News for social, fiscal & national security conservatives who believe in God, family & the USA. Upholding the rights granted by God & guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, traditional family values, "republican" principles / ideals, transparent & limited "smaller" government, free markets, lower taxes, due process of law, liberty & individual freedom. All content approval rests with the ARRA News Service Editor. Opinions are those of the authors. While varied positions are reported, beliefs & principles remain fixed. No revenue is generated for this site - no paid ads accepted - no payments for articles. Fair Use doctrine is posted & used. Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year] Follow @arra Contact: email@example.com (Pub. Since July, 2006)Home Page
One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics
is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato
Saturday, October 01, 2011
Herman Cain Speaks to National Federation of Republican Women
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain gives another "stem winder" when addressed the 36th Biennial National Federation of Republican Women in Kansas City, Missouri on October 1, 2011.
More than 1,500 Republican women leaders from across the nation are attending the event running from September 29 to October 2, 2011. Three GOP presidential candidates attended: Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. Many of the women who represent the leadership from all 50 states and the territories were sorely disappointed that other candidates did not make an effort to attend the NFRW convention. Some made the point that some Republicans candidates seem to forget that they have o win the Republican nomination before they can represent the Republican Party on the National ticket.
During the day, women attending the convention lined up to take part in the federation’s straw poll. The results will be released tomorrow morning.
By Dr. Bill Smith: In today's environment, we tend to focus on the actions of the President, his appointees, and the members of Congress. However, we also need to look at the numbers.
Ignoring the numbers keeps us in the dark as to the facts of what we need to do. Unfortunately, in the last decade, few of those elected have had practical business experience. However, that was not always the situation. Consider our early presidents. Our first three presidents George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson owned and operated farms. Their business experience helped them in office to understand the economy and the need to protect private property rights and personal liberty.
On Sept. 2, 2011, the U.S. Bureau of labor Statistics reported that there was zero employment growth in August 2011 and that the unemployment rate remained at 9.1 percent. These numbers caught our attention because of President Obama repeatedly claimed that his programs were going to create jobs. We Quickly understood that the numbers “0” jobs and 9.1 percent unemployment were significant and serious.
There are other numbers that shed light on our economic situation. In a recent newsletter, the Arkansas Policy Foundation (APF) executive director, Greg Kaza, identified the following "economic indicators that underscore the weak recovery evident since the recession formally ended in June 2009. These indicators have not recovered to their pre-recession (4Q-2007) levels. . . ."
Gross Domestic Product has expanded for eight consecutive quarters since 2Q-2009 but remains less than its pre-recession level.
Payroll employment is higher (131,132,000 in August 2011) than at the end of the recession (130,493,000), expanding in 10 of the last 12 months. The growth, however, has been so weak that it has not significantly reduced the national unemployment rate (9.1%), and employment is less than its pre-recession level (137,899,000 in November 2007).
Industrial production is also higher than at the end of the recession but lower than its pre-recession level. This indicator measures the output of the nation's factories, mines and utilities.
What about the economy of the states? Below are a couple of examples:
In Arkansas, after 43 years, employment by Arkansas' Manufacturers is now at the “1968” level. Also, "Government" (all levels including colleges and universities) is the largest employer. When this is coupled with the number of people on government subsidies, we can note that Arkansas is heading in an unsustainable direction. This same can be said for other states.
Fortunately, in 2010, Arkansas voters elected many new fiscal conservatives to state and local levels of government. If this trend continues in 2012, and elected officials are able to reduce both the size of government and general government spending, Arkansas which will be on the road to economic recovery.
In the Florida 2010 elections, the voters increased the number of fiscal conservatives in state government including the Governor’s office. As a result, there have been significant actions to reduce both the size of government and government spending. In 2012, if Florida continues electing fiscal conservatives to reduce and limit the size and scope of their state government, Floridians can expect a strong economy.
Finally, voters in the 2012 U.S. elections will have the potential to elect a majority in Congress and a President who are committed to capping spending, cutting wasteful programs and spending and pursuing a balanced budget. If this happens, their actions should lead us down the road to recovering our weak economy and will yield improved economic numbers.
Dr. Bill Smith is a certified cost analyst, National Contracts Management Association fellow. He is a retired Air Force acquisitions and contracting officer having directed billion dollar programs. He is also a retired graduate business professor and assistant professor in workforce education and development. Presently, Dr. Smith is a conservative activist and writer and is the editor of the ARRA News Service and several other blogs. Tags:the economy, weak recover, GDP, Gross Domestic Employment, jobs, no jobs, payroll employment, industrial production, government, growth of government, politicians, Arkansas, Florida, Unites States, . To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton and former Defense Department official Dan Blumenthal have written an interesting and timely op-ed about China and the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST). In “Time to Kill the Law of the Sea Treaty—Again,” the authors describe the duplicitous double game that China plays in the South China Sea by manipulating the provisions of LOST. China—which is a member of LOST—is interpreting the treaty’s provision on the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in a manner that prohibits lawful military surveillance activities conducted … Read More Tags:China, LOST, Law of the Sea Treaty, John Bolton, Dan Blumenthal To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Tags:Rush Limbaugh 2008, Hope He Fails, Barack Obama, 2012, failed programs, A.F. Branco, political cartoon To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
A few days ago, Sept 27, 2011, North Carolina Democrat Governor Bev Perdue advanced the idea of suspending congressional elections. She told the Cary Rotary Club, "You have to have more ability from Congress, I think, to work together and to get over the partisan bickering and focus on fixing things. I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won't hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover. I really hope that someone can agree with me on that. "Her press secretary claimed "she was joking." However, a review of released audio evidence that Gov. Perdue was not joking, but advanced her position as a response to a question by an audience member.
Perdue has been a "outspoken" supporter of Barack Obama. She advocated positions not in line with the majority of her constituents. The NC legislature is no controlled by Republicans and she is constantly advancing ideas which are not supported by the legislature. Wonder if theis idea was her's alone or an idea being "kicked around" by the democratic leadership. Consider the comment by former Obama Administration Official Peter Orszag who suggested that we should be less democratic. What did he mean? What is the alternative? Is it being more dictatorial or more fascist?
American's For limited Government (ALG)ALG offered an excellent response to Perdue's Un-Constitutional statement: "North Carolina should Impeach Gov. Bev Perdue."
[Video Source] Tags:North Carolina, Governor,
Bev Perdue, elections, Peter Orszag, Barack Obama, gridlock, politics, democracy, impeachmentTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Phil Kerpen, Chairman, Internet Freedom Coalition: In its efforts to impose crippling net neutrality regulations on the Internet—an idea with very little support from the American public or Congress—the Obama administration turned to the FCC to simply pretend Congress has given it authority to regulate. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals emphatically smacked down that attempt in Comcast v. FCC.
But President Obama and his close friend, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, refuse to back down. Chairman Genachowski used the threat of escalating to the regulatory equivalent of a nuclear attack (reclassifying broadband Internet as an old-fashioned telephone system) to coerce industry into accepting net neutrality regulations.
Last week, the FCC published its net neutrality order in the Federal Register, stating that effective November 20 the federal government will begin regulating the Internet. Americans didn't want this.Congress rejected it decisively -- it only had 27 sponsors last year. The courts rejected it -- they said the FCC did not have the power to do this. And voters rejected it, defeating all 95 of the candidates who campaigned on the issue. That's right a perfect zero for 95.
But, unless the Senate votes to overturn this order before it takes effect November 20, we will start down the path to a government regulated and government controlled Internet.
Under a special procedure called the Congressional Review Act, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is committed to forcing a Senate vote. Harry Reid can't keep this off the floor, and it can't be filibustered. We'll need 51 votes to succeed.
Institute for Energy Research (IER): The Obama Administration fast tracked Solyndra's loan application and now $535 million dollars of American tax payer money is gone along with 1,000 green jobs. How many more examples of green jobs failure do we need before we realize you can't centrally plan economic prosperity?
Tags:Solyndra, green jobs, jobs plan, Department of Energy, loan guarantee, Obama, Biden,
wasted taxpayer money, DOE, videoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
“Will Attorney General Dustin McDaniel stand with the majority Arkansans and 26 other states or will he continue to defend and support the failed leadership of Barack Obama?” asked Vasilos.
Last year, Attorney General McDaniel refused to join the 26-state lawsuit challenging Obamacare’s individual mandate, stating it is “frivolous” and “unlikely to prevail.”
“If the suit is frivolous, why is the Obama administration, 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business asking the Supreme Court to hear the case?”, asked Vasilos.
“Attorney General McDaniel wasn’t willing to fight for Arkansas workers by opposing the National Labor Relations Board’s assault on right-to-work states like ours and he still won’t fight for the majority of Arkansans who oppose the federal healthcare overhaul. What is McDaniel willing to fight for? It’s time for our Attorney General to stand up and fight for the people of Arkansas and the nation.”
Everyone’s In But AG McDaniel
“The Justice Department plans to file a petition Wednesday asking the court to review its recent defeat in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in the case brought by 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business, a department representative said. The court ruled that the law's individual mandate — the requirement that nearly all Americans buy insurance — is unconstitutional.” (Jennifer Haberkorn, “Justice Department to ask for Supreme Court review of health care law,” Politico, 9/28/11)
AG McDaniel Calls Obamacare Suit “Frivolous,” Says SCOTUS Will Uphold
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel’s Office: “It is our belief that any such lawsuit would be frivolous and would have more to do with politics than law.” (“Health care bill: Ark AG will not sue if health care bill is signed,” KTHV, 3/10)
“McDaniel said he believes the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold the law, but if it rules otherwise, he will work to ensure that Arkansas complies with the ruling.” (John Lyon, “McDaniel to Darr: State won’t sue over health care law,” Arkansas News Bureau, 12/17/10)
Majority of Arkansans Oppose Obamacare
64 percent of Arkansans oppose the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. (Arkansas News Bureau/Stephens Media, 5/9/10) Tags:Arkansas, Obamacare, Federal health Car Law, SCOTUS, Attorney General, Dustin McDanielTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Bill Smith, Editor: As detailed in the below William Warren's cartoon, Barack Obama has already proclaimed that "Republicans will 'Cripple America.'" Just a minute, was that said in future tense? Was that a slip of the tongue by "his majesty" projecting that he will be replaced? I sure hope so! For in reality the President and his administration are "Crippling America."
Rumors abound that in an attempt to secure re-election in 2012, candidate Barack Obama may turn to Hillary Clinton as a running mate. If so, that could gear up and put back on the talking circuit the "first black president" Bill Clinton. However, it is hard to imagine the former president supporting further progressive efforts to ruin the country which he watched over for eight years. But, then again, former First Lady Clinton may be desperate and willing to use the "goods" she has on the former president.
Bill Clinton did sway off the path while president, and he did fail to use military, CIA and other agencies to stop future terrorist threats against America. But, Clinton has received favorable credit for the economy and for reducing welfare during his presidency. It difficult to fathom that Bill Clinton tarnishing himself by becoming a spokesman for a failing president.
Historically, if Bill Clinton had chosen Senator Joe Biden as his vice president verses Al Gore, there is very good chance that Biden could have become president. I do not always agree with old Joe, but unlike the current incumbent, Biden has shown repeatedly patriotism, respect for the military and America, and grave concern for protecting America. And for the record, I believe that VP Joe Biden gave the best 9-11 remembrance speeches this year. He never missed a beat in his moving speeches. Unlike his boss, their was no doubt that Biden's heart was with the victims, their families, those who had responded, and the rest of America.
Tags:Cripple America, the economy, failed economy, Barack Obama, Obama speak, Political Cartoons, William Warren, Joe Biden, Bill Clinton, Hillary ClintonTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Sam Adams MMIV:: The amazing stories about failed solar panel manufacturer Solyndra and the loan program through which the Obama administration granted the company a $535 million loan guarantee with taxpayer money continue unabated this week.
The Washington Postreported last night, “The U.S. Department of Energy learned in December that Solyndra was violating its federal loan deal, but the agency changed the loan terms to allow the solar company to continue receiving taxpayer funds, federal officials confirmed Wednesday. Executives at Solyndra, which had been awarded a $535 million government-backed loan to spur its solar-panel production, confided to the Energy Department late last fall that the Fremont, Calif., company was running out of money and at risk of liquidating. The company was unable on Dec. 1 to make its first $5 million payment into a special reserve fund, which was required under the loan terms and designed to help protect taxpayers.
“Congressional investigators have questioned why the Obama administration agreed to help the company in late 2010 when it was warned that the firm was at risk of collapse. Internal e-mails show federal reviewers initially estimated they could save the taxpayers as much as $168 million by letting the company go under in December 2010, rather than resuscitating it and allowing it to draw down more federal money. Energy Department spokesman Damien LaVera confirmed Wednesday that the agency knew Solyndra had violated the loan terms but agreed to change the requirement to help Solyndra.”
And Bloomberg News wrote yesterday, “The glass-and-metal building that Solyndra LLC began erecting alongside Interstate 880 in Fremont, California, in September 2009 was something the Silicon Valley area hadn’t seen in years: a new factory. It wasn’t just any factory. When it was completed at an estimated cost of $733 million, including proceeds from a $535 million U.S. loan guarantee, it covered 300,000 square feet, the equivalent of five football fields. It had robots that whistled Disney tunes, spa-like showers with liquid-crystal displays of the water temperature, and glass-walled conference rooms.
“‘The new building is like the Taj Mahal,’” John Pierce, 54, a San Jose resident who worked as a facilities manager at Solyndra, said in an interview. The building, designed to make far more solar panels than Solyndra got orders for, is now shuttered, and U.S. taxpayers may be stuck with it. . . . Amid the still-unfolding postmortems, the factory stands as emblematic of money misspent and the Field of Dreams ethos that seemed to drive the venture, said Ramesh Misra, a solar-industry analyst in Los Angeles for Brigantine Advisors.”
And yet, the loan program that gave money to Solyndra is still pumping taxpayer dollars into “green energy” projects, as The Wall Street Journal editors discuss today: “If you thought the $535 million Solyndra scandal had chastened the fearless venture capitalists of the Obama Administration, think again.The Department of Energy shoveled out $1.1 billion in new loan guarantees to solar projects in Nevada and Arizona Wednesday, and more deals are pending before the $18 billion program funded by the 2009 stimulus expires Friday. We'll go out on a limb and say the rush raises questions about how carefully these outlays are being vetted, especially in light of solar-panel-maker Solyndra's August bankruptcy.The FBI, Treasury Department and Congress are all investigating who approved the politically connected California company's loan guarantee and why.The case is an embarrassment for the White House, which touted Solyndra as a model for its green jobs agenda. Yet the Department of Energy seems oddly removed from the uproar. In a statement yesterday, Secretary Steven Chu said: ‘If we want to be a player in the global clean energy race, we must continue to invest in innovative technologies that enable commercial-scale deployment of clean, renewable power like solar.’ Translation: China is throwing taxpayer money into solar, so Americans should, too. . . . It's always possible that some of the Energy Department's latest investments will turn out to be winners, but if they do then the profits will go to the private shareholders. If they fail like Solyndra, then taxpayers will get stuck with the bill.”
Read the Unfolding American DOE Tragedy within the pages of some awakening press before the Obama administration attacks with more inane rhetoric or worse. Did you note the latest DOE funds going Nevada where President Obama campaigned to keep Sen. Harry Reid's backside from losing in the 2010.
---------- Sam Adams MMIV is the pen name for an un-named beltway source. While receiving information from many sources, this Sam's words or source identifications need to be credited. Thanks to all the Adams patriots who speak up for America.Tags:Department of Energy, DOE, DOE Tragedy, American, Obama administration, scams, government corruption, government incompetence, solar panel, manufacturer, Solyndra, bad loans, Barack Obama, Harry ReidTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Tags:class warfare, jobs, job losses, Hallmark, Obama speech, Obama 2012, greeting card, political cartoon, A.F. BrancoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
U.S. Citizenship Should Not Be for Sale - Neither Should America
Bill Smith, Editor: A strong and outspoken voice for the welfare of America is 87 year old conservative Phyllis Schlafly. She speaks, writes and prays for our country. For decades, she has continued as a voice of sanity for defending America against its enemies against bad decisions and often our own stupidity. She is a watchman on the wall giving warnings and sound advise through her voice at Eagle Forum.
On a personal note, I dread the day, that I may no longer read or hear her warnings for America that she loves. But then again she may outlive me. But even more, I dread the fact that America's leaders have repeatedly failed to heed sound advice and to recognize valid concerns by her and others. As many have said, Wake up America.
The title of her latest article is "U.S. Citizenship Should Not be for Sale." However, after reading it, I noted the title could have been "America Should Not Be For Sale". Schlafly final paragraph drives home her point with regard to China.
While America is being co-opted from those on the outside but those who have found avenues right into the heart of America and its economy, our nation is being weakened from within by our own government.
Rep. Allen West (R-FL) was asked by radio show host Michael Berry a serious question: "Do you think that President Obama, the negative results of his policies and the destruction in his wake is inadvertent because he is inept or do you think as some people increasingly believe, even as Rush Limbaugh has suggested, this is intentional?"
West replied, "It's intentional. Because, ... this is who the president is. The President is a Marxist because he believes in the separation of classes. We have never heard a President of the Unites States speak as he is [speaking]. . . . When you look throughout history and you see a national leader that demonizes a certain segment of society, and attacks them, it has never ended up well. But, that is what we have. He is a socialist because he believes in nationalizing production. Think what is happening with the finance industry, automobile industry, health care industry, what could have happened if cap and trade had gone through but they are no just instead of the legislative process they are doing it through the regulatory process with the EPA. This expansion of the welfare state, the fact that we are seeing such a credible rise of poverty in America, food stamp recipients, and of course when we have 47 to 48% of wage earning households who are not paying Federal income taxes. . . . What President Obama is doing with his economic policies is making America a debtor nation. Five trillion dollars of new debt since he has been president. . . ."
As you read Phyllis Schlafly article, consider the fact that we (all sane lovers of America) may be missing the threats Schlafly details because we are so focused on the everyday negative actions by the current administration as set forth by Representative (LtCol) Allen West.
God Help America - we need it!
Phyllis Schlafly and Dr. Bill Smith (ARRA News Service) Discussing Threats To America! Photo by Julie McKinney (NC)
by Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum: Outsourcing is not the only way we are losing American jobs to Communist China. The Chinese have figured out how to capture jobs inside the U.S. by using our EB-5 visas (employment-based, fifth priority).
Most Americans have never heard of this visa, but the Chinese are now planning to use it to build and run a casino labeled Maryland Live! near the Baltimore airport. Boasting 4,750 slot machines, this $440 million casino will be one of the largest in the country.
Failing to attract enough U.S. investors for this big-time gambling center, the promoters went to Shanghai in September and made a sales pitch to 50 rich Chinese to invest $500,000 each in this Maryland casino, which seems to offer a profitable return. The sweetest part of the deal, however, is that the investor's entire family will be rewarded with a set of U.S. green cards valid for life, a system called "investment immigration."
EB-5 visas were created to promote investment in depressed areas, but the area isn't depressed and Maryland's unemployment rate is about 2 percentage points lower than the nation's. Skillful gerrymandering produced a map to label a parking lot in the huge Arundel Mills Mall a "targeted unemployment area."
Don't count on the Maryland casino to produce good jobs for Americans. If the Chinese follow the pattern they used in building the San-Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, low-paid Chinese workers will be imported to build and staff the casino.
To qualify for EB-5 visas, each investor need create only ten jobs, and they can be "indirectly created," whatever that means. And the investment can be withdrawn after only 24 months.
Another EB-5 case involved a dairy farm in South Dakota. It created some jobs, but 16 of the 17 regular employees turned out to be illegal aliens. Maybe milking cows wasn't an exciting occupation for Chinese families rich enough to make a $500,000 investment.
Idaho Governor Butch Otter, backed up by the U.S. and Idaho Departments of Commerce and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, traveled to China last year to sell the Chinese on the idea of using EB-5 visas to invest in Idaho. Otter is calling the EB-5 visa a "key element" of his effort to attract new foreign investment to Idaho.
So China is trying to build a 10,000- to 30,000-acre "technology zone" south of the Boise airport with full landing rights to the Boise airport, including industry, retail centers, and homes leased to the Chinese. This project will have a manufacturing and warehouse zone tied to the airport, and may expand with building and financing a fertilizer plant near American Falls, Idaho.
Idaho residents are not happy about Communist China trying to colonize their state. The multi-billion-dollar Chinese company initiating this project, Sinomach, has also sent delegations to Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
While more Americans are unemployed, living on food stamps, and being foreclosed on, Communist China is trying to buy our land, businesses, homes, and natural resources. Our globalist-minded government is assisting with the bait of EB-5 visas.
The free-trade advocates have floated the peculiar notion that we should import foreign students, award them advanced degrees, and then give them a green card so they can legally remain in the United States and get good engineering jobs instead of Americans. Where did the weird idea come from that our country of 300 million people must look to other countries not only for large investors but also for smart graduate students with advanced degrees?
Stapling a green card to foreign students' diplomas has become a favorite one-liner of New York Times pundit Thomas Friedman, Governor Mitt Romney, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) even introduced a bill called the Staple Act of 2011 (Stopping Trained in America Ph.D.s from Leaving the Economy).
The Times Square bomber is a good example of the deception that foreigners who attend U.S. universities are "the best and the brightest." He was allowed to stay in the U.S. on an H-1B visa, on the basis of his degree in "computer applications" from a so-so college, and was later even granted U.S. citizenship. Fortunately, Faisal Shahzad wasn't bright enough to accomplish his destructive goal.
We've had four nationally televised debates featuring 2012 Republican presidential candidates. It's a mystery why the usually aggressive media interrogators haven't asked any questions about how China is buying its way in America with our money, how free trade is cheating us coming and going, how China is stealing our intellectual property and patents, how China has sold us poisonous and defective products, how China is building a tremendous military machine with U.S. dollars, and the racket of the preferential visas that give jobs to non-Americans. Tags:Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum, U.S., citizenship, preferential visas, jobs to non-Americans, outsourcing, jobs, EB-5 visas, H-1B visa, trade free zones, United States, China, Barack Obama, Obama administration, Allen West, Bill Smith To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Update: Aug 25, 2012: The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia [pdf copy] rejected an EPA rule known as the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR). The rule was supposed to have gone into effect at the beginning of 2012, but the same court had previously stayed its implementation on procedural grounds. Last week’s ruling is the first to address CSAPR on its merits.
CSAPR governed emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) from Midwestern coal-fired power plants, many of them Electric Cooperatives, and other sources. SO2, along with oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and others is a precursor of acid rain, which causes widespread environmental damage not only in the states where the sources are located, but also those downwind. ------------ Bill Smith, Editor: Many people, especially in rural America, are about to experience a rude awakening with serious reduced access to energy. Why? Because as Frank York discusses below, under President Barack Obama, "the EPA is going to gut the coal industry by shutting down 20% of the plants by 2012." . . . "How many blackouts or brownouts will occur because of EPA’s over regulation? How many jobs will be lost? How many families will be destroyed? These are the unseen consequences of shutting down coal plants." And the liberal / socialists in control of the Obama administration and the EPA, do not care. There goal is to "break as many windows as possible."
Liberals subscribe to the
"broken window fallacy"
of economic growth
Frank York at EPAAbuse.com has the info: Susan Kraemer, a columnist for the “green” web site Technica, is encouraged that the EPA is going to gut the coal industry by shutting down 20% of the plants by 2012.
According to Kraemer, the EPA will shut down these plants by imposing a ground-level ozone rule (the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR). It is estimated that the cost of this rule will amount to $130 billion. Kraemer is thrilled about it.
In fact, she thinks this will be a great boon for our economy because it will be a bonanza for environmental industries. Yes. Destroy our vibrant energy base and provide billions to fund leftist green wackos. That’s liberal logic for you.
She has subscribed to the liberal nonsense that conservatives have termed the “broken window fallacy.” This fallacy was explained years ago by economist Henry Hazlitt in Economics In One Lesson. The theory goes like this: If a vandal breaks a window in a bakery, it may be bad for the baker, but it is great news for the window installer. So, according to liberal thinking, the more windows that are broken, the better it is for everyone. The broken window may benefit the window installer, but the baker hasn’t benefited. He gets his window replaced, but he has lost money he would have used to buy bakery products from others in the community so he can make cakes and donuts. But, according to Hazlitt, liberals like Kraemer don’t see the unseen damage that is done to a community when vandals break windows.
Kraemer doesn’t apparently care about the severe economic destruction that will take place in America if 20% of our coal plants are shut down by 2012. How many blackouts or brownouts will occur because of EPA’s over regulation? How many jobs will be lost? How many families will be destroyed? These are the unseen consequences of shutting down coal plants. But, of course, liberals like Kraemer can only see the benefit that this will be to the radical green movement’s effort to take down our economic system.
If Lisa Jackson and President Obama’s real goal is to turn America into a Third World nation, they’re doing an excellent job so far. Imagine what four more years of Obama in the White House and Jackson at the EPA will mean for us. Get your survival food, propane tanks, and water purifiers ready. Obama and Jackson are breaking as many windows as they can. Tags:EPA, CSAPR, coal plants, reduced energy, breaking windows, EPA abuse, Obama administration, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Contrary To Obama's Promises, Health Premiums Rise
Today in Washington, D.C. - Congress is on Recess - Sept. 28, 2011:
The Senate and the House are on Recess. The Senate will hold a pro-forma session on Thursday at 1:45 PM to prevent recess appointments by the President. The House is expected to be in session on Thursday to endorse with a voice vote the Senate's version of H.R. 2017, funding the government into next week. Then there will be a recorded vote in the House next week to keep the government running through Nov. 18. This second vote allowd conservatives to register their opposition to the spending rates in the stopgap measure.
On Monday, Oct. 3rd, when it will take up the motion to proceed to S. 1619, legislation dealing with China’s currency practices. The Senate will also consider a circuit court nominee and 5 district court nominees.
The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, “The health-insurance premiums paid by employers rose sharply this year, with the average annual cost of family coverage passing the $15,000 mark for the first time, according to a major survey. The 9% average increase in family premiums for 2011, reported in an annual poll of employers performed by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust, comes despite a continued trend toward more limited use of medical services in the U.S. Last year, family premiums rose just 3%, the survey found. The average annual family premium for 2011 was $15,073, up from $13,770 last year. For a single worker, the figure was $5,429, up 8% from $5,049 in 2010.”
And Bloomberg News added, “The groups’ findings, based on data collected through May, show that health insurance is consuming a bigger share of employer costs, preempting pay raises and making companies pass on more medical costs to their workers, benefit consultants said.”
Importantly, Bloomberg points out, “The health law enacted last year accounts for 1 to 2 percentage points of the premium increases in 2011, said Drew Altman, chief executive officer of the Kaiser Family Foundation.”
Of course, the news of premium increases brings immediately to mind the litany of promises made by President Obama and Democrats in Congress when they jammed through their unpopular health care law. After a meeting with Democrat senators to urge them to push his bill through, President Obama said, “Families will save on their premiums.” And Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) said at the time, “Bringing down costs of health insurance and making it more affordable is job one for this health care reform.” A few months later, President Obama claimed, “Your employer, it's estimated, would see premiums fall by as much as 3,000 percent … which means they could give you a raise.” Six months after he signed the law, the president declared, “All this is going to lower premiums. It's going to make healthcare more affordable.”
As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said earlier this year when federal judges first began to rule parts of the law unconstitutional, “As recently as last week, the President said: ‘This law will lower premiums’, yet since its passage we continually hear the opposite: insurers across the country are raising premiums to cover the cost of all the new mandates they’ll have to comply with. . . . Most Americans have opposed this bill from the start because they were skeptical of all the claims that were being made about what it would do. The process that was used to jam it through made it even less popular. But the reality has been even worse than people feared. It violates the Constitution — which is reason enough to repeal it — it’s driving up premiums, increasing costs, and driving people off the plans they have. . . . Democrats made a lot of promises about this bill. Virtually every one has proved to be empty.” Tags:Washington, D.C. US House, US Senate. continuing resolution, healthcare, obamacare, increase premiums To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Further Proof that the Health Care Law Will Increase Premiums
Yesterday, we shared a post by Dan Greenberg addressing Arkansas Democrats continued interest in pushing for "A State Health Insurance Exchange." Below is an article shared by
The health care law isn’t stopping health care costs from rising. Also, as the U.S. Chamber’s Communications Director, Blair Latoff notes, “this is only the beginning.” Government mandates will drive premiums up. Below is an article by Blair Latoff which is the subject of this post.
This survey quantifies the broken promises sold to the American people. The fact of the matter is, you can’t keep the coverage you have if you like it and premiums will increase, rather than decrease.
And this is only the beginning.
Some substantial new insurance requirements have already become mandated – first dollar coverage of preventive services – most notably but other significant mandates have yet to be imposed. While this newly released survey is worrisome in that it verifies our prognosis, the ills that will result are likely to only become more severe as all plans in the small group and individual markets will have to cover the prescribed essential health benefit package in 2014.
The Chamber will continue to urge the Department of Health and Human services to remember that, just like any other product, the price of health insurance will necessarily vary depending on the plan design. Prescribing a comprehensive design which plans must offer, will necessitate a comprehensive price. For example, when people decide to buy a car – there is an array of options available. While some people may want to pay extra for a car with leather seats and a sunroof – the price that accompanies a car with those options may be prohibitive for others who may elect to buy an automatic with manual windows and doors. To extend the analogy, if the market is regulated and automobile manufacturers and dealers are told that they may only produce and sell cars with leather seats and sun-roofs, all cars will be more expensive because they will all have these more expensive options, forcing many who would prefer to by a more modest car to wait for the bus.
So essentially, the health law requires manufacturers to only make cars with leather seats and sunroofs by prescribing the type of coverage plans have to offer. While we used to have the option to pay for basic coverage, the health care law takes away this flexibility, limiting choices and eventually coverage.
Bottom line, people must have the flexibility to purchase a plan that meets their needs and their budgets. Tags:Health Care Law, health care, obamacare, increased premiums, U.S., Chamber of Commerce, Blair Latoff, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
“The 9% average increase in family premiums for 2011, reported in an annual poll of employers performed by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust, comes despite a continued trend toward more limited use of medical services in the U.S. Last year, family premiums rose just 3%, the survey found.” (“Employer Health Premiums Rise Sharply,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/27/11)
OBAMA: “All this is going to lower premiums. It’s going to make healthcare more affordable.”(President Obama, Remarks, 9/22/10)
“This law will lower premiums.”(President Obama, Remarks To ‘Families USA,’ 1/28/11)
SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): “Bringing down costs of health insurance and making it more affordable is job one for this health care reform.”(Sen. Dick Durbin, Floor Remarks, 12/18/09) Tags:healthcare premiums, rise, obmacare, Obama's promises, failed promises, William Warren, cartoonTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Obama Advisors Raised Warning Flags Before Solyndra Bankruptcy
Cartoon by Jeff Parker
Today in Washington, D.C. - Sept. 27, 2011:
The Senate is in recess for the Jewish holidays and will reconvene for legislative business on Monday, Oct. 3rd, when it will take up the motion to proceed to S. 1619, legislation dealing with China’s currency practices. The Senate will also consider a circuit court nominee and 5 district court nominees.
The Senate will hold a pro-forma session on Thursday at 1:45 PM to keep President Obama from making any recess appointments.
Last night, the Senate resolved the week long fight over FEMA funding that Democrats initiated after they were forced to back down from their demand for extra unpaid-for disaster spending, which would have added to the deficit. Democrats failed to get the 60 votes needed for cloture on an amendment to the House-passed continuing resolution (CR), H.R. 2608, offered by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), which would have removed offsets to pay for extra disaster funding. Instead, the Senate voted 79-12 for a clean CR without extra disaster funding after FEMA announced it had enough money until Fiscal Year 2012 begins on Saturday, when previously-agreed to FY2012 money will be available for FEMA. The Senate then passed H.R. 2017, a bill funding the government into next week, by unanimous consent.
The House is on recess this week. The House is expected to endorse that Senate with a voice vote Thursday on a one-week stopgap measure. Then there will be a recorded vote next week to keep the government running through Nov. 18. This second vote will allow conservatives to register their opposition to the spending rates in the stopgap measure.
Today Rep. Jim Jordan, Chairman, House Republican Study Committee shared: "The spending package passed by the Senate last night reveals the startling priorities of Congressional Democrats. As passed by the House last week, the bill contained $3.65 billion to provide relief to the victims of tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, and other disasters. After going through the Senate, that figure is now $1 billion less.
Why? Because the House tried to do right by taxpayers by “offsetting” the cost of that $1 billion with cuts to subsidies for carmakers and companies like Solyndra. Senator Harry Reid and his colleagues chose to protect these subsidies instead of providing more help to families struggling in the wake of disasters.
The rest of the bill continues federal spending through November 18 at a rate that’s just $7 billion below current levels. For some perspective, imagine the annual federal budget as a family who spends $3,600 a month, $1,300 of which is borrowed. In this scenario, the spending bill cuts $7.00 next month. That’s it. While this bill is almost certain to pass the House next Tuesday even without my support, there’s clearly still a lot of work left to do – and that makes a Balanced Budget Amendment even more important."
The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday, “Long before the politically connected California solar firm Solyndra went bankrupt, President Obama was warned by his top economic advisors about the financial and political risks of the Energy Department loan guarantee program that boosted the company's rapid ascent. At a White House meeting in late October, Lawrence H. Summers, then director of the National Economic Council, and Timothy F. Geithner, the Treasury secretary, expressed concerns that the selection process for federal loan guarantees wasn't rigorous enough and raised the risk that funds could be going to the wrong companies, including ones that didn't need the help. . . . Skeptics, noting that taxpayers could now be on the hook for $527 million the federal government loaned Solyndra, said the administration would have been better off making greater use of market incentives, not individual company loan guarantees. ‘It was completely predictable that there would be a colossal failure among the bets,’ said one person familiar with the internal debate.”
Meanwhile, The Washington Post writes today, “The Obama administration’s vaunted initiative to catalyze the U.S. clean-energy industry — under attack for betting half a billion dollars on the solar-panel manufacturer Solyndra, which closed last month — has become a case study of what can go wrong when a rigid government bureaucracy tries to play venture capitalist and jump-start a nascent, fast-changing market. . . . While [Energy Secretary Steven] Chu was striving to get things moving, top White House economic officials, including Lawrence H. Summers, then director of the National Economic Council, doubted the government’s ability to shape a new industry, and some wanted to tighten up oversight by the Office of Management and Budget — even if that meant some guarantees would never be given out. Meanwhile, tumbling prices for silicon and turmoil in the financial world were changing project assumptions faster than the bureaucracy could make decisions. ‘The Department of Energy supports a process that would limit OMB and Treasury review,’ said an Oct. 25, 2010, memo to the president.”
The Post notes that after the stimulus bill pumped billions into the loan guarantee program used by Solyndra, “‘It was a manna from heaven. Too good to be true,’ said Michael Butler, chief executive of Cascadia Capital, an investment bank that has arranged financing for more than 20 clean-technology ventures. ‘Every proposal we saw planned on getting a government loan.’”
In sum, the latest reporting on Solyndra shows that the president “was warned by his top economic advisors about the financial and political risks” of the Solyndra loan program, yet the White House and the Energy Department were pushing to speed up these risky projects backed by taxpayer money. Tags:Washington, D.C. Us House, US Senate. continuing resolution, Obama, advisors, Solyndra, Solyndra BankruptcyTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Tags:Herman Cain, Herman Cain speech, Morgan Freeman, racism, tea party, A.F. Branco, political cartoonTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Bill Smith, Editor: Star Parker is one of the trench warfare conservative whom I hope to meet in person. She is ten years my junior, but when I read her articles, I have to say - "dang she knows how to step on some toes and hit the nail on the head. Why didn't I write that?" She is bold - very bold. Because of her life experiences, she can sense today's threats to freedom loving Americans.
Parker once lived in a cage environment created by liberals and big government. But after gaining her freedom, she determined to never go back and she now scares big government liberals. Many who have never lived the government cage still wear an unseen big government leash. As a result of being dependent on government, people find the leash being tugged to control their actions, choices and decisions. While most people do not see us living in a George Orwell's 1984 country, they do see significant signs of living in the liberal progressive world of John Galt identified in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.
Parker's article identifies many of the points that my wife and I have discussed. But I have not put pen to paper detailing the points. My opinion is that the Republican debates, not the candidates, "suck." Not because of the candidates, While I do have my opinion on the performance of the candidates, the important variances in the debates so far has been in the conduct by those putting on the debates.
I am disgruntled that Republican presidential debates have been made into a circus farce by those conducting the debates. With respect to the debates, I am even getting the strong indication that the "fair and balanced" network is no more "fair and balanced" than the "mean streak" liberal media. Ratings, hidden agendas and self aggrandizement appear more important to the sponsors, to those conducting the debate and to those asking the questions. There are a very few exceptions.
The holders of the debates and the media - including Fox News - pundits seem intent on shaping the debate toward whom they wish to be selected verses letting the candidates have equal time to share and have appropriate questions of interests to conservatives who will be selecting their Republican nominee. There will be future presidential debates between the Republican and Democrat nominee (most likely Barack Obama). Star Parker identifies important questions omitted from the debates of interest to conservatives.
Although I had intended to just excerpt parts of Star Parker's article, in the interest of education, I am sharing her complete article. At the end of the article, there are links to other published sources of her article where you can also leave comments.
by Star Parker: The presidential debates are looking more like symptoms of our problems than they do like part of the solution.
Maximum style, minimum substance. Focus on sizzle, forget about the steak.
These events are supposed to be about quality information, raising the bar, and producing a thoughtful, informed electorate. But they are being produced to provide entertainment, and we are barely getting that.
Technology doesn't take the place of substance. YouTube and real-time polling are not substitutes for thoughtful, provocative questioning.
Can it really be, after all the heat he has taken on Social Security, that Rick Perry was not pushed on how specifically how he would reform it?
Can it be, as expert after expert has laid out the long list of failures of Romneycare in Massachusetts and its unquestionable similarities to Obamacare, that Mitt Romney was not called out on his sidestepping and denials?
Can it be that, on a day where the stock market in our country dropped 3.5 percent and in China by 5 percent, that candidates were not asked what they think is wrong with the global economy?
Can it be that, when many experts agree that government meddling in housing and mortgages was central to the recent financial collapse, there has not been a single question on why Fannie and Freddie are still standing, propped up by government, and untouched?
Why, when everyone knows that Rick Santorum is a social conservative, would the question on "don't ask, don't tell" policy in the military be directed at him? His answer was a surprise to no one. Why wasn't Romney the one questioned on this?
Why, instead of wasting time on stupid questions like "Who on this stage would you choose as your vice president?" would the question not be asked "Who is your favorite justice on the Supreme Court"?
Both Romney and Michele Bachmann have said they will repeal Obamacare on day one. Shouldn't someone ask what happens on day two? What would they do to fix our health care system, which clearly has problems?
With all the focus on Social Security, policy experts generally agree that the problems of Medicare are much bigger and more complex. Yet, there has not been a single question about how to reform Medicare.
But perhaps even more fundamentally, the cable sponsors of these events have failed grotesquely to bring out the fault lines that divide these Republican candidates and the Republican Party.
Where are these candidates on Roe v. Wade and the role of law in protecting unborn lives?
Where are these candidates on preservation on the integrity of traditional marriage?
With all the talk about states' rights, why are there no questions about the appropriateness of a federal court overturning a popular vote in the state of California -- Proposition 8 -- to preserve the traditional definition of marriage in their state?
Or the denial of the District of Columbia government to even allow a vote of its residents on this issue before declaring same-sex marriage legal?
Does the collapse of the traditional family in America -- something undeniably happening as we rapidly approach having half of our children born to unwed mothers -- even matter? Should candidates not be forced to weigh in on this?
The downward spiral into an exclusively technocratic discussion about the economy -- like we're all laboratory mice in a box with politicians pushing the buttons -- obfuscates key differences between these Republican candidates and the two parties.
It is a symptom of the big problems of our country that we appear incapable of having presidential debates with serious questions.
------------ Star Parker is president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, and author of "Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can Do About It. View her article at either of the following: GOPUSA: Parker: Presidential Debates are a Farce Wasdhington Examiner: Why the presidential debates aren't serious Tags:Star Parker, GOP debates, debates, conservative issues, questions not asked, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Reid's Efforts To Shut Down The Government And To Oppose Trade Agreements
Today in Washington, D.C. - Sept. 26, 2011:
On Friday, the Senate voted 59-36 to table a motion to concur with the House-passed CR. Today, it will reconvene - late in the day as often happens under Sen. Harry Reid leadership - at 3:30 PM to resume consideration of the House message to accompany H.R. 2608, the continuing resolution (CR), which would fund the government through Nov. 18.
At 5:30, the Senate is scheduled to vote on cloture on a motion to concur with the House amendment with an amendment from none other than Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) which would strip funding offsets for disaster relief in the House bill. Senate Democrats have objected to House Republicans paying for billions in critical disaster relief funds by cutting green energy loan programs, including $100 million from the program that approved the Solyndra loan.
The Hill reports today, “The White House and Democratic leaders in Congress are at odds over three pending trade deals that President Obama is poised to send to Capitol Hill. Throughout the summer, Obama has been making the case that the trade accords with Colombia, South Korea and Panama will help the ailing economy by creating jobs. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) disagree. . . . Reid has vowed to vote against all three deals when they arrive on the Senate floor, possibly as early as next month. ‘I am not a big fan of free-trade agreements,’ Reid said on the Senate floor in June. ‘My voting record is in accordance with that.’ . . . Reid, a strong supporter of organized labor, lines up with the views of the AFL-CIO . . . . Pelosi, too, has added her skepticism about the number of jobs that could be created by the trade deals. ‘The White House may support it, but the Congress may have a different view,’ Pelosi said last month.”
The trade deals have languished for years because of opposition from Democrats. All three have been waiting for congressional approval since the Bush administration negotiated them. When she was Speaker of the House, Pelosi deep-sixed the Colombia agreement, and never moved the other two. And The Hill notes, “The president pushed for and made changes to all three agreements -- less than what he proposed during his 2008 run -- but that hasn't quelled concerns from rank-and-file Democrats over passage of the deals.”
Despite opposition from Democrats, President Obama has been pushing for approval of the trade deals. Unfortunately, they remain sitting on his desk at the White House. The administration had indicated that first Trade Adjustment Assistance needed to be reauthorized, which the Senate approved last week. As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell explained last week, “The White House asked for a ‘path forward’ on Trade Adjustment Assistance in exchange for sending these deals up to Congress, and we gave it to them. I can’t say I’m happy about that-–this is a program that I and many Republican members have serious questions about. . . . Both parties in the Senate have acted in good faith to move this process forward. Now, it’s the President’s turn.”
Yet today’s story in The Hill suggests Democrat leaders may be attempting to move the goal posts again. According to The Hill, “Even Obama’s push to renew the worker-assistance program hasn't diminished the opposition from some Democrats and organized labor who have deemed the trade deals ‘job killers.’” The story points out, “Last month, in a speech to the United Steelworkers, Pelosi said China's currency manipulation must be addressed before sending the trade deals up to Capitol Hill: ‘If you want to bring those trade agreements to the floor of Congress you better be prepared first to let us bring our bill on China's manipulation of its currency, which is unfair to America's workers.’ Reid last Tuesday also addressed the currency issue: ‘The first major jobs bill we're going to have is send a message to the Chinese, where we've lost 2.8 million jobs during the last eight years, and that is we're going to do something about Chinese currency. And we're going to do that quickly.’” However, the White House opposes the bill, so it would be odd for the president to continue to hold trade agreements he supports over a bill he opposes.
It’s time for the president to send these trade agreements to Congress and not allow Democrat leaders and pressure from unions to stall things any longer. As Leader McConnell said on Thursday, “[T]he White House has no more excuses. The time has come to send the three pending free trade agreements to Congress. We’ve waited for the chance to pass these trade agreements that our economy desperately needs, and that even the White House admits will create tens of thousands of jobs. . . . No more moving the goal posts. No more excuses. Tags:Washington, D.C., Harry Reid, Democrats, continuing resolution, trade agreementsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Arkansas Should Look Before It Leaps Into A State Health Insurance Exchange
Christian Olson, an AAI Analyst, has advised that "Today the Arkansas Insurance Commissioner Jay Bradford will ask the legislature to endorse a request for additional federal funds to design a state health insurance exchange. He will speak at a meeting of the Joint Committee on Advanced Communications and Information Technology, at 1:30pm in the MAC building (behind the Capitol building) in Room A." Is This An Attempt To Establish Obamacare In Arkansas? Also, note the following paper by Dan Greenberg - the title of this post. By Dan Greenberg, Advanced Arkansas Institute: Arkansas Insurance Commissioner Jay Bradford recently asked legislators to consider endorsing Arkansas’s application for another federal grant to fund planning for a state health insurance exchange. As has been discussed, the Obama Administration’s health care reform legislation (PPACA) may eventually require each state either to set up its own exchange or accept the imposition of a federally managed exchange—and several of Governor Mike Beebe’s appointees, such as Commissioner Bradford and Surgeon General Joe Thompson, have in recent weeks advocated establishing a state exchange. Although Commissioner Bradford presents this request only as a way for Arkansas to keep its options open, political realities demonstrate that his approach has multiple defects. Numerous red flags suggest that lawmakers should be wary of echoing the governor’s appointees’ state-exchange advocacy:
The Obama Administration’s attempt to persuade states to establish their own state exchanges continues to lag. Thirteen of 50 states—barely one quarter—have established exchanges so far. By the end of 2012, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) must decide which state exchanges will be ready to operate in 2014. In reality, that means the HHS Secretary will have to make decisions about certifying states’ exchanges in the second half of 2012—that is, in the context of a competitive presidential re-election campaign.
The Obama Administration almost certainly will not be able to establish federal exchanges on the timeline and to the extent that PPACA requires them. It is true that if states refuse to establish exchanges, the HHS Secretary has the power to establish federal exchanges in those states. But just because the federal government has the theoretical power to do something, it does not follow that it possesses the practical capability. For the federal government to make any significant progress in establishing federal health insurance exchanges in huge states like Florida or Texas in the next year and a half would stretch the skills of the most competent public-sector managers. It is less than clear that the managers needed to do this job—both in terms of quality and quantity—can be found by the executive branch, or that the Obama Administration can build up this kind of capacity in such an abbreviated time frame.>
Beyond the practical problems of administration involved in establishing a nationwide wave of federal exchanges, PPACA faces huge legal, political, and budget challenges. Congress has authorized no funding for federal exchanges (in contrast to the capacious flow of taxpayer dollars that are available as grants to establish state exchanges), and HHS presumably doesn’t have billions of dollars just sitting around in a bank account that establishing exchanges in half or two-thirds of the states would require. Furthermore, those states that participate in a federal exchange will not qualify for subsidies to purchase insurance (a legislative flaw that presumably arose from hurried PPACA drafting), a serious problem which itself could make the imposition of federal exchanges politically impossible. Because of partisan gridlock in Washington, D.C., it is highly unlikely that legislation that greases the skids so as to make PPACA more politically viable will be passed in the near future, especially by a Republican-dominated House of Representatives. Furthermore, the constitutional status of PPACA, after its likely review by the Supreme Court, is obviously uncertain.
The bureaucratic maneuvering by the Obama Administration in recent weeks demonstrates its understanding that the widespread refusal by states to adopt exchanges raises severe problems for the implementation of PPACA. In light of the fact that state policymakers have repeatedly been told that their only two choices are a state exchange or a federal exchange, the newest proposal from the Obama Administration of a third possibility is noteworthy. Earlier this month, HHS announced a third PPACA alternative: to let states and the federal government form a partnership to establish a state exchange. Under this latest proposal, various functions of the exchange, such as plan management and consumer assistance, would be managed cooperatively by state and federal authorities. This proposal for a hybrid federal-state partnership—a "third way" to establish exchanges—is best interpreted as a concession that the first two alternatives are not seen as desirable by state policymakers in much of the nation. Similarly, the level 1 grant that Commissioner Bradford wants Arkansas to apply for appears to be the latest in a series of efforts by the Obama Administration to sweeten the pot by making a state-level exchange more desirable to state governments. However, the rolling deadline for grant applications that it advertises (the end of every quarter in 2011) suggests that that deadline soon will likely be extended to some date in 2012. In short, the new options that the federal Administration continues to offer demonstrate its recognition of the politically weak negotiating position of advocates of state exchanges.
Lawmakers should be wary of governments bearing gifts, because the proffered grants may have strings attached. Currently, it seems imprudent for state policymakers to commit constituents and taxpayers to the obligations deriving from the creation of what will be, in effect, a new branch of state government. Furthermore, application for the grant that Commissioner Bradford advocates apparently commits the state of Arkansas to endorsement of some aspects of a state exchange: for instance, the grant application requires "a letter of support from the State Medicaid Director agreeing to collaborate with the Exchange on developing shared functionalities and ensuring coordinated approaches to shared or related functions, and briefly describing likely key areas of collaboration." The application also requires grant requestors to submit “a proposal that explains the approach the applicant is considering to establish” a state exchange. Lawmakers should ask Bradford what commitments the grant application itself will force the state to bear, especially because these commitments may later create large costs and highly uncertain benefits for Arkansas. Lawmakers should also explore whether postponing the decision that Bradford invites costs Arkansas anything at all.
------------- Dan Greenberg, a lawyer and former state legislator, is President of the Advance Arkansas Institute. Tags:Arkansas, health insurance exchanges, obamacare, Dan Greenberg, Advance Arkansas InstituteTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
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