Saturday, November 16, 2013

op ed review 11/17

White House tries to salvage Obamacare, Democrats in distress
USA Today editorial:  “Obamacare credibility going up in smoke”
President Obama's healthcare reform has reached only about 3 percent of its enrollment target for 2014 in 12 states where the new online health insurance marketplaces are mostly working.
Calif. Insurance Commissioner: More Than 1M Californians Having Insurance Cancelled Due To Obamacare
The Obama administration finally released numbers for Obamacare health insurance exchange enrollment dating from October 1 to October 31. The numbers were not pretty: just 106,185 people “selected a Marketplace plan” using the exchanges, after the administration predicted that 494,620 people would do so. Just as shocking, while HHS reported that 846,184 applications were completed using the marketplaces, which would have covered over 1.5 million people, only 106,000 actually enrolled.
Ann  Coulter:  “To speak to a Nigerian prince about you health care press “1” now…”

Little known real estate tax hidden in Obamacare

In just six weeks, Republicans have completely erased a 9-point deficit in a generic congressional ballot question and are now running even with Democrats. Thirty-nine percent of registered voters say they would vote for a Democrat in their district — and the same percentage say they would vote for a Republican — if elections for the U.S. House of Representatives were held today, according to numbers from a Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday.

Another U.S. city mulls bankruptcy due to soaring wages and pensions

U.S. government agencies collected and shared the personal information of thousands of Americans in an attempt to root out untrustworthy federal workers that ended up scrutinizing people who had no direct ties to the U.S. government and simply had purchased certain books.
The Central Intelligence Agency is secretly collecting bulk records of international money transfers handled by companies like Western Union — including transactions into and out of the United States — under the same law that the National Security Agency uses for its huge database of Americans’ phone records, according to current and former government officials.

So how’s socialized medicine working in the UK?  Thousands of patients are needlessly going blind because they are waiting so long for appointments at NHS eye clinics.

White House Predicts: Taxes Will Hit Record $3T in FY14--$29,673 Per Full-Time Worker

Biggest children’s book publisher erases Israel from map.  Jewish state absent from map in Egypt-based adventure book for kids published by Scholastic Inc.

Speaker John A. Boehner said Wednesday that House Republicans will not enter into negotiations with the Senate on a massive immigration bill, effectively killing chances this year for a broad deal that would legalize illegal immigrants and rewrite the legal immigration system.

Charles Krauthammer  11/15     Why liberals are panicked about Obamacare

The damage to the Obama presidency, however, is already done. His approval rating has fallen to 39percent, his lowest ever. And, for the first time, a majority considers him untrustworthy. That bond is not easily repaired.
At stake, however, is more than the fate of one presidency or of the current Democratic majority in the Senate. At stake is the new, more ambitious, social-democratic brand of American liberalism introduced by Obama, of which Obamacare is both symbol and concrete embodiment.

Precisely when the GOP was returning to a more constitutionalist conservatism committed to reforming, restructuring and reining in the welfare state (see, for example, the Paul Ryan Medicare reform passed by House Republicans with near-unanimity), Obama offered a transformational liberalism designed to expand the role of government, enlarge the welfare state and create yet more new entitlements (see, for example, his call for universal preschool in his most recent State of the Union address).

The centerpiece of this vision is, of course, Obamacare, the most sweeping social reform in the past half-century, affecting one-sixth of the economy and directly touching the most vital area of life of every citizen.
As the only socially transformational legislation in modern American history to be enacted on a straight party-line vote, Obamacare is wholly owned by the Democrats. Its unraveling would catastrophically undermine their underlying ideology of ever-expansive central government providing cradle-to-grave care for an ever-grateful citizenry.

For four years, this debate has been theoretical. Now it’s real. And for Democrats, it’s a disaster.
It begins with the bungled rollout. If Washington can’t even do the Web site — the literal portal to this brave new world — how does it propose to regulate the vast ecosystem of American medicine?

Beyond the competence issue is the arrogance. Five million freely chosen, freely purchased, freely renewed health-care plans are summarily canceled. Why? Because they don’t meet some arbitrary standard set by the experts in Washington.

For all his news conference gyrations about not deliberately deceiving people with his “if you like it” promise, the law Obama so triumphantly gave us allows you to keep your plan only if he likes it. This is life imitating comedy — that old line about a liberal being someone who doesn’t care what you do as long as it’s mandatory.
Lastly, deception. The essence of the entitlement state is government giving away free stuff. Hence Obamacare would provide insurance for 30 million uninsured, while giving everybody tons of free medical services — without adding “one dime to our deficits,” promised Obama.

This being inherently impossible, there had to be a catch. Now we know it: hidden subsidies. Toss millions of the insured off their plans and onto the Obamacare “exchanges,” where they would be forced into more expensive insurance packed with coverage they don’t want and don’t need — so that the overcharge can be used to subsidize others.

The reaction to the incompetence, arrogance and deception has ranged from ridicule to anger. But more is in jeopardy than just panicked congressional Democrats. This is the signature legislative achievement of the Obama presidency, the embodiment of his new entitlement-state liberalism. If Obamacare goes down, there will be little left of its underlying ideology.

Perhaps it won’t go down. Perhaps the Web portal hums beautifully on Nov. 30. Perhaps they’ll find a way to restore the canceled policies without wrecking the financial underpinning of the exchanges.

Perhaps. The more likely scenario, however, is that Obamacare does fail. It either fails politically, renounced by a wide consensus that includes a growing number of Democrats, or it succumbs to the financial complications (the insurance “death spiral”) of the very amendments desperately tacked on to save it.

If it does fail, the effect will be historic. Obamacare will take down with it more than Mary Landrieu and Co. It will discredit Obama’s new liberalism for years to come.

President Obama’s health care law is now compounding a political problem it was meant to solve: the generation-long loss of faith in government activism, particularly among the white middle class. For decades, Democratic strategists have viewed universal health care as their best opportunity to reverse the doubt among many voters, especially whites, that government programs can tangibly benefit their families. Now the catastrophic rollout of the health law threatens instead to reinforce those doubts. That outcome could threaten Democratic priorities for years. Even before its disastrous launch, the health care law faced anxiety about its goals. On the plan’s best days,

 “At its core, the government exists to do certain things that people aren’t equipped to do on their own. The list of those things has gotten longer and longer over the years. In 1776, the federal government’s portfolio could have easily fit in a file folder: maintain an army and navy, a few federal courts, the post office, the patent office and maybe a dozen or two other pretty obvious things. Now, the file folder of things the federal government does is much bigger. … The number of civilians (i.e., not counting the military) who work for the executive branch alone is today nearly equal to the entire population of the United States in 1776. The Federal Register, the federal government’s fun-filled journal of new rules, regulations and the like, was about 2,600 pages in 1936 (a year after it was created). Today it’s over 80,000 pages. And that’s just at the federal level. … The justifications for all of these laws and all of these workers – the good, the bad and the ugly – have one thing in common: the assumption that the rest of us couldn’t get by without them, whether we like it or not.”
                -Jonah Goldberg

“The aim [of progressivism] is to produce the sort of citizen for whom ‘I am human’ no longer essentially means ‘I am free.’ The goal is to degrade your natural perception of freedom to the level of being content with your bowl of rice – or, at the intermediate stage, with your smartphones, music videos, and entitlement programs – purchased with your daughter’s future, your reason, your self-ownership. That this goal is as close to global achievement as it is today is astonishing – though no more so than the fact that there are still men left who are able to perceive what has been lost, and to mount a resistance.”
               -Daren Jonescu

 “Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims: Time-Travel Adventures with Exceptional Americans” by Rush Limbaugh.  I realize some people find Rush caustic, but in my opinion, he is the most articulate torch-bearer of conservative ideals -- namely, personal freedom and responsibility. This book is a much-needed addition to the conservative cause because it does three things exceptionally well: It entertains, it informs, and it manages to do so without grinding a political ax (honestly, I was surprised by this). This book is essentially a pop-history book aimed at 10-13 year-olds, but it will work well for younger kids and high-schoolers. And yes, adults will likely be tremendously entertained as well.”

New book, "JFK Conservative," argues that Mr. Kennedy´s liberalism was myth and that the former president was actually a staunch Cold War warrior who believed that big tax cuts would drive the economy and provide financial opportunities for all.

Prairies vanish in the US push for green energy

Some animal rights activists are wondering just how many birds green energy may unintentionally kill as more and more birds turn up dead at solar energy facilities throughout California.

Seattle voters have elected a socialist to city council for the first time in modern history.

Isn’t that special?  Marvel Comics latest minority superhero is a teenaged Muslim-American girl of Pakistani descent. The teen will be named Kamala Kahn, a Muslim girl going to high school and growing up in Jersey City.  For the last few years the comics giant has been engaged in an effort to introduce "diversity" into a comics universe historically dominated by white, male superhero characters. Marvel has been floating all sorts of new minority superheroes into the comic book market in the hopes that one or more will stick with readers.

“For Democrats, dark days ahead…..this is the administration that felt compelled to affirmatively announce twice on camera in the past week that they are “not stupid.” Well, if Team Obama is so certain they aren’t stupid, maybe they think we are all the stupid ones.”

Star Parker:  “If the last two presidential elections tell us anything, it’s that Republicans don’t succeed with candidates who lack clear vision and conviction consistent with the party’s conservative platform. Given this, I understand why Democrats think that New Jersey governor Chris Christie should be a leading contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. But why would any Republican see a typical political operative like Christie as presidential material?”

There are three cousins, each born in the same year in the same town. Two are females named June and Jane, one is a male named Jim. June goes to college, earns a degree, gets married, buys a house with her husband, has four kids — and at the age of 32 goes back into the workforce, holding down two part-time jobs to help pay the family's property taxes and tuition bills.  Jane graduates from high school but not college, gets married but is almost immediately divorced and has one illegitimate child. She drops out of the workforce in her 20s and never returns. She collects food stamps and enrolls in Medicaid.  Jim does not graduate from high school, but eventually gets a GED. He worked part-time jobs occasionally in the past. But now he is on disability because of a mood disorder — which he treats by smoking medical marijuana. As far as he knows, he has no children.  Which of these hypothetical Americans would be more likely to admire Sen. Ted Cruz? Which would be more likely to admire President Barack Obama? Which would you pick for your neighbor? The truth is America must become more hospitable to June if we want to survive as a free and prosperous country.

Former Secret Service agent is so upset with what he witnessed in the White House that he’s now running for Congress because he feels “it’s the only way to take America back from the sycophants who have made every effort to enrich themselves with money and power at the expense of the American people……It’s worse than people know… and I’m not trying to scare you either…”

List of 27 Democratic senators who promised you could keep your health coverage.  SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D-Wash.): “Again, if you like what you have, you will be able to keep it. Let me say this again: If you like what you have, when our legislation is passed and signed by the President, you will be able to keep it.” (Sen. Murray, Congressional Record, S.6400, 6/10/09)

Leno:  Yesterday at the White House, President Obama met with various leaders of the American Indian tribes. He promised them, "If you like your medicine man, you can keep your medicine man."…….According to a new report, over a million Californians are losing their health insurance due to Obamacare. In fact, some are so angry they have already gone back to Mexico….. A new record was set today in the 100 meters. It was set by Senate Democrats running away from Obamacare……..President Obama said he is sorry that some Americans have lost their existing health coverage due to Obamacare. I think he's getting a little desperate. Today he said if you like your complete lack of coverage, you can keep your complete lack of coverage.

“Every new regulation concerning commerce or revenue … presents a new harvest to those who watch the change and can trace its consequences; a harvest reared not by themselves but by the toils and cares of the great body of their fellow citizens. This is a state of things in which it may be said with some truth that laws are made for the few not for the many.”
                         –James Madison

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