Wednesday, July 4, 2012

You may be a Muslim if.....

1. If you grow poppeys and refine heroin for a living, but you have a moral objection to liquor....
You may be a Muslim.
2. If you own a $3,000 machine gun and $5,000 rocket launcher and ammo, but you can't afford shoes....
You may be a Muslim
3. If you have more wives than teeth....
You may be a Muslim
4. If you wipe your butt with your bare hand, but consider bacon and pork unclean.... .... .... ....
You may be a Muslim
5. If you think vests come in two styles: bullet-proof and suicide....
You may be a Muslim
6. If you can't think of anyone you haven't declared Jihad against....
You may be a Muslim
7. If ou consider television dangerous, but routinely carry explosives in your clothing....
You may be a Muslim
8. If you were amazed to discover that cell phones have uses other than setting off roadside bombs. ...
You may be a Muslim
9. If you have nothing against women and think every man should own at least four....
You may be a Muslim
10. If your cousin is president of the United States....
You may be a Muslim

Liberty Lovers Mourn This Independence Day, but Hope Remains

The New American ^ | 7/4/2012 | Alex Newman

As Americans celebrate Independence Day this Fourth of July with barbeques and fireworks, more than a few patriots and lovers of liberty are instead mourning the steady loss of freedom; the erosion of unalienable rights that seem to be trampled upon more and more after each election. But despite the current climate — perfectly illustrated by the never-ending series of “Homeland Security” reports characterizing the beliefs of America’s Founding Fathers as potentially terroristic — optimism about the future of freedom and American independence is growing as well.
On July 4, 1776, the Founding Fathers officially adopted the Declaration of Independence, written mostly by a passionate lover of liberty named Thomas Jefferson. In the document, those original American patriots outlined a series of bold and timeless statements that still reverberate around the world to this day: the idea that the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” entitle all people to take charge of their own futures — including, if necessary, by invoking the right and duty to "alter or abolish" any form of government that becomes a threat to individual rights.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” explains the Declaration, outlining a series of principles that led oppressed colonists to take up arms against the greatest super power in the world — values that have formed the foundation of America’s unique constitutional republic since its founding. “That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
But this Independence Day, amid national celebrations, analysts and concerned citizens are warning that those timeless truths are increasingly under threat in America — and not from King George III or his royal successors.
“Individual liberty, secured by limited government: that is its essence. Too often today, however, government is not serving liberty but is at war with it, telling us that it knows best, that it will decide for us,” observed Roger Pilon, director of the libertarian Cato Institute's Center for Constitutional Studies. “As we celebrate our independence today, let's keep in mind that we're celebrating our independence from overweening government -- British or American.”
Others worry that the current federal government is actually at odds with the concept of independence itself. “Today, powerful elites in Washington, D.C. are bent on recasting America in a way that would make July 4th more accurately called Dependence Day,” opined American Civil Rights Union (ACRU) chief Susan Carleson. “Many Americans are being tempted by the siren song of reliance upon government — but thankfully, we are seeing many more bent on resisting this dangerous idea and reversing it.”
Even more alarming, perhaps, are recent developments within the U.S. government’s so-called “security” apparatus. A federal study on terrorism released this year and publicly exposed earlier this week by the alternative media, for example, identified “extreme right-wing” terror suspects as individuals who are “suspicious of centralized federal authority” or “reverent of individual liberty.” Other potential terrorists include people who “believe in conspiracy theories that involve grave threat to national sovereignty and/or personal liberty,” or those who believe their “way of life” is under attack and are preparing with “survivalism.” Pro-lifers and Americans who are “fiercely nationalistic (as opposed to universal and international in orientation)” were also included.
If those traits sound suspiciously like the beliefs held by the Founding Fathers and outlined in the Declaration of Independence, that is because the brave Americans who stood up to the British Crown more than two centuries ago would have fit the federal government’s wild characterizations almost perfectly. In fact, some of the very same grievances against the King listed in the Declaration are again being imposed on Americans — the main difference is that now, the abuses and violations are mostly coming from Washington, D.C., in direct violation of the U.S. Constitution.
Consider some examples listed in the Declaration of Independence of the crimes committed by the King against the colonists, contrasted with the federal government’s lawless behavior today:
• “HE has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.” Then reflect on the Obama administration’s lawsuits against state governments — think Arizona, for example, which was sued for seeking to control illegal immigration; or the recent federal attack on Florida for its attempt to purge non-eligible voters from the rolls.
• “HE has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers, to harass our people, and eat out their substance.” Then consider the fact that the federal government and its alphabet soup of rogue and unconstitutional bureaucracies has already grown far beyond anything the tyrannical English King could have imagined in his wildest dreams: EPA, ATF, FDA, DEA, NSA, CIA, FCC, DHS, TSA, SEC, FHA, and countless more. And it is only getting worse, with the cost of perpetual bureaucratic and regulatory expansion — trillions every year — far exceeding any amount the British Crown could have even conceived of extracting from the colonists.
• “HE has affected to render the military independent of and superior to the civil power.” Then ponder the Obama administration’s recent war on Libya without even obtaining congressional approval, let alone a constitutionally required declaration of war. The current Secretary of Defense, meanwhile, reiterated this year his wild belief that NATO and the UN could legitimately order American troops into battle, and that Congress — the people’s elected representatives entrusted by the Constitution with war powers — might be informed of the decision later on.
• “HE has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws, giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation.” Aside from foreigners ordering U.S. armed forces into unconstitutional wars, remember that despite never being ratified by the U.S. Senate, the executive branch of the federal government has been — for over two decades now — quietly working to impose the UN’s Agenda 21 on the American people. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.
• “FOR depriving us in many cases of the benefits of trial by jury.” Consider that since the George W. Bush administration, the federal government purports to be able to indefinitely detain without trial even American citizens. President Obama has taken it a step further, claiming authority to murder U.S. citizens — including children, such as a 16-year-old American boy purposely blown to bits by a U.S. missile in Yemen — without even formally charging them with a crime or allowing judicial proceedings, let alone a trial by jury.
• “In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms,” the Declaration of Independence states. “Our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury.” Indeed. And today, it is only getting worse.
But even as the political class in Washington, D.C., and so many state capitals across America callously disregard the eternal principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, there appears to be a renewed sense of public optimism. The Supreme Court’s wildly inappropriate ruling on ObamaCare, for example, has recently stirred up an even greater wave of activism and defiance against federal usurpations. From state governors to citizen activists, resistance is building.
“We understand that a lot is happening in our beloved America, and that she is in distress, but we must concentrate on the fix for what ails her. The cause of this malady is Marxism, political correctness and progressivism and all the evil that comes with it,” noted Save America Foundation President Fred Brownbill in a piece celebrating American independence. “The cure is the Constitution, probably the most incredible document ever written by the hand of man. We may not be the land of the free right now, but we are still the land of the brave and from that bravery, freedom will once more return.”
Other activist leaders, while also recognizing the dire straits American liberty currently finds itself in, were hopeful about the future as well. “Although our country is currently experiencing economic uncertainty, among other problems, the underpinnings of the American spirit remain. On the whole we are still a people who believe that inalienable rights are God-given, not a matter of government grace, and that hard work, self-reliance, and determination can bring about the realization of dreams, regardless of the obstacles our government places in our way,” explained Edward White, senior counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ).
“We are truly a unique nation, born with reliance upon God’s protection and upon sound values,” he concluded. “Consequently, we should be optimistic about our future no matter the hurdles we are now facing.”
Indeed, as the perpetual unconstitutional expansion of federal power becomes increasingly obvious and destructive, Americans from across the political spectrum are taking action to stop it. And with elections coming soon and a new wave of liberty-minded activists and candidates getting involved to save the Constitution, there is certainly cause for optimism. Cautious optimism, perhaps. But without a doubt, the future could still be very bright — at least if enough Americans stand up for the principles so masterfully laid out in America’s Declaration of Independence some 236 years ago. For now, after enjoying the fireworks, a good place to start might be reading the document itself.

In California, immigration bill designed as the "anti-Arizona"

Reuters ^ | July 4, 2012 | Mary Slosson

(Reuters) - While America's debate over immigration has been dominated recently by crackdowns in states like Arizona and Alabama, California legislators are trying to turn that tide with a bill to protect illegal immigrants that they dub the "anti-Arizona."

Last week, the top U.S. court upheld the most controversial aspect of Arizona's immigration statute: a requirement that police officers check the immigration status of people they stop, even for minor offenses such as jay-walking.

Enter California, a border state that is home to the largest number of illegal immigrants, most of whom are Hispanic, and is considerably more liberal than its neighbor Arizona.

A bill currently working its way through the California legislature would block local law enforcement from referring a detainee to immigration officials for deportation unless that person has been convicted of a violent or serious felony.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

4th of July – A call to return to the simplicity of our Founding principles

Flopping Aces ^ | 07-04-12 | Mataharley

Despite July 2nd as the actual day the Continental Congress voted to approve a motion by the VA delegate Richard Henry Lee, calling for the colonies' independence after a year of fighting with the British, July 4th became the official day, set aside to celebrate the birth of our nation. The leaders of that era boldly decided to embark upon one of the greatest, and most envied political experiments in history … a free nation where all men are created equal, where a central government could not dictate religious beliefs, and the bulk of governance was left to local jurisdiction.
The size of the central government was deliberately designed to be small, it's intrusion into citizens' lives was to be few, and what it was expected to "provide" to it's citizens even fewer.
I doubt anyone disagrees that we have strayed far from the original intent 236 years later. It is the penchant of lawyers to tinker with contracts, viewing the simple, short and sweet as inadequate. What began with a formal document, signed by 56 delegates representing the colonies - followed by a carefully penned Constitution and 10 Amendments, called the Bill of Rights - has been expanded by 17 more Amendments (including one "oops" resulting in a repeal), and a US Code book of torts that is over 200,000 pages long…. And growing every day Congress is in session.
The federal tax code has been one of the fastest growing sections since the 1940s. It's prolific growth was illustrated with a graphic on PoliticalCalculations blogspot last year, as part of a clever 4th of July challenge to guess the number of current pages. From a single book of 400 pages in 1913, it has grown to 72,536 pages by 2011… likely not including the latest tax increases attributed to O'healthcare.

View larger PDF version here.
We, The People, have frittered away the basics of our founding for generations by electing those to the hallowed halls of Congress who do not believe in the basic tenets of our founding - that of minimum intrusion, and small federal powers that left governing choices to local smaller and controllable governments.
Perhaps it's the very idea that elected officials, who are there to make law, feel they are not doing their jobs if they don't generate law and after law to add to the code books. The idea of a full time Congressional session seems counter-intuitive the founding principle of short, simple and non-intrusive. When the simple document that states a central government can only do that which is definitively stated, and no more, it defies logic that this induces a parade of legislation and resolutions by career politicians who never intend to return to the private sector.
It's as simple as this… when you have your sculpture created, it's not necessary to keep a sculptor on staff, full time, to monitor the sculpture. But if you do, that sculptor will find the need to justify himself as useful, perhaps by constant alterations to the original work. What began as a Rodin morphs into a hideous potpourri, destroying the beauty and integrity of the original piece.
(Excerpt)

Go Figure… Richard Trumka: Rightwing Uses “Freedom” to “Dupe Public” [Union Thug]

GatewayPundit ^ | July 3, 2012 | Jim Hoft

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka celebrates Independence Day today by bashing freedom. The Examiner reported:

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has a 4th of July-themed column in the Huffington Post musing on the word freedom and how it is interpreted by the Republican Party. His conclusion is that they use the word to con people.

Let’s call this right-wing “freedom” catch phrase what it really is: a grossly political strategy to dupe the public, which holds the word “freedom” as something sacred.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Ragged Old Flag

Johnny Cash ^ | 7-4-12 | Johnny Cash

I walked through a county courthouse square On a park bench, an old man was sittin' there. I said, "Your old court house is kinda run down, He said, "Naw, it'll do for our little town". I said, "Your old flag pole is leaned a little bit, And that's a ragged old flag you got hangin' on it". He said, "Have a seat", and I sat down, "Is this the first time you've been to our little town" I said, "I think it is" He said "I don't like to brag, but we're kinda proud of That Ragged Old Flag"

"You see, we got a little hole in that flag there, When Washington took it across the Delaware. and It got powder burned the night Francis Scott Key sat watching it, writing "Say Can You See" It got a rip in New Orleans, with Packingham & Jackson tugging at its seams. and It almost fell at the Alamo beside the Texas flag, But she waved on though. She got cut with a sword at Chancellorsville, And she got cut again at Shiloh Hill. There was Robert E. Lee and Beauregard and Bragg, And the south wind blew hard on That Ragged Old Flag"

"On Flanders Field in World War I, She got a big hole from a Bertha Gun, She turned blood red in World War II She hung limp, and low, a time or two, She was in Korea, Vietnam, She went where she was sent by her Uncle Sam. She waved from our ships upon the briny foam and now they've about quit wavin' back here at home in her own good land here She's been abused, She's been burned, dishonored, denied an' refused, And the government for which she stands Has been scandalized throughout out the land. And she's getting thread bare, and she's wearin' thin, But she's in good shape, for the shape she's in. Cause she's been through the fire before and i believe she can take a whole lot more.

"So we raise her up every morning And we bring her down slow every night, We don't let her touch the ground, And we fold her up right. On second thought I *do* like to brag Cause I'm mighty proud of That Ragged Old Flag"

There's a youtube video:

Just Wait

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Liberal Logic

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Looking Good

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Recovery Act

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Seal Your Records

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Midnight in Paris

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Only You...

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Likely Voters: Carter Was a Better President than Obama!

The Weekly Standard ^ | July 3, 2012 | Jeffrey H. Anderson

According to a Newsweek/Daily Beast poll of likely voters, Barack Obama now rates behind Jimmy Carter in the pantheon of great presidents. The poll asked likely voters to list the two best and the two worst presidents the history of the United States. Here are the tallies, based on net results:

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Is the U.S. a land of liberty or equality?

Washington Post ^ | 07/04/2012 | Robert Samuelson

If you asked my true religion, I would not answer anything practiced in a church, synagogue or mosque. My real religion is America, and I feel privileged that, among the world’s 7 billion people, I am one of the roughly 300 million lucky enough to be an American. 

This transcends mere patriotism. I believe in what this country stands for, even though I acknowledge its limits and failures. As individuals, we are no better than most(selfishness and prejudice having survived). As a society, we have often violated our loftiest ideals (starting with the acceptance of slavery in 1787). Our loud insistence of “exceptionalism” offends millions of non-Americans, who find us exceptional only in our relentless boasting.

But these caveats do not dim my love of country. I am still stirred by “The Star-Spangled Banner.” I think our messy mixture of democratic traditions, respect for the individual and economic dynamism commands a unique place in human history. In most societies, people are marked by where they were born, their ethnic heritage or religious conviction. In the United States, these are secondary. Americans’ self-identity springs from the beliefs on which this country was founded, including the belief that no one is automatically better than anyone else simply by virtue of birth.

Our reverence for these ideals remains a touchstone. A few years ago, a friend gave me a copy of “The National Hand-Book of American Progress,” published in 1876 and edited by Erastus Otis Haven, a bishop in the Methodist Episcopal Church and the second president of the University of Michigan. Haven does laud economic achievements. The telegraph network, introduced in 1844, had grown to 75,137 miles. But mostly, Haven celebrates our ideals and political institutions, which — with the tragic exception of the Civil War — had settled conflicts peacefully.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...


Economics21 ^ | 07/04/2012 | Charles Blahous

It is quite possible that this week’s Supreme Court ruling has just changed the 2010 health care law in such a way that it will add substantially to federal deficits from almost any vantage point. We will know more after the Congressional Budget Office completes its analysis.
Let’s review the background. CBO’s last complete score of the health care law, in March 2011, found that it would reduce federal deficits by $210 billion from 2012-2021. That was before the suspension of the CLASS program provision, which takes the positive score down to $123 billion. As I pointed out in my recent study, those scores are not relative to actual prior law but to a hypothetical budget baseline scenario that CBO uses under the procedures of the Deficit Control Act. Relative to actual prior law, by contrast, the health law -- had it been upheld in its entirety -- would add more than $340 billion to federal deficits over the next ten years.
Let’s nevertheless reference the positive score of $123 billion here since, flawed or not, it’s what arises under Congress’s scorekeeping rules. If this week’s ruling worsens the bill’s budget impact by more than $123 billion over ten years, then the legislation adds to federal deficits even by the standard adopted by its proponents. Will this score remain positive after the Supreme Court ruling?
The Supreme Court left intact most of the health care law’s provisions, excepting only one section that would have allowed the Secretary of HHS to withdraw “existing Medicaid funding” from states that fail to comply with the law’s expansion of Medicaid eligibility.
This is important. At first glance, it appears quite possible that this decision could:
  1. Considerably worsen the budgetary effects of the law, and;
  2. Result in substantial cuts, later in this decade, to the subsidies for low-income individuals who are compelled to buy health insurance under the law.
Here’s why:
The health law’s coverage expansion contains two big components: an expansion of Medicaid/CHIP and new federally-subsidized health insurance exchanges. The Medicaid expansion extends coverage to Americans of up to 133 percent of the federal poverty line, but with a 5 percent income exclusion that brings the effective eligibility level up to 138 percent. Participants in the other program -- the new health exchanges -- are generally eligible for federal subsidies if they have incomes from 100 percent to 400 percent of the poverty line, provided that the individual is not qualified for Medicaid/CHIP, certain other health benefits, or “affordable” employer-provided coverage.
The interaction between these two avenues to subsidized coverage – Medicaid and the health exchanges – has important fiscal effects.
Twenty-six states acted as plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act, in part based on its Medicaid expansion. Their argument was that the federal government could not force states to expand Medicaid coverage via the threat of revoking existing Medicaid funding. The Supreme Court has now ruled that the federal government cannot make good on that threat.
One can make an argument that it is still in these states’ interest to expand Medicaid, since under the 2010 law the federal government will pick up the tab in the first few years. But what matters is whether the states believe it is in their interest to accept the long-term costs associated with the expansion. It is reasonable to conjecture that, having fought to be freed from being forced to do so, some of these 26 states will not expand Medicaid coverage as envisioned by the health law. This means that Medicaid coverage will be substantially lower than CBO projected in its last evaluation.
It also means that subsidized participation in the health exchanges will likely be higher than last projected. Consider an individual at 125% of the poverty line, in a state that now chooses not to expand Medicaid coverage. Before, CBO would have anticipated that this individual would be on Medicaid. Now it’s possible that the individual will be getting subsidies through the health exchanges.
We can see these interactive effects in the evolution of past CBO scores of the health legislation. Depending on its projections for future economic performance, CBO projects a certain number of people to be Medicaid-eligible. Whenever CBO thinks more people will be on Medicaid, it finds that fewer people will be covered under the law’s exchanges, and vice versa. See the following graph.
Increase in Insurance Coverage by 2020
Just to be clear: All of the estimates on this graph pertain to CBO projections for the single future year of 2020. The different points on the graph represent estimates made by CBO respectively in February 2011, March 2011, and March 2012.
The movements in these estimates may not seem large, but they have significant ramifications for the cost of the health care law. Here are the estimates for the gross costs of the Medicaid/CHIP expansion in comparison with the health exchanges, which have varied significantly with the participation assumptions.

Gross Cost of Coverage Expansion Components, 2012-21
As can be seen above, the participation assumptions have a significant effect on the relative cost of each part of the health law. This is primarily because the law’s health exchange subsidies are much more generous for individuals near 133% of the poverty line than they are for those with higher incomes. Thus, the average cost of the subsidies grows significantly when they are provided to more individuals who might otherwise have gone onto Medicaid.
Where this becomes most striking is in examining the effect of Medicaid participation on the net cost of the health law, which incorporates other factors such as small employer tax credits, and revenues from penalties (now taxes, per the Supreme Court) assessed on individuals and employers. As the graph below shows, the net estimated cost of the coverage expansion has risen and fallen inversely with the proportion of individuals projected to get their coverage from Medicaid.

Total Coverage Expansion Costs, 2012-21
The graph above also shows that as the expected proportion in the exchanges has risen (and fallen), so has the total projected net cost of the law. It could thus well be that if the court’s decision shifts coverage from Medicaid to the new health exchanges, the law’s budgetary effects may be much worse than last projected.
How much worse? No one (perhaps outside of CBO) can say. But under past estimates, a 1 million-person reduction in the law’s reliance on Medicaid has meant an increase in net costs of about $50-$90 billion over ten years. With 26 states joined in a lawsuit to be released from this forced coverage expansion, the fiscal worsening could be substantial.
The side effects of the court ruling don’t end there. The health law also contains a “fail safe” provision requiring that total costs of the health exchange credits be limited to 0.504% of GDP per year after 2018. In previous estimates, CBO projected that subsidy percentages would “eventually” be cut by this provision to keep their total costs beneath this cap. But if health exchange participation is to be significantly higher than previously projected, then costs will be also much higher. This would force significant cuts in subsidies to low-income individuals starting in 2019; the text of the law is explicit that the cap will be enforced by reducing these subsidies. Lawmakers would thus have to choose between allowing these cuts to low-income individuals to go into effect, and waiving the existing fiscal constraints of the health care law.
Much attention has been given to the argument that without the individual purchase mandate, other parts of the health care law would become unworkable. Much less attention has been given to the fact that without the states forced to be on board with the Medicaid expansion, the law’s health exchange subsidies might be fiscally unworkable. The Supreme Court may have just set in motion of chain of events that could lead to the law’s being found as busting the budget, even under the highly favorable scoring methods used last time around.

Charles Blahous is a research fellow with the Hoover Institution, a senior research fellow with the Mercatus Center, and the author of Social Security: The Unfinished Work.

The Obamacare tax in one easy chart

American Enterprise Institute ^ | 07/04/2012 | Marc Thiessen

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that the individual mandate is in fact a tax, the next question is: Who will it hit and by how much?

According to the Congressional Budget Office, of the 3.9 million people who will pay the new Obamacare tax, 3 million are middle-class individuals and families making less than 500 percent of the federal poverty level. They will collectively pay $1.9 billion in new taxes under Obamcare.

In other words, the president who swore he would not raise taxes on the middle class has hit 3 million middle class Americans with a nearly $2 billion tax increase.

Here is the story of the Obamacare tax in one easy chart:
How the Obamacare tax will affect Americans

U.S. Taxmageddon Just Got More Frightening

TMO ^ | Diane Alter

Diane Alter writes: Political battles will take center stage in the second half of 2012, but few loom larger than the scheduled tax increases - "Taxmageddon" - set to take effect in January 2013.

Bush-era tax cuts, payroll tax breaks and other provisions set to expire next year could pack an enormous financial hit, harming the already-fragile U.S. economy and thousands of struggling families. While Democrats and Republicans alike are opposed to letting all the cuts expire, they disagree on exactly what to do about it.

Republicans blame U.S. President Barack Obama and his administration for the stalemate.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX, has said Republicans want to extend all of the Bush tax cuts, including the "big-ticket" ones, and even some Democrats support reform of the entire tax code, but "the bad news is that President Obama is missing in action."
"Unless Congress and the president act, January will bring us the largest tax increases in American history-a tax increase of approximately $500 billion," Cornyn said in a weekly radio address last week.
President Obama wants to end the Bush-era tax cuts for individuals making more than $200,000 a year and couples making more than $250,000 annually. The move is aimed to garner more revenue for a government saddled with growing federal debt. The president has said that wealthier Americans are in a position to help.
But Taxmageddon will fall principally on middle and low income Americans because 60% of the Bush tax cuts went to middle- and low-income taxpayers.
Cornyn said in the Republican radio address, "Make no mistake, every single working American will see his or her taxes go up on January 1 absent action. Family budgets will be squeezed even tighter. Disposable income will shrink. And many jobs will be destroyed."
The uncertainty over federal taxes has weighed on the U.S. economy, Cornyn added.
"Raising taxes is the last thing we should do amid the weakest economic recovery since World War II," he said. "Unfortunately, even if we avoid the full "Taxmageddon" scenario, President Obama's health care law also contains a new surtax on investment that will take effect in 2013. This new surtax will hamper small business investment, which is the lifeblood of private sector job creation."
Obamacare and Taxmageddon
The Supreme Court ruling last Thursday upheld Obamacare. The Court ruled that the key individual mandate requiring Americans to have health coverage or be forced to pay a fine is constitutional under the federal government's taxing power.
People will be required to buy health insurance coverage or pay a penalty (tax) if they don't.
Republicans and opponents call the ruling the largest tax increase in U.S. history.
According to Forbes, the average U.S. family income is approximately $50,000. With family healthcare coverage running upwards of $2,000 annually and swiftly increasing, the coverage mandate is in essence a 4% tax on that family, which will be required to make sure every family member has coverage.
Because the cost of coverage will be uniform across all income levels, Forbes notes, the lower the income, the higher the effective tax rate. Obamacare is essentially the most regressive tax in U.S. history, too.
And it'll be in addition to the myriad other taxes imposed by the legislation.
The Full Scope of Taxmageddon
The Heritage Foundation, a research and educational think tank, has said the wave of tax hikes to take effect on Jan. 1 will hit every household, regardless of income. The 15 million American families with an average income of $70,662 can expect an annual tax increase of $4,138.
The 33.1 million Baby Boomers (average income $95,099) will see a $4,223 tax increase. Low income workers, some 53.8 million with an average income of $24,757, will get hit with a $1,027 tax increase. Millennials, the twenty- and thirty-somethings with an average income of $23,917, will get a $1,099 increase, and 33.1 million retirees will experience an $857 increase.
And this is just in the first year. In succeeding years, taxpayers will see even higher hikes.
Business are already preparing for higher taxes by holding off on hiring, as reflected in recent jobs numbers.
Meanwhile, businesses, families and investors are at a standstill, stalling on making important moves and decisions until they know how much they will need to shell out in taxes.
GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has vowed to repeal Obamacare if elected. So taxpayers may have the ultimate say in Taxmageddon when they cast their votes in November.

Live Free — and Uninsured (The Left can’t see that there are losers under Obamacare)

National Review ^ | 07/04/2012 | Jonah Goldberg

In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act ( “Obamacare”), NPR’s Talk of the Nation held a seminar of sorts at the Aspen Institute’s legendarily pretentious Ideas Festival. Someone in the audience asked NPR health-policy correspondent Julie Rovner this question: “Today’s decision is a positive decision for the estimated 50 million uninsured Americans. Who are the losers today?”

Rovner seemed to struggle to find losers. She came up with insurance companies that want the so-called individual mandate — now a punitive tax, according to the Supreme Court — to be much more punitive. After thinking through her answer, she later added that another group of losers might be the citizens of states whose governors opt to not participate in the law’s expansion of Medicaid.

So, Obamacare creates no losers except where it fails to tax people sufficiently and where GOP governors fail to accept the wisdom of the law. In short, the only thing wrong with Obamacare is that it isn’t even more punitive, more mandatory, and more intrusive.
It is an interesting perspective given that this is arguably the most controversial law in our lifetimes. It nearly sparked a constitutional crisis, helped cause the Democrats to lose their majority in the House, and, despite herculean efforts by the president to “sell” the law (more than 50 speeches, formal statements, and national addresses on it during his first year), it has never been popular with most Americans. And yet, according to Rovner, the law creates only winners if properly implemented. Why on earth are its opponents so stupid?
For the record, there are losers under Obamacare. Here’s a short list: (1) taxpayers who will carry the load of what the Congressional Budget Office says will be a $2 trillion price tag when the law is fully implemented; (2) the millions of workers the CBO says will be pushed off their current insurance coverage, even though the president insists you can keep your existing insurance if you like it; (3) innumerable and unknowable numbers of sick people who will not be screened for various diseases because some bureaucrats’ protocol says it’s too expensive; (4) Roman Catholic and other religious institutions forced to violate their values; (5) a few million so-called freeloaders who don’t want to buy health insurance for perfectly rational reasons.
Obamacare defenders have responses to these objections, and critics have responses to those responses. Still: Serious people do believe that the law creates — or just might create — losers, a fact Rovner might have mentioned.
I don’t mean to pick on Rovner. Her views on Obamacare don’t strike me as exceptional so much as typical — typical of a liberal Washington establishment that still seems incapable of grasping what the fuss is about.
Hence the Beltway fantasy that Obamacare’s unpopularity reflects nothing more than a sales problem. Indeed, the new mantra is that the Supreme Court’s decision has provided the White House with a golden opportunity to “sell” a law that has been on the books for two years already.
Only a third of Americans fully supported the law when it was signed, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll, and today that number stands essentially unchanged. In fairness, a fifth of the law’s opponents are left-wing voters who would prefer a single-payer system that doesn’t involve incestuous collusion between government and big business. I don’t support socialized medicine, but I can respect this sort of principled objection.
But why is the only legitimate opposition to the law that it creates “losers” in some actuarial or accounting sense? Even if I thought we could afford a vast new entitlement, I’d still be opposed to Obamacare.
Whether it’s called a tax or a mandate, the federal government has never opted to compel citizens to purchase something as a condition of breathing while American. Obamacare represents a major advance for the old FDR vision of turning sovereign citizens into clients of the state. It empowers an army of Bloombergs to do what they think is for your own good and to redefine your rights as mere perks of the system.
I admit I have an old-fashioned conception of what our country is supposed to be about, which is why people like me are losers under Obamacare too.
— Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and the author of The Tyranny of Clichés

No Vote Fraud? Tell it to Rangel’s Opponent!

Commentary ^ | 7-3-12 | Jonathon S. Tobin

In the last year as Democrats have tried to oppose all efforts to ensure the integrity of the vote in the fall election, they have derided voter ID laws as not only racist in motivation but also unnecessary. Though the basic proposition that anyone who shows up at the polls ought to be able to prove they are who they say they are and are registered voters seems like common sense, liberals have claimed such measures are utterly superfluous because voter fraud is not a problem in the United States. And because there is no problem to be fixed, any effort that might stop those not qualified to vote from casting ballots is, they claim, rooted in prejudice and aimed at “suppressing” the minority vote. One would think that the long history of election fraud in this country which dates back to the colonial era and was a staple of machine politics in the 20th century would have caused Democrats to stop making such weak claims. But they are undaunted and have even gone so far as to assert that efforts to hold Attorney General Eric Holder accountable for his failures and stonewalling in the Fast and Furious scandal are evidence of the Republicans’ desire to get back at him for opposing voter ID laws.
But in case the Democrats needed a reminder about why voter integrity laws are necessary, they have just gotten one from a stalwart of the Congressional Black Caucus and a leading opponent of such measures. Charles Rangel’s “victory” in the Democratic primary in which he sought to ensure for himself a 22nd consecutive term in Congress from New York is being disputed by his opponent, State Senator Adriano Espaillat, who claims what took place last week was a “phantom election” in which...
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Obamacare: Another Example of Utopian Foolishness!

The International Business Times ^ | 07/03/2012 | Kayleigh McEnany

The Supreme Court has spoken, the president has spoken, and Congress has spoken. Now it is time for the American people to speak. In four months, Americans will have a choice. We can choose to elect a vision that is true to what America is -- a country where freedom is cherished, hard work is rewarded, and handouts are adverse to our very nature. Or we can re-elect a vision very much at odds with this foundation, a vision whose fruits are destroying America at its very core.

The latter vision produced Obamacare, a piece of legislation that amounts to little more than utopian foolishness. President Barack Obama and the Democrats told us health care was a human right and they were here to ride in on their white horses and deliver that right. They misled the people -- either by intent or ignorance -- into believing this. One problem: Health care for all is an empirical impossibility, and the Democratic promises were nothing more than the hollow words of a devout ideologue.

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House Chairman: Obama is Granting Amnesty to Illegal Immigrants Behind Americans’ Backs! ^ | jULY 3, 2012 | Leah Barkoukis

Remember when President Obama stood in the Rose Garden and told the American people of his administration’s new plan to stop the deportation of younger illegal immigrants if they met certain criteria? Remember when he promised the policy change isn’t amnesty?

Over to you, Washington Times:
Federal immigration authorities have begun granting tentative legal status to illegal immigrants under President Obama’s deportation halt — and in some cases are even ignoring the administration’s eligibility rules to stop deportations for those who shouldn’t qualify, according to the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
Rep. Lamar Smith, Texas Republican, said he’s learned some illegal immigrants who have been in the U.S. less than five years have had their deportations canceled, even though Mr. Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Janet A. Napolitano had listed the five-year mark as one of their criteria.
Mr. Smith also obtained documents laying out how U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) officers should actively search for illegal immigrants who are “apparently eligible” to have their cases dropped. Those illegal immigrants then would be granted tentative status.
“President Obama is granting amnesty to illegal immigrants behind Americans’ backs,” Mr. Smith said. “Although administration officials told congressional offices that it would take 60 days to implement the president’s amnesty plan, internal ICE documents show that illegal immigrants have already benefited from it, even though there are no standards in place.”
To refresh your memory, the criteria: Illegal immigrants must have been brought to the U.S. by age 16 and are younger than 30, have no criminal record, have been in the U.S. for at least five continuous years and graduated from high school or received an equivalent degree or served in the military. At the time of the June announcement, administration officials said the new policy will impact roughly 800,000 immigrants.

Apparently the criteria are not taken too seriously.

"Ms. Christensen, the ICE spokeswoman, said the agency has broad authority to halt deportations on a case-by-case basis, even when illegal immigrants fall short of the new standards, especially in “humanitarian” cases in which the people in question were brought to the U.S. as children."

“As part of ICE’s overall effort to focus the immigration system on public safety threats, border security and public safety, and in keeping with the spirit of the secretary’s memorandum, deferred action has been granted on a case-by-case basis to some individuals whose cases may differ from the specific criteria set forth in the memorandum,” Ms. Christensen said.

And remember, those granted a stay of deportation can work in the U.S, where Gallup puts the unadjusted unemployment rate at 8.0 percent. So how does the new policy really affect Americans if a stay of deportation can be granted to illegal immigrants who “fall short” of the standards?

20 Hidden Tax Hikes in Obamacare

From the ATR website.

The Obamacare law contains 20 new or higher taxes on American families and small businesses

Taxpayers are reminded that the president’s healthcare law is one of the largest tax increases in American history.

Obamacare contains 20 new or higher taxes on American families and small businesses.

Arranged by their respective effective dates, below is the total list of all $500 billion-plus in tax hikes (over the next ten years) in Obamacare, where to find them in the bill, and how much your taxes are scheduled to go up as of today:

Taxes that took effect in 2010:

1. Excise Tax on Charitable Hospitals (Min$/immediate): $50,000 per hospital if they fail to meet new "community health assessment needs," "financial assistance," and "billing and collection" rules set by HHS. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,961-1,971.

2. Codification of the “economic substance doctrine” (Tax hike of $4.5 billion). This provision allows the IRS to disallow completely-legal tax deductions and other legal tax-minimizing plans just because the IRS deems that the action lacks “substance” and is merely intended to reduce taxes owed. Bill: Reconciliation Act; Page: 108-113.

3. “Black liquor” tax hike (Tax hike of $23.6 billion). This is a tax increase on a type of bio-fuel. Bill: Reconciliation Act; Page: 105.

4. Tax on Innovator Drug Companies ($22.2 bil/Jan 2010): $2.3 billion annual tax on the industry imposed relative to share of sales made that year. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,971-1,980.

5. Blue Cross/Blue Shield Tax Hike ($0.4 bil/Jan 2010): The special tax deduction in current law for Blue Cross/Blue Shield companies would only be allowed if 85 percent or more of premium revenues are spent on clinical services. Bill: PPACA; Page: 2,004.

6. Tax on Indoor Tanning Services ($2.7 billion/July 1, 2010): New 10 percent excise tax on Americans using indoor tanning salons. Bill: PPACA; Page: 2,397-2,399.

Taxes that took effect in 2011:

7. Medicine Cabinet Tax ($5 bil/Jan 2011): Americans no longer able to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin). Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,957-1,959.

8. HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike ($1.4 bil/Jan 2011): Increases additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,959.

Taxes that took effect in 2012:

9. Employer Reporting of Insurance on W-2 (Min$/Jan 2012): Preamble to taxing health benefits on individual tax returns. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,957.

Taxes that take effect in 2013:

10. Surtax on Investment Income ($123 billion/Jan. 2013): Creation of a new, 3.8 percent surtax on investment income earned in households making at least $250,000 ($200,000 single). This would result in the following top tax rates on investment income: Bill: Reconciliation Act; Page: 87-93.

Capital Gains Dividends Other*
2012 15% 15% 35%
2013+ 23.8% 43.4% 43.4%

*Other unearned income includes (for surtax purposes) gross income from interest, annuities, royalties, net rents, and passive income in partnerships and Subchapter-S corporations. It does not include municipal bond interest or life insurance proceeds, since those do not add to gross income. It does not include active trade or business income, fair market value sales of ownership in pass-through entities, or distributions from retirement plans. The 3.8% surtax does not apply to non-resident aliens.

11. Hike in Medicare Payroll Tax ($86.8 bil/Jan 2013): Current law and changes:

First $200,000
($250,000 Married)
All Remaining Wages
Current Law 1.45%/1.45%
2.9% self-employed
2.9% self-employed
Obamacare Tax Hike 1.45%/1.45%
2.9% self-employed
3.8% self-employed

Bill: PPACA, Reconciliation Act; Page: 2000-2003; 87-93

12. Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers ($20 bil/Jan 2013): Medical device manufacturers employ 360,000 people in 6000 plants across the country. This law imposes a new 2.3% excise tax. Exempts items retailing for <$100. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,980-1,986

13. Raise "Haircut" for Medical Itemized Deduction from 7.5% to 10% of AGI ($15.2 bil/Jan 2013): Currently, those facing high medical expenses are allowed a deduction for medical expenses to the extent that those expenses exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI). The new provision imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI. Waived for 65+ taxpayers in 2013-2016 only. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,994-1,995

14. Flexible Spending Account Cap – aka “Special Needs Kids Tax” ($13 bil/Jan 2013): Imposes cap on FSAs of $2500 (now unlimited). Indexed to inflation after 2013. There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children. There are thousands of families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education. Bill: PPACA; Page: 2,388-2,389

15. Elimination of tax deduction for employer-provided retirement Rx drug coverage in coordination with Medicare Part D ($4.5 bil/Jan 2013) Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,994

16. $500,000 Annual Executive Compensation Limit for Health Insurance Executives ($0.6 bil/Jan 2013). Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,995-2,000

Taxes that take effect in 2014:

17. Individual Mandate Excise Tax (Jan 2014): Starting in 2014, anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance must pay an income surtax according to the higher of the following

1 Adult 2 Adults 3+ Adults
2014 1% AGI/$95 1% AGI/$190 1% AGI/$285
2015 2% AGI/$325 2% AGI/$650 2% AGI/$975
2016 + 2.5% AGI/$695 2.5% AGI/$1390 2.5% AGI/$2085

Exemptions for religious objectors, undocumented immigrants, prisoners, those earning less than the poverty line, members of Indian tribes, and hardship cases (determined by HHS).Bill: PPACA; Page: 317-337

18. Employer Mandate Tax (Jan 2014): If an employer does not offer health coverage, and at least one employee qualifies for a health tax credit, the employer must pay an additional non-deductible tax of $2000 for all full-time employees. Applies to all employers with 50 or more employees. If any employee actually receives coverage through the exchange, the penalty on the employer for that employee rises to $3000. If the employer requires a waiting period to enroll in coverage of 30-60 days, there is a $400 tax per employee ($600 if the period is 60 days or longer).Bill: PPACA; Page: 345-346

Combined score of individual and employer mandate tax penalty: $65 billion/10 years

19. Tax on Health Insurers ($60.1 bil/Jan 2014): Annual tax on the industry imposed relative to health insurance premiums collected that year. Phases in gradually until 2018. Fully-imposed on firms with $50 million in profits. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,986-1,993

Taxes that take effect in 2018:

20. Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans ($32 bil/Jan 2018): Starting in 2018, new 40 percent excise tax on “Cadillac” health insurance plans ($10,200 single/$27,500 family). Higher threshold ($11,500 single/$29,450 family) for early retirees and high-risk professions. CPI +1 percentage point indexed. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,941-1,956

Grover Norquist is president of Americans for Tax Reform, a coalition of taxpayer groups, individuals, and businesses opposed to higher taxes at the federal, state, and local levels. The coalition organizes the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which asks all candidates for federal and state office to commit themselves in writing to oppose all tax increases. Read more reports from Grover Norquist — Click Here Now.
© 2012 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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Another ‘Fast and Furious’ Memo Released

roll call ^ | 7/3/12 | Jonathan Strong

The day before the Justice Department broadly, and falsely, denied that guns had “walked” as part of the botched “Fast and Furious” gun-smuggling operation, an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told supervisors in a memo that he had expressed his concerns about the operation to Congressional investigators.

In a July 3 letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) questioned whether the memo should have raised red flags at the Justice Department.

“The possibility that DOJ was aware of this memorandum on February 3, 2011, and still sent the erroneous letter to Congress on February 4, 2011, raises more questions about DOJ’s claim that faulty information from Department components inadvertently led to the false letter,” Grassley said.

The memo, from ATF Special Agent Gary Styers, documents a conversation that Styers had on July 2, 2011, with investigators from Grassley’s office.

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Why So Many People Think Obama Is a Muslim

Atlas Shrugs and American Thinker ^ | July 3, 2012 | Pamela Geller

A new Gallup poll shows that 11% of Americans think Obama is a Muslim, and the leftist media just can't figure out why anyone would get that idea. Slate concluded that it must be because of "his exotic name and background, the color of his skin, or (most likely) some combination of the two." But in reality, the reason why people think Obama is a Muslim is because of how he acts.

Why do people believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim? Here's why: after the Muslim Brotherhood won the Egyptian presidency, the military moved to curb the president's powers in order to stave off sharia rule in Egypt. But then Obama warned the military that they better hand over power quickly, or Egypt would lose billions in U.S. aid.

It wasn't enough that Obama invited the Muslim Brotherhood to his submission speech in Cairo in June 2009, despite the fact that the group was banned at that time for obvious reasons: they wanted to install a sharia government, and the draconian, barbaric code of sharia, in Egypt. It wasn't enough that after he invited the Brotherhood to his speech; he had officials in his administration meeting with this Islamic supremacist group. It wasn't enough that he abandoned the true freedom movement, when the women of Iran and Persians and Zoroastrians rose up after 30 years of oppressive sharia rule. Obama spit on them and left them to die. They met bullets with bare flesh and broken bricks.

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Efforts to implement ObamaCare law raise concerns of massive government expansion!

Fox News ^ | 7/3/2012 | By Jim Angle

With the Supreme Court giving President Obama's new health care law a green light, federal and state officials are turning to implementation of the law -- a lengthy and massive undertaking still in its early stages, but already costing money and expanding the government.

The Health and Human Services Department "was given a billion dollars implementation money," Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg of Montana said. "That money is gone already on additional bureaucrats and IT programs, computerization for the implementation."

"Oh boy," Stan Dorn of the Urban Institute said. "HHS has a huge amount of work to do and the states do, too. There will be new health insurance marketplaces in every state in the country, places you can go online, compare health plans."

The IRS, Health and Human Services and many other agencies will now write thousands of pages of regulations -- an effort well under way:

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Bloggers Who Broke Fast and Furious Story, File Ethics Complaint on Holder With DC Bar!

Nicedeb ^ | July 3, 2012

An ethics complaint against U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has been filed by David Codrea and Mike Vanderboegh with the Office of Bar Counsel, Board on Professional Responsibility of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. Codrea and Vanderboegh are the two bloggers who first broke the news of the Fast and Furious scandal in December 2010.

Said Vanderboegh, Eric Holder believes that he will escape serious consequences of the congressional investigations of the Fast and Furious scandal simply by running out the clock on his tenure. We intend this ethics complaint to place him on notice that his lies and malfeasances will follow him until justice is done.”

SCOTUS Ruling Means Bigger, More Intrusive IRS

Fox Business ^ | June 29, 2012 | Elizabeth MacDonald

IRS officials on background tell FOX Business the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on health reform gives the IRS even more powers than previously understood.

The IRS now gets to know about a small business's entire payroll, the level of their insurance coverage -- and it gets to know the income of not just the primary breadwinner in your house, but your entire family’s income, in order to assess/collect the mandated tax.

Plus, it gets to share your personal info with all sorts of government agencies, insurance companies and employers.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. "We expect even more lien and levy powers," an IRS official says. Even the Taxpayer Advocate is deeply concerned.
The IRS army will inexorably increase in size, too. The IRS will now add new agents to hunt down tax cheats, as it has been budgeted to spend $303.5 million building a new system, erected on the back of its old system, to oversee the effects of the health law, including making sure people get the new tax credits they deserve under the law.
As for the new IRS workers, the Government Accountability Office said the total will be about 4,500, with nearly 4,000 slated for enforcement.
On the $303.5 million for health care, the GAO said the IRS will “continue the development of new systems and modifications of existing systems as well as other IRS enforcement systems for health reform."
Throughout, the IRS will be the agency enforcing the law, collecting these mandate penalties, as well as determining whether individuals buy “adequate” health coverage, and whether small businesses provide “affordable” coverage to workers under the new law.
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Biden Gaff: ‘So-called job creators’ don’t build economy!

Washington Examiner ^ | 7/3/12 | Joel Gehrk

Vice President Joe Biden faulted Mitt Romney for believing that “so-called job creators” build the economy, as he suggested that government spending and increased taxes on the wealthy would provide long-term economic strength. 

“[Romney believes] somehow, that those so-called job creators will make everything okay for the rest of us,” Biden said at the National Education Association conference. “We believe that the way to build this country is the way we always have, from the middle out . . . [to] invest in the things that have always made our economy grow: innovation, research, development,

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States' revolt on Medicaid expansion could undermine health law

pioneer press/wapo ^ | 7-3-12 | N.C. Aizenman and Sandhya Somashekhar

A growing number of Republican state leaders are revolting against the major Medicaid expansion called for under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, threatening to undermine one of the law's most fundamental goals: insuring millions of poor Americans.

The Supreme Court opened the door Thursday, June 28, when it announced that although the rest of the law is constitutional, the federal government cannot punish states that refuse to adopt the measure's more generous eligibility rules for Medicaid.

The Republican governors of four states -- Florida, Iowa, Louisiana and South Carolina -- have declared that they want to opt out of the expansion. Leaders of half a dozen other states are considering following suit -- including Texas, home to one of the largest concentrations of uninsured people.

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