Category Archives: News

The Obamacare Blues

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hurricane_moneyLast week The Hill reported on more insurance industry voices crying out that financial losses from covering Obamacare enrollees are becoming—hold onto your hats—“unsustainable.”

Not being Liberals we aren’t sure, but we suspect that word is about the strongest pejorative it’s possible to use nowadays without being forced to issue a groveling apology to some aggrieved interest group. The report follows on the heels of a Blue Cross Blue Shield Association report that Obamacare clients are lots more expensive to cover than other insurance customers. Well, boo hoo hoo.

Some of us said this directly to Republicans in the insurance business before Obamacare became established fact, so we aren’t exactly brimming with sympathy in repeating it today: Obamacare is designed to strangle the private health insurance industry and those who play along looking for sweetheart deals are assisting in their own eradication, facilitating the planned government takeover.

Some nodded ruefully before returning to the deal-cutting. Others weren’t that principled.

Anyway, now it’s reality but four paragraphs into last week’s story we still came upon this: “While analysts expect the market to stabilize once premiums rise and more young, healthy people sign up…”

Wait a minute.

Is there no editor at The Hill who would think to send a reporter back to either find some analysts who don’t seem obviously insane, or get the first batch to explain why they think higher premiums go hand-in-hand with more healthy, young people signing up to pay them? That’s as logical as thinking your business will improve once it’s controlled by a government that dictates what it sells and how much it charges.

Executives in one industry after another are figuring out that you don’t make deals with someone who resents your very existence.  Good work. Too late.

Curiouser and curiouser…

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books_scaleQ:  If Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi were petrified of Paul Ryan achieving the maximum Conservative reform possible without a Republican White House, what would they do?

A:  Maybe they’d pretend Ryan was caving in to them, to drive a wedge between him and the Republican grassroots and undermine the most effective Conservative leader the House GOP has had in recent memory.

We can’t think of a better explanation for the surreal reaction of some Republicans to December’s omnibus federal budget legislation.  Voters who wouldn’t believe Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid if they said it’s warmer in the summertime practically trampled each other rushing to repeat Reid and Pelosi’s claims that Ryan had given Democrats just what they wanted in the budget bill.

Omnibus budgets are largely a gift of Reid-Pelosi misgovernment during the past decade and they’ll always include obnoxious provisions. But can serious adults believe the Democratic minority leaders would sabotage Ryan by publicly celebrating his actions if he was really letting them win?

Under a supposedly unsatisfactory GOP House leadership, the agency most destructive of the U.S. economy, the EPA, has lost more than one-fifth of its funding and more than 2,000 employees.  The omnibus bill cuts out $30 million the EPA wanted for legal defense of its extralegal actions.

The bill thwarts an Obamacare insurance company bailout, suspends its medical device tax and delays the “Cadillac Tax” on high-quality plans until 2020, long enough for repeal-and-replace to kick in.

The bill also pulls the plug on IRS attempts to throttle political activity by tax-exempt groups and bars the SEC from using regulation to force disclosure of corporate support for such organizations.

There are other things to like and plenty to dislike in the omnibus budget, but Pelosi and Reid would have less leverage if some GOP House members, posing for holy pictures, didn’t sneer at real progress because it’s less than perfect.  There isn’t much time left for growing up.

…and the GOP Identity Crisis

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chaosThe contrast between the success of Wisconsin Conservatives over the past five years and the frustrations of Republican congressional majorities during the same period is stark, indeed. And unfortunately, the frustrations are leading many well-intentioned Conservatives toward reasoning in ways unmoored from reality.

How much attention, after all, must one be paying in order to recognize that Wisconsin Conservatives in 2010 managed to elect not just legislative majorities but also the state’s chief executive, the pivotal accomplishment that has eluded the GOP nationally in two successive elections?

That obvious fact notwithstanding, we now see a substantial minority of nominally Republican-leaning voters whose exasperation with the congressional majorities manifests itself in demands that are at odds with reasserting Conservative governance.

In that context, the genetics of the partisan role-reversal noted in the item nearby is not unrecognizable.  For instance, many nominal Conservatives are enraged by a party that controls just one of the three coequal branches of government presuming unilaterally to make and unmake federal law, but are simultaneously enraged by the other party, which similarly controls just one of the three branches, failing to do the same.

Let’s stipulate that we confront a historically unique situation of rule by decree rather than representative governance; a critical moment in history doesn’t make the case for both sides blowing up the constitutional structure.

Voters of conservative inclination did not invent the present chaos in political thought; surely it reflects the decline of civics education, a decline—perhaps not coincidentally—helpful to the political Left that controls public education and whose hand is strengthened by a shriveled understanding of how American government is designed to operate and a diminished appreciation of the need for restraint of government’s behavior.

But kicking over the furniture is not a governing philosophy.

Run on Obamacare!

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obamacare ahead warning conceptual postIt’s almost enough to make us wish we didn’t have to wait another 14 months for the next election.

In August, polling by a major international consulting firm found more than two out of every three Obamacare enrollees were unhappy with their coverage.

Then last week brought word that enrollment is dropping off, suggesting a defiant citizenry prefers to pay fines rather than buy into the Obamacare system.

On Sunday we found out the program won’t make its budget targets unless enrollments double. Good luck.

The monstrosity is imploding, and the only thing missing is some sign of concern on the part of the Obama administration. It would probably be a mistake to look for that: Concern over an imploding program is what you’d expect only if the objective was to provide health insurance coverage, and the purpose of Obamacare is something else altogether.

Note that Mr. Defender of the World’s Oppressed, the scourge of greedy profit-making businesses, has created a program that’s crushing non-profit insurers while the big, profit-oriented companies feed off the program and prosper—a classic symbiosis between big government and big business.

Monday brought the most delicious irony of all. Obamacare’s failures look to be paying off for blue-state cronies who are collecting recovered funds that were poured down the rathole of failed state insurance exchanges even though they never had a dime in the game to begin with.

Like everything else undertaken by this administration, Obamacare is simply a device to facilitate looting and pass the proceeds to political allies. Scott Walker and others have proposed serious plans to eliminate and replace it.  If they’re smart, Republicans will focus on those ideas and ride them all the way to next November.

A Return to Energy Sanity?

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The lampsAs the Soviet Bloc lumbered toward collapse it was remarked that once in a while, a blade of grass pokes up through the concrete.  Two blades of grass poked up on the energy front in Wisconsin in recent days.

Last week the Public Service Commission moved toward restoring energy sanity by approving a rate change requested by Wisconsin Public Service Corporation. The revision increases the fixed-cost component of energy bills—paying for poles, wires and upkeep—and reduces reliance on energy usage as the main source of utility revenues.

What this achieves, as Robert Seitz of the Wisconsin Utility Investors Association explains, is ending a backdoor subsidy paid by people of limited means to wealthy homeowners and developers.

Put more bluntly, the Commission has begun (two similar cases are pending,) to unravel a scam—like almost everything that happens in the insane world of green energy—operating at the expense of un-suspecting ratepayers; that is, operated by Barack Obama’s “One Percenter” campaign contributors.

Meanwhile, Brown County officials declared a local wind farm a public health risk, sticking their necks out on behalf of residents who have fled their homes to get relief from low-frequency noise caused by the turbines.

What happens next in Brown County is uncertain. What matters is that people in responsible positions are getting tired of playing along with the emperor who has no clothes.  Nothing fits that description so well as wind energy, a bill of goods sold as an environmental miracle cure but unable to function at all without continuous backup from the fossil-fueled generation it was supposed to displace.

All in all, a better week for grass than concrete.

Big Brother Visits the UN

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bigbrotherGlobal warming as pretext for totalitarianism was on display last week, with more executive orders from the malevolent Barack Obama exploiting natural climate variation to leverage political fraud.

Note this unsettling announcement:

“The NOAA will also begin developing ‘extreme weather risk outlooks’ for as long as 30 days in advance to help local communities to prepare for damaging weather and prevent ‘loss of life and property,’ partnering with private companies to monitor and predict climate change.”

So phony, 30-day forecasts useful only to generate fear will be the enviro-socialists’ antidote to decades of dire predictions—more and stronger hurricanes, more and stronger tornadoes, longer, worse  droughts, more floods, more wildfires, accelerating sea-level rise—proving one after another to be nonsense.  Some of us remember the UW’s late Reid Bryson, arguably the inventor of climatology, asking, “Do you trust a five-day forecast?”

But for famous-name thugs, it’s not what you trust but how you can be intimidated.

Want to know what will cause loss of life and property? The green elitist agenda of denying the world’s poor the life-saving benefits of electricity, and even causing people in developed countries to join the world’s poor by simultaneously making energy more expensive and suppressing economic growth.

That will kill. It happens daily where people live abbreviated lives of stoop labor and ill health, deprived of energy and the labor-saving machines, clean water, and more abundant food it makes possible.

Many of the world’s billions are climbing out of poverty—China, India and others blew off Obama’s UN Climate Summit—but his anti-human, green commissars are busily sawing off the ladder and scheming to cast even more people into the pit.

IRS: Now It’s About the Cover-up

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irs ahead post signWe’ve been neglecting the Internal Revenue Service, and that’s like not bothering to fish where you know the big ones are.  Let’s catch up on what we’ve missed this past month.

At the beginning of September it was revealed that the ever-righteous Lois Lerner, confronting stark evidence that labor organizations lied either to her IRS or the Labor Department about millions of dollars in political spending, decided there was nothing to see here.

Three days later, even the Washington Post couldn’t ignore apparent destruction of evidence as the IRS was found to have scrubbed clean Lerner’s Blackberry—with the congressional investigation of agency wrongdoing underway.

Days after that, the Breitbart news organization said it was targeted for an IRS audit and suspected retaliation for its reporting.

The same day, Commentary Magazine examined brutally straightforward evidence that Eric Holder’s Justice Department is up to its eyeballs with the IRS in a multi-agency cover-up of official crimes, past and, evidently, ongoing.

The Orange County Register pointed out the formal name for what the IRS, Justice Department, and congressional Democrats appear to be engaged in. It’s called “Obstruction of Justice.”

Meanwhile, the spinmeisters at POLITICO hint that we should believe Lerner’s trouble stems from IRS personnel persisting in bad behavior despite her best efforts to keep things honest.
National Review has a better real-world perspective.

NR is right. Lerner’s long-ago and highly questionable invocation of the Fifth Amendment doesn’t prove her guilty of any crime, but does make clear that things she knows would put her and likely numerous others in deep legal jeopardy. The truth might be served by encouraging her to visualize how she’d look in an orange jumpsuit.

It’s not about health care. It never was.

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chessmoveEver since a two-house Democratic congressional majority rammed Obamacare to passage in the dead of night, it’s been commonplace to hear people ask what they could have been thinking.

Those still groping for an answer may find it helpful to ponder this: It’s not about health care and never was.

Once you realize that nothing Obama ever does is about anything except amassing and consolidating power over every detail of Americans’ lives, it’s easier to see that his administration is not:

  1. Incompetent—it has, after all, advanced its agenda to a frightening degree.
  2. Stupid—it clearly knows exactly what it’s doing.
  3. Socialist—some of its policies have that odor, but by now it’s evident that the only ideological loyalty of the Obama White House is to unbridled power. Forget socialism. It’s megalomania fueled by self-regarding ignorance.

In National Review Online last week, John Fund dogged the trail of a massive political power play disguised as universal health insurance coverage. It’s a chilling story about manipulating people’s life-and-death healthcare concerns to remake them as unquestioning subjects of the regime—and to lock up future elections in the process.

Still not persuaded? Check out this story from California’s Concord County, where half of all Obamacare call center employees will be part time and receive no health care benefits. The  administration is demonstrating that, having scored some cheap political points, it now knows better than to go overboard saddling itself with the liabilities of its own program

And irony of ironies, IRS employees expected to play a key role in administering Obamacare are saying they want nothing to do with the program themselves.

Always assume the Obama administration intends the opposite of what it says, or at least something very different. You’ll rarely be wrong and life will be far less confusing.

Scott Walker’s Big Gamble

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With his new budget, the Wisconsin governor has angered his party’s right, spelling trouble for a man who appears eager to run for president in 2016.

Scott Walker has come a long way from the days when he was forced to barricade himself in the Wisconsin governor’s office while demonstrators stormed the Capitol Rotunda in Madison to protest his bill slashing state spending and dismantling public employee unions.

Read more:

Ten things that actually happened during the recall elections

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Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – June 5, 2013

If you’re reading this blog, then you are likely well versed in the gubernatorial recall election that gripped Wisconsin one year ago.

You know about the fourteen Democratic senators that fled Wisconsin in order to block a vote on Governor Scott Walker’s bill to scale back collective bargaining for public employee unions.  You know that while the Democrats were hiding in Illinois, Walker was prank called by a liberal blogger posing as one of the billionaire Koch brothers.  You saw the video of the camel walking around the Capitol square in Madison, slipping on the ice and getting caught in a retaining fence.  You remember the April 2011 Supreme Court election that looked like it had been won by liberal challenger Joanne Kloppenburg, only to have 7,000 votes miraculously surface in Waukesha County, handing incumbent Justice David Prosser a slim victory.

Most importantly, you remember that on June 5, 2012, Walker would win his recall election by a larger margin than he won in 2010 against the same opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.  On CNN’s election night coverage, one Democratic voter was so distraught, he declared that “democracy died tonight.”  Following his concession speech, a female Barrett supporter even slapped the mayor for conceding too early.

As Prosser would say later, if you submitted the story of Wisconsin in 2011 and 2012 as a movie script, the film studios would reject it for implausibility.

Yet among all the big ticket media stories – legislators yelling “you’re f***ing dead” at each other, the harassment and threats directed at elected officials and the like – there are some wildly entertaining moments that even the most astute followers of the protests leading up to the recall elections will have forgotten.  While things moved at the speed of light at the time, now’s the time to reflect back on some of the lesser known moments of the Recall Era.

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