If an elected leader was opposed to ObamaCare, they would naturally tend to stand against the expansion of Medicaid as well. Both pieces of legislation will work in tandem as one in the same, but are individually making their way through the policy swamps on Capital Hill and for good reason. One, ObamaCare is a top-down overhaul from the federal level and the expansion occurs at the state level with assistance from the feds.
The President didn’t want to hurt his chances of getting his Affordable Care Act passed if he straddled it with too much all at one time, so he instead decided to push the plan as a major overhaul of the healthcare system and simultaneously push a key component of that law, Medicaid Expansion which would force conservatives to defend their unwillingness to offer help to lower income earners; for now its working.
In a government where politics and the act of governing seems to no longer coexist, the latest round of debate, and an ongoing one, has to do with expanding the Medicaid provision. What it is and how it works, we’ll get to that, but going deeper you easily find that the political parties and their leadership don’t quite know how to sell this one beyond the initial “stick to the base” move.
Next year after the full implementation of ObamaCare, there will still remain nearly 30 million Americans without health coverage. Although many of them will have various options, affordability of the mandate will still be out of their reach. Most of those millions will be between the ages of 18-44, young and hispanics.
Many of those folks will eventually get onboard through awareness and enrollment options later, but even down the road, 2016, 2017, millions will still be without coverage. To address this, Medicaid expansion has come to the table by the Obama Administration to help close some of those gaps left in the health care plan which is set to begin accepting new enrollment in October of this year.
Those gaps or cracks in the system are not due to someone forgetting or overlooking a large demographic, but instead, the Administration knew that if it wanted to be able to pay for the plan, the numbers would have to work at least on the surface and the only way they work is if there was an individual mandate, whereby everyone would need to pay into the system to receive benefits and some simply wouldn’t get it. Eventually they all will pay.
Politically, it has become a football of sorts because those who have always opposed the “universal-ness” of the plan now exacerbate the holes through talking points. They know why the “Universal” portion will only look more “Atmospheric” but it won’t stop them from using it anyway.
Its no longer whether its a good idea or not, but instead start out close to the base and move ever so slightly in the opposite direction. For some, expanding Medicaid is solely and entirely political, but for others, its a mixture of both, political being a wedge and need being secondary. However, all can agree there is a problem in need of a solution as opposed to the typical Washingtonian solution in need of a problem.
With one vote, the deciding Justice Roberts in the U.S. Supreme Court thrusted ObamaCare into the history books and made it the law of the land. The “it” is likely to look more like a tapestry of plans under one cover, than one sole plan. The second rollout is that of the Medicaid Expansion.
Currently, Medicaid works as a partnership between the federal government and the states. Each state has it own guidelines and manages them under an inter-state agency, but generally, what this partnership does is it provides healthcare for adults with children (depending on income), older adults over the age of 65, people with disabilities, as well as people with lower incomes. The politically charged expansion of Medicaid which is included in the President’s Affordable Care Act will now provide aid to all those adults under the age of 65 and people with disabilities who earn up to $15,000 for singles and a bit more for families.
The expansion will permit those who have been diagnosed with disabilities that do not meet their states current list of eligibility for SSI. The expansion fills in that crack so the millions who fall into it will now get the help they need. No one argues that these individuals need help, they instead disagree on who should pay for it and who should even care about it.
Initially, Governors across the country went down the party line to oppose any parts of ObamaCare and any form of expansion of Medicaid or anything else related to the President’s health initiative. But that didn’t last long and Republicans have had to walk back those objections in many states where their constituents are likely to want the plans. For example, Gov. Rick Scott of Florida campaigned vigorously against the expansion of Medicaid in his race for the Governor’s mansion but has had to reverse himself in a state with a significant elderly, hispanic and lower income populations.
As of late, despite Gov. Scott’s change of heart, his state’s Republican led legislature recently voted not to follow his lead and has decided not to support the expansion efforts. ObamaCare is in the books, but more Medicaid for the gap-dwellers in Florida doesn’t seem to be in the cards this legislative session, but maybe eventually.
Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona, no friend of the President, stood firm against ObamaCare, but has been in shocking support of the expansion of Medicaid; oddly for the same reasons in Florida. They have mastered the political mine fields by imposing “test runs” or “triggers” that will alert them of cost over runs and if inefficiencies arise.
The truth is however, they can’t survive politically in their states without it. ObamaCare gave them all a national microphone to thwart the President’s efforts, but when it came to balancing their own political fortunes with their roles at home, microphones were muted.
Republican Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan, no longer an electoral battleground state is a strong supporter of the President’s plan to expand. All in Michigan doesn’t mean all there either, but Governor Snyder knows, that the democratic majority in the electorate won’t forget if he overlooks their need for healthcare and medical assistance. He is one who is going much further than most others by working directly with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and the Obama Administration to design a plan specifically for Michigan.He isn’t alone, Gov. Brian Sandoval of Nevada became the first Republican State Executive become positively vocal on the expansion, but certainly, that has nothing to do with him being the elected Governor of another former battleground state with a significant hispanic population, right? Touted as a 2016 VP in all the talking points, Nevada doesn’t even rank among the states that would benefit most of from the expansion.
The conservative Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana has bet the ranch on his opposition of both, ObamaCare and the expansion and has received more than his share of blow-back from democrats and republicans in the state who could directly benefit, but because Jindal is expected to throw his hat in the 2016 Presidential race, he has to reserve his options as the Governor who “opposed ObamaCare and Medicaid Expansion”, even to the detriment. Jindal has been running for national office for the last four years, but ’16 won’t likely be his year either so he should slow walk the “bridge burning” exercise he’s been spearheading lately.
All does not mean all, but in politics, all simply means the majority and most is defined as not being 51%. You have to understand, political battles are won today through cable news and message wars, not actual support. Just like that Washingtonian solution in need a problem, messaging through faux anger and outrage is always seeking a disapproving electorate.
The one true all here is, ObamaCare is the law in all 50 states now and Medicaid will expand in all states, eventually. Soon enough, there will be yet another plan to fill yet another crack; some we know now, and others to be revealed following the health care rollout in January. This is what Republicans have rejected, the health care slippery slope. When one plan has many parts in need of funding. Democrats will use it to systematically build their base of support while Republicans will see theirs erode in purple states each time they oppose.
The number uncovered Americans will eventually shrink as ObamaCare becomes more familiar and Americans become more dependent of it; exactly what Republicans didn’t want. When Americans show dependence on government, legislation tends to lean more to the Left favoring democrats. By 2016, if businesses are no longer complaining about the costs of healthcare and Americans are mostly in favor of it, conservatives will pay. If Dems spend those two years promoting the plan thats already the law as opposed to managing it to efficiency, they will pay. So, eventually, all will mean all. Thats my story and um sticking to it.
Antron D. Johnson
Historically speaking, the party not occupying the Oval picks up seats in the midterms and then faces a jump ball in the presidential races after that if no re-election of the incumbent is possible or if the VP refuses to run. All of this is pretty standard when mapping out a win strategy however, the Republican Party seems to be more at odds with itself than with Obama and his Administration.
The current scandal ridden spring may be more about the slow news cycles than the perceived riches from the rehashed news through pundits and talking points. What did surface however is the latest not so blunt attacks on the GOP, by members of the GOP. Here are a few from the last 24 hours:
Sen. Rubio Prepares His Immigration Parachute considering his colleagues are looking to break apart the bill he personally believes cannot do the good intended if passed piece by piece. Rubio knows his party is not interested in actually solving the Immigration mess, so he has stated that he wants all or nothing.
His GOP colleagues in the Senate and the House have staked out their positions based on their on electoral conundrum but Rubio sees this as a sign of problems to come if he is forced to defend a bill he did not create or want. One person who has been speaking loud in opposition of Rubio’s Gang of Eight legislation is Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas with the backing of those on the Most-Right flank, The Heritage Network proclaiming it’s all more of the same.
Young Republicans blast the GOP over the issues they believe will keep the party from recruiting efforts. The College Republicans Committee released a report with serious reservations. One of the concerns of this study conducted addresses issues that either should not be discussed, i.e. Gay Marriage or areas where the party needs to improve their messaging all together, i.e. Immigration.
If the GOP is unable to woo its next generation of voters and leaders now, the “mental ice age” that David Frum, a conservative blogger of The Daily Beast identified yesterday will be longer than expected.
After Bob Dole, the former Senate Majority Leader suggested the GOP be closed for repairs, the Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Preibus was forced to say, “We are Open for repairs” but that clarification presented itself more as an admission of brokenness instead of defining his political correctness.
One day after Sen. Dole’s comments, former Sen. Olympia Snowe chimed in with her support (VIDEO) of Dole’s stance.
Sen. Rand Paul took an unnecessary shot at his colleague, Sen. John McCain for his recent trip to Syria. Rand Paul once opted not to make a comment on the trip simply could not resist the temptation for self elevation, even if it came at the expense of his own party leadership when he openly questioned the vetting of rebels McCain has supported for supplying weapons in opposition to Syrian President Assad.
Although Republican Senator, Ted Cruz has made it clear that he does not trust his party, has proposed within the last twenty-four hours, simply abolishing the Internal Revenue Service, but aside from catching headlines, he will be hard pressed to get conservatives in blue states to sign on.
There was once a time when each party actually discussed its agenda in committees and strategized how to best get these issues to the floor and then passed with the least resistance and fallout. Today, instead of abolishing the IRS, maybe thought of abolishing the powers of the committee Chairs should be called into question considering House GOP Leadership has been absent and impotent.
Speaker of the House, John Boehner has publicly waffled on issue after issue. Of the Internet Tax bill, Boehner said “probably not support” the bill although Senate Republicans voted along with dems to get passed in the Senate. That “probably” is not as convincing to many in the House. The often conflicted Boehner seems to wait on which the direction the fairer winds are blowing.Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will be forced to sign legislation preventing Same Sex Couples the right to parent through surrogacy at a time he has been calling for the Republican Party to reach out for an expanded tent. Jindal has long said, its not what is said, but how it is said, yet, what he is saying with this ban on Family Equality and Unmarried individuals with dreams of parenting is likely not to be forgotten.
This effort may be futile considering the Supreme Court of the United States may render its decision this summer reversing DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act which will grant the very powers and rights the Jindal Administration are fighting to limit.
Jennifer Rubin, a conservative columnist for The Washington Post, today admonished the GOP for not showing up financially for Massachusetts Senate Race in support of Gabriel Gomez, the ideal candidate who by default, expands the GOP tent.
The problem is, Gomez who is Hispanic, is a liberal republican and the establishment doesn’t want to look as if they are supporting a liberal in any form, so they’d rather watch him lose than support the party in MA. So conservatives in the media are also angered that they are in essence leaving a man, in their mind, the right man on the battle field unprotected.
Lastly, Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina admitted, he saw “no evidence this goes to The White House” regarding to the IRS scandal his colleagues have all used to attack the Obama Administration. It was just yesterday that House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa said that initial interviews of IRS employees at the agency’s Cincinnati office had revealed that the targeting of Tea Party groups had been “directly ordered from Washington.”.
If that conflict in messaging was not clear enough, Graham went further, “I think it was a coordinated effort by some people to silence conservative critics of the president — that’s pretty clear. How far it went, we don’t know”.
The Democrats have all but disappeared from the fight, leaving the Republicans to fight among themselves for internal powers and prestige. They have forgone the protocols of unification which is why the party is unable to push an agenda with any mainstream approach. Its easy to criticize the Administration, but when the President in The White House isn’t enough to get the opposing party to band together then the trouble on the horizon for the GOP runs deeper than anyone can imagine.
When the party has found it rewarding to attack within its own encampment for self gain, it may leave you left asking yourself, Will the Republicans look back on this time as a landmark of when it all went wrong? Are they fighting among themselves? Sure, but do they know it? The jury is still out on that one. If the new generation is successful in alienating the old guard of the party, its new direction will take them all where they have no desire to go; to a neighborhood-watch style Tea Party status. Thats my story and um sticking to it.
Some have said, today’s republican party is not your father’s party anymore. That implication portends that its been that long since the party went in a different direction, but not so. It would lead one to believe that this generation of republican leaders are further removed than just one or two decades, but it’s not.
What does it say when the former leaders of the Republican Party think they could have never gotten elected in today’s GOP? Every month or so, another former party leader is asked and shockingly, they candidly respond in the negative. Why is there such a perception, or is it factual, that the party on the Right has evolved into something that its former crafters and legendary framers can no longer identify?
Regardless of your political affiliations, any honest observer is aware of the mood shift in the party. Perception is merely an uncorrected truth. So if this is the continued perception of the party, what efforts are being made to correct this slanted view? If nothing, that perception then becomes the truth. As it has within the conservative ranks at the national level.
You have to make that careful distinction between state level races and national races because that inferno like anger just waiting to blow on the national level is all but missing in the state races and most of the executive races for each state. Governors cannot spend their time obstructing and supporting useless legislation that is typically best served as a talking point memo or campaign banter. The standards at the state level often prohibits the lack of productivity because those decisions are likely to provide a sudden impact either way to its citizenry.
It’s just a guess, but at the national level, politics has appeared to become about ruining the agenda of the guy in The White House, even if it ruins the country, just so you can have your shot at taking the credit for fixing it. How self-serving, how venomous and what an enormous waste of the public’s time and resources if that is what your career has become; and so it seems-it has.
Recently, former 1996 GOP Presidential Candidate and party leader on so many levels, Senator Bob Dole was asked about his views on the current state of his party and given the ideological shift in the party, did he think he could have been elected today? Senator Dole, the former WWII disabled veteran and war hero said, “I doubt it”.
Senator Dole, the guy who was his party’s presidential nominee, who served as the Senate Majority Leader, who served with Reagan and Bush said, on Fox News Sunday, if his generation of republicans had to get elected in today’s party, he doubts they could. That’s not a democrat blasting the opposing party, Mr. Dole was the party. He continued, “Reagan couldn’t have made it. Certainly, Nixon couldn’t have made it, cause he had ideas. We might’ve made it, but I doubt it”.
Okay, this is why his statement was worth sharing with you; he said because of Nixon’s “…ideas..”, he didn’t believe even Nixon could have gotten elected. Nixon of Watergate fame, Opened America’s doors to China acclaim, that same Nixon couldn’t have made it? Not because of anything else, but because he actually had “ideas”? Well what was the Senator implying of his party today? That they are without ideas?
The Senator was not endorsing the Democratic Party by any means but why is it he said exactly what the Former Joint Chief of Staff, former Secretary of State and national icon General Colin Powell said, but no one has yet to accuse Mr. Dole of being a Rhino Republican in name only)? Is it because he is not an African-American? Both men, expressed their displeasure with the direction of their party and met different fates.
Secretary Powell said just this year, “There’s also a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the party…What do I mean by that? What I mean by that is they still sort of look down on minorities.”. He went on to say, “I think the party has to take a look at itself. There are a lot of things the American people are expecting, and the Republican Party as they get ready for the next election really has to focus on some of these issues and not ignore them”.
Jeb Bush of the conservative Bush Dynasty, former Republican Governor of Florida and brother of our most recent president as well as the son of a former president, said “Back to my dad’s time and Ronald Reagan’s time – they got a lot of stuff done with a lot of bipartisan support. Reagan, would be criticized for doing the things that he did”.
John Huntsman, former 2012 GOP Presidential candidate, former Governor and former Ambassador to China said of his party, “The party right now is a holding company that’s devoid of a soul and it will be filled up with ideas over time and leaders will take their proper place”. He continued, “We can’t be known as a party that’s fear-based and doesn’t believe in math”.
I’ve said before, in a past life, I worked for the Republican Party, I campaigned and supported the ideas of the party. The first campaign rallies my children ever attended were those where we stood next to GOP Governors and Senators, made phone calls and knocked on doors, but that party is no more.
I don’t expect my views of the party to hold much water, but when you are the likes of Bob Dole, Colin Powell, Jeb Bush and John Huntsman what can you say? What does it say when Mr. Dole says that his own party should be closed for the next six months “for repair”. He believes his own party is broken. When you carry the legacy of Presidents Nixon, Reagan and George H.W. Bush, how can you deny this train is off its rails? Where has the Republican Party gone? That’s my story and um sticking to it.
NOTE: Before this post could be uploaded, the former Senator of Maine sided with Senator Dole; Such a busy day, I could only tweet about it earlier, but as we begin to see the internals of the party bleed out, you can’t deny there is serious work for conservatives if they want to ever win the hearts and minds of Americans, a national election would be good too.
Remember all that “Unity” talk the GOP and the Speaker of the House, John Boehner did just over a week ago? Well, like I said then, some of “the newbies” are jockeying “for attention and a platform” and believing that republicans would find and hold this united front was a bit too optimistic. As the party continues to struggle to define its own internal agenda, we find that it is fractured from its own misdirection.
The strange cocktail of politics and strategy among those Senate Republicans like Rubio (FL), Cruz (TX) and Paul (KY) are beginning to slowly look like a tail wagging the dog considering these Senators are currently on the conversational-short list for those who are likely to seek the presidency in 2016.
This dog is appearing to get larger and larger by the day considering these men are major within the Tea Party ranks and have developed a fringe following. But that fringe is raising up another force, everyday voters who have grown tired of their perceived obstruction of anything less than fringe friendly.
However, that too is becoming a source of pain for these gentlemen. For fear of losing their Tea Party followers, they simply sign on to each others plan, regardless of its poor logic. They all are in lock step with the others’ agenda with Rand Paul and Ted Cruz fighting for who can be more of a fire-starter.
Rubio’s once hopeful ascent to the presidency as the first hispanic has been challenged since his big gulp moment when he gave the Republican response in January after Obama’s last State of the Union address. Rubio had hoped to ride the Immigration Reform bill, a bipartisan effort with the Gang of Eight into his destiny as a serious political force, but even now, although it is expected to pass still, his prominence has instead been bland and not seen as aggressive as Cruz’s opposition to the same legislation.
Rubio can’t seem to find his footing considering he and every other GOP leader will face the daunting task of bringing the fringe toward the middle…and hold them for a national win. Something conservatives have a hard time doing without a national crisis, but more on that later this week when I discuss the “Crisis Governing” story I’m currently working on.
The Hispanic community hears Cruz but they no longer hear or see Rubio. It doesn’t mean they like what they hear, but he is often the only one with a microphone. Rubio is too busy tap dancing around for the best seat in the house, which prevents him from being bold. To hold on to his base, Rubio has attached himself to the fringe while hoping to also marry the moderate middle to appear as a different kind of conservative. This seems to be the new framework of conservatism, considering Rand Paul has taken this same position with his Libertarian base as well.
Paul has pushed for prominence in the party in small doses but it became clear he was serious about doing more than merely rattling the parties’ cages as his dad, former Congressman and GOP Presidential Candidate Ron Paul did, when he refused to side with his father last year against then GOP Presidential Nominee, Mitt Romney before the GOP Convention. The junior Paul then tipped his hat for the party which we all knew was a down payment for 2016 should Romney lose, which he did.
Since then, Paul has been struggling to bring his strong Libertarian base and the Republican base, both, desperate for a win on their own terms, toward a happy medium which is no easy task considering his balancing act must also include keeping his Tea Party roots planted. If he [Paul] can master this juggernaut of ideologies, he then truly deserves to sit in the Oval.
So here is why the Republicans will likely lose yet another national election in 2016. They will make some gains in the midterms in 2014 at the state levels as well as hold on to the majority of Governor seats which will cause them to overreach as they did in 2012. The 2010 midterms bolstered the party by adding Tea Party conservatives like Rubio and Paul and sent the party on the wildest of political expeditions with a strong House Majority and Pelosi’s dethronement as the first House Speaker.
Expect, the same pattern if the GOP finds a way to not shoot themselves in their own feet at the House level, but just as well, you should expect the same at the national level also. This calculation is an easy one to suppose. Rand Paul will be conflicted with his ideological trifecta and developing a cohesive message that all will find difficult to get behind.
Rubio will be confronted with hard choices that he will be unable to dodge. This will force him to choose between his political hopes to rise above the U.S. Senate, the Hispanic Community of South Florida and those in the Tea Party that are writing the checks to his reelection campaign.
Cruz will continue to simply fight for attention and he is doing very well at it. He has no plan, but that seemed to work well for Romney to recruit donors, but the results are also predictable; the wealthy fringe can’t win. With his reelection no where in sight, he has time to take the party out for a spin, build up his war chest, sell some books, get paid for speeches and cause havoc in the party among republican leaders. Some like John McCain are at a loss at the thought of this freshman Senator disturbing the Immigration Reform negotiations and Senate agenda.
As long as this internal discord is front and center, as long as republicans intend to stand behind these ideologically damaged candidates, they can only expect more of the same. Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin said last week “…look to our states, to our governors, to our state legislative leaders…” and I have to say, I rarely agree with Governor Walker, however, he is sounding more and more correct with his assertion, i.e. New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez. Keep your potential candidates clean this early out; free of the mud-slinging and ideological fights. Democrats know this very well. That’s my story and um sticking to it.
Why is it we never seem to know when the economic bubble is forming, yet we all feel it once it bursts? Our economic policies create bubbles because we manage this nation off of things like “Consumer Confidence” and “Futures” as well as Regulators who “Speculate” purchases, the buying and the selling of stock on the market which are also propped up by rumors, inside tips, mergers and acquisitions.
No wonder America teeters on the cusp of default and dismay. Lately, Obama has said of the deficit reduction plans with conservatives, “We can’t continue to lurch from crisis to crisis”, yet that is precisely how we have historically governed our fiscal policy, but just with a bit more of a disguise.
When George W. Bush was in the Oval, he hid all the cost of both wars in the budget, which made it difficult for democrats to oppose his budgets for fear of being tagged as someone who didn’t want to support the troops; they were made to look un-American. No one would question when it came time to vote for that fear alone. Although they weren’t quiet about what was going on, there was this blatant “with us or against us” patriotic sound that kept everyone in line.
Once he left office, republicans chose to place the blame for the ridiculous spending levels on Obama because he was forced to borrow even more to pay for the bills that were left unpaid when he took office. So if we’re going to keep it factual, is President responsible for having the record of spending the most money…ever? Has he spent more money in his terms (to date) than all the other presidents combined? Absolutely yes to both. But what was he paying for? He hadn’t been in office to create any bills so someone had too. If he has the record for spending the most to pay for bills, who then has the record for creating the most bills of all presidents combined? Answer that one.
We are Americans, we need to feel good about our purchases, so we’re even willing to go in debt for that good feeling of faux optimism. Obama offered Cash for Clunkers to encourage folks to buy more American cars and help rejuvenate the then bankrupt auto industry; it worked. But with that, comes an enormous cost.
That is currently the case as we watch a new balloon being created within the housing markets. Business leaders, investors and politicians have all found benefits to creating falsely inflated optimism. Some of those benefits are purely greed; if you can convince people to buy and spend, on credit if necessary, things they simply don’t need-well, there’s profit in that. Investors have figured out ways to profit when the bubble is forming as well as when it bursts (betting against the market).
The story here is to best identify and define the real recovery. How to recognize the strong bounce back from this inflated false sense of security. Where we are today is the “new normal” for families and individuals on every level. Coming to terms with your new normal can appear like a matrix of social indicators but be careful and patient so that you read them accurately. The record profits and returns are over inflated and will cause more harm when the dust settles.
Look at several key indicators that a new bubble is being formed:
A. Prices being forced upward: Pick an industry, Homes, Automobiles and even Land (real estate and Farmland) are all being propped up by various entities for a variety of reasons but one of the likely results will be bubbles full of hot hair, false expectations, an over investment with low returns. As the reality of the emptiness manifests, investors will attempt to pull their money out leaving a visible scar on those who jumped on the bandwagon with everything in the world to lose.
B. Major elements of a real recovery currently missing: One of those elements according to Rana Foroohar of Time Magazine said, “If a healthy housing market is one that is inclusive and not dependent on government support, we’re a long way from there”.
What Government support? Thought you’d never ask. Every month, the federal government, The Federal Reserve, purchases $40 Billion worth of mortgage backed securities. In other words the government buys the credit for housing programs to initiate some “creative financing” for those interested in buying homes. Freddie and Fannie take those government back assurances to help get the housing inventory under a more controllable balance. This makes demand look higher than the actual supply.
Obama has to do this, he believes, to (1) restore the sense of ownership Americans have come to enjoy and fulfill that sense of self invoked need. We have built up home ownership almost as a status of accomplishment so the president has to in his mind fulfill that need. (2) After that last bubble, its more difficult to convince Americans they don’t need something that once had and enjoyed. The ownership model is almost reminiscent of a much better time; even if that time was one saddled with debt.
However, a major missing element is jobs. With slow job growth, a real recovery cannot be sustained. You need a job to buy a home. You need steady income for consumer confidence. Job growth in this country is essential to a real and robust recovery.
Another missing element; banks that lend to borrowers. Since 2007, banks have lent out less and less each year it seems as the evidence of slower growing economy, president elections and new economic policies under the Obama Administration have developed and evolved. Without lending, how can home sales increase? Yet they are, how is that possible? This is what leads me to question the validity of the increased sales, rising stock market and investor confidence.
C. Broad Miscalculations: If home ownership isn’t for everyone, how and why are we pushing programs, still, to those who simply cannot afford to own? Its all a bit fuzzy actually. We continue to use flawed data to compare current conditions. For example,
“New home sales increased 2.3 in April from March…still, the Las Vegas market remains well off of its boom-era highs in 2005 and 2006, when builders closed on”, says last week’s Las Vegas Review-Journal. Here’s what the Christian Science Monitor said last week, “Prices are up, sales are accelerating, and new construction is coming along. But while this week brought another round of positive signs, the United States is still a long way from what can be considered a “normal” housing market”.
However, there is much to be concerned about in both of those reports; both have some truth, but only if you remove some vital information from the calculation. First, “boom era highs in 2005 and ’06 were flawed by a process that gave anyone a house who said they wanted one, whether they could afford one or not. So if you’re using that time period as a guide, you do so foolishly considering that is precisely what aided in the housing crisis to begin with.
Secondly, if the Las Vegas Review Journal is only going to consider the “builders” that closed so many homes in 2005 and 2006, maybe they should see what they posted in their own paper just the week before about how the builders over-built homes based on those same 2005 numbers. We can’t have it both ways.
The problem with this is we falsely use that period of time as the “record” when in fact that record was nothing more than a boom waiting to go bust. According to The Wall Street Journal last week, “Home buyers ar paying more for newly built homes than they ever have as U.S. home builders continue pushing up prices and “LIMITING THE NUMBER OF PROPERTIES HITTING THE MARKET”.
Builders are making it appear that homes are being sold in high numbers when in fact they are only selling the higher priced homes and keeping the lower priced homes off the market. What does that look like? Your neighborhoods will continue over the next many years to be filled with empty homes, occupied by squatters because putting them on the market will tell the real truth about the over saturated market.
The WSJ went on to say in that same piece, “Builders are deliberately holding back inventory so they can instead focus on the pricing instead of actual sales”. This nation was built of supply side economics; if you can control supply you then by virtue can control the demand and that is exactly what we are seeing in these efforts by the Federal Reserve and the home builders of America.
If we are on solid footing in this country right now, why then did the stock market, which has been at record highs for weeks and weeks take a dip last week just because the Federal Reserve Chief, Mr. Bernanke, hinted that he will begin to pull some of the cash (that they’ve been using to prop up the economy) out of the system? Banks, who are not lending, corporations, who are not hiring, brokerage houses, who are enjoying record trades and investments immediately grew nervous because the only people reaping those benefits from the Fed money is them.
Without jobs, rising wages and banks that will lend resources, housing will not be back to those record highs or even close anytime soon. Large corporations are now taking up the void by purchasing houses in the thousands, even Warren Buffet stated that he would be purchasing thousands of homes across the country as families have instead began looking at rentals versus ownership after being, as many of them feel, “burned” in the process.
The boom that is growing may be, as far as I can see, nothing more than a bust on the horizon. We, as a nation, as seen this so many times before; it changes only ever so slightly, but its characteristics are the same. Thats my story and um sticking to it.
One term I am beginning to abhor from the mouths of political figures on Capital Hill is “if Congress fails to act…”. The term has not only become part of the language of politicians who are merely looking for a reason not to act, but also it is beginning to look more like a euphemism for kicking an important issue down the road.
Congress is no longer it seems, either willing or able to negotiate honestly or faithfully. Horrible deals have been crafted only to fall later at the feet of Americans who will be forced to shoulder the cost, pain or responsibility of Congress’ failure to act. The Obama Administration is as much to blame on this as House Republicans. Both sides have demonstrated ‘my way-no way’ tactics and those strategies have consequences.
We saw this in the deficit reduction plans over the last three years and all that got us was the “fiscal cliff” and sequestration. Americans are currently reeling from those effects just when it was looking as if the ’08 downturn was behind us. When Congress failed to act, in 2011, deficit reduction was pushed off for one year to allow a committee to come up with a plan. Both sides dug in their heels until after the election and the country slid over the side.
When Congress failed to act after the 2010 midterms, America lost its excellent credit rating, millions of the middle class lost hefty cash values when the market tanked briefly. Although the market has returned for major corporations, Americans are still struggling to recover in these two Americas.
When Congress failed to act last year with Student Loan rates of which Obama had campaigned on, a “deal” was reached by House Republicans and the President to keep current rates of 3.4% for one additional year (kick+can=mess). The clincher of the deal was, “if Congress fails to act” over those twelve months to create meaningful paths forward, the current student loan rates would automatically increase two fold; double.
With the previous failed attempts at negotiating with House Republicans over the last 4 years, you have to wonder why would democrats even make such a deal? If Republicans don’t want these rates as low as they are right now, what is it that makes anyone in The White House think they [republicans] are going to want them later? At some point you can’t even blame conservatives for their antics if they continuously work in their favor.
So with that said, 12 months has passed and the House Education and Workforce Committee voted to send to the floor a bill that would change the way student loans were financed; the new financing would increase the cost of students borrowing money for attending college.
Amazing how Congress has no problem “acting” on the issues that are near and dear to them, but yet have been unwilling to act for the last year. I watched the floor activity this morning seeing the party lines forming over how to charge students more for attending school. Conservatives said, “We should allow the markets to work” which is code for ‘lets give money back to the banks and private schools’. Republicans haven’t learned yet that terms like “privatization”, “privatize”, “free markets” all mean the same thing: Haves get more, the have-nots stay without unless they “work hard on their own”.
Earlier today, the House approved the bill to have the loan rates be increased. Now, let me explain further in all fairness to those involved, Republicans offered this bill as a means to avoid the rate increase, which is schedule to take affect in July. They have offered a plan. You don’t have to like it, but that was the deal. The Speaker of the House, John Boehner wants to tie the new increases to Treasury bonds rates which are currently extremely low. Democrats know those bonds will certainly increase as the economy improves which will affect the cost of borrowing for students later.
The President now has to do more than talk about the bad deal. He has to do more than say “if the bill makes to my desk in its current form, I will be forced to veto the bill. A veto is just another block, just as republicans can also block measures in the House from coming out of committee.
There has to be more for students than this back and forth jockeying and delay. This bill won’t pass the Senate, but another deal is out of the question. This is not the way to govern. Does anyone even know how to govern anymore without a crisis or catastrophe? This bill may not have any major fireworks or headline grabbing news however, it affects those middle class families and students paying their own way through college. At a time like this, it truly makes no sense to look for ways to increase rates to borrow for college.
Republicans are branding every issue as an economic one. They don’t have the bully pulpit, but by their actions, you’ll never notice the difference. All the efforts made by democrats to get this done before were all blocked. Every single one. This should teach them about “deals”. This Congress has failed to act for years, hence their “do-nothing” moniker. Thats my story and um sticking to it.
Once upon a time, there was such a republican in the land who threatened to take down the Clinton Presidency at the mere mention of his “intent to run”. The very notion that this individual was even considering a possible run for The White House was enough to keep the Clinton’s awake at night for nearly three months, those close to the president would later say.
This well respected republican, many polls showed, would easily beat President Clinton by 15 to 20 points and would handily dispatch his closest republican colleague by many margins more, but the one thing this conservative could not do, is win the GOP Presidential Nomination.
All republicans loved the thought of his candidacy, he was attractive, educated, disciplined, could rally African Americans, Whites, the military rank and file and many many more, but the republican base would have nothing of it.
Long before President Obama ascended to the history books, there came before him one who would have served, only if he could have won over the conservative base. In 1995, General Colin Powell was that man.
Not since Powell had anyone worried the Clintons so, the General was the one that got away from the Republican Party. His pro-choice, pro-gun control, pro-affirmative action (without quotas) views made him less of a conservative for conservatives. I say, “the one that got away” because the only way the GOP could have ridded themselves of a second Clinton term was with Powell. They instead ran with Bob Dole and lost miserably.
Powell was their way…since then, the General has worked to cautiously steer the party, but to their reluctance, today they think of him as less of a conservative as they did then, all while he has gained more respect from the electorate. They left a man on the field; they left a man behind. Can it be anymore obvious…thats my story and um sticking to it.
If the GOP wants to win in 2016, what you are planning to do, you just can’t do. There is a path for a national victory, but on this current trajectory, you will surely step on your on feet as usual. So I put together a short list of all the things you just can’t do if you hope to know what its like to win a national election again. You do remember what a national election is right?
What You Can’t Do Is: Run on Benghazi – I know you want too and you honestly think its a good thing to keep talking about. Its going on three weeks now after the story has resurfaced for no apparent reason other than its a good retread story that makes good hearing photos. Nothing new under the sun has come to light on this horrific incident and yet you guys drive it like Ken Starr of the 90′s investigating Whitewater and Lewinsky. You have to know that this dog won’t hunt so why keep it out there?
1. Fundraising: Sure it helps raise much needed cash from your base, but unless you ever plan to discuss something else, $1 billion dollars won’t be enough, just ask Romney. Mr. Romney actually got 2 million less votes than John McCain received in 2008 against Obama. So for $1 billion dollars invested in Romney, conservatives got a lot less on their return.
2. Ignite the GOP base: Yeah, I guess you could use Benghazi for that too, but I mean really, one of the key miscalculations of the Team Romney in 2012 was underestimating the Democrats turnout operation. Instead of less, more African Americans turned out in Virginia, Colorado, Florida and Pennsylvania than anyone had ever imagined and this was know by the early exit polls on the afternoon of Election Day. It would only get worse as the day wore on.
If we include Hispanics, Women and Asians, and The Obama Rule, what initially looked like an upset for conservatives, quickly became a walk in the park for the President. Here is the fact, less republicans actually turned out to vote than democrats. Why? Romney wasn’t providing a coherent message to the base.
Another fact, Ryan easily won re-election in his Congressional district to return to Congress, but those same voters who willfully and easily returned him to Washington D.C. as their Representative were not willing to send him as their Vice President. He lost his home state for Romney which has not been done since Al Gore lost his home state of Tennessee in 2000.
What You Can’t Do Is: Run on the IRS – Again, albeit tempting, how much can you extract from this…even with more of this story still unfolding? Unless you can put the phone to Obama’s ear or the email on his desk, this will only do the two things we just identified above. Words not to use…“47 Percent”. Raising money doesn’t seem to be the issue for conservatives as long as their is a democrat in The White House so no need to chase the donors, they will come.
Republicans looking for a story should continue to investigate worthwhile leads and follow them where ever they take you. But keep in mind, Obama is not on the ballot in 2016, so running against Obama will be a futile exercise. Republicans must decide now which path they will adopt as the party leaders and wanna-be leaders fight for control internally. Democrats will actually relish the third Obama election in theory considering republicans lost the last two he actually ran in.
Chasing the IRS-big brother-anti ideology while President Obama stands next to Hillary and Bill Clinton with clasped hands raised, the proverbial “crowning” of his successor is really what you shouldn’t spend your time and donations doing.
With that said, unless you can put the phone in Hillary’s hand or the email regarding the IRS illegally pursuing conservative groups, tell me and the rest of America, precisely how you plan to ride this to victory in two and a half years? Most Americans don’t care today, exactly how are you going to make them care in two and a half years? Take a moment and get back to me on that.
What You Can’t Do Is: Run on states rights when it comes to social issues – States rights ought to be a thing of the past. Now, I know how you guys are really bent on keeping this as a part of your election platform and there is just no way to get you all to remove that, but just a word to the wise, democrats don’t hear “states rights” or “let the states decide” when their is an unpopular Governor in that state, i.e. Rick Scott of Florida, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, and Jan Brewer of Arizona.
Each of those state’s Governors are currently on the wrong side, according to their own state’s polling on key issues. Jindal refuses to expand Medicaid even when his citizen’s could benefit from it the most. His own presidential hopes keeps him from doing what is right for the people of Louisiana. Rick Scott changed his mind and will now accept the expansion which will include millions of his residents but stands in the way of his state’s election overhaul and blocks real immigration reforms. Jan Brewer in Arizona rose to the headlines with her immigration stance but seems to be a ‘one trick pony’.
States deciding is no longer a winning strategy at the national level. Sure, it will work for state races, but thats it. Words not to use…“Food Stamps” and “President” in the same sentence. You will need to develop a new response when you don’t like a particular piece of legislation or figure out another way to deflect answering it. Rick Scott will lose his next election to a guy who was once a Republican Governor in Florida, who then became an Independent to run for the Senate but lost and is now a bonafide Democrat running again for Governor…do you really want the state’s decision? You know what, think on that too and get back to us.
Decide today if you want to be a principled conservative, pushing the party platform who only campaigns to his peril or you’d rather redefine the party platform. Republicans have a path to victory but their fringe keeps them from it. Virginia just launched it Tea Party favorite as their nominee for Governor, as if the republicans needed any more trouble in the purple state. All they need is more extreme views that will make it easy for democrats to show up in the polls.
Virginia has become more moderate in recent years, so promoting an extreme candidate doesn’t seem to be the way to go…time will tell if this time around will be different. What you can’t do is expect something different when you’re doing the same things.
What You Can’t Do Is: Run against Hillary Clinton – This will be a bit tricky for you guys because she too will help your Political Action Committees raise tons of pre-election cash, but tread lightly. Run against her as a continuation of the Obama policies, but avoid women’s issues. Words not to use…”Rape”. She is the Women’s vote and the country for the most part wants to reward her for playing the good soldier for the Obama Administration. Remember those 18 million shattering pieces of glass she referred too? There are at least three times that amount now.
Now here is what seems to be the obvious things you simply just can’t do. You can’t run against Immigration reforms. In fact, if there is no new immigration policy in effect at the time of the election that your party [the republicans] have overwhelmingly supported and sponsored, this will be an albatross around your political necks. It will be viewed as an obstructionist move to prevent granting undocumented workers a path to legalization.
You can’t run against family equality although this is not in your platform, you just can’t do it if you expect to win nationally. With the majority of Americans now in support of legislation granting same sex rights, making this a part of your “not negotiable” stance won’t benefit your campaigns. Words not to use…”Family Values”. Where there is no science to support your position, stay away.
You can’t run against ObamaCare. Not because its bad politics, to the contrary. Run against the public polling because many are just not sure of what it is, run against the new bureaucracy of government and the roll it will play, but running against what is now the law of the land seems a bit stupid. Congress voted for it, the Supreme Court upheld it, and, well, its official. To not fund this law, when you say you’re a law abiding citizen just is dumb and looks petty.
You can’t continue to ignore New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Begin accepting the fact that the most popular republican Governor in the United States is the Executive of a liberal state in the north east with the highest approval rating than most democratic Governors in liberal states. Accept that you will need a photo of Mitt Romney, your previous standard bearer standing next to Christie showing a sign of unity. Today, he is your best shot and you know it. Get behind him with your dollars and you will change the conversation. His reelection in ’14 as Governor will change your mind, of this I am certain.
Hopefully some of you will take this time to further develop your policy approach on these issues considering every professional talking head, every political consultant and strategist, every pundit and columnist, every elected republican in national office over the past two years got it wrong. These guys have been taken to the woodshed in the last two national election cycles first by a rookie Senator and then by an endangered incumbent who you said was only good at giving speeches. Mitt Romney changed his position on every issue he was ever asked about, but that wasn’t the problem; the issue was he had come out hard against that position in the beginning, he became his own worst caricature. If you are still listening to these people…is something wrong with them or is something wrong with you? Thats my story and um sticking to it.
Can these statements, “I never want to have to work with Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats to get something passed”, and “…lets work to get something done on guns and immigration, we are willing to work with this President” – both come from the same person? Well, they did. The Speaker of the House, John Boehner uttered them both, but which does he really mean? In today’s realm of politics, its likely he believes both.
The Hastert Rule, named for a former Republican Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert says no Speaker should introduce a bill for a vote that doesn’t have the majority of House Republicans in support. Speaker Boehner has recently faded into the House body by permitting all the legislation thats trending in the nation to fail in the Senate, the upper chamber, first so that his House GOP caucus won’t have to decide on anything. They’ve been able to simply rattle the President’s cage while the Senate and McConnell (R-KY) carries the load.
That’s not working out as well anymore considering the U.S. Senate is nearing the framework legislation for Immigration Reform and Gun Control. So what will the Speaker do when those issues reach the House? The Hastert Rule won’t be a helpful resource considering the House GOP won’t support either, yet movement will be necessary. Boehner will need Democrats and Pelosi for both if he wants to actually “get something done”.
This week, Boehner, sensing the impending earthquake on the horizon called for unity from his party. The strong Tea Party influence and the thought of approaching midterms has emboldened the republican flank, but that sense of safety may merely be a false sense of security.
He will need to abandon the party in the coming months or stand looking like an obstructionist. If the latin community can’t see the House making an effort to get this legislation passed, it will hurt the party in the midterms and the House, with a solid majority, will pay dearly.
Party strategists “are explaining their consensus belief that the party simply has to take immigration policy off the table in order to have any chance to reach Latino voters. “I think you’re seeing a pretty concerted effort … to try to put this issue behind us” said one of the strategist.
So there it is, republicans are being guided to a place that is safe for them…nothing-ness. If they can spend their time breaking up the dems platform, they enjoy the benefits of having nothing to offer as an alternative. Its easy to say no to immigration, no to gun control and block same sex family equality if there is no plan offered as an opposing party. You see, we Americans think, there has to be an alternative, but the GOP believes an alternative is only required when they themselves believe that there is an issue requiring a plan.
Precisely the problem because while the electorate sees a problem with gun control and citizenship for undocumented workers but the GOP doesn’t see it quite the same way. To them there is no problem. To simply explain that “its” broken won’t be enough for Boehner if he hopes to retain both his Speakership and his Majority in the House. To attempt to quantify the dollars and the cents against sense won’t be sufficient in the midterms. Political theology won’t combat the harsh reality of those on unemployment and working to make their bills.
His calls for unity have not always fallen on listening ears. In January 2012 the party talked a good unity-game but when it came time to actually govern, they left their Speaker out in the cold. He was forced several times to fight his way out of a corner owned by the Obama Administration and neither time was he without bruises. His calls for unity are somewhat self serving. Boehner needs his party to support him, not their own agendas; that doesn’t seem quite likely either.
Again, in July 2011, Mr. Boehner called for unity among his caucus with regards to the deficit reduction and debt ceiling fights pre-cliff, but again, tax increases occurred and Bush Taxes expired; he was alone on that one as well. So this recent clarion call for a united front doesn’t stand to bode well unless the Speaker can find a way to get some of his rank and file to carry the “pro” banner.
He doesn’t have in the House, the Rubio’s and the Ayotte’s who are tinkering with the moderate middle on specific legislation. Rubio walks the middle on Immigration while Ayotte of New Hampshire has “evolved” on gun control with support of background checks after polling showed her tanking in her home state. Boehner needs some support in the House from those who are willing to walk the middle…right now, he has none.
The Speaker can only count on the Senate to stir the pot and keep the Tea Party at bay. Constitutionally, the authority falls to the House, the Senate was an afterthought but Boehner seems okay with letting the others push the envelop. I used to think the Speaker wanted the envelop pushed for him and his agenda, but not so. He would rather it all simply go away, but the presence of the Tea Party has made his terms as Speaker more difficult than any of his predecessors.
They enjoyed the Hastert Rule, They relished the budget debates in the 90′s between Clinton and Gingrich at a time there were no wars and entrenched terrorists, They had no Homeland Security or home grown terrorists, They controlled the electorate when the majority of the electorate were ‘white’. Being Speaker is no longer the job it used to be. Then, the Speaker of the House frequented The White House to have an audience with the President, but today, its political suicide to be seen with this President.
John Boehner said, “President Obama’s policies have not helped our economy. As a matter of fact, his policies have made our economy worse”. You may think that was a recent quote from the Speaker’s unity push, but that would only be half right. It was a quote from the Speaker’s unity push from one year ago.
The message is the same, the players are the same and they are following the same failed plan. It did not work then and it won’t work now. This echo chamber has been cut off for some time and they are no longer hearing the voice of the American people. Where we are as a nation, the base of either party is unable to move the masses. Instead, when ideas surface that resonate, people, regardless of their party affiliation, will inspire the shift those masses. Unity cannot be perceived as the Speaker would like, it will only galvanize the democrats as it did in the 2012 election.
Democrats raced to the polls because they feared the GOP Unity. Republicans have a perception problem. When Americans see unity in the Republican Party, they immediately believe the worst; thats not messaging nor is it ideology. So here’s the question for conservatives. How do you govern the whole when it is a fact that your base has withered?
How do you intend to enact your conservative vision when people don’t trust your intentions? Your base has eroded, so it seems, governing through anger, blame and distrust is working temporarily to interrupt Democrats and the President. The problem with that is this, all Americans don’t support Obama or his Administration but they respect his effort. They believe it is genuine and they give him a pass on that, but conservatives blame the media.
Here’s the question for democrats. How do you plan to govern when there are calls of unity being formed against your efforts? Dinners and beers with the President are great, but enough. The President has to lead; get out in front and lead the conversations and push the agenda. I get it…we all get it, he has to often get out on Air Force One to take his message to the people only to be criticized by the Right as the “Campaigner In Chief”…I get it. There has to be a love of the politics, and unfortunately this president doesn’t have that.
The Unification of the nation should be the goal, not the unification of the party. With midterm elections approaching, unity one way or the other will cost on of these flanks. Meaning, the ‘pro-agenda with a lean toward the middle are likely to win because they are venturing to hear the voice of the people, not just their base. McCain, Flake and Rubio are taking that approach on Immigration. Boehner himself, to the angst of his party took that stance on revenue increases this past January.
Unity that does not include working together with both parties is not real unity and the voters should continue to be worried; thus, the perception will remain. Unity that cannot operate on good faith agreement that sometimes we will disagree, but in that disagreement-we won’t harm the process…is not unity. One year away from potentially shifting majorities, one year for newbies to jock for attention, a platform and a shot, its hard to believe anyone will extend an olive branch, so there. When the Speaker doesn’t want to have to depend on dems to get anything done and republican consultants warn against supporting immigration, this sense of unity is not sincere. Thats my story and um sticking to it.
Republicans have been searching for an issue to clobber The White House with and in the past week or so, they’ve been enjoying Christmas In May with the emergence of both manufactured scandals as well as problematic connections throughout the Administration with poor decisions, troubling responses from democrats and inexcusable actions and damage control.
They have been successful at blurring the lines of factual discovery and nonsensical congressional hearings. This week we were focusing on healthcare and just as we were just about taken off message as was The White House, ta-da!, there it was, another fabricated push; a clarion call by the GOP to initiate hearings to investigate ObamaCare.
Nearly two months ago, the newly elected GOP Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz said this:
“Therefore, when the Senate votes on the Continuing Resolution, I intend to offer a “Restore Growth First” amendment which will delay funding of Obamacare. I believe we should continue to delay such funding at least until economic growth returns to historic averages, and I intend to object to consideration of any Continuing Resolution that does not include a vote to delay funding of Obamacare”.
Senator Cruz has been pushed to the forefront to carry the party’s water because quite frankly, he doesn’t have to run for re-election for another six years so his political capital from his recent election can stand the immediate hit, unlike many in leadership. Republican’s believe every problem in this country is simply because of ObamaCare. Mr. Cruz went on to say in March, “In my view, Obamacare should be fully repealed”.
If you have seen any of my posts this week, you’ll find that this behavior is not because they dislike ObamaCare, they can be credited for “Designing ObamaCare” but instead, they can’t stand to think its success may tip the electorate for generations toward democrats. At any rate, that was Mr. Cruz in March.
As of yesterday, Sen. Cruz said, “I think it’s the right position for Republicans to be taking,” Cruz said. “And I think it would be exactly the right decision to then send it back to Harry Reid and President Obama and ask if Harry Reid and President Obama are willing to try to shut the government down in order to insist that Obamacare be fully funded now even though it could well push us into a recession”.
With that said, we clearly know republicans have no intention providing funds to ensure ObamaCare is fully funded for next year. The goal was to cut off the funding and sabotage the healthcare rollout so it would kill whatever support it currently have, damaging the prospects of the legislation ever fully taking root. You see, if you can stifle the law by refusing to ensure it receives the money it should receive, that, in the view of republicans is just as good and actually repealing ObamaCare altogether.
As Mr. Cruz said, he would rather the whole country be shutdown just to prevent paying for what Congress has voted for and what the Supreme Court has ruled is the law of the land. So Mr. Cruz would prefer the “land” be torn apart instead of implementing the law. So, what does all this have to do with a manufactured scandal?
President Obama’s Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, reached out to Insurance providers, private companies and groups for help in raising funds to help fill in the cash void. Her task, to get states fully prepared for the healthcare rollout in October of this year, not January of next year. Problem, the republicans know this and are making it extremely difficult for her and the Obama Administration to get this done. Why October?
Knowing this, the President gave the okay for Secretary Sebelius to basically find the money and get this done. The Secretary said over and over that Congress was intentionally not increasing the budget to use the funds allocated to implement the law. The Secretary and the Obama Administration all know that the republicans won’t rest until the law is gutted so the Secretary went outside to find the money on her own.
What is it precisely that the republicans are accusing Secretary Sebelius of doing? She contacted outside groups to get them to contribute a nonprofit organization, Enroll America, which was created in 2011 to promote the healthcare law and encourage people to enroll in its new coverage options. This organization was always an outside group designed to publicize ObamaCare and inform Americans about the plans and the rollout. Congress was supposed to approve funds and send those funds to Enroll America, but legislators like Sen. Cruz and Orrin Hatch of Utah have made sure that didn’t happen. So the Sebelius went out to get the funding on her own and had it directed to Enroll America.
What else did she do? Absolutely nothing. So is any of this illegal? Absolutely not. Why not? According to Mrs. Sebelius’ spokesperson at HHS, Jason Young, “the secretary has been working with a wide range of stakeholders who share in the mission of getting Americans the help they need and deserve”. Mr. Young went on to say, “We have always worked with outside groups, and the efforts now ramping up are just one more part of that work.
Mr. Young mentioned a section of the Public Health Service Act that addresses the secretary’s leeway in working with nonprofit groups. According to Young, the provision says: “The Secretary is authorized to support by grant or contract (and to encourage others to support) private nonprofit entities working in health information and health promotion, preventive health services, and education in the appropriate use of health care”.
Thats from the HHS spokesman, but what are republicans saying?
1. Sen. Orrin Hatch, ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, and 10 other senators fired off a letter to Sebelius on Tuesday which stated, “Our initial reaction is that this appears at best to be an inherent conflict of interest and at worst a potentially illegal augmentation of appropriation”.
2. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said, “If the Department of Health and Human Services closely coordinates with Enroll America and other entities, then the analogy with Iran-Contra is strong”. Mr. Alexander’s spokesperson later said, <em“The fact that Congress won’t appropriate more money for Obamacare isn’t a defense”.
So if what the Secretary didn’t do anything wrong, if she hasn’t broken any laws and if there is truthfully nothing going to come of it, why are we wasting time drumming up a fake scandal? For the same reason Orrin Hatch has already said, “Moving forward, I will be seeking more information from the Administration about these actions to help better understand whether there are conflicts of interest and if it violated federal law”. The idea is to ride every issue as a way to bog down the Administration with providing “information”.
Tonight, the President will be holding a briefing on the IRS “scandal”. Earlier today, the White House released Benghazi emails while Sebelius is defending her actions to get healthcare for the millions who have been without.
Republicans are put out because they thought they had every “t” crossed and all “I’s” dotted however, Obama had another trick up his sleeves. Lets not get lost in the weeds here, Republicans will, as they have stated, stop at nothing to ensure ObamaCare does not move forward, but if it does, they will ensure it only hobbles to a full stop. This is not about providing healthcare, but instead, its about preventing Obama from getting his legislation in the hands of Americans. To create a distraction, the GOP will discuss permitting the country to shut down. Thats my story and um sticking to it.
As of this post, No illegal actions have been identified with regards to the performance of Secretary Sebelius.
As of this post, the Senate has not voted in favor of Senator Cruz’s bill to defund ObamaCare at the behest of a government shutdown.