The recent news on the economy, in general, and deficits, in particular, has been encouraging. Seems the clumsy blend of tax increases and reduced spending – aka the sequester – brought in more revenue and reduced spending. Funny how that works.
Earlier this month, President Obama released his fiscal year 2014 budget, which calls for $1.1 trillion in higher taxes over the next decade, cuts of $400 billion from Medicare and Medicaid, and alterations to Social Security’s benefit rate worth about $130 billion.
Robert Samuelson's fine column in the Washington Post, “America the retirement home,” argues that “The budget debate’s central reality is that federal retirement programs, led by Social Security and Medicare, are crowding out most other government spending,” and that this is endangering the other important functions of government, including defense:
It’s an old basketball adage that teams that apply a full-court press don’t like to be pressed themselves. They like to force the action, not have it forced on them. In a similar vein, those who seek to centralized power by spearheading the passage of new federal laws generally don’t like to obey those laws themselves. Laws are something for other people to dutifully obey — less important people.
Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan knocked President Barack Obama for "shadowbox[ing] a straw man" in his inaugural address. Speaking Tuesday morning on the Laura Ingraham Radio Show to guest host Raymond Arroyo, Ryan responded to Obama's statement that Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security "do not make us a nation of takers, they free us to take the risks that make this country great."
Ryan called Obama's insinuation that he and other reform-minded Republicans consider recipients of these benefits "takers" a "switcheroo."
Among the many items bundled into the fiscal cliff fix there was another delay in implementing cuts to physician payments for Medicare services. It wasn't hard, though. Congress has had plenty of practice handling what is called the "doc fix," since it has been doing it almost routinely for the last decade.
Journalist Bob Woodward explained this morning on CBS that "there's a civil war in the Democratic party":
"There's a civil war in the Democratic party," said Woodward. "You had Nancy Pelosi on, saying, oh, we're not going to change the eligibility age for Medicare. And down at the White House they very much want to do that."
One problem with the unearned income Medicare contribution tax is the name Congress chose for it, which is a triple misnomer. The income that will be subject to the tax isn’t unearned -- it is earned by savers who receive market rewards for delaying consumption and providing funds to finance business investment.
Many states are wisely signaling that they aren’t interested in doing the Obama administration’s bidding on Obamacare. As a result, many if not most of Obamacare’s insurance exchanges — the heart of the beast — will have to be set up and run by the Obama administration at the federal level.
First off, it’s not a “fiscal cliff.” What we’re slated to hit as of New Year’s Day, as the Wall Street Journalnotes, is a tax cliff. Our fiscal cliff, which drops off into a far deeper canyon, is what looms because of our $16,000,000,000,000 debt and the runaway entitlement spending that fuels it — Medicare, Medicaid, (and now) Obamacare. In truth, the debt deal passed in the summer of 2011 — which the press now says we must scrap if we are to avoid the “fiscal cliff” — was designed to postpone our going over the (actual) fiscal cliff.
At Real Clear Politics, Tom Bevan and Carl Cannon rightly note that “[Mitt] Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan cheered fiscal and social conservatives within the Republican Party and provided a much needed shot in the arm for Romney’s campaign.”
Politicowrites that Nancy Pelosi’s “drive to regain the [House] majority for Democrats is on the verge of a complete collapse.” It adds, “Democrats are expected to pick up five seats at best — a fraction of the 25 they need. On the eve of the election, some party officials are privately worried that Democrats might even lose ground and drop one or two seats to the Republican majority.” Why? In large part because Obamacare continues to haunt the Democrats, while the Democrats’ Mediscare campaign has fallen flat.
Several months ago, President Obama’s Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, initiated the Senior Swindle, an $8.35 billion ploy (far more than either presidential campaign will raise this year) to hide the effects of Obamacare’s Medicare Advantage cuts from seniors until after the election.