tax reform were used to lower the corporate tax rate, it would result in a 3 percentage point cut in the rate — far less than a cut to a 28 percent rate as hoped for by the president's budget.
  • With the lower corporate tax rate, the plan would still shrink the economy by 2.4 percent, decrease investment by 6.2 percent, reduce wages by 1.8 percent, eliminate 679,000 jobs, and lose $4 billion in revenue over the long run.
  • The plan's focus on redistribution instead of growth results in a reduction of growth that would hurt many people the plan is meant to help.
Congress could avoid damaging the economy by refusing to expand taxable income. They could also deny Obama's plan to restrict deductions and increase taxes on estates and on capital gains at death.

Obama's 2016 budget proposal ultimately hurts capital formation, productivity, wages and employment across the board, but especially in capital-intensive blue-collar industries.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Barack Obama : Using the Law for Plunder?

"It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder."

-Frederic Bastiat.
Even though this doesn't look much like Barack, one has to wonder about his actions on domestic and foreign affairs which have resulted totally failures at home and a world that now is at war.

The question that seems appropriate is can Mr Obama be considered ideologically unbalanced, mentally challenged or just pursuing a hate filled vengeance for his tortured passed history?

Or are Mr Obama's "Fundamental" changes to our country the workings of others pulling the strings making Obama dance to someone else's tune?

Maybe it's combination of the two, a Marxist political party and a mental weakling unable to control his desire to get even for past perceived wrongs to his father and himself.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Climate Changer Urges Awarness : More Money - Bigger Planes

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How cool is this - Pharrell Willians talks about climate change awareness while he ponders the problem on this private jet.

It appears insanity can't be cured. Witness Governor "Moonbeam" of California and his rant on Ted Cruz. Truly, Gov. Brown is a lunatic, but don't blame him entirely, he is a progressive democrat which explains everything which might explain the imminent collapse of the once great state of California that's $billions in debt.

 But never mind all that, it's very important for you to believe and advocate for climate change legislation and taxpayer funding, while he, Mr Williams here, determines how to spend your money. More trips to Switzerland and or a bigger airplane to. It worked like a charm for Al Gore. He's worth now more then $200 million dollars.

California's School Failing : Parents Taking Charge

If the California schools have the same philosophy for transparency as the California state and federal  government have, all is lost for education in California.

It is refreshing that grass roots push-back by students' parents is taking place against the progressive socialists, with their collective agenda and ideology have driven the California's  school system and country toward collapse.

Lack of Education Transparency in California Hurting Students
Source: Lisa Snell, "California Needs to Measure Student Academic Progress," Reason Foundation, March 5, 2015.

March 24, 2015

Sweeping reforms have taken place in national education, such as Common Core.  However, basic transparency and accountability is obviously not a priority, as a group of California parents dealing with a low-performing school demonstrates, writes Lisa Snell of the Reason Foundation.

The parents of Palm Lane created a petition to turn the school into a charter school. The school board rejected their petition. The California school has consistently performed poorly or has lacked accountability:
  • Only 38 percent of students are currently proficient in reading.
  • In 2014, the state revised its pilot Common Core assessments that granted them with a federal waiver exempting it from being graded on reading and math achievement based on the new assessments. California is now seeking a federal testing waiver, which would allow schools to use graduation rates, attendance rates and rates of participation as measures of student achievement.
  • This lack of accountability is not helping students: In 2013, California's fourth grade students scored below the national average in both reading and math. On the reading assessment, 41 states outscored California, and 42 states outscored California in math.
  • Lack of transparency has also prevented parents from evaluating school quality.
Parents need to be able to see the growth of their children over time in reading and math and make decisions about the quality of their schools based on actual evidence and data on academic performance - rather than attendance rates and test participation rates.

Affordalbe Care Act Can Be Repealed : Conservativism Works

If ObamaCare is actually repealed or defunded by the next president, it is imperative that the next president has to be a Republican. But, just because the next present is a Republican it doesn't mean he or she will do the heavy lifting to actually repeal this disastrous law.

So many Republicans have a reputation of folding under pressure from the progressive socialist media and liberal democrats every time they are called on to take the responsibility to do the right thing.

So electing the right Republican, a Conservative is best, is imperative if we are serious about getting rid of ObamaCare and saving our country from the corruption and disastrous lawless acts of the last 8 years.

Affordable Care Act Could be Repealed by the Next President
Source: John R. Graham, "Congressional Budget Resolutions Shoot for the Sky; Miss Low Hanging Fruit," National Center for Policy Analysis, March 23, 2015

March 24, 2015

The House Budget Committee has voted on a budget resolution and the Senate Budget Committee is debating a budget resolution that shoots for the sky with respect to health reform. Their proposals recommit the Republican majorities to patient-centered health reform and show a path forward for the next president.

However, they do not harvest some low-hanging fruit offered by President Obama. Failure to do so might doom patient-centered health reform to the forever future.
  • Both the House and Senate budget resolutions repeal Obamacare. It is important Congress vote to repeal Obamacare whenever appropriate, so the American people know the so-called Affordable Care Act (still unpopular), will be replaced by the next president.
  • The House budget resolution re-affirms the "premium support" model for Medicare, starting ten years hence. "Premium support" means health plans would compete to offer Medicare benefits.
  • The House Budget Resolution reforms federal Medicaid funding from open-ended transfers to block grants to states. This means the federal government transfers a fixed amount of money to each state.
The Republican majorities\' budget resolutions are very good, which we look forward to seeing in legislation signed by the next president in 2017. Until then, Congress should not ignore the low-hanging fruit dangling in front of it.

ObamaCare Designed for Control, Not Healthcare : Yoga?

So many questions and so little time to answer them before it's too late - ObamaCare is almost here to stay. The frustration for so many among us who trying to understand the thinking behind ObamaCare and it's designers but find it totally incompressible as to how insanity has become the new norm? Yoga should be covered in our health care plan? What?

but wait, why do we have to have "Cadillac" plans that are not cost effective and unwanted?

Common sense is no longer a useful tool to be used for understanding the democrat at agenda. ObamaCare has nothing to do with common sense or reality, this is about taking control of the population by force.

Should Insurance Cover Yoga?
Source: John R. Graham, "'Next Frontier' — Health Plans Covering Yoga?" National Center for Policy Analysis, March 20, 2015.

March 23, 2015

When a leading benefits consultant writes an article in the Harvard Business Review recommending that health plans should cover yoga, it should be glaringly apparent that we have perverse incentives in U.S. health benefits, says National Center for Policy Analysis senior fellow John R. Graham.
  • Cigna insurance CEO David Cordani says the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services' recent payment changes that emphasize quality over quantity in healthcare will shift the focus on "sick care to more well care." But a widespread embrace of diet, fitness and other wellness programs is still a way off..."
  • Insurers should cover "new wellness- and prevention-oriented treatments such as yoga and meditation, Sukanya Soderland, a partner in consulting firm Oliver Wyman's health practice, wrote recently in the Harvard Business Review. (Jayne O'Donnell & Laura Ungar USA Today)
Are we really meant to believe that employees cannot pay for their own yoga classes? Especially as the so-called "Cadillac tax" on high-cost employer-based health plans is going to start sinking its teeth into those plans, why would any employer want to increase the likelihood of incurring that tax liability by channeling more of employees' compensation in to health plans that pay for benefits like yoga?

A constant theme is that Obamacare incentivizes insurers to attract the healthy and shun the sick. It looks like it is increasingly happening in employer-based benefits, too.

Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate Act (SGR) Unworkable

Given how dysfunctional our entire government is today, it seem impossible to believe congress will be able to do anything of any consequence to correct our problems now and in the near future. It appears the entire function of new Republican controlled congress is self preservation.

Even after landslide victories in last Novembers elections, they are on the defensive, warding off attacks from the democrats in congress and Mr Obama as they try to repair the mistakes of the past 6 years of progressive socialism. Unfortunately they are finding their congressional dominance not what they thought it would be.

Republicans fear retribution for standing for sound proven principles of success that history has shown to be effective every time they are instituted. Republicans have replaced principle for head bobbing and hand wringing.

Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate: Repeal It Now
Source: Devon Herrick, "Paying for the Medicare 'Doc Fix,'" National Center for Policy Analysis, March 18, 2015.

March 19, 2015

The Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula was passed as part of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 to reduce the growth in Medicare spending. The so-called SGR was designed to collectively penalize physicians for exceeding the benchmark expenditures established by Congress.

The SGR automatically reduces physician payments under Medicare by a proportion that will lower spending back to the designated growth rate. However, the SGR has not reduced spending primarily because Congress has continually postponed the cuts year after year rather than reform Medicare in sustainable ways.
  • Since 2003, Congress has postponed the cuts 17 times.
  • Beginning in April, physician fees will be cut by 21.2 percent if Congress does not kick this can down the road an 18th time.
  • Congress has not repealed the SGR mostly because it would cost $140 billion over 10 years and require offsets.
The SGR clearly is not working; the reason Congress will not allow the cuts to take place is because too many seniors would lose access to physicians willing to treat them. What is needed is fundamental reform. But a good first step down that road would be to repeal the SGR and pay for it with several costly offsets.

Two good ideas President Obama has supported in the past include:
  • Reducing the percentage of Medicaid provider taxes that states are allowed to use to qualify for a federal match;
  • And eliminating some of the Medigap Supplemental Plans that everyone agrees leads wasteful spending.
This is just the low-hanging fruit. These simple fixes must accompany fundamental reform.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Iran Gets The Bomb : Obama : Please Don't Use It.

editorial-cartoons-of-the-week-7e2f14baa3bc9bdaI wonder what Mr Obama and John Kerry know that will turn the tide for our country and the Israelis? Is it that they have a single agenda in mind and that is to make sure Iran gets the bomb so they can then start a new round of negotiations to make the sure Iran doesn't use their bomb, and then if they do, what can they use to offer the Iranians reasons not to use it again?

Exporting Fossil Resources : Obama Says No!

The question now is why not export fossil resources seeing that we have such huge reserves? Why do we continue to support hostile Arab countries by importing their oil? What is it with our government that sides with our enemies and while shunning our friends?

Why would our government want to make the enemies of America stronger, making them more capable of doing us harm? What is the thinking of Mr Obama? He stands in the way of oil exports and he refuses to allow the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to be built?

What does Mr Obama believe is the right thing to do to bring prosperity to America? Is national security a factor?

Lifting the Oil Export Ban Would Increase Energy Production
Source: Lloyd Bentsen, "The Case for Lifting the Crude Oil Export Ban," National Center for Policy Analysis, March 18, 2015.

March 20, 2015

The United States is running out of room in its crude oil storage facilities and the question is ― where does the crude go now? As domestic crude oil production continues to rise, it has no place to go due to an obsolete ban on the exportation of crude oil in the United States.

The International Energy Agency said in its monthly oil market report that U.S. supply shows no signs of slowing down, an assessment that pushed the price of crude below $57 a barrel and lowered gas prices at the pump. Low gas prices led to record amounts of driving in 2014, culminating in a record-breaking December, new federal data shows.

With the United States now producing more oil and natural gas than Russian and Saudi Arabia, over 11 million barrels a day (55 percent increase from five years ago), lifting the U.S. oil export ban would:
  • Add over $1 trillion in government revenues by 2030.
  • Create 300,000 more jobs a year.
  • Increase current U.S. production from 8.2 million B/D currently to 11.2 million B/D.
  • Cut the U.S. oil import bill by an average of $67 billion per year.
  • Lower gasoline prices by an annual average of 8 cents per gallon.
  • Save U.S. motorists $265 billion for during the 2016-2030 period.
Despite the fact that oil imports are at the lowest level since 1985, the United States still imports 33 percent of its oil from foreign sources. A broad view by the public is that U.S. oil should stay at home will test export proponents.

A majority of voters, 53 percent, oppose exporting oil. At present, the current policy is discouraging additional crude oil supplies from being brought to market, which actually makes gasoline prices higher than they otherwise would be. The increased economic activity resulting from the rise in crude production would support an average of 394,000 additional U.S. jobs over the 2016-2030 period, with a peak of 964,000 jobs in 2018.

New Hampshire's Renewable Portfolio Standard : Ideological Insanity

A government that is run by progressive ideological insanity will fail the people that it is dedicated, by constitutional law, to support. But then this ideology is not about the people, it's about getting and keeping power and taking control. And what better way to crush the will of the people then under the boot of a suffocating government regulation.

When a persons options for gaining prosperity are artificially and systemically revoked as a matter of process to satisfy a particular ideology, and the only option left then is to leave the state or comply, lay down and accept your fate. Being a drone isn't all that bad, right? 

This is not how it was suppose to be. Goodness. How did we get to this point where the people are no longer in control?

The Disadvantage of RPS Outweigh the Benefits
Source: Paul Bachman, Michael Head, "The Economic Impact of New Hampshire's Renewable Portfolio standard," The Beacon Hill Institute At Suffolk University, February 2015.

March 20, 2015

The Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University (BHI) applied its State Tax Analysis Modeling Program (STAMP) model to estimate the economic effects of the New Hampshire Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS).

The major findings show:
  • The current RPS mandates will raise the cost of electricity by $70 million for the state's electricity consumers in 2025.
  • New Hampshire's electricity prices are expected to rise by 3.7 percent by 2025, due to the RPS law.
These increased energy prices will likely hurt New Hampshire's residents and businesses and, in turn, inflict harm on the state economy. In 2025, the RPS is expected to:
  • Lower employment by an expected 720 jobs;
  • Reduce real disposable income by $70 million;
  • Decrease investment by $10 million;
  • And increase the average household electricity bill by $40 per year; commercial businesses by an expected $230 per year; and industrial businesses by an expected $3,655 per year.
Since electricity demand is flat, the RPS-mandated renewable sources will force utilities to retire existing coal and gas sources. Displacing coal and gas with solar and wind will lower the amount of dispatchable electricity generation under baseload conditions and force utilities to use peak electricity generation sources when wind and solar are not available.

Additionally, the way the law was written, by 2025 the state will require 9.5 percent of electricity to come from sources, which began generation prior to 2006, or to pay a compliance fee. Under a baseline scenario, most of this will be met with compliance payments, meaning that this share of the policy will contribute nothing to requiring cleaner sources of electricity, but will increase the cost of electricity that every individual and company will consume.

The RPS policy will not have an impact on reducing global emissions, but rather send jobs and capital investment outside the state.

Tax Dollars Spent Where? : A Break-Down

This is not a good way to start the week, but knowing what reality looks like will, in the end, help to understand, accepting, what seems like the new norm in government. But at the same time it might solidify ones determination to do something about our out-of-control government. I pray for the latter.

The Breakdown of Where Your Tax Dollars Go
Romina Boccia /           


Tax dollars paid for about 85 cents of every dollar spent in 2014—the rest was borrowed. Where did all that money go?

Your 2014 tax dollars—which are due next month—went primarily to pay for government benefits.

Obamacare spending really only kicked in for the first time in 2014. But Obamacare spending alone is expected to grow the major entitlement budget by

44 percent over the next decade85 percent.. All in all, the total spending increase due to Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, Social Security and interest on the debt over the next decade is ns that the share of the budget going to entitlement programs will grow even bigger if Congress doesn’t act.
Congress should repeal Obamacare and make common-sense reforms that modernize these outdated entitlement programs. That’s hard, but important work. Common sense reforms will both modernize MedicareMedicaidSocial Security and empower people to exercise more choice in spending their health care and retirement dollars.
2015 Federal Budget in Pictures

Major entitlements (Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare and Social Security) devoured more than half of the 2014 budget at 51 percent of spending. Other federal benefits took another 19 percent, meaning that 70 percent of government spending went to pay some sort of benefit to someone. These additional “income security” and other benefits include federal employee retirement and disability, unemployment benefits, and welfare programs such as food and housing assistance.

Obamacare spending really only kicked in for the first time in 2014. But Obamacare spending alone is expected to grow the major entitlement budget by 44 percent over the next decade. All in all, the total spending increase due to Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, Social Security and interest on the debt over the next decade is 85 percent. This means that the share of the budget going to entitlement programs will grow even bigger if Congress doesn’t act.

Congress should repeal Obamacare and make common-sense reforms that modernize these outdated entitlement programs. That’s hard, but important work. Common sense reforms will both modernize Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security and empower people to exercise more choice in spending their health care and retirement dollars.
Check out the 2015 Federal Budget in Pictures for 21 charts on spending, debt and taxes today!