Gay Patriot introduces us to the myth often put forward by the left. This post by Gay Patriot will add to the video by Bill Whittle that follows it:
One of the myths Progressive Leftists elevate to “fact” by constantly repeating it to each other is the idea that Scandinavian countries are the closest on Earth fulfillment to their socialist dream utopia. ~ Gay patriot
Visitors say Danes are joyless to be around. Denmark suffers from high rates of alcoholism. In its use of antidepressants it ranks fourth in the world. (Its fellow Nordics the Icelanders are in front by a wide margin.) Some 5 percent of Danish men have had sex with an animal. Denmark’s productivity is in decline, its workers put in only 28 hours a week, and everybody you meet seems to have a government job. Oh, and as The Telegraph put it, it’s “the cancer capital of the world.”
So how happy can these drunk, depressed, lazy, tumor-ridden, pig-bonking bureaucrats really be?
I think my favorite paragraph is where he cites the Scandinavian Social Contract as the “Ten Commandments of Buzzkill.”
“You shall not believe that you are someone,” goes one. “You shall not believe that you are as good as we are,” is another. Others included “You shall not believe that you are going to amount to anything,” “You shall not believe that you are more important than we are” and “You shall not laugh at us.”
They read like the 10 Commandments of Progressive Leftism…
…From 1970 until 1989, taxes rose exorbitantly, killing private initiative, while entitlements became excessive. Laws were often altered and became unpredictable. As a consequence, Sweden endured two decades of low growth. In 1991-93, the country suffered a severe crash in real estate and banking that reduced GDP by 6 percent. Public spending had surged to 71.7 percent of GDP in 1993, and the budget deficit reached 11 percent of GDP.
TURNING POINT The combination of the crisis and the non-socialist government under Carl Bildt from 1991 to 1994 broke the trend and turned the country around. In 1994, the Social Democrats returned to power and stayed until 2006. Instead of revoking the changes, they completed the fiscal tightening. In 2006, a non-socialist government returned, and Finance Minister Anders Borg, with his trademark ponytail and earring, has led further reforms. Sweden successfully weathered the global financial crisis that started in 2008, and the Financial Times named Borg Europe’s best finance minister last year.
Before 2009, Sweden had a budget surplus, and it has one again. For the past two years, economic growth has been 4 percent on average, and the current-account surplus was 6.7 percent in 2011. The only concerns are the depressed demand for exports caused by the current euro crisis and an unemployment rate that is about 7.5 percent.
Sweden’s traditional scourge is taxes, which used to be the highest in the world. The current government has cut them every year and abolished wealth taxes. Inheritance and gift taxes are also gone. Until 1990, the maximum marginal income tax rate was 90 percent. Today, it is 56.5 percent. That is still one of the world’s highest, after Belgium’s 59.4 and there is strong public support for a cut to 50 percent.
The 26 percent tax on corporate profits may seem reasonable from an American perspective, but Swedish business leaders want to reduce it to 20 percent. Tax competition is fierce in some parts of Europe. Most East European countries, for example, have slashed corporate taxes to 15-19 percent….
Reason.org Weighs in on the “Swedish” experiment, how it got its wealth, noting how it squandered it, and how it is returning to the pre-70’s ideology:
Sweden is a powerful example of the importance of public policy. The Nordic nation became rich between 1870 and 1970 when government was very small, but then began to stagnate as welfare state policies were implemented in the 1970s and 1980s. The CF&P Foundation video explains that Sweden is now shifting back to economic freedom in hopes of undoing the damage caused by an excessive welfare state.
And do not think for a moment that the free-market has not allowed Sweden or other Nordic nations to get back on their feet. This is is pointed out in the following “101” presentation on economics:
For those of us who place more trust in free markets than state-directed economies, we must inevitably (and repeatedly) confront the skeptical interlocutor who details the “successes” of Swedish social democracy. “If state intervention into the economy is so bad, high taxes so destructive, then why is Sweden such a success?” It’s an irritatingly simple question with a incredibly complicated answer, though I do recommend pointing out, when the conversation turns to health care and secondary education, that nothing, in a state the confiscates a massive portion of your income, is “free.” But as many have pointed out, during its boom years, Sweden was a pretty free market place; from the 1970s through the 1990s—when taxes and regulation dramatically increased—the economy slowed until it spun out in the early 1990s…
…So here is my bottom line: When some American pundit, with expertise is everything, explains why some European welfare state “works,” or how everything you know is wrong about taxing income at 75 percent, do a little digging, make use of Google Translate, and don’t trust that, because Swedes and Danes tell researchers that they are happy, the United States should introduce “daddy leave” and provide subsidies to syndicalist newspapers.
The best English-language explication of the Swedish model comes from my pal Johan Norberg, who wrote this brilliant piece for The National Interest a few years back. And watch my interview with Norberg on Swedish welfare politics here and on Naomi Klein here.
The following interview is Johan Norberg, author of In Defense of Global Capitalism, sits down with reason.tv’s Michael C. Moynihan to sort out the myths of the Sweden’s welfare state, health services, tax rates, and its status as the “most successful society the world has ever known.”
National Review seems like a good place to continue the theme of showing how the Nordic countries have used the free-market system to recoup what it has lost with previous regulations that crippled free-enterprise. Here is a comparison between Sweden and Venzuala that was helpful in explaining how Sweden has less regulations that us in many places (a recent phenomenon BTW):
Talk to a Bernie Sanders voter about “socialism” — and they can be very insistent about using the word — and you’ll get paeans to Sweden, which is not a socialist country but a country with large, expensive welfare state. The distinction is not trivial: There is relatively little in the way of state-run enterprise in Sweden; the Swedish government is in fact only a 60 percent partner in the postal service. The Swedish government is, alas, in the casino business, albeit in a more transparent way than American government is. On the Heritage economic-freedom rankings, Sweden isn’t that far behind the United States. It has very high taxes, but taxes are not the only burden that governments put on the economy, not necessarily even the most important, and Sweden outscores the United States on a number of important metrics: free trade, property rights, freedom from corruption, investment freedom, monetary policy, etc. The United States’ small edge in the rankings comes mainly from relatively low taxes and a much less regulated labor market.
Reason.org again weighs in on whether Sweden is the right model for the U.S. to emulate:
The Above Video Description:
To the American mind there may be nothing more quintessentially Swedish than the leggy, blond supermodel.
But there’s another Swedish model that inspires almost as much admiration—the Swedish economic model. With a generous welfare state and high living standards, Sweden seems to prove that socialism works. Much of the hope that swept Barack Obama into the White House rests on the belief that America could reach new heights under a regime of enlightened progressivism, that we could be more like the Swedes.
Not so fast, warns Stockholm University sociologist Charlotta Stern: “If an American told me that the US should be more like Sweden I would say I don’t think it’s possible.” The United States can centralize its health care system and pass other laws that mimic Sweden’s welfare state polices, says Stern, but it’s impossible to replicate a culture that allows those policies to operate about as smoothly as possible. Swedish bureaucracies inspire trust, but their American counterparts (DMV, TSA, IRS) inspire punch lines, if not outrage.
But America could emulate some of the Swedish policies that don’t require extensive bureaucracies. Take school vouchers. Teachers unions in America regard the idea as free-market radicalism, but families in Sweden enjoy universal school choice. Sweden adopted its famously progressive policies during the 1970s, but after years of sluggish economic growth the land of ABBA altered its course in the 1990s, adopting a host of free-market reforms, from deregulation to tax cuts.
Although much of the disco-era welfare state remains, economist Andreas Bergh credits the free market reforms with reviving his nation’s economy. “Sweden is moving in the market economic direction,” says Bergh, “but that does not mean America should be moving in the socialist direction.”
What if the two nations continue on in different directions? Maybe some day when America is looking for a way to rejuvenate its economy, pundits will point to a different kind of Swedish model. One that increases individual choice and competition.
“Sweden—A Supermodel for America?” is produced by Daniel B. Klein, and written and produced by Ted Balaker, who also hosts. Shot by Jonathan Liberman and Henrik Devell, with additional production support by Zach Weissmueller and Sam Corcos and post production by Hawk Jensen and Austin Bragg. Special thanks to Niclas Berggren, Martin Borgs, Nils Karlson, and the Ratio Institute.
Finland is joining military exercises with other Scandinavian countries, as well as several members of NATO, in late May, Finnish media report. The maneuvers called Arctic Challenge will span 12 days, starting May 25, and include nine countries and close to 100 planes. The drills, over Sweden and northern Norway, come amid increased tensions between Russia and its Baltic and Nordic neighbors.
Sweden and Switzerland, which like Finland are not members of NATO, are expected to join the exercise, along with NATO members Norway, the Netherlands, Britain, France, Germany and the United States. Finland plans to send 16 F-18 Hornet fighter jets, while the other countries will supply Gripen “multirole” fighters, F-16s, Eurofighters and Jet Falcons, as well as transports and tankers, Russian news agency Sputnik reported. The Norwegian armed forces said the purpose of the Arctic Challenge exercise is to “learn to coordinate efforts in complicated flight operations conducted in cooperation with NATO.”
Russia has ramped up military activity along its borders with northern Europe, causing consternation in several Baltic and Nordic countries and pre-emptive actions to head off — or prepare for — a possible military crisis. Latvia, which reported a Russian submarine near its coast in mid-March, is beefing up security on its eastern border, while Finland recently began a letter campaign notifying some 900,000 reservists of their duties in a potential crisis. Sweden also intercepted four Russian planes flying over the Baltic Sea in March with their radios off. Russian jets have been intercepted in other instances while flying in European international airspace….
I also pointed out that this promise went back to the Cold War, and was not known about till a Swedish defense think-tank/security firm uncovered the agreements in 1994. The original story’s link has been lost, but it is here on FOI’s site. FOI’s “about us” page has this:
FOI is one of Europe’s leading research institutes in the areas of defence and security. We have 1,000 highly skilled employees with various backgrounds. At FOI, you will find everything from physicists, chemists, engineers, social scientists, mathematicians and philosophers to lawyers, economists and IT technicians…. The Armed Forces and the Swedish Defence Material Administration are our main customers. However, we also accept assignments from civil authorities and industry. Our clients from the defence sector place very high demands on advanced research, which also benefits other customers.
Initially after the end of World War II, Sweden quietly pursued an aggressive independent nuclear weapons program involving plutonium production and nuclear secrets acquisition from all nuclear powers, until the 1960s, when it was abandoned as cost-prohibitive. During the Cold War Sweden appeared to maintain a dual approach to thermonuclear weapons. Publicly, the strict neutrality policy was forcefully maintained, but unofficially strong ties were purportedly kept with the U.S. It was hoped that the U.S. would use conventional and nuclear weapons to strike at Soviet staging areas in the occupied Baltic states in case of a Soviet attack on Sweden. Over time and due to the official neutrality policy, fewer and fewer Swedish military officials were aware of the military cooperation with the west, making such cooperation in the event of war increasingly difficult. At the same time Swedish defensive planning was completely based on help from abroad in the event of war. Later research has shown that every publicly available war-game training, included the scenario that Sweden was under attack from the Soviets, and would rely on NATO forces for defence. The fact that it was not permissible to mention this aloud eventually led to the Swedish armed forces becoming highly misbalanced. For example, a strong ability to defend against an amphibious invasion was maintained, while an ability to strike at inland staging areas was almost completely absent.
In the early 1960s U.S. nuclear submarines armed with mid-range nuclear missiles of type Polaris A-1 were deployed outside the Swedish west coast. Range and safety considerations made this a good area from which to launch a retaliatory nuclear strike on Moscow. The submarines had to be very close to the Swedish coast to hit their intended targets though. As a consequence of this, in 1960, the same year that the submarines were first deployed, the U.S. provided Sweden with a military security guarantee. The U.S. promised to provide military force in aid of Sweden in case of Soviet aggression. This guarantee was kept from the Swedish public until 1994, when a Swedish research commission found evidence for it. As part of the military cooperation the U.S. provided much help in the development of the Saab 37 Viggen, as a strong Swedish air force was seen as necessary to keep Soviet anti-submarine aircraft from operating in the missile launch area. In return Swedish scientists at the Royal Institute of Technology made considerable contributions to enhancing the targeting performance of the Polaris missiles.
Some More Discussion
In this first back-and-forth, I noted some of the above and got this response:
Seems Sweden is searching for the viable balance of Capitalism and Socialism. Good for them. Bernie Sanders seeks the same.
To which I respond:
They want [and have] a lower tax rate than Sanders wants. They dumped their “wealth tax” and “death tax.” They lowered their corporate tax-rate and want it at 20% and below. Lessened regulations on businesses… on-and-on.
Bernie wants the 70’s through 90’s Sweden… I am down with the 2006 and beyond Sweden.
Someone else joined the discussion, and mentioned the following:
My family is Swedish and I can tell you with 100% accuracy they are way better off than we are…. Across the board pretty much.
Again, I respond:
There is a Swedish economist in the post that from first hand experience (and expertise in his field) telling you they are where they are because of the free market and a reduction [greatly] of the welfare state/socialism enterprise. [And, BTW, they use the many life saving drugs produced by the profit motivated “Big Pharma” spending on R&D to extend the lives of their fellow Swedes.]
When you get all these health care services for “free” then people start taking them for granted, calling ambulances without second thoughts, and going to the doctor for simple things that you don’t really need to see a doctor for… False alarms for ambulances and fire trucks end up costing the government and indirectly tax payers huge amounts of money every year. Which is why Sweden has as of late started to reform its health care system by privatizing parts of it. Mind you, these are somewhat limited in scope, but people are able to pay now for private care (1-in-10 now have private insurance/health-care).
…The paradox is that America has been doubling down on government authority over healthcare with the Affordable Care Act, just as more and more European governments, including Denmark, England, Finland, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Sweden, have been forced by public outcry to address the unconscionable waits for care by introducing new laws. But it is even more essential for American voters to realize, and for our government leaders to acknowledge, what other countries are beginning to recognize all over the world. These governments have started to understand that the cure for their failed nationalized health systems is a shift to privatization. And citizens under government-dominated health systems are increasingly circumventing their own systems, pursuing private healthcare to solve the uniformly poor access to care and limited choices.
Let’s consider Sweden, often heralded as the paradigm of a successful welfare state. The facts tell a very different story. Having failed its citizens in healthcare access, the Swedish government has aggressively introduced private market forces into healthcare to improve access, quality, and choices. Although once entirely public, over a quarter of Swedish primary care clinics are now run by the private sector. Sweden’s municipality governments have increased spending on private care contracts by 50% in the past decade. Private nursing facilities now receive substantial public funding to care for patients. Widespread private sector competition has also been introduced into pharmacies to tear down the pre-2009 monopoly over all prescription and non-prescription drugs. Since the Swedish government sold over half of its pharmacies to private firms in 2009, 20 private firms entered the market and over 300 new pharmacies opened, not only improving accessibility but providing the first pharmacies ever to many small towns.
Moreover, despite the fact that an average Swedish family already pays nearly $20,000 annually in taxes toward healthcare according to Swedish economist Per Bylund, about 12% of working adults bought private insurance in 2013, a number that has increased by 67% over the last five years. Half a million Swedes now use private insurance, up from 100,000 a decade ago, even though they are already “guaranteed” public healthcare….
…In the pre-Reagan Era, the media was just as left-leaning and reluctant to discuss the poverty and oppression that permeated the Soviet Union. But there were enough people willing to talk about it outside the media for the truth to get out. The pervasiveness of social media should make it easier, not harder, for conservatives to get a message out around the media gatekeepers. Millennials should be told what happened in Venezuela after his ideological brother Hugo Chavez took over; they should be told how toilet paper became a black market commodity and supermarket shelves became bare. And they should be made aware that Sweden is not quite the utopia they’ve been taught it is, either.
President Obama made many promises to the American people regarding health care reform — but the Affordable Care Act was destined to fail. Why? Lanhee Chen of the Hoover Institute explains why government-run health care is not the answer.
As the realities of Obamacare continue to sink in, more and more people are getting letters from their health insurance providers telling them that their plans no longer comply with federal requirements under Obamacare. We just brought you the story of “Trick Shot Titus” and his family facing significant increases in the cost of their health care plans.
Now, a community blogger on the far-left Daily Kos website has penned a blog post complaining that both he and his wife are facing a nearly 100 percent increase in their monthly premiums. He claims he is canceling his insurance and refuses to pay any “f***ing penalty.”
Blogger “Tirge Caps” explains:
My wife and I just got our updates from Kaiser telling us what our 2014 rates will be. Her monthly has been $168 this year, mine $150. We have a high deductible. We are generally healthy people who don’t go to the doctor often. I barely ever go. The insurance is in case of a major catastrophe.
Well, now, because of Obamacare, my wife’s rate is gong to $302 per month and mine is jumping to $284.
I am canceling insurance for us and I am not paying any f***ing penalty. What the hell kind of reform is this?
The blogger also notes he and his wife may qualify for some “government assistance,” but that it’s just “another hoop” to jump through to get assistance that he may or may not be eligible for…
…Conversely, the right believes that, “Man is flawed from Day One, and that there are no solutions, there are only trade-offs. And whatever you do to deal with man’s flaws, it creates another problem.”
“But you try to get the best trade-off you can get. And that’s all you can hope for.”
So when presented with leftist idealism as to how to fix the world, here is the first question to ask: “Compared to what?” The leftist idea is the solution, compared to what?
Look at the argument for government healthcare. ‘Government healthcare serves the poor.’ Compared to what? Strong arguments can be made that the poor are better off in terms of care and options under a free market system.
The second question Sowell presented is: “At what price?” What price will be paid for the leftist ideal to be implemented? This leads to the discussion of if it is worth it or not … or even realistic.
For this example, consider the argument for open borders. Strong arguments based on “at what price” can be made against having open borders. There are financial costs, national security costs, personal safety costs, national identity costs, functional government costs, national economy costs, job costs, and many more.
The “feel good” concept of no borders is nothing more than a “feel good” concept. It cannot withstand close scrutiny in terms of cost and practical implementation.
The final question is: “What hard evidence do you have?” This one is a doozy, since so much virtue signalling and “feel good” ideology is part and parcel of leftist ideology.
Oftentimes, even when “evidence” is presented, it is not authoritative, hard evidence. It is opinion or cherry-picked, out-of-context, questionable or even debunked in its “facts” and sourcing.
This presents a prime opportunity to then show hard evidence for the right’s argument. It may require time and patience, but if you have a willing audience, it can be well worth the investment to lead the way to why conservatives believe their answers are better.
Sowell noted that conservative arguments tend to be able to pass all three questions because “they don’t assume there is a solution out there.”…
Larry goes through some basics of why we call this a “derangement syndrome.” It was coined during the Bush years (Bush Derangement Syndrome) by Charles Krauthammer. Larry points out that it really is a madness in light of Trump’s positions.
…It’s the opinion of the courts, as the LA Times reported back in May of 2016–it’s unconstitutional:
House Republicans won Round 2 in a potentially historic lawsuit Thursday when a federal judge declared the Obama administration was unconstitutionally spending money to subsidize health insurers without obtaining an appropriation from Congress.
Last year, U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer broke new ground by ruling the GOP-controlled House of Representatives had legal standing to sue the president over how he was enforcing his signature healthcare law.
On Thursday, she ruled the administration is violating a provision of the law by paying promised reimbursements to health insurers who provide coverage at reduced costs to low-income Americans.
The judge’s ruling, while a setback for the administration, was put on hold immediately and stands a good chance of being overturned on appeal.
Josh Blackman elaborated on this subsidy provision in National Review back in July:
In 2014, a federal judge concluded that with the so-called OPM fix, the “executive branch has rewritten a key provision of the ACA so as to render it essentially meaningless in order to save members of Congress and their staffs.” Allowing the administration to rewrite the law, he wrote, “would be a violation of Article I of the Constitution, which reposes the lawmaking power in the legislative branch.” However, because the plaintiffs in the lawsuit (Senator Ron Johnson and one of his staffers) were not personally injured by OPM’s policy — indeed they benefited — the case was dismissed for lack of standing. While the Obama administration was content to make these illegal payments, the Trump administration should halt them.
Congress is not the only beneficiary of such illegal largess. The ACA employed two strategies to make health insurance more affordable. Section 1401 of the law provides for the payment of subsidies to consumers to reduce premiums. Section 1402 provides payments to insurers to offset certain “cost sharing” fees, such as deductibles and co-pays. But while the ACA funds the subsidies under Section 1401 with a permanent appropriation, to date, Congress has not provided an annual appropriation for the cost-sharing subsidies under Section 1402.
Once again, where Congress would not act, President Obama did so unilaterally. The executive branch pretended that the ACA had actually funded Section 1402 all along, and it paid billions of dollars to insurers. Once again, Mr. Trump is exactly right that this is a “BAILOUT.” And, once again, the payments are a violation of the separation of powers.
Now, we have Jonathan Turley, a constitutional scholar at the George Washington University Law School, reiterating the point that the Obamacare subsidy provision was unconstitutional with Fox News’ Bret Baier last Friday…..
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Friday that President Trump is “systematically” removing hundreds of regulations put in place by the Obama administration.
“The president has already knocked out some 860 rules and regulations from the Obama administration, and every day we’re finding more and more to do. Remember, Obama put in something like 7,000 new rules and regulations just in the last two years he was in office,” Mr. Ross said on Fox Business.
When asked what types of regulations Mr. Trump was removing — whether oil and gas, environmental or banking — the secretary responded, “All of the above.”
“You would think the American public was a wild and woolly place two years earlier to require 7,000 new rules. But the president is systematically removing them, changing them, getting rid of them. And I think we’ll beat his formula of two reductions for one increase,” he said….
The article from Kimberley Strassel that Prager was reading from in the second half of the audio above is locked behind the WALL STREET JOURNAL’S pay wall, but here is the entire article (via INVESTOR VILLAGE) from which I excerpt from:
Scalias All The Way Down — While The Press Goes Wild Over Tweets, Trump Is Remaking The Federal Judiciary
Ask most Republicans to identify Donald Trump’s biggest triumph to date, and the answer comes quick: Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. That’s the cramped view.
The media remains so caught up with the president’s tweets that it has missed Mr. Trump’s project to transform the rest of the federal judiciary. The president is stocking the courts with a class of brilliant young textualists bearing little relation to even their Reagan or Bush predecessors. Mr. Trump’s nastygrams to Bob Corker will be a distant memory next week. Notre Dame law professor Amy Coney Barrett’s influence on the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals could still be going strong 40 years from now.
Mr. Trump has now nominated nearly 60 judges, filling more vacancies than Barack Obama did in his entire first year. There are another 160 court openings, allowing Mr. Trump to flip or further consolidate conservative majorities on the circuit courts that have the final say on 99% of federal legal disputes.
This project is the work of Mr. Trump, White House Counsel Don McGahn and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Every new president cares about the judiciary, but no administration in memory has approached appointments with more purpose than this team.
Mr. Trump makes the decisions, though he’s taking cues from Mr. McGahn and his team. The Bushies preferred a committee approach: Dozens of advisers hunted for the least controversial nominee with the smallest paper trail. That helped get picks past a Senate filibuster, but it led to bland choices, or to ideological surprises like retired Justice David Souter.
Harry Reid’s 2013 decision to blow up the filibuster for judicial nominees has freed the Trump White House from having to worry about a Democratic veto during confirmation. Mr. McGahn’s team (loaded with former Clarence Thomas clerks) has carte blanche to work with outside groups like the Federalist Society to tap the most conservative judges.
Mr. McGahn has long been obsessed with constitutional law and the risks of an all-powerful administrative state. His crew isn’t subjecting candidates to 1980s-style litmus tests on issues like abortion. Instead the focus is on promoting jurists who understand the unique challenges of our big-government times. Can the prospective nominee read a statute? Does he or she defer to the government’s view of its own authority? The result has been a band of young rock stars and Scalia-style textualists like Ms. Barrett, Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett and Minnesota Supreme Court Associate Justice David Stras.
Senate Republicans have so far blown their major agenda items, but they’ve remained unified on judges. They agreed to kill the Senate filibuster for Supreme Court nominees so as to confirm Justice Gorsuch; have confirmed six other judicial nominees; and stand ready to greenlight dozens more. This is a big shift from divisions the party had over the Bush 41 and Bush 43 nominees…..
Trump is also doing some culture battle stuff in regard to Christmas:
CNN notes the speech by Trump in this battle of ideas:
Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump dove into America’s culture wars on Friday, touting his administration for “returning moral clarity to our view of the world” and ending “attacks on Judeo-Christian values.”
Trump, nine months into his presidency, has found it harder to get things done than the ease with which he made promises on the campaign trail, making speeches to adoring audiences like Friday’s in Washington key to boosting the President’s morale. And the audience at the Values Voter Summit, an annual socially conservative conference, didn’t fail to deliver.
“We are stopping cold the attacks on Judeo-Christian values,” Trump said to applause, before slamming people who don’t say “Merry Christmas.”
“They don’t use the word Christmas because it is not politically correct,” Trump said, complaining that department stores will use red and Christmas decorations but say “Happy New Year.” “We’re saying Merry Christmas again.”
The comment drew thunderous applause.
Heated debates over the “War On Christmas” have raged for years, with many on the right complaining that political correctness has made it less acceptable to say Merry Christmas. Trump has seized on these feelings, regularly telling primarily religious audiences that his presidency has made it acceptable to “start saying Merry Christmas again.”…..
~I want Full Repeal, NO replacement, free markets! ~
The above is a statement from a FB friend… and is the main thrust of this post.
Dennis Prager quickly mentions a Kimberly Strassel article via the WALL STREET JOURNAL. in this short clip Prager also prefaces Trump’s horrible statement about McCain’s being captured with what McCain said about half of America. And principle is thrown to the wayside in people like this not voting to repeal in part Obama-care.
…What do Rand Paul, Susan Collins and John McCain have in common? Very little.
The press corps is busy quizzing the president, the speaker of the House and the Senate majority leader on their plans for tax reform. The question is why they aren’t chasing after the three people who actually hold all the power.
If the past eight months have proved anything, it is that all the 24/7 news coverage of Donald Trump’s antics, all the millions of words devoted to Paul Ryan’s and Mitch McConnell’s plans, have been a complete waste of space and time. In the end, control of the entire policy agenda in Washington comes down to three senators. Three senators whom most Americans have never had a chance to vote for or against. Three senators who comprise 8% of their party conference. Arizona’s John McCain, Maine’s Susan Collins and Kentucky’s Rand Paul. Forget Caesar, Crassus and Pompey. Meet the Never-Trump Triumvirate.
At least the House Freedom Caucus scuttles GOP legislation based on shared principles. Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee have also led revolts against bills, again based on shared criticisms. But what do the Arizona maverick, the Maine moderate and the Kentucky libertarian have in common? Very little.
Well, very little save motivations that go beyond policy. And that is the crucial point that is missing from the endless analyses of the McCain-Collins-Paul defections on health care. The media has treated the trio’s excuses for killing their party’s top priority as legit, despite the obvious holes in their objections over policy and process. What in fact binds the three is their crafting of identities based primarily on opposition to their party or Mr. Trump. This matters, because it bodes very ill for tax reform in the Senate. Overcoming policy objections is one thing. Overcoming egos is another.
Mr. McCain, who is gravely ill with brain cancer, has decided his final legacy will be a return to the contrarian “straight talk” persona of old, which wins him liberal media plaudits. The Arizonan has never gotten over losing the presidency, and it clearly irks him that Mr. Trump succeeded where he failed. His personal disdain for the president is obvious, and his implausible excuses for opposing the Graham-Cassidy health-care reform are proof that this is personal.
Ms. Collins is reportedly days awa y from deciding whether she’ll ditch the Senate gig and run for governor. That potential campaign has guided her every move for at least a year now—perhaps her entire career—and was clearly among her reasons last summer to abandon her party’s nominee and publicly excoriate Mr. Trump. It is a basic precept in Washington that Sen. Collins votes in whatever way best serves Sen. Collins. Right now that means being Never Trump.
Mr. Paul worked hard during his first Senate campaign to reassure Kentuckians that he was not his father, and it turns out that’s very true. Because even Ron Paul was to be found with his party’s House majority on issues that truly mattered, and largely saved his defections for the lost causes that produced 434-1 votes. Sen. Paul’s standards for “conservative” policy are as varying as the wind, and lately they blow toward whatever position can earn him the title of purest man in Washington.
The press was fixated this week on Mr. McConnell’s bad week, which is an easy piece to write. But it ignores the obvious reality that the Triumvirate seems to have never had any intention of letting its party succeed. After all, a senator who intended to stand firm on “regular order,” as Mr. McCain said, would have informed his colleagues of that demand at the beginning, rather than allow his colleagues to set up for another vote and then dramatically tank it (again) at the last minute. A senator who voted for “skinny” ObamaCare repeal in the summer on the grounds that anything was “better than no repeal,” in the words of Mr. Paul, would not suddenly engineer an unreachable set of demands for his vote on an even better repeal.
The Senate has no lack of lime-lighters. Nor is it low on Trump critics. Think Nebraska’s Ben Sasse and Arizona’s Jeff Flake. The difference is that the clear majority of the critics aren’t allowing ambition or disdain get in the way of votes for better policy.
But this raises the question of whether the White House understands that the Triumvirate is also the prize on tax reform. Mr. Trump took a shot at Mr. McConnell this week, but the president needs to shift his focus to those who hold the actual power. Those dinner invites to Chuck and Nancy would be better reserved for Ms. Collins. Its internal conversations need to focus on what forms of flattery or policy or misery might appeal to the political motivations of Messrs. McCain and Paul, and get them on side.
Because the Triumvirate made very clear during the health-care debate how it operates. Pretending it won’t do it again is to ignore reality.
I had one gent tell me that all the repeals (or bills changing Obama-care) were keeping up to 90% of the bill. But what was proffered would have killed the rest of the ACA. Here is a helpful visual of what the Republicans proposed:
I found this end to an article at THE FEDERALIST helpful… the part about “incrementalism.” Something the right doesn’t get:
….Donald Trump, who promised throughout his campaign to overturn Obamacare, could immediately put a deadline on the unconstitutional subsidy payments that the Obama administration concocted to keep the bill from imploding. Yes, liberals will continue to claim that conservatives are “sabotaging” the law, but there is no moral, policy, or political reason for the GOP to continue the illegal pay-off of insurance companies. No matter how many welfare dollars Congress ends up pouring into fabricated markets or how much price-fixing they engage in, the “exchanges” are unsustainable. Why would conservatives want to take ownership of those failures?
As the Senate stands now, it’s improbable that Republicans will ever be able to cobble together a bill that will placate both the Susan Collins-John McCain wing and the Mike Lee-Rand Paul wing — in fact, I doubt Collins would vote for a single-payer bill if too many Republicans supported it. Even with more conservatives, I’m highly skeptical that repeal will ever pass. Yet it is not out of the question that help is on the way. Perhaps the GOP’s positioning on health-care reform will lead to midterm disaster. But we’ve heard this one before — sometimes right before a GOP wave election. Fact is, the 2018 Senate map is still not favorable to Dems.
Liberals like to argue that allowing Obamacare to fail would bring a single-payer closer to reality. Well, it is just as likely that prolonging Obamacare’s lifespan would help single-payer, as the next Democratic administration will surely continue to expand the reach of the law. (Unlike the GOP, Democrats don’t shy away from incrementalism.) If Republicans truly believe Obamacare has harmed America, there is no upside in fake bipartisanship. Not for the GOP. And not for the America people.
Why is health insurance so complicated, while car insurance and life insurance are so simple? Can health insurance be more like, well, insurance? Lanhee Chen, fellow at the Hoover Institution, explains.
Medicaid was created in 1965 as a safety net for the poor. But Obamacare distorted it, edging the U.S. closer to a Medicaid-for-all or single-payer system. Swelling the Medicaid rolls — not making private insurance affordable — is the main way Obamacare dealt with the uninsured.
Almost 75 million people are now enrolled, 20 million more than in Medicare, the program for the elderly. If the repeal bill doesn’t pass, Medicaid enrollment will soar to 86 million by 2026, according to a Congressional Budget Office analysis released Monday.
Who’s picking up the tab for this vast Medicaid expansion? You. Worse, you pay twice — once as a taxpayer, and then again as an insurance consumer. Families with private insurance pay $1,500 to $2,000 or more in added premiums yearly already to keep Medicaid afloat. The more Medicaid expands, the higher their premiums will go. That’s because Medicaid shortchanges hospitals and doctors, paying less than the actual cost of care. They make up for it by shifting the costs onto privately insured patients. Ouch.
That cost shifting only works until Medicaid enrollment grows too large. The Mayo Clinic warned three months ago that Medicaid enrollment has reached the tipping point. The renowned clinic announced it will have to turn away some Medicaid patients or put them at the back of the line, behind patients with commercial insurance.
Years earlier, when Obamacare was still being debated in Congress, the dean and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine, Dr. Edward Miller, issued a similar warning: Allowing a vast expansion of Medicaid could have “catastrophic effects” at places like Hopkins.
His dire prediction came true. Obamacare loosened Medicaid eligibility rules and urged states to enroll as many people as possible, with Uncle Sam paying 100 percent of the tab until 2016 and 90 percent or more thereafter.
Medicaid enrollment spiked in many states, including New York, where it skyrocketed up by a third to 6.3 million. Blame the incentive to rake in federal dollars.
And waste money. Roughly 10.5 percent of Medicaid payments are in error. Any company with that record would be out of business….
In fact, quite the contrary. The Senate bill will codify and make permanent the Medicaid expansion, and will, in fact, have the federal government pay the lion’s share of the cost. Remember, ObamaCare created a new category of eligibility. Working age, able-bodied adults with no dependents for the first time became eligible for Medicaid if their income is below 138 percent of the poverty level. [editor’s note: which is why it (the ACA) should be repealed completely, not replaced!]
The Left’s rhetoric is legend, here you can see it in action regarding Medicaid:
…It doesn’t help that news reports criminally misrepresent the CBO score, stating flatly that 22 million people will “lose” insurance under the plan. Or when ostensibly neutral news articles announce that Medicaid will be “slashed” or “gutted” under the Senate bill.
In fact, the bill merely slows Medicaid’s rate of growth. Under the Senate plan, federal Medicaid spending would still increase $73 billion by 2026 — and while that’s well below the scheduled amount of spending under Obamacare, conservatives maintain the current law’s trajectory is unsustainable…
This remind’s me of when the Democrats said Bush was cutting benefits to veteran’s, but in fact he was raising them mroe than during Clinton’s tenure:
Only in government does slowing the growth of spending mean “cuts”
FORBES deals with a couple of the lies/myths by the Left in regard to “cuts.”
False claim: Growing costs are the main problem & per capita cap funding will not be enough
Reality: Enrollment growth is driving spending increases and per capita caps are a good first step towards reform
When the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scored these bills, the projected savings from changes in Medicaid were almost entirely related to Medicaid enrollment changes– not capping the program. In fact, analysis by my colleague Jonathan Ingram at the Foundation for Government Accountability has shown that, historically, almost all states would not have exceeded the caps set in the House bill. Just 0.4 percent of spending would have exceeded the cap.
Actually, the caps are projected to grow at a higher rate than projected spending for seniors and the disabled. (4.8% projected for 2019 and beyond vs. 4.6%)
Altogether, if the caps had been in place starting in 2000, actual spending growth would have remained lower than the targets set by BCRA.
But here is the line of cutting spending overall… remember, not by capping the program:
But in reality, the benefits of Medicaid is lacking, as any government program:
Medicaid is a program that is rife with inefficiency. A 2015 study found that recipients derived only 20 to 40 cents of benefit for every dollar governments spend on it. Researchers have struggled to find any positive effects Medicaid has on beneficiaries’ physical health. — Ramesh Ponnuru
“If enacted, the President’s budget would be a major down payment on federal entitlement reform. It cannot be overemphasized that analysts and economists, often of very different political persuasions, are united in their conviction that policymakers must take decisive steps to slow the growth of federal entitlement spending. By putting Medicaid on a budget—either through a fixed allotment to the states in the form of a block grant or a per capita cap—the Trump budget would give state officials much needed flexibility in managing the program and better target services to the poorest and most vulnerable of our citizens.” — Robert Moffit
In September, the Department of Health and Human Services sent out a warning that improper payments under Medicaid have become so common that they will account this year for almost 12 percent of total Medicaid spending — just shy of $140 billion. (Total improper payments across federal programs will come to about $139 billion this year, according to estimates that have proved too generous in the past, and almost all of that is Medicaid-driven.) That rate has doubled in only a few years, driven mostly by the so-called Affordable Care Act’s liberalization of Medicaid-eligibility rules. — Kevin D. Williamson
And there is waste in other areas as well. CNS-NEWS has an article on how many children are born on Medicare…
New Mexico led all states with 72 percent of the babies born there in 2015 having their births covered by Medicaid.
Arkansas ranked second with 67 percent; Louisiana ranked third with 65 percent; and three states—Mississippi, Nevada and Wisconsin—tied for fourth place with 64 percent of babies born there covered by Medicaid.
New Hampshire earned the distinction of having the smallest percentage of babies born on Medicaid. In that state, Medicaid paid for the births of only 27 percent of the babies born in 2015.
Virginia and Utah tied for the next to last position, with 31 percent of the babies born on Medicaid.
However, according to KFF, some of the nation’s most populous states shared the distinction of having 50 percent or more of the babies born there born on Medicaid.
In California, Florida and Illinois, for example, 50 percent of all babies were born on Medicaid in the latest year on record.
In New York, 51 percent of the babies were born on Medicaid.
In Ohio, 52 percent of babies were born on Medicaid.
The Kaiser Family Foundation gathered its data on the number of babies born on Medicaid in each state by surveying the state Medicaid directors.
“Medicaid directors were asked to provide the most recent available data on the share of all births in their states that were financed by Medicaid,” said a KFF report.
“About half of the states were able to provide data for calendar 2015 or fiscal year 2015,” said KFF. “Other states generally provided data from 2013 or 2014. On average, states reported that Medicaid pays for just over 47 percent of all births.”
“Eight states (Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina and West Virginia) reported that Medicaid pays for 60 percent or more of all births in their state,” reported KFF.
By 2010, according this report, the percentage of births in the United States covered by Medicaid had risen to 47.75 percent—or 1,805,151 out of 3,780,519 total births.
Another report, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionlater in December 2013, looked at the form of payment for births in the 33 states and the District of Columbia that as of 2010 had adopted the 2003 version of “U.S. Standard Certificate for Live Birth.” This certificate specifically asks the mother to say which of four categories the payment for her child’s birth falls into: private insurance, Medicaid, self-pay, or other.
This data, according to the CDC, covered all 2010 births in the 33 states and the District of Columbia, which accounted for 76 percent of all births in the nation in that year. According to the CDC, this data revealed that 44.9 percent of the babies born in these jurisdictions in 2010 were born on Medicaid.
In this 2010 CDC data for 33 states, New Mexico also led with the highest percentage of births on Medicaid—with 57.5 percent of all babies born there that year having their births covered by Medicaid.
When I see this it is the same thing as the Pentagon buying a toilet seat for $640, I expect everyone to be besides themselves with that. The same thing I expect with the above list. The problem is that Democrats are pinning their single-payer hopes on Medicaid.
It was the author of the U.S. Constitution James Madison, who proclaimed:
“The government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like the state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.”
(click to enlarge)
In this latest example (originally posted Sept of 2012) of John Van Huzuim’s conflating terms and ideas, we see a prime example of how liberals will argue. First, let us deal with how the framers of the Constitution understood “General Welfare,” and not what John says it means or how he thinks conservative Republicans understand it. Here is some input from two of the authors of the Constitution, professor Williams explains:
On September 17, 1787, thirty-nine men signed the U.S. Constitution. Each year since 2004, we have celebrated Constitution Day as a result of legislation fathered by Senator Robert Byrd that requires federal agencies, and every school that receives federal funds, including universities, to have some kind of program on the Constitution. I cannot think of a more deceitful piece of legislation or a more constitutionally odious person to father it – a person who is known as, and proudly wears the label, “King of Pork.” The only reason that Constitution Day is not greeted with contempt is because most Americans are totally ignorant about the framer’s vision in writing our constitution. Let’s examine that vision to see how much faith and allegiance today’s Americans give to the U.S. Constitution.
James Madison is the acknowledged father of the constitution. In 1794, when Congress appropriated $15,000 for relief of French refugees who fled from insurrection in San Domingo to Baltimore and Philadelphia. James Madison wrote disapprovingly, “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” Today, at least two-thirds of a $2.5 trillion federal budget is spent on the “objects of benevolence.” That includes Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, aid to higher education, farm and business subsidies, welfare, ad nauseam.
A few years later, James Madison’s vision was expressed by Representative William Giles of Virginia, who condemned a relief measure for fire victims. Giles insisted that it was neither the purpose nor a right of Congress to “attend to what generosity and humanity require, but to what the Constitution and their duty require.”
In 1827, Davy Crockett was elected to the House of Representatives. During his term of office a $10,000 relief measure was proposed to assist the widow of a naval officer. Davy Crockett eloquently opposed the measure saying, “Mr. Speaker: I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the suffering of the living, if there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has not the power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member on this floor knows it. We have the right as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right to appropriate a dollar of the public money.”
In 1854, President Franklin Pierce vetoed a popular measure to help the mentally ill saying, “I cannot find any authority in the Constitution for public charity.” To approve the measure “would be contrary to the letter and the spirit of the Constitution and subversive to the whole theory upon which the Union of these States is founded.” During President Grover Cleveland’s two terms in office, he vetoed many congressional appropriations, often saying there was no constitutional authority for such an appropriation. Vetoing a bill for relief charity, President Cleveland said, “I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the General Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit.”
Compared to today, yesteryear’s vision vastly differs in what congressional actions are constitutionally permissible. How might today’s congress, president and courts square their behavior with that of their predecessors? The most generous interpretation of their behavior I can give is their misunderstanding of Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution that reads, “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.” Misuse of the “general welfare” clause serves as warrant for Congress to do just about anything upon which it can secure a majority vote.
The framers addressed the misinterpretation of the “general welfare clause. James Madison said, in a letter to James Robertson, “With respect to the two words ‘general welfare’, I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.” James Madison also said, “If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions.” James Madison laid out what he saw as constitutional limits on federal power in Federalist Paper Number 45 where he explained, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined . . . to be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce.”
Thomas Jefferson explained in a letter to Albert Gallatin, “Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.”
What accounts for today’s acceptance of a massive departure from the framer’s clear vision of what federal activities were constitutionally permissible? It is tempting to blame politicians and yes we can blame them some but most of the blame lies with the American people who are either ignorant of the constitutional limits the framers imposed on the federal government or they have contempt for those limits….
POLITISTICK notes the difference when they write: “Progressives and their communist cousins — even RINOs (Republicans in name only) will argue the ‘General Welfare’ clause is somehow being authorization for the federal government to spend on anything members of Congress dreams up.” Continuing Madison is again quoted from:
James Madison, in his brilliance, anticipated this argument, of course, and shot it down on several different occasions:
“If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the general welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one subject to particular exceptions.”
In other words, if the words “general welfare” meant going outside of the enumerated powers, there would have been no reason to even write the enumerated powers in the first place!
Madison further imagined where Congress might stretch the General Welfare clause if it were misinterpreted to be open-ended:
If Congress can apply money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may establish teachers in every State, county, and parish, and pay them out of the public Treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads.
In short, everything, from the highest object of State legislation, down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress; for every object I have mentioned would admit the application of money, and might be called, if Congress pleased, provisions for the general welfare.
For all of the reasons above, with the Democrat Party all but merging with the Communist Party USA and the Republicans, led by big government RINO’s Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, only wanting slightly smaller and just barely less unconstitutional than the Democrats, I strongly support both the Convention of States and the Federalist Party. Both parties are arguing which can bastardize the U.S. Constitution the most. We know that the Democrats will always be the most aggressive in this venture but the Republicans are not far behind.
The Sage from South-Central
Larry Elder on his radio program takes a call in regards to this exact same understanding of the General Welfare Clause.
Ben Franklin Money Quote
I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer. (Ben Franklin)
In another ARTICLE Professor Williams ends with this, and I think it is suitable for this discussion:
You might say, “If our Constitution provides no authority for programs near and dear to the hearts of so many Americans, the heck with the Constitution.” If that’s your perspective, you’re in good company. The Courts, Congress and the White House beat you to it. Long ago they said, “The heck with the Constitution.”
This is what John is saying, the heck with the constitution! Take note as well that not only does he miss-defines what conservative think, he also argues for police and fire personnel, and then from there jumps to welfare programs (the war on poverty, so-called). (Remember what I always point out with John? Non-sequiturs… he is full of them.) Now, Obama-Care is placed under this umbrella the writers of the clause rejected. I will end here with Professor Williams in regards to Obama-Care:
Here is the second part to POLITISTICK’s post on the matter… love me some Madison!
…Only certain, specifically identified powers, called “enumerated powers,” were delegated to the federal government from the states — powers that the Founding Fathers believed were best performed on a national basis, duties like “provide for the common defense,” to coin money, establish uniform immigration laws, “Post Offices,” treaties with foreign nations, to regulate (which does not mean restrict) interstate commerce, and a few others. These powers were clearly listed in Article I, Section 8, of the U.S. Constitution.
“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.”
Madison further described the proper role for the soon-to-be federal government versus the unique roles of the individual states:
“The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.”
So (let’s forget the politicized decision by the tyrants in black robes who declared Obamacare constitutional — it is not) what does this mean? Would a full single-payer healthcare system like the one proposed in California (which would have more than doubled the entire state budget) be allowed by the U.S. Constitution?
You bet it would — on the state level — but NOT on the national level. If people in California want to more than double their already exorbitant taxes in order to pay for such a system, they are allowed to under the Tenth Amendment, which states, referring to Article I, Section 8:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Nowhere in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution among the enumerated powers are the words, medicine, health care, doctor visits, surgery, healthcare insurance (yes, people got sick in the late 1700’s and there were doctors and medicine), or anything like this even remotely mentioned as a power being transferred by the states to the federal government…..