North Carolina Lawmakers Don’t Like Obamacare’s Mandates, But They Like Their Own

…And they can even exempt themselves from these laws that they pass.

Throughout North Carolina’s present legislative session, a number of bills have been filed calling for health insurers to expand coverage to include benefits such as oral cancer drugs, autism therapy, and chiropractic care. The Associated Press reports that the introduced bills could amount to an additional 16 percent rate increase if passed.

Keep in mind this doesn’t factor in the average double digit premium increases for 2016 non-group ACA plans proposed by Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Coventry, and United.

But could it be that coverage mandates aren’t necessary to access decent health benefits?

Read more from my latest Forbes piece here.

C-SPAN2’s Book TV highlights recent JLF speech again Saturday afternoon

If you missed Raleigh author Garland Tucker’s recent John Locke Foundation speech about his new book, Conservative Heroes, you have another chance to watch the lecture Saturday afternoon on C-SPAN2.

Book TV is scheduled to show Tucker’s lecture at 1:15 p.m. Saturday. Click play below to watch an excerpt from the speech. Tucker discusses five key concepts that motivated the 14 leaders he labels American “conservative heroes.”

NC transportation bonds as reaction to Feds inability to pay promised Transportation $

McCrory was a quoted governor on the transportation funding problem in Washington D.C. and how it will effect the states.

“Once you start reacting to growth as opposed to preparing for growth, you’ve waited too long,” said North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, a Republican who is proposing a $2.8 billion bond package for the November ballot. “Plus, it’s going to cost more.”

Other states have decided to increase their state gas tax to fill the hole,

States including Republican-led Iowa and South Dakota have also increased gas taxes or borrowed to compensate for federal inaction.

And some states have decided not to go forward with much needed construction projects.

Amid the uncertainty, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Montana, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming have delayed construction projects totaling about $2 billion, according to the Transportation Department.

“It’s had a dramatic impact,” said Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, which has delayed contracts slated to start this year for 75 projects totaling $335 million.

Virginia’s McAuliffe said if there’s no deal by Friday it will affect about 400 projects totaling $1.2 billion in his state.

The real story is, what happens if the Federal Government doesn’t give states the transportation money they have been promised.  Here is what a few Governor’s said about that….

U.S. governors don’t really care whether it’s the Senate or House plan to pay for the nation’s roads and bridges that advances. They just want a long-term deal.

Frustrated by 33 short-term funding extensions during the past five years that left them unable to plan, attendees at the National Governors Association meeting this weekend in West Virginia said it’s past time for action.

“I’ll take whatever they’re willing to give me,” said Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat and incoming vice-chairman of the association. “Make a decision. Give us long-term funding. America needs this.”

“Whatever mechanism they use, we’d like to see stability and something that’s sustainable for a long period of time,” said Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, a six-term Republican.

Congress must strike a deal, said Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat who is outgoing chairman of the association.

Will Glass-Steagall come back?

An article from The Hill:

Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.) said Wednesday that re-implementing Glass-Steagall, a law designed to break up big banks is “probably not realistic.”

The head of the Financial Services Roundtable in Washington and a 2012 presidential contender’s comments made his comments in response to former Gov. Rick Perry’s (R-Texas) seeming support for implementing Glass-Steagall.

“Look, let’s agree — no more too big to fail, no more bailouts, no more subsidies, no more too big to jail, and if you don’t think Dodd-Frank did it — then what’s your proposal?
“Let’s see what [Perry] has to say in specifics. Going back to Glass-Steagall probably isn’t realistic at this point,” Pawlenty said on Fox Business Network’s “Cavuto Coast to Coast.”

Glass-Steagall is a Depression-era law that then-President Bill Clinton repealed in 1999. It would require banks to split their commercial and investment banking operations. It’s popular amongst progressives, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), but has also been championed by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

Perry, who is running for the 2016 GOP nomination, said in New York earlier Wednesday that “we could once again require banks to separate their traditional commercial lending and investment banking and related practices.”

 

Federal Debt….they still want more

It seems like the issue of federal debt and the amount they want to issue will never go away.  Treasurey Secretary Jack Lew told Congress yesterday that the nation has a new deadline, October 30th.  After that date, lawmakers need to extend the debt limit, according to Lew, to keep the government in operation.  Below is an article about this…

“Given this unavoidable uncertainty, Treasury is not able to provide a specific estimate of how long the extraordinary measures will last,” Lew said in a letter delivered to congressional leaders.

The letter arrived on Capitol Hill as the parties prepared for September budget battles that could lead to a government shutdown at the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.

Economic uncertainties include projecting how much revenue the government will take in through September tax receipts, Lew said.

Still, the Treasury Secretary said special measures his department has been using “will not be exhausted before late October, and it is likely that they will last for at least a brief additional period of time.”

The U.S. actually hit its statutory debt limit on March 16, when Treasury began utilizing the special measures, Lew said.

The Obama administration and congressional Republicans have clashed over the debt ceiling before, nearly leading to an unprecedented default on government obligations.

8 in every 10 Americans are in debt

Pew Charitable Trusts released a report which examined debt through the generations.  Below are some of the key findings from the report.  Click on this link if you want to read more details about the report.

Key Findings

  • 8 in 10 Americans have debt, with mortgages the most common liability.
    Although younger generations of Americans are the most likely to have debt (89 percent of Gen Xers and 86 percent of millennials do), older generations are increasingly carrying debt into retirement.
  • 7 in 10 Americans said debt is a necessity in their lives, even though they prefer not to have it.
    A generational divide in attitudes toward debt is emerging, with younger Americans being more debt-averse.
  • 2 times the amount of mortgage debt that Gen Xers had in their 30s compared with baby boomers at the same age.
    During the runup in housing prices before the Great Recession, Gen Xers were in their prime homebuying years, leading to higher mortgages for this generation.
  • 2 times the likelihood that the silent generation views loans or credit cards as opportunity-enhancing compared with Gen X.
    Attitudes about debt are influenced by stage of life. The silent generation (born between 1928 and 1945) are twice as likely as many younger Americans to view debt as having expanded their opportunities.

Man bites dog story: Unions oppose Obama-imposed tax

Bill McMorris reports for the Washington Free Beacon on an interesting development linked to an Obamacare tax and the nation’s most powerful labor unions.

Some of the most powerful labor unions in the country are calling on the White House to approve the repeal of an Obamacare tax on employer-sponsored health plans that could lead to benefit cuts.

Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union, on Tuesday afternoon joined labor and business interest groups as part of the Alliance to Fight the 40 aimed at dismantling Obamacare’s so-called Cadillac insurance tax. The “Cadillac” label applied by Obamacare defenders is inaccurate, according to the union bigwig. He referred to the tax as “despicable,” “regressive,” “unwise, unjust, and unfair” during a three-minute opening statement at an Alliance teleconference.

“This is not a tax on high end health plans. This tax will hit … middle and working class families,” he said. “This tax is a kick in the face to every hardworking, blue collar, and middle class family in the country.”

O’Sullivan has been an opponent of certain aspects of Obamacare since it passed. He told the 2013 AFL-CIO convention that “if the Affordable Care Act is not fixed and it destroys the health and welfare funds that we have all fought for and stand for, then I believe it needs to be repealed.” He stuck by that statement on Tuesday.

Environmental zealots running amok

John Stossel‘s latest column at Human Events focuses on the impact of unchecked environmental zealotry.

Thomas Collier is a Democrat who managed environmental policy for Bill Clinton and Al Gore. Then he noticed a mining opportunity in Alaska, one he calls “the single largest deposit of gold and silver that is not being developed in the entire world.”

Tom’s company hired hundreds of people to study the Pebble Mine’s potential environmental impact, a first step before asking the Environmental Protection Agency for permission to dig. Usually, the EPA analyzes a company’s study, then does its own research, then rules. But in this case, the EPA did something odd — it rejected the mine before Pebble even got its application in.

That’s never happened before, says Collier.

So why would the EPA do that? It’s simple: the agency has been captured by environmental zealots.

One of the world’s biggest environmental groups, the Natural Resources Defense Council, opposed the mine. The NRDC doesn’t do science well — it employs mostly lawyers, not scientists — but the lawyers are good at raising money by scaring people about supposed environmental “disasters” like mines. …

… “NIMBY” used to be the anti-economic-growth refrain. Luddites shouted, “Not in my backyard!” Now, watching bureaucrats stop projects such as the Keystone oil pipeline and the Pebble Mine, it’s clear that the phrase has become “BANANA”: “Build absolutely nothing anywhere near anyone!”

I wish activists would personally experience the economic devastation that occurs when they block every project that might have a slight impact on nature.