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.

Perry: Social and Fiscal Conservative?

Governor Rick Perry has set the standard for Republican governors when it comes to surviving this economic malaise.  In fact, rookie governor Rick Scott of Florida acknowledged Perry’s successes by attempting to start an economic competition with him.  In one sense though, Scott is winning.  Scott has already balanced his budget.

Obama has made abortion a US foreign export, says Rick Perry

On the other hand, Perry is struggling to fight a Democrat filibuster in his state in his attempt to close a $27 billion budget shortfall, second in size only to California.  Perry is finding himself  in the same boat as many Republican governors who have had to make cuts to education and other social spending in order to keep his state afloat.

While the Texas budget battle could make or break Perry’s short term future, his ardent pro-life and pro-states rights views will give him an easy in among social conservatives.  Perry recently spoke in Los Angeles to a pro-life Hispanic group and raked President Obama over the coals for expanding the destruction of human embryos for research and his reversal of the Mexico City policy which had prevented taxpayer funding of abortion overseas.  Perry said that Obama has made abortion a US foreign export.

Aside from the Texas budget, Perry’s biggest issue may be dealing with the ten point rule.  Perry is a conservative governor from Texas with that familiar southern drawl.  Though he surpasses Bush in articulation, the unfair charge of being a George W. Bush II is sure to rear it’s ugly head.   If Perry can anticipate and dismantle that argument early on, he may be able to contain such sentiments with the extreme left who wouldn’t vote for him anyway.

Why Doesn’t Rush Like Daniels?

Rush Limbaugh has had his finger on the pulse of mainstream conservatism and mainstream media for decades. When the media said only McCain could beat Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, Rush was sounding the alarm. So why is Rush now sounding the alarm on Mitch Daniels?

Daniels has received some pretty glowing endorsements, or as glowing as a Republican can get, from the Washington Post and others. He has been described as the candidate in 2012 who has a serious shot at beating Obama. No doubt, Rush is hearing echos of the media love McCain received right up until the end of the 2012 primary.

Best hope of the Right? Or the Left?

In many ways, Daniels has brought this on himself. Instead of going to CPAC and announcing that if a bill cutting off all abortion funding came across his desk he’d sign it, Daniels appealed to fiscal conservatives across the country calling on a truce on social issues so that we could solve our debt crisis. When he did sign the bill banning funding even for Planned Parenthood in Indiana, for the most part it was ignored by the media. When Obama was being praised for killing Osama Bin Laden and Daniels was taking questions on Obama’s foreign policy, Daniels admitted he wasn’t ready to debate Obama on foreign policy.

Remember when McCain said the economy was not his strong suit? Trust me, if Obama has his way the economy will not be a debate topic in 2012. Foreign policy will be. By continuing Bush’s foreign policies, Obama has found something he can campaign successfully on. By wavering on foreign policy, Daniels is certainly not setting himself up as the candidate who can beat Obama.

On the other hand, Daniels has been slowly and methodically implementing his very conservative (both socially and fiscally) agenda in Indiana. After cooling off a showdown with unions in Indiana when Democrats walked out, Daniels has quietly passed many of the same provisions including limiting teacher’s union negotiating to wages and wage related benefits. Compared to the messy protests in Scott Walker’s state over the issues, Daniels is enjoying anonymity in his war on public unions. Indiana has been one of the few fiscally sound states under Mitch Daniels.

Perhaps Daniels would be a great conservative President. It’s difficult to tell at this point if he is a silent leader who could change our country for the better, or if he represents everything that was wrong with McCain, Thompson, Guiliani and the rest of the 2008 Republican class.

Rookie Republican Governors May Shape 2012 Debate

Governor Rick Scott will not be a candidate in 2012. But his actions in the first two months of his governorship will help mold the 2012 debate. In fact, success among conservative governors like him could spell doom for establishment candidates in 2012. Governor Scott is already facing opposition from establishment Republicans in Florida over his hot-off-the-presses budget.

Scott is cutting spending by $5 billion in Florida. This includes pension reform for government workers, merit pay for teachers, firing bad teachers, cutting non-essential services and streamlining government. It also includes eliminating Florida’s business tax by 2018 and cutting property taxes. Every special interest group and person who collects a state paycheck hates him right now.

Rick Scott is emblematic of the new Conservative outsider paradigm

Scott is following a path laid down by Chris Christie in New Jersey and Bob McDonnell in Virginia. And he is joined by many freshmen GOP governors who are rejecting the Keynesian model of stimulus debt spending and returning to the conservative model of cutting government spending and giving the money back to businesses and individuals who actually produce growth.

This is something the GOP majority is struggling with in the fog of Washington politics. While abstractly they have a plan to cut spending by $2.5 trillion over ten years, the House struggled to find $32 billion to cut in this year’s budget.

If the bold, conservative governors who stormed our state capitals in 2008 and 2010 are successful in fixing their state budgets and creating a stark contrast with other more liberal states, the GOP candidate for President will likely be one who can credibly claim to come from the same mold. This will favor potential candidates like Christie, Jindal, and Barbour. If he makes the right moves, Romney may also be able to attach his name to the outsider, conservative governor genre. It may not be good news for potential Senators and House members whose good ideas will be frustrated by Democrat leaders and Republican moderates.

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