Tag Archives: Obama Administration

The increasingly complex (and failing) health care law

obamacare

October 1st, 2013 has come and gone and with it, implementation of the next stage of the Affordable Care Act.  As we approach the January 1st implementation and the 2014 mid-term elections campaign, even some members of the Democratic Party are beginning to ask questions about the implementation and even the feasibility of one of the largest changes in domestic policy since the creation of Social Security back during the 1930s.  Even Forbes Online featured an editorial by Steven Haywood called “Obamacare Will Be Repealed Well In Advance Of The 2014 Elections” claiming that the failed rollout of the Affordable Care Act has become so toxic to Democratic Party members of Congress that something will have to be done – including a vote to repeal and even override an anticipated veto from President Obama to maintain their control of the Senate.  It makes the casual observer of American politics to wonder exactly what has failed to cause the crowing jewel of a Democratic Party dominated national government – the White House, the Senate, and House of Representatives – to become a toxic liability rather than a party asset.

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 I am sure that as political scientists, political theorists, and policy historians begin to dissect the legislation there will literally be thousands of articles and publications highlighting the numerous faults within the bill.  It is through the lens of time that we will be able to fully understand why the regulation of nearly twenty percent of the national economy was destined to fail before it ever became fully implemented.  There are many reasons that I believe why the Affordable Care Act – ObamaCare – has not been the program that most of the president’s supporters thought it was and why his critics knew it was going to become. The first reason why the Affordable Care Act has failed is because of its complexity.  The law, sold and explained to the American public as a way to lower healthcare costs and regulate the healthcare industry actually went far beyond its explained purpose.

Not only did it regulate the insurance industry, it created new taxes on medical equipment, it forces health insurance companies to add new benefits at no cost to the insured, it created a new level of federal government bureaucracy, it places new powers and responsibilities in the hands of the Internal Revenue Service, it gives the Department of Health and Human Services broad powers to administer it, and it places new regulations on the states, and for insurance/financial purposes, it redefines adulthood.  And if that is not enough, it also exempts Congress, the Presidency, and other members of the national government from participation in this national health care program. It was a massive undertaking and even at its impressive 2,800 pages, it still would require additional regulations that are to be written by the Department of Health and Human Services; according to various websites, since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, there are already 17,843 pages of additional regulation that allows for the implementation of the law.

The law, already complex, has been made more complex by regulation and the actions of the Obama administration itself.  The Obama administration has decided to grant waivers to labor unions, large corporations, and political allies, creating a situation where it appears that special favors have been granted to financial supporters and political allies of the administration. Instead of being a uniform law that is to be applied equally to all Americans, the law has created division. As reported by Fox News by Maxim Lot in his article, “ObamaCare price hikes hit ‘red states’ hardest“, the Affordable Care Act is  now being used as a political weapon against states where conservatives still retain power.  As this legislative drama has unfolded, life-long Democratic Party supporters at the local level are beginning to question if the law will ever live up to even the most modest of expectations.

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What the Virginia governor’s race means to conservatives

Republican-Elephant

Last night, I like a number of other conservatives, watched the poll results for the Virginia governor’s race with great anticipation. The election was much larger than the two candidates, Terry McAuliffe (D) and Ken Cuccinelli (R), for several reasons.  For the mainstream media, it had been billed as a referendum on the Affordable Care Act and as a showdown within the Republican Party between the extreme right and the more moderate Republican Party leadership.  Within the Republican Party, it was a wake-up call for grass roots conservatives  – the party leadership sent a message that it would rather lose elections than to support a conservative “Tea Party” leaning Republican than an establishment selected Republican candidate.

The election results were pretty close considering that Ken Cuccinelli had very little support from the national Republican Party.  After the final count last night, there were only three percentage points separating the two candidates – a far cry from the landslide that had been predicted for a McAuliffe easy victory (McAuliffe 48%; Cuccinelli 45%); McAuliffe, an Obama and Clinton campaign bundler, had access to a huge war chest of funds and the support of the Obama administration, but still should have been easily defeated had the Republican Party leadership provided the campaign support needed to assure a Cuccinelli victory.  Make no mistake about it, had the GOP leadership gone after Terry McAuliffe with a determination to defeat him, Cucinelli would have easily won; McAuliffe’s personal and political record speaks for itself.  Several websites chronicle the shady character of the now Governor-Elect of Virginia:

  • Terry McAuliffe Caught in Another Scandal – this article lists three separate scandals – one stretching back to the Clinton administration involving McAuliffe.

  • Do you really want this corrupt scam artist as governor? – not only does it provide additional documentation to the scandals reported in the above article, it links to three other articles citing McAuliffe’s numerous failed businesses and how he literally walked away with millions of dollars of investor funds and federal dollars in those business dealings.
  • Pro-Life Ken Cuccinelli Trails Pro-Abortion Terry McAuliffe by 7 in Virginia – although not exclusively focused on the scandals, it ties McAuliffe to the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton as her leading choice for vice president.
  • Scandal Watch: Another Choppy Week for Terry McAuliffe in Virginia – This article states that in August 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) began an investigation into one of McAuliffe’s failed business ventures, GreenTech.  The company was to begin production of low cost alternative fuel vehicles and had actually rented industrial space along the Mississippi Gulf Coast to construct the cars. After taking millions in Chinese investments and a generous grant from the Obama Administration, the company ceased “production” and became insolvent.  Involved with the plan was Hillary Clinton’s brother and to some extent, the State Department under then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

There are literally hundreds of sites  that include a combination of “traditional” media sites and blog sites that have fully explored the background of Terry McAuliffe.  If organizations like Reutuers, MSNBC, and even Fox News can report on his questionable ethics, ties to corruption, and SEC investigations, then this should have been an easy victory for the Republican candidate and the Grand Old Party.  As I watched the poll results last night, I immediately started asking myself why the party walked away from this election and left another Republican candidate to lose an election to an opponent that not only lacks the experience necessary to be a governor, but has serious moral and ethical questions about his conduct.

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Mr. Obama and the tradition of the angry president

obama-01

Since his inauguration as President in 2009, President Barack H. Obama has been different from any other American president in recent memory. Beginning with his campaign in 2008, then Senator Obama stated in a campaign speech that if “the Republicans bring a knife to the fight, we’ll bring a gun…” which literally was a forewarning of what he, as president, would bring to Washington D.C.  Since that speech and at nearly every opportunity, Mr. Obama has not brought focus to our real foreign threats or even address issues affecting national policy, or the economy. Instead, the focus has been on the “enemies” of Mr. Obama and the Democratic Party’s agenda.

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Throughout the debate over the budget and the government shutdown that resulted, instead of actively engaging the Republican held House of Representatives, the president proclaimed to the world that he would not negotiate with Republicans to find a compromise solution to the budget or government borrowing. Even the mainstream media picked up on Mr. Obama’s narrative and ran articles about the Republicans – in particular, the Tea Party and Conservative members of that body – bent on being obstructionist and even racist or hostile towards Mr. Obama.  Throughout his time in office and through each political crisis that this administration has faced has been used as an opportunity to attack the critics as being the real problem or root cause.  Repeatedly, the Republicans, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Tea Party members, and others have been accused of undermining the president, attempting to distract the public from the real issues, and of sacrificing the security or economic health of the nation in order to make political gain.  There is no doubt that Mr. Obama is an angry president and always in search of a new political enemy to demonize.

Something else that this administration has taught us, as did the presidencies of Lyndon B. Johnson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson, is that there is a real political price to be paid when the president is not willing to work with the opposition party.  Beginning with Theodore Roosevelt, his desire to implement his conservation and environmental agenda, he ignored the majority of his own Republican Party, catering solely to the progressives and early environmentalists. As the economy began to falter in 1907, not only did Roosevelt find himself alienated by the Republicans and Democrats who blamed his environmentalist policies as the root cause of the economic depression.  It would ultimately be the end of his ambitious political career and would sever his leadership within the Republican Party.

Woodrow Wilson attempted to ram through the very progressive concept of the League of Nations at the end of the first World War.  As a wartime president, he did experience a lot of political support from both the Republican Party and his own supporters within the Democratic Party.  Various laws were passed to regulate the economy, to control wartime prices, rents, and wages, and to even silence opposition to the war effort.  As the war in Europe came to an end, he attempted to tie the creation of the League of Nations into the Treaty of Versailles. His attempt, to force members of Congress to vote to create the League of Nations in order to ratify the treaty ultimately failed and not only caused him health problems, but caused many Americans to support the efforts of the more conservative elements in both parties.  The end result was a complete shift of power within the House, a White House dominated by Republican presidents from 1923 to 1933, and the groundwork for the Second World War.  It was an angry president unwilling to compromise with his political opposition within Congress that created an environment that would be disastrous for the United States and the average citizen.

Beginning in 1926, a growing crisis in Europe, the American farmer, and the global financial system were destined to create a new crisis much worse than any American politician ever imagined.  The Versailles Treaty that Wilson had helped to negotiate had placed extremely high reparations on Germany; with approximately 37% of all GDP of Germany awarded to France and Great Britain AND roughly 16% of all coal and iron ore production from the Ruhr River Valley which was one of the most productive industrial resource regions still under German control (the iron ore and coal rich region of the Sudetenland was now a part of the reconstituted Czechoslovakia).  Germany’s inability to repay these reparations would ultimately lead to one of the largest banking collapses in world history as Germany borrowed money from American banks to cover its treaty obligations and for rebuilding its infrastructure.  Soon, without any credit available and any real financial means to pay its international obligations, Germany would experience the worst economy in its history. Great Britain and France, who had counted on swift quarterly payments to met their international obligations, also borrowed money from America’s banks with the belief that a German default would be unlikely. By 1929, even the United States would be dragged into what would be later be named as the Great Depression.

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