Archive for the ‘Liberalism’ Category
I’ve got news for all the people talking about the new pope in glowing terms. The Vatican has lost its way. Badly:
VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican officially recognized the state of Palestine in a new treaty finalized Wednesday, immediately sparking Israeli ire and accusations that the move hurt peace prospects.
The treaty, which concerns the activities of the Catholic Church in Palestinian territory, makes clear that the Holy See has switched its diplomatic recognition from the Palestine Liberation Organization to the state of Palestine.
The Vatican had welcomed the decision by the U.N. General Assembly in 2012 to recognize a Palestinian state. But the treaty is the first legal document negotiated between the Holy See and the Palestinian state and constitutes official diplomatic recognition. “Yes, it’s a recognition that the state exists,” said the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi.
The Israeli foreign ministry said it was “disappointed.” “This move does not promote the peace process and distances the Palestinian leadership from returning to direct and bilateral negotiations,” the ministry said in a text message.
It’s pretty pathetic that the Vatican would recognize the Palestinians without demanding that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. That isn’t the only mistake the Vatican is making:
Pope Francis’ closest adviser castigated conservative climate change skeptics in the United States Tuesday, blaming capitalism for their views.
Speaking with journalists, Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga criticized certain “movements” in the United States that have preemptively come out in opposition to Francis’s planned encyclical on climate change.
“The ideology surrounding environmental issues is too tied to a capitalism that doesn’t want to stop ruining the environment because they don’t want to give up their profits,” Rodríguez said, according to the Boston Globe’s Crux blog.
As an evangelical Christian, I don’t understand what climate change has to do with a person’s religious faith. It doesn’t have anything to do with the 2 greatest doctrines of the church, the Great Commandment or the Great Commission.
As for Cardinal Maradiaga’s vilification of capitalism, that’s warped thinking, too. It’s impossible to think that Cardinal Maradiaga could fashion a persuasive argument that one economic system is less sinful than another.
Though there isn’t tons of material to base opinions of Pope Francis off of, there’s still sufficient material to say that he’s wading into political issues more than all other popes prior to his papacy in my lifetime. There’s little doubt, too, that Francis is the most liberal pope of my lifetime.
Mainly, though, The Speech was about waging war on public employee unions, particularly the ones for teachers. “In 2010, there was a young woman named Megan Sampson who was honored as the outstanding teacher of the year in my state. And not long after she got that distinction, she was laid off by her school district,” said Walker, lacing into teacher contracts that require layoffs be done by seniority.
All of that came as a distinct surprise to Claudia Felske, a member of the faculty at East Troy High School who actually was named a Wisconsin Teacher of the Year in 2010. In a phone interview, Felske said she still remembers when she got the news at a “surprise pep assembly at my school.” As well as the fact that those layoffs happened because Walker cut state aid to education.
The title of Collins’ article is “Scott Walker Needs an Eraser”. I’d argue that it’s Ms. Collins that needs either an eraser or an editor. Ms. Sampson didn’t lose her job in 2010 because Gov. Walker “cut state aid to education.”
The reason McCormack highlighted that part of the paragraph is because Scott Walker didn’t take the oath of office as Wisconsin’s 45th governor until January, 2011, which means that Ms. Sampson lost her job because of Democrat Gov. Jim Doyle’s budget cuts to education.
McCormack’s article actually highlights this:
Emily Koczela had been anxiously waiting for months for Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s controversial budget repair bill to take effect. Koczela, the finance director for the Brown Deer school district, had been negotiating with the local union, trying to get it to accept concessions in order to make up for a $1 million budget shortfall. But the union wouldn’t budge.
“We laid off 27 [teachers] as a precautionary measure,” Koczela told me. “They were crying. Some of these people are my friends.”
On June 29 at 12:01 a.m., Koczela could finally breathe a sigh of relief. The budget repair bill?—?delayed for months by protests, runaway state senators, and a legal challenge that made its way to the state’s supreme court?—?was law. The 27 teachers on the chopping block were spared.
With “collective bargaining rights” limited to wages, Koczela was able to change the teachers’ benefits package to fill the budget gap. Requiring teachers to contribute 5.8 percent of their salary toward pensions saved $600,000. Changes to their health care plan?—?such as a $10 office visit co-pay (up from nothing)?—?saved $200,000. Upping the workload from five classes, a study hall, and two prep periods to six classes and two prep periods saved another $200,000. The budget was balanced.
Here’s the difference between Jim Doyle, who supposedly supports teachers, and Scott Walker, who supposedly hates union workers: Scott Walker’s reforms saved jobs, Jim Doyle’s status quo policies would’ve led to teacher layoffs or major property tax increases.
Gail Collins’ editors either don’t give a shit about the truth or Gail Collins doesn’t give a shit about the truth. Either that or liberal ‘journalists’ are only interested in pushing the progressives’ agenda. Either that or it’s all of the above.
Thanks to this article by the Wisconsin Reporter, conservatives can learn about the Democratic Party’s witch hunt machine. Anyone that thinks Democrats are nice people that conservatives simply disagree with is badly mistaken. Read the article, then tell me that:
MADISON, Wis. – Conservative targets of a Democrat-launched John Doe investigation have described the secret probe as a witch hunt.
That might not be a big enough descriptor, based on records released Friday by a federal appeals court as part of a massive document dump.
Attorneys for conservative activist Eric O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth point to subpoenas requested by John Doe prosecutors that sought records from “at least eight phone companies” believed to serve the targets of the investigation. O’Keefe and the club have filed a civil rights lawsuit against John Doe prosecutors, alleging they violated conservatives’ First Amendment rights.
That the John Doe prosecutors tried to get records from “at least eight phone companies” is frightening enough. Who needs the NSA when Wisconsin has these John Doe prosecutors. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there:
Subpoenas also demanded the conservatives’ bank records, “emails from every major private email provider” and other information in what some have described as a mini-NSA (National Security Agency) operation in Wisconsin.
“In fact, Defendants’ submissions confirm and expand upon the scope and intensity of retaliation previously demonstrated,” O’Keefe’s attorney wrote in documents ordered unsealed by the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
Anyone that thinks this is just a case of some rogue prosecutors gone bad apparently hasn’t paid attention to Rosemary Lehmberg’s indictment of Gov. Rick Perry, (R-TX). These naive people should read this, too:
Chisholm, a Democrat, launched the dragnet two years ago, and, according to court documents, with the help of the state Government Accountability Board, the probe was expanded to five counties. The John Doe proceeding compelled scores of witnesses to testify, and a gag order compelled them to keep their mouths shut or face jail time. Sources have described predawn “paramilitary-style” raids in which their posessions were rifled through and seized by law enforcement officers.
If you thought that weaponized government was just a term used by paranoid conservatives, you’d better rethink things. This is proof that some Democratic prosecutors will use their office for blatantly political purposes. Again and unfortunately, that isn’t all these Democratic thugs with law degrees did. Here’s more:
Court documents show the extraordinary breadth of the prosecutors’ subpoena requests.
They sought phone records for a year-and-a-half period, “which happened to be the most contentious period in political politics,” the conservatives note. They note that prosecutors did not pursue the same tactics with left-leaning organizations that pumped tens of millions of dollars into Wisconsin’s recall elections, in what certainly appeared to be a well-coordinated effort.
Among other documents, prosecutors sought “all call detail records including incoming and outgoing calls,” “billing name and information,” “subscriber name and information including any application for service,” according to the conservatives’ court filing.
In other words, these Democrats wanted confidential information. That’s why the Wisconsin Club for Growth and Eric O’Keefe filed their civil rights lawsuit.
There’s little doubt that these Democrats would’ve used the information they gathered through their witch hunt to chill these conservatives’ desire to participate in the political process. The only retaliation against these Democrats is to a)prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law when possible, b) end their political careers by removing them from their positions of political power and c) pressure Democrat politicians into passing sweeping reforms to prevent these fishing expeditions from today going forward.
If Democrats aren’t willing to limit rogue prosecutors’ ability to conduct political fishing expeditions, then we’ll know that they approve of these Democrats’ behavior.
Thanks to M.D. Kittle and the Wisconsin Reporter, we now know that these Democrats were attempting to chill conservatives from exercising their right to participate in the political process. This needs to be stopped ASAP and it needs to be stopped dead in its tracks.
Technorati: John Doe Prosecutors, John Chisholm, Political Witch Hunt, Subpoenaes, Bank Records, Emails, Phone Records, Civil Rights Violations, Chilling Effect, Smear Campaign, Weaponized Government, Democrats, Scott Walker, Eric O’Keefe, Wisconsin Club for Growth, Civil Rights Lawsuit, First Amendment, Rick Perry, Republicans
Cleta Mitchell’s tireless work on the IRS scandal has turned up some interesting information:
Cleta Mitchell, who testified Wednesday to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, pointed out to Fox News Channel’s Bill Hemmer that IRS employees belong to the National Treasury Employees Union, which has directed 94 percent of its contributions to Democrats this election cycle.
The union, she said, has given to 11 of the 18 Democrats on the House Oversight Committee.
“And, every time there is a hearing on any aspect of this investigation about the IRS targeting,” Mitchell said, “the Democrats come in one by one and say the same thing over and over again. ‘Let’s shut this down. Let’s shut this down.’”
This fits perfectly into the Democrats’ culture of corruption method of operation. A special interest organization or a government employees union contributes to a powerful Democrat’s campaign and, suddenly, that union’s scandal disappears. It hits the proverbial black hole, never to be seen again for the rest of eternity.
This type of quid pro quo enables corrupt bureaucrats to continue their corrupt practices because they know they’re protected if they’re ever caught. Why wouldn’t the IRS let their ideology get in the way of their professional responsibilities? If their corruption ever got caught, Elijah Cummings would just get in front of a camera and complain that this is a partisan witch hunt, that Republicans were selectively leaking information that lacked proper context, etc.
It isn’t a stretch to think that the IRS’s campaign contributions contributed to the Democrats’ change in tone. When the investigation focused on “rogue agents in Cincinnati”, Democrats were outraged at the IRS’s activities. The minute that people figured out that it wasn’t confined to Cincinnati, the Democrats’ storyline changed. I don’t know when the IRS started contributing to the Democrats’ campaigns but it wouldn’t surprise me if their contributions coincided with the Democrats’ change in tone.
That isn’t proof but it isn’t implausible either.
The Democratic members of the committee pressed the theme that the IRS also targeted progressive groups, though little support for that argument was received from the witnesses.
If I were advising Chairman Issa, I’d authorize Rep. Cummings to put an official committee report that a) listed the specific progressive groups that the IRS targeted, b) highlights what additional scrutiny the IRS gave to these progressive organizations and c) reported how long it took for these progressive organizations to get their applications approved.
Further, I’d impose a deadline that the report is due by. Finally, I’d tell Chairman Issa to prepare a chart listing a) all of the TEA Party organizations that the IRS asked intrusive questions of and b) whether these organizations’ applications were approved and how long it took to get their applications approved.
That way, there could be a detailed, side-by-side comparison between the IRS’s targeting of TEA Party organizations and the alleged ‘targeting’ of progressive organizations.
Imagine the visual contrast if it’s shown how intrusive the additional IRS questions were for TEA Party organizations, how many of the TEA Party organizations still hadn’t gotten their applications approved after 2 years and how the allegedly ‘targeted’ progressive organizations got their applications approved in a short amount of time.
That’s something the Democrats and the IRS couldn’t explain away. That’s because the IRS scrutiny of TEA Party organizations was stifling, improper and possibly a violation of their civil rights.
Technorati: IRS, Campaign Contributions, Elijah Cummings, Progressives, Culture of Corruption, Democrats, TEA Party Organizations, IRS Applications, Cleta Mitchell, Darrell Issa, Investigation, Transparency, GOP
This LTE is mostly BS, starting with the first paragraph:
Why I, a fiscal conservative, vote Democrat:
Opposition to minimum wage: I believe that prior to passing the increase in the minimum wage, it was frozen for 10 years. This means that every year an employee stuck with a minimum-wage job, that person received a reduction in purchasing power equal to the rise in the consumer price index.
This clown isn’t a fiscal conservative anymore than I’m a social moderate. The assumption that people are stuck “with a minimum-wage job” year after year is preposterous. I’ve lived 58 years and I’ve yet to meet a single person that’s been stuck with a minimum-wage job for more than 2 years. The thought that a person would be stuck with a minimum wage job for 10 straight years is a dishonest construct, not a bit of reality.
That isn’t the only evidence that this gentleman is a liberal. Here’s another bit of proof:
Wanting to shrink government employment to nothing. I have worked in both the public and private sector. If the function being performed is necessary, why is it so terrible if government employees are paid more generously for the same type of work? Some people dislike this because they are simply jealous.
It might be worth questioning whether this gentleman went to the Barack Hussein Obama School of Strawman Arguments. That’s a distinct possibility. I’ve yet to hear of a single TEA Party activist, much less an establishment Republican, who wanted to eliminate government.
The fact that he’s putting this dishonest argument into an LTE makes me question whether he’s stupid or if he’s just dishonest. I’m betting on him being dishonest.
Opposition to Obamacare: While I would have chosen a system like Canada’s, I find the total opposition to Obamacare to be misguided. A friend of mine had a daughter who took a clerical job paying $14 per hour with a private-sector employer. That employer gave her an insurance policy requiring her to pay out $7,000 before insurance would kick in. How many $14-per-hour employees have $7,000 lying around? She applied for Obamacare and although she has co-pays, her insurance payments are triggered immediately.
If this young lady doesn’t have a deductible, then she bought a gold- or platinum-level plan. Bronze- and silver-level plans have high deductibles. I wrote this post to highlight this problem. Here’s what Robert Laszewski said about the Affordable Care Act:
If an entrepreneur had crafted Obamacare he would’ve gone to a middle class family. A family of four make(s) $54,000 a year has to pay $400 in premiums net of subsidy and for that the standard silver plan has an average deductible around $2,500 and a narrow network. They’re going to pay almost $5,000 for that? So the entrepreneur would say I’ve got $5,000 in premium and all this deductible, what do they want for that? And they probably would’ve said we want office visits and lab tests because the kids need to go in occasionally and then we want catastrophic care. The problem with Obamacare is it’s product driven, not market driven. They didn’t ask the customer what they wanted.
The ACA’s bronze- and silver-level plans have high deductibles. That’s statistically verifiable:
Her insurer, Kaiser Permanente, is terminating policies for 160,000 people in California and presenting them with new plans that comply with the healthcare law.
“Before I had a plan that I had a $1,500 deductible,” she said. “I paid $199 dollars a month. The most similar plan that I would have available to me would be $278 a month. My deductible would be $6,500 dollars and all of my care after that point would only be covered 70 percent.”
This self-proclaimed fiscal conservative is nothing of the sort. He’s a liberal. Period. More than anything else, this is proof that liberals can convince themselves that they’re damn near anything. Their ability to self-delude aside, the truth is that they aren’t in touch with reality.
A loyal reader of LFR sent me the text of an article in the Legal Ledger about what happened after Sen. Julianne Ortman proposed raising taxes in 2011. Here’s the key part of the article:
The letter comes after a few days’ worth of news reports and speculation about some willingness to raise taxes within the GOP Senate caucus, whether it be by broadening sales taxes, eliminating tax breaks, or other means. Taxes Chair Julianne Ortman was at the center of the speculation after she made comments calling tax expenditures government spending. Ortman has told us in the past that she fully intends to review and eliminate some tax breaks, although she disavowed any express wish to raise total revenues. She also mused favorably about how some states have been able to broaden sales taxes and lower rates.
In turn, it seems GOP communications staff kept Ortman under wraps most all day Thursday. After her Taxes hearing Thursday morning, the head of communications for the caucus, Michael Brodkorb, was seen waiting in the wings with another communications staffer to lead Ortman away. In response to a question directed at Ortman, Brodkorb simply replied: “No comment today.”
At the time, the House and Senate GOP caucuses were saying that they were committed to balancing the budget without raising taxes, which they accomplished after Gov. Dayton shut down the state government for 2 weeks.
First, Sen. Ortman’s proposal was terrible policy because it didn’t do anything to fix out-of-control DFL spending increases. Giving the DFL additional revenue is like putting out a fire with a little extra gas on the fire. Secondly, when Sen. Ortman went rogue, she did so without telling her colleagues. That’s the fastest way of stabbing her colleagues in the back.
It was her way of saying that her priorities were more important than her colleagues’ priorities, that her priorities mattered and that their policies didn’t. When Sen. Ortman went rogue, House and Senate GOP leadership were in the process of negotiating with Gov. Dayton, Sen. Bakk and then-Minority Leader Thissen. Her proposal cut the legs out from under the GOP leadership.
The lesson to be learned from this is that Sen. Ortman a) isn’t a team player, b) isn’t “a conservative champion” and c) can’t be relied on to do the right thing in holding down taxes.
Minnesotans don’t need someone who will fit right in with the DC Surrender Caucus right alongside John McCain and Lindsey Graham. We need someone principled who will fight for smart policies that grow the economy, create jobs and make Minnesotans’ lives better.
Technorati: Julianne Ortman, Tax Increases, Sarah Palin, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Going Rogue, Surrender Caucus, Republicans, Principled Conservatism, Senate GOP Caucus, No New Taxes, Election 2014
I didn’t know about Joe Soucheray’s column from the Jan. 11, 2014 edition of the Pioneer Press. It’s a fascinating read. Here’s part of Mr. Soucheray’s column:
Not only is a new state Senate office building unnecessary, but the effort to bring it about was, essentially, crooked. In the final minutes of the last legislative session, the lodge tucked into a massive tax bill language that authorized a new edifice for themselves. They might as well have been throwing candy from a parade float.
They didn’t even know what it would cost, and they apparently didn’t care. They didn’t even seem to care that their action might very well have been unconstitutional. Former state Rep. Jim Knoblach, R-St. Cloud, filed a lawsuit in October. We should be cheering for this guy. He contends in the suit that authorizing the project in a tax bill, instead of the usual bonding bill, violates a state constitutional requirement that a law embrace only one subject. A hearing is scheduled this month in Ramsey County District Court.
Mr. Soucheray is right. Gov. Dayton, Sen. Bakk, Speaker Thissen and the DFL didn’t care how much this building cost. They didn’t care that the building wasn’t needed or that there were cheaper ‘solutions’ to this non-problem. The Minnesota Senate needed that building like this ship needed more ice near Antarctica:
The Minnesota Senate needed that office building like Olympic athletes need this type of drinking water:
Let’s get serious about this. If we do, then we’ll be more considerate of the taxpayers’ plight than the DFL was. The DFL Tax Bill is a disaster. First, it raised taxes on the middle class and on small retailers. Next, it’s spending money we don’t have on things we don’t need, aka the Senate Office Building. Third, the DFL is already admitting that they raised taxes too much because they’re already preparing to repeal some of the taxes they created less than a year ago.
All of these things are major mistakes. Building the SOB is the biggest of those mistakes because, potentially, it’ll exist a generation or more. Hopefully, the middle class tax hikes will be repealed. (The sooner the better, right?) Repealing the B2B sales taxes will happen this session.
Unfortunately, if it’s approved by the DFL House Rules Committee, the SOB will be with us for a generation or more.
The biggest question Minnesotans need to ask themselves is whether they want inconsiderate, thoughtless people running state government. The DFL did what conservatives predicted they’d do. They raised taxes on the middle class and working poor. They foolishly spent money on things like the Senate Office Building. They built a collosal monument to their warped ideology when they passed MNsure.
I’d argue that the DFL is the ‘gang that couldn’t shoot straight’ if I thought that were true. Unfortunately, this DFL governor and this DFL legislature has aimed their taxing and spending guns at every Minnesotan. Every Minnesota taxpayer will pay for this monstrosity.
Mostly, the SOB is a testimony to the DFL’s appetite for spending money foolishly. That alone should get them fired this November.
Yes, the title of this post uses a bit of hyperbole. Still, the case that Katherine Kersten makes in this article tells a disturbing tale:
The Met Council intends to change that in its 30-year plan for the seven-county metro area: “Thrive MSP 2040,” due out in 2014.
Some of us, of course, prefer to live in a condo above a coffee shop on a transit line. But the rest of us likely won’t enjoy lugging rock salt home on the bus, getting the kids to soccer practice on the light rail or pedaling to the dentist on our bikes. Nevertheless, the council has announced that “transit-oriented development” (TOD) will be the guiding principle for development in the metro area for the next 30 years. In its 84-page “TOD Strategic Action Plan,” released in June, it held up Portland and San Francisco as enlightened places we should emulate.
TOD will be an “enormous undertaking,” the council acknowledged. No kidding. To remake our metro area around transit, the council will do all it can to steer new jobs, homes and economic development in our region to areas within “easy walking distance” (one-half mile) of major transit stops — primarily in the urban core and inner-ring suburbs. In these favored places, tax dollars (mostly from people who live elsewhere) will be lavished on high-density housing, bike and pedestrian amenities, and subsidized retail shops.
If you think that’s hyperbole, you haven’t read this part of the TOD’s Executive Summary:
Transit-oriented development (TOD) provides the opportunity to enhance the transit investment by shaping regional development around transit. The working definition of TOD, as defined by the Metropolitan Council and partners at regional think tanks in September 2012 and February 2013, is: A moderate to higher density district/corridor located within easy walking distance of a major transit stop that typically contains a mix of uses such as housing, jobs, restaurants, shops, services and entertainment. These districts/corridors enable people of all ages, backgrounds, and incomes abundant transportation choices and the opportunity to live convenient, affordable and active lives.
In other words, the Met Council and a litany of progressive special interest organizations will do their best to establish these hubs, then, through time, force people to tolerate being told where they’ll live and how they’ll get from where the Met Council tells them to live to where the Met Council tells them to work.
There’s no denying that, theoretically, that’s efficient. Dictatorships and kingdoms are the most efficient forms of government in the history of the world. The Founding Fathers hated that type of efficiency. They established the Constitution in the way that they did to prevent autocratic boards like the Met Council from exercising this type of autocratic control over people.
The Met Council needs that type of control because their ideas run contrary to the American spirit. We love going wherever we want to go whenever we want to go there. The only way TOD becomes reality is through force. Here’s why abolishing the Met Council is imperative:
The TOD Strategic Action Plan has many parts, all emanating from the Metropolitan Council mission, goals and policies. Each component builds off the other and all lead back to the Council’s mission to “foster efficient and economic growth for a prosperous metropolitan region.”
This unaccountable council has put together a plan that forces lifestyle changes on people who are content with where they live, where they work and how they get from one to the other. That’s irrelevant to the Met Council and their progressive special interest groups allies. They know what’s best and they’ll do whatever it takes to force their vision down other people’s throats. Ms. Kersten’s article shows the foolishness of the Met Council’s vision:
The council forecasts that, by 2040, the population of Minneapolis and St. Paul will grow 24 percent and jobs there will grow a whopping 47 percent, while suburban growth on both measures will parallel each other. Such core city growth is strongly counter to historic trends both locally and nationally and seems unlikely to occur, despite TOD policies that attempt to engineer it.
The last census showed how foolish this prediction is. People voted with their mortgages to abandon the Twin Cities for the bedroom communities. They moved away from liberal mayors like R.T. Rybak and Chris Coleman. They moved away from progressive representation in DC and St. Paul. The most conservative congressional districts grew like wildfire while the most liberal districs shrunk rapidly. Thus far this census cycle, that pattern isn’t reversing.
What is TOD’s track record in Portland, the nirvana of TOD enthusiasts? Portland has poured huge sums into light rail, streetcars, and developments around transit stations. Now its streets are crumbling, and it can’t afford to repave them until at least 2017.
In other words, the Met Council’s vision is a verified failure. That figures. This part of the Executive Summary shows why TOD will be a failure:
Each strategy is ranked as high, medium or low priorities based on the impact and ease of implementation. The highest priority recommendations are collaboration strategies or relate to the creation of a TOD policy:
- Establish TOD staff capability within the Council to work with partners to deliver high-quality TOD outcomes.
- Create an internal Council TOD working group and dedicated TOD program staff to improve internal coordination and collaboration across the organizational divisions.
- Continue talking with regional partners and begin the process of creating a regional TOD Advisory Group to work with the Council on implementing the Action Plan recommendations.
Nowhere in that strategy is it mentioned that the Met Council or the TOD working group hold actual town halls to hear from businesses and other citizens. Nowhere is it mentioned that local units of government should take the lead. In fact, the only thing that’s mentioned is an unelected group of bureaucrats creating another layer of bureaucrats without the consent of the governed.
No taxation without representation and government without the consent of the governed started a revolution 200+ years ago. Under the DFL’s ‘leadership’, taxation without representation and government without the consent of the governed is apparently the norm.
Technorati: Met Council, Transit-oriented development, Thrive MSP 2040, Transit, LRT, Multi-Family Dwellings, Sustainability, Mark Dayton, DFL, No Taxation Without Representation, Revolutionary War, Founding Fathers, Individual Liberty
The latest Democratic chanting point on the Affordable Care Act has been that President Obama didn’t really break his promise that you could keep your health insurance plan if you liked it. The chanting point has become that the policies getting canceled were substandard policies that insurance companies foisted on unsuspecting dupes (you). That’s certainly the message Henry Aaron is peddling in this article:
Of late, numerous reports have told of people surprised by letters telling them that insurance plans they now have will not be renewed. Many are puzzled. Weren’t they told that if they like their insurance they could keep it? Opponents of health reform in general are seizing on the fact and asking in an accusatorial manner: “Isn’t this a betrayal of trust?”
No. To see why, imagine a new law enacted to promote food purity. As it is being debated, you are told: “If you like what you eat, you can keep on eating it.” The new law takes effect, and one day, you find that the market no longer carries certain foods you have been buying. As it happens, those products included elements found to be bad for your health. The pure food act barred their use.
There’s a huge flaw with this logic. They’re called Cadillac health insurance policies. Last night on Megyn Kelly’s show, a woman talked about how she had such a plan. When her husband got cancer that eventually killed him, the policy saved her family from huge expenses. The treatments cost over $300,000. Thanks to their health insurance policy, their out-of-pocket expenses came to $1,500. That’s in addition to the premiums they paid.
When the policy wasn’t offered anymore, this woman chose to continue this coverage, paying the premiums out of her own pocket. She did the right thing. She wasn’t putting a burden on society. She didn’t complain about not getting her policy subsidized. She just paid the premiums.
This fall, she got a notice that her policy was canceled thanks to the Affordable Care Act’s penalty on Cadillac plans. That’s right. The Affordable Care Act is making Cadillac plans obsolete. That’s why the unions are upset. All these years, they’ve settled for smaller wage increases, which are taxed, in exchange for premium quality health insurance policies, which aren’t taxed.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, these union workers won’t have the option of a Cadillac plan plus they’re stuck with the lower pay increases that they negotiated.
It’s difficult to see how Cadillac plans are the equivalent of “products [that] included elements found to be bad for your health.” The full name of the Affordable Care Act is actually the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. One of the Democrats’ first chanting points was the PPACA would protect families from medical bankruptcies. This lady’s Cadillac health insurance policy did that and then some.
It’s insulting that Mr. Aaron insists that the canceled policies are sub-standard policies. It’s insulting on multiple levels, starting with the fact that those policies can’t be sold if they aren’t first approved by that state’s insurance commissioner.
Early in her political career, Ms. Sebelius was Kansas’ insurance commissioner. Is she now admitting that the policies she approved were sub-standard? When President Obama called these insurance plans sub-standard, he essentially accused the 50 state insurance commissioners incompetent.
Second, in many places, competition among insurers will lower premiums. Bloomberg Government has reported that the more plans offered in an exchange, the lower the premiums.
In Minnesota, a state recognized as a leader in health insurance innovation and access, most rural cities have few options. In fact, many of these places have a single option in terms of insurance providers competing.
Third, people can hold down premiums by selecting plans with comparatively high deductibles.
That option isn’t brought to us by the Affordable Care Act. That was available to clients who had health savings accounts and a catastrophic policy, both of which are illegal under the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.
The problem was a misdiagnosis of the situation in 2009. The US health care system needed extensive work. It didn’t need to put an incompetent administration in charge of a complex industry. Democrats didn’t need to give bureaucrats the authority of who could keep the health insurance plans they liked. Democrats didn’t need to tell people what insurance policies were “sub-standard” and which ones were government-approved.
What Democrats should’ve done is get out of the way so innovators couls’ve put together a package of real reforms.
Technorati: Henry Aaron, Media Bias, Insurance Cancellations, Individual Mandate, Cadillac Health Insurance, Medical Bankruptcies, Affordable Care Act, President Obama, Kathleen Sebelius, Democrats, Free Market Reforms, Megyn Kelly
People say it’s a challenge to get a message through via Twitter. As people know, Twitter affords people 140 characters to make a point. Despite the limits of Twitter, people still get their message across. Apparently, Joan Vincent won’t master Twitter anytime soon:
What should Minnesota voters do next in the wake of the deal to end the federal shutdown and raise the debt ceiling?
Minnesota voters should not elect a tea party member to Congress.
We’ve had experience with one, and it hasn’t been good.
It’s predictable that a DFL activist like Vincent couldn’t resist taking another shot at Michele Bachmann before she retires from Congress. Still, I’m betting Ms. Vincent doesn’t know a thing about the TEA Party. I’m betting she only knows what Democrats and the media (pardon the repetition) tell her the TEA Party is about.
First, the TEA Party insists on not spending money foolishly and in such gigantic amounts. Originally, that meant the TEA Party opposed the UAW bailouts. The bailouts saved union pensions at a time when legacy costs (pension payments) exceeded GM’s and Plymouth’s monthly payroll. In other words, the companies overpromised, the taxpayers funded the bailout and the UAW enjoyed the benefits.
Other than UAW members, who thinks that’s a great idea?
Later, foolish spending was defined as guaranteeing loans to dying companies like Solyndra. Other than the people on Solyndra’s board of directors, who thought that was smart?
TEA Party activists believe that the Founding Fathers got it right when they wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Likewise, they’re certain that the Constitution isn’t a living, breathing document. As KrisAnne Hall points out in her presentation on the geneology of the Constitution, the Constitution started as a compact between the states. They were the sovereign governments that birthed the federal government. That means the states dictated the terms under which the federal government was authoriized to operate because the sovereign states were essentially the federal government’s employer.
Ms. Hall rightly notes that a compact is just a contract between states. When was the last time that a judge ruled that the terms of a contract were living, breathing suggestions subject to change?
Had the Supreme Court been faithful to the Constitution, we wouldn’t be dealing with the Affordable Care Act.
In other words, TEA Party activists think that the Founding Fathers were especially wise in setting up a government that limited the federal government’s authority, influence and scope. The Founding Fathers were wise in establishing that type of government because they didn’t want the federal government to become the oppressive leviathan it currently is.