Gingrich pushed the individual mandate in 2009

While wondering around Facebook and Twitter yesterday, I saw quite a few of my conservative friends — proud members of the anti-Romney faction in the Republican Party — pointing to video from 2006 where then Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was preparing to sign RomneyCare into law.

The reason the video is getting play is because Romney notes that he collaborated with the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) in pushing the law through, obviously a moment that’ll make many Republican groan, and rightfully so:

The Massachusetts healthcare reform law, which — as we’ve noted many times here before, including today, served as the template for Obama. But conservatives that hammer Romney on this issue and push Newt Gingrich as the alternative are conveniently forgetting that he supported many of the same ideas that became part of RomneyCare, and later ObamaCare.

Over the weekend, Verum Serum posted audio from a May 2009 Center for Health Transformation conference call where Gingrich very clearly calls for some form of a requirement on individuals to purchase health insurance coverage:

Obama’s Revisionist State of the Union, Pt. 1

On Tuesday night Barack Obama, America’s class warrior-in-chief, gave a rambling, divisive campaign speech thinly disguised as a State of the Union Address. It was short on facts and truth, but with a heaping helping of blame, obfuscation and denial of any responsibility he bears for the current mess in which the nation finds itself. This was an exercise in unadulterated narcissism, plain and simple, with very little reference to what makes America great. In this meandering diatribe, Obama used the word “I” an astounding forty-five times, “my” eighteen times, “fair share” four times, “millionaires” twice and “shared sacrifice” twice. By contrast, he used the word “freedom” once, “liberty” once, and “personal responsibility” exactly zero times. There were more than two dozen examples of Obama telling us what we should and shouldn’t do. It was all quite nauseating.

As a public service, I will once again break down the SOTU and correct the many errors and omissions contained therein. I can’t cover everything, but I’ll try to hit the high points.

“Think about the America within our reach: A country that leads the world in educating its people. An America that attracts a new generation of high-tech manufacturing and high-paying jobs. A future where we’re in control of our own energy, and our security and prosperity aren’t so tied to unstable parts of the world. An economy built to last, where hard work pays off, and responsibility is rewarded.”

What Would a Brokered GOP Convention Mean for Libertarians?

If libertarians don’t want the Republican establishment to choose this year’s GOP nominee, a brokered convention is the last thing they should want.

Writing at The Fiscal Times, Ed Morrissey takes on conservatives who are hoping for a brokered Republican convention this year, arguing that a brokered convention is not only unlikely but undesirable because it would pave the way for the GOP establishment to choose a nominee who is more to their liking. Morrissey writes:

But let’s say for the sake of argument that no one candidate has a majority of the delegates, and none manages to wangle (sic) a majority on the first ballot at the convention.  How does this benefit conservatives, who have fought the “establishment” that has pushed Romney for the nomination?  The nominating process will then fall into the hands of the Republican National Committee, comprised of state party chairs and other power brokers, where the Tea Party has little or no influence. The fantasy in this case will be that the assembled party bosses and delegates, many of whom are part of state-party establishments, will crown a completely new candidate.

Who would that candidate likely be?  It’s not going to be Sarah Palin or Herman Cain, who are the antithesis of this kind of back room wheeling and dealing and who aren’t necessarily trusted by the people negotiating the question. Assuming that it’s not one of the candidates who couldn’t close the deal in the primaries, it might be Jeb Bush, Mitch Daniels, or another establishment figure that chose not to run and get vetted in the first place.

Taxpayers still owed $133 billion in TARP money

Back when the Congress was taking up the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, which created the Trouble Assets Relief Program (TARP), as financial markets were taking a tumble, many free marketers warned that taxpayers would lose billions. Many members of Congress tried to play down the losses or said that taxpayers would even profit.

If only that were the case. However, the watchdog that oversees the TARP program says that taxpayers are still owed nearly $133 billion:

A government watchdog says U.S. taxpayers are still owed $132.9 billion that companies haven’t repaid from the financial bailout, and some of that will never be recovered.

The bailout launched at the height of the financial crisis in September 2008 will continue to exist for years, says a report issued Thursday by Christy Romero, the acting special inspector general for the $700 billion bailout. Some bailout programs, such as the effort to help homeowners avoid foreclosure by reducing mortgage payments, will last as late as 2017, costing the government an additional $51 billion or so.

The gyrating stock market has slowed the Treasury Department’s efforts to sell off its stakes in 458 bailed-out companies, the report says. They include insurer American International Group Inc. (AIG), General Motors Co. (GM) and Ally Financial Inc.
It will also be challenging for the government to get out of the 458 companies as the market remains volatile and banks struggle keep afloat in the tough economy, it says.

Congress authorized $700 billion for the bailout of financial companies and automakers, and $413.4 billion was paid out. So far the government has recovered about $318 billion. The bailout is called the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.

Study: RomneyCare was the template for ObamaCare

The similarities between ObamaCare and Mitt Romney’s signature legislative achievement, the Massachusetts healthcare reform law, have been pointed out by many observers and fact-checkers. In 2010, the Cato Institute put out a video featuring David Boaz and Michael Cannon who explained the how the two laws are essentially one in the same; not just because of the individual mandate (though it’s a big part), but also the subsidies and exchanges required in the plans.

Of course, Romney denies the similarites, insists his plan was based on free market prinicples and is conservative, oftening raising the federalism argument; that his state did what was best for them. But a new study from Health Affairs, which was referenced by Rick Santorum during last Thursday’s debate, highlights the fact that RomneyCare was the model for ObamaCare:

Did Elizabeth Warren Help Travelers Insurance Cheat Asbestos Victims?

Holly Robichaud of The Boston Herald is reporting that Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), U.S. Senate candidate and Lioness of Consumer Protection, may have helped Travelers Insurance cheat asbestos victims out of compensation. Robichaud writes:

One of the Harvard professor’s many well-com-pensated part-time gigs included consulting for Travelers Insurance. I know that it is hard to believe that on one hand, Democrats would be bashing an industry, and on the other hand they are making money from it. To be a Democrat is to be a hypocrite.

What did Lizzy do to earn $44,000 in compensation from the insurance company? She made it harder for claimants to collect. Warren helped establish the bankruptcy strategy for companies to avoid crushing lawsuits. In short, go bankrupt to avoid paying victims.

In court briefings, she supported the effort to protect Travelers Insurance from future lawsuits after agreeing to a $500 million settlement with asbestos plaintiffs.

This news should be greeted with a healthy dose of skepticism until more information becomes available. For example, it would be helpful to know in precisely what capacity Warren worked for Travelers. Robichaud’s rhetoric is beyond partisan even for an op-ed writer and at one point she refers to Brown’s 2010 opponent Martha Coakley as Marsha. So our readers should take these accusations with a grain of salt until we see some less biased reporting.

Herman Cain endorses Newt Gingrich

Seeking to remain relevant in Republican politics, Herman Cain endorsed Newt Gingrich, in what couldn’t have been a more predictable move:

The move by the former GOP candidate and tea-party favorite comes three days before the Florida primary, at a moment when Gingrich is badly in need of something to rekindle the momentum he gained in the wake of his South Carolina primary victory.
“I had it in my heart and mind a long time,” Cain said of his endorsement, appearing with Gingrich at a Republican fundraiser. “Speaker Gingrich is a patriot. Speaker Gingrich is not afraid of bold ideas.”

Gingrich joked, “I had no idea it would be this interesting an evening.”

Cain is the latest in a series of popular conservative figures to back the former House speaker, while much of the GOP establishment is marshaling against him. Among Gingrich’s other recent supporters are former Alaska governor Sarah Palin; his onetime presidential rival, Texas Gov. Rick Perry; and former senator Fred Thompson (Tenn.).

Cain backed Romney in 2008, but both he and Gingrich are from Georgia and it was obvious during the debates that they had had an affection for each other. And while the endorsement will be played up by anti-Romney conservatives, Gingrich’s actions as Speaker of the House, such as trying to diminish the influence of fiscal conservatives, are continuing to come under fire.

Big Government Created the Higher Education Bubble

Occupy Wall Street activists should direct their anger over student debt toward the right target: government.

When the Occupy Wall Street movement burst onto the scene last fall, one of the chief concerns expressed by activists — especially younger protesters — was the debt that millions of American students are facing as a result of the exorbitant costs they’ve had to pay for higher education. Many Occupy activists have demanded a bailout in the form of debt forgiveness and some have even gone so far as to suggest that government should provide universal higher education. But if we’ve learned nothing else from these past few years, we should have learned that government bailouts do more to prolong problems than to solve them and that the more government becomes involved in solving a problem the worse the problem becomes.

Take the bank bailouts, for example. Rather than forcing banks to accept the consequences of their irresponsible practices and reform them, the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and the Federal Reserve’s more secretive bailouts only encouraged banks to continue behaving irresponsibly with the assurance that government will come to the rescue.

If government’s eagerness to subsidize irresponsibility with taxpayer dollars isn’t enough to convince you that government can’t solve our higher education problems, you may want to consider government’s role in creating the very problems that have plagued the banks. While many progressives like to blame banking deregulation for the mortgage crisis, the disaster actually occurred as a result of government misregulation, congressional affordable housing mandates, previous bailouts, and expansionary monetary policy by the Federal Reserve. Government both created the housing bubble and helped burst it.

States Poised to Take a Stand Against the NDAA

Our own Chris Frashure blogged yesterday that Delegate Bob Marshall (R-Va.), a U.S. Senate candidate, has introduced a bill in the Virginia House of Delegates that would direct the state government to refuse to comply with the National Defense Authorization Act’s indefinite detention provisions. Chris writes:

Virginia Delegate and now U. S. Senate candidate Bob Marshall, author of the famous Virginia Healthcare Freedom Act, has introduced a bill into the General Assembly to address the indefinite detention prevision (sic) of the National Defense Authorization Act that President Obama has signed and codified into law. Specifically, the bill “[p]revents any agency, political subdivision, employee, or member of the military of Virginia from assisting an agency or the armed forces of the United States in the investigation, prosecution, or detainment of a United States citizen in violation of the Constitution of Virginia.”

Marshall’s bill is just the latest way that opposition to Section 1021 of the NDAA is being expressed at the state level. As we reported earlier this month, Montanans have launched an effort spearheaded by Oath Keepers founder and president Stewart Rhodes to recall their entire congressional delegation for casting votes in favor of the NDAA. But Montanans don’t have to wait to be rid of Tester and Rehberg. They can reject them both in this year’s U.S. Senate election by drafting a viable GOP primary opponent to Rehberg before the June 5 primaries who can then take the fight to Tester over the NDAA.

It’s Time For Libertarians To Clean Our Own House

It seems like the biggest winner in the GOP presidential primaries this year, other than the loser who will eventually be nominated, is libertarianism. Even Charles Krauthammer, one of the smartest and best writers in America, agrees.

Right now the man who is carrying libertarianism banner is none other than Congressman Ron Paul. To say that Ron Paul that has baggage however is an understatement of the decade. There is, of course, the infamous Ron Paul racist newsletters that he of course knows nothing about. There is the continued association with the likely writer of the aforementioned newsletters, Lew Rockwell. There is the troubling lack of understanding, to put it mildly, about the origins of the Civil War and the Confederacy.

Finally, there is just that damn inability to communicate which has allowed the enemies of libertarianism to define its ideas. In order to build on the momentum we have, we need to purge this cancer that is the Paul-Rockwell strain of “paleolibertarianism”.


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