FRANKLIN — Gov. Chris Christie today said he did not yet know how President Obama’s health care overhaul would ultimately affect New Jersey because the president kept delaying the law’s most detrimental aspects. “What effect it will have is very hard…
TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie’s office today confirmed a published report that an internal investigation by an attorney hired by New Jersey is the result of a “comprehensive and exhaustive” review and will give “a full airing of what happened…
“We respond as Americans,” Christie bellowed following a congressional adjournment which occurred without a vote, “at least we did until last night… it was disgusting to watch.”
A majority of conservatives were of a decidedly different opinion, ranging from disinterest to feelings of betrayal. Their disgust was reserved for an event that occurred approximately two months earlier, before the Mitt Train officially derailed, when the rockstar GOP Governor embraced President Obama on Garden State soil, a move which public exit polling suggested could’ve helped move the needle in the incumbent’s direction in key 2012 battleground states like Virginia and Ohio. Base political calculation at its worst? Or simply emotions getting the best of an emotional guy?
Once again, there are rumblings of “death panels” in the Affordable Care Act. This happens when a bill is passed as massive as this one that not a single member of Congress read prior to approving it. We are slowly learning of the myriad of difficulties buried in this bill simply because it was jammed down our throats with the goal of not airing it carefully beforehand. But the death panels do not exist.
There are two provisions to which Sarah Palin, Mark Halperin and even Howard Dean have referred as “death panels.” The first, Section 1233, involves counselling (voluntary, not mandatory) of “end of life” provisions. These include Living Wills, Health Advisory Statements, etc., all of which are standard documents every trust and estates attorney prepares for his/her client. There is nothing sinister about these. The second provision involves the Independent Payment Advisory Board whose sole function is to make recommendations regarding ways of cutting Medicare costs in the future. Those recommendations are not self-implementing. They must be submitted to Congress and approved by the President. This means first, there is no review of any individual case. Second, whatever recommendations are made need to be passed as if they were a new law. Oddly, there are so many serious harmful provisions of this Act, it is curious that everyone is fixated on two provisions that are relatively benign.
There are provisions that are not benign that are harmful to this nation and not just to its health care. What is amazing is that while everyone is obsessed with something that is not in the Act, they are totally ignoring a provision of the Act that is as unconstitutional and unAmerican as any provision of any Act in our lifetime. The Act provides in section 3007 for a “value based payment modifier.” This means health professionals get reviewed by the Administration and a calculation is made measuring the average cost for treating a patient for the physician or “group” of doctors versus the “success” of the treatment. It would be difficult to dream of a more subjective measurement so subject to abuse. I stand awestruck by the teachers who support the ACA (having not read it, of course) while screaming that it is not fair to “measure” their performance by the success of their students. This calculation leads to a “mathematical” payment modifier that reduces the payments given by Medicare to each group of health practitioners. But that’s not the bad part.
Question: If a $600/month insurance policy only costs the individual $33, what does it REALLY cost?
Answer: $600, with $567 less in purchasing power for the hard-working taxpayer who is subsidizing it.
Smoke and mirrors make for bad policy. When we buy any type of insurance, we weigh the benefits of the policy against the loss of the money we must put out to purchase the policy. When we ask the taxpayers to subsidize our policy, all such reasoning disappears.
Most of us have limited funds, so we must choose carefully. Wise people insure against major loss, such as our house burning down. Most of us believe that paying $1,000 per year is reasonable, as the cost to rebuild a house is hundreds of thousands of dollars. Insurance gives us peace of mind, even though the chance of our house burning down is statistically very low.
For many reasons, we have allowed health insurance to defy all the principles of insurance. There is something emotional about health insurance. Maybe it is because we fear death and want to be sure it does not happen to us any time soon. Maybe it is watching others suffer from illness and want insurance to assure that they get well, do not suffer, and have all their bills paid.
We have actually been duped into thinking that someone else ought to pay for all the health care we need. Politicians gain support and votes when they assure the masses that they care about their health. And insurance companies are more than happy to offer generous policies since commissions and CEO compensation are a percentage of the premiums.
The records obtained by the Justice Department listed incoming and outgoing calls, and the duration of each call, for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and the main number for AP reporters in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP.
In all, the government seized those records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012. The exact number of journalists who used the phone lines during that period is unknown but more than 100 journalists work in the offices whose phone records were targeted on a wide array of stories about government and other matters.
The folks at Hillbuzz say Chicago politicos think the President won’t run for reelection.
Of course, Hillbuzz would like that because it would create a lot of Hillary buzz.
Here’s their reasoning:
The Obama cultists in the Media keep insisting “there’s no way Obama doesn’t win re-election”, and the Cocktail Party GOP defeatists pick up their usual Eeyore cues from that and essentially seem geared to give up before the 2012 election even begins, but I keep coming back to something a good friend of mine asked me the other day that I honestly didn’t have an answer for.
She posed this question — which I invite you to answer in comments below: ”Have you ever heard anyone who didn’t vote for Obama in 2008 wish they could go back and vote for him now, after seeing him as president?”.
This is a new take on what we hear a lot, that people who voted for Obama, now unhappy with his job performance, wish they could go back in time and not vote for him. This feeling seems to be widespread now that a good deal of the hopeychange Kool-Aid has expired.
But, have you honestly ever heard ANYONE say that “I didn’t vote for him in 2008, but he’s done such a good job I wish I had known better and can’t wait to vote for him in 2012″?
The tea leaves that HillBuzz are reading come from David Axelrod and the First Lady:
It might seem incredible that Obama would just walk away from the presidency, leaving Democrats in the lurch for 2012, but I was told, repeatedly, to watch what David Axelrod and Michelle Antoinette have both been doing in recent weeks…they give no signs whatsoever that they are engaged in a re-election campaign.
Axelrod was recently on a Chicago Sunday political show and kept dodging all talk of the re-election campaign, which is like Oprah Winfrey turning down a large supreme pizza or a sandwich bigger than her head. It’s unheard of.
Axelrod’s favorite topic in the world is how he got Obama elected president, which means Axelrod’s second favorite topic in the world should be how he is going to re-elect Obama in 2012. He left the White House claiming that’s why he was moving back to Chicago, to focus on the re-election bid, and when given the perfect opportunity to wax on about that, and praise himself and his efforts, he completely dodged the topic, wanting nothing to do with it. Why?
Pressed by the reporter, Axelrod apparently said “the president’s re-election is just one of the interesting projects I am working on”. What could be peer, in terms of being interesting, to re-electing a president if you are a political consultant? Chicago political veterans picked up on this and saw it as a sign that those in the Obama ranks either do not believe he will win in 2012, or that he won’t even run, largely because of the former.
Then there was Michelle Antoinette on Good Morning America last Thursday or Friday, wearing something hideous as usual, also downplaying the re-election campaign and dodging questions about her involvement in it. This, too, is strange because Michelle Antoinette has always loved talking about how influential, powerful, and generally wonderful she (thinks she) is.
Like Axelrod, Michelle Antoinette poo-poohed the re-election talk, not taking the opportunity to go on about how much her husband deserved a second term to keep doing whatever it is all day, the end results of which the American people clearly hate.
She had a very “one and done” attitude about living in the White House for Obama’s term, and people here in Chicago who know her said that she was in particularly bad spirits after returning to DC from Hawaii, because she just didn’t want to ever leave and resents having to spend any time at all in DC.
“Give ‘em the old razzle dazzle” goes the refrain to one of the most entertaining and memorable scenes from the play “Chicago.” It seems President Obama drew inspiration from the production named after the city in which he began his political career.
Unlike many who have derided his performance as “flat,” I found it to be reasonably dynamic. It was passionately delivered and vague enough to be inoffensive. The bipartisan applause lines and sprinkle of humor were injected to create the impression that the president was humble and not asking for anything illogical. Just the good old post-partisan and centrist Obama from the campaign days. As the song “Razzle Dazzle” continues, “when you’re in trouble go into your dance.”
At points, I felt as if the President had become a subscriber to our paper and was reading my editorials. A few “Did he really say that?” moments include his calls to: eliminate the 1099 penalty from the health care law, cut the corporate tax rate, reduce frivolous lawsuits, simplify the tax code, and scale back burdensome and archaic regulations on business. If this was his State of the Union two years ago, it may have been remotely believable.
It didn’t take long to realize that the speech was to serve mostly as a distraction from the reality of the president’s agenda for the past two years, and his designs to do more of the same in the next two: more spending, bigger government and completely ignore entitlement reform.
During a meeting with business executives I attended last year, the consensus in the room was that President Obama was smart to jam and ram through the most unpopular and controversial aspects of his agenda in his first two years in order to focus on getting re-elected over the next two. While most opposed the policies, they recognized the virtues of the tactics. The “ram it through” strategy was made even more appealing considering the overwhelming majorities the president’s political party held in Congress.
But that strategy has consequences when the agenda does not represent the “will of the governed,” and primary among the casualties is the president’s desire to be viewed as either a centrist or post-partisan. Unfortunately for Mr. Obama, his speech was undermined by the lack of his own credibility on the most critical issues he mentioned; job creation, deficit reduction and tax reform. That tension showed up in the speech itself. Even liberal columnist Paul Krugman commented in the New York Times on the speech: “We’re going to invest in the future — but we’re also going to freeze domestic spending. …I have no idea what the vision here was.”
Anticipating Republican charges that “investments” he promoted in his address were merely code for new federal spending we can’t afford, the president fashioned a pithy defense: “To borrow an analogy, cutting the deficit by cutting investments in areas like education, areas like innovation — that’s like trying to reduce the weight of an overloaded aircraft by removing its engine,” Mr. Obama said in a December speech at a community college in North Carolina. “It’s not a good idea.”
But in this defense lays the principle difference between Republicans and Democrats. The president and his Party believe the “engine” is the government and its bureaucracy, while Republicans believe the driving force comes from private enterprise and the American entrepreneur.
The unemployment problem facing our nation has made a sustainable and meaningful economic recovery very difficult. However, identifying the greatest impediment to resolving it is far clearer; it’s the uncertainty created by new government policies and burdensome regulations. In a two year period, private industry has endured the prospect of new health care mandates, attempts to regulate energy usage through a carbon tax, counter-intuitive financial regulations and the probability of the largest tax increase in American history in two short years.
Is it a wonder that corporate America is sitting on nearly $2 trillion in earnings, rather than investing in their own expansion? Without knowing what to expect over the next two years, the risk takers and job creators have had to assume a more defensive posture, relegating them unable to do what our economic system and workforce needs them to do, which is to grow and create jobs.
Rhetoric cannot replace a record of real achievement. After two years of “razzle dazzle,” the American people must demand more from this president.