Tuesday, February 19, 2013

ObamaCare Crippled By States
By DICK MORRIS
Published on DickMorris.com on February 19, 2013


President Obama boasts that his ObamaCare legislation will reduce the number of uninsured by thirty million.  But recent actions by the states to reject his proposed expansion of Medicaid auger about a 25% reduction in his stated goal.

The Roberts decision affirming the constitutional validity of the individual mandate in ObamaCare left the states free to decline the expansion of Medicaid specified in the legislation without facing a penalty for doing so.  ObamaCare mandated - and now suggests - that states cover people for Medicaid up to 133% of the poverty level. For a family of one, that comes to $11,490.  For a family of two it is $20, 628.  For three it is $26,000 and for a family of four it would be $31,000.

Now, states are going through the process of deciding if they will expand their Medicaid eligibility as Obama suggests or will opt out as the Supreme Court permits.

Twenty-one states -- with almost half of the U.S. population -- have either indicated that they will opt out or are considering doing so.

Now, at least twelve states have decided not to participate:  Maine, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, Texas, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Idaho.  In addition, nine states are considering opting out: Florida, Wisconsin, Utah, Tennessee, North Carolina, West Virginia, Kansas, Alaska, and Indiana.

The combined population of the opt-out states is 86 million (28% of the nation) and the undecided states is 57 million (another 18% of U.S. population).

But, the impact of these opt-outs is even greater than even these numbers would suggest. Of the thirty states (including DC) who have indicated they will participate, six already offer Medicaid to those with 133% of the poverty level.  There would be no increase in coverage for these states under the ObamaCare Medicaid provisions.  These states have a combined total of fifty million people (16% of the country).

So, 62% of Americans will be unaffected by the ObamaCare expansion of Medicaid!

In addition, twelve states who are accepting the new Medicaid eligibility standards already cover 100% or more of the poverty level.  While they will slightly increase their coverage, it would not be by much.  These states have a combined population of 68 million (22% of the population).

So, here is the extent of the Medicaid expansion, one of the two key elements in ObamaCare:

•  States refusing expansion = 28% of U.S. Population
•  States which may refuse = 18% of U.S. Population
•  States already over 133% eligibility = 16% of U.S. Population
•  States already at 100-133% eligibility = 22% of U.S. Population

Total = 84% of U.S. Population

So, only 16% of the U.S. population stands to "benefit" from the increased Medicaid eligibility levels in ObamaCare.

ObamaCare advertises that it will reduce the number of uninsured by thirty million.  About ten million of them were to come from Medicaid expansion.  Now it looks like the bulk of this expansion will not happen, potentially lowering the number of uninsured covered to the 22-24 million range, effectively a one-quarter cut in the impact of ObamaCare.
                              
                                  
The states are rejecting expansion of Medicaid for several reasons:

•  While ObamaCare promises to reimburse states for all the cost of the expansion for three years, it only reimburses 90% after that period is over.  Since the full implementation of the ObamaCare standard would increase Medicaid coverage by about 50%, these costs are likely to be severely burdensome.

•  Governors are worried that an expansion of Medicaid eligibility will trigger an influx of those now eligible into the Medicaid program.  The Kaiser Foundation estimated that half of the growth of Medicaid expected by 2022 would come from those currently eligible.  These new Medicaid recipients would be a big burden on states and the feds would only pick up an average of 60% of their cost.

But, Governors are on the lookout and are rapidly mitigating the effects of ObamaCare on their Medicaid costs.

Feds admit: Gun laws won't slow crime

Department of Justice report undermines bans

By Garth Kant / WND

guns 
A study by the Department of Justice’s research wing, the National Institute of Justice, has the feds admitting that so-called “assault weapons” are not a major contributor to gun crime.

The study also concluded those weapons are not a major factor in deaths caused by firearms, nor would an “assault weapons” ban be effective.

“The existing stock of assault weapons is large, undercutting the effectiveness of bans with exemptions,” it said. “Therefore a complete elimination of assault weapons would not have a large impact on gun homicides.”

The report finds no significant link between “assault weapons” and murders.

“Since assault weapons are not a major contributor to U.S. gun homicides and the existing stock of guns is large, an assault weapon ban is unlikely to have an impact on gun violence,” the report said.

The document, titled “Summary of Select Firearm Violence Prevention Strategies,” also sees no epidemic of mass shootings.

“Fatalities from mass shootings (those with 4 or more victims in a particular place and time) account on average for 35 fatalities per year,” the report said.

The report advises a more comprehensive approach.

“Policies that address the larger firearm homicide issue will have a far greater impact even if they do not address the particular issues of mass shootings,” the report said.

The study also found a number of reasons why gun buybacks are ineffective as generally implemented: “1. The buybacks are too small to have an impact. 2. The guns turned in are at low risk of ever being used in a crime. 3. Replacement guns are easily acquired. Unless these three points are overcome, a gun buyback cannot be effective.”

The report, by Greg Ridgeway, deputy director, said restricting large capacity magazines has a “great potential to reduce lethality,” but that would require a massive reduction in the supply.

“In order to have an impact, large capacity magazine regulation needs to sharply curtail their availability to include restrictions on importation, manufacture, sale, and possession. An exemption for previously owned magazines would nearly eliminate any impact. The program would need to be coupled with an extensive buyback of existing large capacity magazines. With an exemption the impact of the restrictions would only be felt when the magazines degrade or when they no longer are compatible with guns in circulation. This would take decades to realize.”

See the video on the report below:
http://www.wnd.com/2013/02/feds-admit-gun-laws-wont-slow-crime/

The report undermines most of the talking points by the Obama administration in its pursuit of more limits on guns, ammunition and accessories.

The administration’s campaign was launched following the Newtown, Conn., massacre that killed 20 students and six adults.

The report noted that a 2000 study by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms revealed that 47 percent of crime guns are obtained through a straw purchase, and another 26 percent are stolen.

“These figures indicate informal transfers dominate the crime gun market. A perfect universal background check system can address the gun shows and might deter many unregulated private sellers. However this does not address the largest sources (straw purchase and theft), which would most likely become larger if background checks at gun shows and private sellers were addressed.”


Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/02/feds-admit-gun-laws-wont-slow-crime/#vv9KtPOG34rSQmc3.99

Guns and Pensions


Huge pensions for retired government workers can be found from small municipalities to national governments on both sides of the Atlantic. There is a reason. For elected officials, pensions are virtually the ideal thing to spend money on, politically speaking. Many kinds of spending of the taxpayers' money win votes from the recipients.

But raising taxes to pay for this spending loses votes from the taxpayers. Pensions offer a way out of this dilemma for politicians.

Creating pensions that offer generous retirement benefits wins votes in the present by promising spending in the future. Promises cost nothing in the short run -- and elections are held in the short run, long before the pensions are due.

By contrast, private insurance companies that sell annuities are forced by law to set aside enough assets to cover the cost of the annuities they have promised to pay. But nobody can force the government to do that -- and most governments do not.

This means that it is only a matter of time before pensions are due to be paid and there is not enough money set aside to pay for them. This applies to Social Security and other government pensions here, as well as to all sorts of pensions in other countries overseas.

Eventually, the truth will come out that there is just not enough money in the till to pay what retirees were promised. But eventually can be a long time.

A politician can win quite a few elections between now and eventually -- and be living in comfortable retirement by the time it is somebody else's problem to cope with the impossibility of paying retirees the pensions they were promised.

Inflating the currency and paying pensions in dollars that won't buy as much is just one of the ways for the government to seem to be keeping its promises, while in fact welshing on the deal.

The politics of military spending are just the opposite of the politics of pensions. In the short run, politicians can always cut military spending without any immediate harm being visible, however catastrophic the consequences may turn out to be down the road.

Despite the huge increase in government spending on domestic programs during Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration in the 1930s, FDR cut back on military spending. On the eve of the Second World War, the United States had the 16th largest army in the world, right behind Portugal.

Even this small military force was so inadequately supplied with equipment that its training was skimped. American soldiers went on maneuvers using trucks with "tank" painted on their sides, since there were not enough real tanks to go around.

American warplanes were not updated to match the latest warplanes of Nazi Germany or imperial Japan. After World War II broke out, American soldiers stationed in the Philippines were fighting for their lives using rifles left over from the Spanish-American war, decades earlier. The hand grenades they threw at the Japanese invaders were so old that they often failed to explode. At the battle of Midway, of 82 Americans who flew into combat in obsolete torpedo planes, only 12 returned alive. In Europe, our best tanks were never as good as the Germans' best tanks, which destroyed several times as many American tanks as the Germans lost in tank battles.

Fortunately, the quality of American warplanes eventually caught up with and surpassed the best that the Germans and Japanese had. But a lot of American pilots lost their lives needlessly in outdated planes before that happened.

These were among the many prices paid for skimping on military spending in the years leading up to World War II. But, politically, the path of least resistance is to cut military spending in the short run and let the long run take care of itself.

In a nuclear age, we may not have time to recover from our short-sighted policies, as we did in World War II.

Guns and Pensions

A nation's choice between spending on military defense and spending on civilian goods has often been posed as "guns versus butter." But understanding the choices of many nations' political leaders might be helped by examining the contrast between their runaway spending on pensions while skimping on military defense.

Huge pensions for retired government workers can be found from small municipalities to national governments on both sides of the Atlantic. There is a reason. For elected officials, pensions are virtually the ideal thing to spend money on, politically speaking. Many kinds of spending of the taxpayers' money win votes from the recipients.

But raising taxes to pay for this spending loses votes from the taxpayers. Pensions offer a way out of this dilemma for politicians.

Creating pensions that offer generous retirement benefits wins votes in the present by promising spending in the future. Promises cost nothing in the short run -- and elections are held in the short run, long before the pensions are due.

By contrast, private insurance companies that sell annuities are forced by law to set aside enough assets to cover the cost of the annuities they have promised to pay. But nobody can force the government to do that -- and most governments do not.

This means that it is only a matter of time before pensions are due to be paid and there is not enough money set aside to pay for them. This applies to Social Security and other government pensions here, as well as to all sorts of pensions in other countries overseas.

Eventually, the truth will come out that there is just not enough money in the till to pay what retirees were promised. But eventually can be a long time.

A politician can win quite a few elections between now and eventually -- and be living in comfortable retirement by the time it is somebody else's problem to cope with the impossibility of paying retirees the pensions they were promised.

Inflating the currency and paying pensions in dollars that won't buy as much is just one of the ways for the government to seem to be keeping its promises, while in fact welshing on the deal.

The politics of military spending are just the opposite of the politics of pensions. In the short run, politicians can always cut military spending without any immediate harm being visible, however catastrophic the consequences may turn out to be down the road.

Despite the huge increase in government spending on domestic programs during Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration in the 1930s, FDR cut back on military spending. On the eve of the Second World War, the United States had the 16th largest army in the world, right behind Portugal.

Even this small military force was so inadequately supplied with equipment that its training was skimped. American soldiers went on maneuvers using trucks with "tank" painted on their sides, since there were not enough real tanks to go around.

American warplanes were not updated to match the latest warplanes of Nazi Germany or imperial Japan. After World War II broke out, American soldiers stationed in the Philippines were fighting for their lives using rifles left over from the Spanish-American war, decades earlier. The hand grenades they threw at the Japanese invaders were so old that they often failed to explode. At the battle of Midway, of 82 Americans who flew into combat in obsolete torpedo planes, only 12 returned alive. In Europe, our best tanks were never as good as the Germans' best tanks, which destroyed several times as many American tanks as the Germans lost in tank battles.

Fortunately, the quality of American warplanes eventually caught up with and surpassed the best that the Germans and Japanese had. But a lot of American pilots lost their lives needlessly in outdated planes before that happened.

These were among the many prices paid for skimping on military spending in the years leading up to World War II. But, politically, the path of least resistance is to cut military spending in the short run and let the long run take care of itself.

In a nuclear age, we may not have time to recover from our short-sighted policies, as we did in World War II.

North Korea Prepares to Test Another Nuke

South Korea-North Korea: Outgoing President Lee told the press that in late 2009 Kim Chong-il requested a third summit between the leaders of North and South Korea without conditions, such as demands for food grains. The invitation was transmitted through Chinese Premier Wen Jia-bao and some discussions were held in Singapore.

South Korea was prepared to accept and began discussing views about the venue. North Korea wanted it in Pyongyang. The talks broke down when the North demanded compensation for holding the summit.

Comment: The reasons Kim Chong-il wanted a summit remain unknown. However, President Lee's description of Kim Chong-il's invitation and the exchange via the Chinese is vintage Kim Chong-il. His tactic was always to re-negotiate the terms after a deal was accepted in principle to determine whether better terms could be obtained. Kim Jung Un's style is entirely different.

North Korea-China: According to an unidentified source who spoke with Reuters, North Korea has informed China that it will conduct additional nuclear tests and missile launches this year. Preparations for a fourth nuclear test are said to be completed already.

The source said the tests will be conducted unless the US agrees to talks about signing a final peace treaty and abandons its plans to overthrow the North Korean regime.

Comment: North Korea prepared two tunnels for use in testing prior to the 12 February detonation. It used one on the 12th. That provides some prima facie support for the information provided by the source.

The bluntness of the new leadership's style is apparent in the message.

Pakistan: Ethnic Hazara Shiites called on the Pakistan Army to take control of Quetta after 85 Shiites were murdered in a bomb attack at a bazaar over the weekend. The Shiites are threatening to not bury their dead and to march to Islamabad until security is improved.

A vicious Sunni group, Lashkar e Jhangvi (LeJ) claimed responsibility for the massacre. LeJ was a creation of Pakistani intelligence, one of several groups it formed to execute terror attacks against India.
Comment: This is the second mass murder this year. About 100 Hazara Shiites were killed in almost the same location in January.

The Islamabad authorities are unwilling, as most Shiites believe, or unable to provide security for minorities.