Members of Congress and their staffers may have gotten a reprieve from ObamaCare, but legality of the “fix” is in question.
Thanks to a soon to be issued ruling from the Office of Personnel Managment (OPM), those who work on Capitol Hill will still receive nearly 75% contribution from the federal government to help pay for their health insurance coverage. That was at risk due to a provision of ObamaCare that required members of Congress and their staffers to be subject to the law.
Had OPM not relented to pressure from President Obama and leaders from both parties in Congress, members would have seen their health insurance premiums skyrocket because the subsidies provided through ObamaCare wouldn’t have been enough to make up the difference.
But the legality of the fix is being called into question, as Peter Suderman explained yesterday at Reason:
It’s not clear how this will work: Will staffers simply get the cash value of the employer contribution? Or will OPM put the money toward the exchange premium?
Gillespie cites three strong reasons to tackle this problem now. First, Social Security is financially broke and will the surpluses it has amassed will be gone by 2033. That point was recently driven home by a report from the program’s trustees showing $23.1 trillion in unfunded liabilities.
Secondly, Gillespie explains that Social Security is a bad investment because Americans will receive less in benefits than they pay in taxes. And lastly, Americans don’t have any control over their contributions, which is especially unfair to younger workers. This means that they can’t invest their money in retirement account that better suits their needs, nor can they leave what they’ve put in the system to their loved ones.
Check out the two-minute video below:
Nick Gillespie of Reason TV recently sat down with Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), who is one of the new libertarian-minded Republicans in the Congress, to discuss a number of issues, ranging from his support of the Keystone XL and his opposition to expansive government surveillance and the so-called “fiscal cliff” deal that was passed earlier this year.
On Keystone XL, which was recently approved by the House, Massie explained that he voted to support the project because he “thought that the government was trying to hold up the project.
“I sit on the committee that marked up the bill, and so I got a chance to hear the amendments that the Democrats offered,” explained Massie. “They had some good points, but most of their amendments were designed to kill the bill. I wish they had offered amendments that were actually constructive.”
Gillespie asked about passing more laws to protect Americans from onerous and overreaching proposals like CISPA and other forms of government surveillance. Massie said that Congress doesn’t really need to pass new protections because the Constitution already protects the rights of Americans.
“A lot of what I see Congress grapple with here is the introduction of new technology into society and trying to resolve that with existing laws. I don’t necessarily think we need new laws, we need to respect the Constitution,” Massie told Gillespie. “So just because we have a new type of technology like the Internet or drones, for instance, doesn’t mean that all of our constitutional rights have to go away. As Congressmen we have be sure that they’re preserved even with the advent of new technology.”
Rep. Paul Ryan’s big government leanings are shining through once again. The House Budget Committee Chairman and former Republican Vice Presidential nominee has endorsed the “concept” of the online sales tax, though he doesn’t specifically like Marketplace Fairness Act, which is the Senate’s version of the scheme:
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) supports the principle that online retailers should have to pay state sales taxes.
In an emailed statement to The Hill, Ryan clarified that he does not support the Senate’s legislation on the issue.
“It’s got to be done the right way. I think the legitimate concern is can it be used to do other forms of taxation or retroactive taxation? You have got to make sure it doesn’t do that. I don’t think the Senate bill is written in a tight enough way to do that,” Ryan said.
He added that it’s unfair for a local brick-and-mortar retailer to have to collect sales taxes when online competitors are exempt.
President Barack Obama has frequently claimed that he has no lobbyists working in his administration. But that doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. In fact, the Obama Administration is filled with lobbyists. And with the appointment of Tom Wheeler to head the Federal Communications Commission, which oversees the communications and technology industries, it’s about to get another one.
Over at Reason, Peter Suderman explains that Wheeler, who will replace outgoing FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, was a top bundler for both of Obama’s presidential campaigns and he appears to have interest in seeing the role of the FCC expanded, which isn’t a good sign:
We’ve all been told that the sequester is going to bring about the zombie apocalypse, but the idea that trimming $85 billion in spending from a bloated $3.8 trillion budget — and only half of those reductions will take effect the current fiscal year, meaning that the cuts are closer to 1% of the budget. To say that sort of a reduction in spending is going to have a substantial impact on the economy is laughable.
In a new video from Reason TV, Nick Gillespie gives us five facts about the sequester before it goes into effect on March 1st.
“Even with the sequester, the federal government is expected to spend more this year than it did last year,” Gillespie explains. “The largest chunk of cuts will come out of the defense budget, which has doubled over the past decade. The Pentagon will still have about $500 billion at its disposal, not counting war-related and emergency appropriations.”
And despite the recent talking points from the White House, Gillespie also notes that the “whole damn sequester was the Obama administration’s idea.”
“As the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward has reported, despite Obama’s denials to the contrary, ‘the automatic spending cuts were initiated by the White House’ as part of the deal to raise the debt limit back in August 2011,” notes Gillespie.
Check out full video: