Among the many positive changes within the federal government since the end of the Obama Administration…
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FCC Should Preempt Individual State Attempts to Regulate the Internet

Among the many positive changes within the federal government since the end of the Obama Administration and the arrival of the Trump Administration, perhaps none surpass those brought by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under new Chairman Ajit Pai.

And the most welcome and beneficial change undertaken by the new FCC is its action to rescind Obama FCC decisions to begin regulating the internet as a "public utility" under statutes passed in the 1930s for old-fashioned, copper-wire telephone service.  The Obama FCC's action instantly began to stifle new broadband investment, and was subject to legal reversal.  The internet thrived for two decades under both the Clinton and Bush administrations precisely due to the federal government's "light touch" regulatory policy, and there…[more]

November 16, 2017 • 11:27 am

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President Trump Should Rescind Congressional ObamaCare Immunity Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, August 03 2017
Perhaps the only way to motivate Congress to correct its ObamaCare mistake before even more damage is inflicted upon the American healthcare sector is to force members and staffers to experience the same law that they insist on imposing upon other citizens.

By now it's apparent that majorities in Congress consider ObamaCare too precious to repeal and replace. 

So why does Congress itself remain immune from the law it passed under ignominious circumstances, and insists on sustaining? 

If Congress demands that other Americans endure ObamaCare and its provisions, under what concept of fairness can it conspicuously receive a "get out of jail free" exemption for its own members and employees? 

The story behind the exemption offers a classic tale of Washington, D.C., duplicity, and its outrageousness speaks not only to the sheer cynicism that continues to pervade American political culture, but also the fundamental deficiency of ObamaCare itself. 

Prior to ObamaCare, Congress and its employees enjoyed Federal Employees Health Benefits Program coverage, which covers eight million other federal government employees and retirees.  Among the notable benefits of that coverage, the government contributed taxpayer dollars to subsidize up to 75% of their costs. 

That all changed in 2009. 

During Congressional debate over ObamaCare, Senator Charles Grassley (R - Iowa) deftly introduced an amendment requiring that Congress and its employees be subject to the same healthcare law that it was about to impose on the rest of America.  Notably, his proposal passed the Senate Finance Committee by unanimous vote. 

Accordingly, the ObamaCare law scheduled to take effect in 2014 required Congress and its staffers to submit to ObamaCare coverage. 

That's when the shenanigans began. 

Because the ObamaCare exchanges were created for Americans who didn't receive insurance from their employers or government programs, participants in the exchanges didn't receive employer subsidies.  In other words, members of Congress and their staffers suddenly faced the prospect of higher premiums. 

It's almost like they should've thought of that when passing ObamaCare for everyone else. 

Regardless, panic ensued as ObamaCare's effective date approached, and members feared an exodus of employees facing healthcare price hikes. 

So the Obama Administration predictably intervened to spare Congress from its own malfeasance.  In 2013, Obama's Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued a ruling redefining Congress as a "small business" with fewer than 50 employees.  That allowed members and staffers to obtain insurance through the District of Columbia's small business exchange, which in turn allowed them to receive continuing government subsidy of their insurance costs. 

Nice work if you're lucky enough to get it. 

Not that every member condones this state of affairs or wishes to perpetuate it.  Senator Ron Johnson (R - Wisconsin) proposed to end the subsidies and return staffers to Federal Employees Health Benefits Program coverage.   Members of Congress earn $174,000 annually, in addition to whatever outside income they receive, so they can scarcely claim hardship.  Nevertheless, that proposal unsurprisingly failed. 

Fortunately, an act of Congress isn't required to correct the situation. 

Because the Obama Administration OPM granted the special exemption through "pen and phone" administrative fiat, the Trump Administration can similarly rescind it through executive action.  And at least according to President Trump's recent tweets, he's prepared to do just that.  "If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly," he tweeted, "BAILOUTS for insurance companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!" 

For good measure, Trump later added, "If ObamaCare is hurting people, & it is, why shouldn't it hurt the insurance companies & why should Congress not be paying what the public pays?" 

Good questions. 

Perhaps the only way to motivate Congress to correct its ObamaCare mistake before even more damage is inflicted upon the American healthcare sector is to force members and staffers to experience the same law that they insist on imposing upon other citizens. 

Otherwise, allowing Congress and their privileged employees to avoid a system that they foisted on the rest of America will deprive them of the incentive to make good on their promises to repeal and replace it.  If they won't act on behalf of their constituents' well-being, perhaps they'll at least act to preserve their own. 

Question of the Week   
Thanksgiving was established as an annual event by presidential proclamation in which of the following years?
More Questions
Quote of the Day   
 
Thanksgiving has always been a special holiday, an opportunity for family reunions, bountiful feasts, marathon football games and the traditional kickoff of the Holiday Season. We travel home by car, train, plane and bus to come together with loved ones. As Americans gather with friends and family this week, let us not forget those brave men and women who put themselves in harms' way to protect our…[more]
 
 
—The Center for Individual Freedom
— The Center for Individual Freedom
 
Liberty Poll   

For Thanksgiving Dinner, how many recipes used by your family have been passed down through at least two generations?