Earlier this month, President Barack Obama visited Dallas, Texas to give a speech in front of supporters in which he tried to pressure Republican governors to expand Medicaid, a government program that covers people who make below 138% of the federal poverty line.
“We were just talking on the way over here that in addition to signing people up for the marketplaces so they can buy private insurance, part of the Affordable Care Act was expanding the number of working families who would qualify for Medicaid,” President Obama told supporters.
“Here in just the Dallas area, 133,000 people who don’t currently have health insurance would immediately get health insurance without even having to go through the website if the state of Texas decided to do it,” he said. “There’s over $500 million just for this county that would come in to help families get health insurance — has nothing to do with the website — if the state of Texas made this decision.”
“And your neighboring states have made that decision because they look at it and they say, this is a no-brainer, why would not — why would we not want to take advantage of this,” he added.
The fact that President Obama gave this speech in Texas, home to the country’s largest uninsured population, isn’t a coincidence. Seeking to capitalize on the state’s large Hispanic population, there is a big push by activist Democrats with help from the party to “turn Texas blue.” Part of this effort is to pressure Texas politicians, including Gov. Rick Perry, to accept Medicaid expansion, which is part of the Obamacare.
There’s no question that the individual mandate is the center of the ObamaCare universe. Many other provisions are crucial to the law, but none to the extent of the individual mandate. This is what made John Roberts’ decision last June to abandon originalism by constitutionally validating the individual mandate tax-penalty so painful. Regardless of where the court came down on severability, the law could not have effectively functioned without the mandate intact.
Which brings us to the most recent episode of the ObamaCare delay game, this time focused on a one-year individual mandate delay. At the height of the CR/debt-ceiling showdown, I wrote a post titled “Don’t Settle for One-Year Individual Mandate Delay,” arguing that any acceptable compromise would need to at least delay the exchange subsidies to be an effective barrier toward full implementation.
Those were the good ol’ days where there was hope that the Republicans would stand together and fight for real ObamaCare concessions. Like defunding it or a one-year delay of the entire law. In retrospect, I suppose I should have written a post titled “Don’t Settle for…Nothing.”
So here’s my point again: The first year of the individual mandate isn’t that big of a deal. It’s an existential issue as a matter of constitutional law and individual liberty generally, but don’t believe the hype that the individual mandate is absolutely essential to ObamaCare in the first year.
There are two major reasons why:
TL;DR version: This is a pretty long post dealing with a subject that generally fascinates only those interested in fiscal policy. The short of what you need to know is that the CBO expects the economy to perform better in the short-term, with higher revenues and lower budget deficits. But the rising costs of entitlements and the cost of servicing the national debt will drive up spending substantially over the long-term with the public’s share of the national debt becoming equal to the size of the economy (or GDP). As if the baseline scenario isn’t concerning enough, the alternative fiscal scenario is even more of a disaster. All charts below come directly from the CBO’s report.
Forget Syria or the still ongoing war on terrorism. The real security threat is the national debt. That’s what Admiral Mike Mullen warned in 2010. Those words still ring true today, especially after reading the latest long-term budget projections released yesterday by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
The annual report presents the federal budget outlook for the next 10 years (2013-2023) as well as provides a look into long-term projections relative to both current law and alternative scenarios, the latter of which most economists believe present a more realistic view of the United States’ fiscal health.
CBO Director Doug Elmendorf told reporters yesterday that the “federal budget is on a course that cannot be sustained indefinitely.”
Delta Air Lines sent a letter to the Obama Administration in June warning them that the mandates and taxes in ObamaCare will cost the company $100 million.
The letter, which was made available via Erick Erickson at RedState, followed a meeting between Robert Knight, a Delta executive, and an Obama Administration official at Grady Hospital in Atlanta, where the airline is based. In the letter, Knight breaks down the various provisions of the law and associated costs that ObamaCare will impose on the airline and what it could mean for employees.
“The [Affordable Care Act] requires large employers to pay an annual fee of $63 per covered participant in 2014,” wrote Knight to the unnamed Obama Administration official with whom he met. “For Delta’s roughly 160,000 enrolled active and retired employees and their family members, this represents more than $10 million added to the cost of providing health care next year.”
Knight noted that the fee, which is essentially a tax, provides no benefit to Delta’s workers and is “a direct subsidy” from the company and its employees “to those who participate in [ObamaCare’s state] exchanges.” He also explained that the requirement to cover children until they’re 26 years-old and the individual mandate will cost the company a total of $28 million.
President Obama intervened earlier this month to ensure that his administration’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM) would, through its rulemaking process, preserve Congress’s and its staff’s 72% average employer contribution on the impending ObamaCare exchanges. The legality of the OPM proposed regulations that shift the Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan (FEHBP) contributions to the exchanges has already been the subject of significant controversy, particularly because it appears to contradict the intent of Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) amendment to PPACA (Section 1312) to require that Congress/staff live by the same rules as the rest of us.
But there’s another level to OPM’s rulemaking that directly violates PPACA: Congress/staff’s payments for ObamaCare coverage will be illegally offered on a tax-free basis. PPACA has specific provisions designed to ensure that employees are taxed on ObamaCare exchange coverage. The OPM rulemaking openly disregards those requirements.
Employer Notice of Exchange Highlights Loss of Employer Contribution and Tax-Free Payment
ObamaCare’s employer mandate may have been delayed until 2015, but its disastrous effects on the price of labor are still being felt throughout the country. Now we have a new prime (and hilarious) example of its inevitable market distortions. Much of the budding bureaucracy being hired in a California ObamaCare call center inform eager entitlement-seekers how to access the new ObamaCare dole will be working under 30 hours/week. Of course this hiring policy is designed to avoid, of all things, ObamaCare.
Earlier this year, Contra Costa County won the right to run a health care call center, where workers will answer questions to help implement the president’s Affordable Care Act. Area politicians called the 200-plus jobs it would bring to the region an economic coup.
Now, with two months to go before the Concord operation opens to serve the public, information has surfaced that about half the jobs are part-time, with no health benefits — a stinging disappointment to workers and local politicians who believed the positions would be full-time.
The Contra Costa County supervisor whose district includes the call center called the whole hiring process — which attracted about 7,000 applicants — a “comedy of errors.”
“It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be tomorrow.” — James Madison, Federalist No. 62 (1788)
Having celebrated the 237th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence this past Thursday, I was once again reminded of what a great country we live in; the “Land of the Free” where man is free to pursue happiness as he determines that to be, where you be anything you want to be and do what you want to do…anything at all!
You want to choose your own health care plan, one that meets your needs and doesn’t force you to pay for coverage that you don’t need, that doesn’t make you pay for alcoholism coverage even if you don’t drink, coverage for smoking-related illnesses even if you’ve never smoked, pre-natal and maternity coverage even if you are a single man or a great-grandmother whose child-bearing years ended sometime around the Carter administration (sorry, you can’t do that).
Obama’s former Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, famously said government should never let a crisis go to waste. Though not a crisis in the way the financial meltdown was a crisis, the unfolding scandal of corruption, and intimidation of American citizens at the hands of a politically-driven IRS is a great opportunity to consider repealing the income tax, and abolishing the IRS, the most hated and feared of all government agencies.
The income tax was conceived in a cauldron of boiling class-warfare bile, promising the poor and middle class that the “rich” would finally pay their “fair share.” A progressive income tax being a central plank of Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto, it was created as a tool not primarily for revenue collection, but for socialist wealth redistribution (“spreading the wealth around”, because “sometimes you’ve made enough money,” as Obama mighty say).
Yet in the drive to give government power to force their neighbors to give up their “fair share,” Americans unwittingly gave up many of their own rights, and opened the door for the great federal leviathan to enter our homes and terrorize us.
Under Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution, which reads “No capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken,“ the Founding Fathers directly forbade a direct tax, of which the income tax is a form. But in that raging spirit of class warfare, with promises that the tax would not be levied on the “average Joe,” but only those “rich fat cats.” Americans ratified the 16th Amendment and ushered in the Marxist income tax.
The rise of the so-called “liberty movement,” which sprang out of the early days of Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign, and of the tea party movement, which was a reaction to the one-party Democrat rule in Washington after the 2008 elections (with Obama’s victory being the likely spark) has forced the Republican Party to wrestle with warring factions in an attempt to establish a winning coalition.
Those in the media love to paint the GOP’s internal struggle as evidence of a party in the throes of extinction; as a party out-of-touch with mainstream America. But I think the “growing pains” the GOP are experiencing could potentially strengthen the Republican Party.
I am of the opinion that we have two political parties in our first-past-the-post electoral system. Few candidates have won major office in recent history under the banner of any party other than the Republican or Democrat parties. There are exceptions, but they’re rare, and those candidates usually win because of their personality, rather than a set of ideals on which a party platform could be constructed. Think Maine’s Angus King or Connecticut’s Joe Lieberman.
It is with that understanding that many within the “liberty movement” in Virginia have begun working within the Republican Party to move it in a more (small-L) libertarian direction. Our reasoning is that political parties do not hold a certain philosophy; they are vessels through which their members advance a set of ideas and beliefs. As the GOP looks for a path forward, it should look to the way the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) has embraced liberty activists.
After enduring months of salvos from the banking industry, credit unions are fighting back.
The above video from the Credit Union National Association, one of the industry’s two major trade groups, launches credit unions’ campaign to enlist their 96 million members nationwide to beat back lobbying efforts by the American Bankers Association and the Independent Community Bankers of America that would strip them of their tax-exempt status.
Credit unions have been exempt from the federal income tax ever since it was created in 1916 by the 16th Amendment, on grounds that they are “organized and operated for mutual purposes and without profit.”
This reliance on community bonds and mutual interest has allowed credit unions to serve populations that historically have had difficulty accessing bank credit, whether it be immigrants and other individuals of more modest means (highlighted in CUNA’s video by the striking fact that, though 40 percent of Americans belong to a credit union, they hold only 6 percent of the country’s financial assets) or particular small business niches that banks have tended to eschew (in recent years, credit unions have had notably strong penetration among organic farms and taxi drivers, for instance.)
And for as long as credit unions have enjoyed their exemption, banks have been lamenting it as an “unfair” advantage. The charge does not stand up to scrutiny. An April 2013 report from Yang Liu and Richard Anderson of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis examined whether credit unions’ tax exemption offered them a competitive advantage over banks, and found that the “evidence does not permit any sharp conclusions.”