Low inflation and the twists of Medicare law are creating a political nightmare for Congress: millions of elderly left with higher Part B premiums and no annual cost-of-living increase from Social Security.
The White House, already besieged by Afghanistan and health care reform, has sat back thus far, not wanting to get into the fight. But Tuesday saw a behind-the-scenes scramble as House Democrats readied a stop-gap spending bill for the new fiscal year beginning Oct.1.
Annual cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security recipients have been a way of life for decades, but with the bad economy, the consumer price index for 2009 has fallen into negative territory, all but ruling out any benefit increase next year.
At the same time, Part B premiums, which cover the cost of physician services, will grow, triggering a set of provisions in Medicare law that protect about three-quarters of the elderly but then ask the remainder to take a double whammy.
On the same day she officially announced her candidacy for California governor, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman launched the first statewide ad of the 2010 campaign â€” a 60-second radio spot highlighting the Republican's corporate credentials and experience creating jobs.
"California needs new leadership," the ad's narrator says. "We need someone with a proven ability at creating jobs. Who understands what growing businesses need. Who still believes government should be small, efficient and affordable. We need Meg Whitman."
Former HP CEO and potential U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina has just launched a new Web site and Twitter account ahead of this weekend's California Republican Party convention.
The bare-bones Web site, Carly for California, has a flash sequence in which it offers comparisons like "It's cats and dogs" and "It's good & bad" before the kicker of "It's Carly vs. Boxer. Coming soon?"
The red-wallpapered site offers visitors an option to sign up to "get involved" or join Fiorina's mailing. It also solicits donations of up to $2,400 for individuals, noting in bold that "contributions are raised for testing the waters purposes only at this time."
If Fiorina runs, expect to see the phrase "Carlyfornia" used often. Her new Web site and Twitter feed feature the phrase, "Carlyfornia Dreamin!!!"
Fiorina is not scheduled to appear at this weekend's convention.
I interviewed Rep. Darrell Issa on Friday night about the hilarious, mushrooming ACORN scandal and the fact that his San Diego County congressional colleague, Bob Filner, was one of 75 House Dems to vote to keep federal funding intact for the group came up.
Issa told me Filner's vote was unsurprising in that he was part of the Dems' aggressive progressive wing, such as Barbara Boxer, a group that counts ACORN as a valuable ally.
So this morning I looked up to see how Boxer had voted on the parallel Senate measure to defund ACORN — and she joined in the vote to strip the prostitution-friendly organization of taxpayer funding.
Is Boxer worried about what 2010 might bring? She's up for re-election. She's never been remotely as popular as Dianne Feinstein, the other Bay Area Dem representing California in the Senate.
Much hope has been invested in Barack Obama's ability to strike a new course for the US following eight years of Bush administration unpopularity. Yet many in the US and abroad are impatient with the pace of progress under the Obama administration. The president made the rounds on five news talkshows on Sunday as he pressed his policies and vision, preparing for what is likely to be a difficult week.
As questions about Hewlett-Packardâ€™s third party business associations with Iran during the time Carly Fiorina served as CEO grow more intense around the blogosphere, the wannabe U.S. Senatorâ€™s handlers are hunkering down further in thatâ€™s-our-story-and-weâ€™re-sticking-to-it mode.
As all good Calbuzzers know, the Mercury News kicked off this controversy by reporting that HP used a Mideast distributor called Redington Gulf to sell hundreds of millions of dollars of copiers and other products to Iran during Fiorinaâ€™s tenure.
Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin will be in Hong Kong Wednesday to address about 1,000 investors from around the globe in what is billed as her first speech outside North America.
Palin, who recently stepped down as Alaska's governor, will make the keynote speech on Wednesday to the 16th CLSA Investors' Forum. She will cover governance, economics and current events in the United States and Asia, said Simone Wheeler, head of communications for CLSA
"When government is trying to take over health care, buying car companies, bailing out banks, and giving half the White House staff the title of czar — we have every good reason to be alarmed and to speak our mind!"
— Mitt Romney, quoted by the Salt Lake Tribune, at the Values Voters Summit last weekend.
"The TARP program, while not transparent and not having been used as wisely it should have been, was nevertheless necessary to keep banks from collapsing in a cascade of failures. You cannot have a free economy and free market if there is not a financial system."
— Romney, quoted by Reuters in March 2009.
What else is new?
I'm lost on President Barack Obama's Afghanistan policyâ€”along with most of Congress and the U.S. military. Not quite eight months ago, Mr. Obama pledged to "defeat" al Qaeda in Afghanistan by transforming that country's political and economic infrastructure, training Afghan forces and adding 21,000 U.S. forces for starters. He proclaimed Afghanistan's strategic centrality to prevent Muslim extremism from taking over Pakistanâ€”an even more vital nation because of its nuclear weapons. And a mere three weeks ago, he punctuated his commitments by proclaiming that Afghanistan is a "war of necessity," not one of choice. White House spokesmen reinforced this by promising that the president would "fully resource" the war.
Within 24 hours of the leak of the Afghanistan assessment to The Washington Post, General Stanley McChrystal's team fired its second shot across the bow of the Obama administration. According to McClatchy, military officers close to General McChrystal said he is prepared to resign if he isn't given sufficient resources (read "troops") to implement a change of direction in Afghanistan:
United States Senator Barbara Boxer must be worried about her re-election prospects. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is already going after former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina who is an unannounced POTENTIAL candidate.
It is obvious that the Democrats are worried about Boxer who never really has been tested in a statewide general election. All of her previous Republican opponents were underfunded or scandal-ridden pols who had no chance of winning.
Senator Boxer’s predecessor, Democrat Alan Cranston, retired in 1992. She won the open seat contest in the US Senate elections that year. She defeated Bruce Herschensohn, a conservative television political commentator, by 4.9 percentage points after a last-minute revelation that Herschensohn had attended a strip club. In 1998, she was re-elected for a second term, beating Matt Fong, a former state treasurer, by 10 percentage points. She had decided to retire in 2004 but says she decided to run to “fight for the right to dissent” against conservatives like Tom DeLay. After facing no primary opposition in the 2004 election, Boxer defeated GOP candidate Bill Jones, a former California Secretary of State, by a margin of 20 percentage points.
A September 2009 poll places her approval rating at 46% and her disapproval rating at 44%. A March 2009 field poll found voters about evenly divided on Boxer’s re-election, with 43% inclined to support her and 44% leaning against. 
California has been represented by Boxer for three terms and she has NO noteworthy accomplishments, unlike her female cohort Senator Dianne Feinstein who is extremely popular.
Is Boxer vulnerable?
Well, California unemployment is high and the Democrats have been in power in California for decades, only held in check by a sometime Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. California voters may be looking for a change and that is why Boxer and the national Democrat Party are worried —> hence the attack ad for a POTENTIAL candidate.
Technorati Tags: Barbara_Boxer, Carly_Fiorina
Yeah, like I would really listen to these Obamacare talking celebs who make millions of dollars and can pay out of pocket for whatever health care they want – anywhere around the world.
Hot Air has a parody of their own – about Will Farrell’s last few movies.
Farrell got paid for those? Really?
Technorati Tags: Obamacare, Will_Farrell