Barack Obama

White House still won’t own up to “Lie of the Year”

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney tried to downplay the “Lie of the Year” dishonor bestowed to President Barack Obama by PolitiFact for frequent claim and insistence that Americans could keep their health plans under Obamacare.

“[A]s you know, the President in an interview, earlier this fall took this question head on and expressed his concern for those individuals, those as Americans who received cancellation notices and were potentially adversely impacted by or affected by that and took action to encourage states and state insurance commissioners to allow those who wanted to stay on existing plans to stay on them longer,” Carney told reporters on Friday during his daily press briefing.

“So I think he’s, in a very honest way, addressed this question,” he said. “End-of-the-year categorizations like that are always fun, even when they don’t jive with past characterizations of the same exact statement. But, we’re focused on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.”

Why we’ll see a minimum wage increase, whether we need it or not

Folks, there is going to be a minimum wage increase.  Despite the fact that only a fraction of workers actually draw minimum wage, and despite the fact that folks are actually living better on minimum wage than they did 20 years ago, we are going to see the minimum wage increase.

One of the problems with democracy is that the rule by the masses means that those who feel they have a tough spot in life will automatically vote with anyone who offers to make it better, while those who feel sorrow for such people will often vote along the same lines out of either guilt or pity.  This is why we have entitlement programs that, while having done absolutely nothing in the war on poverty, are here to stay.

Support for increasing the minimum wage is high.  In a recent report from the Wall Street Journal:

Americans strongly favor boosting the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour but oppose raising it above that, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds. In the survey, 63% supported a rise to $10.10 from the current $7.25 rate. Senate Democrats have proposed an increase of that size and it is supported by President Barack Obama.

In the poll, 43% said they backed an increase to $12.50 an hour. Only 28% backed a $15 wage—the rate sought by union-linked demonstrators at fast-food restaurants across the country.

Obamacare isn’t slowing down healthcare costs

President Barack Obama and administration officials have been playing up Obamacare as part of the reason that healthcare costs have grown at its slowest rate in 50 years, which, they say, will be part of the legacy of the law.

“I’m not going to walk away from 40 million people who have the chance to get health insurance for the first time,” said President Obama on November 14 in a statement on Obamacare.  ”And I’m not going to walk away from something that has helped the cost of health care grow at its slowest rate in 50 years.”

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made a similar claim during her appearance before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Wednesday, telling members that “costs have gone down based on the trajectory we would have seen absent [Obamacare].”

But doubt has been cast on that claim by many healthcare policy analysts. Bob Laszewski, President of Health Policy and Strategy Associates, has cast doubt on these claims, shooting down the rhetoric over Obamacare and the slowdown of health costs as “silly.”

“First, Obamacare is not a health care reform law; it is a health insurance reform law. No one on either side of the debate has ever argued anything different,” wrote Laszweski, who is frequently cited in mainstream media reports about the law, last week on his personal blog. “Does the law have some limited cost containment features in it? Yes. But these are either pilot projects or are years from being fully implemented.”

Rand Paul talks “iron-fisted rule” in speech against nuclear option

Rand Paul

In this day and age, we can no longer pretend we never said the things we have said before, we can no longer pretend we never stood for what we stood for in the past. YouTube makes whole speeches available for anybody in a blink of an eye. Google makes any piece of information that has ever been made available online, easy to find.

Online social media websites like Twitter and Facebook make the sharing of these bits of information just as easy to spread as wildfire, but President Obama and other Democrats find it hard to believe that a major change of heart would make any difference now. After all, they are the party of ‘yes we can.’

Yes we can now be completely oblivious of the fact that in 2005 we were absolutely against the nuclear option. Yes we can pretend that when Republicans do it, it’s wrong, but when Democrats do it, it’s alright.

Just before Thanksgiving, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) invoked the nuclear option to keep the minority party from using its right to filibuster judicial and executive branch nominees. Because of the change of the rules, only 51 votes are required to confirm most nominees presented by the judicial and executive branches.

On Thursday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) took to the Senate floor to present his speech against the Democrats’ “nuclear option” and remind his fellow lawmakers that now that the “iron-fisted rule of the rule-breakers” began, “there will be no return.”

PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year: “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it”

PolitiFact has awarded President Barack Obama with its “2013 Lie of the Year” for his now-infamous and flatly false claim that that Americans could keep their health plans under Obamacare.

“It was a catchy political pitch and a chance to calm nerves about his dramatic and complicated plan to bring historic change to America’s health insurance system,” wrote Angie Drobnic Holan yesterday at PolitiFact.

“‘If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,’ President Barack Obama said — many times — of his landmark new law,” she noted. “But the promise was impossible to keep.”

So this fall, as cancellation letters were going out to approximately 4 million Americans, the public realized Obama’s breezy assurances were wrong,” she wrote, adding that President Obama and his administration’s excuses for lying to Americans “made matters worse.”

The bungled rollout of the federal Obamacare exchange website and stories covering the cancellations caused President Obama’s approval ratings drop to all-time lows. Congressional Democrats have seen their advantage in completely disappear to the point where Republicans now hold a slim edge.

“For all of these reasons, PolitiFact has named ‘If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,’ the Lie of the Year for 2013,” wrote Holan. “Readers in a separate online poll overwhelmingly agreed with the choice.”

MI Senate: Republican candidate competitive in Democratic-leaning state

Terri Lynn Land

Could a Republican win the open Senate seat in Michigan? Weeks ago, most political observers would have said this is unlikely, and some may still say that Republicans face an unlikely path to winning what is a Democratic-leaning state.

But new survey by Public Policy Polling shows that, at the very least, Republicans will be competitive. The likely Republican nominee, Terri Lynn Land, holds a small, 2-point lead (42/40) over her likely Democratic opponent, Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI).

In June, Public Policy Polling found that Peters had a 5-point lead, 41/36, over Land.

The reason for the swing is (surprise!) Obamacare. The poll found that 63% voters in the state don’t believe the implementation of the law has been successful. Just 6% describe implementation as “very successful” and 24% say it has been “somewhat successful.”

Overall, 48% of Michigan voters disapprove of Obamacare, while 34% approve of the controversial law, which has caused an estimated 225,000 policy cancellations in the state, as of the end of November.

Land, who served as Michigan Secretary of State from 2003 to 2011, is viewed favorably by 34% of voters, just 23% view her unfavorably. Just 22% have a favorable view of Peters, 21% have an unfavorable view of the Democratic candidate.

Michigan voters aren’t too thrilled with President Barack Obama, who won the state by 9 points last year. His job approval in among voters is underwater, at 47/51.

LA Senate: Landrieu’s revisionist history on Obamacare’s canceled health plans

Mary Landrieu

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) is humorously trying distance herself from Obamacare, a law that she has twice said she would support again if it came back up for a vote, in her first campaign ad of her re-election bid.

The 30-second ad, titled “Keeping the Promise,” focuses on the millions of health insurance policies that have been canceled because of narrowly written Obamacare regulations and legislation she has introduced that would require insurance companies to continuing offering the plans:

Cool story, but that’s not how it went down and to say otherwise, as Landrieu has done, is blatantly ignores her own words and votes.

NC Senate: Obamacare rollout hangs over Hagan

Kay Hagan

The troubled rollout of Obamacare remains a point of contention between North Carolina voters and Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC), according to the latest survey from Public Policy Polling, and President Barack Obama’s unpopularity may also be hurting her.

Just 38% of North Carolina voters approve of Obamacare, while 50% disapprove of the law. The poll found that 65% voters in the state don’t believe the implementation of the law has been successful. Just 4% describe implementation as “very successful” and 26% say it has been “somewhat successful.”

Hagan is statistically tied with each of her five potential Republican opponents, confirming last month numbers, which found the led she once held over the GOP field entirely wiped away after the botched Obamacare rollout began.

Hagan leads state House Speaker Tom Tillis by a 2-point margin, 44/42, though, that’s within the poll’s margin of error. She is in a 43/43 tie with Mark Harris and Heather Grant. Hagan trails two of her potential opponents, Bill Flynn and Greg Brannon, 43/45.

Brannon, who has been endorsed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), was the only Republican candidate to hold a lead over Hagan in last month’s Public Policy Polling survey. His lead was inside the margin of error.

CBO study sheds light on income redistribution

Amid falling poll numbers, thanks to the Obamacare meltdown, President Barack Obama has tried to change the narrative with familiar, tired themes of income equality and higher taxes on the wealthy. But a new study from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), via CNS News, undermines these themes, showing that the 40% of households paid 106.2% of net income taxes in 2010 (emphasis added):

The top 40 percent of households by before-tax income actually paid 106.2 percent of the nation’s net income taxes in 2010, according to a new study by the Congressional Budget Office.

At the same time, households in the bottom 40 percent took in an average of $18,950 in what the CBO called “government transfers” in 2010.

Taxpayers in the top 40 percent of households were able to pay more than 100 percent of net federal income taxes in 2010 because Americans in the bottom 40 percent actually paid negative income taxes, according to the CBO study entitled, “The Distribution of Household Income and Federal Taxes, 2010.
Although they paid negative federal income taxes on average in 2010, Americans in the bottom 40 percent of households did end up paying some taxes to the federal government that year, according to the CBO.

AR Senate: Mark Pryor trails Republican challenger

A new poll out of Arkansas shows that Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) now trails his Republican challenger, Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR), in the aftermath of the disastrous Obamacare rollout and news stories covering a wave of millions of health plan cancellations caused by the law.

The poll — conducted on behalf of the Citizens United Political Victory Fund, a conservative political action committee — found Cotton with a 7-point lead over Pryor, at 48/41. Cotton also leads Pryor among independent voters by a 21-point margin, according to the poll, which was first reported by Politico.

This race is a must-win for Republicans if they hope to take control of the Senate in the 2014 mid-term election. Pryor is considered to be the most vulnerable Senate Democrat up for re-election and has been trying to distance himself from President Obama, despite his support for much of the White House’s agenda.

The poll also found tepid support for Obamacare, as just 29% of Arkansas voters have a favorable opinion of law. Sentiment against the Obamacare is strong, however, as 62% have an unfavorable view. That is an ominous sign for Pryor, who has sought to justify his votes and constant support for the law.


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