• Pinboard Links

    Flap’s Links and Comments for April 5th on 09:33

    These are my links for April 5th from 09:33 to 11:59:

    • ObamaCare: Senate Nixes 1099 Requirement, Obama’s Signature Is Next – Following the lead of the House, the Senate today voted 87 to 12 to eliminate an onerous tax-reporting duty in the new healthcare reform law.

      The repeal measure now goes to President Barack Obama, who has signaled that he will sign it.

      The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires all businesses, beginning in 2012, to file federal tax form 1099 if they buy $600 or more worth of goods or services in a given year from any vendor. Similar to Congress, Obama has decried the paperwork requirement as too burdensome. In the past, however, the president and Congress have wrangled about how to make up the roughly $20 billion in revenue that the government will lose if the 1099 provision is repealed.

      Before passage of the ACA in early 2010, businesses needed to file a 1099 with the Internal Revenue Service only for services provided by unincorporated vendors, such as sole proprietors. The ACA expands that reporting duty to include goods as well as services, and all vendors, including incorporated ones. Congressional Democrats added this provision to the ACA to help pay for healthcare reform, thinking that it would identify previously unreported and untaxed vendor revenue.

      The business community, as well as organized medicine, has vehemently objected to the new requirement, saying it will it cost them too much in time and money. A medical practice, for example, would need to file a 1099 for a $600 printer that it bought from Office Depot.

    • Proposed GOP 2012 Budget Turns Medicare Into Subsidy Program – House Republicans today unveiled an ambitiously frugal budget for fiscal 2012 that they say will save the Medicare program in part by eventually giving beneficiaries subsidies to purchase private health plans.

      The GOP budget, released by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), chair of the House Budget Committee, would attempt to save Medicaid as well by turning it into a simple block-grant program. More Medicaid and Medicare savings would be achieved by capping noneconomic (pain and suffering) damages in medical malpractice cases — a tort reform designed to reduce the number frivolous lawsuits and jackpot jury awards.

      The proposal also addresses the 29.5% cut in Medicare reimbursement for physicians next year by instituting an unspecified 10-year "fix" of the payment formula. The cost of that fix must not add to the federal deficit, however.


      Read it all

    • Untitled (http://twitter.com/flap) – @Steph4Gngrch12 Not my name or my city. Check my twitter profile.
    • President 2012 Video: GOP Uses Social Media to Respond to Obama Campaign Launch | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – President 2012 Video: GOP Uses Social Media to Respond to Obama Campaign Launch #tcot #catcot
    • Flap’s Links and Comments for April 5th on 08:04 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Links and Comments for April 5th on 08:04 #tcot #catcot
    • Paul Ryan: The GOP Path to Prosperity – WSJ.com – Paul Ryan: The GOP Path to Prosperity
    • The Ryan Plan Doesn’t Privatize Medicare – By Veronique de Rugy – The Corner – National Review Online – The Ryan Plan Doesn’t Privatize Medicare
  • Pinboard Links

    Flap’s Links and Comments for April 5th on 08:04

    These are my links for April 5th from 08:04 to 09:24:

    • Paul Ryan: The GOP Path to Prosperity – Congress is currently embroiled in a funding fight over how much to spend on less than one-fifth of the federal budget for the next six months. Whether we cut $33 billion or $61 billion—that is, whether we shave 2% or 4% off of this year's deficit—is important. It's a sign that the election did in fact change the debate in Washington from how much we should spend to how much spending we should cut.

      But this morning the new House Republican majority will introduce a budget that moves the debate from billions in spending cuts to trillions. America is facing a defining moment. The threat posed by our monumental debt will damage our country in profound ways, unless we act.

      No one person or party is responsible for the looming crisis. Yet the facts are clear: Since President Obama took office, our problems have gotten worse. Major spending increases have failed to deliver promised jobs. The safety net for the poor is coming apart at the seams. Government health and retirement programs are growing at unsustainable rates. The new health-care law is a fiscal train wreck. And a complex, inefficient tax code is holding back American families and businesses.


      Read it all

    • The Ryan Plan Doesn’t Privatize Medicare – This morning at 6:15 a.m., I was driving to Union Station to catch a train to New York when I heard an NPR analyst describe Chairman Ryan’s budget plan as effectively a reform to privatize Medicare. It’s not. Privatization of Medicare would mean government getting out of the business of providing health care. In this case, Medicare is saved and the government continues to contribute large amounts of money towards seniors’ health-care premiums by paying a fixed amount of money to the insurance provider. Everyone above 65 will benefit from this premium support.

      This is Ryan in the Wall Street Journal today:

      Starting in 2022, new Medicare beneficiaries will be enrolled in the same kind of health-care program that members of Congress enjoy. Future Medicare recipients will be able to choose a plan that works best for them from a list of guaranteed coverage options. This is not a voucher program but rather a premium-support model. A Medicare premium-support payment would be paid, by Medicare, to the plan chosen by the beneficiary, subsidizing its cost.

      In addition, Medicare will provide increased assistance for lower- income beneficiaries and those with greater health risks. Reform that empowers individuals—with more help for the poor and the sick—will guarantee that Medicare can fulfill the promise of health security for America’s seniors.

      That’s not privatization. In fact, while this reform is a great start, the plan continues the Washington tradition of extending open-ended promises on Medicare without paying for them (even though the cost is much lower). Also, this may be nitpicking on my part, but under this plan consumers will still be bound to a list of guaranteed coverage options chosen by the government.

    • California Governor’s Jerry Brown’s pension plan is nothing but fluff – The timing of Gov. Jerry Brown's "12-point pension reform plan" last week was no accident.

      The plan was released on Thursday, a couple of days after his negotiations with Republicans on a state budget deal collapsed. The latter contended that Brown had balked at their demands for public pension reforms because of opposition from unions that helped him win the governorship last year.

      Thus, the plan's release was aimed at giving Brown political cover, implicitly demonstrating that he's tough-minded on pensions and not beholden to the unions. But while a 12-point plan sounds impressive – especially coming from a politician who historically has sneered at multipoint policy plans – there's less there than meets the eye.

      The political debate over public pensions has been conducted on two levels, the largely superficial and the meaningful.

      The superficial aspects – anecdotal accounts of outrageous pension manipulation – have received the most media attention. Meanwhile, the more meaningful issue of whether taxpayers and employees face a ticking time bomb of unfunded liabilities is complex and unsexy, receiving relatively little attention.

      For the most part, Brown's plan deals with the former rather than the latter. It gives the illusion of being tough on pension issues without making truly tough choices.


      You think?

      Political cover and that is all.

  • Pinboard Links

    Flap’s Links and Comments for April 5th on 06:36

    These are my links for April 5th from 06:36 to 07:58:

    • Top 10 dumb arguments against Paul Ryan’s budget – Liberals with furrowed brows are conjuring up attacks (many contradictory) on Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget. To save them time, I’ve come up with 10 of these that don’t pass the laugh test ( and I even explain why the arguments aren’t worth making):

      1. It doesn’t balance the budget in 10 years. Ryan’s budget puts us in “primary balance” ( the term President Obama is fond of using) in 2015; Obama’s never does. In 2012 the deficit is less than $1 trillion; Obama’s is over a trillion in 2012, the fourth straight year of trillion-dollar deficits. If you want to balance the budget in a decade you are looking at massive tax increases and substantial cuts in entitlement benefits for current retirees. Does Obama want to make that proposal?

      2. It favors the rich. Actually, the rich are “hurt” by items such as Medicare means testing and by wiping out corporate welfare. The White House’s plan to do nothing on Medicaid will eventually leave the poor with a defunct health plan.

      3. Ryan spares defense. He follows Obama’s defense spending cuts — $178 billion in the 2012 budget. Considering we are now fighting three, not two, wars under Obama, that seems rather draconian actually.


      Read it all.

    • Charlie Cook: Warning Signs Among the GOP – Until recently, Republicans were taking solace in a number of things as they looked forward to 2012. For one, Republicans knew that the party not holding the White House rarely suffered large House and Senate losses in presidential reelection years.
      In fact, the only time that has happened in recent history was to Republicans in 1964 when Lyndon Johnson won the White House a year after the assassination of President John Kennedy. 
      Republicans also took comfort in knowing that they would control redistricting efforts in states with 202 congressional districts, compared to Democrats who have control over the lines in states with just 47 districts. 
      The huge Republican redistricting gains many had predicted before the new year appear less likely today. Republicans will be able to protect a number of their freshmen in redistricting, but Democrats could reap a bonanza of new seats in Illinois and possibly in Florida and California, if new processes in those two jackpots play out as Democrats believe they will.
      In the end, the GOP’s remapping gains might not be large enough to offset losses among some of the more exotic and problematic freshmen who won narrowly in swing districts.
      Finally, Republicans have had even more reason to feel secure since redistricting was occurring the year after a huge wave benefited them, and Democrats have to win 25 seats for control in the House to flip.


      Sorry Charlie – but there are no signs of concern.

      The economy is not improving and except in California., Obama is toxic and Pelosi is more so.

  • Pinboard Links

    Flap’s Links and Comments for April 4th on 11:17

    These are my links for April 4th from 11:17 to 12:41:

    • Verizon: Full Steam Ahead on Net Neutrality Lawsuit – Will Re-File Lawsuit – It's full steam ahead for Verizon's judicial challenge to the FCC's controversial network neutrality rules – despite a procedural hiccup on Monday. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit tossed out the company's legal challenge because Verizon jumped the gun by submitting it too early.

      A Verizon spokesman blamed the dismissal on the FCC, which he said was unclear about when an appeal should be filed. He confirmed that the telecom giant plans to resubmit its suit, but this time it will wait until the commission publishes its new Internet rules in the federal register next month.

      In December, the agency's three Democrats adopted net neutrality safeguards designed to bar Internet providers from blocking or degrading online competitors. Proponents say the move was necessary to protect the Internet from being controlled by major corporations, while critics – including many Republicans – dismiss the action as unecessary government overreach.


      As I said the first time.

    • Net neutrality rules spared — for now – Although a D.C. appeals court has just thrown out Verizon's lawsuit against the new net neutrality rules, it's worth noting that the suit has not been thrown out for any reason relating to the substance of the case.  National Journal reports:

      A D.C. court of appeals has thrown out Verizon’s challenge to recent net neutrality rules, saying the company filed the lawsuit prematurely.

      Verizon launched the legal challenge before the rules, which were enacted in December, were filed in the Federal Registry.


      So, the litigation will be refiled undoubtedly.

    • Smearing Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare Plans – Liberals are already lining up to attack Rep. Paul Ryan's budget proposal, even though it won't be released until Tuesday.

      But before getting to that, it's worth clarifying a misunderstanding about what he's actually going to propose with regard to Medicare.

      Despite press accounts to the contrary, Ryan made clear on Fox News Sunday that his proposal would not include the idea of converting Medicare into a system in which beneficiaries would receive vouchers for the purchase of private insurance, which was included in his "Roadmap" plan. "That's not what we're proposing," Ryan said. "Our reforms are along the line of what I proposed with Alice Rivlin, the Democrat from the Clinton administration in the fiscal commission, which is a premium support system. That's very different from a voucher. Premium support is exactly the system I as a member of Congress and all federal employees have. It works like the Medicare prescription drug benefit, similar to Medicare Advantage today, which means Medicare puts a list of plans out there that compete against each other for your business, and seniors pick the plan of their choosing, and then Medicare subsidizes that plan. It doesn't go to the person, into the marketplace. It goes to the plan. More for the poor, more for people who get sick, and we don't give as much money to people who are wealthy."(…)

      It's also important to note that Medicare as we know it won't be around for future generations anyway, because it's financially unsustainable. So the real policy debate we need to having is whether we want to move in the liberal direction, which relies on higher taxes and more centrally-imposed cost controls, or a more free market approach in which taxes are kept low and health care costs are contained by creating a real consumer-driven market for health care. That debate is beyond the scope of this post, but the important point is that Medicare won't survive in its current form no matter what.


      Exactly, correct.

      Reform now or a more disastrous result in the future.

    • Flap’s Dentistry Blog: The Pros and Cons of Wisdom Teeth Extractions – The Pros and Cons of Wisdom Teeth Extractions
    • President 2012: George W. Bush announces running for fourth term – From CBS News:

      Attorney General Eric Holder today will announce that self-proclaimed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad will be tried in a military commission, CBS News has learned. A source says the commission will be held at the Guantanamo Bay prison.

      Trying Mohammed in a civilian court and closing the Guantanamo prison were once some of the Obama administration's top priorities, but political realities have hamstrung both goals.

      This coincides perfectly with Obama's re-election announcement.


      Yeah, real change you can believe in —> to win the future.

    • Poll Watch: 31% Approve of Republicans, 32% Approve of Democrats in Congress | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Poll Watch: 31% Approve of Republicans, 32% Approve of Democrats in Congress #tcot #catcot
    • Mitt Romney’s ongoing health-care travail – Right Turn – The Washington Post – President 2012: Mitt Romney’s ongoing health-care travail
    • President 2012: Mitt Romney’s ongoing health-care travail – All-but-declared GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney shot back at President Barack Obama [Saturday] for his increasingly frequent words of praise for the health-care reform law Romney put in place as governor of Massachusetts.

      “He does me the great favor of saying that I was the inspiration for his plan,” Romney said at a speech in Las Vegas. “If that’s the case, why didn’t you call me? Why didn’t you ask what was wrong? Why didn’t you ask if this was an experiment, what worked and what didn’t?”

      Actually, the president did one better. He consulted with the expert who designed Romney’s Massachusetts plan, MIT professor Jon Gruber.

      What is bizarre, however, is Romney’s reference to costs. His plan did nothing to contain costs, a goal that Gruber said was not part of the plan. So is Romney confessing that his own plan would “bankrupt” his state?

      I asked a Romney spokesperson:

      1. The president did consult with the chief adviser to then-Gov. Romney. What could Romney have told the president that Jon Gruber did not?

      2. What were the things that “didn’t work”? That “did work”?

      3. Which category is the individual mandate in?


      Read it all and yes, Mitt Romney has a hard time defending RomneyCare against President Obama.

  • Pinboard Links

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

    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.


      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.


      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.

    • Day By Day April 3, 2011 – Humanity | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Day By Day April 3, 2011 – Humanity #tcot #catcot
    • Flap’s Dentistry Blog: Free-Market Solutions for Overweight Americans? – Free-Market Solutions for Overweight Americans?
    • Flap’s Links and Comments for April 2nd through April 3rd | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Links and Comments for April 2nd through April 3rd #tcot #catcot
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    • @Flap Twitter Updates for 2011-04-03 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – @Flap Twitter Updates for 2011-04-03 | Flap's Blog – FullosseousFlap's Dental Blog
    • President 2012: Mike Huckabee Wins York County, South Carolina GOP Straw Poll | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – President 2012: Mike Huckabee Wins York County, South Carolina GOP Straw Poll | Flap's Blog – FullosseousFlap's …
  • Pinboard Links

    Flap’s Links and Comments for March 17th on 12:53

    These are my links for March 17th from 12:53 to 15:00:

    • Sen. Rand Paul Unveils 5-Year Budget Plan: Eliminates Four Federal Agencies – Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., unveiled today his five-year path to a balanced budget, leaving several federal agencies behind. Among the items on the cutting room floor are the Departments of Education, Energy, Commerce and Housing and Urban Development.

      “There’s a lot of things in here that everybody could agree to, Republicans and Democrats, but nobody’s leading on the president’s side and on our side we felt we needed to put this forward to get the debate started, at the very least,” the freshman Senator explained at a Capitol Hill press conference this afternoon.

      The proposal also calls for the repeal of “Obamacare,” but leaves entitlements untouched.


      Hard to argue with this plan.

    • OH, HILL NO – WWW.THEDAILY.COM – OH, HILL NO – Obama's indecision on Libya has pushed Clinton over the edge
    • OH, HILL NO – Obama’s indecision on Libya has pushed Clinton over the edge – Fed up with a president “who can’t make his mind up” as Libyan rebels are on the brink of defeat, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is looking to the exits.

      At the tail end of her mission to bolster the Libyan opposition, which has suffered days of losses to Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s forces, Clinton announced that she’s done with Obama after 2012 — even if he wins again.

      “Obviously, she’s not happy with dealing with a president who can’t decide if today is Tuesday or Wednesday, who can’t make his mind up,” a Clinton insider told The Daily. “She’s exhausted, tired.”

      He went on, “If you take a look at what’s on her plate as compared with what’s on the plates of previous Secretaries of State — there’s more going on now at this particular moment, and it’s like playing sports with a bunch of amateurs. And she doesn’t have any power. She’s trying to do what she can to keep things from imploding.”

      Clinton is said to be especially peeved with the president’s waffling over how to encourage the kinds of Arab uprisings that have recently toppled regimes in Egypt and Tunisia, and in particular his refusal to back a no-fly zone over Libya.

      In the past week, former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton’s former top adviser Anne-Marie Slaughter lashed out at Obama for the same reason.

      The tension has even spilled over into her dealings with European diplomats, with whom she met early this week.

      When French president Nicolas Sarkozy urged her to press the White House to take more aggressive action in Libya, Clinton repeatedly replied only, “There are difficulties,” according to Foreign Policy magazine.

      “Frankly we are just completely puzzled,” one of the diplomats told Foreign Policy magazine. “We are wondering if this is a priority for the United States.”

      Or as the insider described Obama’s foreign policy shop: “It’s amateur night.”


      If the GOP can just nominate a decent candidate, they will have Obama for lunch in 2012.

      A big if though.

    • President 2012 Video: Is Mitch Daniels Being Unfairly Attacked from the Right? | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – President 2012 Video: Is Mitch Daniels Being Unfairly Attacked from the Right? #tcot #catcot
    • T-Paw v. Hee-Haw | The Weekly Standard – President 2012: T-Paw v. Hee-Haw
    • Glenn Reynolds Interviews Mickey Kaus | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Glenn Reynolds Interviews Mickey Kaus #tcot #catcot
    • President 2012: T-Paw v. Hee-Haw – The skirmish between Haley Barbour and Tim Pawlenty on defense spending and Afghanistan is more enlightening for what it says about GOP 2012 politics than for what it says about the substance of foreign and defense policy.

      Barbour's comments, at a GOP dinner in Iowa, were … comments—and certainly didn't constitute any kind of serious presentation of a foreign policy agenda. His case for cutting defense spending was more political than substantive—"We can save money on defense and if we Republicans don't propose saving money on defense, we'll have no credibility on anything else,"—and not very smart politics, either. What's more, according to Kasie Hunt's report, "After the speech, Barbour told reporters that he couldn't identify specific programs that should be cut from the Pentagon budget." Barbour's only substantive argument seemed to be this: "Anybody who says you can't save money at the Pentagon has never been to the Pentagon." This is a) childish, b) slightly offensive, and c) raises the question of how much time Barbour has spent at the Pentagon—apart from time spent lobbying for defense contractors or foreign governments.


      Does anyone really consider Haley Barbour besides Haley Barbour a serious candidate for President?