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Dr. Ben Carson Answers the Clamoring of Millions of Americans to Run for President

MERRIFIELD, Va./PRNewswire/ — Citing the critical need to heal a nation more bitterly divided politically than it has been at any time in the past 150 years, Dr. Ben Carson on May 4th in Detroit announced his candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

“As a world-renowned neurosurgeon, Dr. Carson knows a thing or two about healing,” said John Philip Sousa IV, co-founder and chairman of The 2016 Committee, the political action committee originally formed to draft Carson into the presidential race. “I know I speak for millions of Americans in thanking Dr. Carson for entering this race and pledging to support his candidacy.”

“Dr. Carson’s candidacy represents the best and really the only opportunity we have to heal America and to bring Americans back together again under the banner of our Constitution,” Sousa added.

The Committee has been at the forefront of the movement urging Dr. Carson to run for president. Starting in August of 2013, it conducted  a petition campaign that ultimately collected more than 500,000 signatures from Americans urging Dr. Carson to enter the race. The Committee operates full time offices in Iowa and New Hampshire, and chairmen are in place in nearly every state coordinating more than 30,000 volunteers nationwide. The Committee has raised more than $16 million from more than 150,000 individual donors since 2013.

“For two years, Dr. Carson has said that if people clamored for him to run for president, he would have to answer their call,” said Vernon Robinson, The 2016 Committee’s campaign director. “Well, they indeed clamored, and he has answered them. But our work is far from over.  We will continue growing the massive grassroots network in pace to support Dr. Carson’s candidacy, and look ahead toward key Republican presidential straw polls and the September debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.”

“Dr. Carson’s candidacy will build on the massive grass-roots network that sprang up to encourage him to get into the race in the first place,” Robinson said. “He’s in it to win it, and we’re with him all the way.”

Dr. Carson is consistently among likely Republican voters’ top picks for the nomination. In one recent CNN survey, Dr. Carson placed second behind Mitt Romney but ahead of other likely contenders including formerFlorida Gov. Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Dr. Carson finished an impressive second place in the 2014 Bloomberg/Des Moines Register presidential poll of likely caucus-goers, and scored an overwhelming victory in the Polk County Republican Dinner in Des Moines in August. He also won the Linn County, Iowa, midterm caucus straw poll in January 2014.

The now-retired Dr. Carson chose Detroit for his announcement because that’s where he grew up and because he wanted to use the bankrupt city as a metaphor for President Obama’s failed economic policies. He says his campaign will speak out against Mr. Obama’s radical left-wing agenda, because he loves his country and wants to save it.

About The 2016 Committee

The 2016 Committee, formed expressly to draft Dr. Carson into the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, was founded in August 2013. Going forward, it will work to raise awareness of Dr. Carson’s qualifications, and will engage grass-roots conservative activists on behalf of his candidacy to provide the margin of victory for Ben Carson. For more information, visit www.2016committee.org or connect on Twitter@DraftRunBenRun or Facebook.com/RunBenRun.org.

Hope and Change, Yikes!

When president Obama was running for office, he promised hope and change.  Since I was well aware of his philosophical bent, a number of questions came to mind.  The first was, hope for what?  After all, this is the United States of America.  The greatest nation in history.  Not many years ago, she was the number one nation in the world for economic opportunities. America symbolizes hope, for those who desired to utilize sweat equity and their brains to work and achieve their dreams.  America was the beacon of hope to the world and a place where one could change their lot in life.

So I could not help but wonder what kind of hope and change was Obama referring to?  Was he hoping to change America into a giant progressive inspired downtrodden version of Detroit, Michigan or Camden, New Jersey?  Was the president giving hope to the muslims who for many years have Been striving to take over America?  Was he hoping to facilitate a rapid overall decline in our international stature as a nation? (Something he has achieved by the way)  Was Mr. Obama in his own unique way offering hope and change to enemy nations who once feared and respected the United States, but now view her as a paper tiger?

President Obama did say to the world that the United States was not a Christian nation.  So I wonder if he was giving hope to atheists and muslims who are seeking to wipe Christianity off the map throughout our republic?  When it comes to hope and change Obama style, one has to wonder what hope is there for the medical industry in America unless government healthcare is overturned?

When one observes the various conditions present throughout America and the world, they cannot overlook how president Obama has acted on his promise of hope and change.  Now I did not mean hope and positive change for America, mind you.  But when since the Revolutionary war have so many enemies of our republic have so much hope?  Iran had hoped to have nuclear missiles for many years.  But now, thanks or no thanks to the Obama changes in United States foreign policy Iran will very soon have nuclear missiles that can reach U. S. cities with ease.

Because of the president’s hope and change, there were recent midnight police raids on conservative Wisconsin homeowners who support the policies of Governor Scott Walker.  After the police ransacked their abodes a liberal judge threatened to hold them in contempt of court if the dared to tell the media about the incidents.  Wisconsin prosecutor, John Chisholm ordered the raids according to Fox News.  I am in no way saying that the Obama administration ordered or supported the raids.  But the atmosphere the regime has orchestrated over the past six years has emboldened progressives who only believe in liberty for those that agree with them.

Since the hope and change Obama era began, it is the thugs and other dregs of society who in much greater numbers are encouraged to either kill or steal from fellow Americans.  Locations like New York City and Chicago are becoming more difficult to live in, due to mayors who reflect the progressive philosophy of Mr. hope and change.

In recent months, more Christians have been beheaded, burned, raped, and enslaved than during the persecution the early church under the Roman Empire.  I believe that the overall increase or change in such activities is a direct result of the attitude against the Christianity displayed by the Obama regime.  Thus giving the dedicated muslim bigots hope that they can get away with tremendous brutality of historic proportions against non-muslims, especially Christians, Blacks and Jews.  The hope and change Obama has espoused only gives hope to the enemies of America, freedom, Christianity, women, children, Israel, our military, the American economy, healthcare, etc.

If the United States is to be rescued from the firm grip of destruction within the Obama interpretation of hope and change then his hope and change will have to be reversed.  Meaning: Rather than providing hope to our enemies like illegal immigrants, dedicated muslims, American street thugs and more, we must regain hope for ourselves and our nation through Christ Jesus.  The same one who gave hope to our founding fathers, including George Washington and his brave soldiers at Valley Forge.

Then “We the People” will make the right change to reestablish America as what Ronald Reagan called, the last best hope for mankind.

Worst in Nation Hawaii Health Connector Looking for Another $28M by Andrew Walden

Good money after bad?

Ranked last year as “worst in the nation,” with sign-up costs estimated at $56,819 per enrollee, the Hawaii Health Connector is begging Legislators for another $28 million.  The sales pitch?  A financial plan which openly states the Connector will lose money for another eight years.

The Connector is set up as a State-mandated non-profit organization with insurance company representatives on the Board of Directors.  The unique setup allows the Connector to evade Hawaii’s public records laws, but Hawaii’s lone Republican Senator Sam Slom argues the “$28 million in ‘debentures’ … are in reality General Obligation bonds.  Their issue by a private non-profit is unconstitutional….” On March 25 the House Consumer Protection and Health Committees agreed, yanking the funding mechanism from the bill and leaving the details for the House Finance Committee to work out in a hearing now set for Wednesday April 8 at 2pm in room 308. UPDATE: FIN passed SB1028 un-amended–it is headed for a referral to Conference Committee.

At the February 15 deadline, the Health Connector touted 13,356 sign-ups in the three-month enrollment period–but as many as 7,700 are Micronesian immigrants forced off Medicaid and into plans provided by the Health Exchange.  Estimated to save the State $20 million per year, the move alarms Dr. David Derauf of the Kokua Kalihi Valley clinic.  In a February 26 column in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Derauf points out:

“As a result of these changes, many will suffer serious consequences to their health. Some will die.

“For this particular group of lawfully present immigrants, the state under Medicaid currently pays 100 percent of the costs of the program, which ensures that low-income people have access to medically necessary care at no cost.

“By transferring them to a Connector plan, much of the state’s cost will shift to the federal government, which provides significant insurance subsidies for people near the poverty line.

“However, even with those subsidies, an individual will still have to pay up to $2,250 in copays and co-insurance in a single year — an impossible amount for someone working 40 hours a week at minimum wage and earning only $1,343 a month. At these income levels, seemingly insignificant copays can prevent people from getting the medications and treatment they need.”

Kelii Akina, President of the Grassroot Institute explains: “Before the Affordable Care Act, Hawaii had a workable public-private partnership that ensured 93% healthcare coverage for the population.  It was a model that other states were studying and planning to implement in some form without a federal mandate.  Now consumers as well as the state government are facing skyrocketing costs.”

Other populations are being suggested as forcible Obamacare converts.  A bill offering benefits to “innocent” ex-convicts includes lifetime health care “…provided that the claimant enrolls in the Hawaii health insurance exchange….”  With labor negotiations ongoing,Governor David Ige is suggesting putting the State’s 40,000 employees into the Connector.

While reaping the benefits of Micronesian misfortune, Connector officials talk up the State’s60,000 new Medicaid enrollees–signed up not by the Connector but by the State Department of Human Services.  While the Connector managed to waste $205 million on its failed enrollment software, the State DHS blew another $144 million on balky Medicaid signup systems leading to the February ouster of the State’s Medicaid Director.  Both efforts ended up relying on human enrollment workers to complete applications.

Says Slom: “I serve on the Connector Oversight Committee. When I seek fiscal answers I get double talk. The enrollment figures are bogus. The business plan is flawed. The Connector depends on endless subsidies and has lost millions of taxpayer dollars in questionable contracts. The Connector must be dis-connected now.”

Can the IRS Rewrite Obamacare?

The latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act might let them by EVAN BERNICK.

Does the law mean what it says, or whatever government officials want it to mean? That is the fundamental question confronting the Supreme Court in King v. Burwell, the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act. While the answer would be uncontroversial in an ordinary case, nothing involving Obamacare is uncontroversial. It will take a Court committed to the principle of judicial engagement to say what the law is, rather than what the executive branch thinks it ought to be.

King concerns the IRS’s interpretation of a section of the ACA concerning tax credits for buying health insurance from government-operated insurance exchanges. Wishing states to set up their own exchanges but lacking constitutional authority to force them to do so, Congress used a carrot-and-stick approach, authorizing tax credits to help qualifying individuals purchase health insurance “through an Exchange established by the State.”

As a failsafe, the ACA required the Secretary of Health and Human Services to create federally operated exchanges in states that declined to set up their own. When 34 states declined to establish their own exchanges, the IRS decided that it would issue tax credits through federal exchanges, despite a lack of explicit authorization in the ACA’s text. It has been doing so since January 1st, 2014. The question is whether the ACA actually permits it to do so.

Why did the IRS think that it had such authority? In finalizing its rule, the IRS stated that its interpretation of the ACA was “consistent with the language, purpose, and structure of section 36B [of the ACA] and the Affordable Care Act as a whole.” The IRS invoked “statutory language” and “legislative history” as supporting its position without specifying what statutory language or legislative history supported its position. Thus, the IRS did not provide a reasoned explanation for its actions–it acted arbitrarily.

Despite the government’s efforts to paint the relevant text of the ACA as ambiguous, the meaning of the text is in fact clear. The law says the tax credits go only to people to purchase insurance on an “Exchange established by the State.” The ACA expressly provides that “‘State’ means each of the 50 States and the District of Columbia.” Congress knew how to provide that non-state entities be treated as states–in fact, it did so elsewhere in the ACA, providing that a federal territory that establishes an exchange “shall be treated as a state.” It did not do so in this context. As Justice Alito put it at oral argument on Wednesday, “If Congress did not want the phrase ‘established by the State’ to mean what that would normally be taken to mean, why did they use that language?” Seeking to defend the IRS’s rule, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli bobbed and weaved but could not give a satisfactory answer, leading Justice Kennedy to observe that his arguments “seem(ed)… to go in the wrong direction.”

The Supreme Court has consistently held that agencies cannot rewrite congressionally enacted statutes under the pretense of implementing them. Last year, in Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community, the Court refused to engage in a “holistic” interpretation of the Indian Gaming Regulations Act to allow the state of Michigan to enjoin illegal gambling that did not take place on Indian lands. As Justice Kagan put it, writing for the Court, “This Court has no roving license, in even ordinary cases of statutory interpretation, to disregard clear language.” The language at issue in King, considered in context, is clear, and that meaning should prevail.

Why does it matter that the ACA be taken to mean what it says? What is at stake? Nothing less than the rule of law–the existence of a legal order characterized by a clear, non-contradictory, and stable rules that are general in scope and bind government officials no less than ordinary citizens.

If written laws can be revised after the fact by unelected bureaucrats who do not treat them as imposing any genuine constraints, we do not have the rule of law; instead, government officials can simply employ whatever reasoning they like (or none at all, as the IRS appears to have done here) in order to further whatever ends they think desirable. To allow the current administration to transform “X” into “not X” is to move us closer to that precipice. The “victors” today will be victims of unchecked government power tomorrow.

In order to defend the rule of law, the Supreme Court must engage with the law as written. It must seek the truth concerning the political choices and tradeoffs manifested in the ACA itself. As Thomas Paine once put it, “In America, the law is king.” In King, the Court must make plain where the authority lies.

ABOUT EVAN BERNICK

Evan is the Assistant Director of the Center for Judicial Engagement at the Institute for Justice, a libertarian public interest law firm.

EDITORS NOTE: This article originally appeared on The Huffington PostThe featured image is courtesy of FEE and Shutterstock.

The Obama vs. Obama Debates

While listening to a local talk-radio show recently, I heard a self-declared liberal caller tell the host, “You guys will go after Obama for anything.” I thought this was an interesting comment considering that devoted liberals will rarely challenge President Obama on anything!

Any reader of this website, or consumer of the variety of conservative and libertarian media outlets, will quickly realize that there are no sacred cows amongst true conservatives and libertarians. Conservative Review® dedicates a significant amount of its limited website space, its contributor’s time, and its financial resources to challenging not only President Obama, but Republicans as well. A simple search through Conservative Review’s archive will provide all of the evidence you need.

When will that “Road to Damascus” moment happen for the media/liberal establishment class? How many times are they going to be misled by President Obama before they mimic the conservative movement and wake up, realizing that they’re being manipulated for the gain of the political class? I recorded a podcast recently, which uses audio from President Obama to drive home this point. I called the episode the “Obama vs. Obama” debates. In it, I ask the question “If you are a supporter of President Obama, then which President Obama do you support?”

It’s stupefying how many times President Obama has publicly taken the exact opposite stance on an issue important to millions of Americans, yet retains unquestioned support on that issue from the same millions.

Although the list is long, here are just a few:

On Marriage

2004 President Obama said, “marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman.”

2012 President Obama said, “For me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

On Immigration

2013 President Obama said, an Executive Action bypassing the Congress would be “violating our laws” and would be “very difficult to defend legally.”

2014 President Obama said about an Executive Action bypassing the Congress “Today, I’m beginning a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress,”

On the Debt Ceiling

2006 Senator Obama said, “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. government can’t pay its own bills. … I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.”

2013 President Obama said, “I think if you look at the history, getting votes for the debt ceiling is always difficult, and budgets in this town are always difficult.”

On Executive Orders

2008 Candidate Obama said, “I take the Constitution very seriously. The biggest problems that we’re facing right now have to do with [the president] trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all. And that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m President of the United States of America.”

2013 President Obama said, “America does not stand still, and neither will I,” He continued. “So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do,”

And, the coup de grace, on Obamacare

2009 President Obama said, “No matter how we reform health care, I intend to keep this promise:  If you like your doctor, you’ll be able to keep your doctor; if you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan.”

2013 President Obama said, “What we said was, you can keep (your plan) if it hasn’t changed since the law passed.”

Clearly there is a level of serial dishonesty here and the dishonesty is not about largely inconsequential issues. These are significant issues affecting your life such as your healthcare, the breakdown of our Constitutional system of separated powers, who enters the country and how, and the financial health of the country. If you uncritically accept this dishonesty what else are you willing to accept?

Whenever I point out these dramatic inconsistencies to Obama supporters and I ask them which President Obama they support, they typically respond by redirecting the question as they say “Well; all presidents lie.” So, that’s it? Is this where we are as a country? Have we “evolved” to where President Obama has set a new standard of dishonesty to the point where we should no longer pay mind to being consistently lied to by the most powerful man in the world?

Nassim Nicholas Taleb points out in his book, The Black Swan, the risks of contagion in an information-rich society. Bad information spreads quickly in our new information environment but, when we ignore that information, and blindly accept what is told to us by the insider political class purely because of the partisan label they choose, we become what the founding fathers feared most, subjects.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the Conservative Review.

Obamacare Must Go!

Can anyone remember how awful the U.S. healthcare free market system was that it needed to be replaced by the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare? Can’t remember? That’s because it was ranked one of the best of the world and represented 17.9% of the nation’s economy in 2014. That’s down from the 20% it represented in 2009 when ObamaCare was foisted on Americans.

Heartland - Health Care NewsOne of the best ways to follow the ObamaCare story is via Health Care News, a monthly newspaper published by The Heartland Institute. The January issue begins with an article by Sean Parnell, the managing editor, reporting that ObamaCare enrollment is overstated by 400,000.

“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) once again lowered its estimate of the number of Americans enrolled in health plans through government exchanges in 2014. The 6.7 million enrollees who remain are far lower than the eight million touted in May at the end of the last open-enrollment period.”

ObamaCare has been a lie from the moment it was introduced for a vote, all 2,700 pages of it, to the present day. Everything President Obama said about it was a lie. As to its present enrollments, they keep dropping because some 900,000 who did sign up did not make the first premium payment or later stopped paying.

Michael Cannon, Director of Health Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, said the dropout rate is a troubling trend. “It means that potentially hundreds of thousands of Exchange enrollees are realizing they are better off waiting until they get sick to purchase coverage. If enough people come to that conclusion, the exchanges collapse.”

Elsewhere in this month’s edition, there is an article, “States Struggle to Fund Exchanges”, that reports on the difficulties that “states are experiencing difficulty in paying the ongoing costs of the exchanges, especially small states. “’The feds are asking us to do their jobs for them. We get saddled with the operating costs,’ said Edmund Haislmaier, senior research fellow for health care policy studies at The Heritage Foundation.” Some are imposing a two percent tax on the insurance companies which, of course, gets passed along to the consumer. Even so, the exchanges are not generating enough income to be maintained.

Why would anyone want ObamaCare insurance when its rates keep rising dramatically? In Nebraska the rates have nearly doubled and another article notes that “A 2014 study finds large numbers of doctors are declining to participate in health plans offered through exchanges under the Affordable Care Act, raising questions about whether people buying insurance through exchanges will be able to access health care in a timely manner.” One reason physicians gave was that they would have to hire additional staff “just to manage the insurance verification process.”

Dr. Kris Held, a Texas eye surgeon, said ObamaCare “fails to provide affordable health insurance and fails to provide access to actual medical care to more people, but succeeds in compounding existing health care costs and accessibility problems and creating new ones.”

Health Care News reports what few other news outlets have noted. “In Section 227 of the recently enacted ‘Cromnibus’ spending measure, Congress added critical but little-noticed language that prohibits the use of funds appropriated to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to pay for insurance company bailouts.” William Todd, an Ohio attorney, further noted that “Congress did not appropriate any separate funding for ‘bailouts.’” Todd predicted that “some insurers are likely to raise premiums to avoid losses, or they will simply stop offering policies on the exchanges altogether.”

The picture of ObamaCare failure emerging from these excerpts is a very true one. Its momentum, in fact, is gaining.

In mid-December, the Wall Street Journal opined that “With the Supreme Court due to rule on a major ObamaCare legal challenge by next summer, thoughts in Washington are turning to the practical and political response. If the Court does strike down insurance subsidies, the question for Republicans running Congress is whether they will try to fix the problems Democrats created, or merely allow ObamaCare damage to grow.”

King v. Burwell will be heard in March with a ruling likely in June. “Of the 5.4 million consumers on federal exchanges, some 87% drew subsidies in 2014, according to a Rand Corporation analysis.”

The Wall Street Journal recommended that “The immediate Republican goal should be to make insurance cheaper so people need less of a subsidy to obtain insurance. This means deregulating the exchanges, plank by plank. Devolve to states their traditional insurance oversight role, and allow them to enter into cross-border compacts to increase choice and competition. Allow insurers to sell any configuration of benefits to anyone, anywhere, and the private market will gradually heal.”

Or, to put it another way, eliminate ObamaCare entirely and return to the healthcare insurance system that had served Americans well until the White House decided that socialism was superior to capitalism.

The problem with the Affordable Care Act is that the cost of the insurance sold under the Act is not affordable and ObamaCare is actually causing hospitals and clinics to close their doors, thus reducing healthcare services for those who need them.

ObamaCare must go. If the Republicans in Congress did nothing more than repeal ObamaCare, the outcome of the 2016 election would be a predictable win no matter who their candidate will be. If not repeal, some separate actions must be taken such as eliminating the tax on medical instruments.

If the Republican Congress fails to take swift and deliberate action on ObamaCare between now and the 2016 elections, they will have defeated themselves.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

A Handy Glossary for Tonight’s Class Warfare State of the Union Speech

Let me preface this piece by saying that if you have convinced yourself that the government, by taking more of our money through higher taxes, will make us all more prosperous, then you need not read any further. I have come to learn that any attempt to persuade the far-left “tax-and-spend” crowd is a fruitless endeavor despite the obvious disconnect between what these people say, and what they do. This piece is directed at ordinary Americans who, as evidenced by the mid-term election results, have lost patience with the “big-government-is-best” crowd.

Whether it’s John Kerry’s tax avoidance scheme…or the Obamas spending $1,000 on just one meal at a club that charges an unbelievable $500,000 for membership, it’s clear that the leaders of the far-left are living by the credo “do as I say, but never as I do.”

I have asked many of the tax-and-spenders two simple questions and I rarely, if ever, get a reasonable answer.

Question #1: Do you voluntarily pay more in taxes? Hint; they always say no (despite demanding that we pay higher taxes).

Question #2: How does taking more of my money make me better off?

If you decide to tune in to Tuesday’s State of the Union speech or to ask your tax-and-spend friends the above questions, I have provided you below with a glossary of key buzzwords and phrases you will find in the president’s speech and in their answers:

“WE NEED TO” – The tax-and-spend crowd never discuss taxes in terms of “I need to” and “you need to,” largely because they avoid higher tax rates themselves and they know you don’t want to pay higher taxes either. Using the term “we” rather than the terms “I” or “you” is a clever rhetorical-trick they use to make you believe that the “other guy” is going to be hit by the new taxes, not you. Whether it’s John Kerry’s tax avoidance scheme by parking his $7 million luxury yacht in Rhode Island to avoid paying the $500,000 Massachusetts tax bill, the Clintons avoiding hundreds of thousands in estate taxes by using shady loopholes to divide their real-estate holdings into trusts, or the Obamas spending $1,000 on just one meal at a club that charges an unbelievable 500,000for membership, it’s clear that the leaders of the far-left are living by the credo “do as I say, but never as I do.”

“IT’S AN INVESTMENT” – I love this one because it requires tax-and-spend types to completely exit the world of the real for the world of wishful thinking. An “investment” is something individuals CHOOSE to do with their money where they put off immediate satisfaction for future payments based on a reasonable expectation of future gain. When government takes your money in the form of taxes to “invest” they do the following:

Tragically, this scene is repeated everyday inside the D.C. inner circle and rhetorically disguised as public “investments.”

1) They have CHOSEN for you what you chose not to do in the first place. If you wanted to “invest” in Solyndra then the opportunity was there, and the fact that Americans didn’t invest in Solyndra should have been a sign to the government that something was wrong. Instead, they took your money and gave it away at an incredible loss to all of us. Tragically, this scene is repeated everyday inside the D.C. inner circle and rhetorically disguised as public “investments.”

2) They distort the markets they enter by giving away your money to their connected friend’s businesses and, at the same time, assisting their connected friends in crushing their unconnected business competitors. If you have money, then it pays to make government connections to ensure your “investments” never lose.

3) They take your dollar and make it worth less before the “investment” is even made. The government bureaucracy siphons off a large percentage of your money before it arrives back in the economy, a phenomenon economist Arthur Okun called the “leaky bucket.” What “investment” have you ever made that is guaranteed to lose money before it’s even proposed? Only in government-speak is this a sound “investment.”

“FAIR SHARE” – An inconvenient series of facts for the tax-and-spend crowd, which they contort themselves to explain away, is that the government is taking a historic amount of money from you, and the highest income-earners already pay a significant share of the taxes. For the first time in American history the government took over $3 trillion from you in taxes, an astounding $1 trillion more than they took from you in the year 2000. Also, the top 20% of income-earners already pay 70% of the taxes and earn about 52% of income. Think about that, just 2 out of 10 Americans pay 70 cents of every tax dollar the government takes. If this isn’t a “fair-share” then you owe it to us to explain what percentage is, and how you figured that out.

Obamacare is decimating middle class incomes by hiking premiums while, at the same time, increasing the costs of healthcare for business owners and dramatically reducing the take-home-pay for their employees, as employee salaries stagnate to compensate for the increased healthcare costs.

“THEY DON’T NEED ALL THAT MONEY” – This one is ironic because most of the leadership of the modern tax-and-spend crowd seem to “need” a whole lot of money themselves. Whether it’s liberal rock-star Elizabeth Warren, or Bill Clinton, both with a net worth in the tens of millions of dollars, they appear to “need” millions of dollars for themselves, while telling the rest of us that we “need” a whole lot less.

“WE NEED TO BUILD THE MIDDLE CLASS” – This is an often used, yet ironic, statement considering so few of the tax-and-spend crowd are defined as “middle-class” yet, the people they preach to, are. Doubly ironic is that President Obama has rode roughshod over our economy with a hapless class warfare agenda of new and higher taxes on income, investments, capital gains, payroll, healthcare, and more. But, with each new tax, the rich get richer and the middle class are stuck in the mud. Here’s the painful truth about why this is happening:

1) The high corporate tax is driving quality manufacturing jobs out of our country, and to countries with more reasonable tax rates. This is harming the middle-class that needs these jobs to keep pace with the increasing cost of living.

2) The compliance costs for the massive new piles of red tape regulations the Obama administration has thrown at us are costing American businesses billions of dollars. But, here’s the catch, big businesses with connections get richer because they already have massive legal departments to deal with the regulations and their smaller competitors go out of business trying to comply. Again, the middle-class and small-business owners get screwed.

3) Obamacare is decimating middle class incomes by hiking premiums while, at the same time, increasing the costs of healthcare for business owners and dramatically reducing the take-home-pay for their employees, as employee salaries stagnate to compensate for the increased healthcare costs.

In conclusion, the President will deliver his State of the Union speech this Tuesday and, at some point in the speech, will use one, if not all, of the above terms and phrases as he proposes $320 billion in NEW taxes on us. He will disguise these taxes on us in flowery, class warfare rhetoric designed to divide us into artificial groups but, he will never be able to answer the simple questions I posed above without resorting to verbal judo and linguistic gymnastics.

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

Jonathan Gruber’s Big, Benevolent Fraud by D.W. MacKenzie

Obamacare, the noble lie, and cognitive dissonance at MIT.

It seems that critics of the so-called Affordable Care Act (ACA ) have a new ally in our efforts to expose the deficiencies of the legislation: Jonathan Gruber.

This development comes as a surprise, because Gruber was the ACA’s primary architect. He has made public remarks that expose problems with the ACA’s adoption and future operation. However, Gruber still supports the ACA and labors under the idea that it can be fixed.

Gruber admits that the ACA is a kind of fraud — that is, it was deliberately written in a misleading way. The ACA was presented as a way to increase the affordability and accessibility of health care. In reality, the ACA is a transfer scheme.

If the ACA benefits Americans, why did it need to be misrepresented? According to Gruber, transparent spending and transparent taxing are impossible: “You just can’t do it.… Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage.… Basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter.”

The ACA was written to hide the fact that it is designed as a transfer from healthier, younger people to less healthy, typically older people.

Why is a lack of transparency severely problematic? Because bureaucrats and politicians are supposed to serve the public in modern social-democratic welfare states. But why would we expect bureaucrats and politicians to actually serve the public?

Some scholars have suggested that competition in democratic elections can push politicians to serve the public, and elected politicians will therefore keep a watchful eye on bureaucrats. This is called the “median voter theorem.”

The problem is that political competition fails to discipline people in the public sector when governance is opaque. A well-informed electorate is a necessary condition for effective political competition.

Gruber is probably correct in saying that passing the ACA required misinforming the electorate. However, the opaque governance that Gruber lauds opens the door for large-scale waste and abuse by special interests. Opaque governance and a misinformed, or uniformed, electorate make it virtually certain that the ACA will be administered inefficiently, whatever one thinks of its merits.

Indeed, a lack of information causes adverse selection problems whereby the most corrupt people make the greatest efforts to rise in politics and within bureaucracies. Opaque governance thus guarantees abuse of the ACA by public officials and special interests.

What makes Gruber’s remarks particularly worthy of criticism is that he is employed as an economist — and at a top university. Worse still, he teaches public finance and policy at MIT: he really should understand the importance of transparency. And he does. Gruber is the author of Public Finance and Public Policy, chapter nine of which covers the median voter theorem. So, Gruber does understand the necessity of political openness and an informed electorate for efficiency in the public sector. Efficiency requires more than an informed electorate, but it is a necessary condition.

Anyone who understands even the basics of the median voter theorem knows full well that transparency is strictly required for efficiency. Anyone who simultaneously believes that transparency and opaqueness are both necessary for good public policy has cognitive dissonance. Jonathan Gruber has unwittingly helped reveal the incoherence of the case for the ACA.

Gruber is an economist who fancied himself able to reengineer dynamic markets through social policy. His conceit as a social engineer is matched by his disrespect for the American electorate. He thought that an opaque political process and obscure legal language could keep people in the dark. On top of that, Gruber fathered lies because he knew voters would reject the ACA if they were aware of the wrenching changes the legislation would bring. As his lies became obvious, he blamed poor legal phrasing for the federal government’s inability to hide the costly consequences of his transfer scheme behind the subsidies in the federal exchange.

It’s the conceit of the “nudger” — the classic case of an elite policymaker who thinks he is smart enough to design what’s best for you, even if you’re too stupid to understand why and too ignorant to check up on him.

Didn’t Gruber realize such monumental legislation would be under tremendous scrutiny? Didn’t he realize the painful economic effects would be felt by real voters with common sense? And didn’t he realize that it would only take pulling back one of the curtains to expose the totality of this Wizard-of-Oz-like scheme?

Fortunately, it has gotten much easier for people to become informed about the real facts concerning the ACA, as well as other social programs. Citizens will never be well-informed about all of the backroom politics and the internal operations of bureaucracies. But we can at least learn about their true nature in the abstract — and with regard to the ACA in particular.

Perhaps most importantly, we can be on the lookout for those claiming to be wizards in Washington.

20141117_mackenziethumbABOUT D.W. MACKENZIE

D. W. MacKenzie is an assistant professor of economics at Carroll College in Helena, Montana.

Not Just the VA: Another example of government failure in healthcare by Terree P. Summer

Jay Littlewolf, a 54-year-old man, said inadequate healthcare at the government clinic compounded his problems with a diabetic ulcer on his right foot. He said that at one point he was told the remedy was to cut off his toes. Instead, he sought private medical treatment in Billings, Montana. “I don’t like those comments when the podiatrist says he just wants to cut your toes off,” Littlewolf said. “I know there are alternatives. Common sense says that.” To date, Jay has spent $3,000 out of pocket and expects his total bill to exceed $20,000. He wants to be reimbursed—and pay the balance of the bill—but the government agency has refused.

“We are trained and born not to challenge the system,” he said. “I’m not trying to challenge the system. I just want my bills paid. I wanted to save my toes, my foot, my leg, my life. All I want to do is mow my darn lawn.”

Littlewolf’s story is reminiscent of the stories of neglect and incompetency at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the agency charged with caring for American veterans. Last April, news broke that the VA had serious problems. They came to light in its Phoenix  facility, where more than 40 veterans died while waiting for care. An internal audit released June 9, 2014, revealed that more than 120,000 veterans nationwide were left waiting or never got care and that pressures were placed on schedulers to use unofficial lists or engage in inappropriate practices to make waiting times appear more favorable. On June 11, 2014, the Federal Bureau of Investigation opened a criminal investigation of the VA.

Littlewolf, however, isn’t a veteran, and he was not dealing with the VA. Jay is a Native American and a member of the Northern Cheyenne reservation in Montana. He’s talking about the Indian Health Service (IHS), another federal government-operated healthcare system. When the scandal broke about the VA, the media, pundits, and politicians quickly concluded that the remedy for the VA’s ills was reform: more funding, regulation, and accountability. But the occurrence of the same problems at the IHS suggests that these sorts of problems may be endemic to government-run systems. Unfortunately, few are stepping up to recommend a more permanent fix than to enact reforms to the existing systems. What is needed is the privatization of healthcare services for those who suffer under government-controlled programs.

The IHS is familiar to me, as my grandfather was an IHS physician in Arizona. There are 22 tribes in my home state, and growing up there, I saw the issues facing Native Americans up close. The IHS has problems with long waits, inferior care, rationing, and lack of access—just as with the VA and with nationalized healthcare systems abroad. And, like the VA, when healthcare is under government control, it becomes inefficient and ineffective. Just ask Littlewolf.

In 2004, a report of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights unsurprisingly blamed the substandard care in the IHS on the usual culprits: lack of funding, hiring the wrong people, retention and recruiting of qualified healthcare providers, and maintenance of aging facilities. As usual, the report didn’t point to the real problem: the program itself.

As with all government programs, inevitably most of the funding goes to pay bureaucrats and administrators, leaving little money for medical staff salaries and treatment. Low salaries contribute to unfilled vacancies, poor retention, and low morale among staff, causing waiting lists and inferior treatment for patients. The IHS has job vacancy rates for healthcare professionals ranging from 12 percent to 32 percent.

Bureaucrats cover up their mistakes with phony documents, like those found in the VA scandal, showing that patients are being promptly treated. Ultimately, supporters of government control lament that if only the right people could be found to run the program, everything would be fine.

In order to justify their salaries, government administrators promulgate endless regulations, bogging down the treatment process with red tape. Additionally, the IHS has a bloated bureaucracy, with over 14,000 employees, including eight assistant surgeon generals, 439 “Director Grade” bureaucrats, and 601 “Senior Grade” bureaucrats. Yet, in 2005, per capita federal spending on patients by the IHS was only $2,130—half the amount spent on federal prisoners’ care.

In a move in the right direction, in 2008, U.S. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), introduced an amendment to the Indian Health Care Improvement Act that would allow tribal members to choose from various healthcare coverage options, including the ability to purchase private health insurance. According to Senator Coburn, the IHS currently rations services on the basis of whether a particular service will save a “life or limb.” Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, Coburn’s amendment was voted down, 28 to 67.

While Coburn’s attempt at reform was laudable—and would have, at a minimum, provided an option for Native Americans seeking better health care—it didn’t really address the root of the problem. The only lasting solution that would ensure improvements in care and health outcomes would be the privatization of services to Native American tribes. I’m not confident that such a change is likely in the near future—for the IHS or for the VA. And, unfortunately, the problems that have plagued the VA and the IHS are harbingers of a future under our increasingly socialized healthcare system.

ABOUT TERREE P. SUMMER

Terree P. Summer is an economist and author specializing in healthcare and the federal budget. She is the author of What Has Government Done to Our Health Care? published by the Cato Institute (1992).

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of FEE and Shutterstock.

New York Federal Reserve: Higher Health Costs, More Part-Time Workers from Obamacare

Obamacare puts employers in a bind, two New York Federal Reserve surveys show. Employers’ health care costs continue to rise, and the health care law is driving them to hire more part-time labor, CNBC reports:

The median respondent to the N.Y. Fed surveys expects health coverage costs to jump by 10 percent next year, after seeing a similar percentage increase last year.

Not all firms surveyed said the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is to blame for those cost increases to date. But a majority did, and the percentage of businesses that predicted the ACA will hike such costs next year is even higher than those that said it did this year.

Obamacare’s higher costs will cascade down to consumers. The surveys found that “36 percent of manufacturers and 25 percent of service firms said they were hiking prices in response” to Obamacare’s effects.

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey polls New York State manufacturers, and the Business Leaders Survey polls service firms in the New York Federal Reserve District.

A June Gallup poll found that four in ten Americans are spending more on health care in 2014 than in 2013.

Let’s dig into the numbers.

When asked, “How would you say the ACA has affected the amount your firm is paying in health benefit costs per worker this year?” More than 73% of manufacturers and 58% of service firms said the health care law has increased costs this year.

Companies are also more pessimistic about Obamacare next year. Over 80% of manufacturers and 74% of service firms expect health plan costs to increase in 2015.

New York Federal Reserve Empire State Manufacturing and Business Leaders Surveys

Source: New York Federal Reserve. For a larger view click on the image.

Employers were also asked what effects Obamacare is having on their labor forces. Over 21% of manufacturers and nearly 17% of service firms say they reduced the number of employees because of the law, while only about 2% of each have hired more workers. What’s more, nearly 20% of both manufacturers and service firms say that Obamacare has pushed them to increase their proportion of part-time workers, but just under 5% of each type of firm said they have lowered them. Presumably this is due to the perverse incentives from Obamacare’s employer mandate.

This data fits with research from the Atlanta Federal Reserve that found that since the recession, 25% of firms have a greater share of part-time workers, while only 8% have a lower share. This data also fits with anecdotes from around the country of employers saying that they’re hiring more part-time workers because of Obamacare.

New York Federal Reserve Empire State Manufacturing and Business Leaders Surveys

Source: New York Federal Reserve. For a larger view click on the image.

The sad truth is the health care law is pushing higher health costs onto employers and incentivizing them to hire more part-time workers. Despite passing a law in 2010 loaded with rules, regulations, mandates, and taxes, health care reform is needed more than ever. For solutions that that will control health care costs, improve quality, and expand access, check out the U.S. Chamber’s Health Care Solutions Council report.

Follow Sean Hackbarth on Twitter at @seanhackbarth and the U.S. Chamber at @uschamber.

Tragedy of the Healthcare Commons: The Affordable Care Act contributes to an already unsustainable situation by D.W. MacKenzie

Recent difficulties with implementing the Affordable Care Act have increased opposition to the program. A majority of Americans now oppose it. Problems with the healthcare.gov website are in all likelihood temporary. However, there are serious long-term problems, particularly considering long-term finance and labor-supply issues. Give the mounting difficulties with and growing concerns about the ACA, it is worthwhile to reconsider the main issues regarding this program.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently published a report examining some of these problems. It contains nothing new. Many commentators have discussed the projection of lower labor-force participation. Obamacare subsidies will allow lower-income Americans to work less. People do in fact work less if their costs are shared. The tendency of people to withhold work from collective undertakings is known among economists as a tragedy of the commons.

Reduced labor-force participation means both lower total tax revenue and higher spending on government benefits. The CBO’s long-term forecasts report serious imbalances between tax revenues and federal spending. Federal deficits are projected to remain high, but “manageable,” for about a decade.

The costs of entitlements, along with regular budget items (defense and non-defense), are relevant to any discussion of the ACA’s affordability. The retirement of the baby boomers, though, will result in steadily rising costs for older entitlement programs. Taxpayers are already legally responsible for a national debt of $17 trillion (which  will hit $20 trillion by the time Obama leaves office). Interest payments on the national debt are low for the time being, but they won’t stay that way forever. The Medicare trustees have admitted to a long-term deficit of $34 trillion, but independent estimates run much higher. Social Security has an unfunded liability of more than $12 trillion. These costs pile on top of the current regular budget of $3.5 trillion, not to mention projected growth in this budget. Taxpayers are also responsible for the ACA’s cost overruns. Section 1342 of the ACA makes taxpayers responsible for bailing out insurance companies if the need arises.

Taxpayers are legally obligated to finance all of the above-mentioned expenditures, debts, and unfunded liabilities. People who believe in individual liberty reject the idea that people are morally obliged to fund ever-rising Federal expenditures. But the dispute over whether American taxpayers should fund projected federal spending is rendered academic by the fact that younger Americans will not be able to afford to pay for all of it. The commons created out of the New Deal and the Great Society is collapsing.

Economist Larry Kotlikoff estimates that average rates of taxation would have to rise 56 percent to cover projected increases in federal expenditures. Kotlikoff’s estimate may be high, but even a lower figure would leave Americans in dire financial straits. Taxpayers simply will not be able to fund all projected increases in all current federal programs. Bond investors will not finance our rising national debt in unlimited amounts. The ACA’s increased spending and lower labor-force participation, on top of these increases, makes national bankruptcy that much more likely.

National bankruptcy is not inevitable. The U.S. government is heading toward bankruptcy superficially because politicians have failed to set rational budget priorities, and fundamentally because citizens expect far too much of the public sector. The ACA was created out of concern that financial considerations bar access to healthcare to many people. And Americans do spend a large percentage of national income on healthcare.

The good news is that “we” have a substantial amount of leeway to save money on healthcare. Data on the overall effectiveness of public healthcare spending is clear, but not nearly as well known among voters. For example, The RAND Corporation conducted a health insurance experiment from 1974 to 1982, which showed that making healthcare “free,” or available at no personal marginal cost, does lead people to buy more. Much of this extra healthcare is inappropriate or largely unneeded, however. When people pay for more of their healthcare out of pocket, they tend to waste less money. The RAND study concluded, “In general, the reduction in services induced by cost sharing had no adverse effect on participants’ health.” Many other studies cast doubt on the effectiveness of providing healthcare at no private cost. According to another study, “Medicare enrollees in higher-spending regions receive more care than those in lower-spending regions but do not have better health outcomes or satisfaction with care.” Studies of people with health savings accounts (HSAs), as compared with people with plans like PPOs, show HSA holders control premium inflation better than their PPO counterparts.

Having people pay deductibles or bear other out-of-pocket costs causes us to economize on healthcare. Health insurance pools risks and creates a type of commons, whether done privately or publicly. The private commons of insurance companies does, however, have limits. Private insurance companies deny some types of coverage, depending on how much insurance people contract for in the first place. In other words, private insurance is not an open commons—it specifies the extent to which each policy holder can draw out of the insurance pool.

Public insurance programs lure people in by promising more benefits than private insurance plans offer. Yet public programs ultimately run into the basic problem of scarcity. The ACA pushes people out of very basic insurance plans into plans with higher levels of coverage, but excessive coverage is a major source of high healthcare costs. Americans spend a sizable portion of GDP on health expenses (17.9 percent in 2011). The overconsumption of healthcare by overinsured Americans is both a major source of excessive costs and a cost that can be cut with little adverse effect.

The tendency of people to waste money in open-access healthcare financing is simply going to produce another tragedy of the commons. Too few young people have been signing up at Healthcare.gov because younger Americans are mostly smart enough to avoid paying into a commons. Americans are signing up mainly because they expect to draw subsidies out of this commons.

Problems with managing a commons in healthcare financing are serious. Once someone enters into a life-threatening medical condition, they and their family will want every possible available step taken to save this person—provided that “someone else” pays. Passing costs onto someone else is, aside from being morally dubious, unworkable in the aggregate because we are each “someone else” to everyone else.

There are many costs associated with government intervention into the healthcare industry: administrative and regulatory compliance costs, elevated costs of litigation and court rulings, lobbying costs, costs of perverse incentives. The perversities associated with treating health as an open-access and politicized commons have, along with other, government spending programs, created an unsustainable fiscal situation. The unaffordability of the Affordable Care Act leaves us with two main options: Congress can repeal the ACA immediately through the legislative process, or we can all wait for the repeal process of national bankruptcy.

ABOUT D.W. MACKENZIE

D. W. MacKenzie is an assistant professor of economics at Carroll College in Helena, Montana.

Conflicting Court Rulings May Have Big Implications for Employer Mandate

Within a few hours of each other, two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings on Obamacare. The final outcome could have major implications for employers.

The legal question of involves whether the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act allows people to receive subsidies for health plans purchased on federally-run exchanges—covering 34 states and the District of Columbia–or only through state-run exchanges. In a 2-1 decision, the DC Circuit ruled in Halbig v. Burwell that under the law, only those buying through state-run exchanges are eligible.

Judge Griffith wrote in the court’s split opinion:

The fact is that the legislative record provides little indication one way or the other of congressional intent, but the statutory text does. Section 36B plainly makes subsidies available only on Exchanges established by states. And in the absence of any contrary indications, that text is conclusive evidence of Congress’s intent.

Judge Randolph concurred:

[A]n Exchange established by the federal government cannot possibly be “an Exchange established by the State.” To hold otherwise would be to engage in distortion, not interpretation. Only further legislation could accomplish the expansion the government seeks.

A few hours later, in King v. Burwell the 4th Circuit unanimously upheld those same subsidies:

For reasons explained below, we find that the applicable statutory language is ambiguous and subject to multiple interpretations. Applying deference to the IRS’s determination, however, we uphold the rule as a permissible exercise of the agency’s discretion.

Why is it important to know who is eligible for a health plan subsidy? As the DC court’s Judge Edwards explains in his dissent, it triggers the employer mandate, [emphasis mine]:

Specifically, the ACA penalizes any large employer who fails to offer its full-time employees suitable coverage if one or more of those employees “enroll[s] . . . in a qualified health plan with respect to which an applicable tax credit . . . is allowed or paid with respect to the employee.” (linking another penalty on employers to employees’ receipt of tax credits). Thus, even more than with the individual mandate, the employer mandate’s penalties hinge on the availability of credits. If credits were unavailable in states with federal Exchanges, employers there would face no penalties for failing to offer coverage. The IRS Rule has the opposite effect: by allowing credits in such states, it exposes employers there to penalties and thereby gives the employer mandate broader reach.

No subsidies, no employer mandate penalties.

Michael Cannon, the Cato Institute health policy expert, estimates that if the Halbig ruling stands, more than 250,000 firms would not be subject to the employer mandate.

There is no immediate change to the law, since the courts are a long way from settling the subsidies question. There will be appeals, other courts may weigh in with additional rulings, and since two circuit courts issued conflicting rulings, the Supreme Court may hear the case. Also, Congress could pass a bill to clarify the law. Not likely in the current political environment but possible.

What we do know is that the employer mandate imposes complex reporting costs and isn’t necessary. At the same time it gives employers the perverse incentive of either not hiring workers or hiring part-time workers instead of full-time ones. Obamacare is a law packed with problems that needs to be fixed in order to have a health care system that has high quality, expanded access, and lower costs.

Follow Sean Hackbarth on Twitter at @seanhackbarth and the U.S. Chamber at @uschamber.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of President Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (A.K.A. “Obamacare”) in 2010. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg.

Obamacare and minimum wage push connected?

The US Department of Labor map (above) shows minimum wage laws in the various States as of January 1, 2014. Where Federal and state law have different minimum wage rates, the higher standard applies. Minimum wage and overtime premium pay standards are applicable to non-supervisory non-farm private sector employment under state and federal laws.

  • Green States with minimum wage rates higher than the Federal
  • Yellow States with no minimum wage law
  • Blue States with minimum wage rates the same as the Federal
  • Red States with minimum wage rates lower than the Federal
  • Brown American Samoa has special minimum wage rates

We know many people are now being hired to work less than 30 hours a week so employers don’t have to provide Obamacare. Think that move has anything to do with the push by Democrats to dramatically increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10?

Well, if you do the math you will find someone working at the minimum wage of $7.25 for 40 hours grosses $290.00 a week. Someone working 29 hours a week at $10.10 an hour would gross $292.90 per week!

Not bad, work 25% less and make the same amount of money. For entry level workers this must sound like a dream come true.

How do you think the Democrats arrived at $10.10 an hour, by coincidence?

When I grew up minimum wage jobs were filled primarily by high school and college kids, , until illegal aliens took them.

Illegal aliens are excited to have a job paying $7.25 an HOUR since a worker at the Ford plant back in Mexico (thanks to Nafta) makes $7.50 per DAY.

Military/Veterans Poll: 66% disapprove of Obama and 63% disapprove of Obamacare

The Tarrance Group released its veterans survey on key issues facing the nation. Below are key findings from the survey using a representative sample of N=834 Veterans and members of the military.  Interviews were conducted 3/8-16/14 using a mixed methodology of live telephone interviews and online interviews. The margin of error is +/- 3.5%.

  • Sixty-eight percent of veterans believe the country is off on the wrong track (vs. 21% say right direction), and by a margin of more than two to one, veterans disapprove of the way President Obama is handling his job (66% disapprove  vs. 29% approve).
  • Veterans also hold negative views toward President Obama’s healthcare law.  Over six in 10 (63%) of veterans disapprove of Obamacare (vs. 28% approve), and nearly half (46%) believe Obamacare will be worse than VA healthcare.
  • All surveyed—veterans and members of the military— believe the top issues facing Congress are dysfunction in Washington (23%), followed by government spending and debt (19%) and economy/jobs (17%). 
  • In addition to the concern over spending and the debt, nearly three-quarters of veterans and members of the military (73%) agree with former member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen’s statement that our national debt is “the greatest threat to our National Security.”
  • There is widespread awareness of the backlog of claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs (66% of veterans/members of the military have seen, read, or heard about the backlog), and nearly one- quarter (22%) report having experienced the backlog.  Of those who have experienced the backlog, 58% report currently having a backlogged claim. Those who have experienced the backlog report it lasting at least 7 months (60%), with 36% saying it lasted more than one year.

Below is a breakdown of sample military status and branch of service in the survey:

CVA poll image

RELATED STORY: When veterans become victims: Reform the VA now

All Those Obamacare Stories You Told Us Were Untrue

“There’s plenty of horror stories being told. All of them are untrue.” – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)

“Many of the tall tales that have been told about this law have been debunked.” – President Barack Obama

Amy Payne from Heritage writes, “Last week was ‘victory lap‘ week for liberals on Obamacare. After years of telling the American people that we just don’t understand the health law enough to love it properly, the president and his allies are now crowing that all debate should be over. Our readers have told us about Obamacare’s effects in their lives—hiking their insurance costs and canceling many of their plans. I guess Harry Reid thinks you guys made these up.”

[youtube]http://youtu.be/UNeHvIJ1CmU[/youtube]

Payne notes:

But he didn’t stop with insulting everyday Americans. Reid took a dig last week at Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), himself a doctor who is resigning from the Senate to continue cancer treatment.

Coburn initially lost his cancer specialist when he was forced into the Obamacare system. But when Coburn voiced concern—from experience—about the lack of cancer treatment centers covered under Obamacare, Reid said he was just “getting into the weeds” and that “I think we need to look at the overall context of this bill.”

The editorial board of Investor’s Business Daily marveled :

We recently called Senate Majority Leader Reid “delusional” on another topic, but to that we can now add “callous” and “insensitive” — in his disregard of cancer sufferers and the hardships imposed on them by administration politics and ObamaCare.

… Reid coldly dismisses people such as Edie Sundby, a stage four cancer patient, who was told that the plan that had paid out $1.2 million and helped her survive all these years was substandard and would be canceled because it didn’t contain the one-size-fits-all coverage mandates of ObamaCare.

Meanwhile, President Obama exulted in claiming that the “tall tales” about Obamacare “have been debunked.” Was he talking about Obamacare’s job-killing effects? Its limiting of patient choices? Its forcing all Americans into a one-size-fits-all health care model?

Thankfully, this isn’t the end of the story. In the same week, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R) released a blueprint for health care reform. Heritage experts have been working on patient-centered solutions for years. Americans know that the horror stories are real, and that there has to be a better way to go.