Saturday, November 30, 2013

Census 'faked' 2012 election jobs report


It was a big deal when unemployment dipped below 8% last year — just in time for the presidential election. There was a national sigh of relief, you could almost hear it. And then Obama was safely re-elected.

Just one problem, though. The numbers were made up:

Just two years before the presidential election, the Census Bureau had caught an employee fabricating data that went into the unemployment report, which is one of the most closely watched measures of the economy.
And a knowledgeable source says the deception went beyond that one employee — that it escalated at the time President Obama was seeking reelection in 2012 and continues today.
“He’s not the only one,” said the source, who asked to remain anonymous for now but is willing to talk with the Labor Department and Congress if asked.
The Census employee caught faking the results is Julius Buckmon, according to confidential Census documents obtained by The Post. Buckmon told me in an interview this past weekend that he was told to make up information by higher-ups at Census.

So what’s the real unemployment rate? We know it isn’t 7.3%, or whatever the new headline number is. But now we can’t trust the broader U-6 figures, either. The state of employment in this country is probably something like the status of — lousy, but somewhat easier to hide.

All this comes from Jeff Carter (via Glenn Reynolds) who adds:

The Obama administration has faked the census numbers that are used to compile unemployment statistics. Government stats are now no more believable than anything you read in the old Pravda. We know that China fakes most of their numbers. But, they aren’t a democratic country.
We know Obama lied about healthcare. We know he lied about Benghazi. He tells fibs about other things in the name of politics. But, no administration should ever intentionally lie about Labor statistics, crop reports or market moving government statistics.
Lies throw the capitalistic market mechanism off its kilter because it screws up transparency.

Transparency, truth, lives — none of these things matter when there’s an election at stake. These people — these Chicago thugs — are after power, and they mean to keep it.

Honestly, “President Biden” is the only reason not to impeach the lying SOB.

Hidden gem in ABC/WaPo Poll: Strong Tea Party support

Hidden gem in ABC/WaPo Poll: Strong Tea Party support

Posted by             
We have addressed many times recently the misleading claim that support for the Tea Party Movement was at historic lows or reflected the near-end of the movement:
The ABC News – Washington Post poll released just after midnight has generated headlines for the sharp decline in Obama’s favorability ratings by just about every measure, and the growing unpopularity of Obamacare.
But there is a hidden gem in the poll that is not receiving much attention.
Support for the Tea Party movement is at 38% for all registered voters, not far below the 41% approval rating and 46% favorability rating for Obama.
Moreover, 46% think the Tea Party has too little/just about right influence versus 43% who think it has too much influence. 49% think the Tea Party political views are about right or too liberal, versus only 40% who think too conservative.
It’s clear that support for Tea Party political views exceeds support for the movement, likely the result of years of demonization, culiminating in the recent Democratic Party eliminationist rhetoric directed at the Tea Party.
In the serious of screen shots below, you can see some interesting details, including that Tea Party support comes from the more educated, and even has substantial support among non-whites, although lower than among whites.

(use link):

America’s first socialist republic

 America’s first socialist republic
by Scott Johnson in History

We provided the platform launching Professor Paul Rahe into the blogosphere. He is one of the country’s most distinguished scholars, but he has also proved to be a natural blogger as well. He now posts regularly at Ricochet.
In view of his study of Republics Ancient and Modern, Professor Paul Rahe is the academy’s foremost authority on the history of republics. Although his recent work on “soft despotism” (cited below) was not far from his Thanksgiving reflections when he wrote this column for us in 2009, neither was his older work on republics:
On Thanksgiving, it is customary that Americans recall to mind the experience of the Pilgrim Fathers This year, it is especially appropriate that we do so–as we pause, in the midst of an economic maelstrom, to count our remaining blessings and to reflect on the consequences of our election of a President and a Congress intent on “spread[ing] the wealth around.”
We have much to learn from the history of the Plymouth Plantation. For, in their first year in the New World, the Pilgrims conducted an experiment in social engineering akin to what is now contemplated; and, after an abortive attempt at cultivating the land in common, their leaders reflected on the results in a manner that Americans today should find instructive.
William Bradford, Governor of the Plymouth Colony, reports that, at that time, he and his advisers considered “how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery.” And “after much debate of things,” he then adds, they chose to abandon communal property, deciding that “they should set corn every man for his own particular” and assign “to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number, for that end.”
The results, he tells us, were gratifying in the extreme, “for it made all hands very industrious” and “much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been.” Even “the women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.”
Moreover, he observes, “the experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years . . . amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Plato’s and other ancients applauded by some of later times . . . that the taking away of property and bringing in community into a commonwealth would make them happy and flourishing.” In practice, America’s first socialist experiment “was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort.”
In practice, “the young men, that were most able and fit for labor and service, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense. The strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes than he that was weak and not able to do a quarter the other could; this was thought injustice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and equalized in labors and victuals, clothes etc., with the meaner and younger sort, thought it some indignity and disrespect unto them. And for men’s wives to be commanded to do service for other men, as dressing their meat, washing their clothes, etc., they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could many husbands well brook it.”
Naturally enough, quarrels ensued. “If it did not cut off those relations that God hath set amongst men,” Bradford notes, “yet it did at least much diminish and take off the mutual respects that should be preserved amongst them. And [it] would have been worse if they had been men of another condition” less given to the fear of God. “Let none object,” he concludes, that “this is men’s corruption, and nothing to the course itself. I answer, seeing all men have this corruption in them, God in His wisdom saw another course fitter for them.”
The moral is perfectly clear. Self-interest cannot be expunged. Where there is private property and its possession and acquisition are protected and treated with respect, self-interest and jealousy can be deployed against laziness and the desire for that which is not one’s own, and there tends to be plenty as a consequence.
But where one takes from those who join talent with industry to provide for those lacking either or both, where the fruits of one man’s labor are appropriated to benefit another who is less productive, self-interest reinforces laziness, jealousy engenders covetousness, and these combine in a bitter stew to produce both conflict and dearth.

Let the Obamacare body count begin

Thomas Lifson

There can be little doubt that by applying the logic of the left, the Obamacare body count can commence soon. David Henderson laid out the basics, rebuking lefty Matt Iglesias:
In comparing Bush on Hurricane Katrina and Obama on ObamaCare, Matt Yglesias writes:
The administration and the Democratic Party writ large had very high aspirations for the Affordable Care Act, viewing it as a legacy-defining major pillar of the American welfare state that would massively improve the lives of millions of people. If they can't make the basic infrastructure work, none of that will happen and it'll be a huge failing. But even in the worst case, they're not going to get anyone killed. That's a big difference.
Excuse me? In the worst case, where they don't get the infrastructure working and so millions of people will lose health insurance, they're not going to get anyone killed? How could that be? Surely some of the millions who lose health insurance will die without it. Maybe not many. But not "anyone?" Hard to believe.

On the same day, I noted:

It is already certain that on January 1st, 2014, people with sick and injured family members will be showing up in emergency rooms and told that they have no health insurance coverage. Bankruptcy, lack of treatment, and eventually, fatalities will result. Obama lied and people died. The slogan writes itself.
Tom Maguire, also on the same day:

And do let's note - a standard lib talking point during the promotion of Obamacare was that access to health insurance saves lives. Dare we presume that failure to implement Obamacare thereby costs lives, eventually if not by this weekend? Ezra Klein was talking about 15,000 to 20,000 lives per year, which dwarfs the 1,833 who died at Katrina.

I love the idea of using the arguments and "saved lives" rhetoric used to support Obamacare against it. Political jiu-jitsu of the highest order. But, Glenn Reynolds cautions:
Dude. Those talking points are only applicable against Republicans.

Historically, that is undoubtedly true. But with the Big Obamacare Lie exposed, a lot of old certainties about media treatment of Obama have been upended. I say that we should start compiling stories of people losing health care because they have lost insurance, all thanks to Obama. Let the bodycount begin!

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Friday, November 29, 2013

The stakes in the Obamacare contraception mandate case

The stakes in the Obamacare contraception mandate case

by Paul Mirengoff in Obamacare

Almost everyone knows by now that the Supreme Court has decided to hear a religious freedom-based challenge to the ObamaCare contraception mandate. I’m not sure, though, that everyone understands the stakes.
Seth Mandel explains them, quoting the language that Sandra Fluke and others are using to frame the debate. Fluke warns of “an attack on allowing employers to be required to provide this insurance coverage. . .”
Plainly, as Mandel puts it, leftists perceive “no freedom without government coercion: they want you to be forced to provide the funding for even their most private activities; only then will you be truly free.”
Accordingly, Mandel concludes that this is much more than a fight over birth control, or even Obamacare:
It’s about two fundamentally different views on American constitutional freedoms. Conservatives want those freedoms to be expansive and protected, as the Founders did. Liberals want those freedoms to be curtailed lest the citizenry get greedy or the democratic process imperil the state’s coercive powers.
It should be no surprise that freedom of religion lies at the heart of this clash:
The Founders saw religious freedom as elemental to personal liberty in America. But they were not alone in thinking that unimpeded religious worship was a guard against an overly ambitious or arrogant national government. As Michael Burleigh writes about the role of religion in post-French Revolution European politics, with a supporting quote from Edmund Burke:
The political function of religion was not simply to keep the lower orders quiescent, as has been tiresomely argued by generations of Marxists, but also to impress upon those who had power that they were here today and gone tomorrow, and responsible to those below and Him above: ‘All persons possessing any portion of power ought to be strongly and awfully impressed with an idea that they act in trust, and that they are to account for their conduct in that trust to the one great Master, Author, and Founder of society.’
In sum:
A battle over the constitutional protection of religious liberty is not an abstraction nor, as in cases like the birth-control mandate, a minor social-issue front in the culture war. Such battles go to the heart of how we seek to govern ourselves and how we understand the fundamental documents that serve as the explication of our national political identity.
My guess is that a majority of the Supreme Court, schooled by President Obama’s systematic overreach, understands this. I suspect that the challenge to the contraception mandate will succeed.

What happens if Obamacare fails

What happens if Obamacare fails

Jay Carney- (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Jay Carney- (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press)
The basic retort by the media and Democrats (I repeat myself) to Republican criticism of Obamacare is: Well what’s your alternative? However, it may be the Democrats who need an alternative.
Yuval Levin hits the nail on the head when he explains Obamacare is failing and the White House knows it:
It suggests that the administration is giving up on the long game of doing what it takes to get the system into place and then trusting that the public will come around and is adopting instead the mentality of a political war of attrition, fought news cycle by news cycle, in which the goal is to survive and gain some momentary advantage rather than to achieve a large and well-defined objective. It suggests, in other words, that the administration is coming to the view that Obamacare as they have envisioned it is not really going to happen, that they don’t know quite what is going to happen (and no one else does either), and that they need above all to keep their coalition together and keep the public from abandoning them so they can regroup when the dust clears.
In trying to save himself from political humiliation, the president is willing to bleed the exchanges of bodies (healthy and young ones, at that) essential to his legislative scheme. In conceding things really aren’t going to be working perfectly by Nov. 30, he’s gone a long way toward discouraging more people from bothering to check it out. (Coupled with uncertainty about the Web site’s security, there is a considerable disincentive to spend any time on the ordeal.)
We therefore face the real prospect that a few hundred thousand people, not a few million, may have signed up through the exchanges by the end of the year. Even worse, these are likely to be the sicker and older people. The administration would then have four choices.
It could, I guess, proceed as if nothing is wrong. Of course, the prospect of fining millions of people would be unseemly and onerous. The question then would loom as to why we’ve disrupted the entire country to cover a few hundred thousand hard-to-insure people.
That would lead to a second option: Delay of the individual mandate. The irony would be delicious, but the president might have no other realistic choice while the Web site is getting fixed and the exchanges are sorting themselves out. In the meantime, the exchanges begin to look like a high-risk pool, but one for which the insurance companies didn’t plan. Lifting the individual mandate, of course, would make it even harder to attract bodies to the exchange. (This in essence is a bigger version of the president’s current stunt in letting individuals stay in their 2013 individually purchased plans.)
A third option would be Rep. Fred Upton’s (R-Mich.) legislation, namely that the president allows anyone to buy the plans available for individuals in 2013. That is one more step toward giving people an excuse not to sign up through the exchanges. (At this point the insurance companies are in full revolt, having planned for none of this.) This may lead for demands from employers to allow their employees the same luxury (i.e. get a catastrophic, low-cost plan).
A fourth option would be to raise the white flag: Sit down with Congress to figure out what can be saved and what cannot be.
Levin cautions, “It may turn out, of course, that the situation of Obamacare and its champions is not in fact this dire, that the exchange system will find some balance relatively soon and function in a way that bears some resemblance to how it was designed to work, and that the politics of health care in 2014 will be more mixed and complicated than the fiasco the Democrats now face.” If so, the White House will come to see this past week as a political overreaction.
What would it take to get Obamacare semi-operational? The Web site would have to be working very well, so well that the frustration factor is eliminated entirely. The insurance companies would have had to figure out how to keep the canceled insurance policy holders on their 2013 policies to as to quell the cancellation uprising. Millions of people would need to get past sticker shock and decide to purchase insurance (not just put it in their “cart,” as some portion of the 106,000 have done). And the back-end systems would have to work well so their data gets to insurers properly and without any security lapses (which would cause further panic). But how likely is all that? I think we can agree it is at the very best a 50-50 shot.
Now soak that in for a moment. It is a coin flip, at best, for the president as to whether his signature achievement, his only achievement, will fail. It will be repealed in essence by a popular referendum: The mass refusal of people to go along with Obama’s top-down, compulsory system that was set to transform a sixth of the economy. That possibility should traumatize and probably is traumatizing the White House. Same goes for any Democratic lawmaker who spent time thinking this through. The political implications of this are almost too enormous to calculate.
The greatest chance to get rid of Obamacare without Republicans keeping the House and winning a filibuster-proof Senate majority and the White House is to highlight just how bad Obamacare actually is and to offer more and more off-ramps for people to stay outside the exchanges. Upton did more than the shutdown squad ever accomplished in getting 39 Democrats to turn on the president. Republicans and red-state Democrats can press the Senate to do the same and pound Harry Reid and his troops if they don’t at least allow a vote. Republicans, in other words, must be patient and persistent while moving ahead with an alternative of their own that could attract Democratic support.
As for Democrats, maybe they should start thinking about an Obamacare alternative. There is a good chance they will need one.

So How Many Died At Watergate?

So How Many Died At Watergate?

Matt Yglesias puts the ObamaCare/Katrina comparison in a special perspective:
Since the comparison is in the air, it's worth noting the big difference between Hurricane Katrina and the botched Obamacare rollout. So here it is: 1,833 people died during Hurricane Katrina.
Obviously, George W. Bush and his administration are not responsible for all of those deaths. A storm's a storm. But let's be very generous to Bush and say that the underlying bad fundamentals are responsible for 95 percent of the damage and the bungled response gets just 5 percent of the blame. That's 91 dead people. How many people have died using I'm pretty sure it's fewer than one.
That's one way of looking at it. Here is another, which starts thusly:
1. Bush's political party didn't design and enact Hurricane Katrina.

2. Bush didn't have 5 years to craft his response to the hurricane.

3. Bush didn't have the power to redesign the hurricane as he designed his response to it.
And a third view - Bush was at least instrumental in leading the rebuilding effort after Katrina; the jury is out on ObamaCare.
And for those scoring at the Yglesias home, we have managerial scandals and debacles ranked by immediate bodycount:
Fast and Furious (US dead only)
Watergate/ObamaCare/Whitewater/Iran-Contra (tie).
And do let's note - a standard lib talking point during the promotion of Obamacare was that access to health insurance saves lives. Dare we presume that failure to implement Obamacare thereby costs lives, eventually if not by this weekend? Ezra Klein was talking about 15,000 to 20,000 lives per year, which dwarfs the 1,833 who died at Katrina.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Triumphalism was his undoing

Obama I Won meeting
As the sham sales pitch and flummoxed policy behind Obamacare are exposed the attempts to portray opposition as a reaction to Obama’s race are ramping up with renewed vigor.
Yet the evidence is becoming more clear that it is not race that is the problem, it’s Obama.
Fouad Adjami has a perceptive column (h/t Hot Air), When the Obama Magic Died:
A nemesis awaited the promise of this new presidency: Mr. Obama would turn out to be among the most polarizing of American leaders. No, it wasn’t his race, as Harry Reid would contend, that stirred up the opposition to him. It was his exalted views of himself, and his mission. The sharp lines were sharp between those who raised his banners and those who objected to his policies.
America holds presidential elections, we know. But Mr. Obama took his victory as a plebiscite on his reading of the American social contract. A president who constantly reminded his critics that he had won at the ballot box was bound to deepen the opposition of his critics.
A leader who set out to remake the health-care system in the country, a sixth of the national economy, on a razor-thin majority with no support whatsoever from the opposition party, misunderstood the nature of democratic politics. An election victory is the beginning of things, not the culmination.
It started long before Obamacare. It started at the earliest point in Obama’s presidency, the Stimulus.

Every president lacks legitimacy in the eyes of those who voted against him. The myth that the Supreme Court stole the election for Bush was a fundamental part of Democratic opposition.
Yet even presidents who are viewed by part of the electorate as illegitimate normally view their role as being president of all the people.
It never was that way with Obama. He won. He let us know it. And he and his supporters ruled as if those who opposed him were illegitimate.
Could it have been any different? I doubt it, given the man. I wrote on October 19, 2008:
Barack Obama also is the deep thinker who ponders great things. And the thing that Barack Obama seems to ponder most is his own greatness. He doesn’t write biographies, he writes only autobiographies. He gives speeches which he declares to be historic. He recognizes his place in history long before he has created history. This nation is but a stage upon which Barack Obama creates his life story, and it’s all about him.
Adjami writes in the link above:
If Barack Obama seems like a man alone, with nervous Democrats up for re-election next year running for cover, and away from him, this was the world he made. No advisers of stature can question his policies; the price of access in the Obama court is quiescence before the leader’s will. The imperial presidency is in full bloom.
There are no stars in the Obama cabinet today, men and women of independent stature and outlook. It was after a walk on the White House grounds with his chief of staff, Denis McDonough, that Mr. Obama called off the attacks on the Syrian regime that he had threatened. If he had taken that walk with Henry Kissinger or George Shultz, one of those skilled statesmen might have explained to him the consequences of so abject a retreat. But Mr. Obama needs no sage advice, he rules through political handlers.
Valerie Jarrett, the president’s most trusted, probably most powerful, aide, once said in admiration that Mr. Obama has been bored his whole life. The implication was that he is above things, a man alone, and anointed. Perhaps this moment—a presidency coming apart, the incompetent social engineering of an entire health-care system—will now claim Mr. Obama’s attention.
The result is what we are seeing today. An abysmally failed policy severely damaging 1/6 of the economy, treating tens of millions of people as mere rounding errors to be disregarded, and a continued demonization of all opposition.

Why Obama can’t wave away this scandal

Why Obama can’t wave away this scandal

The media shielded the president from every criticism — until he betrayed a liberal cause

John Podhoretz
People are puzzled: Why would Barack Obama have lied about how wonderfully everything was going to go with ObamaCare when officials in his administration knew perfectly well that disaster was going to strike?
In one sense, the answer is simple: At the time, just before Oct. 1, Republicans were insisting ObamaCare be delayed or defunded. The president and his team weren’t going to give the enemy the satisfaction of agreeing — or the potent ammunition that would have come from a rueful admission the system wasn’t ready.
Today, a bipartisan agreement to delay ObamaCare seems like it would have been a pretty good deal. It didn’t look that way at all in the last two weeks of September.
But there’s a deeper reason he and his people lied: They did it because they could. They did it because nearly five years in the White House had given Obama and his team confidence they would not face the music and they could finesse the problems until they got fixed.
Consider the events that would have been unprecedented scandals in a Republican administration — with teams of reporters digging and scratching daily at every nook and cranny in every bureaucratic corridor — that have instead been covered dutifully but with relatively little passion and almost no follow-up. Why? Because it would have hurt Obama, that’s why.
First, the Obama Justice Department.
Attorney General Eric Holder has survived three scandals that would have felled a Republican. His department attempted to soft-pedal its responsibility for the so-called “gunwalking” policy called Fast and Furious — which led to the murders of US border agents by Mexican drug-cartel members with guns effectively provided to the killers by the Justice Department.
He approved the secret surveillance of Fox News Channel reporter James Rosen in a leak investigation on the outrageous grounds that Rosen was a possible “co-conspirator” in an act of espionage. And he approved similar tactics against reporters at the Associated Press in another leak investigation.
Holder’s still there. Obama defends him. When was the last time you heard Rosen’s name mentioned, or the AP story referenced, or Fast and Furious come up?
Second, the Internal Revenue Service.
The IRS’s own acknowledgement that it had targeted conservative groups with anti-liberal agendas has led to shamed retirements, hasty changes at the top of the agency and officials pleading the Fifth Amendment. These efforts were clearly undertaken to find means by which to aid Democratic efforts in the 2010 and 2012 election. One can only wonder at what would have been done to George W. Bush by the media had similar outrages been perpetated on leftist groups in 2003 and 2004. Obama suffered . . . a little. A very little.
Third, the State Department.
The unconscionable behavior of State Department and White House officials during and after the killing of four Americans in Benghazi at the height of the 2012 race — during which the American people were deliberately and consciously misled — has had no lasting consequences whatsoever. Obama felt free to select the chief liar, Susan Rice, as his national-security adviser without experiencing a moment’s fear about how her appointment might become a scandal.
Fourth, making law from the White House.
In 2011, the president said that owing to Republican recalcitrance in the House of Representatives, he would use his executive authority to get things done. And he has. As Tara Helfman writes in the December issue of Commentary, the magazine I edit, “Notwithstanding President Obama’s constitutional duty to enforce the law of the Untied States, where federal laws conflict with his policy preferences on gay marriage, illegal immigration and drug policy, the president has simply opted not to enforce or defend them.”
Moreover, to strengthen his hand with Hispanic voters in 2012, he ordered the Justice Department to follow certain provisions of a law governing illegal immigrants that has yet to be approved by the Congress. That is unprecedented.
So, if you want to understand the blindness and arrogance of the Obama White House in failing to appreciate the wave of rage and disappointment and disgusted wonderment that would hit them in the wake of the ObamaCare rollout, you need only consider these factors.
He has always had the protection of his liberal base.
He has always had the protection of Senate Democrats, who have not acted in any way to trouble him regarding these scandals and who have impeded aggressive investigations into them.
And he has always had the protection of the mainstream media.
As a result, Barack Obama and his administration have said what they felt they needed to say and done what they felt they needed to do for immediate political gain. They did so this time. But this time was different, because this time he was mishandling and discrediting the great liberal desideratum of our time — a national health-care system.
This time he hasn’t gotten away with it.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Great Destroyer

The Great Destroyer

ObamaCare wreaks havoc on health care, the economy, American freedom and Obama's presidency.

Polls show an increasing majority of Americans dislike President Obama's health-care law and disapprove of the job the president is doing. Perhaps more disconcerting for Mr. Obama is a recent Quinnipiac University poll that finds, for the first time in his presidency, a majority (54%) of registered voters feel he is not honest and trustworthy.
In response, the administration rolls out ObamaCare delays or stopgap fixes just a month after Republicans were labeled extremists for proposing delays and fixes. The White House tries shifting blame for the embarrassing rollout to others—information technology contractors, insurance companies and of course, Republicans. The administration is even working to discourage use of the word "ObamaCare," which the president had proudly embraced before the law encountered reality.
Most interestingly, the administration and congressional Democrats seem genuinely surprised that their prized legislation, which was to be the crown jewel of the president's legacy and the culmination of decades of liberal ambition, simply doesn't work. Did these folks ever study history, economics or sociology? If they had, they would have known there was little chance of success for their attempt to snatch one-sixth of our economy and thrust it under a complex set of bureaucratic regulations, market disincentives, higher costs and new taxes.
Large government interventions in the market almost always fall short of their backers' dreams (although not usually this rapidly). Such programs suffer from a common set of flaws, all of which are found in ObamaCare. First, and perhaps foremost, is the hubris inherent in the assumption that bureaucrats in Washington (or Moscow, Beijing or Pyongyang) know better than families, individuals and businesses do what is best for them.
We also often find a certain "looseness" with the facts. There is overpromising at the beginning. Mr. Obama actually promised to provide better health care to more people while spending less money. While some of us saw that was obviously absurd, many are just now coming to this realization. We were told we could keep our existing plan if we liked it, "period." But it turns out that means "only as long as the government, in its wisdom, decides it's right for you." The posturing and spinning continues as the administration tries to inflate the pathetically low enrollment figures. The left's mindset is that such obfuscation (to be generous) is fine as long as it is deployed in the furtherance of the greater good, which they see as coming only from their policies.
ObamaCare embodies the usual hypocrisy of large liberal programs, as the administration bestows benefits and exemptions on favored constituencies and the politically connected. We see waivers for big labor, relief from inconvenient mandates for congressional staff, and decisions timed to minimize harm to Democrats in the next election. Conversely, those who don't have politically correct views are ignored or mocked. We see lip service given to conscientious objections to abortion and birth control, but ObamaCare policies that run roughshod over these objections.
Perhaps most disappointing, we can observe in the administration's handling of ObamaCare a now all too familiar subversion of the rule of law, a fundamental precept of our nation's founding and of democracies everywhere. George Will notes that the administration has apparently decided it can adopt legislation by press conference as Mr. Obama simply announces changes to the law or that he will not enforce certain provisions. His administration then proceeds to strong-arm businesses and demonize critics.
There is the usual governmental failure to anticipate how people respond to economic incentives. Why would the administration expect the required large numbers of healthy, young people to enroll in ObamaCare in response to higher premiums? Why would the administration expect businesses to refrain from adjusting their staffing decisions based on the additional cost of ObamaCare?
Finally, we see the familiar curse of unintended consequences as the fantasy of better, more affordable insurance with more options runs into the reality of higher costs and fewer options. The failed exchange and the cancelled plans were just the beginning, followed by sticker shock at the cost of the government-mandated coverage and doctors being dropped from networks or opting out.
We don't yet know every way in which ObamaCare will damage our health-care system, our economy and our freedom, but we can be sure more pain is coming.

Calif. Obamacare Navigators Get $58 for Each Enrollee

An official with California's healthcare exchange program blurted out Friday that Obamacare enrollment navigators get $58 for every person they successfully enroll.

Dana Howard, deputy director of the state exchange, made the surprising revelation while being quizzed by conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt about the steps California is taking to ensure that information Obamacare enrollees provide to navigators is secure.

A clip of the interview was first posted on

When the host asked Howard how many navigators there were in California and what they were paid, he replied that there were slightly fewer than 1,500 and that they weren't paid directly by the state.

He then revealed that the navigators are "paid $58 per successful enrollment."

"There’s a bounty on enrollment?" Hewitt asked.

"There is not a bounty on enrollment," Howard said. "The enrollment entities are paid $58 per successful enrollment."

"When did that policy get adopted?" Hewitt asked.

"That has always been," Howard replied.

He could not say whether other states had similar policies.

The navigators have come under withering scrutiny from conservative videographer James O'Keefe’s "Project Veritas."

His group most recently released a video accusing the director of Enroll America of conspiring to release private data for political purposes, The Blaze reported.

The group's first undercover video focused on government workers advising clients to lie, ignore procedures, and evade legal requirements when signing up for Obamacare.

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Urgent: Should Obamacare Be Repealed? Vote Here Now!

Yes, It Can . . . Be Repealed

Yes, It Can . . . Be Repealed
If Obamacare produces as many losers as winners, its future will be in doubt.

Signing up for Obamacare at a mobile enrollment center in Philadelphia, Pa.

John Fund

Washington, D.C. — “These people don’t understand what the government is trying to do for them,” said then-chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Dan Rostenkowski in August 1989, after senior citizens angry over a federal health-care law booed him and chased him down a Chicago street. That law was repealed a few months later by a Democratic Congress and a Republican president who had supported it just the year before.
Everything old is new again. We are starting to hear in D.C. that today’s unpopular health-care law might be in real trouble, spelled with a capital T, as The Music Man would put it.


Noted liberal writer John Judis wrote a lengthy story in this week’s New Republic entitled “Think ObamaCare Can’t Be Repealed? It Happened Once in Australia.” By suddenly announcing last week yet another jerry-rigged delay in Obamacare’s implementation, the White House sent another signal to Congress that it expects the law to be a controversial issue in the 2014 elections, causing more anxiety for Democrats in Congress who already don’t trust the White House’s handling of the law. Many expect that the crippled website will not work for “the vast majority of Americans,” come the Obama administration’s self-imposed deadline of November 30.
Most significantly, a flurry of stories in the last week have revisited the demise of the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act nearly 25 years ago. That law created a host of new benefits for seniors, including a ceiling on hospital bills and increased coverage of nursing-home care and prescription drugs. But after a huge bipartisan majority passed the law in 1988, the hefty costs of the benefits arrived, along with various unintended consequences. Many seniors were happy with their existing catastrophic-insurance plans and wanted to keep them. Many of the costs became visible before the benefits were clear. In the face of growing opposition, the law’s creators pondered a host of temporary “fixes,” none of which seemed to work or placate opponents.
Sound familiar? Well, except the part about the bipartisanship. As we know, Obamacare passed without a single Republican vote and with the opposition of a significant number of House Democrats. The law was so complicated that Nancy Pelosi, then the speaker of the House, infamously declared in 2010, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”
Even then, in 2010, some survivors of the Catastrophic Coverage Act debacle were unsure of Obamacare’s staying power. “When I saw this massive thing, I said, ‘Boy, if this is anything like catastrophic, they are going to be in trouble,’” former representative Brian Donnelly, a Massachusetts Democrat, told the New York Times. “It is a very good analogy.”
Republican senator Dan Coats of Indiana remembers voting for the catastrophic legislation in 1988 as a House member and then voting to repeal it as a freshman senator the next year. Voters regard their health care as a personal issue that trumps everything else, he told me. “Anything people fear will jeopardize their relationship with their doctor or raise their costs can trigger voter fury,” he said. “The missteps in Obamacare have been the same as the ones we saw back with catastrophic care in 1989.” Having said that, he doesn’t believe the odds of repealing Obamacare are high, given how much the president and his congressional allies have invested in it.
Christopher DeMuth, the former head of the American Enterprise Institute who is now with the Hudson Institute, says the biggest vulnerability of the catastrophic program was that its costs were immediately visible to its beneficiaries. Obamacare, he observes, carefully hides its costs in an intricate web of subsidies and restrictions on insurance. “But those costs are becoming more visible more quickly than many thought,” he added. “So surprises can happen.”
And then there is the matter of how close people feel they are to a political issue. Bruce Webster, an information-technology consultant who was one of the first to accurately dissect the problems of, put it this way:
How many of you know someone (including yourself) who had their existing health-insurance policy cancelled as a result of Obamacare, and who are now looking at options that are more expensive and have higher deductibles?
How many of you know someone (including yourself) who works for a business whose health-insurance coverage is either going to be eliminated or become more expensive as a result of Obamacare?
Speaking for myself, I met a friend last Thursday who has seen his health insurance cancelled. His new policy has a higher deductible and drops the dental coverage he had. He is quite upset and not likely to forget the undesired “help” the government has given him.
The number of people like my friend who will be personally affected by Obamacare in a negative way is apt to exceed, perhaps by a lot, the number of people who feel they are winners under Obamacare. And these people will probably be motivated to vote in a midterm election. If that disparity between losers and winners continues and even grows between now and the midterms that will take place just eleven months from now, that election could turn into a bloodbath for Democrats, much as the 2010 midterms were. If so, we might see — if not a full repeal of the law — something that resembles repeal forced on an unwilling White House.
After recounting the reversals a government-run health care system underwent in Australia in the 1980s (a different program has since been voted into law), Judis reached this conclusion in his New Republic essay:
From all appearances, the Obama administration seemed to believe that the mere act of getting the Affordable Care Act through Congress would ensure its survival and popularity. But now it faces the very real possibility that the Republicans, campaigning on the failure of Obamacare and flagging recovery, would win back the Senate in 2014, and be in a position to force the administration to accept changes in the Affordable Care Act that will weaken the program. Obama has already embraced modifications to the act — allowing insurance companies to bypass the exchanges and their regulations — that will hurt it. And if Republicans were to win the White House and Congress in 2016, they could simply repeal the Affordable Care Act. . . . One can only hope that the Obama administration can finally get its act together and get to work properly. And do so quickly enough so that in November 2014, the political ax doesn’t fall on Democrats’ heads.
Democrats may publicly pooh-pooh the chances of Obamacare’s suffering the same fate as the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act. But privately they are a lot more nervous about it than they let on. And getting more so with each passing cycle of awful news.
— John Fund is national-affairs columnist for National Review Online.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The State Obamacre Exchanges: Much Worse Than You Thought

The State Obamacre Exchanges: Much Worse Than You Thought

by Hugh Hewitt

I interviewed the deputy director of California’s Obamacare exchange on Friday, Dana Howard. The audio and transcript are below. There is much to marvel at and be alarmed by in the conversation, but the most worrisome admission from Mr. Howard is that has no projected model of success -it simply doesn’t know what demographic mix must be reached in order for the insurance policies being offered to be sustainable. You should also know that the numbers of “enrolled” are laughably low –less than 1,000 people who list Spanish as their principle language enrolled in October, for example– and despite some puff talk about the younger demographics, the number of people under the age of 35 who have enrolled to date is far below what needs to be accomplished for the program to be remotely viable.
(Mr. Howard sounded somewhat peeved with my temerity throughout, though my questions are straightforward and ought to have been asked of him or his boss Mr. Lee a hundred times by now. Evidently no reporter has, and Mr. Howard was unhappy with me for being the first. I shall have to send him a copy of The Happiest Life.)
You should also be alarmed by Mr. Howard’s inability to quickly respond to questions about the burn rate of the $190 million dollar marketing budget. There is no “cost per lead” just as there is no metric of necessary success when it comes to the demographics of overall enrollment.
The parts of my conversation having to do with the background checks of the 1,400 “navigators” and the 1,500 employees are disquieting to say the least. As is the imprecision with regards to the availability of benefits to the undocumented population who are dependents of documented. Conversely, the fact that is running every social security number through the federal database may be deterring sign-ups of people with family members in the country illegally, even though Mr. Howard assured the audience that no immigration enforcement takes place via despite the fact that the social security check is done via a federal bureaucracy which, presumably, is obliged to cooperate with ICE. (There’s a story there as to which federal agency is or isn’t cooperating with which other federal agency in the age of Obama.)
The structure of the agency is also bizarre. 1,500 full time employees, but another 1,400 enrollment counselors working for independent contractors. Everyone gets fingerprinted according to Mr. Howard, but he would not say who reviews the “background checks” that come back from the Department of Justice. Only serious conviction disqualifies you, not arrests, and not, by the way, non-payment of child support. Evidently California has to hire deadbeat dads to do the jobs that child-support paying dads won’t do. Our exchange on security/background checks led me to conclude that they are going through the motions not doing serious background investigations, and the inevitability of compromise of the system is high.
Mostly though I (and people listening) were surprised to learn that is paying a bounty for enrollees. Mr. Howard rejected the description, but $58 per enrollee sounds like a bounty to me, and a big one. One listener said that if the enrollment counselors are being paid on commission basis they should be trained and certified as insurance agents, but we don’t know if the individual “counselors” are being paid on commission, only that their employers are getting the bounty.
There is much more to the conversation, including Mr. Howard’s dodginess about his boss Mr. Lee’s unwillingness to sit for extended, detailed interviews and Mr. Howard’s own availability for follow-up, though eventually he got around to committing to a follow up interview of 15 minutes on the marketing budget and security issues with me next week.
My takeaway: MSM journalism has wholly failed to focus on the cost and benefits of these state exchanges –the fact that they are operating on the wish fulfillment model not hard facts and strong, data-supported projections, and that the marketing budgets are huge and generally a black hole of hocus pocus while the ordinary operating issues of such a large and new bureaucracy have been kicked down the road. Much info is available online at –but don’t count on it being there for long.
Bottom line: officials are saying it is working and the website in particular is “working great!” But neither the program nor the website are “working great.” They are actually failing spectacularly by any sane measurement, and the story is not being reported because a kept California media, led by the Lost Angeles Times doesn’t do basic reporting of the sort I did Friday for a mere 30 minutes. Faith based-reporting covering faith-based insuring equals millions of Californians without health insurance come 1/1/14. Crash. Burn. Surprise, however, should not be tolerated. The rapid, spiraling descent of the jalopy is visible to anyone who looks.

Don's Tuesday column

         THE WAY I SEE IT   by Don Polson  Red Bluff Daily News   11/26/2013

Shirking, cheating to get others’ bounty

Rather than recount the lessons of the first Thanksgiving—wherein a failing, collectivist system producing starvation and poverty was replaced with private ownership and production, producing abundance—let’s apply those lessons to the collective Obamacare system. Governor Bradford wrote in his diary of the conundrum of single, healthy men versus men with wives and children under communal production. The family man alone would neither produce, nor need, any more than the single man, but would be entitled, for his family, to several times what the single young man received.

Bradford noted the resentment by young single men over the unequal distribution of what was produced by the group; women without children also resented working to help provide for women, with babies and/or children, who could not therefore work. Thievery became common as people sought a larger share of the group’s meager resources. Incentive and motivation lagged, replaced by sloth and indolence, as has happened every time people are discouraged from providing for their own needs and abundance.

You wonder how this bears on the Obamacare fiasco—the website problems are only hurdles on the way to implementation of the monumental disaster to come. It has simply to do with a ratio of three to one versus five to one: Politicians and technocratic advisors deemed it unfair that older people with quantifiably higher medical expenses should generally pay five times what younger, healthier people pay for insurance. They determined it only fair to limit premiums for older people to three times the younger person’s premium. The insurance industry engages in risk analysis over such things, just as they assign the appropriate premiums for life (or death) insurance for younger, compared to older, people. While not rocket science or brain surgery, it does follow exacting calculations.

A young healthy man will—due to higher costs under that formula, and a logical aversion to policy benefits he won’t need (like maternity care)—be inclined to disregard the “mandate.” By adjusting his withholding, he’ll not get a refund from the IRS, which will never be able to collect the fee, or “tax.” He will, rather, choose far better uses for hundreds of dollars every month, thousands of dollars every year: a car payment, a better apartment without roommates, saving for a down payment on a house or to start a business he’s dreamed of creating. Hence, the economic perversity involved in relying on younger people to pay, relatively speaking, far more than they would if the insurance market were dominated by free will, business efficiency and economic self-interest.

When I entered information in the Covered California “shop and compare” calculator, sure enough, the 27 year-old will pay about one-third what a 62 year old would pay. No insurance model could possibly be sold to the general public with such poorly calculated rates. Hence, the focus on “mandates” and providing “subsidies” to ease the burden of artificially higher premiums for a “basket” of benefits that many, if not most people, will find unnecessary.

For instance, a couple in their early 60s with a $50,000 income will have around a $1500 monthly premium; they qualify for about an $1100 subsidy from other people’s taxes. Would the people willing to pay that couple’s subsidy please write a letter to the editor so we can feel assured that the whole tax-and-spend scheme will work out financially? Who wants to step forward and offer to pay the $150 subsidy for a young couple earning $50,000 to defray their $550 monthly premium?

Then, there’s the financial corruption and “malingering” by the poorer enrollees. How’s that you ask? “James O’Keefe, the guerrilla videographer who helped bring down ACORN (the “community organizing” group that Barack Obama worked for as a lawyer and trainer), and got NPR’s president fired, is back.” (, “The Truth about Navigators” 11/11) This time, his undercover investigators focused on Obamacare’s ‘Navigators,’ the nearly 50,000 people who … [per HHS] ‘will serve as an in-person resource for Americans who want additional assistance in shopping for and enrolling in plans’ on the (eventually working) Obamacare exchanges.”

Some $67 million in grants, some of which is going to a group run by ACORN’s highly controversial founder, provide the financial endowment for, among others, a National Urban League Navigator in Texas who, as a “government-paid worker (is) supposedly trained to uphold the law.” However, he was recorded advising “clients on how to lie on government forms, evade legal requirements, and ignore proper procedures.” Similar shenanigans were found in enrollment operations run by Local 100 United Labor Unions, a “New Orleans group run by ACORN founder Wade Rathke.” A little larceny to help poorer folks get other people’s money?

Regarding Covered California: their numbers are simply bogus and not reflective of actual paid enrollments; the Navigators are awarded a $58 bounty for each person enrolled; criminal records do not disqualify someone from becoming a Navigator; the people running it have “no projected model of success—(they) simply don’t know what demographic mix” or volume is required to be sustainable.

HHS Secretary Sebelius admitted, “It’s possible” that “a convicted felon could be a navigator and could acquire sensitive personal information from an individual unbeknownst to them,” under questioning by Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn. What could go wrong?