No Silver Lining – Obamacare Taxes the Poor

We passed the bill, and even now we are still finding out what is in it.  When Nancy Pelosi said we had to pass the 2,700 page healthcare bill to find out what was in it, that’s because nobody really knew.  Turns out they missed something big.  If a state can’t pay the $2 billion to set up a state run health insurance exchange and passes on that portion of the law, the federal government cannot provide the poor in that state with health insurance tax credits.  In other words, if states spend their limited resources on teachers, roads, police, firemen, and libraries instead of building one of Obama’s bureaucratic insurance exchanges, the poor not only don’t get help buying health insurance, but then have to pay the penalty tax for not buying health insurance.

If $695 in penalty taxes is enough to bankrupt a homeless person, than you can count Obama’s claim that no one would ever face bankruptcy for medical reasons again as one more broken promise.

There is a provision for the federal government to set up a national exchange for states who don’t or can’t spend the money to build their own.  However, a simple mistake in the law, or possibly an intentional penalty, only allows for federal tax credits to individuals in states with state run exchanges.  Perhaps Obama thought that by the time the law was implemented states would be able to shell out an additional $2 billion to pay for it.

Personally, I support Governor Scott’s decision to use that $2 billion to keep Florida from having to lay off teachers in our already hurting school districts.

Add this unforced error to Obamacare and there are few silver linings left for most Americans. Families can keep their kids on their health insurance up to age 26, but in many cases these “kids” are either old enough to be out on their own or are still students and could actually get student health insurance plans for far cheaper than the cost of being added on to their parent’s plan.  At the same time, the cost of adding 25 year olds to family plans has helped raise rates for everyone.  There is the tax credit for small businesses, but a tax credit for businesses with 15 or fewer employees who make less than $50,000 but can still afford to provide health insurance and pay an accountant who knows how to figure the credit are few and far in between.

When the health insurance taxes are fully implemented and the price of health insurance shoots high enough, no one will get health insurance until they get sick.  In states that can’t afford exchanges, the poor won’t get insurance either.  The very problem Obamacare sought to fix, that of middle class and poor “free-loaders” who either can’t afford insurance or decide not to buy it, will be made infinitely worse by Obamacare.

One more thing to add to this mess is that many states can’t afford the Medicaid expansion either.  Liberals are scratching their heads trying to figure out why states would forgo more Medicaid money.  But it’s like this: picture if someone with a million dollars in debt invited you to have steak dinner with him at the most expensive restaurant in town.  The two stipulations are this, first you have to pay half, second you have to then do the same thing for every dinner for the rest of your life.  And if this man with a million dollars of debt can no longer afford his half, you’re stuck with it.  Would you accept the offer of “free” steak?  State’s can’t afford their half of the Medicaid expansion, and they certainly know Uncle Sam can’t afford his share either.

In the end, Obamacare is bad news for the majority of Americans.

A Contrast in Style

In a desperate move to shift American politics away from the economy, Obama took a controversial idea from Sen. Marco Rubio and made it his own.  In fact, he made it so much his own that he decided to leave Congress out of the law making process altogether.  Obama enacted the Dream Act by Presidential, unconstitutional executive order.  But the real story in the President’s announcement was the blunder of a press conference where a reporter shouted out a question and was quickly shut down by Obama.

The question was whether this unilateral decision, dubbed the right thing to do by Obama, was right for the American workers.  Obama was visibly upset about the question and asserted his right to speak without interruption.  Meanwhile, MSNBC reporters wet themselves with excitement at the opportunity to declare Obama to be the only President to have ever been heckled, and of course to tie it in to his race.

But of course we know that other Presidents and candidates have been heckled.  George W. Bush saw it as evidence of a free society that treasures the freedom of expression and dissent.  I thought it was an interesting contrast to watch Bush’s reaction to two shoes being thrown at him by a foreign reporter in Iraq compared to Obama being questioned while passing down dictates from on high.  I’ve posted them both here.  You can decide which President handled it with more class.

 

Obama: Vote for Romney

Obama made a huge ecnomic policy speech in Ohio today.  He reiterated much of his Keynesian stump speeches from the last four years.  Then he gave a clear, unintentional endorsement of Mitt Romney.  Obama said “If you want to give the policies of the last decade another try, then you should vote for Mr. Romney”.

Obama’s self-delusional miscalculation is that he thinks things are better now than they were 6 years ago.  In fact, Democrats in the House and Senate might really want Obama to just shut up now.  Let’s consider the “polices of the last decade”.

When Pelosi/Reid took over Congress, they inherited a 4.4% unemployment rate.  At the end of 2008, it was 7.3%.  The last time unemployment was under 8% was January, 2009.

Since 2002, George W. Bush had 27 months of unemployment under 5%.  Obama had one month, his first in office, with unemployment below 8%.

The last month Republicans controlled the House and Senate, December 2006, unemployment was at 4.4%.  The last month Democrats controlled the House and Senate, December 2009, unemployment was at 9.9%.

In fact, Obama has a job growth chart that he loves to show (right up until May) that shows jobs lost and gained.  But he only shows it since 2008.  I’ve included the graph below since 2001.  Note the correlation between job growth and who controls Congress.

Was Obama talking about Bush, or Pelosi/Reid?

Obama has attempted to hit Romney on job creation by saying Romney’s state was as low as 47th in job creation.  But what Obama does not mention is that at that point Massachussetts already had 4.7% unemployment.  It would be the equivalent of saying LeBron James is short because he grew fewer inches than any fifth grader this year.

While Obama cheers an unemployment rate that has dropped to 8.2%, real unemployment remains at about 14.5%.  This rate includes people who have dropped out of the workforce and people who have taken interim under employment.

The last time the deficit was under $1 trillion was 2008.  The last time the deficit was under $500 billion was 2008.  In fact, even adjusted for inflation, you would have to add up all of Bush’s deficits going back through 2004 to equal one of Obama’s.  The last time we had a monthly budget surplus?  September, 2008.

The message from Obama was clear.  If you want 4.4% unemployment, you need to elect Mitt Romney and Republicans to the House and Senate.  If you want deficits under $500 billion per year, you need to elect Mitt Romney.  If you want unemployment at 9-10%, give Pelosi/Reid control over Congress.  If you want another four years of trillion dollar deficits and unemployment over 8%, re-elect Barack Obama. If you want the policies of the last decade when we had a record number of months of job growth, then do what Obama said.  Vote for Mr. Romney.

The Veiled Message in Clinton’s Endorsement

A highly strategic political game is being played out right before our eyes between the leader of the old-school liberal Democrats and the leader of the new-school socialist Democrats.  When Bill Clinton atoned for his sins in a New York City joint fundraiser with Obama, all I heard was “This Obama guy is no Bill Clinton”.

We got the message…

Don’t misunderstand Clinton when he calls Romney qualified and praises Romney’s business record.  Clinton is not giving up on his party affiliation.  If anything, he is trying to convert his party back to what it was before Obama.  Dick Morris is likely right when he insinuates that Clinton doesn’t want four more years of Obama.  But Clinton doesn’t necessarily want to see his party fail.  Nor does he want to lose the power and influence he has amassed for himself in the DNC.  He just wants to see Obama fail.

That is why Clinton’s endorsement was not a call to support Obama, but a veiled warning to stay home in 2012.  Clinton reminded the crowd that he is the one who gave them four balanced budgets.  Contrast that with Obama who has increased the deficit by a trillion and a half dollars every year in office, and whose wildest dreams of a budget won’t balance even ten years after he leaves office.  Every Obama budget has been voted down bi-partisanly as outlandish to both Republicans and liberal Democrats.  Nothing says “vote for the guy who’s added $6 trillion to the deficit” like an endorsement from someone who’s record is the polar opposite.  Clinton flaunting his budget record in his Obama endorsement was no mistake or gaffe.

Now, Clinton is not a deficit hawk.  He is not pro-austerity, and he certainly is not a conservative.  Anyone who has been alive long enough knows that it was Newt Gingrich who dragged Clinton kicking and screaming into those balanced budgets.  But Clinton’s perception of himself is as a non-socialist compassionate liberal who cut spending and saw it work.

Clinton cannot support Romney.  First, Clinton is not a conservative.  He opposes Romney on social issues.  He doesn’t really agree with Romney on fiscal issues.  Second, Clinton has no higher ambition at this point than to maintain what he has: his life as a Democrat celebrity.  An actual endorsement of Romney would destroy the Clinton dynasty.

But at the same time, Clinton knows what works and what doesn’t.  Even he can look at the Obama record and see what danger our country is in if the new-school socialist Democrats win.  Setting aside Clinton’s personal and racial beef with Obama, he understands what Obama’s out of control spending will do to the Democrat party’s legacy, and by extension his own, if Obama is given another four years to outspend revenues by over a trillion a year.

If Obama is smart, he will find a way to keep Bill Clinton in whatever corner of the country he has kept Joe Biden for the last four years.  However, don’t count old Slick Willy out yet.  Obama may be about to get schooled by the original campaigner-in-chief.

 

Obama’s Red Badge of Courage

From listening to the tale retold, you would think that not only was Obama on Seal Team 6, but that the choice to pull the trigger was as a more difficult decision then say giving military the order to shoot down civilian planes, as one President did ten and a half years ago.

Don’t get me wrong.  Obama deserves as much credit for giving the kill order as Bush does for letting the CIA waterboard the terrorists who eventually gave Bin Laden up through actionable intelligence.    In fact, the one thing the Bin Laden anniversary should do is bring the country together.  Instead, Obama has made a political blunder by seeking to use the Bin Laden killing for divisive political gain.

Obama has released an ad suggesting that the decision he made to allow Seal Team 6 to take out Bin Laden is a decision Mitt Romney would not have made.

The only word I could think of to describe this crazy political  attack is disgusting.  The next word that comes to mind is ridiculously unbelievable, which is a reputation that Obama cannot afford.  Obama won 2008 based on a fraudulent image of George W. Bush and Sarah Palin which was promulgated by an overzealous media and semi-unbelievable overselling of hope and change.  Now that 2012 is here and Obama’s hope and change have not materialized, he is in desperate need of credibility.  This idea that he is the hero of the Bin Laden raid and Romney would have flinched destroys Obama’s credibility even with the most ardent leftists.

But this blunder also highlights a bit of Obama hypocrisy that can only hurt his chances in 2012.  When things go bad, Obama finds a scape goat.  Three and a half years later, he is still blaming the last eight years.  When things go good, even if he simply gave the go on a plan that started with an invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, included waterboarding, and was only possible because of the intelligence community and strong military who he has sought to minimize and defund, Obama suddenly is riding a metaphorical victory chariot in full military garb through the cities.  Ironically, Obama campaigned on shutting down Gitmo and ending the wars.  I’m sure those are two promises Obama is pretty happy he failed to keep.

The two days of the Obama administration that we haven’t felt the full contempt of the left towards the military were the day Obama gave the order to take out Bin Laden, and the one year anniversary.  In fact, the Democrats used the military as a pawn in budget talks when Obama had spent us out of house and home.

Whether they approve or disapprove of military spending or war,  I would have to think that at some point news outlets would have their own reputations to think about.  Obama has skipped through this Presidency like a comic character in a movie, surrounded by straightmen who clean up after him.  The media has happily turned their heads as though the only reality is the one they report.  But moves like this that display unbelievability and hypocrisy will change American minds.

For those who continue to either blindly follow Obama, or put up with his gaffes for the “greater good”, I hope they at least pause for a moment and think: It would have been nice if the President used today to unite the country.  It would have been nice if he allowed liberals and conservatives to raise their glasses together and toast the death of one of the most infamous war criminals in American history.  Instead, Obama tried to make today all about his re-election.

Romney Outpacing Obama as Conservatives Relent

With Santorum out of the race and Gingrich out of money, social conservatives are beginning to embrace their fate.  The last man standing between us and four more years of the failed Obama administration is Mitt Romney.  Gallup and Rassmussen are giving Romney a lead over Obama, and the Gallup lead is increasing.  This has been an improvement over recent weeks for Romney.

Part of the shift in the polls can be attributed to an administration in a sort of free-fall as they are racked by scandal, gaffe, and misstep.  In recent weeks, Obama was caught on mic telling the Russians his current policies are a charade, a Democrat adviser declared mothers to be out of touch and unaware of economic issues, one of Obama’s biggest donors backed up the idea declaring that Ann Romney never “got her ass out of the house” and to work, Obama’s secret service is hiring hookers, the GSA is throwing extravagant parties, and Obama is joking about finding new spots for the wealthy first family to vacation.  While Democrats criticize Ann Romney for being too wealthy and out of touch to comment on economic issues that women face, Obama is defending his wife’s extravagant vacation spending by saying it’s not his fault they have to travel with secret service.  In the meantime, Obama is tossing out vague populism and praying that something sticks.

On the other hand, Romney is being helped by social conservatives who are less and less offended when the pollster acts like Romney is the only Republican left in the race.  Santorum supporters are less willing to have their heart broken twice and are accepting that Romney is the man.

Here is where Romney has to be careful.  He is making a good move by focusing wholly on Obama, but his quest to funnel independents into his big tent could result in a simple relocation of his big tent leaving conservatives out in the cold like 2006 and 2008.  Romney has recently said he supports eliminating certain tax breaks for more wealthy filers, which quickly blurs the lines in the sand between him and Obama.

Conservatives are not looking to associate their good name with a better candidate.  They are still looking for the best candidate.  If Romney makes himself unworthy of the title, some conservatives will stay home.  He needs them more than he needs wishy washy independents.

Is Mitt Bouyant? Or Santorum Sinking?

The day before Super Tuesday, Mitt Romney is looking good.  It’s looking like he will take the key state of Ohio and could take Tennessee.  Both of these are very close races.  But Romney’s ascendency back to the top is marked by Santorum’s dive in the polls, and Newt’s resurgence again.  Newt will win Georgia, which has the most delegates of any Super Tuesday state.  Newt is also now tied with Santorum and within one point of Romney in Tennessee according to one poll.  Just last week, Santorum was looking good in both Ohio and Tennessee.

If Santorum is suddenly seen as faltering, we may see the polls seesaw back to Newt on fears of unelectability.  However, at this late stage that may serve to only help Romney, unless Santorum loses big time.  If Santorum comes in third in Tennessee or Ohio and Gingrich easily wins Georgia, the shift back to Newt could be significant.

Consider this, if Santorum was not in the race and his voters went to Newt, Newt would sweep Ohio, Tennessee, and Georgia.  On the other hand, the same could be said for Santorum if Newt dropped out and his votes went to Santorum.  In either case, Romney is the beneficiary of the social conservative split.  Meanwhile, Ron Paul is fleeing from social issues as he descends back into below 10% irrelevancy.

This could be short lived however, as Republicans revisit the myth that social issues are losers in elections.  As I pointed out the other day, a one dimensional economy candidate is going to struggle against Obama.  Republicans are more likely to be inspired to go to the polls for a bold conservative, and Romney is all pastels.  If Santorum falters tomorrow and Newt remains on message, this one could be far from over.

%d bloggers like this: