Today in Liberty

Today in Liberty: Out-of-pocket costs could double under Obamacare, VA scandal exposes dangers of single-payer

“Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the national debt.” — President Herbert Hoover

— There shall be higher out-of-pocket costs: The pharmaceutical lobby is warning that Americans who’ve purchased health plans on the Obamacare exchanges could face big cost increases next year. ”The report for [PhRMA] was conducted by actuarial firm Milliman, which found that people on the Silver Plan, the most popular Obamacare plan, would likely pay 130 percent more for out-of-pocket prescription drugs compared to people on similar employer-sponsored plans,” The Hill notes. The study didn’t account for subsidies, which could help qualifying Americans lower their costs. That being said, John Castellani, CEO of PhRMA, gives us this gem of a quote: “Americans participating in the Exchanges were promised coverage comparable to employer plans and yet the reality is that many new plans are failing to provide an appropriate level of access to quality, affordable health care.” Thanks, Obamacare!

Today in Liberty: Harry Reid backs anti-speech amendment, emails show IRS DC office coordinated targeting of conservatives

“I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: ‘O Lord make my enemies ridiculous.’ And God granted it.” — Voltaire

— Free speech doesn’t apply to the Koch brothers, apparently: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is backing a constitutional amendment that would limit political speech, framing the issue around the Koch brothers, obviously. “It’s been tried before, we should continue to push this and it should become our issue. That really puts the Koch brothers up against it. We believe and I believe that there should be spending limits,” Reid told BuzzFeed. “We’re going to push a constitutional amendment so we can limit spending because what is going on today is awful.” Yep. It’s just “awful” that the people use the First Amendment to say things that Harry Reid doesn’t like.

— Speaking of Harry Reid’s Koch addiction: Jon Stewart took aim at Reid on Tuesday night for his obsession with the Koch brothers even though he defends the likes of Sheldon Adelson, a Nevada casino owner who spends his money fighting against online gambling. “What is corruption?” Stewart asked The Daily Show correspondent Jason Jones. “Corruption is a billionaire who spends their money on shit you don’t like,” he replied. “What is free speech?” Stewart asked. “A billionaire who spends money on shit you do like,” Jones said.

Today in Liberty: Tea Party picks up a Senate seat, Obama’s war on coal to hit consumers

“President Obama won the youth vote 3 to 1, but I don’t think he’s got a permanent hold on the youth vote. I think if we bring to them that message, that ‘You know what? What you do on your cell phone is none of the government’s damn business.’” — Rand Paul

— Ben Sasse, Tea Party win in Nebraska: Ben Sasse took 49.4 percent of the vote in the Nebraska Republican Senate primary, easily defeating Sid Dinsdale and Shane Obsorn. Sasse was backed by big-name conservative and Tea Party groups, while Osborn had the quiet backing of the Republican establishment. “Congratulations to Ben Sasse on his victory tonight in Nebraska. Ben is a problem solver who will be a conservative voice in our effort to repeal ObamaCare and bring much needed fiscal sanity to the Senate,” said NRSC Chairman Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS). “Ben Sasse is a results-oriented leader whom I know will fight for Nebraska and be a great advocate for the Cornhusker State in the Senate. I look forward to working alongside of Ben in the Senate next year in a Republican majority.” Club for Growth President Chris Chocola hailed Sasse as a champion of economic liberty, noting that he “won a hard-fought primary by building his campaign on the simple idea that ObamaCare is a disaster that needs to be repealed,” adding that “Ben clearly articulated a conservative vision to Nebraska voters who rewarded him with their votes.”

Today in Liberty: Glenn Greenwald blasts a “corrupted” Hillary Clinton, former CIA official endorses Benghazi committee

“For liberty to triumph in the United States (and eventually throughout the world) libertarianism must become a mainstream movement, converting if not a majority, at least a large, critical minority of Americans.” — Murray Rothbard

— Glenn Greenwald blasts Hillary Clinton: The journalist behind the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s disclosures didn’t hold back in his criticism of Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic presidential frontrunner. “Hillary is banal, corrupted, drained of vibrancy and passion. I mean, she’s been around forever, the Clinton circle,” Greenwald said in an interview with GQ. “She’s a f**king hawk and like a neocon, practically. She’s surrounded by all these sleazy money types who are just corrupting everything everywhere.” Gospel.

— Yes, it should be made easier to deal with a bad president: Impeachment, the mechanism in the Constitution for the removal of a president, has become too much of a political football to be an effective tool for Congress, says Gene Healy. It has also been misinterpreted by legal schools. Healy points to one law professor, Sanford Levinson, who is pushing for a new way to deal with a bad president. “Levinson favors a constitutional amendment allowing a congressional ‘no confidence’ vote and removal of the president. Adding that “safety valve” to the Constitution would be a long shot, to say the least,” Healy writes. “But years ago, we went through a yearlong constitutional conniption because the Constitution makes it so absurdly difficult to dethrone a misbehaving executive. Given the vast powers the modern president wields, it ought to be easier to ‘throw the bum out.’”

Today in Liberty: White House wanted Geithner to lie on Sunday shows, Boehner won’t arrest Lerner

“Increasing the minimum wage is political pandering, pure and simple. It does nothing to increase economic growth, which would create millions of jobs and lead to higher wages for everybody. The government shouldn’t set the price of labor, the free market should. It’s sad that some would rather play politics instead of making the case for pro-growth policies like tax reform and passing new trade deals with other nations.”Club for Growth President Chris Chocola

— White House wanted Geithner to lie about Social Security: In his new book, Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises, former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner says that the White House wanted him to lie about Social Security’s impact on the federal deficit on Sunday talk shows. “I remember during one Roosevelt Room prep session before I appeared on the Sunday shows, I objected when Dan Pfeiffer wanted me to say Social Security didn’t contribute to the deficit. It wasn’t a main driver of our future deficits, but it did contribute,” Geithner writes. “Pfeiffer said the line was a ‘dog whistle’ to the left, a phrase I had never heard before. He had to explain that the phrase was code to the Democratic base, signaling that we intended to protect Social Security.” By the way, Social Security consumed 4.9 percent of the economy in 2013, slightly more than major government healthcare programs. Over the long-term, the Ponzi scheme will be outpaced by Medicare, but not by much.

Today in Liberty: Rand Paul calls for unity, Harry Reid wants to bring back earmarks

“We’re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.” — Hillary Clinton

— Tillis tops Brannon, grassroots in #NCSen Republican primary: North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis crossed the 40 percent threshold to avoid a July 15 runoff against Raleigh OB/GYN Greg Brannon tonight. With 100 percent of precincts reporting Tillis garnered 45.7 percent to Brannon’s 27.1 percent. Tillis was backed heavily by establishment elements like Republican strategist Karl Rove and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Brannon rallied support from Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee as well as FreedomWorks and talk radio show host Mark Levin. Tillis’ outright victory is a setback for the “wacko bird” caucus in Washington, which has sought to thwart big-spending, compromise-at-all-cost Republicans. The Republican nominee will face-off against embattled incumbent Kay Hagan in the November election. The Real Clear Politics average gives Hagan only a slight lead over Tillis.

Today in Liberty: Americans reject Obama’s “change,” Supreme Court passes on gun rights case

“The phone records of innocent Americans do not relate to terrorism, whatsoever; and they are not reasonably likely to lead to information that relates to terrorism. Put simply, the phone calls we make to our friends, our families, and business associates are private and have nothing to do with terrorism or the government’s efforts to stop it.” — Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI)

— Primary day in North Carolina: Voters in the Tar Heel State will head to the polls today to cast their votes in their respective party primaries. Among the most watched races is the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, where Greg Brannon is hoping to pull state House Speaker Thom Tillis into a runoff. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) visited the state yesterday to stump for Brannon. “As we stand here, the debt clock is spiraling out of control,” Paul told a crowd gathered in Charlotte. “Send us a champion. Send us a hero. Send us a dragon slayer,” he added, referring to Brannon. Public Policy Polling’s final survey, released yesterday, shows that Brannon has picked up steam, but Tillis is hovering at the 40 percent mark needed to avoid the runoff.

Today in Liberty: Rand Paul targets nominee over drones memo, young Millennials offer hope for GOP

— Busy week on Capitol Hill: Republicans will hold a vote on a contempt resolution against disgraced IRS official Lois Lerner as well as hold a vote to call for a special prosecutor to investigate the tax agency’s targeting of conservative groups. The lower-chamber may also vote on a measure to establish a select committee on Benghazi. The Senate, however, is likely to vote on some sort of measure to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline, the only question of which is whether it’ll be binding or a nonbinding “Sense of the Senate” resolution.

Today in Liberty: Obamacare’s missing Millennials, data review urges privacy law reform

“The strongest continuous thread in America’s political tradition is skepticism about government.” — George Will

— Just 28 percent of Obamacare enrollees are Millennials: The Obama administration finished first Obamacare open enrollment period far short of its target for 18 to 34-year-olds. The administration estimated that it needed between 38 to 40 percent of enrollments to be from Millennials for the risk pools to be sustainable. It got 28 percent. “The administration is still touting 8 million sign-ups—technically 8.019 million—when the official open enrollment period of October 2013 through March 2014 is combined with stragglers who came in during the special enrollment period through April 19,” Peter Suderman explains, based on the latest figures. “It’s still the case that just 28 percent of those sign-ups were between the ages of 18 and 34, far short of the administration’s target of 39 percent. State-by-state variation remains significant, with some states seeing robust sign-up activity and others posting relatively weak numbers.”

Today in Liberty: Chinese economy to pass United States, conservative Millennials more likely to vote this fall

Today in Liberty is a daily roundup of recent political news and other interesting stories presented with liberty-minded commentary. We frequently keep tabs on liberty-minded politicians and candidates in these updates. Click here to receive Today in Liberty every weekday morning via email.

— First quarter GDP figure disappoints: Though the stock market finished strong yesterday, the first quarter GDP figure was nothing to be happy about. The economy is still sputtering along, folks. “The Bureau of Economic Analysis released its first report for GDP growth in the first quarter of 2014 today,” the Heritage Foundation notes. “It showed the economy grew at an anemic 0.1 percent from January to March. The more meaningful measure of growth, private-sector GDP, rose by a still meager 0.2 percent.” If healthcare spending hadn’t skyrocketed by almost 10 percent in the first three months of the year, first quarter GDP would have been in the negative. Rick Santelli’s reaction? “Holy cow.”


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