This Freeman piece includes some excerpts from classic essays by Ludwig von Mises. They focus on the ways aggressive nationalism swept aside individual liberty in the Europe he knew.
As President Obama backed away from one of Obamacare’s more onerous — and legally binding — provisions and proclaimed that people could keep their existing health insurance plans for one more year, he threw in the adjective “substandard” to compare those plans to the shiny new health care policies associated with his so-called Affordable Care Act.
The president has also tried to argue that, yes, it’s not true that you can keep your plan, and yes, it’s not true that only 5 percent of Americans can’t keep theirs, but none of this matters, because the old plans weren’t good enough. Obamacare serves to protect consumers from these “substandard” plans — you should be glad your old plan is now illegal.
But this isn’t true. If you already have insurance, you don’t benefit from a provision that forces insurers to cover everyone regardless of preexisting conditions. That provision doesn’t benefit most people; there are fewer than 1 million Americans with whom insurers won’t do business because of their health status. And if you’re reasonably healthy, you don’t benefit from Obamacare’s rule forcing insurers to charge the healthy the same prices as the sick. And regardless of the state of your health today, Obamacare imposes a laundry list of taxes and fees on your insurance plan that doesn’t do anything to make it better — just costlier.
In fact, it’s the new plans under Obamacare that can rightly be called “substandard.” Plans sold on Obamacare’s exchanges tend to narrowly limit your choice of doctors. They have higher deductibles. In a free market for health insurance, people might choose such plans because they would come with lower premiums. But under Obamacare, these plans come with higher premiums. In other words, Obamacare forces millions of Americans to pay more for health insurance that covers less than their old plans did.
Roy goes on to explain how “substandard” also offers an apt description of Medicaid, “the industrialized world’s worst health-insurance program.” “Obamacare substantially expands the Medicaid program; indeed, the law depends on Medicaid to provide half of the new coverage that it extends to the uninsured.”
Remember when President Obama justified U.S. Senate Democrats’ controversial step of ending filibusters for presidential appointments by saying “over the past five years, we’ve seen an unprecedented pattern of obstruction in Congress that’s prevented too much of the people’s business from getting done. … Today’s pattern of obstruction just isn’t normal”? Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute heard that claim and decided Obama’s words merited more scrutiny. He shares the results with National Review readers.
If we have learned anything about this president, it is that his factual assertions need to be scrutinized. So what do the facts say? Have Senate Republicans’ actions really been unprecedented, as the president and Democrats claim? …
… If President Obama’s story were correct, we would expect the data to show that filibustering tea partiers had pushed delays through the roof relative to earlier periods. But the data do not bear this out. The experience of judicial nominees under Obama has not been appreciably different from the trend under previous administrations. Since the presidency of George H. W. Bush, the lag between nomination and confirmation has steadily increased under all administrations, especially for circuit-court nominees. And although the delay for district-court nominees was longer during Obama’s first term than during George W. Bush’s administration, the average lag for the circuit courts has actually fallen.
[Economist John] Lott adds that the lags to a vote on confirmation are just part of the story. Indeed, fully 85 percent of President Obama’s circuit-court nominees have now been confirmed, a much higher percentage than that enjoyed by President Bush, who saw only 72 percent confirmed. The data, then, suggest that Republicans have been on balance less of a political obstacle to President Obama’s nominees than Democrats were to President George W. Bush’s.
This is the second time this fall that the president has lobbed the transparently incorrect assertion that Republicans are acting in an unprecedented fashion and received roaring confirmation from most in the media. Recall that the same was said of the GOP’s desire to attach strings to the increase in the debt limit, despite the fact that 27 out of 53 debt-limit increases had included strings, and 60 percent of those were attached by Democratic Congresses.
Man bites dog story: AP photojournalist writes NY Times column blasting Obama’s image-control issues
Given the media’s longstanding efforts to portray President Obama in the best possible light — nimbus and all — it’s interesting to read Associated Press photography director Santiago Lyon’s complaint in the New York Times about the Obama administration’s restrictions on photojournalists’ access to the president.
In response to these restrictions, 38 of the nation’s largest and most respected media organizations (including The New York Times) delivered a letter to the White House last month protesting photojournalists’ diminished access.
A deputy press secretary, Josh Earnest, responded by claiming that the White House had released more images of the president at work than any previous administration. It is serving the public perfectly well, he said, through a vibrant stream of behind-the-scenes photographs available on social media.
He missed the point entirely.
The official photographs the White House hands out are but visual news releases. Taken by government employees (mostly former photojournalists), they are well composed, compelling and even intimate glimpses of presidential life. They also show the president in the best possible light, as you’d expect from an administration highly conscious of the power of the image at a time of instant sharing of photos and videos.
By no stretch of the imagination are these images journalism. Rather, they propagate an idealized portrayal of events on Pennsylvania Avenue.
If you take this practice to its logical conclusion, why have news conferences? Why give reporters any access to the White House? It would be easier to just have a daily statement from the president (like his recorded weekly video address) and call it a day. Repressive governments do this all the time.
American presidents have often tried to control how they are depicted (think of the restrictions on portraying Franklin D. Roosevelt in his wheelchair). But presidents in recent decades recognized that allowing the press independent access to their activities was a necessary part of the social contract of trust and transparency that should exist between citizens and their leaders.
It’s not the most likely state for Republicans to pick up a U.S. Senate seat in 2014, but North Carolina does attract RealClearPolitics analyst Sean Trende‘s attention in a column highlighting Senate seats that could flip from one major party to the other next year. Trende labels North Carolina a “Tier 2B” state, with four other (Tier 1 and Tier 2A) races more likely to lead to changes in partisan affiliation.
This race is a lot like Louisiana. [Kay] Hagan was able to win against a weak Republican incumbent in 2008 in part because of turnout the Obama campaign generated. That turnout dissipated in 2010, as Republican Sen. Richard Burr won by the largest margin of any Senate candidate in North Carolina since 1974. Now it’s Hagan’s turn to run in the off-year electorate. Polling has steadily shown her narrowly leading state House Majority Leader Thom Tillis, although her margins are in single digits and she takes around 45 percent of the vote here.
Complicating things, all of the polling is from Democratic survey firm PPP, which selects from registered voters who turned out in 2008, 2010 or 2012; in other words, they probably let through the “Obama electorate,” which may or may not materialize in 2014. Further complicating matters, Tillis is the face of the controversial North Carolina legislature; he may be a one-man turnout machine for Democrats. Of course, he has to make it through a crowded Republican primary first.
If you’re having a hard time keeping track of the various lawsuits left-of-center advocacy groups have filed against North Carolina’s new election law, the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law hopes to help with a new website, NCVotingCases.org. NCICL’s Jeanette Doran discusses the site and the cases it documents during the next edition of Carolina Journal Radio.
Katherine Restrepo discusses long-term problems associated with Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges, while Ohio University economist Richard Vedder discusses key challenges in higher education affordability across the nation.
You’ll also hear an update on North Carolina’s efforts to repay $2.5 billion owed to the federal government for unemployment benefits, and you’ll learn about the $1.4 billion the state is spending each year on work force development.
This Reuters map gives a state-by state breakdown of the number of enrollees who have officially made it through the health insurance exchange process — but have they really? While these enrollees have selected a health insurance plan through Obamacare’s state and federal marketplaces, insurers report that only 5-15% of these applicants have actually paid their first month’s premium.