Well my very busy life has kept me very busy....to busy to blog. While things have not really slowed down much (if at all) I had to do this post - in honor of Earth Day today.
I found this column early last month - right when things got crazy busy.
The Republican right has been clinging to moral standards on abortion and same-sex marriage (ahem, Dave Agema) out of touch with mainstream America — oblivious of the damage done to their party's image. Meanwhile, Obama and the Democratic left have been systematically imposing a new, green order on America — oblivious of its impact on economically pinched, working families.
The president's latest directive came last week, when the EPA announced a new gasoline sulfur mandate — so-called "Tier 3 standards" — to combat ozone that could increase the already high cost of gas by 9 cents with no measurable environmental benefits.
Now we already know that what this President can't do legislatively, he will gladly do via executive fiat. To hell with the Constitution. This is nothing new. What is new?
Yeah we have em....and here in Utah. I preface this post by saying that I am an ex-smoker and was hard core about not letting anyone smoke in the house when the Junior Logician was growing up.
The Nannies in the Utah Senate have done it. They passed a bill that would take away the property rights of people engaging in a LEGAL activity. I refer to HB13 - the bill that makes smoking in your personal vehicle illegal if there are children in the car. Senate sponsor (and Patrick Henry Caucus SECRETARY) Aaron Osmond said of the bill...
Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, said HB13 put the health of a child ahead of the personal property rights of a parent.
Hey Senator Osmond - question for ya....suppose that someone uses that argument to ban parents from their 2nd Amendment rights to own a gun? Would you be all for it then? Somehow, I suspect not.
Have we really become a nation of people paralyzed with fright? If you take a look at what has recently happened in some of our schools you might think so.
First comes this story out of Maryland.
Children at Park Elementary School went home with a letter today explaining there was a disruption in school. Seven year old Josh Welch, and his father, say the disruption lead to a two day suspension for the second grader in Brooklyn Park. Academics are hard for Josh, who suffers from ADHD, but he excels in art class. It is Josh's own creativity that may have gotten him into trouble. At Park Elementary school, Josh was enjoying his breakfast pastry when he decided to try and shape it into a mountain. Josh said, "It was already a rectangle and I just kept on biting it and biting it and tore off the top and it kinda looked like a gun but it wasn't."
A 7 year old was SUSPENDED for eating a breakfast pastry in the wrong way (which is essentially what happened - if he had not eaten it down the long side and then down the middle....)
During his most recent State of the Union address, President Obama went to one of the usual tropes of liberalism by promising to spend - pardon me INVEST more money in "universal" pre-k programs. My friend Ed Morrissey wrote (over the weekend) about a criticism that came from a rather unexpected source.
Barack Obama promised to expand government spending on pre-kindergarten education to make it “universal,” a proposal certain to warm the hearts of middle Americans. After all, who doesn’t want to help our children get ahead? However, that prompts two questions — will it actually help, and could we take more effective and less costly action elsewhere? USA Today addressed the first question yesterday, and argued that the real danger to toddlers isn’t a lack of pre-K education; it’s broken families:
Children are most likely to succeed in school when pushed by parents who provide stability, help with schooling, and instill an education and work ethic. But for decades now, the American family has been breaking down.
Two-fifths of children born in the USA are born to unmarried mothers, an eightfold increase since 1960. Many succeed thanks to the heroic efforts of strong, motivated single parents and other relatives. But research shows that children of single parents suffer disproportionately high poverty rates, impaired development and low performance in school.
The long of "unexpected" (by liberals and the media - pardon the redundancy) adverse effects of the ACA has been revealed.
Here's a trend you'll be reading more about: part-time "job sharing," not only within firms but across different businesses.
It's already happening across the country at fast-food restaurants, as employers try to avoid being punished by the Affordable Care Act. In some cases we've heard about, a local McDonalds has hired employees to operate the cash register or flip burgers for 20 hours a week and then the workers head to the nearby Burger King or Wendy's to log another 20 hours. Other employees take the opposite shifts.
Welcome to the strange new world of small-business hiring under ObamaCare. The law requires firms with 50 or more "full-time equivalent workers" to offer health plans to employees who work more than 30 hours a week. (The law says "equivalent" because two 15 hour a week workers equal one full-time worker.) Employers that pass the 50-employee threshold and don't offer insurance face a $2,000 penalty for each uncovered worker beyond 30 employees. So by hiring the 50th worker, the firm pays a penalty on the previous 20 as well.
How does this help low income workers Mr. President?
A 2011 Hudson Institute study estimates that this insurance mandate will cost the franchise industry $6.4 billion and put 3.2 million jobs "at risk." The insurance mandate is so onerous for small firms that Stephen Caldeira, president of the International Franchise Association, predicts that "Many stores will have to cut worker hours out of necessity. It could be the difference between staying in business or going out of business." The franchise association says the average fast-food restaurant has profits of only about $50,000 to $100,000 and a margin of about 3.5%.
...get ready to loose it. Gallup reports what has happened since Congress rammed ObamaCare down our throats in 2010.
Fewer Americans reported having employer-based health insurance in 2012 than did in 2008, 2009, and 2010, but at 44.5% it is unchanged from 2011. At the same time, more Americans continue to report having a government-based health plan -- Medicare, Medicaid, or military or veterans' benefits -- with the 25.6% who did so in 2012 up from 23.4% in 2008.
Now a lot of that can be traced to the increases in unemployment that have happened since 2008, but as I have showed in recent posts, there are a lot of employers who have cut their health care benefits provided to employees.
I'm so glad that the President promised us we could keep our insurance.......
UPDATE: Another way employers are cutting back thanks to the ACA...
By denying coverage to spouses, employers not only save the annual premiums, but also the new fees that went into effect as part of the Affordable Care Act. This year, companies have to pay $1 or $2 “per life” covered on their plans, a sum that jumps to $65 in 2014. And health law guidelines proposed recently mandate coverage of employees’ dependent children (up to age 26), but husbands and wives are optional. “The question about whether it’s obligatory to cover the family of the employee is being thought through more than ever before,” says Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health.
While surcharges for spousal coverage are more common, last year, 6% of large employers excluded spouses, up from 5% in 2010, as did 4% of huge companies with at least 20,000 employees, twice as many as in 2010, according to human resources firm Mercer. These “spousal carve-outs,” or “working spouse provisions,” generally prohibit only people who could get coverage through their own job from enrolling in their spouse’s plan.
In our case, an exemption like that would double our out of pocket and reduce what I get in coverage. My husband's company has a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan that is considered "Cadillac" under the ACA and my employer has a bare bones policy that costs more. I know we would not be the only ones in this boat.
But LL - how do you know this is due to the ACA? You can't prove it...
Such exclusions barely existed three years ago, but experts expect an increasing number of employers to adopt them: “That’s the next step,” Darling says. HMS, a company that audits plans for employers, estimates that nearly a third of companies might have such policies now. Holdouts say they feel under pressure to follow suit. “We’re the last domino,” says Duke Bennett, mayor of Terre Haute, Ind., which is instituting a spousal carve-out for the city’s health plan, effective July 2013, after nearly all major employers in the area dropped spouses.
Emphasis mine. And what happened in that 3 years? Oh yeah - the Affordable Care Act was rammed down our throats. Thanks so much, Democrats, for making health care more affordable for everyone....
The New York Times brings up yet another failure of the Affordable Care Act.
Federal and state officials and consumer advocates have grown worried that companies with relatively young, healthy employees may opt out of the regular health insurance market to avoid the minimum coverage standards in President Obama’s sweeping law, a move that could drive up costs for workers at other companies.
And drive up costs paid by the already struggling PCIP program and state exchanges....but hey - the President promised to suspend reality right?
Companies can avoid many standards in the new law by insuring their own employees, rather than signing up with commercial insurers, because Congress did not want to disrupt self-insurance arrangements that were seen as working well for many large employers.
“The new health care law created powerful incentives for smaller employers to self-insure,” said Deborah J. Chollet, a senior fellow at Mathematica Policy Research who has been studying the insurance industry for more than 25 years. “This trend could destabilize small-group insurance markets and erode protections provided by the Affordable Care Act.”
It is not clear how many companies have already self-insured in response to the law or are planning to do so. Federal and state officials do not keep comprehensive statistics on the practice.
My friend Ed Morrissey has the latest in the long line of ACA consequences that that Democrats PROMISED would never happen....
Just another sign of progress for the underemployed! Thanks to the beneficence of ObamaCare, thousands of part-time workers in Florida will become free … free of their employer-provided health care, that is. Universal Studios Orlando had offered health insurance to part-time employees until this year, but will no longer do so thanks to the added costs and mandates of the ACA:
Universal Orlando plans to stop offering medical insurance to part-time employees beginning next year, a move the resort says has been forced by the federal government’s health-care overhaul.
The giant theme-park resort, which generates more than $1 billion in annual revenue, began informing employees this month that it will offer health-insurance to part-timers “only until December 31, 2013.”
And why will those plans be cancelled? Because they don’t meet the ObamaCare/IRS standard, even though are certainly better than nothing at all:
Like a lot of folks here in Utah, I have been following the John Swallow story closely. I have not said anything on the subject, because I suspect that there is still a LOT of dirt that is going to come out during the course of the very active investigation. However, this story from yesterday caught my eye. Utah Democrats are already trying to make political hay out of the situation.
Attempts by Democratic lawmakers to ask tough questions of embattled Utah Attorney General John Swallow during a budget hearing were swatted down Friday by Sen. Daniel Thatcher, chairman of the appropriations committee who ruled them out of order.
"If there was something that happened that was untoward, that should be shaken out in a court of law and not in an appropriations meeting," argued Thatcher, a West Valley City Republican and an ardent Swallow supporter.
Now I have dealt with Senator Thatcher in the past. He's a very nice man, but a bit politically naive at times. However, he is absolutely CORRECT in this case. An Appropriations Committee hearing is neither the time nor the place for the kind of questions Senator Dabakis was asking.
Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, who is also chairman of the Utah Democratic Party, called the scandal embroiling Swallow "the gorilla in the room" and questioned whether the new Republican attorney general can effectively run the office.
No doubt it is the 800 pound gorilla in the room. However, this is an APPROPRIATIONS Committee hearing. You are there to talk about the appropriations requests - nothing more. That's not to say that there shouldn't be hearings on the issue - I do think that there should be. However, those hearings need to be held in the APPROPRIATE Senate committee and Appropriations is not the appropriate committee.
I had the pleasure of hearing Kitty Werthmann speak here in Salt Lake a couple of years ago. For those that don't know, Ms. Werthmann was a young child when Adolph Hitler rose to power in her native Austria. Because she lived through those dark, dark days, she has a unique view of our current place in history. Now I am going to throw this out here up front for the benefit of my liberal friends. NO ONE IS COMPARING THE PRESIDENT TO HITLER. We are comparing policies and (more importantly) the mindset of certain political movements. If you seem to think that a specific politician fits what is described here - well that is YOUR problem...not mine
“I am a witness to history.
I cannot tell you that Hitler took Austria by tanks and guns; it would distort history...
She wasn’t old enough to vote in 1938 – approaching her 11th birthday. But she remembers.
Everyone thinks that Hitler just rolled in with his tanks and took Austria by force.
Hitler was welcomed to Austria
Last week's State of The Union speech got a lot of love from the President's sycophantic followers, but according to the AP, didn't share that love. The AP took a look at the speech and found it to be factually challenged.
President Barack Obama did some cherry-picking Tuesday night in defense of his record on jobs and laid out a conditional path to citizenship for illegal immigrants that may be less onerous than he made it sound.
OBAMA: "After years of grueling recession, our businesses have created over 6 million new jobs."
THE FACTS: That's in the ballpark, as far as it goes. But Obama starts his count not when he took office, but from the point in his first term when job losses were the highest. In doing so, he ignores the 5 million or so jobs that were lost on his watch, up to that point.
Private sector jobs have grown by 6.1 million since February 2010. But since he became president, the gain is a more modest 1.9 million.
And when losses in public sector employment are added to the mix, his overall jobs record is a gain of 1.2 million.
Remember last week's State of the Union Address (more on that shortly) where the President said "Already the Affordable Care Act is helping to reduce the growth of health care costs."? Well, as with so many of his statements, the devil is in the details - as many states found out just a few short days later....
Citing financial concerns, the Obama administration has begun quietly winding down one of the earliest programs created by the president's health care overhaul, a plan that helps people with medical problems who can't get private insurance.
In an afternoon teleconference with state counterparts, administration officials said Friday the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan will stop taking new applications. People already in the plan will not lose coverage.
But I thought the whole reason we had to have this bill rammed down out collective throats was so that those who had no insurance were able to get it? To help those that the evil, looking out only for the bottom line health insurance companies were screwing over?
Yet more in the "I told you so" category......this one from a doctor.
Many promises were made to different groups to sell the new health care law to a skeptical public. Having watched the medical insurance games - government and private - for my whole career, I thought these promises were too good to be true.
What is coming to light now is like "The Big Con" that Robert Redford's character skillfully pulled off in the classic movie The Sting. Only the Pelosi-Reid-Obama trio forced through an even bigger "Sting" on the entire country, especially the very constituencies they promised their health care law would help.
While some may think that "The Big Con" is being a bit hyperbolic, Dr. Vliet lays out a good case why it is not.
Another in what is sure to be a long thread of "I told you so" posts.....
To no ones (on the GOP side of the aisle) surprise, another report came out saying that what was promised in the Affordable Care Act is not going to become reality. Logical Lady Betsy McCaughey sums up the news for the New York Post.
The central parts of ObamaCare don’t roll out until 2014, but the wheels are already falling off this clunker. The latest news from four federal agencies is that 1) insurance will be a lot less affordable than Americans were led to expect, 2) fewer people than promised will get insurance and 3) millions of people who have coverage through a job now will lose it, thanks to the president’s “reforms.” Oh, and children are the biggest victims.
The Affordable Care Act is looking less and less affordable.
It's for the children....or so Democrats say....until they run afoul of the teachers unions and then it's to hell with the children. Logical Lady Mary Katherine Ham has been on a roll of late. Her latest post at Hot Air talks about how Democrats, doing the teachers union bidding, killed Washington DC's Opportunity Scholarship Program - a program designed specifically for poor, minority children.
It is a beautiful thing, and all too rare, to find an education program that works for at-risk students, for those with low incomes, across all racial groups. That is what Washington, D.C. found in the Opportunity Scholarship Fund, which gives scholarships to thousands of mostly low-income and minority students, who have used them since 2005 to get out of failing public schools and thrive in private schools.
The scholarship program was the result of a hard-fought grassroots battle by District parents led by Virginia Walden-Ford, whose own son had been given a private scholarship she credited with his academic and professional success. She wanted that opportunity for other students. As was to be expected, teachers unions and nearly all Democrats in Congress aligned against her, but Ford is no stranger to fighting for a quality education against formidable foes. She and her twin sister were among the first black students to integrate Little Rock’s public schools on a larger scale after the Little Rock Nine. She’s the kind of woman the press would lionize, and rightly so, if she didn’t happen to be on the school-choice side of the issue.
But she is, and in 2005, with Republican control of the Senate and some help from a few Democrats, public school students in D.C. got a scholarship, at no cost to the D.C. public school system, which got matching funds to appease detractors.
Fast forward four years, and a Democratic Senate does the unions a solid in 2009:
Alternate Title - "It's OK As Long As It's OUR Guy Doing It"
You know it's not going to be a good segment when Bill Maher admits ".....the Democrats view is' God what he does would be AWFUL if a Republican did it'...", it's going to be a rough segment. Then Newsweek editor Tina Brown goes a step further.