What was thought to be a few years away is now suddenly a reality. Social Security will run a deficit this year, according to The New York Times:
This year, the system will pay out more in benefits than it receives in payroll taxes, an important threshold it was not expected to cross until at least 2016, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Stephen C. Goss, chief actuary of the Social Security Administration, said that while the Congressional projection would probably be borne out, the change would have no effect on benefits in 2010 and retirees would keep receiving their checks as usual.
The problem, he said, is that payments have risen more than expected during the downturn, because jobs disappeared and people applied for benefits sooner than they had planned. At the same time, the program’s revenue has fallen sharply, because there are fewer paychecks to tax.
What else do you expect from this Ponzi scheme?
Yesterday I had $10 in my right pocket.
I loaned that money to my left pocket, which I like to call my “Right Pocket Trust Fund”. I put an IOU from my left pocket into my right pocket to document the loan.
I then spent that $10 on lunch.
Today my right pocket wants to start collecting on that loan.
That’s the Social Security Trust Fund. An IOU that requires new taxation, NOT drawing down on savings, to be repaid.
House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said today a bullet was shot through the window of his campaign office in Richmond, Va. this week, giving just another example of the numerous acts of violence and threats against members of Congress this week.
Just about all the reported incidents have targeted Democratic members in the wake of their support for health care reform, but Cantor today blasted Democrats — calling out two party leaders in particular — for “ratcheting up the rhetoric” surrounding the dangerous threats and blaming Republicans for inciting the hostility.
I wouldn’t say that the Republican Party incited this hostility. It wasn’t the Democrats either. I blame the Tea Parties, which have mutated from a gathering of libertarians upset about the economic state of the United States into something quite horrible and ugly.
Do you still believe that Barack Obama wants to fight off special interests and working for the people? Tim Carney, author of Obamanomics, explains that not only is the president not living up to the hype, he is actually doing them some big favors:
“Tonight,” President Obama intoned near midnight Sunday, after the House had passed two health care bills, “we pushed back on the undue influence of special interests. … We proved that this government — a government of the people and by the people — still works for the people.”
But even before the president spoke, the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America — whose $26.1 million lobbying effort in 2009 was the most expensive by any industry lobby in history — hailed the health package as “important and historic.”
Yet all along Obama has claimed the opposite. The Democrats’ party-line Senate vote for the bill represented “standing up to the special interests,” Obama said in December — just before the health care lobbyists and pharmaceutical political action committees hosted fundraisers for Martha Coakley to try to preserve the Democrats’ 60-vote supermajority.
Throughout March, as momentum built for passing the bill, and as Democrats adopted the mantra, “You’re either with the American people, or you’re with the insurance companies,” health insurance stocks climbed in tandem with the bill’s odds of passing. The health sector outperformed every other sector in the S&P 500 over the last month.
Over at Cato, Dan Mitchell provides us with a look at future federal spending, based on CBO numbers. We posted something like this not too long ago, but after the passage of ObamaCare, it’s worth another look.
Dick Cheney today announced that he is endorsing Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson over Rand Paul in the GOP Senate primary.
“I’m a lifelong conservative, and I can tell the real thing when I see it. I have looked at the records of both candidates in the race, and it is clear to me that Trey Grayson is right on the issues that matter — both on fiscal responsibility and on national security,” Cheney said in a statement released this morning.
“The challenges posed by radical Islam and Al Qaeda are real and will be an on-going threat to our domestic security for years to come. We need Senators who truly understand this and who will work to strengthen our commitment to a strong national defense and to whom this is not just a political game,” Cheney said.
“There is no doubt that the real conservative in this race is Trey Grayson, and there is no better choice for Kentuckians in May and November.”
Grayson, neo-conservatives and Republican establishment are running against Ron Paul more than they are Rand Paul, who has taken a more hawkish stand on foreign affairs that his father.
I received this press release yesterday from the Tenth Amendment Center, and I think that it gives calls attention to the long-forgotten ideas of nullification and interposition with regard to ObamaCare:
“Prominent founders such as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison warned us that if the federal government ever became the sole and exclusive arbiter of its own powers, those powers would continue to grow, regardless of elections, courts, separation of powers or other much-vaunted checks and balances in our system,” said Michael Boldin, founder of the Tenth Amendment Center.
Nullification, according to the Center, is the rightful remedy to an unconstitutional act, as it considers the recently-signed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to be. When a state nullifies a federal law, it is proclaiming that the law in question is void and inoperative, or non-effective, within the boundaries of that state; or, in other words, not a law as far as the state is concerned.
Today, the Tenth Amendment Center announced a different strategy for activists and state government. “We are pleased to announce model nullification legislation that is crafted to specifically address the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on a state level,” Boldin said. “We encourage grassroots activists and state legislators alike to work to get this bill passed in their home states.”
Two new polls seem to indicate that the public does not was the fight against ObamaCare to stop.
First, from CBS, we learn that most Americans think the GOP should keep fighting:
A CBS News poll released Wednesday finds that nearly two in three Americans want Republicans in Congress to continue to challenge parts of the health care reform bill.
The Senate version of the legislation was passed by the House Sunday night, and President Obama signed it into law on Tuesday. The House also passed a separate reconciliation bill, which cannot be filibustered, that is now being debated in the Senate. That bill would make changes to the bill already signed into law.
Senate Republicans are now challenging whether the bill is truly a budget reconciliation bill (which is what makes it filibuster-proof) and inserting amendments designed to slow down passage. Republican attorneys general are also planning to challenge the constitutionality of the law.
The poll finds that 62 percent want Congressional Republicans to keep challenging the bill, while 33 percent say they should not do so. Nearly nine in ten Republicans and two in three independents want the GOP to keep challenging. Even 41 percent of Democrats support continued challenges.
Meanwhile, the poll shows that public opinion about the bill itself is pretty much the same as it was before the bill passed:
Republicans have been successful in making changes to the reconciliation package to ObamaCare that passed the House on Sunday night:
In a marathon Senate session that lasted into the wee hours of Thursday, Republicans kept their vow to use every parliamentary tool available to undermine the recently enacted health care reform law. In the end, they found violations in two provisions, forcing the bill back to the House for another vote.
Senate Democrats easily defeated the first of 29 amendments introduced by Republicans, which challenged provisions in the bill such as those involving changes to Medicare funding. Also defeated were attempts to send the measure to committee for reconsideration - which would effectively kill it - and other amendments intended to strip provisions from the bill.
But after hours, the Republicans found two minor provisions related to higher education that violate Senate procedure. These provisions have to be removed from bill, and then it has to be voted on by the House again, said Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
The minority has a series of amendments (brief explaination of the amendment can be found here) that will receive votes, and mostly likely all be defeated. While I like that Republicans are giving Democrats hell, they are only delaying the inevitable.
I think my head will explode if I have to listen to any more whining or protests about cuts to education budgets. From California to Washington, D.C., and right here in Georgia, students, teachers and various union members are showing up at capitols and at county board meetings, whipped into a fury over the thought that any cuts might be made to the precious education system. Well, here is a news flash. We’re all hurting here. Everybody has to make sacrifices, and everyone will have to make do with a little less. Unemployment in Georgia is almost 10.5%, and no one in the private sector has the luxury of raising prices to keep from laying off workers. Why should the education system, or any government department for that matter, be immune from tightening their belts like the rest of us.
Like every other government agency and department, education spending has been rising for years. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2006 (latest statistics available) we spent an average of $9138 per student on education nationally, with Georgia spending $8565 per student. And what exactly have we gotten for such an impressive financial outlay “for the children”? Georgia consistently ranks in the bottom 10% in academic achievement of American students, and America ranks in the lower middle of the pack of industrialized countries. The PISA test (Program for International Student Assessment) ranked American students near the bottom in math (23 of 30 countries ranked ahead, two tied) and science (where American students were 11-points below the average). So maybe I would have sympathy for protecting education budgets if we were producing the top students in the world, but we are not. We are getting our tails kicked by countries like South Korea and Poland (which, according to the 2008 OECD study, spend about half of what we do per student).
Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) defended the ObamaCare bill on WJR’s Paul W. Smith show yesterday when the host wondered why Democrats wait until 2014 to stop people from dying through lack of universal health care coverage. Dingell tells Smith that it takes a lot of hard work and preparation to create a system that will “control the people.”
Let me remind you this has been going on for years. We are bringing it to a halt. The harsh fact of the matter is when you’re going to pass legislation that will cover 300 American people in different ways it takes a long time to do the necessary administrative steps that have to be taken to put the legislation together to control the people.
Congressman, I don’t want to be “controlled”