Obamacare’s architect agrees: Healthcare law subsidies were supposed to apply only to state-run Exchanges

The Obama administration’s claim that Congress never intended for Obamacare subsidies to apply only to states that implemented their own Exchanges looks much, much weaker this morning. Reason’s Peter Suderman has passed along some video gold, in which the architect of the law says it was worded to place political pressure on states.

Jonathan Gruber, the MIT economist who worked on Romneycare in Massachusetts, helped the administration craft Obamacare and, in January 2012, stated pretty clearly that consumers in states that opted out of the law would be denied subsidies.

“What’s important to remember politically about this is if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits — but your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill,” Gruber told an audience. “So you’re essentially saying [to] your citizens you’re going to pay all the taxes to help all the other states in the country.”

“I hope that that’s a blatant enough political reality that states will get their act together,” he said, “and realize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these exchanges.”

Here’s the clip (the original is almost an hour long) via Phil Kerpen:

Obama is pointing his finger in the wrong direction: He’s now blaming Americans’ rejection of his awful agenda on Democrats

Filed under “this is so sad, it’s funny,” it seems Barack Obama has finally lost his golden touch when it comes to campaigning. Sure, he’s still feeding the liberals pablum, and getting dollars.

However, when it gets down to the point where he’s starting to insult the intelligences of the people that supposedly support him, it’s only a matter of time before the donation well will run dry. He’ll always be able to get money from the masochistic liberals that will take anything, including abuse, as long as they’re getting attention from Obama. As for everyone else? This isn’t a good position to be in heading into a mid-term.

It will be very bad for Democrats in November if enough Republicans manage to first pay attention to this nonsensical line Obama is delivering, and second, bother to use it as a roadmap on the campaign trail. T. Beckett Adams did a very good job of reporting precisely what Obama has been saying to the people that were foolish enough to spend thousands of dollars to hear him insult them.

Yes, it was a lot more of the blame game, but now instead of just blaming Bush and Republicans, Obama has taken to blaming Democrats.

“And so the midterms come around, and lo and behold we’re surprised when John Boehner is the Speaker of the House. Say, well, how did that happen?” the president said. “What happened to [Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.]? What happened was you all didn’t work. That’s what happened.”

Today in Liberty: Looks Obamacare’s employer mandate will take effect, House lawsuit against Obama moves closer to a vote

“Government is actually the worst failure of civilized man. There has never been a really good one, and even those that are most tolerable are arbitrary, cruel, grasping and unintelligent.” — H. L. Mencken

Rand Paul and Ted Cruz to Harry Reid: Stop playing games with the bipartisan Internet Tax Freedom Act

There’s a little bit of good news out of the Senate. Well, at least for now. The upper chamber will move on a short-term extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act to keep state and local governments from taxing access to the World Wide Web:

Senate Democrats are gearing up to pass a short-term extension of a moratorium on Internet access taxes, according to aides and K Street officials.

The Internet Tax Freedom Act expires on Nov. 1, and Democratic leaders are pushing to extend the moratorium through 2014.

A vote on the short-term extension could come as soon as next week, or when lawmakers return to Capitol Hill after their August break, a Democratic aide said Wednesday.

The bad news, however, is that supporters of the so-called “Marketplace Fairness Act,” the Internet sales tax, are still going to try to attach the measure to the extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) after the mid-term election. Check out the Orwellian-style doublespeak from this Internet sales tax crony:

Outside supporters of the Marketplace Fairness Act insisted Wednesday that the short-term Internet access measure wasn’t a setback. Lawmakers have little interest in telecom companies potentially noticing rate increases shortly before November’s election.

“No long-term extension of ITFA will occur without MFA because it’s important to keep the Internet tax-free and protect local jobs,” the Marketplace Fairness Coalition said.

Thomas Massie went after D.C.’s absolutely terrible gun control laws, and anti-Second Amendment Democrats are losing their minds

Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) really isn’t happy with Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY). Since the passage of an amendment last week to block enforcement of the District of Columbia’s terrible gun control laws, Norton’s office has sent out a barrage of press releases aimed at the libertarian-leaning Kentucky Republican.

It all started last Tuesday, July 15, when Massie tried to offer the amendment to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, which would fund the Treasury Department and related agencies for the next year.

The amendment was ruled out of order by the chair, a Republican. That prompted Norton’s office to send out a press release gloating about the procedural setback (“Rep. Massie Humiliated on the House Floor, Norton Claims Victory for D.C.’s Gun Safety Laws,” 7/15).

Huzzah! Or something.

Well, Norton’s “victory” was short-lived. Massie offered the amendment again the following day. “Criminals by definition don’t care about laws. They will get guns any way they can,” said Massie. “Strict gun control laws do nothing but prevent good people from being able to protect themselves and their families in the event of a robbery, home invasion, or other crime. Studies indicate that murder rates rise following bans on firearms.”

He’s right. What’s more, Congress has constitutional authority over the District and, he declared, that it was time for his colleagues “to step in and stop the DC government’s harassment and punishment of law-abiding citizens who simply want to defend themselves.”

Watch Trey Gowdy absolutely destroy the IRS commissioner over his contradictory testimony

Trey Gowdy

Yeah, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen had a really tough time yesterday during the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s hearing into the tax agency’s response to the IRS scandal.

Frankly, any time the IRS is scrutinized is glorious. But the best part of the hearing was when Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) grilled Koskinen over his previous misleading statements about Lois Lerner’s missing emails and supposedly “recycled” backup tapes as well as the IRS’ failure to properly investigate the targeting of conservative groups:

Sorry, Washington Republicans, but it’s absolutely acceptable to criticize candidates who want grow the federal government

Voters are often told that conservatives should not challenge Washington-backed big government Republicans, because doing so could lead to Republican defeat. Yet it often seems that Washington Republicans don’t follow their own advice. It prompts the question, when does the Washington class really view it as appropriate to criticize Republican candidates?

Mississippi is one example. Washington Republicans asked Democratic voters to support their candidate, Sen. Thad Cochran, in his primary election. This was a violation of Mississippi law, so conservative state Sen. Chris McDaniel is challenging the result.

This prompted Ann Coulter to write that Chris McDaniel was a “sore loser” whose supporters “don’t care that they’re gambling with a Republican majority in the Senate.”

This is not the first time Ann Coulter has complained about conservatives from the South or other locations around Middle America. Last October, she complained that conservatives in Minnesota had not done enough to help Sen. Norm Coleman win re-election against Sen. Al Franken, writing, “The inability to distinguish Coleman and McConnell… from Obamacare-ratifying Democrats is…insane.”

Shattering conventional wisdom: Venture capitalists are teaching Detroit not to rely on a corrupt, crony local government

A business cars from Detroit Venture Partners

The aging, inactive population of Detroit couldn’t have guessed what would happen once the city’s government announced its insolvency. By 2011, the city’s retirement system had been overwhelmed with the pensions of a crushing majority of workers who were, by then, retired, leaving only 39 percent of its working age population left to foot for the city’s ever-increasing bills.

By then, the city’s $3.5 billion in unfunded pension liability and its nearly $3 billion in government debt had put a strain on the city’s relationship with its residents, a relationship that has never been anything close to candid.

The habit of crony deal-making and the city’s never-ending list of stifling regulations, have slowed down its habitants and kept them from creating opportunities for others by making it hard for entrepreneurs to pursue their own interests. City residents who were often under-skilled – a result of the government’s botched educational system – were left with fewer options as many fled town in fear that their livelihood, businesses and savings would soon be eaten up by the toxic environment Detroit’s disregard for freedom had fostered.

Some of the few companies that stayed, such as Quicken Loans, have been able to bring about a different color to central Detroit. Its CEO, Dan Gilbert, along with other visionary individuals, have launched Detroit Venture Partners, a venture capital firm in the heart of Detroit’s downtown that is currently responsible for helping to kick start about 20 local businesses. All of these firms are start-ups that found fertile grounds amidst Detroit’s rubble.

Republicans must abandon corporate welfare and learn to leave Americans alone if they want to win elections

The Republican Party has a fever, and Sen. Rand Paul has the cure. In an interview with Reason’s Nick Gillespie at last week’s Lincoln Labs’ Reboot Conference, the Kentucky Republican explained that the GOP can find electoral success if they learn how to stay out of Americans’ personal lives and abandon corporate welfare.

Paul and Gillespie chatted about several topics — including the seemingly shifting political dynamics in Silicon Valley, innovation and regulations, and foreign policy — before moving onto

“I think Republicans could only win in general if they become more live and let live — ‘leave me alone,’” said Paul. “Grover Norquist will talk about this sometimes, this ‘Leave Me Alone’ Coalition.” He explained that the GOP may not be a “pro-choice, pro-gay marriage party,” but he envisions one in which people with differing views on social issues work together to limit the federal government.

“And I think that live and live, agree to disagree kind of amalgamation in the party will allow us to be big enough to win,” he said, adding that Republicans can reach out to reach out to Millennials with a pro-privacy, anti-NSA message. 

Clown show at the IRS: Tax agency chief now says they’ve found the backup tapes he previously claimed they didn’t have

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen was just kidding, guys. The federal agency he oversees totally has those backup tapes that he previously told House Oversight and Government Reform Committee had been recycled. But whether or not Lois Lerner’s emails are on them remains to be seen:

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, testifying before a House oversight subcommittee, stressed that he does not know “how they found them” or “whether there’s anything on them or not.” But he said the inspector general’s office advised him the investigators are reviewing tapes to see if they contain any “recoverable” material.

The revelation is significant because the IRS claimed, when the agency first told Congress about the missing emails, that backup tapes “no longer exist because they have been recycled.”

It is unclear whether the tapes in IG custody contain any Lerner emails, but Koskinen said investigators are now checking.

The latest revelation in the IRS comes just days after the House Oversight and Government Reform released testimony from Thomas Kane, the IRS official in charge document compliance, who suggested that the backup tapes containing Lerner’s emails may not have been recycled after all.

 


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