Social Media
National Center Presents
Category Archives

The official blog of the National Center for Public Policy Research, covering news, current events and public policy from a conservative, free-market and pro-Constitution perspective.

501 Capitol Court, NE
Washington, D.C. 20002
(202) 543-4110
Fax (202) 543-5975

Search
Monthly Archives
Twitter feeds
Tuesday
Nov252014

Media, Mob among Those Condemned by Project 21 Members for Ferguson Furor

More members of the National Center’s Project 21 black leadership network are commenting on the rioting in Ferguson and the culpability of the mob, politicians, the media and other culpable parties.

Project 21 member Christopher Arps, who lives in the Ferguson area and was witness to both the initial riots in August and the ones that began after the grand jury decision:

You had two types of protestors in Ferguson last night, and neither were peaceful.

You had those hell-bent on destruction, looting and rioting.  And you had those out there who were not doing those activities but who were encouraging the looters and urging them on.

I was there.  To me, they are both guilty of the lawlessness we witnessed last night.

Day Gardner, a Project 21 member and media host, said about the looting:

Those rioters in Ferguson really don’t seem to care about Michael Brown’s death.  They refuse to hear all the facts.  They appear to just consider this a license to steal and act out.  They have burned a Public Storage, Little Caesars, liquor store and more.  They are laughing while they destroy their own community – burning businesses and stealing liquor and cell phones.  It’s ridiculous and so sad!

All the stores and businesses that have been looted and burned to the ground mean that, as we enter the Christmas season, families are forced out of work.  How many residents will be out of work because of the destruction?  They will be unable to pay bills or provide for their families.

Al Sharpton incited tensions in Ferguson before all the facts were known.  He should have waited for the grand jury documents.  He is such an embarrassment to the black community.

Author and motivational speaker Demetrius Minor, a Project 21 member living near Atlanta, said churches need to step up:

There was no indictment in ‎Ferguson for Officer Wilson, but there was an indictment of the conscience of many.  Riots and violence proves our nation still needs healing.

It’s shameful that the same people who are inciting – directly or indirectly – the protests and mob violence in ‎Ferguson will be quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and praising his message just two months from now.

Something needs to be done.

Dear 21st century churches: This is your moment.  Stand up for morality, but also advocate peace.  Speak healing, but also be sensitive.  Ferguson needs you.  The world needs you.

Project 21 member Wayne Dupree, a talk radio host who visited Ferguson after the initial riots to try to help the community heal, had sharp words about the word choices of the media:

Words have meaning.  It seems people are too willing to fall into the media’s portrayal of the victim and the media’s own version of the truth.  Allowing the media to use words that indicate one’s innocence or guilt is a very slippery slope.

There is no innocence or guilt unless proven by law.  And Officer Wilson has the law on his side.  His life is now destroyed at the hands of a thug who died.  Wilson didn’t force the fight.  Wilson did what he needed to do to save his own life, but he will never seem to have the same sympathy that have been afforded to the deceased by the media and the mob.

Many people saluted Obama for stepping in and asking for peace, but that executive action should have been done earlier.  He was too late – the looting was just beginning.  The mob looted a beauty store, burned down a bakery and destroyed Advanced Auto Parts among other businesses.  What the Hell!

Agitators were angry and they wanted “justice” for Mike Brown, but instead they destroyed innocent business owners’ livelihoods.  Where is the justice in that?

Additionally, Project 21 member Kevin Martin appeared in Danish television to talk about the situation in Ferguson and the need for more community policing in which law enforcement has more ties to the communities they serve (as well as more respect from the community for the police):

Tuesday
Nov252014

Project 21's Joe Hicks Talks Ferguson Live with Fox's Megyn Kelly

Amid live scenes of rioting on the screen, Project 21's Joe Hicks joins Fox's Megyn Kelly to discuss the grand jury's decision not to charge Police Officer Darren Wilson in the Michael Brown shooting case. Joe was harshly critical of the rioters, calling them "thugs," "punks" and "hoodlums." He also addressed comments by President Obama about events in Ferguson and expressed disgust that some people have compared Michael Brown to civil rights leaders in the past who were heroic figures.

Said Joe, in part:
You heard somebody behind the camera saying, 'this is justice.' Somewhere Dr. King is probably... spinning in his grave, if that's what 'justice' looks like. That tramples on the graves of all the old martyrs of the civil rights movement that really did struggle for real things, [against] real racism, real issues they were trying to overcome. And you've got thugs, and punks, and hoodlums in the street, and you've got somebody saying, 'this is justice.'

Joe and host Megyn Kelly also were joined by Ron Hosko, president at Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, in this Fox News Channel special late edition of "The KellyFile" broadcast after midnight ET on November 25, 2014.

Tuesday
Nov252014

Project 21 Member Captures Michael Brown's Mother's Initial Comments

Soon after the news broke about the grand jury’s decision, Project 21 member Lawrence B. Jones III was at a gathering in which Michael Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, was present.  He caught some of her angry response to the news that she shared with the crowd.

Originally published by Rebelpundit.  WARNING: This video contains explicit language.

Sunday
Nov232014

Black Conservative Leader Defends Giuliani’s Raw Truth, Policing Strategy

Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani squared off against Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson in a heated exchange over the legitimacy of claims that police officers pose a major threat to the lives of blacks in the United States.

On the 11/23/14 edition of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Giuliani explained that black youths commit a disproportionate amount of the murders of other blacks, and they commit them and other crimes primarily in the communities where they reside.

A transcript and video of the exchange can be found by clicking here.

Project 21 co-chairman Horace Cooper, a legal commentator who both taught constitutional law at George Mason University in Virginia and served as a leadership staff member for the U.S. House of Representatives, had comments of his own about the Giuliani-Dyson exchange – coming to Giuliani’s defense:

Most prominent leaders in America are afraid to address the root causes and identify the real problem of crime in the inner city.  Mayor Giuliani has a demonstrated record of creating safe streets and safe neighborhoods.

Instead of pretending that police officers are the problem as Dyson seems to do – he recognized that crime skyrockets when law enforcement shirks.

Giuliani was also willing to send the police into any and all areas to aggressively tackle the criminal element.  And it worked.

Furthermore, Mayor Giuliani is just the kind of leader that the Justice Department should be consulting with on dealing with urban crime across the country.  Instead of ignoring or rationalizing thousands of black on black killings in our country, we should be discussing techniques that will end this problem and save the lives of the innocent.

Friday
Nov212014

Black Activists Speak Out against Obama Amnesty Agenda

As the potential harm of the President Obama’s amnesty bid for possibly more than 5 million illegal aliens residing in the United States becomes clearer, members of the Project 21 black leadership network are continuing to speak out against his unilateral action to try to remake America.


Joe R. Hicks, former executive director of the Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference:

President Obama strode into the White House promising to give the American people the audacity of hope.  What we are witnessing instead, with his immigration agenda, is an audacious grab for power and an evisceration of the Constitution.

Having kicked the can down the road, obviously refusing to ruin his own chances for re-election in 2012, and tap-dancing on the issue until after the 2014 mid-term elections, Obama now disdainfully punches the amnesty card for upwards of five million illegal residents with the knowledge that almost half of all Americans polled oppose his maneuver.

With the stroke of a pen, Obama rewards those who arrogantly mock our border laws while simultaneously telling those hopeful immigrants still waiting patiently to lawfully come to America that they are chumps.

After these five million or so, what then?  The magnet that draws illegal immigrants across the border just got stronger.  They will come expecting, — no, demanding — to get “Obama’s amnesty.”

In 2010, defending his inaction on immigration issues, Obama said, “I’m president, I’m not king.  I can’t do these things just by myself.”  That’s all changed, and the Constitution lies in tatters as a result.


Demetrius Minor, youth minister and motivational speaker:

Barack Obama really had the potential to be an iconic president.  It’s a shame he’s now relegated to someone who will be remembered most for not only dividing a nation, but for circumventing Congress in order to push his personal agenda.


Stacy Washington, talk radio host:

Well, black liberals, sorry — but I have to put you on blast.

Every time this country has pardoned illegal immigrants, crime and black unemployment have gone through the roof.  Don’t believe me?  Check the statistics from Reagan’s congressionally-approved amnesty package.  Not only did three times as many illegal immigrants as were promised become legal through the undiscovered intricacies of chain immigration, but the crime rate soared and black unemployment went through the roof.

Sorry again, black liberals.  You just got dumped!

 

Charles Butler, talk radio host:

The fact is President Obama will do with the stroke of a pen what 300 years of slavery, Jim Crow and legal segregation could not: destroy the hopes and dreams of millions of black Americans.  His position on illegal immigration and reform is not tenable given the numerous sources of information that warn of the negative impact of immigration reform on black Americans and low-income Americans.

 

Christopher Arps, founder of the black social networking web site Move-On-Up.org:

Mr. President, how do these people “get right with the law” when you have to break the law to allegedly get them right with the law?

Ronald Reagan and George Bush used executive orders to tweak immigration law, but it was within the framework of the 1986 Simpson/Mazzoli amnesty law that was passed by Congress.

As a student of politics and history, I’ll unfortunately be able to tell my grandchildren that I lived through America’s early 21 century experiment with a lawlessness extremely left-wing president.  This man — a self-professed constitutional scholar — is so brazen that he’s openly violating the Constitution he swore to protect.  And he’s doing so just a few years after he said he didn’t have the authority to do what he just did on immigration.

Unbelievable!

 

Shelby Emmett, lawyer and former congressional staff member:

I wish Obama would focus just ten percent of his time on Americans and not illegals.

Since this all about rewarding people who chose to put their kids in a position where they’d be “ripped” from their arms, why hasn’t Obama suspended the family law system as well?

Plenty of American parents lose their kids on a daily basis over silly things like breaking the law.

 

Earlier this year, Project 21 issued six “DataReleases” on immigration in recent weeks, covering the major issue areas of jobs, fairness, health, public schools, refugees and history.

Project 21 released statements from members opposing the Obama amnesty plan immediately after the President’s remarks on 11/20/14.

Thursday
Nov202014

Obama's Amnesty Plan Incremental, True to Leftist Strategy 

Bottom line: Project 21 member Derryck Green said, “I don’t believe the President” when it comes to Obama’s assurances that his executive action on immigration is not amnesty.

In an interview with Blaze TV host Dana Loesch on her eponymously named “Dana” program on 11/20/14 – just hours before the Obama’s address to the nation – Derryck laid out how he saw the President’s strategy and how he thinks the President’s critics should respond.

Derryck took the President at his word, but did so while revealing the doublespeak:

Obviously, it’s not amnesty – but it’s the first step toward amnesty.  The President knows specifically what he’s doing, and that’s why he’s doing it now [after the election]… Obviously, if this was going to benefit the American people, he would have been out there talking about it.  People would have been campaigning on it.  But no one said a word until now…

It’s a cynical ploy by the President to do it and not wait for the incoming Congress because the President has a particular ideological vision for the country and he wants to implement that.

And part of that is a step toward amnesty.

Why doesn’t Derryck think that Obama wants to seem “all in” right away?  “Everything left does is incremental,” Derryck warned.

As for the future, Derryck also warned Obama’s immigration strategy is likely just the beginning:

[It’s] a clear indication on what the last two years of this presidency is going to look like.  And I think that Republicans and conservatives have to take that into consideration and start crafting messages – not falling into these political provocations that the President is trying to set for them.

Derryck suggested conservatives in control of Congress make Obama put his money where his mouth is by sending him a reform bill as soon as possible.  Give Obama a bill that truly helps fix the problems with America’s immigration system and make the President seriously consider the issue rather than just waging political warfare.

But Derryck said this will take a lot of political gumption from some members of Congress.  To stand up to Obama, timid lawmakers need to find a “fire in the gut” and eschew the “go along to get along” mentality that grips too many professional politicians.

Not only will this help rein in a president who seems to believe he’s akin to an emperor, but it will also help to end the chronic contempt that the public has toward Congress.

Thursday
Nov202014

Project 21's Cooper Dispels Liberal "Mischaracterization" of Reagan, Bush Amnesty Plans 

Liberals are engaging in a “mischaracterization” of how Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush dealt with illegal immigration during their presidencies.  Project 21 co-chairman Horace Cooper noted those presidents worked with Congress on a plan that made Congress a partner as well as crafted a policy (one that Reagan, by the way, deeply regretted) that brought the political parties together.

But, in the case of President Obama’s executive amnesty agenda: “We do not have that in this case.  We have the exact opposite.”

In discussing the illegal immigration-inspired constitutional crisis on the 11/19/14 edition of “The Big Picture” on the Russia Today network, Horace said explained that a likely rebuke of Obama’s executive amnesty will come in budgetary language denying funding the implementation of the President’s agenda.  When host Thom Hartmann tried to bring up impeachment, Horace explained that, with the exception of a few outliers who are not influential to the expected process, “no one is calling for impeachment.” 

Thursday
Nov202014

Ferguson Mayhem Presents Dilemma for Parents Teaching Kids Right and Wrong

With a grand jury decision on the fate of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson believed to be just days away, and the implications that there will be violence if Wilson is not indicted in the shooting death of Michael Brown, Project 21 co-chairman Cherylyn Harley LeBon said the situation sets a bad example of children.

Appearing as part of the “Grassroots Citizens Panel” of “The Rick Amato Show” on the One America News Network on 11/19/14, Cherylyn — the mother of two young children — pointed out the actions of protestors in Ferguson thus far and the potential for renewed violence there creates a problem for parents trying to teach questioning children about right and wrong.  In talking about the threats to violence if charges are not filed, she asked, “What is the message that the community is sending to young people?”

Commenting on a threat made by some protestors to allegedly disrupt the area’s electrical grid, Cherylyn said such violence constitutes an act of terrorism and that committing such blatantly illegal acts is no way to advance justice for Brown or should be representive of those in the community legitimately grieving his death.

Responding to the other news that gun sales in the St. Louis area have risen sharply as the grand jury’s announcement near, Cherylyn said that residents “absolutely have to arm themselves” as potential mayhem may overwhelm the ability of law enforcement to protect everyone in the area who may be at risk. 

Monday
Nov172014

Cruz Continues Fight for Internet Freedom

TedCruzOfficialPortrait2014WSenator Ted Cruz (R-TX) is continuing his fight to limit government interference into (and taxation of) the Internet, today releasing a compilation of comments he has received since his Washington Post op-ed and short video were released last week (you can watch the video here).

Here's a few of many (emphases were added by me):

"Sen. Ted Cruz got it right last week when he tweeted that Title II would be ObamaCare for the Internet."

-- L. Gordon Crovitz, former Wall Street Journal publisher and author of the Wall Street Journal's Information Age column

"Private Internet providers already compete with each other to provide broadband access to millions of Americans, and limiting their ability to sell their products how they see fit will stifle innovation and competition, not encourage it. Sen. Cruz is right that imposing new government controls on the Internet will lead to fewer choices, fewer opportunities, and higher prices."

-- Chris Chocola, President, Club for Growth

"The greatest threat to the Internet is the slow encroachment of government power. Public utility regulations lead to monopolies and slower service. Imposing Title II on the Internet would open a Pandora's box of larger broader government control worldwide. Senator Cruz's position was the bipartisan consensus in the 90's: Title II is unwise and unnecessary. Congress, not the FCC, should decide how to address hypothetical concerns about free speech and anticompetitive conduct -- while maintaining the regulatory light-touch that began under President Clinton and continued under Republicans. That 'Hands off the Net' approach has driven over $1.3 trillion in private broadband investment and allowed the Internet to flourish."

-- Berin Szoka, President, TechFreedom

"Senator Cruz has been a vocal opponent of the Marketplace Fairness Act, which passed the U.S. Senate in May of 2013. The legislation, if passed, would create a dizzying maze of new sales tax mandates for hundreds of thousands of tech-enabled small businesses across the country. In addition, it would give unprecedented authority to state tax enforcement agents and allow them to cross borders and enforce their laws on businesses located in other states. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has announced his intention to try and move the Marketplace Fairness Act in the final weeks of Congress. However, Senator Cruz, along with a number of his colleagues in the House and Senate, have expressed their concern and opposition."

-- eBay

"Senator Cruz is right on target in warning that the Internet regulations President Obama seeks would destroy innovation and harm consumers. The FCC should officially foreclose the draconian option of reclassifying the Internet under Depression-era monopoly telephone rules by closing the Title II docket once and for all. Senator Cruz recognizes the dangers of turning back the clock on Internet freedom; it's time for the Administration to do the same."

-- Pete Sepp, President, National Taxpayers Union

"The Internet we've all grown to rely on, and it has been especially helpful to working moms like me, has come about in the absence of excessive government regulation. Sen. Cruz is right to be wary of the Internet power grab the White House has proposed, especially in the wake of the IRS and NSA scandals."

-- Sabrina Schaffer, Executive Director, Independent Women's Forum

There are more comments here. Don't take our free Internet for granted. Share this, Facebook it, Tweet it or just tell your Senators what you think before the Internet as we know it today is gone.

Monday
Nov172014

Gruber's Wrong: Hogberg Says Americans "Not That Stupid" about ObamaCare

Commenting on shock videos released last week that show ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber disparaging the American people and admitting that the effort to sell the health care takeover was rife with lies and the bill was intentionally confusing, National Center policy analyst Dr. David Hogberg said it’s “not surprising” that liberal intellectuals think the American people are stupid.  But David disagreed with Gruber, saying that Americans are “not that stupid” — a sizable portion of the public, in fact, has always been skeptical of ObamaCare and are smart enough to see through assurances of Gruber and his ilk.

On the 11/14/14 edition of “The Rick Amato Show” on the One America News Network, David said the American people are engaged in the public policy process and do want to see those who tampered with our nation’s respected and envied health care system to be held accountable for the damage that has been done to it.  They also want to see actual free-market reforms instituted that can improve upon it.

Monday
Nov172014

Markets Are Not the Problem. ObamaCare's Subsidy Mechanism Is the Problem

After NCPPR sent out a Data Release on the ObamaCare exchanges last Thursday, I received this email about my criticism of the drop in subsidies from one of our readers:

You […] note (correctly) that… “Many of them may see their subsidy amount drop because of the way the subsidy is calculated. It is based on the second-lowest cost silver plan, and that plan will likely be cheaper on most exchanges this year. That could mean hefty premium hikes for people who don’t change their plans.

I don’t understand the leap you’ve made here.  First and foremost, you are a proponent of markets, and you presumably like it when markets work well.  Second, this particular market is producing lower prices for comparable benefits.  Third, you are bemoaning the fact that the subsidy is predicated on that lower price. Fourth, you put a negative spin on things like this:

An analysis by the Colorado state government found that lower-cost silver plans could reduce subsidies to the point that exchange consumers could see their premiums rise by an average of 77 percent if they keep their current plans.

I believe in markets too.  And your facts are consistent with a successful market, not a failing one. 

Unfortunately, the Data Release could be read as though I’m criticizing markets. I’m not. What I’m attacking is the subsidy mechanism.  I think that’s clear in the piece “14 Ways ObamaCare Is Still a Big Mess.” I’ve posted the relevant section from that below.  Unforunately, it wasn’t as clear in the Data Release, so let me address that now.

In short, the subsidies on the exchanges drop whenever the price of the second-lowest cost silver plan drops. People who have subsidies but don’t change plans will likely see their premiums increase.  They can try switching to a cheaper plan, but that entails the difficulty of finding a plan that is accepted by one’s doctor and so forth.

The subsidy mechanism is something of a Catch-22.  When premiums increase, subsidies will also increase. That’s great if you’ve got a subsidy, but if you are one of the 17 percent of people on the exchanges who don’t qualify for one, it’s not so good.  And for the taxpayers, it’s not so good either.

The reader is correct that new companies joining the exchanges and offering lower-cost plans is how markets work.  Indeed, the exchanges will need more of that if they are to have any chance of succeeding.  Frankly, I think the fact that relatively few new companies entered the exchanges this year (on average, less than two per state) is an indication this is a market that, in the long-run, won’t work.  But that is an argument for another day (stay tuned).

In sum, I’m ciriticizing the subsidy mechanism, not markets.

From “14 Ways ObamaCare Is Still a Big Mess”:

Exchange Subsidy Roller Coaster: While the left hailed the new insurance companies entering the exchanges and the lower premium costs that would result, they forgot to mention that exchange subsidies could also decline. Since 83 percent of exchange consumers have subsidies, a lot of people could be in for hefty premium increases as their subsidies begin to decrease.

The subsidy is a formula based on the second lowest-cost silver plan on an exchange minus the amount of money the individual is required by law to put toward the insurance premiums, known as the “applicable percentage.” Let’s say that the second lowest-cost silver plan last year was $200 per month while an enrollee’s applicable percentage was $150 per month. The enrollee’s subsidy was $200 - $150 = $50 per month. This year, however, if a new company enters the exchange offering lower cost insurance, and the second lowest-cost silver plan becomes $175 per month. The enrollee’s subsidy is now $175 - $150 = $25 a month. If the enrollee keeps the same plan (ObamaCare automatically re-enrolls individuals in the plans they had in 2014), he would pay $300 more per year for it.

This is far from hypothetical. A preliminary analysis by the state of Colorado found that the new lower-cost silver plans could cause exchange consumers to see the premiums rise by an average of 77 percent next year if they keep their current plans.

Saturday
Nov152014

If You Don't Visit the National Center's Facebook Page...

...you're missing all the fun.

NationalCenterFacebookPageMikeLeachComments111514

Visit the National Center for Public Policy Research Facebook page here and find out what makes the left so mad!

Friday
Nov142014

Senator Cruz: Internet Tax Would Force Small Internet Retailers to Deal with 9,600+ Tax Jurisdictions

Looks like the Senate may make a run at imposing Internet taxes on us during the lame duck session. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) explains in this quick 45 second video:

Senator Cruz has an op-ed with more details in the Washington Post.

P.S. The Internet tax is not the only government threat to the Internet we face right now. President Obama just called for passage of Net Neutrality. Check out our video here to see what happened when we asked liberals who support Net Neutrality if they can tell us what it is.

Thursday
Nov132014

Ridenour Op-Ed against U.S. Troops in Ebola Hot Zone Published in 56 Papers and Counting

Despite the fact that Ebola no longer dominates the news as it once did, the National Center’s David Ridenour has a new commentary out there meant to make sure people don’t forget the United States still has a lot to lose.

Obama ordered our brave troops into the “hot zone” in Africa.  It’s a dubious mission that could ultimately cause more harm than good — a mission David said “has a ready-shoot-aim quality to it.”

President Barack Obama is using American troops to combat Ebola to show the world he cares enough to send our very best.  But our soldiers aren’t Hallmark greeting cards.

David's argument against sending American military forces to Africa was distributed by McClatchy, one of the nation’s premier news services.  So far, David’s work is known to have appeared in at least 56 different newspapers across the country and even around the world — including the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Omaha World-Herald, Salt Lake City Deseret News, Fresno Bee, Gulf Today (United Arab Emirates) and Canada Free Press.

It’s even been published in Stars and Stripes, the newspaper of the American military!

In his commentary, David listed four reasons why the American military should not be deployed to Africa to fight Ebola:

  • “Our military is already overextended.”  Pentagon estimates suggest American forces are already strained while facing still more planned reductions.
  • “Military intervention in West Africa risks a quagmire.”  Things are likely to get worse in Ebola-afflicted Africa, and that would likely mean an escalation in the American presence there.
  • “The Centers for Disease Control isn’t ready.”  Health care workers were found to be unprepared for the few cases of Ebola that already hit American soil, and the problem could soon be amplified by thousands of troops cycling in and out of the infected region.
  • “Militarization of humanitarian aid risks involvement in internal disputes.”  Ebola-afflicted African countries already had unstable leadership before the outbreak, and an American presence could be seen as taking sides with those governments in their internal disputes.

Even though David was supposed to be part of a debate, it seemed that James Jay Carafano of The Heritage Foundation — meant to provide an opposing viewpoint — was more in agreement that David with concerns about the mission and the safety of American forces than not.

For example, Carafano wrote that “[h]elping West Africa deal with Ebola is a humanitarian mission — not a national security deployment.”  He also wondered, “[I]s the president simply throwing some troops at the problem so he can say he’s done something?”

And both specifically agreed that a travel ban placed on infected areas, something Obama has opposed, would be a better step to take before sending in the troops.

As David pointed out:

Our soldiers are being placed at enormous risk all because the president is unwilling — to borrow his own words from another crisis — to “plug the damn hole.”

Wednesday
Nov122014

You Silly Conservatives! You Just Don't Know How Good ObamaCare Really Is!

A few weeks ago the usually over-confident Ezra Klein wrote, ““In conservative media, ObamaCare is a disaster. In the real world, it’s working.”  He complained that most conservatives probably don’t know this, since right-leaning websites “run multiple articles every day on the problems and nothing on the broader trends.”

Well, my latest National Policy Analysis examines 14 “broader trends” that show ObamaCare is a still a disaster. (It’s cross-posted at The Federalist. It’s worth visiting there just for the picture!)  Here’s a sampling:

Premium Increases: Although President Obama promised that a family of four would save $2,500 in premium costs thanks to Obamacare, almost the exact opposite has proven true. The Kaiser Family Foundation shows that the average employer-based family policy that cost $13,770 in 2010 cost $16,834 in 2014, an increase of more than $3,000….

Medical Device Tax: Investment in the medical device industry tanked in 2012 after the medical device tax took effect. It has only recently begun to recover. Medical device makers such as Medtronic, Boston Scientific, Stryker, Abbott Laboratories, Johnson & Johnson, and Smith & Nephew all announced layoffs during the last two years. Perhaps that’s why revenues from the medical device tax have come in under estimates. The tax was supposed to yield about $1.2 billion in revenue in the first six months of 2013, according to the Internal Revenue Service. A report from the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, however, found that it had taken in about $913 million.

Interestingly, most of the 14 ways ObamaCare is still a mess do not appear on Klein’s website Vox.  Apparently, a person can get an even more biased view of ObamaCare if he pays attention only to liberal websites.

Tuesday
Nov112014

We Are Sending E-Cigs to President Obama. The Washington Times Reports. 

The Washington Times’ Cheryl K. Chumley reported today,

President Obama at the Asia-Pacific Economic Corporation summit in China raised some eyebrows Tuesday morning, at least among members of the attending press pool and an observant Chinese blogger — for chewing gum at inappropriate times.

Mentioned in the middle of the press pool report, right after the reference that Mr. Obama “took his seat” and chatted with Marvin Nicholson — who “made him smile” — was this line: “[He] leaned back in his chair for the opening remarks. He was chewing his Nicorette, it seemed, but mostly hiding it.”

Before the president’s trip, I had been preparing a cover letter to send along with a sample of e-cigarettes that the Risk Analysis Division of the National Center for Public Policy Research will send to President Obama. As a longtime smoker, and while his Food and Drug Administration is preparing rules to regulate e-cigarettes, also known as electronic nicotine delivery systems, or ENDS, as well as cigars, and other tobacco products, we think it is essential that the president, who appears to still use nicotine, understands the range of less harmful products available to him and countless smokers in the U.S., China, and around the world.

As the director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products, Mitch Zeller told the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation,   

Right now the overwhelming majority of people seeking nicotine are getting it from the deadliest and most toxic delivery system, and that’s the conventional cigarette. But if there is a continuum of risk and there are less harmful ways to get nicotine, and FDA is in the business of regulating virtually all of those products, then I think there’s an extraordinary public health opportunity for the agency to embrace some of these principles and to figure out how to incorporate it into regulatory policies.

So I shared or plan with the Ms. Chumley of The Washington Times, who promptly reported on our plan, 

 Who says politics is boring? A D.C. conservative think tank with a stake in the feds’ push to regulate e-cigarettes has stumbled on a creative way to get its message out, thanks to President Obama’s gum-chewing gaffe in China.

“We’re getting together a variety of e-cigarettes to send Obama, to give him some choices,” said Jeff Stiersenior fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research, in a brief telephone call.

His announcement comes on the heels of Mr. Obama’s widely reported gum-chewing incidents at the Asia-Pacific Economic Corporation summit in China, which drew fire from several native observers who found his actions uncouth. One, for example, wrote of seeing Obama “stepping out of his carchewing gum like an idler,” USA Today reported.

But Mr. Stier’s group thinks it’s found a way to defuse the public relations tensions — with a humorous mailing that nonetheless carries a message.

Had Obama taken along a couple of e-cigs with him, he wouldn’t have felt the need to chomp on nicotine gum, thus he wouldn’t have offended his Chinese hosts in the process.

“Had he been vaping, he could have satisfied his nicotine craving … without offending,” he said. “The NCPPR is sending a variety or e-cigarettes to the president, when he returns from China.”

The organization has been pushing for the Food and Drug Administration to back off regulations of e-cigarettes, saying an over-regulated approach will actually prevent tobacco smokers from quitting and using the vapor product as a substitute.

Gregory Conley, research fellow at the Heartland Institute applauded both President Obama and our gift to him, noting,

President Obama is a great example of harm reduction in action. Once a daily smoker, he is now living a smoke-free life thanks to long-term nicotine use. We are hopeful that the National Center’s care package will cause President Obama and his staff to carefully examine the negative impact that the FDA’s proposed regulation of e-cigarettes would have on public health.

We are going to send a select variety of products including flavors, open systems, closed systems, cigalikes, products from independent companies, from “Big Tobacco”, made in the USA, and even products from… well, China. 

Monday
Nov102014

Watch What Happens When We Ask Liberals to Define "Net Neutrality"

Net neutrality is very important to liberals. So important, many of them have no idea what it is.

Friday
Nov072014

Big Ideas Paid Off Big in Midterms — Did Obama Get the Message? (About Those Jobs Numbers for October)

There was a modest improvement in the official unemployment numbers this morning.  But, as Project 21 member Derryck Green points out in his monthly “About Those Jobs Numbers” analysis of America’s jobless situation and the economy in general, there’s not a lot to celebrate.

This month, Derryck wonders if President Obama got the message from an electorate that is seemingly over his unwillingness to engage on the economy:

Is it the dawning of a new era in Washington?

Maybe.

After the results of the midterm elections, many are optimistic — some probably overly optimistic.  Is President Obama willing to put aside his petulance, ego and his steadfast unwillingness to compromise?  Is he willing to set aside his ideologically driven at-the-expense-of-everything-else mentality to work with a rejuvenated Congress on policies that will reinvigorate the economy?

Who can know right now?  But, if history is any predictor of the future, it’s probably best to hope for the best and plan for business as usual.  

And business as usual — at least, in part — means spinning the monthly jobs report from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics to mislead Americans into believing the economy is doing much better than it actually is.   From the tone on Tuesday, American voters understand the economy isn’t what Obama claims it to be.

As usual, expect the President to point to the falling official unemployment number — down this month a mere tenth-of-a-point to 5.8 percent — as further proof that the economy is turning around.  What he will never directly address is exactly why these numbers are falling and why most Americans are still rightly concerned about the lack of robust economic recovery.  In reality, a potential reason the official jobs number looks so decent is because — as has been the case too long already in the sluggish Obama economy — too many eligible workers continue to find themselves despondent, hopeless and isolated from the workforce.

That’s why, at 11.5 percent, nearly twice the official rate, the U-6 measure for those unemployed, underemployed and voluntarily removed from the job market still provide an alarming measure of the job crisis Obama is seemingly ignoring.

And, while overall black unemployment fell slightly from 11 percent to 10.9 percent, black teen unemployment rocketed up from 30.5 percent to 32.6 percent.

In October, 9 million remained unemployed.  There are 770,000 able-bodied people who are not in the workforce.  This all brings the labor force participation rate to 62.8 percent, rising only slightly from last month and continuing its historic lows.

For all the talk Obama has done about creating over 10 million jobs, it’s nowhere near enough jobs to both keep up with population growth as well as re-employ disaffected workers.

Speaking of jobs, prior to the BLS report, ADP’s National Employment Report estimates claimed private businesses added 230,000 jobs in October, an increase of 5,000 jobs from September’s revised number of 225,000 jobs.

However, when the BLS did release the official results, and whose estimates include government hiring, it was reported that only 214,000 jobs were created.  It’s not enough, and hasn’t been enough.

By the way, the employed foreign-born segment of the population — those residing in the United States, but were born elsewhere (including legal and illegal immigrants, refugees and temporary workers) hit a record high of 25 million, according to the BLS.

In addition to this inefficient level of job creation and the lack of real jobs for Americans, the U.S. Census Report shows 48 million Americans are currently living in poverty.

Increased poverty, sustained dependence on welfare, anemic job creation and the lack of a palpable sense of economic recovery is unacceptable.  This is most likely why Americans voted the way they did earlier this week and why President Obama should be listening now.  Something evidenced by the midterm election results was that the American people want serious and sincere economic policies to increase the pace of job creation while simultaneously overcoming the income stagnation and apathy so prevalent in America under Obama’s leadership. 

It seems that Americans have had enough of the campaign wedge issues such as increasing the minimum wage and the inequality rhetoric of class warfare that is so often the go-to strategy for Obama and his supporters.  Appealing to the emotionalism of jealousy and envy rather than offering practical solutions to what feels like perpetual economic stagnation not the mark of a leader who is engaged or who understands and empathizes with those who have had a rough time during the course of his presidency.

Voters in several states— including Wisconsin, Maryland and the President’s adopted home state of Illinois — all said in either pre-election or post-election exit polls that the economy was the primary concern.  He almost lost the Millennial vote that he enjoyed such strong support from in the past.  People in general no longer accept Obama’s empty rhetoric and policy half-measures.  Americans want less grandstanding and more direct action leading to positive results.

The voters seem to want people who will consider the big ideas and take the chances to improve our society.

For example, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder was re-elected this week, in part, due to his signing right-to-work legislation that reduced the coercive influence of employee unions on employees making it more cost effective to hire employees.

Victorious gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan argued, among other things, that tax cuts would spur Maryland’s economy.  Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker continues to reduce the negative economic impact of public employee unions and has taken his state from a multi billion-dollar deficit to an economic surplus while creating thousands of jobs, resulting in his re-election.  Bruce Rauner campaigned on tax cuts and pension reform in Illinois, and he is now the new governor-elect.

These are just a few of the economic policies that Americans found appealing, and the apparent desire to see more of them.

Obama admitted this week that the “American people sent a message,” and that he heard those who voted and he also heard those who didn’t vote.

His actions, or lack thereof, from here on, will dictate if he’s able to work with Congress in addressing the country’s economic needs — or if he’s still going to be an ideological obstructionist who would rather play politics while the good part of the country continues to struggle.

It would seem that Obama does the latter at his peril.  It’s his last two years in office — time to build his legacy.  Right now, he’s on a track to go down in history as an unpopular president who was unwilling to compromise for the good of the republic and took us all down with him.

Thursday
Nov062014

What Conservatives Should Demand From The GOP On Health Care In The Next Two Years

Conservatives should, as a matter of course, demand that Congressional Republicans get on with the business of repealing ObamaCare and replacing it with free market reforms in the next two years.  The question is, which strategy is best for achieving that long term?

There are two basic strategies to choose from—small ball and swinging for the fences. For now, small ball is the superior one and, hence, the one conservatives should support.  

Small ball means passing more targeted bills, such as repealing the individual mandate, repealing the employer mandate (or at least changing the definition of full-time to 40 hours a week), eliminating the medical device tax, rolling back Medicare Advantage cuts, eliminating the Independent Payment Advisory Board, and ending the insurance company bailout, a.k.a. the “risk corridor.” The President might sign one or two of those and if he doesn’t, then he vetoes a popular bill.  That will be useful down the road in that it pushes the media to ask, “Mrs. Clinton, would you veto that bill?”

Small ball also entails taking popular parts of replacement bills and passing them separately.  For example, a universal tax credit and letting people buy insurance out of state would be popular and probably find wide agreement among the Congressional GOP.  It also gives the GOP something to point to when the press asks, what would you replace ObamaCare with?  They can reply, these are our starting points.

Swinging for the fences means trying to achieve full repeal and replace by using a government shutdown.  With (1) Obama still wielding the veto pen, (2) the GOP not yet united around a replacement bill and (3) a singificant chunk of the public clamoring for some cooperation in D.C., the winds are blowing in right now, making swinging for the fences bad strategy.  

Passing a full repeal may be something worth doing in the next two years since it would reassure conservatives that the GOP is serious.  But doing it first out of the gate would be counterproductive.  It would give Democrats and the press the ammunition they need to say the GOP is not interested in working together. Instead, start with some small things, like the medical device tax, that President Obama may sign. That enables the GOP to grab the “we can work together” theme.

The worst part of swinging for the fences is a government shutdown.  I hate writing that, because it seems to me that the lesson of a government shut down should be that America gets on just fine without much government.  Alas, the liberal press always spin it as Republicans and conservatives being mean-spirited and intransigent, and unfortunately, a majority of the public buys into that spin.  In the end, shutdowns backfire by making it more difficult to advance conservative ideas.  Another one would make it that much harder to advance true health care reform.

Successfully executing small ball will mean that the GOP and conservatives can swing for the fences later on. However, that will mean applying constant pressure to the Congressional GOP.  Both Mitch McConnell’s election night speech and an op-ed he co-wrote with Speaker John Boehner in today’s Wall Street Journal suggest that they are serious about health care.  However, ObamaCare was a glaring omission from Boehner’s election night statement, suggesting that the GOP can go wishy-washy.  It’s up to those of us on the right to ensure that doesn’t happen. 

Tuesday
Nov042014

Insurance Cancellations Up To About 350,000. Thanks ObamaCare!

Last year when ObamaCare was causing millions of people to lose their health insurance, President Obama issued an executive order letting insurers maintain those plans for another year.  Some lucky people had plans with insurers who decided to extend them.

Their luck is now running out.

WRTV reported yesterday that 30,000 policyholders in Indiana’s individual market will lose their insurance (regardless of whether they like it) by the end of the year.  About two weeks ago, we found out that 22,000 policyholders in Colorado will also lose their insurance.  (It may be that not all of the Colorado cancellations are due to ObamaCare, but, really, what cause do you think is responsible for the bulk of them?)

Add those to the 250,000 policyholders in Virginia and 48,300 more across Kentucky, Alaska, Tennessee, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Maine who will lose their insurance, and the total rises to about 350,300—thus far.

And, just for good measure: