Monday, November 26, 2012

States choose own paths with one-party governments!

The Washington Examiner ^ | November 25, 2012 | Michael Barone

In Washington, Americans have two-party government, with a Democratic president and Senate and a Republican House. We had it before November's election and will have it again for the next two years.
Looking back from 2014, we will have had two-party government for most of the preceding two decades, for six years of Bill Clinton's presidency, three and a half years of George W. Bush's and four years of Barack Obama's.
But in most of the 50 states, American voters seem to have opted for something very much like one-party government.
Starting next month, Americans in 25 states will have Republican governors and Republicans in control of both houses of the state legislatures. They aren't all small states either. They include about 53 percent of the nation's population.
At the same time, Americans in 15 states will have Democratic governors and Democrats in control of both houses of the state legislatures. They include about 37 percent of the nation's population.
That leaves only 10 percent in states in which neither party is in control.
The Republican edge is largely a result of the Republican trend in 2009 and 2010. Normally you would expect the Democrats to recoup and shift the balance the next time they have a good off-year. Maybe they will in 2014.
But what's striking now is the wide margins in legislatures for one party or the other in state after state -- most of them, in fact.....
.....States are laboratories of democracy, Justice Louis Brandeis wrote. Citizens of every state can monitor their experiments and judge which set of one-party states is getting better results.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonexaminer.com ...

A plan to dodge the ‘fiscal cliff’

WashPo ^

By Bob Corker, Published: November 25

The writer, a Republican senator from Tennessee, is a member of the Senate Banking Committee.
In business I found that a challenging environment often produced our best opportunities. Perhaps that’s why I see the so-called “ fiscal cliff ” of year-end spending cuts and tax increases not as an impassable precipice but as our best opportunity to finally enact meaningful fiscal reform.
I hear Washington watchers and people in the hallways of Congress saying there is not enough time to get this done this year. I disagree. The hard part has already been done. Over the past two years, the options for reaching a $4 trillion deficit reduction deal have been drafted, charted, graphed, circulated, evaluated, dissected, leaked, reported, debated and then put on the shelf for another day.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...

Liberal think tank “make believe” aside, the U-Haul index shows Californians fleeing to Texas

coachisright.com ^ | Kevin "Coach" Collins

Here’s a bit of good news: California’s economy is improving! Of course it is not true and this pronouncement comes from a liberal think tank, but hey it sounds so good doesn’t it?
What’s laughable is that The Rockefeller Foundation and Yale professor Jacob Hacker claim this “improvement” is proven by the fact that the percentage of California’s families reporting a major economic loss last year dropped by 1.4% which is a whole .10% better than the national average.
The fact that California is so economically distressed and has been for so long that there are few families left to experience economic losses doesn’t seem to enter into Professor Hacker’s formula.
Now for so reality: according to those who study the fiscal and economic health of a state, a much more honest measurement is the “U-Haul Index” which examines the cost of moving in or out of a given state.
The latest U-Haul Index the one way cost of renting a 20 foot truck to go from San Francisco to San Antonio Texas is $1,693 yet making the trip in reverse costs only $983.00 for the same truck.
People are voting ….with their feet. …..leaving California and its insane policies for…..
Texas. ……. fuelled by higher and higher taxes higher unemployment (even with Democrats announcing the numbers) forced union membership and a hostile climate for business in California.
On the scale of friendliness toward business California stands the 48th out of the 50 states and Texas is just 9th. The tax burden is 1/3 less in Texas than it is in California.
The percentage of Californians in poverty is growing so far that although it represents 12% of the nation’s population it accounts for 1/3 of all of America’s welfare recipients…..
(Excerpt) Read more at coachisright.com ...

On Obamacare, I Won't Comply!

Townhall.com ^ | November 26, 2012 | John Ransom

Americans know instinctively that when liberals start talking about deficit reduction that’s it’s just a case of the fantods, as Huckleberry Finn would say. And say what you will about old Huck, but he knew a couple of frauds when he saw them.
No matter what liberal “Wonks” like Ezra Klein say about the historically dumb healthcare “reform” known as Obamcare, Americans are uneasy about it.
And they should be.
The best thing- as Democrat strategist James Carville admitted last year- that could have happened for the Democrats is for the Supreme Court to have tossed out the landmark legislation that bears Obama's name.
But that didn't happen, so now the Democrats are stuck trying to make another bad law work.
Obamacare supporters like Ezra Klein, instead of trying to fix the problem continue to play dirty pool when it comes to healthcare reform. They now count it as a deficit fighter, when in fact, it’s no such thing.
Unless of course you count any bill with a tax increase in it as a deficit fighter. A defense contract could be a deficit fighter too, if a defense contract was designed just like Obamacare.
Here let me show you the slight of hand that liberals did to claim Obamacare fights the deficit.
Say, for example, that when we decommission the old Nimitz-class carriers we then replace them with the newer Gerald Ford class of carriers at $15 billion a clip. Let’s say, in this example, that we then raise taxes 3.8 percent on people who go over a certain income limit, to an extent that we not only pay for each carrier but we also create a surplus of $100 billion that we can apply to the deficit- just as they did in Obamcare. Actually in the case of the aircraft carriers, the exact same tax increase that the used for Obamacare would pay for the carriers and leave a surplus of $180 billion over the same period, almost twice what Obamacare claims.
Then we could pass both the replacement aircraft carrier budget authorization and the tax increase in one bundle- just as they did with Obamacare- and call it the The American Affordable Defense Act (AADA).
Then any time someone threatens to scrap the Ford class carriers we could cry out “But getting rid of the AADA would add to the deficit!”
While the typical American doesn’t necessarily know the ins and outs of Obamacare, the same confidence game has been played on them so may times that they are wise to it.
Counting on public stupidity to see a massive new spending program, like Obamacare, as some sort of deficit fighter, because THEY SAY IT IS, just shows you how weak the original case for Obamacare was in the first place.
And only in Washington can you start off entitlement reform that’s supposed to reduce spending, by ushering in a massive new government program that will greatly grow government spending. And then pat yourself on the back for it.
Wasn’t it the same type of entitlement Ponzi scheme that gave us the problem in the first place?
Wonks and politicians may not see it, but those guys are in the process of self term-limiting out of business anyway- either by votes or by pageviews. 2010 was just a preview, not a conclusion even accepting the standstill in the 2012 election.
Readers know that I hate to pick on the Washington Post this way, but I don’t know anyone who would willingly call themselves a wonk in the first place. The Post’s Wonk brand is stuck in the Way-Back Machine of the 1990s.
The Wonk Disneyland, known as DC, is exactly what gets us these kinds of political and mathematical ruses that pass for solutions these day. The only choice we will have soon is to stop complying with fefderal mandates like Obamacare.
Bceause Americans continue to favor repeal of Obamacare.
The Supreme Court decision calling Obamacare a tax will likely reinforce the opinion that it’s a flawed piece of legislation that greatly expands government bureaucracy at a time when Americans think that government is doing too much not too little.
You can pass Obamacare as a deficit measure and call it Constitutional -and then wonk about it all you want. But Americans know the truth.
Obamacare, like the tax on tea that saw a load of it dumped into Boston Harbor in 1773, is just plain dumb. And both also go against natural law.
I won't comply.

The Fiscal Cliff? Let's Rush Off Of It (The choice is recession now, or recession later)

RCM ^ | 11/26/2012 | Jeffrey Dorfman

Washington, the media, and many economists are consumed by the looming fiscal cliff-a combination of tax increases and spending cuts that are set to occur on January 1. Many economists, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke among them, predict that if we go over the fiscal cliff the country will go into recession.

I say let's do it!

In fact, we should take more action to cut the deficit than the fiscal cliff will accomplish. The fiscal cliff would reduce the current federal deficit by less than one-third, still larger than any deficit ever run by a president not named Barack Obama. The spending cuts would be only around $100 billion per year with tax increases being larger, in the $200-300 billion range.
Take the end of President Clinton's term as the point of comparison since the budget was balanced. Annual federal spending was $1.94 trillion, revenue was $2.10 trillion. Adjusting for inflation and population growth since the start of 2001, today's equivalents would be $2.77 trillion in spending and $3.00 trillion in revenue. That would be a nice budget surplus of $230 billion.
So where did it go? Was it the Bush tax cuts? The Obama stimulus? The recession? Yes, yes, and yes; but the blame is not shared equally.
Today the federal government is collecting $2.67 trillion in revenue ($330 billion short of the Clinton-equivalent) and is spending $3.76 trillion. Yes, that's right; we are spending $987 billion more than if we increased the last Clinton budget for inflation and population growth. It sure looks to me like spending is the main culprit.
The fiscal cliff would raise taxes by enough to replace much or all the missing revenue, but would only eliminate about 10 percent of the new spending. We need to get serious about spending cuts.
(Excerpt) Read more at realclearmarkets.com ...

Learning to Love Simpson-Bowles (Let's look at the options we have)

American Thinker ^ | 11/26/2012 | Randall Hoven

What should Republicans in Congress do right now about the "fiscal cliff"? Everyone has advice, almost none of which squares with reality. Republicans have only two levers of control: the House of Representatives and filibusters in the Senate. Consider the options.

Option 1: Do nothing.

If no new legislation gets passed we hit the so-called "fiscal cliff." That means all "Bush tax cuts" would expire, for rich and non-rich alike. It means other tax cuts and credits added under Obama (payroll tax cuts, child tax credits, etc.) would also expire. The Congressional Budget Office estimates all that at $4,532 billion over the next decade, or almost 11% of all projected federal revenue.
Then there is the spending side of the fiscal cliff, or sequestration. The CBO says sequestration amounts to $492B in military cuts and another $492B in non-defense cuts from the current baseline over the next decade. If these "cuts" are allowed to happen, federal spending would be $43,823B over the next decade. That means sequestration amounts to a 2.2% spending cut, or spending would go up only 55% instead of 58%.

But that's not all. We also have Obama's Medicare cuts, which mean paying doctors less while expecting the same level of care. That's another $245B over the next decade. Now if deficits are your one and only concern, and you actually believe the CBO's projections, the fiscal cliff looks like a good thing. In fact, "doing nothing" is what the CBO calls its "baseline." And deficits in the CBO's baseline are under 3% of GDP (a good thing) by 2014, and under 1% of GDP from 2016 on. Such deficits would be lovely, if true.

(Excerpt) Read more at americanthinker.com ...

The GOP's California Lesson (You want amnesty? Look at what's happening in the once Golden State)

American Thinker ^ | 11/26/2012 | Jared E. Peterson

There's been much verbal hand wringing since the election about the Republican Party's alleged urgent need to modify its stance on amnesty -- this, it's argued, is the key to improving Republican showing among Hispanic voters (Romney got about 22% of the Hispanic vote). As but one of many recent examples, see James Doti's November 16, 2012, opinion piece in the Orange County Register, a normally sensible newspaper.
Almost all this panicked chatter, Doti's included -- from both conservative commentators and Republican office holders -- is based on a willful refusal to see the obvious.
Those who argue that the Republican Party should endorse "a path to citizenship" for ten (twenty?) million illegals ignore the fundamental economic basis for the Democrats' tightening vise grip on the U.S. Hispanic vote: Hispanics, especially those of recent Mexican and Central American origin and their children, do not vote Democrat because they want open borders, but because they are eager for government benefits.
The Republican Party can't cure that economic reality, which is driving Hispanic allegiance to Democrats, by altering its stance on amnesty -- but it could fatally damage the Republican Party by that change.
The US sub-demographic of Mexican and Central American recent arrivals and their children constitutes an immense portion of the overall U.S. Hispanic population (in fact, it's a substantial majority), and its percentage among the U.S. Hispanic population would increase dramatically if a new amnesty were adopted. This sub-demographic is almost certainly voting Democrat in percentages far greater than the overall 2012 Hispanic Democrat vote of 71%.
Any weakening of the Republican Party's longstanding position on a second massive amnesty (President Reagan's 1986 mistake was the first) would be seen by Hispanics as insincere, Johnny-come-lately pandering, and for that reason alone would gain the Party few votes from Hispanics.
(Excerpt) Read more at americanthinker.com ...

Business 201: Why Low Tax Rates Matter

Shout Bits Blog ^ | 11/26/12 | Shout Bits

With Pres. Obama's reelection, political stem winders are focused on 'The Fiscal Cliff,' as the enacted package of reductions in the growth of government and tax increases to above Clintonian levels is called. Few Republicans are willing to play hardball and face sequester, but at least some are insisting on new revenues through eliminating deductions rather than raising marginal rates. While Shout Bits is certain Congress will find a way to do worse than just driving off the Cliff, here is a primer on why keeping marginal rates low is important for everyone.
Money never rests. Apart from the wad of cash in America's pockets (M0 which is .8% of all cash like instruments), every dollar is invested toward economic growth. Even those who simply put their cash in checking accounts are allowing their banks to lend that money to businesses and homeowners. While some of the upper-middle class, whom Obama calls 'rich,' keep their money in banks, many invest their cash in businesses directly.
Perhaps what Obama does not understand is that business cannot grow without reinvestment of its earnings. Growth cannot happen without investment; it is not magical. Long term, without raising outside equity (i.e. issuing new shares of stock), a business can only grow at the rate of its return on equity (assuming no dividends). Whenever a business raises new equity capital, that money comes from other less profitable sources, so new investments are a zero sum game at the macro level. Growth comes only from reinvestment of return on equity (which further explains why QE3 and stimulus can never work).
To achieve growth, therefore, return on equity should be maximized. Investment analysts often look to the DuPont Equation:
ROE = (Profit margin)*(Asset turnover)*(Equity multiplier) = (Net profit/Sales)*(Sales/Assets)*(Assets/Equity)= (Net Profit/Equity) To save Shout Bits's readers the headache of interpreting the equation, it basically says ROE is maximized by running a tight ship, applying assets carefully, and selling the most profitable products. Also, Net Profit is after tax, as there are no accessible pre-tax profits (i.e. the government gets its cut first). Assuming businesses are trying as hard as they can to maximize the components of the DuPont Equation, the remaining variable is taxes.
If tax rates go up, ROE goes down, slowing growth. Greed, as Obama calls it, has nothing to do with it. The 'rich' do not keep their money in mattresses, they reinvest it in growth. The one thing the 'rich' like to do is get richer. While Obama may hate capitalists and seek "revenge" and "punishment" against them, they are also the source of economic growth, which the US desperately needs.
This is why, if the government must have more tax dollars, eliminating deductions and preferences is the better way to go. Especially in the corporate realm, tax preferences are a way to enhance growth at the expense of others (assuming the tax preferences are paid by raising marginal rates or marginal rates could be lower without the tax preferences). Those who lobby well are allowed to grow faster than those who focus on less valuable tasks like serving consumers.
Gov. Romney's proposal to keep the Bush tax rates but cap total deductions was a pleasantly pro-growth proposal. It limited the amount by which the well-connected could achieve earnings growth compared to the non-political class. Overall, such a proposal would grow the economy faster than one with high rates and innumerable preferences. Some Congressmen from both parties have teed up Romney's concept.
Low marginal rates are not a favor to the rich, although they obviously would benefit. Low marginal rates are a pathway to economic growth and thereby better employment for the ordinary citizen. Not a theory, but solid well tested math, low tax rates, higher ROE, and economic growth are all tied together. Voters should encourage GOP leaders to negotiate toward keeping rates low as they cut a deal with Obama over the Fiscal Cliff.
Shout Bits can be found on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShoutBits

SCOTUS orders appeals court to hear Liberty University health care lawsuit!

POLITICO ^ | 11/26/2012 | Jennifer Haberkorn

The Supreme Court on Monday ordered the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to examine the constitutionality of the health reform law’s employer requirements and mandatory coverage of contraceptives without a co-pay.

The move could open the door for President Barack Obama’s health law to be back in front of the Supreme Court late next year.

The Supreme Court responded to a request from Liberty University, one of the groups that sued over the health care law’s individual mandate in 2010. When the court ruled in June that the mandate was constitutional, it dismissed Liberty’s entire lawsuit.

Over the summer, the school asked the Supreme Court to reopen its arguments against the employer mandate and the contraceptive coverage mandate, which it said were not addressed by the court's ruling this summer. The court on Monday agreed to the request and told the Fourth Circuit to hear arguments on the two pieces.

The Fourth Circuit, which traditionally moves quickly, could hear oral arguments in the case next spring.

The school's lawyers have told POLITICO that they hope to eventually bring the suit back before the Supreme Court.
(Excerpt) Read more at politico.com ...

Approaching Crunch Time on the Student Loan Debacle (About to go the way of subprime mortgage mess)

American Thinker ^ | 11/26/2012 | Gary Jason

For a number of years now, a number of critics of the American system of higher education have rightly insisted that there is a "bubble" in the system, with more and more students running up loans in amounts they will find difficult to pay back.

This bubble has been fueled by the federal government's lavish subsidization of the student loan program (which was nationalized four years ago), in a way similar to how the housing bubble was fueled by government agencies pushing subprime mortgages.

This extensive government largess has produced a number of unintended -- though not necessarily unforeseeable -- negative consequences. First, it has dramatically driven up the tuition and fees charged by colleges, which in turn has forced more students to take out loans. This should have been easy to foresee, since the agents running the colleges would know that their clients had access to government-backed loans and so would jack up tuition quickly to extract that money.
Second, this flood of money has only encouraged administrative bloat, which in turn has increased college costs with no increase in the quality of education. Again, this should have been foreseeable. The administration would be rationally well-informed about the new honey-pot of taxpayer-backed loans, and the self-interested administrators are the ones who decide where to spend the money, so you don't need to guess where they will (and did) spend it.
Third, the rising price of college tends to erase the potential returns of a college education for students of only average ability. In effect, like homeowners who refinance their homes only to squander the increased equity, many students are spending more (and borrowing more) of whatever future extra earnings their college educations will bring.
(Excerpt) Read more at americanthinker.com ...

Obamacare: The nightmare of setting up state insurance exchanges!

American Thinker ^ | 11/26/2012 | Rick Moran

What a clusterfark.

"The Obama administration faces major logistical and financial challenges in creating health insurance exchanges for states that have declined to set up their own systems.
The exchanges were designed as the centerpiece of President Obama's signature law, and are intended to make buying health insurance comparable to booking a flight or finding a compatible partner on Match.com.
Sixteen states - most of them governed by Republicans - have said they will not set up their own systems, forcing the federal government to come up with one instead. Another five states said they want a federal-state partnership, while four others are considering partnerships.
It's a situation no one anticipated when the Affordable Care Act was written. The law assumed states would create and operate their own exchanges, and set aside billions in grants for that purpose."
*****
Oh my, are the American people who are forced to use these exchanges in for a big surprise:
*****
"Since different states have different insurance markets and different eligibility requirements for Medicaid, Obama's Health and Human Services Department can't simply take a system off the shelf as a one-size-fits all failsafe.
"You can't simply deploy one federal exchange across the board," said Jennifer Tolbert, director of state health reform at the Kaiser Family Foundation. "Each state is different - their eligibility systems are different, their insurance markets are different. [HHS is] going to have to build these exchanges to fit into the context of each state."
(Excerpt) Read more at americanthinker.com ...

Congratulations to the Democrats and Young People! You now own it!

Drudge ^ | Nov. 26, 2012

From a blog comment on a Drudge link:

Congratulations to the Democrats and Young People! You now own it and you can't blame Bush.
The next terrorist attack, you own it.
Can't get a job after graduation, you own it.
Sky rocketing energy prices due to Obama's EPA shutting down the energy producing states, you own it.
A nuclear Iran, you own it.
Bowing to Russia, you own it.
Another severe recession, you own it.
A volatile border with Mexico, you own it.
Trouble getting good health care, you own it.
Higher health insurance costs and health care costs, you own it.
No budget, you own it.
Our allies mistrust, you own it.
Another trillion of debt, you own it.
More Benghazi situations, you own it.
No one willing to join the military, you own it.
Trouble getting a loan to buy a home, you own it.
More dependency on food stamps, you own it.
Trouble finding good employment, you own it.
Several part time jobs instead of a good job, you own it.
A World Government, you own it.
The UN governing the United States instead of ourselves, you own it.
A Senate that will not bring any legislation to the table even if it is "Dead on Arrival", you own it.
China controlling our world trade trampling all over us, you own it.
Loss of our freedoms as we have known it in the past, you own it.
A dictatorship instead of a democracy that follows the Constitution, you own it.
Less take home pay and higher living costs, you own it.
Driving a car that looks like a toy, you own it.
More government corruption and lies, you own it.
More toleration of extreme and fanatical Islamists, you own it.
Terrorist attacks called work place incidents, you own it.
Your revenge instead of love of country, you own it.
President George Bush is out of it now, and there is not another good man for you to vilify and lie about.
In a way I am relieved that another good man will not be blamed when it was impossible to clean up this mess you voted for.
Have a good day. God bless the United States! God is our hope now.

Obama faces huge challenge in setting up (Commiecare™) insurance exchanges!

The Hill ^ | 11/25/12 | Elise Viebeck


The Obama administration faces major logistical and financial challenges in creating health insurance exchanges for states that have declined to set up their own systems.

The exchanges were designed as the centerpiece of President Obama’s signature law, and are intended to make buying health insurance comparable to booking a flight or finding a compatible partner on Match.com.


Sixteen states — most of them governed by Republicans — have said they will not set up their own systems, forcing the federal government to come up with one instead.

Another five states said they want a federal-state partnership, while four others are considering partnerships.

It's a situation no one anticipated when the Affordable Care Act was written. The law assumed states would create and operate their own exchanges, and set aside billions in grants for that purpose.

“There's no way around it — this is a big job,” said Sabrina Corlette, a health policy expert at Georgetown University.

Since different states have different insurance markets and different eligibility requirements for Medicaid, Obama’s Health and Human Services Department can’t simply take a system off the shelf as a one-size-fits all failsafe.

"You can't simply deploy one federal exchange across the board," said Jennifer Tolbert, director of state health reform at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

"Each state is different — their eligibility systems are different, their insurance markets are different. [HHS is] going to have to build these exchanges to fit into the context of each state."

Every state must have an exchange by Jan. 1, 2014, meaning HHS doesn’t have a lot of time to do a massive amount of work. The department could quickly run through a $1 billion fund designated for implementing the exchanges.

Experts have predicted that the department will soon have to tap budgets from its other programs to cover exchange costs. Other have said it might charge fees on the insurance purchased in its exchanges once they are launched.

And as it moves forward, the department will continue to deal with political battles. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Wednesday said repealing Obama’s law should be one of the topics discussed in budget discussions in the lame-duck session.

The idea behind the exchanges is to match the uninsured with plans that meet their needs and reflect their eligibility (or not) for government help.

In practice, the process will require websites that can process massive amounts of personal information from users and yield search results for everyone.

An exchange portal might tell an uninsured woman she is eligible for a premium tax credit, for example, after processing her Social Security number and tax-return figures. Officials hope that woman would go on to compare relevant health plans available in her state and then enroll online.

Constructing these sites is just one task facing HHS when it comes to states that have decided not to do the job themselves.

Each portal will require a front end — the interface consumers will use to submit their information and shop for plans — and a specialized back end that is customized based on the state.

HHS will also construct a range of other systems: a federal data hub for verifying user identity; programs for user assistance; a way to certify that health plans meet federal standards; a way to navigate the exchanges via phone, or apply for coverage by mail; and so on.

While HHS has pushed back the cutoff points for states to choose how to run their markets, the department has indicated that the Jan. 1, 2014 deadline is holding firm.

“I personally haven't heard any discussion of a delay,” healthcare reform opponent Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) recently told The Hill.

The administration faces challenges beyond the financial and technical, too.

The department has no knowledge of local insurance markets compared with state insurance regulators. It is also not likely to see its markets as a way to grapple with state-by-state health issues.

Dan Mendelson, CEO of consulting firm Avalere Health, gave obesity as an example.

“Say there's a really big obesity problem in a Southern state,” he said.

“If that state were running its exchange, it could say to insurers 'We want to make sure you have a plan that encourages diet and exercise.' Medicaid frequently does this. The program is always tailored to the specific needs of the state.

“By ceding the prerogative on their exchanges, states lose the opportunity to make those choices."

This might be the biggest difference between state- and federally-run exchanges, experts said, though consumers are not likely to notice as they shop for insurance.

“States that are moving forward with their own exchanges have a long history of regulating their insurance markets. These are states that are more likely to selectively contract with certain health plans," said Tolbert.

"States that are defaulting to a federally run exchange typically do much less regulation. If they had run their exchanges, they probably would have adopted a clearinghouse approach, which is what the federal exchange is going to do."

Experts expressed one main concern across the board — that people eligible for Medicaid but not for the exchanges might fall through the cracks in federally run systems, since enrollment in the program is run by states.

“That's the thing I'm most worried about,” said Judy Solomon, vice president for health policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

“There has to be a smooth way to connect people with Medicaid.”

Texas Man Gets Life In Prison After 8th DWI Conviction

CBS - Houston ^ | 11/21/12

Comal County, Tex. (CBS HOUSTON) – A Guadalupe County man arrested for his eighth DWI has been sentenced to life in prison after being pulled over last February with a Blood Alcohol level equivalent to consuming 23.5 beers.
In late February, authorities say Cornelio Garcia-Mata was driving nearly six times the legal alcohol limit, when he was pulled over around 6 p.m. off Interstate 35 in New Braunfels, WOAI-TV reports. Garcia-Mata got his first DWI in 1990. While on probation, he picked up his second. Since he’s a habitual offender he faced 25 years to life in prison for his latest offense.
“Subsequent blood tests shows that his blood alcohol was .446,” Comal County Chief Felony Prosecutor, Sammy McCrary told the court, according to WOAI. “It was a good verdict for the community. That’s somebody we won’t have to worry about killing somebody.”
In a video posted on YouTube from Feb. 26, 2012, an officer’s dashboard camera shows Garcia-Mata swerving in his truck before being pulled over on suspicion of intoxication. “How much alcohol have you been drinking today?” asks the officer. “I’m not drinking,” Garcia-Mata replied in slurred speech.
Prosecutors said his blood-alcohol level was five times the legal limit.
He has been held since then at the Comal County Jail without bond after a hold was placed on his release by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. He was indicted in May, arraigned in June, and went to trial on Tuesday last week in front of a Comal County jury. They later returned a guilty verdict and a finding that Garcia-Mata’s vehicle was a deadly weapon because of his previous felony DWI convictions.
What would normally be a third degree felony with a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison, became a 1st degree felony with a possible sentence of 25 years to life, KGNB Radio reported. After deliberating for only 20 minutes, the jury returned with the maximum penalty: life in prison.
In 2008, Garcia-Mata served less than two years of a six-year sentence, McCrary told WOAI. Garcia-Mata had seven prior DWI convictions out of Guadalupe County, which included felony charges. Garcia-Mata now awaits transfer into the state prison system.
Garcia-Mata will be eligible for parole in 30 years – when he is 75 years old.

ObamaCare Faces the Implementation Iceberg

RealClearPolitics ^ | November 26, 2012 | Paul Howard and Stephen Parente

Some of the recently issued rules, particularly on community rating (charging the same price to everyone regardless of health status) and limiting the premium difference between older and younger applicants are likely to increase prices for young people – and over half (55%) of the uninsured are under age 35.
If prices rise sharply for this group, they’re much less likely to buy coverage, since Obamacare lets them buy insurance for the same price even after they become sick. And if young people pass up coverage, the rates will rise for everyone else in the exchange – and for taxpayers who are footing the final bill.
The administration’s “damn the torpedoes” attitude toward implementation of Obamacare also ignores the significant amount of time it will take for stakeholders to comment on provisional regulations and for HHS to issue its final rules. Keep in mind that the law requires exchanges to begin enrolling people by next October.
To call this deadline ambitious given the enormous uncertainty facing the industry and state regulators is a massive understatement.
(Excerpt) Read more at realclearpolitics.com ...

On Not Cooperating With Obamacare!

National Review Online - The Corner ^ | November 25, 2012 | Wesley J. Smith

The Hill has an interesting story reporting on Republican governors refusing to set up state exchanges under Obamacare — which could save the states money since they are on the hook for costs in excess of federal grants. That means the feds will have to do it on a state-by-state basis, a daunting task even for this highly bureaucratic administration. Plus, it is perfectly legal under the law to engage in such passive resistance.

Some liberals say that approach isn’t conservative because, in effect, it allows the feds to run state health care. (As if they care!) I’m not buying. In case anyone hasn’t noticed, HHS already does run health care nationally about issues important to the Obama political coalition — as in free-birth-control rule, with more of the same no doubt coming soon. Indeed, Obamacare was designed to allow the technocracy to create entitlements nationally on the dimes of the private sector, while guaranteeing the employment of ever more technocrats.
After an appalling and incoherent Supreme Court ruling and the recent election, it does seem now that utter legal non cooperation is the only way remaining to impede the Leviathan. Here’s another suggestion: Senate Republicans should filibuster confirmation of the soon-to-be-nominated members of the Independent Payment Advisory Board. No board, no IPAB autocracy. Of course, the president might then make a non-recess recess appointment, but that opens any action taken by IPAB to legal attack.
So, stalwart Obamacare opponents, time for some good old fashioned passive resistance. Go limp. For those on the political left who object to such blatant obstructionism, I have two words for you: sanctuary cities.

BS Exit Polls


One of the many exit polls following President Obama’s re-election asked Obama supporters why they rejected Mitt Romney. There were several reasons given, but two of them I found particularly revealing. A large percentage felt that Romney was only concerned about helping wealthy people. The second reason, and one directly connected to the first, was that Romney did not care about middle-class or poor people. So the Democrat plan to paint Romney and, by extension, all Republicans/conservatives as insensitive elitists was apparently quite successful. The problem is that this characterization is a myth. Any serious comparison between liberals and conservatives will find that conservatives are far more charitable.
In 2006, libertarian commentator John Stossel wrote, “But the idea that liberals give more is a myth. Of the top 25 states where people give an above average percentage, all but one (Maryland) were red–conservative–states in the last [2004] presidential election.” Professor Arthur Brooks of Syracuse University, author of the 2007 book Who Really Cares, wrote,“When you look at the data, it turns out that conservatives give about 30 percent more. And incidentally, conservative-headed families make slightly less money.” Brooks added, “The people who give one thing tend to be the people who give everything in America. You find that people who believe it’s the government’s job to make incomes more equal, are far less likely to give their money away.” Referring to a different kind of giving covered by Brooks, Stossel noted, “Conservatives are even 18 percent more likely to give blood.”
Another part of the myth is that the richest people give the most to charity. Although the rich give more in total dollars, low-income people give a greater percentage (30%) of their income. Brooks writes, “The most charitable people in America today are the working poor.” Stossel points out that the key words from the above quote are working poor. This is an important distinction because people on welfare who have the same income as the working poor rarely give money to charitable causes. One exit poll shows that 63% of people who make less than $30,000 voted for Obama.
Brooks also highlights the religious factor in giving. He notes that religious people are more likely to give to charity, and when they do, they give four times as much as non-religious people. Brooks writes, “Religious Americans are more likely to give to every kind of cause and charity, including explicitly nonreligious charities. Religious people give more blood, religious people give more to homeless people on the street.” This fact becomes more significant when we look at the exit polls from last week’s election. According to Pew research, Obama captured 62% of the electorate that never attends church and 56% of those who attend only a few times each year. In contrast, 58% of those who attend church once a week voted for Romney and 63% who attend more than once a week voted for Romney. If Brooks is correct about the giving habits of religious people, then it is fair to conclude that religious conservatives are far more generous than their liberal counterparts.
Let’s now leave the general and move on to the specific. Remember that Obama supporters believed that Romney cared only for the rich. So let’s look at the charitable giving of both presidential candidates. From 2000 to 2011, the Obamas gave less than 7% of their income to charities. To be fair, once Obama became president, his contributions increased significantly, cresting at 22% in 2011. But during the last twenty years, Romney has averaged giving 13.34% of his income to charities. In 2011, his donation of 13.45% came to $3 million. So, if we just look at 2000-2011, Romney has clearly been the most generous. As for the vice-presidential candidates, Biden and his wife averaged giving 1.47% to charity over the past two years, while Ryan and his wife averaged 2.6%. (For those who want to check out the Bidens’ charitable giving over the last decade, the information is not hard to find. For a man who so easily condemns Republicans/conservatives for not caring about the poor, you will discover that he is a hypocrite of the highest order.)
What, then, can we conclude? At a bare minimum, an honest observer would have to admit that over the last eleven years, Romney has given a greater percentage of his income to charity than Obama. Of course, the numbers do not prove that Obama is Scrooge. But the numbers do show that the belief that Romney cares only for the rich is propaganda for the gullible.
Stossel concludes his article by reporting the results of an experiment conducted by ABC’s “20/20.” The network asked the Salvation Army to set up a bucket at the busiest corner in San Francisco and another at the busiest corner in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Everyone knows that San Francisco is one of the most liberal cities in America. Sioux Falls is much more conservative and easily more religious. The results? Stossel writes, “ . . . even though people in Sioux Falls make, on average, half as much money as people in San Francisco, and even though the San Francisco location was much busier–three times as many people were within reach of the bucket–by the end of the second day, the Sioux Falls bucket held twice as much money.”

The “Republicans/conservatives are heartless ogres” myth is like a zombie–it’s very hard to kill. But until someone comes up with a means to dispatch it, the Democrats will continue to exploit it to their advantage and to the detriment of the country.

Record food stamp enrollment defines Thanksgiving

the examiner ^ | 11/21/2012 | alex jones

A record number of Americans – nearly 50 million - will be using food stamps this year to buy turkeys, cranberry sauce and stuffing for their Thanksgiving dinners. The government shells out around $78 billion annually for food stamps, tying in with other efforts to shatter morale, create class warfare and encourage complacency.
Although the number of people on food stamps is expected to grow, that still doesn't tell the entire story of just how poor our country is becoming.
Food pantries are struggling to meet the growing demand for assistance, a trend brought on by low-paying jobs and drought conditions that are driving up prices across the board. These community-based organizations are also seeing a cut in government food donations and that is limiting their ability to help people, according to Reuters. Requests for food baskets also increase around the holidays.
Talk show host Alex Jones has long warned that food stamps and other government programs are poverty traps designed to lull people into serfdom. People are highly delusional if they believe the government will take care of them, Jones says.
(Excerpt) Read more at examiner.com ...

Post Election

Reaching Out!

Still got our POT!

Greyhound

Gas Prices

Fighter

TEXAS

Germs

Hopelessness

Predecessor Mess!

Thanks Sandy!

Please hold!

Goose

Second Term

Keep Working

Rights?

Susan Rice...LIAR!

Feeling disillusioned?

Basic Math

Thanks

The Scarlet Letter

Look...Santa!

O that I were as great as...