by Ken Blackwell at Townhall.com
It’s all supposed to be voluntary, those “home visits” that are tucked into the mammoth ObamaCare bill. If you have a strong stomach, and stronger bottom, you can find home visitation on pages 568-595. That’s Section 2951 of H.R. 3590, the Senate bill that Harry Reid brought down the chimney on Christmas Eve.
All voluntary, they say, but once you “volunteer” to have the oh-so-helpful folks from Social Services come in to help with your newborns, or with a number of other specified issues, will you ever be able to get rid of them?
The bill provides for federal funding and supervision for this vast expansion of government intrusion into family life. This is the Nanny State on steroids.
Is your family being “targeted” for such home visitations? Let’s see if you fit into one of these very broad categories:
• Families where Mom is not yet 21. (No mention here whether she is married or not.)
• Families where someone is a tobacco user. (Does this include the White House? Watch out, Sasha and Malia!) Does Grandpa, whom you love and have taken in, enjoy his after-dinner pipe?
• Families where children have low student achievement, developmental delays, or disabilities.
As if that list was not wide-ranging enough, here’s the net that can encompass tens of millions:
• Families with individuals who are serving or formerly served in the armed forces, including such families that have members of the armed forces who have had multiple deployments outside the United States. [Emphasis added.]
So, while Johnny gets his gun, the government steps in to “help” his family at home. Ronald Reagan used to say the most frightening words in the English language were these: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.
Who will sit atop the federal pyramid that runs this vast new invasion of family privacy? Why, it will be Sec. of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, of course.
by Michael Barone at Townhall.com
“Stop messing with Texas!” That was the message Gov. Rick Perry bellowed on election night as he celebrated his victory over Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in the Republican primary for governor. In his reference to Texas’ anti-littering slogan, Perry was making a point applicable to national as well as Texas politics and addressed to Democratic politicians as well as Republicans.
His point was that the big government policies of the Obama administration and Democratic congressional leaders are resented and fiercely opposed not just because of their dire fiscal effects but also as an intrusion on voters’ independence and ability to make decisions for themselves.
No one would include Perry on a list of serious presidential candidates, including himself, even in the flush of victory. But in his 10 years as governor, the longest in the state’s history, Texas has been teaching some lessons to which the rest of the nation should pay heed.
They are lessons that are particularly vivid when you contrast Texas, the nation’s second most populous state, with the most populous, California. Both were once Mexican territory, secured for the United States in the 1840s. Both have grown prodigiously over the past half-century. Both have populations that today are about one-third Hispanic.
But they differ vividly in public policy and in their economic progress — or lack of it — over the last decade. California has gone in for big government in a big way. Democrats hold large margins in the legislature largely because affluent voters in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area favor their liberal positions on cultural issues.
by Charles Krauthammer at Townhall.com
WASHINGTON — So the yearlong production, set to close after Massachusetts’ devastatingly negative Jan. 19 review, saw the curtain raised one last time. Obamacare lives.
After 34 speeches, three sharp electoral rebukes (Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts) and a seven-hour seminar, the president announced Wednesday his determination to make one last push to pass his health care reform.
The final act was carefully choreographed. The rollout began a week earlier with a couple of shows of bipartisanship: a Feb. 25 Blair House “summit” with Republicans, followed five days later with a few concessions tossed the Republicans’ way.
Show is the operative noun. Among the few Republican suggestions President Obama pretended to incorporate was tort reform. What did he suggest to address the plague of defensive medicine that a Massachusetts Medical Society study showed leads to about 25 percent of doctor referrals, tests and procedures being done for no medical reason? A few ridiculously insignificant demonstration projects amounting to one-half of one-hundredth of 1 percent of the cost of Obama’s health care bill.
by Joseph C. Phillips at Townhall.com
Even as a bloodbath looms in the November distance, the Obama administration continues to push healthcare because they know that Americans love their entitlements like winos love wine. They are betting the farm that once that fiery warmth begins running through the National body we will not only love national health care, but will fight to defend it. We will also be too glassy eyed to notice that we have suddenly signed away our liberty, becoming slaves to those that serve us. But I digress.
Like wine, entitlements cost money. Sadly the more addicted we become the less money we have to spend on more important and often essential things. The wino lacks food, housing and clothing; the entitlement addict lacks employment, savings and luxury.
Consider that today our national debt stands at roughly $12 trillion or roughly 70% of our gross domestic product or GDP. But wait. We have promised today’s workers Social Security and Medicare benefits totaling another $41 trillion. Toss in another trillion for miscellaneous expenses, and suddenly our debt skyrockets to $54 trillion. In layman’s terms it means in order to pay our future obligations we would need $54 trillion dollars invested today. How much of that money does this nation have sitting around? Zip! Zero! Zilch!
by Larry Kudlow at Townhall.com
The New York Times ran a front-page story this week called “Party Gridlock in Washington Feeds New Fear of a Debt Crisis.” As usual, they got it wrong. Instead, the headline should have read, “After Scott Brown’s Astonishing Senate Win in Massachusetts, New Political Gridlock in Washington Could Spell the End of the Liberal Crack-Up We Have Witnessed over the Past Year.”
In fact, gridlock in Washington is good, since it will stop the assault of big government until the end of the year when Congress could be overturned by independents, tea partiers, Republicans, and probably some Democrats as well. Just take a look at the high spirits at the CPAC convention, where tea partiers are reinvigorating conservatives and Republicans.
So let’s take this momentum forward by using it to drain any remaining power from the extravagant spending-and-borrowing assault in Democratic Washington. And let’s especially use this tea-party power to stop Democratic plans for another round of broad-based tax increases.
Take, for example, Obama’s new deficit commission. It’s a bad idea. This commission is a fig leaf to cover up President Obama’s out-of-control budget. It’s a Trojan horse for tax hikes, especially a VAT that would engulf the middle class with up to a 15 percent tax rate on the sale of goods and services. Obama is getting ready to move his lips on the pledge not to raise middle-class taxes. Congressional Republicans must not let him do this.
Here’s the real problem: The Obama budget would take federal spending as a fraction of the economy to 25 percent, roughly a $1 trillion additional spending increase in the out-years. Publicly held federal debt would climb about $18.5 trillion by 2020, more than double what Mr. Obama inherited, rising to almost 80 percent of the economy.
Rather than tax hikes, I say stop the spending. Outside of defense and entitlements, why not roll back the discretionary budget to 2008?
by Charles Krauthammer at Townhall.com
WASHINGTON — In the latter days of the Carter presidency, it became fashionable to say that the office had become unmanageable and was simply too big for one man. Some suggested a single, six-year presidential term. The president’s own White House counsel suggested abolishing the separation of powers and going to a more parliamentary system of unitary executive control. America had become ungovernable.
Then came Ronald Reagan, and all that chatter disappeared.
The tyranny of entitlements? Reagan collaborated with Tip O’Neill, the legendary Democratic House speaker, to establish the Alan Greenspan commission that kept Social Security solvent for a quarter-century.
A corrupted system of taxation? Reagan worked with liberal Democrat Bill Bradley to craft a legislative miracle: tax reform that eliminated dozens of loopholes and slashed rates across the board — and fueled two decades of economic growth.
Later, a highly skilled Democratic president, Bill Clinton, successfully tackled another supposedly intractable problem: the culture of intergenerational dependency. He collaborated with another House speaker, Newt Gingrich, to produce the single most successful social reform of our time, the abolition of welfare as an entitlement.
It turned out that the country’s problems were not problems of structure but of leadership. Reagan and Clinton had it. Carter didn’t. Under a president with extensive executive experience, good political skills and an ideological compass in tune with the public, the country was indeed governable.
by Larry Elder at Townhall.com
Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., “shocked” President Barack Obama and his party by announcing his plan to retire from the Senate. Appearing on CBS’ “The Early Show,” Bayh explained: Washington suffers from acute partisanship. Washington doesn’t work. It is broken.
How noble — a principled position against “divisiveness.” Let us honor a good man standing tall against the lack of “bipartisanship.” Pass the barf bag.
When has Washington, D.C., not been “divisive” under a president pushing unpopular ideas — whether the war in Iraq, the Senate “amnesty” bill, partial privatization of Social Security or Bill Clinton’s attempt to allow gays to serve openly in the military?
Could it be that the “fed-up” senator feared losing re-election? Don’t ask. CBS didn’t. The possibility that Bayh faced a tough re-election wasn’t even hinted at. But imagine Bayh, who explored a 2008 presidential bid, running for re-election while justifying to skeptical Hoosiers his votes for “stimulus,” TARP, the auto bailouts and ObamaCare.
Here’s the big underreported story.
by Jillian Bandes at Townhall.com
If you read any of the extensive coverage of the Tea Party Convention going on this weekend in Nashville, TN, be prepared for dramatic stories of rampant grassroots infighting, questionable convention finances, and radical convention-goers flocking after polarizing demagogues.
The real story? Much different.
Attendees are wildly enthusiastic, not just about speakers, but about ideas. Those ideas are focused almost exclusively on basic conservative principles like limited government and fiscal responsibility (not the Obama birther conspiracy). And attendees are barely aware of the criticism that has been launched at the Tea Party Convention by mainstream media outlets.
“It’s a good idea,” said one attendee, pithily, when asked why he drove in from Ohio to participate.
Attendees are mainly being informed about the manufactured scandals through convention speakers, who have taken every opportunity to punch back — like Mark Skoda, head of the Memphis tea party group.
“We’ve come so far in the world of socialist values that we’re now criticizing a for-profit event,” he said, during a morning briefing on Friday. “We’ve put six hundred thousand of our dollars into the Gaylord Hotel (where the event is being hosted). We didn’t ask for a tax benefit, a subsidy, or a stimulus.”