Thursday, January 30, 2014

Obamacare deadbeats: Some don't pay up (Husseincare cancellations? Pelosi knew)

CNN ^ | 1/30/14 | Tami Luhby 

Just cause they've signed up for Obamacare doesn't mean they're covered.


Around one in five people who picked health insurance policies on the state and federal exchanges last year haven't paid their first month's premiums, according to insurers polled by CNNMoney. These folks will likely see their policy selection canceled and they'll be left uninsured.


Some 2.1 million people signed up for a plan in time for their coverage to start January 1, according to the Obama administration. But with the payment deadlines stretching until January 31 at the latest, anywhere between 12% and 30% of those folks still haven't paid up, insurers say.

(Excerpt) Read more at money.cnn.com ...

Senator Mike Lee’s Tea Party Response to the president’s State of the Union speech

Mike Lee Website ^ | January 28, 2014 | Senator Mike Lee 

Good evening.
I’m Senator Mike Lee, from Utah.
In the few minutes I have tonight – I’d like to speak especially to those Americans who may feel they have been forgotten by both political parties:
Those individuals and families who work hard, play by the rules, balance their budgets, honor the Golden Rule … and don’t understand why their government in Washington can’t do the same.
You are probably as frustrated as I am about an ever-growing government that somehow thinks it is okay to lie to, spy on and even target its own citizens. Many hard-working Americans are discouraged and wondering what, if anything, can be done.
I believe we need to do what Americans have always done – come together and press for positive change. Protesting against dysfunctional government is a great American tradition, going back to the original Tea Party in Boston, about 240 years ago. Americans have a natural instinct to stand up and speak out when they know something is wrong.
In 1773, Americans had simply had it with a London-based national government that had become too big, too expensive and far too intrusive.
It is important to note, however, that had the founding generation stopped at just protesting against the kind of government Americans did not want, the Boston Tea Party would have been little more than a footnote in history. At most, it would have been remembered as just one more futile protest against an abusive national government.
Fortunately for all of us, those early patriots moved on from Boston and moved past their protest against the government they didn’t want. They marched forward on a road toward the kind of government they did want.
It took them 14 long years to get from Boston to Philadelphia, where they created, with our Constitution, the kind of government they did want.
In America, the test of any political movement is not what that movement is against, but what it is for. The founders made a point at Boston Harbor, but they made history in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall.
Unfortunately, in recent years, we have had no choice but to engage in a number of protests against our current president’s Washington-centered agenda.
As Americans we must always be willing to fight the Boston-type battles -— boldly calling out bad policy whenever we see it — but we must do so with an eye toward Philadelphia, maintaining a positive focus on the kind of nation we want to be and become.
Today, Americans know in their hearts that something is wrong. Much of what is wrong relates to the sense that the “American Dream” is falling out of reach for far too many of us. We are facing an inequality crisis — one to which the President has paid lip-service, but seems uninterested in truly confronting or correcting.
This inequality crisis presents itself in three principal forms:
immobility among the poor, who are being trapped in poverty by big-government programs; insecurity in the middle class, where families are struggling just to get by and can’t seem to get ahead; and cronyist privilege at the top, where political and economic insiders twist the immense power of the federal government to profit at the expense of everyone else.
To be fair, President Obama and his party did not create all of these problems. The Republican Establishment in Washington can be just as out-of-touch as the Democratic Establishment.
However, tonight, as on numerous occasions of late, the President’s lofty rhetoric ignored the fact that his administration continues to leave poor and middle-class families further behind, while he and his allies insist that the real problem is “inequality” itself.
But where does this new inequality come from? From government — every time it takes rights and opportunities away from the American people and gives them instead to politicians, bureaucrats, and special interests.
Inequality – real inequality - is trapping poor children in failing schools to benefit bureaucrats and union bosses. It’s penalizing low-income parents for getting married, or getting better jobs.
It’s guaranteeing insurance companies taxpayer bailouts if Obamacare cuts into their profits.
Inequality is blocking thousands of middle-class jobs in the energy industry as a favor to partisan donors and radical environmental activists.
Inequality is denying viable, unborn children any protection under the law, while exempting unsanitary, late-term abortion clinics from basic safety standards.
It’s denying citizens their right to define marriage in their states as traditionally or as broadly as their diverse values dictate.
It’s the federal government hurting rural communities, especially in the west, by controlling and mismanaging public lands.
It’s changing laws without congressional approval, and spying on American citizens without constitutional authority.
And of course, Obamacare – all by itself – is an inequality Godzilla that has robbed working families of their insurance, their doctors, their wages and their jobs. Many Americans are now seeing why some of us fought so hard to stop this train-wreck over the last four years.
Government-driven inequality is the reason why, as hard-working families across the country struggle to make ends meet, six of the ten wealthiest counties in America are now suburbs of Washington, D.C.
Throughout the last five years, President Obama has promised an economy for the middle class; but all he’s delivered is an economy for the middle-men.
And tonight his party cheered as he asked for more of the same, as if the solution to inequality were … well … more inequality.
Critics might push back and argue that my own party has been part of the problem, too often joining the Democrats to rig our economy to benefit the well-connected at the expense of the disconnected.
I know, because I’m one of those critics.
But I’m speaking to you tonight because I think maybe - just maybe - that’s finally starting to change.
As a nation we are, once again, at a critical turning point.
Now, as in 1773, Americans have had it with our out-of-touch national government. But if all we do is protest, our Boston Tea Party moment will occupy little more than a footnote in our history.
Hopefully our leaders, reformers and citizens will join the journey from Boston to Philadelphia – from protest to progress. Together we can march forward and take the road that leads to the kind of government we do want.
We have a new generation of leaders in Washington with positive, innovative ideas – thoughtful policy reforms to, as my friend Senator Ted Cruz says –“Make D.C. listen.” Reforms to help poor families work their way into the middle class, to help middle-class families start to get ahead, and to level the playing field and put corporate and political insiders back to work for the rest of us.
Conservative reformers like Senator Marco Rubio, Congressman Paul Ryan and Congressman Jim Jordan are working on new welfare-reform ideas to help underprivileged families escape poverty.
Senator Rand Paul and I are working with some of the most liberal Democrats in Congress to reform the federal criminal-justice system – to help keep violent predators behind bars while creating opportunities for reformed, non-violent offenders to return to the families and neighborhoods that so desperately need them.
Senator John Cornyn has legislation that would empower states to improve K-12 education across the country. Senator Tim Scott has reforms to improve our job-training programs. And I’ve introduced a bill to modernize higher education, making it more accessible and affordable for lower-income and non-traditional students.
Congressman Tom Graves has a transportation-reform bill to ensure our infrastructure dollars are invested in roads and bridges, and not wasted on bureaucrats and special interests.
Congressman Mike Pompeo introduced a bill to end all federal subsidies for the energy industry. And others are working on proposals to do the same for every industry – so that business profits are won from customers, not through political connections. After all, if we’re going to reform welfare, we really should start with corporate welfare.
One proposal that should directly help you and your family is a bill I have introduced to simplify our tax code, and provide relief from the hidden double-tax Washington currently imposes on working parents, especially moms and dads in the middle class.
When it comes to healthcare, we know the best way to repeal Obamacare is to deliver better solutions.
We can’t just return to the old system. Healthcare policy used to give too much power to insurance companies; Obamacare now gives far too much power to government. We know that real reform will put healthcare dollars and decisions where they belong, in the hands of patients and families and their doctors and nurses.
So reformers in both the House and the Senate are hard at work developing new, patient-centered reforms to control healthcare costs, ensure access to affordable coverage for all Americans, and provide extra help for the poor and the sick.
All of these proposals within this new conservative reform agenda, along with many more to come, mark the road to Philadelphia. These principles and these policies will work - and will put Americans back to work.
Not just by cutting big government, but by fixing broken government. Not just by making government smaller but by promoting bigger citizens, stronger families and more heroic communities. Our goal should be an America where everyone has a fair chance to pursue happiness - and find it. That’s what it looks like when protest grows into reform.
So if you’re one of those Americans that big government is leaving behind… if you work hard, play by the rules and teach your kids to do the same, I want you to know that your family will not be forgotten anymore.
This new generation of reformers still has a long way to go to win over our Party in Washington, and even further to go to earn your trust.
I am confident that our best days as a nation are ahead of us – not because of government, but because within America’s diverse society of individuals and families, neighborhoods and churches, businesses and communities, freedom doesn’t mean you’re on your own. Freedom means we’re all in this together.
I invite you to join us on the road to a more prosperous America – together we can create the kind of government we do want and the kind of nation our children and grandchildren deserve.
Thank you very much for your time. Good night, and God bless.

Cruz: Republicans 'Should Go Ahead and Put a 'Harry Reid for Majority Leader' Bumper Sticker on Their Car'

Weekly Standard ^ | 2:00 PM, Jan 30, 2014 | DANIEL HALPER 

Ted Cruz says that anyone in favor of the so-called immigration reform bill "should go ahead and put a 'Harry Reid for Majority Leader' bumper sticker on their car."
"Right now, Republican leadership in both chambers is aggressively urging members to stand down on virtually every front: on the continuing resolution, on the budget, on the farm bill, on the debt ceiling,” says Cruz in a statement first sent to Breitbart.

They may or may not be right, but their argument is that we should focus exclusively on Obamacare and on jobs. In that context, why on earth would the House dive into immigration right now? It makes no sense, unless you're Harry Reid. Republicans are poised for an historic election this fall--a conservative tidal wave much like 2010. The biggest thing we could do to mess that up would be if the House passed an amnesty bill--or any bill perceived as an amnesty bill--that demoralized voters going into November. Rather than responding to the big-money lobbying on K Street, we need to make sure working-class Americans show up by the millions to reject Obamacare and vote out the Democrats. Amnesty will ensure they stay home.
Cruz concludes, "Amnesty is wrong in any circumstance, and if we are going to fix our broken immigration system--and we should--it makes much more sense to do so next year, so that we are negotiating a responsible solution with a Republican Senate majority rather than with Chuck Schumer. Anyone pushing an amnesty bill right now should go ahead and put a 'Harry Reid for Majority Leader' bumper sticker on their car, because that will be the likely effect if Republicans refuse to listen to the American people and foolishly change the subject from Obamacare to amnesty.”

Second wave of health-insurance disruption affects small businesses (25 MILLION cancellations)

Washington Post ^ | 1/11/14 | Ariana Eunjung Cha 

When millions of health-insurance plans were canceled last fall, the Obama administration tried to be reassuring, saying the terminations affected only the small minority of Americans who bought individual policies.


But according to industry analysts, insurers and state regulators, the disruption will be far greater, potentially affecting millions of people who receive insurance through small employers by the end of 2014.


While some cancellation notices already have gone out, insurers say the bulk of the letters will be sent in October, shortly before the next open-enrollment period begins. The timing — right before the midterm elections — could be difficult for Democrats who are already fending off Republican attacks about the Affordable Care Act and its troubled rollout.

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

Four words in the ACA could spell its doom

The Washington Post ^ | 1-29-14 | George F. Will 

Someone you probably are not familiar with has filed a suit you probably have not heard about concerning a four-word phrase you should know about. The suit could blow to smithereens something everyone has heard altogether too much about, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (hereafter, ACA).
Scott Pruitt and some kindred spirits might accelerate the ACA’s collapse by blocking another of the Obama administration’s lawless uses of the Internal Revenue Service. Pruitt was elected Oklahoma’s attorney general by promising to defend states’ prerogatives against federal encroachment, and today he and some properly litigious people elsewhere are defending a state prerogative that the ACA explicitly created. If they succeed, the ACA’s disintegration will accelerate.
Because under the ACA, insurance companies cannot refuse coverage because of an individual’s preexisting condition. Because many people might therefore wait to purchase insurance after they become sick, the ACA requires a mandate to compel people to buy insurance. And because many people cannot afford the insurance that satisfies the ACA’s criteria, the ACA mandate makes it necessary to provide subsidies for those people.
The four words that threaten disaster for the ACA say the subsidies shall be available to persons who purchase health insurance in an exchange “established by the state.” But 34 states have chosen not to establish exchanges.
So the IRS, which is charged with enforcing the ACA, has ridden to the rescue of Barack Obama’s pride and joy. Taking time off from writing regulations to restrict the political speech of Obama’s critics, the IRS has said, with its breezy indifference to legality, that subsidies shall also be dispensed to those who purchase insurance through federal exchanges the government has established in those 34 states. Pruitt is challenging the IRS in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, and...
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...

Black America: Stop The Insanity!

American Thinker ^ | 1/30/2014 | Lloyd Marcus 

Remember that spiky-haired blonde fitness guru all over TV years ago? Her famous line was "Stop the insanity!" As a commonsense-thinking black conservative, I offer the same clarion call to fellow black Americans: "Stop the insanity!"
Why do you continue sleeping with the enemy, voting for liberal Democrats whose policies imply that you are inferior, stupid, and culturally immoral? When the NAACP and Democrats claim that requiring a photo ID disenfranchises blacks, such implies we are stupid. For the life of me, I do not understand why millions of blacks are not highly insulted by this absurd claim. Do blacks fly? Do blacks drive cars? Do blacks cash checks?
(Excerpt) Read more at americanthinker.com ...

The Worst Republican Senator

American Spectator ^ | 5.15.2008 | Quin Hillyer 

Reposted article at Spectator.org. Every bit as relevant today as then.
South Carolina's Lindsey Graham is a flop. He pretends to be a conservative, but sells out conservatives and insults them while doing so. He pretends to be effective at reaching across party lines, but the only thing he effectively does is help the other party. He inhabits the Senate seat of Strom Thurmond, legendary for great attention to his South Carolina constituents, but Graham spends most of his time trailing behind John McCain like a valet as McCain criss-crosses the country in pursuit of the presidency. He called Ted Kennedy "one of the most principled men I've ever met." In sum, in the words of conservative movement stalwart Richard Viguerie, "Lindsey Graham is part of the problem."
What, for example, could possibly have possessed Graham, in April of 2006, to write an essay for Time magazine about the virtues of Hillary Clinton? He called her "a smart, prepared, serious senator." She is "sought out by her colleagues to form legislative partnerships." She has managed to "build unusual political alliances with...conservatives."
He praises liberals, but reserves particular venom for conservatives who disagree with him. The most infamous example came at a speech to the utterly radical Hispanic group La Raza -- it was bad enough that he spoke to them, much less...
(Excerpt) Read more at spectator.org ...

Obama's Organizers Beg for Positive Obamacare Stories!

Breitbart ^ | 30 Jan 2014, 8:14 | Joel B Pollak 

Worried by a wave of popular outrage at Obamacare, the activists of President Barack Obama's community organizing arm, Organizing for Action, are urging members to share positive stories about the president's flagship domestic policy. In an email to volunteers in Los Angeles, organizers note that "we are making a big effort to document the stories of people who have benefited from Obamacare" to counter negative stories.
(Excerpt) Read more at breitbart.com ...

Still the Noblest Calling!

Still the Noblest Calling

I visited with three old friends recently at a park in my town. It seems like only yesterday that we were all together, but actually it had been 28 years. There was a crowd at the park that day, and it took us awhile to connect, but with the aid of a computer we made it. I found Lance at Panel 54W, line 037, Lynn over at Panel 51W, line 032, and Vince down at line 103 on Panel 27W. We were gung-ho young fighter pilots in Vietnam, the cream of the crop of the US Air Force pilot training system, and now their names are on that 250-foot-long, half-size model of the Vietnam Memorial that moves around the country. I had intentionally avoided visiting the wall when it came to town in years past, because I did not trust myself to behave in a composed manner, but after nearly three decades it was time to try for some closure on this issue. I told my wife that I preferred to go alone, if that was all right, and, truth be known, I nearly backed out at that.

Standing in front of that somber wall, I tried to keep it light, reminiscing about how things were back then. We used to joke about the psychiatric term for a passionate love affair with inanimate flying objects—we flew F-100’s—and we marveled at the thought that the taxpayers actually paid us to do this “work.” We were not draftees, but college graduates there by choice, opting for the cramped confines of a jet fighter cockpit over the comfort of corporate America. In all my life I’ve not been so passionate about any other work. If that sounds like an exaggeration, then you’ve never danced the wild blue with a supersonic angel.

I vividly remember the Sunday afternoon, in the summer of ‘68, when we flew out of Travis Air Force Base, California, on a troop transport headed for Vietnam. Lynn, Lance and I crowded around the same porthole and watched the Golden Gate Bridge disappear below broken clouds. We had gone through fighter pilot school together and had done some serious bonding. In an exceedingly rare moment of youthful fighter pilot humility, I wondered if I would live to see that bridge again. For reasons I still don’t understand, I was the only one of the three who did.

Once in Vietnam, we passed the long, lonely off-duty hours at Dusty’s Pub, a lounge that we lieutenants built on the beach of the South China Sea at Tuy Hoa Air Base. The roof at Dusty’s doubled as a sun deck and the walls were non-existent. The complaint heard most often around the bar, in the standard gallows humor of a combat squadron, was that it was “...a lousy war, but it’s the only one we have.” (I’ve cleaned up the language a bit.) We sang mostly raunchy songs that never seemed to end—someone was always writing new verses—and, as an antidote to loneliness, fear in the night, and the sadness over dead friends, we often drank too much.

Vince joined us at Dusty’s Pub halfway through my tour of duty, and since he was a like-minded country kid from Montana, we hit it off. He had a wide grin, slightly stooped shoulders, and his own way of walking—he just threw his feet out and stepped on them. But what he lacked in military bearing he made up for with the heart of a tiger. He often flew as my wingman, and we volunteered for the night missions on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. One starless night, the longest, saddest night of my life, we got into a really nasty gun duel with some anti-aircraft artillery batteries. I watched Vince die in a mushroom shaped fireball that for a moment turned night into day.

Lance—a New York boy who took unmerciful grief from the rest of us because he talked like a New Yawker—crashed into the side of a mountain in the central highlands while attacking a target. Lynn, a happy-go-lucky jock from Pennsylvania’s Slippery Rock College with a hound named John the Basset, returned to his base on a stormy night in July after weather aborted his mission. Two miles of wet runway weren’t enough to stop an F-100 landing at 160 knots with all it bombs still on board. He ran off the end, flipped over, and slid through the minefield at the perimeter fence, setting off a gruesome sound and light show.

At the wall, I told the guys only about the good parts of the last 28 years. Lacy, one of our associates from Dusty’s Pub, became an astronaut, and a few summers ago I watched from my back yard, near Tampa, as he blasted off. His voice over the radio from space was at least an octave lower than it was the day I heard him radio for help while swinging from his parachute hung up in a tree in Laos. Another Dusty’s patron, Rick, is now a two-star general, and I reminded them of what we used to say about the military promotion system—it’s like a septic tank, only the really big chunks floated to the top.

I didn’t tell them about how ostracized Vietnam vets are, that during that same week, one of the nation’s leading newspapers has run an article that implied we Vietnam vets were, to quote one syndicated columnist, “either suckers or psychos, victims or monsters.” I didn’t tell them that the secretary of defense they fought for back then has now declared that he was not a believer in the cause for which he assigned them all to their destiny. I didn’t tell them that a draft age kid from Arkansas, who hid out in England to dodge his duty while they were fighting and dying, is now the commander-in-chief. And I did not tell them we lost that lousy war. I gave them the same story I’ve used since the Nixon administration: “We were winning when I left.”

I relived that final day as I stared at the black onyx wall. The dawn came up like thunder after a year and 268 combat missions in the valley of the shadow. The ground trembled as 33 F-100’s roared off the runway, across the beach, and out over the South China Sea, climbing into the rising sun. On the eastern horizon a line of towering deep purple clouds stood shoulder-to-shoulder before a brilliant orange sky that slowly turned powder blue from the top down. From somewhere on that stage, above the whine of spinning turbine blades, I could hear a choir singing Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” in fortissimo: The “...Lord God Omnipotent reigneth...,” and He was bringing me home, while Lance and Lynn and Vince will remain as part of the dust of Southeast Asia until the end of time.

I was not the only one talking to the wall through tears. A leather-vested, bare-chested biker two panels to my left was in even worse shape. I backed about twenty-five yards away from the wall and sat down on the grass under a clear blue sky and mid-day sun that perfectly matched the tropical weather of the war zone. The wall, with all 58,200 names, consumed my field of vision. I tried to wrap my mind around the mega-tonnage of violence, carnage and ruined lives that it represented. Then I thought of how Vietnam was only one small war in the history of the human race, and I was overwhelmed with a sense of mankind’s wickedness.

My heart felt like wax in the blazing sun, and I was on the verge of becoming a spectacle in the park. I arose and walked back up to the wall to say good-bye and ran my fingers over the engraved names—Lance and Lynn and Vince—as if I could communicate with them in some kind of spiritual Braille. I wanted them to know that God, duty, honor, and country will always remain the noblest calling. Revisionist history by the elite dodgers who are trying to justify their actions cannot change that.

I have been a productive member of society since the day I left Vietnam. I am proud of what I did there, and I am especially proud of my friends—heroes who voluntarily, enthusiastically gave their all. They demonstrated no greater love to a nation who’s highbrow opinion makers are still trying to disavow them. May their names, indelibly engraved on that memorial wall, likewise be found in the Book of Life.

Surprise: California Hires Convicted Felons to Administer Obamacare!

Townhall ^ | January 29, 2014 | Guy Benson 


You may recall when Kathleen Sebelius said this, under questioning from Texas Senator John Cornyn:
(VIDEO-AT-LINK)
Cornyn: “Isn’t it true that there is no federal requirement for navigators to undergo a criminal background check, even though they will receive sensitive, personal information from individuals they help to sign up for the Affordable Care Act?”
Sebelius: “That is true. States could add an additional background check and other features but it is not part of the federal requirement.”
Cornyn: “So a convicted felon could be a navigator and could acquire sensitive personal information from an individual, unbeknownst to them?”
Sebelius: “That is possible.”
I give you California:
At least 43 convicted criminals are working as Obamacare navigators in California, including three individuals with records of significant financial crimes. Although some of the offenses are decades old, and although convicted criminals account for only 1 percent of the 3,729 certified enrollment counselors in the state, Californians still have good cause to be concerned about their privacy. Even a single crooked navigator could do significant harm to the public. That’s because when navigators sign consumers up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, they have access to lots of private information, including Social Security numbers, home addresses, and financial data — basically, everything on the wish list of identity thieves and fraudsters. Navigators also are likely to work with a population that is more vulnerable than average.
More details:
Limited statistics released by Covered California — the state’s new health-insurance exchange — showed that one navigator has repeat forgery offenses — one in 1982, then another in 1994, with a burglary in between. Another had two forgery convictions in 1988, in addition to a domestic-violence charge a decade later. Another committed welfare fraud in 1999 and had shoplifted on at least two prior occasions. Since 2000, individuals now working as navigators have committed crimes including child abuse, battery, petty theft, and evading a police officer. At least seven navigators have multiple convictions. The information released covered only certified enrollment counselors, one of the three types of navigators working in California.
National Review notes that ex-convicts securing jobs and providing for themselves is generally an unequivocally positive development -- but given the sensitive nature of this particular line of work, shouldn't former felons be excluded from the applicant pool? According to this report, "California’s Republican lawmakers unsuccessfully requested that Covered California establish a policy forbidding anyone with a prior conviction, regardless of the date, to work as a navigator." The reporter also points out another irony in all of this:
In December, Covered California wrote me a letter explaining why it could not release the public records I had requested about its navigators’ criminal histories, offering statistics as a compromise. It cited “deliberative process privilege,” and it also claimed that releasing the records would violate the privacy of the navigators. (Odd, isn’t it?, that the criminal navigators’ privacy rights are apparently valued more than consumers’ privacy rights).
The state previously resisted attempts to ascertain this information using the following reasoning: “Disclosing the names and criminal records of individuals applying to assist in Covered California’s push to enroll vast numbers in health insurance by March 31, 2014, is likely to discourage participation in this critical program and thus harm the people of California.” In other words, if the public knew about navigators' criminal records, they might be less inclined to sign up, thus endangering "this critical program." Obamacare's critics have already seized on major data security vulnerabilities that threaten consumers' personal data on Healthcare.gov. Revelations about navigators with criminal records will only serve to deepen people's skepticism about the program. A recent Fox News poll revealed that a strong majority of Americans aren't confident that Obamacare's logistical apparatus and personnel will keep users' sensitive information private.

Obama pitches retirement savings options

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review ^ | January 29, 2014 | Mike Wereschagin 

".......... After the tour and speech, he signed an executive order directing Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew to establish the savings bonds. Named and modeled after existing Individual Retirement Accounts or IRAs, the bonds offer tax benefits that regular savings accounts do not, don't lose value and can be withdrawn tax-free any time.
“It's safe. These balances will never go down in value,” Obama said.
Lew, whose agency will set up the bonds, accompanied the president, whose directive is one in a series of executive orders Obama said he's using to circumvent a divided Congress that's on pace to be the least productive in decades.
Obama said he hoped Congress would adjust the tax code to provide more incentives for people to save for retirement, but “I'm not going to wait for Congress.”
..........The MyRA offers an early example of Obama's limits. He wants to revamp the tax laws to give middle-class workers more motivation to invest, but he needs Congress to act on that.
The program Obama is establishing on his own doesn't offer the retirement security he desires, said Bob Fragasso, founder and CEO of Downtown firm Fragasso Financial Advisors.
“People will not retire successfully earning four, five, six percent interest,” he said.
MyRA could make a useful piece of a person's retirement plan, but if workers rely too heavily on the low-interest growth, it could undermine Obama's goal of offering more people a comfortable retirement, Fragasso said.
“Allowing people a false sense of security by peddling MyRAs does them a disservice,” Fragasso said.
Preparing for retirement security should begin in grade school, he said.....
(Excerpt) Read more at triblive.com ...

Immigration Reform Takes Center Stage For GOP

Political Realities ^ | 01/30/14 | LD Jackson 

Immigration Reform
There is a lot that has been said about immigration reform. Some advocates of performing a massive overhaul of our immigration system will tell you the system is broken. They will insist something needs to be, has to be done. It is true that we have problems in how the immigration system is working, but those problems stem from an unwillingness of our government to enforce our immigration laws in the first place. This unwillingness is much more prominent in the Obama administration, with his specific orders to refrain from many deportations. The President's excuse is that it is simply the right thing to do. My question would also be simple. The right thing to do for whom, Mr. President?
The Republican leadership in the House of Representatives seem to be determined to make immigration reform a prime issue for the next political cycle. They have been testing out different scenarios of reform on their members and immigration reform will be one of the main topics at an annual GOP retreat today.
The Hill - Top House Republicans will face growing skepticism from reform-minded conservatives when they pitch their principles for an immigration overhaul Thursday at the party’s annual retreat.In interviews over the last several days, conservatives said that while they expect the principles to be broadly acceptable, they are less inclined to support a push by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and others to advance specific legislative proposals heading into the midterm election campaign.
“I think the willingness to go so far as specific legislation has cooled considerably for different reasons over the course of the last couple weeks,” Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) said Wednesday.
The principles will include support for giving probationary legal status to many illegal immigrants, Ryan confirmed in an interview Wednesday on MSNBC. That would be distinct from a so-called “special path to citizenship” that Republicans have long opposed.
Republican leaders have acknowledged that the reception of the rank and file at the retreat on Maryland’s Eastern Shore will be critical to the decision of whether to move forward.
“We’re going to outline our standards, principles for immigration reform and have a conversation with our members, and once that conversation is over, we’ll have a better feel for what our members have in mind,” Boehner said during a press conference.
The GOP leadership in question will just have to forgive me if I sound a little skeptical of their intentions. John Boehner says he wants to get a better feel for what the members of his caucus has in mind, but I'm not sure that will have much bearing on what legislation he decides to advance. He's already stated his derision of conservative groups. Conservatives who oppose reforming the immigration system in such a grand fashion will likely feel that same derision.
Here is an outline of what the Republican leadership is proposing.
On MSNBC, Ryan said the principles would outline a bill that would allow immigrants living in the country illegally to “come out of the shadows” to receive a probationary work permits.To get out of the probationary status and receive a regular work permit, triggers for border security and interior enforcement would have to be met and independently verified.
Those immigrants would also have to pay a fine, learn English and civics, and prove that they are not on welfare.
At that point, they would be able to apply for a green card for permanent residency through regular procedures.
In addition to border and interior security, the principles will also likely call for a guest-worker program, increased high-skilled visas and a path to legal status citizenship for children brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents.
Supposedly, this is somewhat different from the amnesty proposed by the Democrats. I would ask them how it is different. They are still proposing that illegal immigrants be allowed to come "out of the shadows" and enter the legal work force. They say it isn't a special path to citizenship, but it sounds awfully close to amnesty to me. And does anyone really believe the illegal immigrants who already reside in America are going to follow this process, just so they can come "out of the shadows"? I'm not convinced that is likely to happen.
Speaking of a path to citizenship, we already have one of those. It's set forth in the immigration laws that are already on the Federal Register. If illegal immigrants have refused to follow that path, what makes us think they will follow any future path to citizenship passed through Congress and signed into law? Simply put, if the illegal immigrants already living in America were interested in citizenship, they could have already applied for, and received, that coveted status. Their inaction speaks volumes. It would behoove the Republican leadership to listen closely to what they are saying.

JV

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During the last tax year

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Make a difference!

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Good Hands!

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Racist Gravity

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Dropping off the girls!

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The Patriot

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WENDY

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Intolerant!

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Former Fetuses

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SOCIALISM!

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IDEAS

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My mom's going to kill me!

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Discrimination?

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The Thrill is gone!

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Judged

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Unless...

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Get Covered!

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