Flap’s Links and Comments for April 3rd on 05:14

Posted Posted in Pinboard Links

These are my links for April 3rd from 05:14 to 13:43:

  • Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan to slash deficits by over $4 trillion – – On Medicaid, Ryan will propose to block grant the program to states, which would save money, allow it to grow at a predictable rate, and give governors more flexibility over how it is implemented. This is a popular option among many governors who are struggling with Medicaid costs, and it’s a proposal that has already attracted bipartisan support (at least intellectually speaking), as it was previously co-proposed with Alice Rivlin, the former Clinton budget director.

    When it comes to Medicare, Ryan has previously proposed fundamentally reforming it to give retirees vouchers to purchase private insurance that would vary by income and health status. So, for instance, a poor and very sick beneficiary would receive a lot more than a very rich and healthy beneficiary. However, this reform would not kick in right away, as it only applies to those 55 and under. Thus, it would take time to produce savings and those wouldn’t show up in the CBO’s 10-year budget window.

    Yet he and Rivlin also proposed changes to the formula for cost-sharing on supplemental Medicare insurance policies, which would affect near-term budgets.

    Last November, the Congressional Budget Office did a preliminary analysis of the Ryan-Rivlin plan and found that the Medicaid and Medicare reforms, plus a change in medical malpractice law, would save $350 billion from 2011 through 2021.

    Other possible ways to save money — Ryan has supported the repeal of the national health care law. Were he simply to propose a repeal of the bill’s Medicaid expansion, which would add 18 million to the program’s rolls by 2021, it would save $674 billion from 2012 to 2021, according to CBO.

    The Ryan proposal is also expected to cap discretionary spending as well as cap spending as a percentage of GDP.

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    Eliminate ObamaCare and letting the states handle Medicarid will save tons of debt – just do it.

  • Rep. Paul Ryan: GOP Budget Will Surpass Debt Panel Goals – House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) previewed his much-anticipated 2012 budget proposal on Fox New Sunday, telling host Chris Wallace that his plan will “[exceed] the goals that were put out in the president’s deficit commission.” That commission, led by former Clinton chief of staff Erskine Bowles and former senator Alan Simpson (R., Wyo.) put forward recommendations — in the form of spending cuts, entitlement and tax reforms — to reduce the federal deficit by $4 trillion over the next decade.

    “We’re going to put out a budget that gets us on a path to not only balancing the budget, but gets us on a path of paying off the debt,” Ryan said, without going into too much detail. He said his plan will achieve these goals by “cutting spending, reforming entitlements and growing our economy.”

    In addition to spending cuts, Ryan said he plans to offer spending caps (as a percentage of GDP) in order to return federal spending to historic (pre-Obama, pre-stimulus) levels.

    On taxes, Ryan said he will call for “fundamental tax reform” that lowers rates and broadens the base. “We don’t have a tax problem,” he said. “The problem with our deficit is not because Americans are taxed too little. So we’re not going to go down the path of raising taxes on people and raising taxes on the economy.”

    The budget chairman did offer a few specifics about how he intends to deal with entitlement programs: For Medicare, premium support that would allow seniors to choose from a list of private plans that would then be subsidized ; for Medicaid, Ryan will propose a system of block grants to states to allow governors greater flexibility in managing costs.

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    Obama and the Dems have no choice but to go along – or pay a price in 2012.

    As Bill Clinton would say – It is the right thing to do.

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Flap’s Links and Comments for March 30th on 19:46

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Pinboard Links

These are my links for March 30th from 19:46 to 20:18:

  • Republican leaders say, ‘No deal yet’ on Budget – However, Republicans deny this is the case. Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) told me: “There have been discussion for weeks, and those discussions are continuing. There’s no agreement, and nothing will be agreed to until everything is agreed to.” A top adviser on the Senate side echoes that.

    The real issue may not be the dollar amount. A senior adviser to a top Senate Republican tells me that the riders on funding of Planned Parenthood, the EPA and ObamaCare are the bigger stumbling blocks. He believes that “in the end” there will be an agreement, although he jokes, “there are so many ways to screw it up.”

  • Planned Parenthood CEO’s False Mammogram Claim Exposed – A series of new undercover phone calls reveals that contrary to the claims of Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards and other supporters of the nation’s largest abortion chain, the organization does not provide mammograms for women.

    In the tapes, a Live Action actor calls 30 Planned Parenthood clinics in 27 different states, inquiring about mammograms at Planned Parenthood. Every Planned Parenthood, without exception, tells her she will have to go elsewhere for a mammogram, and many clinics admit that no Planned Parenthood clinics provide this breast cancer screening procedure. “We don’t provide those services whatsoever,” admits a staffer at Planned Parenthood of Arizona. Planned Parenthood’s Comprehensive Health Center clinic in Overland Park, KS explains to the caller, “We actually don’t have a, um, mammogram machine, at our clinics.”

    Opponents of defunding Planned Parenthood have argued in Congress and elsewhere that the organization provides many vital health care services other than abortion, such as mammograms. Most prominently, Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards recently appeared on The Joy Behar Show to oppose the Pence Amendment to end Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer subsidies, claiming, “If this bill ever becomes law, millions of women in this country are gonna lose their healthcare access–not to abortion services–to basic family planning, you know, mammograms.”

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    Read it all – and defund them….

Flap’s Links and Comments for March 30th on 18:06

Posted Posted in Pinboard Links

These are my links for March 30th from 18:06 to 18:20:

  • Budget Negotiators Reach Tentative Deal To Avert Government Shutdown – Sources tell me that  budget negotiators on Capitol Hill have tentatively agreed on a deal that would involve at least $33 billion in spending cuts from this year’s budget.  That’s $23 billion dollars more than Democrats have previously agreed to in short-term continuing resolutions, and $28 billion less than Republicans previously passed in the House.

    Members of the House Appropriations Committee will begin discussing how to hit that number with their Senate counterparts as soon as tonight, and Vice President Biden is heading to Capitol Hill for a 6pm meeting with the Senate Democratic leadership.

    The deal could still fall apart over the composition of the cuts, or policy “riders” previously passed by the House. These include issues like de-funding Planned Parenthood and President Obama’s health care legislation.  It’s also not clear that this compromise will fly with rank-and-file House Republicans, which means that the $33 billion goal could still climb by a few billion.  But this is most significant progress since the beginning of negotiations.

    Update: Kevin Smith, a spokesman for the Speaker of the House, tells me "“There is no agreement on a number for the spending cuts. Nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to.”

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    OK for this year but only with a balance budget amendment.

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger is back as ‘The Governator’ – He’s been a famous body builder. He’s been a killer cyborg from the future. He’s been Governor of California. And now, in this week’s exclusive cover scoop, Arnold Schwarzenegger reveals his plans for the next phase of his extraordinary career: He’s going be a cartoon superhero, known as The Governator. “When I ran for governor back in 2003 and I started hearing people talking about ‘the Governator,’ I thought the word was so cool,” Schwarzenegger, 63, tells EW in his first press interview since leaving office last January. (Watch an EW-exclusive video of Schwarzenegger talking about the project.) “The word Governator combined two worlds: the world of politics and the movie world. And [this cartoon] brings everything together. It combines the governor, the Terminator, the bodybuilding world, the True Lies…” 
    The animated TV show and comic book, being co-developed by no less a superhero authority than Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee (pictured, right), won’t be out until next year,…

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    Hope the cartoon ends up better than his Governorship which was horrible.

  • Barack Obama authorizes secret help for Libya rebels – President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing covert U.S. government support for rebel forces seeking to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, government officials told Reuters on Wednesday.

    Obama signed the order, known as a presidential "finding", within the last two or three weeks, according to government sources familiar with the matter.

    Such findings are a principal form of presidential directive used to authorize secret operations by the Central Intelligence Agency. This is a necessary legal step before such action can take place but does not mean that it will.

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    Read it all.

  • Barack Obama’s jaw-dropping hypocrisy on energy – McConnell gave a speech on the Senate floor this morning that including these zingers:

    Over the past two years, the administration has undertaken what can only be described as a war on American energy. It’s cancelled dozens of drilling leases. It’s declared a moratorium on drilling off the Gulf Coast. It’s increased permit fees. It has prolonged public comment periods. In short, it’s done just about everything it can to keep our own energy sector from growing. As a result, thousands of U.S. workers have lost their jobs, as companies have been forced to look elsewhere for a better business climate.

    Consider this: just three of the areas we could tap in Alaska are thought to hold enough oil to replace our crude imports from the Persian Gulf for nearly 65 years. So the problem isn’t that we need to look elsewhere for our energy. The problem is that Democrats don’t want us to use the energy we have. It’s enough to make you wonder whether anybody in the White House has driven by a gas station lately.

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    Well, at least he made a speech on energy – finally.

    The Democrats will do nothing to end American dependence on foreign oil by domestic exploration and drilling.

Flap’s Links and Comments for March 29th on 14:19

Posted Posted in Pinboard Links

These are my links for March 29th from 14:19 to 14:25:

  • Eric Cantor raises stakes, nixes another budget stopgap: ‘Time is up’ – House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) raised the stakes in the budget showdown on Capitol Hill Tuesday by ruling out another stopgap funding measure.

    “I want to see a long-term CR here,” he said. “We've got bigger things to deal with. Time is up here."

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    Ten days and counting for the GOP and Dems to come up with a compromise budget or the government closes.

  • Sen. Charles Schumer coordinates Democrat Budget Attack on GOP – Caught on Open Mic – Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., a member of the Democratic Senate leadership, got on a conference call with reporters Tuesday morning without realizing the reporters were already listening in. Schumer thought he was on a private line with four Democratic senators who were to talk with reporters about the current budget stalemate.

    Schumer instructed the group, made up of Sens. Barbara Boxer of California, Tom Carper of Delaware, Ben Cardin of Maryland and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, to tell reporters that the GOP is refusing to negotiate.

    He told the group to make sure they label the GOP spending cuts as "extreme."

    "I always use extreme, Schumer said. "That is what the caucus instructed me to use."

    Someone must have finally told Schumer that the media were listening and he stopped talking midsentence.

    ======

    Well, how about that – the Democrats are political gaming the budget talks.

    Who would have known?

Flap’s Links and Comments for March 17th on 15:02

Posted Posted in Pinboard Links

These are my links for March 17th from 15:02 to 15:07:

  • DeMint walks back his Romney support — after the right attacks him – (“Is DeMint going to risk his Tea Party status for ROMNEY??”) Very shortly thereafter, a DeMint aide contacted The Hill to walk back DeMint’s comments, claiming DeMint “never considered backing Romney again unless he admits that his Massachusetts health-care plan was a colossal mistake.” That’s a flip-flop worthy of, well, Mitt Romney.

    The answer to Right Turn’s question is: No, DeMint is not going to throw away his standing with the Tea Party to give Romney cover for a plan that is an anathema to the base. The problem for Romney now is: If DeMint won’t let him get away with defending RomneyCare with spurious arguments, who will?

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    Well, nobody I know.

  • Willie Sutton Never Met a Payroll or How the GOP Can Make Federal Budget Arguments – “Hey, look over there! There are some really expensive programs over there!” Mike Kinsley criticizes one of the most annoying liberal arguments against cutting the fat in government–the Willie Sutton argument, or “Why bother to cut the fat in these agencies and programs when the really big budget busters are entitlements like Medicare and Social Security”:

    It’s also true, but unconvincing, that the whole budget debate is focusing on the smallest part of federal spending — discretionary spending — and ignoring the big bucks, which are in inexorably rising health care costs. Given all past experience, a perfectly adequate reaction to the Obama administration’s claims that health care reform will save the government money is, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” But that is no reason not to show more discipline on smaller matters. Every little bit helps.

    You’d think a good GOP  budget-cutting argument would be: “They’re talking about cutting Social Security and Medicare costs to control the deficit, but it would be wrong to cut even a dollar from someone’s Social Security checks or Medicare to pay for unnecessary bureaucrats in Washington.”

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    Well, argued.