The $100,000 Raise

Picture this, tomorrow you march into your boss’s office and demand a $100,000 raise.  What do you think?  Would you walk out of that office with a job?  What if you demanded a $2,000 or $3,000 raise?  Perhaps that is more likely.  But it should be no shock that companies have been laying of tens of thousands of workers now that Obamacare is the permanent law of the land.

Starting in 2014, companies with 50 or more employees  must offer their employees corporate health insurance plans, or employee #50 will cost the company an additional $100,000-$150,000 in taxes.  That’s $2,000-$3,000 per person.  So if you are employee #50, you may want to brush up your resume.  In fact, if you are employee 50-100 you may be starting to sweat just a little bit.

So why won’t companies simply offer their employees health insurance?  Probably because with a price tag of $16,000 per family for a corporate plan, it simply isn’t economical.  Companies could pay their employees the $5,000 or so for a private plan through a defined contribution benefit package as Sears, Darden Restaurants and others are opting to do, but that does not save them from the $100,000+ tax.  Imagine being able to get money from your company to go out and buy your very own tailored healthcare plan where single men don’t have to pay for maternity and women don’t have to insure against testicular cancer.  Unfortunately, the insurance lobby was able to convince Obama that personal choice is a bad idea.

I’ve heard a lot of people suggest that companies who are laying off en masse are doing so only to protest the Obama re-election.  Yes, that’s right, companies are intentionally hurting themselves to show Obama how upset they are.  Really??  That would be like suggesting a pro-choice lesbian would get knocked up and have a baby to protest a Romney win.

It’s more like this, if a company can’t afford to pay $16,000 per family in health insurance coverage, they just might lay off 200 workers in order to save between $400,000 and $600,000.  By the way, most small businesses with 5o employees can’t afford  $100,000 in additional taxes.

If you think companies are just bitter and that is why job losses are up 78,000 since the election, consider this: with Obamacare companies just saved $156 million by laying off those 78,000 workers.  Obama is incentivizing layoffs by taxing employment.

Why Obama/Biden are Scared of Romney/Ryan

The morning of the Ryan pick, Obama already had a graphic up from the “truth” team declaring that Ryan was going to raise taxes on 95% of Americans, ban birth control, end Medicare, end green energy, and so on.  The only things they left out were shoving Grandma off a cliff in her wheelchair and poisoning us with e.coli.  But why go overboard when Mitt Romney can already use cancer to kill people.

On the other hand, word on the street is that Biden had to change his pants after the 60 minutes interview with Romney and Ryan.

It’s not that Obama is the one that cut $700 billion out of Medicare.  It’s not that Obama’s green energy initiatives remind everyone of Solyndra.  It’s not that Obama is lying when he says Romney/Ryan would raise taxes on 95% of Americans.   It’s not that Most Americans don’t want to force pro-lifers to pay for other people’s $5 birth control that destroys after conception.  It’s more that Ryan is smarter and more articulate than the other three on the tickets.

Don’t hate me, Palin fans, but Ryan is not a cheerleader.  He is a teacher.  He turns platitudes into tangible facts that people can hold on to.  Obama and the Democrats are running around with the mantra that Ryan will get rid of Medicare.  But anyone who is paying attention knows that it was Obama who cut popular programs like Medicare advantage.

Ryan, on the other hand, wants to give seniors the same options for healthcare that Congress has.  He wants to put choices in their hands.  The scary thing about Ryan is that he actually is understandable on these points, and he has the credibility.  No one has worked more on the US budget and solutions to Medicare, Social Security, and healthcare than Paul Ryan.

Democrats aren’t scared that Biden is an inarticulate gaffe machine.  They have the media on their side.  All Biden has to do is coherently string ten words together in a debate without telling someone in a wheelchair to stand up or make an Indian 7/11 joke and the press will announce he exceeded expectations.

Democrats are scared because the media can only do so much.  Eventually Paul Ryan will be heard, and he speaks a language even independents can understand.

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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.

The Student Vote

There is a truth that Obama will have to face in 2012.  The majority of reasons students voted for Obama in 2008 are irrelevant or evaporated in 2012.  He is not running for the historical title of first black President in 2012.  He did not close Gitmo or bring our troops home, in fact he started a war in Libya.  He did not provide free health insurance for all.  Most of all, he has done nothing to guarantee all these sociology and philosophy graduates jobs when they graduate.

John McCain was not inspiring for student voters.  He was old, determined to win the wars America got into, white, male, loved America, and he was a Republican.  Students have it drilled into their heads that this represents the great satan.

Romney may not be the next great satan to the educational institution, but he certainly isn’t the hip symbol of progressive diversity that Obama was.  However, Romney doesn’t need to win the student vote.  He just needs Obama to lose it.

Obama is still popular with teachers, who by and large are enslaved to their unions and engrained socialism.  But students now have a record to go on, and the novelty has worn off.  The funny thing about students is that they tend to be idealistic purists as often as they are naively ignorant.  The same student who would trade an A for a six pack might also skip the Avengers movie because certain details don’t conform to the comic books.  Obama is certainly not everything American students hoped and dreamed about.  In fact, students who are honest with themselves would realize Obama is nothing that they hoped and dreamed for.

Obama has a special sort of hypocrisy that attentive students will sniff out.  Obama might flash his environmental credentials to a crowd of students, but then in front of business owners he touts how oil extraction has increased under his Presidency even if he had nothing to do with it.  He might tell students how he is bringing our troops home, but then he celebrates excursions into Pakistan to kill terrorists and Libya to do nation building.  He may make overtones to the gay community and talk about equal rights, but look how fast his administration is throwing Biden under the bus for endorsing gay marriage.  Perhaps in 2008, young students might be fooled.  But now Obama has a record.

Obama can’t even win on student loan rates since he demonstrated those take second place to his healthcare legacy.  Republicans wrote a bill to keep student loan interest rates low, but Obama has opposed the bill since it is paid for by tapping a special fund created by his healthcare law.  Obama would rather pay for it by borrowing more from China, which will cause interest rates to balloon even more in the long term.

The difference between a student voter and nearly any other of Obama’s target groups is that as purists students will not vote for the lesser of two evils.  Students won’t vote for Obama just to keep Romney out of office.  They have been taught two things very well: follow your heart, and your vote doesn’t count.  This frees them to vote for Rosie O’Donnell, write in their dorm-mate’s name, or skip the voting booth altogether to stay home and put those free morning after pills to good use.

Can Obama afford to lose the student vote?  Not if you believe the statisticians who put the student vote at 1/5th of the population.  A significant decline in this voting block for Obama means Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia,  and Colorado, even if they simply stay home.

A remarkable success by Santorum – a devastating night for Team Romney

Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum claimed a remarkable trifecta of wins and massive surge of momentum by sweeping Mitt Romney in all three contests in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri.

Santorum’s victories are all the more remarkable considering Romney’s advantage in financing and organization. Tuesday’s results included losses in two states – Colorado and Minnesota – that he won in his unsuccessful 2008 presidential campaign. Minnesota also became the first state where Romney did not end up in first or second place despite having the support of former presidential candidate and State Governor Tim Pawlenty.

The stunning results by Santorum have raised fresh doubts about whether establishment favourite and perceived frontrunner Romney, can in fact win a General election or even the nomination itself after struggling to get support from the party’s conservative base.

Santorum has now finished first in four of the first eight primaries and caucuses, after his narrow victory over Romney in Iowa’s caucuses on January 3.

The former senator said his campaign was already bringing in more donations, an important consideration for a candidate who trails far behind Romney in the fund-raising race.

As he has before, Romney had seemed on track to win the nomination after big wins in Nevada and Florida last week. He had been expected to win easily in Colorado and did little campaigning in Minnesota and Missouri.

In Minnesota’s caucuses, Santorum won with 45 percent of the vote. But the state became the first this year in which Romney did not finish first or second. Congressman Ron Paul was in second place with 27 percent and Romney was third at 17 percent.

Santorum trounced Romney by 30 percentage points in Missouri, 55 percent to 25 percent. That vote was a non-binding primary, but has symbolic value as a measure of support in a big Midwestern state.

The race was closer in Colorado where Santorum won by 5 percentage points over Romney, 40 percent to 35 percent.

Santorum in his victory speech also appeared more presidential then before, setting up a contrast between himself and President Obama as more of the aloof and arrogant policies from a person out of touch with the American people, or a true conservative alternative who will listen to the voice of the people. Santorum essentially positioned himself as the champion of the American people, economic policy, social values, and defender of the constitution and first amendment in particular. It was a passionate and heartfelt speech that connected with the audience.

“I don’t stand here to be the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney, I stand here to be the conservative alternative to Barack Obama,” Santorum said. On health care, cap and trade and the Wall Street bailout, he charged, “Mitt Romney has the same positions as Barack Obama.”

Romney addressing his supporters said, “This was a good night for Rick Santorum. I want to congratulate Senator Santorum and wish him the very best. We’ll keep on campaigning down the road, but I expect to become our nominee with your help.”

I asked the question in a recent article about Mitt Romney – What does he stand for? (worldviewtonight.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/romney-florida-an-expected-success-can-he-stand-up-to-the-obama-machine/)

The reason I asked the question was not out of any dislike for Romney, I admire a lot about Governor Romney and his business success in particular. The reason I asked the question was that Team Romney were very effective at attacking President Obama and Newt Gingrich with his powerful advertising spending however; I honestly didn’t know what his vision for America was and where he stood on the key issues of the day.

Team Romney will need to have a very detailed reassessment of their strategy going forward. The tried and tested approach of going negative on his opponents, and touting his business experience combined with large rallies, has left voters and supporters devoid of enthusiasm for his candidacy.

Romney’s speech last night was almost parrot fashion repetition of his talking points from the last week. He is failing to connect with the ordinary voter and too often has appeared rehearsed and uncomfortable when put in personal one to one interviews. Romney will need to throw off the consultant shackles and be more energetic, more personal and more natural on the campaign trail or face certain defeat.

Ironically, despite his poor showing in contests which he barely contested, Santorum’s victories may also be good news for former Speaker Newt Gingrich. Team Romney will now need to develop a strategy to attack Santorum and need Gingrich to stay in the race. The longer Gingrich stays in the race, the longer it will split the conservative vote. Three weeks out of the cross hairs for Gingrich may enable him to lay the ground work for a series of victories himself on Super Tuesday, March 6, 2012.

The Romney strategy was based on spending massive early to knock-out his rivals and claim the nomination early before turning his attention towards President Obama. Last night’s remarkable series of wins by Santorum, now appears to have changed the GOP race into a near certain long drawn out affair, and even if Romney prevails as the nominee, his chances of defeating President Obama in the race for the White House in November have been damaged.

There are three winners from last night’s results. Santorum’s victories give him the momentum he needs going forward and hopefully an injection of much needed financial support. They give President Obama renewed confidence that former Governor Romney is not as strong an opponent as initially believed and the longer the race GOP race on, the more damaged he will become. Finally, it gives Gingrich hope and time to re-organise his campaign and ground work ahead of Super Tuesday to deliver a series of southern victories himself.

A bad night for Romney.

You’re the Nominee – “The Donald” endorses Mitt

Dynamic Businessman – Donald Trump turned the Republican presidential race into a scene resembling one of his Apprentice shows by keeping everyone guessing on whom he would endorse for president. The rumours had been back and forth that he would endorse Newt Gingrich, then it was leaked that he would endorse Mitt Romney however, in true Trump fashion, he kept everyone waiting until the end before confirming his support behind Mitt Romney.

The Romney campaign did not release their public schedule until Thursday morning in an unusual move for them and even then their 20:30hrs GMT slot stood vague, offering only: “Romney for President Event. TBD Location. Las Vegas, Nevada.” Mr. Romney will appear with Mr. Trump at his Trump International Hotel & Tower.

Mr. Romney and Mr. Trump have not always enjoyed the strongest of relationships with Romney as recent as December, referring to Trump as a real estate mogul and reality television star and declined an invitation to attend a Republican debate, which “The Donald” had planned to host, but was later cancelled after other candidates pulled out and included a very public spat with Jon Huntsman.

A spokesman for Mr. Trump suggested the Romney camp would be releasing an official statement soon, and in manner typical of Trump showmanship, said, “I strongly suggest you be there no matter what.”

Trump is a controversial figure and the world’s greatest self-promoter however, like him or loath him, he brings considerable media attention where ever he speaks and when he speaks. Trump did toy with the idea of entering the race last year himself and actually led the polls prior to pulling out with catchy sound bites on U.S. trade policy being weak towards China and regarding Iran. Trump has been one of the most vocal critics of President Obama and his economic record as president. He has made no secret of his concern about the direction and future of America under another four year Obama term and has also criticised the president on the polarising approach to his presidency and his failure to unite American’s in a common cause.

Trump promised to “push our president and the country’s policy makers to address the dire challenges arising from our unsustainable debt structure and increasing lack of global competitiveness.” Following his announcement last May, that he would not be a candidate for the GOP nomination, Trump welcomed other hopefuls to his office at Trump Tower on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue for strategy sessions. Romney made the trek, as did former candidates Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain and Rick Perry. Gingrich visited in December when he was topping polls in Iowa and nationally.

Trump’s weeks of will-he-or-won’t-he run last year, stole the media coverage and his decision to question the validity of President Obama’s birth certificate, caused such a news media firestorm that the White House was forced to publicly release the document. A feat even Hillary Clinton her campaign team had failed to achieve during the heated Democratic primary campaign four years ago.

Many will question the impact of a Trump endorsement, I believe it will not have a considerable impact on Republican voters, but most certainly on Independent voters where Romney has an increasing negativity rating in recent weeks, due to his attack ads in Iowa and Florida against Gingrich. Trump will be able to command a media audience and spotlight that no other previous endorser of Romney could hope to deliver. The media love “The Donald” and he equally loves them.

Trump said he made the decision after getting to know Romney after meeting with him several times in the past few months and it was his real honour to endorse Mitt Romney. He said Mitt was tough, his smart and he’s sharp and he’s not going to allow bad things to continue to happen to the country. Trump also cited Romney’s performances in presidential debates and his tough stance on China and OPEC as reasons for his support.

It is certain that Trump’s announcement has all but ruled out a third-party run for the White House which he threatened if the wrong GOP candidate was selected to run as the nominee. One would also have to say that with Trump’s ability to command a media audience and great communication ability, Speaker Gingrich’s hopes of winning the nomination appear to be dwindling by the day now. It will come down to his performance in the Lone Star state of Texas on 3 April, 2012. A poor showing by Gingrich in Texas will effectively finish his campaign and hand Romney the nomination.

Where is America’s Fighting Spirit? Ending the Malaise Presidency

These days it seems Captain America has been overpowered by MalaiseMan. President Obama is MalaiseMan. He told a fundraiser on Tuesday, October 25 that America is in decline, which is the central theme of his presidency. People are buying it too, which is what the Occupy Wall Street movement and Tea Party is a symptom of; they are two sides of a coin that says America is in decline.

More MalaiseMan than Captain America

This takes us back to the evening of July 15, 1979. Gas prices had skyrocketed, there were severe shortages and the endless economic decline seemed much longer than the lineups at gas stations. Carter preached, “In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does but by what one owns.”

We have heard similar malaise from President Obama. In fact, where Carter spent hours and days at Camp David in what Reagan biographer Steven Hayward tagged “the most remarkable exercise in presidential navel-gazing in American history” and delivered his message in minutes, President Obama decided in minutes and is spending days and hours preaching malaise.

It is being believed on the streets. The Hill newspaper reports that over two-thirds of voters say the United States is declining, and the next generation will be worse off, with 83 percent of voters worried about the future of the nation. Their results conclude that Americans don’t view the country’s current economic and political troubles as temporary; they see this decline as stretching out for years.

President Obama’s policies tap into the malaise, which is why he has managed an economy of decline, failing on jobs, the deficit, healthcare, home foreclosures and rising gas prices.

However, there are signs of improvement. Economic growth in America picked up in the last quarter, showing signs of some recovery as the nation’s total output of goods and services grew at an annual rate of 2.5 percent from July to September, almost double the 1.3 percent rate in the previous quarter.

This is because the economy has its own laws of gravity: what goes down will get back up again. The economy does this, not the government. We have become so risk averse we want the nanny state to kiss us better every time the economy hurts us. The President Obama re-election campaign is one of kissing everyone better, what is the Republican message?

Ronald Reagan defeated Carter by offering Americans a vision that was so optimistic it cancelled out Carter’s pessimism. The economy will improve, and a Republican needs to get the message across that America will return to full strength with a gleam of defiance in its eye, not a tear of pity. Which candidate can do this? Which candidate can bring on Captain America to defeat MalaiseMan?

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