Obama administration

Administration spends $3 million to sell ObamaCare

The Obama Administration has joined the fall ad blitz, spending $3 million in an attempt to sell ObamaCare to Americans:

The Obama administration has spent approximately $3 million on TV ads discussing the benefits of health care reform this month — three times what was spent by pro-reform candidates and groups but almost nothing compared with the $21 million spent on anti-reform ads.

The Department of Health and Human Services insists that the ads are not political and that the spending is in line with what the agency has done in the past to advise seniors about the open enrollment period for Medicare Advantage and prescription drug coverage plans, which begins Nov. 15.

But the ads do discuss benefits specific to the Democrats’ health care reform law, such as the closing of the prescription drug “doughnut hole,” the 50 percent discount on drugs purchased in the coverage gap and the new coverage for an annual wellness visit, Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services spokesman Tony Salters said.

“That new health care law sure sounds good for all of us on Medicare,” actor Andy Griffith says in a CMS ad that went up on Thursday. “Starting next year, we’ll get free check-ups, cancer screenings and low prescription costs.”

In another ad that ran earlier this month, Griffith — famous as “Matlock” and the sheriff of Mayberry — discussed the “good things coming” with the Affordable Care Act.

Reagan v. Obama

This really says it all:

The Chamber of Commerce Boogeyman

Despite the rhetoric of the Obama Administration and Democrats claiming that the United States Chamber of Commerce doesn’t disclose contributions, Americans for Limited Government has located FEC disclosures from the PACs registered to the organization:

Obama’s statement is actually provably false. You see, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce actually operates a political action committee, which is required to file reports with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC).

You can read the U.S. Chamber PAC’s filings for yourself at http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/cancomsrs/?_10+C00082040.

Additionally, the PAC’s “secret” donor lists are at http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/com_ind/2009_C00082040 and http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/com_rcvd/2009_C00082040. These are all FEC filings. PAC’s are already required to disclose donors under federal law.

In fact, this is a part of the Chamber that is expressly engaged in electioneering, subject to full disclosure. Here are the PAC’s expenditures, all public for the world to see: http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/com_supopp/2009_C00082040.

While it is true that the Chamber’s 501(c)6 filings are not public, that does not mean such disclosures do not exist. Many of them actually should already be available to the Obama Administration. How?

Chart of the Day: Wasn’t the “stimulus” supposed to keep unemployment down?

Via Dan Mitchell comes this chart that shows monthly unemployment numbers since the passage of the “stimulus” in February of last year. During the debate over passage of the Keynesian-style spending package, the Obama Administration told us that the “stimulus” bill would keep unemployment under 8%.

Of course, unemployment hit as high as 10.1% in October of last year, and high been above 9.5% consecutive months, the longest streak since the Great Depression.

Unemployment Chart

23% of Democrats want ObamaCare repealed

According to a new poll conducted on behalf of The Hill, a noticable number of Democrats are support a repeal of ObamaCare:

President Obama predicted in the spring that the new law would become popular as people learned more about it. But the poll shows Republicans strongly oppose it, independents are wary of it and a surprising number of Democrats also want it overturned.

Republicans have vowed to repeal the law if they take control of Congress, and the findings of Mark Penn, who led Penn Schoen Berland’s polling team, show that healthcare is a major issue for voters this year.

When asked if they wanted the legislation repealed, 56 percent of voters in the surveyed districts said yes. “Only Democrats were opposed to repeal (23 percent to 64 percent),” Penn said. “Undecided voters wanted the healthcare law repealed by 49 percent to 27 percent.”

In each district, a majority of those surveyed said they want the controversial law gone.

Repeal of ObamaCare is a bipartisan issue. And why wouldn’t it be, after all, this bill has done the exact opposite of what the Obama Administration said it would do. Democrats that are in tough battle for re-election that voted for ObamaCare are left to face the wrath of voters in their district.

Government Motors is an active campaign contributor

Why is the Obama Administration allowing Government General Motors to give campaign contributions? No, that doesn’t sound at all like a big conflict of interest </sarcasm>:

General Motors Co. has begun to once again contribute to political campaigns, lifting a self-imposed ban on political spending put in place during the auto maker’s U.S.-financed bankruptcy restructuring last year.

The Detroit company gave $90,500 to candidates running in the current election cycle, Federal Election Commission records show.

The beneficiaries include Midwestern lawmakers, mostly Democrats, who have traditionally supported the industry’s legislative agenda on Capitol Hill, including Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) and Rep. John Dingell (D., Mich.).

The list also includes Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor, the House Republican Whip, who would likely assume a top leadership post if Republicans win control of the House in November.

It isn’t unusual for big companies like GM to spend on political campaigns, but complicating GM’s situation is that the company is majority-owned by the U.S. government. GM is planning to return to the public stock markets later this year, allowing the U.S. to begin to sell off its roughly 61% stake in the company.

You make a big deal about CEOs making big bonuses on the taxpayer dime, but when a government-owned automaker is actively giving to campaigns, ostensibly building up for the next big  bailout, there is no action to prevent it.

No, your priorities are not misplaced at all.

Gangsta Government

Via the Washington Examiner comes video from the Minnesota Majority called, “Gansta Government.” Minnesota Majority says the video serves “to educate Americans on the corruption that is robbing us of our liberties.”

The title of the song comes from term, “gangster government,” Rep. Michele Bachmann used to describe the Obama Administration. It was most recently used by Michael Barone in a great column about how the Obama Adminstration was threatening insurance companies for raising their rates to pay for the cost of ObamaCare.

“Fear the Boom and Bust” is better, in my opinion.

1099 repeal coming back in the House

Democrats are going to bring a repeal of the 1099 provision of ObamaCare back to the floor for the third time, but they will continue to play games with it:

Senate Democrats voted down a Republican plan to repeal the provision Tuesday — the same day that Senate Republicans voted down a Democratic plan to repeal the measure.

Now Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee are considering a new push to repeal the provision, and a floor vote could come as soon as next week. But their plan, like all of the others, comes with strings attached that will make it virtually impossible for the other party to sign on.

The provision in question requires any business that spends more than $600 with a particular vendor to report the expenditure on a 1099 tax form. Lawmakers from both parties say that it’s too onerous and would bury businesses — particularly small ones — in a sea of unnecessary paperwork.

The provision is opposed by the United States Chamber of Commerce, the Obama Administration and several members of Congress in tough re-election bids support removing nixing this job killer.

Fight over taxes set to begin

As both chambers of Congress come back in session after the summer break, taxes are taking center stage on two different fronts. The Obama Administration is pushing a tax hike on oil and gas companies that would have devastating affects on the economy:

President Obama’s proposed tax increases on oil and gas companies would cause over 154,000 workers to lose their jobs, according to a new report by Louisiana State University economist Dr. Joseph Mason.

The report also finds that Obama’s proposal would reduce economic output by $341 billion and create over $68 billion in lost wages nationwide.

“Though politicians think they are selectively targeting ‘Big Oil’ with these energy tax proposals, they would actually devastate thousands of small American businesses nationwide as well as the workers who depend on them,” Mason said in prepared remarks. “With at least 150,000 U.S. jobs at stake — in fields ranging from healthcare to real estate — it’s clear that the cost of repealing Section 199 and dual capacity far outweigh the potential benefit of increased government revenues that may be derived from the proposal.”

The president has targeted the oil industry since the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico at the end of April, first with the off-shore drilling moratorium and now with new taxes. Louisiana is dependent on off-shore drilling and is adversely impacted by the administration’s populism.

Austan Goolsbee: Meet the old boss, same as the new boss

“The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.” - John Maynard Keynes

In case you haven’t heard, President Barack Obama replaced Christina Romer, who recently resigned her position as an economic advisor in the administration, with Austan Goolsbee, an economist from the University of Chicago.

Over at his Reuters blog, James Pethokoukis gives us an idea of what to expect from Goolsbee, which doesn’t like he’ll bring much new to the administration:

Don’t expect him to recommend any big tax cuts. Goolsbee is extremely skeptical of supply-side tax arguments, calling the Laffer Curve a “fleeting figment of economic imagination.” Indeed, he may have influenced Obama himself, who in his 2008 book, “The Audacity of Hope,” says he doesn’t buy the theory that the Reagan tax cuts changed investment or labor incentives. He does, however, think it would not be a bad idea to lower corporate tax rates if there were also fewer credits and deductions.

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