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Desperately avoiding Obamanomics and Obamacare

Mitt Romney can’t let Barack Obama get away with it

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By Dr. Milton R. Wolf
The Washington Times
Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The intertwined strands of evil DNA – Obamanomics and Obamacare – will determine the outcome of the 2012 election, and Barack Obama knows it. That’s why he desperately wants to talk about something else. Anything else. A failed stimulus. Shovel-ready jobs that even President Obama later admitted don’t exist. Auto takeovers. Bank bailouts. Mythical green jobs. And a historic American credit downgrade. Obamanomics has become the science of downward-sloping graphs.

Officially, America is in the third year of recovery from the Great Recession, but try convincing voters of that. The average unemployment rate in Mr. Obama’s first three years was 9.3 percent. Surely, somehow that must be the fault of President George W. Bush, whom Democrats mocked in 2004 as delivering a “jobless recovery” even though the average unemployment rate in his eight years was 5.3 percent.

The real unemployment rate, when you include the underemployed and those who’ve simply given up looking for jobs that just aren’t there, is almost 15 percent. Since Obamanomics was unleashed – increased taxes, increased regulations, wildly increased spending and weak-dollar monetary policy – a million fewer jobs exist in America, median household income has dropped nearly 10 percent, housing prices have hit an almost 10-year low, gas prices have doubled, a record number of Americans are on food stamps, and the federal debt races toward $16 trillion (around $140,000 per taxpayer).

The only way out of this abyss is, of course, private-sector economic growth. In the aftermath of the recession of the early 1980s, for example, President Reagan’s economic strategy was exactly the opposite of Mr. Obama‘s: lower taxes, lower spending as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), reduced regulations and strong-dollar monetary policy. That produced an average GDP growth rate of 7.1 percent. Now, three years into Obamanomics, America’s GDP growth rate has slowed to a crawl: 2.2 percent.

The administration would like you to think we’ve turned the corner, but calling our current economic status a recovery is like calling the product of a Kim Kardashian wedding a marriage. Technically, it meets the definition, but, come on, nobody’s buying it.

As if the quagmire that is Obamanomics weren’t enough, the president dropped an anchor that not only sabotages his own recovery but threatens our nation’s long-term economic survival: Obamacare.

So thoroughly disastrous is Mr. Obama’s signature accomplishment that many Democrats are openly hopeful that the Supreme Court will rule Obamacare unconstitutional so it becomes less of an issue in the presidential election. Imagine that. Mr. Obama and the Democrats fiddled with Obamacare as America’s economy burned, and now they hope we will forget. We won’t.

The Obamacare house of cards is collapsing. Its price tag has doubled. Americans remain adamantly opposed to it. And the unkeepable promises have vanished like vapor on the wind: It would allow you to keep your current insurance and doctor and lower your monthly health insurance premiums. It would reduce the deficit and create millions of jobs. Lies all.

So what’s a president to do when his stimulus has failed and his health care takeover is even worse? Avoid them at all costs. Talk about anything else. Student loans. Birth control. Hooded sweatshirts. Heck, even talk about eating dogs.Anything besides the two issues that define his presidency and threaten our republic.

It’s Obamanomics and Obamacare, the intertwined strands of evil DNA, stupid.

Mitt Romney should avoid the temptation of chasing Mr. Obama down every side-issue rabbit hole. At every opportunity, he should drag him back to the main path. Whenever Mr. Romney is asked a question, whether in debates or by reporters or even at town-hall meetings, his answer should always include at least one of those two words: Obamanomics and Obamacare.

Question: Mr. Governor, should a woman’s access to birth control be a right?

Answer: The most effective way to assure access to products or services is to make them affordable through free-market competition. That’s how stores like Wal-Mart and Target provide birth control for just $9 a month. And the most moral approach is for people to freely choose to participate or not. Unfortunately, Obamanomics adds crushing burdens on American companies that drive up prices and therefore limit access. And Obamacare unbelievably forces women in churches to choose between their government and their God. American women are victimized by both Obamacare and Obamanomics.

That’s easy enough.

The 2012 election will be the most consequential of our lifetimes, probably of our children’s and our children’s children’s lifetimes. We will choose between Mitt Romney’s opportunity society and Barack Obama’s government-centered society. Voters deserve an election that addresses rather than avoids the important issues that will determine the difference.

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MILLER: Obamacare’s hefty tax bill

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By Emily Miller
The Washington Times

President Obama promised to make health care more affordable, but instead he’s done the opposite. The White House and congressional Democrats slipped 20 new taxes into the Obamacare legislation to raise $500 billion to help pay for the new entitlement’s $2.6 trillion cost. It’s now up to the Supreme Court to provide relief.

Mr. Obama claims to want to raise taxes only on “millionaires and billionaires,” but his signature health care law hits the middle class hard. Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) analyzed the 2,700-page bill and came up with a comprehensive list of its levies.

“Obama promised no taxes of any kind for those who earn less than $250,000. Obamacare broke that pledge repeatedly,” ATR President Grover Norquist told The Washington Times. “They deliberately hid the taxes and wisely understood that delaying the pain by making the effective date after the election, maybe you could get through the election.”

Until last year, people could pay for over-the-counter medications with tax-free Flexible Savings Accounts and Health Savings Accounts. No more, thanks to Obamacare’s medicine cabinet tax. Starting on Jan. 1, these tax-free accounts will be capped at $2,500, punishing families who face higher than normal medical expenses. The threshold for deducting those costs will also go up from 7.5 percent to 10 percent of adjusted gross income in 2013.

The left mistakenly thinks companies will just absorb the extra charges from Uncle Sam and not pass them along to consumers. Medical-device manufacturers will be smacked with a 2.3 percent tax in the new year, driving up the costs of things like wheelchairs, stents and pacemakers. Innovative drug companies already are sending Washington $2.3 billion in taxes for a surcharge on their share of sales, which helps explain why prescription-drug spending will see a projected 10.7 percent increase in 2014.

That’s also when health-insurance companies face a new surcharge on sales that will result in an estimated $350 to $400 increase in annual premiums. So much for the president’s promise to reduce the cost of insurance by $2,500.

Americans who refuse to go along with Obamacare by buying a policy not approved by the government will be charged 1 percent of their income in 2014, rising to 2.5 percent in 2016. Employers with more than 50 employees who don’t offer health coverage and have at least one employee who qualifies for a health tax credit will be penalized $2,000 per person. If the employee receives coverage through this exchange, the penalty goes up to $3,000. An employer with a 30- to 60-day enrollment waiting period will have to pay $400 per person.

These new penalties on employers who don’t provide the health coverage dictated by bureaucrats will amount to $113 billion. Expect companies to pay less and lay off more. Growth will be further stunted when January brings a new levy on investment income for those who earn more than $200,000, making the tax on capital gains 23.8 percent and dividends a staggering 43.4 percent.

This monster law already has created 159 new programs and boards in Washington. As Mr. Norquist explained, “It’s a huge increase in the size and scope of government because the government is getting control of 15 percent of the economy.” The Supreme Court needs to reject this unconstitutional power grab and return the money to the people who actually earned it.

Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.

Natural gas sector set up by Obama to be sabotaged?

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Industry insiders fear rules, taxes

By Ben Wolfgang-

The Washington Times

President Obama spoke of the role natural gas must play in America’s energy future during his State of the Union address last week, but industry insiders fear it’s merely lip service designed to distract from what they consider the administration’s behind-the-scenes plan to sabotage the sector.

“They’re trying to make it more difficult for the industry to survive while the president is standing in front of the country saying we’re going to create jobs through hydraulic fracturing,” said Ken von Schaumburg, former deputy counsel at the Environmental Protection Agency during the Bush administration.

Mr. Obama “is talking the game, but you can’t support the industry and then have this aggressive rule-making process going on,” Mr. von Schaumburg said.

At the same time the president boasts of the nation’s vast shale gas deposits, his EPA is poised to make extracting that fuel much more difficult. The agency will this year release a widely anticipated study on hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” the use of water, sand and chemical mixtures to crack underground rock and release huge quantities of gas. The practice is widely used in Pennsylvania, North Dakota and other states, and has helped revitalize small-town economies and led directly to the creation of thousands of jobs in recent years.

Many in the gas industry fear that the upcoming EPA study will call for harsh new regulations on the process, and many environmental groups – a key constituency for Mr. Obama during this year’s re-election bid – are publicly pushing the administration to outlaw fracking entirely.

The EPA has already dealt a severe blow to fracking with the release of a report last year alleging the process was responsible for water contamination in Pavillion, Wyo. That study was met with ridicule from across the natural gas business because it was put out before being subjected to an independent, third-party review. While the EPA has promised such an unbiased look will be conducted, the study has likely already had a negative impact on the public perception of fracking.

Possibly making matters worse, Mr. Obama has over the past week repeated his calls for increased federal investment in the renewable energy sector, a policy some view as an effort to stack the deck against natural gas.

“Job creators and American consumers should welcome the president’s latest energy promises with suspicion,” Thomas Pyle, president of the nonprofit Institute for Energy Research, said in a statement following Mr. Obama’s State of the Union speech, during which he called for an “all-of-the-above” approach toward energy independence that relies heavily on American oil and gas reserves.

“In the same breath that he extolled the virtues of natural gas development and called for higher energy taxes on the companies that produce it, President Obama continues to press for more taxpayer subsidies for Solyndra-style green energy companies,” Mr. Pyle said.

Mr. Obama’s positive rhetoric toward natural gas could also represent a desire to please both sides of the debate, though the move to the middle has, thus far, seemed to satisfy no one. After the speech, environmental groups blasted the administration for being too timid and called for an all-out war on fracking.

“We can’t wait much longer for the clean energy revolution. We need to clean up a fossil fuel industry run amok, by ensuring … natural gas safeguards that go much further than what the president suggested,” Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said in a statement after the State of the Union address.

So far, however, the administration has stopped far short of what the Sierra Club and other liberal groups want to see. Mr. Obama did, however, call for legislation requiring any company drilling on public land to disclose all chemicals used during the fracking process. Several states, such as Texas and Colorado, have already passed disclosure bills, and many leading companies voluntarily post detailed breakdowns of their chemical mixtures to the website fracfocus.org, an online clearinghouse.

Potential state or federal regulations aren’t they only problems confronting the gas industry. The explosion of natural gas extraction in areas like the Marcellus Shale region has glutted the market, keeping prices low for consumers but leading to diminished returns for drilling companies.

Last week, Chesapeake Energy, one of the largest players in the game, announced plans to reduce daily gas production by 500 million cubic feet, an 8 percent drop. The firm said it’s considering slashing production even further and predicts “flat or lower total natural gas production in the U.S. in 2012” as supply outstrips demand.

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Brazil Stiffs Obama on Oil Deal, Exposing President’s Incompetence

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By Mark Whittington
Yahoo! Contributor Network – Sat, Jan 21, 2012

COMMENTARY | President Barack Obama has suffered the second embarrassment over oil imports within the space of a week. Brazil, whose offshore deposits of oil were sought by the Obama administration, has signed contracts with China for the product.

According to the Washington Times, Brazilian offshore crude may number about 38 billion barrels. Obama went to Brazil last month to put in a bid for the oil, offering loans and other support to develop the oil in an “environmentally responsible matter,” The Hill reported at the time. Republicans criticized that initiative, pointing out Obama has placed roadblocks in the way of domestic development of oil and gas reserves.

Brazil’s decision comes on the heels of Obama’s refusal to permit the building of the Keystone XL pipeline to bring oil from Canada’s tar sands in Alberta to Texas oil refineries, according to the Los Angeles Times. The decision was criticized by Republicans as well as union officials who point out that 20,000 jobs the pipeline would bring would therefore not be created.

Obama’s policy in regard to oil and gas has been a study in incompetence driven by an ideological mania against hydrocarbon fuel in favor of more politically correct forms of energy production. This has not only led to what amounts to a campaign against oil and gas production in the U.S., but embarrassing scandals such as Solyndra, brought on by unwise federal loan guarantees to dubious green energy companies.

This is occurring at a time when Iran is threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz through which much of the world’s oil passes from Persian Gulf fields. The very threat has led to a spike in the price of oil and of gasoline.

Unfortunately, Obama shows no sign of learning from his mistakes. A responsible president would move quickly to exploit more accessible sources of oil, lifting restrictions on domestic production and quickly signing off on the pipeline deal with Canada, an American ally. Obama, however, is doing neither of these things.

A new energy crisis this summer, brought on by turmoil in the Middle East, is not outside the realm of possibility. The bad news is Americans will suffer, just as they did in 1973 and 1979. The good news is Americans are likely to make their ire known at the polls in the fall. But it months of turmoil and agony lay ahead until then.

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Strength Through Appeasement… Obama to Share US Missile Secrets With Russia

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Posted by Jim Hoft

Despite giving away nuclear secrets and implementing a policy of appeasement, the Russians announced in November that they will deploy new missiles aimed at U.S. missile defense sites.

But that didn’t divert President Obama from his mission of appeasement.

President Obama signaled Congress this week that he is planning on providing Moscow with US missile defense secrets.
The Washington Times reported:

President Obama signaled Congress this week that he is prepared to share U.S. missile defense secrets with Russia.

In the president’s signing statement issued Saturday in passing into law the fiscal 2012 defense authorization bill, Mr. Obama said restrictions aimed at protecting top-secret technical data on U.S. Standard Missile-3 velocity burnout parameters might impinge on his constitutional foreign policy authority.

As first disclosed in this space several weeks ago, U.S. officials are planning to provide Moscow with the SM-3 data, despite reservations from security officials who say that doing so could compromise the effectiveness of the system by allowing Russian weapons technicians to counter the missile. The weapons are considered some of the most effective high-speed interceptors in the U.S. missile defense arsenal.

There are also concerns that Russia could share the secret data with China and rogue states such as Iran and North Korea to help their missile programs defeat U.S. missile defenses.

Hat Tip Maria

For the record… Obama met secretly with Gorbachev in March 2009 where they discussed ways of reducing their countries’ respective nuclear arsenals.
Hat Tip Chris

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