Monday, August 1, 2011

The No Solution Deal

By Bill Wilson
A late deal struck by House and Senate leaders to raise the debt ceiling — with spending cuts that won’t balance the budget anytime soon, if ever — is a sad commentary on the state of affairs in Washington. There is no solution in sight.
It leaves the American people short-changed; who in 2010 voted to rein in government at all levels, most importantly, from spending far more than it takes in. While families struggle with their monthly balance sheets, the federal government has been on an unprecedented spend-a-thon that would wipe out anyone else who tried it.

Since Barack Obama had his first budget passed (accounting for two years of spending), he has accumulated $2.4 trillion in new debt. That’s over $1 trillion a year in new debt, a number that will continue unabated through 2021 when the debt reaches $26 trillion.

That is, if the government’s rosy economic projections turn out as everyone hopes, with a robust economic recovery and millions of new jobs created. If the projections are wrong, and the economy does not double in size in the next ten years, revenues will fall far short of expectations.

Aside from the lack of spending cuts, an essential feature of any plan a family would follow to reinstate fiscal prudence, the other essential ingredient missing from the deal is a recipe to get the economy growing again. It will do nothing to reduce the exorbitant cost of doing business in America, with corporate taxes among the highest in the developed world. Where the federal regulatory overkill threatens to shut down millions of more jobs. And where the new costly healthcare entitlement, ObamaCare, threatens to topple the federal treasury once and for all.
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Gov. Jindal's Opposition to Health Care Exchanges Divides Libertarian and Conservative Scholars

By Kevin Mooney

By refusing to set up a health care insurance exchange system that could be used to advance ObamaCare regulations, Gov. Bobby Jindal has cut a path that other state officials should follow, argue analysts with the Cato Institute. However, other leading figures within Gov. Jindal’s own Republican Party remain divided on this question.

Governors Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Scott Parnell (R-Alaska), Susana Martinez (R-N.M.) and Rick Perry (R-Texas) have all expressed opposition to an exchange system in their states. But Gov. CL “Butch” Otter of Idaho, Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), and other GOP officials, disagree. They view the exchange system as a viable tool for advancing patient-centered, market-friendly health care reforms that can lower costs and expand consumer choice.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a set of proposed rules that “set minimum standards” for the exchanges. But the suggested guidelines are so incomplete and uncertain that states cannot make an informed decision on whether they should participate, said Bruce Greenstein, Louisiana’s secretary for the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH). Greenstein supports Gov. Jindal in his decision to remain outside of the exchange system.

“This is very good policy on the part of Gov. Jindal for today, and tomorrow it will be seen by the rest of the market as very forward thinking, and very savvy in terms of the way we move forward and protect the market of health insurance in Louisiana; we need to be able to access high quality insurance products at a good cost,” Greenstein said. “We continue to be very prudent in our approach.”

However, Cassidy, who is a medical doctor and a vocal opponent of the federal health care law, said in an interview that it may be advantageous for states to put their own “imprimatur” on a health care exchange before federal officials advance new regulations. He cited the Utah system, which is already up and running, as a model for what might work in Louisiana and other states.
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Libya rebels hunt ‘pro-Gaddafi infiltrators’ –

Libya rebels hunt 'pro-Gaddafi infiltrators'

At least 15 dead as opposition says it has captured members of pro-Gaddafi brigade operating under rebel banner. Opposition leaders say they arrested dozens of armed men loyal to Muammar Gaddafi in their eastern bastion, but have suffered a blow in ...

Congress, President Reach Debt Ceiling Agreement

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle in Congress have said they have reached an 11th hour agreement with the president that would lift the nation's debt ceiling.

The agreement, according to media outlets, would raise the nation's credit limit — the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling — by $2.4 trillion, likely through 2012.

However, before the agreement will come to fruition, it must be voted on by both legislative chambers.
West Virginia's delegation in Washington, D.C., issued statements soon after the agreement was released.
Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said while the agreement increases the debt limit, it will fundamentally change the way Washington works.

"This debate, often stressful and tiring, is an opportunity to prove to the American people that we can reverse the cycle of reckless spending that got us here in the first place," she said. “We never wavered from our goal of more spending cuts than the increase in the debt limit and no new taxes. I appreciate the leadership in both parties for coming together to reach an agreement that does not give up our principles and puts us on a path toward a brighter, more prosperous future."
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., described the agreement in a news release as a "reasonable compromise." However he expressed frustration with the process.

“This never should have dragged on to the 11th hour, and I am disappointed that so many in Congress used this debate for political purposes," he said. "That said, we have settled on a reasonable compromise that all sides should immediately support and which I intend to vote for. The plan will allow us to extend the debt ceiling — avoiding a major economic catastrophe that would have hurt families and individuals from all backgrounds by raising interest rates, making it harder to get a loan and forcing the federal government to ration how it pays its bills. The compromise proposal helps us secure our nation’s economy, reduces the deficit by making more than $900 billion in immediate spending cuts and setting up a plan for future cuts as early as this fall. Thankfully, those cuts will not come at the expense of Social Security, Medicaid and other safety net programs for low income Americans, which I have insisted since Day 1 should not be on the table right now.”

According to Fox News, President Barack Obama said the agreement calls for an immediate cut of $1 trillion over a 10-year period, followed by the creation of a committee to come up with additional cuts worth $1.5 trillion to be voted on by the end of the year. Tax increases are not part of the deal, Fox News reported. However, lawmakers say the agreement does include a promise to put the Balanced Budget Amendment up for a vote.