Republicans to unpick Obama's health reforms
Barely 24 hours after the Republicans stormed back to take control of Congress, the first roadblocks to bipartisanship appeared over the President's healthcare reforms.
Although talk after the midterm congressional elections was marked by tones of compromise and contrition, the probable new Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, repeated Republican pledges to try to repeal Barack Obama's policy.
"I believe that the healthcare bill that was enacted by the current Congress will kill jobs in America, ruin the best healthcare system in the world and bankrupt our country," he said.
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"That means we have to do everything we can to try to repeal this bill and replace it with commonsense reforms that will bring down the cost of health insurance."
But Mr Obama made clear that he was only interested in tinkering with of the bill and explained Tuesday's landslide as reflecting people's "number-one concern . the economy".
He rejected suggestions that he was taking the country in the wrong direction, but appeared to leave the door open to compromises that could see an extension of the George Bush-era tax cuts to everyone, including the rich, as well as the fine-tuning of his financial regulatory reforms and the plans for energy independence.
But he wants the Republicans to agree to extend dole payments to long-term unemployed beyond the current 99 weeks, with as many as 2 million jobless set to lose their benefits at the end of this month.
Eric Cantor of Virginia, who is likely to become the Republicans' leader in the House, unveiled a plan of budget cuts and Obama policy reversals.
Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who is in line to chair the House Budget committee, insisted: "We should not allow any tax increases, period, because it's going to slow the economy down. If you want to get this deficit down, you need two things: economic growth and spending cuts."
Soak the rich? An interesting vote from the other Washington
Do Americans share President Obama's desire to impose redistributive social justice on the well off? In liberal Washington State, of all places, voters gave a definitive answer this Tuesday: No! The resounding rejection of a punitive "Robin Hood" initiative shows that it's not just red-state Republicans who oppose extreme tax hikes on the nation's wealth generators.
As Capitol Hill resumes debate on whether to extend the so-called "Bush tax cuts," the White House should pay special heed to the fate of little-noticed Initiative 1098. Its defeat by a whopping 65-35 margin doesn't bode well for Team Obama's class warriors still clinging bitterly to their soak-the-rich schemes. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner insisted this summer that saddling higher earners with higher taxes was "the responsible thing to do." Given the chance to weigh in at the ballot box, a diverse majority of voters in the other Washington determined otherwise.
The Evergreen State is just one of seven states in the nation without a personal income tax. The ballot measure, which would have enacted a state income tax on the wealthiest 1 percent of Washington residents to raise $2 billion for bankrupt public schools, was sponsored by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his left-wing corporate lawyer father. Top donors? The Service Employees International Union, whose state and national chapters threw in a combined $2.5 million of its members' hard-earned dues money, and the National Education Association, which pitched in nearly $760,000.
Hiding behind kiddie human shields, the I-1098 campaign assailed the wealthy for "not paying their fair share" and plastered their campaign literature with sad-faced students and toddlers. Big Labor has been pushing a punish-the-wealthy movement for months. According to Forbes magazine, "six of the 10 states with the highest income tax rates -- Oregon, California, Hawaii, New York, New Jersey and North Carolina -- raised their levies on high earners, at least temporarily" last year.
But business owners large and small, representing companies from Bartell Drugs to Amazon.com, successfully fought back against the job-killing measure in Washington State. Disavowing the Gateses, Microsoft honcho Steve Ballmer also joined the opposition. The software company's senior executives expressed grave concern "about the impact I-1098 will have on the state's ability to attract top tech talent in the future."
Liberal newspaper editorial boards including the Seattle Times and Tacoma News Tribune added their objections, citing I-1098's reckless targeting of wealth-creation in the middle of a recession and the inevitable extension and increase of income taxes to the middle class. And economists at the independent, nonpartisan Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University found that I-1098's tax burdens would lengthen and deepen the current economic downturn by destroying private sector jobs, reducing residents' disposable income and prolonging the state's high unemployment rate.
Amber Gunn of the free-market Evergreen Freedom Foundation in Olympia, Wash., gave the bottom line on I-1098's unreality-based advocates: "Initiative proponents like to operate in a Keynesian world where higher tax rates and their effects on human behavior and competitiveness among states don't matter. But those effects are present in the real world and must be accounted for."
Republicans must stop allowing the White House to demonize America's entrepreneurs and producers. By continuing to refer to them as beneficiaries of the "Bush tax cuts" instead of as the besieged victims of Obama tax increases, the GOP cedes the moral high ground. It's time to make the White House own its noxious war on wealth.
Obama's Big Spending Days Are Over
The new conservative majority in the House and at least six more Republicans in the Senate gives the GOP de facto control of Congress and its agenda for the next two years.
Nothing can be enacted without the approval of the GOP House, and the enlarged Republican caucus in the Senate has significantly strengthened Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's hand against a smaller, weaker and more fractured Democrat majority.
With fewer (52 or 53) Democrats on his side of the aisle, Majority Leader Harry Reid faces a lot of narrow votes and, more than likely, losing ones. President Obama's stalled tax-and-trade energy bill never went anywhere in the Senate because a bunch of Democrats from fossil-fuel-manufacturing states and the Republicans teamed up to block it. Now the votes are there to kill it.
The Obama administration's big-spending agenda is going to get the cold shoulder, too, when the president sends his budget plan up to Capitol Hill next year. If the voters spoke loud and clear on any issue, it was their belief that government has grown too big and spends too much.
After racking up nearly $3 trillion in deficits in just his first two years in office, with another $1 trillion-plus deficit in store for next year and the year after that, Republicans have made it clear that the days of Obama's spending sprees have come to an end.
A chilling new budget analysis released last week by the Heritage Foundation reveals the extent of the fiscal crisis that looms over us in the coming decade. "Soaring spending drives these dangerous deficits," says the think tank's chief budget analyst Brian Riedl. "By 2020, federal spending is set to soar to 26 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), after having averaged 20 percent after World War II."
"If Congress does nothing and simply continues existing taxing and spending policies, annual federal deficits will grow, reaching a projected $2 trillion deficit in just 10 years -- and even that assumes a return to peace and prosperity," Riedl says.
This is why a number of politically vulnerable Democrats, who will face the voters in 2012, will be lining up with Republican colleagues to vote for smaller budgets, too.
With Republicans gaining more than 60 seats in the House, their largest majority since the Truman years, they are going to be able to drive the budget process in Congress, and Harry Reid won't be able to block them in the Senate. Under the budget's reconciliation rules, there is no filibuster requiring 60 votes to take up the measure that needs only a simple majority to pass it.
A defense of the enterprising rich: "With the mid-term elections having arrived, I would like to take a moment to defend the people among us, those designated as ‘rich,’ who seem to be considered less fellow citizens than sheep to be shorn. In the prevailing attitude towards those so designated, in the redistributionist policies promised by craven office seekers to the voting mob, we treat these people less as human beings than as lambs to be slaughtered for the gratification of our greed and envy. We need to take a moment and think about what we are doing, because by attacking them, we attack ourselves.”
The real “Party of No” is government bureaucrats: "Shortly before Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity in D.C. tomorrow, put-upon bureaucrats will hold their own event. They’ve dubbed it the ‘Government Doesn’t Suck’ rally. Really? Try telling that to Esmerelda Rodriguez. The Chicago resident spent an entire year trying to get the permission of Chicago’s bureaucracy so she could open a children’s play center. … Rodriguez ran out of money long before Chicago ran out of red tape, and she was forced to give up her dream.”
Another A380 engine explodes: "Passengers on the giant Qantas Airways jet forced to make an emergency landing in Singapore on Thursday said they heard a loud bang and saw pieces of one of the engines fall off soon after take-off for Sydney. The Airbus A380, which had originated in London and was carrying 459 people, suffered failure of one of its four engines. Australian officials said no one on board was injured. One passenger said an explosion ripped off the engine's rear casing. "I just heard this massive bang, like a shotgun going off," Tyler Wooster told Australia's Network Nine television. "Part of the skin had peeled off and you could see the foam underneath, pieces of broken wires sticking out."
United Nations says Norway is the best place to live, and Australia is second-best: "The United Nations has named oil-rich Norway as the country with the best quality of life, followed by Australia and NZ, while Asia has made the biggest strides in recent decades. Norway - with its 81 years of life expectancy and average annual income of $US58,810 - has topped the Human Development Index (HDI) for all but two years since 2001. Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Ireland, in order, also made the top five."
Military wants to fly more sophisticated drones: "The military aims to develop more sophisticated, high-tech drones and surveillance aircraft that can collect intelligence in increasingly dangerous combat airspace, a senior Air Force leader said Thursday. Under pressure from Pentagon leaders, the Air Force has already dramatically increased the number of armed and unarmed drones over Afghanistan and Iraq. But there are growing worries that the U.S. needs aircraft able to gather information and wage electronic attacks in airspace that is more contested, said Air Force Lt. Gen. Philip Breedlove, deputy chief of staff for operations, plans and requirements.”
Poll: Obama would beat Palin, but not Huckabee: "The midterm elections are so yesterday. The eyes of many political insiders are already turning to 2012. President Obama would handily beat Sarah Palin in the next presidential election, despite strong anti-incumbent feelings and the Democrats losing the House to the GOP this week, a new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll indicates. And while Obama would win against the Tea Party favorite, 52% to 44% among registered voters, pit the President against Mike Huckabee and it’s an entirely different story.” [If Obama continues on his present path, a half-dead monkey should be able to oust him]
DC: Three top committee chairmen ousted: "Some of the Democratic Party’s heaviest hitters went down in the House on Tuesday, a sign of the breadth and scope of voter discontent with incumbents …. Ike Skelton, a 34-year incumbent and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, lost his central Missouri seat despite a reputation as a conservative Democrat …. In South Carolina, John Spratt, House Budget Committee chairman, lost a hard-fought campaign for a 15th term in a district that had not elected a Republican since 1883. And Jim Oberstar, Transportation Committee chairman and dean of Minnesota’s congressional delegation, succumbed to a political novice after 36 years …” [Three ”Blue Dogs” who only barked on cue]
French arrest two suspected of planning attack: "The French interior minister says police have arrested two brothers suspected of planning a terrorist attack in France. Brice Hortefeux said that the two French citizens are suspected of ‘criminal association with a terrorist enterprise’ and are being questioned Thursday. He spoke on France-2 television, which said the two were arrested in a Paris suburb on Wednesday.”
France announces $22.8 billion in deals with China: "France announced euro16 billion ($22.8 billion) in deals Thursday to sell uranium, technology and more than 100 Airbus planes to China, and the two countries also agreed to a sweeping strategic partnership on nuclear power. Chinese President Hu Jintao’s three-day state visit to France opened with a red carpet welcome, Chinese flags flying on the streets of Paris and dinner at the Elysee Palace — as well as a flurry of deals that made clear how much the countries’ ties have improved.” [They are selling navy ships to Russia too]
Don’t save Social Security: "For one thing, Social Security can always be there. After all, won’t there always be young people who are working to make a living? Isn’t that where the money comes from? So what’s the problem? All that people in their 60s and above have to do is have the government take more money from young people and redistribute it to the seniors.”
The TSA: America’s real child pornography/molestation machine: "Authorities are hot to prosecute individuals for possession of ‘child pornography,’ and even parents who innocently took pictures of their young children in the bathtub have been prosecuted as ‘child pornographers.’ Even to glance at a picture of a nude child in America today is a crime and can land an unsuspecting person in prison. One would think that federal and state authorities, then, would be highly interested to know that each day, individuals wearing costumes engage in both child pornography and ‘bad touches,’ and do it in full view of others.”
Unelected monopolists fear competition: "Tim Adler reports on political panic in London over the Rupert Murdoch-led News Corporation’s proposed buyout of BSkyB, a British pay-television company …. And what better defender of democracy than Lord Puttnam, a member of an unelected legislative body whose members are appointed (for life terms) by the sitting government, in Puttnam’s case because he was one of the Labour Party’s biggest donors. Of course, Puttnam needs to tread out the ‘threat to democracy’ argument because he has no other case against the BSkyB buyout …” [In Britain, you are forced to buy the government media product. You have to buy a license to watch TV -- and the proceeds go straight to the bloated and biased BBC]
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)