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Monday
Feb172014

Get a Clue, White House: The Planet Isn't Warming

WhereDidGlobalWarmingGoMugClimateWW

President Obama's speechwriters seem to be locked in parts of the last century.

In the start of the short-yet-excellent video below created by Project 21's Bob Parks for his "Black & Right" website, President Obama talks about the planet warming as if it is.

I've long been critical of the president's speechwriters, as they seem uninformed about many basic public policy issues, but surely somebody on the President's team could send them a memo once in a while to help keep them up-to-date.

Specifically, they might let them know that average global temperature stopped going up at the end of the 20th century.

There's some debate over whether the "global warming pause" started in 1997 or 1998, but the fact that we're in a pause is largely acknowledged. And for those of you who bought in to the whole human-caused catastrophic global warming theory, when I say "acknowledged," I don't just mean in the "skeptic" camp.

If you doubt me, take a look at recently-published papers by some of the biggest names among scientists who do believe humans are causing soon-to-be catastrophic global warming. What are they researching and publishing on? They are publishing on this question: Where did the heat go?

In other words, these scientists still believe in the global warming theory (some believe their models more than they believe their eyes). So they're trying to figure out where the heat went.

I ask you: would climate scientists who believe in the global warming theory be publishing papers on "where did the heat go?" if the planet was still warming?

So maybe it is time to retire this talking point, White House.

If you have any interest whatsoever in being truthful, that is.

Sunday
Feb162014

Shocker: NBC Debate Featuring Man Who Plays a Scientist on TV Crashes and Burns

Bill Nye Meet the PressOops. That's not the Antarctic.

How much does David Gregory get paid, anyway?

"Meet the Press" had its climate change debate today and the result was the predicted disaster.

Here's the short version.

David Gregory began with an introductory question that included:

...In the scientific community, this is not really a debate about whether climate change is real. The consensus is that it is. The majority of those who believe in fact that it is caused by humans. There are certainly some in the scientific community who don't believe that's the case and who are skeptical about some of those conclusions. But nevertheless, there is still this level of consensus...

This is meaningless pap, because Gregory didn't tell us how he defined the term "climate change." Was he referring to the human-caused catastrophic global warming theory, or simply to changes in the climate? Or perhaps to human influences on the climate without asserting they will be catastrophic? However, meaningless or not, it set up the debate in favor of Nye by asserting an undefined "consensus" against Blackburn.

Gregory then asked, starting with Nye:

My question to begin with both of you is in this moment of -- this kind of extreme weather moment -- is it creating new urgency to act?

Nye responded, seriously, that it would be nice if someone were to invent new technologies, and observed that if someone did so, that person would earn a lot of money.

Gregory then asked Blackburn the same, adding that there is a drought in California and that President Obama thinks there is such an urgency.

Blackburn responded that no single weather event is caused by climate change and explained her view that the government does best when it uses a cost-benefit analysis to determine policy.

Gregory said a few sentences that had no clear point, and then asserted that there is a scientific consensus on the degree to which humans may cause climate change.

Nye responded that questioning whether individual weather events are due to climate change "is the same as uncertainty about the whole idea of climate change." He called this questioning "unscientific" and "not logical." Then he implied people with a different view are paid shills, saying, "it is a way apparently that the fossil fuel industry has dealt with our politics." He closed by saying the opposite of his point at the start of this paragraph, saying that not tying any one weather event to climate change is not the same as doubting the "whole thing."

Gregory then claimed many Republican Members of Congress believe in climate change but simply believe many of the policies being suggested to address it would "lead to unacceptable levels of economic hardship."

Rep. Blackburn responded that any warming has been slight and tried to cite climate scientists from MIT and Georgia Tech, but was unable to complete her thought as Gregory interrupted to quote PR materials from a California natural gas producer touting that company's commitment to a "low carbon economy." It isn't clear what point Gregory was making (is the company an advertiser?) but Gregory did conclude this part with a useful question, "the issue is what actions are taken and will they really work?"

Blackburn agreed with the question's importance but Gregory tried to give the floor back to Nye without letting her answer. Blackburn answered anyway, saying:

Let's say everything that Bill says is wrong is wrong. Let's just say that. Then you say what are you going to do about it? What would the policy be? And will that policy have an impact? Now, even Director McCarthy from the EPA in answering questions from Congressman [Mike] Pompeo before our committee, said reaching all of the 26 U.S. goals is not going to have an impact globally. And, David, what we have to look at is the fact that you don't make good laws, sustainable laws, when you're making them on hypotheses or theories or unproven sciences.

To my mind, this is a key point. If even what the believers of the catastrophic global warming theory claim is true is true, the United States cannot, as a practical matter, do anything measurable about it while China and India are dramatically expanding their CO2 emissions. But it is extremely difficult to get any global warming believer to address this, and Blackburn had no success getting Nye to respond to it today. He ignored the point totally, saying instead, "once again the Congresswoman is trying to introduce doubt, and doubt in the whole idea of climate change."

And then Nye hit his low point, saying, "what I would encourage everybody to do is back up and let's agree on the facts. Would you say that the Antarctic has less ice than it used to?"

(Most people wouldn't, because Antarctic ice is at record highs for the satellite era, and Antarctic sea ice extent was 27.4% above normal as of last week -- go to Marc Morano's Climate Depot site for more data and links to still more.)

But maybe Nye meant the Arctic, as he held up an iPad with a satellite picture of the Arctic on it at that point.

Either way, global sea ice area is normal right now. I conclude he meant to cherrypick some Arctic data and ignore global data and the Antarctic entirely, and messed up the attempt. It's hard to feel sorry for him having a failed cherrypick.

Little else happened. You can watch it here or read the transcript here and see for yourself.

It's a shame that moderators in the mainstream media and debaters like Mr. Nye can't do a better job on issues that in fact really do matter, because even if catastrophic global warming is not occurring, we're spending a catastrophic amount of money fighting it for nothing.

So it would be nice to have a serious, on-point public debate about this once in a while. The best way to do that would be to start a debate, with clearly defined terms and limit any particular debate, or portion thereof, to a specific, narrow question.

For example, whether catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is occurring is a very different question from whether the United States can do anything about it, and one can't answer the second question by saying (falsely) that there's a consensus on the science.

Rep. Blackburn got this, but it's not clear that Bill Nye ever did. I believe Gregory got it, too, but he didn't control the debate well enough to keep the two participants on the same topic at the same time.

Nye seems to be convinced that the only thing preventing some American somewhere from inventing a super technology that would halt or slow emissions is what he called "the denial" of the global warming consensus. His view here makes no sense to me. There is a market, a strong one, for new technologies that have the effect of reducing energy use and thus costs. This market exists independent of whether anyone believes in the catastrophic global warming theory.

NBCMeetthePressBillNyeScientist021614Yet to hear Nye talk, unless everyone agrees on the science issues, the market won't exist: "the more we mess around with this denial, the less we're going to get done."

Is Nye unaware that U.S. carbon emissions are falling, thanks largely to fracking and the horizontal drilling of natural gas, in response to market forces?

I get the impression that Nye is waiting for Congress to mandate the invention of new technologies and thinks we "deniers" are stopping this.

For the reasons I said yesterday, plus more, this debate never had much likelihood of usefulness. David Gregory doesn't know the topic well enough to realize he needed to define terms early and often, and then NBC booked debaters with different skill sets. As a Member of Congress who is vice chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Blackburn is an expert on policy implementation. Nye seems interested only in insisting that others endorse a "consensus" he seems reluctant to define. When the debaters are talking past each other and the moderator is out of his depth, failure is likely.

As a final note, NBC didn't exactly do itself proud by misidentifying Nye as a "scientist" on on its website in several places. Nye is a successful engineer and actor. It was left to Blackburn, within the debate, to set straight for viewers the qualifications of the participants.

Saturday
Feb152014

"Speed Walker" to Debate Rep. Marsha Blackburn on Meet the Press on Climate Change

It is a sign of the unseriousness of the mainstream media that the NBC program "Meet the Press" will be hosting a climate debate featuring a person who plays a scientist on TV.

Yes, tomorrow it is "Bill Nye the Science Guy" versus Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) on "Meet the Press."

I've written here before about the way Bill Nye debates the climate change issue.

In short, he doesn't do it very well.

In this post, I discussed three television appearances by Nye over the past year, with links. The final one I discussed was a December 2012 debate between Nye and Marc Morano of CFACT on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight" in which Morano, metaphorically speaking, massacred Nye. I wrote, "not long into the interview, Piers Morgan essentially took over for Nye. My sense is that, for all that he talks about climate issues often, Nye does not follow them closely, and I suspect Piers Morgan has reached the same conclusion."

To steal part of a line from Muhammad Ali, Morano beat Nye so bad, Nye needed a shoehorn to put his bow tie back on.

Yet, not only did CNN book the interview, MSNBC did, and Fox hosted a rematch, and now NBC is doing it on one of its most serious shows. Clearly, these shows aren't looking for a solid debater, as there are serious scientists who believe humans are causing catastrophic global warming (just not anywhere near 97% of all climate scientists) who would jump at the chance to debate on TV. But given a choice between conveying information or booking a celebrity, the news media prefers the latter.

I'm not saying Mr. Nye isn't a clever man. According to media reports, he has a degree in mechanical engineering and has earned patents for devices that are complicated and useful. But he's also someone who has spent much of his life as an entertainer, and that's no way no hone debate skills.

The TV show "Bill Nye the Science Guy" may have been about science, but it was science for kids and Nye had script writers. And before that, Nye spent time doing a little comedy show in Seattle, playing such characters as "speed walker." (Click here to see video of Nye as a super-walking superhero in short-shorts.)

BillNyeasSpeedWalker

Marsha Blackburn is a serious congresswoman who has kept her brain at peak condition. Nye has "phoned in" his previous TV debates on climate. I suspect he is capable of upping his game, but will he bother, knowing that media outlets like NBC, CNN and MSNBC will book him whether he works hard or not? So far, he hasn't.

Speaking as a climate skeptic, I suspect this debate is going to be fun.

Too bad only the Blackburn half is likely to be educational.

Editor's note: This post has been edited to reflect the fact that Nye and Morano debated once on CNN and once on Fox, not twice on CNN.

Friday
Feb142014

Health Care Odds & Ends: Deluxe Edition

1. Trial Lawyers Bonanza!  Economist and president of the National Center for Policy Analysis John Goodman notes the following about the new regulations on ObamaCare’s employer mandate:

The new delay in the employer mandates only apply to employers who don’t reduce their labor force…unless…here is a Q&A on the regulation:

In order to be eligible for the relief, an employer must certify that it meets the following conditions:

(2) Maintenance of Workforce and Aggregate Hours of Service. During the period beginning on Feb. 9, 2014 and ending on Dec. 31, 2014, the employer may not reduce the size of its workforce or the overall hours of service of its employees in order to qualify for the transition relief. However, an employer that reduces workforce size or overall hours of service for bona fide business reasons is still eligible for the relief.

In the title Goodman writes that “you would have to be pretty dumb not to be able to think of a ‘bona fide business reason.”  That’s true, but trial lawyers would have to be pretty dumb to not realize that “bona fide business reason” is so vague that it will provide them with plenty of opportunities to sue businesses with big pockets.  And in my experience, trial lawyers aren’t THAT dumb.

2. Well, Those Rural Folk Didn’t Vote For Obama Anyway.  I missed this one in the Washington Post from almost two weeks back. Apparently consumers in rural Georgia are finding insurance pretty pricey on the ObamaCare exchange:

If Lee Mullins lived in Pittsburgh, he could buy mid-level health coverage for his family for $940 a month. If he lived in Beverly Hills, he would pay $1,405.

But Mullins, who builds custom swimming pools, lives in southwest Georgia. Here, a similar health plan for his family of four costs $2,654 a month.

Read it all.

3. ObamaCare Brings Some People Sadness…  The Massachusetts exchange is not going well, according to the Boston Globe:

The head of the state’s beleaguered health insurance marketplace, which was once a national model, broke down in tears Thursday, as she described how demoralizing it has been for her staff to struggle with a broken website that has left an unknown number of people without coverage.

Jean Yang, the executive director of the Massachusetts Health Connector, wept at a board meeting, where it was disclosed that 50,000 applications for health insurance are sitting in a pile, and have yet to be entered into a computer system.

Wish I could say I feel sorry for her.

4. …And Brings Other People Joy.  I’m not one who generally enjoys this sort of schoolyard taunt, but given how arrogant the defenders of ObamaCare have been, in that context this bit of schadenfreude by John Podhoretz is spot on:

I could rage on and on about Monday’s gobsmacking announcement that the Obama administration is once again unilaterally delaying a key aspect of its health-care law and what this act of astonishing royalism suggests about the president and his fundamental disrespect for the American system of checks and balances.

But I’m not going to. Instead, with all the dignity that a 52-year-old man and father of three can bring to the task, I will offer these observations instead:

Neener neener neener.

Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah.

Face it, all of you who celebrated and wept and danced when it passed back in March 2010, all of you who viewed it as the historic moment of transformation for the United States: This law is a lemon.

As Bart Simpson once said, “I didn’t think it was physically possible, but this both sucks and blows.”

5. Maybe “Substandard” Insurance Isn’t So Substandard After All.  Some Congressional supporters of ObamaCare and insurers are pushing a new type of plan that could be sold on the exchanges.  Dubbed a “copper” plan, it would, according to the Wall Street Journal, “cover, on average, 50% of medical costs, and while consumers’ out-of-pocket expenses would still be capped, that limit likely would be higher than the $6,350 maximum for individuals and $12,700 for families currently set by the law.”

The Anointed aren’t pleased:

“I’m not sure that requiring people who have insurance to nevertheless pay for 50% of their costs themselves can reasonably be defined as decent coverage,” said Jay Angoff, the first head of the Department of Health and Human Services office that is overseeing the implementation of insurance provisions in the law.

I am completely sure that bureaucrats, politicians, pundits and others who think they are entitled to run our lives should NOT be deciding what is and is not “decent coverage.”  That should be left to the individual consumer who pays the cost for that coverage.

6. We Need Single-Payer...like we need a hole in our head.  What would an Odds & Ends be without a quick look at the recent goings on in that British gem of health care, the National Health Service?  

-First up is Barnet Hospital whose administrators insisted their A&E Department (similar to an Emergency room in the states) was well prepared to cope with an influx of new patients after the A&E Dept. at nearby Chase Farm hospital closed down on December 9.  “But less than seven weeks later, Barnet Hospital was left crippled by the huge number of walk-in patients and ambulance arrivals on Friday, January 31, a letter leaked to the Times Series has now revealed.

“At the height of the crisis, ambulances were left queuing outside the hospital and, by 2.30pm, 19 had been left unable to transfer their patients because of the drastic bed shortage.”

More here.

-Colchester Hospital is in the midst of a scandal after “a health watchdog found ‘inaccuracies’ with waiting time data relating to cancer treatment.” Staff  told an investigating committee “they were ‘pressured or bullied’ to change data relating to patients and their treatment in order to make it seem people were being treated in line with national guidelines.”  The committee stated that “patients’ lives may have been put at risk.”

-Although incidence of brain cancer are on the rise in Britain, the NHS has proposed shutting down two-thirds of the “of stereostatic radiosurgery units - specialist brain tumour treatment centres.”  Increasing demand for a service yet the supply is reduced—government health care at its finest!

Thursday
Feb132014

Listen: National Center’s Almasi Shatters Chuck Schumer, Food Babe Claims Over Pennsylvania Airwaves

After the Subway sandwich chain buckled to the criticism of the “Food Babe” blogger and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) rushed to the cameras to demand a ban on the harmless food additive azodicarbonamide, I had the honor of appearing on WSBA in York, Pennsylvania to help set the record straight.

In a morning, drive-time interview on February 11, host Gary Sutton asked: “Whatever happened to freedom of choice?”

I replied:

They don’t want you to have it… In this case, you can’t even say it’s junk science that they’re using because they’re not using science at all.  It’s just fear and lies.

In dispelling the scare tactic that azodicarbonamide – a product used in very small quantities to bleach and condition bread dough but has also been used in the production of rubber products such as yoga mats – is toxic because of its many diverse uses, I noted:

Lots of things are used in lots of products.  Vinegar is used in cleaning products.  Citrus products are used in cleaning products as well.  Corn!  I put corn in my gas tank, and yet I feed it to kids.  Why are we not banning corn?

And, responding to Sutton’s facetious comment about “our so-called betters… out there looking out for us poor fools,” I commented:

It really is infuriating to think that we’re in a society that benefits from the fact that we can now get food in good quantities from exotic places.  We can get things that are out of season in our neighborhoods.  I mean, I can’t go out in my backyard and get a banana here in the DC area – I can’t get pretty much anything in my back yard at this time of year because of all the cold weather.

But we can do that now.  Why?  Because of preservatives like the one we’re talking about banning.

We can just… We can go down the street and get a Subway sandwich – a nice, cheap, nutritious sandwich.  And we can do that because of these chemicals [the Food Babe] wants to have banned.

In the second segment of the 25-minute interview, I called people such as Schumer and the Food Babe “flat earthers”, pointing out: “They don’t want to accept that there is better living through science.”

Discussing how liberal food activists and their supporters and enablers like to point to government regulators and science in pretty much every other circumstance but this one, I noted that this “smacks of hypocrisy.”

Noting that both of us possess the ability to be question the government while food radicals do not, I said to Sutton:

I feel I can be critical of the FDA.  You feel that you can be critical of the FDA.  They shouldn’t be, and – yet – here they are saying that the FDA should be changing their science.

Thursday
Feb132014

Clarence Thomas Called “Uncle Tom,” Again – Project 21 Responds

A state representative in Alabama, during a seemingly unrelated discussion on legislation concerning land surveying, reportedly voiced his disapproval for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas because Thomas – a black conservative – is married to a white woman.  He also called Thomas an “Uncle Tom.”  Project 21 members are appalled by the comments and are speaking out.

Project 21 member Demetrius Minor, said:

This liberal Alabama lawmaker admitted to not liking Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas because he is married to a white woman.  Typical liberal ignorance.

Clarence Thomas, the lone black justice on the Court, coincidentally claimed that race relations are worse now than they were decades ago and that he experiences more grief from “elite liberals.”

This seems to be true seeing that – as a black conservative – I find that liberals don’t want you to think for yourself and always play the race card when logic trumps your argument.

Alabama State Representative Alvin Holmes’s comments were reported by two different local journalists.  Specifically, Mary Sell of the Decatur Daily tweeted on February 12: “Rep. Alvin Holmes, D-Montgomery, just said on the House floor that he doesn’t like Clarence Thomas because ‘he’s married to a white woman.’”  Holmes is black.

While Holmes denied making the comment about the Thomas marriage, he later qualified the reporters claims by saying he was telling Tim Lockette of the Anniston Star about what other people might expect him to think, saying, “I said some people might say I didn’t like [Thomas] because he was married to a white woman.”

That doesn’t really make things much better.

Then Holmes doubled-down on the criticism of Justice Thomas, saying, “I said I don’t like [Thomas] at all because he is an Uncle Tom.”

Project 21 member Darryn “Dutch” Martin said:

Alabama State Representative Alvin Holmes feels it necessary to deviate from official state business to disparaging a sitting associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court for being an “Uncle Tom” and being married to a white woman.

Representative Holmes seems to feel it’s his right to take liberties by publicly slandering a sitting, dark-skinned, conservative federal jurist without provocation.

I would say that Holmes should be ashamed of himself, yet black, far-left progressives such as him have no shame.  They throw bombs at black conservatives or anyone else who disagrees with them – believing that they can get away with it.

When called on his slanderous remarks, his fumbling attempt to backtrack and clarify what he said would be laughable were it not so pathetic.

Coincidentally, Justice Thomas just gave a speech at Palm Beach Atlantic University just two days before the incident with Representative Holmes in which he lamented how America has become a more race-conscious society.  Thomas said: “My sadness is that we are probably today more race and difference-conscious than I was in the 1960s when I went to school.”  He added, “The worst I have been treated was by northern liberal elites.”

Project 21 member Derryck Green said:

Over 20 years after being nominated and confirmed to the Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas still raises the ire of the left.  No sooner did he finish his speech lamenting that society has grown more race-conscious and too sensitive regarding racial identities than the liberal mentality he identified as being the source of such racism validated his point.

Representative Alvin Holmes apparently expressed his dislike for Justice Thomas simply because “he’s married to a white woman.”  Holmes later clarified his position regarding Thomas saying, “I don’t like him at all because he’s an Uncle Tom.”

Think about what Holmes said about Justice Thomas.  Think about what William Barber of the North Carolina NAACP recently said about Senator Tim Scott.  Think about what Representative Maxine Waters and others have said about Lt. Colonel Allen West.  Think about what the racial provocateurs on MSNBC and many other self-identifying liberals and progressives have said about the aforementioned.  What does it represent?

The life and achievements of Justice Clarence Thomas should be held as an example for all Americans to follow.  He transcended poverty, embraced the values of hard work and self-discipline and reached the legal pinnacle of the U.S. Supreme Court.  And by all accounts, he’s a decent and honorable man.

But none of that matters to those who only see race.

Wednesday
Feb122014

Nagin Conviction Provides Lessons for Black Politicians, Racial Apologists

Project 21 member Nadra Enzi, a Louisiana resident, has some tough commentary regarding the conviction of former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin on 20 counts of bribery, money laundering, tax evasion and other fraud.

Nagin, who was mayor of the Crescent City during Hurricane Katrina and is infamous for not mobilizing the city’s fleet of school buses to evacuate residents who became trapped in the flooded metropolis, was convicted by a federal jury and could face over 20 years in jail and over $2 million in fines.  The case against Nagin stemmed from the over $200,000 in direct bribes, free travel and other amenities Nagin and his family received in return for businessmen receiving over $5 million in city contracts.

Acquitted on only one count, Nagin’s attorney, Robert Jenkins, said, “We did the best we could do.”  They do plan an appeal.

Project 21’s Enzi, a vocal advocate in the New Orleans area for strong community policing, warned against blaming the Nagin convictions on a racist judicial system.  He said:

I’ve always failed to make that connection in the past when presented with the argument of a racist criminal justice system, and today isn’t any different.

The real question is, how do we govern ourselves so that we don’t find ourselves in these situations?

No defense attorney can take commonly-discussed excuses like slavery and selective prosecution, for example, and offer these to a judge.

Speaking to those who think that some people deserve a pass from punishment because of their race, Enzi has tough words for all viewpoints – positive and negative.  He added:

I know that sounds terribly corny to the blameless black crowd, but these scenarios always serve as – for some – painful teaching moments.

We can’t keep blaming white folks for crime we freely choose to commit.  The higher up the food chain we go, the more these trials will be publicized.

Some will say the Nagin case is proof black mayors are inherently corrupt. It’s hard for me to buy that one since I live in Louisiana, where a whole lot of white politicians and paymasters are perp-walked to prison.

In 2014, some American blacks must accept that our past doesn’t exempt us from being held accountable for our actions in the present.

If anything – conceding to the possibility of institutional bias – we have even more incentive to be law abiding because we don’t always get the breaks others do.

Exempting black criminals because of real or imagined racism only cheapens our lives and promises more scenes like today.

An old school warning always echoes in my mind during these times: “You can’t beat the devil doing wrong.”

Enzi is the author of the recent New Visions Commentary “Cult of the Blameless Black,” which can be read by clicking here.

Wednesday
Feb122014

Young People And That First Premium: Why The ObamaCare Risk Pool Is Worse Than You Think

With the the Dept. of Health and Human Services set to release the next enrollment report on the ObamaCare exchanges this afternoon, I can’t help but wonder if this will be the report in which we finally get some data on how many people have not yet paid their first premium.  I doubt it.  But it would sure be nice since it would give us another key piece in the risk-pool puzzle.

If the nonpayment rate is high, say 20%, then it’s a very good bet that the exchange risk pool is in even worse shape that previously thought.  The reason is that younger people are more likely that older people to be delinquent on their payments.  For example, here are some numbers on age and credit score from BCSAlliance:

Since credit score is heavily reliant on payment history, the above scores suggest that the young have the worst record at making payments on time or making them at all.  From there it is a small leap to the proposition that the bulk of people who have not paid their first premium on the ObamaCare exchanges are in that crucial 18-34 age group.  

If the nonpayment rate is high, then the number of 18-34-year-olds who are part of the exchange risk pool is surely worse than the 24% claimed by the last HHS enrollment report.  It’s also much further from the 38% the Obama Administration predicts it needs to keep the exchange risk pool stable.

Media reports show that the rate of nonpayment runs the gamut:

-An article from mid-January in the Wall Street Journal shows various insurers with nonpayment rates ranging from 20% to 40%. 

-A more recent article in CNNMoney, insurers report a range of customers who haven’t yet paid, from 12% to 30%.  Perhaps most worrisome for ObamaCare supporters is insurer Wellpoint, who has signed up 500,000 on the exchanges.  Yet, “a majority of WellPoint’s would-be members have paid, said WellPoint’s chief financial officer, but not a ‘vast majority.’”

-As of early January, only 8% of those who had signed up for an Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield plan via the Connecticut exchange had paid their first premium.

-A Newsweek article examining the Vermont exchange shows that about 37,000 had signed up for a private plan but only 11,943 had actually paid their first premium.  That’s a non-payment rate of 68%. 

-Breitbart reported in late January that 25% of those “enrolled” in Covered California had not paid their first premium.

It would be wonerful if HHS not only released the nonpayment rate but also broke it down by age.  Unfortunately, if the first is unlikely, the latter would be a miracle.

Tuesday
Feb112014

Obama Flaunts The Rule Of Law...Again

It’s getting to be a sad joke.  Any provision of ObamaCare that the Administration finds politically inconvenient is suspended regardless of whether the president has the authority to do so.  The latest is the decision to suspend the employer mandate in 2015 for companies with 50 to 100 employees.

From delaying the employer mandate the first time, to allowing people to sign up for insurance until March 31 and avoid the individual mandate penalty, to the Congressional opt-out, this president has made changes to ObamaCare for which he has no statutory authority.  The Galen Institute lists ten such changes here.  It’s up to eleven with yesterday’s announcement.

Galen’s Grace-Marie Turner calls this “One More Delay Closer To Obamacare’s Demise.”  “This delay,” she says, “is a tacit admission by the administration of the damage and distortions the law is causing in the employer community. The only solution to the law’s problems, of course, is permanent relief, through repeal.”  She very likely right about that,  You can only pick so many parts out of a contraption before you have to admit the contraption doesn’t work.

But while ObamaCare’s will likely be repealed, the larger question is what does this do to the “rule of law”?  Rule of law is the bedrock of any free society.  People need to know what the rules are on a day to day basis without worrying that those in power can arbitrarily change them.  Thus far, I only see a few people on the right talking about this.  On the left, well, here is Jonathan Cohn’s reaction to the latest ObamaCare delay: “…if you want to curse the employer requirement altogether, you’ll have plenty of company. Most economists and policy experts don’t like it either. But this decision shouldn’t make much difference in how many Americans ultimately get health insurance.”  Yes, whether it harms the expansion of insurance coverage.  That’s what really matters here.

The political left needs to realize that their guys (and gals) won’t be in power forever. Don’t count on the next Republican in the White House to scale back the limits that Obama has pushed. No doubt the liberal intelligentsia will whine and moan when the next GOP President oversteps his authority, but who will take them seriously after they ignored the transgressions of Obama?

I was on a radio program a few days ago when the host asked me what can be done about it.  My advice was don’t look to the elite.  Rather, average citizens need to start showing up at townhall meeting and demanding that their representatives ensure that the president obeys the law.  They need to insist that Congress scales back the President’s power so he has less ability to issue dictates executive orders.

That’s how we restore rule of law as a bedrock of a free society.

Editor's note: We realize there is an error in the headline, as the word "flaunts" was published when the word "flouts" was intended. However, due to software limitations, we cannot fix the headline without changing the URL, which would break the links many of our readers have placed on their websites, Facebook pages and so forth. So we have left the headline as it is, and we apologize for the error.

Tuesday
Feb112014

Hatch-Burr-Coburn Still A Cadillac Tax Plan

About two weeks ago I criticized the Hatch-Coburn-Burr health care plan for the way it treated the tax exclusion for employer-based health insurance:

The Hatch-Burr-Coburn…“caps the tax exclusion for employee’s health coverage at 65 percent of an average plan’s costs” (italics added).  In 2013 the average employer-based plan cost about $5,884 for an individual and $16,351 for a family (see page 2).  Under Hatch-Burr-Coburn, any individual would be taxed at the marginal income-tax rate on any dollar of his heath plan that exceeded $3,825 ($5,884 multiplied by 65%).  For a family, it would be any dollar that exceeded $10,628.

In short, this legislation doesn’t just hit “Cadillac” plans.   It also taxes Honda Civic, Ford Focus and Toyota Corolla plans.  

After talking with some Senate staffer last week, I learned that the wording in the proposal was incorrect.  The cap will be set at 65% of a high-cost plan.   For the sake of argument, let’s say that the expensive plan will be set at 2.5 times the average plan—so that the expensive plan would be $14,710 for a single person and $26,565 for a family. That means the cap would be $9,561 ($14,710 multiplied by 65%) for a single person and $17,267 for a family.

That’s an improvement, but how much of one?  One could argue that it’s not really a Honda Civic plan tax plan anymore, but it’s still very much a Cadillac one.  As I noted last time, ObamaCare’s Cadillac tax has not proven popular.  It’s also similar to 2008 plan put out by the John McCain Campaign that Democrats attacked as a tax increase.

One can be charitable toward this plan in that perhaps it provides a foundation on which to build true health-care reform.  But a lot of building is required.

Monday
Feb102014

Project 21 Members Say Politicized Black History Month Means “Good Accomplishments… Overshadowed by Negativity”

Several members of the National Center’s Project 21 black leadership network spoke out against “Black History Month” negativity that is so prevalent in modern observances in a recent article published by the Press of Atlantic City.

Project 21 member Jimmie Hollis, a resident of southern New Jersey who attended the March of Washington over 50 years ago, said:

The many good accomplishments of black Americans over the years are overshadowed by negativity and emphasis on segregation, Jim Crow South and the difficult days of the push for civil rights.

Echoing a common observation among many Project 21 members that current black history programs tend to do more to segregate the races these days than unite people, Hollis added:

Black figures that have made strides to better themselves and contribute to society should be focused on and celebrated instead.  And there should not be a Black History Month, but instead an American History Month.

Additionally, the article quoted Project 21 member Joe Hicks, the former executive director of the Greater Los Angeles chapter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference, who said:

Folks were still getting lynched when I was a kid.  We’ve come a long way, and America has done a phenomenal job of moving forward… The time has come that it’s old and tired and shop-worn.  It’s time to have some fresh conversations about these issues.  At this time, we should be building a new narrative, and unfortunately, Jim Crow, segregation, institutional racism, that all gets trucked out for Black History Month.

To read the entire Press of Atlantic City article and watch an interview with Jimmie Hollis, click here.

Monday
Feb102014

Do 97% of All Climate Scientists Really Believe Mankind is Causing Catastrophic Global Warming?

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For a decade now, believers in CAGW, that is, the theory of catastrophic anthroprogenic global warming, have repeatedly made the absurd claim that 97% of all climate scientists believe human beings are causing the Earth's temperature to dangerously rise.

They don't always phrase it exactly like that, but that's the implication, and that's what they very, very much want you to believe.

The idea is to use the appeal to authority fallacy to convince the public to believe in CAGW (and costly public policies based upon same) because 97% of all climate scientists supposedly do.

Except they don't.

Having kicked around within the climate science public policy debate for a quarter of a century now, I've seen the various studies (all magically reaching the "consensus" false number of 97%) come and go, and I've read along as various qualified observers, not all of them global warming skeptics by any means, took them apart.

For example, did you know that one way these studies can reach the magical consensus number of 97% is by defining human-caused global warming so broadly, even global warming skeptics qualify for the 97% percent?

That leads to the bizarre-but-common circumstance of skeptics being told they are wrong because a group of people -- a group of people they are part of -- disagrees with them.

In other words, the skeptics are wrong because they disagree with themselves.

Seriously. This passes for a reason to believe in CAGW in some quarters. (Like the White House.)

To be fair, very few of the people who use the 97% number to look down on skeptics have examined the "97% consensus" studies even superficially. Since they are quoting studies they haven't read (and which require no deep science knowledge to read), this is not to their credit, but in many cases the sin is more laziness than malice.

It's also a lot easier for a believer in CAGW to quote a "97% consensus" figure they saw online somewhere than to explain why -- here's that number again! -- 97% of climate models were shown in 2013 to be running hotter than reality.

Seriously.

But why bring this all up today? Because the Friends of Science Society, a Canadian group based in Calgary, has just released a new report examining the actual data behind the "97% consensus" figure (it also mentions the 97% of climate models run hot figure on page 21, if you're interested).

If you are among those who are tired of having the 97% consensus allegation thrown at you -- or, more important, if you are one of those throwing it -- you can read the study here.

Sunday
Feb092014

NAACP Pushed Rally ID Requirement at Protest Against Voter ID Requirement

With William Barber and the North Carolina NAACP, it’s do as I say and not as I do.  At the “Moral March on Raleigh” last Saturday, invitees to the event — called in part to protest the recently-instituted voting protections in that state that feature a requirement for identification such as a driver’s license and passport at the polls – were told to bring photo identification such as a driver’s license or passport with them as an important “do” for participation in the event.

But why should anyone be shocked by the inconsistency.  Reverend Barber’s overall “Moral Monday” campaign is an allegedly non-partisan and non-violent campaign “opposing the Republican agenda in North Carolina” (according to the Associated Press) that resulted in over 900 related arrests of activists in 2013.

The North Carolina NAACP, of which Barber is president, is also involved in a lawsuit seeking to overturn North Carolina’s polling place protections.  The legal complaint says that ballot protections unconstitutionally restrict voter access.  Barber says that asking for proof of identity before something as important as a ballot is given to a person “takes us backwards.”

However, on an official handout of “Important Do’s and Don’ts for Marchers!!!” that was provided to “invitees” to the Moral March by the NAACP, one item states “DO bring photo identification (driver’s license, passport or other valid photo ID) with you and keep it on your person at all times.”  What is “valid” is not stated.

With the “invitee” language, it is implied that this march is an exclusive, private event that took place on the public streets of North Carolina’s capital city.  The NAACP one-sheet advised invitees to rat out anyone they know not to have been invited or joining spontaneously, advising then to “watch for people who join the march from the public and notify a Marshal [sic].”

So, the many everyday things that a North Carolina resident needs to have government-issued ID for – such as banking, shopping, mass transit by rail and air and voting – now includes joining a NAACP rally protesting an ask for an ID to vote (if invited).

Perhaps the reminder for bringing an ID is because, of the thousands of people who reportedly participated in an alleged grassroots event, community organizers told the Associated Press that they expected people from 30 states would be participating in the rally.  They might have needed it to travel.  Or verify their credit card when checking into a hotel.

According to a poll of actual North Carolina voters conducted for Elon University in 2011, there is hardly a smidgen of opposition to voter ID laws.  Of those surveyed, 80 percent believed the state’s voter ID law was fair and 75 percent supported the ballot safeguard.

In many ways, this handout hassle is Reverend Barber’s third strike.  Since the beginning of the year, Barber made national news and earned dubious recognition on three occasions.  Already, he demeaned Senator Tim Scott (D-SC) by comparing his to a ventriloquist’s dummy and said black conservatives in general are “mouthpieces” for a nondescript conservative power.

Now this.

It’s hypocritical, and none of this sits well with the conservative activists of the National Center’s Project 21 black leadership network.

For example, Project 21 member Emery McClendon said:

Apparently, neither the NAACP staff that planned the event nor William Barber who presided over it took the time to review their own ground rules for their “Moral March on Raleigh.”

They are against having to show a valid ID to vote.  Yet they included the same stipulation as a requirement for people to be involved in the actual march.

We are either witnessing gross hypocrisy here or a case of incompetent leadership.  Perhaps both!

Adding to this criticism is Project 21 member Kevin Martin, who said:

There is no logical excuse for the NAACP to remain opposed to photo ID requirements for voting that were recently passed in many states.  This is especially true considering allegations of stolen votes and the extensive coverage of credit-related identity theft in general.

The very fact that the North Carolina NAACP requested its supporters show up with official government-issued ID in hand to rally against the very same requirement exposes their misleading talking points that allege minorities, women, the elderly and students have a harder time obtaining such credentials.

It’s beyond time the NAACP dropped these discredited excuses and joined the majority of Americans who support protections that secure free and honest elections.

It’s time for the yelling and the lawsuits to stop.

Furthermore, Project 21 member Demetrius Minor said:

The NAACP’s call for participants to bring a valid government-issued ID to their rally is not only ironic, but hypocritical.

For an organization that deems voter ID laws as disfranchising to minorities, they sure are willing to embrace it when they are setting the rules for their own event.

Given Reverend Barber’s demeaning remarks in the past toward Senator Tim Scott, in which he likened the lawmaker to a ventriloquist’s dummy, I’m not sure Barber’s motives are objective or relevant.

Sunday
Feb092014

Democratic Congressmen Seek Investigation of IRS Inspector General for Reporting Alleged IRS Wrongdoing Against Conservative Groups

IRSScandalWordArt

It seems the inspector general is a Republican.

Not long after the Obama Administration's Department of Justice appointed an Obama bundler to investigate the are-conservatives-being-targeted-by-the-IRS? scandal, two influential Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee are complaining that the IRS inspector general who released a report revealing significant details of the scandal can't be relied upon because he's not independent -- he used to work for Republicans on the Hill and was appointed to his job by George W. Bush.

One of these men, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), said last year that everything is already known about the scandal that needs to be known. He wanted the investigation ended. Now he wants it expanded, but to investigate the inspector general who alleged wrongdoing, not to find if wrongdoing occurred.

The other Congressman, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), called the inspector general "a tainted IG." (Does he believe the DOJ investigation is "tainted"?)

The Congressmen also complained that Democrats had been left out of certain meetings. As the blog Weasel Zippers reports:

Why might some Democrats have been kept out of meetings? Because Congressional Democrats were being looked at during the investigation for their role in the IRS targeting.

Seems reasonable.

In any case, as long as the Department of Justice completes a comprehensive investigation of the charges in the actual scandal, including the IG's report, it won't matter in the end. If a through investigation is done, we'll all find out what happened, and the IG will either be vindicated, or he won't be.

No need Congressmen Cummings and Connolly to fuss...

...unless they have some reason to suspect that Eric Holder's Department of Justice won't conduct a full investigation.

Do they?

Surely not.

The House of Representatives should appoint a special investigator with full subpoena powers to investigate this scandal. Possibly he or she will reach the same conclusion the DOJ investigation reaches, but if that happens, it is still worth doing, because then the public will have far more confidence in whatever that conclusion is.

And while I'm on the subject of the IRS scandal, readers might be interested in an interview my husband and the National Center's president, David Ridenour, did on the scandal on WGSO-AM's Jeff Couere show in New Orleans Friday. The recording is rather long because they took questions from callers, so feel free to listen to, as the president might say, only a smidgen. You'll still get good content.

Saturday
Feb082014

Can We Trust President Obama to Investigate the IRS? We Say No, and Here's Why

Can we trust President Obama to investigate the IRS -- especially when he says no wrongdoing has occurred there under his watch? David Ridenour, president of the National Center for Public Policy Research, says NO on WQSC-Charleston's Rocky D Show on February 6, and explains why.

Friday
Feb072014

Black Conservatives With No Regrets on Beliefs

Between the fact that it’s Black History Month and that it’s getting close to the observance of President’s Day, there can be more pressure than usual on black conservatives to compromise their values as a show of respect for Barack Obama.

Over the past few weeks, for instance, there was the case of Reverend Willian Barber, the head of the North Carolina NAACP chapter.  Barber criticized Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) for being what he considered a ventriloquist’s dummy.  Later, Barber called all black conservatives “mouthpieces” in league with a nondescript conservative conspiracy.

Project 21 members don’t believe that the color of one’s skin merits a free pass for making bad decisions — for themselves or for bad policies that impact the entire nation.

As a result, almost every Project 21 member has their own stories about being ostracized at some point by friends and family for going against the political grain.  Some of these stories have more divisive endings than others, but the end result is almost always that the Project 21 member emerges even more confident and contrarian.

In the wake of recent events such as President Obama’s poorly-received State of the Union address, another bad jobless report, more extensions and problems related to the rollout of ObamaCare and no end in sight for controversies regarding the NSA’s spying and the IRS’s alleged targeting of conservatives, at least two Project 21 members are showing that they remain steadfast and justified in their conservative beliefs.

For instance, Project 21 member Christopher Arps, who is also a founder of the Move-On-Up.org social networking site for black conservatives, said about the mostly unswerving black political support for Barack Obama:

I’m all for black pride, and I can understand on an emotional level why black folk have a loyalty to President Obama.

I get it.  I really do.

But if loyalty is not being returned and I’m just being taken for granted, all bets are quickly off!

I am nobody’s fool — not even for the first black president.  Sorry.

Likewise, Project 21 member Darryn “Dutch” Martin, a former diplomatic service official and business consultant, sees the poor policy returns for the black community during the Obama presidency and his blood boils.  For all of the criticism he has endured, he doesn’t hold back in his rebuttal:

This is what the Obama Kool-Aid drinkers voted for — twice?!

What do you want to bet that blacks, Obama’s most loyal voting block, are going to be the ones most adversely affected by all of this progressivism when everything is said and done?

To all of you true believers who have bad-mouthed me for being a black conservative and for daring to disagree with Obama’s policies and showing — or at least trying to show — you fools why his administration was heading our nation in the wrong direction, this is what you get.

I hope you are ready for the shock, because the downside of this president’s policies are likely to hit Obama’s most ardent constituency the hardest.

Friday
Feb072014

Benen: Putting More Lipstick On The ObamaCare Pig

Jonathan Cohn wasn’t the only one who tried to make the Congressional Budget Office’s Budget and Economic Outlook look rosy, despite the fact that it was a major blow against ObamaCare.

Steve Benen, producer of the Rachel Maddow show, dutifully repeated all the progressive talking points, including, “For Obamacare critics, the law has increased part-time employment over full-time employment. The CBO found ‘there is no compelling evidence’ to support the argument.”

What Benen is referring to here is the ObamaCare employer mandate that requires businesses with 50 or more full-time employees (full-time defined as working 30 hours or more a week) to provide their employees with health insurance or pay a penalty.  Alas, what the CBO actually said about the employer mandate was a bit more complex than Benen let on:

In CBO’s judgment, the costs of the penalty eventually will be borne primarily by workers in the form of reductions in wages or other compensation—just as the costs of a payroll tax levied on employers will generally be passed along to employees. Because the supply of labor is responsive to changes in compensation, the employer penalty will ultimately induce some workers to supply less labor.

In the next few years, however, when wages probably will not adjust fully, those penalties will tend to reduce the demand for labor more than the supply. In the longer run, some businesses also may decide to reduce their hiring or shift their demand toward part-time hiring—either to stay below the threshold of 50 full-time equivalent workers or to limit the number of full-time workers that generate penalty payments. But such shifts might not reduce the overall use of labor, as discussed below.

In short, the employer mandate could induce some workers to work less and some businesses to hire less.  It’s just uncertain at this point.

As for there being no compelling evidence that the employer-mandate has increased part-time employment over full-time employment, a more accurate description is that the CBO has no compelling evidence as of right now:

In CBO’s judgment, there is no compelling evidence that part-time employment has increased as a result of the ACA. On the one hand, there have been anecdotal reports of firms responding to the employer penalty by limiting workers’ hours, and the share of workers in parttime jobs has declined relatively slowly since the end of the recent recession. On the other hand, the share of workers in part-time jobs generally declines slowly after recessions, so whether that share would have declined more quickly during the past few years in the absence of the ACA is difficult to determine. In any event, because the employer penalty will not take effect until 2015, the current lack of direct evidence may not be very informative about the ultimate effects of the ACA. (Italics added).

Thus, the CBO has not by any means closed the book on the effect of the employer mandate.  Rather, it doesn’t expect to have any direct evidence until after 2015.

And yes, the evidence right now on the employer mandate is anecdotal.  But progressives should be a little worried, since there are at least 401 anecdotes.

Friday
Feb072014

About Those January Jobs Numbers…  

Despite the official unemployment rate going down against slightly in January, there is absolutely nothing to celebrate.  A year into President Obama’s second term, the numbers behind the official figure shouldn’t excite anyone.

January jobless numbers from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics put the official unemployment rate at 6.6 percent — a one-tenth of a percent decrease since December.  While this is a low for the Obama presidency, the BLS announcement qualifies the news that there was “little change” in the state of affairs for pretty much any demographic.

Only 113,000 jobs were created in January — much fewer than expected and certainly much less than needed to replace those normally leaving the workforce.

The labor force participation rate was an anemic 63 percent.

And things are not likely to get better at the rate things are going.  The latest report on ObamaCare from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office predicts that the President’s signature takeover of American health care will destroy another 2.5 million jobs over the next decade.  Perhaps the opening round of those lost jobs is the announcement from Radio Shack this week that it will close at least 500 stores in the next few months.

Project 21 member Derryck Green, in his monthly “About Those Jobs Numbers…” report, takes a journey to Planet Progressive.  On Planet Progressive, all is fine despite the poor economic news — and Derryck doesn’t agree with the Obama Administration’s rosy opinion of its performance as it ends its fifth year in the driver’s seat of the American economy:

For those who suffered through President Obama’s State of the Union address last month, few should have been deceived into believing the pretty picture he painted regarding the state of our economy.  The attentive certainly were not.

Today’s jobless numbers prove that any skepticism was indeed well-founded.

That the economy is doing anything remotely positive and worth commending in this anemic, so-called recovery has more to do with the strength and resiliency of the American people and not because of the President’s stewardship.

In fact, the President’s supporters seem to revel in the potential expansion of a welfare state.

Today’s jobless report once again showed the continued drop in the unemployment rate isn’t the result of the economy making the progress that is desperately needed.  Rather, it seems to be the result of more Americans giving up hope and leaving the workforce.

However dishonestly the administration may attempt to spin the news, a deep dive into the statistics doesn’t lie.  Things are still bad.

The official unemployment rate, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is 6.6 percent — down a tenth of a point since December.  But the press release that announced the drop said the overall situation created “little change.”

For the second month in a row, job creation fell far below expectations (113,000 jobs created in January).  The U-6 total unemployment rate, the one that includes the underemployed and the despondent who have quit looking altogether, is at an unbearably high 12.7 percent.  The very low labor force participation rate is at 63 percent — not a record, but close.

As for the President’s core constituencies, the news once again is not good at all.  Black men saw their unemployment rate rise from 11.9 percent to 12.1 percent.  The rate for black women also rose, from 11.5 percent to 12 percent.  Hispanic unemployment rose from 8.3 percent to 8.4 percent.

And black teenagers appear to be the hardest hit.  Their rate of joblessness rose from a high rate of 35 percent to an obscenely high rate of 38 percent.

Also consider the following:

  • Real median household income continues to fall;
  • The civilian labor force with a bachelor’s degrees, older than 35, continues a historic fall;
  • The labor force participation rate of men between the ages of 25 and 54 — men in their prime — continues to drop.  It’s estimated that close to 10.5 million men, aged 25 to 54 don’t have work;
  • Hours worked continues to decrease;
  • There are now more than 50 million Americans now living below the poverty level — a number exacerbated during Obama’s presidency;
  • According to the Corporation for Enterprise Development, half of Americans are living in what they call “persistent economic insecurity… making it difficult to look beyond immediate needs and plan for a more secure future.”  In other words, half of Americans are unfortunately living paycheck-to-paycheck.

All of this presents serious causes for concern about the economy now and effects on the future.  Sadly, the news concerning the economy continues to grow more worrisome.

The Congressional Budget Office recently released a report stating that unemployment remains historically high as a result of the slowest recovery following a recession since 1975.  Further, the report affirmed that, despite the projections of decreasing unemployment rates in the future, the labor force participation rate would likely continue to drop.

The report also stipulates that, as a result of the ObamaCare’s subsidized provisions — provisions that decline with increased income — people will inevitably determine there is a considerable financial incentive (in the form of subsidies in combination with the current marginal tax rates) to work less — if at all.

This, of course, negatively affects the labor force participation rate.

CBO analysts estimate that those responding to the incentive not to work could reflect the potential loss of upwards of 2.5 million jobs over the next ten years.  The report goes on to state that, though total employment will increase, it will do so at a slower rate as a result of ObamaCare’s adverse affects.

This job-loss projection doesn’t include the full impact of the employer mandate, which doesn’t go into effect until 2015.  Millions more jobs could be forfeited when employers calculate that penalties, layoffs and reducing employee hours are preferable to increasing their labor costs or simply going out of business.  As the CBO report states: “[T]he costs of the penalty eventually will be borne primarily by workers in the form of reductions in wages or other compensation…  Because the supply of labor is responsive to changes in compensation, the employer penalty will ultimately induce some workers to supply less labor.”

There may be two jobs created under ObamaCare, but they will likely be two people working 20 hours a week.  It helps employers stay under ObamaCare mandates and maintains individuals’ ObamaCare subsidies, but it’s going to devastate the American taxpayer.

In other words, ObamaCare is the job-killer many knew it to be and, over the next couple of years, that truth will be laid bare for the American people to see.

The response to all of this from liberal lawmakers and the White House and its allies has an expectedly cartoonish spin.  It serves as more indication that they really aren’t taking the poor economic situation seriously.

This was seen in the comments of Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), a high-ranking Democrat in Congress.  He suggested it’s apparently a blessing that more Americans will have the freedom to “choose to work less or not at all” because the government has now provided them with health insurance.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said that the report “rightfully says that people shouldn’t have job lock.  We live in a country where we should be free agents.  People can do what they want.”

What!?

Jason Furman, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors said, “This is not businesses cutting back on jobs.  This is people having new choices.”  Furman went on to say this new freedom would create a dynamic marketplace that magically encourages entrepreneurship.

Because they’ll have what accumulated wealth?  Or what collateral to secure a bank loan?

White House press secretary Jay Carney simply disagreed with the non-partisan CBO report because he didn’t like what it had to say.

“Job lock?”  “Free agents?”  “New choices?”  This is Alice in Wonderland stuff.  Too bad this is real-life, and not just a story.

It’s so bad that President Obama finally acknowledged his unpopularity to his allies in the Senate.  He should try telling people something they don’t already know.

Unpardonably, the President and his supporters idiotically embrace the job losses anticipated by the CBO report.  In a sane world, politicians would pass legislation, reduce taxes and regulations upon hearing such bad news to try and counter such poor projections.

Not on Planet Progressive.

On Planet Progressive, projected and actualized job losses are celebrated and touted with assertions that the impending unemployment of millions of Americans will is a good thing because these Americans will be able to “choose” to work less hours and “choose” to be jobless because they’ll still be able to receive health insurance.

On Planet Progressive, unemployment is a good thing because the jobless have health insurance while lacking a consistent paycheck.  In what sensible way does this fantasy balance itself out?

I applaud and commend the determination of Americans who stubbornly attempt to persevere despite the odds.  I’m talking about those people who persevere no mater what gets thrown at them.  They don’t step aside and seek a hobby.

But applause is not enough.  Despite their heavy lifting, no amount of super-human performance can overcome a government and chief executive so stuck on stupid that our nation’s economy careens toward oblivion.

Bottom Photo Credits: iStockPhoto.com

Friday
Feb072014

Do Americans Have a Free Speech Right to Flash Their Headlights? A Debate on the Sean Hannity Show

Do Americans have a free speech right to flash their headlights to warn other motorists of a speed trap? Is the Obama Administration attacking the heart of the American work ethic? Should an American dip the U.S. flag in respect before Vladimir Putin? And is MSNBC's Chris Matthews right to claim that conservatives want to have President Obama executed?

These and other questions were debated on the February 6 Sean Hannity radio show between attorney Horace Cooper, Co-Chairman of Project 21 and an adjunct fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research and Thaddeus Russell, author of "A Renegade History of the U.S." (Free Press/Simon & Schuster, 2010) and an adjunct assistant professor of American Studies at Occidental College.

Thursday
Feb062014

Why Did President Obama Claim There's "Not a Smidgen" of IRS Corruption Before the Investigation Ends: A Radio Debate

Why did Obama say there's "not even a smidgen of IRS corruption" even before the FBI investigation has been concluded? And the CBO has increased its projection for Obamacare-driven job-quitting to jump from 800,000 to 2.3 million. How serious is this?

Democratic strategist Bob Weiner and I debated these and related questions on the Mainstreet Radio Network's Alan Nathan Show on February 6, 2014. Listen in, if so inclined.

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