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Economy

Obamacare could be fully repealed if political considerations were erased

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In 2015, President Obama had a bill placed on his desk that fully repealed Obamacare. There was no replacement. Had he signed it, we’d be well on our way to the completely privatized health care system the nation deserves. He didn’t, of course, and the vast majority of GOP politicians pointed fingers and blamed the President for the failures that were developing in the legislation that was supposed to be his legacy.

In 2017, President Trump has not and likely will not see the same bill. In fact, he won’t see anything even close to it. Why? Because now that the GOP has complete control, they can’t bluff anymore. They are in a position to somehow not admit that they never wanted to fully repeal Obamacare in the first place. The result so far is the AHCA from the House and some variation the Senate can muster.

Whatever finally reaches President Trump’s desk will not be a repeal. It won’t even be a “repeal and replace” as they’ve been calling it since taking power. It will be a “tweak and rebrand” effort that leaves the damaging core of Obamacare fully intact, redirects how the mandates are delivered, redistributes penalties for citizens who do not comply, and throws in some easy-to-consume “conservative meat” like defunding Planned Parenthood to try to keep as many right-wing critics as possible at bay.

In the end, we will take one humongous government-run health care system and replace it with another humongous government-run health care system.

To those who believe that it’s not technically “government-run” because some autonomy is afforded to health insurance companies, health care providers, and even states, let’s be clear: if a program lays out guidelines for providers and consumers as both ACA and AHCA do, then it’s a government-run program.

Why would the GOP break their promise?

There are times when a party and the politicians representing them will do their best to “sell” an idea to the American people. They will go on news shows, perhaps speak at town halls, and even invest in television commercials to present their case to Americans in an effort to get them to help pressure the opposition into support. We’ve seen this since the birth of our nation. In fact, the reason for the Federalist Papers was to convince people that ratifying the United States Constitution was in the best interests of the nation and its citizens.

In recent years, we’ve seen it with welfare reform, Gang of 8, and even with Obamacare itself. In all of these cases, the group supporting pieces of legislation made their pitch to Americans because they believed they could convince enough people their ideas represented the right course for the nation. More importantly, they wanted to use the victory as a launching pad to expand their political standing and ensure future victories. This technique of selling an idea and then riding the wave of victory once it’s sold is only effective if you believe in what you’re selling.

It’s quite conspicuous that the GOP has not taken this approach with the AHCA. On the contrary, they want as little attention paid to the machinations of the bill as possible. It’s not that they don’t believe it’s a better solution than Obamacare. They simply don’t want more people pointing out that it’s not very different. They’d like to get it passed and signed quickly so they can then start focusing on midterm elections.

This is an important point. Their fear of losing in the midterms is the second biggest reason they’re unwilling to simply repeal Obamacare with either no replacement at all or one that pushes for privatization over time. They know there will be repercussions if they repeal Obamacare; if one person dies as a result of losing health care, Republican strategists believe the Democrats will have a chance of taking the House and the Senate in 2018.

It’s not necessarily true, of course. Both parties still embrace the old concept that Americans are too simple-minded to be shown the truth. They think that we’re only interested in what affects us directly and any attempt by the government to act responsibly will result in major losses. They can’t accept that Americans have more access to information than ever before. They play the news cycle and pull the heart strings. If they were correct, there’s no way Ted Cruz should have won Iowa after declaring that he wanted to end ethanol subsidies. There’s no way Bernie Sanders should have won Oklahoma after being on the wrong side of many liberal issues near and dear to Sooners.

People may be misinformed by mainstream media and fake news outlets, but we’re not stupid. If they lay out the facts and put together a compelling case, the GOP could repeal Obamacare. All they’d have to do is inform the people about why things will be much better in the not-too-long-term. Unfortunately, they’ve calculated that the benefits of repealing Obamacare would not be realized before the 2018 election and they’re unwilling to take the risk.

Instead, they’re hoping to insert Trumpcare and hope for the best. It’s a disgusting strategy for two reasons. First, it’s a lie. Presenting it as a repeal and replace is false as I mentioned above. Second, it won’t work. They will be blamed for health care failures regardless of whether it comes from the AHCA or from a full repeal. Taking this “safe” approach is still a losing effort.

The other reason

As I previously mentioned, the second biggest reason they don’t want to repeal Obamacare is fear of losing in the midterms. The biggest reason is because they like what government-run health care gives them. It’s not across the board; there are a handful of Senators and a small group of Congressman who truly want government out of the system. However, they are a tiny minority compared to the bulk of GOP lawmakers who see ACA and AHCA as a boon for big government and big budgets.

The more money that’s in the federal government’s pot, the easier it is to redistribute it based upon political considerations. More money muddles our economic system. As strange as it may sound, many in the federal government thrive in chaos. The more there is to draw the attention of the people, the easier it is for them to operate corruptly in other areas. This may seem like some conspiracy theory, but it’s not. This is really how the government operates in DC.

A better way

A blog post is not the right venue to lay out a comprehensive and detailed plan, but it’s a great place to give a 30,000-foot view of how things should be. Put simply, we need to privatize health care once again.

There are those who will point to challenges that existed before Obamacare. These challenges will return if Obamacare is repealed, but they won’t return in the same form. Things have changed. Now that we’ve experienced rising premiums that yield higher deductibles while delivering worse results, we have empirical data behind which we can rebuild the privatized market.

The sticking point for many Americans who might fear a full repeal is care for those with pre-existing conditions. As Michael Nolan noted on DailyWire:

One argument against privatized health care (and for Universal Health Care) is that insurance companies will continue to discriminate against those with pre-existing conditions. What the argument fails to take into account is that 90 percent of health care policies cover pre-existing conditions, as shown by health care expert Avik Roy. The free market has created a system by which those with employer-based coverage don’t need screening because the insurance is purchased in bulk by the employer. For those with employment-based coverage (currently roughly 50 percent of those with insurance), pre-existing condition exclusions can only be triggered if the client has had health insurance for less than 12 months. This encourages and rewards those who buy long-term medical coverage (which promotes good life choices and planning) as opposed to those that only purchase insurance when they get ill.

The other big advantage of having seen Obamacare is that we now have a better idea of what needs to be changed in order to make privatized health care work from economic, accessibility, and innovation perspectives. Daniel Horowitz came up with a cheat sheet at Conservative Review that gives us a great starting point to attack this beast. One of my favorites is his take on competition across state lines:

If insurance is enough of an interstate commerce issue to regulate people into oblivion at a federal level, then the federal government should be able to invoke the Commerce Clause to tear down the barriers to purchasing insurance across state lines. Indeed the Supreme Court has said as much [United States v. South-Eastern Underwriters Association, 1944]. This will foster massive competition, make insurance portable, and together with individualizing insurance through equal tax treatment and expanded HSAs, will save many individuals who get sick later in life after moving to different states from the problem of pre-existing conditions.

Not only will this reform create a more competitive national market, but it will induce states with a costly regulatory burden to get with the program and relax their regulations to compete with the more pro-consumer states. It will also create momentum for states to ease regulations on tele-medicine from out-of-state providers.

If we systematically repeal Obamacare, we can have privatized health care once again. A replacement plan that tries to predict what will happen is foolish. Instead, we should repeal, then monitor and analyze the market. Over time, we’ll find the holes that need to be plugged. States, charities, and other organizations can fill most of these holes. Whatever is left, if anything, can fall to the federal government. This way, DC becomes the final safety net instead of being the first line of defense. That’s the way it should be in health care and a plethora of other areas.

Christian, husband, father. EIC, NOQ Report. Co-Founder, the Federalist Party. Just a normal guy who will no longer sit around while the country heads in the wrong direction.

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Economy

Will GOP stop Trump’s trade war as the Constitution requires?

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When Donald Trump announced YUGE tariffs on imported solar panels and residential washing machines back in January, he launched a trade war reminiscent of 1800’s protectionism and laid the foundation for higher prices for American consumers, along with the loss of thousands upon thousands of jobs.

Unfazed by historic evidence that such trade wars inevitably lead to economic disaster, Trump proceeded with a second round of attacks on the free market in March by imposing across-the-board tariffs on steel and aluminum, complete with his personal assurance that “trade wars are good, and easy to win.”

While Trump initially suspended steel and aluminum tariffs against the EU, Mexico, and Canada–providers of roughly fifty percent of steel imports to the US–he announced this past Friday that the tariffs are back on. And for good measure, he issued an additional threat to Germany that he would completely ban the import of luxury cars if they chose to retaliate with tariffs of their own against US goods.

As was the case in March, members of the GOP are threatening to prove they actually have a spine, and there are indications that they might do something this time around to stop Trump before it’s too late.

Sen. Pat Toomey (PA)–for the record, that’s a steel state–will be co-sponsoring Sen. Mike Lee’s bill S.177 to end Trump’s abusive practice of using “national security” to impose tariffs and to return tariff authority back to Congress where it Constitutionally belongs.

Other Republicans joining with Toomey and Lee are Sens. Jeff Flake (AZ), Corey Gardner (CO), and Ben Sasse (NE).

Besides the fact that tariffs are simply terrible economic and foreign policy, Trump has used the threat of tariffs against China as leverage for his personal financial gain; essentially extorting money from the Chinese government to finance Trump golf courses and hotels in Indonesia and securing a boatload of trademarks for his and Ivanka’s business interests in China.

If passed, S.177 will give the power to approve or disapprove Trump’s tariffs back to Congress, not to mention that it would save the American people from an economic catastrophe.

The only question is, will Republicans do what required to fulfill their Constitutional duty or will they cave to Trumpism in hopes that it will help them in November? The clock is ticking . . .

Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.

 


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

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Economy

Obamanomics damaged the economy, and Trumponomics isn’t fixing it

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While Trump and the GOP want you and me to believe that Trumponomics has singlehandedly saved the US economy by reducing taxes and creating jobs, the reality for those of us living in the real world is quite different.

It was Mark Twain who once said, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” When it comes to politicians in an election year, Mr. Twain could have been describing the Washington establishment owned and operated by the Republicans and Democrats.

No doubt you’ve heard the much-ballyhooed news that unemployment has dropped to its lowest level since 2000, coming in at 3.9%. But just as it was when Obama manipulated unemployment numbers to cover his pathetic economic policies, this recent jobs report has been manipulated to hide the truth about our very unhealthy economy.

Unemployment numbers can change for any number of reasons:

  1. People move from the unemployed category into the employed category
  2. The number of employed grows faster than the number of unemployed
  3. You simply add people to the employed category without changing anyone’s status
  4. You simply stop counting people in the unemployed category, making them magically disappear

When we consider that the number of jobs added in April was 164,000 while the number of unemployed dropped by 239,000, we can conclude that reason #4 is how the latest unemployment rate was manipulated to make things look better than they really are. Unemployment went down because the labor-participation rate fell to 62.8 percent after being 63 percent in February and 62.9 percent in March. Three consecutive months of declines.

Quite simply, when you are no longer working or looking for work, the government no longer includes you as a part of the equation to calculate the unemployment report.

Meanwhile, Trumponomics is also creating a slower growth rate than Trump is claiming while his tax cuts and record government spendingdespite the recent rescission cuts—is creating another threat to the US economy, an apocalyptic debt spiral adding trillions to the already unsustainable national debt.

Obamanomics caused a great deal of damage to the US economy, but Trumponomics isn’t doing anything to repair it; in fact, Trump’s plan will likely destroy what’s left of it.


Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.

 

David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

Follow the Strident Conservative on Twitter and Facebook. Subscribe to receive podcasts of radio commentaries: iTunes | Stitcher | Tune In | RSS

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Democrats

Forget lowering unemployment, Bernie Sanders will eliminate it!

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During his 2016 Democrat primary campaign, Bernie Sanders was “absolutely sympathetic” to the idea of a universal basic income; however, he felt that his plans for a $15/hr. minimum wage, expanding Social Security to pay for guaranteed healthcare, and providing free college would do more than creating just another government handout.

But now Bernie has apparently found a way to accomplish his goals as well as the goals of the universal basic income crowd.
Yesterday, we learned that the self-proclaimed Democratic-Socialist is ready to announce a plan that will guarantee every American “who wants or needs one” a lifetime government job paying at least $15/hr. and proving paid family and medical leave plus retirement, health, and vacation benefits.

While the details are still being worked on, Bernie has admitted that he currently has no idea exactly how much his plan will cost or where the money to pay for it will come from. However, if his 2016 campaign is any indication, the cost will be irrelevant, and the money to pay for it will come from “the billionaires and oligarchs” he refers to as the “top one percent of income earners.”

While it would be tempting to shrug off Bernie’s plan as the rantings of a socialist loon living to the left of the left-wing, we should remember how his Marxist beliefs concerning income inequality caught fire with a generation of Constitutionally ignorant voters raised on the socialist ideology taught in today’s public schools indoctrination centers.

And a poll conducted during the 2016 primary season showed that a majority of millennials rejected capitalism.

Democrats would see a huge voter advantage by creating a new state-run workforce dependent upon them for their jobs. And politicians from both parties would have a new voter-bloc to advance their ideological and political agendas.

Bernie’s plan is being called a guaranteed-jobs program, but the only guarantee it gives us is the destruction of capitalism and Constitutional America.


Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.

 

David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

Follow the Strident Conservative on Twitter and Facebook. Subscribe to receive podcasts of radio commentaries: iTunes | Stitcher | Tune In | RSS

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