New twist to ObamaCare

Nancy Pelosi famously said that we needed to pass ObamaCare to find out what was in ObamaCare.  They did that.  So what do we find out is in the law?  Well, it seems that a buttload of people who don’t qualify now can qualify for Medicaid under the new law according to a report by the Associated Press.

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama’s health care law would let several million middle-class people get nearly free insurance meant for the poor, a twist government number crunchers say they discovered only after the complex bill was signed.

The change would affect early retirees: A married couple could have an annual income of about $64,000 and still get Medicaid, said officials who make long-range cost estimates for the Health and Human Services department.

After initially downplaying any concern, the Obama administration said late Tuesday it would look for a fix.

Maybe it’s just me, but perhaps the time to have fixed that was before this thing got crammed down the American People’s throats! Here we are with the budget problems we currently have, and we get a massive expansion of Medicaid and no one noticed?  How much of an oops is it going to take here for people to realize there’s a problem with the way we create laws in this country?

The AP report details how this seems to have happened.  Basically, today we consider Social Security as income for determining eligibility for Medicaid.  Under the new health care law, that no longer is the case.  The complexity of the law probably contributed to this going under the radar until just now.

US Department of D’oh!

Personally, I wouldn’t trust government officials to lock a barn door (unless the horses already got out, that is.) There’s a good reason for that. From the Washington Times front page:

Federal authorities responsible for granting security clearances to government employees and contractors are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars investigating the investigators.

Government inspectors say they have undertaken a broader campaign in recent years to root out fraud in background checks as more national security clearances are being sought than ever before.

Overall, court records reviewed by The Washington Times show at least 170 confirmed falsifications of interviews or record checks and more than 1,000 others that couldn’t be verified. The background investigators, whose work helps determine who gets top-secret security clearance, were submitting forms saying they conducted interviews or verified official documents when they never did.

“The monetary loss sustained by the government does not, nor cannot, represent the cost associated with potential compromise of our nation’s security and the trust of the American people in its government’s workforce,” Kathy L. Dillaman, associate director in charge of investigations at the Office of Personnel Management, wrote in a victim-impact statement for a recent court case involving a convicted investigator.

Club for Growth on Jon Huntsman

Just like in 2008, the Club for Growth is putting together a series of white papers on candidates running for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. They’ve already looked into the records of Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain and Mitt Romney. The next candidate under the microscope is Jon Huntsman, who formally announced his campaign on Tuesday.

Jon Huntsman is being pegged as 2012’s John McCain, a moderate-ish Republican that has crossover appeal. But he does have some conservative credentials, such as a generally solid record on taxes. The Club notes that Huntsman cut over $400 million in taxes from 2005 to 2007, though he did raise fees and proposed a cigarette taxes hike during his time as governor.

While the Club makes note of his “B” on fiscal policy Cato Institute in 2006 (a grade that is largely due to his record on taxes), they also point out that Huntsman received an “F” on spending in the same report:

Where Huntsman fails utterly is on spending. He has proposed an annual average
hike in spending of close to 6 percent in real per capita terms, which substantially outstrips personal income growth in Utah, and makes him one of the biggest spending governors in the nation.

NLRB hands another headache to business owners

At the same time they are taking unprecedented action to prevent Boeing from expanding to a “right to work” state, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is pushing to rules that would bring quicker union elections:

The labor board wants to tighten the process by ensuring that employers, employees and unions receive needed information sooner and by delaying litigation over many voter-eligibility issues until after workers vote on whether to unionize.

The labor board’s news release and fact sheet did not explain how much the election process might be shortened as a result of the proposed regulations. But according to the board, the median amount of time from the filing of a petition for an election to the actual balloting was 38 days in 2008. The average time was 57 days.

Unions have long complained that it takes too many weeks after the petition is filed for a secret-ballot election to be held. They say the process gives management too much time to mount an antiunion campaign with videos and one-on-one sessions with workers.

American companies have repeatedly opposed any effort to shorten the period from petition to vote, saying it would become harder for managers to tell workers about the disadvantages of unionizing and to ensure that workers got both sides of the story.

Understanding the Walmart decision

On Monday, the Supreme Court voted to not certify the anti-discrimination suit against the nations largest retailer.  Already, people are screaming that Walmart’s female employees are being denied their day in court.  However, it’s important to understand exactly what the decision to not certify the lawsuit really meant and, more importantly, what it didn’t mean.

For example, it didn’t mean that the Court doesn’t necessarily think that Walmart doesn’t discriminate.  It also doesn’t mean that the Court finds that discrimination is fine in private businesses.  It doesn’t find any of that.  After all, it can’t.  They declined to hear the case.

What the news really meant was that the lawsuit was attempting to cover just to many people.  Nothing more, nothing less.  An estimated 1.5 million women would have fallen under this class action suit.  The Court’s decision to not certify was because they felt that just to many women were covered with to broad a range of experiences.  In short, the Court said that they’d be better served with multiple lawsuits for smaller numbers of plaintiffs.  That’s it.

However, that hasn’t stopped the left from screaming.  For example, here’s Slate’s take on it:

Writing for the court’s five conservatives—and all but one of its men—Justice Antonin Scalia found that the women seeking to be certified as a single class did not have enough in common to go forward with the lawsuit en masse. Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest private employer, seems to have figured out that the key to low-cost discrimination lies in discriminating on a massive scale. In Scalia’s words, all these disparate women with their multiple claims about “millions of employment decisions” lacked sufficient “glue” to be permitted to move forward together.

Supreme Court leaves environmental policy to Congress and the EPA

On Monday, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in an opinion written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg that environmental policy is a matter that shouldn’t be worked out through the judicial system:

In the most significant global warming case to reach its front doors, the Supreme Court on Monday blocked a major lawsuit brought by states and environmental groups against five large power companies they accused of creating a public nuisance because of carbon dioxide emissions.

The court ruled 8-0 that the authority to set standards for reducing emissions lies with the Environmental Protection Agency, under air pollution rules established by the Clean Air Act. The court said just because the EPA hasn’t acted yet doesn’t mean that its authority is no longer valid.

The Clean Air Act “provides a means to seek limits on emissions of carbon dioxide from domestic power plants — the same relief the plaintiffs seek by invoking federal common law. We see no room for a parallel track,” reads the order written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

“If EPA does not set emissions limits for a particular pollutant or source of pollution, states and private parties may petition for a rulemaking on the matter, and EPA’s response will be reviewable in federal court,” the decision continues.

The decision isn’t really anything to get overly excited about. The court did what it was supposed to do. Hopefully, Congress will find a way to prevent the EPA from implementing cap-and-trade through regulatory fiat.

Which Republican has the best jobs record?

The economy and jobs are going to be a big part of the Republican presidential campaigns this summer and into next year. All of the candidates are beating up on President Barack Obama and the, frankly, paltry job numbers we’ve seen during this wreckovery. But which governor in the Republican field can boast the best-job numbers? The National Review says Gary Johnson:

According to a National Review Online analysis of seasonally adjusted employment data (looking at the total number of those employed) from the Bureau of Labor website, Gary Johnson has the best record of the official candidates, with a job-growth rate of 11.6 percent during his tenure.

But Johnson, who governed from 1995 to 2003, doesn’t overlap much with the other governors — Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, and Jon Huntsman — who are running. Among the crowd who governed primarily during the 2000s, Huntsman has the best record. During his 2005 to 2009 tenure as governor of Utah, the number of jobs grew by 5.9 percent.

Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty have much weaker records. Romney, who governed Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007, had an overall job-growth rate of 1.6 percent. During Pawlenty’s time as governor of Minnesota (2003 to 2011), the number of jobs grew by an anemic 0.5 percent.

Of course, some of these comparisons are apples to oranges; Pawlenty, Huntsman, and Perry, for instance, all were governors during the recession, while Romney and Johnson were not. State population changes could also play a role in determining whether a state’s employment numbers surge or decline.

Consistency and Ann Coulter

Ann Coulter is one of those lightning rods out there.  I’ve kind of thought for a while that half of what she says, and 99% of the way she says it, was just to grab attention in the saturated arena of political commentary.  Put another way, I  believed that she says what is ultimately her position, but simply phrased in the more caustic way to make sure people see her as different than so many others out there.

However, Coulter’s latest screed is bound to earn the ire of libertarians nationwide.  In her column, she takes aim at Representative Ron Paul, though she doesn’t mention him by name for a while.  Instead, she talks about the GOP debate and then rails against the libertarian candidate.  There are only libertarians running for President, and only one was there.  That was Ron Paul.

In her column, Coulter wrote:

They lure you in with talk of small government and then immediately start babbling about drug legalization or gay marriage.

“Get the government out of it” is a good and constitutionally correct answer to many questions, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all answer to all questions.

It was a good answer, for example, when libertarian Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, was asked about government assistance to private enterprise and government involvement in the housing market.

But it’s a chicken-s**t, I-don’t-want-to-upset-my-video-store-clerk-base answer when it comes to gay marriage.

So, a consistent argument is chickensh*t?  Really?  It’s fine when you’re talking about some things, but when it’s something Coulter finds objectionable, Paul’s scared?  In fact, he’s so scared, he takes a position that the GOP faithful disagree with him on while he’s running for that party’s nomination?  What?

Jon Huntsman enters the race for the GOP nomination

Jon Huntsman, former Governor of Utah and Ambassador to China, formally announced yesterday that he will seek the Republican nomination for president:

Former Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman (R) launched his presidential campaign Tuesday with the message that he is a post-partisan political leader.

Speaking with the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan skyline as his backdrop in an effort to evoke Ronald Reagan, who held a campaign event from the same spot a generation ago, Huntsman said he would bring to the presidency a focus on substance and not on politics.

“We will conduct this campaign on the high road,” Huntsman said during his speech, calling modern political debate mostly “corrosive.”

The mounting debt and other problems facing the United States are “un-American,” he said. But he wouldn’t extend that line of attack against his former boss, President Obama.

Huntsman said his campaign against the president for whom he’d served as ambassador would boil down to policy, not attacks on patriotism.

“He and I have a difference of opinion on how to help the country we both love,” Huntsman said. “But the question each of us wants the voters to answer is who will be the better president, not who’s the better American.”

Gingrich loses more campaign staff

Nearly two weeks after senior staffers and others abandon his campaign, Newt Gingrich has taken another blow; this time losing his fundraising team:

Newt Gingrich’s top two fundraising advisers resigned on Tuesday, and officials said the Republican candidate’s hobbling presidential campaign carried more than $1 million in debt.

The departures of fundraising director Jody Thomas and fundraising consultant Mary Heitman were the latest blow for the former House speaker who watched 16 top advisers abandon his campaign en masse earlier this month, partly because of what people familiar with the campaign spending described as a dire financial situation.

These people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the campaign inner workings, said the former Georgia lawmaker racked up massive travel bills but money had only trickled in since he got into the race earlier this spring.

A spokesman for Gingrich says that the campaign will continue, “We are going to duct-tape together one coalition of Americans after another that believe in his large, bold vision of change.” I’d like to say that you can’t get elected on unicorns and rainbows, but I’m reminded of Barack Obama, who ran his campaign on two words; “hope” and “change.”

Over at the Washington Post, Chris Cillizza reminds us that Gingrich didn’t have the money to participate in the Ames Straw Poll, which is arguably the most important event for a presidential campaign supposedly trying to attract grassroots supporters.


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