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Tuesday
May062014

Project 21’s Kevin Martin Takes on Bennie Thompson Targeting Clarence Thomas

Last week, Representative Bennie Thompson (D-MS), a veteran congressman and ranking minority member of the Committee on Homeland Security, shocked Capitol Hill by calling U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas an “Uncle Tom.”

In the wake of referring to Thomas by this disrespectful slur on a radio program broadcast by the New Nation of Islam, Thompson was given a chance to atone for his inappropriate comment – yet he only doubled-down on the offense.

In that subsequent interview with CNN’s Dana Bash, Thompson refused to distance himself from the outlandish comment he made about the long-time respected jurist.  In fact, rather than repudiating the “Uncle Tom” term, Thompson actually qualified his hate speech by pointing out to Bash that “the people I represent have a real issue with and African-American not being sensitive to these issues” such as affirmative action and voter ID requirements.

Thompson said this is a “real problem” that he claimed made him and his constituents consider Thomas to be an “Uncle Tom” and that “he doesn’t like being black.”

Kevin Martin, a member of the National Center’s Project 21 black leadership network, is taking Representative Thomas to task for his unseemly speech, saying:

It would appear that progressives such as Representative Bennie Thompson have chosen the low road in attacking Justice Clarence Thomas.

I would expect that, if Representative Thompson actually believed in the rule of law, which his comments appear to indicate he does not, he would understand that the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court base their decisions on the merits of the law.  They are not supposed to inject their personal views into their rulings.

Furthermore, I believe Thompson’s personal attacks on Thomas are out of his frustration over the fact that the Court ruled against key parts of the progressive agenda.

Along with other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Thompson has tried to convince Americans that opposition to President Obama’s failed agenda is race-based.  In reality, I consider very little opposition to Obama to be based on the President’s race.  Instead, I see it rooted in his flawed policies such as his partisan health care takeover, failed stimulus spending packages and the growing national frustration for the lack of transparency and unwillingness to be held accountable.

It looks like Representative Thompson is simply looking for a scapegoat because Americans are repudiating a progressive agenda he so blindly supports.

Monday
May052014

Shaming Insurers Into Declining Taxpayer Funds Might Not Work--And That's A Shame

Last week at Humana’s shareholder meeting I asked CEO Bruce Broussard whether he would promise not to take any taxpayer money from ObamaCare’s risk corridors.  (Humana declined.)  Christopher Flavelle of Bloomberg criticizes our efforts, saying we are “trying a new tactic to gum up the works on Obamacare: publicly shaming insurance companies into refusing federal money that’s designed to keep premiums affordable.” 

At one point in the article Flavelle asks, “Why would a company voluntarily decline federal money to which it was entitled by law, which is designed to serve a purpose (keeping premiums reasonable) that most everyone supports?” But earlier in the article he writes:  

…successful companies tend not to require government bailouts. Humana, like other big health insurers, is doing great, its share price having significantly outperformed the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index since the Affordable Care Act was signed in March 2010.

Indeed, why should a company that’s doing so well as Humana take taxpayer money?  If it is prospering, then it shouldn’t have much trouble covering any losses it takes on the ObamaCare exchanges.

Then there is Flavelle’s claim that the risk corridors “are designed to protect health insurers against financial loss if the people who first sign up for policies through the state exchanges cost more to cover than the insurer anticipated” and “they’re designed to keep insurers in the exchanges and keep premiums down.”

That’s a nice theory.  How’s it working out?  

Well, health industry officials have warned that hefty premiums hikes, some in the neighborhood of 100 percent, could be coming for 2015.  Wellpoint has described its likely premiums increases in the “double-digit plus” range. Insurer Cigna recently said it expected to take losses on the exchanges because “people who signed up during the early months of enrollment for the new Obamacare plans were older than it expected, bought richer coverage and used medical services more.”  If history is any guide, that will likely mean premium increase of at least double digits. (Aetna and Humana have also said they plan to take losses on the exchanges, although that was before the late surge in sign-ups.)  

Finally, insurers are apparently certain enough that substantial rate hikes are coming for 2015 that they “fear that it will put them at the center of the political blame game over President Barack Obama’s healthcare law.”

It appears that the risk corridors won’t do that much to keep premiums down.  The losses on the exchanges may well be big enough that insurers both take taxpayer money and substantially increase premiums.  In fact, it’s possible that insurers made this year’s premiums too low knowing that any loss would be bailed out by the risk corridors.

In short, we are getting big premiums increases and a taxpayer bailout.  To avoid the latter, shaming insurance companies is one of the few tactics that are left.

Friday
May022014

About Those April Jobs Numbers: Obama’s Economy Flattens the Spirits of Citizens

With it being the first Friday of the month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its newest unemployment figures.

Once again, it’s not good news by any estimation despite expected celebration among the President’s supporters that the rate went down a few tenths of a point.  The official unemployment rate for April was a misleading 6.3 percent.  Participation is low with people leaving the workforce in large numbers.  Things are pretty much as bad as they were last month and the month before that and so on.

Project 21 member Derryck Green, in his monthly “About Those Jobs Numbers…” analysis of the unemployment news and the economy in general, is left feeling a little flat about the jobs announcement:

Flat.

President Obama uses the term as a perjorative against his critics when he calls opponents of his environmental regulations “flat-earthers.”

But “flat,” in the Obama universe, is — unfortunately — a term that can be better used to describe the way the President is handling the economy.

Other terms the mainstream media used just this week to assess the America’s current economic state of affairs included “crawl,” “stall,” “brutally slow” and “barely registers a pulse.”

These terms were included in reports about the unsettling news that the federal Bureau of Economic Advisors announced that the gross domestic product, widely considered to be the leading indicator of economic growth, grew by only 0.1 percent during the first quarter of 2014.

Almost flat.

It’s an abysmal showing for the economy, especially since the American people are consistently being assured by Obama and his supporters that we are in a period of recovery.

The Federal Reserve, in part, tried to blame the weather.  Think about that for a minute.  On one hand, people are causing global warming and need to have more regulation of their behavior.  On the other, the Fed is now claiming global cooling may have brought the gears of the nation’s economic engine to a slow grind.  Do they really believe they can have it both ways?

Obviously, they do.  And, while they seem to live in a fantasy world, the rest of America is left to suffer.

That’s where flat comes in again.

Flat also describes the national employment situation.  The official jobless rate for April, as determined by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, was an unacceptable 6.3 percent for April.

It looks like a significant drop of four-tenths of a point, but the labor force dropped in size in April by 806,000 workers.  A lethargic percentage of people are active in the workforce, and 2.2 million are considered “marginal” and 783,000 are considered “discouraged.”

All in all, it’s ultimately yet another month where there has been little change.  It was a push.  Flat.  Depressing.

What’s worse, the U-6 alternative rate that includes the same jobless numbers as the official rate does plus those people who are underemployed and those able-bodied individuals who are so despondent that they’ve stopped looking for a job (to end up with what some people consider to be the true unemployment rate) was still extremely high at an astronomical 12.3 percent.

Only 288,000 jobs were created in April.  The labor force participation rate was 62.8 percent.  That’s at Carter era levels.

It’s a travesty.

To make matters even more dire, things are also still flat for many of the key constituencies in the Obama coalition.  For example, the black unemployment rate for April was 11.6 percent.  Black teen unemployment, in particular was much worse.  It was a through-the-roof 36.8 percent — rising by seven-tenths of a point.  Hispanic overall unemployment was 7.3 percent.

A conservative war on women?  There were almost 4.5 million jobless women in April.  How are the sloganeering policies of the Obama Administration such as “equal pay” and “minimum wage” — and even employer-supplied contraception — going to help women when they lose their job under this economy or cannot find one in the first place?

But it’s not just women having payroll problems.  Reports suggest there is diminishing American wage for all Americans.

For instance, a new report by the National Employment Law Project found that low-income jobs are the one sector of the labor market that gained a bit during the alleged period of recovery while mid-level and high-paying jobs disappeared in the Obama era.  NELP’s report notes, “the types of jobs available to unemployed workers, new labor market entrants and individuals looking to move up the career ladder are distinctly different than they were prior to the recession.”

Additionally, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that workers 40 years ago were making more than people are today.  In inflation-adjusted dollars, the median salary for men in 1973 was $51,670.  In 2012, the median was down to $49,398 — a 4.4 percent decrease.

In New York City, officials there are claiming that more people are working but earning a lot less.  The New York Times reported that, in 2011, 46 percent of New York City residents were at or under 150 percent of poverty level.  It was reported: “While more people were working, wages were lagging because most jobs were generated in lower-wage hospitality and retail fields.”  It was also suggested this trend and the despondency it caused was what got Mayor Bill de Blasio — a politician who is even further to the left of President Obama — elected last year.

There are jobs out there, but it seems Obama isn’t interested in them.  Case in point: the Obama Administration once again delayed the approval and construction of the full Keystone XL pipeline that would bring crude oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and create thousands of jobs in construction and related industries and supportive businesses.  The Obama Administration, which has vetted the pipeline proposal for years and has thus far concluded there are no environmental hazards of merit, nonetheless delayed a final decision in a Good Friday announcement with announcing that still more consideration was being asked of eight more federal agencies.

The delay of the Keystone XL pipeline decision angers even Obama’s steadfast supporters at this point.  Terry O’Sullivan, the general president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America — a union that supported both of Obama’s presidential campaigns — wrote in the Washington Post: “No one seriously believes that the administration’s nearly dark-of-night announcement [of the latest delay]… was anything by politically motivated.”

Similarly, shale production in Ohio is creating new jobs that are “growing [at a rate] faster than the job market as a whole.”  But, as a fossil fuel, it’s not really a job market that President Obama seems excited to champion.  Remember, the people who push for increased fossil fuel production and against Obama’s regulatory regime and risky alternative energy scheme are considered to be flat-earthers.

There are jobs out there.  From new reports, however, the quality of many of those jobs are unsatisfactory for the majority of Americans.  Those that are considered desirable do not appear to exist within the realm of Obama’s favor.  It’s an uncomfortable situation that is leaving the American job market and the American economy… flat.

Friday
May022014

Publisher of Local NY Paper that "Outed" Registered Gun Owners in Interactive Map Sends Tweet Denigrating NRA Chief to Her Twitter Followers

If you were the president and publisher of the Journal News, the newspaper that a year ago published the names and home addresses of legally-registered handgun owners in two New York counties on an interactive map, would you send out this tweet to your followers, and end forever in the public mind any question that you were objective on gun issues?

JanetHassonNRAStarkRavingMad042914

Me either.

This week, two National Center staffers, myself and Jeff Stier, attended the shareholder meetings of two major media companies: Gannett, owner and ultimate publisher of the Journal News, as well as America's most popular newspaper, USA Today, and many other media properties, and the New York Times.

I brought up the gun map, and the tweet, at Gannett, and Jeff asked Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr. to add some genuinely conservative columnists to the Times editorial page.

We'll be issuing a press release Friday morning describing the responses we received at each company. Stay tuned.

Update: Here it is.
Thursday
May012014

New ObamaCare Enrollment Report Shows Death Spiral Is Likely

DeathPanelWhiteSpaceMoreLeft

HHS has just released the latest enrollment report for the ObamaCare exchanges.  A few notable statistics:

-8,019,763 people have signed up for a plan on the exchanges.

-About 3.8 million of those signed up in the last month of the enrollment period.

-2.2 million (28 percent) of the people who selected a Marketplace plan during the initial open enrollment period were young adults between the ages of 18 and 34. 

-47 percent of the total number of people who selected a Marketplace plan and 52 percent of the young adults (ages 18-34) who selected a Marketplace plan did so during the last month of the initial open enrollment period 

Let’s first focus on those last two bullet points.  Sign-ups of the crucial 18-34-year-old cohort jumped from 25% in early March to 28% at the end of the enrollment period.  That’s not a surprise given that young people are likely to be disporportionately represented among people who do things at the last minute.  But the fact that over half of that age group chose their plan during the last month should worry ObamaCare supporters.  People who are flakey enough to wait until the last minute are probably also flakey when it comes to paying premiums.   Thus, that 28 percent number will decline and it will, of course, be no where near the 38 percent the Obama Administration says is needed to keep the risk pools stable.  (FYI: The Kaiser Family Foundation says the low number of 18-34-year-olds doesn’t matter much.  Seth Chandler says they are wrong.)

While the 18-34-year-old cohort has been dubbed the “young and healthy,” a more accurate moniker might be “young and somewhat healthy.”  68 percent of 18-34-year-olds on the federal exchanges chose a silver plan.  As I’ve written previously:

Why does this matter for the death spiral?  Because so many enrollees choosing silver plans suggests that the risk pool may be sicker than is optimal. For enrollees at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level, silver plans tend to offer the most coverage for the lowest price.  For persons under 250 percent FPL, ObamaCare offers help with copays and deductibles, but only if the consumer chooses a silver plan. The actuarial value for a silver plan is 70 percent (that is, a silver plan must, on average, cover 70 percent of a policyholder’s medical claims), but when the subsidies for cost-sharing are included, the actuarial value rises to between 73 and 94 percent. As one writer notes, “Why would someone opt for a silver-level plan over a cheaper bronze or catastrophic-level plan? The most plausible explanation is that the enrollee anticipates incurring significant medical expenses over the coming year, which is to say that he’s not healthy.” 

Since income tends to be lower the younger one is, a lot of those 18-34-year-olds are probably in that <250 percent FPL range.  The inordinate number of 18-3-4-year-olds choosing silver plans suggests that the exchanges have attracted young and healthy people that are not that healthy.

We’ve seen hints that the ObamaCare exchange risk pools are in trouble, from greater use of expensive prescription drugs, to hefty premiums increases coming for 2015.  That, along with today’s enrollment report, means the exchanges are poised for a death spiral.

Thursday
May012014

Health Care Odds & Ends: How Many ObamaCare Enrollees?

1. Only Two-Thirds Of Exchange Enrollees Have Paid First Premium, But…  New research released by Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee shows that only 67 percent of people who have signed up on the federal exchanges have paid their first premium (the number doesn’t include state exchanges). 

However, the Democrats on the Committee make a valid point about the Republicans’ research, namely that the deadline for paying the first premiums has not yet arrived for many enrollees:

As of April 15, premiums had only come due for individuals who had signed up for coverage before March 15. Five million individuals had enrolled in coverage through the marketplaces as of March 17. On April 17, the President announced that 8 million Americans had signed up for coverage through the marketplaces. That means that more than 3 million enrollees – or nearly 40% of all enrollees – did not have premiums due by April 15 and therefore  were not required to have paid them by that point.

Democrats also point out that many insurers have thus far reported lower percentage of people who have not paid their first premium, between 80 percent and 90 percent.

But doing the math shows ObamaCare supporters should still be worried.  First, I assume that 33 percent of total sign-ups had not paid their premiums by April 15 and assumed that 20 percent of the 5 million who signed up by March 15 had paid their premiums.  That means that of the 3 million who signed up since March 15, 55 percent, or 1.64 million had not paid their first premium. (The full math is at the end of the post.)  The sign-ups in the last month have a long way to go before their enrollment numbers are similar to those who signed up on March 15 or before. 

 Now, let’s look at two scenarios in which 75 percent those 3 million—2.25 million—end up paying their premiums.  In the first one, 80 percent of the other 5 million (4 million) pay their premiums, for a total enrollment of 6.25 million.  In the second, 90 percent of the other 5 million (4.5 million) pay their premiums, for a total paid enrollment of 6.75 million.  In neither case has enrollment reached the “goal” of 7 million.  Should that happen, it will be entertaining to see ObamaCare supporters spin that into a victory after all the celebration surrounding the announcement of 8 million sign ups.

2. At Least ObamaCare Supporters Are Admitting That The Eight Million Figure Is Baloney.  As noted above, Democrats on E&C have conceded that some people on the exchange have not paid their first premium, which means that the 8 million number is not an accurate count of actual enrollees.  A blog at Daily KOS on this subject notes the same thing.  From here on out, you can be sure that every time ObamaCare supporters use the 8 million figure they’ll follow it with the caveat that these are sign-ups and not necessarily enrollees.

 3. Health Care Costs Going Up.  Remember when President Obama said , “[E]very single good idea to bend the cost curve and start actually reducing health care costs are in this bill”?  Well, recent GDP numbers on health care aren’t too reassuring:


While health care growth was in a bit of a slow down in the last ten years, as ObamaCare has gotten into full swing, the rate if of growth has jumped precipitously, growing 5.6 percent in 2013 Q4 and 9.9 percent in 2014 Q1. (See Table 1.5.1).

Edward Morrisey notes that ObamaCare shills are a little bit inconsistent:

It didn’t take long for supporters of the Affordable Care Act to change their tune on the benefits of increased health-care spending.  Think Progress’ Igor Volsky wrote, “All of this was fully expected,” and that the spending just reflected the fact that more Americans “are finally getting insurance and are using their care.”

Oddly, the same publication lamented less than four months ago that Obamacare didn’t get enough credit for keeping spending increases down in 2012. “According to CMS, the spending growth between 2009 and 2012 is the lowest ever recorded in the past five decades,” wrote Tara Culp-Ressler in early January, “and 2012 is the first time in more than a decade that health spending grew more slowly than the U.S. economy.” She complained, “The CMS’ report isn’t giving the Affordable Care Act much credit” for keeping increases limited, as CMS attributed the slowdown to the economic malaise of the so-called recovery. 

Hacks at Think Progress?  You don’t say…

4. And On A Funny Note.  John Oliver did a bit on Cover Oregon.  Warning: Strong Language.

UPDATE:  Full Math.  Earlier in the post I said I’d include the full math at the end.  I initially forgot to do so, so let me rectify that know.  If 33 percent of the 8 million enrollees have not paid their premium, that means 2.64 million have not paid their premiums.  However, if the non-payment rate of the 5 million who signed up before the middle of March is 20 percent, then 1 million of that group have not paid their premiums  Thus, the number of people who signed up since mid-March who have not paid their premiums is 2.64 million minus 1 million which equals 1.64 million.  Since there are about 3 million people who have signed up since mid-March, about 55 percent (1.64 divided by 3) of the newest sign ups have not paid their premiums.

Wednesday
Apr302014

Faithful Black Conservatives Observe National Day of Prayer

Every first Thursday of May is the National Day of Prayer.

While the modern National Day of Prayer that is observed today was officially enacted in 1952, a similar day was originally proposed by the Continental Congress is 1775.

According to the National Day of Prayer Task Force, a privately-funded organization that promotes activities surrounding the observance, the purpose of the National Day of Prayer is to appeal to “people of all faiths to pray for the nation.”

Past observances have reportedly brought together over two million people annually at events in approximately 30,000 government buildings, schools, churches, businesses and private homes across America.

Members of the National Center’s Project 21 black leadership network are proud to be among those millions who are celebrating the National Day of Prayer this year.

Demetrius Minor, a Project 21 member who has served as college and career coordinator, an evangelist and a motivational speaker and who just recently finished religious studies at ministerial training center, said:

The National Day of Prayer is a solemn remainder of God’s many blessings that have been bestowed upon us.

It is also a time of unity, as we come together to ask God for guidance concerning our families, leaders and our communities.

While there will be many activities and ceremonies that will acknowledge this occasion, I urge all Americans to make every day a day of prayer and thanksgiving to Almighty God.

Project 21 member Council Nedd II, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Missionary Church and chairman of In God We Trust pro-faith in government organization, added:

We are living in a time of great turmoil, with too many Americans pitted against each other so that a political agenda may advance.

On this National Day of Prayer, it appears to be more important than ever for us to pray for our leaders — in government, in business and in religious circles — to find balance and clarity.  And we also need to pray for ourselves, so that calm might be restored to a republic that is being pushed to the limit on social issues, strained economically and fearful of events and threats abroad.

We are a good and just people living in a nation founded upon solid institutions of liberty.  Today, let us pray that we be allowed to keep it.

Derryck Green, a member of Project 21 currently pursuing a doctorate in theology and ministry in southern California, said:

Our nation is beset by problems on all sides.

Many Americans continue to suffer financially due to the lackluster economic “recovery” that has failed to create the requisite number of jobs to address the growing numbers of the unemployed.  The election of the first black president has seemed to increase racial acrimony rather than heal the wounds that would facilitate racial reconciliation and restoration.  Societal mores and religious values, the cultural glue that previously bound and obligated us to one another and to God, has been eroded in favor of a cheap imitation that’s secular, hedonistic and narcissistic to its core.

Outside our borders, America no longer appears to possess the moral authority or national will to encourage and embolden our allies.  We are also apparently unable to diplomatically deter or militarily intimidate our enemies to avert the evil that disrupts and destroys human lives.

All of this has created a healthy presence of apathy and despair permeating our culture — negatively affecting the nation as a whole.

For all these things and more, we should pause on this National Day of Prayer and petition the throne of grace and pray for our nation and our leaders.

We should ask God that our leaders receive the profoundly-needed wisdom and guidance as well as a sense of biblical justice.

In 1 Timothy 2:1, it is written that our prayers and petitions should be made on behalf of all men — particularly our elected leaders — so that we may live a life of peace and dignity.  Many of us may have profound disagreements with our elected officials of all political beliefs, but that doesn’t absolve us of our responsibility to pray for their well-being.  We should also pray that our nation recovers the biblical faith of our forefathers, remembering God’s promise in 2 Chronicles 7:14 that if we “humble ourselves, pray and seek his face and turn from our godless ways, then he will hear from heaven and will forgive our sin and heal our land.”

This should not only be our humble and sincere prayer for today, but for every day.

Wednesday
Apr302014

If Politicians Care About Liberty, They Need To Fight For It

Alas, the GOP is not called the stupid party for nothing.  If Republicans are really serious about restoring liberty in health care, then they need better tactics than talking without first thinking and preemptive surrender.

The first case in point is Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) who reportedly said that it was unlikely that ObamaCare would be repealed.  It’s not clear exactly what she said; Rep. McMorris Rodgers later denied making such remarks and that the newspaper that reported them were paraphrasing what she said.

Fair enough, but Rep. McMorris Rodgers is entering her tenth year in Congress, so she’s not exactly a virgin when it comes to dealing with the press.  Her one remark that was reported in the original story was, “We need to look at reforming the exchanges.”  If you say that instead of “getting rid of the exchanges,” then the press is going to turn it into a “GOP Congresswoman says ObamaCare is here to stay story.”  Rep. McMorris Rodgers should know that by now.

That can easily be avoided by (1) NOT talking about parts of ObamaCare that need to be reformed, (2) Talking about reasons why ObamaCare needs to be repealed (i.e.—why it is a bad law); and (3) Throwing out a few ideas for what to replace it with.  Do that, and there shouldn’t be any more stories about Republican lawmakers saying ObamaCare is likely here to stay.

On the preemptive surrender front, Senate Republicans are sending mixed signals about Sylvia Burwell, Obama’s nominee to replace Kathleen Sebelius as HHS Secretary.  According to Politico:

Cursorily, she looks very good, but she’s going to have to answer some really tough questions, is all I can say,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, which must vote on Burwell’s nomination before it can go to the Senate floor.

Though Republicans are making Obamacare a centerpiece of their bid to regain control of the Senate, some lawmakers say there’s a difference between their opposing the law and fighting Burwell personally.

“She’s not the one to go after [over] the policy or ideological differences,” said Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), another Finance Committee member. “She’s got to go in and try to run the place. I’m much more concerned that she’s up to snuff on [public health preparedness and the National Institutes of Health] — things where the secretary can have a real impact.”

Sen. Burr suggests that its either policy and ideology or competence.  Um, it can’t be both?  If the so-called “tough questions” only deal with her competence, Republicans are missing some big opportunities to punch more holes in ObamaCare.  There are eleven Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee and ten on the Senate HELP Committee (where Burwell will have her confirmation hearings).  Surely 21 Senators is enough to both probe her competence and ask her questions such as:

-Will you define today your understanding of the following terms and distinguish them from one another for us:  “signed up”; “enrolled”; “paid”; and “insured”?

-Going forward, will you commit today to put any of your proposed changes, delays, etc. before Congress before asking the President to take executive action?

-Ms. Burwell, can I get a commitment from you that HHS will give us a figure on how many people on the ObamaCare exchanges have not paid their premiums?  That information is available from insurance companies if HHS would just ask for it.  So can I get a commitment from you that you will do that?

-A large amount of money has been spent employing or contracting with so-called “navigators” to help people enroll in the exchanges. Would you please, first, quantify how much money has been spent and how many people employed, and, second, how will these people spend their time between now and the next open enrollment period? 

-If confirmed, will you promise to provide Congress a full accounting of money paid to each web-site contractor within 30 days of taking office, including how much is still owed?

-Since the Independent Payment Advisory Board is not likely to be formed anytime soon, under the law it’s responsibilities fall to the HHS Secretary.  Can you tell us, if you become HHS Secretary, how would you handle those responsibilities.  If you had to make cuts to Medicare in that roll, what cuts would you make?

While committee hearings are nominally for the purpose of gathering information, they’ve increasingly become used to score political points.  Republicans need to acknowledge that and use some of their time in that hearing to launch attacks against ObamaCare.  If they don’t, then they aren’t doing their job fighting for liberty.

Monday
Apr282014

Bloomberg's Food Police Take Over DC

In an opinion piece in today’s Daily Caller, I explain how Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s food police have developed a strong foothold in Washington, DC, in an effort to use the government to change how you eat.

If you liked Mayor Bloomberg’s approach to controlling how New Yorkers eat, you are going to love what federal nutrition nannies are planning for the entire U.S. population.

The top brass of Bloomberg’s food police, now top Obama administration health officials, are preparing dietary guidelines for the entire country. Despite the name, the guidelines are more than just suggestions on what to eat. A range of federal programs, from SNAP to military food allowances, are pegged to model diets based on the“guidelines.”

Yet minutes from the closed-door meetings of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee reads like a wish-list for food police and environmental activists.

The architect of many of New York City’s nanny-state polices, Dr. Sonia Angell, now runs the Noncommunicable Disease Unit for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC is headed up by Bloomberg’s former health department chief, Dr. Thomas Frieden.

In invited testimony to the Dietary Advisory Guidelines Committee in March, Dr. Angell boasted about her work in New York City and how it should be a model for not only new guidelines, but new bans.

Angell’s case in point: the City’s artificial trans-fats ban in restaurants. She used the evolution of the policy to elucidate her thinking about educational campaigns recommending voluntary dietary changes (bad), versus government enforced bans on ingredients (good).

Dr. Angell explained that the City’s 2005-2006 “market-based voluntary strategy” encouraging the reduction of trans-fats in restaurants was entirely ineffective, so City officials believed “we had, if not an ethical responsibility, certainly a public health responsibility to take action.”

She touted the benefits of bans, which change “the entire food supply to a default that is a healthier default. It isn’t about individual decision-making anymore, that’s taken out of it.”

Please see the full piece here.

Sunday
Apr272014

The Left Agrees: Liberals Don't Know What They are Talking About

SalonandSlateLogosAt least in this case, it's true. Turns out Salon, a left-wing website so rabid it routinely refers to conservatives as "wing-nuts" in headlines and prints opinions so bizarre I read it just to gawk, agrees with me on one point: Slate's Jamelle Bouie has no idea what he is talking about.

Too bad not only Slate, but newspapers across the U.S. such as New York Newsday and the Salt Lake Tribune, and presumably others, ran Bouie's column as if it had merit.

Hello? Aren't editors supposed to fact-check?

By the time both the conservative National Center for Public Policy Research and the left-wingnut Salon say a piece is wrong -- and for the same reason! -- there's strong reason to question the merits of a piece.

There are thousands of people of all political persuasions who would gladly write opinion pieces for major newspapers -- newspapers should never settle for writers who are loose with the facts. (If they do, what is the point of having newspapers at all?)

For those who didn't already see it, here's my blog post from yesterday criticizing Bouie's work.

Here's how Salon criticized Bouie:

...left-leaning opinionators frequently go after education topics with all the sophistication of a high school cheerleader on game day.

The latest example of this is from Jamelle Bouie who waded into the current controversy about the Common Core the other day with a piece on Slate. Sizing up the controversy over new standards as exclusively a matter of “conservative tribalism” versus “President Obama’s embrace of it,” Bouie decided I’m with Obama. And, That’s it.

By conflating differences of opinion over the new standards with Republican objections to light bulb regulations, the Koch Brothers war on solar energy, and George Will’s disdain for mass transit, Bouie assigned disputes over the Common Core to the category of other polarized issues that liberals are supposed to contest against conservative troglodytes.

Nowhere does Bouie consider that maybe some liberals have problems with the Common Core and that maybe there are some good reasons for their concerns..."

Yes. Maybe there are good reason for their concerns. The left's concerns, and the right's concerns.

Bouie proved he knows little about criticism of Common Core or the politics and economics of the light bulb ban. Furthermore, his evidence that the right dislikes expensive mass transit programs only because the left likes them was both scant and contradicted by his own comment ("to the right-wing, mass transit is just another liberal attempt to force Americans into a kind of brutalist conformity").

Understanding issues and analyzing actual concerns takes more work than writing pieces with a simplistic left-good; right-bad meme. Maybe that's too much to expect from Slate.

But perhaps there's hope. If you had asked me yesterday, I would have said it was too much for Salon.

Saturday
Apr262014

Liberals Don't Know What They are Talking About

ALT TAGTea Party activists have a message for all of government

Liberals claim we conservatives pick our issues based on opposition to Obama, not on principle.

They don't know what they are talking about.

Take Slate writer Jamelle Bouie and his article, "Conservative tribalism: Mass transit. Common core. Light bulbs. Conservatives hate these things for no better reason than liberals like them."

Bouie's thesis can be found in his title. What's scant is evidence to back up the idea that we conservatives are engaged in, as he says, a "near-senseless... reaction... that's consumed the whole of conservative politics."

Opponents of Common Core, for example, are said to dislike it because Obama does. News to you? Certainly news to me, and I suspect news to the very many people who have peppered me with anti-Common Core emails, Facebook posts, Tweets and the like for years now. I assume Obama's name has come up once in a while, but I can't remember any specific instance.

Bouie's evidence? He says his thesis is "easy" to prove: The Republican governor of Louisiana changed his opinion on Common Core, and the New York Times claims that this is so. That's proof?

A look at the New York Times piece finds no evidence that Obama's views are the main ones driving grassroots opposition to Common Core. The Times just says so. Worse for Bouie, late in its piece, the Times contradicts itself, printing that opposition to Common Core stems from two things: 1) opposition to a federal takeover of education (not, then, any presidential administration specifically), and 2) opposition from teachers unions, "who are trying to sever any connection between test results and teacher evaluation." Teachers unions, of course, are very pro-Obama.

LeftRefusetoAdmitLightBulbBanIndustryW

Based on the materials I see from the grassroots, it is the content of the Common Core curriculum that animates most Common Core opponents.

Then Bouie reports on the light bulb standards. He knows less about that controversy than he does about Common Core:

Take light bulbs. In 2007, Congress approved—and President Bush signed—strict efficiency standards for incandescent light bulbs. The practical impact was to make 100-watt bulbs obsolete: an inconvenience, but not a huge imposition. In any case, the rule wouldn’t take effect for a few years, giving homes and businesses a chance to adjust.

Industry groups grumbled, but there wasn’t any outrage. That changed in 2011, after a Tea Party–fueled Republican Party took the House of Representatives in a landslide victory over the Democratic Party. This coincided with the implementation of the efficiency standards, and the result was a caterwaul of right-wing rage.

A few facts:

  • The de facto light bulb ban was part of a massive energy bill with many provisions that received far more media coverage than the light bulb ban. Most Americans who later opposed the ban had no idea the bulb ban was even in that legislation -- that is why they expressed no opposition at the time.

  • The light bulb ban makes obsolete many more bulbs than the standard 100-watt incandescent.

  • Grassroots opposition to the light bulb standards is widespread and bipartisan. What Bouie describes as "a caterwaul of right-wing rage" against the ban includes 72 percent of all Americans, according to a January 2014 Rasmussen poll. That's a lot of right-wingers!

ALT TAGFor many liberals, the answer is "no."

  • Bouie assumes the Obama Administration has been fighting for the light bulb ban -- otherwise there would be nothing on this issue for we nasty, Obama-obsessed right-wingers to be reacting against. But that's wrong. The Obama Administration barely cares.

  • And finally, Bouie's biggest whopper: "Industry groups grumbled..." Does Bouie understand anything about this issue? Industry groups pushed the ban in the first place. This is well known. The only time industry was known to grumble was when the House of Representatives later stripped funding for enforcement of the ban.

The underlying message of Bouie's piece is that conservatives do not have values and principles that stand on their own; we simply develop our views in opposition to whatever the left believes. He and his fellow travelers (as Bouie is hardly the only liberal to be running with this thesis) do not understand conservatism at all. I suspect that's intentional. Reporting what we really think would require liberals to rebut us -- or agree with us. It typically can't do the former, and it is unwilling to do the latter.

Perhaps Mr. Bouie and his ilk should spend more time in self-reflection.

Saturday
Apr262014

Project 21's Nedd Suggests Clippers Sacrifice for a Sterling Solution

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is under fire for taped comments, recently released by TMZ, in which he implored his girlfriend (who is of black and Mexican heritage) to “not to bring [black people] to my games.”

It’s not the first time Sterling has fended off allegations of racism, and he has even paid fines for civil rights violations.  This is the last straw for some people such as NBA Hall of Fame player Magic Johnson, who says he will boycott games while Sterling remains the owner of the team.

Some people are suggesting that the team itself should rebel in protest of Sterling’s remarks.  Project 21’s Council Nedd II is one of them.  Council said:

Sometimes the fight for equality is actually a fight.  Sometimes we must sacrifice things that are important to us for a larger purpose.

Is Clippers guard Chris Paul’s job with the team more important than the job of anyone else who has ever boycotted their own employers for making comparable comments or because of some perceived injustice?

Because the Los Angeles Clippers are a legitimate NBA championship contender – and not in spite of that fact – is the reason Paul and other Clippers players should consider boycotting their games until there are some answers and some sort of resolution regarding the outrageous comments of Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

It’s especially pressing since Sterling has a history of such behavior.

It cannot be forgotten that the biggest gains in civil rights were made when people sacrificed the most, not when people sacrificed nothing.

Of course, I heard Jesse Jackson chime in on the Sterling issue and make a very faulty syllogism connecting Sterling with this week Supreme Court decision regarding the rights of voters in the states to determine government policies on preferences and some imagined increase in racism in our nation.  This doesn’t help.

Additionally, it seems the sports commentators want to make this a special circumstance.  They obviously don’t want the Clippers to boycott their games because so much is at stake.  Does Clippers power forward Blake Griffin have more at stake than Medgar Evers, James Earl Chaney or literal scores of other nameless people who have sacrificed in the past?

The fact that Donald Sterling is a competent businessman and public figure and has yet chosen to make these comments in this day and age make them that much more reprehensible.

That is all the more reason for the Clippers players to protest.

Saturday
Apr262014

Black Conservative Calls Nevada Rancher Cliven Bundy “Retro, Not Racist”

Project 21 member Nadra Enzi has these comments about the rise and fall of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and the reaction to him among conservatives:

After listening to – and laughing at – Cliven Bundy’s infamous interview it was obvious that his frame of reference regarding black folks is stuck in the 1960s.

Such comic cluelessness makes him retro, not racist.  I didn’t hear any of menace usually associated with other statements that deserve to earn the racist label.

Black folks are understandably incensed, and conservative ones are no exception.  Alan Keyes is a notable dissenter on this topic.

This reminds me of the break in right wing ranks after Nelson Mandela died.

Many white conservatives (with the notable exception of Newt Gingrich) denounced Mandela as a terrorist.  Despite the state-sanctioned terrorism of apartheid, conservatives couldn’t forgive him for taking up arms against white people.

His Marxism was also another epic sore point.

Bundy now offers a similarly seismic dividing-line moment.

Bundy’s white conservative supporters criticize black peers for reacting more to loaded phrases such as “colored people” and “negro” than loaded federal guns and suspected government overreach.

Charles Krauthammer, however, is a notable white conservative exception.  He doesn’t support Bundy and questions why anyone would.

My original take on Bundy remains the same: he’s a befuddled senior citizen uncomfortable in and unprepared for the national spotlight.

The fact he shares retro racial nomenclature with Harry “Negro Dialect” Reid only reinforces this perception.

Cliven Bundy is a “Mandela Moment” for conservatives.  We should agree to disagree on him and move on up to other issues!

Thursday
Apr242014

Black Conservative Schools Liberals About Supreme Court Race Case

Project 21 co-chairman Horace Cooper engaged and easily beat arguments posed by Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson and substitute host Joy Ann-Reid on the 4/22/14 edition of MSNBC’s “Hardball.”

While Robinson and Reid fixated on the ideas that racism remains a clear and present danger to minority advancement and that diversity plays such an important role that it can be an overriding factor in government processes such as school admissions, Cooper stuck to legal findings and actual facts — including the stated objective of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Cooper said:

The truth of the matter is, the policy is looked upon skeptically by a majority of the population and — as Justice Breyer and the rest of that six-two majority made clear — there was no showing that the state of Michigan had been affirmatively going out of its way to engage in segregation or any form of discrimination.

Wednesday
Apr232014

Joe Hicks of Project 21 Talks Supreme Court's Schuette Decision on NBC

After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled by a 6-2 margin to allow a voter-passed constitutional amendment outlawing race preferences in state-administered matters such as school admissions and government hiring to stand, Project 21 member Joe Hicks discussed the meaning of the decision and the liberal misperceptions of modern American society that brought about the challenge to the amendment in the first place in a syndicated segment aired nationwide on local NBC affiliates on 4/22/14.

Joe said:

We live in a time — with a black president and a black attorney general — when to make the kind of claims that people are being discriminated against, are being prevented from entering into positions in a university or a job at a hospital or public employment project simply no longer makes sense.

Tuesday
Apr222014

Project 21 Members Discuss Supreme Court’s Race Ruling on American Urban Radio

Members of the Project 21 black leadership network discussed the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action on American Urban Radio Network on 4/22/14.

In the decision, the Court upheld a Michigan state constitutional amendment banning race preferences in state matters such as government contracting and hiring as well as state school admissions.  It overturns a lower court ruling, noting that Michigan’s state constitutional amendment does not violate the U.S. Constitution’s “equal protection” clause.

Both Project 21 co-chairman Horace Cooper and member Shelby Emmett pointed out that race preferences are a tool of the past that is no longer appropriate and that the focus of reformers today should be on fixing the poorly-performing government-run schools that leave kids unprepared for higher education.

Tuesday
Apr222014

ObamaCare Whac-A-Mole!

The “skinny networks” of physicians and hospitals in many ObamaCare exchange plans are really beginning to rankle patients, so much so that the political class feels increasingly compelled to do something.

In Washington State, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said “companies need to justify those narrow networks.”  He is proposing new rules that “would make it harder for insurers to thin out their networks. He says consumers should have some basic safeguards: You shouldn’t have to drive too far or wait too long for care, and you should be able to find the specialists you need.”

By limiting insurers ability to offer fewer benefits and forbidding them to offer lifetime or annual limits on policies, insurers tried to keep premiums down by reducing the networks in exchange plans.  Now Washington wants to “fix” that problem, and it surely won’t be the last if stories from California are any indication.

Unfortunately this becomes like a game of “Whac-A-Mole,” where a new problem pops up in response to politicians and bureaucrats try to tamp down on an older one.  Kriedler is already getting an earful about the new mole:

But Kreidler quickly found himself under a minor siege from board members like Bill Hinkle.  

“This is called the Affordable Care Act, not the Accessible Care Act,” said Hinkle, a former state lawmaker.

Board member Bill Baldwin lobbed a string of adjectives at Kreidler’s proposal: “burdensome,” “bureaucratic,” “complicated,” “excessive,” “countercompetitive,” “counterproductive” and “kind of Big Brother.”

Sydney Smith Zvara of the Association of Washington Healthcare Plans says the new rules would require stacks of paperwork, including thousands of maps.

“The sheer weight and volume of the administrative and reporting requirements that come along with that have the effect of just smothering the ability to provide more innovative networks,” Zcara said.

Extra paperwork won’t be the only added cost.  Expanding a network means paying physicians and hospitals more to entice them to join.  That, of course, will be reflected in higher premium costs.  Apparently, one of the requirements for being elected Insurance Commissioner of Washington State is an unshakable belief that government can do magic:

Kreidler says he doesn’t believe prices will increase. He sees himself as walking a fine line, but with his compass oriented decidedly toward the consumer.

The best way to protect the consumer is to remove the barriers to market competition.  But bureaucrats seldom think that way.

Final thought:  If back in 2009 an ObamaCare supporter had said this “is called the Affordable Care Act, not the Accessible Care Act,” what do you think the chances are it would have ever become law?

Tuesday
Apr222014

Video: Supreme Court Upholds Michigan's Ban on Race Preferences; Video Explains the Issues Before the Court

The U.S. Supreme Court today, in the case of Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, upheld the state of Michigan's decision, made by referendum in 2006, prohibiting preferential treatment in public employment, education and contracting based on "race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin."

Last October 16, the day after the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case decided today, the Project 21 black leadership network held a policy luncheon featuring Jennifer Gratz, the executive director of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative. Gratz was the plaintiff in the 2003 case of Gratz v. Bollinger that found the University of Michigan's race conscious admissions policy violated the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause.

This is an excellent video to view for a quick education on the issues and events surrounding the case decided today.

Project 21 also issued a press release on the Schuette decision this morning after it was handed down, featuring the comments of Project 21's two co-chairmen, Cherylyn Harley LeBon and Horace Cooper. LeBon and Cooper also moderated the discussion in the video:

Supreme Court on Path to Ending Race Preferences

Ruling in Schuette Case Paves Way for More Equal, Less Divided America

Black Activists in Favor of Ending Quotas Available for Comment

For Release: April 22, 2014

Contact: David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 x11 or (703) 568-4727 (text-enabled) or dalmasi@nationalcenter.org or Judy Kent at (703) 759-7476 or jkent@nationalcenter.org

WASHINGTON, DC - Attorneys and activists with the Project 21 black leadership network are pleased about today's U.S. Supreme Court decision on race preferences, and hope the Court's latest ruling on race-conscious school admissions policies will become decisive in finally ending government-enforced rules creating arbitrary demographic quotas.

"Today, the Supreme Court moved us closer to the colorblind principle that Martin Luther King advocated and that is embedded in the 14th Amendment," said Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper, a former constitutional law professor. "I'm pleased that the principle of treating all Americans the same under the law can go forward in Michigan."

ALT TAGThe Court ruled 6-2, with Justice Kagan not voting.

In the case of Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, which was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court last October, the justices considered whether the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals correctly voided an amendment to the Michigan state constitution, passed by voters in 2006, prohibiting preferential treatment in public employment, education and contracting based on "race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin." The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, which became Section 26 of the state's constitution after its enactment, was supported by 58 percent of Michigan voters. It was struck down, however, by the 6th Circuit in 2012.

Project 21 submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in the Schuette case written and joined by the Pacific Legal Foundation, noting that "[t]he clear effect of Section 26 is to prohibit the State and its political subdivisions from adopting race- and sex-based preference programs." The brief also presented factual data about how the prohibition of race-based preferences in California increased diversity and minority retention rates. Similar to Michigan, California voters outlawed race preferences in public college and university admissions in 1996.

Project 21 held a meeting of experts to discuss the case featuring Jennifer Gratz, the executive director of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative after the Court's oral arguments. Gratz was the plaintiff in the 2003 case of Gratz v. Bollinger that found the University of Michigan's race conscious admissions policy violated the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause. Her talk and the discussion following can be viewed online here.

"It remains to be seen as to whether this is the definitive ruling which will eliminate racial preference policies," said Project 21 Co-Chairman Cherylyn Harley LeBon, a former senior counsel for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. "But I am encouraged that we are moving towards creating an equal playing field where the government does not choose the winners and inadvertent losers."

The rest of the press release is available here.

Monday
Apr212014

ObamaCare Protects Widows and...Whoops!

Over two dozen widows of Madison County, Alabama employees received health insurance via their deceased husbands’ policies.  Then along came ObamaCare’s grandfather regulations.  Here’s WHNT with the rest of the story:

A few widows—wonder why they couldn’t get an exemption to ObamaCare’s rules?  Here’s a wild guess:  They don’t have anywhere near the political clout that labor unions do.  

In other news, enrollment in exchange policies in Georgia isn’t looking so good:

Georgia insurers received more than 220,000 applications for health coverage in the Affordable Care Act’s exchange as of the official federal deadline of March 31, state officials said Wednesday. - See more at: 

Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, though, said premiums have been received for only 107,581 of those policies, which cover 149,465 people.

“Many Georgians completed the application process by the deadline, but have yet to pay for the coverage,” Hudgens said in a statement Wednesday.

Some of that discrepancy is likely due to the late surge in enrollments which is undoubtedly inflating the number of people who haven’t paid their premium.  But with such a high number, chances are good that the number of enrollees in Georgia who don’t pay their premiums will be higher than much-touted 20 percent.  

As goes Georgia, so goes the nation? Well, no.  The rate of non-payment could be much lower in other parts of the country.  We’ll just have to wait and see if Georgia is an aberration or a warning sign.

Finally, Politico has a good run down on the Obamacare numbers, although it repeats the RAND numbers uncritically.  (For more problems with the RAND survey, go here.)  Despite that, it’s worth reading.

Sunday
Apr202014

Black Activists Lament Later Tax Freedom Day

April 21 is “Tax Freedom Day.”  It commemorates the day when all taxpaying Americans have collectively earned enough to settled up the tab for what Uncle Sam demands from them in tribute.

From here on out, the American people can reasonably consider it possible to now begin to work to pay their own rents and mortgages, buy food, settle their auto and tuition loans and maybe save for a vacation or their retirement — among other things.

It is estimated that American taxpayers will have been forced to render around $3 trillion to the federal government in taxes in 2014.  This does not count the additional $1.5 trillion in taxes required to be paid to state governments (which could alter individuals’ actual date of tax freedom).

The total tax bill paid by the American people this year is estimated to amount to over 30 percent of earnings — more than is expected to be spend on food, shelter and clothing over the course of the year in total.

Tax Freedom Day is three days later than last year and eight days later than in 2012.  According to the Tax Foundation, this year’s late date is because of “the country’s continued slow economic recovery.”  And, if the calculations were to also include the costs of federal borrowing, Tax Freedom Day would be an even later May 6!

Members of the National Center’s Project 21 black leadership network — a hard-working, tax-paying group of individuals — is outraged at being in debt to the government for such a growing number of days each year.

For example, Project 21 member Hughey Newsome, a financial expert with a Harvard MBA, noted:

More and more, Americans are seeing their paychecks go to fund growing government activity.

While Tax Freedom Day is getting later and later (this year, it’s April 21), what Americans actually get from government does not seem to grow.

Today, we debate over whether or not private businesses should be forced to pay a higher minimum wage, yet government is not holding itself accountable for the shortage of people that come out of public schools prepared for 21st century jobs.  Today, we debate over extending unemployment benefits for longer periods, yet government is not holding itself accountable for hundreds of billions of dollars of stimulus that never worked as intended.  Today, we prepare to pay even more taxes in coming years to pay for a massive health care law, yet nobody seems to be able to say that health care costs will shrink for most Americans because of it.

It is unfortunate that Tax Freedom Day gets later and later, yet blame must be shared because there are not enough people speaking out for the taxpayer to make sure those who claim these extra funds are held accountable.

Another Project 21 member demanding accountability is Derryck Green, who writes a monthly blog post on the state of the economic recovery for this blog called “About Those Jobs Numbers…”  Derryck said:

This year’s Tax Freedom Day is three days later than last year’s, which was five days later than the previous year’s Tax Freedom Day.  Depending on which state you live in, you still may have several more days before you can declare your “freedom.”

Think about that.  We’re past the midway point of April, and we’re just now settling the nation’s tax bill — which is above $3 trillion.

Since this economic recovery isn’t what it was promised — the country still has more than 11 million people unemployed and tens of millions more who’ve given up the hope of finding work, full-time or otherwise — Tax Freedom Day will likely be at a later date next year than it is this year.

This means that next year, just like right now, fewer people will probably be working longer to settle our continually rising tax obligations.

This is economic oppression, and it sounds more like slavery than freedom.

Also weighing in is new Project 21 member M.J. Koskinen, a former nonprofit executive.  Maia said:

America, can you hear the sucking sound of food being taken out of the mouths of children whose misfortune in life is having been born to parents who work?

Happy Tax Freedom Day!

But, before pulling out the red, white and blue streamers and the “I love America” bumper stickers, please keep in mind that this day is only meaningful insofar as one can accept its premise: that the tax burden legitimately represents the actual cost of governance.

The fact is, it does not.  A significant portion of this tax burden represents the cost of maintaining the ambitions of a progressive government whose political survival depends upon the maintenance of the flow of wealth from productive Americans to others.  It is a kind of “economic osmosis” where the Obama Administration not only gets to regulate how much comes out of our pockets but how much of it flows into their own and those Americans of their choosing.

That being said, Tax Freedom Day — whether calculated on a national level or for each individual state — should be recognized as a tool highlighting the crisis created by the agenda of punitive liberalism, underscoring the fact that the three-fifths of Americans who pay its taxes must labor one-third of the year to discharge that burden.  And that’s the 111 days leading up to April 21st. 

Trust me, if progressives had their way, Tax Freedom Day would likely extend to July 4th.  Actually if they really had their way, I imagine it would be as late as Thanksgiving or even later — like Christmas.  Considering this belief, I would want to make a snarky comment about coal being found in taxpayers’ holiday stockings.  But the Obama Administration is against coal!

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