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Author Topic: Obama: Corruption, Deception, Dishonesty, Deceit and Promises Broken  (Read 101091 times)
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« Reply #1675 on: November 16, 2012, 11:53:07 AM »

White House Gave $1 Million To Battery Maker A123 The Day It Filed For Bankruptcy
Ayesha Rascoe, Reuters|17 minutes ago|118|

 


 
WASHINGTON, Nov 16 (Reuters) - The Obama administration provided struggling battery maker A123 Systems Inc with nearly $1 million on the day it filed for bankruptcy, the company told lawmakers investigating its government grant.
 
The company, which makes lithium ion batteries for electric cars, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month after a rescue deal with Chinese auto parts supplier Wanxiang Group fell apart.
 
That same day, Oct. 16, A123 received a $946,830 payment as part of its $249 million clean energy grant from the Energy Department, the company said in a letter obtained by Reuters to Republican Senators John Thune and Chuck Grassley.
 
(Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)
 

Copyright (2012) Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions


Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/white-house-gave-1-million-a123-2012-11#ixzz2CPgB211K

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« Reply #1676 on: November 22, 2012, 05:32:40 AM »

http://www.businessinsider.com/obamas-foreclosure-fraud-settlement-2012-11



Lol!!!! 
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« Reply #1677 on: November 22, 2012, 09:42:27 AM »


It's Thanksgiving LOSER, get a life.
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« Reply #1678 on: November 25, 2012, 07:47:26 PM »

Obama fires 20,000 Marines, promises billions to Muslim green energy
 examiner.com ^ | 11/25/2012 | Timothy Whiteman

Posted on Sunday, November 25, 2012 9:35:19 PM by massmike

Is Obama Always Faithful to our Marines?

The current political winds in Washington, DC, have dictated that less will be spent on the various Branches of the Armed Forces of the Unites States.

Case in point: the Commander-in-Chief has decided to fire 20,000 of our U.S. Marines.

In an article published by San Diego, California's North County Times, ironically on Thanksgiving Day, Military Affairs reporter Gretel C. Kovach cites;

"The Corps is shrinking by 20,000 Marines, to 182,100."

The North County Times also cited that America's premier fighting force is;

"scraping to repair or replace battle-worn equipment."

In spite of the Nobel Peace Prize award winning Obama ordering a recent surge in combat troops the Afghanistan theater of war, Kovach also pointed out that America's beloved Marine Corps is still to be slashed by roughly 20 percent;

"despite no sign of an enemy collapse."

So What Will The Taxpayers Money Be Spent On?

Earlier this week, Breitbart.com covered the recent agreement Barack Obama has promised billions of Yankee dollars to the oil-rich and overwhelmingly Muslim nations of Indonesia and Brunei.


(Excerpt) Read more at examiner.com ...
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« Reply #1679 on: December 13, 2012, 07:57:29 AM »

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/william-k-black/hsbc-settlement_b_2291859.html


Ha ha ha ha ha

Let's see the incompetent leftists spin this mess. 
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« Reply #1680 on: January 07, 2013, 07:08:16 PM »

Meet Jack Lew: Tim Geithner's Replacement
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/07/2013 19:58 -0500

After HoursBarack ObamaCongressional Budget OfficeDebt CeilingJamie DimonMedicarenational securityNew York CityNew York TimesNewspaperNomination Obama AdministrationOhioPeter OrszagRahm EmanuelStimulus SpendingTim GeithnerTreasury Borrowing Advisory CommitteeTreasury DepartmentWhite House


Bloomberg is out after hours with news that was expected by many, but which was yet to be formalized, until now: namely that following today's flurry of contntious nomination by Obama, the latest and greatest is about to be unveiled - Jack Lew, Obama's current chief of staff, is likely days away from being announced as Tim Geithner's replacement as the new Treasury Secretary of the United States. In other words, Jack will be the point person whom the people who truly run the Treasury, the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee, chaired by JPM's Matt Zames (who just happens to also now run the notorious JPM Chief Investment Office which uses excess deposits to gamble - yes, you really can't make this up) and Goldman's Ashok Varadhan, global head of dollar-rate products and FX trading for North America (recently buying a $16 million pad at 15 CPW) will demand action from.

President Barack Obama is close to choosing White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew for Treasury secretary with an announcement as soon as this week, according to two people familiar with the matter.

 

Selecting Lew to replace Timothy F. Geithner would also require Obama to install a new chief of staff, the first step in a White House staff shuffle for his second term. Many of the president’s senior aides may be taking new roles as the president recasts his team, said the people, who requested anonymity to discuss personnel matters.

 

While Obama hasn’t made a final decision to pick Lew, his staff has been instructed to prepare for his nomination, said one of the people. Among the leading candidates to replace Lew as Obama’s chief of staff are Denis McDonough, currently a deputy national security adviser, and Ron Klain, who had served as Vice President Joe Biden’s chief of staff.

 

The next Treasury secretary will play a leading role in working with Congress to raise the government’s $16.4 trillion debt ceiling. The U.S. reached the statutory limit on Dec. 31, and the Treasury Department began using extraordinary measures to finance the government. It will exhaust that avenue as early as mid-February, the Congressional Budget Office says.

 

Geithner plans to leave the administration by the end of January even if the debt ceiling issue hasn’t been settled.

Somewhere, Larry Fink, and Jamie Dimon just exhaled (not to mention Mark Zandi whose stomp to the Great Barrier Reef brought him nothing but more seasonally adjusted disappointment).

So who is Jack Lew?

Here is an extended profile by Sam Stein, which however, will likely leave as many open questions as it answers:

White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew has been an unassuming figure during the Obama years. His media appearances are dull; his presentation is a bit bookworm-ish -- as if Harry Potter grew up and replaced his magic wand with Excel spreadsheets. When he speaks, the tone is usually measured and unemotional.

Behind the scenes, however, Lew has proven to be Obama's most skillful consigliere in matters of political trench warfare. Time and again during the debt ceiling debate, as Republicans attempted to get the administration to bend on top domestic priorities, it was Lew who proved to be a stick in the mud. Then serving as Office of Management and Budget Director, his insistence on playing out the practical impact of those cuts irritated Republicans to no end.

"What is infuriating to Republicans is that no one knows the federal government, the budget, these policies, better than Jack Lew," Kenneth Baer, a former senior adviser to Lew, told The Huffington Post. "Just as I imagine it would be frustrating to hit batting practice off Sandy Koufax."

Below are just a few excerpts from Woodward's book, "The Price of Politics":

[Brett] Loper [House Speaker John Boehner's policy director] found Lew obnoxious. The budget director was doing 75 percent of the talking, lecturing everyone not only about what Obama's policy was, but also why it was superior to the Republicans'.

[Barry] Jackson [Boehner's chief of staff] found Lew's tone disrespectful and dismissive.

Lew was incredulous when he considered the Republican proposal as a whole. The changes they were considering sounded simple. But the speaker's office was laying down general principles and looking to apply them to extremely complex programs. The devil was always in the details.

Boehner was sick of the White House meetings. It was still mostly the president lecturing, he reported to his senior staff. The other annoying factor was Jack Lew, who tried to explain why the Democrats' view of the world was right and the Republicans' wrong.

'Always trying to protect the sacred cows of the left,' Barry Jackson said of Lew, going through Medicare and Medicaid almost line by line while Boehner was just trying to reach some top-line agreement.

[Ohio Governor John] Kasich called [economic adviser Gene] Sperling at the White House, suggesting that he meet with Boehner. Lew, he said, did not know how to get to yes.

Sperling realized it was not a compliment that they wanted him. It essentially meant, 'Lew's being too tough. Can we get Sperling?'

Lew's wonky stubbornness during those negotiations didn't make him a progressive hero. In private caucus meetings, congressional Democrats laced into him for keeping them out of the loop and placing sacred cows on the negotiation table. But it did establish Lew as a true hub of power within the administration, and it showed that he, perhaps more than any other top adviser, had Obama's ear.

"I was in many meetings," Sperling recalled in an interview with The Huffington Post, "where Jack would say, clear as a bell, 'Mr. President, I think we can accept this. I’d have to go through all these little tiny cuts and stuff.' And the president would say, 'Jack ... you know my values. I trust your values.'"

For someone in a position of immense power, Lew remains a difficult figure to pin down philosophically. His youth was spent in New York City where -- as a June 2011 Politico profile noted -- he rallied against the Vietnam War and touted the import of immigration and public housing while serving as the editor of his high school newspaper. At Carleton College, his faculty adviser was Paul Wellstone, then a political scientist and later a famously liberal senator. Lew worked with Rep. Bella Abzug (D-N.Y.), another unapologetic progressive, before gravitating towards more moderate, establishment ground. He went to work with Rep. Joe Moakley (D-Mass.) and then took a job with House Speaker Tip O'Neill (D-Mass.).

Along the way, his view on D.C. politics changed. "[T]here’s a space in Washington that is not deeply populated, which is a bridge between the highly technical and the political,” he would tell Politico. "f you could be fluent in both worlds and respected enough in both worlds, you could have an opportunity to be a translator and to make a difference."

Those who worked with him during that time period recall a type of pragmatism that seems antiquated today.

"It was a much different world, with a lot of collegiality amongst the Senate and House, the Republicans and Democratic staff people," said Lynn Sutcliffe, chief executive officer of EnergySolve, LLC, who worked with Lew while general counsel of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee. "It was the art of the possible, not the art of promoting oneself or your boss' re-election."

Lew's work would prove influential in forging the famed Social Security deal made between O'Neill and Ronald Reagan in 1983. And when he departed the Hill in 1986 to join the lobbying shop that Sutcliffe once helped run, it was an important enough development to merit a small item in The New York Times.

Lew returned to government during the Clinton years, gradually rising to the ranks of OMB Director. He packed in long hours six days a week, taking off every Saturday to observe the Sabbath (he is an Orthodox Jew), honing the type of negotiating acumen that would prove useful for Obama. In talks with House Republicans, Lew would use fluency in economics -- despite not being an economist -- and a mastery of budget details to essentially out-will the president's priorities into legislation.

"What makes him a tough negotiator is not that he can’t get to yes or that he’s some kind of bulldog," Sperling said. "What makes him a tough negotiator is he knows his stuff so well ... He negotiates well by being a master of the detail."

In the Obama administration, Lew has been comfortable working largely in the shadows. His predecessor as OMB Director, Peter Orszag, matched his budget expertise with a sharp media savviness. His two predecessors as chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel and Bill Daley, were veritable celebrities.

Lew stepped into that position after the high-profile budget and debt ceiling fights of 2011 had passed. But aides and friends stress that he's been handed heavy tasks: not just managing a White House with half of its focus on the reelection campaign, but also restoring damaged relations with congressional Democrats.

"[Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid didn't know much of Jack Lew until he started having to deal with him because he couldn’t trust Daley," said Jim Manley, Reid's former top spokesman. But once he did, a strong relationship was established. In a private meeting shortly after the debt ceiling deal was concluded, it was Lew who helped convince attendees that the final legislation wasn't such a bitter pill.

"Democrats soon became comfortable with it because he outlined the blow back or ping pong effect that would occur," Manley said. "He knew his facts cold. And he knows his stuff better than Boehner and just about anyone else on Capitol Hill."

Still, it's tough to tell what type of ideological imprint Lew has had on the administration. Aides credit him and Sperling with scoring major victories during the government shutdown debate in the spring of 2011 and the debt ceiling debate later that summer. House Republicans left the former thinking they'd secured $100 billion in savings, only to discover, upon closer inspection, that it was $32 billion. The $1 trillion sequester included in the debt ceiling deal included defense cuts, while leaving out top Democratic priorities like Medicaid (in one late-stage phone call with Republican aides, Lew screamed down attempts to make that program part of the trigger).

But in each instance, the broader debate was waged on Republican terms: additional stimulus spending took a backseat to deficit reduction. One Lew confidant said that Lew personally views himself as a progressive, despite having a reputation as a Clinton-era, new Democrat budget hawk. Sperling would only describe him as someone who straddles, if not outright ignores, the labels and lines.

"I’ve worked with Jack a large part of my adult life and I mean, he is what you see," he said. "He is very serious about deficit reduction but he operates from core progressive principles. In other words, he is not the type of person who either lets conservatives pressure him into backing down on basic issues of fairness, but on the other hand, he is never beholden to litmus tests from progressive groups that he does not believe are reasonable from a policy context."

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« Reply #1681 on: January 08, 2013, 01:57:02 PM »

Obama EPA Regulations Kill 15 Power Plants, 480 Jobs In Georgia
 Washington Examiner ^ | January 8, 2013 | 10:20 am | Beltway Confidential

Posted on Tuesday, January 08, 2013 1:54:35 PM by drewh

Georgia Power asked state regulators for permission to shut down 15 power plants yesterday, claiming new regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) make the plants too expensive to run.

The 15 coal-, oil- and natural gas-fired power plants currently produce 2,061 megawatts (MW) for Georgia energy consumers. Georgia Power plans to close 11 of the plants on the exact day the EPA’s new mercury regulations are set to take effect, April 16, 2015. Georgia Power will seek waivers from the EPA to keep four of the other plants open for a single year, and then shut those down too on April 16, 2016. It is unclear how the Georgia energy sector will make the 2 gigawatts up.

The EPA claims its new mercury regulation will produce $140 billion in annual benefits, but only $6 million of the benefits come from actual mercury reductions. According to Dr. Anne Smith, Senior Vice President of NERA Economic Consulting’s Global Environment Group, effectively all of the EPA’s estimated benefits come from “coincidental reductions” of fine particulate matter. But fine particulate matter is already regulated by a separate section of the Clean Air Act.

The plant closures will cause at least 480 fewer power plant jobs and higher electricity rates for all Georgia energy consumers.


(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonexaminer.com ...
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« Reply #1682 on: January 09, 2013, 04:32:05 AM »

Arthur Brooks: 80% of the new fiscal cliff revenues will go to Obama’s wealthy cronies
Conservatives4Palin ^ | January 08 2013 | Doug Brady
Posted on January 9, 2013 6:20:33 AM EST by Bratch

In a post yesterday, James chronicled the rampant cronyism which characterized the so-called fiscal cliff deal. This morning Arthur Brooks appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box and revealed some startling facts on the same topic. Here’s a partial transcript of the interview.

JOE KERNEN: The fiscal cliff fight’s over, a battle that is still looming large. Our guest host today is Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, author of “The Road to Freedom.” Arthur, I want to just start just quickly with you. OK, your point — and we were talking about it in welcome, it’s good to see you — out of the $62 billion, we’ve got a trillion dollar deficit, this raises how much in revenue? $62 billion or so?

BROOKS: About $62 billion a year, $620 billion over 10 years.

KERNEN: Your work is that $50 billion out of $62 billion is to corporate cronies?

BROOKS: Yeah, the first two years, $100 billion is going to corporate cronies, payoffs to corporate clients of the government effectively. And all kinds of crazy stuff: algae producers, rum producers.

KERNEN: Renewable crap.

BROOKS: Yeah, yeah. The wind guys that are a big deal with the Obama administration. Effectively what it means is that 80 percent of the new tax revenues are going right into the pocket of corporate cronies.

KERNEN: So people that call him a redistributionist, it just sounds good to him that he’s trying to help the — he always calls them ‘folks’ I think. Rich folks got to pay a little bit more –

BROOKS: To rich folks, to other rich folks.

KERNEN: But the rich folks are actually paying to other rich folks. Redistribution from the 2 percent to the corporate –

BROOKS: The corporate 1 percent. So it’s basically the rich makers are redistributed to the rich takers. That’s basically what Obamanomics is all about in a nutshell. That’s how it works. And he talks about redistributing to poor people and working people and helping people and all that.

Think about that. 80% of the new revenues that the government will collect as a result of the fiscal cliff deal will go to Obama’s wealthy corporate cronies. I wonder what Obama’s low-information voters, to whom I referred yesterday, would think of that. Brooks, Joe Kernen and the rest of the Squawk Box crew discuss a few other things as well, including how meaningless this fiscal cliff exercise was in terms of actual deficit reduction. Click the image below to watch. It’s eye-opening.
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« Reply #1683 on: January 09, 2013, 07:15:17 AM »

You're obsessed. Get a real life.
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« Reply #1684 on: January 09, 2013, 07:16:24 AM »

You're obsessed. Get a real life.

F you - you voted for this commie corrupt piece of shit - eat a dick 
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« Reply #1685 on: January 10, 2013, 11:25:46 AM »

Top EPA official used private email account to correspond with environmental groups
 The Daily Caller ^ | 1/10/13 | Michael Bastasch

Posted on Thursday, January 10, 2013 1:25:35 PM by Nachum

A second Environmental Protection Agency official stands accused of using a personal email address to shield communications with environmental activists from public disclosure.

Court documents show that EPA Region 8 Administrator James Martin corresponded with the Environmental Defense Fund — where he previously worked as an attorney — through his private email account.


(Excerpt) Read more at dailycaller.com ...
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« Reply #1686 on: January 14, 2013, 11:14:22 AM »

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/01/13/Obama-Missed-More-Budget-Deadlines-Than-Any-President-Since-1920s


What a piece of work.  Total FAIL for O-TWINK
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« Reply #1687 on: January 14, 2013, 02:24:50 PM »

New pay-per-mile scheme would boost taxes 250 percent

January 14, 2013 | 2:15 pm
153Comments

Paul Bedard

Washington Secrets
The Washington Examiner



http://washingtonexaminer.com/new-pay-per-mile-scheme-would-boost-taxes-250-percent/article/2518504#.UPRbEqU1lhQ



An on-again, off-again move by the Obama administration to scrap the federal gas tax in favor of a pay-per-mile fee would boost the tab to Americans as high as 250 percent, raising their current tax of 18.4 cents a gallon to as high as 46 cents, according to a new government study.

But without a tax increase, said the Government Accountability Office study, the government's highway fund is going to go dry. One reason the fund is going broke: President Obama's push for fuel efficient cars has resulted in better mileage, and fewer stops at the pump.
 
The GAO study is just the latest review of federal spending that paints a grim picture of the nation's infrastructure. Just keeping spending at current levels, the GAO said, would require a near doubling of the gas tax to 32 cents a gallon, and that would jump to as high as 46 cents should the federal government add spending to fix crumbling infrastructure and build new roads.
 
The average driver pays about $96 a year in federal gas taxes, said GAO. Should the administration seek to raise the highway trust fund from $34 billion to the $78 billion needed to fix and maintain roads, that could rise to $248. Translated into a pay-per-mile plan, drivers would face a tax of 2.2 cents per mile compared to the 0.9 cents they pay now. Trucks would pay far more.
 
"We modeled the average mileage fee rates that would be needed for passenger vehicles and commercial trucks to meet three illustrative Highway Trust Fund revenue targets ranging from about $34 billion to $78.4 billion per year. To meet these targets, a driver of a passenger vehicle with average fuel efficiency would pay from $108 to $248 per year in mileage fees compared to the $96 they currently pay annually in federal gasoline tax," said GAO.
 
The administration floated that plan in the first term, but scrapped it when it was met with public outrage. However, several states and some in Congress are now eyeing the plan, keeping it alive as a federal option.
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« Reply #1688 on: January 14, 2013, 06:36:23 PM »


Report: Obama officials issued $216 billion in regulations last year
 
By Megan R. Wilson - 01/14/13 03:20 PM ET


The Obama administration issued $236 billion worth of new regulations last year, according to a report from a conservative think tank.
 
The analysis from the American Action Forum, led by former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, found that the administration added $216 billion in rules and more than $20 billion in regulatory proposals in 2012. Complying with those rules will require an additional 87 million hours of paperwork, the report said.
 
The group put the total price tag from regulations during Obama’s first term at more than $518 billion.
 
American Action Forum credited the administration for erasing $2.5 billion in regulatory costs last year, but said that paled in comparison to $34 billion in regulatory compliance costs reported by top companies since 2009.


The Environmental Protection Agency racked up the most in regulatory costs last year, according to the report, issuing $172 billion worth of rules. Regulations from the healthcare reform law tacked an additional $20.1 billion in costs onto the economy.
 
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law, several EPA clean air rules and the Affordable Care Act were the most notable regulatory expenses last year. But prison reform standards and conflict minerals regulation also cost a total of $10 billion in 2012, the report found.
 
Though the study lists the costs of regulations, it does not calculate any benefits that might have resulted from them.
 
The American Action Forum is the policy-focused sister organization of the American Action Network.


Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/regwatch/administration/277039-report-obama-officials-issued-216b-in-new-regulations-last-year#ixzz2I0Ide24s

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« Reply #1689 on: January 17, 2013, 10:10:52 AM »

ObamaMiles Tax Coming Soon
 Townhall.com ^ | January 17, 2013 | Mike Shedlock

Posted on Thursday, January 17, 2013 8:33:48 AM by Kaslin

Yet another "Trust Fund" is broke. This time, discussion involves an alleged "Transportation Trust Fund".

As with Social Security, there is no "Transportation Trust Fund", only a stack of unmarketable IOUs from one branch of government to another.

If there is any trust in the system, there shouldn't be, and soon won't be. Obama will surely see to that.

Grid Chicago reports Charging by the mile, a gas tax alternative, sees serious movement.


Because of vehicles with higher fuel efficiency, slightly less driving, and the gas tax not being changed since 1993, the motor vehicle fuel tax, or “gas tax”, has failed to pay for everything that Congress has legislated that it should pay for. The Highway Trust Fund, which includes the Mass Transit Account, has received several infusions of money from the “general revenue fund” – to the tune of over $60 billion.

But a new report from the Government Accountability Office, the congressional think tank focused on financing, past, present, and future, has made the country take a giant step forward in considering a switch to a fee that more accurately charges usage. The report, like all GAO studies, was commissioned by the House Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee.

The gas tax charges drivers based on their use of petroleum, different vehicles can go different distances on the same amount of petroleum: essentially, some pay less than others for the same use of the road. Additionally, the counts of how much people drive has decreased (called vehicle miles traveled, or VMT), yet our demand for funds to maintain and build new infrastructure outpaces the incoming revenues from the gas tax. Lastly, the federal gas tax hasn’t changed at all, sticking to a cool 18.4 cents per gallon (for non-diesel drivers) since 1993. ”While the gas tax was equal to 17 percent of the cost of a gallon of gas when it was set at its current level in 1993, it is now only 5 percent” (Streetsblog).

The Simpson-Bowles Commission, convened by President Obama to find strategies to improve the country’s fiscal situation in 2010, “called for an immediate 15 cent-per-gallon increase in the gas tax”.

An alternative to the gas tax is to charge people based on how much they drive, a mileage fee. This can be calculated in more than one way, and doesn’t require the use of a GPS system to track where people are going: pay-at-the-pump (or electric vehicle charging station), and prepaid, self-reporting system based on odometer readings.

Mindless Possibilities

Got that? Bureaucrats are actually pondering a system that would require road use prepayment based on self-reporting of miles driven.

It's always important to keep in mind that the bureaucrats have an infinite capacity to do mindless things. How many bureaucrats will it take to manage a self-reporting system? At what cost? Who will comply?

When that proposal does not work, (and obviously it won't), bureaucrats are likely to do something such as mandate devices in cars that will communicate with devices at gas pumps, tracking your every move.

Such devices will no doubt be manufactured by GE who will be the big beneficiary of it all in terms of profit. Meanwhile the actual manufacturing jobs for such devices will go to China.

Gas station owners and car manufacturers will both have to install such devices at great expense.

While pondering the ramifications of mindless possibilities, let's also take a look at proposed costs. Keep in mind things always cost more than proposed.

Scheme to Boost Taxes 250%

The Examiner reports New pay-per-mile scheme would boost taxes 250 percent


An on-again, off-again move by the Obama administration to scrap the federal gas tax in favor of a pay-per-mile fee would boost the tab to Americans as high as 250 percent, raising their current tax of 18.4 cents a gallon to as high as 46 cents, according to a new government study.

But without a tax increase, said the Government Accountability Office study, the government's highway fund is going to go dry. One reason the fund is going broke: President Obama's push for fuel efficient cars has resulted in better mileage, and fewer stops at the pump.

The GAO study is just the latest review of federal spending that paints a grim picture of the nation's infrastructure. Just keeping spending at current levels, the GAO said, would require a near doubling of the gas tax to 32 cents a gallon, and that would jump to as high as 46 cents should the federal government add spending to fix crumbling infrastructure and build new roads.

Obama Mulls Replacing Gas Tax With Hefty Mileage Tax

Political Outcast has some choice comments on the idea in Obama Mulls Replacing Gas Tax With Hefty Mileage Tax.


One reason gas prices are so high is that the Feds impose a tax of 18.4 cents per gallon on gas. It’s 24.4 cents per gallon of diesel. We’ve had federal gas taxes since the 50’s to pay for highways and bridges, but since 1983, they started diverting about 20% of gas taxes to go to a Mass Transit Account that is supposed to pay for public transportation like buses and railways. So, those of us who don’t use mass transit are paying for those that do in the form of gas taxes. That’s socialism for you.

We’ve had the 18.4-cent per gallon tax since 1993 under the Clinton administration. Nowadays, with the further destruction of the dollar, that 18.4 cents just doesn’t buy what it used to. Now, the Highway Trust Fund (which includes the Mass Transit Account) is facing insolvency.

Some credit the loss of revenue to the fact that many are using more fuel-efficient cars and therefore not spending as much on gas. Isn’t that what Obama wanted? For people to use more “green” energy? And now, the Highway Trust Fund is running out of money.

That could be part of it, but billions of the gas tax revenues are used to fund pet mass transit projects, which those who drive cars generally don’t even use.

If states want to have public transportation, they should raise their own revenue and pay for it themselves instead of taking federal highway funds to build it. As for paying for highways and roads, we could cut hundreds of billions of dollars from Obama’s foreign policy expenditures and put those funds toward domestic infrastructure and not have to impose one penny of gas taxes to fund it.


Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (With IOUs of Course)

Political Outcast gets to part of the problem.

However, I am not opposed to the idea that people who use services should pay for them. But why stop at roads?

Why shouldn't people who use libraries pay for that usage, rather than everyone else? Why should Social Security recipients get out more than they paid in? Why shouldn't mass transit users be the ones to pay for mass transit?

Most importantly, why don't people with kids in the public education system pay for the cost of the schools and their kid's education?

If they did, I assure you costs would come down because people would demand more for their money.

Next Set of Questions



•What the hell are taxpayers getting for their money?
•What do pension plans of those working for the Department of Transportation look like compared to the average Joe?
•What do the wages and pension plans of road maintenance workers look like compared to the average Joe?

Before we go about charging people for miles driven, how about making sure taxpayers get their money's worth in services received?

For road maintenance, the way to do that is easy. Scrap Davis Bacon and all prevailing wage laws, then let cities and states put out bids for work at non-union rates.

If the states and federal government would scrap all prevailing wage laws and make recipients in general pay for services received, I will be more than happy to discuss better ways of making drivers (and everyone else) pay for services received.

Camel's Nose in the Tent

As an addendum, I offer reader "Lapdog" comments ... "A miles driven tax is just the camel's nose in the tent. It will ultimately be a GPS/vehicle-based system that will allow charging more based on time of day, type of road taken or where one wishes to go i.e. into downtown business districts."

Precisely. The possibilities for more taxes, and more tracking of everything you do, while under guise of making people pay for services are infinite.

Moreover, both parties want to keep track of everything you do under guise of protecting against terrorists
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« Reply #1690 on: January 21, 2013, 05:37:07 AM »

Obama's ATF Nominee on DOJ's Fast and Furious Design Team
Breitbart ^ | 1-19-13 | Matthew Boyle
Posted on January 21, 2013 7:37:36 AM EST by TurboZamboni

As part of President Barack Obama’s 23-point gun control plan, he nominated Minnesota U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones–who currently doubles right now as the acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives–to be the ATF director. Jones was personally a part of the high-ranking Department of Justice unit that first met on October 26, 2009, to create the new DOJ policy that was used to justify “gunwalking” in Operation Fast and Furious. In Fast and Furious, the ATF “walked” roughly 2,000 firearms into the hands of the Mexican drug cartels. That means through straw purchasers the agency allowed sales to happen and didn’t stop the guns from being trafficked, even though they had the legal authority to do so and were fully capable of doing so.

Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and hundreds of Mexican citizens–estimates put it around at least 300–were killed with these firearms.

(Excerpt) Read more at breitbart.com ...
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« Reply #1691 on: January 25, 2013, 09:17:20 AM »

Appeals court panel rules Obama recess appointments to labor board are unconstitutional
By Associated Press, Updated: Friday, January 25, 11:12 AM
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama violated the Constitution when he bypassed the Senate to fill vacancies on a labor relations panel, a federal appeals court panel ruled Friday.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said that Obama did not have the power to make three recess appointments last year to the National Labor Relations Board.

The unanimous decision is an embarrassing setback for the president, who made the appointments after Senate Republicans spent months blocking his choices for an agency they contended was biased in favor of unions.

The ruling also throws into question Obama’s recess appointment of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Cordray’s appointment, also made under the recess circumstance, has been challenged in a separate case.

Obama claims he acted properly in the case of the NLRB appointments because the Senate was away for the holidays on a 20-day recess. But the three-judge panel ruled that the Senate technically stayed in session when it was gaveled in and out every few days for so-called “pro forma” sessions.

GOP lawmakers used the tactic — as Democrats have in the past as well — to specifically to prevent the president from using his recess power. GOP lawmakers contend the labor board has been too pro-union in its decisions. They had also vigorously opposed the nomination of Cordray.

The Obama administration is expected to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, but if it stands, it means hundreds of decisions issued by the board over more than a year are invalid. It also would leave the five-member labor board with just one validly appointed member, effectively shutting it down. The board is allowed to issue decisions only when it has at least three sitting members.

On Jan. 4, 2012, Obama appointed Deputy Labor Secretary Sharon Block, union lawyer Richard Griffin and NLRB counsel Terence Flynn to fill vacancies on the NLRB, giving it a full contingent for the first time in more than a year. Block and Griffin are Democrats, while Flynn is a Republican. Flynn stepped down from the board last year.

Obama also appointed Cordray on the same day.

The court’s decision is a victory for Republicans and business groups that have been attacking the labor board for issuing a series of decisions and rules that make it easier for the nation’s labor unions to organize new members.

___

Follow Sam Hananel on Twitter: http://twitter.com/SamHananelAP

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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« Reply #1692 on: January 26, 2013, 10:11:25 PM »



Obama Continues to Violate His Own ‘Stimulus’ Law by Not Releasing Quarterly Reports


10:41 AM, Jan 26, 2013 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON




Have you heard much about President Obama’s $787,000,000,000 economic “stimulus” (now estimated to cost $831,000,000,000) lately?  In its last report, published in 2011, the president’s own Council of Economic Advisors released an estimate showing that, for every $317,000 in “stimulus” spending that had by then gone out the door, only one job had been created or saved.  Even in Washington, that’s not considered good bang for the buck.




Moreover, that was the fifth consecutive “stimulus” report that showed this number getting progressively worse.
 
Alas, that was the last report we’ve seen.  Never mind that Section 1513 of the “stimulus” legislation, which Obama spearheaded and signed into law, requires the executive branch to submit a new report every three months.  It reads:
 
“In consultation with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and the Secretary of the Treasury, the Chairperson of the Council of Economic Advisers shall submit quarterly reports to the Committees on Appropriations of the Senate and House of Representatives that detail the impact of programs funded through covered funds on employment, estimated economic growth, and other key economic indicators.”
 
(The head of the Council of Economic Advisors, currently Alan Krueger, is appointed by the president, confirmed by the Senate, and works in the Executive Office of the President.  He is the president’s chief economic adviser.)



Indeed, the old reports that the administration released begin, “As part of the unprecedented accountability and transparency provisions included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 [the ‘stimulus’], the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) was charged with providing to Congress quarterly reports on the effects of the Recovery Act on overall economic activity, and on employment in particular.”
 
Section 1513 further specifies, “The first report…shall be submitted not later than 45 days after the end of the first full quarter following the date of enactment of this Act….The last report required to be submitted…shall apply to the quarter in which the [Recovery Accountability and Transparency] Board terminates under section 1530.”  Section 1530 declares, “The Board shall terminate on September 30, 2013.”
 
In other words, the Obama administration is required by law to submit quarterly reports on the “stimulus” through the third quarter of 2013.  By now, it was supposed to have released fourteen such reports.  It has released only eight.  The last one covered the period ending in June 2011.  That’s right — 2011.
 
With only 58.6 percent of Americans currently employed — down 2.4 percent from the time of Obama’s first inauguration — it’s not surprising that the Obama administration doesn’t really want to fulfill it legal responsibilities and release subsequent reports on its failed “stimulus.”  However, it hardly seems fair — to use one of Obama’s favorite words — that the rich and (extremely) powerful think that they can choose whether or not to abide by the laws they spearhead and sign, while the rest of us are forced to obey them.
 
Perhaps it’s time for the rich and powerful to do their fair share and obey the laws that they enforce against others.  And perhaps this is something that the House of Representatives might want to look into.




 





 




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« Reply #1693 on: January 28, 2013, 08:59:51 AM »

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EPA Email Scandal Is Worse Than Originally Thought
Breitbart ^ | 1/27/13 | George Landrith & Peter Roff
Posted on January 28, 2013, 12:58:34 AM EST by Nachum

President Barack Obama and, for that matter, most of America seem woefully ignorant about a scandal unfolding at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. As hard as it is to believe, outgoing Administrator Lisa Jackson actually appears to have had agency personnel create a fictitious employee by the name of “Richard Windsor” so that Jackson could appropriate the Windsor’s email address for her own purposes.

We’re not talking about some alias to be used for personal correspondence but a totally false identity in whose name official business was allegedly conducted created specifically to avoid federal record-keeping and disclosure requirements. And none of this would ever have been uncovered were it not for the courage of a still anonymous whistleblower and the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Christopher Horner, an attorney with the legal smarts and experience needed to unravel it all.

Earlier this week, thanks to Horner’s good work, the EPA was supposed to produce the first installment of some 12,000 secret, previously undisclosed emails. Not because it wanted to but because a federal court order required it to.

Under the order, the EPA was to provide the first installment of 3,000 e-mails with three additional installments of 3,000 e-mails to follow. Rather than provide the required emails, however, EPA’s cover letter accompanying its production of emails said it “produced more than 2,100 emails received or sent” by Jackson on an official alias e-mail account.

(Excerpt) Read more at breitbart.com ...
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« Reply #1694 on: January 30, 2013, 09:27:52 PM »

Complaint: Sebelius' illegal campaign trip for Obama worse than we thought
Washington Examiner ^ | 1/30/13 | Joel Gehrke
Posted on January 30, 2013 9:49:59 PM EST by Nachum

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius violated federal law by campaigning for President Obama on the taxpayers’ dime, but now that initial violation has the Democratic National Committee and an HHS aide in the spotlight for related alleged infractions. A nonprofit government watchdog filed a complaint alleging that the DNC violated campaign finance law by misreporting the money it spent to reimburse HHS for Sebelius’ trip in a way that masked the fact that the Hatch Act, a ban on political campaigning by government employees working in their official capacity,

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonexaminer.com ...
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« Reply #1695 on: January 31, 2013, 03:36:40 PM »

Some families to be priced out of health overhaul (Obama's hands tied by how law was written)
 WTOP ^ | 01/31/2013 | RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR

Posted on Thursday, January 31, 2013 3:42:49 PM by SeekAndFind

WASHINGTON (AP) - Some families could get priced out of health insurance due to what's being called a glitch in President Barack Obama's overhaul law. IRS regulations issued Wednesday failed to fix the problem as liberal backers of the president's plan had hoped.

As a result, some families that can't afford the employer coverage that they are offered on the job will not be able to get financial assistance from the government to buy private health insurance on their own. How many people will be affected is unclear.

The Obama administration says its hands were tied by the way Congress wrote the law. Officials said the administration tried to mitigate the impact. Families that can't get coverage because of the glitch will not face a tax penalty for remaining uninsured, the IRS rules said.

"This is a very significant problem, and we have urged that it be fixed," said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, an advocacy group that supported the overhaul from its early days. "It is clear that the only way this can be fixed is through legislation and not the regulatory process."


(Excerpt) Read more at wtop.com ...






PROMISE BROKEN
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« Reply #1696 on: January 31, 2013, 03:55:44 PM »

IRS: Cheapest Obamacare Plan Will Be $20,000 Per Family

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IRS: Cheapest Obamacare Plan Will Be $20,000 Per Family
 CNS News ^ | January 31, 2013 | Matt Cover

Posted on Thursday, January 31, 2013 5:43:47 PM by rhema

In a final regulation issued Wednesday, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) assumed that under Obamacare the cheapest health insurance plan available in 2016 for a family will cost $20,000 for the year.

Under Obamacare, Americans will be required to buy health insurance or pay a penalty to the IRS.

The IRS's assumption that the cheapest plan for family of five will cost $20,000 per year is found in examples the IRS gives to help people understand how to calculate the penalty they will need to pay the government if they do not buy a mandated health plan.

“The annual national average bronze plan premium for a family of 5 (2 adults, 3 children) is $20,000,” the regulation says.

Bronze will be the lowest tier health-insurance plan available under Obamacare--after Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Under the law, the penalty for not buying health insurance is supposed to be capped at either the annual average Bronze premium, 2.5 percent of taxable income, or $2,085.00 per family in 2016.

In the new final rules published Wednesday, IRS set in law the rules for implementing the penalty Americans must pay if they fail to obey Obamacare's mandate to buy insurance.

To help illustrate these rules, the IRS presented examples of different situations families might find themselves in.

In the examples, the IRS assumes that families of five who are uninsured would need to pay an average of $20,000 per year to purchase a Bronze plan in 2016.

Using the conditions laid out in the regulations, the IRS calculates that a family earning $120,000 per year that did not buy insurance would need to pay a "penalty" (a word the IRS still uses despite the Supreme Court ruling that it is in fact a "tax") of $2,400 in 2016.

For those wondering how clear the IRS's clarifications of this new "penalty" rule are, here is one of the actual examples the IRS gives:

“Example 3. Family without minimum essential coverage.

"(i) In 2016, Taxpayers H and J are married and file a joint return. H and J have three children: K, age 21, L, age 15, and M, age 10. No member of the family has minimum essential coverage for any month in 2016. H and J’s household income is $120,000. H and J’s applicable filing threshold is $24,000. The annual national average bronze plan premium for a family of 5 (2 adults, 3 children) is $20,000.

"(ii) For each month in 2016, under paragraphs (b)(2)(ii) and (b)(2)(iii) of this section, the applicable dollar amount is $2,780 (($695 x 3 adults) + (($695/2) x 2 children)). Under paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this section, the flat dollar amount is $2,085 (the lesser of $2,780 and $2,085 ($695 x 3)). Under paragraph (b)(3) of this section, the excess income amount is $2,400 (($120,000 - $24,000) x 0.025). Therefore, under paragraph (b)(1) of this section, the monthly penalty amount is $200 (the greater of $173.75 ($2,085/12) or $200 ($2,400/12)).

"(iii) The sum of the monthly penalty amounts is $2,400 ($200 x 12). The sum of the monthly national average bronze plan premiums is $20,000 ($20,000/12 x 12). Therefore, under paragraph (a) of this section, the shared responsibility payment imposed on H and J for 2016 is $2,400 (the lesser of $2,400 or $20,000).”
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« Reply #1697 on: January 31, 2013, 08:42:17 PM »

HHS says it ditched ‘exchanges’ because word doesn’t translate into Spanish
The Hill ^ | 1/31/13 | Elise Viebeck
Posted on January 31, 2013 1:38:49 PM EST by Nachum

The Obama administration has stopped using the term “exchanges” to describe part of the healthcare law because the word doesn’t translate into Spanish, an official said Thursday. Anton Gunn, director of External Affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), said the rebranding of the insurance exchanges as "marketplaces" was geared toward Spanish speakers who will use the system. "We´re going to use the word ´marketplace´ because it actually makes sense to people," Gunn said at a conference in Washington, D.C. " ´Exchange´ doesn´t translate to anything in Spanish, but ´marketplace´ does."

(Excerpt) Read more at thehill.com ...
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« Reply #1698 on: February 01, 2013, 08:47:08 AM »

Secret donors back new Obamacare push
By: Kenneth P. Vogel and Jennifer Haberkorn
February 1, 2013 04:41 AM EST
 
Several former White House staffers have found a new way to promote Obamacare: They’re spending millions of dollars in secret corporate and union cash, and they’re harnessing grass-roots tactics to some of the biggest names in the health care industry.

Organizing for Action, the successor to President Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, and Enroll America, a group led by two former Obama staffers that features several insurance company bigwigs on its board, are planning to unleash the same grass-roots mobilization and sophisticated micro-targeting tactics seen in the 2012 campaign.

(Also on POLITICO: President Obama's challenge: Selling ideas, not just himself)

Instead of getting people to vote, they’re trying to get people to buy insurance.

If the coalition is successful, 30 million uninsured Americans will get health coverage and the now-unpopular law that Obama’s team pushed through Congress and defended at the Supreme Court could go down in history alongside lauded national institutions such as Medicare and Social Security.

But if large numbers of younger and healthier Americans don’t sign up for coverage this fall alongside the older and sicker ones, the whole thing won’t work.

The challenge is real: The White House has not been able to penetrate the confusion and skepticism about the law in the nearly three years since its passage. Numerous polls have shown that people still don’t know what’s in the law, or how it could benefit them.

(PHOTOS: Supreme Court upholds health care law)

So it is both fitting and ironic that — for perhaps the most significant battle in the war over Obamacare — the president’s allies are completely setting aside their qualms about the unlimited cash they once railed against. They plan to use it to unleash the 20 million-address strong email list of Organizing for Action, to hire up to 100 people at Enroll America and to flood television, radio and social media with ads this fall. They even hope to go door to door, walking people through the sign-up process.

“This is going to be run like a political campaign,” said Families USA Executive Director Ron Pollack, who helped conceive and fund Enroll America in 2010 and is chairman of the board.

(Also on POLITICO: Obama committees in black, red)

It’s clear Enroll America is a priority for Team Obama. The group received a blessing from Organizing for Action at a private gathering of Democratic donors during Inauguration weekend. Its new president, Anne Filipic, just resigned as the deputy director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, where she had worked under Organizing for Action’s director Jon Carson. Its new managing director, Chris Wyant, led the ground game in Ohio for Obama’s reelection campaign.

The private effort is relying on many of the tools, donors and operatives that were pivotal to Obama’s reelection, but also streams of cash — including secret and corporate money — that Obama once eschewed.


“There is a long list of organizations that want to see this effort be successful, including a whole set of organizations on the progressive side, and also so many entities on the private sector side and local and community-based organizations,” said Filipic.

That long list includes many of the corporate groups who would benefit from millions of people signing up for insurance. Enroll America’s board includes senior officials from Blue Shield of California, Kaiser Permanente and Teva Pharmaceuticals.

Enroll America’s advisory council is a cross-section of the most influential health-related organizations, companies and unions in the country, including: AARP, Aetna, CVS Caremark, the NAACP and the Service Employees International Union.

The money push began Inauguration weekend when hundreds of Obama donors, Democratic operatives and corporate representatives gathered at Washington’s Newseum for a meeting of Obama’s National Finance Committee.

"There is a whole long list of fights we won in the first term that we have to implement now,” Carson, OFA’s director, said. “First among those is the challenge and opportunity to get 40 million Americans on health care insurance through the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.”

Carson called Enroll America the “group that’s going to be leading the charge on health care implementation.”

Filipic, who worked on Obama’s 2008 campaign and then at the Democratic National Committee, praised the assembled donors. It was “due to the incredible work you and many people did” that the Affordable Care Act passed, she said, adding, “Enroll America is going to be a major ACA enrollment campaign.”

Filipic’s appearance at the Newseum meeting seemed to be partly intended to make Obama donors comfortable giving to Enroll America, some attendees told POLITICO. The group saw its budget soar from $1 million when it was founded in 2010 to $3.9 million in 2011, according to tax filings. It would not say how much it raised last year, nor whether it planned to disclose its donors.

But it got nearly $350,000 in seed funding from the California Healthcare Foundation and United Health Foundation, according to tax filings identified by the Capital Research Center.

Families USA, which worked closely with the White House to get the health law passed, also saw its revenue increased dramatically — from $4.3 million in 2010 to $11 million in 2011, according to its tax filings — as it became clear that the fight over Obamacare wasn’t dying down, but continuing in Congress and the courts, and then to the states and the regulators.

Other big money White House allies expected to play major roles in the Obamacare fight include the corporate-funded trade group Business Forward, the think tank Center for American Progress and the liberal donor network Democracy Alliance.


Business Forward, which is run by Democratic operatives and leveraged industry support to help pass the fiscal cliff deal, is planning something similar on Obamacare, including February meetings on the West Coast between business leaders and Obama Health and Human Services officials. It also sponsored the Newseum conference where Filipic pitched Enroll to donors, and at which leaders from CAP and the Democracy Alliance appeared, along with Obama campaign manager Jim Messina and former President Bill Clinton.

But leaders of Enroll, Families USA and Business Forward say their groups will be entirely non-partisan and that they’re only interested in good policy, with Filipic and Families stressing that their goal is simply to get insurance coverage to as many people as possible.

White House spokesman Bradley Carroll declined to comment on whether the White House was directly involved in Enroll, which has been active for a while but with a much lower profile.

“The administration is committed to helping Americans get access to affordable health care, and appreciates the experience, energy and commitment of groups like Enroll America working toward the same goal,” he said.

Organizing for Action did not respond to questions about its list or relationship with Enroll America. But generally, Filipic said her group will lean on “the strength of the Obama organization” and conceded “absolutely there are comparisons there and frankly, we learned a lot of lessons about how to do it well.”

Asked whether the group would be able to access Organizing for Action’s vaunted email list, which POLITICO has learned includes as many as 20 million addresses, Filipic said “that would be a question for OFA more than for us.”

The right isn’t just ceding the battle, either. Despite spending significant resources unsuccessfully trying to kill Obamacare in Congress and then in the Supreme Court, deep-pocketed conservative groups, like the Koch brothers-backed Cato Institute, have been urging states not to implement Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges and Medicaid expansions.

Adversaries have also focused on niche pieces of the legislation, notably through the dozens of suits filed against the contraception coverage requirements. Conservative think tanks and analysts pump out studies and forecasts that insurance premiums will skyrocket, making it more of an “Unaffordable Care Act.” America's Health Insurance Plans, the trade group, has waged a viral campaign arguing that any increases in premiums in 2014 are the fault of the law, not the insurance industry.

But advocates say covering the uninsured will help control rising health care costs. Insured people are more likely to take care of small health problems in a doctor’s office before they become big expensive ones in an emergency room. There won’t be as much inefficient cost shifting to pay for the uninsured.

And once people have a “benefit,” it’s hard for politicians to take it away — or for Republicans to renew efforts to repeal it if they win control of the Senate or the White House.


But to get the benefit, people have to sign up.

Enroll America’s strategy is to advise state leaders and target the uninsured themselves to help them navigate the new system, which includes expanded Medicaid, tax credits to subsidize insurance, and new online marketplaces called health insurance exchanges.

It plans to use microtargeting, just like the Obama campaign did, to identify where the uninsured live, neighborhood by neighborhood. So far, its demographics data shows that the uninsured are typically young adults, male, from communities of color or low-income areas. Some have had bad experiences with insurance companies in the past, finding that the policies were too expensive or hard to understand.

Enroll has also found that the uninsured are more likely to take action if they can talk with a real person. Similar to the Obama campaign, the group hopes to work with volunteers to knock on doors and walk people through the process.

“We certainly know from recent successful electoral campaigns — but also from different successes in the private sector — that we have to really develop a granular list, in this case of the uninsured, and study what motivates them,” Filipic said. “That will be an important part of the work we do.”

They’re dealing with a public that just doesn’t really know what’s in the law. Enroll America focus groups found that 78 percent of the uninsured have no idea that they could be eligible for help obtaining coverage as soon as Oct. 1 of this year.

Business Forward — which is funded by corporate members that have a major stake in implementation, including AT&T, Comcast, Dow, Ford, Google, McDonalds, Microsoft, Verizon and Walmart — intends to bring to bear the cache of the opposite end of the socio-economic spectrum.

“During the health care debate, we brought officials around the country to meet with business leaders,” said Business Forward president Jim Doyle, who worked in the Clinton administration. “We’re interested in doing more on implementation because a lot of the business leaders we work with are interested in it,” he said, but he stressed, “We haven’t spoken to Organizing for Action or Enroll America about joint programming yet. We wouldn’t rule it out.”

Sister Carol Keehan, president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association and a member of Enroll’s board of directors, said having coverage expansion in law won’t do any good if people don’t sign up for it.

“We knew that enrollment was critical if we were going to help the people the act was explicitly targeted to help,” said Keehan, whose organization contributed $100,000 to Enroll.

And she thinks the public will respond. “At heart, the people of this nation are kind and caring and they sympathize with people who have three children and have no insurance for them,” she said.

Byron Tau contributed to this report.

This article first appeared on POLITICO Pro at 10:28 p.m. on January 31, 2013.
 
© 2013 POLITICO LLC
 
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« Reply #1699 on: February 01, 2013, 09:41:38 AM »

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323374504578217720567917856.html


ObamaCare's Broken Promises

Every one of the main claims made for the law is turning out to be false. .

Article
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By DANIEL P. KESSLER

As the federal government moves forward to implement President Obama's Affordable Care Act, the Department of Health and Human Services is slated to spend millions of dollars promoting the unpopular legislation. In the face of this publicity blitz, it is worth remembering that the law was originally sold largely on four grounds—all of which have become increasingly implausible.

• Lower health-care costs. One key talking point for ObamaCare was that it would reduce the cost of insurance, especially for non-group insurance. The president, citing the work of several health-policy experts, claimed that improved care coordination, investments in information technology, and more efficient marketing through exchanges would save the typical family $2,500 per year.

That was then. Now, even advocates for the law acknowledge that premiums are going up. In analyses conducted for the states of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Colorado, Jonathan Gruber of MIT forecasts that premiums in the non-group market will rise by 19% to 30% due to the law. Other estimates are even higher. The actuarial firm Milliman predicts that non-group premiums in Ohio will rise by 55%-85%. Maine, Oregon and Nevada have sponsored their own studies, all of which reach essentially the same conclusion.
 


Some champions of the law argue that this misses the point, because once the law's new subsidies are taken into account, the net price of insurance will be lower. This argument is misleading. It fails to consider that the money for the subsidies has to come from somewhere. Although debt-financed transfer payments may make insurance look cheaper, they do not change its true social cost.
 
• Smaller deficits. Increases in the estimated impact of the law on private insurance premiums, along with increases in the estimated cost of health care more generally, have led the Congressional Budget Office to increase its estimate of the budget cost of the law's coverage expansion. In 2010, CBO estimated the cost per year of expanding coverage at $154 billion; by 2012, the estimated cost grew to $186 billion. Yet CBO still scores the law as reducing the deficit.

How can this be? The positive budget score turns on the fact that the estimated revenues to pay for the law have risen along with its costs. The single largest source of these revenues? Money taken from Medicare in the form of lower Medicare payment rates, mostly in the law's out-years. Since the law's passage, however, Congress and the president have undone various scheduled Medicare cuts—including some prescribed by the law itself.
 
Put aside the absurdity that savings from Medicare—the country's largest unfunded liability—can be used to finance a new entitlement. The argument that health reform decreases the deficit is even worse. It depends on Congress and the president not only imposing Medicare cuts that they have proven unwilling to make but also imposing cuts that they have already specifically undone, most notably to Medicare Advantage, a program that helps millions of seniors pay for private health plans.
 
• Preservation of existing insurance. After the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of health reform in June 2012, President Obama said, "If you're one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your insurance." This theme ran throughout the selling of ObamaCare: People who have insurance would not have their current arrangements disrupted.
 
This claim is obviously false. Indeed, disruption of people's existing insurance is one of the law's stated goals. On one hand, the law seeks to increase the generosity of policies that it deems too stingy, by limiting deductibles and mandating coverage that the secretary of Health and Human Services thinks is "essential," whether or not the policyholder can afford it. On the other hand, the law seeks to reduce the generosity of policies that it deems too extravagant, by imposing the "Cadillac tax" on costly insurance plans.
 
Employer-sponsored insurance has already begun to change. According to the annual Kaiser/HRET Employer Health Benefits Survey, the share of workers in high-deductible plans rose to 19% in 2012 from 13% in 2010.

That's just the intended consequences. One of the law's unintended consequences is that some employers will drop coverage in response to new regulations and the availability of subsidized insurance in the new exchanges. How many is anybody's guess. In 2010, CBO estimated that employer-sponsored coverage would decline by three million people in 2019; by 2012, CBO's estimate had doubled to six million.

• Increased productivity. In 2009, the president's Council of Economic Advisers concluded that health reform would reduce unemployment, raise labor supply, and improve the functioning of labor markets. According to its reasoning, expanding insurance coverage would reduce absenteeism, disability and mortality, thereby encouraging and enabling work.
 
This reasoning is flawed. The evidence that a broad coverage expansion would improve health is questionable. Some studies have shown that targeted coverage can improve the health of certain groups. But according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Economic Research Initiative on the Uninsured, "evidence is lacking that health insurance improves the health of non-elderly adults." More recent work by Richard Kronick, a health-policy adviser to former President Bill Clinton, concludes "there is little evidence to suggest that extending insurance coverage to all adults would have a large effect on the number of deaths in the U.S."
 
The White House economic analysis also fails to consider the adverse consequences of income-based subsidies on incentives. The support provided by both the Medicaid expansion and the new exchanges phases out as a family's income rises. But, as I and others have pointed out in these pages, income phaseouts create work disincentives like taxes do, because they reduce the net rewards to work. Further, the law imposes taxes on employers who fail to provide sufficiently generous insurance, with exceptions for part-time workers and small firms. On net, it is hard to see how health reform will make labor markets function better.
 
Some believe that expanding insurance coverage is a moral imperative regardless of its cost. Most supporters of the law, however, use more nuanced arguments that depend on assumptions that are increasingly impossible to defend. If we are ever to have an honest debate about entitlement spending, we will need to distinguish these positions from one another—and see them for what they really are, rather than what we wish they would be.
 
Mr. Kessler is a professor of business and law at Stanford University and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.
 
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