Tag: Presidency of Barack Obama

The Gruber Chronicles

No doubt, you’ve heard a bit about the Jonathan Gruber videos emerging this week. Gruber came to light earlier this year for videos in which he argued that the supposed “scribal error” in Obamacare was intentional — i.e, that states that do not build exchanges shouldn’t get Obamacare subsidies. These new videos show him slagging the American voter, boasting about how they deceived the public on aspects of Obamacare and basically acting like an arrogant twerp.

There’s been a small wellspring of sympathy for him, since he’s now caught up in an unexpected controversy. Personally, I find it difficult to find a lot of sympathy for a man who was paid $400,000 to help deceitfully foist Obamacare on us, but whatever.

I don’t think Gruber’s comments, however angering they are, are going to make much difference. Obamacare passed and has survived at least one SCOTUS challenge. His comments on the subsidies are a good talking point on Halbig but SCOTUS is going to base their decision on Congressional intent, not the post-facto comments of some MIT windbag. No matter how involved he was in writing Obamacare, it is the intent of the legislators that matters.

But there is one aspect of the Gruber videos that is important. It proves that not only were critics of the law right, but that the Administration knew they were right and lied and obfuscated about the law. It’s not a “scandal” in the sense that anyone broke the law. But it’s a scandal in what it reveals about Obama, the Democrats and the so-called fact-checkers.

Take the CBO scoring. One of the big selling points of Obamacare, from day one, was that it would decrease the federal deficit. Critics pointed out that it only did this because of gimmicks — the taxes penalties fines taxes phased in a little faster than the subsidies. Critics pointed out that it depended on unlikely money-saving events, such as not enacting a “doc fix” (said doc fix having been promised to the AMA in return for their support of the bill). Critics pointed out that while it was technically balanced over the ten years, by year ten, Obamacare was running a deficit, a deficit that would only increase over the years. Critics also pointed out that CBO analysis, if you dug deep, made exactly these points. While they were required by law to score it the way they did, they noted, numerous times, the flaws in their projection.

When we pointed this out, we were called liars and tools of the insurance industry. Fact-checkers rated this claim as false. Of course, time has born out our complaints. But what the video shows is that the Administration was well aware of their deceit — how could they not be? This wasn’t a quirk; this was an act of deliberate deception. And they were laughing about it all the way back to their comfy positions in academia and industry.

Another big point is the so-called “cadillac tax”, which enacts a fee on healthcare plans that cost more than a certain amount (at least, for some people). When this plan was rolled out, critics pointed out that it was indexed to inflation, not healthcare costs. This would mean that, over time, more and more plans would qualify as “cadillac plans”. The result would be to effectively eliminate the tax deduction for health insurance.

Now one can make the case that the tax deduction is bad law. But that’s not the case the Obama Administration made because they knew eliminating the tax deduction for health insurance would be extremely unpopular and likely scuttle the entire bill. So they came up with a convoluted and tangled way of doing it. And when critics pointed this out, they were called liars and tools of the insurance industry (the insurance industry having written much of Obamacare).

Now that everyone is admitting to what Obamacare does, the President’s supporters are … blaming the stupidity of the voters for making these lies necessary. We’re being told this is standard operating procedure in Washington (it isn’t), that everyone does it (they don’t) and that the critics are being hypocrites (for … um, being right all along?)

We see this over and over again with this Administration. Here is my own attempt a one-act play that encapsulated the last six years:

Obama: My law does X.

Critics: The law also does Y and Z and it doesn’t do X very well.

Obama Supporters: Tea Partiers! Extremists! How dare you come here with your astroturf talking points!

“Fact Checkers”: Obama says the law does X. We rate your claim as false.

[Three years pass]

“Fact Checkers”: Actually, the law also does Y and Z and does’t do X very well.

Critics: We told you!

Obama Supporters: Shut up! Y and Z are great policies! Obama had to lie about it because you’re so fucking stupid!

The gripping hand here is that this will not make any difference. Most of the vast American public could give two shits about Jonathan Gruber. This will not have any impact on the Halbig case or any other legal challenges nor will it play a role in any attempts to fix or repeal Obamacare. It will persuade few to repeal the bill who don’t already want to. It’s mostly Washington insider stuff. I find myself agreeing with Tyler Cowen: let’s put all this energy into explaining why these policies are so bad rather than whether Gruber is an arrogant prick or the devil incarnate.

Gruber is nothing. Obamacare is everything. We can do something about the latter. And now we can use the Administrations own words to help make it happen.

What Now?

So now that the Republicans have taken back both houses of Congress, what should they do for the next two years? Nothing, argues National Review:

The desire to prove Republicans can govern also makes them hostage to their opponents in the Democratic party and the media. It empowers Senator Harry Reid, whose dethroning was in large measure the point of the election. If Republicans proclaim that they have to govern now that they run Congress, they maximize the incentive for the Democrats to filibuster everything they can — and for President Obama to veto the remainder. Then the Democrats will explain that the Republicans are too extreme to get anything done.

They’ll say that anyway. If the Republicans proposed poached eggs for breakfast, the Democrats would denounce them as dangerous extremists. And I don’t think NRO actually believes this argument because they later say Republicans should force the Democrats to filibuster/veto popular legislation.

Even if Republicans passed this foolish test, it would do little for them. If voters come to believe that a Republican Congress and a Democratic president are doing a fine job of governing together, why wouldn’t they vote to continue the arrangement in 2016?

Which brings us to the alternative course: building the case for Republican governance after 2016. That means being a responsible party, to be sure, just as the conventional wisdom has it. But part of that responsibility involves explaining what Republicans stand for — what, that is, they would do if they had the White House.

So the Republicans shouldn’t govern. Instead, they should gear up for 2016 to take the White House and Congress at which point they will … what? … concentrate on keeping power?

I’m sorry, but I really don’t care about the Republican Party one way or the other. Whether governing hurts or helps their prospects in 2016 is irrelevant to me and should be irrelevant to people who are not actual party operatives. We had a unified Republican government for six years and the result was the most massive expansion of government power since the New Deal.

No. What we want from the Republicans is progress. What we want is for them to turn back the tide of government expansion. What we want is for them to … what’s that word … govern? The Republicans are on probation right now. It’s up for them to prove themselves worthy of getting power back.

There is precedent for governing and winning elections at the same time: Republicans worked with President Clinton and kept Congress and won the White House twice as a result. But they didn’t win because they grandstanded. The won because the accomplished things — welfare reform, spending restraint, NAFTA — that made them worthy of winning all three branches of government.

Nick Gillespie:

Yet Republicans mistake the meaning of the midterms at their own peril. These elections were a particularly frank repudiation of Barack Obama and the past six years of failed stimulus, disastrous foreign policy, and rotten economic news. Even the president’s historic health-care reform remains a negative with voters. But if the GOP thinks it has a mandate to return to the equally unpopular bailout economics and social conservatism of the George W. Bush years, it too will be sent packing as early as the next election.

You should read Nick’s entire piece, which breaks down the polling to show a decisive shift against big-government, in every respect.

It’s not enough for the Republicans to not be Obama. “Not Obama” isn’t going to be a candidate in 2016. In fact, Obama won’t be a candidate in 2016 (savor that relief for a moment). If the Republicans want to earn our votes in 2016, they need to accomplish things. They need to prove themselves worthy. They need to show that they can get government out our hair, despite the man in the White House.

How does this break down into nuts and bolts? On the day after the election, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell laid out an agenda for the next two years. It includes approving the Keystone XL pipeline, tax reform and fast track trade authority. It also includes three changes to Obamacare: raising to 40 the hours needed to qualify as a full-time employee for the employer mandate, exempting veterans from counting toward the 50-employee mark that triggers the coverage mandate and repealing the medical device tax.

These are all OK ideas and some of them — like fast track trade authority — are supported by the President. But it’s kind of small potatoes. It’ll make a nice first month, but it’s not exactly the Contract with America. I would prefer something a bit bolder.

This would involved finding things that the Democrats or the President will support. There’s a strain of thought among conservatives, exemplified by the NRO piece above, that working with Democrats will give “legitimacy” to Obama. Nuts to that. The country needs things done. And if we can the President on board, great.

But the Republicans should also pass legislation they know will be filibustered or vetoed. This could give the Democrats something to talk about in 2016 (“look at the extreme legislation we blocked!”). But I think it more likely, if Republicans are smart … OK, if they’re not too dumb … OK, if they’re not completely stupid … that it would give the Republicans something to run on in 2016. It would give the American people something to vote for, not just something to vote against. When the Republicans have run on a positive agenda — Reagan in 1980, Newt in 1994 — they have done well.

As for specific issues: the first on that list would be entitlement reform. The President has indicated that he is open to it. It’s time to call his bluff. The deficit has been shrinking in recent years but will soon begin to blow up as the bill for Baby Boomer retirees comes do. The time to act is now, before we are back in the land of trillion dollar deficits.

A lot of Republicans worry that overhauling Medicare and Social Security will open them up to attack from the Democrats. But here’s the thing: that’s going to happen anyway. The number of elections that have not included a Democrat “mediscare” campaign over the last forty years is precisely zero. The Democrats are going to demonize Republicans anyway. At the very least we could get something out of it. And if it costs the Republicans some seats, so be it. It would be worth it to slice trillions off our debt.

The counter-argument is they should wait until the Republicans have the White House as well. That way, they won’t have to compromise with Democrats and accept a tax hike or defense spending cuts in return for entitlement reform. I find that hope ridiculously optimistic. It assumes that Republicans will take the White House and keep the Senate. And it assumes that they will take the political risk of entitlement reform once they have full power, which I find unlikely.

Act now. At the very least, call the President’s bluff. Then you’ll have something to run on in 2016.

The second priority should be regulatory reform, which is sucking a couple of trillion dollars out of the economy. Probably the most important regulatory reform is the repeal of Sarbanes-Oxley, which is strangling our economy, halting IPOs and a nightmare for businesses. It’s the poisonous spider at the center of the web of economic malaise. President Obama will probably oppose this. Good! Make him stand with the bureaucrats and trial lawyers! Over 60% of the American people think regulation is too onerous, including many independents. This is a winning issue for Republicans.

Third would be an overhaul of the patent and copyright laws which are strangling innovation. The Republicans are open to this and the President is too, despite fierce opposition from trial lawyers. Reform could be passed in the first few months of 2015.

Fourth, an overhaul of our drug policy, specifically a recognition of state laws on medical and recreational marijuana. The President has occasionally made noises on this and a majority of Americans now favor pot legalization. The Republicans can get ahead of the Democrats on this by embracing a federalist approach: states that keep pot illegal will still have the aide of the DEA in keeping it illegal; states that make it legal will be left alone. I have little hope the Republicans will do this, but it would be a great step for them.

Fifth, an overhaul of Obama’s anti-terror powers. Justin Amash and Rand Paul give me hope that the GOP may be open to this. The best thing about reigning in Obama’s police state would be exposing the lie that the Democrats are the party of civil liberties and personal freedom.

That’s just for starters. There are other things: more spending cuts, reigning in Obama’s foreign policy and executive power excesses, a symbolic repeal of Obamacare (symbolic because it will be vetoed). But I see the above as doable and I see it as proving the GOP’s supposed small-government bona fides. If they’re serious, they will do something along these lines.

I have no doubt that the Republicans will run into opposition from the President. In fact, his petulant press conference seemed to promise that he would do what he wants on issues like immigration and only invite cooperation on his agenda. We’ll see what happens behind closed doors. This President has, on occasion, compromised with Republicans. But he has also been willing to take a my-way-or-the-highway approach, particularly when he had Congress for the first two years (Republicans were invited only to tweak details of Democratic legislation; kind of like being asked which arm you want the shark to bite off).

But if the President is determined to pursue his agenda and won’t cooperate, then pass the legislation anyway. Force him to veto it. Force him to oppose. Force his party to go on record as the party of bigger taxes, more government and no reform. Force him to tie his former Secretary of State and Heir Apparent to his unpopular agenda.

That’s something you can run in 2016. That’s something that might bring my vote in 2016. Until then, I will remain skeptical of the GOP and their commitment to small government.

Republicans Also Responsible for Obama’s High School Grades

The Brookings Institute came out with a study last week that looks at failures by the federal government. It concludes what we’ve talked about many times: that the federal government is fumbling the ball more and more often:

The federal government is failing now more than ever. That’s the conclusion of a unique taxonomy of federal ball-dropping just released by Paul C. Light, a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.

The study tracks the growing failure rate through the past five presidents. While many factors contribute to the generally increasing frequency of bureaucratic failures, the fluctuating numbers do reflect on an administration’s overall managerial competence. Light believes that Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush led especially competent White House teams. Reagan, his study shows, averaged 1.6 failures per year during the final part of his term.

On the other hand, George W. Bush’s administration was the most failure-ridden of them all. W. averaged 3.1 failures per year – overseeing more than twice as many annual failures as his father.

Of course, by Light’s account Obama isn’t looking too hot either – he’s currently running 2.9 failures per year, with a little over two years two go. “Good government is not just a function of good laws, it’s also a function a faithful execution,” he said. In that area, President Obama does not get good grades. “Probably the lowest of any post-war president,” said Light in an interview. “I’d give him a C- on attentiveness, and a D on reform.”

In the report, Light writes that Obama promised reform and modernization but “he never followed through. He was either too distracted to concentrate, too bored by the nitty gritty of management or too frightened of the Republican backlash to make the effort needed to make big government work.”

First of all, I’ll say right out that I am dubious of this “study”. It seems to consist mainly of scouring the news for bad things and blaming them on the government. There is little rhyme or reason to it. The Navy Yard shooting is listed as a government failure, for example, while the S&P credit downgrade is not.

That aside, I think his basic conclusions is correct, give or take a few failures. This Administration is showing a staggering incompetence at executing even the most basic functions of government. They are light years behind Reagan or Bush 41 or Clinton. The reason is what I’ve said for a long time: a President has to be more than just a good speaker with some ideas. He has to be … an executive. He had to run the government.

It’s true that the government wasn’t running terribly well when Obama came into office. I agree with Light’s assessment of the Bush 43 Administration as incompetent. But all Presidential administrations inherit problems. All government agencies accumulate cruft over the years that impedes their functioning. Good Presidents — Reagan, Clinton, Bush 41, Eisenhower — understand that you have to periodically overhaul government agencies or they get bogged down in their own red tape. Obama has done none of this. He’s just given the government more and more and more to do and then acted all surprised when it can’t do it.

However … Light simply can’t resist the Cult of Obama. In the end, the real villains out there are .. brace yourself … Republicans. Some of this is the usual blame of the previous Administration (although Bush apparently take all the blame for 9/11 even though he was only nine months into office and the only prior warning was a vague assessment that Al-Qaeda was going to strike in the US). But there’s also this:

Republicans exploited the Democratic cowardice by doing everything in their power to undermine performance. They stonewalled needed policy changes, and made implementation of new programs as difficult as possible; they cut budgets, staffs, and collateral capacity to a minimum, proving the adage that the logical extension of doing more with less is doing everything with nothing; they used the presidential appointments process to decapitate key agencies, and appointed more than their share of unqualified executives; and they muddied mission, tolerated unethical conduct, and gamed the performance measure process to guarantee failing scores for as many government policies as possible.

This is … not to put too fine a point on it … bullshit. Almost all of Obama’s failure are his own damned fault. Very few can be pinned on Republican obstructionism or Democratic “cowardice” (Democrat cowardice being defined as a refusal to enact the most radical far Left agenda imaginable). Let’s go through the Obama failures they list one by one and see where the blame lies:

  • The Deep Water Horizon Spill. It has been fashionable for people to blame this on “deregulation” or regulatory capture. Even if that were true, Obama had been President for two years and had appointed his own people to run federal agencies. But it’s not true. The Deepwater Horizon Study Group — based out of that bastion of conservative ideology UC Berkeley — concluded that it was BP’s fault for being lax on safety and not meeting existing standards for safety. This was a corporation cutting corners in appalling ways. There’s no regulatory regime on Earth that could oversee every single aspect of an oil company’s platform.
  • The Boston Marathon Bombing, the Fort Hood Shooting, the Undie Bomber. In all three cases, there was prior warning that something bad was going to happen. And in all three cases this was ignored. But to blame this on “cutting budgets” is mind-boggling. Homeland security is one of the most massively overfunded agencies in the government. The WaPo itself did an expose on just how much money is being poured into national security.
  • Benghazi. Budget cuts did not cause the Benghazi debacle. The State Department ignoring warnings about a dangerous volatile situation. And then they compounded their error by trying to pretend it was a spontaneous protest that no one could have foreseen. Every investigation has concluded that this was the result of State Department incompetence, not evil Republican budget-cutting.
  • The Navy yard Shooting. I’m not sure how any government program — other than seizing all the guns in the country — would stop a nut from smuggling a gun into a building and blowing people away.
  • Healthcare.gov. This one was all on Obama. They bid it out to a shaky company, lied about how well it was going and then launched a flaky buggy website rather than wait a few months to fix it to avoid any political heat.
  • The VA Scandal. This problem has been building for a long time, long before any mythical Republican obstructionism. And Obama had six years of warnings about it and did nothing.
  • Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion. The liberals were blaming this on deregulation before the debris even hit the ground. And the investigation has concluded that regulations were lax. But they also criticized the company for cutting corners and criticized local and state regulators for dropping the ball. And again, it’s not like Obama demanded more funds to inspect fertilizer plants.
  • Secret Service Columbia Hooker Scandal. The only scandal here is that the agents tried to stiff some legal sex workers out of their money. This was not because of a lack of oversight or budget cuts.
  • IRS scandal. This wasn’t a lack of money, despite desperate attempts by such as Vox to argue that it was. It’s true that the IRS didn’t have the resources to thoroughly investigate all the 501(c)(4) groups applying for status. But they responded to this not with random investigations but by targeting groups that they thought opposed the President. This was abuse of the system by the supposed overseers. And we still haven’t gotten to the bottom of it.
  • NSA Leaks. This is a scandal and not the NSA’s abusive programs? In any case, the NSA does not lack for funding and Obama has resisted any attempts at more thorough oversight.
  • Chevy Cobalt recalls. Can’t pin this one on Republicans. They’re not the ones who put together this “controlled bankruptcy”.
  • General Services Administration Conference: You may remember this one: the GSA blew $800,000 on a Vegas luxury trip. The thing is … the GSA are the government’s overseers. This isn’t a matter of budget cuts. This is a matter of quis custodiet ipsos custodes? That’s supposed to be Obama or his cabinet.
  • Operation Fast and Furious. Yeah, Republican were all about gun-walking.
  • I would add one more to that list: the Border Crisis. The Border Patrol are overwhelmed by the current crisis and the problem throws its roots down in long-term policy. However, Obama wasn’t exactly screaming for more resources or demanding changes in the law. If anything, he’s neglected the border and ignored the exploding violence in Central America.

    Look over that list. Maybe you can shade some blame on Republicans for the fertilizer plant explosion or the VA scandal. Both of those problems long pre-date Obama. But even in those two cases, it wasn’t like he was screaming for more resources to deal with them. He has neglected the basic oversight duties of the government and then, when it literally blows up, tries to blame it on Republicans.

    But even punting those two, almost all of Obama’s failure are the result of incompetence or idiocy by members of the Administration. Almost none were a result of Republicans “gutting” spending and oversight or intimidating the President. They are the result of a disorganized bumbling Administration that can’t manage the basic functions of government but is constantly coming up with new ones for it to try out.

    The Imperial Presidency, Reloaded

    Let’s imagine the following situation:

    In 2012, Mitt Romney wins the election. He tries to repeal Obamacare but the Democratic Senate won’t even take it up. He then tries to pass a bill reforming the law, but the Senate rejects him again. He then proceeds to, by executive order:

  • Delay the minimum requirements of the insurance policies until after the midterm election.
  • Change the date of compliance for the employer mandate and entertain the possibility of delaying it until after his first term.
  • Ignore a Congressional law requiring Congressional members and staff members to get insurance through the exchanges.
  • Then imagine he did other things like use waivers to cancel out parts of Race to the Top, tell the DOJ to not enforce laws he disagreed with, made wholesale changes to immigration, told the EPA to ignore greenhouse gas emissions.

    What do you think the Democratic response would be? I guarantee you it would be a lot more vocal than it has been as Barack Obama has done all this and more.

    Recently, a bizarre scene unfolded on the floor of the House of Representatives that would have shocked the framers of the Constitution. In his State of the Union address, President Obama announced that he had decided to go it alone in areas where Congress refused to act to his satisfaction. In a system of shared powers, one would expect an outcry or at least stony silence when a president promised to circumvent the legislative branch. Instead, many senators and representatives erupted in rapturous applause; they seemed delighted at the notion of a president assuming unprecedented and unchecked powers at their expense.

    Last week, Obama underlined what this means for our system: The administration unilaterally increased the transition time for individuals to obtain the level of insurance mandated by the Affordable Care Act. There is no statutory authority for the change — simply the raw assertion of executive power.

    The United States is at a constitutional tipping point: The rise of an uber presidency unchecked by the other two branches.

    This massive shift of authority threatens the stability and functionality of our tripartite system of checks and balances. To be sure, it did not begin with the Obama administration. The trend has existed for decades, and President George W. Bush showed equal contempt for the separation of powers. However, it has accelerated at an alarming rate under Obama. Of perhaps greater concern is the fact that the other two branches appear passive, if not inert, in the face of expanding executive power.

    James Madison fashioned a government of three bodies locked in a synchronous orbit by their countervailing powers. The system of separation of powers was not created to protect the authority of each branch for its own sake. Rather, it is the primary protection of individual rights because it prevents the concentration of power in any one branch. In this sense, Obama is not simply posing a danger to the constitutional system; he has become the very danger that separation of powers was designed to avoid.

    That’s Jonathan Turley, by the way, who is pretty liberal and agrees with a lot of the President’s policies. But he see what so many people don’t: the means matters. Even if you think everything Obama is doing is wise and noble, giving the President this kind of unfettered authority is dangerous to our liberty and to the Republic.

    (Defenders of the President like to point out that he has signed fewer executive orders than his predecessors and is on pace to pass the fewest per day since Grover Cleveland. This analysis is a bit problematic since Obama had a supermajority Congress for two years and didn’t need to rule by executive order. It’s also not clear to me that all executive orders are equal. One rewriting a healthcare law is obviously more extensive than one declaring National Turnip Day or putting in place a law that Congress will soon pass. Finally, much of what he is doing is not be executive order, but by other means. Congress left large parts of the Dodd-Frank and PPACA bills open to the executive’s decisions. So it’s a fair point, but one that needs to be unpacked a bit more since the numbers are not everything.)

    Look, I’m not naive. If Romney were President and acting this way, the Democrats would be screaming but I’m sure many Republicans and conservatives would be singing his praises, saying it doesn’t matter how Obamacare is stopped as long as it is stopped. But one side’s partisan bullshit does not justify the others’. Barack Obama is President and he has been given and is taking enormous amounts of power generally reserved for the legislature.

    This is something that we should all be worried about.

    The CBO Is About to Get Droned

    That sound you heard was the White House trying to spin the CBO’s latest report on Obamacare.

    The Affordable Care Act will reduce the number of full-time workers by more than two million in coming years, congressional budget analysts said Tuesday in the most detailed analysis of the law’s impact on jobs.

    After obtaining coverage through the health law, some workers may forgo employment, while others may reduce hours, according to a report by the Congressional Budget Office. Low-wage workers are the most likely to drop out of the workforce as a result of the law, it said. The CBO said the law’s impact on jobs mostly would be felt after 2016.

    This is triple their previous estimate. The reason for that change is that their previous analysis just looked at how many employers would lay off people because of the employer mandate. This analysis looks at people who will choose to stop working due to the effects of the law (more on that in a second).

    The 2.5 million fewer workers it the banner headline, but the report is even worse than that. Two million fewer people will gain insurance thanks to the botched rollout of Obamacare. All told, this program will add $1.4 trillion in debt over the next decade (we can add that to the $1 trillion the newly-minted farm bill will add). Our deficit, which is now below the 3% of GDP that economists consider “sustainable” will soon start rising again, thanks at least in part to Obamacare.

    Remember when Obamacare was passed, the Democrats claimed that it would decrease the deficit? They could claim this because the CBO is only allowed to project budgets a decade into the future and the Democrats delayed all the big spending until year 11 (I’m not making that up). The CBO tried to warn us that budget was gimmicked and the long-term outlook was a lot worse. But no one listened.

    Now the CBO’s projections should always taken with a good dose of salt. But I think it’s very unlikely they are far off in their projections. Their analysis is consistent with other economists and think tanks are getting.

    Unbelievably, the Democrats aren’t shooting the messenger this time and accusing CBO of being a Right-Wing cabal. They’re not even blaming Republicans, if you can imagine that. Instead, they are … embracing this, arguing that it’s a good thing that people can quit their jobs and not worry about insurance. I’ve rarely seen someone throw the logic of the welfare state out there so nakedly.

    But they are also full of shit. As the CBO notes, the reason people will leave the workforce is because, if they work, they lose Obamacare subsidies and are subject to a massive marginal tax rate that, at certain income points, exceeds 100%. This is exactly what conservatives and libertarians have been warning about for years — the danger of creating a system where it is more profitable to not work than to work. Thanks to Obama, we now have it.

    So, should we give up hope? Well, maybe not. The Republicans have proposed a healthcare overhaul of their own — a “repeal and replace” that would leave enough parts of Obamacare intact to get Democrat support but make enough changes so that the system doesn’t completely crash and burn. One of the biggest changes is that you could not be denied insurance for a pre-existing condition … provided you had maintained coverage. This would mean that changing jobs or even losing your job would not necessarily cost you your healthcare. But it would make it impossible to simply go uninsured until you get sick. It would also eliminate the mandates and pare back the subsidies. The result would be a much more workable and much less expensive system that cost a lot fewer jobs.

    Is the Coburn-Burr-Hatch bill ideal? Not by a long shot. But it’s the first proposal I’ve seen so far that could get Democratic support and still turn us back from the abyss. And the CBO has just shown us that the Obamacare abyss is very very deep.

    More battlespace preparations..

    In an article, carried in Al Jazeera of all places, titled Jill Abramson talks to John Seigenthaler, we find one tid-bit of information pertinent to the recent conversation about the secretive nature of this WH – the one that claimed it would be the most transparent administration EVAH! back during the early campaign days – and the reason so many people are finally catching on that this den of thieves is up to no good. The bolded text is the question by Seiigebthaler, and the other text is Abramson’s, whom is not a conservative in any sense of the word, answer:

    Let me move on to another topic in the Obama administration. How would you grade this administration, compared to others, when it comes to its relationship with the media?

    Well, I would slightly like to interpret the question as “How secretive is this White House?” which I think is the most important question. I would say it is the most secretive White House that I have ever been involved in covering, and that includes — I spent 22 years of my career in Washington and covered presidents from President Reagan on up through now, and I was Washington bureau chief of the Times during George W. Bush’s first term.

    I dealt directly with the Bush White House when they had concerns that stories we were about to run put the national security under threat. But, you know, they were not pursuing criminal leak investigations. The Obama administration has had seven criminal leak investigations. That is more than twice the number of any previous administration in our history. It’s on a scale never seen before. This is the most secretive White House that, at least as a journalist, I have ever dealt with.

    There is a reason the that these people that promised to be the most transparent WH ever have been, and continue to be, so secretive, and it has zero to do with national security or anything positive. And before anyone starts saying this doesn’t reflect on Obama at all, let me post another part of that exchange that will make it very clear that Abramson at least admits the directive has to come from the top man:

    And do you think this comes directly from the president?

    I would think that it would have to. I don’t know that, but certainly enough attention has been focused on this issue that, if he departed from the policies of his government, I think we’d know that at this point.

    So it makes it more difficult for The New York Times to do its job.


    You can, if you like me, have paid attention to and seen the production of what the NYT claims has amounted to them doing their job, have a hearty laugh at the last Q&A there, because the evidence clearly shows that the NYT’s effort has been to provide coveer for this WH, and Obama specifically, but even the NYT is admitting that Obama is the one that has created the directive to control the flow of information.

    Looks, information is key. I am not surprised to see Obama and the left think they need to control it. It’s Stalin’s dictatorship rules of control 101.

    Yes Abramson, in typical lib fashion then proceeds to pretend like the Boosh administration misled them and the media on Iraq, as if the same information and arguments made by Boosh’s people to them was also not what came from the Clinton administration, or for that matter every other intelligence organization on the planet, which shows her lib creds. It’s the typical need to throw the lib audience a bone after you point out how fucked up one of their heros is. The left remains obsessed with rewritting this chapter of history, and I suspect the reason theya re doubling down now is so Hilllary can claim her vote to go into Iraq was because she was lied to. That would give the rabbid leftoids an out come 2016.

    The NYT gets a two-fer. They play hardball with Obama, pretending that they have actually been doing their job, and they get to set up a narrative that benefits the next donkey candidate, another criminal and liar, they are already hard at work shilling for. Par for the course for the NYT.

    Home for the Holidays

    Busy day, but I thought you’d get a kick out of this. Barack Obama is encouraging people to take some time during the holidays to talk to their families about Obamacare.

    This holiday season, millions of Americans have a chance to get quality, affordable health insurance—many for the first time. If you have family members who are uninsured, you can play a big part in helping them find coverage that works for them. It might not always seem like it, but your family listens to you. So have the talk.

    Because nothing says “Merry Christmas” like drunken arguments over Obamacare.

    The site a step-by-step guide to “having the conversation” with your family and includes such items as:

    Don’t wait until the last minute—be sure to start the conversation early!: “Thanks for picking up from the airport, dad. Have you thought about getting Obamacare? Waddya mean I can take the bus home?”

    Be honest about your feelings and why this is important to you.: “If you’re going to get in a car accident, for God’s sake do it on the government’s dime.”

    Tell them: The marketplace gives you an easy way to find plans, compare them and sign up for the one that’s right for you. You don’t have to complete the process all in one sitting, and you can do it over the phone, online, or in person.: “Here, you bring up the healthcare website and wait for it to work. I’ll cover you at work for the next three months.”

    I realize that, to Obama, this sounds pretty reasonable. It’s now easy to get cheap insurance (theoretically, at least) so we should spread the word to our uninsured family members so they’ll sign up. But the website has a creepifying propaganda vibe that’s hard to ignore.

    (I’ll also note the site seems a bit confused about whether you are signing up family members or yourself. It instructs you in signing up family members. But at the beginning, it tells you to make sure you have your social security number, budget, etc.)


    Once that conversation is over perhaps you could bring up reproductive rights, immigration reform, and judicial filibusters. They’re all important subjects of national concern. Why not set aside some time on Thanksgiving Day to discuss them too? Maybe just pick up the remote, turn off the football game, and ask everyone if you could have their attention while you explain how progressive public policy can improve their lives if only they do their part. They’ll appreciate it!

    My family members range from stark raving liberal to rock-ribbed conservative. I have absolutely no intention of bringing up Obamacare at any family event. Because while I like my mother’s turkey stuffing, I have no desire to end up wearing it. Those members of my family who need individual insurance policies know about it already. And if they didn’t and I wanted them to, my iPhone is never more than a few feet away.

    The wheels are coming off the bus

    While the LSM here in the US does nothing but provide cover for the buffoon in chief, the foreign press points out that this idiot is still lying or out of his league:

    President Barack Obama told a conference-call audience of progressive volunteers on Monday evening that ‘more than 100 million Americans’ – in a nation of less than 314 million – have successfully signed up for health insurance via the Affordable Care Act.

    And at a time when his signature legislative initiative’s website has made the White House the butt of jokes, the website hosting the conference call was plagued with its own connection errors and other malfunctions.

    A weary-sounding Obama made his gaffe during the call, hosted by Organizing For Action, the nonprofit successor to his campaign organization Obama For America. The group claimed 200,000 people managed to listen, aided by an RSVP process that included a fundraising solicitation.

    If he had an (R) next to his name we would spend the next month or two, nay year or more, talking about how stupid the C student that he is was. of course, without his school records we can’t even verify Obama is the genius they claim he is. The evidence point to a different conclusion, but the LSM won’t tell you so.

    Anyway, I have to admit that I am having a ball with this catastrophe and the damage it is doing to the left’s psyche. Especially when you hear that big supporters, touted as success stories, in the end crash & burn because of it:

    “Jessica Sanford was cited by the president as an Obamacare success story at a health care event he had here at the White House in the Rose Garden on October 21,” says a reporter for CNN from the White House. “That of course being just last month. The 48-year-old single mom from Washington state purchased what she considered to be affordable health care, life-changing event, she said, on the Washington state health exchange. She decided she was so excited about this news, she wanted to write an e-mail to the president to say that this had really changed her life and that she was thankful for the Afforable Care Act. The president included her e-mail in his remarks to people on hand for the event. Here’s a bit of what the president had to say.”

    The CNN report quotes President Obama as saying, “I recently received a letter from a woman named Jessica Sanford in Washington state. And here’s what she wrote, I am a single mom, no child support, self-employed. and I haven’t had insurance for 15 years because it’s too expensive. I was crying the other day when I signed up, so much stress lifted.”

    “But days, just really three days after she was mentioned by the president, Jessica Sanford started having problems, she was receiving letters from the Washington state health exchange,” reports CNN. “The first letter telling her that tax credit was reduced, therefore, increasing the cost of her health care plan and the, take a look at this, then she received a letter just last week telling her that her tax credit had been taken away all together. Show you another document here, showing what the tax credit worked out to be… zero dollars according to this document that was provided to us by Jessica Sanford. She describes all of this as a roller coaster ride. Now she says she can’t afford insurance in Washington state because of the new developments.”

    This shit is like sweet music to my ears. Am I reveling in her pain? Hell yes. Stupid people deserve the consequences of their stupid choices. If anything Obamacare is a great cure to collectivist fantasies about how great the shit they believe in is. here is me raising my glass to this success story! Suck it up you bitchez!

    The fix is in..

    And in this case it sucks badly. Everyone is baffled about Obama’s proposed fix to the predicted Obamacare disaster. The lies told about being able to keep everything you had right then if you liked it told then, have basically forced the collectivists that want to take over healthcare to walk back their botched implementation. But the fix they have put in place again refuses to acknowledge the way things work in the real world:

    New York — Health insurers across America woke up Friday to confront a looming administrative nightmare. For more than a year or longer, they meticulously crunched the numbers for their 2014 health plans, conforming them to the new mandates of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). They navigated the labyrinths of Obamacare’s regulations, including the 10 essential benefits required for all plans, and they applied new rules that governed how they could calculate their costs.

    Then they sent these plans to state regulators. Hosts of state actuaries throughout the country reviewed the calculations, approving some, requiring revisions for others. After this long and often tortuous process, insurance carriers finally presented their suite of 2014 plans to their customers – complete with approved yearly premiums. But now, with less than 2 months to go before what was supposed to be a new era in American health care, President Obama is telling insurers that if their customers want to keep their old plans, they can keep them.

    Let’s forget the incredible fact that Obama has basically made an unconstitutional executive decision to circumvent a law he has warned others not to tamper with, and focus on the incredibly naïve notion that he can just snap his fingers and that will make insurers roll back reality. This aspect is a doozy, but what I expect from people that think the law doesn’t apply to them. If we needed any more proof that these fucking collectivists have no clue about how things work in the real world, this is the umpteenth example of that. If anything, this act of desperation should be the clarion call to any idiots that still believe this dysfunctional government takeover of our healthcare system was a good idea or can be made to work, to finally see the truth. Unfortunately progressivism is about a level of stupid that is suicidal in nature.

    Here’s a prediction: this “fix” is going to make things even worse. It will now expand to hurt even more people as insurance companies are forced to comply with this new edict. Watch the democrats go out of their way to blame the insurance companies for not being able to do this too. After all, it is always someone else’s fault. And never the fact that their ideology is defective. This thing will have repercussions, and will hit his base in the balls the hardest, that will ripple through our entire economy, and I am not not just talking about the scams. If the agenda is to make health insurance radioactive, it will succeed. But it will neither fix nor improve anything but the grip collectivist twits have on our already compromised liberties.

    Physician, Heal Nothing

    It finally seems to have sunk into the Obama Administration how badly this Obamacare thing is going. There have been rumblings that the system will not be fixed by the end of the month (color me surprised). The total enrollment is something like 100,000 (only a quarter from the federal exchange). And millions of people are livid over having their policies cancelled.

    If you’ve followed Obama for the last five years, you know what comes next: rewriting the law on his own:

    The White House has its own idea to stop the bleeding: Allow insurers to renew existing plans in 2014 (which means they could continue into 2015) while forcing them to send Landrieu-like letters explaining why their plans don’t conform to the Affordable Care Act’s standards.

    (I’m tired from baby stuff and I first read that sentence as “Landru-like” letters … as in Landru the computer from the classic Star Trek serial “Return of the Archons”. Funny thing is that, now that I’m awake, a letter from a fictional crazed computer still sounds a lot better than one coming from Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.)

    This doesn’t really ensure anyone can actually keep their plan — which means it also doesn’t affect premiums in the exchanges. But it makes it easier for Democrats to blame insurers for canceling these plans. And it perhaps makes it easier for the White House to stop congressional Democrats from signing onto something like Landrieu or Udall.
    The insurance industry is furious. They’ve been working with the White House to get HealthCare.Gov up and running and they’ve been devoting countless man hours to dealing with the problems and they’ve been taking the heat from their customers over canceled plans, and now the Obama administration wants to make them into a scapegoat.

    In other words, this changes the wording to, “If you liked your plan, you could have kept your plan if it weren’t for those greedy insurance companies.”

    The problem is that the machinery of canceling plans and creating new ones is already moving. The insurance industry has put a million piece in motion anticipating that the exchanges would, you know, work. Stopping it at this point is like slipping you car into reverse on the highway. It’s such a bad idea that the state of Washington has already said they will not implement it.

    So why is Obama trying to sell this snake oil? Well, as McCardle points out, there really isn’t a Plan B. The process has advanced so far and the individual market is so delicate right now, that we really don’t have a good option. Obama has driven us into a ditch with no way out.

    No matter what happens from now on, I think we are witnessing the beginning of the end of individual insurance policies. By the time Obama leaves office, your choices will be Medicaid or employer insurance. And maybe that was the intention all along.