Medicare Part D
President Obama once said that he would obey the Constitution when it came to signing statements. He was bashing President Bush, rightly I feel, for his use of signing statements as a method for essentially writing law. However, now President Obama has just done the same thing, using a signing statement to keep funding going to his many czars despite Congress having voted otherwise.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney noted that the president did say they served a purpose during the campaign, and that he would use them in instances when he was concerned about the constitutionality of something, etc. Unfortunately, that’s not what he did. No, he used a signing statement to circumvent the legislative process. Big difference.
Whether or not the czars serve a purpose is irrelevant. They shouldn’t be getting taxpayer money because Congress said they weren’t supposed to get any. The President signed the bill that said they shouldn’t be getting any. How much more clear cut can this get?
Unfortunately, the revival of signing statements simply shows far to effectively that we are now living through President George W. Bush’s third term. He’s continued the wars he promised to end. He’s continued indefinite detainment of prisoners at Guantanimo Bay. He’s done few of the things he claimed he would do that would make him different from Bush. The one thing he campaigned on that he actually did to any extent, namely health care, comes in the wake of Bush’s efforts on Medicare Part D.
He said he would obey the Constitution. He hasn’t. On anything so far. I doubted his words when he uttered them. My cynicism has been rewards. Thanks President Obama. I’d have liked to have been wrong this time, you know?
There has been some very valid criticism of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) that has been around since he unveiled his budget plan. Really, the criticism has been around for awhile, but it seems to be picking up more recently. President Barack Obama touched on it with campaign donors last week:
“When Paul Ryan says his priority is to make sure, he’s just being America’s accountant … This is the same guy that voted for two wars that were unpaid for, voted for the Bush tax cuts that were unpaid for, voted for the prescription drug bill that cost as much as my health care bill — but wasn’t paid for,” Mr. Obama told his supporters. “So it’s not on the level.”
Like I said, it’s valid criticism. But the messenger here carries no weight. Obama has given us record deficits, kept us in those two wars - and started a new one, and have us ObamaCare; which is not entirely paid for.
Then again, when your approval rating is at 41%, I guess you have to blame everyone but yourself for the problems you helped make worse.
Given his all but certain entrance in the Republican presidential primary, you’d think that Newt Gingrich would be shifting to the right on economic issues. He’s not. In fact, he recently told a reporter during a press conference that he doesn’t regret expanding Medicare, an entitlement already projected to have trillions in unfunded liabilities over the several decades, by supporting and lobbying for passage of prescription drug benefit - Medicare Part D - in 2003:
At a press conference on Friday, CNSNews.com asked Gingrich, “You were a prominent supporter of the Medicare prescription drug plan that President Bush signed into law in 2003. The Medicare trustees now say that plan is $7.2 trillion in unfunded liabilities over the next 75 years. Do you regret your support for the plan looking back?”
“No,” said Gingrich. “I think that we—I mean, I am for dramatic reform of Medicare. I chaired the Medicare reform task force which saved it in 1996 when the trustees said it was going to go broke, and we passed changes which enabled them to say that we had postponed any problem for well over a decade.
Here is the video with Gingrich’s full comments:
We noted last week that former Sen. George Allen (R-VA) was rumored to be preparing for a rematch against Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), who has yet to decide if he’ll run again. Yesterday, Allen made it official, he will run in 2012:
Former Virginia senator and governor George Allen has launched his campaign to win back the Senate seat he lost in 2006.
Republican George Allen, left, lost his U.S. Senate seat to Democrat Jim Webb, right.
Democrat Jim Webb narrowly defeated Allen, a Republican, for the U.S. Senate in 2006 and has not yet said whether he will run for a second term in 2012. Allen made his announcement via a video posted on his website.
“It’s time for an American comeback,” Allen said, “…where leaders in Washington listen to ‘we the people.’ “
Allen’s announcement wasn’t met with a lot of applause from conservatives. RedState’s Erick Erickson took word of his entrance into the race as an opportunity to express support for Jamie Radtke, a tea party activist:
Yesterday, I noted a report on comments made by Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who supposedly said that Senate Republicans had no intention of repealing ObamaCare. The comments sound much like what Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) has been saying in recent days.
Stories began to surface yesterday on the Internet and on talk radio of secret meetings between Sen. Bob Corker (R.-Tenn.) and “high-dollar donors” where Corker is reported to have assured these donors that the GOP will not mount an effort to repeal Obamacare.
In a statement to HUMAN EVENTS, Corker Chief of Staff Todd Womack flatly denies that his boss made the statements, saying the meetings have been mischaracterized by anonymous sources.
“The information in the blog post is absolutely false and appears to be an attempt to anonymously mischaracterize Sen. Corker’s strong opposition to the healthcare bill,” Womack said. “Sen. Corker has traveled extensively and hosted dozens of events for Republican candidates running for office this year. He vigorously opposed the healthcare bill that passed in March, has voted to repeal it and has said on numerous occasions that it will cause great damage to our country if it is implemented. During the last two weeks of an outstanding election year, we should not allow misinformation to derail the tremendous momentum we have all worked so hard to achieve.”
With about three weeks before the mid-term elections, Republicans look poised to make significant gains in both the U.S. House and Senate. Most of the major polls are now projecting that the House will return to Republican control; the only question being, by what margin? There is even the remote possibility that Republicans can retake control of the Senate, a scenario that seemed laughable only three months ago. Governors’ races across the country are looking very favorable for the GOP as well, as are the state legislatures. In short, it seems that the predictions of the death of conservatism, and the Carvillian prophecy of forty years of Democrat rule, may have been a bit premature. In fact, it appears that not only will Democrats fall short of the forty year mark; they will fall short of the forty month mark.
For Republicans and conservatives across the nation, certainly this is an encouraging time. Less than two years ago it looked as if we would be wandering for years in the political Sahara, but now America is behind us once again. Or are they?
With all of the rosy news flowing in for Republicans, it would be easy to believe their own hype. However, I would submit that if Republicans allow themselves to buy into this mantra, then they are setting themselves up for failure just as the Democrats have done. In the 2006 and 2008 elections, Republicans lost 55 House seats and saw the Democrats take a 61-39 lead in the Senate (with self-proclaimed Socialist Bernie Sanders of Vermont caucusing with the Democrats). A number of factors led to these losses, but in large part it came down to a handful of issues; weariness of George W. Bush and eight years of war, an unending stream of revelations of corruption among elected Republicans, and out of control spending.
Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND), who is in a tough battle for re-election with Rick Berg (R-ND), is embracing George W. Bush, the Medicare Part D, a new program that added $9 trillion in unfunded liabilties to the already existing entitlement, and stressed his independence from his party on cap-and-trade (it’s worth noting tha he voted for ObamaCare):
This is in contrast from what we’ve heard from Democrats in these mid-term, which has been to remind voters of Bush. However, voters have not bought into that rhetoric.
As noted last week, reaction to the Pledge to America among conservatives was mixed. There are always going to be those, such as the National Review, The Weekly Standard, Newt Gingrich and Dan Reihl, who will choose politics over principle and cheer Team Republican no matter what. But let’s be honest, the Pledge is weak.
There is no acknowledgement whatsoever of the reasons they were tossed out of control of Congress by voters in 2006. As Leslie Carbone, author of Slaying Leviathan: The Moral Case for Tax Reform, wrote via Twitter, “I’m not going to get excited [regarding] any GOP Contract II that doesn’t open [with] credible contrition for outrages of last 20 yrs.”
Well said. Some of thoses outrages are spending on par with Lyndon B. Johnson (including dramatically increasing non-defense discretionary spending), passing a new entitlement in Medicare Part D and expanding government involvement in education with No Child Left Behind. And this is just for starters.
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), one of the more fiscally conservative members of the Congress, isn’t thrilled with the idea of Newt Gingrich running for president:
“He’s the last person I’d vote for for president of the United States,” Coburn said during a town hall event in Wagoner, Okla., over the weekend, as was reported by the Tulsa World.
In explaining why he wouldn’t support Gingrich, Coburn specifically targeted the ex-speaker’s three marriages as proof that Gingrich “doesn’t know anything about commitment to marriage.”
“His life indicates he does not have a commitment to the character traits necessary to be a great president,” said Coburn, who also noted that Gingrich is a “super-smart man.”
Coburn’s comments follow criticism of Gingrich from his second wife, Marianne, who recently told Esquire that there is “no way” her ex-husband could become president.
Prior to his election to the Senate in 2000, Coburn served in the House under Gingrich’s rule and frequently criticized the then-speaker.
I share Coburn’s concern over, but for different reasons. I’m not interested in Newt Gingrich’s personal life. As Thomas Jefferson would say, “It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”
A few years ago, I picked up a copy of Buck Wild: How Republicans Broke the Bank and Became the Party of Big Government by Stephen Slivinski, who we interviewed here at UL back in May.
During the debate over health care “reform,” President Barack Obama often said, “If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.”
More than 3 million seniors may have to switch their Medicare prescription plan next year, even if they’re perfectly happy with it, thanks to an attempt by the government to simplify their lives.
The policy change could turn into a hassle for seniors who hadn’t intended to switch plans during Medicare’s open enrollment season this fall.
And it risks undercutting President Barack Obama’s promise that people who like their health care plans can keep them.
A new analysis by a leading private research firm estimates that more than 3 million beneficiaries will see their current drug plan eliminated as Medicare tries to winnow down duplicative and confusing coverage, in order to offer consumers more meaningful choices. Instead of 40 or more plans in each state, beneficiaries would pick from 30 or so.
I’m no fan of Medicare or the prescription drug program, which was passed under Republican control and signed by George W. Bush, but I would think that Obama has some explaining to do considering how this exactly what he said wouldn’t happen if ObamaCare was passed.