Things have been so disappointing for people that lean right for so many years now that there’s a general tendency toward hopelessness and cynicism when it comes to believing that anyone on the Hill represents their interests. After all, it’s tough to battle brute accusations of racism and obstruction with reasoned arguments concerning economic struggles and the inefficiencies of wealth transfer.
At some point, people just get angry and lose faith. But take heart conservatives and libertarians: there are people within the district and around the country working on your behalf:
A federal judge in the District of Columbia will hear oral arguments on Tuesday in one of several cases brought by states including Indiana and Oklahoma, along with business owners and individual consumers, who say that the law does not grant the Internal Revenue Service authority to provide tax credits or subsidies to people who buy insurance through the federal exchange.
…The subsidy lawsuits grow out of three years of work by conservative and libertarian theorists at Washington-based research organizations like the Cato Institute, the American Enterprise Institute and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The cases are part of a continuing, multifaceted legal assault on the Affordable Care Act that began with the Supreme Court challenge to the law and shows no signs of abating.
As arguments over the problems with ObamaCare are raging, there was another discussion occurring on the Hill in the Rayburn Office building. The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing to explore whether or not Barack Obama has been overstepping his limits during his tenure as president. Not surprisingly, two out of three Constitutional scholars were of the opinion that he certainly has, and not only with his various extensions, waivers, and fund shuffling over his landmark legislation.
Of course, the hearing was split, just as everything else has been - on party lines, with Democrats leaving the room for at least portions of the questioning. That was predictable, and while it could be slightly satisfying to point out the adolescent nature of that behavior, it’s far more important to point out some of the more interesting statements made by the scholars.
Mediaite latched onto the Cato Institute’s Michael Cannon, and his contention that this reckless power grab could lead to another revolution. While that might be the extreme, the concept that people may stop paying attention to laws isn’t such a stretch. Lawlessness breeds lawlessness, and when the example is the man that is supposed to be upholding the laws of the land, it is a dangerous situation.
The shifting Obamacare deadlines — caused by poorly designed, still glitchy website and millions of insurance cancellations — have led to concern from Moody’s, one of the major credit rating agencies, that insurers participating in the health insurance exchanges could be at fiscal risk:
Moody’s, an agency that rates business’ credit worthiness, warned today that the Obama administration’s constantly changing rules and deadlines for the Affordable Care Act could negatively impact business for health insurance companies.
In the last few weeks, the Obama administration has changed the rules to let people keep their existing health insurance longer, delayed the open enrollment period for 2015 by one month, and extended the 2013 deadline for when individuals would have to enroll in order have health insurance by Jan. 1, 2014.
All of those, Moody’s warned in their bi-weekly credit outlook statement today, are “credit negative” for health insurance companies and could “expose the sector to additional financial and operational risks.”
Steve Zaharuk, senior vice president of the U.S. Insurance team for Moody’s, told ABC News that over the next year, the uncertainty posed by last minute changes from the Obama administration could expose insurance companies to higher administrative costs and uncertainty about the effects of the changes on the composition of healthy and sick people they insure.
The National Football League (NFL) has picked sides in the gun control debate by refusing to run an innocuous ad by Daniel Defense, a gun manufacturer based in Georgia, promoting armed home defense.
“It’s been a long road getting here. And a lot has changed since I’ve got back. Now this is the center of my world. And my families safety is my highest priority,” says the narrator over video of a man coming home to his wife and child.
“I am responsible for their protection. And no one has the right to tell me how to defend them. So I’ve chosen the most effective tool for the job,” he says as the ad cuts away to the logo for Daniel Defense and its slogan, “Defending Your Nation, Defending Your Home.”
When essential service providers don’t have competitors to worry about, consumers become hopelessly dependent and often frustrated, wondering how much better life could be if they were offered the opportunity to choose.
The service offered by the monopoly also becomes extremely expensive and less efficient. After all, the sole service provider has nothing to worry about. Where are consumers going to get what they need? The monopoly can always afford to be ineffective but it can only continue to be a monopoly while government keeps competitors out of the game.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was created in 2001 as a response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
In 2002, the agency was transferred to the Department of Homeland Security. The service that the TSA provides should be a simple yet vital one: operating security screenings at commercial airports in order to avoid the same type of terrible occurrence that devastated the country back in 2001.
But the problem is: TSA hasn’t proven to be any more efficient than private contractors were before the creation of the special bureau. Instead, the U.S. spends about $7.9 billion a year to maintain an agency that is widely known for poor screening performances, mismanagement, security failures and somewhat suspicious investments.
Not only has the Obama Administration failed to produce a fully functioning, user-friendly website — one that is still sending insurers incorrect information — Healthcare.gov remains a significant security threat to anyone who attempts to enroll in a health plan, according to an online security expert who discussed the issues with the Free Beacon:
Health and Human Services (HHS) released a progress report on Sunday following its self-imposed Nov. 30 deadline to repair the website, saying that the “team has knocked more than 400 bug fixes and software improvements off the punch list.”
“It doesn’t appear that any security fixes were done at all,” David Kennedy, CEO of the online security firm TrustedSec, told the Washington Free Beacon.
Kennedy said fundamental safeguards missing from Healthcare.gov that were identified by his company more than a month ago have yet to be put in place.
We’re approaching the one-year anniversary of the senseless, tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, in which a madman killed 26 people, including 20 young children.
This shooting left a lot of questions about motive and rekindled a dormant debate over gun control in the United States, leading to a series of executive orders signed by President Obama that would not have prevented this tragedy, nor will the actions stop future incidents. The push culminated in the defeat of onerous new anti-gun measures in April, including policies long-pushed by gun control advocates.
Despite frequent talk of reviving the gun control issue, the White House and Senate Democrats have been unable to gather enough support to move any legislation forward. Still, activist organizations have been trying to gin up grassroots support wherever they can.
The latest example comes from Organizing for Action (OFA), a Leftist grassroots organization formed out of the remnants of President Obama’s 2012 campaign that advocates for policies pushed by the White House.
The organization is urging Leftist activists and gun control advocates to host “a Newtown Anniversary Event” on December 14 to mark the tragic shooting:
Let’s face it, President Barack Obama has no idea how to govern. He refuses to reach across the aisle to Republicans on almost every issue, most notably Obamacare. Even as his signature domestic initiative — Obamacare — is still on the ropes and wildly unpopular with the public, he refuses to budge even an inch.
Instead of governing, President Obama campaigns, endlessly. His entire presidency has, to this point, been an ongoing cycle of campaign events — ranging from healthcare to gun control — because he and his team are convinced that they can sell anything to the public as long as they hear him speak.
That’s apparently why the White House is gearing up for, yet another, campaign, which began yesterday afternoon. This time repackaging Obamacare and, once again, trying to sell it to Americans before the end of the year, because we haven’t heard these speeches and talking points over and over already:
President Barack Obama will launch a coordinated campaign Tuesday by the White House, congressional Democrats and their outside allies to return attention to why the Affordable Care Act passed in the first place.
The elimination of the filibuster for most federal court nominees has made its way into the Louisiana Senate race via a new ad released yesterday by the Judicial Crisis Network which slams Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) for backing President Obama’s court appointments.
“Mary Landrieu voted for every one of Obama’s liberal activist judges. Every single one. Even the liberal justices who rubber-stamped Obamacare and voted against your Second Amendment right of armed self-defense,” says the narrator in the ad, listing names of court nominees for whom she has voted to confirm.
“Landrieu even helped change the rules to pack a key court with new liberal judges who will review Obamacare, the EPA, the IRS, and agencies is using to push his unconstitutional, job-killing agenda,” the ad continues. Tell Mary Landrieu to go to work for Louisiana, not Obama.”
Landrieu was one of 52 Democrats who voted for the filibuster rule change so that the Senate would confirm three of President Obama’s nominees to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the second most influential court in the country.
The court’s influence is due to the fact that it has broad authority to review executive-level rules and regulations. This would include regulations written by the EPA, IRS, and the Department of Health and Human Services.
President Barack Obama, administration officials and many Democrats have been trying to change the narrative on Obamacare by pointing to the tens of thousands of Medicaid enrollments that have come as a result of the program’s expansion under the healthcare law.
They’ve also tried to pressure Republican governors to opt-in to expansion of the program, claiming that the federal government is fronting the money for pay for it, though, that funding drops over the years. States which decided to expand Medicaid will have to begin covering the shortfall by 2017.
But outside of the eventual budget implications for states, Medicaid expansion creates a some very real problems, according a recent report from The New York Times, one of which is that it could exacerbate an already existing doctor shortage in the United States (emphasis added):
Dr. Ted Mazer is one of the few ear, nose and throat specialists in this region who treat low-income people on Medicaid, so many of his patients travel long distances to see him.
But now, as California’s Medicaid program is preparing for a major expansion under President Obama’s health care law, Dr. Mazer says he cannot accept additional patients under the government insurance program for a simple reason: It does not pay enough.
“It’s a bad situation that is likely to be made worse,” he said.