CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf told the House Budget Committee on Thursday that the healthcare law will reduce employment by 0.5% by 2021, because some people will no longer have to work just to afford health insurance. “That means that if the reduction in the labor used was workers working the average number of hours in the economy and earning the average wage, that there would be a reduction of 800,000 workers,” Elmendorf said in an exchange with Representative John Campbell (R-CA).
A net result of ObamaCare is that ~800,000 fewer people will choose to enter the workforce, effectively removing them from the official “unemployed”. Without regard to new hires, this gradual ebbing of the available workforce will exert a positive effect on the rate of unemployment, but at a real cost to the economy. That is because, if these people are no longer getting their insurance through the workplace, that means that everybody else is paying for it. Those persons now not “unemployed”, but nonetheless not working (read: not producing), are a net drain on the economy. To the degree that they are also seeking public assistance, doubly so.
So much for ObamaCare being “a jobs bill”, as promised by then-Speaker Pelosi (Twit-CA).
On a similar note, former Bush strategist Karl Rove is urging congressional Republicans to use Democrats’ own tactics against them to force the repeal of President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare law. If Republicans are able to pick up at least four seats in the 2012 election – which would give them a simple majority of 51 and allow them to take the chairmanships of all Senate committees – Rove said he thinks the party will be able to roll back healthcare reform.
Under reconciliation, “the Senate Budget Committee could instruct the Senate Finance Committee to reduce mandatory spending on insurance subsidies and Medicaid expansion. These two items make up more than 90% of spending in ObamaCare,” he wrote. “All the changes from all the committees” could then be “bundled into one measure and voted upon” as a budget bill, meaning it would only need 51 votes to pass. Because reconciliation is protected by the rules of the budget process, it doesn’t take 60 votes to overcome a filibuster threat, and it requires a simple majority to pass. “Democrats cannot complain if the GOP uses reconciliation after Democrats used it to pass ObamaCare through the Senate,” Rove wrote.
Two things come to mind: I’m not sure that stooping to the level used by Democrats is philosophically desirable; and, unless a Republican president is also elected in 2012, the whole exercise would be academic.
On my first objection, although it is economically vital that ObamaCare be dismantled, I’m not sure that doing good by doing bad things is justifiable. It would be just as political-business-as-usual as the passage was. The Court my remove the public mandate, which will defund the law, obviating any necessity to resort to underhanded tactics, and the case should be heard by the 2012s. If not, Congressional defunding is a better, more honest, approach to removing the economic hazard the law presents. My second objection is self-explanatory.
I refute being a tyranny of the majority, whichever party does it.
Meanwhile, seventy-four House Democrats, led by Anthony Weiner (Whiner-NY), are calling for Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from any case on the constitutionality of ObamaCare because of his wife’s founding of the conservative group Liberty Central, which posted an eMail by her declaring the law unconstitutional. Similarly, Senator Orin Hatch (R-UT) has called for the recusal of Justice Elena Kagan, President Obama’s former Solicitor General during the formulation of the legislation. “I’m sure she participated in discussions at the White House. Participated in discussions in the solicitor general’s office. These issues were brought up throughout the process.”
I think the Court will do the right thing – either both will recuse themselves, or neither will. Personally, I don’t think either situation rises to the level of tainting either Justice’s ability to rule on the case, but because this case is obviously going to be decided by Justice Kennedy, removing either without removing the other, decides the case before oral arguments are heard. This is too important a case to be treated in that manner.
Yesterday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy joined Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, Australia’s ex-prime minister John Howard, Spanish ex-premier Jose Maria Aznar, and British Prime Minister David Cameron, in denouncing multiculturalism as, in Cameron’s words, having “failed, utterly failed.” All bemoan allowing cultural enclaves to co-exist in parallel to, but clearly outside of, the host mainstream.
“If you come to France, you accept to melt into a single community, which is the national community, and if you do not want to accept that, you cannot be welcome in France,” Sarkozy said. “We have been too concerned about the identity of the person who was arriving and not enough about the identity of the country that was receiving him,” Sarkozy told French television.
I have been saying this for years. Cultural equality suffers from the same malady as the UN’s sovereign equality: they’re both fraudulent. Chancellor Merkel put it best: “What is multiculturalism? It is a bankrupt ideology, one based on the fraudulent premise that all cultures are ‘equally viable’ and ‘equally deserving’ of respect. Are they really – or is this another simple case of progressives looking at the world the way they want it to be, instead of the way it really is?
“The way the world actually is underscores the fatal conceit of multiculturalism: if all cultures are equally viable, then why are we witnessing massive movements of people away from some countries and cultures towards other ones? Why for example, if Mexico and the US are merely ‘two sides of the same coin,’ do we have millions upon millions of Mexicans sneaking into the US, and virtually no Americans sneaking into Mexico? Why are millions of Arabs abandoning their ostensibly worthwhile lifestyles in the Middle East and Africa and emigrating to Europe?
“Could it be that such concepts as freedom, democracy, economic viability and equal rights for women are more attractive than religiously-inspired totalitarianism, ingrained misogyny and/or corrupt economic systems that yield little hope for advancement? You bet your life they are.
“And yet the multiculturalists among us would throw it all away. Theirs is a world in which it is unseemly or arrogant to expect those who make the choice to move to a new nation to embrace the ethos of that nation. It is the host which must accommodate the guest, lest that host be perceived as bigoted, racist or nativist. Such incongruent thinking begs a stunningly obvious question: why should success accommodate failure? And let’s be clear here: people don’t completely uproot their lives and those of their families in order to purposefully lower their standard of living or diminish their opportunity for a better life. The intention to emigrate, despite all the ideological blather to the contrary, is a self-admitting revelation: life is better somewhere else.”
I rest my case.
2012 Democratic Primary
Dennis Kucinich (D-Mars) wants to see someone challenge President Barack Obama in Democratic primary in 2012.
“I think primaries can have the opportunity of raising the issues and make the Democratic candidate a stronger candidate,” Kucinich, a Democratic candidate in 2008, said Thursday on C-SPAN. “I think it’s safe to predict that President Obama will continue to be the nominee of the Democratic primary, but he can be a stronger nominee if he receives a strong challenge in a primary.”
Ohio will lose two seats in the House because of the 2010 Census numbers, and Kucinich wants to make sure his isn’t one of them. He’ll not be the President’s primary opponent – he’s running for re-election.
Nonetheless, Kucinich did have some thoughts on the issues that a primary challenger might want to focus on. “I’m very interested in making sure that creation of jobs, healthcare for all, protection of Social Security and Medicare, those things are fundamental – and education,” he said. “Those are issues that certainly should be brought up in primaries. And, finally, getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan. We have to stop roaming the world looking for dragons to slay – we’ve things to take care of right here at home.”
In other words, Representative Kucinich wants to pull the Democrats even further to the left. Works for me.
A fifth sitting US Senator has announced that he will not seek re-election in 2012. “I will not seek reelection the US Senate but will retire from public service in January 2013,” John Kyl (R-AZ) said. He added that he was confident he would win if he ran again, adding: “There is no reason other than the fact than I think its time.” He revealed that he had all but decided not to run again when he won six years ago. He joins Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Jim Webb (D-VA), and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) on the sidelines.
Republicans likely to take a serious look at running include former Representatives John Shadegg and Jeff Flake. Democrats’ best candidate is Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, who served as the governor of the state before accepting a job in the Obama Cabinet. Napolitano is not expected to make any statement on her interest or lack thereof today. Others mentioned include former Representative Ann Kirkpatrick, US Attorney Dennis Burke, former state party chairman Jim Pederson, and former state Attorney General Terry Goddard. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head at an event last month in Tuscon, was widely seen as Democrats’ strongest potential candidate and, according to those close to her, could still make the race.
Kyl is the Senate Minority Whip, the second ranking position in Republican leadership. His planned departure will set off a leadership race for his slot. National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (TX) and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) are expected to compete for that post. An Alexander aide confirmed the Tennessean will run for whip. Senator John Thune (R-SD) is currently mulling a run for president but if he takes a pass on that contest, he will likely enter the leadership fight as well.
As for the future, Kyl said, “I wouldn’t close my mind to being a vice presidential candidate. Having said that, I expect the chances of that are zero.”
I think he has picked his time well. All things being equal, 2012 should still be a Republican year at the ballot box, unless congressional Democrats suddenly learn how to be less shrill when out of power. This is a dynamic time, both here and abroad – ObamaCare likely to be heard at SCOTUS before the elections, the administration continuing to attempt “stimulating” the economy in the run-up, continued problems at our southern border, Egypt, continued deteriorating conditions in Iraq, the ongoing counterinsurgency in Afghanistan, on and on – and any one of these could break either way, benefiting or hindering Democrats between now and then.
Arizona is a purple state, electing Democrats and Republicans with equal ease, so retiring now (and allowing Governor Jan Brewer to appoint a Republican interim senator) wouldn’t solve anything, as Mr Kyl’s seat is up for re-election in 2012 anyway.
On the domestic side, I don’t see anything encouraging for Democrats, meaning that foreign affairs will become ever more important to the administration, which is their weakest area of expertise.
As I say, I think Senator Kyl picked his time well.
A year after the Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption in Iceland interrupted air travel over much of Europe, their Bárdarbunga volcano in middle of the country threatens an even larger release of lava and ash, says Pall Einarsson, a professor of geophysics at the University of Iceland.
Geologists detected the high risk of a new eruption after evaluating an increased swarm of earthquakes around the island’s second largest volcano. They complained that the sparse coverage from seismic measuring devices in the area means he cannot accurately detect the depth and exact location of the increased number of localized earth movements.
By comparison, Bárdarbunga dwarves the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, which shutdown most of Europe’s airspace last year after its ash cloud drifted across the continent’s skies. It is the second largest volcano on Iceland and is directly above the mantle plume of molten rock. The last recorded eruption of Bárdarbunga was in 1910, although volcanologists believe its last major eruption occurred in 1477 when it produced a large ash and pumice fallout. It also produced the largest known lava flow during the past 10,000 years on Earth.
If things get slow in our news cycle, at least the news readers will have something to talk about, have some spectacular tape to show, and condemn numerous correspondents to cover sleeping people in European airports.
See J Lester Feder and Kate Nocera, CBO Director Says ObamaCare Would Reduce Employment by 800,000 Workers, in Politico, February 10 2011.
Jennifer Epstein, Karl Rove: Use reconciliation to repeal healthcare, in Wall Street Journal, February 10 2011.
See Huma Khan, Should Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas, Elena Kagan Sit Out Health Care Case?, ABC News, February 10 2011.
See Laura Kuenssberg, State multiculturalism has failed, says David Cameron, BBC, February 5 2011, Multiculturalism has failed, says French president, AFP, February 10 2011, and Arnold Ahlert, Multiculturalism? Check, Please, in Jewish World Review, October 20 2010.
Arnold Ahlert, op cit.
Jennifer Epstein, Dennis Kucinich wants a Barack Obama primary challenger – but not him, in Politico, February 10 2011.
See Chris Cilliizza, Jon Kyl announces retirement, in Washington Post, February 10 2011.
See Icelandic volcano set to “erupt”, in The Telegraph [London], February 8 2011.