Has Organized Crime Hijacked our Medical Delivery System? By Alieta Eck, MD

What is organized crime? The dictionary defines it as a means of generating income through bribery and threats of grievous retribution, often buying political patronage for immunity from exposure and prosecution. Perpetrators of organized crime typically use credible front organizations, such as hospitals and charities. These establishments do not tolerate competition and constantly fight for monopolization, or “market share.” When organized crime is involved, goods and services cost more.

So how does this apply to our current medical care delivery “system?” Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, there is a concerted effort to put everyone into a highly organized “insurance plan,” despite the fact that the plan costs far more than the free market would dictate. The overpricing ensures a steady flow of revenue to be siphoned off to the administrators and government officials. Campaign or “foundation” coffers are regularly subsidized to ensure favorable treatment by elected officials. And the people pay a huge price for poorer access and diminished quality.

Insurance companies claim to provide “protection” against financial ruin by selling a card that promises access to high quality care whenever it is needed. But the protection is illusion, as the purported savings are often fictitious.

Here are two real life examples:

  1. A patient with insurance had four lab tests performed at an outpatient hospital lab with the amount billed at $732. The insurance company brought that amount to $328. The lab deductible (out-of-pocket by the patient) came to $200, and insurance paid $128. Most patients would not question the original sum and would feel secure knowing that their insurer protected them from financial ruin by taking more than half off the original price. But the hidden truth is that the whole system is a scam perpetrated by insurance companies and hospitals. These very same lab tests, when done for cash at a local lab can be obtained for a total of $57. Insurance encourages over-pricing.
  2. Another savvy patient learned that telling an urgent care center that she has insurance is a sure way to pay more. She went for a minor ailment, produced her insurance card and was told that she should just pay the $20 co-pay, getting the final bill in the near future. She argued that her insurance deductible, or money she would be expected to pay out of pocket before insurance paid anything, was $5,000, so she would be happy to settle the entire bill right away. But the clerk just smiled and said that this is not how things are done. Soon after, the same patient’s insurance was canceled, and when she needed care, she went back to the same establishment, as she liked the doctor. This time, her bill was $120, but she was told she owed $180 for the prior visit. “Wait! If the fee is $120 and I already paid $20, it seems I should only owe $100.”  It was carefully explained that the insurance company and urgent care center had negotiated $200 for a routine visit and that the $180 she owed was not a mistake. But they feel sorry for people without insurance, so are willing to accept the lower fee of $120 from the uninsured.

Most people trust that, once they have paid the premium, which approaches the level of a home mortgage, their insurance company is there to secure the best deal for them. But this is simply not the case. The insurance-medical industrial complex falls into the category of “organized crime” when they can extract more than the market price for goods or services.

In both of these examples, the insurance company and service provider each benefited at the expense of the person ultimately paying the bills—through higher negotiated fees, or higher insurance premiums. The hospital was looking at $200 extra while the urgent care facility was planning to pocket an extra $80. Multiply this by millions of transactions, and our health care system is costing billions of dollars more than it should.

The Affordable Care Act requires that all citizens purchase overpriced government approved “insurance,” and this only perpetuates and expands the fraud. It explains why the premiums and deductibles have risen. Having taxpayers subsidize these overpriced plans assures that the palms of many “organized crime participants” are continually greased.

RELATED ARTICLES/VIDEOS:

Dr. Eck interview on Fox News Channel’s Freedom Watch

How Medicaid and Obamacare Hurts the Poor and How to Fix Them

Video: Dr. Alieta Eck, M.D. testifies before U.S. Senate

EDITORS NOTE: This column is published with permission from Angel Pictures and Publicity. For additional information on Dr. Eck and to read more of her published positions, click here.

Kraft, Pepsi, and Nestle Using Aborted Babies For Flavor Additives

UPDATE: We have published new information about the use of body parts from live fetuses in a new column Human Life International lists Products that use Aborted Fetuses – Warning gruesome!

If you thought that Planned Parenthood selling the body parts of aborted babies was evil, then you will be shocked by those companies using these body parts as flavor additives.

The 1973 science fiction film Soylent Green was about food produced from human body parts. It appears Kraft Foods, Pepsi Corporation (PepsiCo) and Nestle are creating a new wave of products using aborted baby body parts provided by Semonyx and StemExpress. Science fiction is now a scientific reality. Should the Food and Drug Administration require a label on those products, listed below, that use baby parts as flavor additives?

Perhaps we should call these products Semonyx Green or StemExpress Green?

Senomyx_logoThe Conservative Post reports:

Famous food companies have been exposed using tissue from aborted babies to make flavor additives in processed foods.

Kraft, PepsiCo, Nestle, work with Semonyx, a California-based [company] that uses aborted embryonic cells to test fake flavoring chemicals.

The aborted human fetal cell line is known as “HEK-293,” and it is used to see how the human palate will react to synthetic flavors. Since most of today’s processed food lacks flavor, companies like Semonyx are hired to develop flavors on their own.

“What they don’t tell the public is that they are using HEK 293 — human embryonic kidney cells taken from an electively aborted baby to produce those receptors,” said Debi Vinnedge of the pro-life group Children of God for Life. “They could have easily chosen animal, insect, or other morally obtained human cells expressing the G protein for taste receptors.”

stemexpress logoIn a column titled Meet the Company Buying Planned Parenthood’s Baby ‘Specimens’ Paul Bios writes:

Planned Parenthood’s hand in this nauseating maltreatment of human beings represents only the tip of the iceberg and has been the source of tremendous benefit for one company purchasing PP’s baby parts and then selling them off to biomedical researchers for profit.

That company is StemExpress, and it describes itself as “a multi-million dollar company that supplies human blood, tissue products, primary cells and other clinical specimens to biomedical researchers.” It also boasts of offering “the largest variety of raw material in the industry, as well as fresh, fixed and cryopreserved human primary cells.”

On the company’s site, which has been experiencing difficulty in recent days owing to high traffic, StemExpress openly states in bold print its “human tissue products range from fetal to adult” while guaranteeing that “every sample delivers the purity, viability and quality” the buyers look for.

Taking its cues from Amazon, StemExpress provides easy-to-use shopping carts complete with user-friendly dropdown boxes that allow the customer to purchase products like a “fetal liver” of their choice for as low $610. See screenshot:

Image processed by CodeCarvings Piczard ### FREE Community Edition ### on 2015-07-17 03:45:52Z | http://piczard.com | http://codecarvings.com

Image processed by CodeCarvings Piczard, FREE Community Edition, on 2015-07-17 03:45:52Z | http://piczard.com | http://codecarvings.com

Read more about StemExpress.

RELATED ARTICLE: Meet the Company Buying Planned Parenthood’s Baby ‘Specimens’

Here’s a full list of products and companies provided by the Conservative Post:

PEPSI BEVERAGES:
• All Pepsi soft drinks
• Sierra Mist soft drinks
• Mountain Dew soft drinks
• Mug root beer and other soft drinks
• No Fear beverages
• Ocean Spray beverages
• Seattle’s Best Coffee
• Tazo beverages
• AMP Energy beverages
• Aquafina water
• Aquafina flavored beverages
• DoubleShot energy beverages
• Frappuccino beverages
• Lipton tea and other beverages
• Propel beverages
• SoBe beverages
• Gatorade beverages
• Fiesta Miranda beverages
• Tropicana juices and beverages

NESTLE PRODUCTS:
• All coffee creamers
• Maggi Brand instant soups, bouillon cubes, ketchups, sauces, seasoning, instant noodles

KRAFT – CADBURY ADAMS PRODUCTS:
• Black Jack chewing gum
• Bubbaloo bubble gum
• Bubblicious bubble gum
• Chiclets
• Clorets
• Dentyne
• Freshen Up Gum
• Sour Cherry Gum (Limited)
• Sour Apple Gum (Limited)
• Stride
• Trident

CADBURY ADAMS CANDIES:
• Sour Cherry Blasters
• Fruit Mania
• Bassett’s Liquorice All sorts
• Maynards Wine Gum
• Swedish Fish
• Swedish Berries
• Juicy Squirts
• Original Gummies
• Fuzzy Peach
• Sour Chillers
• Sour Patch Kids
• Mini Fruit Gums
• Certs breath mints
• Halls Cough Drops

NEOCUTIS “BEAUTY” PRODUCTS:
Neocutis uses aborted male baby cells after a 14-week gestation period in their anti-wrinkle creams. The following creams they sell contain aborted fetal cells.
• Bio-Gel Prevedem Journee
• Bio-Serum Lumiere
• Bio Restorative Skin Cream

VACCINES:
• MMR II (Merck)
• ProQuad (MMR + Chickenpox — Merck)
• Varivax (Chickenpox — Merck)
• Pentacel (Polio + DTaP + HiB — Sanofi Pasteur)
• Vaqta (Hepatitis-A — Merck)
• Havrix (Hepatitis-A — Glaxo SmithKline)
• Twinrix (Hepatitis-A and B combo — Glaxo)
• Zostavax (Shingles — Merck)
• Imovax (Rabies — Sanofi Pasteur)

OTHER MEDICINES:
• Pulmozyme (Cystic Fibrosis — Genetech)
• Enbrel (Rheumatoid Arthritis — Amgen)

Are you going to boycott these products? If so, please share this column to let people know and make up their own minds.

There is No Approved ‘Medicine’ in Marijuana

Dr. Stuart Gitlow, a physician serving as president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, does not mince words: “There is no such thing at this point as medical marijuana,” he said. It’s a point he has made routinely for the past decade, as advocates for marijuana legalization have claimed the drug treats an array of serious illnesses, or the symptoms of illnesses, including cancer, depression, epilepsy, glaucoma and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Backing up Gitlow are the National Institute on Drug Abuse and practically every major medical association in the United States, including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the American Academy of Pediatrics, which recently reaffirmed its stance. Cannabis in its various forms is an addictive drug that is especially dangerous to the developing brain — a linchpin the country’s largest medical groups give for opposing its legalization.

NIDA details specific reasons why the cannabis plant is “an unlikely medication candidate” — whether smoked as marijuana or consumed in the form of hash oil or “wax.” The organization argues:

  • The plant contains numerous chemicals with unknown health effects.
  • It is too variable to be considered medicine, which requires all ingredients to be specified so the product can be reproduced consistently. In other words, there’s no way to guarantee a plant produced and processed in northern Colorado yields the same, or even similar, treatment as one produced and processed in another part of the state, much less in a different region of the country.
  • It is typically consumed by smoking, further contributing to potential adverse effects.
  • It has cognitive and motor-impairing effects, which may limit its utility.

Read more.

RELATED ARTICLE: Medical marijuana industry still growing

EDITORS NOTE: This op-ed column originally appeared in The Colorado Gazette.

Ellen White: The Greatest Author In History?

On the 100th anniversary of Ellen White’s death, this information is based mostly on testimony by non-Adventists who came in contact with her writings. And her writings were not just made-up stories like Shakespeare. They are non-fiction counsels on how to live healthy, happy, and if you wish, holy, from a biblical perspective that is largely non-denominational.

Her book, The Ministry of Healing, is perhaps the greatest single book ever written. It includes chapters on the life of Christ as the great medical missionary who came as “the unwearied servant of man’s necessity….the burden of disease, and wretchedness and sin He came to remove…to bring restoration.”

It’s chapter, The Physician an Educator explains that while drugs offer relief of symptoms, they rarely address the cause and, therefore, cannot cure disease. She lists the true remedies of nature as pure air, sunlight, rest, exercise, proper diet, use of water, trust in God, also abstaining from harmful substances that now is an increasing problem due to Monsanto’s putsh for gmo “foods” to not be labelled as such.

Dr. Clive McCay, Professor of Nutrition at Cornell University reviewed Ellen White’s writings on health and summarized a six-page review by wondering how she managed to avoid the many fads and fallacies in her day to write what he said was the best overall guide available on nutrition, and he noted that she was able to induce so many to adopt health principles that result in 7-8 years more life than average. She said tobaco was “a malignant poison” in 1864–100 years before the US Surgeon General recognized it.

Dr. Florence Stratemeyer was Professor of Education at Columbia University’s Teachers College when she discovered Ellen White’s book, Education. Writing in the 1960’s, she said the book was more than 60 years ahead of its time with advanced educational concepts. If she were reviewing White now, she would probably say it was 120 years ahead. Education would be a great guide for all home-schoolers.

Considering what used to be HEW—Department of Health, Education and Welfare that morphed into separate departments, all doing poorly, we should realize that the best healthcare is selfcare based on what we put into our mouths. The same is true for education, based on what we feed our minds. TV dinners are bad for the body and worse for the mind. Considering how sex education is done at school, parents should think about homeschooling their kids and the book Education would offer great insights.

In 1888, Ellen White saw her church reject a message of righteousness by faith so that her writings after that became non-denominational. She said the apostasy would continue till the Lord comes. Was she a prophet? She described tall buildings in New York City that were warranted to be fireproof that were “consumed as if made of pitch.” Testimonies for the Church, Vol 9, pages 11-13 [9-11 published in 1909.

Readers wishing to sample or read her entire books (those above or others) online may do so by clicking here.

This author has not read The Acts of the Apostles listed among 10, but the others are all classics of higher quality than I could write with 25 years of education, and Ellen White only had three grades of schooling due to an injury in childhood.

If the reader might like to see Ellen White Exposed, I recommend starting at the 10:30 minute point on YouTube:

EDITORS NOTE: Dr. Richard Ruhling was board-certified in internal medicine before teaching at Loma Linda University. He believes Ellen White foresaw http://LeadingCauseOfDeathPrescriptionDrugs.com and did not want pharmacology taught at Loma Linda.  Adventists could have helped alternative medicine to be far ahead today. Dr. Ruhling’s website offers Ellen White’ s book on health at http://ChooseABetterDestiny.com.

Damn It Feels Good to be a Liberal

liberal logic 101It’s usually pretty easy to be a liberal these days. Most of their policy prescriptions and legislative proposals require nothing more than a quick talking point, with no further analysis or questions answered regarding the long-term effects of such proposals. If a liberal policymaker wants to take more money from hard working Americans via higher taxes, he or she simply throws out the “pay your fair share” talking point and doesn’t ever worry about explaining to hard-working Americans what their “fair share” is. If a liberal policymaker wants to steal away control of your health care decisions, he or she simply throws out the “health care is a right” talking point without ever explaining how declaring things as “rights” confers numerous obligations on others, all enforceable using the force of government.

Bumper sticker talking points, such as the infamous “war on women,” are clever scams drawn up by liberals to ensure that they are easily remembered, but rarely thought through.

Liberals live and die by the talking point because their ideology must fit on a bumper sticker. Bumper sticker talking points, such as the infamous “war on women,” are clever scams drawn up by liberals to ensure that they are easily remembered, but rarely thought through. It’s pretty easy to be a liberal when you can declare your intentions to be noble and positive, print an easy-to-remember bumper sticker, get massive pieces of damaging legislation passed, and then run away from the negative fallout from your terrible ideas once the consequences become evident.

This strategy has worked for liberals for decades, but this week it hit a massive speed bump with a tsunami of bad news hitting Americans. The horrific murder of Kate Steinle by an illegal immigrant, who was deported an astounding five times, harbored in a sanctuary city, is really a tough one for the liberal intelligentsia to explain away.

It’s tough to be a liberal policymaker this week when being one involves explaining to your constituents how their hard earned money should support the income, healthcare, education, and housing requirements for a group of people who simply do not care about our immigration laws or procedures. When some, albeit a small, but not insignificant number, of those same people murder innocent American citizens, it’s tough to whip out the quickie talking point or hand out that bumper sticker to bail you out of the trouble your ideology has caused.

It’s tough to be a liberal this week and to have to look Americans in the face and explain away the revolting, explosive, and potentially illegal, human organ trafficking activities of Planned Parenthood caught on videotape.

Second, the disastrous nuclear deal with Iran is beginning to look like the biggest foreign policy calamity in recent American history. Good luck being a liberal policymaker this week trying to tell Americans “don’t worry, the Iranians are only a decade or so away from deploying a nuclear weapon.” Try fitting that one on a bumper sticker as the hegemonic mullahs immediately jump in front of the cameras to declare “death to America.” Also, it’s tough to stick to the ridiculously oversimplified, and frequently utilized, “world peace” mantra or the “Bush did it” talking point, as liberal policymakers try to explain to Americans how the Iranian deal provides no clear, unobstructed path to inspections of Iranian military facilities. Only those willingly, or wishfully, ignorant believe that an Iranian military facility is an unlikely place for illicit nuclear activity with a regime noted for deception and international agitation.

Finally, it’s tough to be a liberal this week and to have to look Americans in the face and explain away the revolting, explosive, and potentially illegal, human organ trafficking activities of Planned Parenthood caught on videotape. That handy old “it’s all about choice” bumper sticker talking point is tough to explain away when your support of “choice” also involves innocent American taxpayers being forced to finance the operations of a deranged outfit which traffics in the body parts of aborted babies and discusses it over a hearty Caesar salad. It’s time to immediately defund this abomination of an organization without delay and investigate those responsible for this atrocity.

It’s easy to be liberal; conservatives have been lamenting this for years. We have had to be the adults in the room and explain the marginal tax rate ramifications on productivity and growth while the liberals get to scream, “pay your fair share.” This has led to a messaging battlefield asymmetry, which is hard to overcome.

I hate it that these tragedies occurred, and that many will continue to suffer due to these liberal policies but, if we want to prevent further derelictions of duty, it’s up to us to demand answers now and make liberal policymakers leave their protected messaging comfort zones and answer to the American people for their mistakes.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the Conservative Review. The featured image is by Charles Krupa | AP Photo.

Planned Parenthood Sells Body Parts of Aborted Children

LOS ANGELES, July 14—New undercover footage shows Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Senior Director of Medical Services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, describing how Planned Parenthood sells the body parts of aborted fetuses, and admitting she uses partial-birth abortions to supply intact body parts.

In the video, Nucatola is at a business lunch with actors posing as buyers from a human biologics company. As head of PPFA’s Medical Services department, Nucatola has overseen medical practice at all Planned Parenthood locations since 2009. She also trains new Planned Parenthood abortion doctors and performs abortions herself at Planned Parenthood Los Angeles up to 24 weeks.

The buyers ask Nucatola, “How much of a difference can that actually make, if you know kind of what’s expected, or what we need?”

“It makes a huge difference,” Nucatola replies. “I’d say a lot of people want liver. And for that reason, most providers will do this case under ultrasound guidance, so they’ll know where they’re putting their forceps. The kind of rate-limiting step of the procedure is calvarium. Calvarium—the head—is basically the biggest part.”

Nucatola explains, “We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”

“And with the calvarium, in general, some people will actually try to change the presentation so that it’s not vertex,” she continues. “So if you do it starting from the breech presentation, there’s dilation that happens as the case goes on, and often, the last step, you can evacuate an intact calvarium at the end.”

Using ultrasound guidance to manipulate the fetus from vertex to breech orientation before intact extraction is the hallmark of the illegal partial-birth abortion procedure (18 U.S.C. 1531).

Nucatola also reveals that Planned Parenthood’s national office is concerned about their liability for the sale of fetal parts: “At the national office, we have a Litigation and Law Department which just really doesn’t want us to be the middle people for this issue right now,” she says. “But I will tell you that behind closed doors these conversations are happening with the affiliates.”

The sale or purchase of human fetal tissue is a federal felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 (42 U.S.C. 289g-2).

A separate clip shows Planned Parenthood President and CEO Cecile Richards praising Nucatola’s work to facilitate connections for fetal tissue collection. “Oh good,” Richards says when told about Nucatola’s support for fetal tissue collection at Planned Parenthood, “Great. She’s amazing.”

The video is the first by The Center for Medical Progress in its “Human Capital” series, a nearly 3-year-long investigative journalism study of Planned Parenthood’s illegal trafficking of aborted fetal parts. Project Lead David Daleiden notes: “Planned Parenthood’s criminal conspiracy to make money off of aborted baby parts reaches to the very highest levels of their organization. Elected officials must listen to the public outcry for Planned Parenthood to be held accountable to the law and for our tax dollars to stop underwriting this barbaric abortion business.”

RELATED ARTICLES:

REPORT: Aborted Baby Parts Being Used to Grow Human Organs in Rodents

These Famous Food Companies Have Been Caught Using Aborted Babies for Flavor Additives

6 Scandals Involving Planned Parenthood

Senator Ted Cruz calls for ‘immediate’ investigation into Planned Parenthood

2016 GOP Contenders Call for Investigation of Planned Parenthood

Why is Adolescent Marijuana Use Higher in States That Legalize Medical Marijuana than in States That Don’t?

The June 17th issue of The Marijuana Report summarized a new study, published by Lancet, that finds marijuana use does not increase among high school students when a state legalizes medical marijuana. Researchers analyzed data from the Monitoring the Future Survey about past-month marijuana use among 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students between 1991 and 2014.

Although use does not increase after legalization, a key finding of the study—ignored by most of the press—is that use was already higher in states before such laws were passed than in states that have never legalized medical marijuana.

The question is why? What is different about these states from states that haven’t legalized medical pot?

“These states might differ from the others on common factors yet to be identified (eg. norms surrounding marijuana use or marijuana availability),” say the researchers. “Investigation of these factors is warranted.”

adolesent marijuana use

There is no doubt that nationally, taking all states together, marijuana use increased dramatically between 1991 and 2014. As shown in the above graphic, past-month use doubled among 8th graders, nearly doubled among 10th graders, and increased more than 50 percent among 12th graders.

The Marijuana Reports states, “We need to understand what drove these increases.”

At the same time, the perception that regular marijuana use is harmful decreased among 8th graders from 83.8 percent in 1991 to 58.9 percent in 2014, among 10th graders from 82.1 percent to 45.4 percent, and among 12th graders from 78.6 percent to 36.1 percent. Why so many high school students believe regular marijuana use is harmless also needs to be understood so that this misperception can be corrected.

Read Lancet study here.

See Monitoring the Future past 30-day marijuana use data here.

See Monitoring the Future perception of harm data (8th graders) here, (10th graders)here, and (12th graders) here.

FLORIDA: City of Temple Terrace Promotes Marijuana Abuse

Lee Bell

Lee Bell, Chairman of the Temple Terrace Chamber of Commerce.

The Temple Terrace Chamber of Commerce allowed a float that promoted the use of marijuana be included in their 4th of July parade.

Operators of the float, which included a giant ten foot long joint, claimed that they are “promoting a safe and effective medicine”, yet the medical community does not stand behind smoked marijuana as a medicine. No major health association supports the use of smoked marijuana as a medicine.

Last week, the Journal of the American Medicine Association published a review of the research on marijuana as a medicine and concluded that there is insufficient evidence that marijuana is effective in the treatment of conditions for which some state laws are allowing its use.

Marijuana is not a harmless substance.

Someone who smokes marijuana regularly can have many of the same respiratory problems as cigarette smokers. Persistent coughing, bronchitis, and more frequent chest colds are possible symptoms. Regular use of marijuana compromises the ability to learn and to remember information by impairing the ability to focus, sustain, and shift attention.

Long term use reduces the ability to organize and integrate complex information. Research increasingly shows that intensive marijuana use often meets the technical requirements for addiction (or dependence). More and more studies are showing addictive qualities in the drug. Marijuana use is the number one reason adolescents
are admitted to treatment and ranks number two (behind alcohol) for adults.

Save Our Society From Drugs states:

It is disappointing that the Chamber allowed marijuana activists to further normalize the commercialization of marijuana. According to a new RAND study, adolescents who saw advertising for medical marijuana (like that in the Temple Terrace parade) were more likely to either report using marijuana or say that they planned to use the substance in the future.  Youth are bombarded by pro-drug messages on social media and we should be working to counter those messages and encourage our youth to make healthy choices.

Contrary to what Lee Bell, Chairman of the Temple Terrace Chamber of Commerce said, marijuana is illegal for all purposes here in Florida and should not be promoted. What other illegal activity would be okay to promote at a public family-friendly event?

If you would like to prevent the promotion of drug use from being included in future City of Temple Terrace events contact the City Mayor, City Council and Chamber of Commerce:

U.S. Veterans Administration: Still “Dysfunctional” with “Unaccountability at Every Level”

veritas logoJames O’Keefe, founder of Project Veritas, reports:

It has been over a year since the truth about the VA’s abysmal and unacceptable practices were thrust to the forefront of American politics, and yet there has been no discernible change in this bureaucratic nightmare. Our nation’s veterans deserve so much more and this continued mistreatment of our nation’s heroes is a troubling trend that shows no signs of any, let alone imminent, improvement.

Watch Project Veritas’ latest undercover video below showing that after more than a year of significant public outcry over incredibly long wait times, which in numerous cases resulted in the deaths of veterans, the VA is still failing to meet the basic needs of our veterans. Project Veritas investigative journalists captured on hidden camera a host of VA doctors, staffers, and one top official speaking about the many problems that persist at the VA despite official claims to the contrary.

Among the outspoken was Dr. Kristoffel Dumon, a general surgeon for the VA in Philadelphia, who told a Project Veritas undercover journalist that the VA has a “culture of unaccountability at every level.”

In this latest Project Veritas video, VA Undersecretary and Brigadier General Allison Hickey was captured on hidden camera saying that once veterans enter “the appeals process all bets are off, the only solution to that is changing the law or more people.”

A Project Veritas journalist also spoke with Scott Westguard, a VA contractor, who said on hidden camera that “it’s messed up, it’s dysfunctional, it’s incapable of getting the job done because people are there simply picking up the paycheck. There’s no accountability.”

Project Veritas also caught up with Dr. Raul Zambrano, a VA Medical Officer in the VISN & Network Office, who stated that: “we’re way below water in terms of the ability to supply, to meet the requests that’s demanded.”

It’s been 16 months since we learned of the waiting time scandal at the VA. In our last video covering the VA scandal, we identified that 22 of our nation’s heroes were dying by their own hands each day, as opposed to on the battlefield. Our first VA video has already been used to brief Congressmenabout overprescribing dangerous medications to veterans at a recent hearing on Capitol Hill.

In this video, we reveal some of the key underlying flaws within the VA which clearly make the system seem absolutely broken. Our veterans clearly deserve better.

RELATED VIDEO: A Veteran Seeking Help From a VA Office Received a Response No Veteran Should Ever Hear [+video]

Is There a Middle Road between Marijuana Incarceration and Marijuana Legalization?

As part of its special series titled Race Matters, an investigation by Miami’s CBS4 News this week, provides an opportunity to consider new ways to think about marijuana and racial imbalances in the way our laws are enforced.

CBS4 News gathered and analyzed police records of every misdemeanor marijuana case in Miami Dade County between 2010 and 2014. They found:

  • Misdemeanor marijuana arrests accounted for ten percent of all cases filed in the court system.
  • Of 44,860 closed cases, 55 percent had African-American defendants, even though the county is less than 20 percent black.
  • Just two percent of these cases resulted in a conviction.
    • Of these, 74 percent were black.
  • Prosecutors dismissed or dropped 49 percent of these cases.
    • Of these, 56 percent were white.
  • The other 49 percent of cases were settled by a “withhold of adjudication,” an admission of guilt but not a formal conviction. However, the admission stays in a person’s permanent record, hurts his or her ability to find work or housing, and can prevent the person from enlisting in the military, receiving student loans, or becoming a citizen.
    • 65 percent of these were black.

CBS4 News writes, “Miami Dade Police Director JD Patterson and others in his department have argued police officers are not targeting blacks, they are merely making stops and arrests in neighborhoods with a high crime rate. And those neighborhoods just happen to be predominantly black.”

“Donald Jones, a constitutional and civil rights law professor at the University of Miami, says that may have been the initial intent of the police, but what has happened over time is that officers begin looking at everyone in those neighborhoods as a suspect and begin treating them differently as well. ‘It says to me that we’re profiling,’ Jones said. ‘We’ve gotten to a point where we criminalize whole communities. We see certain communities as being communities of criminals and we police them that way.’ Jones said it can have a chilling effect on the relationship between the police and the community. ‘It creates an atmosphere as if this is a different America,’ he said.”

We note that the 44,000-plus marijuana cases CBS4 News examined are only 10 percent of all cases that went through the Miami Dade County court system over the five-year period.

Proponents have built their case for marijuana legalization on racial inequities in the enforcement of marijuana laws like these in Miami Dade County, implying that legalizing pot will end unequal enforcement of the law. But the problem of racial disparities in the criminal justice system is much deeper than marijuana alone, as Professor Jones explains. Until we can see that, we won’t be able to change it effectively.

Few Americans believe that putting low-level marijuana offenders, black or white, in jail is appropriate. Few believe that straddling them with lifetime criminal records is fair or just. Judges in Miami Dade County hope the county commission will adopt a proposed civil citation ordinance that would give police the option of issuing a $100 ticket to marijuana offenders. This would keep them out of the criminal justice system and reduce costs to taxpayers.

We believe that is a good first step, but it does not go far enough. Despite denials from legalization proponents, marijuana is addictive. Some nine percent of people who try the drug will become addicted. The number rises to 17 percent if use begins in adolescence and to 25 percent to 50 percent for daily use. We would like to see a public health/social justice system replace the criminal justice system for low-level marijuana offenders. Its goal would be to provide public health and social services to them after they pay their fines. Such services would medically assess them to determine if they are addicted. Those who are would receive treatment. Those who aren’t would receive educational and social services to help them pursue more productive lives. Money saved from removing marijuana cases from the courts could be used to finance this system.

Or we could do away with the marijuana laws, legalize pot, and ignore the consequences. To do so would be to allow a commercial marijuana industry to emerge that will rival the tobacco and alcohol industries, as all three prey on children, the addicted, the poor and the vulnerable, while simply discarding the victims who can’t handle their products.

Read “Race Matters: Marijuana Cases Flood Court System” here.

THIS COLUMN IS COURTESY OF NATIONAL FAMILIES IN ACTION

National Families in Action and partners, Project SAM and the Treatment Research Institute, welcome our new readers. We hope you enjoy this weekly e-newsletter to keep up-to-date with all aspects of the marijuana story. Visit our website, The Marijuana Report.Org, and subscribe to the weekly e-newsletterThe Marijuana Report to learn more.

National Families in Action is a group of families, scientists, business leaders, physicians, addiction specialists, policymakers, and others committed to protecting children from addictive drugs. We advocate for:

  • Healthy, drug-free kids
  • Nurturing, addiction-free families
  • Scientifically accurate information and education
  • A nation free of Big Marijuana
  • Smart, safe, FDA-approved medicines developed from the cannabis plant (and other plants)
  • Expanded access to medicines in FDA clinical trials for children with epilepsy

Is Michelle Obama a Brilliant Experimental Economist? by B.K. Marcus

A consensus is emerging among advocates of personal freedom and economic literacy that the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, passed in 2010 with the support of Michelle Obama, is a typical failure of the nanny state.

Reason’s Robby Soave writes, “Like so many other clumsy government attempts to make people healthier by forbidding the consumption of things they like, the initiative is a costly failure.”

But I’d rather imagine the first lady is conducting a sophisticated empirical test of economic theory. All she needs are a few more interventions to correct the “unintended consequences” of the 2010 law, and we’ll be swimming in data.

As Ludwig von Mises explained in “Middle-of-the-Road Policy Leads to Socialism,” each round of intervention into voluntary exchange leads to consequences the interventionists find undesirable. Over and over, the officials are confronted with a choice: undo the initial intervention or initiate the next round of laws and regulations in an attempt to undo the effects of the previous round. Rinse, lather, repeat.

Testifying before the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, school administrator John S. Payne from Hartford City, Indiana, told Congress about some of the supposedly unintended consequences in evidence at his area’s public schools.

“Perhaps the most colorful example in my district is that students have been caught bringing — and even selling — salt, pepper, and sugar in school to add taste to perceived bland and tasteless cafeteria food.”

“This ‘contraband’ economy,” says Payne, “is just one example of many that reinforce the call for flexibility” on the part of local government officials.

While laissez-faire liberals may call for the scrapping of government-managed school lunches altogether, and federalists might join Payne in advocating the efficacy of decentralized, local authority over dietary central planning from Washington, DC, those who care more about economic science than nutrition or freedom should look forward to the next several rounds of loophole-closing, ratcheting coercion, and other adjustments needed to isolate students from their remaining lunchtime alternatives.

Currently, according to Payne, some of the parents in his district are signing their children out in the middle of the school day and taking them out for a quick fast-food meal. Those without the option of escape simply choose to eat less during the day. “Whole-grain items and most of the broccoli end up in the trash,” Payne told the subcommittee.

While exit and abstention are of some interest to economic theorists, the real intellectual treat is in seeing what happens when an isolated and otherwise powerless community is reduced to black markets and barter.

In “The Economic Organisation of a POW Camp” in the November 1945 issue of Economica, former prisoner of war R.A. Radford described the economic laboratory of German prison camps:

POW camp provides a living example of a simple economy which might be used as an alternative to the Robinson Crusoe economy beloved by the text-books, and its simplicity renders the demonstration of certain economic hypotheses both amusing and instructive.

In Radford’s camp, everyone received the same rations from both the prison and the Red Cross. Some prisoners also received private parcels, but these were less reliable. At first, barter exchange among the prisoners made them all subjectively better off: the lactose-intolerant smoker will feel richer from trading his tinned milk for the nonsmoker’s cigarettes.

While those who weren’t hooked on tobacco were at first happy to trade their extra smokes for more appealing products, over time, “cigarettes rose from the status of a normal commodity to that of currency.”

This means that all goods could be exchanged directly for cigarettes. There was no longer any need to find another prisoner who both (1) had a surplus of exactly what you needed and (2) wanted just what you had in excess. Everything took on a “price” in cigarettes, eventually listed on “an Exchange and Mart notice board in every bungalow, where under the headings ‘name,’ ‘room number,’ ‘wanted’ and ‘offered’ sales and wants were advertised.”

The public and semi-permanent records of transactions led to cigarette prices being well known and thus tending to equality throughout the camp, although there were always opportunities for an astute trader to make a profit from arbitrage.

Cigarettes were the best money in the context of a POW camp. A good commodity money is valuable, countable, and fungible — divisible in such a way that it retains proportional value. A half an ounce of gold, for example, is worth about half the value of a full ounce of gold. Cutting a diamond in half is not only difficult; it could render two smaller stones whose combined value is far lower than the one you began with.

Cigarettes are somewhere in between gold and diamonds: a single cigarette isn’t as easily divisible, but a half carton probably trades for half the value of a full carton. And the cigarette itself plays the same role with its tobacco contents as coinage does with precious metals: it establishes a countable unit that makes trade more convenient and prices easier to establish and track. And in a POW camp, where the supply is limited and relatively predictable, price inflation isn’t a problem.

Today’s Hartford City schools have not yet developed the economic sophistication of Radford’s German stalag. Students smuggle in packets of salt, pepper, and sugar, and trade them directly for consumption. But if a few more rounds of intervention can reduce students’ lunch options, we can expect to see a new medium of exchange emerge. I’m betting on salt, which already has a long history as commodity money throughout the ancient world.

But if the nanny-state nutritionists are forced to back off and allow either more flexibility or more freedom, we will lose an excellent opportunity to study the evolution of basic monetary economics in a controlled setting.

Won’t someone please think of the science?

B.K. Marcus

B.K. Marcus is managing editor of the Freeman.

President Obama Is God?! — and That Ain’t Good

Whenever a culture exchanges the real God for a facsimile god, the results are ALWAYS culturally and personally disastrous. Welcome to a new, transformational moment in American history as President Obama gets exactly what he wanted from the Supreme Court of the United States, the affirmation of Obamacare and the legalization of Gay marriage, as found in the U.S. Constitution!

Sounds crazy, yep, but crazy is what Obama likes because crazy TRANSFORMS.

From a cultural mess to a national security mess we touch base with Dr. Tim Furnish regarding the FOUR Islamic jihad attacks that occurred over the Ramadan weekend.

What a way to start the day!

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VIDEO: Gay men blow kisses, taunting guy in ‘Ask Me About Jesus’ shirt; watch his reaction

“SCOTUScare”: Supreme Court Guts Obamacare to Uphold Subsidies by Daniel Bier

The Supreme Court has voted 6-3 (with Chief Justice Roberts writing the majority opinion, joined by Justice Kennedy and the four liberal justices) to uphold the subsidies the IRS is distributing for health insurance plans purchased on the federal insurance exchange.

This ruling sets a dangerous precedent, and its reasoning is, as Justice Scalia wrote in his dissent, “quite absurd.”

There will no doubt be much written about the decision in the coming days, and almost all of it will mischaracterize the ruling as the Supreme Court “saving” the Affordable Care Act again.

This is a crucial error: The Court’s ruling guts the ACA and rewrites [it] in a way that is politically convenient for the president — again.

When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, the law was designed to work through a “cooperative federalism” approach. For example, the portion of the law expanding Medicaid, like the rest of Medicaid, would be a joint federal-state program, partly funded and regulated by the feds but administered by the states.

The part of the law meant to increase individually purchased insurance coverage was similarly designed to work through federal-state cooperation.

Each state would set up its own health insurance “exchange,” and the federal government would issue tax credits for qualified individuals who purchased policies on the state exchanges. The logic here is that the states are best suited to run exchanges for their residents, as they have particular and specialized knowledge about other state healthcare programs, state regulations on insurance, and their residents’ health needs.

But the law did not (and constitutionally could not) force state governments set up exchanges. So as a backstop, a separate section of the law allows the federal government to set up an exchange for residents in states that did not set up their own.

Here’s where it got problematic: The plain text of the law only authorizes tax credits for policies purchased on an “exchange established by the State.”

There’s no easy way around this fact. Nowhere does the ACA authorize subsidies for plans purchased on the federal exchange. None of this would have been an issue if every state had chosen to build an exchange, as the law’s authors anticipated.

But in reality, the ACA has been persistently unpopular, and only 14 states (and DC) had working exchanges. The details of the backstop provision suddenly became a lot more important as the residents of 36 states were cast onto the federal exchange.

Faced with uncooperative federalism, the Obama administration suddenly had a big political problem, and it would have been quite embarrassing for the law’s biggest benefit to evaporate just as the president was planning to run for reelection on it.

So 14 months after the bill was signed into law, the IRS issued a rule, by executive fiat, to issue subsidies on the federal exchange. Because the penalty for failing [to] purchase health insurance is based on the cost of insurance, including subsidies, relative to a person’s income, individuals and businesses in states without exchanges who would otherwise have been exempt from fines and mandates were now in violation.

Lawsuits followed, which argued the IRS’s decision to issue subsidies in states that had declined to create exchanges was against the law, and it had resulted in actual harm to them.

In one of the lower court rulings on this issue, the DC Circuit concluded that the law offered no clear basis for issuing subsidies through the federal exchange.

If Congress intended to issue subsidies through the federal exchange, it would have been perfectly easy for them to say so, in any number of sections. And if Congress intended to treat the federal exchange as though it were a State entity (as the ACA does with US territories’ exchanges), it knew how to do that too. Yet there is no section of the law that does this.

Some argued that this omission was a “drafting error,” a legislative slip-up. If so, it was one it made over and over again, in at least ten different sections. And, as Michael Cannon rather pointedly asks, if it was a drafting error, why didn’t the government make that case in court? Why didn’t the IRS make that claim when they issued the new rule?

The answer may be that the law meant what the law says. The scant legislative history on this question doesn’t show that Congress ever thought that subsidies were going to be disbursed through the federal exchanges. Perhaps the law’s authors simply didn’t think about it or did not consider the possibility that most states would refuse.

But, in fact, it is entirely plausible that the ACA’s authors intended to only offer subsidies to residents of states that created exchanges, as an incentive to states to build and run them.

The reasons why Congress wanted the states to run the exchanges are perfectly clear. But, apart from the possibility of losing the subsidies, there seems to be little reason for state governments to take the risk of building one of the notoriously dysfunctional exchanges if they could dump their citizens onto the federal exchange with no consequences.

Jonathan Gruber, an MIT economist who was involved in the design of the health care law, explicitly claimed that the law’s authors did this on purpose:

If you’re a state and you don’t set up an Exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits. … I hope that’s a blatant enough political reality that states will get their act together and realize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these Exchanges, and that they’ll do it.

On the other hand, the government argued (and Roberts accepted) that the text of the law is ambiguous, and ambiguous phrases should be interpreted “in their context and with a view to their place in the overall statutory scheme,” the goal of which was to increase health insurance coverage.

Given that, Roberts concludes, we should construe “exchange established by the State” to mean any ACA exchange, whether Federal or State.

Roberts got to this reasoned, methodical, and preposterous conclusion by arguing that the plain meaning of the text would lead to “calamitous results” that Congress meant to avoid. To wit, that only allowing subsidies for plans purchased on state exchanges would cause a “death spiral” in the insurance market in states that refused to establish exchanges.

The ACA reform has three basic components: subsidies for insurance plans, the individual mandate to purchase insurance, and regulations requiring insurers to issue coverage to people with preexisting conditions (“guaranteed issue”) and banning them from charging higher premiums to sicker people (“community rating”).

The “death spiral” logic goes:

  • If states chose not to establish exchanges, their residents would not get subsidies;
  • If they couldn’t get subsidies, many people would be exempt from the insurance mandate;
  • If they were exempt, they could just wait until they got sick to buy insurance;
  • If they did that, insurers would have to accept them, under the guaranteed issue rule;
  • If that happened, the price of insurance would go up for everyone, under community rating;
  • If that happened, more healthy people would drop out of the insurance market, leaving insurers with a pool of ever sicker and more expensive patients (“adverse selection”), thus forcing insurers out of business and leaving even more people without insurance. And so on.

Hence, “death spiral.” In fact, this is exactly what happened in the 1990s in many states with guaranteed issue and community rating, before Massachusetts invented the mandate to force people to buy insurance and keep the pool of insured people relatively healthy.

But in the ACA, the mandate rests on the cost of insurance with subsidies, and (under the plain text of the law) the subsidies rest on the states establishing exchanges. If the subsidies go, fewer people will buy insurance, and the mandate crumbles, leading to a spiral of higher costs and fewer people insured.

Roberts concluded that this risk would have been unacceptable to Congress, arguing: “The combination of no tax credits and an ineffective coverage requirement could well push a State’s individual insurance market into a death spiral. It is implausible that Congress meant the Act to operate in this manner.”

This perceived implausibility, combined with the alleged ambiguity of the text, caused the Court to rule in favor of the subsidies:

Petitioners’ plain-meaning arguments are strong, but the Act’s context and structure compel the conclusion that Section 36B allows tax credits for insurance purchased on any Exchange created under the Act. Those credits are necessary for the Federal Exchanges to function like their State Exchange counterparts, and to avoid the type of calamitous result that Congress plainly meant to avoid.

The basic problem with Roberts’ decision is that the text isn’t ambiguous. It’s actually pretty clear, as he acknowledged. But the second issue is that Roberts has no strong basis for his speculations about what Congress thought was likely to happen with states or what risks it was willing tolerate.

If the ACA’s authors thought (as almost everyone did) that the states would get with the program and establish their own exchanges, there is no reason that they would have assumed a serious risk of a death spiral. In fact, Gruber suggested that was the plan all along: offer a carrot to the states (the subsidies) and a stick (the risk of screwing up their insurance market).

But more importantly, the “implausible” risk that Roberts bases his interpretation on is precisely what the ACA deliberately did to US territories by imposing guaranteed issue and community rating without an individual mandate.

The DC Circuit Court that ruled against the subsidies last year made exactly this point:

The supposedly unthinkable scenario … one in which insurers in states with federal Exchanges remain subject to the community rating and guaranteed issue requirements but lack a broad base of healthy customers to stabilize prices and avoid adverse selection — is exactly what the ACA enacts in such federal territories as the Northern Mariana Islands, where the Act imposes guaranteed issue and community rating requirements without an individual mandate.

This combination, predictably, has thrown individual insurance markets in the territories into turmoil. But HHS has nevertheless refused to exempt the territories from the guaranteed issue and community rating requirements, recognizing that, “[h]owever meritorious” the reasons for doing so might be, “HHS is not authorized to choose which provisions of the [ACA] might apply to the territories.”

But, it seems, the Supreme Court feels that is authorized to choose what provisions of the ACA should apply, on the grounds that doing so would make better policy, regardless of what the law actually requires.

This is essentially what Roberts did in the previous Obamacare ruling, in which he rewrote the individual mandate and the Medicaid portions of the law in order to make them pass constitutional muster.

In his scathing dissent, Justice Scalia noted,

Having transformed two major parts of the law, the Court today has turned its attention to a third. The Act that Congress passed makes tax credits available only on an “Exchange established by the State.”

This Court, however, concludes that this limitation would prevent the rest of the Act from working as well as hoped. So it rewrites the law to make tax credits available everywhere. We should start calling this law SCOTUScare.

… This Court’s two decisions on the Act will surely be remembered through the years. The somersaults of statutory interpretation they have performed (“penalty” means tax, “further [Medicaid] payments to the State” means only incremental Medicaid payments to the State, “established by the State” means not established by the State) will be cited by litigants endlessly, to the confusion of honest jurisprudence.

This decision is not disastrous because it “saved” Obamacare — it did no such thing: The Court gutted the law and let the Obama administration stuff it with whatever policy it thought best.

No, the ruling is a catastrophe because it establishes the principle that the president can unilaterally override the plain meaning of the law whenever he or she thinks that doing so will lead to a better outcome, one more in keeping with his or her policy goals.

As is often the case with elaborate government programs, things didn’t turn out the way that the planners expected. And, once again, the Supreme Court allowed the government to skate around both the Affordable Care Act and the law of unintended consequences.

This decision sanctifies the administration’s decision to defy Congress, circumvent the states, and flout the law. And as the authors of Obamacare knew, if you subsidize something, you’ll get more of it. Expect this ruling to stimulate more sloppy legislation, executive overreach, and subversion of the rule of law.


Daniel Bier

Daniel Bier is the editor of Anything Peaceful. He writes on issues relating to science, civil liberties, and economic freedom.

VIDEO: Senator Ted Cruz on Washington, Congress and “The Age of Cronyism”

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) delivered a speech at The Heritage Foundation revealing the cronyism that runs deep in Washington, powered by the Washington Cartel of establishment politicians and corporate lobbyists who continue to benefit big government and big business at the expense of millions of Americans.

“Washington has done a great job of one thing – picking winners and losers, except it’s clear each time who the losers are: American families, who are struggling to pay skyrocketing health care premiums and tuition costs; it’s our community banks and marketplaces that are going out of business; it’s young entrepreneurs and small business owners.”

“What’s happening in Washington is no accident,” Sen. Cruz said. “It is a concerted effort by corporate lobbyists and establishment politicians. Lobbyists and career politicians make up the Washington Cartel. Let me explain to you how it works: A bill is set to come before Congress, and career politicians’ ears and wallets are open to the highest bidder. Corrupt backroom deals result in one interest group getting preferences over the other, although you give the other a chance to outbid them. Or even worse, a very small interest group getting special carve-outs at the expense of taxpayers.”

Sen. Cruz discussed four examples of the Washington Cartel at work:

Regarding the Export-Import Bank, Sen. Cruz said:

“It is hard to imagine an institution that is more emblematic of cronyism than the Export-Import Bank…. The Export-Import Bank kills American jobs, and often favors foreign investment over American investment. It also has this terrible record of subsidizing unfriendly regimes with problematic human rights records. In 2013, just one year, the Ex-Im bank streamed $35 million to Venezuela banks and investors; $335 million to Argentina; $1 billion to Russian financiers; and $2.7 billion to communist China.”

Regarding renewable energy mandates, Sen. Cruz said:

“A two-year extension of wind credits alone costs taxpayers more than $13 billion, which is enough to pay the monthly electricity bills for 124 million Americans. How about putting that up for a referendum? Do we continue to benefit one favored industry, or do we pay the electricity bill for 124 million Americans? You know, I don’t think that would be a close vote for the American people. And what’s interesting: it’s not a close vote in Washington. Because the only people voting in Washington are the lobbyists with bags of cash. And the lawmakers in both parties eager to get that cash.

“For decades, the federal government has teamed up with specific industries to pick winners and losers in the energy industry. Aside from further complicating an already Byzantine tax code, this type of corporate welfare has only distorted the price of energy and empowered failed companies like Solyndra.”

Regarding sugar subsidies, Sen. Cruz said:

“This form of subsidy seems particularly un-American. After all, before the Tea and Stamp Act came the Sugar Act in 1764… and it was then that the cry of ‘no taxation without representation’ was widely voiced by the colonists. You know what, we do have representation, but our representatives are not representing us.

“The Wall Street Journal reported last December that at the time, sugar was 58 percent more expensive here at home than at the global market…. This price control increases food costs for businesses and families, particularly low-income households…. From 1997 to 2011, nearly 127,000 jobs were lost in domestic sugar-using industries.”

Regarding the Internet sales tax, Sen. Cruz said:

“The Internet has been an incubator for new ideas. It has been a haven for entrepreneurial opportunity. It has allowed millions of people to create small businesses…. Today, parents can purchase Christmas presents for their kids with the click of a button; a teenager can design an app that revolutionizes the way things were done; a mom can sell her hand-made cards on Etsy; with a few taps, an Uber can come to your doorstep.

“And yet Congress is talking about passing the Orwellian-named Marketplace Fairness Act, we’ve seen the pattern of Washington fairness. What is Washington fairness? Hammer the little guy, help the big guy… [The Marketplace Fairness Act] would take every online retailer in America and tell them you must now collect sales taxes for over 9,600 different tax jurisdictions all across the country.”

Sen. Cruz concluded, “How do you break the Washington Cartel? You make the political price of doing the wrong thing higher than the price of doing the right thing, and that can only come from ‘we the people.’”

Here is the full speech by Senator Cruz at the Heritage Foundation:

Transcript of Sen. Cruz’s Remarks at the Heritage Foundation:

Thank you for the warm welcome. It is great to be with so many friends back at Heritage yet again. Today, what I want to address is the people versus the Washington Cartel. Restoring liberty in an age of cronyism. I want to start by thanking my friend Jim DeMint, who’s a big part of the reason that all of us are talking about Washington’s cronyism. Jim, when he was in the Senate, saw his colleagues eagerly packing pork into just about every bill. And he stood up and led a valiant fight against earmarks. When Jim started that fight, it was viewed as Don Quixote: tilting at windmills. And yet, today, thanks to his leadership, a Republican conference has officially sworn off earmarks.

But yet, that hasn’t solved the problem of cronyism in Washington. Indeed, just yesterday, the Senate voted for cloture for the Trade Promotion Authority Act. To leadership’s dismay, yesterday, I voted against it. Now I have always been for free trade, I campaigned on free trade. Free trade, I believe, creates more opportunities for Americans; when we open up foreign markets, it helps farmers, and ranchers, and manufacturers. And so I intended to support TPA. Indeed, when it first came up for a vote a couple of months ago, I did support TPA. But unfortunately when the package came back to the Senate floor, it had gone far beyond simply being about trade.

Once again, Congress has become enmeshed in backroom deals, and they were using TPA as an opportunity to promote, among other things, reauthorizing the Ex-Im bank and potentially even enabling President Obama’s illegal expansion of immigration.

And this seems to be an all-too-common trend in Washington. That whatever is happening, corrupt backroom deals dominate the end product.

When American families, when small businesses, and when the most vulnerable among us are hurting, Washington has a tendency to jump to action – but not to help those who need it the most. Washington is looking for solutions – for Washington. Not solutions that empower citizens across the nation to succeed.

Instead, Washington’s solutions invariably help the rich and well connected.

When the 2008 housing crisis hit millions of Americans leaving families with real estate at a fraction of the value, sunken savings accounts, and mortgages they couldn’t pay back, what did Congress do? Bail out big business. It handed out hundreds of billions of dollars to banks and institutions that were deemed “too big to fail.” Sadly the American workers is never deemed too big to fail.

This enabled the banks to concentrate even more power and, in fact, to buy out “weaker banks.” For example, PNC received $7.5 billion while National City didn’t receive anything, which then gave PNC the advantage, and then they turned around and bought out National City.

Since 2008, the big banks have only gotten bigger: As the Fed noted at the end of 2011, five banks held more than 8.5 trillion in assets… equal to 56 percent of the U.S. economy and that’s up from 43 percent five years earlier. Remember, Dodd-Frank was sold to the American people as stopping “too big to fail”. What do we see today? The big banks are even bigger.

As car-owners struggled with high gas prices in 2009, the federal government responded by handing over $80 billion to GM and Chrysler and its suppliers.

In 2010, as many hard-working Americans crawled out from under the financial crisis to revive their communities and regain their financial footing, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Act, with 19,000 pages of regulations. No bill that large, no regulation that voluminous, could possibly be good for any small institutions. And since then, hundreds of community and regional banks have closed.

Now it’s important to understand, that was not an unintended consequence. That wasn’t, “oops, we didn’t know that was going to happen.” The lobbyists for big banks were sitting at the table when Dodd-Frank was written. It was designed by Washington to favor the big guys over the little guys. And I would note, the proponents of that regulations, inevitably, they claim they’re helping the little guy. Now, either they’re not telling the truth, or they’re really, really bad at what they do. Because every single time they jump in with massive regulations, it helps the giant corporations, and the people that get hammered are the little guys.

In 2013, When Obamacare went into effect it imposed huge burdens on small business owners and young people, union bosses and members of Congress received special favors and exemptions. The very people who wrote the law-Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats–they wanted out of it- and this administration was only too happy to oblige. Today, the taxpayers subsidize their platinum plans while millions of Americans across this country have lost their jobs, have been forced into part-time work, have lost their health insurance, have lost their doctors, are facing skyrocketing premiums. Members of Congress retain their illegal exemptions from Obamacare.

Washington’s favors have gone on for far too long.

If you take a look at a map of the U.S., our office took every county in the country and color coded it, for whether median income had gone up or gone down. It’s quite striking, that map looks almost exactly like a geological map of shale formations across this country. Indeed on the Senate floor, I put that map up with a clear plastic overlay of the shale formations. You can see up in the Bakken, North Dakota, the counties, all of those counties median income is static. You can see the Barnett shale, and the Permian and the Eagle Ford, median income has skyrocketed, you can see the Marcellus shale, median income has skyrocketed.

Although it’s interesting; Marcellus shale doesn’t end at the Pennsylvania border, the jobs do. Because the politicians in New York have decided, apparently, New Yorkers don’t want jobs, they don’t want to provide for their family; or their idiot politicians are going to stand in the way and prohibit them. So even though they have resources in New York, the very same resources that are in Pennsylvania, the line between the states is like the finger of God drew in on the ground. South of that line, there are jobs, median income has gone up. North of that line, not a single one of those counties’ median income has gone up.

You look at the Monterey shale in California-abundant resources. None of those counties have gone up because the California politicians, just like the New York politicians, think California men and women don’t want to provide for their families. But do you know the one notable exception to that rule? The counties in and around Washington, D.C. are bright, bright green. Six of the 10 most affluent counties in the country are located in the D.C. metropolis. Those who live off the federal government are getting fat and happy, and almost every other county in America, median income has stagnated.

Washington has done a great job of one thing: picking winners and losers. Except, it’s all too clear who the losers are each time; it’s American families, who are struggling to pay skyrocketing health care premiums and tuition costs; it’s our community banks and marketplaces that are going out of business; it’s young entrepreneurs and small business owners.

The majority of Americans don’t have the time, don’t have the resources to lobby Washington politicians. They are too busy going about their daily lives, working hard to provide for their families and take care of their kids.

For example, when Tesla successfully lobbied Washington for a $1.3 billion taxpayer subsidy, average Americans were hard at work, and certainly weren’t spending their time thinking about the need to subsidize rich yuppies to spend $100,000 to buy an electric car. Look, If rich people want to buy an electric car, knock yourself out. But why should we be hammering hard working taxpayers to add another car to the 4-car garage? That doesn’t make any sense.

While big government looks out for the powerful and well-connected, average Americans, over and over again, get the short end of the stick. With a ruling expected any day now in King v. Burwell, the Obama Administration has already, at the behest of the insurance companies, crafted a contingency plan that allows insurers to cancel plans in the event that their subsidies go away. But the fat cat insurers are taken care of by big government. ‘You guys are fine, here’s the contingency plan.’ But the average American taxpayer? They don’t have a contingency plan. The Obama Administration has no credible claim whatsoever for the millions of Americans who will be left to pay the full price of Obamacare’s big-government mandates.

The rich and well-connected keep getting more and more favors at the behest of hard-working Americans. And we have got to stop this. Here is a very simple rule of thumb, and it is contrary to everything our friends in the media tell us. Big government benefits big business. Small government benefits small business and hard working men and women. You will never hear that on the nighttime news because the purveyors of big government always promise they’re helping the little guy, and yet they keep getting the fat cats richer and richer and richer.

Lobbyists and career politicians today make up what I call the Washington Cartel. And it operates very much like other cartels. It operates like OPEC. I don’t know, like sheikhs, if they actually wear robes. But they nonetheless, on a daily basis are conspiring against the American people. Let me explain to you how it works:

A bill is set to come before Congress, and career politicians’ ears and wallets are open to the highest bidder. Corrupt backroom deals result in one interest group getting preferences over the other–although you give the other a chance to outbid them–or even worse, a very, very small interest group getting special carve-outs at the expense of taxpayers.

And those who don’t oblige, well, they are shunned by the Cartel – effectively locked out.

Just this week, we saw a shameful example of this as House leadership threw Representative Mark Meadows out of his chairmanship because of his principled objections to TPA. Just this morning, news broke that leadership is seeking to strip Ken Buck, another conservative in the House, of his leadership position. Why is it that Republican leadership always, always, always cuts deals with the Democrats, and with Washington, and throws overboard the conservatives that, come October and November in an election year, they are desperately asking to turn out at an election?

The Washington Cartel has amassed more and more power at the expense of the American taxpayer with the same recipe repeated over and over again.

So today, I want to look at four examples of the Washington Cartel at work. I want to talk about who their schemes are hurting. And how we can restore freedom, bring back jobs and growth and opportunity, and how we can defeat the Washington Cartel.

It is hard to imagine an institution that is more emblematic of cronyism than the Export-Import Bank.

The Export-Import Bank is essentially welfare for big corporations, both foreign and domestic.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who as you all know is the source of much of progressivism, instituted the Bank.

What does the bank actually do? It provides loans and loan guarantees to hand-picked corporations. It’s one of the favored methods of cronyism: Washington handing out taxpayer money to selected giant corporations.

Now, on principle, there’s nothing wrong with loans being given except it’s not private investment. It’s not people actually risking their own capital and assessing the risk and reward. Rather, it’s funded on the taxpayer’s dime. Prior loan guarantees from the Export-Import Bank have benefited such paragons of corporate virtue as Enron and Solyndra. As it stands now, taxpayers are currently on the hook for over $100 billion in loan guarantees. If the projects succeed, the giant corporations make a profit. If they fail, the taxpayers foot the bill. Now those are pretty good odds. In Vegas, that’s called playing with the house.

As it stands, today the Ex-Im Bank funds roughly 2 percent of American exports.

And yet, of that 2 percent, from 2007 to 2013, the majority of the benefits have gone to 10 select companies. It’s good to be the king and it’s good to be a major donor to the king and to be gathering billions of taxpayer dollars because of it. Along with subsidies that support foreign companies it’s not just domestic companies. Foreign companies do very well with the Ex-Im bank, at our expense.

For example: Air India, a state-owned company, that’s right now putting at risk approximately 7,500 American jobs with the help of Ex-Im. Or Australian Roy Hill mine, to the detriment of our manufacturers and ultimately resulting in an estimated loss of $1 billion of iron ore sales here in America. That’s the taxpayers funding the government, funding foreign corporations, to hurt American workers.

Ex-Im kills American jobs, and often favors foreign investment over American investment.

It also has this terrible record of subsidizing unfriendly regimes with problematic human rights records.

In 2013, just one year, the Ex-Im bank streamed $35 million to Venezuela banks and investors, $335 million to Argentina, $1 billion to Russian financiers, and $2.7 billion to communist China. Mind you, this is at the same time Russia is invading Ukraine. We’re saying, “this is unacceptable, by the way, here’s a billion dollars.” That sort of makes the foreign policy protestations of the administration a little bit hollow.

Several companies that have received taxpayer-backed Ex-Im financing even admitted to previously doing business in Iran through their subsidiaries, undercutting efforts to sanction the Iranian regime. Moreover, the Justice Department recently indicted former Ex-Im loan officer Johnny Gutierez, with bribery chargers. More charges could be coming. And this very institution, Heritage Foundation, uncovered some 74 cases of fraud and corruption at the Ex-Im since 2009.

The Washington Cartel’s favoritism and cronyism inevitably breeds corruption. When you have government officials giving out billions of dollars of taxpayer money, suddenly the people who want that taxpayer money have every incentive in the world to further that corruption both latent and blatant.

And yet, the process of passing TPA, it appears that Senate and House leadership have made a deal to schedule a vote to reauthorize the Export-Import bank, that that was part of the price of TPA. That was a major reason why I voted, “No.” Now, in response to my criticism, leadership in both chambers have said, there is no deal. Excellent. If there is no deal, we should let Ex-Im expire and let it stay expired. For once, all Congress has to do is do nothing and if Congress is good at anything, it’s doing nothing. If leadership, as it says this week, “there is no deal on Ex-Im,” then simply do nothing, let it expire, and end the gravy train for Washington lobbyists on the Export-Import Bank.

A second example, renewable energy mandates are arbitrary government regulations that distort the free markets and artificially raise the cost for American families and job opportunities.

In 2005, Congress passed the Energy Policy Act, and one of the provisions in it was the Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires that renewable fuels be mixed into our gasoline supply.

Now, I support renewable fuels, I support biofuels, but I don’t support policies from Washington that pick winners and losers in the market.

One of the mandates included was the ethanol mandate. Over the years, it has been proven there is a demand for ethanol in the market, but ethanol should stand on its own, not atop the footstool of the government.

The ethanol mandate requires 16 billion gallons of biofuels, requiring a plot of farmland roughly equal to the size of the state of Kentucky, as a result, that has diverted corn from livestock and the food supply, and has contributed to increased food prices.

Several months ago, there was an agriculture summit in the state of Iowa. Most of the Republican candidates for president attended that summit. Every single candidate but one pledged his support for continuing the Iowa ethanol mandate. It’s very easy for conservative politicians to talk about ending cronyism, but when you’re standing in front of people who are the beneficiaries, that’s when you separate talk from action.

Big government energy mandates don’t stop with ethanol. There are tax credits for almost every form of energy. Each designed to give one industry a leg up over the other. There’s enhanced oil recovery credits for producing oil and gas from marginal wells. There’s an advanced nuclear power generation credit. Clean coal investment credits. And a credit for plugging electric and fuel cell vehicles. And of course the infamous wind energy credit.

Talking about wind: A two-year extension of wind credits alone costs taxpayers more than $13 billion, which is enough to pay the monthly electricity bills for 124 million Americans. How about putting that up for a referendum? Do we continue to benefit one favored industry, or do we pay the electricity bill for 124 million Americans? You know, I don’t think that would be a close vote for the American people. And what’s interesting: it’s not a close vote in Washington. Because the only people voting in Washington are the lobbyists with bags of cash, and the lawmakers in both parties eager to get that cash.

For decades, the federal government has teamed up with specific industries to pick winners and losers in the energy industry. Aside from further complicating an already Byzantine tax code, this type of corporate welfare has only distorted the price of energy and empowered failed companies like Solyndra.

My good friend, Senator Mike Lee, has taken the lead in previous Congresses to level the playing field, to end the special interest handouts, and stop the energy cronyism. How about instead of picking one industry after the other after the other, and benefitting them all to compete against each other, we take the taxpayer out of the game and let them fight it out on a fair field. Senator Lee has introduced the Energy Freedom and Economic Prosperity Act-a bill designed to eliminate all energy tax credits, and a bill that Senator Jim DeMint championed before Mike took lead.

A third example: sugar subsidies that artificially drive prices higher for the benefit of the few.

It should come as no surprise that another poster child for big government picking winners and losers traces its origins back to the New Deal. The Sugar Act imposed quotas on U.S. sugar production and restrictions on imports of sugar all while subsidizing U.S. production.

Now, I will note, this form of cronyism seems particularly un-American. After all, before the Tea and Stamp Act, came the Sugar Act in 1764. You’ll recall, we fought kind of a bloody revolution over that. And it was then that the cry of “no taxation without representation” was widely voiced by the colonists.

Well you know what, we, do have representation now, but our representatives aren’t representing us. They’re representing large corporations and lobbyists rather than the American people. And it’s the exact same circumstance of no taxation without representation. How about the representatives in Washington actually represent the men and women back home that we’re supposed to be working for?

The sugar program imposes restrictions on how much sugar can be sold-it provides a “benevolent” allotment for each processor and makes it illegal to sell more than the government’s designated amount.

Now, one could be forgiven for thinking this kind of centralized planning came from former Soviet apparatchiks: “You go sell that! You go sell that!” I mention the cartel. It’s what OPEC does every year. They sit around a table and say, “you go sell that. You go sell that, we’re going to conspire against the American taxpayers.” Both cartels, by the way, have the same principal victims.

Unfortunately, both Republican and Democrat administrations have kept this program essentially unchanged for eighty years-increasing the cost of sugar for Americans.

The Wall Street Journal reported last December that at the time, sugar was 58 percent more expensive here at home than at the global market. Why should Americans pay 58 percent more for sugar than people in the rest of the world? Only because the Washington cartel is taking that additional money and giving it to the select few favored lobbyists. And it’s not just sugar that you put into your coffee or your tea. Sugar is an ingredient in a great amount that we eat. From pastries to sodas-and as my two little girls will tell you, treats on a nightly basis.

And this price controlling increases food costs for businesses and families, particularly low-income households. If you’re a single mom struggling to make ends meet, if you see the food costs when you go to the grocery store and try to feed your kids, prices go up and up and up and your salary doesn’t seem to match it, part of the reason is that the Washington cartel isn’t listening to you, and they’re happy to take money from your paycheck and make fat cats even fatter. That’s the corrupt game that’s going on.

In fiscal year 2013, the average price for American raw sugar was 6 cents per pound higher than the average world price. As a result, Americans paid an unnecessary $1.4 billion extra for sugar. Now, there’s some Americans who don’t even make 1.4 billion in a year. That’s real money. And every time Washington picks winners and losers, the winners are concentrated, but the losers you could identify.

From 1997 to 2011, nearly 127,000 jobs were lost in domestic sugar-using industries. 127,000 jobs-think of the men and women who were working in chocolate factories, working in bakeries, working in soda factories, who now are unemployed, and one of the reasons is, the federal government is driving up the cost of their inputs, and valuing the interests of the lobbyist more that your job.

According to a 2006 study by the U.S. Department of Commerce, for every sugar-growing job that stems from artificially high sugar prices, approximately three manufacturing jobs are lost. Now that’s math that makes sense only in Washington, D.C.

And here’s the kicker – you want to understand the concentration: Sugar companies make up just 0.2 percent of the farms in America, anyone know what percentage of the crop industries total lobbying expenditures come from sugar? 40 percent. 0.2 percent of the farms generate 40 percent of the lobbying. Why?

Because if your lobbying is yielding 1.8 billion dollars, that’s good math. And the single mom who’s paying higher food prices, the chocolate factory owner who’s laying off, neither one of them have lobbyists. Neither one of them have a whole lot of representatives who are listing to them.

The fourth and final example: Internet sales tax.

We’ve looked at one example of how the Washington Cartel helps foreign nations and foreign investors, how it chooses winners and losers among American industries.

Now let’s look to an industry that’s been-blessedly-largely free from government regulators: the Internet. I want to turn to how it wants to make its network even broader and more intrusive – what’s the one thing that’s been left largely unmitigated by the government until now – the Internet.

The Internet has been an incubator for new ideas, it has been a haven for technological creativity. It is allowing millions of people to create small businesses. And by the way, the people who are the most freed up on the internet are the most vulnerable. It’s young people, Hispanics, African Americans, single moms, people who want a better life.

You know, it used to be, 20 years ago, if you wanted to start a business, you needed some capital. You needed to be able to buy an inventory. You needed a warehouse. You needed a distribution system. That took money. If you’re just getting started, if you’re a teenage immigrant, like my dad was in 1957, washing dishes, making 50 cents, an hour you’re not likely to have the capital to start a business. What does the internet do? It transform it. You have a good or service you want to sell– You can set up a website and suddenly you have a worldwide market. Someone clicks on the website says, “I want to buy your good or service, you can send it on Fed-Ex and boom, you can send it anywhere in the world, You know who that terrifies? Politicians in Washington. This freedom thing is very, very scary for politicians in Washington. Washington is all about power.

Today, parents can purchase Christmas presents for their kids with the click of a button. A teenager can design an app that revolutionizes the way things are done. A mom can sell her hand-made cards on Etsy. Or with a few taps, an Uber can come to your doorstep.

And by the way, the next time you take Uber-I’ll let you know, I don’t have a car in Washington. Uber is transformational. The next time you take an Uber, ask the Uber driver how he or she likes his job. I have yet to find an Uber driver who isn’t thrilled at the freedom of becoming a small business owner that the Internet has enabled.

And yet, what is Congress talking about doing ? It’s talking about passing the Orwellian-named Marketplace Fairness Act. Now, we’ve seen the pattern of Washington fairness. What is Washington fairness? Hammer the little guy, help the big guy. That’s very fair to lobbyists.

What would the Marketplace Fairness Act do? It would take every online retailer in America and tell them you must now collect states taxes for over 9,600 taxing jurisdictions all across this country, in real time. I want you to think about it. Let’s suppose you’re that single mom who started the business you’re selling online. You’re supposed to collect the Albany school taxes. Now Bret, do you know what the Albany school tax is? Do you know there’s a hearing scheduled next week to try to change it? Well, if you decide to start a small business, you’re expected to know.

And you could face an audit from 9,600 jurisdictions across this country if you haven’t correctly collected the Albany school tax, and you don’t know that they raised it by a quarter point in their last vote., which I have no idea if they did or not.

Why does the Marketplace Fairness Act have support? It has support because it’s a perfect storm for lobbyists. Number one, the Big Box stores, a major bricks and mortar retailers, they want to hammer the heck out of these online retailers. But here’s the interesting thing that’s shifted, so do the big online retailers. Of the 20 largest online retailers, 19 of them have physical presences, and so collect sales taxes in each of the states that has sales taxes. So suddenly you have the big box stores, the brick and mortar retailers, the big guys, and the giant online retailers, joining forces and suddenly they have a common enemy: all of these pesky little startups that have the temerity to try to take their customers.

And in Washington, there’s nothing more beautiful than when the lobbyists all align. When all the money is pointing in the same direction. Suddenly you see Republicans, and Democrats saying, “that is an inspired policy.” And yet, all of the millions of young people, of entrepreneurs, of people with an idea that want to topple the next giant company, they don’t have a single lobbyist. The American people are with us on this. The 2013 Gallup poll showed 57 percent of likely voters opposed taxing the Internet. Among young people, the demographic that represents the future of this country, 73 percent oppose a tax on the Internet. We should stand with the people. It is time to break the Washington Cartel.

We should stand with the people. It is time to break the Washington Cartel.

Instead of cutting blue-collar jobs by investing millions in foreign mining corporations, we should welcome jobs and production here at home. Instead of giving ethanol producers an automatic check, we should let the market determine their viability, and stop hurting farms from Connecticut to California. Instead of forcing restaurants and bakers and families to pay more for sugar – and undercut competition – we should welcome lower prices. And instead of handing over more power to big corporations and regulators, let’s keep the Internet free and encourage young entrepreneurs to keep innovating and to keep government’s hands off the Internet.

How we beat back the Washington Cartel, how do we restore power to the people?

The answer is simple – Americans across the country rise up, they engage on the issues, and we bring back the voice of the people.

The book of Ecclesiastes tells us there’s nothing new under the sun. I think where we are today is very much like the late 1970s. I think the parallels between Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama are uncanny: the same failed domestic policy, the same misery, stagnation, and malaise, and the same feckless and naiveté foreign policy. In fact, the very same countries, Russia and Iran, openly laughing at and mocking the President of the United States. The one person in America thrilled with the job Barack Obama’s doing is Jimmy Carter.

Why does that analogy give me so much hope? Because we know what comes next. The late ‘70s and 1980s, there was a grassroots movement of millions of men and women who rose up and became the Reagan revolution, and it didn’t come from Washington – Washington despised Ronald Reagan. If you see a candidate who Washington embraces, run and hide. And in 1980, Reagan rose up to break the Washington Cartel. How did he do it? He changed the rules: 1978, 1979, Reagan didn’t get on a plane and fly to Washington and sit down with the old bulls in Congress, sit down with Republicans and say, come on guys, you got to stand for something. He recognized that then and now they weren’t listening to the American people. Instead, he took the case to the American people. And it transformed this nation. How do you change, how do you break the Washington Cartel. You change the rules. You know, there’s an old saying that politics is Hollywood for ugly people.

But there is nothing that focuses the minds of elected politicians like the prospect that they might be voted out of office and have to find an honest job. How do you break the Washington Cartel? You make the political price of doing the wrong thing higher than the political price of doing the right thing, and that can only come from ‘we the people.’ It’s the only power strong enough. That’s what the Reagan revolution demonstrated. Washington despised Reagan until the revolution swept in, and suddenly a bunch of politicians said holy cow, ‘I’m not messing with that,’ and magically they supported lower taxes and lower regulations and stopped the favoritism and standing up and defeating the Soviet Union.

I think 2016 will be an election like 1980. As Reagan said, we win by painting in bold colors and not pale pastels.

I am going to close with a story.

We all know the story of the Wright brothers.

But a name we don’t as often hear is that of Samuel Langley. The Department of War gave him $50,000 to create a flying machine. Upon its launch, “it fell like a ton of mortar,” according to one reporter.

On December 17, 1903, only 9 days after Langley’s second experiment failed, two young Ohio boys with only $2,000 set out at Kitty Hawk, and to become the first men to sail in the air.

$50,000 on failed government programs picking winners and losers versus two entrepreneurs, two brothers with a vision and a dream and just $2,000. One a miserable failure; the other transformed the world.
That is power of American innovators free from the government. It’s the can-do spirit that has propelled scientists and entrepreneurs and immigrants who came with nothing, pioneers, and farmers to make this land the greatest nation on earth.

And it remains just that if we come together and break the Washington Cartel that is telling us far too much about what we can do and can’t do. And if we instead return the power to the people so they can do what they have always done best – achieve the unimaginable and leave a landscape of greater opportunities for generations to come.

The Left Will Always Blame the GOP on Obamacare

With the 2016 elections right around the corner, conservatives must begin immediately preparing to rebut the massive Democratic Party/mainstream media, symbiotic messaging operation. I read a piece this week by the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent that summarizes the far Left’s new Obamacare messaging strategy in the event of a Supreme Court loss in the King v. Burwell (Obamacare subsidies) case.

Here is a short summary of where we are. The far Left is terrified that the Supreme Court is going to rule against the Obama administration in King v. Burwell, essentially voiding the Obamacare subsidies in the states using the federal exchange even though the legislative language in the law regarding the “subsidies” was written this way to punish states for failing to set up state exchanges. The far Left and the Obama administration are disputing this point despite clear, videotaped evidence of Professor Jonathan Gruber, one of Obamacare’s lead architects, stating otherwise.

Now, the Obama administration has never let videotaped evidence of their prior contradicting statements dissuade them from continuing to lie to the American people (i.e. “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. Period.”) but, in this case, their lies are especially egregious because their plan to withhold subsidies from states that refused to set up a state exchange was designed to punish the citizens of that state for not complying with Obamacare. When the punishment backfired because of public opposition to Obamacare, and support for the governors and legislators who refused to comply with its exchange language only increased, they went with plan B: lie. As usual, after their strategic miscalculation they are desperately trying to find a way to blame Republicans for this disaster, although not one Republican in the House or Senate voted for the final version of Obamacare.

The far Left’s messaging strategy to avert political disaster because of their tactical miscalculation regarding the Obamacare subsidies is to say that the Republicans have “taken away” the subsidies and pin the blame on Republicans if the court rules against the Obama administration. But, here’s the catch; the Dems destroyed our already-troubled healthcare system all by themselves by unilaterally supporting Obamacare. The reason the Obamacare “subsidies” (which are your tax payer dollars given back to you after the government takes a cut) are necessary is because insurance costs are exploding because Obamacare forces Americans to buy expensive insurance they do not want and do not need. And the reason these “subsidies” may be taken away is because the Democrats unilaterally wrote and passed the law this way to punish Americans for resisting this legislative debacle.

Unsurprisingly, when you combine the mandate to purchase health insurance policies, which included multiple unwanted and unneeded services with the community rating and guaranteed issue provisions designed to redistribute costs according to government edicts, you have a recipe for explosive healthcare cost growth. Of course, none of this was a mystery to the Republican Party when they warned America about the coming storm of healthcare premium hikes, a warning the mainstream media largely downplayed to ensure the “wizard” stayed well-hidden behind the curtain.

So here it is in a nutshell: Obamacare was shoved down your throats using parliamentary trickery. Obamacare forced you to buy expensive insurance you don’t want or need at dramatically inflated costs to compensate for the redistributive, big-government, effort to price-control the health insurance market. Obamacare taxed you to gather a honey pot of money. Obamacare then used this honey pot of taxpayer money to “give back” to Americans to pay for their new, and more expensive insurance.

You will never fix this legislative disaster by doubling down on absurdity. The economics won’t work because they can’t work. The Republican Party must prepare their counter message right now to explain to the American people the horrible tsunami that Obamacare has created. If we allow the far Left to continue to distort markets, engage in massive income redistribution operations, and instill more big-government coercion schemes to force compliance on the American people by simply pledging to prolong the misery by “fixing” the subsidy system and continuing the misery, then we are no better than the president who lied to us to sell us this jalopy.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the Conservative Review. The feature image of the Supreme Court building is by Tom Williams | AP Photo.