Again, Second only to Rose. Well, if ya gotta be second….
Rose, I commend you. Since we launched our WeThePeopleColorado.com site a few days ago, I’ve been working on the blog, moderating, driving traffic to it, improving it and discovering just how much time and effort goes into an active blog. My hat is off to you because it is flat out time consuming and I don’t see how you have time to do the research you do.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me now bring in, for Republican a perspective, former governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney, also a former presidential candidate.
Let me just start, right out there, Governor, with the public option. Is that a red line for Republicans?
If there’s a public option in this plan, should Republicans reject it?
ROMNEY: Yes, of course, they should. Let’s — let’s start out from the very beginning, which is Republicans recognize and have said for a long time we’ve got problems in health care; we need health care reform.
And, you know, we took that on in Massachusetts. We decided we wanted to get everybody insured. We’ve done that. I understand that the president considers his plan, in some respects, following the model of Massachusetts.
Let’s learn from our experience. And that is, we got everybody in our state insured. Some 98 percent now are covered by insurance. And we did not have to put in place a government plan.
We have competition in the health insurance market. There are hundreds of health insurance companies that all compete with each other. We don’t need to have the government get in and create a health insurance company in order to have competition. We’ve already got
And let’s be clear, here, George. This is not about getting competition in health coverage, which is already there. This is instead a Trojan horse. Barack Obama, when he ran for office, said he’s in favor of a single-payer system. He’s said it for years. This is a way of getting government in the insurance business so they can take over health care.
It’s the wrong way to go. And every single Republican and every thinking Democrat who knows something about the private sector would realize the wrong thing for America is to get government into the health care business.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Except, Governor, you bring up the Massachusetts plan. And you’re exactly right. And most studies have shown that Massachusetts has done a very good job of expanding coverage with this plan but has not done as good a job of controlling costs.
And some say that’s because of the absence of a public plan. Alan Sager, professor of health policy at Boston University has said that health spending per person in Massachusetts has increased faster than the national average in seven of the last eight years.
ROMNEY: Massachusetts is an expensive state to do a lot of things. But the key thing I can tell you is this. What’s happened to the health insurance premium for people buying insurance in Massachusetts? It’s been cut in half.
For an individual, a young male, let’s say 35 years old, buying insurance in Massachusetts for themselves, the premium has been cut in half since our plan went in place.
So the cost of buying insurance is down. And that’s the course that you have to have for the nation. Look, the idea that you have to get government into an enterprise in order for that to become competitive makes no sense at all.
If it made sense, we’d have a government trucking company, a government automobile company, a government clothing company, a government farm company. That just is the wrong way to go.
We could get our private industry to create better products and better services. That’s what’s happened throughout our economy. That’s what driven our economy to be the most powerful in the world. We do not need government in the health market.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It has worked for Medicare. It has worked for veterans’ care, hasn’t it?
ROMNEY: Oh, it’s worked terribly. I mean, look at something like Medicaid. When Lyndon Johnson signed Medicaid, he said this is going to cost about $500 million a year. Now, it costs $500 billion a year, 1,000 times more.
Now, I realize there’s been some inflation, but not that much. The wrong way to go is to get government into an entity in our economy as large as health care and expect anything to occur besides a Trojan horse effect of a single-payer system crowding out the private markets. It would be terrible for hospitals, awful for doctors, and ultimately it would be a disaster for the people in America, because they wouldn’t be able to choose private plan.
The Democrat who heads the Senate Budget Committee says he doubts there are enough votes in the Senate to support President Barack Obama’s plan for a government health insurance option.
Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota says that there are good arguments for the proposal but probably not the votes it needs in the Senate.
Most Republicans and some Democrats object to the government getting into the health insurance business, saying it would hurt private insurers. Obama argues that a government option would help keep down costs.
Conrad is proposing a compromise plan that would set up membership-based cooperatives using government help but not run by the government.
Conrad appeared Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) said that taxes on benefits were a possibility, but added that it would take the intervention of the president, who railed against Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) favorability to taxes on benefits during the 2008 presidential campaign.
“I think for the benefit of making this bipartisanship, presidential leadership in this area would be very good,” Grassley said.
The two sparred over savings, and whether or not the proposed cuts to other parts of the healthcare sector could achieve the savings Obama and others have claimed.
“I think we can reach that target, that will come somewhere in the area of $1 trillion to $1.2 trillion in the next 10 years,” Dodd said, also touting the potential savings to be gained from preventative healthcare.
“Right now I could not put a figure on that kind of money,” Grassley asserted, speaking about the unreliability of some savings numbers put forth. “There are some savings there that can be made and ought to be made. “
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said this weekend that he opposes a public option plan for consumers in a healthcare reform plan to emerge from the Senate.
“I don’t favor a public option,” Lieberman told Bloomberg News in an interview broadcast this weekend. And I don’t favor a public option because I think there’s plenty of competition in the private insurance market.”
Lieberman’s decision joins several other centrist Democrats’ decision to have publicly refused to back the plan, derided as a “government-run” plan by Republicans.
Centrist Democrats like Sens. Mary Landrieu (La.) and Ben Nelson (Neb.) have also been skittish to back the public option, which is favored by liberal Democrats and the Obama administration. If Republicans are able to pick off enough Democrats, they may be able to muster enough votes to filibuster any legislation that includes the public option.
“We have a unique opportunity, a real opportunity to do this year what we’ve been trying to do for years, which is to reform American healthcare,” Lieberman said. “I think the one thing that will stop that is pressure on the so-called public option.”
“Let’s get something done instead of having a debate,” the Connecticut Independent added.
WALLACE: Senator Grassley, I’ll let you answer, but let me bring up another point as well, and this may be perhaps the biggest sticking point, and that’s the president’s insistence — and it’s also in the Dodd-Kennedy plan — on a government insurance plan to compete with private insurers.
Senator Grassley, why is — first of all, why is that such a concern? And do you think that the Senate can pass a government public insurance plan?
GRASSLEY: Let’s go back to what Chris was talking about, what you had on the board there — 500 percent. For most of us, even a lot of Democrats, that’s got to be a non-starter for the simple reason that we went through that debate even at 400 percent on the Children’s Health Insurance Program. We can’t afford that. It’s not good policy. And we’re not going to go in that direction.
In regard to your question is — you know, it’s funny how this business of having a public option — in other words, the 350 insurance companies need some sort of competition. You know, I wish I would hear that from the Democrats that Medicare and Medicaid ought to have some competition, because that’s a government-run program.
And you know what you do? You’ve got the government interfering in the practice of medicine, and we’re reimbursing doctors 83 percent of costs and hospitals about 79 percent of costs.
And a little bit of competition like we have in Part D prescription drugs, where we thought originally the program by now would cost about $74 billion a year — it ends up only costing $44 billion a year.
(Mr. Wallace interrupts Senator Grassley just as he begins to make a very important point. BTW, “Part D prescription drugs” had a fallback “trigger” option similar to the one put forth by Senator Snowe. It never needed to be pulled as the private sector took care of business.)
WALLACE: Well, let — let — I don’t want to get — I don’t want to get too far…
GRASSLEY: That’s competition. But in regard to yours…
WALLACE: I don’t want to get too far…
GRASSLEY: Go ahead, I’m sorry.
WALLACE: … into the weeds here.
Let me, if I may, Senator Dodd, ask you — because the president keeps talking about wanting compromise, and there are two possible deals out there.
One is the idea that the public plan could be a fallback, that it only kicks in if private health insurance doesn’t work, doesn’t clean up and doesn’t become more competitive and lower costs, and the other is the idea, instead of a public health insurance plan, of cooperatives that would be organized and operated by the members themselves.
Are those possible compromises you could support instead of a public health insurance option?
(Mr. Wallace is talking about Snowe’s “trigger” and Conrad’s “cooperatives.”)
Members of the New Democrat Coalition could also help persuade Blue Dogs to embrace some form of the public health insurance option. The Blue Dogs are now pushing for a system that would only trigger a public option if everything else fails.
“There’s not a whole lot of support” for a trigger, said Wisconsin Rep. Ron Kind, a leader of the New Dems. “We feel much more comfortable with a four-year look-back.”
“If they’re going to unite in agreement on a public plan, it will not be with a trigger,” the Democratic lobbyist said. “The New Dems are not going to go that far to the right.”
(Then it would be better if Blue Dogs and New Dems do NOT “unite in agreement on a public plan.”)
In the Senate, key committees continue to struggle for a compromise on the public plan. An alternative offered by Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) gained some traction Thursday among senators on the Senate Finance Committee, although an agreement remained out of reach.
Some Republicans, including Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, expressed interest in the idea because, according to early outlines of the plan, it could provide competition without giving government a heavy role. Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said he was “inclined” to support the proposal but needed to work out many details.
“I am inclined, and I think the committee is inclined, toward it,” Baucus said. “But it’s got to be written in a way that accomplishes the objectives of a public option, even though” it’s not public.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has served as a bridge with the more liberal members of the caucus, argued during a closed-door Finance Committee meeting that any co-op plan needed to include three features: a national structure, startup capital from the government and a prohibition against naming any federal appointees with ties to the insurance industry.
Only about half the Blue Dogs signed on to their letter calling for public plan as the last-gasp option (trigger). And some New Democrats who oppose a public plan are upset leaders gave away the farm by laying down public option principles.
Fear of massive deficits and inflation may or may not be driving up interest rates, but the impact of the rate rise is not up for dispute.
This from Barclays:
Mortgage rates jumped to their highest since November, stifling refinancing
The Mortgage Bankers Association’s index of mortgage applications fell 7.2% w/w in the week ending June 5, marking the third consecutive weekly decline. The downturn owes to a sharp drop in refinancing activity as a result of higher mortgage rates.
The index of refinancing applications fell 11.8% in the latest week, pushing the index to the lowest level since November of last year (Figure 1). The index of purchase applications inched up 1.1%, leaving the four-week moving average up 0.5%.
The average rate on the 30y conforming mortgage (as measured by the MBA) jumped 32bp to 5.57%, also the highest since November. Mortgage rates have jumped more than 100bp from the trough of 4.62% at the end of April.
Over the past five weeks, as Pakistan has pursued an offensive against militants in the Swat Valley, rumors have swirled that it had plans to go into the South Waziristan tribal area to target the country’s most powerful Taliban commander, Baitullah Mehsud.
It’s a move that would please the U.S., which wants Pakistan to eliminate sanctuaries for militants implicated in attacks on Western troops in Afghanistan.
Late Sunday, the governor of North West Frontier Province told reporters in Islamabad the decision had been made to “take army action against terrorists in Waziristan.”
“The forces have been ordered to start the operation,” Owais Ghani said. He didn’t give an exact start date, but implied that military action had already begun.
Army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas told The Associated Press: “The government has made the announcement. We will give a comment after evaluating the orders.”
“If people are to use the thing called brain they will understand i was pointing out a difference between RAG tag TAliabns and Indian armed forces don’t tell me they are both on a same grade.
Americans can beat talibans in a day by leveling every village that supports talibans but to minimize civilians death they have chosen a different path that does not means they cant beat talibans so do not confuse there humanity as there weekness.”
The government has decided to launch operation against militants in FATA and it has been decided that a comprehensive and decisive operation will be launched to dismantle and eliminate Bait Ullah Mehsud and his network.
We hoped this would go away after the election but lately it’s been getting worse. Just so we’re clear:
THE CONFLUENCE DOES NOT TOLERATE “BIRTHER”
COMMENTS AND/OR DISCUSSIONS!
There is absolutely no legal basis to doubt Barack Obama’s eligibility to be President of the United States. Any comments related to his eligibility, including but not limited to whether or not he is a “natural born citizen,” his COLB, his adoption by Lolo Soetoro, his place of birth, Philip Berg and/or Dr. Orly Taitz will be deleted and the commenter banned. You have been warned.
Comments are closed on this thread – there is nothing to discuss.
Pakistan ordered its army to go after the country’s top Taliban commander, a feared militant whose remote stronghold could prove a difficult test for troops but whose demise would be a major blow to the insurgencies here and in Afghanistan.
The announcement Sunday of the operation in South Waziristan, rumored for weeks, came hours after a suspected U.S. missile strike killed five alleged militants there. The move will likely please Washington, which considers the tribal region a particularly troublesome hide-out for al-Qaida and Taliban fighters implicated in attacks on U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
After terrorist killed Mufti Naeemi in Lahore, Pakistan govt and people think, enough is enough, now go and get Bait Ullah Mehsud, a culprit who threatened to attack pakistani army and is responsible for all the killings in Pakistan, but question is , Whether this new TARGET will be captured or not. At this time, it is needed that this person should be arrested alive and brought to justice under pakistani courts law.
Pakistani govt says that Bauitulla is the root of every evil in pakistan and to cut out the roots of terrorism, Baitullah Mehsud era should be brought to an end.
Analysts say Obama’s spending plans reflect not only the depth of the economic crisis but also a fiscal philosophy that differs from that of the last Democratic administration.
Clinton, a former governor, took office during a far milder recession and was unable to pass a much smaller stimulus package than Obama’s.
Clinton ended his tenure with budget surpluses after reducing federal spending as a share of the gross domestic product — fiscal discipline that did not survive the Bush administration.
“President Clinton believed in the public sector, but he thought that his responsibility to the long-term fiscal condition of the country ruled out a significant expansion of the government in the economy as a whole,” said William A. Galston, a former Clinton policy adviser who is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
“What is unmistakably clear is that the trajectory of the Obama administration — whether it’s four years or eight years in office — will be the reverse.”
To set the record straight:
Standardized-Budget Deficit or Surplus and Related Series, 1980 to 2008
Micheal Cannon, director of health policy studies at the CATO Institute, is unsurprised by the use of “pay-as-you-go” rhetoric surrounding the implementation of a national health care program. He says Obama’s analysts are trying to invent ways to say that savings will be realized; however, pragmatically, that’s impossible.
“They have no way to do it,” said Cannon, “All the aura they have about health care [being self-sustainable] is just a complete façade.”
He said that those pushing for health care legislation “know they will need every ounce of aura” in order for the legislation to pass.
Veronique De Rugy, a budget and tax expert for the Mercatus Institute, thinks it’s a philosophical problem.
“Obama stands in front of the TV and he lies. He does not talk about taxes. He talks about spending money.”
In another gesture of politicking, Obama’s auto-industry goals are to be fully realized by 2016, when his tenure will either be near expiration, or, if Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY) has his way, when he’ll be seeking yet a third term.
This refers to the scarcely reported H. J. Res. 5 bill that would repeal the 22nd amendment.
This bill was submitted on January 6th, 2009, with a peculiar anticipation of Obama’s inauguration.
Without the 22nd amendment, there is no limitation on Obama’s presidential career.
Rep. SERRANO NY
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the twenty-second article of amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual… (Introduced in House)
This is a bit hard to follow. If you have an interest, I suggest you have a look at comments at first two links.
I have recently been bringing this debate over Obama’s U.S. citizenship over at Talking Points Memo. Needles to say, I have received some heat for my efforts. But I have received an interesting response. One that I have been unable to get around. I hope I can find some answers here.
Well, according to the Immigration and naturalization Act of 1952, all he has to do is establish U.S. residence before the age of 25. I don’t think there is any doubt he did that.
19 posted on Sunday, June 14, 2009 10:38:31 PM by DavidFarrar
Here’s what it says:
“a. Section 301 as Effective on December 24, 1952: When enacted in 1952, section 301 required a U.S. citizen married to an alien to have been physically present in the United States for ten years, including five after reaching the age of fourteen, to transmit citizenship to foreign-born children. The ten-year transmission requirement remained in effect from 12:01 a.m. EDT December 24, 1952, through midnight November 13, 1986, and still is applicable to persons born during that period. ”
And they got it from here: http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/86757.pdf
28 posted on Sunday, June 14, 2009 11:01:01 PM by Red Steel
To: Red Steel
Well, it does make sense to me. I mean, to keep young U.S. girls from being sexually exploited. But to date, I have seen/heard nothing by talk, which is interesting, but not very useful.
In terms of your first point about getting this issue into court. If the facts are correct, the truth will come out. All we need is proper standing and that can always be arranged, if we have a strong case. Build your case first, the court will follow.
27 posted on Sunday, June 14, 2009 10:55:44 PM by DavidFarrar
Well, it does make sense to me. I mean, to keep young U.S. girls from being sexually exploited. But to date, I have seen/heard nothing by talk, which is interesting, but not very useful.
Yes, most likely the though processes that went into the law at the time.
30 posted on Sunday, June 14, 2009 11:07:39 PM by Red Steel
Of course, this statute would only apply to “foreign born” children. So as long as Obama’s claim to be born in Hawaii, ob Aug. 4, 1961, this statute would have no relevance to the issue at hand.
Thanks again, Red.
50 posted on Monday, June 15, 2009 7:45:54 AM by DavidFarrar
Although the funds rate target is unusually low, at 0%–¼%, it is also the case that the unemployment rate is unusually high, at 9.4%, and expected (by both ourselves and the Fed) to move higher.
In the post-war era, only the 1981-82 recession has seen a higher unemployment rate than the current rate and that recession was accompanied by a rapid disinflation from 10.4% at the start of 1981 to 4.7% at the start of 1983.
As pointed out in the wonderful book “The End of Prosperity” (authored by my pals Art Laffer and Stephen Moore), the way the Reagan tax cuts were structured meant that familes only got a meager 1.25 percent tax cut in 1981 and 10 percent in 1982.
When the Reagan cuts really kicked in 1983, so did the economy.
1. Recessions and bear markets, while they bring pain and often lead to short-term declines in business formation, do not appear to have a significantly negative impact on the formation and survival of new businesses.
2. Well-over half of the companies on the 2009 Fortune 500 list, and just under half of the 2008 Inc. list, began during a recession or bear market. We also find that the general pattern of founding years and decades can help tell a story about larger economic trends.
3. Job creation from startups is much less volatile and sensitive to downturns than job creation in the entire economy.
According to the US Treasury, the two largest holders of U.S. debt are China with $768 billion and Japan with $687 billion.
Brazil owns $126.6 billion and Russia owns $138.4 billion.
Without question, markets were nervous over the actions by these players during the last auction period by the US government.
While it may seem that they are going to continue to buy US dollars and buy US debt, they are telling the world they are actively seeking alternatives.
There may not be many alternatives now, but over long enough time frames there will be.
More importantly, the BRICs are telling the world they want to find ways out of investing in a country that is fiscally irresponsible and unlikely (healthcare) to change their spending habits any time soon.
1) Giving the Fed more regulatory power is a terrible idea. It will a) further politicize the central bank (which, in fact, just hired a lobbyist), and b) set up the Fed to fail since it would have to evaluate a broader swath of the financial sector that it has scant expertise in. And good luck determining where the next systemic risk is and which firms are involved.
2) Who knows how this council of regulators will mesh with the SuperFed. Rather than streamlining the regulatory process, another level of complexity and potential source of infighting has been added.
3) If you were starting up a regulatory system from scratch, you wouldn’t have the sort of patchwork system that currently exists. The White House plan pretty much leaves it all intact in order to placate Congress and avoid turf battles.
4) The securitization chunk, forcing the orginator/sponsor/broker to retain a 5 percent interest, makes a lot of sense in that it firms up the necessary links between risk and reward.
5) It is unclear where there will be a new consumer finance regulatory body. Better unclear than certain. Even better would be a push toward financial literacy.
6) Will new powers to “resolve” non-financial firms ever be used given the toobigtoofailapproach that has taken root in Washington? Hmmm …
Lawmakers Scramble to Find Ways to Finance Obama Health Care Overhaul
Though President Obama has outlined nearly $950 billion in savings and revenue to offset the cost of a program tagged at about $1 trillion over the next decade, some say they fear the actual price tag could be much higher and question whether Obama’s estimates of a coming windfall in government savings are accurate.
At the center of the dispute is whether to include a government-run option that competes with private insurance plans, with centrist Democrats and Republicans opposed to the creation of a public plan, and liberal Democrats in favor of it. Lawmakers are even more divided over how to pay for health care reform that is estimated to cost $1 trillion.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., is proposing a tax on health care benefits, but House lawmakers don’t like that approach and are working on a way to raise revenue through other kinds of taxes.
And Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, a moderate Democrat from North Dakota. wants to do away with the government-run plan in favor of a health care cooperative, but many liberal Democrats don’t like that idea.
On Friday, various factions of House Democrats met to discuss how to pay for it and what should be included, with very little consensus, other than on the fact that there is a lot to disagree about.
Things are likely to get only worse this week, when the Congressional Budget Office puts out estimates for what health care reform will cost. Those figures are expected to be staggering and will provide a chance for Republicans to draw moderate Democrats away from the idea.
The longer the health care debate goes on, the harder it will be to get consensus, Tanner pointed out.
“If it goes to the end of the year,” Tanner said, “it won’t pass.”
CPR Chairman Rick Scott responds to the President’s speech at the AMA conference in Chicago.
Rick agrees that health reforms are need to lower the costs of medical care. But we don’t need to spend trillions of dollars to fix a system that already works well for more than 250 million Americans.