Sunday, December 14, 2014

So what should libertarians, Reagan conservatives, and other advocates of smaller government think of the “cromnibus” spending bill?

The answer depends on your benchmark. If you dislike insider deals, pork-barrel spending, and you think the federal government should be limited to the enumerated powers put in the Constitution by our Founding Fathers, then the cromnibus is an abomination.

But if you look at where we are right now and you think victory is achieved whenever we can shrink the burden of government spending and limit Washington’s power over the nation, then the cromnibus is a victory.

So is the glass half full or half empty?

Let’s start by looking at the optimistic case, which is ably summarized in what Peter Roff wrote for U.S. News and World Report.
…the “cromnibus” legislative vehicle to fund most of the federal government through September 30, 2015 is a major victory for the conservatives…the combined continuing resolution and omnibus funding bill [hence the term “cromnibus”] maintains the Ryan-Murray spending caps of $521 billion for defense and $492 billion for non-defense spending. …It blocks funding of the risk corridors that, under the Affordable Care Act, could lead to a government bailout of the insurance companies…while cutting the funds for the Independent Payment Advisory Board (which is the body that would be recommending any rationing of health care) by $10 million. The bill also cuts funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by $60 million, which is the fifth consecutive year the agency’s budget has been cut and may finally convince the bureaucrats who run the place they cannot go beyond what they are legally authorized to do without congressional approval. And it hits the Internal Revenue Service particularly hard, cutting its allocation of federal dollars by $345.6 million, prohibiting it from targeting organizations because of the way they chose to exercise their First Amendment rights or on an ideological basis… There’s more, but the general drift of the thing is toward smaller, leaner, more transparent, more honest government than has been the case over the last six years.
Now that Republicans will control both houses of Congress, they will have an opportunity to deal with Obamacare. What should be done?

They can begin by repealing the worst features of Obamacare. They can do that by keeping three promises many of them made to voters during the last election: Keep your job; keep your health insurance; and keep your doctor.

The most direct way to get rid of all the anti-job provisions of ObamaCare is to repeal the employer mandate. The most direct way to insure that people can keep insurance they like is to repeal the individual mandate. And the most direct way of insuring people can keep their doctor is to deregulate and denationalize the health insurance exchanges.

Then Republicans can move on to real reform of the health care system. There are seven principles that should be adhered to.

Choice. People should be free to choose a health plan that fits individual and family needs, rather than one designed by bureaucrats in Washington. Men shouldn’t have to buy maternity coverage; women shouldn’t have to buy coverage for prostate cancer tests; teetotalers shouldn’t have to buy substance abuse insurance, and so on. And no one should have to buy coverage for preventive procedures that health researchers have known for years are not cost-effective.

Fairness. If government subsidizes health insurance through refundable tax credits, the credit should be the same for everyone at the same income level. Moreover, I believe a strong case can be made that everyone, regardless of income, should get the same tax credit. For example, we could offer every adult an annual tax credit worth $2,500 and every child a credit worth $1,500. People would get this subsidy so long as they obtained credible private health insurance, no matter where they obtained it—at work, in the marketplace, or in an Obamacare exchange.
“Palestinians” Prefer Israeli Jails to Life Under Hamas
Pamela Geller / Atlas Shrugs

Palestinian men sit in their brown prisoPreferring humanity to savagery. It is not surprising that some “Palestinians” would get tired of the endless and relentless hatred, violence, and insanity that surrounds them, and prefer even prison to it — prison, that is, in a civilized country.

“Palestinians Flee Hamas, Ask Israel to Imprison Them,” by Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, December 12, 2014 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):
“I’m sad that I’m back in the Gaza Strip. I went through happy times [in Israeli detention], where I had food, calm, good work, although I did not receive a salary. Those were unforgettable days where I had delicious food that we don’t have in the Gaza Strip.” — Rabi, 16, who crossed...


Exposing the role that Islamic jihad theology and ideology play in the modern global conflicts

Jobs Report Not as Rosy as Touted

In a recent radio address following the release of November's job figures, President Obama touted the jobs report as proof that his economic policies are producing positive results.

But a closer look at those figures shows that serious problems in the jobs market remain.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) disclosed that the economy produced 321,000 new nonfarm jobs in November, more than many Wall Street analysts had predicted.

But the unemployment rate remained at 5.8 percent, and there were actually just 4,000 more Americans working compared to October since job gains were offset by Americans who became unemployed last month.

It also must be noted that the jobs created "skewed heavily toward lower quality," CNBC observed, and part-time positions rose by 77,000.

The BLS report also showed that families were under pressure. There were 110,000 fewer married men at work in November, and the number of married women at work declined by 59,000.

While the overall unemployment rate held steady, the rate for adult men rose and the rate for teenagers remained high at 17.7 percent.

The number of long-term unemployed — those jobless for 27 weeks or more — was little changed at 2.8 million in November, and accounted for 30.7 percent of all unemployed Americans.

The number of persons working part-time because their hours had been cut back or they were unable to find a full-time job stood at 6.9 million, little changed in November.

Also 2.1 million Americans were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the BLS survey.

More distressing news: While the BLS report cited 314,000 new private sector jobs in November, a report from the payroll management firm ADP showed just 208,000.

"Taken in total," CNBC concludes, "a peek beneath the hood of these numbers suggests a job market that still has a ways to go."