These are my links for August 12th through August 14th:
Newt Gingrich Tells Piers Morgan ‘You Guys Almost Sound Like You’re An Extension of the Obama Campaign’– Piers Morgan on Monday picked the wrong guy to toss Democrat talking points at.After the CNN anchor spoke the typical liberal nonsense about Paul Ryan’s budget only benefiting rich people, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich scolded, “I do wonder sometimes if you guys all get off in a little club and learn a brand new mantra and then all repeat it mindlessly…You guys almost sound like you’re an extension of the Obama campaign”
BUSTED: CNN’s Soledad O’Brien Caught Using Liberal Blog To Attack Ryan Plan– In yet another classic display of the liberal media, CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien has been caught red-handed using left-wing blog Talking Points Memo to counter Virginia House of Delegates member Barbara Comstock on the House GOP budget.As Ali A. Ackbar of Viral Read discovered:Tonight, she was the substitute host for Anderson Cooper, a program that boasts of its reputation for “keeping [politicians] honest.” During her interview with Virginia House of Delegates Republican member Barbara Comstock, O’Brien became visibly flustered and was actually caught doing finger stress exercises as she attempt to insert editorial commentary while her guest, a former skilled Republican operative, defended the House GOP budget, designed by Budget Chairman Paul Ryan.Accidentally, a cameraman captured O’Brien furiously flipping through notes, only to cut out seconds later. What was she viewing?
Footage proves it was a printed email, talking points and opposition research.
The Forgotten History of Ryan’s Medicare Reform– There was a small but instructive moment in 2010, the summer after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, that shows why Paul Ryan is so unusual for Washington.A panel at the American Enterprise Institute featured Richard Foster, the Medicare actuary who estimates that ObamaCare’s $716 billion in Medicare cuts will cause one of six hospitals to become unprofitable. In the audience was Chip Kahn, the president of a for-profit hospital trade group that lobbied for ObamaCare, who stood up to defend the bargain his industry cut in return for 30 million new subsidized customers.Mr. Foster noted that the cuts, which come via a technical change to Medicare payment rates, apply in perpetuity. But the hospitals only get the extra patients once, so the wedge between costs and benefits for hospitals widens over time.”Well,” Mr. Kahn replied, “you can say, ‘Did you make a bad deal?’ Fortunately I don’t think I’ll probably be working after 2020.” When Mr. Foster pressed him, he joked again, “I’m glad my contract only goes another six years.”
This kind of short-range thinking—and intellectual exhaustion—dominates both parties and their many clients in Washington, in health care especially.Mr. Ryan’s political character has always been different. He saw before anyone else that one era of government was inexorably ending, and that if we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.
McCain Says Reid’s Claim on Romney’s taxes is Wrong– Sen. John McCain told Jon Ralston that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is wrong about his assertion that Mitt Romney did not pay taxes for 10 years, saying his team that vetted the presumptive GOP nominee in 2008 found no such thing.Said McCain: “Nothing in his tax returns showed that he did not pay taxes.”
Paul Ryan veep selection draws Romney closer to House GOP– Mitt Romney’s selection of Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate draws his presidential campaign closer to Congress and the House Republican leadership, an association that could carry more risk than reward in the short term.As a former executive and governor who had never served in Washington, Romney had run an outsider campaign and kept a healthy distance from a historically unpopular Congress. The presumptive GOP nominee did not support the 2011 debt ceiling deal negotiated by his party’s congressional leadership (and which Ryan backed), and he did not immediately endorse the Ryan-authored budget plan that the House has passed two years in a row.
Marco Rubio, Chris Christie get key speaking roles at RNC– In a showcase role on his party’s biggest stage, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio will introduce Mitt Romney for his speech to accept the nomination for president on the last night of the Republican National Convention.It is an introduction aimed at giving Romney a boost from a rising star in a must-win state, but it will almost certainly further enhance Rubio’s standing, too.New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a favorite among fiscal conservatives in the party, will give the keynote address, the convention announced early Tuesday.”We have an opportunity in Tampa to make clear that if we tell each other the hard truths, tackle the big problems, and make bold choices, we will see America’s comeback,” Christie, a former federal prosecutor known for his take-no-prisoners speaking
Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin raise questions by moving into expensive $3.3 million Manhattan apartment– Anthony Weiner’s wife not only took him back, she took him back in style — moving with the shamed pol into a luxurious, $3.3 million Manhattan pad owned by a deep-pocketed Democratic donor, The Post has learned.After quitting his Queens House seat amid a notorious sexting scandal, Weiner and beautiful, brainy spouse Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, landed in the sprawling, 12th-floor Park Avenue trophy residence owned by Rosen Partners LLC, which is headed by close Clinton pal Jack Rosen, records show.Rosen — who oversees the American Jewish Congress — is an influential international political force. He’s been a guest at the White House, flies the Clintons in his private plane, and has poured money into both Bill and Hillary Clinton’s election campaigns over the years, according to campaign-finance records.
Treasury: U.S. to lose $25 billion on auto bailout– The Treasury Department says in a new report the government expects to lose more than $25 billion on the $85 billion auto bailout. That’s 15 percent higher than its previous forecast.In a monthly report sent to Congress on Friday, the Obama administration boosted its forecast of expected losses by more than $3.3 billion to almost $25.1 billion, up from $21.7 billion in the last quarterly update.The report may still underestimate the losses. The report covers predicted losses through May 31, when GM’s stock price was $22.20 a share.On Monday, GM stock fell $0.07, or 0.3 percent, to $20.47. At that price, the government would lose another $850 million on its GM bailout.
The government still holds 500 million shares of GM stock and needs to sell them for about $53 each to recover its entire $49.5 billion bailout. At the current price, the Treasury would lose more than $16 billion on its GM bailout.
The steep decline in GM’s stock price has indefinitely delayed the Treasury’s sale of its remaining 26 percent stake in GM. No sale will take place before the November election.
Hey Paul Ryan haters, your congressional insider trader suspect actually is Sheldon Whitehouse– Paul Ryan falsely was accused today by left-wing bloggers, most notably Matthew Yglesias (formerly of Think Progress now of Slate), of insider trading based on confidential information provided by the Treasury Secretary to Congress on September 18, 2008.That day, Ryan traded Citigroup stock.The accusation fell apart when someone noticed that the congressional meeting was in the evening of September 18, after the markets closed and Ryan already had completed his trades. Yglesias issued a retraction, and even New York Magazine defended Ryan on the charge of insider trading (which at the time would have been legal for members of Congress).If Yglesias and the rest of the left-blogosphere want to chase someone for insider trading based solely on the timing of trades around the September 18 congressional briefing, then they need look no further than their hero Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), as I detailed on November 19, 2011, Sheldon Whitehouse, luckiest investor in America?
Poll Watch: Positive views of Ryan jump higher after pick– Little known nationally before Saturday’s announcement, favorable impressions of Ryan jumped 15 percentage points among the overall electorate with positive views soaring from 49 to 70 percent among conservative Republicans.In Wednesday through Friday interviews, fully 45 percent of Americans expressed no opinion of Ryan, dropping to 30 percent on Saturday and Sunday. The increasing familiarity all went to the positive side of the ledger, giving Ryan an initial advantage in the sprint to define his candidacy.Overall, in interviews after his selection, 38 percent of all Americans express favorable views of Ryan, 33 percent negative ones. (Before the the announcement, Ryan was somewhat underwater, scoring 23 percent favorable, 32 unfavorable.) The most recent national numbers on Vice President Joe Biden are from a July Pew Research Center poll showing a split decision, 40 percent favorable, 37 percent unfavorable.One of the largest movements on Ryan’s favorability numbers was the 21-point jump among conservative Republicans, but the initial movement was positive among independents as well, doubling from 19 to 39 percent.
Retirees Shower Paul Ryan With Contributions– Democrats say presumptive GOP vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan is a senior citizen’s worst nightmare, but retirees seem to have no problem writing him checks.One of the most prolific fundraisers in Congress, Ryan has drawn nearly $400,000 from retirees this election cycle, dramatically outperforming most House lawmakers, according to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics.The seven-term Wisconsin Congressman and House Budget chairman has come under fire for the controversial budget proposal he released last year that called for dramatically reshaping Medicare and repealing President Barack Obama’s health care law. The plan would transition Medicare into a voucher-like system by 2022 and strike the 2010 health care law – two ideas that Democrats say would be devastating for older Americans.Just about 13 percent of residents of Ryan’s district, which blends the wealthy Milwaukee suburbs with some of the state’s largest industrial areas, are 65 years or older, ranking 203rd out of the 437 districts, including Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, according to 2010 census data.
By comparison, Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), who represents more people over age 65 than any another Member of Congress, according to 2010 census figures, has raised just $113,000 from retirees so far this cycle.
California Pension Reform: Legal pension hikes: air time, golden handshake– If the Legislature attempts pension reform this month, one of the targets may be “air time,” a decade-old policy that allows CalPERS and CalSTRS members to boost their pensions by buying up to five years of additional service credit.Another older but also colorfully named policy, the “golden handshake,” allows management to encourage early retirement by boosting pensions with two years of additional service credit.Some regard air time as an abuse, even though employees make a payment that is supposed to cover the cost. There is the question of fairness, a benefit not available to all citizens, and of taxpayer risk if long-term investment earnings are below the forecast.The golden handshake, with employers presumably paying the cost, has the same investment risk and often is offered only to higher-paid employees. The CalPERS version also gets competition from a private firm, Public Agency Retirement Services.
Air time and the golden handshake were linked in a bill veto message in 2003 by former Gov. Gray Davis, who signed a major state worker pension increase, SB 400 in 1999, criticized for triggering unsustainable pension increases throughout the state.
California moving forward on plan to upgrade schools, seek 2014 bond– State officials have set to work on an ambitious plan to upgrade California’s aging and outdated school facilities and, in doing so, lay the groundwork for a 2014 bond measure to help pay for it.The goal is to transform existing school structures into 21st Century learning environments – clean, safe and technologically-advanced with sustainable, cost-efficient energy systems – for the state’s six million students.The first step, officials said, is to create a comprehensive inventory on the status of the state’s classrooms to assess what actually needs to get done.“It’s vital that we have a plan,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said during a hearing on school facility needs last week. “I think it’s going to be a springboard for action in a way that the Legislature can move to a place in 2014 where we can go to the voters to say ‘let’s re-up; let’s invest again in a program that’s even more targeted toward the needs of our students.”
Irish Pull Teeth as Europe Crisis Means Dental Cutbacks– Pedro Ruiz of Madrid, a 29-year-old unemployed plumber, has been putting off dental surgery to fix his crooked teeth.“I don’t want to spend in one visit to a dentist what it takes me 10 days to earn,” said Ruiz.In the midst of Europe’s worst financial crisis in a generation, countless other patients are making similar decisions across the continent, doing without everything from checkups to tooth implants as unemployment has surged and governments have reined in health spending. Many are putting their health at risk.Though no hard Europe-wide data on dental spending exists, the cutbacks by governments and individuals mean oral cancers and other illnesses won’t be spotted earlier, when they’re more easily treatable, said Kamini Shah, honorary secretary at the British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry.
“The mouth is a mirror to the rest of the body,” said Shah.
The effects of the financial crisis on dental care are also evident for companies that supply equipment. Shares of the world’s biggest makers of dental implants, Nobel Biocare Holding AG (NOBN) and Straumann Holding AG (STMN), have plunged 90 percent and 67 percent, respectively, from their peaks in 2007.
Declining sales in Europe is “the new normal,” said Ingeborg Oie, an analyst with Jefferies International Ltd.
“If Europe continues to plod along this trajectory then we’re not going to be out of this for a few years,” she said.
In Spain, which has the highest unemployment rate among countries using the euro at 24.8 percent, patients are choosing cheaper, removable dentures costing a few hundred euros instead of permanent implants that can cost thousands of euros, Manuel “Alfonso” Villa, president of the Spanish Dental Association said in a telephone interview from his clinic in Gijon, northern Spain.
“People are very scared about spending,” he said. “We’ve noticed a significant slowdown since 2009, but 2011 and this year have been disastrous.” Patients are delaying procedures “unless it hurts too much,” he said.
Ruiz, the Spanish plumber, earned 2,500 euros ($3,070) a month before losing his job in January. He just finished a temporary job that paid him 1,200 euros and decided to bank it rather than spend it on his teeth because “it’s not a life-or- death matter.”
10 reasons why Paul Ryan could help Mitt Romney become US President – Mail Online – Toby Harnden’s blog– Until a fortnight ago, it looked like Mitt Romney wanted to make the safest, least dramatic vice-presidential pick possible, a running mate who would be the unPalin – someone who would be a news story for the day but would not alter the shape of the campaign.Someone like Tim Pawlenty or Rob Portman. Either this approach was a feint all along or something changed as the 2012 campaign descended into petty, slimy negativity and Romney began to slip slightly in the polls despite a terrible economy and unemployment rising to 8.3 percent.Choosing Ryan is a bold and surprising – though by no means as outlandish as Sarah Palin in 2008 – choice. Vice-presidential running mates seldom have a major impact on the outcome of a presidential election. But this time, Ryan might a difference – here are 10 reasons why:
Why Romney Chose Ryan – A Choice Between Stagnation and Renewal– Mitt Romney did much more this weekend than announce a running mate. He unveiled a significant change in strategy. The 2012 election is now a choice, not just a referendum.Conservatives have spent much of this summer reassuring themselves. They’ve pointed out the extraordinary sums President Obama has thrown at crippling Mr. Romney. They’ve noted how ugly and brutal those attacks have been. They’ve comforted themselves that, for all the smears, Mr. Romney is within a few points of the incumbent in national tracking polls.Yet the same can be said on the other side. The economy is teetering, the deficit exploding, the nation unhappy with his signature legislation. Daily, Mr. Romney beats the White House with these failures. But he has barely moved the polling dial.
VP candidate Ryan returns to Wisconsin to adoring crowd– Brushing aside tears and responding to raucous cheers, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan returned to Wisconsin on Sunday for an emotional homecoming in front of thousands of people on the grounds of the Waukesha County Expo Center. “It’s good to be home,” Ryan said in a speech that wove personal history and national aspiration.A day after he was named Mitt Romney’s running mate and vaulted on to the Republican Party’s biggest political stage, Ryan spoke of his family’s deep roots in Wisconsin and his ties to Janesville, where “we live on the block I grew up on.”
These are my links for July 24th through July 25th:
Obama Thanks ‘Gay-Porn Kingpin’– “I want to thank someone who put so much work into this event, Terry Bean,” President Obama said as the crowd began to cheer. “Give Terry a big round of applause.”Terry Bean is, according to the New York Post, a “gay-porn kingpin.””ONE of the ‘bundlers’ who has raised $50,000 to $100,000 for the Barack Obama presidential campaign is Terrence Bean, who once controlled the biggest producer of gay porn in America,” the Post reported in 2008, during the president’s first run the office. “Bean, the first gay on Sen. Obama’s National Finance Committee, is the sole trustee of the Charles M. Holmes Foundation, which owned Falcon Studios, Jock Studios and Mustang Studios, the producers of about $10 million worth of all-male pornography a year.”
Too Big To Fail, Obama and Dodd-Frank– The two-year anniversary of Dodd-Frank has come and gone, and Too Big To Fail is only growing.Sure, President Obama assured us the sweeping law would reform the sleaze and mindless risk-taking of the banking business — but all it’s given us is the certainty of future bailouts.Actually, that’s not fair: It’s also producing reams and reams of rules and regulations that force banks out of certain profitable lines of business, like proprietary trading, that had little to do with the shenanigans that led the financial crisis.But the biggest problem is the expansion of the largest single contributor to the banking collapse: The government’s protection of the remaining big financial institutions, a k a Too Big To Fail.The reason Too Big To Fail is so dangerous is that it provides a level of comfort to the Wall Street risk takers — enabling them to act like riverboat gamblers and simply bet more and more until the system comes crashing down, as it did four years ago. Why fear, when the taxpayer is on the hook for your losses?
Dodd-Frank was supposed to end the bank-protection racket. Everyone from the president to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner (who’s due up on Capitol Hill this week to discuss the law) to its chief sponsors, then-Sen. Chris Dodd and Rep. Barney Frank, said so.
They tell us the law makes certain that the next time the big banks take too much risk, there will no taxpayer bailout: The bankers (and those who trusted them) will have to pay for their risk-taking sins in bankruptcy court, just like any other business in America.
Don’t buy it. A relatively open secret on Wall Street is that the megabanks that survived the financial crisis — JP Morgan, Citigroup, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo — are still very much protected by the federal government and the American taxpayer.
California cities’ bankruptcies: Blame the housing bust– The reporting and commentary on the bankruptcies of California cities over the last month haven’t been journalism’s finest hour. From reading the voluminous accounts of the fiscal woes of Stockton and San Bernardino, you’d think that municipal unions and feckless city officials are primarily what led these cities down the path to fiscal ruin.But you’d be wrong. What bankrupted Stockton and San Bernardino were the most severe housing busts in the nation. What bankrupted those two cities were banks peddling subprime mortgages to poorly paid workers.That story has been missing from most accounts of the debacle, which instead focus on the preferred narrative of the right and center-right: that of fiscal irresponsibility and overpaid public employees. “Another city sinks in pension morass,” the Orange County Register editorialized. The problem common to the cities, wrote Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters, is that “elected leaders and appointed managers succumbed to hubris and political pressure, particularly from their employee unions.”Even most of the straightforward reporting has emphasized the errors of city managers and the burdens of having to pay city workers andBut that narrative is “Hamlet” without the prince. Yes, some elected and appointed officials were indifferent or insensible to their city’s fiscal plight. But lots of cities have negligent public officials, and even more have police officers and firefighters with those demonized defined-benefit pensions. What sets Stockton and San Bernardino apart is a far narrower set of circumstances: They were at the epicenters of the American housing bubble and the American housing bust.
To Move Polls, Romney Needs to Go Positive– Every once in a blue moon, a pollster asks exactly the right questions and brings some clarity to a number of important “big picture” issues in an election. Such is the case with the latest Pew poll. In particular, this survey helps us answer:– Is this election a choice or a referendum?
Marijuana Dispensaries Banned in L.A. Per City Council Vote– The L.A. City Council today voted to put an end to the city’s infamous and numerous marijuana dispensaries, citing neighborhood concerns and court rulings that have questioned a city’s right to regulate the retailers.Most of all, however, the council argued that L.A’s for-profit pot shop scene was never envisioned by state lawmakers whom the City Attorney says wanted to legalize the nonprofit growing and sharing of cannabis among the seriously ill.That interpretation, of course, is up for debate, but …… for now the city of L.A. is having things its way: No more weed retailers in the pot shop capital of the nation. Maybe. (See more below).At one point LA Weekly counted about 550 of them, and in light of a lack of city regulation, it seems that the number has remained fairly constant to us. In fact sources have told us that some rogue shops have taken advantage of City Hall’s lack of action –it has been trying to regulate dispensaries since at least 2007 — to open illicit pop-up shops that come and go quickly.
Gov. Scott Walker knocks Mitt Romney’s campaign– Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker criticized Mitt Romney’s campaign Wednesday for being too cautious and for assuming the election could just be a referendum on the president.“I think there’s a lot of caution. I think the mistake that they’ve made is the feeling like it can just be a referendum on the president,” said Walker, a Republican, on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “It’s certainly a part of it for any incumbent, it’s got to be a referendum on, do you like or dislike, not just the president, but his policies… but there’s got to be something more. People don’t just vote somebody out, they’ve got to vote somebody in
Nearly one in 10 employers to drop health coverage– About one in 10 employers plan to drop health coverage when key provisions of the new health care law kick in less than two years from now, according to a survey to be released Tuesday by the consulting company Deloitte.Nine percent of companies said they expect to stop offering coverage
to their workers in the next one to three years, the Wall Street Journal reported. Around 81 percent said they would continue providing benefits and 10 percent said they weren’t sure.
New York Post Mocks Obama’s Afghanistan Trip – Two schools of thought: Obama is at risk of being seen as politicizing national security. Or, any day spent talking about Osama Bin Laden, and not the economy, is a good one.
The curious resignation of Richard Grenell – The political world is buzzing over the sudden resignation of Richard Grenell, the former spokesman for John Bolton at the UN who had signed on to serve as foreign policy spokesman for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. Grenell was scheduled to begin work Tuesday, May 1. Instead, he resigned before starting the job.
The news was broken Tuesday morning by Jennifer Rubin, a pro-Romney blogger at the Washington Post. The headline of Rubin’s report said the openly gay Grenell had been “hounded from [the] Romney campaign by anti-gay conservatives.” Rubin cited articles in National Review and the Daily Caller which she said “reflected the uproar by some social conservatives over the appointment.”
Some publications on the left picked up on Rubin’s report and suggested that Grenell had been driven from his job by, among others, Bryan Fischer, a top official at the social conservative American Family Association. Fischer is perhaps best known for a series of inflammatory statements about gays, Muslims, Mormons, and others. Last October, Fischer was scheduled to speak after Romney at the Values Voter summit in Washington. Knowing Fischer’s record, and already concerned by anti-Mormon comments from another attendee, Robert Jeffress, Romney decided to use his speech to condemn Fischer, although not by name.
The district is facing a potential $6.2 million deficit in the upcoming fiscal year, which amounts to approximately 7 percent of the district’s total annual expenditures of about $90 million.
Also as part of the Fiscal Stabilization Plan, board members will also vote on a 2 percent salary reduction for classified administrators, including a pay cut for the district’s assistant superintendent of personnel and its chief business official. Board members already approved the pay cuts for certificated administrators and the superintendent.
El Monte Union’s construction management company Del Terra will also present an update on projects taking place within the district.
The meeting takes place at 6 p.m. at South El Monte High School’s Professional Development Center, 1001 Durfee Ave.
Transcript: Obama hails ‘light of a new day’ in Afghanistan – Good evening from Bagram Air Base. This outpost is more than 7,000 miles from home, but for over a decade it has been close to our hearts. Because here, in Afghanistan, more than half a million of our sons and daughters have sacrificed to protect our country.
Today, I signed an historic agreement between the United States and Afghanistan that defines a new kind of relationship between our countries — a future in which Afghans are responsible for the security of their nation, and we build an equal partnership between two sovereign states; a future in which the war ends, and a new chapter begins.
Tonight, I’d like to speak to you about this transition. But first, let us remember why we came here. It was here, in Afghanistan, where Osama bin Laden established a safe-haven for his terrorist organization. It was here, in Afghanistan, where al Qaeda brought new recruits, trained them, and plotted acts of terror. It was here, from within these borders, that al Qaeda launched the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 innocent men, women and children.
Restore our Future is targeting ads in Ohio ($501,000), Iowa ($395,000), Virginia ($241,000), Colorado ($299,000), Nevada ($275,000), Florida ($857,000), North Carolina ($652,000), Michigan ($452,00) and New Hampshire ($225,000), according to a GOP source that revealed the figures to Politico.
The ads will air in the period between May 3 and May 1
A Giant Leap for Richard Nixon – Imagine if President Nixon had decided to base his 1972 re-election campaign on the boast that he landed on the moon. His predecessors tried and failed for eight years. It wasn’t an easy decision–what if something went wrong? But that’s why you hire a president, to make those gutsy calls. Which path would George McGovern have taken?
That’s analogous to President Obama’s effort to campaign on the killing of Osama bin Laden. His absurd braggadocio is turning one of the few successes to occur under his leadership into a political liability.
Last week the Obama campaign released an advertisement featuring Bill Clinton (the president who actually did pass up opportunities to get bin Laden) praising Obama’s leadership and suggesting that Mitt Romney would have let bin Laden go. Nonsense, Romney replied: “Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order,” the New York Times quotes him as saying. (James Fallows, who worked in the Carter White House, grudgingly confirms Romney’s surmise.)
Blahous and Capretta: Exposing the Medicare Double Count – One of the enduring mysteries of President Obama’s health law is how its spending constraints and payroll tax hikes on high earners can be used to shore up Medicare finances and at the same time pay for a massive new entitlement program. Isn’t this double counting?
The short answer is: Yes, it is. You can’t spend the same money twice. And so, thanks to the new health law, federal deficits and debt will be hundreds of billions of dollars higher in the next decade alone.
Here’s how it works. When Congress considers legislation that alters taxes or spending related to Medicare’s Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, the changes are recorded not just on the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund’s books, but also on Congress’s “pay-as-you-go” scorecard.
As Michigan Republicans headed to the polls Tuesday morning, President Obama delivered an aggressive defense of the bailout of the auto industry and his presidency in general, harshly criticizing GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney – though he never mentioned him by name.
“I’ve got to admit, it’s been funny to watch some of these folks completely try to rewrite history now that you’re back on your feet,” the president said to a raucous crowd at the United Auto Workers Convention. “The same folks who said if we went forward with our plan to rescue Detroit, ‘you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye.’”
There’s no mistake who Harry Reid’s political target is as Republican voters head to the polls today in Arizona and Michigan.
On Monday, the Senate majority leader held a conference call blasting GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney for touting endorsements from immigration “extremists” like Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. And on the Senate floor Tuesday, Reid attacked Romney’s opposition to President Barack Obama’s bailouts that many credit for saving the Detroit auto industry.
“I’m sorry to say that life support system that the Detroit auto industry was surviving on, Republicans wanted to pull the plug. One man who is now seeking the Republican nomination for president of the United States said, ‘We should kiss the automobile industry goodbye,’” Reid said, without naming Romney.
“He called the death of American auto manufacturers ‘virtually guaranteed,’ another direct quote. And so he argued we should just let Detroit go bankrupt,” he added. “But he wasn’t alone. Republicans in this chamber agreed, many of them agreed, Democrats weren’t willing to give up on American manufacturing” and manufacturing jobs.
Voters in Michigan head to the polls today, carrying the fate of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s presidential bid in their hands. Win Michigan and, as expected, Arizona, and Romney almost certainly reasserts himself as the clear frontrunner in the Republican race. Lose Michigan and the calls for Romney to reconsider his candidacy will begins. It’s that simple.
Turn-out in today’s presidential primary election looks to be about the same or less than it was four years ago, according to a sampling of clerks in key precincts the Free Press is using to analyze the vote.
“The absentee voter ballot requests are pretty much the same as last time,” said Farmington Hills City Clerk Pam Smith. “We’re right on par with that and we’re planning for that kind of turnout.”
Smith said there were no reported problems at precincts this morning and she expected to get updates later in the day on how many people voted in person.
Rockwall Texas Doctor Charged In Biggest U.S. Healthcare Fraud Ever – A North Texas doctor has been arrested and charged in what’s being described as the largest healthcare fraud case in U.S. history.Between January, 2006 and November of last year, Dr. Jacques Roy is accused of cheating Medicare and Medicaid, and ultimately taxpayers, nearly $380 million dollars.Top U.S. Justice department officials have flown to Dallas Tuesday to make the announcement along with the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, and the Special Agent in charge of the Dallas FBI, Robert Casey.
Santorum on top in second straight Ohio poll – For the second straight day, a new survey indicates Rick Santorum leading Mitt Romney in Ohio.With one week to go until the Buckeye State’s Republican presidential primary, Santorum has an 11-point lead over Romney, according to the latest Ohio Poll.
VA-Sen Poll: Allen leads Kaine in potential US Senate race – Republican George Allen has opened an eight-point lead (45%-37%) on Democrat Tim Kaine in a likely November matchup for the U.S. Senate seat from Virginia according to The Roanoke College Poll. Virginians are somewhat more positive about the situation in the country, but they are not enamored with any of the Republican Presidential candidates. In potential Presidential election scenarios, President Obama leads all Republican candidates except Mitt Romney, with whom he is statistically tied.The Roanoke College Poll interviewed 607 residents of Virginia between February 13 and February 26. The Poll has a margin of error of +4 percent. Another Roanoke College Poll of likely voters in the March 6 “Super Tuesday” Virginia Republican primary will be released later this week.
Santorum robocall makes appeal to Michigan’s Democrats for votes – GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum hopes Michigan Democrats can help him earn a victory in Tuesday’s primary.That’s right. The former Pennsylvania senator’s campaign paid for a robocall asking Democrats to vote for him in Tuesday’s primary.Recent polls show chief rival and Michigan native Mitt Romney and Santorum virtually even heading into the primary.”We know that if we can get a Reagan Democrat in the primary, we can get them in the fall,” said Hogan Gidley, communications director for Santorum. He confirmed the campaign paid for the call.
Political observers say the move is just another sign of how close the GOP race is — and a “logical ploy.”
As Santorum has done during numerous Michigan visits the past two weeks, the call attacked Romney’s stance on the auto bailouts, saying the former Massachusetts governor’s opposition “was a slap in the face” to Michigan workers, according to audio obtained by online political news outlet Talking Points Memo.
Santorum also opposed the auto bailout, but said his consistent stance against all bailouts, including the Wall Street bailout, sets him above Romney.
Innovate or Legislate – Reihan Salam & Patrick Ruffini – National Review Online – In 2012, a number of institutions that long defined how Americans communicated are teetering near the brink of collapse. Major newspapers in cities across the country have stopped publishing. Strip-mall anchors from Circuit City to Blockbuster to Borders have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The U.S. Postal Service struggles under the weight of crushing pension obligations, as e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and Skype render it all but obsolete. In politics, traditional modes of wielding power are also being disrupted. One prominent example is the recent battle over the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, in which grassroots activists defeated once-powerful Hollywood lobbyists.What’s toppling these formerly invincible companies and institutions? In almost every case, the proximate cause is the Internet, and the disruption it has wrought on inefficient businesses in every corner of the economy. And so we are now engaged in a war over its future.
Newt Gingrich’s super PAC receives another ‘substantial’ contribution from Sheldon Adelson – An independent group supporting Newt Gingrich has received another “substantial” contribution from billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson and will launch TV ads in seven states this week, a source close to the group confirmed Monday.The source, who requested anonymity to speak freely, did not confirm the amount of the contribution but called it substantial and at least on par with two $5 million donations Adelson and his family have given previously. The group, known as Winning Our Future, will launch TV ads Tuesday in Georgia, Oklahoma, Ohio and Tennessee, with more to come Wednesday in Mississippi, Alabama and Kansas.The cash infusion comes at a critical moment for Gingrich, whose campaign has flagged as conservative rival Rick Santorum’s has flourished. While much of the political world has been trained on Santorum’s battle to beat former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in Michigan and Arizona, two states that hold their primaries Tuesday, Gingrich has focused on trying to revive his fortunes by winning a series of Southern states next week, on Super Tuesday and beyond.All four of the states where the group will begin advertising Tuesday vote on Super Tuesday; the others follow.