Wednesday, July 25, 2012

One in 10 U.S. employers to drop health coverage under ObamaCare, study finds

According to a new study by Deloitte, about one in 10 employers in the U.S. plans to drop health coverage for workers as ObamaCare goes into effect over the next few years - and even more than this said they may also drop coverage over time. 

Most Americans with health insurance who are under 65 years old get coverage from their employer and most companies offer this benefit as a way of recruiting top talent. Critics of ObamaCare say the federal law will prompt more companies to drop coverage as it becomes more expensive. But some businesses may be tempted to drop coverage because the penalty is less expensive than providing coverage to employees. But you can be sure that penalty will not stay at the starting rate. The government is trying to guide people into the national plan and then they will kill business with taxes to support it. 

Those who think ObamaCare will reduce costs by expanding coverage often cite Canada as an example of a successfully run healthcare system. But a 2011 report by the Fraser Institute concluded that Canada’s healthcare system is spending at an unsustainable rate. Six of ten Canadian provinces are on track to spend half of their revenues on healthcare, according to the institute.

“We conclude that Canada’s health system produces rates of growth in health spending that are not sustainable solely through redistributive public financing,” the report stated.

In 2011, healthcare spending consumed 50 percent of revenues in Canada’s two largest provinces, Ontario and Quebec. By 2017, four more provinces — Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and New Brunswick — will spend half of their revenues on healthcare, according to the institute. Meanwhile, total federal, provincial and territorial government health spending has grown by 8.1 percent annually, while the national GDP in Canada rose by only 6.7 percent during the same period.

In response to the rapidly rising costs, provincial governments have raised taxes and rationed care, increasing patient wait times. Provincial drug plans have also more often refused to pay for most of the drugs that are certified as “safe and effective” by Health Canada. This could explain why so many Canadians cross the border to come here for real access to healthcare. Too bad that will all change if America's health system goes even remotely the way of Canada.

If our politicians had really been interested in reducing healthcare costs, why wouldn't they allow even one meaningful bit of tort reform in the Affordable Care Act? Politicians may think the Act is great (after all, look at the huge tax windfalls they're anticipating) but if it's really such a great thing for Americans, why did the politicians make sure they were exempt from having to participate in ObamaCare?

Like the old adage goes, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. It seems the only one who stands to win in the end is the government - even though that won't be sustainable for long. 

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Moments after Aurora tragedy, left can't resist exploiting Tea Party

News barely broke of this morning's terrible crime in a Colorado theater -- where a lone gunman sprayed gunfire on innocent movie goers, killing 12 and injuring many more -- but immediately ABC News' Brian Ross and George Stephanolpoulos tried to pin it on the Tea Party (just as the media tried to do when Gabrielle Giffords was shot in Arizona by a left-wing, Marxist-loving loner).

Shortly after it was revealed that the Colorado shooter's name was James Holmes, Stephanolpoulos turned to Ross during the live broadcast and said, "You found something that might be significant". Replied Ross, "Yes, there's a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado page on the Colorado Tea party site...talking about him joining the Tea Party last year. Now, we don't know if this is the same Jim Holmes. But it's Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado."

So it doesn't matter if it is the same James Holmes (which, by the way, it's not), but their mission was accomplished: Put the Tea Party in a negative light. Lest it be overlooked, notice how the first thing they researched was Tea Party websites before anything else. And, had they discovered a James Holmes active with the ACLU, does anyone really believe ABC would have reported that?

Though ABC has since apologized, it's disgusting how far the media will go to discredit any individual or any group that opposes the disastrous leftist agenda currently engulfing our country. Despite the sickening tragedy and the unimaginable, utter grief the victims' loved ones are no doubt experiencing at this very minute, if there are political points to score and a way to make the right look bad, the liberals will take any opportunity they can find to advance their cause.

No doubt the left will also use this crime to further push for the repeal of gun rights in America. But the gunman in this case already proved that laws are immaterial to those who refuse to obey them, so all the anti-gun laws in the world wouldn't have helped. However, had a law-abiding, licensed-to-carry citizen been in the theater at the time, much of this tragedy could have been stopped in its tracks.

Nobody knows what motivated Holmes to do what he did, but either using the tragedy to justify repeal of our rights or pinning it on a political grassroots movement founded specifically to restore decency and self-responsibility in America is a shameless leap to take. If you want to look for root causes for the uprising of violence we're seeing in our society, our devaluing of life in the womb through abortion would probably be a better place to start. But to take this tragedy and attempt to pin it on an innocent group for political purposes is nothing less than revolting. The only thing any of us should be doing right now is praying for the victims and their families -- and for our country, which is sorely in need of prayers itself.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

If you're successful in life, thank the government

President Obama has made it unequivocally clear what he believes: No person should be proud of their own accomplishments because it was somebody else who made it happen. Considering this is the same president who believes that perfectly healthy adults should be able to live off the public trough without having to work, is it any wonder he believes that those who do work hard and achieve success couldn't possibly have achieved it on their own? In both cases, it's simple to read between the obvious lines: this president believes only the government can provide you what you need.

In a recent "un-telepromptered" moment, the president informed us that, "if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own... somebody along the line gave you some help. Somebody invested in roads and bridges.  If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet."

In this offensive slap to hard working, successful entrepreneurs everywhere, Obama blatantly reveals the left-wing philosophy that the American dream is not based on the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness, but that we citizens are mere beneficiaries of politicians. Of course we've all had help in our lives by people in some way or another, and the government is responsible for providing basic things. But according to our president, it wasn't the liberty to pursue happiness or a strong work ethic that motivated the small-town carpenter to turn his love for building into a successful construction business. No, it must have been the government.

But when the president said that someone must have "invested in the roads and bridges" that allowed the business man to get to his place of work, he apparently forgot that those roads are funded by taxes supplied by those with jobs (jobs that our president believes you didn't get by your own hard efforts).

This is all part of Obama's ploy to convince his potential voters that people not only don't deserve their wealth, but that they didn't even earn it. Laying this scenario down makes it easier to convince his followers that the "wealthy" (aka the successful) are takers -- greedy, selfish people who don't give anything back to society. He wants his blind supporters to believe that the government taking money from one person who works hard so that politicians can give this money to someone else is fair. And the best way to convince people of that is by telling them the "wealthy" person couldn't have obtained what he did without the government's help. And after all, the government is funded by the people, so whatever the government collects, Obama's supporters feel entitled to.

Since he won't reveal any real details about his past, the only information we do have is that President Obama has never held a real job in his life. Therefore, he couldn't possibly know anything about holding a job, let alone what it takes to start a business from scratch and provide jobs for others. He knows nothing about the economy, competition, effort, personal integrity, sacrifice, duty, or honor - the very real things that define America - the virtues that make America work.

Capitalism succeeds because it is based on the voluntary exchange of goods or services for money, and because it mutually benefits the parties involved. There is no exploitation when the exchange is voluntary. But this president, this person who can point to zero real-world work experience, wants to exploit capitalism for his own political gain, and he will insult hard workers everywhere in order to do so.

Don't you think we deserve a president who believes in us? But what do you expect from a man who places more value on his own power than he does on the people who make this nation great?

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Obama's view on welfare: Able-bodied adults shouldn't have to work

At the heart of the welfare reform law of 1996 was the requirement that able-bodied adults needed to work or actively pursue employment as a condition for receiving welfare aid. It was one of the most successful domestic policy reforms of the 20th century. 

Before the reform, welfare rolls rarely declined  in the  decades since welfare was first offered. But in just four years after the 1996 welfare reform went into effect, welfare case loads were cut almost in half, employment surged and child poverty among blacks and single mothers plummeted to historic lows. The driving force behind these factors was the simple requirement in the 1996 reform law that able-bodied adults try to find work in order to receive welfare.

But because President Obama cannot abide the concept of any self-responsibility, and because he is actively pandering to any and every group that represents potential votes for his reelection bid, he allowed a directive last week from the HHS department that essentially undoes the 1996 welfare reform act's requirement that people work or seek work in order to receive public assistance.  As of this latest action, anyone who is perfectly healthy and capable can now live off the taxpayers without having to do a thing.

And in a manner that is becoming the Obama administration's hallmark trait,  the 1996 law was tweaked illegally. The reform replaced the old Aid to Families with Dependent Children - which essentially paid a woman more money for every child she had - with a new program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which created the rigorous federal work standards that states were required to implement. But Obama's directive states that the TANF work requirements will be waived or overridden by a device called a "section 1115 waiver authority" under the Social Security law (42 U.S.C. 1315). 

However, section 1115 states that “the Secretary may waive compliance with any of the requirements” of specified parts of various laws, but any provision of law that can be waived under section 1115 must be listed in section 1115 itself. The work provisions of the TANF program are contained in section 407 - which Congress deliberately did in drafting the 1996 reform law specifically to protect the work requirements from being waiveable, as they would've been if listed in section 1115. In other words, Congress did not want the welfare reform law's work requirements to be tampered with by bureaucrats.

Of the roughly 35 sections of the TANF law, only one is listed as waiveable under section 1115 -- section 402, which says that state governments must report to HHS the actions they take to comply with the many requirements established in the other sections of the TANF law. As reported in research by Robert Rector, "The authority to waive section 402 provides the option to waive state reporting requirements only, not to overturn the core requirements of the TANF program contained in the other sections of the TANF law.

"The new Obama dictate asserts that because the work requirements, established in section 407, are mentioned as an item that state governments must report about in section 402, all the work requirements can be waived. This removes the core of the TANF program; TANF becomes a blank slate that HHS bureaucrats and liberal state bureaucrats can rewrite at will."

As the 1996 law was written, no part of the Obama's administration has the authority to change it or waive the work requirements, but that is what has been done.  Since Obama has issued no opposition to this move, it seems once again that this president will do anything it takes to get the votes he so desperately wants.  By allowing the rewriting of laws at his own will - without Congress, without oversight, without public support - Obama is transforming America's identity as a nation of law. He is erasing the very fiber and foundation of our country while pushing class warfare and jealousy. And by essentially telling Americans they don't have to work in order to receive aid, he is diminishing our dignity as self-reliant people who believe in the American dream of setting a goal, working for it, and enjoying the hard-earned fruits of our labors. But in Obama's America, dependence on government is the ultimate goal, while success and hard work are things to be scorned, demeaned and resented.

These are pathetic acts of desperation by a man's shameless attempts to manipulate votes despite the costs of his actions to the American people. What a sad state we are in when the supposed leader and his followers would gladly destroy this country and the Constitution in order to win an election. One can only hope that common sense will prevail, and America will understand the damage that lies ahead if this poor excuse for a president is reelected. 

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

President's plan to tax "the wealthy" will backfire on the middle class

In 2009 President Obama told us he would wait until after the recession ended before he raised taxes. “The last thing you want to do is to raise taxes in the middle of a recession, because that would just suck up—take more demand out of the economy and put businesses in a further hole,” he said at the time.

But like most of the president's promises, he broke this one earlier this week when he announced he would extend the Bush tax cuts only for the middle class, while allowing big tax hikes on the "wealthy", which would affect about 1.2 million job creators. Increasing expenses on job providers during a stubbornly resistant recession with millions of Americans still out of work is not good timing, it's not good economics, it's not good policy.

By his own words, Obama shows a stunning lack of understanding on how things work. "I believe our prosperity has always come from an economy that’s built on a strong and growing middle class," he said, " that can afford to buy the products that our businesses sell; a middle class that can own homes, and send their kids to college, and save enough to retire on."

But therein lies the problem. With higher tax bills, the job providers are less likely to hire and more likely to downsize on the very jobs the middle class depends on to buy products, own homes and send their kids to college. 

The President's definition of what constitutes "wealthy" is in itself pretty extreme. To him, an individual making $200,000 or a family making $250,000 are what he considers wealthy. Anyone with a mortgage, mouths to feed, college tuitions to pay, clothes to buy and car payments to make would probably likely tell you that even $250,000 goes pretty fast. But to this president, it's only fair these "wealthy" people pay their "fair" share. It doesn't matter to him that this group of people is already paying the vast share of the taxes, while about 49% of lower income workers pay zero federal income taxes.

As reported by the Heritage Foundation, "President Obama is to the left of his liberal allies in Congress such as Senator Charles Schumer (D–NY) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D–CA) on the definition of the 'rich.' Schumer and Pelosi set the mark at as those making more than $1 million annually. That is five times higher than President Obama’s $200,000 mark. Apparently even they recognize the President’s plan would be too punitive on job creators (although they are still willing to stick it to the most successful job creators for the sake of class warfare)."

Beyond the President's self-declared threshold of wealth, Americans at all income levels are actually facing a $494 billion tax increase beginning January 2013 (and that's in addition to the massive ObamaCare tax that was just upheld by the Supreme Court). These tax hikes will hurt Americans at all income levels, not only directly in their pockets, but because they will slow job creation, especially among small businesses.

Even CNN just reported that Obama's tax hike on the "rich" could slow down the economy by one percent. With an economy that's barely moving at all as it is, how can even this much of a slow down possibly help the middle class? But as long as the rich are getting it socked to them, who cares how it affects the middle class, right?

President Obama repeatedly says his plan will only raise taxes on “the rich” to force them to pay their “fair share.” But a tax increase resulting in less job creation that makes it harder for unemployed Americans at all income levels to find new jobs and puts those with jobs at risk of losing them doesn't seem to be very fair. But what's most alarming is how many people in the middle class who stand to be detrimentally impacted by these tax hikes are cheering the president on to "sock it to the wealthy". Unfortunately, the non-wealthy will be the ones ending up with the black eye.

Want to see how the tax hikes will impact you?  Click here.

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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Atheist's complaint against mom and pop restaurant defies reason

An atheist - John Wolff - filed a complaint against a privately owned family restaurant for offering a 10 percent discount on Sundays to diners who bring in a church bulletin. Wolff filed the complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission against Prudhomme's Lost Cajun Kitchen in Columbia because, according to Wolff, the discount discriminates against him since he doesn't go to church.

"I did this not out of spite, but out of a feeling against the prevailing self-righteousness that stems from religion, particularly in Lancaster County," Wolff told the York Daily Record.

But since Sharon Prudhomme, an owner of the restaurant, made it clear she's not discriminating because one doesn't need to attend church to obtain a bulletin (in just about every church out there, anyone can just walk in and take one), what motives could Wolff have for this complaint other than spite?

The kicker is that Wolff doesn't even eat at the restaurant - he merely saw the discount offer posted on the restaurant's website. So, like many activist atheists, instead of letting private business owners operate as they choose, Wolff opts to cause trouble for the owner. That is what these types of atheists do. It is just another nuisance lawsuit that the ACLU will likely jump on, threaten their own lawsuits and, in general, attempt to bankrupt the restaurant owners.

The problem (for Wolff) is that there is no discrimination going on here. The restaurant would be guilty of discrimination if it charged more to those who didn’t bring in a church bulletin or if it denied service to someone for not being a church goer. But offering a discount is a way to bring in more traffic and many restaurants advertise in church bulletins because it's a convenient, cost-effective method of promoting their business. If advertising that bringing in the bulletin for a discount is wrong, then the ACLU would be very busy pursuing discrimination cases for all the discounts offered for the elderly, military members or even for kids under 12 who get to eat free. 

Getting a discount for bringing in a bulletin is no different than using any other type of coupon. You cannot get a coupon price at any restaurant or store without the coupon. Is that discrimination? No. It's marketing. Wolff is clearly attempting to stir up trouble and make a name for himself. Unfortunately his antics will tie up the courts, cost money and risk ruining it for all small mom and pop restaurants that want to practice this simple way of bringing in more business.

Like typical liberal atheists, Wolff wants everyone to believe what he believes and if they don’t he throws a tantrum to make everyone aware of his disapproval. While he is certainly entitled to his opinion, ruining things for everyone because of it - and at the expense of the most basic freedoms -- is not acceptable.

Meanwhile, Prudhomme said she has no intention of changing the discount program, which she created to bring more traffic into her restaurant on a traditionally slow day. Personally, I hope that the good people of Lancaster County will go to the restaurant in droves as a way of standing up against Wolff's self-righteous control tactics.

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Freedom and liberty: Are they becoming meaningless words?

On July 3, 1776, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail about Independence Day, saying it "will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty."

The deliverance Adams referred to was over the tyranny former citizens of England experienced under a government that exercised unlimited taxing power over its countrymen. By suggesting that thanks for escaping this tyranny should be given to God denotes a philosophy our Founding Fathers largely shared that is in complete opposition to many of today's politicians: the belief that certain rights can only come from God, not man.

As our Founding Fathers wrote in the Declaration of Independence:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness...

....that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it and to institute new government...

...we, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in general Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name and by the authority of the good people of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States...

...and for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."

The colonists formed the United States of America to establish the freedoms they lacked in England, and based America's formation on principles rooted in our Creator and the liberty that can only come from Him.

How different things are today as the concepts of liberty and freedom seem to be empty, meaningless notions in a country that increasingly looks to government as the distributor of our rights, rather than our Divine Creator. In the past several decades our government has expanded immeasurably and public schools have spent more time teaching children about the environment, racism, homosexuality and class warfare than they have about America's identity as a nation founded on the freedom that comes from God. Today's students are largely taught that America - the nation that is first to respond to other countries' needs in times of disaster and need, but the last to receive such aid in return - is a country guilty of aggression, greed, and inhumanity. Our own president apologizes for America while visiting other countries.

And, though our Founding Fathers envisioned an America free from the tyranny of oppressive taxation, last week's Supreme Court ruling on ObamaCare gave government the right to use taxation as a punishment on Americans who don't behave in a certain way. How far we've come and how far we've fallen - but how much we still have to stand up for in this great country of ours.

The Fourth of July means something that no amount of fireworks can convey. It stands for the fact that America declared independence from the oppression of another country. It celebrates the notion that our country believes in the fundamental freedoms and rights of human beings and that no government has the right to crush the individual spirit. America believes in the individual and the very principles so eloquently stated in the Declaration of Independence that support the the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness

As we face an ever more oppressive government in our own country, this year, maybe we should also let "the 4th" symbolize our refusal to accept such an un-American form of government. But it depends on how many of us still realize the importance of the freedom on which America was founded and it depends on us knowing that liberty cannot be taken for granted. It's worth celebrating and it's worth fighting for. The question is, will we? Let's hope so.

God Bless America and Happy 4th of July!