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Posts Tagged ‘Talking Points’

54% of Americans Say Repeal Obamacare as Key Dems Admit “Redistribution of Wealth” as Motive

Monday, March 29th, 2010

President Obama certainly scored a victory by obtaining the passage of Obamacare, but will the American public support the new massive law as key Democrats admit Obamacare is intended to redistribute wealth?

As the dust settles after the passage of the historic comprehensive health care reform package known as Obamacare, the American public appears to favor its immediate repeal as 54% support such a repeal while 42% oppose repeal:

One week after the House of Representatives passed the health care plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats, 54% of the nation’s likely voters still favor repealing the new law. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 42% oppose repeal.

Those figures are virtually unchanged from last week. They include 44% who Strongly Favor repeal and 34% who Strongly Oppose it.

Repeal is favored by 84% of Republicans and 59% of unaffiliated voters. Among white Democrats, 25% favor repeal, but only one percent (1%) of black Democrats share that view.

Americans also simply do not believe the Obama health care talking points, strongly repudiating the main claims made by Obama about the benefits of Obamacare by a wide margin:

Only 17% of all voters believe the plan will achieve one of its primary goals and reduce the cost of health care. Most (55%) believe it will have the opposite affect and increase the cost of care.

Forty-nine percent (49%) believe the new law will reduce the quality of care. Sixty percent (60%) believe it will increase the federal budget deficit. Those numbers are consistent with expectations before the bill was passed.

Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, notes that “the overriding tone of the data is that passage of the legislation has not changed anything. Those who opposed the bill before it passed now want to repeal it. Those who supported the legislation oppose repealing it.”

As noted by Scott Rasmussen above, little has changed regarding public opinion Obamacare since its passage, repudiating the media’s “conventional wisdom” that the Democrats would see a surge in public support after its passage. The ABC/Washington Post poll confirms Rasmussen’s findings that few Americans believe Obama’s health care talking points and that majority opposition continues that is “virtually identical to the pre-vote split” regarding Obamacare:

More people see the changes as making things worse, rather than better, for the country’s health-care system, for the quality of their care and, among the insured, for their coverage. Majorities in the new poll also see the changes as resulting in higher costs for themselves and for the country.

Most respondents said reform will require everyone to make changes, whether they want to or not; only about a third said they believe the Democrats’ contention that people who have coverage will be able to keep it without alterations. And nearly two-thirds see the changes as increasing the federal budget deficit, with few thinking the deficit will shrink as a result. The Congressional Budget Office said the measure will reduce the deficit.

About half of all poll respondents said the plan creates “too much government involvement” in the health-care system, a concern that is especially pronounced among Republicans.

Senior citizens, who typically make up about one in five midterm voters, represent a particularly valuable but tough audience on this issue. More than six in 10 of those 65 or older see a weaker Medicare system as a result of the changes to the health-care system. Overall, seniors tilt heavily against the changes, with 58 percent opposed and strong opponents outnumbering strong supporters by a 2-to-1 ratio.

Considering these numbers, President Obama has a steep uphill climb to convince Americans that this broad claims that Obamacare will be a “historic” deficit reduction plan, that Americans can keep their doctor and plan if they like it, and that Obamacare will reduce costs and increase the quality of American health care. Key Democrats are not making the President’s job easier by explicitly stating that the true intent of Obamacare is to redistribute wealth in America, something that went unmentioned by Democrats prior to the passage of Obamacare.

Americans strongly oppose, by a 84%-14% margin, government policies that attempt to bring about wealth redistribution in the American economy

Indeed, such wealth redistribution policies are strongly rejected by Americans, with 84% rejecting that approach according to Gallup:

When given a choice about how government should address the numerous economic difficulties facing today’s consumer, Americans overwhelmingly — by 84% to 13% — prefer that the government focus on improving overall economic conditions and the jobs situation in the United States as opposed to taking steps to distribute wealth more evenly among Americans.

First, Democratic Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) announced that Obamacare is intended to redistribute wealth:

It seems Senator Max Baucus let slip the real purpose of health care reform efforts – the redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor. Baucus said of the health care bill, “This legislation will have the effect of addressing that mal-distribution of income in America.” According to the influential Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, “The last couple three years, the mal-distribution of income in American is gone up way too much, the wealthy are getting way, way too wealthy and the middle income class is left behind.”

Former DNC Chairman Howard Dean then chipped in on Thursday March 25, 2010 by admitting that “this is a form of redistribution” and Obamacare is intended to cause wealth redistribution in the American economy because the economy is “like a machine. You always got to tune it right.” Of course, as the establishment media is well aware such explicit Democratic admissions that Obamacare is intended to tinker with the economy to bring about wealth redistribution would be damaging to Obamacare’s popularity, so the claims of Dean and Baucus have gone virtually unreported in the media. However, Americans continue to oppose the Obamacare package, as evidenced by today’s poll showing 54% favor its repeal.

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ABC/WaPo: Obamacare Remains Unpopular, Tea Party Favorable to Americans While Public Rejects Obama Talking Points by Large Margin

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

President Obama cannot like the new ABC/WaPo Poll that shows Obamacare remains unpopular and about 2/3 of Americans do not believe his health care talking points

In a final debunking of the spurious Gallup poll being used by the White House and establishment media to “prove” that Americans turned on a dime to now “support” Obamacare, ABC News and the Washington Post put out a new poll this morning which unequivocally evidences that Americans remain opposed to Obamacare:

In the days since President Obama signed the farthest-reaching piece of social welfare legislation in four decades, overall public opinion has changed little, with continuing broad public skepticism about the effects of the new law and more than a quarter of Americans seeing neither side as making a good-faith effort to cooperate on the issue.

Overall, 46 percent of those polled said they support the changes in the new law; 50 percent oppose them. That is virtually identical to the pre-vote split on the proposals and similar to the divide that has existed since last summer, when the country became sharply polarized over the president’s most ambitious domestic initiative.

The health-care debate galvanized the country to a remarkable extent. About a quarter of all adults say they tried to contact their elected representatives in Congress about health care in recent months, including nearly half of those who say they are “angry” about the changes. In general, opponents of the measure were more than twice as likely as supporters to say they had made the effort.

The ABC News/Washington Post poll found a full 50% of Americans oppose the Democratic health care reform package, while an astounding 40% of Americans “strongly oppose” Obamacare, which matches the all-time high found by this poll in “strong” opposition. The only change since the passage of the bill is a bit of a rally effect of Democrats, with strong support for Obamacare rising to 32%:
8. On another subject: overall, given what you know about them, would you say you support or oppose the changes to the health care system that have been enacted by (Congress) and (the Obama administration)? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?

……………….——– Support ——–         ——— Oppose ——–               No
………..NET Strongly Somewhat ……..NET Somewhat Strongly ……opinion
3/26/10 46           32                    13              50            10                  40                4
2/8/10* 46           22                   25              49             11                  38                 5
1/15/10 44            22                   22              51             12                  39                 5
*2/8/10 and prior: “proposed changes…that are being developed by”

This polling will finally put to rest the untoward and fraudulent efforts of the Obama Administration and establishment media to use the outlier, one-day Gallup poll showing Americans approve of Obamacare by a 49%-40% margin as it will be difficult to credibly claim that one-day poll, which stands alone showing a major bounce in approval for Obamacare post-passage, is at all realistic. Another interesting tidbit from this morning’s poll is that Americans are more likely to vote for a Congressperson who opposes Obamacare than one who supports Obamacare by 6%-8% margin:

24. Say a candidate for Congress voted FOR the changes to the health care system recently enacted by (Congress) and (the Obama administration). Would that make you more likely to [support] that candidate for Congress, more likely to [oppose] that candidate, or wouldn’t it make much difference in your vote? (IF SUPPORT/OPPOSE) Are you much more likely to support/oppose that candidate or somewhat more?

………………..—- Support —-            —- Oppose —–               No        No
…………………..NET Much Smwt       NET Smwt Much          diff.     opinion
3/26/10                26      16          9               32         6           27               40              2
3/26/10 RV        27      17           9               35         5          29               36               2
1/15/10*              22      12          10             31          7          24               45               2
11/15/09             25      13          12             29         8         20               45                1

Separately, the poll is slightly skewed regarding party ID, showing the Democrats with a 10 point partisan ID edge, which is probably at least a few points over reality, and the largest gap reported by this poll since November, showing the GOP at just 24%, which is somewhat counter-intuitive as the GOP has gained steam in recent months by riding the public’s opposition to health care reform.

Nonetheless, even with that skew, this ABC News/Washington Post poll conclusively proves that the “conventional wisdom” of Democrats and the establishment media that Obamacare would magically transform into popular legislation upon passage was and is completely false.  Even the left-leaning WaPo’s writeup on the poll admits that opponents are much more intense than supporters.

Despite the best efforts of the establishment media and Democrats to smear the tea party as racists, extremists and terrorists, Americans view the tea party positively (41%-39%), an improvement from February 2010 (35%-40%) according to this poll.

It would be interesting to know what the partisan leanings of the 20% with “no opinion” on the tea party now are, to determine if the tea party has room to continue to grow in favorability or is reaching its peak.

Finally, this polling also conclusively proves that Americans believe President Obama is lying about the Obamacare legislation every time he speaks of it, with large majorities believing Obamacare will weaken Medicare (not strengthen it), increase the deficit (not “historically” reduce it), worsen the quality of care (not improve it) and finally that many will lose their present plan or doctor (not “if you like your plan, you can keep it”):

More people see the changes as making things worse, rather than better, for the country’s health-care system, for the quality of their care and, among the insured, for their coverage. Majorities in the new poll also see the changes as resulting in higher costs for themselves and for the country.

Most respondents said reform will require everyone to make changes, whether they want to or not; only about a third said they believe the Democrats’ contention that people who have coverage will be able to keep it without alterations. And nearly two-thirds see the changes as increasing the federal budget deficit, with few thinking the deficit will shrink as a result. The Congressional Budget Office said the measure will reduce the deficit.

About half of all poll respondents said the plan creates “too much government involvement” in the health-care system, a concern that is especially pronounced among Republicans.

Senior citizens, who typically make up about one in five midterm voters, represent a particularly valuable but tough audience on this issue. More than six in 10 of those 65 or older see a weaker Medicare system as a result of the changes to the health-care system. Overall, seniors tilt heavily against the changes, with 58 percent opposed and strong opponents outnumbering strong supporters by a 2-to-1 ratio.

All told, it is clear from this ABC News/Washington Post poll, and all other post-Obamacare passage polls other than the spurious one-day Gallup poll hyped by the White House and media, that Americans simply aren’t buying what President Obama and the Democrats are selling regarding their massive new comprehensive health care reform plan. It will be interesting to see if these poll results change the “conventional wisdom” in Washington that continues to linger in the establishment media that Obamacare is somehow transformed into a popular piece of legislation because of its passage.

UPDATE: Ed at Hotair notes the depressing news for Democrats from this poll, even with the partisan ID skew, and the overwhelmingly negative ratings Obama receives on his next big focus: immigration.

With the WaPo survey oversampling by at least five points and perhaps as much as seven, it’s not too surprising to see Obama get a 53/43 approval rating in this poll. It should dismay Democrats to see ObamaCare still losing ground even after the Post had to amp up the partisan gap four extra points from the last survey. The other issue approval ratings won’t be much comfort, either:

* Health care – underwater, 48/49
* Economy – seriously underwater, 45/52, with 40% strongly disapproving
* Budget deficit – 43/52

Interestingly, Obama’s worst issue by far is immigration. Only 33% approve of his handling of immigration issues, while 43% disapprove, 28% strongly so. Obama has expressed interest in taking on immigration with the ObamaCare fight mainly over, but these numbers suggest that he may want to wait until after the midterm elections.

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Obama Today on Obamacare: Most Misleading Presidential Speech in American History?

Friday, March 19th, 2010

President Barack Obama gave another speech on Obamacare today in Virginia at George Mason University, and such speech may be the most misleading speech ever given by a US President

As the reality that Obamacare is going to pass the House of Representatives sinks in after the House’s 222-203 vote yesterday to approve the use of the “Slaughter Solution” (which “deems” the Senate bill “passed”), President Barack Obama took to the stage at George Mason University to make a speech reminiscent of his campaign speeches in 2007-2008: short on actual details and heavy on unrealistic, misleading claims with grandiose rhetoric mixed in for good measure.

Sadly, the President made claims he almost certainly knows are false (you can keep your doctor, you can keep your health plan, Obamacare will reduce the deficit, for instance) while omitting any explicit reference to the $500 billion in cuts to Medicare (over the next 10 years) used to fund over half of the nearly one trillion dollars in new entitlement spending under Obamacare for the years 2014-2019 (major benefits do not begin until 2014), making today’s speech a contender for the most misleading Presidential speech in American history. Further, as leaked just now, a Democratic leadership memo to congresspeople instructs them to lie to the media and public about the substance behind the CBO preliminary scoring while ignoring the realities of the additional $371 billion in federal spending set to be enacted by Democrats as an add-on to Obamacare known as the “doctor fix” immediately after the passage of Obamacare.

Obama’s speech recycles most of the misleading talking points used by Obama and the Democrats over the past year despite the debunking of such claims by objective fact-checking organizations and simple reality, as will be outlined below. Obama began by accurately stating that the Obamacare debate is really “a debate about the character of our country.”  Obama then goes off the rails somewhat with this rhetoric, stating that the question of passing Obamacare is about

“Whether we can still meet the challenges of our time. Whether we still have the guts and courage to give every citizen, not just some, the chance to meet their dreams.”

In fact, Obamacare is about whether the United States will move towards a new, radically altered system of strict federal government control and oversight of the health care industry or whether the United States will continue on its present path of substantially private-run health care.   The drive of Americans to meet the challenges of “our time” is of course not epitomized by a massive increase in government spending and control over the health decisions of Americans, regardless of Obama’s expertly-crafted rhetoric above.   Indeed, Obamacare will fundamentally alter the character of the United States, making most American citizens reliant upon a giant federal government bureaucracy, instead of themselves, for the provision of life-saving health care, forever altering the balance between citizen and government in this country.

As the American health care system is now the envy of the world, both in terms of innovation of new cutting-edge techniques and quality, and most world leaders come here for major health care for themselves personally, taking a giant step away from our present system via the massive new federal intervention into the health care industry in Obamacare can accurately be seen as risking America’s present dominance in the health care field internationally. Of course, Obama’s speech references none of these issues nor the 80% of Americans that presently approve of their personal health care arrangements.

Obama then moves onto a familiar rhetorical trick of framing all opponents to Obamacare as insurance industry hacks, stating that we cannot “accept a system that works better for the insurance companies than the American people” while “their lobbyists are stalking the halls of congress as we speak” and that “if this vote fails, the insurance industry will continue to run amok.” These arguments are substantially false as the health insurance companies will actually benefit in part from his bill as all healthy, young Americans who presently do not waste their money on pricey, unnecessary health insurance policies will now be forced to purchase same or face an IRS penalty and enforcement of same by IRS collection efforts. Of course, Obama’s speech does not reference this penalty on individuals, nor the additionally penalty on employers who do not provide benefits, in his speech today.

At this point, President Obama and Dems in Congress appear to have made more deals than Monty Hall ever did in "Lets Make a Deal"

Obama then makes a wildly inaccurate statement:

So the only question left is this: are we going to let the special interest win once again? Or are we going to make this vote a victory for the American People!

This claim, of course, ignores the fact that, at best, only about 35-40% of Americans support the passage of the President’s comprehensive health care plan into law, making its coming passage hardly a “victory” for the American people, 80% of which are presently satisfied with their medical care.  Also ignored by this Obama claim that his bill is being opposed by “special interests” is the fact that Obama himself has made backroom deals with the large drug companies (“Big Pharma”), American Medical Association, the hospitals, the AARP, the unions, and even some insurance companies as the past year of backroom dealmaking between the Obama Administration and special interest groups has unfolded. The level of “audacity” required to claim his bill is not backed by special interests while he himself made deals with essentially every major special interest in the health care industry during meetings in his White House is substantial and this Obama claim is quite jarring when compared to the above-referenced publicly available facts.

Obama then continues in his speech to claim, as he has many times since the summer of 2009, that “the time for reform is right now. Not a year from now, not 5 years from now not 10 years from now not 20 years from now” while noting that “we have had a year of hard debate, every proposal has been put on the table, every argument has been made, we have incorporated the best ideas from Democrats and from Republicans into a final proposal that builds on the system of private insurance that we have.” These claims, of course, ignore the fact that the Republican ideas to reduce health care costs via tort reform and allowing increased competition between insurers across state lines are ignored by his legislation and those issues also go unmentioned in Obama’s speech today.

Obama then denies that his plan is “radical change” (somewhat contradicting his earlier comments extolling the major changes to come from his bill) and states that “what we’re talking about is common sense reform, that’s all we’re talking about.” Now, Obama unleashes three of the greatest lies ever told about Obamacare:

If you like your doctor, you’ll be able to keep your doctor. If you like your plan, you’ll be able to keep your plan. Because I don’t believe we should give the government or the insurance companies more control over health care in America. I believe it’s time to give you – the American people – more control over your health insurance.

Of course, the massive federal intervention into the American health care system will lead to many Americans having their present health care arrangements substantially altered, whether by a doctor who retires rather than face the increased costs of federal control, or by the new strict federal rules that require certain benefits to be covered, or by an employer who dumps their benefits coverage and just pays the fine to avoid the hassle, or by the elimination of nearly 10 million seniors “Medicare Advantage” coverage. amongst other ways such personal health care arrangements will be altered.

As for Obama’s claim that he does not want to “give the government or the insurance companies more control over health care” and instead wanting to give the “American people” “more control” over their health insurance, such a statement simply defies all logic and available facts known about Obamacare as many  new federal rules and regulations will be implemented and enforced on the American health care system, hence increasing federal government control of same, as intended by its authors. Of course, Obama’s speech avoids any discussion of the massive increase in the federal government’s bureaucracy in his remarks today and instead Obama implausibly denies that his bill will increase federal power over the health care industry, as it is written and intended to do.   Also unmentioned in Obama’s speech is the 15,000 new IRS employees to be hired to enforce the new Obamacare personal and company fines and taxes in Obamacare as well as cost of new federal health bureaucrats to “administer” Obamacare.

Obama then summarizes the parts of his nearly 3000 page bill that he wants to talk about, stating his Obamacare plan does three things: first, it “ends the worst practices of insurance companies” as implementing “a patients’ bill of rights on steroids”; second, “[f]or the first time, small business owners and others…will have the same kind of choice for private health insurance that members of congress give to themselves”; and third that it “brings down the cost of health care for families, businesses and the federal government.”

While the President does accurately state that insurers will be required to issue insurance policies to all those who have preexisting conditions that cost hundreds of thousands if not millions to treat every year at a cost that is not above a healthy person’s policy, the remaining two claims in his formulation are unequivocally false.   All Americans will certainly not have coverage like members of Congress after Obamacare passes, this is simply a lie.   Elite politicians will continue to receive gold-plated health care plans whether Obamacare passes or not, and the average American will either be fined for not purchasing such expensive coverage or the federal government will their own tax dollars (or borrowed dollars) pay to provide coverage made more expensive by Obamacare’s provisions.

Despite this reality, Obama makes this ridiculous claim during his discussion of his second main point that Americans will receive the same coverage as Congress:

“We will offer you tax credits to do so – tax credits that add up to the largest middle class tax cut for health care in history.”

President Barack Obama's speech today on Obamacare reminds some of concepts referenced George Orwell's classic book 1984

Amazingly, Obama terms his planned new spending, in his own words, of at least a “100 billion a year” on a new federal health care entitlement program via Obamacare, as the “largest middle class tax cut for health care in history.”  Such an explicitly misleading presentation of the new entitlement programs in Obamacare certainly recalls the works of George Orwell, such as the book 1984, and this Orwell quote in the aftermath of World War 2 in 1945:

People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. . . To appreciate the danger of Fascism the Left would have had to admit its own shortcomings, which was too painful; so the whole phenomenon was ignored or misinterpreted, with disastrous results…The most intelligent people seem capable of holding schizophrenic beliefs, or disregarding plain facts, of evading serious questions with debating-society repartees, or swallowing baseless rumours and of looking on indifferently while history is falsified.

Above and beyond the false and misleading claims above, President Obama’s ridiculous claim today that Obamacare is “one of the biggest deficit-reduction plans in history” is definitely the most odious and explicitly false statement made by President Obama in his speech today, which in our view ranks as one of the most misleading Presidential speeches in American history. Of course, the giant new entitlement spending in Obamacare (at least 100 billion a year according to Obama today) will not reduce the yearly federal budget deficit, and Obama knows it. However, Obama and the Democrats keep repeating this claim, even claiming it is “one of the biggest deficit-reduction plans in history” based on entirely misleading numbers from the CBO.

It is true that the CBO issued a preliminary report on the latest nearly 3000 page long Obamacare plan today in which the CBO states the bill will cost about a trillion dollars over 10 years (only 6 years of benefits, but 10 years of taxes and Medicare cuts) while allegedly “saving” over a hundred billion in deficit spending over those first 10 years and over a trillion in deficit spending over 20 years. However, the CBO is forced to score the language and assumptions provided to it by the Democrats in charge of Congress, and cannot interject the CBO’s own opinion as to whether those assumptions will bear out or whether subsequent Congresses will change the language.

The first major misrepresentation in the CBO’s claim of deficit savings is the failure to include the “doctor fix” in the CBO’s scoring of OBamacare. The CBO’s claim of deficit spending assumes a 21% cut in doctor and hospital fees, as present law requires. That law, a 1997 act to reduce Medicare spending over time, has been waived every year since then by Congress under pressure from the AMA lobby and others. The Obama Administration, of course, made a little-publicized deal between Obama and the AMA in July 2009 to purchase their support for Obamacare by promising a long term “doctor fix” as a part of the comprehensive health care reform procedure, as reported by Politico then:

In the bill, Democrats provide $245 billion to eliminate an annual shortfall in payments to doctors under Medicare. Democrats resolved this annual headache, in large part, to win crucial support for the bill from the American Medical Association. That money currently counts against the overall costs of the bill, but Democrats have introduced legislation that would remove remove this obligation from federal deficit.

Whether you take the $245 billion dollar figure over 10 years quoted here by Politico, or the $371 billion dollar figure reported by Politico today (before they pulled the story under White House pressure) for the cost in federal spending of a long term doctor fix, the claimed $138 billion in deficit “savings” over the next 10 years completely disappears and Obamacare ends up being in the red, even putting aside all the other budgetary tricks we will outline below. Indeed, the CBO just issued an update to their report, in response to GOP Congressman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) letter, admitting that Obamacare will add to the deficit once the doctor fix is in place, as promised by both President Obama to the AMA to buy their support and by Nancy Pelosi today in her news conference:

You asked about the total budgetary impact of enacting the reconciliation proposal (the amendment to H.R. 4872), the Senate-passed health bill (H.R. 3590), and the Medicare Physicians Payment Reform Act of 2009 (H.R. 3961). CBO estimates that enacting all three pieces of legislation would add $59 billion to budget deficits over the 2010–2019 period.

Of course, Obama was well aware of these facts regarding the lack of deficit savings when the doctor fix is factored into Obamacare, and Obama still explicitly stated today that his plan will be “one of the biggest deficit-reduction plans in history.”  This Obama claim, a willful misrepresentation of the true cost of his program by not “counting” the doctor fix that Obama himself promised to the AMA to purchase their support for his program in July 2009, brings to mind the Orwell quote above that “most intelligent people seem capable of holding schizophrenic beliefs, or disregarding plain facts, of evading serious questions with debating-society repartees, or swallowing baseless rumours and of looking on indifferently while history is falsified. Sadly, the explicit misrepresentation of the President in claiming that Obamacare is “one of the biggest deficit-reduction plans in history” is not solely based on the doctor fix lie, but many others as well.

Even the NYT, via its Obama-worshipping columnist David Brooks, admits that the Obama claim of deficit savings is an explicit lie, and the CBO report of deficit “savings” is simply the product of legislative gimmicks by the Democrats:

They’ve stuffed the legislation with gimmicks and dodges designed to get a good score from the Congressional Budget Office but don’t genuinely control runaway spending.

There is the doc fix dodge. The legislation pretends that Congress is about to cut Medicare reimbursements by 21 percent. Everyone knows that will never happen, so over the next decade actual spending will be $300 billion higher than paper projections.

There is the long-term care dodge. The bill creates a $72 billion trust fund to pay for a new long-term care program. The sponsors count that money as cost-saving, even though it will eventually be paid back out when the program comes on line.

There is the subsidy dodge. Workers making $60,000 and in the health exchanges would receive $4,500 more in subsidies in 2016 than workers making $60,000 and not in the exchanges. There is no way future Congresses will allow that disparity to persist. Soon, everybody will get the subsidy.

There is the excise tax dodge. The primary cost-control mechanism and long-term revenue source for the program is the tax on high-cost plans. But Democrats aren’t willing to levy this tax for eight years. The fiscal sustainability of the whole bill rests on the naïve hope that a future Congress will have the guts to accept a trillion-dollar tax when the current Congress wouldn’t accept an increase of a few billion.

There is the 10-6 dodge. One of the reasons the bill appears deficit-neutral in the first decade is that it begins collecting revenue right away but doesn’t have to pay for most benefits until 2014. That’s 10 years of revenues to pay for 6 years of benefits, something unlikely to happen again unless the country agrees to go without health care for four years every decade.

There is the Social Security dodge. The bill uses $52 billion in higher Social Security taxes to pay for health care expansion. But if Social Security taxes pay for health care, what pays for Social Security?

There is the pilot program dodge. Admirably, the bill includes pilot programs designed to help find ways to control costs. But it’s not clear that the bill includes mechanisms to actually implement the results. This is exactly what happened to undermine previous pilot program efforts.

When an Obama-loving NYT columnist who is literally in love with President Obama, for reasons such as his “his perfectly creased pant“, admits that Obama and the Democrats have stuffed Obamacare with no less than seven “dodges” to obtain a favorable, yet explicitly false, CBO scoring, centrists and independents know that such claims of deficit “savings” must be false. Finally, on top of the seven listed “dodges”, according to the CBO, and not included in the “scoring”, is the fact that the CBO “double counts” the Medicare cuts as both helping Medicare’s solvency and paying for new spending while another $50 billion in unscored costs are likely to administer the massive new federal entitlement programs and federal controls over the health care industry contained in Obamacare:

In its March 11, 2010, cost estimate for H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), as passed by the Senate, CBO indicated that it has identified at least $50 billion in specified and estimated authorizations of discretionary spending that might be involved in implementing that legislation. The authority to undertake such spending is not provided in H.R. 3590; it would require future action in appropriation bills.

Finally, the President also plays misleading rhetorical games regarding the “cost controls” in Obamacare. The only significant cost control mechanism in the Obamacare package (as tort reform and interstate competition between insurers are omitted) is the “cadillac tax” on gold-plated health insurance policies, however, that tax was pushed off until 2018 because of pressure from unions who’s members have such insurance plans. Accordingly, in order to make the ridiculous claims of deficit savings referenced above, Obama pretends that Congress in 2017 will not waive the “cadillac tax” under political pressure, as he has just done with the delay until 2018 and as every Congress has done every year since the 1997 Medicare cost-cutting legislation (which is the source of the “doctor fix” problem in the first place).  Indeed, if Obama with a huge Congressional majority cannot enact a cadillac tax within the next 8 years, why should anyone have any confidence that Congress 2017 will do so? Obama, and everyone else in Washington, knows this is an unrealistic fantasy, but Obama still made these ridiculous claims in his historically misleading speech today.

Finally, just as Congress has waived the planned reductions in fees for doctors and hospitals every year since 1997, future Congresses in all likelihood will also waive the planned nearly $500 billion in cuts to Medicare over the next 10 years to avoid a backlash by elderly voters who fear benefit cuts and pressure from medical provider lobbies. The cuts to Medicare are over half of the revenue Obama plans to use to fund the new health care entitlement spending of $100 billion a year, and everyone in Washington knows these cuts will never happen in full. Obama’s speech, of course, makes no reference to the “doctor fix” or the Medicare cuts themselves which form half of the revenue for his programs, but Obama certainly does claim that his plan is “one of the biggest deficit-reduction plans in history”, and all of his fellow Democrats are repeating similar claims all over the dial as this article is written. Such intentionally misleading statements by American leaders again remind centrist and independent Americans of the words of George Orwell as referenced above, reinforced by Obama’s ridiculous claim his “reduced” health care costs from Obamacare will mean that employers “can afford to give you a raise.”

A final Obama quote from today
sums up the fraudulent nature of his speech, as he claims “more than $1 trillion” in deficit savings, considering the facts noted above. This comment is the only reference to the $500 billion in cuts planned for the Medicare system, and of course Obama does not reference Medicare by name:

And by the way, if you’re curious, well, how exactly are we saving these costs? Well, part of it is, again, we’re not spending our health care money wisely. So, for example, you go to the hospital or you go to a doctor and you may take five tests, when it turns out if you just took one test, then you send an e-mail around with the test results, you wouldn’t be paying $500 per test. So we’re trying to save money across the system. (Applause.) And altogether, our cost-cutting measures would reduce most people’s premiums. And here’s the bonus: It brings down our deficit by more than $1 trillion over the next two decades.

The pure idiocy of Obama’s example of emailed tests as his primary cost-cutting mechanism to cut nearly $500 billion from Medicare speaks for itself.  Obama gave his speech to an auditorium of students at George Mason University, as such young college students are Obama’s last remaining base of support with his approval slipping underwater, as more Americans disapproving than approving of his performance in all major polls released this week. One can only hope that America does not have to find out the hard way, via renewed economic instability emanating from runaway deficit spending as envisioned by the actual provisions of Obamacare, not to mention the loss of medical innovation and job creation from the health care industry and the historical alteration of the relationship between American citizens and the federal government, that the claims made in Obama’s speech today are wholly false and that his speech was likely one of the most misleading speeches ever given by a sitting American President.

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Gibbs Fibs re Slaughter Solution, Claims House Will “Pass the Underlying Senate Bill” and Then Take up Fixes

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

Did White House Spokeman Robert Gibbs Lie this morning on CBS's Face the Nation When He Claimed the House will pass the Senate bill and President Sign it Before any "Corrective" Legislation is Passed by the House?

Despite White House and Congressional Democratic leadership support for a single, final House vote on Obamacare, in an incredible display of intentionally misleading statements by a federal official, White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs today declared that the House will pass the “underlying Senate bill” next week, and that it will be signed by the President and then “corrective” bills will be passed through the House and Senate to “fix” the language of the Senate bill.   Gibbs even explicitly murmured “right” and “yes, sir” and nodded as CBS’s Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer stated his understanding that the House must pass and President must sign the Senate bill before any “fixes” could be passed:

BOB SCHIEFFER: A– as I understand it, and– and the parliamentarians seemed to have ruled that the House is going to have to pass the bill that the Senate passed.
ROBERT GIBBS: Right.
BOB SCHIEFFER: And then the President is going to have to sign that before the House votes on this so-called reconciliation package. It’s going to correct all those things they don’t like in
this Senate bill.
ROBERT GIBBS: Yes, sir.

Gibbs then continues after Schieffer pushed Gibbs on whether the Senate actually pass the “corrections” to the then-passed Obamacare:

ROBERT GIBBS: Yeah. Well, again, we’ve– we’ve worked with leaders in the Senate. We’ve talked to members of the Senate. The President has. And, look, members of the House, the President, and members of the Senate want to see some of those corrections made in– in that legislation. I– I think this is going to happen. Again, I think the House will have passed the Senate bill a week from today. We’ll be working now next on getting those corrections passed by both the House and the Senate. And we’ll have health care reform in this country.

These statements were made by the top White House spokesman despite actions of the White House and Congressional Democrats, who are planning to “deem” the Senate bill passed via a parliamentary trick known as the “Slaughter Solution,” named after the House Democrat who is the author of this unprecedented procedure, House Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY). Obama worshipper and Newsweek journalist David Stone explains the Democratic trickery to avoid an actual up or down vote on the Senate bill in the House:

In a perfect case study of how dramatic Washington can get on a Friday afternoon, attention on health care appears to have shifted from when the final vote will be (next week?) to the possibility of a new parliamentary procedure to greenlight the bill. At issue is what’s being dubbed the “Slaughter solution,” which, in a roundabout way, would let the House pass the Senate bill without actually voting on it.

Here’s how: Rep. Louise Slaughter is chair of the House Rules committee, and as such, figured out that the House could momentarily change its rules to say that the House doesn’t need to pass the Senate bill since both bills are pretty similar anyway (in that they’re about the same subject). That way, Democratic members reticent about voting for the Senate bill technically wouldn’t have to be on record voting for it. They would just have to vote not to stop it from passing. It’s effectively a shift from active passage of the bill to passive. Then, after this rule passed, the Senate bill would go straight to the president, he would sign it, and then both chambers would start working on a few fixes through reconciliation.

The Obamaphile journalist David Stone concludes it is ludicrous to think the Democrats would actually do this, despite Democratic House Rules Chairwoman Slaughter’s explicit plans to do so, as reported by the non-partisan Congress Daily:

House Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter is prepping to help usher the healthcare overhaul through the House and potentially avoid a direct vote on the Senate overhaul bill, the chairwoman said Tuesday.

Slaughter is weighing preparing a rule that would consider the Senate bill passed once the House approves a corrections bill that would make changes to the Senate version.

Even left wing MSNBC journalist and former longtime Capitol Hill staffer (and veteran of the Hillarycare battle) Lawrence O’Donnell noted that the “Slaughter Solution” of “deeming” the Senate bill passed via rule-based trickery and then only holding a vote on the “fixes” to the Senate bill is an “unprecedented” maneuver in the legislative history of the United States that attempts to “amend a ghost” of an non-passed bill.  The entire uncut O’Donnell appearance on Morning Joe on March 12, 2010 can be seen here.  O’Donnell notes the “unprecedented” nature of the Democrats’ plan to switch gears after Scott Brown’s Senate victory and pursue reconciliation to pass Obamacare:

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Will Democrats get health care passed?

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: I’m going to say what I’ve said all along in my humble approach to this subject.  I, having worked on this kind of legislation on the Senate floor, trying to get it passed, and in committee.  I do not see how they can do this.  Now, and part of that is because it’s never been done before. And they have moved into a legislative territory that has never previously existed.  The Republicans have not been very smart about trying to describe this. It’s difficult to describe.  But this is unprecedented, using reconciliation this way. Because what they’ve done, is that they’ve abandoned a bill in mid-conference. The Senate passed a bill, the House passed a bill. They were in mid-conference negotiating this bill, in conference, and they said it’s going to be impossible for us to pass it now because of Scott Brown, so we’re going to abandon conferencing this bill and move over to another legislative vehicle, called reconciliation.  To handle something you’ve already been legislating another way, now, that’s never occurred before.

SCARBOROUGH: That’s never happened?

O’DONNELL: Never, never, never.

Such emphatic condemnation of the Democratic endgame strategy to pursue the “amend the ghost” trickery in the House and reconciliation in the Senate to pass Obamacare from an explicitly left wing ideologue like O’Donnell is a bright red flag for centrists and independents. Perhaps Newsweek’s David Stone is correct in saying that it is “hard to imagine a scenario in which such a process would actually fly.Left-leaning The Hill concurs that the “Slaughter Solution” is a “sneaky, slimy sleight-of-hand” and that no one will be “fooled by this.”

The talking points distributed by House Democratic leadership on Friday, which Robert Gibbs and the White House were undoubtedly privy to and approved of prior to their release, make it clear that “Slaughter Solution” is part of the endgame plan to pass Obamacare:

The Van Hollen memo also advised members to avoid talking about the process.

“At this point, we have to just rip the band-aid off and have a vote — up or down; yes or no? Things like reconciliation and what the rules committee does is INSIDE BASEBALL,” the memo says. “People who try and start arguments about process on this are almost always against the actual policy substance too, often times for purely political reasons.”

Leadership expects a CBO score on the reconciliation package by today or Monday. No decisions have been made on how the final process will unfold on the House floor, the memo says. So it appears Democrats are still grappling with whether they can use the process to pass the Senate bill without voting directly on the bill. Many Democrats view the Senate bill’s deals and policies as a toxic political mix that they would rather not endorse without first making changes to it.

Tellingly, Gibbs concludes his interview by stating that only one House vote will be required, impliedly accepting the “Slaughter Solution” and explicitly contradicting his earlier agreement with Schieffer that two House votes would be required, one to pass the Senate bill and another to pass the “corrections” to the Senate bill:

ROBERT GIBBS: –I– I do think this is the– I do think this is the climactic week for health care reform. And like I said I– I think whoever you interview just this time next week, you won’t be talking about a proposal in the House. You’ll be talking about the House having passed that proposal and us being a signature away from health care reform in this country.

As this is the “climatic week for health care reform” it is truly unfortunate that procedural trickery such as the “Slaughter Solution” and reconciliation are being pursued by the Democrats on such an important piece of legislation, even in the face of criticism by left-leaning journalist allies like Newsweek, MSNBC and The Hill.   Unfortunately, the NYT and Washington Post have not touched the “Slaughter Solution” controversy to date, and the major networks are ignoring it as well, so outright misrepresentations like Gibbs’s claims on Face the Nation today will probably continue to slide under the radar until the deed is done as planned by the Obama Administration and the Congressional Democratic leadership.

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Pelosi on ABC: Tea Party is “Astroturf, as Opposed to Grassroots”

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

On ABC's This Week today, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Again Attacks the Tea Party Movement as "Astroturf, as Opposed to Grassroots"

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appears to be reading from the summer of 2009′s talking points, smearing the tea party movement as “directed” by the GOP and “astroturf, as opposed to grassroots” this morning on ABC in remarks taped earlier this week, echoing her remarks from the summer of 2009:

And Pelosi still believes Washington Republicans are trying to quietly influence the tea party movement through well-funded, fake grassroots organizations, referred to as “astroturf.”

“The Republican Party directs a lot of what the tea party does, but not everybody in the tea party takes direction from the Republican Party,” Pelosi said. “So there was a lot of, shall we say, Astroturf, as opposed to grassroots.”

And she said she’s not worried about the threat the movement present to her party.

“We’re fully prepared to face the American people with the integrity of what we have put forth, the commitment to jobs and health care and education and a world at peace and safe for our children and with the political armed power to go with it to win those elections,” she said.

Speaker Pelosi appears to be behind the times, even in liberal circles, as while her summer 2009 “astroturf” comments were backed by the mainstream media, in 2010 the media has shifted gears and reports on the tea party movement as an authentic grassroots movement, as in this AP article covering Sarah Palin’s speech at the tea party convention a few weeks back:

Her audience waved flags and erupted in cheers during multiple standing ovations as the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee gave the keynote address Saturday at the first national convention of the “tea party” coalition. It’s an antiestablishment, grass-roots network motivated by anger over the growth of government, budget-busting spending and Obama’s policies.

Palin’s 45-minute talk was filled with her trademark folksy jokes and amounted to a pep talk for the coalition and promotion of its principles.

An AP story this morning also outlines the Pelosi claim on ABC’s This Week that the tea party movement is not an authentic grassroots movement:

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is questioning whether the conservative “tea party” coalition truly represents a grass-roots movement.

In a broadcast interview, Pelosi calls tea party voters the “astroturf” movement. She says many of those voters have good intentions but that the Republican Party has hijacked the movement for its gain.

Speaker Pelosi is also forgetting the impact the tea party movement had in pushing the GOP to victories in Virginia, New Jersey and most recently Massachusetts, all of which occurred after her original “astroturf” comments in the summer of 2009. If the tea party movement actually was just an artificial, shallow creation of the GOP, and not a true, broad-based, grassroots movement, the surge in voting for GOP candidates since the tea party emerged probably would not have occurred. As tea party activists from all around America contributed to Scott Brown’s Massachusetts Senate election campaign, and when some even made the trek to Massachusetts to work in phone banks, knock on doors and plant signs all around Massachusetts, it is unreasonable to claim such a movement is artificial and fake as the facts simply do not support the claim.

Amazingly, despite smearing them as astroturf, Pelosi also claimed that the Democrats are on the side of the tea party movement at one point in the interview as well:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi believes the tea party movement shares a common enemy with Democrats — the entrenched special interests that feed money into the political system.

“We share some of the views of the tea partiers in terms of the role of special interest in Washington, D.C.,” Pelosi said in a taped interview airing Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” “It just has to stop. And that’s why I’ve fought the special interest, whether it’s on energy, whether it’s on health insurance, whether it’s on pharmaceuticals and the rest.”

Perhaps Pelosi is not keeping up with the news, because Democratic President Barack Obama, not the GOP, made the backroom deal with Big Pharma, and others, and such backroom deals is a source of disgust to most tea party activists. Further, Obama also lined up almost all of the Fortune 500 behind his cap and trade plans, hardly evidence of Democrats fighting special interest influence. Pelosi also omits any reference to the Democratic kowtowing to unions, who after all are also special interest groups using big money in politics, and Obama most recently evidenced his undying allegiance to unions by placing a pure union political operative, SEIU boss Andy Stern, on his “bipartisan” deficit commission.

Finally, any claim that the Democrats and Obama are trying to combat special interest and big money influence was made inoperative by Obama’s appointment of Julianna Smoot as his White House Social Secretary in the wake of Desiree Rogers’ resignation in disgrace over the party crashers debacle. Julianna Smoot was the President’s chief fundraiser for Obama 2008, and as such was the main point of contact for Obama’s bundlers and big money donors. Now, as Social Secretary, Smoot is in charge of controlling access to the White House, which can only be seen as “good news for wealthy donors to President Obama’s campaign, for whom Smoot — the chief campaign fundraiser — is friend and point of contact.” Smoot also has close ties to convicted bigwig Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu as Hsu was “one of the most reliable donors from her tenure as finance chair for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.”

All told, Pelosi’s appearance today on This Week, with the renewal of the “astroturf” smear of the tea party movement, is unlikely to bolster Democratic fortunes in the short term or in the November 2010 election. While Pelosi puts on a brave face and declares the Democrats will retain their majority in the November 2010 elections, the continued smears of America’s most vibrant political movement as of today will probably move the needle in the opposite direction.

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Age of Post-Partisanship Ends After 17 Days

Friday, February 6th, 2009

Fans of centrist governance were disappointed this evening as President Barack Obama strongly signaled a return to the polarizing ideological battles of years and campaigns past.  Obama’s first use of Air Force One as President was to travel to the House Democratic retreat in Williamsburg and deliver the most partisan speech of his young presidency.   The President let loose with familiar campaign talking points such as the “failed policies of the past” in reference to Republican opposition to the stimulus package moving through Congress.

Tonights Speech Packs a Punch for the GOP

Tonight's Speech Packs a Punch for the GOP

The Democratic retreat was slated to be closed to the media until this evening, when all the networks were invited in to record Obama’s speech.  The clear intent of the move was to control the media cycle through the weekend and perhaps mark a clean break from the relentless media focus on unpopular aspects of the House and Senate packages.  Whether Obama will succeed with tonight’s speech remains an open question.  However, tonight marks the end of the rhetoric of bipartisanship which played a prominent role in the campaign.

Faced with an erosion of 10-15% support of his stimulus package over the past few weeks, Obama faced his first political crisis and responded by launching into starkly partisan rhetoric while also pushing the virtues of the present make up of the bill.   A bipartisan group of Senators have been discussing the package and trying to work out a compromise, unified by their distaste for some of the questionable spending. Candidate Obama would welcome these bipartisan negotiations on such vitally important issues and also promised to bring such partisans together with a new pragmatic, post-partisan governance.

Instead of speaking out substantively with his vision of a bipartisan compromise in the Senate, Obama has chosen to retreat to partisan talking points coupled with a demand to pass the package immediately or face catastrophe.   By refusing to take a substantive stance of what a bipartisan compromise should look like, yet lambasting any opponents of the present Democrat-written bill, Obama has set a troubling model for future legislation that may require bipartisan cooperation to pass, such as immigration reform.

From this point forward for the Administration, we’ll be seeing less of the GOP-Obama meetings on substantive policy and more Obama speeches geared towards firing up his base and pushing the growth of his 13 Million person email list from the campaign.  Independents and centrists must give Obama credit for at least attempting to change the tenor in Washington over the past few weeks by engaging in outreach to Republicans and bringing GOP Senator Judd Gregg into the cabinet.   Unfortunately, Obama has chosen to avoid spending political capital to support and perhaps lead the bipartisan group of Senators to forge a centrist compromise by laying out a detailed vision of the final bill with input from the bipartisan group.   Instead, the bills written exclusively by ascendant Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid will very likely become law.

Beyond the perhaps inevitable end of the rhetoric of post-partisanship, the sad truth for fiscally conservative independents is that the largest spending bill in American history is going to be passed without the standard, lengthy scrutiny applied to normal appropriations bills and without any serious input from centrist politicians.  Many objective analyses of the present stimulus package recommend substantial reductions in questionable spending and other major alterations to maximize to possibility of actual job creation from the bill.   Rasmussen and Gallup polls show significant public support for such major changes.  Based on tonight’s speech, any such coolheaded, pragmatic reworking of the present package appears off the table, with perhaps a window-dressing compromise to “reduce” the outlay to around 800-850 Billion in the offing.

Obama’s return to partisan attacks on republicans and deployment of his speechmaking greatness to push the present stimulus package will likely blunt the faltering public faith in the entire enterprise.   The application of raw political power by Obama today teaches the moderates of the Senate, some of which formed the bipartisan group of 17 senators, that Obama will not support future pragmatic, centrist compromises but instead push the conventional democratic view.   The new lightening rod in partisan politics is the Democratic stimulus package, and the bill’s effect on the economy will dominate partisan debate for years to come as the Age of Partisanship begins again.

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