Chicago, Obama, and Health Care Reform
Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/08/chicago_obama_and_health_care.html at August 26, 2009 – 11:20:51 PM EDT
Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/08/chicago_obama_and_health_care.html at August 26, 2009 – 11:20:51 PM EDT
He underscored that he was expressing his own views, which did “do not necessarily reflect those of my colleagues on the Federal Open Market Committee,” the policy-setting body of the central bank.
Lockhart pointed out in a speech to a chamber of commerce in Chattanooga, Tennessee that those two categories of people are not taken into account in the Labor Department’s monthly report on the unemployment rate. The official July jobless rate was 9.4 percent.
Lockhart, who heads the Atlanta, Georgia, division of the Fed, is the first central bank official to acknowledge the depth of unemployment amid the worst US recession since the Great Depression.
Lockhart said the US economy was improving but “still fragile,” and the beginning stages of a sluggish recovery were underway.
“My forecast for a slow recovery implies a protracted period of high unemployment,” he said, adding that it would be difficult to stimulate jobs through additional public spending.
“Further fiscal stimulus has been mentioned, but the full effects of the first stimulus package are not yet clear, and the concern over adding to the federal deficit and the resulting national debt is warranted,” he said.
President Barack Obama’s administration has resisted calls for more public spending, arguing that the 787-billion-dollar stimulus passed in February needs time to work its way through the economy.
Lockhart noted that construction and manufacturing had been particularly hard hit in the recession that began in December 2007 and predicted some jobs were gone for good.
Prior to the recession, he said, construction and manufacturing combined accounted for slightly more than 15 percent of employment. But during the recession, their job losses made up more than 40 percent of all US job losses.
“In my view, it is unlikely that we will see a return of jobs lost in certain sectors, such as manufacturing,” he said.
“In a similar vein, the recession has been so deep in construction that a reallocation of workers is likely to happen — even if not permanent.”
Payroll employment has fallen by 6.7 million since the recession began.
Congress is in recess and many Americans are on vacation, but all that will end when Labor Day has passed and the House and Senate are back at work.
And that means the Europeanization of America will again be in full gear, from expanding government control and regulation of as many things as possible, to raising taxes, expanding the size of government, and reducing the choices individuals are allowed.
The Treasury reports that our country’s federal debt has doubled in nine years, rising steadily, year by year, to $10.72 trillion from $5.67 trillion in 2000. Our deficit for the current year fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, is expected to total $1.8 trillion, four times last year’s figure, leaving us with a federal debt of $38,500 for every U.S. resident. Our economy is doing poorly; it will shrink about 2.6% this year. Unemployment in July reached 9.4% and will likely further increase, and tax revenues are down $353 billion over the first 10 months of this fiscal year.
So we can easily see what is just around the corner. Earlier this month Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Larry Summers, director of the National Economic Council, opened the door, suggesting that taxes on all taxpayers will have to go up. As Stephen Moore noted in The Wall Street Journal, “it would take almost $16,000 more from every household in America to balance the budget this year.” We certainly won’t get to balanced budgets for decades, but substantially higher taxation seems inevitable.
All of which leads to the essential economic question: Which tax increases do the current administration and Congress intend to enact? There are more than a dozen, all of which would negatively affect our economy.
One has already been signed into law by President Obama: an increase in the tax on tobacco, to $1.01 a pack of cigarettes from 39 cents, and to as much as 40 cents a cigar from a nickel–increases of 159% and 700%, respectively. This is expected to bring in $8 billion a year. Next up is a possible increase in alcohol, beer and wine taxes, raising about another $6 billion annually, and perhaps another $5 billion a year on sugary drinks will be enacted.
Then come a series of substantial tax increases that are on the Washington agenda that, if enacted, will create real problems for our country’s economy.
First, allowing the expiration of the previous Bush administration tax cuts at the end of 2010. These reductions increased government tax receipts by $785 billion (just as the Kennedy and Reagan tax cuts increased tax revenues) and gave us eight million new jobs over a 52-month period. The cuts go away if Congress does nothing, raising tax rates on the top earners will to 39.6% from 35%, and on the next-highest bracket to 36% from 33%. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that 55% of these tax increases will come from small-business income.
Next comes Rep. Charles Rangel’s additional tax increases, a part of the House health-care bill. The House Ways and Means chairman calls for a 1% surtax on couples with more than $350,000 in income, 1.5% on incomes more than $500,000, and 5.4% on incomes more than $1 million. The extra tax would kick in at lower levels for unmarried taxpayers. And if promised health-care cost savings don’t materialize, the surtaxes would automatically double.
The House health-care bill contains several tax increases that would hit couples earning under $250,000 a year, contrary to President Obama’s promises: $8.2 billion of tax increases for people using health savings accounts or other tax-free savings to purchase over-the-counter drugs; a “Comparative Effectiveness Research Tax” of $2 billion on all private and “public option” insurance, plus up to 8% paid by employers–mostly small businesses–that don’t offer health insurance. There is even a proposed tax on individuals who do not have health insurance.
Then come some other tax increases the administration has favored:
• An increased tax on American companies doing business in other countries.
• Raising or abolishing the wage cap on Social Security taxes, which would effectively convert Social Security into a welfare program.
• Reducing the tax benefit for itemized deductions like charitable contributions, which would reduce philanthropy.
And then there’s the Waxman-Markey “cap and trade” bill that has passed the House and will be taken up in the Senate this fall. It would give the government total control of the production, prices, availability and use of energy and add a global energy tax to imported goods–serious American protectionism. It would shrink America’s economy by $400 billion each year and cause the loss of some 2.5 million jobs. For a household of four it would cost an average of about $3,000 a year. By 2035 the total family annual increased cost would be $4,600 for power, food, supplies, gasoline and transportation.
All told, the administration and Congress are pushing massive tax increases. Without a specific proposal we don’t know how much taxes would go up if the Social Security ceiling is raised, but add the others up and we see up to $200 billion–and it could well be much more–in annual tax increases on businesses, individuals and the overall economy, which is already in recession.
The Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Henninger observes that “to an independent voter or moderate Democrat, President Everyman is starting to look like a salesman for the superstate.” These many proposed tax increases reinforce the point. They not only would be economically damaging, but chart a very scary course for our country.
By Kevin “Coach” Collins
Senator Ted Kennedy has lost his battle to live. As a Christian I hope God has mercy on him. He suffered from a ghastly cancerous brain tumor that has apparently taken his life.
Obviously Kennedy will be canonized by acclamation in the media today and for days to come. The British Crown has already given him an honorary knighthood making him “Sir Edward” but genuine Americans know better.
These things said, I offer the following brief but honest obituary items which have no chance of appearing anywhere in the Democrat controlled media.
“It’s hard to think of anyone who singlehandedly did more damage to America than Ted Kennedy. Starting with his disgusting criminal conduct at Chappaquiddick when he abandoned Mary Jo Kopechne to die, Kennedy was always a destructive force in America’s public life. Because Kennedy was never prosecuted, as he should have been, his crime did enormous damage to America’s sense of justice and belief that “no one is above the law.”
“On signing the 1965 Civil Rights Law, Lyndon Johnson lamented, “We [Democrats] have lost the South for a generation.” This moved Kennedy to commit perhaps his most egregious acts when he sponsored two Immigration reform bills that slammed the door on Europeans who had traditionally brought industriousness and honor to America. Instead they cleared the way for millions and millions of legal and illegal aliens from elsewhere who often bring no skills but palpable contempt for America. Kennedy is responsible for the damage they have done.
“One of Kennedy’s most memorable quotes came in a rare truthful moment during a discussion about socialism he said, “[Socialism] hasn’t worked in 6,000 years of recorded history because it didn’t have me to run it.”
“Sir Edward’s family asks for donations to LaRaza or Moveon.org. groups he loved so dearly.”
Politically correct services in Sir Edward’s memory will be held in Boston New York and San Francisco. I won’t be attending any.
Do it for Ted
The Marxists will try to use Kennedy’s corpse as a platform to spring into action ram through Obamacare and “do it for Ted.” We have to redouble our efforts to stop this last assault by sycophantic liberal robots all snots and tears over their hero’s death. We can’t become slaves just to honor this man who has already done us some much harm. We can’t let Sir Edward assault us even from his grave.
“Sir” Edward was an enemy of everything that made America great and now he is gone. There is not much more to honestly say about him. Nevertheless, I hope God’s mercies showered him at his judgment.
Comments on this or any other Collins Report essay can be sent to kcoachc “at” gmail.com
The Office of Management and Budget has released its annual mid-session review that updates the budget projections from this past May. They show that this year, Washington will spend $30,958 per household, tax $17,576 per household, and borrow $13,392 per household. The federal government will increase spending 22 percent this year to a peacetime-record 26 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). This spending is not just temporary: President Obama would permanently keep annual spending between $5,000 and $8,000 per household higher than it had been under President George W. Bush.
Driven by this spending, America will run its first ever trillion-dollar budget deficit this year. Even worse, the President’s budget would borrow an additional $9 trillion over the next decade, more than doubling the national debt. By 2019, America will be spending nearly $800 billion on net interest to service this large debt.
Bigger Government and Higher Taxes
The 2009 Budget Deficit
Future Budget Deficits
Time to Stop Digging
The new budget spending estimates are alarming and absolutely unsustainable–and are the true cause of these appalling levels of deficit and debt. President Obama has proposed massive tax increases that still cannot keep up with the historic spending increases he has proposed. The result will be highest level of spending–and debt–in American history. Within a decade, Washington would have to spend nearly $800 billion annually just to pay the interest on the national debt.
In this budget context, the President’s and Congress’s brazen proposals to create a $1 trillion health care entitlement are reckless and unaffordable. Lawmakers should focus on capping federal spending, restraining entitlements, and eliminating wasteful and lower-priority programs.
Brian M. Riedl is Grover M. Hermann Fellow in Federal Budgetary Affairs in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.
The Congressional Budget Office has also released its annual update, showing 2009 estimates similar to the White House estimates.
Figures adjusted for inflation.
For more, see Brian M. Riedl, “The Obama Budget: Spending, Taxes, and Doubling the National Debt,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2249, March 16, 2009, at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Budget/bg2249.cfm;
Brian M. Riedl, “A Guide to Fixing Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2114, March 11, 2008, at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Budget/bg2114.cfm.
Unless otherwise noted, all 2009 budget data comes from Office of Management and Budget, “Mid-Session Review: Budget of the U.S. Government: 2010,” August 25, 2009, at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/
Congressional Budget Office “The Long-Term Budget Outlook,” June 2009, p. 6, at http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/102xx/doc10297/06-25-LTBO.pdf (August 25, 2009). This represents the alternative fiscal scenario.
This will be a “just the facts, ma’am,” post. Ted Kennedy succumbed to brain cancer at the age of 77.
Kennedy’s home town Boston Globe has the obit by Martin Nolan:
Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who carried aloft the torch of a Massachusetts dynasty and a liberal ideology to the citadel of Senate power, but whose personal and political failings may have prevented him from realizing the ultimate prize of the presidency, died at his home in Hyannis Port last night after a battle with brain cancer. He was 77.
“We’ve lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever,” his family said in a statement. “We thank everyone who gave him care and support over this last year, and everyone who stood with him for so many years in his tireless march for progress toward justice, fairness, and opportunity for all. He loved this country and devoted his life to serving it. He always believed that our best days were still ahead, but it’s hard to imagine any of them without him.”
I think it a fine epitaph that many, many conservative blogs repeat James Taranto’s quip:
Mary Jo Kopechne could not be reached for comment.
Consider the rest of this post an open thread.
Even the liberals on MSNBC this morning are framing their eulogies in terms of Teddy’s battle with his dark side (and concluding that in the end light won because he got the government to spend a lot more money).
But Ted Kennedy faces a Judge far more powerful than any pundit, or indeed the electorate now. What any other mortal thinks of him now is irrelevant to his fate.
C. Edmund Wright adds:
A couple things stand out this morning. First is the unspoken irony that a Senator being hailed today as a “lifelong champion of the poor and working people” passed away at his home in Hyannis Port.” Enough said.
You just can’t make this stuff up.
Cliff Thier adds:
Ed Lasky adds:
He is getting old and getting tired.
Jack Kemp adds:
“According to the Politico, some of his drugs may cost $50,000 for one treatment, while the Obama plan relies on trimming back the expense and the scope of the end-of-life treatments given the elderly when they become very ill.”
My more-than-rhetorical question for Dr. Emanuel is this: Do you consider these expensive treatments given to the late Sen. Kennedy a waste of the medical resources? Ted Kennedy’s Senatorial medical insurance was funded by the federal government. These days few private institutions do not benefit indirectly or directly from the federal governments expenditures on medical education, Medicare or other programs.
So I ask again, we know Dr. Emanuel’s general position against using extraordinary and expensive measures to extend the life of senior citizens. Does his position also apply to Sen. Kennedy’s situation and is he willing to say that in public?
David Jeffers adds:
After the lionization is over; the casket is removed from the Capitol Rotunda, and the senator is laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery next to his brothers, the Democrats at the prodding of Rahm “never waste a crisis” Emanuel will come out with a revised health care plan in honor of the late and “great” Ted Kennedy.
Thomas Lifson adds:
Richard Baehr adds:
“Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is — and is often the only — protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy….” ….“President Reagan is still our president. But he should not be able to reach out from the muck of Irangate, reach into the muck of Watergate and impose his reactionary vision of the Constitution on the Supreme Court and the next generation of American. No justice would be better than this injustice”.
Steve McCann adds:
Can we we now finally say good-bye to “Camelot” and the Jack Kennedy/Bobby mystique that was drapped by default around Ted Kennedy as the lone surviving brother. Ted owed his career and place in the pantheon of liberal icons thanks to an accident of birth. Please identify one major accomplishment of Ted Kennedy that has bettered the lives of the American people. Nonetheless may he rest in peace.
The scene was the Democratic National Convention in Madison Square Garden on August 14, 1980. Carter had just finished his acceptance speech. As the band played “Happy Days Are Here Again” and the delegates cheered, Carter and his vice-president, Walter Mondale, bounded about the stage, their hands together, their arms outstretched like two triumphant prize fighters. The podium began to fill with the powers of the Democratic Party, governors and members of the Congress, all waving, smiling, winking and clapping. That final convention photograph had become mandatory – the televised symbol of party unity, with the victor and his vanquished opponents on the podium in happy harmony. But on August 14th, the vanquished, Teddy Kennedy, was missing from the picture. (snip)Kennedy did finally arrive at Madison Square Garden. He gave Carter a perfunctory handshake and then seemed to turn his back on the President, skirting around the edges of the podium as party officials tried to arrange a victory photograph. Jules Witcover and Jack Germond, in Blue Smoke and Mirrors, quote a Carter intimate as saying the President “looked like a puppy dog” trotting after Kennedy. They also quote party chairman, Robert Strauss, after a reporter told him the scene “looked like hell,” as saying “it looked worse than hell.” Carter himself never recovered. He carried five states and the District of Columbia. In his memoir, Keeping Faith, he wrote that the news stories about the podium scene “emphasized his [Kennedy’s] lack of enthusiasm as an indication that the spilt in our ranks had not healed. This accurate impression was quite damaging to our campaign, and was to linger for a long time.”
Maybe not quite the destroyer of Carter’s kingdom but close.
Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2009/08/ted_kennedy_dead_updated_1.html at August 26, 2009 – 01:51:51 PM EDT
Since he obviously can’t be bothered reading the bills he insists we need to support, Obama might be forgiven for characterizing as a myth something which is not one. Mark Tapscott highlights a report establishing that ObamaCare will cover illegal immigrants.
Among the many claims being made durng the August recess by Democrats from President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, to the lowliest back-bencher is that Obamacare absolutely, positively, cannot possibly ever in a million, zillion years provide coverage to illegal immigrants.Just this past weekend during his regular Saturday address – devoted to addressing what he called “false claims about reform” – Obama said he wants “an honest debate” on health care reform, “not one dominated by willful misrepresentations and outright distortions.”In what he called the “first myth” being spread by critics of his proposal for a government-run health care system, Obama said they are wrong in claiming illegal immigrants will be covered: “That is not true. Illegal immigrants would not be covered. That idea has not even been on the table.” Obama said.Well, Mr. President, that idea must have been tucked under a stack of background briefing papers over there in the corner of the table because the Congressional Research Service (CRS) says this about H.R. 3200, the Obamacare bill approved just before the recess by the House Energy and Commerce Committee chaired by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-CA:“Under H.R. 3200, a ‘Health Insurance Exchange’ would begin operation in 2013 and would offer private plans alongside a public option…H.R. 3200 does not contain any restrictions on noncitzens-whether legally or illegally present, or in the United States temporarily or permanently-participating in the Exchange.”CRS also notes that the bill has no provision for requiring those seeking coverage or services to provided proof of citizenship. So, absent some major amendments to the legislation and a credible, concrete enforcement effort in action, looks like the myth on this issue is the one being spread by Obama, Reid, Pelosi, et. al.
Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2009/08/no_myth_illegal_immigrants_cov.html at August 26, 2009 – 01:47:50 PM EDT
Deficit fears put Obama’s reforms in jeopardy
By Edward Luce and Sarah O’Connor in Washington
Published: August 25 2009 20:44 | Last updated: August 25 2009 20:44
Tuesday’s sharply upgraded forecasts for growth in US national debt over the ext decade could hardly have come at a worse time for Barack Obama. Shortly after he was elected last November, the president let it be known he preferred the “big bang” approach to domestic reforms.
As Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff put it, you should “never allow a crisis to go to waste”. In other words, the financial meltdown was seen as an opportunity for Mr Obama to enact as many of his key reforms, including healthcare, within the first year of taking office.
But fears of the Great Depression have receded only to be replaced by mounting concern over the country’s long-term creditworthiness. Rather than shoring up the appetite for domestic reform, the rising tide of fiscal panic could threaten large chunks of Mr Obama’s agenda.
In particular, prospects for enacting Mr Obama’s proposed $1,000bn (€700bn, £610bn) 10-year expansion in healthcare coverage this autumn are beginning to look dicey given the projected rise in the national debt of more than $9,000bn in the next decade.
Even though Mr Obama has promised the healthcare reforms will be self-funding, some believe the sharply altered mood in Washington could force the president to reorientate his priorities. Recent polls show the deficit ranking second only to jobs among the public’s chief worries. Healthcare comes a distant third.
“The national debt doubled under George W. Bush and it is set to almost double under Barack Obama,” says David Walker, head of the Peterson Foundation and former head of the General Accountability Office. “Unless we see a dramatic fiscal course correction we are likely to see all sorts of negative consequences, including a reduction in trend growth rates and growing international distaste for holding American debt.”
Mr Walker is among a growing body of observers who believe America’s deteriorating debt position could have consequences for the country’s national security – even compromising its superpower status. Pointing to the UK, which saw it’s triple A credit rating put on negative outlook earlier this year, Mr Walker says the US faces a similar spectre unless it changes course.
“At the moment we have a home team bias [the credit rating agencies are based in New York] and we are benefiting from having the dollar as the international reserve currency,” he says. “But we cannot take the reserve currency status for granted. The Chinese have already made a shot across our bows and these numbers will only reinforce their concerns.”
However, some economists caution against taking the latest forecasts as gospel. On Tuesday the Congressional Budget Office caused as much confusion as clarity when it brought out its own 92-page report alongside the White House’s 74-page document. Back in March the CBO said that if Mr Obama’s policies were implemented, the 10-year deficit would reach $9,300bn. Yesterday the White House seemed to acknowledge the CBO was more or less right. But the CBO had already been at work on new revisions.
To seasoned economists it was a reminder that projections are not always right. “The first thing you learn in doing these projections is to be very humble,” said James Horney, director of federal fiscal policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “You know they’re going to be wrong and you know they’re going to be wrong by huge dollar amounts.”