Saturday, March 31, 2012

Why Does Health Insurance Cost So Much?

The Worst Week of Obama's Presidency?

In the Washington Times, Charles Hurt observes:
The past seven brutal days will go down as one of the worst weeks in history for a sitting president. It certainly has been, without any doubt, the worst week yet for President Obama. 
Somehow, Mr. Obama managed to embarrass himself abroad, humiliate himself here at home, see his credentials for being elected so severely undermined that it raises startling questions about whether he should have been elected in the first place — let alone be re-elected later this year.
Still, I will hardly be shocked if he manages to top it.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Bill Whittle: Merchants of Despair

More People are Noticing At Least

Former Obama supporter Peggy Noonan:  "Obama Increasingly comes across as devious and dishonest."

Via Hotair.

If true, This Is Just Awful

Via Gateway Pundit:  "According to a Foreign Policy report based on 'four senior diplomats and military intelligence officers' Azerbaijan has given Israel permission to land planes on Azeri airfields after an attack on Iranian nuclear sites. The Obama Administration leaked this information putting the alliance in jeopardy and endangering the Israeli nation."

If this is how it treats our allies, how does the Obama Administration treat our rivals?  Oh, right.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The House Rejects Obama's Budget

414-0.

Obama's Congressional Allies on the Constitutional Authority for Obamacare

In response to those who argue that the Supreme Court should defer to the consitutional wisdom of Congress, David Bernstein offers some pearls of constitutional wisdom from our elected representatives.

Rep. Conyers cited the “Good and Welfare Clause” as the source of Congress’s authority [there is no such clause].
Rep. Stark responded, “the federal government can do most anything in this country.”
Rep. Clyburn  replied, “There’s nothing in the Constitution that says the federal government has anything to do with most of the stuff we do. How about [you] show me where in the Constitution it prohibits the federal government from doing this?”
Rep. Hare said “I don’t worry about the Constitution on this, to be honest [...] It doesn’t matter to me.” When asked, “Where in the Constitution does it give you the authority …?” He replied, “I don’t know.”
Sen. Akaka said he “not aware” of which Constitutional provision authorizes the healthcare bill.
Sen. Leahy added, “We have plenty of authority. Are you saying there’s no authority?”
Sen. Landrieu told a questioner, “I’ll leave that up to the constitutional lawyers on our staff.”
And of course, who could forget . . .
Actually, we were quite serious.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Obamacare: Day 3 at the Supreme Court

Obamacare's fate has now officially been left in the hands of the Supreme Court. Reason's Damon Root offers his assessment after attending the third and final day of oral arguments.

"If I was in the Obama administration, I would not be comfortable with how the last three days went."

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Obamacare's Rough Day in Court

I would be very hesitant to read too much into it, but today was, by most all accounts, a very rough day for Obamacare's defenders and a heartening one for those who oppose it and support limited government.
John Hinderaker:  Obamacare has run into a buzz saw at the Supreme Court.
David Bernstein observed that "Unfortunately for the law’s defenders, the [Solicitor General] today lapsed into incoherence when Justices Alito, Kennedy, and Scalia asked him to identify a limiting principle (check out various liberal blogs for apoplectic reactions to SG Verrilli’s performance)." 
Those liberal reactions included describing it as a disaster and a train wreck
Althouse offers 10 highlights, including this key observation:  You can see whom the government has chosen to exploit. The young, the healthy must pay for far more than the costs they are accused of shifting to others.

And for those looking for still more, Instapundit has a thorough roundup.

To the extent the Justices are skeptical of the individual mandate, perhaps they were persuaded by candidate Obama?   

Why is Obama Being More Open Towards the Kremlin Than the American Public?

Yesterday, President Obama was again caught speaking candidly in front of a hot mic:

"At the tail end of his 90 minute meeting with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev Monday, President Obama said that he would have “more flexibility” to deal with controversial issues such as missile defense, but incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to give him 'space.'"

There is a roundup of the President's comments here.

I think that Professor Jacobson raises the most important question, however:
Why does Obama feel the President of Russia is entitled to know more about Obama’s plans than the American public?
And what else does the president have planned for a second term, but isn't telling us yet?

In addition, a concerned reaction from our Polish allies.

Monday, March 26, 2012

3 Reasons to End Obamacare Before it Begins

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court started to hear oral arguments on the Constitutionality of Obamacare.  In honor of the occasion, here  are 3 reasons to end Obamacare before it begins.

Courtesy of Reason.tv

Passing the Buck

During his presidency, Obama has made something of a habit out of blaming others for the litany of problems that have plagued his presidency.  Over at the White House Dossier, they have put together a list of some of the things that Obama has blamed, so far, for his own poor record.  Click through for the full list, but, to give you some idea, the list includes the Chinese, Republicans, the oil industry, the American people, and, of course, former President  Bush. 

Just off the top of my head, Wall Street, earthquakes, and tsunamis, among others, are missing from the list.  

I think we can safely assume that there is at least one line that will not be coming from this White House.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Horrifying.

Mark Steyn looks at the numbers and observes:

At this point, it's traditional for pundits to warn that if we don't change course we're going to wind up like Greece. Presumably they mean that, right now, our national debt, which crossed the Rubicon of 100 percent of GDP just before Christmas, is not as bad as that of Athens, although it's worse than Britain, Canada, Australia, Sweden, Denmark, and every other European nation except Portugal, Ireland and Italy. Or perhaps they mean that America's current deficit-to-GDP ratio is not quite as bad as Greece's, although it's worse than that of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, and every other European nation except Ireland. 
But these comparisons tend to understate the insolvency of America, failing as they do to take into account state and municipal debts and public pension liabilities. When Morgan Stanley ran those numbers in 2009, the debt-to-revenue ratio in Greece was 312 percent; in the United States it was 358 percent. If Greece has been knocking back the ouzo, we're facedown in the vat. Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute calculates that, if you take into account unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare versus their European equivalents, Greece owes 875 percent of GDP; the United States owes 911 percent – or getting on for twice as much as the second-most insolvent Continental: France at 549 percent. 
And if you're thinking, wow, all these percentages are making my head hurt, forget 'em: When you're spending on the scale Washington does, what matters is the hard dollar numbers. Greece's total debt is a few rinky-dink billions, a rounding error in the average Obama budget. Only America is spending trillions. The 2011 budget deficit, for example, is about the size of the entire Russian economy. By 2010, the Obama administration was issuing about a hundred billion dollars of Treasury bonds every month – or, to put it another way, Washington is dependent on the bond markets being willing to absorb an increase of U.S. debt equivalent to the GDP of Canada or India – every year.
 With no apparent Plan B.

Hat tip to Vodkapundit.

Obamacare At Two

In honor of Obamacare's two year anniversary, the Heritage Foundation offers this chart illustrating Obamacare's 17 new taxes and penalties:

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Friends of Obama: Jon Corzine

It would appear  that Obama's Wall Street ally, and former Senator, Jon Corzine lied during his testimony before Congress.
Jon S. Corzine, MF Global Holding Ltd. (MFGLQ)’s chief executive officer, gave “direct instructions” to transfer $200 million from a customer fund account to meet an overdraft in one of the brokerage’s JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) accounts in London, according to an e-mail sent by a firm executive.
Corzine testified that he never intended a misuse of customer funds at MF Global, and that he doesn’t know where client funds went.
“I did not instruct anyone to lend customer funds to anyone,” Corzine told lawmakers in December.
I wonder when we can expect charges to be filed?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Buffett Rule

It is no secret that Obama has failed to put forth a credible solution to the nation's debt crisis.  One of the few solutions he has proposed is the so-called Buffett Rule.  Well, the numbers are in: the Buffett Rule would raise an additional $47 billion over the next 11years, compared to the $47,913 trillion the Congressional Budget Office now projects in federal spending during that time. 



Of course, the Buffett Rule was never really about raising revenue.  It was about scapegoating and villifying the wealthy. The reality is that the US already has the most progressive tax system in the world.  And even if you taxed 100% of the income of those millionaires and billionaires, it still wouldn't close the budget gaps.  Actually paying for Obama's spending would necessarily involve massive, crippling middle class tax hikes.  But he doesn't want to do that, at least not until after his re-election. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Path to Prosperity?

Yesterday, for the second year in a row, Republican Congressman Paul Ryan revealed a credibleserious plan to tackle the impending debt crisis (something Obama and the Democrats do not even claim to have done).

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Watching him in the below video actually depresses me because I realize we don't have a presidential candidate who is, like him, willing to honestly and coherently speak to the American people about the choice we face.


All that said, my first reaction upon reviewing the plan is that it still does not go far enough, fast enough.  It appears the Vodkapundit, Steven Green, had a similar reaction, so I will let him do the hard work and simply refer to his post.  Still, I think it says a lot about our political class when the boldest man in Washington is still nowhere near bold enough.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

It's Official

In just three years and two months, Obama has increased the national debt more than Bush did in eight years.  And here is some more food for thought:  If Mr. Obama wins re-election, and his budget projections prove accurate, the National Debt will top $20 trillion in 2016, the final year of his second term. That would mean the Debt increased by 87 percent, or $9.34 trillion, during his two terms.
Hat tip to Instapundit.

The Obama Administration and the Second Amendment

Attorney General Eric Holder in 1995:  We need to "brainwash" people against guns.

And 15 years later, his DOJ oversees Fast and Furious . . . .

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Obamacare will cost $1.76 trillion and Could Cause Up to 20 Million to Lose Their Current Plan

So says the latest CBO report:
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that Obamacare will cost taxpayers $1.76 trillion, double the $900 billion price tag advanced by the president, and could lead businesses to cut off coverage to 20 million Americans, according to a report released Wednesday.
Of course, when shepherding its passage, Obama promised America that Obamacare would cost no more than a trillion dollars.  He also swore that those who liked their current plan could keep it.  To be fair though, those of us who were paying close enough attention knew those were lies even when he spoke them. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Obama's "Affordable" Green Light bulbs

The U.S. government last year announced a $10 million award, dubbed the “L Prize,” for any manufacturer that could create a “green” but affordable light bulb.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the prize would spur industry to offer the costly bulbs, known as LEDs, at prices “affordable for American families.” There was also a “Buy America” component. Portions of the bulb would have to be made in the United States.
Now the winning bulb is on the market.
The price is $50.
Remember, these are the same people promising everyone "affordable" health care.

Make Mine Freedom

I came across this cartoon on Youtube, with a little help from Adam Baldwin's twitter account.  It's over 60 years old, but still remarkably applicable today.  Definitely worth 10 minutes of your time.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Alcohol Mandate

Legal Insurrection observes, "There’s a lot of talk today about imposing a coffee mandate on employers, including Mormon institutions which oppose the use of caffeine, because of the health benefits of coffee."

Personally, I think we need an alcohol mandate.  Study after study shows the health benefits of moderate drinking.  So why shouldn't the government just mandate free alcohol?  Clearly, anyone that would oppose this common sense mandate is just a new age prohobitionist.  And to those who say it would violate the religious freedoms of Muslims, for whom the Koran forbids alcohol, I ask, but how can you argue with science?  People's lives are at stake.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Flashback: Obama Calls Bush Unpatriotic

Correct me if I am wrong, but, by his own metric, I believe Obama would be the most unpatriotic president in history.  $5 trillion in 3 years . . . and counting.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Trade Deficits Climbs 4.3%. Meanwhile, Wholesale Inventories Rise, Sales Fall

And following up on my last post, HotAir offers this:  After getting good if incremental news on the jobs front this morning from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Obama administration got more mixed news from the Bureau of Economic Analysis on the trade front.  The US trade deficit jumped up 4.3% in January, thanks to a big rise in imports, but exports also nudged upward . . . .

In the same article, HotAir also looks at the fact that wholesale inventories have continued their rise, while sales have fallen.  Not exactly telltale signs of a resurgent economy.

Unemployment Rate Holds at 8.3% - Jobs Recession Longest Since WWII

obama worst president Gateway Pundit has a roundup on the latest unemployment news, including this from Reuters:

Employers added 227,000 jobs to their payrolls last month, the Labor Department said on Friday, while the unemployment rate held at a three-year low of 8.3 percent.

It marked the first time since early 2011 that payrolls have grown by more than 200,000 for three months in a row – bolstering President Barack Obama’s chances for re-election.

The economy created 61,000 more jobs in December and January than previously thought, and the jobless rate held steady even as more people returned to the labor force.

Although the job market is gaining some muscle, the pace of improvement remains too slow to do much to absorb the 23.5 million Americans who are either out of work or underemployed.

Fed Chairman Bernanke last week described the labor market as “far from normal” and said continued improvement would require stronger demand for U.S. goods and services

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Government Records its Worst Monthly Deficit in History

The federal government recorded its worst monthly deficit in history in February, according to a preliminary report Wednesday from the Congressional Budget Office that said the deficit in fiscal year 2012 is already more than half a trillion dollars.
The CBO’s figures show that despite repeated efforts to trim spending, the government has borrowed 42 cents of every dollar it spent during the first five months of this fiscal year.
The nonpartisan agency projected the government will run a deficit of $229 billion in February, the highest monthly figure ever. The previous high was $223 billion a year ago, in February 2011.
It is the 41st straight month the government has run a deficit — itself a record streak that dates back to the final months of President George W. Bush’s tenure. Before now, the longest streak on record was 11 months.
 For all the money that they are burning, you would think that we would at least have something to show for it, but unemployment is still over 9%.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Who Stands to Benefit from Obama's Contraceptive Mandate?

Big Pharma. That's who.
Forget for a minute the religious question and look at who wins big here: Big Pharma. This mandate is not really about condoms or generic versions of “the pill,” which are available free or cheap in lots of places. This is about brand-name birth control drugs and other devices that some consumers swear off because they are too expensive. The Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate requires health-insurance companies provide contraceptive coverage for all “FDA approved contraceptive methods.” It does not insist on generics. And it does not offer any cost containment.
What’s more, the mandate prevents health-insurance companies from having copays or deductibles for the benefit. This is the perfect set up for Big Pharma. Since the drugs will be paid for by a third party (insurance companies, who will pass the cost on to employers and the rest of us), the consumer won’t worry about the price. Expensive brand names will no doubt see demand rise. Ask more health-care analysts why the cost of medical services continues to rise so rapidly and near the top of the list is the fact that a third-party payment system won’t contain costs.
Back in 2009, many observers were surprised when Big Pharma came out in favor of President Obama’s health-care reform bill. The industry spent millions running television ads in favor of the law and industry lobbyists pushed hard for it.  One important reason they did so was the promise that with the new law they would have a new market of millions of new customers. The contraceptive mandate is a perfect example.
It’s important to point out that among President Obama’s biggest financial backers are precisely the Big Pharma companies who benefit from the mandate.
What's a little thing like the First Amendment when there are cronies to pay off?   Via Instapundit.


Vetting Barack Obama

Even from beyond the grave, Andrew Breitbart (it is still hard to believe I am writing that) is doing more to vet Barack Obama than the MSM ever did.  Breitbart.com has announced it will be airing one of the videos Breitbart hinted during his CPAC speech last month on Hannity at 9:00 tonight.  According to the article, the video "shows a young Barack Obama leading a protest at Harvard Law School on behalf of Prof. Derrick Bell, a radical academic tied to Jeremiah Wright."

In the meantime, PJ Tatler offers "a few fun facts about Professor Derrick Bell, Jr."

Super Tuesday

A roundup of Super Tuesday results over at Legal Insurrection. 

And another roundup over at HotAir.

It looks like people are starting to call Ohio for Mitt.  Still, not as decisive a night as I would think Romney was looking for.  I guess this primary is going to drag on a while longer.

Monday, March 5, 2012

But All they Want is Their Fair Share

Via Hotair
President Barack Obama has a bleak message for House and Senate Democrats this year when it comes to campaign cash: You’re on your own.

Democratic congressional leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, have privately sought as much as $30 million combined from Obama for America and the Democratic National Committee — a replay of the financial help they received from Obama in 2008 and 2010.
But that’s not going to happen, top Obama aides Jim Messina and David Plouffe told Reid and Pelosi in back-to-back meetings on Capitol Hill on Thursday, according to sources familiar with the high-level talks. It was a stark admission from a presidential campaign once expected to rake in as much as $1 billion of just how closely it is watching its own bottom line.

Messina and Plouffe told the two Hill leaders that there would be no cash transfers to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee from OFA or the DNC, at least not before Election Day, the sources said.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Vetting, Part I: Barack's Love Song to Alinsky

Andrew Breitbart's Big websites have relaunched today.  The relaunch features a column Breitbart apparently wrote last week in anticipation.  Its title:  The Vetting, Part I: Barack's Love Song to Alinsky.  Click and read the whole thing.

Also take a look at this article at Legal Insurrection, which disproves one of the persistent falsehoods regularly used to smear Breitbart, even in death, "the claim that the original tape released of Shirley Sherrod’s speech to an NAACP Chapter was misleading or defamatory in that it did not reveal that Sherrod’s discrimination against a white farmer was long ago, that she ended up helping him, and that she had since changed her view."

Saturday, March 3, 2012

It's Time to Fix the Bill of Rights

This time with a "free stuff" suction.  Of course, why go through the trouble of rewriting the Constitution when Obama can just ignore it?

Former U.K. Secretary of Defense Issues a Warning to America

Via Big Government:

Former U.K. Secretary of State and Defense Liam Fox explained that both Britain and America should be concerned about the impact our national debt has on our security. “The real issue is the indebtedness of Western nations,” he stressed, “Here in the United States, there is a certain irony in the fact that in order to maintain debt interest payment by the national government, America is having to cut its security budget so that some of that money on the debt interest ends up in Moscow and Beijing.” He underscored to the need for serious reforms to tackle what he described as our “absolutely unsustainable” level of national debt. Western economies, he warned “are up to their necks in debt and if they don’t do something about it, [they] will drown in that debt.”


Of course, this is directly in line with last year's warning from Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, who said "that the continually increasing debt is the biggest threat we have to our national security.”  Do you think Barack Obama is paying any attention?  $5 TRILLION and counting.

(Updated to include link to Adm. Mullen quote.)

Obama Compares Himself to Gandhi and Nelson Mandela

This after previously comparing himself to Lincoln, Reagan, and FDR.  But as one Instapundit reader pointed out, “Obama left out Jesus Christ and Moses…pretty cocky for a guy that bankrupted the USA.”

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Tragic Loss of an Irreplacable Force: RIP Andrew Breitbart - 1969-2012

While at work this morning, I was met by the shocking, tragic news that Andrew Breitbart, at just 43 years of age, collapsed and died while out walking near his California home late last evening.  In this world of instant internet news that Breitbart helped create, I am admittedly late to pay my respects. I don't know what I could say that has not already been said by all those who worked with him, knew him, loved, him, and were inspired by him (count me among the latter):  

From one of his many websites: In Memoriam: Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012).
 
Tucker Carlson's remembrance of a "loyal friend" and "great guy."
 
 
 
Rush Limbaugh remembers Breitbart as a "bulldog for the conservative cause."
 
An interview with the man Breitbart spent his last hours with.
 
Jonah Goldberg:  Andrew RIP.
 
 
A tribute made by Rep. Louie Gohmert on the House floor.
 
In his Farewell to a Friend, Matt Welch observes that "The next Breitbart-hater to match his entrepreneurial esprit-de-corps will be the first."
 
And finally, I will end with this: Andrew Breitbart's call to arms at CPAC last month.  It is all the more important that we answer that call, now that he is gone.