Obamacare Becoming a Blue-state Money Laundering Scheme?

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Image courtesy of the WSJ.

 

Are some Democratic-leaning “blue” states cashing in on the failure of their state-run Obamacare health care exchanges? Based on a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Daily Caller reports that Obamacare is perhaps fast becoming a money laundering scheme. The 15 states that have created exchanges, most of which failed, were examined in the GAO report.

The GAO report, analyzed by Americans for Tax Reform, illustrated that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reviewed the state-based exchanges in 15 states and found serious operational deficiencies. In the instances of Massachusetts, Maryland, Nevada and Oregon, the sites were unable to enroll customers during the first enrollment period for Obamacare. Several of the state-based exchanges have been closed, and those states have reverted to the federal HealthCare.gov exchange instead. Yet the GAO reports that only $1 million of the $4.5 billion spent on the state-based exchanges has been reimbursed to the federal government.

Boehner Resigns, Unifies Right and Left in Celebration more than Pope Francis

Something has happened this morning that we have not seen in a long age - conservatives and liberals are united. No, they’re not all celebrating Pope Francis’ message of unity and equality, though there’s some of that, and the papal visit is related. No, what has brought both sides together is the announcement that Speaker John Boehner will resign both his leadership position and House seat at the end of this October.

Apparently speaking to the Pope yesterday moved Boehner so much that he has decided to step down. And who can blame him? Since his ascendancy after Republicans took back the House in 2010, there have been constant calls for his replacement. He’s been called a RINO, a sell-out, a stand-in for the real Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and worse. Conservatives never supported him strongly enough (though most kept reelecting him to the position), and Democrats opposed him on nearly everything.

Boehner was also constantly mocked for his emotional rawness. But again, who can blame him? He’s in awe of his country, his government, despite its flaws, and his position within it. I well up every time I hear the Star-Spangled Banner at a sporting event. I can’t imagine being elected to a government position by your fellow citizens and feeling the overwhelming responsibility and trust that entails.

Will Obama’s New EPA Rules Put People Out in the Cold this Winter?

Either Obama’s policy team doesn’t care about folks that manage to make a life outside of the Big Cities, or his environmental legacy is more important to him than those same people freezing in their own houses during the winter months.

Because it’s clear from the recent series of proposed regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): President Obama is intent on forcing significant changes to all heating and electrical systems in the U.S.

It’s also obvious, even to the least cynical observer, that the President and his White House appointees are capitalizing on Pope Francis’ recent encyclical on climate change. However, it is important the White House understand that as much as the Pope would like our elected leaders to actually put forward solutions, they should be wary of causing more harm than good.

As much as the Pope may not like to admit it, sometimes the old maxim is true: the road to hell is often paved with good intentions.

The Papal encyclical does not outline specific policy goals, nor does it lay out the path by which the Obama Administration should move forward. But while these newest regs will probably not result in wasting billions more tax dollars like Obama’s “green tech investment fund” (aka Solyndra), the hipster political appointees in the White House need to understand that there are still consequences to their policy making. This policy making, as they have proposed it, will hurt the very people it’s supposed to help.

In the Debate over Capitalism and Morality, the Score Is: Walter Williams 1 – Pope Francis 0

Ed. Note: This was originally posted at Mitchell’s blog International Liberty.

The biggest mistake of well-meaning leftists is that they place too much value on good intentions and don’t seem to care nearly as much about good results.

Pope Francis is an example of this unfortunate tendency. His concern for the poor presumably is genuine, but he puts ideology above evidence when he argues against capitalism and in favor of coercive government.

Here are some passages from a CNN report on the Pope’s bias.

Pope Francis makes his first official visit to the United States this week. There’s a lot of angst about what he might say, especially when he addresses Congress Thursday morning. …He’ll probably discuss American capitalism’s flaws, a theme he has hit on since the 1990s. Pope Francis wrote a book in 1998 with an entire chapter focused on “the limits of capitalism.” …Francis argued that…capitalism lacks morals and promotes selfish behavior. …He has been especially critical of how capitalism has increased inequality… He’s tweeted: “inequality is the root of all evil.” …he’s a major critic of greed and excessive wealth. …”Capitalism has been the cause of many sufferings…”

Ben Carson, Sharia Law, and the New Patriot

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This morning, there was much discussion on the talking heads shows about whether or not Ben Carson, in expressing reservations about having a Muslim in the White House, was baited into a “gotcha” position or if he carries some latent paranoia about Islam (I think I have the sides of the issue right).

One talking head — I think on Fox but I was making coffee so I’m not sure — said that religion shouldn’t play as much of a role in who we elect as a candidate’s demonstrated leadership skills.

Let me respectfully disagree on that point. And bear with me before you crucify me.

Given what our “lead from behind” policies have done to our standing in the world over the last 7 years, which necessarily affects whether or not world leaders are still taking our phone calls in a manner of speaking, I think neither religion nor leadership skills are as important regarding who sits in the chair in the Oval Office as one quality alone: patriotism.

Does that sound old-fashioned? Good. I mean for it to sound exactly that way.

One can be the best leader with the best ideas in the world, but if he/she doesn’t have a desire to see their country regain its footing, renew its international command of respect, rejuvenate its economy and become strong again, those ideas will ultimately run counter to a prosperous United States. It’s far too easy to negotiate good things away from something for which you have no love.

And, as Marco Rubio laid out very effectively, there’s reason to think we better start caring now if we’re likely to care at all. Things across the pond are heating up:

Out of Control College Political Correctness Gets a Surprising New Critic: President Obama

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The last few years have been rough for truth-tellers, especially on college campuses. The new fad of “trigger warnings” before hearing speech that might offend our precious snowflakes has reached farcical levels. Colleges have had to create “safe spaces” outside of speaking events for students that are so traumatized that they have to physically flee ideas with which they disagree.

But this week such insane political correctness found a surprising new critic - in the White House.

“I’ve heard of some college campuses where they don’t want to have a guest speaker who is too conservative, or they don’t want to read a book if it had language that is offensive to African Americans or somehow sends a demeaning signal towards women,” Obama said Monday while speaking at a town hall meeting at North High School in Des Moines. “I’ve got to tell you, I don’t agree with that either — that you when you become students at colleges, you have to be coddled and protected from different points of view. Anybody who comes to speak to you and you disagree with, you should have an argument with them, but you shouldn’t silence them by saying you can’t come because I’m too sensitive to hear what you have to say.

By the Numbers: America’s Unfortunate Fiscal Evolution from Madisonian Constitutionalism to Wilsonian Statism

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I’m a big fan of fiscal data.

In part this is because I’m a policy wonk, but I also like budget numbers because they generally provide strong evidence for my philosophical belief in small government and spending restraint.

For instance, I enjoy sharing my table showing nations that have experienced great success with multi-year limits on spending growth, particularly since I enjoy putting my leftist friends in an uncomfortable position by asking them for a similar list of countries that have made progress by raising taxes (hint: that’s called the null set).

Given my affinity for budget data, I was excited to learn that the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) just released “An Economic History of Federal Spending and Debt.”

This new publication is filled with fiscal information starting in the late 1700s.

To give you an indication, check out this chart which, in one fell swoop, provides more than 200 years of data on spending, revenue, and debt, along with information on major wars and economic dislocations.

Recalling 9/11 While Legitimizing Iran

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While they in New York, and Arlington, and Pennsylvania do the important work of remembering and honoring the lives extinguished 14 years ago when the Trade Center towers fell, and the Pentagon burned, and the brave men and women of flight 93 displayed courage so profound that it brings me to tears to think of it, allow me a moment of disrespect to discuss what has happened since and what we can expect from this long war against men and ideologies of terror. I’ll be brief.

The fight has expanded. ISIS has formed, even as al-Qaeda has lost its place at the top of that heirarchy of hate. And ISIS is on the move, across the Middle East, into Europe, and, arguably, here in our country. While refugees should be our concern, it begs the question whether taking in thousands of refugees — a reported majority of whom are men — is the wisest course of action.

Then there’s our recent deal with Iran, the standard line being that it keeps Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. But that’s just the sexy stuff that gets clicks. As Dr. Krauthammer so eloquently writes, this deal is really about so, so much more:

Justice Kennedy Supports Davis’ Refusal to Issue Marriage Licenses

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Well, not quite, but he did in principle.

On August 9th, 2003, speaking to a meeting of the American Bar Association, Justice Kennedy lashed out at mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders, saying he could “accept neither the necessity nor the wisdom of federal mandatory minimum sentences. In too many cases, mandatory minimum sentences are unwise and unjust.” In expressing his disdain, he openly advocated for judges refusing to rule based on the explicit statutory requirements, encouraging them to violate the law in issuing more lenient sentences.

Speaking before the House Appropriations Committee, Kennedy went on to praise such contempt for the law, stating “I do think federal judges who depart downward [issue more lenient sentences for drug offenders, in violation of the mandatory sentencing requirements] are courageous…[and judges should not] follow, blindly, these unjust guidelines”.

Yet Kennedy joined his SCOTUS colleagues in denying a hearing for Rowan County (KY) Clerk of Court Kim Davis, who appealed for an exemption to the Court’s opinion legalizing same-sex marriage across the country in the Obergfell case. With that denial, Davis was declared in contempt of court for her continued refusal to issue licenses, and went to jail for it.

So where is Kennedy now? Why is he not coming to her defense?

The Baffling EB-5 Immigration Controversy

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In most cases, I can understand why immigration is a controversial issue.

Take amnesty, for instance. Opponents make reasonable points about the downside of rewarding folks who cut in line while supporters make reasonable points about deportation being harsh and impractical.

There’s also a fight relating to welfare, with critics (and not just in America) saying that immigrants are more likely to be poor and a burden on taxpayers and advocates pointing out that it makes more sense to wall off the welfare state rather than walling off the country.

The “anchor baby” issue is another emotional topic, with people on both sides of the issue making both legal and practical arguments about whether children born in the United States should automatically become citizens.

And then there’s the biggest question of all, which is deciding on the “right” number of immigrants, with answers ranging from none to completely open borders.

I get why these topics don’t have answers that are satisfactory to all sides.

But there is one immigration controversy that leaves me most puzzled. Why are some people opposed to the “EB-5” program designed to attract rich investors to America?

 


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