What happens when you reduce hyper-regulation? This.
The 2010 electoral wave carried in Republican Governor Paul LePage and a GOP legislature, and they took modest steps to deregulate the insurance market.
The returns are now rolling in for the new coverage that can be offered starting on July 1, and premiums are falling by as much as 69% for Maine's dominant insurer, Anthem.
According to the Maine Bureau of Insurance, a married couple age 40 to 44 with one child will pay $1,919 a month for a policy with a $2,250 deductible in 2013 if they choose to re-up their current policy. If the same family switches to the new health plan, or buys the plan for the first time, their premium will fall to $920, a 52% decrease. A couple over 60 could buy the same policy for $1,290, down from $2,466 under the old system. Or a young adult 25 to 29 could buy a high $10,000 deductible plan for catastrophic expenses for $232, previously $665.
I reiterate a question I have often asked in the past. Why does it seem that liberals are for choice when it comes to abortion - and not for almost everything else? Take away the heavy regulation, and people can craft health plans that work for them and are vastly more affordable.
When Mitt Romney came to an inner-city charter school here Thursday to promote his new education agenda, he received something of a history lecture about the persecution of blacks in America and the struggles of African American children to meet the academic achievements of their white counterparts.
But here in the streets of West Philadelphia, the emotion surrounding his contest with the nation’s first black president was raw, as dozens of neighborhood residents shouted, “Get out, Romney, get out!”
Romney arrived at Universal Bluford Charter School aboard his logo-emblazoned campaign bus and began his morning visit by meeting school and civic leaders at a formal roundtable session. “I come to learn, obviously, from people who are having experiences that are unique and instructive,” he said.
Residents, some of them organized by Obama’s campaign, stood on their porches and gathered at a sidewalk corner to shout angrily at Romney. Some held signs saying, “We are the 99%.” One man’s placard trumpeted an often-referenced Romney gaffe: “I am not concerned about the very poor.”
Madaline G. Dunn, 78, who said she has lived here for 50 years and volunteers at the school, said she is “personally offended” that Romney would visit her neighborhood.
“It’s not appreciated here,” she said. “It is absolutely denigrating for him to come in here and speak his garbage.”
So, the Obama campaign conspires to make it difficult for his opponent to even be heard, and political activitsts are presented in the news as mere neighborhood volunteers. Would anyone like to bet that if Romney makes no efforts to become involved and learn more about poverty and minority communities, that he would be excoriated for that? If you value your cash, I advise you do not take such bets....
That Filip Müller, a Slovakian Jew, survived to write this essential Holocaust document is statistically quite astonishing. He was deported in April 1942 to Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest of Germany's six death camps. More than a million Jews were murdered there. A month after arriving, he was made to work in the camp's Sonderkommando unit. The SS regularly liquidated these work crews, yet Müller somehow survived. To read his account is to gain an insight into the mechanics and relentlessness of the killing process. "I had come to believe that there were no human feelings left inside me," Müller writes, but then he sees his father's corpse on a trolley in the crematorium. "While my team-mate recited the Kaddish my soul mourned in pain and grief. As the flames busily devoured the mortal remains of my father, the words of the traditional prayer gave me solace."
War is a terrible thing. Sometimes, however, it is most necessary - and far superior - to what is being fought.
Today, I think of all the soldiers from all times in all places who have fought to right wrongs - and I applaud them.
Tomorrow, I will be playing bridge - as I have been since last Monday. And on Memorial Day, I'll be working and spending time with friends and catching up around the house .... All activities I am able to do and enjoy because of people who serve in our military.
For many, they return home after their service, to unite with their families and return to their jobs. For some, however, their trip home is their last.
Monday, please think of the people who make the ultimate sacrifice for us. I assuredly shall be thinking of them - and be eternally grateful.
You'd think the largest legal action in American history in defense of religious liberty would be a major news story. But ABC, CBS and NBC don't judge news events by their inherent importance as relates to the future of our freedoms. They deliver the news according to a simple formula: Does it or doesn't it advance the re-election of Barack Obama?
If it doesn't, it isn't news.
On May 21, 43 Catholic dioceses and organizations sued the Obama administration over its ridiculously narrow idea of how a "religious institution" can be defined under the Obamacare law. Never has the Catholic Church -- or any order, for that matter -- undertaken something of this magnitude. It's truly jaw-dropping that ABC and NBC completely ignored this action on their evening newscasts, while "CBS Evening News" devoted just 19 seconds to this historic event.
This was a deliberate and insidious withholding of national news to protect the "Chosen One" who ABC, CBS and NBC have worked so hard to elect and for whom they are now abusing their journalistic influence. Even when CBS mentioned the suit -- ever so briefly -- like so many others, they deliberately distorted the issue by framing it as a contraception lawsuit when it is a much broader religious freedom issue -- and they know it.
Democratic political operatives have been furious in their denunciations of author Ed Klein and his new book The Amateur, a biography of President Obama which relies heavily (although not entirely) on anonymous sources to paint a highly unflattering picture of its subject.
Supposedly, journalists care primarily about a good story more than anything else. And Klein’s book certainly has them, including secret feuds between First Lady Michelle Obama and TV billionaire Oprah Winfrey as well as tales of former president Bill Clinton privately bashing Barack Obama as an “amateur.” Unfortunately for Klein, however, he is being almost totally ignored by the elite media.
According to a Nexis search of television news transcripts, not one of them has interviewed him on-air. His name hasn’t even been mentioned by ABC, CBS, CNN, or NBC. MSNBC gave him a tiny mention in a segment condemning conservatives for opposing Obama but didn’t talk about him except in passing.
“’The Amateur’ by Edward Klein is a book about an inept, arrogant ideologue who maintains an absurdly high opinion of his own talents even as he blatantly fails to achieve his goals. Oh, and President Obama is in this book, too.”
I am old enough to remember when many journalists were fierce reporters of the news and did their utmost to be even handed. Perhaps I will live long enough to return to such a time once again.
It's hard to imagine a more instructive couple of days for those who want to know where the Democratic Party's head is at: its only high-profile African American moderate just got a brushback pitch for leaning in too close to the Independent thought zone; the Obama camp looks ominously like a cult of personality that tolerates no dissent; and the reelection campaign just doubled down on the European leftist notion that business is fair only when it operates in a sanitized, risk free manner.
And note; this is not from someone on the far right. This is a respected former black congressman at Harvard's Kennedy School of Politics.
The CTA’s most important resource, however, isn’t a pool of workers ready to strike; it’s a fat bank account fed by mandatory dues that can run more than $1,000 per member. In 2009, the union’s income was more than $186 million, all of it tax-exempt. The CTA doesn’t need its members’ consent to spend this money on politicking, whether that’s making campaign contributions or running advocacy campaigns to obstruct reform. According to figures from the California Fair Political Practices Commission (a public institution) in 2010, the CTA had spent more than $210 million over the previous decade on political campaigning—more than any other donor in the state. In fact, the CTA outspent the pharmaceutical industry, the oil industry, and the tobacco industry combined.
All this money has helped the union rack up an imposing number of victories. The first major win came in 1988, with the passage of Proposition 98. That initiative compelled California to spend more than 40 percent of its annual budget on education in grades K–12 and community college. The spending quota eliminated schools’ incentive to get value out of every dollar: since funding was locked in, there was no need to make things run cost-effectively. Thanks to union influence on local school boards, much of the extra money—about $450 million a year—went straight into teachers’ salaries. Prop. 98’s malign effects weren’t limited to education, however: by essentially making public school funding an entitlement rather than a matter of discretionary spending, it hastened California’s erosion of fiscal discipline. In recent years, estimates of mandatory spending’s share of the state’s budget have run as high as 85 percent, making it highly difficult for the legislature to confront the severe budget crises of the past decade.
In 1991, the CTA took to the ramparts again to combat Proposition 174, a ballot initiative that would have made California a national leader in school choice by giving families universal access to school vouchers. When initiative supporters began circulating the petitions necessary to get it onto the ballot, some CTA members tried to intimidate petition signers physically. The union also encouraged people to sign the petition multiple times in order to throw the process into chaos. “There are some proposals so evil that they should never go before the voters,” explained D. A. Weber, the CTA’s president. One of the consultants who organized the petitions testified in a court declaration at the time that people with union ties had offered him $400,000 to refrain from distributing them. Another claimed that a CTA member had tried to run him off the road after a debate on school choice.
Please note that I am not anti-union, and I assuredly am not anti-teacher. Some of my teachers have been an incredibly positive force in my life. And unions have contributed in a meaningful and good way to employment in our country.
Nevertheless, this union and this union's history - and its actions today - are poisonous. Read the entire column, and you will appreciate why this is so.
A short morning quiz. Who are the racists who made these statements below?
As far as that stuff, I have to say from a very personal level, I’m not about to sit here and indict private equity. It’s—to me, we’re just getting to a ridiculous point in America. Especially, I know, I live in a state where pension funds, unions and other people are investing in companies like Bain Capital. If you look at the totality of Bain Capital’s record, they’ve done a lot to support businesses, to grow businesses; this to me, I’m very uncomfortable.
I do think to pick out an example of somebody who lost their job unfortunately, this is part of capitalism. This is part of life. And I don’t think there’s anything Bain Capital did that they need to be embarrassed about.
What happens when you use other people's money to buy things and services? This.
Nobody told Hurricane librarian Rebecca Elliot that the $22,600 Internet router in the branch library's storage closet was powerful enough to serve an entire college campus.
Nobody told Elliot how much the router cost or who paid for it. Workers just showed up and installed the device. They left behind no instructions, no user manual.
The high-end router serves four public computer terminals at the small library in Putnam County.
The state of West Virginia is using $24 million in federal economic stimulus money to put high-powered Internet computer routers in small libraries, elementary schools and health clinics, even though the pricey equipment is designed to serve major research universities, medical centers and large corporations, a Gazette-Mail investigation has found.
The state purchased 1,064 routers two years ago, after receiving a $126 million federal stimulus grant to expand high-speed Internet across West Virginia.
The Cisco 3945 series routers, which cost $22,600 each, are built to serve "tens of thousands" of users or device connections, according to a Cisco sales agent. The routers are designed to serve a minimum of 500 users.
Yet state broadband project officials directed the installation of the stimulus-funded Cisco routers in West Virginia schools with fewer than a dozen computers and libraries that have only a single terminal for patrons.
Do you think this is a good use of public resources? If these were your own funds, do you think you might do a better job of managing them?
If your answers are "no" and "yes" respectively - then perhaps we need different politicians in office, judging how to spend the public's money. Just a thought.
For quite some time now, I've come to believe that our national obsession with race makes race relations worse; it does not improve them.
Yesterday, a Facebook friend of mine (and actual real friend!) posted something about the headline regarding a change in the racial composition of babies being born in the U.S. For the first time, Caucasian babies are a minority. There was much discussion following as to what language to use to describe this. Indeed, if "minority" babies are now being born at a higher rate than "white" babies - what terminology should be used?
My friend happens to be black, very liberal and very involved with all the attendant issues for those who have such a mindset. After I made a comment that I thought all of us were "people of color" - including lightly flesh colored me - I was excoriated by some. Although I am quite certain my skin color is not white like my kitchen cabinetry, I was told in no uncertain terms that I am not a "person of color". Morever, it is offensive of me to refer to myself that way.
One way or another, he's been lying about his nation of origin. (Though it's been many years since I've studied or taught logic, I certainly am aware that he either was born in Kenya - or was not. Can't be both. Yet, Obama has promoted himself as being born in Kenya when it suited him - and denied that it was true when it suited him, too.)
Would you hire President Obama as your financial adviser? Three years ago his administration invested more than $100 billion in taxpayer money to bail out General Motors. On Tuesday, the entire company, not just what the government owns, was worth less than $34 billion. By anyone’s definition, that investment is a glaring failure. Yet over the last few days the Obama campaign, in a $25 million marketing blitz, has flooded the airwaves with ads in battleground states, claiming the bailout should be counted a rousing success.
Unfortunately, assertions that “all loans have been repaid to the federal government,” that the bailout “saved more than one million American jobs,” that “U.S. automakers are hiring hundreds of thousands of new workers,” that GM is again the “number-one automaker” — all are based on creative accounting.
Do read the whole column, then decide for yourself whether or not GM is really a "success story" for this administration.
I have always maintained that the President would have made a fine actor. We've seen him do it for more than a few years now.
Personally, I'm hoping that he can retire at the beginning of next year - and pursue his true calling full time.
Two months ago, Congress voted down the "Obama budget" by a vote of 414-0. Today, the Senate chimed in. The result was just as definitive. Final outcome, between the Congress and the Senate, a grand total of zero votes were cast for the Obama budget... and a mere 513 against.
President Obama's budget suffered a second embarrassing defeat Wednesday, when senators voted 99-0 to reject it.
Coupled with the House's rejection in March, 414-0, that means Mr. Obama's budget has failed to win a single vote in support this year.
Republicans forced the vote by offering the president's plan on the Senate floor.
Democrats disputed that it was actually the president's plan, arguing that the slim amendment didn't actually match Mr. Obama's budget document, which ran thousands of pages. But Republicans said they used all of the president's numbers in the proposal, so it faithfully represented his plan.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, Alabama Republican, even challenged Democrats to point out any errors in the numbers and he would correct them — a challenge no Democrats took up.
In 2008-2009, I advised Sen. David Vitter, the Republican from Louisiana on the Senate Banking Committee, that protecting the public meant we must end the notion that some banks and companies are "too big to fail" and must be bailed out by the taxpayers. Mr. Vitter proposed legislation that required all banks to hold more capital, and large banks to hold proportionally more capital per dollar of assets than smaller banks. Congress quickly dismissed his proposal. Regulators are protecting banks from competition instead of protecting the public from paying for losses.
The U.S. economy can't grow unless investors are free to finance risky assets. Our future will be much poorer if we convert the banking system into an ever more heavily regulated group of companies.
During America's booms following the Civil War and World War I, commercial banks served as both commercial and investment banks. For safety they held much more capital per dollar of assets. In the 1920s, capital ratios for large New York banks ranged from 15% to 20% of assets. Stockholders took losses, but none of the major New York banks failed during the Great Depression.
Experience shows that regulation is an inadequate substitute for bank capital. Scrutiny failures by the Securities and Exchange Commission left investors in the Madoff and Stanford funds with huge losses. Regulation failed to protect the public.