Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Obamacare

Debt Ceiling Debate Charade Begins, Again

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, August 2, 2017:

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin warned Congress in a letter sent Friday that they had precious little time to raise the federal government’s debt ceiling before his department ran out of money. He even put a date on when that would happen if the ceiling wasn’t raised: “Based upon our available information, I believe that it is critical that Congress act to increase the nation’s borrowing authority by September 29.”

That’s the day before the end of the government’s fiscal year, and closely coincides with the moment when the Treasury will be unable to pay the government’s bills. The Treasury’s cash balances are expected to drop close to $25 billion in September, dangerously low when compared to the government’s budget of $4 trillion.

Mnuchin no doubt is referring to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report released in June that reminded citizens that

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Democrats and Fiscal Reality Present Roadblocks for Trump’s Budget

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, August 1, 2017:

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...

Deciding to move on following the failure of the Senate to pass the “skinny” ObamaCare repeal bill, the Trump administration announced on Monday its accelerated plans for passing its budget bill. According to Marc Short, President Trump’s director of legislative affairs, background work on the budget will take place in August in preparation for committee action in the House in September. Assuming little resistance there, Short hopes for a floor vote in October, a Senate vote in November, and the president’s signature on it immediately thereafter.

It’s good to dream big.

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Why Can’t ObamaCare be Repealed?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, July 31, 2017:

For more than six years Republicans have promised that, given the chance, they would repeal the odious, expensive, and unconstitutional healthcare takeover called ObamaCare. Seven times they have voted to repeal it, knowing that then-President Obama, its primary promulgator and author, would veto it.

But voters believed them and when Trump beat Democrat Hillary Clinton in November, it was going to be a shoo-in: full and total repeal at the top of the list. At least that’s what Rep. Mo Brooks, a Republican from Alabama, thought. So he prepared a bill: simple, straightforward, two sentences long:

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Trump Threatens to Cut Off Insurance Company Subsidies After ObamaCare Repeal Vote Fails

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, July 31, 2017:  

Sounding rather testy that the Senate didn’t give him what he wanted on Thursday, President Trump tweeted on Saturday morning that he would not only punish senators and their staffs but cut off the government funding of subsidies — estimated to be $8 billion — to hungry insurance companies. He tweeted: “After seven years of ‘talking’ Repeal & Replace, the people of our great country are still being forced to live with imploding ObamaCare!” He then tweeted the not-so-subtle threat:

If a new HealthCare bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!

He added verbal insult to the potential financial injury:

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At Least Papa John’s Pizza Arrives Fresh, Warm, and Tasty

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, July 26, 2017:

Democrats are so upset over the Democrat Party’s new slogan that some demanded that its originator be fired immediately. The slogan, unveiled by Democrat Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer in the New York Times on Monday, is: “A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future.” This was birthed after months of intense mental analysis of last November’s loss to Donald Trump, and it was, according to many, stillborn. The Gateway Pundit massaged Papa John’s Pizza logo on its website, showing Nancy Pelosi beneath the banner, and below, instead of “Papa John’s” was “Dems: Still Pelosi.” It’s worth clicking on it. (See Sources below).

Other Democrats were less charitable.

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Democrats’ New Slogan Channels Papa John’s Pizza

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, July 24, 2017:

English: Charles Schumer, United States Senato...

Charles Schumer

The Democrat Party’s new slogan, rolled out on Monday by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (shown, D-N.Y.) in the New York Times, sounds an awful lot like the slogan of Papa John’s Pizza (“Better Ingredients, Better Pizza, Papa John’s.”) The new official slogan of the party, according to Schumer, is “A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future.”

A closer look reveals old, tired, stale, and tasteless ideas of a party that not only has lost its way, but has lost a majority of Americans along the way. A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll revealed that

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CBO Raises Its Deficit, Debt Forecasts in Latest Revision

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, July 5, 2017:  

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) just revised its January report with new data on spending, revenues, and economic growth. The revision isn’t good:

The projected rise in [annual] deficits would be the result of rapid growth in spending for federal retirement and health care programs targeted to older people, and to rising interest payments on the government’s debt, accompanied by only moderate growth in revenue collections.

In other words, the CBO simply doesn’t believe that President Trump’s plans to reduce regulation, cut taxes, and repeal ObamaCare will amount to much. Instead the government programs on autopilot — Social Security, Medicare, and especially debt service on the country’s $20 trillion national debt — will eat up nearly 80 percent of the government’s total budget in less than 10 years. Said the CBO:

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May’s Jobs Report Stronger Than It Appears

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, June 2, 2017:

The headline number from the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) May jobs report, released on Friday, appeared weak: Just 138,000 new jobs were created last month compared to expectations of 185,000 by forecasters. But as usual, a peek beneath the headlines shows an economy growing steadily, providing it with more than enough workers to absorb those leaving or retiring.

After revisions were made to March and April numbers, May’s job creation was more than the last three months’ average of 121,000. Taking into account robust numbers reported from ADP, a national human resources and benefits firm, on Wednesday — it reported that 253,000 new jobs were created in May — Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics remarked,

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Trump Floats Trial Balloon on Tax Reform; Wants Feedback

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, April 26, 2017:

Initially referred to as a statement of general principles, the one-page summary of the Trump administration’s tax reform plan looked more like a trial balloon. Said the White House, the administration “will hold listening sessions with stakeholders to receive their input … [in order to] develop the details of a plan that … can pass both chambers.”

Reiterating Trump’s goals of growing the economy, creating millions of jobs, simplifying the tax code, and providing tax relief to middle-income families, the trial balloon as summarized would

lower the corporate tax rate from 39.6 percent to 15 percent, including Subchapter S or “pass-through” corporations;

 

reduce the number of individual income tax brackets from seven to three: 10%, 25% and 35%, depending on income;

 

double the standard deduction, currently at $6,300 for individuals and $12,600 for married couples filing jointly;

 

expand tax relief to families with child and dependent care expenses;

 

eliminate various tax breaks that apply mainly to the wealthiest taxpayers;

 

keep mortgage interest and charitable deductions while eliminating deductions for state income taxes paid;

 

repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT);

 

repeal the 3.8% ObamaCare tax that hits small businesses and investment income;

 

allow a one-time “tax holiday” for international corporations holding trillions overseas; and

 

eliminate tax breaks for special interests.

Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called it “the biggest tax cut and the largest tax reform in the history of our country,” while his Chief Economic Advisor Gary Cohn said the plan represented a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to do something really big.”

What’s really big is the potential deficits Trump’s plan could cause, with at least one critic estimating that it would result in $6 trillion in deficits over the next 10 years.

The underlying goal of the administration being pushed by Trump is that by cutting these tax rates the economy would awake from its slumber and start generating three percent annual rates of growth of the nation’s GDP. Although the Laffer Curve was not mentioned by Mnuchin or economist Stephen Moore (in his recent critique of the government’s economic outlook), it’s the same principle: lower tax rates to result in higher economic growth which will (in theory) result in higher taxes collected by the government.

The increase in the standard deduction is also designed to allow an estimated 27 million Americans who file a long form listing their mortgage interest and charitable deductions to use a “big postcard” instead. This “simplification” of the tax code has long been a stated goal of Trump as candidate and his administration after he was inaugurated in January.

Wednesday’s announcement is just the opening salvo in what promises to be a long war before anything reaches Trump’s desk. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is calling it a gift for the already-wealthy Americans who don’t need any more tax breaks. And Mnuchin referred to the Senate strategy of “reconciliation” that is likely to be needed to pass the Senate without Democrat votes. He noted that he hoped that the bill that finally passes Congress and is signed into law by the president will be permanent, but “if we have them for [just] 10 years, that’s better than nothing.”

Reconciliation would allow Republicans to pass it without a single Democrat vote, but would also cause the plan to expire in 10 years if it generates deficits. This is what happened to the tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush. When the projected revenue growth didn’t meet expectations, his tax cuts for the most part were automatically ended.

The obstacles are substantial, including determined if futile resistance from Democrats and complaints from the energy industry which might see its depletion allowance deductions cut or removed in Trump’s final bill. Those details will be revealed in June and could also negatively impact heavily-indebted public utilities and cable companies that might see some loss of their interest deductions.

On the other hand, winners could include companies that are currently most negatively impacted by high corporate rates in force, including engineering and construction companies, food wholesalers, publishers, and retailers.

The old proverb applies as Trump’s trial balloon gets translated into specific language in the tax reform bill in June: “There’s many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip.” A newer one is this from Isaac Boltansky, an analyst at Compass Point Research and Trading, who has been following these events closely:

The sugar high of tax cut headlines could turn into a nagging headache once stakeholders return to the painstaking consideration of process and pay-fors.

Trump Uses CRA to Roll Back Obama Rules

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, April 6, 2017:

President Donald Trump will be signing legislation to overturn a rule that the previous administration put in place prohibiting states from blocking federal grant money to abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood. The announcement was made during Wednesday morning’s press conference and will affect some $300 million of federal money this year.

The president has already signed legislation repealing or neutering 11 such rules left over from the Obama administration, with two more pending and a couple more working their way through Congress. There’s a time clock running: the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which allows a 60-day “lookback” on the previous administration’s rules, runs out on April 28.

The leftist DailyKos celebrated the collapse of RyanCare but warned its progressive audience that these small victories using the CRA are mounting up:

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Second Amendment Victories Continue to Pile Up

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, April 3, 2017:

The restoration of Second Amendment-protected rights in the states is happening so quickly that it’s hard to keep up. On Friday, the Georgia legislature sent a bill to Governor Nathan Deal that would allow concealed handguns on public college campuses, with some exceptions built in to appease Deal, who vetoed a similar but stronger measure last year. Jerry Henry, executive director of GeorgiaCarry.org, a pro-gun rights group, was realistic: “It’s not the bill that we wanted but it’s the bill we got. It gives [us] a foot in the door.” If Deal signs the bill, Georgia would become the 11th state with this kind of campus-carry law.

Georgia legislators also sent to Deal’s desk a bill that

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How Trump Can Accelerate the Failure of ObamaCare

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, March 27, 2017:

The seal of the United States Department of He...

With the withdrawal of a House bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare, Market Watch explored the options the Trump administration has to hasten the collapse of the ACA. ThinkProgress has reported that the process has already started.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, in announcing the withdrawal of the bill on Thursday,  said that ObamaCare would remain in place “for the foreseeable future.” He didn’t define that future.

The government healthcare plan is already fraying around its edges. Premiums are rising far beyond original estimates, partly due to the withdrawal of major health insurers UnitedHealth Group, Humana, and Aetna from offering coverages. And those remaining in the market have only until June 21 to submit their bids for offering coverages starting in November. But without certainty, a stable market and a broader pool made up more of healthy customers than those who are sick, those bids are almost certain to push premiums even higher.

Trump’s head of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tom Price, an opponent of the ACA, has already ordered the ending of the promotion of ObamaCare, which has caused a drop-off of enrollment of 400,000 compared to last year.

In addition,

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Cash-only Medical Care Benefits From IRS Non-enforcement of ObamaCare Mandate

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, March 27, 2017:

Exterior of the Internal Revenue Service offic...

Exterior of the Internal Revenue Service office in midtown New York. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Following the issuance of President Trump’s executive order in January in which he ordered the Health and Human Services Department to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision or requirement of [ObamaCare, or ACA] that would impose a financial burden on any State, or a cost, fee, tax, penalty, or regulatory burden on individuals, families…” the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) responded last month:

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ObamaCare is Imploding All by Itself

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, March 27, 2017:

The Physician

The best person to ask about ObamaCare is not the patient, but the doctor. He’s the one carrying the burden: trying to help his patients with one hand while trying to manage the requirements of the state with the other. One who knows is Jeffery Barke, M.D., a 54-year-old family practice physician in Newport Beach, California. He not only predicted the collapse of ObamaCare (ACA) but wrote that it was planned that way:

As ObamaCare’s troubles mount, I’ve heard my patients and my peers in healthcare ask: How could the law’s authors not have seen this coming?

 

For my part, I think a different question needs to be asked: What if they did? What if ObamaCare was purposely designed to fail?

 

Every day, it seems like there are a dozen new headlines about the crisis facing ObamaCare. Premiums are rising faster than ever. Meanwhile, health insurance companies are abandoning the law’s exchanges left and right, unable to compete in the top-down, regulation-driven environment created by the law. Less than three years into its implementation, the law has never looked so precarious.

He saw firsthand that ObamaCare never did what it was supposed to do:

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Who is Running OFA and the Indivisible Project, and Where?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, March 6, 2017:

English: Barack Obama delivers a speech at the...

In the beginning OFA stood for Obama for America, a fundraising effort during Obama’s first presidential run in 2008. After his inauguration it changed its name to Organizing for America and was housed inside the Democratic National Committee, which essentially controlled it. Now that Obama is out of office it has changed its name once again, to Organizing for Action, and its actual physical location and control center is unknown. It’s driving an attempt that has never been tried before: to thwart the programs of the new administration through political action, usually non-violent but occasionally violent.

OFA (the latest version) trains leftist organizers in the radical street tactics taught by leftist Saul Alinsky in his Rules for Radicals (and dedicated, by the way,

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ObamaCare Replacement Plan Introduced in Congress

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, February 16, 2017: 

Official portrait of United States Senator (R-KY).

Senator Rand Paul

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Representative Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) introduced their ObamaCare Replacement Act (ORA) on Wednesday. It would simultaneously repeal nearly all of ObamaCare’s most onerous demands and mandates while opening up the health-insurance market to individuals to purchase, or not to purchase, coverage. The bill, S.222, might more appropriately be named the “Health Insurance Freedom to Purchase Act,” putting the decision to buy, or not to buy, coverage back in the hands of individual citizens and taking it out of the hands of the federal government.

Senator Paul said,

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Bill to Repeal Obamacare Represents Major Paradigm Shift

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, February 17, 2017:

English: A Portrait of Thomas Jefferson as Sec...

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson said many things on which classical liberals and libertarians agree. The one most apropos to Obamacare is this: “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.”

Anything that requires government force (or threat of) to gain compliance is, on its face, immoral. But Obamacare did something else: it was a deliberate forced attempt to shift personal responsibility for one’s health care from a citizen to his government. Jefferson had this to say about that:

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Heritage Foundation Blames Obama Admin. for America’s Economic Decline

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, February 15, 2017:

The Heritage Foundation minced no words in commenting on its latest Index of Economic Freedom: America’s continuing decline is all Obama’s fault:

America’s standing in the index [now in 17th place, the lowest in history] has dwindled steadily during the Obama years. This is largely owed to increased government spending, [increased] regulations, and a failed stimulus program that enriched the well-connected while leaving average Americans behind.

For the ninth time in 10 years, America’s index has lost ground. Coming in above 80 in 2008, the United States’ current index is barely above 75, tying it with

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Jobs Report: Across-the-board Growth, Except for Government

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, February 3, 2017:

Friday’s jobs report from the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for January surprised on the upside in almost every category with job growth of 227,000 new jobs, beating economists’ predictions by more than 50,000. The report reflected numbers from the week before President Donald Trump was inaugurated, and showed growth in every major category, including manufacturing. On the flip side, government employment dropped by 10,000 jobs.

This is the best jobs report in the last four months, and exceeds 2016’s average monthly jobs growth of 187,000. Construction added 36,000 jobs, retail trade added 46,000 jobs, financial services grew by 32,000 jobs, professional and business services increased by 39,000 jobs, education and health services jumped by 24,000 jobs, leisure and hospitality added 34,000 jobs, and manufacturing added 5,000 jobs.

The job market was attractive enough to entice those not in the work force to begin to look for work once again, increasing the workforce participation rate. The labor force increased by 584,000 in January while wages continued to increase, rising 2.5 percent over the past year, and long-term unemployment dropped.

The report reflected a positive change, especially in manufacturing versus government. Over the last year the manufacturing sector lost 46,000 jobs while government employment under the Obama administration jumped by 162,000 jobs. Future reports from the BLS will confirm whether the January reversal has legs.

The January report is merely a snapshot of an economy in transition, which makes it difficult to draw long-term conclusions. Part of its rosy tone may reflect anticipation of the fulfillment of Trump’s promises, such as repealing ObamaCare, cutting taxes and regulations, and removing executive-order impediments that flowed from Obama’s pen especially as he was making his exit.

A broader picture suggests that, as good as the report is, the underlying economy is doing even better. Baby Boomers are exiting the jobs market and retiring at an estimated 10,000 every day. That’s nearly four million leaving the workforce every year. And it could continue for years as the Baby Boomer cohort exceeds 75 million.

There’s also the factor of robotics increasingly replacing jobs as cost-cutting continues to drive automation, along with the push from minimum-wage laws. And yet the jobs report reflected a growing economy that is able to overcome those negatives.

In addition, there is the difficulty of measuring exactly how many people are working and for whom. The Wall Street Journal raised the issue in its recent report “The End of Employees,” which said, “Never before have American companies tried so hard to employ so few people.” The problem, said the Journal, is that “no one knows how many Americans work as contractors, because they don’t fit neatly into the job categories tracked by government agencies [such as the BLS].”

For example, Southwest Airlines has about 53,000 real full-time, full-benefits employees, but another 10,000 outside employees. Google’s parent Alphabet uses contract staff from various outside staffing agencies such as Zenith Talent, Filter, and Adecco, running up an annual bill for those services in excess of $300 million. When Todd Gibbons, CEO of the Bank of New York, was quizzed on the matter, he responded, “It’s just too hard to tell exactly what’s going on with [our] head count and how people compute it and whether [we’ve] got contractors versus full-time employees.” If he doesn’t know how many people work for BNY, how would the BLS know?

What is clear is that January’s report, if it is sustained in the months ahead, reflects the new paradigm emanating from Washington: one of support and encouragement backed by real efforts to unleash the free market by removing some (many) of the impediments placed before it by previous administrations.

Is Obama Worst U.S. President?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, January 20, 2017:

English: President Barack Obama's signature on...

President Barack Obama’s signature on the health insurance reform bill at the White House, March 23, 2010.

If one asks Joe Hoft, a corporate executive with a Fortune 300 company based in Hong Kong about President Obama’s economic policies during his eight years as president, he will note that Obama “currently ranks as the fourth worst president on record in GDP growth.” At just 1.45 percent average annual GDP growth over those eight years, only Herbert Hoover (minus 5.65 percent), Andrew Johnson (minus .7 percent) and Theodore Roosevelt (1.4 percent) have worse records. However, “Barack Obama will be the only U.S. president in history who did not deliver a single year of 3.0 or better percent growth.”

Hoft will remind us that

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.