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Posts Tagged ‘Reform’
July 2nd, 2014 at 6:22 pm
An Energy Policy that Creates Jobs and Prestige

“By boosting our energy production, the U.S. could restore its diminishing influence in the world without expending blood and treasure – in fact, we would reap major economic benefits,” writes Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA).

Nunes is an up-and-coming member of the House Ways and Means Committee and is known for thinking big on how to use tax reform as a means to reestablish American leadership in the global economy.

Rationalizing our energy policy would go a long way too.

Thanks to improvements in technology large, untapped domestic oil and natural gas reservoirs are now reachable. States like North Dakota, Texas and Oklahoma are moving to capitalize, while huge potential awaits enterprising politicians and businesses in California and Colorado.

The benefits are many. More energy production means more jobs in extracting, refining and shipping. For example, an entry-level rig worker in North Dakota averages about $66,000 a year, while the average oil industry job in the state was $112,462 as of 2012. That also means more jobs for people serving workers flush with disposal income.

There’s also a national security angle. With Iraq’s oil fields under siege by Islamic militants, Venezuela constantly swayed by demagogic collectivists and Russia threatening to cut off natural gas shipments, it’s time for the United States to take the steps necessary to ensure greater energy independence.

Unsurprisingly, Nunes wants President Barack Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, as well as implement other measures to put the nation in a game-changing position. Of course, that isn’t happening unless Obama adopts Bill Clinton’s triangulation strategy.

Don’t hold your breath.

Still, Nunes makes a compelling case for using national energy policy as a way to improve both our domestic economy and global prestige.

It’s an angle that economically recessed, war-weary Americans might soon embrace.

April 7th, 2014 at 7:12 pm
Tech Industry May Cut a Deal on Immigration, Killing Gang of Eight Bill

With the Senate’s Gang of Eight bill dead-on-arrival in the House of Representatives, the tech industry may be ready to break ranks and cut a deal.

So far, Silicon Valley – one of the wealthiest segments backing comprehensive immigration reform – has held out hope that their goal of expanding H-1B visas for foreign-born workers will come to fruition when House Republicans finally get around to passing the Senate’s bill.

But with the Gang’s bill looking less and less likely to get even a vote in the House, immigration’s tech supporters are exploring other options. The announcement came in the form of an op-ed published by the leader of Compete America, the industry’s immigration-focused political action committee. In it he called on both houses of Congress to pass the SKILLS Act, which would give Compete everything it wants, but would also leave its members with no real reason to stay in Washington pushing for the rest of the Senate’s bill.

That possibility drew a swift rebuke from Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), who wrote in a letter to Compete America, “I am troubled by recent statements suggesting that some in the technology industry may shift their focus to passage of stand-alone legislation that would only resolve the industry’s concerns.”

The daylight emerging between the tech industry and its comprehensive immigration reform allies presents an opportunity to House Republicans, says Byron York. “If the House were to pass H-1B expansion, the GOP would win support from at least some in the tech world. And Democrats would be standing in the way of admitting more high-skilled workers into this country.”

Liberals like Durbin know that the only way to legalize a controversial pathway to citizenship is to hold hostage popular reforms like expanding the H-1B visa pool. This turn of events may be just what House Republicans need to make that ploy crystal clear.

February 24th, 2014 at 2:23 pm
After ObamaCare: More Insurance, Less Health?

Pay now or pay later.

That’s the choice facing millions of Americans required by Obamacare’s individual mandate to select a health insurance plan through a state or federal exchange.

Insurance companies like Aetna, Humana and Blue Cross and Blue Shield who are participating on various exchanges report that the most popular choices among consumers are middle-of-the-road “silver” plans that typically offer moderate premiums but high deductibles and coinsurance.

Deductibles require policyholders to pay all of the cost for medical care up to  a certain threshold before the insurance company assumes responsibility, while coinsurance commits the policyholder to paying a certain percentage for the cost of medication. (Co-pays, on the other hand, are capped at a flat amount.)

The increased costs are likely to reduce the number of doctor and hospital visits as consumers become choosier. “When deductibles and co-payments are high, patients tend to think twice about their health care purchases, making them more likely to shop around for the best deal,” says health policy expert Bruce Japsen.

Indeed, basic economic theory teaches that knowing the price of something impacts a person’s behavior significantly. But while this may help people who would otherwise overuse health care to scale back, it can – and most likely will – have the effect of convincing people to underuse necessary treatment options for fear of the cost. Thus, we could end up with more people covered by health insurance but a more unhealthful population.

One of the key policy battles on the horizon is how to harness this new transparency in health care prices. Liberals will likely want to subsidize health care until they can socialize the entire industry. Conservatives will be predisposed to favor a market-based solution. But simply repealing Obamacare and its disastrous tax on medical devices, among others, and saying “let the market figure it out” won’t be enough – especially in a campaign context.

Some conservatives may favor working within the system to incent both consumers and health care companies to better align need and cost. Others may prefer to explore deregulating parts of the industry, such as allowing physician assistants and qualified nurses to do more of the work of a doctor while still under supervision (perhaps remotely via technology). These and other ideas need to be deliberated on intensely now so that conservatives aren’t caught off-guard when the electorate is ready for an Obamacare alternative. If not, we’ll all pay dearly for lacking a consensus at the moment we need it most.

January 29th, 2014 at 3:09 pm
Economists’ Fear: ObamaCare Consolidates Health Care, Raises Price

“Health economists worry that mergers could end up increasing what you pay. Hospital systems can often negotiate higher rates with insurers for the same care,” says a report at CNN Money.

The mergers in question are the result of an incentive structure within Obamacare that gives financial rewards to doctors and hospitals that create “Accountable Care Organizations” (ACOs) that, according to the report, “coordinate treatments with the goal of delivering quality care for less.”

In order to increase their eligibility for ACO benefits, hospitals across the country are scooping up individual and small group medical practices. The reason this may be bad for patients is that mergers allow hospitals to increase their market share, giving them greater leverage to negotiate higher rates with insurance companies. Cigna, a health insurance company, has seen bills for routine procedures spike 300 percent to 500 percent after a hospital acquires a practice.

Of course, those increased costs are passed on to patients, many of whom may not realize it until they get hit with a new “facility fee” that tacks on $75 to $150 for a routine visit.

One would think that a program designed to deliver “quality care for less” would pass on the savings to the patient. Instead, it looks like patients will pay more while the federal government rewards hospitals for cornering the market.

January 28th, 2014 at 4:36 pm
GOP Senators Unveil ObamaCare Alternative

Yesterday, three senior Republican Senators introduced a set of ideas that could eventually turn into the upper chamber’s Obamacare alternative.

The proposal – coauthored by Senators Tom Coburn (Oklahoma), Richard Burr (North Carolina) and Orrin Hatch (Utah) – is a welcome companion to the repeal and reform plan put forward by the House Republican Study Committee (RSC).

The plans share some important elements. Both would repeal Obamacare (though the Senate plan would reinstate certain Medicare changes). Both limit medical malpractice awards in an attempt to cut down on junk lawsuits. And both would increase access to various tax-shielded vehicles like Health Savings Accounts.

An interesting divergence is over whether to allow consumers to purchase health insurance across state lines. The RSC bill does, while the Coburn-Burr-Hatch proposal does not. If allowed, consumers would have more choices, including access to cheaper out-of-state plans for those living in high regulation states.

On the other hand, there is the possibility that insurance companies might cluster in a low-regulation state, leading to a domino effect where all states cut back on coverage requirements or risk losing companies to more business-friendly states. Stripped down health insurance is fine for young and healthy people, but hardly adequate for older and sicker persons. If enough people are priced out of the market, expect the liberal solution to be expanding government programs to cover them.

We know, because that’s one of the arguments liberal defenders of Obamacare used to justify its passage. As Republicans deliberate on how best to reform Obamacare after it’s repealed, figuring out a way to avoid that trap should be high on the priority list.

January 6th, 2014 at 3:53 pm
GOP’s ACA Alternative is Here

I’ll add an Amen to what our friend Quin Hillyer preaches at National Review Online today.

Quin writes convincingly about the opportunity Republicans have to take control of Congress by uniting behind the Obamacare alternative proposed by the House Republican Study Committee (RSC).

The short, snappy piece is worth reading in its entirety, but here I want to draw attention to two points I’m glad Quin made. First, there must be an agreement among the DC GOP leadership to adopt the RSC’s framework for reform. Doing so would commit the party to a conservative version of reform that, as Quin demonstrates, will be an easy sell during the campaign season.

Second, that this strategic decision must be joined to an equally unified agreement to abandon any version of comprehensive immigration reform this year. Just as Obamacare is an internally divisive issue among Democrats, so too is immigration reform among Republicans. In a year where Obamacare is already the dominant issue, there is no reason for Republicans to voluntarily drive a wedge between their members on immigration by reviving an issue that’s currently dead. Instead, GOP leaders should try to divide and conquer the Democrats with votes on Obamacare alternatives they can’t afford to oppose.

Conservatives at the RSC have put forward a viable plan. It’s up to GOP leaders to decide whether they want to spend 2014 defeating Democrats, or fighting their own members.

November 9th, 2013 at 4:02 pm
Latest Obamacare ‘Fix’ Could Cost Billions

Another day, another leaked attempt to make an end-run around Congress.

In the wake of the widespread insurance policy cancellations forcing individuals onto Obamacare exchanges, Obama administration officials are letting it be known that they are working on an “administrative fix” that would somehow provide financial relief for those affected that don’t qualify for federal subsidies to offset the health law’s higher premiums.

This trial balloon seems to be the necessary corollary to President Barack Obama’s promise Thursday night “to work hard to make sure that [people losing their individual policies] know we hear them and we are going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this.”

Even if that means rewriting the law without Congress, and exploding the cost of Obamacare.

As written, Obamacare subsidies are capped at 400 percent of the federal poverty line, which translates into an annual income of no more than $46,000 per year for an individual.

But, “In June 2009, the CBO evaluated a draft proposal from the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee that offered subsidies as high as 500 percent of the federal poverty level,” writes Philip Klein.

“In the period from 2014 through 2019 alone, CBO estimated that the exchange subsidies would cost $1.2 trillion.” Dropping the cut-off level to 400 percent of FPL reduced the cost estimate to $458 billion over the same six year period.

If the Obama administration elects to go this route, Klein says expect to see another famous presidential pledge come under fire: “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits – either now or in the future. I will sign if it adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future, period.”

November 1st, 2013 at 4:33 pm
New Research Confirms Need for Corporate Tax Reduction and Reform
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

The United States keeps shooting itself in the proverbial foot with our foolishly high and complex corporate tax rate.  Fully 31 of the world’s 34 leading economies have lowered their corporate tax rates since 1997 alone, but the U.S. is not among them.  Consequently, as all other competitor countries lower their rates, corporations flee for better shores, never to return.  And with those corporations go critical American jobs.

Maintaining a federal corporate tax rate of 35% in addition to various state corporate taxes – the highest in the developed world – doesn’t just impede American businesses.  The code is also riddled with Byzantine loopholes that warp decisionmaking and dictate winners and losers.  And contrary to popular myth, most of those loopholes aren’t accessible to most companies.  To the contrary, new research by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) reveals that the effective tax rate for corporations was 36.2% from 2004 – 2010.  Stripping out many of the false assumptions of the GAO report that claimed an effective U.S. rate of approximately 13%, the PwC report is a devastating indictment of our tax code that highlights its unfair and punitive nature.

Our economy continues to struggle, and with so much regulatory uncertainty and chaos in Washington it would be nice to focus on something on which everyone sees eye-to-eye.  Reforming the corporate tax rate is precisely that sort of bipartisan solution, something widely acknowledged by both sides as the correct move.  Even President Obama, whose policies have done so much to impede economic and job growth, has gone out of his way to emphasize that reality.  We simply must reduce corporate tax rates and reform our tax code so that our economy isn’t permanently crippled by it.  Although pronouncements of the downfall of the United States are greatly exaggerated, it would be wise for us to avoid heading down that path due to outdated corporate tax policies that nobody supports.

The time for reduction and reform is now, before it really is too late.

September 26th, 2013 at 4:52 pm
Senate Dem Backs Individual Mandate Delay

Referring to a yearlong delay in imposing ObamaCare’s individual mandate, Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat of West Virginia, told Bloomberg, “There’s no way I could not vote for it. It’s very reasonable and sensible.”

Indeed, it is. Conservative health policy experts James Capretta and Yuval Levin make a persuasive case on the merits for doing so. The core of their argument: It’s just plain fair.

Ever since the Obama administration decided to delay the employer mandate for a year Republicans have argued that the same relief should be extended to individuals and families.

Putting a one-year delay of the individual mandate into each of the next “must-pass” bills would give Republicans in Congress the leverage they need to put Democrats on the record.

Is shutting down the government more important than treating families at least as good as businesses? Is raising the debt ceiling?

If liberals want to bring government to a standstill to defend discrimination, let them.

Chances are, if Republicans pursue this strategy more red state Democrats like Manchin will also come to see the GOP’s delay proposal as “very reasonable and sensible.”

As Manchin points out, “If you know you couldn’t bring the corporate sector, you gave them a year, don’t you think it’d be fair?”

Sounds good to me, Senator. Time to convince a few more members of your caucus.

September 24th, 2013 at 6:35 pm
ObamaCare’s Employer Mandate Delay is Purely Political

Sarah Kliff, a liberal health policy blogger at Wonkblog, explains why the Obama administration won’t delay the individual mandate like it has other elements of ObamaCare.

“…all the delays so have one thing in common: They erased political headaches for the law while barely denting the number of people that the health overhaul will cover in 2014,” writes Kilff. “The delays Republicans are asking for now would cause major political and substantive headaches for the law while sharply reducing the number of people it covers.”

The political headaches Kliff alluded to include vociferous opposition by businesses to the employer mandate. That’s because, once implemented, the employer mandate – the requirement to provide government-approved health insurance on any firm employing 50 or more full-time workers or pay a fine – will very likely result in shedding jobs to avoid compliance costs.

“This predictable employer response is a very good reason to want to postpone the mandate until after the midterm,” wrote Walter Russell Mead said when the employer mandate delay was announced this summer. “Nobody wants to run as an ally of the job-killing President whose policies led your voters’ employers to dump their health insurance.”

It’s both refreshing and appalling to see an ObamaCare cheerleader like Kliff admit that the only kind of acceptable delays are the ones that politically advantage the Obama administration.

No wonder opponents see the only real solution to ObamaCare’s metastasizing problems as repealing and starting over.

September 23rd, 2013 at 5:31 pm
Senate Immigration Bill to Help Illegals Convicted of Other Crimes

Here’s the immigration reform version of “we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.”

Speaking to attendees at the Congressional Black Caucus’s annual conference, Esther Olavarria, the White House’s director of immigration reform, highlighted some provisions of the Senate’s bill that she would like the public to ignore.

Making it easier for illegal immigrants convicted of crimes to stay in the country got special attention.

In Olavarria’s telling, the Senate bill reverses a 1996 law that says any criminal conviction can serve as the basis for deportation. The new language would exempt convictions followed by a suspended sentence, meaning that deportation would not be an option if the offender gets probation instead of jail time.

Bear in mind, the conviction referred to is for a crime separate from illegally entering the country.

Thus, if passed, the Senate bill would not only excuse the foundational illegality of unlawfully entering the country, it would further protect from prosecution those who have been convicted, but not yet served jail time.

But if you haven’t heard about this controversial change in law, Olavarria explains why.

“We haven’t played [them] up because we want to be able to maintain them as we go through the legislative process,” she told the conference attendees. “The bill has a number of other important provisions that have stayed under the radar, and we’d actually like to keep them under the radar.”

That’s because the White House knows it can’t win an open and honest debate about granting illegal immigrants not one, but (at least) two free passes when it comes to breaking the law.

This subterfuge is yet another reason to scrap the Senate’s bill and start over.

H/T: The Daily Caller

August 28th, 2013 at 4:54 pm
The ObamaCare Delay that Could be Fatal

No, I don’t mean news of yet another delay in the controversial health law’s implementation – this time a Reuters report that the Health and Human Services department is pushing back by two weeks its timetable for finalizing deals with health insurance companies.

I mean today’s announcement that former President Bill Clinton is being tasked with explaining what’s so great about ObamaCare to the country. Clinton’s speech next week is being billed as the first of several high-profile speeches designed to sell the law to the 54 percent of Americans who don’t like it.

To be sure, if anybody in politics can make this train wreck look good, it’s Bill Clinton. But why would President Obama wait till now, after three-and-a-half years of public relations futility, to bring in his party’s best spokesman?

Simple: With just over a month to go before ObamaCare’s enrollment begins the president and his administration are in full-blown panic mode. Nothing is on schedule. Their multi-million dollar ad campaign may not attract enough people to enroll. And, oh yeah, we’re about to intervene in Syria’s civil war.

If Clinton gets any traction with his speeches it will be of limited value because so much of the public’s mind has been made up in the years since the law was passed. Prior to that, who knows? As a matter of Politics 101, failing to use such a successful political spokesman strikes me as a huge wasted opportunity. Of all the delays with ObamaCare, putting off Clinton’s rhetorical talents may be the most fatal to the law because – perhaps – they could have done so much to keep it alive.

August 26th, 2013 at 5:06 pm
HHS Hires 86 Cops, 2 Consumer Safety Officers under ObamaCare

How’s this for a snapshot of ObamaCare’s priorities?

Since the controversial health law passed in March 2010, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has hired 1,684 new employees.

Of those, 86 are criminal investigators while only two are consumer safety officers.

The numbers come from HHS data extracted by a Freedom of Information Request by The Daily Mail, a British newspaper.

Bear in mind, HHS’s health cops are in addition to the estimated 16,500 new agents the Internal Revenue Service is seeking to fulfill its ObamaCare policing mandate.

There are, of course, better, much less intrusive ways to do health reform.

“People would voluntarily purchase the health insurance of their choice with basic subsidies. Additional special assistance could be targeted to help those with low incomes and/or high risk-based premium costs in purchasing health insurance,” according to Thomas Miller of the American Enterprise Institute.

Instead of the demanding detailed financial and health information from millions of Americans, Miller proposes treating ObamaCare health insurance subsidies like other income tax issues, so that only “a tiny fraction of taxpayers would be subject to mostly random audits to ensure that their tax subsidies for insurance are being spent appropriately.”

Miller’s solution would nix the need for all the new ObamaCare investigators. Eliminating the 86 new HHS hires would save taxpayers approximately $138.8 million annually.

But that would mean less oversight and control for the federal government, which, as we are seeing with the rise in police-related hiring at HHS and IRS, is not a priority under ObamaCare.

August 22nd, 2013 at 5:14 pm
Rubio to House GOP: ‘Obama Will Legalize Immigrants If Senate Bill Not Passed’

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) is using an interesting tactic to get House Republicans to pass his immigration reform bill – Scare them with threats of a lawless presidency.

“I believe this president will be tempted, if nothing happens in Congress, he will be tempted to issue an executive order as he did for the DREAM Act kids a year ago, where he basically legalizes 11 million people by the sign of a pen,” the presumptive 2016 presidential candidate told a Florida radio station last week.

In effect, Rubio is telling House Republicans – opponents of his pathway to citizenship plan for illegal immigrants – that unless they pass the Senate Gang of Eight’s bad bill President Barack Obama will enlarge his controversial Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Brought to life last year via executive order, Obama directed immigration agents to put illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children at the bottom of the deportation list. The policy also makes available temporary work visas to those covered.

But Rubio, a University of Miami law school graduate and former Speaker of the Florida House, has his eyes on the wrong target.

For one thing, not even the liberal academics that provided cover for the president’s unilateral and unprecedented action think Obama has the power to defer action on every illegal immigrant.

“The justifications for DACA made clear that this is not a situation where the president can reduce overall enforcement of immigration laws. He can just redirect it in certain ways,” former principal deputy attorney general and current University of Virginia law professor David A. Martin told the Washington Post.

And even if President Obama did decide not to enforce any immigration laws, why is his lawlessness an argument against Republicans? Wouldn’t the proper response to an expanded abuse of presidential power be to oppose the president?

Yet it seems like Rubio is giving Obama a pass while preemptively blaming House Republicans for future bad acts the president may commit.

Only in a place like Washington does that kind of logic make sense. If Rubio really believes that the President of the United States won’t be constrained by the separation of powers and the rule of law, then the object of his anger should be directed at the White House, not Republicans in the House of Representatives.

August 20th, 2013 at 5:54 pm
The Coming ObamaCare Navigator Fraud

In the run-up to ObamaCare’s launch on October 1st we’ve seen plenty of waste and abuse.

Now comes the fraud.

“In Massachusetts, scammers have deceptively marketed fake health insurance policies and created fake web sites that claimed to sell ObamaCare, targeting seniors to gain their personal information,” reports Fox News.

There’s more.

“In Kansas and Alabama, con artists posing as government employees talked people into giving up their account numbers in order to sign up for fake health care plans.” (Emphasis added)

At first blush, it may seem crazy that people would hand over such sensitive information as their Social Security number, medical records, pay stubs and the like to complete strangers.

Yet that’s exactly how ObamaCare envisions millions of Americans getting health insurance on an ObamaCare exchange – by sharing some of their most sensitive financial and health information with an online-certified ‘navigator.’

Yes, we should believe the best about people and hope they don’t succumb to the temptation to sell private information.

But it’s first-order foolishness to expect millions of sensitive transactions involving most of a person’s critical data to be fraud-free.

Fraud, like most crimes, is a crime of opportunity. Shame on the Obama administration for creating so many.

July 30th, 2013 at 7:20 pm
Wisconsin’s Walker Previews Potential 2016 Message

In a speech to a room full of government researchers, Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker made some bold predictions: If Detroit had passed the same public union reforms as the Badger State did, it wouldn’t be bankrupt today. And if Chicago had done so, its public school system would be in much better shape.

Walker’s comments are sure to spark controversy from union-friendly Democrats who disdain his rollback of debt-creating privileges. But liberals should get used to the argument because the success of Walker’s program is quietly making him into a viable 2016 presidential contender.

Later this week Walker is hosting the National Governors Association in Milwaukee, and he plans to deliver a simple message: “Worry more about the next generation than the next election.”

Absent Walker’s track record, it would be an empty bromide. But with it, the phrase introduces a formula for success that Americans nationwide may be willing to try after eight years of economic futility under President Barack Obama.

Stay tuned…

July 19th, 2013 at 6:15 pm
Laborers Union Criticizing ObamaCare Too

Add the Laborers International Union of North America to the list of organized labor groups criticizing ObamaCare’s disastrous effects on the status quo.

In a letter to Democratic leaders, President Terry O’Sullivan called for a halt to the health law’s “destructive consequences” on the costs and provision of health care.

Unlike the Teamsters and other unions, Laborers International did not support ObamaCare when it was passed into law. Unfortunately, they are just as oppressed by the law’s cost increases and coverage interruptions as those that did.

With the employer mandate delayed for at least a year, maybe there’s enough angst brewing among the Democrats’ liberal base to pressure delaying the entire law for at least as long.

July 19th, 2013 at 3:50 pm
Glaring Statistic Emphasizes Need to Reduce and Reform U.S. Corporate Taxes
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

In today’s Wall Street Journal, former Japanese Diet member Mieko Nakabayashi and former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury James Carter spell out in stark terms the need for reform and reduction of U.S. corporate taxes, which are now the highest in the industrialized world.  In particular, they highlight the alarming exodus of large corporations from America to more hospitable tax regimes with this statistic:

When the U.S. last cut its corporate tax rate in 1986, 218 of the world’s 500 largest corporations measured by revenue were in the U.S.  Today, that number is 137.  Similarly, the number of Japanese corporations in the Fortune Global 500 fell to 68 last year from 81 in 2005.  While there is no single explanation for the drop, Tax Foundation chief economist William McBride tells us:  ‘The common thread behind all of this is the U.S. corporate tax, which is the most punitive in the developed world.’”

We live in a period of unprecedented political polarization.  The need to reduce our corporate rate, however, has achieved bipartisan agreement, with Barack Obama himself proclaiming, “Our corporate tax rate is too high.”  Accordingly, the time is now to enact reduction and reform, lest America’s legacy of economic leadership deteriorate further.

July 18th, 2013 at 12:55 pm
On Immigration, Rubio Seems to Lack Conviction

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) is surprisingly mum about whether House Republicans should pass, amend or kill his signature legislative achievement this year: Comprehensive immigration reform that legalizes up to 11 million illegal immigrants before securing the border.

According to an interview with Politico, Rubio said the House GOP deserves “the time and space… to come up with their ideas about how to reform immigration – and I hope they will – but that’s up to them.” But while Rubio obviously wants to create some distance between himself and a bill that his conservative base hates, now is precisely the time to put his influence to work if he really believes that his immigration reform is the right thing to do.

As Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a co-author with Rubio on the bill says, “If he’s got some influence in the House, now is a good time to use it.”

That Rubio is refusing to gives the strong impression that much of his support for the Senate’s version of immigration reform is more about politics than policy. Now that his 2016 presidential aspirations look endangered because of his stance on immigration, the rising conservative is looking to bolster his image by talking about fiscal responsibility and social issues.

But the problem remains that his performance on immigration – for the bill when it seems to help him, against or at least ambivalent toward it when it hurts – indicates his most important criteria is whether a particular stance propels him closer to the White House.

That’s a fine way to operate if one is a paid consultant looking for any advantage to climb the ladder, but it’s the exact opposite of what people expect from a statesman. Rubio helped pass and craft the Senate’s immigration bill, so he either needs to defend it to the death or disown it for principled reasons. Enough calculating. Make a decision and own it.

July 18th, 2013 at 12:34 pm
Hoffa’s Son Helps ObamaCare Kill Teamsters

ObamaCare will kill the Teamsters union, and Jimmy Hoffa’s son is an accomplice.

Now, Hoffa’s heir is in full damage-control mode.

In an open letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), James P. Hoffa – son of the famous Teamsters boss and the union’s current General President – blasts the Obama White House for “shatter[ing] not only our hard-earned health benefits, but destroy[ing] the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.”

Hoffa is upset that after lending his union’s money and muscle to get ObamaCare passed, the Obama administration is refusing to carve out an exception for union-run health insurance providers. Absent the special treatment, union-run health insurance will become too expensive to offer. Without an attractive health insurance plan to offer its members, the Teamsters and every other union in their situation will lose one of the biggest incentives they have for retaining members.

Having exhausted their pleas to the White House for special treatment, Hoffa and company are turning their unfriendly fire on congressional Democrats. “Time is running out: Congress wrote this law; we voted for you. We have a problem, you need to fix it. The unintended consequences of [ObamaCare] are severe.”

As I explained in a recent column, the problem for Hoffa and his union brethren is that they failed to get the kind of concrete assurances from the Obama administration that are standard operating procedure when it comes to negotiating with private businesses.

That failure will cost them dearly.