AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM


AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM: GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE,FOR THE PEOPLE -- ECONOMIC FREEDOM BASED ON FREE MARKET INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURISM -- WEALTH CREATION AS A SOURCE OF GREAT GOOD FOR THE DISADVANTAGED -- IMMIGRANTS PROVIDING UNPARALELLED ETHNIC, RELIGIOUS, RACIAL DIVERSITY -- OUR MILITARY PROVIDING AND PROTECTING WORLDWIDE INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM.

Friday, March 10, 2017

From The Associated Press - Not Another Right Wing Rant!

Donald Trump made allegations last week of the Obama Administration spying on the Trump campaign in the heat of the presidential election last year continuing on through December. The mainstream media reacted with shock, claiming the allegations lacked evidence and substance, and counter-alleged that Trump’s assertions were merely “fake news.” Apparently the media magnates don’t read their own papers, for all they would need to do is read their own publications to validate the President’s claims.
On March 4, President Trump tweeted a series of messages. Although limited to 144 characters per tweet, his message was a shocking one. “Is it legal for a sitting President to be ‘wire tapping’ a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!” he said initially. The first message was followed immediately with, “I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!”
His final tweet concluded the allegation, “How low has President Obama gone to tapp [sic] my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!” What followed was a flurry of predictable media reactions.
The New York Times front-page story was titled, “Trump, Offering No Evidence, Says Obama Tapped His Phones.” CNN’s news crawl proclaimed, “Trump’s baseless wiretap claim.” And the Washington Post, not to be outdone, exclaimed, “Trump, citing no evidence, accuses Obama of ‘Nixon/Watergate’ plot to wiretap Trump Tower.”
Interestingly, all of those publications have been printing stories over the past several months that provide the very evidence they said Trump was lacking. Just over a month ago, on January 20th, the New York Times’ front-page story was titled, “Wiretapped Data Used In Inquiry of Trump Aides.” That story went on to reveal, “The FBI is leading the investigations, aided by the National Security Agency, the CIA and the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Unit. The investigators have accelerated their efforts in recent weeks but have found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing, the officials said. One official said intelligence reports based on some of the wiretapped communications had been provided to the White House.”
In that one story, the NYT validates the following: that Trump aides were being wiretapped; data from the wiretaps were gathered; which government agencies (under the Obama Administration) were involved; that they’d accelerated their efforts (likely to forestall Trump’s inauguration); and that some of the data had been provided to the White House. And perhaps most significant, as far as Trump and his aides are concerned, they “found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing.”
Following Trump’s tweets an Obama spokesman declared, “Neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false.” Please note the wording, claiming they didn’t “order” the wiretapping. Was it perhaps suggested, intimated, or simply allowed? That’s unknown, but clearly Obama’s White House knew what the results of the wiretap were. And that’s according to the NYT. And frankly, if there was no wiretapping, there would have been no data to share with the White House.
Trump’s first tweet that morning intimated involvement of FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court involvement in the wiretapping of the Trump Tower in New York. Even that is validated by, not Trump tweets or administration officials, but by the media.
According to news site Heat Street, “Two separate sources with links to the counter-intelligence community have confirmed to Heat Street that the FBI sought, and was granted, a FISA court warrant in October, giving counter-intelligence permission to examine the activities of ‘U.S. persons’ in Donald Trump’s campaign with ties to Russia.”
The article continues, “Contrary to earlier reporting in the New York Times, which cited FBI sources as saying that the agency did not believe that the private server in Donald Trump’s Trump Tower which was connected to a Russian bank had any nefarious purpose, the FBI’s counter-intelligence arm, sources say, re-drew an earlier FISA court request around possible financial and banking offenses related to the server. The first request, which sources say, named Trump, was denied back in June, but the second was drawn more narrowly and was granted in October…While the Times story speaks of metadata, sources suggest that a FISA warrant was granted to look at the full content of emails and other related documents that may concern US persons.”
 
The facts surrounding Obama Administration FISA Court requests were later validated and reported by UK news sources, The Guardian, and BBC. Conspicuously absent was follow-up reporting by U.S. mainstream media. No wonder there is record low confidence in U.S. mainstream media.
And inexplicably, in the final days of his administration, President Obama in January “expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections,” according to the New York Times. Obama’s directive expanded Executive Order 12333. As the Times reported, they “found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing.” Yet, based on much of the information being leaked, it was obviously not just data and factual information that was shared, but also rumor, innuendo, and hearsay; in short, political propaganda.
The facts clearly lay out a systematic series of events and intelligence-gathering efforts where the Obama Administration was wiretapping and monitoring Trump and his associates in the midst of the presidential campaign. This is further confirmed and validated by the well-placed leak from the FBI of the discussions between erstwhile National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, and the Russian Ambassador to the U.S.
Clearly, based on news stories by the same media that is now denouncing Trump’s allegations, the Obama administration actively sought authorization to eavesdrop on the Trump campaign, and was eventually granted that authorization. They continued to monitor the Trump campaign even after no evidence of wrongdoing was discovered. Obama then relaxed the national intelligence rules to allow evidence to be shared broadly within the government, virtually assuring that such information would be leaked to news sources.
Some claim this to be merely attempts at obfuscation of the “Russian meddling” in the campaign. This is highly unlikely since the only thing the FBI and the other 16 intelligence agencies have produced for all their efforts to link Trump to purported Russian hacking of the Hillary campaign, is the leaked Michael Flynn conversation with the Russian Ambassador. Even the allegations against Attorney General Jeff Sessions are moot since his first meeting with the Russian Ambassador included several high-ranking U.S. military officers, and the second was at an event organized by the Obama Administration.
Some, including Mark Levin, former chief of staff to Attorney General Edwin Meese in the Reagan Administration, claim the Obama Administration’s targeting of the Trump organization, in the middle of a presidential campaign, was a more egregious abuse of executive power than Nixon exercised with the Watergate break in. He avers that it was tantamount to an attempted coup to prevent Trump from assuming office.
Regrettably, many government employees, who overwhelmingly are supportive of Democrats, are involved in the efforts to undermine, discredit, and delegitimize the Trump administration. These “public servants” who by a nearly 10:1 margin donated to the Clinton campaign, are obviously more loyal to their party than they are to the nation they are paid to serve. They are committing felonies with their leaks to the press, and arguably committing treason and sedition in attempting to destabilize the government.
These “deep state” government employees, including some in the intelligence services, are evidently colluding with three other factions in a veritable war against our democratically elected President. The others include, as one commentator refers to them, the “Snowflake Faction,” including paid protestors; the Democrat Party; and the mainstream media establishment. They are not just striving to discredit the President, but to destabilize the administration and destroy him utilizing every conceivable means available to them to do so.
The question is not whether the Obama Administration was spying on the Trump campaign, but how many laws they bent or broke for nearly exclusively political purposes in doing so, and whether anyone will be held accountable for it. The Watergate scandal pales by comparison.
Associated Press award winning columnist Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, Idaho and is a graduate of Idaho State University with degrees in Political Science and History and coursework completed toward a Master’s in Public Administration. He can be reached at rlarsenen@cableone.net.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

TIme Out For A Hearty Laugh!!



A man boarded an airplane and took his seat. As he settled in, he glanced up and saw the most beautiful woman boarding the plane. 

He soon realized she was heading straight towards his seatAs fate would have it, she took the seat right beside his.

Eager to strike up a conversation, he blurted out,"Business trip or pleasure?"

She turned, smiled and said, "Business. I'm going to the Annual Nympho- maniacs of America Convention in Boston." 

 He swallowed hard.  Here was the most gorgeous woman he had ever seen sitting next to him, and she was going to a meeting of nymphomaniacs. 


Struggling to maintain his composure, he calmly asked, "What's your business role at this convention?" 

 "Lecturer," she responded.  "I use information that I have learned from my personal experiences to debunk some of the popular myths about sexuality." 

 Really?"  he said.  "And what kind of myths are there?" 

 "Well, she explained, "One popular myth is that African-American men are the most well-endowed of all men, when in fact it is the Native American Indian who is most likely to possess that trait." 

 "Another popular myth is that Frenchmen are the best lovers, when actually it is men of Jewish descent who are the best." 

 "I have also discovered that the lover with absolutely the best stamina is the Southern Redneck." 

 Suddenly the woman became a little uncomfortable and blushed. "I'm sorry," she said, "I shouldn't really be discussing all of this with you. I don't even know your name..." 

 "Tonto," the man said,  "Tonto Goldstein, but my friends call me Bubba."

Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Stark Contrast: Compare This Proud "Protest" by Patriots In Harms Way to The Protests of Protesters Protected By Patriots In Harms Way


http://www.youtube.com/watch_ popup?v=5MtdIO23MKM

What Can Anyone With A Whit of Common Sense Possibly Conclude From This? Just the facts - you decide!

A partiial list of faltering or bankrupt green-energy companies using FEDERAL (your) cash up front:

1. Evergreen Solar ($24 million)*
2. SpectraWatt ($500,000)*
3. Solyndra ($535 million)*
4. Beacon Power ($69 million)*

5. AES’s subsidiary Eastern Energy ($17.1 million)
6. Nevada Geothermal ($98.5 million)
7. SunPower ($1.5 billion)
8. First Solar ($1.46 billion) http://joemiller.us/.../worlds-largest-solar-plant.../
9. Babcock and Brown ($178 million)
10. EnerDel’s subsidiary Ener1 ($118.5 million)*
11. Amonix ($5.9 million)
12. National Renewable Energy Lab ($200 million)
13. Fisker Automotive ($528 million) (Preping for BK 4/13)
14. Abound Solar ($374 million)*
15. A123 Systems ($279 million)*

16. Willard and Kelsey Solar Group ($6 million)
17. Johnson Controls ($299 million)
18. Schneider Electric ($86 million)
19. Brightsource ($1.6 billion) http://joemiller.us/.../worlds-largest-solar-plant.../
20. ECOtality ($126.2 million)
21. Raser Technologies ($33 million)*
22. Energy Conversion Devices ($13.3 million)*
23. Mountain Plaza, Inc. ($2 million)*
24. Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Company ($10 million)*
25. Range Fuels ($80 million)*
26. Thompson River Power ($6.4 million)*
27. Stirling Energy Systems ($7 million)*
28. LSP Energy ($2.1 billion)*
29. UniSolar ($100 million)*
30. Azure Dynamics ($120 million)*

31. GreenVolts ($500,000)
32. Vestas ($50 million)
33. LG Chem’s subsidiary Compact Power ($150 million) Plant idle
34. Nordic Windpower ($16 million)*
35. Navistar ($10 million)
36. Satcon ($3 million)*
37. Rentech ($23 million) (Closing down 3/13)
38. Ecototality 9/13 (electric car chargers) $99.8 million*
39. Konarka Technologies ($20 million)*
40. Mascoma Crp ($100 million)


*Denotes companies that have filed for bankruptcy.


The Joy of Growing Old


Lying around, pondering the problems of the world, I realized that, at my age, I don't really give a rat's ass anymore.
If walking is good for your health, the postman would be immortal.
A whale swims all day, only eats fish, and drinks water, but is still fat.
A rabbit runs, and hops, and only lives15 years, while a tortoise doesn't run, and does mostly nothing, yet it lives for 150 years. And they tell us to exercise? I don't think so.
Now that I'm older, here's what I've discovered:
1.  I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it.
2. My wild oats are mostly enjoyed with prunes and all-bran.
3. Funny, I don't remember being absent-minded.
4. Funny, I don't remember being absent-minded.
5. If all is not lost, then where the heck is it?
6. It was a whole lot easier to get older, than it was to get wiser.
7. Some days, you're the top dog, some days you're the hydrant.
8. I wish the buck really did stop here; I sure could use a few of them.
9. Kids in the back seat cause accidents.
10. Accidents in the back seat cause kids.
11. It is hard to make a comeback when you haven't been anywhere.
12. The world only beats a path to your door when you're in the bathroom.
13. If God wanted me to touch my toes, he'd have put them on my knees.
14. When I'm finally holding all the right cards, everyone wants to play chess.
15. It is not hard to meet expenses . . . They're everywhere.
16. The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth..
17. These days, I spend a lot of time thinking about the hereafter . . . I go somewhere to get something, and then wonder what I'm "here after".
18. Funny, I don't remember being absent-minded.
19. It is a lot better to be seen than viewed.
20. Have I sent this message to you before...or did I get it from you?

Monday, February 20, 2017

Teachers Are Voting With Their Feet


Daily Signal

Give people the chance to leave their union, it turns out, and lo and behold there’s a stampede for the door. And these fleeing workers take their money with them, money that politicians can no longer use to buy votes.

When we look at the decline in union membership and compare it to the recent political fortunes of the Democratic Party, you can clearly see that when people are given the ability to choose whether or not they want to join a union we are seeing less people voting for Democrats.

Donald Trump prevailed where other Republican presidential candidates failed in Midwestern states in part because of new right-to-work laws that have diminished the power and influence of the teachers’ unions, according to labor policy analysts.
 
“Did the labor reforms enacted in Wisconsin and neighboring Michigan help Donald Trump win those states?” Matt Patterson, executive director of the Center for Worker Freedom, said in an email to The Daily Signal. “No question in my mind. Hard to fight when your bazooka’s been replaced by a squirt gun.”
Two teachers’ unions, the Wisconsin Education Association Council and the Michigan Education Association, both experienced a significant drop in membership since those states passed right-to-work legislation. Such laws prohibit employers from entering into agreements that make union membership and payment of union dues a condition of employment.
Wisconsin became a right-to-work state in 2015, Michigan in 2013. Since then, government figures show, the teachers’ unions in both states have lost thousands of dues-paying members.
The drop has been particularly precipitous in Wisconsin, where in 2011 Gov. Scott Walker signed legislation that reformed the state’s collective bargaining process. In fact, the Wisconsin Education Association Council has lost about 60 percent of its members since Walker’s reforms were implemented, an analysis of public records by the Education Intelligence Agency shows.
Under Act 10, also known as the Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill, most of Wisconsin’s government workers, including public school teachers, are now required to contribute more for their pension and health care benefits.
Act 10 also limits collective bargaining to wage negotiations, requires annual union recertification, ends the automatic deduction of union dues, and allows for public sector employees to decide whether they want to join a union and pay dues.
Wisconsin’s right-to-work law gives private sector employees the same right to decline union membership and payment of dues.
The Wisconsin Education Association Council had about 100,000 members before Act 10 passed; the latest figures show the union with 36,074. The decline reflects what has happened nationwide, the MacIver Institute for Public Policy, a free-market think tank in Wisconsin, reported.
The Wisconsin and Michigan unions are both affiliates of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest union for workers in public schools.
The 3 million-strong NEA lost more than 300,000 members in affiliated state teachers’ unions from 2010 to 2015, according to the analysis by the Education Intelligence Agency cited by the MacIver Institute. That’s a membership decrease of 10 percent.
So what is the political fallout?
“There’s no doubt that with the decline in union membership here in Wisconsin, the political clout of the union bosses and their ability to automatically turn out members for Democrats has declined dramatically,” Brett Healy, president of the MacIver Institute, told The Daily Signal, adding:
After the Wisconsin Education Association Council’s loss of tens of thousands of paying members, it has become evident that the teachers’ union’s ability to influence the outcomes of elections and public policy decisions has waned in the past few years, Healy added.
“The Wisconsin Education Association [Council] was the single biggest political player in the capital, but after the passage of Act 10 and right-to-work, their membership, which is where they derive their political power, has declined,” he said. “A majority of teachers in Wisconsin have decided that their money is better spent in other ways rather than turning it over to union bosses.”
Act 10 has been transformative not just politically, but financially.
A MacIver Institute analysis of the legislation’s budgetary impact found that it saved Wisconsin taxpayers more than $5 billion. Most of these savings were generated by requiring government employees to contribute more for their retirement, according to the analysis.
“Gov. Walker and the Republican legislature not only saved Wisconsinites an incomprehensible amount of money but they also fundamentally changed government in Wisconsin forever,” Healy said a year ago.
Trump benefited politically from right-to-work changes in Michigan just as he did in Wisconsin.
But the billionaire developer’s personal appeal with blue-collar union workers gave him an advantage other Republican candidates have not had recently, Vinnie Vernuccio, director of labor policy at the Mackinac Center, a free-market think tank in Michigan, said in an interview.
“The Michigan teachers’ unions, which have led the charge politically in the state, have been weakened in recent years and that certainly helped Trump,” Vernuccio said. “But don’t underestimate the union vote for Trump in key swing states. Exit polls show he did surprisingly well.”
Among union households (where at least one person is a union member), Trump’s margins improved significantly over those of Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who was the Republican presidential nominee in 2012.
When Michigan passed its right-to-work law in 2013, the Michigan Education Association had 113,147 members, the Mackinac Center reported. By 2016, the union had 90,609 members, a decline of about 20 percent.
The Daily Signal sought comment from both the Wisconsin Education Association Council and the Michigan Education Association on the right-to-work laws in their states and the impact on their membership rolls and political activism. Neither union responded.
“Unions have been knocked silly in Wisconsin, thanks to the one-two punch of Act 10 and right to work,” Patterson, of the Center for Worker Freedom, a Washington-based nonprofit affiliated with Americans for Tax Reform, told The Daily Signal:
John Mozena, vice president of marketing and communications for the Mackinac Center, said in an email that he sees a growing separation between rank-and-file union members and union leaders that worked to Trump’s advantage:
In labor strongholds like Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, West Virginia and Missouri, union leaders have failed to turn out enough voters to create notable electoral consequences for politicians who introduced, supported, or voted for right to work or other worker freedom legislation.
That’s in part because union members have largely come to realize that these laws don’t actually hurt them or their unions. In fact, [the laws] give them as individuals more options than they had before.
Many union members also are voting against candidates that receive the lion’s share of their leaders’ support.
The contrast was most stark in the 2016 election, where almost all union leaders endorsed and used their members’ money to support Clinton. Yet in key states like Ohio, almost half of union members voted for Trump.
The only states to register significant increases in active membership in NEA-affiliated teachers’ unions over five years, according to the Education Intelligence Agency analysis, are Delaware (5 percent), Vermont (8 percent), Montana (16 percent), and North Dakota (19 percent).
Clinton won Delaware and Vermont, but Trump won Montana and North Dakota.
After spending several months combing through the U.S. Department of Labor’s LM-2 financial disclosure forms, researchers with the Center for Union Facts found that unions directed about $530 million in membership dues to the Democratic Party and to left-leaning special interest groups from 2012 to 2015.
The Center for Union Facts is a Washington-based nonprofit that advocates transparency and accountability on the part of organized labor. Every labor organization that falls under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act must file an LM-2.
Recipients of union donations identified by the Center for Union Facts include Planned Parenthood and the Democratic Governors Association. These donations fall within labor’s political advocacy budgets, which are funded by dues and “disguised as worker advocacy related to collective bargaining—separate from direct campaign contributions,” the center said in a release.
“I do believe a very unfortunate situation has developed where the unions are more focused on politics than they are on collective bargaining or workplace issues,” Richard Berman, the center’s executive director, said in an interview with The Daily Signal.
Since surveys show that about 40 percent of union households vote Republican, this means the dues of a substantial number of union members are directed toward political causes they do not support, Berman said.
But he said he sees a strong potential for the growing right-to-work movement to level the political playing field in future election cycles, as it did in 2016.
In the meantime, Berman said, the new chairman of the National Labor Relations Board should use the board’s regulatory powers “to provide enough transparency in the area of labor finances” to inform union members of leadership’s activities.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Not to Worry - The Never Trump Media's Hand Wringing Will Run Out of Gas - Real Poliicy Changes That Are Positive For All Americans Will Take Hold


Whatever your view on Trump – good , bad, or indifferent, there can be no doubt – he has injected an unprecedented level of energy into both sides of an already ideologically divided America. He is not to blame for this division. Trump's words and tweets are just that - words. We have yet to see the effect on all Americans of his policies. The outpouring of doom and gloom predictions will continue but, given how wrong these predictions have been so far, how can anyone with any common sense not put their money on Trump. He will continue to tear down the norms of decency - but only as defined by elitists - making the Trump vs, Media side show real fun for the rest of us to watch.  It is indeed a joy to witness the Washington, New York and left coast media yo-yos jumping up and down - grappling with the reality that they are actually not who they have believed themselves to be – really important and influential people needed to protect an uninformed, ignorant populace from the lies of nasty politicians like Trump. These folks never have understood their irrelevance in the minds of middle Americans so it doesn’t remotely occur to them that the table turned on November 8, 2016. Americans living in flyover country -- whose wants and needs have been ignored for so long, are now in charge.

Not to worry little snowflakes – sticks and stones may break your bones -but words will never harm you. We know the coming fight over policy will be really terrifying for you to watch – but, no matter what the outcome of Trump’s actual policies (not his words!!), America will be better for it
 
Atmosphere for Trump 
Will Start To Lighten 
As Democrats Grapple 
With Changes in Policy

By CONRAD BLACK, Special to the Sun | February 15, 2017

The preliminaries of the Trump presidency are ending, and difficult though it is to appreciate, the atmosphere is lightening somewhat. It is a little early to opine on the Trump foreign policy, but his first three visits from other government leaders have gone well. He did brilliantly saying publicly to the British leader, Theresa May, that “a strong and independent Britain is a blessing to the world” — a stirring contrast to Obama’s threat, delivered in London, to put Britain “at the back of the queue” if it left the European Union.
President Trump’s conversations with the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, seemed to go well also, as have conversations with the Chinese president. Comparisons between the Trump references to “America First” and the pre-war isolationist movement led by Colonel Charles Lindbergh have died away, as has most of the alarmist nonsense about Donald Trump. It is no longer possible to frighten the children of America with suggestions that Trump is a reckless warmonger.

The exchange with Canada’s Justin Trudeau was virtually a love-in, as was the remarkably cheerful joint press conference of Mr. Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu. It remains to be seen what will come of the “notice” that departed national security adviser General Michael Flynn gave the Iranians, but the president will pick his time and send a starkly different message to the groveling to Tehran of his predecessor.

Ah absurd overreaction to the executive order on admission of people from seven terrorist-wracked or terror-sponsoring states, which have been identified as such by President Obama, is subsiding. The administration will practice enhanced screening at point of processing, and may issue a new order; and presumably, when the vacancy is filled and cant and emotionalism have subsided, will ask the Supreme Court for a reference on the constitutional point of the president’s prerogatives in immigration matters. The partisan publicity-seeking mischief of the Washington State government and a Seattle federal judge cannot be allowed to stand, even on a moot point (if the present order is superseded).

Allegations of racism have died in all but psychotic political environs; the bunk about misogyny finally vanished altogether with the joint meeting on Monday with Canada’s Trudeau to promote women executives. The succeeding fatuity about Trump’s being an autocrat has wobbled away as he has indulgently abided by the antics of the Seattle district judge and the flaky Ninth Circuit in San Francisco (a court that has seen 86 percent of recent appeals from it to the Supreme Court meet with success).

His cabinet is inching through the confirmation process, protracted by mindless Democratic obstructionism. The Democrats must have scraped the bottom of the barrel with Senatory Schumer’s sniveling over the entry ban, Elizabeth Warren’s threats of individual vengeance on all 52 senators who approved Senator Sessions as attorney general, and Representative Maxine Waters’s attack on Trump for tolerating the Russian “invasion of Korea.” The Democrats have almost run through the Saul Alinsky playbook of demonization and harassment, and the president’s children and a grandchild are the latest targets, but no significant part of public opinion will support such sleaze. (It seems like only yesterday that Hillary was saying “When they go low, we go high.”)

The reality that Mr. Trump is president, is not going to be impeachable, and is substantially unstoppable, is seeping into the Democratic mind. There is now a health-and-human-services secretary (Tom Price) sworn to remake Obamacare and extend it; an education secretary (Betsy DeVos) who opposes the teachers’ unions and supports private alternatives to the state school system they have desecrated; and a Treasury secretary (Steven Mnuchin) who will present a comprehensive reform of taxes. A director of the Environmental Protection Agency who is skeptical about climate change (Scott Pruitt) appears safe enough for confirmation, though Mr. Trump’s nominee for labor secretary (Andrew Puzder, who is critical of much of the union leadership, while being supportive of working people) withdrew Wednesday afternoon over a variety of issues.

But the great political battle is about to shift to the attempted enactment of Donald Trump’s long-promised legislative assault on what he considered the rottenness of the entire political governing class and system. Health-care reform and tax reform are the first priorities, and comprehensive bills, if adopted, would erase what little there is of a domestic Obama legacy and improve upon it, and would incentivize the return of trillions of dollars of retained profit of American companies overseas, sharply reduce corporate-income taxes, and reduce taxes on modest incomes.

American corporate-income taxes are the highest of any advanced country, and it is a testament to the leftist dogmatism or simple complacency of the mainstream American media that there was so little agitation over the last 20 years for revisions to the tax code that would promote reinvestment of earnings in the United States. Historians of the future will wonder how the United States managed to be both overtaxed and chronically debt-ridden. There has been no shortage of advice from intelligent economic commentators, such as Martin Feldstein and Larry Kudlow, about how to structure tax reform, and the consensus of Republican economists seems to be that it is so complicated that it should be divided in two — with a stimulation of some cuts, fiscal enticement of patriation of foreign profits, and an infrastructure fund now; and more-comprehensive reform later.

With great trepidation, I think that the momentum of the election victory and the installation of such a radically reformist Cabinet must be exploited while the Democrats are still reeling, and torn between impressing their base in Hollywood, the media, academia, the militant feminists, and minorities (an awkward coalition of rich and poor with only patches among the working and middle classes) and bridge-building with the moderate-conservative majority.

While the extreme acrimony of the late campaign and the antagonism between Mr. Trump and the conventional media have ensured that there has been no honeymoon, there is still novelty and the expectations of the Trump supporters. The president is running well ahead of the Democrats in the polls, has twice the approval rating of the Congress, which has risen since the end of gridlock, and three times the approval rating of the media. If he can produce a tax system that enriches the lower-income families while spurring business reinvestment, he can generate between 3% and 4% percent economic growth, which would itself reduce the deficit by $400 to 500 billion a year.

Some taxes on elective spending and transactions would eliminate the rest of the deficit. This appeared to be the carrot he held out to a group of visiting bankers a few days ago — some higher taxes on Wall Street but sharply reduced regulation. Most of Dodd-Frank and much of Sarbanes-Oxley, and a great deal of additional superfluous regulation, should go.

The Obama war on business and the (Hillary) Clinton ambition to flatline the economy by making the voting majority of Americans members of some category of benefit recipient would go with it. It will be a mighty accomplishment if Donald Trump can bring the country back from President Obama’s plan to “spread the wealth around” by increasing the size of the public sector and forcing more people into forms of welfare, and refocus it on the entitlement of people to their incomes, as surely as they are entitled to enjoyment of their property — tempered only by the need to provide what the government must have to function, as opposed to buying votes with public money and inciting class warfare.

If at the same time, or right on the heels of it, he can produce a health-care plan that is universal, but based on tax credits for those with adequate incomes, and assistance for those who do not, he will have ended 20 years of stagnant, mainly gridlocked government. He will also coopt the entire center of the political ground. At the same time, he will have assisted the moderate Democrats to regain control of their party and make it again a centrist reform party capable of governing without reducing the country to shambles, as it did under LBJ, President Carter, and Mr. Obama. At that point, the popularity of the administration will cow even the more overwrought sectors of the media.

The confected hysteria is subsiding, and Democrats must now face the fact that many of their cherished mistaken policies are about to be torched and the ashes dispersed over the country. Mr. Schumer, Minority Leader Pelosi, and the rest will soon have to decide whether to make a course correction, and show some tactical maturity, or hurl themselves like grieving widows in colonial India on the funeral pyre of the fools’ socialist paradise they have been promoting for 15 years.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Why Obamacare’s ‘20 Million’ Number Is Fake


Genevieve Wood advances policy priorities of The Heritage Foundation as senior contributor to The Daily Signal. Send an email to Genevieve.

Liberals are notorious for caring about “groups” of people, but when it gets down to individual persons, not so much. You’re about to see this play out in spades as Democrats cry crocodile tears over the coming repeal of Obamacare.

You hear it over and over again: “This will be catastrophic for the 20 million people who were previously uninsured but now have coverage! You can’t take away their health care!”

First of all, no one is talking about doing that. Any repeal legislation will have a transition period for those who got coverage through Obamacare to move to new plans. And second, they will have more choices and better options. Win. Win.

But liberals would rather focus on quantity, how many millions we’ve given something to, versus quality, what does that “gift” mean for individual people.

The Obama administration claims 20 million more Americans today have health care due to Obamacare. The reality is that when you look at the actual net gains over the past two years since the program was fully implemented, the number is 14 million, and of that, 11.8 million (84 percent) were people given the “gift” of Medicaid.

And new research shows that even fewer people will be left without insurance after the repeal of Obamacare. Numbers are still being crunched, but between statistics released by the Congressional Budget Office and one of the infamous architects of Obamacare, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Jonathan Gruber, it’s estimated that anywhere from 2 to 7 million people now on Medicaid would have qualified for the program even without Obamacare.

That further discredits the administration’s claim of 20 million more Americans having health insurance because of Obamacare.

Multiple studies have also shown that even those who are uninsured often have better outcomes than those with Medicaid. A University of Virginia study found that for eight different surgical procedures, Medicaid patients were more likely to die than privately insured or uninsured patients. They were also more likely to suffer complications.

And it is important to note that this study focused on procedures done from 2003-2007, prior to the geniuses in Washington deciding it was a good idea to put even more people on the already overburdened Medicaid system.

Additionally, despite what proponents of the law promised, there is little evidence to show that the use of emergency rooms, which have a higher level of medical errors, has decreased due to Obamacare.

Then there is this reality: While Obamacare has handed out millions of new Medicaid cards, that does not mean the recipients now have quality health care. In fact, it doesn’t ensure they have health care at all. That’s because increasing numbers of doctors aren’t accepting Medicaid.

As a Louisiana woman told The New York Times, “My Medicaid card is useless for me right now. It’s a useless piece of plastic. I can’t find an orthopedic surgeon or a pain management doctor who will accept Medicaid.”

Keep that in mind every time liberal Democratic senators pull out the Kleenex boxes bemoaning the fact Republicans are the ones trying to take people’s health care away.

Speaking of which, a much underreported fact of Obamacare is how many truly needy and disabled Americans are NOT getting the services they need because of the expansion of Medicaid for able-bodied adults (aka healthy) of prime working age, 19-54.

So while the left talks about all the new people Obamacare is helping, it neglects to mention that over half a million disabled people, from those with developmental disabilities to traumatic brain injuries, are on waiting lists for care.

And many of them are on waiting lists because Obamacare gives states more money to enroll able-bodied adults than it does to take care of disabled children and adults who qualified for Medicaid prior to Obamacare.

If you think that doesn’t have a real-world perverse impact, note this. Since Arkansas expanded its Medicaid program under Obamacare, it’s rolls have grown by 25 percent. During that same time, 79 people on the Medicaid waiting list who suffered from developmental disabilities have died. I would encourage you to read my former Heritage Foundation colleague Chris Jacob’s full piece on this.

Finally, it’s not just those enrolled in Medicaid that are finding fewer health care provider options. For people who now have health plans through the Obamacare exchanges, new Heritage Foundation research shows that this year, in 70 percent of counties across the country, those consumers will have only one or two insurers to choose from.

Add to that the millions of people who lost the doctors and health plans they liked and are now paying higher premiums for less coverage, and you can see that quality health care and anything resembling “choice” has quickly disappeared for an increasing number of Americans due to Obamacare.

So the next time a defender of Obamacare tries to take the moral high ground about the millions of people the law has helped, ask them to define what “help” looks like.

Genevieve Wood advances policy priorities of The Heritage Foundation as senior contributor to The Daily Signal. Send an email to Genevieve.