Sunday, October 31, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
One 82-year-old lady loves Obama and she may have a very good point. She says that Obama is amazing, and is rebuilding the American dream! She gives us an entirely new slant on the "amazing" job Obama is doing, and she says that she will thank God for the President. Keep reading for her additional comments and an explanation.
When discussing Obama, she says:
1. Obama destroyed the Clinton Political Machine, driving a stake through the heart of Hillary's presidential aspirations - something no Republican was ever able to do.
2. Obama killed off the Kennedy Dynasty - no more Kennedys trolling Washington looking for booze and women wanting rides home.
3. Obama is destroying the Democratic Party before our eyes! Dennis Moore had never lost a race. Evan Bayh had never lost a race. Byron Dorgan had never lost a race. Harry Reid - soon to be GONE! These are just a handful of the Democrats whose political careers Obama has destroyed. By the end of 2010, dozens more will be gone. Just think, in December of 2008 the Democrats were on the rise. In the last two election cycles, they had picked up 14 Senate seats and 52 House seats. The press was touting the death of the Conservative Movement and the Republican Party. However, in just one year, Obama put a stop to all of this and will probably give the House - if not the Senate - back to the Republicans.
4. Obama has completely exposed liberals and progressives for what they are. Sadly, every generation seems to need to re-learn the lesson on why they should never actually put liberals in charge. Obama is bringing home the lesson very well:
Liberals tax, borrow and spend.
Liberals won't bring themselves to protect America .
Liberals want to take over the economy.
Liberals think they know what is best for everyone.
Liberals are not happy until they are running YOUR life.
5. Obama has brought more Americans back to conservatism than anyone since Reagan. In one year, he has rejuvenated the Conservative Movement and brought out to the streets millions of freedom loving Americans. Name one other time when you saw your friends and neighbors this interested in taking back America !
6. Obama, with his "amazing leadership," has sparked the greatest period of sales of firearms and ammunition this country has seen. Law abiding citizens have rallied and have provided a "stimulus" to the sporting goods field while other industries have failed, faded, or moved off-shore.
7. In all honesty, one year ago I was more afraid than I have been in my life. Not afraid of the economy, but afraid of the direction our country was going. I thought, Americans have forgotten what this country is all about. My neighbors and friends, even strangers, have proved to me that my lack of confidence in the greatness and wisdom of the American people has been flat wrong.
8. When the American people wake up, no smooth talking teleprompter reader can fool them! Barack Obama has served to wake up these great Americans!
Again, I want to say: "Thank you, Barack Obama!" After all, this is exactly the kind of hope and change we desperately needed!!
November 2nd is HUGE!!!!
Please encourage others to Vote.__._,_.___
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
The democrats speak from both sides of their mouths. We have seen this with Obama alleging that foreign money is infiltrating the elections and now we find out the Democrats actually have more foreign contributions than republicans.
Here locally, we see Baron Hill loudly lamenting the influence of outside money in elections as he rides on the coattails of Obama. He stated “There’s too much money in politics, way too much.” By the way, does anyone know Baron Hill's net worth and how he acquired it when he has really only been in politics. Hmm!
But just a day or so later, the SEIU (Service Employees International Union) donated $180,000.00 to his campaign of which he welcomed.
As you also recall, he never returned the tainted $26,000 contribution from his ethically-challenged colleague Charles Rangel.
Baron Hill is a political hack of the worst kind and his hypocrisy needs to end. We can do that on November 2nd.
He is no blue dog democrat, he is not fiscally conservative, and he can’t claim to truly represent the people of southern Indiana when he votes for the government takeover of health care, the $1 trillion stimulus, the cap and trade energy tax, and every other piece of the Obama/Pelosi agenda.
Enough is enough. Southern Indiana can't afford two more years of Baron Hill.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
The progressives in Europe are becoming more and more Americanized as they see clearly that the socialist agenda and government handouts cannot be sustained.
In France, Sarkozy cannot continue the social programs financially and is making some tough decisions about the retirement age. Strikes Threaten Sarkozy's Plan to Raise Retirement Age
In Germany, Merkel realizes that multiculturalism is an outright failure and is quoted stating this fact. In Germany, Voices Against Immigration Grow Louder : NPR
Spain, Italy and other countries are also cutting budgets by decreasing benefits. The-demise-of-the-nanny-state.aspx
In Britain, they are slashing entitlements as well as almost 500,000 government jobs. Britain Slashing the budget
Greece’s health care system is showing us what Obamacare will look like if we proceed down the path the progressives have laid out. Greece has decided that amputation is cheaper than diabetic shoes and may use this as a cost saving tool. greekhealthsystemoptsforamputationasmoneysaver
America has very smart individuals. Let’s learn from these progressive liberal countries and not make the same mistakes.
Vote on November 2 for candidates who believe in small government and less intrusiveness in our lives. Vote for those who want to uphold our constitution.
It is what makes America great!!
Monday, October 25, 2010
His arrogance is intolerable and he has to go!
Is this really what we want representing us?
Friday, October 22, 2010
He asked her, "Your Majesty, how do you run such an efficient government? Are there any tips you can give to me?"
"Well," said the Queen, "the most important thing is to surround yourself with intelligent people."
Obama frowned, and then asked, "But how do I know the people around me are really intelligent?"
The Queen took a sip of tea. "Oh, that's easy; you just ask them to answer an intelligent riddle."
The Queen pushed a button on her intercom. "Please send Tony Blair in here, would you?"Tony Blair walked into the room and said, "Yes, my Queen?"
The Queen smiled and said, "Answer me this please, Tony, your mother and father have a child. It is not your brother and it is not your sister.
Who is it?"
Without pausing for a moment, Tony Blair answered, "That would be me."
"Yes! Very good," said the Queen.
Obama went back home to ask Joe Biden, his vice president the same question. "Joe, answer this for me. Your mother and your father have a child. It's not your brother and it's not your sister. Who is it?"
"I'm not sure," said Biden. "Let me get back to you on that one..."
He went to his advisors and asked every one, but none could give him an answer. Finally, he ended up in the men's room and recognized Colin Powell's shoes in the next stall. Biden asked Powell, "Colin, can you answer this for me? Your mother and father have a child and it's not your brother or your sister. Who is it?"
Colin Powell yelled back, "That's easy, it's me!"
Biden smiled, and said, "Thanks!"
Then, he went back to speak with Obama. "Say, I did some research and I have the answer to that riddle.
It's Colin Powell!"
Obama got up, stomped over to Biden, and angrily yelled into his face, "No! you idiot! It's Tony Blair!"
AND THAT MY FRIENDS IS PRECISELY WHAT'S GOING ON WITH OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IN WASHINGTON D.C.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
John D. Eckert certainly fronted his main point in the letter published on these pages on October 14, leading off with my name and then attempting to besmirch the factual criticisms I formerly launched against the overarching hypocrisy of Baron Hill in claiming to be a “fiscal conservative” and, most insultingly, asserting that he puts the interests of his Southern Indiana constituents above his own standing in the pecking order of this abysmal Pelosi Congress. I have returned the favor by leading off with his name in response.
Once having done that, however, I feel impelled to cast aside misplaced courtesy and expose the intellectual vacuum from which his exposition emanates. The points that he expresses make clear his reliance on Democratic TV spots rather than the established and published statistics that demonstrate the mendacity that underlies the false facade constructed to conceal Baron Hill’s utter contempt for those whom he is sworn to represent. Mr. Eckert’s allegiance to that fac ade, however, and the paucity or falseness of the evidence he cites indicate that Hill and his minions are not so unrealistic as we might think; there actually are, in sad fact, some residents of the Ninth District who are so gullible as to ignore the painfully obvious facts and “drink the Kool-Aid” Baron Hill is attempting to peddle.
For example, Mr. Eckert boasts that “Hill is the author of the Federal Pay-As-You-Go budgeting rules bill” that Hill often cites to establish his conservative credentials. This Bill is a farce. It supposedly requires Congress to offset the cost of any new legislation by either spending cuts in other areas or additional taxes, so the deficit is not increased. It is a paper tiger, however, in that Congress can avoid its provisions merely by declaring the new bill to be an “emergency.” And this Congress has used this waiver device to insulate MORE THAN EIGHTY PERCENT of the bills it has passed. This fact is well known. It has appeared numerous times in many publications. It was cited by Mary Jo Gohmann in a letter published in the TRIBUNE on October 12, and I previously noted its fraudulent nature in a letter published in the TRIBUNE on August 24 and the EVENING NEWS on the following day.
I reviewed the Eckert letter for additional factual assertions to contest. I could find none however; simply grandiose statements asserting the economic success of the bills supported by Baron Hill and enacted by this Congress -- a claimed success which the ongoing unemployment statistics daily expose as false.
The only additional attempt at a supporting authority which Mr. Eckert could manage was a quote he attributed to Lawrence O’Donnell, a little-known liberal hack on the near-bankrupt MSNBC. The quote was not original with O’Donnell. It actually originated from Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the late and universally respected Democratic Senator from New York. The quote reads: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”
It is a quote that Baron Hill should take to heart. And Mr. Eckert as well.
Thomas W. Sinex
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
I agree we do not need to go back to the way it was. We need radical conservative changes to counterbalance the radical progressive socialist style of changes we have witnessed these past two years.
A response to Sinex letter
Thomas Sinex, in his Oct. 7 “guest column” in The Evening News, claims to have the true definition of a “fiscal conservative” and how that should define our Congressional representatives — including our own Baron Hill.
Sinex relies on the “formula” of the National Taxpayers Union which spouts its own skewed statistics to define “conservative principles” as they relate to taxes, spending and debt.
To quote MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell: “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not their own facts.”
Being a true fiscal conservative takes years and years of tireless work. Congressman Hill has walked that walk — literally. Not only did he walk 250 miles throughout his district this summer to communicate face-to-face with voters, but he has fought for fiscal responsibility during his entire service in Congress.
What’s more, Hill is the author of the Federal Pay-As-You-Go budgeting rules bill that became law last year, and Baron Hill is a co-sponsor of a bill that will require a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
These last two years have been extraordinary times for our country and have required sacrifices of almost everyone. But, under the leadership of President Barack Obama, and with the support of a Democratic Congress, including Baron Hill, our economy is recovering. People still need help, and they also need confidence that their elected officials, like Hill, are doing everything they can to help them in these tough times.
Sinex’s opinion column is just that: His own opinion and his own definition of what he thinks makes a good “fiscal conservative.”
I think his definition and criteria miss the mark.
He is right about one thing, though. Baron Hill is homegrown, unlike Todd Young, who described Southern Indiana as “the middle of nowhere,” Baron Hill knows where he came from, and has remained in touch with us, the people — the friends and neighbors he represents in Congress.
— John D. Eckert, Jeffersonville
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
The Left are a very sad bunch!
OUR OWN HOMEGROWN OXYMORON
Merriam- Webster defines “oxymoron” as “a combination of contradictory or incongruous words.” Such as “jumbo shrimp.” How about “government intelligence”? Or, perhaps, “fiscally conservative Democrat”? Many voters, especially now, would consider “fiscally conservative” and “Democrat” to be contradictory. Or at least strange bedfellows.
Yet that is precisely how Blue Dog Democrats seek to sell themselves to the voting public, no matter how compelling might be the documented evidence to the contrary. Why do I seek to discuss this group? Because Southern Indiana’s very own Baron Hill touts himself proudly as a member, no, as one of the leaders, of the Blue Dog Democrats.
How honest is the claim of fiscal responsibility trumpeted by this group? A recent column in the Wall Street Journal provides some telling statistics.
The Blue Dog Coalition was formed in a relatively conservative time just after the Republicans swept the 1994 off-year elections. Initially, when it took little moral resolve to cast fiscally responsible votes, the members adhered somewhat closely to conservative principles. As judged by the National Taxpayers Union formula, which attempts to quantify the adherence of various Members to conservative principles as they relate to taxes, spending and debt, the average Blue Dog score in 1995 was 52%, while the average score of all Democrats taken together was only 28%.
In later years, however, as the political winds shifted, the conservative resolve of the group was blown away.
During the first three years of the Pelosi Speakership the group’s average scores were 10%, 15% and 18%, closely resembling the overall Democratic average in those years of 6%, 11% and 8%.
During the current Congress, any claim of allegiance to fiscal responsibility the Blue Dogs might make evolved from exaggeration into gross and demeaning dishonesty, as the group as a whole voted with Speaker Pelosi on fully 80% of the fiscal issues.
The percentage breakdowns for the group as a whole voting pro and con on various fiscal measures are as follows: 100% voted to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; 63% voted for the $700 Billion TARP program; 91% backed the Obama Stimulus bill; 85% of Blue Dogs backed Cash for Clunkers; 74% voted for the Obama budget which tripled the Federal deficit in one fell swoop; 73% backed the auto bailout which deprived stockholders and bondholders of their contractual value in favor of the UAW; finally, only 54% voted for Obamacare, although that smaller percentage did include our own Baron Hill, marching in lockstep with Pelosi, Reid and Obama as he had in nine out of ten of these votes on fiscal issues.
Baron Hill even voted in favor of the Cap and Trade Bill, which virtually no one contests would be absolutely ruinous for the economy and jobs in Indiana and other “flyover” states. And he boasts of “fighting” for the interests of Southern Indiana. I am ashamed to admit that such a man has repeatedly been elected to represent us. All of us should be. What does that say about our common sense and self reliance?
Thomas W. Sinex
Monday, October 18, 2010
Time’s senior political analyst Mark Halperin wrote: "With the exception of core Obama Administration loyalists, most politically engaged elites have reached the same conclusions: the White House is in over its head, isolated, insular, arrogant and clueless about how to get along with or persuade members of Congress, the media, the business community or working-class voters."
And then there is Joe Biden. The gift that keeps on giving. Every time he opens his mouth, he continues to show just how true Halperin assessment is.
Vice President Joe Biden recently told a group of Democratic donors in Seattle: "The Recovery Act didn’t do enough because we couldn’t spend enough."This is a round-about way to at least acknowledge that the $862 billion economic stimulus plan failed.
And then there is the latest jobs report establishing the fact once again. It showed a net loss of 95,000 jobs in September, a half million jobs lost since the Obama recovery began, and an unemployment rate of 9.6%.
In President Obama's two years in office, federal spending is up more than 21% and the national debt has risen by $2.9 trillion. The deficit is higher than it has ever been.
Most Americans understand the reality that you cannot continue to spend more than you make without eventually going broke.
But ole “Slo Joe” Biden wants the American people to believe that this administration has not spent enough?
They truly are clueless and out of touch!!!
Friday, October 15, 2010
was while teaching third grade this year...
The presidential election was heating up and some
of the children showed an interest. I decided we
would have an election for a class president.
We would choose our nominees.. They would make
a campaign speech and the class would vote.
To simplify the process, candidates were
nominated by other class members.
We discussed what kinds of characteristics
these students should have.
We got many nominations and from those, Jamie
and Olivia were picked to run for the top spot.
The class had done a great job in their selections.
Both candidates were good kids.
I thought Jamie might have an advantage because
he got lots of parental support.
I had never seen Olivia's mother.
The day arrived when they were to make
their speeches. Jamie went first.
He had specific ideas about how to make
our class a better place. He ended by promising
to do his very best.
Everyone applauded and he sat down.
Now it was Olivia's turn to speak.
Her speech was concise. She said,
"If you will vote for me, I will give you ice cream."
She sat down.
The class went wild.
"Yes! Yes! We want ice cream."
She surely would say more.
She did not have to.
A discussion followed. How did she plan to pay
for the ice cream? She wasn't sure.
Would her parents buy it or would the
class pay for it... She didn't know.
The class really didn't care. All they were
thinking about was ice cream...
Jamie was forgotten.. Olivia won by a landslide.
Every time Barack Obama opened his mouth
he offered ice cream and 52 percent
of the people reacted like nine year olds.
They want ice cream.
The other 48 percent know they're going
to have to feed the cow and clean up the mess."
This is the ice cream Obama promised us!
Remember, the government cannot give anything
to anyone -- that they have not first taken
Thursday, October 14, 2010
There is a new study out that validates what most conservatives already knew. The stimulus, government takeovers, and redistribution of wealth do not improve the economy.
A new study charts an economic failure.
By now, the only defense Democrats can mount of the Obama stimulus programs is that the economy would have been worse without them. There's no way to disprove this counterfactual, but now we have some empirical evidence other than 9.6% unemployment and 1.6% growth.
To wit, economists Atif Mian of the University of California Berkeley and Amir Sufi of the University of Chicago have examined "cash for clunkers," the $2.85 billion program that subsidized consumers to buy new cars and destroy older ones. Their conclusion: The program "had no long run effect on auto purchases." It did juice sales during its two-month run last summer, by about 360,000 cars, but then it quickly hurt sales by about the same amount, in effect stealing purchases from the future. The program was a wash in a mere seven months.
White House economists might dismiss that finding because their larger goal with cash for clunkers was to stimulate "aggregate demand" in the overall economy. Earlier this year, Christina Romer, the former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, wrote that cash for clunkers was an example of "very nearly the best possible countercylical fiscal policy in an economy suffering from temporarily low aggregate demand." The program wasn't sold as a discount for cars people were already planning to buy, but rather to encourage knock-on economic activity such as more consumer spending and job creation.
It's impossible to test what would have happened without cash for clunkers because there's no control group. But Messrs. Mian and Sufi do the next best thing by looking at how clunkers were distributed around the country. Comparing high-clunker areas to low-clunker areas—and thus the areas that were more "stimulated"—allowed them to measure relative economic outcomes.
Lo, Messrs. Mian and Sufi found in their paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research that there was "no noticeable difference" in economic outcomes among the 957 metropolitan areas they studied. They did detect an economic blip in cities where the auto industry is concentrated but note that the rebound can't be disentangled from the Chrysler and GM bailouts.
Messrs. Mian and Sufi caution that their findings "do not warrant the claim that all forms of fiscal stimulus fail to boost long-run economic output" (their emphasis). But if this is the result from the "best possible" stimulus program—per Ms. Romer—the impact of the others must have been awful.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
As we enter the final stretch before the November midterm elections, all eyes have gravitated to the fight over the looming federal tax increases. President Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi want to keep the current rates on income, capital gains and dividends in place only for those who happen to fit their description of "middle class." In this moment of economic distress, will they get their way even though a bipartisan majority of the House disagrees with them? Or will present tax rates be extended for all American taxpayers—and most importantly for small businesses and investors, the nation's job creators?
Republicans unequivocally oppose any impending tax increase. House Republicans have called on Speaker Pelosi to allow the House to vote on legislation that would freeze all tax rates for the next two years. It's a vote the taxpayers of this country deserve before November.
Lest there be any doubt why we are so determined to fight—instead of going quietly and giving President Obama his way before Congress bolts for the elections—the GOP has two primary motivations. The first concerns the pain that tax increases threaten to inflict on our economy over the short term. The second is to stop the slide under our current leadership towards becoming a stagnant European-style welfare state with limited individual opportunity and entrepreneurship.
Let's begin with our immediate economic struggles. The glacial pace of private-sector job creation is a function of many factors, including irresponsible economic policies imposed by Washington.
Over the past year and a half, we've been reminded that incentives—or, more to the point, disincentives—matter. Health-care costs matter. Energy costs matter. Regulations matter. And perhaps more important, tax rates matter.
Of those who have survived the roller-coaster ride of the past three years, our job creators seem content to sock away their cash rather than put it into investments and capital projects. Because they lack certainty and confidence in the tax and regulatory system, they sit on the sidelines.
All of this seems lost on the president. The same economic team that vowed last year's stimulus would hold unemployment to 8% now says that it's wise to raise taxes in the current climate. We must not take their word for it.
As the failed stimulus illustrates, a government redistributing hundreds of billions of dollars—much of it to achieve social and political goals—is far worse at allocating capital and creating jobs than private industry. This year's battle over taxes is thus a fight to allow businesses, taxpayers and private industry to keep more of their money so that they can provide real stimulus and lasting growth to the economy.
Yet it would be a mistake to view this tax increase in isolation. It must be seen in tandem with passage of the new health-care entitlement (enacted at a time when we should be exploring how to preserve and strengthen our current entitlement programs), the stimulus, and the 2,000-plus page labyrinth of new financial regulations. The reality is that this tax hike is just one more step along the way to creating an anticompetitive new norm in this country marked by bigger government, less growth and structurally higher taxes and unemployment.
The strategy to achieve the progressive left's endgame is simple. First comes the provocative class warfare rhetoric. Second comes the vast assumption of government control over the economy. Third comes the growth of government spending and entitlements. And alas, higher taxes on our nation's job creators and workers.
The only way out of this economic morass is through innovation, entrepreneurship and economic freedom. President Obama's impending tax increase is not just a hike on a few "millionaires and billionaires," as the White House tries to frame it. Roughly half of all small business income in America will face a higher rate, making this tax increase a direct assault on job creation and innovation. Coming from an administration heavy on officials with no business experience, this is a clear signal that the White House is determined to continue to spend recklessly and expand the entitlement net.
That's why we're not backing down.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Now here is a Governor we can respect. He certainly does not mince words or back down from a conflict.
I hope his political future is long and fruitful!!
Monday, October 11, 2010
The ironic thing is that the worst provisions don’t kick in until 2014.
These things weren’t suppose to happen before the 2012 election, but since no one really knew what was in the bill; we are seeing the true cost.
This is a failed policy from a failed administration. It is a shame ordinary individuals will be paying for their mistakes.
Political connections will get certain people and companies what they want while others will be stuck with substandard government mandated care.
Friday, October 8, 2010
The next year, I didn't buy her a gift.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
From the makers of the wildly successful Tea Party: The Documentary Film comes a new documentary about freedom. Runaway Slave is a new documentary that exposes the economic slavery of the Black community to the Progressive policies of the US government and how Black Conservatives lead the fight so all Americans can be “free at last.”
C.L. Bryant is a Runaway Slave.
Former NAACP leader and self-professed “Democratic Radical,” C.L. escaped from the bondage of Progressivism and the shackles of entitlements to secure the blessings of liberty guaranteed by our founding document, the US Constitution.
Runaway Slave - The Documentary Movie
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Cash-Poor Governments Ditching Public Hospitals
Faced with mounting debt and looming costs from the new federal health care law, many local governments are leaving the hospital business, shedding public facilities that can be the caregiver of last resort, says the Wall Street Journal.
More than a fifth of the nation's 5,000 hospitals are owned by governments and many are drowning in debt caused by rising health care costs, a spike in uninsured patients, cuts in Medicare and Medicaid and payments on construction bonds sold in fatter times. Because most public hospitals tend to be solo operations, they don't enjoy the economies of scale, or more generous insurance contracts, which bolster revenue at many larger nonprofit and for-profit systems.
Local officials also predict an expensive future as new requirements -- for technology, quality accounting and care coordination -- start under the overhaul, which became law in March.
Moody's Investors Service said in April that many standalone hospitals won't have the resources to invest in information technology or manage bundled payments well.
Many nonprofits have bad credit ratings and in a tight credit market cannot borrow money, either.
Meantime, the federal government is expected to cut aid to hospitals.
Sales and mergers of public hospitals are hard to quantify; the country had 16 fewer government-owned hospitals in 2008 than 2003, says the American Hospital Association, the result of sales, closings or transfers.
Health care consultants and financial analysts say the pace of all hospital sales is picking up at a rate not seen since the 1990s, the dawn of managed care. James Burgdorfer, a partner with investment banker Juniper Advisory LLC in Chicago, said most public systems would end in the next two decades because the industry has become too complex for local politicians. "By the nature of their small size, their independence and their political entanglements, they are poorly equipped to survive,'' says Burgdorfer.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
No good deed goes unpunished. McDonald’s takes a lot of heat for the nutritive value of its menu, usually from self-assigned food nannies, but the company did try to find ways to improve the health of its part-time staff by offering them a low-cost health insurance plan that was affordable and effective.
That effort will have to end, thanks to ObamaCare, which mandates that certain percentages of revenue have to go to claims rather than administrative costs. That will leave tens of thousands with no option for coverage except expensive comprehensive plans they can neither afford nor really need:
McDonald’s Corp. has warned federal regulators that it could drop its health insurance plan for nearly 30,000 hourly restaurant workers unless regulators waive a new requirement of the U.S. health overhaul.
The move is one of the clearest indications that new rules may disrupt workers’ health plans as the law ripples through the real world.
Trade groups representing restaurants and retailers say low-wage employers might halt their coverage if the government doesn’t loosen a requirement for “mini-med” plans, which offer limited benefits to some 1.4 million Americans.
The “mini-med” plans offer limited coverage, mainly for routine checkups and acute issues, in exchange for very low rates. The Wall Street Journal reports that the annual cost of the McDonald’s plan was $728 for an annual maximum of $2000 in payouts, or $1664 for an annual maximum of $10,000. The premiums were paid each week by the hourly workers whose employment is so volatile that the administrative expense of keeping up with enrollments goes much higher than with traditional employer-based coverage. For that reason, and because this is a low-risk pool that utilizes the health-care system less frequently than other populations, the plan spent more than 20% of its revenues on administration.
In the ObamaCare world, however, that is no longer allowed. Regardless of whether the employees and the employer believe the service to be valuable, the federal government has decreed a cost-to-revenue structure that forbids this kind of offering. McDonald’s and other retailers want an exemption, but it’s difficult to see how HHS will justify it. The intent of Congress and this administration clearly aimed at exactly these kind of plans — the nimble, niche, low-cost plans for younger and healthier people who don’t need expensive comprehensive health insurance. They want those people in larger plans to subsidize the risk for those who will now get policies under mandates to cover pre-existing conditions and adult offspring of customers.
In other words, this isn’t a bug at all. It’s a feature.
However, it once again exposes the dishonesty of Barack Obama’s insistence that those who liked their coverage could keep their coverage. It also exposes the damage done when politicians in Washington assume the arrogance to reorder an entire industry — two of them in this case, insurance and health care — without any extensive experience or knowledge of either. To lift a slogan from a McDonald’s competitor, we can’t have it our way any longer.
Note: ABC reports that McDonald’s is denying that it intends to dump the plan, but the WSJ has a memo from McDonald’s asking HHS for a waiver on this mandate:
The Wall Street Journal reviewed a memo by McDonald’s, asking federal officials to determine if their most basic health insurance plans can be exempted from the medical loss ratiorequirements of the new health care law. The law requires that 80-85 percent of the premiums received go directly to patient care, not to other expenses like overhead, executive salaries or dividends for shareholders.
The McDonald’s plan, according to the report, has higher overhead costs because it provides insurance to a highly transient population of hourly workers in its restaurants and would not likely meet the minimum requirements of the new law.
HHS today called the story premature, saying guidance on the new medical loss ratio rules have not even been issued.
New rules will be implemented after the National Association of Insurance Commissioners submits its report, due at the end of the year. The NAIC is still soliciting comments on its draft proposal.
“The medical loss ratio isn’t even settled,” Sebelius said at a reporters’ breakfast organized by the Christian Science Monitor. “As soon as we have a regulation that has a process in it we will begin those discussions.”
What happens if they don’t get the waiver? They’ll have to dump the plan, regardless of the hedging today by McDonald’s.
And so we come to another problem with ObamaCare: regulatory uncertainty. The “loss ratios” should have been set by Congress as part of the bill (or not set at all, and left to the market) so that employers could plan for coverage options — which have to be settled by about this time to get enrollments set for 2011. It’s been more than six months since ObamaCare’s passage, and no one can tell employers yet what the rules are? Apparently, no one in the government understands the bill, nor do they understand that employers have to negotiate with insurers for plans months ahead of enrollment to budget properly for the next year.
And Democrats wonder why businesses aren’t hiring.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Even a Harvard Professor understands how the Obama policy is hurting America. The Enabler
Obama is demonstrating clearly what an “enabler” is and how it undermines our recovery.
I have heard many stories from patients and employers of how the unemployment benefits have continued to retard economic growth and discourage people to either find employment or take a risk and start up a company on their own.
The “Nanny State” is the goal of this administration.
The Folly of Subsidizing Unemployment
My calculations suggest the jobless rate could be as low as 6.8%, instead of 9.5%, if jobless benefits hadn't been extended to 99 weeks.
By ROBERT BARRO
Congressman John Boehner recently suggested that President Obama replace his top economic advisers. I think he may have a point. The economic "recovery" has been disappointing, to put it mildly, and it has become increasingly clear that the blame lies with the policies of the Obama administration, not with those of its predecessor.
In general, the current administration has been too focused on expanding government, redistributing more from rich to poor, and stimulating aggregate demand. I have previously criticized the stimulus package as cost-ineffective. In particular, whatever tax reductions were in the package did not involve the cuts in marginal income tax rates that encourage investment, work effort and productivity growth.
Now the administration wants to kill the 2003 income-tax cuts, at least the parts that reduced marginal income tax rates for high-income earners and for all recipients of dividend income. This proposal is particularly disturbing because the 2003 law was George W. Bush's main economic achievement; unlike most of Mr. Bush's policies, this one was well-conceived and effective.
The unemployment-insurance program involves a balance between compassion—providing for persons temporarily without work—and efficiency. The loss in efficiency results partly because the program subsidizes unemployment, causing insufficient job-search, job-acceptance and levels of employment. A further inefficiency concerns the distortions from the increases in taxes required to pay for the program.
In a recession, it is more likely that individual unemployment reflects weak economic conditions, rather than individual decisions to choose leisure over work. Therefore, it is reasonable during a recession to adopt a more generous unemployment-insurance program. In the past, this change entailed extensions to perhaps 39 weeks of eligibility from 26 weeks, though sometimes a bit more and typically conditioned on the employment situation in a person's state of residence. However, we have never experienced anything close to the blanket extension of eligibility to nearly two years. We have shifted toward a welfare program that resembles those in many Western European countries.
The administration has argued that the more generous unemployment-insurance program could not have had much impact on the unemployment rate because the recession is so severe that jobs are unavailable for many people. This perspective is odd on its face because, even at the worst of the downturn, the U.S. labor market featured a tremendous amount of turnover in the form of large numbers of persons hired and separated every month.
For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, near the worst of the recession in March 2009, 3.9 million people were hired and 4.7 million were separated from jobs. This net loss of 800,000 jobs in one month indicates a very weak economy—but nevertheless one in which 3.9 million people were hired. A program that reduced incentives for people to search for and accept jobs could surely matter a lot here.
Moreover, although the peak unemployment rate (thus far) of 10.1% in October 2009 is very disturbing, the rate was even higher in the 1982 recession (10.8% in November-December 1982). Thus, there is no reason to think that the United States is in a new world in which incentives provided by more generous unemployment-insurance programs do not matter much for unemployment.
Another reason to be skeptical about the administration's stance is that generous unemployment-insurance programs have been found to raise unemployment in many Western European countries in which unemployment rates have been far higher than the current U.S. rate. In Europe, the influence has worked particularly through increases in long-term unemployment. So the key question is what happened to long-term unemployment in the United States during the current recession?
To begin with a historical perspective, in the 1982 recession the peak unemployment rate of 10.8% in November-December 1982 corresponded to a mean duration of unemployment of 17.6 weeks and a share of long-term unemployment (those unemployed more than 26 weeks) of 20.4%. Long-term unemployment peaked later, in July 1983, when the unemployment rate had fallen to 9.4%. At that point, the mean duration of unemployment reached 21.2 weeks and the share of long-term unemployment was 24.5%. These numbers are the highest observed in the post-World War II period until recently. Thus, we can think of previous recessions (including those in 2001, 1990-91 and before 1982) as featuring a mean duration of unemployment of less than 21 weeks and a share of long-term unemployment of less than 25%.
These numbers provide a stark contrast with joblessness today. The peak unemployment rate of 10.1% in October 2009 corresponded to a mean duration of unemployment of 27.2 weeks and a share of long-term unemployment of 36%. The duration of unemployment peaked (thus far) at 35.2 weeks in June 2010, when the share of long-term unemployment in the total reached a remarkable 46.2%. These numbers are way above the ceilings of 21 weeks and 25% share applicable to previous post-World War II recessions. The dramatic expansion of unemployment-insurance eligibility to 99 weeks is almost surely the culprit.
To get a rough quantitative estimate of the implications for the unemployment rate, suppose that the expansion of unemployment-insurance coverage to 99 weeks had not occurred and—I assume—the share of long-term unemployment had equaled the peak value of 24.5% observed in July 1983. Then, if the number of unemployed 26 weeks or less in June 2010 had still equaled the observed value of 7.9 million, the total number of unemployed would have been 10.4 million rather than 14.6 million. If the labor force still equaled the observed value (153.7 million), the unemployment rate would have been 6.8% rather than 9.5%.
Consider how the prospects for Democrats in the November elections would look if the unemployment rate were now only 6.8%. Obviously, this change would make all the difference, and President Obama can reasonably blame his economic advisers. They should have protected their boss by standing firm and arguing that a reckless expansion of unemployment-insurance coverage to 99 weeks was unwise economically and politically. Congressman Boehner's advice to Mr. Obama seems correct, though possibly too late to matter.
Friday, October 1, 2010
As they walk, they come across a sign:
They continue walking and they see a sign:
"I'm entering," says Superman.
" First Place ," answers Superman.
They continue walking when they see a sign: