Every four years, presidential candidates talk about the enormous stakes of the coming election. But this year, it is no mere campaign platitude. In fact, rarely in American history has an election mattered more. The future of ObamaCare, the size and intrusiveness of government, tax rates, America's standing in the world, and the long-term makeup of the Supreme Court all rest on who occupies the White House for the next four years. Here are the stakes, should Obama win a second term:
Privacy: Despite repeated assurances that the ObamaCare data hub is on schedule, a government audit finds that vital security measures to protect private information likely won´t be ready by Oct. 1. The implications are profound. As far back as December 2012, Obama administration officials were insisting that the data hub at the center of the ObamaCare exchanges was nearly finished. Yet all the while, they were pushing back deadlines or missing them altogether, to the point where, unless ObamaCare´s launch is delayed, millions of people´s privacy will be at risk.
The average price for the lowest-cost ObamaCare "bronze" plan in eight states is 122% higher than the cheapest plan currently available in those states, according to an IBD analysis of rate filings and a recent Government Accountability Office report. The late July report, largely overlooked by the press, provides detailed information on insurance plans today in all 50 states, from the cheapest plans offered to a 30-year-old nonsmoker to the most expensive plans 55-year-old couples can buy. A separate report from the Maryland insurance department lists the lowest-cost "bronze" plans proposed for ObamaCare exchanges in eight states. Comparing the two
More than 76,000 workers went on the federal government´s disability program in July, according to the latest data from the Social Security administration, bringing the total number of new enrollees this year to 534,038. Although that is down somewhat from the same month last year, enrollment in the Social Security Disability Insurance program remains sharply higher than it has been historically. Since 2009, an average of about 1 million workers have gone on SSDI annually — a 31% increase from the average enrollment over the previous 10 years. As a result, a record 8.9 million workers are now collecting disability benefits
Cost-Shifting: Looks like Detroit might get a federal bailout after all, by offloading its retiree health costs onto federal taxpayers via ObamaCare. It´s a window into why Obama-Care costs will quickly spiral out of control. On Sunday, the New York Times noted that Detroit hopes to push its younger retirees who aren´t yet eligible for Medicare into the ObamaCare exchanges, where many will be eligible for subsidized insurance. Federal tax payers will pick up the tab, rather than those in Detroit.
Mea Culpa: The president is planning a major speech in Illinois Wednesday on economic policy. You don´t need a crystal ball to predict what he´ll say. But here´s what he arguably should say. My fellow Americans, eight years ago, I stood here on the steps of Knox College to deliver a commencement address, and I took the opportunity to lay out my vision for economic opportunity. The speech was an indictment of President Bush´s idea of a go-it-alone "ownership society." The key to America´s greatness, I argued, came from government programs like Social Security
President Obama complained Thursday that "despite all the evidence that the (Affordable Care Act) is working the way it was supposed to for middle-class Americans, Republicans in the House of Representatives voted — for nearly the 40th time — to dismantle it." The line, part of a talk touting all the great things ObamaCare is already doing, got a chuckle out of the audience. But what Obama didn´t say is that he himself has signed three bills that dismantled chunks of ObamaCare.
The avowed purpose of the immigration bill passed by the Senate and pending in the House is to provide a "path to citizenship" for the illegal immigrants in exchange for tough new enforcement measures that would prevent other such incursions in the future. But buried deep within the immigration bill are hidden multimillion-dollar slush funds for left-wing nonprofit groups to provide services to the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants now in the U.S. Once enacted, the slush funds would total almost $300 million over three years and grow over time.
House Republicans plan to vote this week on a bill that would delay ObamaCare´s individual mandate, adding to the one-year delay of the employer mandate the administration already announced. It´s a smart political move, since the law has never been more unpopular. A Gallup survey finds that 52% now disapprove of ObamaCare, up from 45% last November. [snip] But even if President Obama were to sign an individual mandate delay bill into law — highly unlikely — it would be largely meaningless in terms of avoiding ObamaCare´s long-term health care and budget disasters.
In September 2009, President Obama promised the country that "I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits — either now or in the future." But it turns out Obama did sign such a plan — in fact, ObamaCare could add upwards of 180 billion dimes to the deficit in its first 10 years, an IBD analysis of various official budget reports found. According to the Congressional Budget Office´s initial forecast made in March 2010, ObamaCare was supposed to cut the deficit a total of $124 billion in its first decade.
Regulation: We don´t often find ourselves agreeing with what most lawmakers say, but this week was an exception when a congressman explained why he wanted to prevent a federal ban on traditional light bulbs. "If the new energy-efficient light bulbs save money, and if they´re better for the environment, we should trust our constituents to make the choice on their own to move toward these bulbs," Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, said. "Let the market decide." Imagine that! Trust consumers. Let the market decide. A common-sense idea that expresses basic economic principles. But such simple wisdom...
The Health and Human Services Department earlier this year exposed just how vast the government’s data collection efforts will be on millions of Americans as a result of ObamaCare. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., asked HHS to provide “a complete list of agencies that will interact with the Federal Data Services Hub.” The Hub is a central feature of ObamaCare, since it will be used by the new insurance exchanges to determine eligibility for benefits, exemptions from the federal mandate, and how much to grant in federal insurance subsidies.
When Regal Entertainment Group in April blamed ObamaCare for the fact that it was cutting some of its workers’ hours, backers of the law mounted a furious backlash against the theater chain, among other things filling its Facebook page with boycott threats. “Greed and selfishness make me sick,” one of them said. [snip] Yet while private companies are getting all this unwelcome and hostile attention, local governments across the country have been quietly doing exactly the same thing — cutting part-time hours specifically so they can skirt ObamaCare’s costly employer mandate
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie holds a narrow lead among Republicans for the party’s 2016 presidential nomination, but even more GOP voters say he’s the candidate they least want to see nominated. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that Christie earns 21% support when Republican voters are asked whom they would vote for if the party’s primary in their state were held today. Florida Senator Marco Rubio runs a close second with 18% of the GOP vote, followed by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush at 16% and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul with 15% of the vote.
WASHINGTON — U.S. officials insisted Tuesday that extraordinary security measures for nearly two dozen diplomatic posts were to thwart an “immediate, specific threat,” a claim questioned by counterterrorism experts, who note that the alert covers an incongruous set of nations from the Middle East to an island off the southern coast of Africa. Analysts don’t dispute the Obama administration’s narrative that it’s gleaned intelligence on a plot involving al Qaida’s most active affiliate, the Yemen-based Arabian Peninsula branch. That would explain why most U.S. posts in the Persian Gulf are on lockdown, including the U.
Barack Obama delivered one gaffe after another in his August 6 interview with Jay Leno, but the networks that usually mock every mistake or slip of the tongue made by Republicans ignored the President´s verbal mishaps. ABC´s Good Morning America, CBS´s This Morning and NBC´s Today show, on Wednesday morning, all bypassed the chance to criticize Obama for: downplaying the threat of terrorism; falsely claiming Vladimir Putin once ran the KGB; placing the Atlantic coast cities of Savannah, Charleston and Jacksonville on the Gulf of Mexico; confusing the Winter Olympics with the Summer Olympics. First up, on the
Critics of the president are convinced that Barack Obama will do lasting damage to the U.S. I doubt it. Obama came to power in the third year of large Democratic congressional majorities. In his first referendum, he lost the House and he may soon lose the Senate; in other words, there followed a somewhat normal reaction against a majority party. Obama’s popularity rating is well below 50%, despite an obsequious media and a brilliantly negative billion-dollar campaign that long ago turned Mitt Romney into a veritable elevator-using, equestrian-marrying, canine-hating monster. In the second term, there is little
Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney jumped into the debate over the GOP’s future Tuesday night, warning congressional Republicans against forcing a government shutdown in their quest to stop President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. Romney addressed more than 200 donors on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee at a fundraiser for the New Hampshire Republican Party, staged just four miles from the vacation home where he has spent much of the summer with his family. The event was closed to the media, but his office released his prepared remarks.
The U.S. State Department issued a global alert about the terrorist threat allegedly posed by Al-Qaeda in Yemen. The USA announced the closure of its missions in the Middle East and Africa, and their example was followed by France, Britain, and Germany. However, this was only an attempt to justify the activities of the National Security Agency.Last Saturday, right after alerting of the terror threat civilians and BOLO complex ("be on the lookout") that includes law enforcement and federal officials, President Barack Obama went to play golf, and then celebrated his birthday at the presidential retreat at Camp David.
In a rare diplomatic snub, President Obama is canceling plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow next month. The decision reflects both U.S. anger over Russia´s harboring of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden and growing frustration within the Obama administration over what it sees as Moscow´s stubbornness on other key issues, including missile defense and human rights. Obama will still attend the Group of 20 economic summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, but a top White House official said the president had no plans to hold one-on-one talks with Putin while there.
Ending a war is a good thing. Killing civilians a bad thing. Deliberately targeting civilians is murder, and is never morally licit, even in pursuit of a good thing such as ending a war. The tens of thousands of Japanese non-combatants we killed 68 years ago this week with two nuclear bombs were not “collateral damage” of military strikes. They were the intended targets. We hoped that mass murder would bring the Japanese emperor to surrender. It worked, and American and Japanese soldiers’ lives were probably saved by it —
Last month we learned that Megyn Kelly was leaving her daytime anchor gig to take over a Fox News primetime slot. According to an “exclusive” Drudge Report flash this afternoon, that time slot will be 9 p.m. ET. “Superstar newswoman Megyn Kelly has landed the 9 PM slot, top sources reveal,” the Drudge Report wrote. “The shock announcement is set for later this month.” Fox’s 9 p.m. hour is currently helmed by Sean Hannity, leading to speculation over whether he could be out of a primetime gig. There are many possible outcomes from this lineup change,
A poll released Friday by Public Policy Polling found that Alaska voters would pick former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over the state´s former Republican governor, Sarah Palin, if the two women were to face off in the 2016 presidential election. Clinton led with 49 percent in the hypothetical match-up, with Palin at 40 percent, a nine-point gap. As of July 3, Republicans comprised 27 percent of the state´s registered voters and Democrats made up just 14 percent. The last time Alaskans opted for the Democrats´ presidential candidate was in 1964. Clinton trails five other hypothetical GOP candidates –
Over the last week, there has been a lot of buzz about a supposed CIA angle to the Benghazi story. Specifically, it has been alleged that a substantial number of CIA employees were on the ground in Benghazi, carrying out a mission that involved rounding up Libyan weapons and transferring them to rebels in Syria. Further, it has been reported that the CIA has leaned on its employees not to cooperate with Congressional investigations or the media, and it has been suggested that the CIA’s role in Benghazi may be related to the al Qaeda
President Obama is slated to deliver a speech later this month commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington in which Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Obama will deliver his speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial — the same place where King spoke 50 years ago. The Let Freedom Ring ceremony will be held Aug. 28. "It’s obviously a historic, seminal event in the country. It’s part of my generation’s formative memory and it’s a good time for us to do some reflection,"