Tag Archives: mitt romney

A flat tax is the answer

Uploaded by on Mar 29, 2010

This Center for Freedom and Prosperity Foundation video shows how the flat tax would benefit families and businesses, and also explains how this simple and fair system would boost economic growth and eliminate the special-interest corruption of the internal revenue code. www.freedomandprosperity.org

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Dan Mitchell hits the nail on the head again.

A Flat Tax Is the Answer

by Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell is a top expert on tax reform and supply-side tax policy at the Cato Institute.

Added to cato.org on January 31, 2012

This article appeared on US News and World Report Online on January 31, 2012.

The class-warfare crowd is predictably outraged that Mitt Romney supposedly paid just 13.9 percent of his income to the crowd in Washington. Surely this is a sign of both inequity and iniquity. Meanwhile, previewing a theme for the general election, President Obama said in his State of the Union address that “millionaires and billionaires” should cough up at least 30 percent of their earnings to the IRS.

This is bad policy based on inaccurate data.

Let’s deal first with the flawed numbers. Capital gains taxes and dividend taxes are both forms of double taxation. That income already is hit by the 35 percent corporate income tax. So the real tax rate for people like Mitt Romney is closer to 45 percent. And if you add the death tax to the equation, the effective tax rate begins to approach 60 percent.

Daniel J. Mitchell is a top expert on tax reform and supply-side tax policy at the Cato Institute.

More by Daniel J. Mitchell

Here’s a simply analogy. Imagine you make $50,000 per year and your employer withholds $5,000 for personal income tax. How would you feel if the IRS then told you that your income was $45,000 and you had to pay full tax on that amount, and that you weren’t allowed to count the $5,000 withholding when you filled out your 1040 form? You would be outraged, correctly yelling and screaming that you should be allowed to count those withheld tax payments.

Welcome to the world of double taxation.

The Obama approach is also bad economics. Every economic theory — even socialism and Marxism — agrees that saving and investment are the key to long-run growth and higher living standards. So does it make sense to deprive the economy of productive capital by imposing punitive layers of double taxation? To make matters worse, double taxation means transferring the money to the buffoons in Washington, where it will be squandered on inefficient and wasteful programs.

Europe’s welfare states are on the brink of collapse because they adopted the mentality that government spending was better than private saving and investment. Should we copy their failures?

The right way to ensure both fairness and growth is the flat tax. Get rid of the 72,000 pages of corruption and complexity in the Internal Revenue Service code and replace it with a postcard-sized flat tax. One low tax rate with no double taxation. That’s good for the economy and competitiveness.

And if Mitt Romney makes 100,000 times more than me, he’ll pay 100,000 times more in tax.

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Milton Friedman discusses government spending (Friedman Fridays)

Milton Friedman – Do-Gooders And Special Interest

Uploaded by on Nov 4, 2011

An effective alliance to grow government. http://www.LibertyPen

___________________________

Great article that quotes Milton Friedman:

‘Government Efficiency’: Trying to Turn Cats into Dogs

Posted by Tad DeHaven

I’ll have more to say later on Mitt Romney’s speech on federal spending, but his banal call for making government more “efficient” gave me an opportunity to share some good commentary on the subject. In a recent piece criticizing Indiana’s Republican-led state government for not doing “anything substantive to improve Indiana’s budgetary, fiscal or economic position,” Craig Ladwig, editor of the Indiana Policy Review, nails it:

Most troubling of all is that few in the leadership of either party share our belief that government must be kept small for smallness’ sake. The goal is not to run it “like a business” or make it more efficient (consolidate), but to ensure that government is simple enough that average citizens can understand and monitor its workings. The constitutional ability to do that and a passion for self-government (governing one’s self), thereby reaping the rewards and accepting the consequences, are what is meant by American exceptionalism.

Nor does the current leadership appreciate that government cannot by nature be proactively involved in prosperity, that it cannot create wealth but only refrain from taking it away or destroying it. Even Republicans busy themselves in such neo-mercantile schemes as tax rebates for politically favored companies and industries, or training programs to win more contracts from the federal government. At the same time, they slap a tax on entrepreneurial activity as soon as it finds success, most recently in Internet commerce.

Look, Democrats already work tirelessly to extract from us the revenue to support a bloated, systemically flawed and misguided state government. Do they need Republican help?

Milton Friedman famously described those trying to reform government without changing its makeup as being engaged in an attempt to transform a cat into a dog. This General Assembly may learn to bark, but it will still be a cat.

The “government efficiency” snake-oil salesmanship from politicians has become tiresome, especially when it comes from high-profile Republicans like Mitch Daniels and Mitt Romney. Unfortunately, I don’t see too many people “on the right” taking these people to task for it. So kudos to Craig.

A flat tax is the answer

Uploaded by on Mar 29, 2010

This Center for Freedom and Prosperity Foundation video shows how the flat tax would benefit families and businesses, and also explains how this simple and fair system would boost economic growth and eliminate the special-interest corruption of the internal revenue code. www.freedomandprosperity.org

__________________________________

Dan Mitchell hits the nail on the head again.

A Flat Tax Is the Answer

by Daniel J. Mitchell

 

Daniel J. Mitchell is a top expert on tax reform and supply-side tax policy at the Cato Institute.

Added to cato.org on January 31, 2012

This article appeared on US News and World Report Online on January 31, 2012.

The class-warfare crowd is predictably outraged that Mitt Romney supposedly paid just 13.9 percent of his income to the crowd in Washington. Surely this is a sign of both inequity and iniquity. Meanwhile, previewing a theme for the general election, President Obama said in his State of the Union address that “millionaires and billionaires” should cough up at least 30 percent of their earnings to the IRS.

This is bad policy based on inaccurate data.

Let’s deal first with the flawed numbers. Capital gains taxes and dividend taxes are both forms of double taxation. That income already is hit by the 35 percent corporate income tax. So the real tax rate for people like Mitt Romney is closer to 45 percent. And if you add the death tax to the equation, the effective tax rate begins to approach 60 percent.

Daniel J. Mitchell is a top expert on tax reform and supply-side tax policy at the Cato Institute.

 

More by Daniel J. Mitchell

 

Here’s a simply analogy. Imagine you make $50,000 per year and your employer withholds $5,000 for personal income tax. How would you feel if the IRS then told you that your income was $45,000 and you had to pay full tax on that amount, and that you weren’t allowed to count the $5,000 withholding when you filled out your 1040 form? You would be outraged, correctly yelling and screaming that you should be allowed to count those withheld tax payments.

Welcome to the world of double taxation.

The Obama approach is also bad economics. Every economic theory — even socialism and Marxism — agrees that saving and investment are the key to long-run growth and higher living standards. So does it make sense to deprive the economy of productive capital by imposing punitive layers of double taxation? To make matters worse, double taxation means transferring the money to the buffoons in Washington, where it will be squandered on inefficient and wasteful programs.

Europe’s welfare states are on the brink of collapse because they adopted the mentality that government spending was better than private saving and investment. Should we copy their failures?

The right way to ensure both fairness and growth is the flat tax. Get rid of the 72,000 pages of corruption and complexity in the Internal Revenue Service code and replace it with a postcard-sized flat tax. One low tax rate with no double taxation. That’s good for the economy and competitiveness.

And if Mitt Romney makes 100,000 times more than me, he’ll pay 100,000 times more in tax.

Milton Friedman discusses government spending

Milton Friedman – Do-Gooders And Special Interest

Uploaded by on Nov 4, 2011

An effective alliance to grow government. http://www.LibertyPen

___________________________

Great article that quotes Milton Friedman:

‘Government Efficiency’: Trying to Turn Cats into Dogs

Posted by Tad DeHaven

I’ll have more to say later on Mitt Romney’s speech on federal spending, but his banal call for making government more “efficient” gave me an opportunity to share some good commentary on the subject. In a recent piece criticizing Indiana’s Republican-led state government for not doing “anything substantive to improve Indiana’s budgetary, fiscal or economic position,” Craig Ladwig, editor of the Indiana Policy Review, nails it:

Most troubling of all is that few in the leadership of either party share our belief that government must be kept small for smallness’ sake. The goal is not to run it “like a business” or make it more efficient (consolidate), but to ensure that government is simple enough that average citizens can understand and monitor its workings. The constitutional ability to do that and a passion for self-government (governing one’s self), thereby reaping the rewards and accepting the consequences, are what is meant by American exceptionalism.

Nor does the current leadership appreciate that government cannot by nature be proactively involved in prosperity, that it cannot create wealth but only refrain from taking it away or destroying it. Even Republicans busy themselves in such neo-mercantile schemes as tax rebates for politically favored companies and industries, or training programs to win more contracts from the federal government. At the same time, they slap a tax on entrepreneurial activity as soon as it finds success, most recently in Internet commerce.

Look, Democrats already work tirelessly to extract from us the revenue to support a bloated, systemically flawed and misguided state government. Do they need Republican help?

Milton Friedman famously described those trying to reform government without changing its makeup as being engaged in an attempt to transform a cat into a dog. This General Assembly may learn to bark, but it will still be a cat.

The “government efficiency” snake-oil salesmanship from politicians has become tiresome, especially when it comes from high-profile Republicans like Mitch Daniels and Mitt Romney. Unfortunately, I don’t see too many people “on the right” taking these people to task for it. So kudos to Craig.

Romney not conservative enough (clip from Republican debate of 10-11-11)

Mitt Romney is not a true conservative. Exhibit #1 Romney wants to start trade wars.

Romney for Panderer-in-Chief?

by Gene Healy 

Gene Healy is a vice president at the Cato Institute and the author of The Cult of the Presidency: America’s Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power.

Added to cato.org on October 11, 2011

This article appeared in The DC Examiner on October 11, 2011

Memo to the Rick Perry campaign: If your guy can’t win an exchange with Mitt Flippin’ Romney over who’s stuck to principle more consistently, his debating skills need serious work.

That’s what happened at Sept. 22’s Republican debate in Orlando. After deflating Perry with a “nice try,” Romney brazenly proclaimed, “One reason to elect me is that I know what I stand for, I’ve written it down. Words have meaning.”

“I’ve written it down” — I love that. I’m put in mind of the great New Yorker cartoon, featuring a Washington bigwig behind an enormous desk, the Capitol looming through his office window. “I keep my core beliefs written on the palm of my hand for easy reference,” he tells his visitor.

[I]f there’s any case to be made for Romney, it’s that he’s a full-spectrum panderer.

With New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie out and Perry floundering, it’s looking ever more likely that the alternative to President Obama will be a candidate who needs a cheat sheet to remember his core beliefs.

Taking to heart the Stoic principle that we shouldn’t lament what we can’t control, I’m going to try to convince you — and myself — that things could be worse.

In their 2007 editorial endorsing Romney, National Review argued — hilariously — that the former Massachusetts governor was a “full-spectrum conservative.”

But if there’s any case to be made for Romney, it’s that he’s a full-spectrum panderer. Paradoxically, Romney’s faults — his incessant flip-flopping and desperate quest for approval — might make him a less-dangerous-than-average president.

True, from a limited-government perspective, Romney’s stated platform is pretty awful. You can judge a candidate’s budget-cutting bona fides by the specificity of his proposed cuts.

Romney’s only gotten specific on what he’ll spend. He wants 100,000 new troops and a minimum of 4 percent of GDP lavished on our already outsized military.

On the campaign trail, Romney has savaged Obama’s proposed Medicare cuts — the sign “keep your hands off our Medicare” is “absolutely right,” he insists — and he has attacked Perry for questioning the constitutionality of Social Security.

The good news, I suppose, is that there is no better reason to take Romney at his word here than there is anywhere else.

Romney’s strategically timed ideological conversions are well-known. On the road to the presidency, he’s had convenient epiphanies about stem-cells, gay rights and immigration, and gone from being a staunch gun-controller to, in 2007, buying a lifetime NRA membership and awkwardly bragging about blasting rabbits with a single-shot .22 rifle (do those come with laser sights?).

But, having suffered through two ideologically charged presidencies in a row, to many Americans the poll-tested pandering of the Clinton era doesn’t look so bad by comparison.

Our 42nd president wanted national health care, but the country wanted welfare reform and prosperous normalcy — and the country got what it wanted.

Before this year, no one would have mistaken House Speaker John Boehner for a Tea Partier. Yet the political facts on the ground have forced him into a more confrontational posture than he’d otherwise favor.

Given how far the Republican Party and the electorate as a whole have shifted toward distrust of big government and crony capitalism, a pliable president, desperate for approval, might be restrained from doing too much harm, and even forced to do some good.

If Romney becomes president, the governor who pioneered the individual mandate will be pressured to push its repeal.

As David Brooks recently argued, “The strongest case for Romney is that he’s nobody’s idea of a savior.” He’s right: no one could possibly build a cult of personality around a candidate who’s so transparently insincere.

These aren’t inspiring reasons for a Romney candidacy, but, over the last decade, Americans may have gotten their fill of presidential inspiration.

Related posts:

Rick Perry’s answer in Republican debate of October 11, 2011 (with video clip)

I really like Rick Perry because he was right when he called Social Security a “Ponzi Scheme” which it is. How did he do in the last debate? You be the judge by watching his response above. Rick Perry’s Moment Posted by Roger Pilon Last night POLITICO Arena asked: Who won the Reagan debate? My […]

 

Romney attacked in Republican debate of October 11, 2011 (with video clip)

I am not too pleased with Mitt Romney and the article below shows one good reason to oppose him. Can Mitt Romney Escape His Romneycare Albatross? by Doug Bandow Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. A former special assistant to Ronald Reagan, he is the author of Foreign Follies: America’s New […]

 

Barney Frank and Chris Dodd mentioned in October 11, 2011 Republican debate with video clip

Dodd and Frank are the real villians of the mortgage mess and I knew that 3 years ago after reading this article below. Who did the Democrats get to clean up this mess? You guessed it. What a joke. Who Are the Villains of the Mortgage Mess? by Daniel J. Mitchell  Daniel J. Mitchell is […]

 

Reagan’s 1982 tax increase mentioned during the Republican debate of October 11, 2011 with video clip

Reagan’s statement concerning 1982 tax increase is responded to by Republican Candidates in this clip below: Washington Could Learn a Lot from a Drug Addict Concerning spending cuts Reagan believed, that members of Congress “wouldn’t lie to him when he should have known better.” However, can you believe a drug addict when he tells you […]

 

Ron Paul on Fed during the Republican debate of October 11, 2011 with video clip

I really like Ron Paul a lot and the reasons I like him are in this article below and in the clip above. Ron Paul’s Success Posted by David Boaz The Washington Post reports that Ron Paul “is enjoying a surge in support and the most high-profile campaign of his life. ” Paul’s unwavering ideals […]

 

Cain’s 9-9-9 plan center stage at Republican debate of October 11, 2011 (with video clip)

Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan did steal the show at the Republican debate of October 11, 2011. Take a look at this article below: The Republican presidential debate in Hanover, N.H. (AP) There was one clear winner from Tuesday’s Republican presidential debate, based on the simple metrics of name recognition: businessman Herman Cain’s “9-9-9 Plan.” Virtually […]

 

Romney not conservative enough (clip from Republican debate of 10-11-11)

Mitt Romney is not a true conservative. Exhibit #1 Romney wants to start trade wars. Romney for Panderer-in-Chief? by Gene Healy  Gene Healy is a vice president at the Cato Institute and the author of The Cult of the Presidency: America’s Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power. Added to cato.org on October 11, 2011 This article […]

 

Ron Paul speaking at Values Voter Summit

Ron Paul speaking at Values Voter Summit In this speech above Ron Paul repeats his view that we should not have a Dept of Education and the article below does the same thing. Beating Back Big (Ed.) Brother? Posted by Neal McCluskey It certainly seems quixotic to try to reverse the federal invasion of American […]

 

Mitt Romney’s religion is becoming an issue

This issue concerning Mitt Romney’s religion is heating up. Baptist pastor taken to task Russ Jones and Chad Groening – OneNewsNow – 10/10/2011 11:05:00 am Popular radio and television commentator Glenn Beck wrapped up the Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC, Sunday in a wave of anti-Mormonism comments lodged towards GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.   […]

Romney attacked in Republican debate of October 11, 2011 (with video clip)

I am not too pleased with Mitt Romney and the article below shows one good reason to oppose him.

Can Mitt Romney Escape His Romneycare Albatross?

by Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. A former special assistant to Ronald Reagan, he is the author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire (Xulon).

Added to cato.org on August 29, 2011

his article appeared in Forbes on August 29, 201

Health care remains one of President Barack Obama’s greatest political weaknesses. The issue remains an equally serious problem for Republican Mitt Romney.

President Obama’s program to centralize medical decision-making in Washington remains as unpopular as ever. Insurers are raising premiums and canceling policies. The president’s promise that Americans can keep their existing coverage has turned out to be void. Health care providers and insurers are cutting back operations and dropping jobs to comply with the new law. Washington has been forced to issue temporary waivers — over 1400, as of mid-June — to moderate the legislation’s impact.

Moreover, ObamaCare has bent the cost curve upward by reinforcing the underlying third party payment problem. The administration even double counted its imagined cost savings, causing Medicare’s chief actuary to warn that the program’s latest estimates were essentially fraudulent.  Future Congresses will have to reduce promised benefits or public subsidies, or hike spending.

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. A former special assistant to Ronald Reagan, he is the author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire (Xulon).

 

More by Doug Bandow

No GOP presidential contender officially supported the administration legislation. However, Mitt Romney instituted an early variant of the Obama program.

As part of his liberal phase when governor of Massachusetts — political principles have been ever-flexible for Romney — he orchestrated passage of legislation with eerie similarities to ObamaCare. Massachusetts mandates purchase of insurance, decides what benefits must be offered, and maintains a complex system of subsidies and penalties. Declared Boston Globe columnist Adrian Walker, the two programs are “not identical, but they’re certainly close kin.” MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, who advised both Gov. Romney and President Obama on health care, asserted: “Basically, it’s the same thing.”

Out of either policy pride or political calculation, Romney continues to defend his approach as “a model that works.” But he probably could not escape the legacy even if he wanted to. Walker wrote: “Health care was Romney’s greatest achievement by so wide a margin that it’s hard to know what to compare it to.”

However, Romney has grown increasingly desperate to distinguish his legislation from that of Obama. The best the former can say is that his program was constitutional, since states possess the so-called “police power,” allowing them to regulate most anything within their jurisdiction. In contrast, the federal government was created with only limited, enumerated powers. The Founders would never have imagined that Washington could force people to purchase health insurance under the guise of regulating “commerce among the states.” (So far the federal courts have split on the issue.)

Alas, even the former governor’s constitutional scruples are suspect. In 1994 he backed a federal mandate. His concern about the overweening federal government apparently was not so finely developed then.

In any case, the fact that RomneyCare is constitutional does not mean that it is wise.   Americans want their president to exercise good judgment and common sense, as well as respect the office’s constitutional limits. RomneyCare fails the first two standards.

Yet so far Romney has gotten off easy in the Republican contest. In the first debate former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty failed to criticize Romney on the issue of “ObamneyCare,” as Pawlenty termed it, when given the opportunity. Pawlenty’s belated attempt to toughen his message highlighted his political weaknesses, and he soon departed the race. (In fact, Pawlenty as well as former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman both supported a mandate, though their respective state legislatures eventually passed more limited legislation.)

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s entry may end Romney’s easy ride. Perry already has gone after Romney, observing: “I think Mitt is finally recognizing that the Massachusetts healthcare plan that he passed is a huge problem for him, and yeah, it was not almost perfect.” This is likely only the first of many hits.

“ObamneyCare” was not a revolutionary attempt to overturn the status quo. Rather, the usual special interests did quite well. The American Prospect’s Robert Kuttner observed: “In Massachusetts, Romney needed and got buy-in from the powerful hospital, insurance, and corporate lobbies. To win that support, he could not fundamentally change the way they did business. Instead, private insurance companies got more customers thanks to the individual mandate, hospitals kept their beds full, and corporations that failed to insure employees paid only a token penalty of $295 per worker.”

Romney’s legislation sought to extend insurance coverage. About 95% to 96% — the state claims 98.1%, but the actual rate appears to be lower — of Massachusetts residents now are insured. That is a genuine achievement but still not universal coverage. Moreover, as Peter Suderman of Reason observed, “the state’s insurance coverage rates were already unusually high to begin with: About 90% of the state’s population had health coverage prior to the law’s passage.” In short, Gov. Romney’s accomplishment actually was rather modest.

Moreover, at what cost? Defenders of RomneyCare argue that its goal was to expand coverage, not to cut expenditures, but Gov. Romney was not alone in promising “affordable” health care. Anyway, the legislation certainly was not supposed to drive costs skyward.

However, paying for more benefits for more people inevitably makes medicine more expensive. Costs for Commonwealth Care, the Massachusetts government’s subsidized insurance program alone are up a fifth over initial projections. Last year State Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill wrote: “The universal insurance coverage we adopted in 2006 was projected to cost taxpayers $88 million a year. However, since this program was adopted in 2006, our health-care costs have in total exceeded $4 billion. The cost of Massachusetts’ plan has blown a hole in the Commonwealth’s budget.”

State finances have not collapsed only because RomneyCare spread the costs widely, forcing virtually everyone in and out of the state to share the pain. Cahill cited federal subsidies as keeping the state afloat financially. Indeed, a June study from the Beacon Hill Institute concluded that “The state has been able to shift the majority of the costs to the federal government.” The Institute pointed to higher costs of $8.6 billion since the law was implemented. Just $414 million was paid by Massachusetts. Medicaid (federal payments) covered $2.4 billion. Medicare took care of $1.4 billion.

But even more costs, $4.3 billion, have been imposed on the private sector — employers, insurers, and residents. This estimate is in line with an earlier study by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, which figured that 60% of the new costs fell on individuals and businesses.

As expenses have risen, so have premiums. Noted Kuttner, “because serious cost containment was not part of the original package, premium costs in the commonwealth have risen far faster than nationally — by 10.3%, the most recent year available.” Economists John F. Cogan, Glenn Hubbard, and Daniel Kessler figured that RomneyCare inflated premiums by 6% from 2006 to 2008. This at a time where the state-subsidized Commonwealth Care was displacing private insurance for many people, thereby reducing demand, which should have reduced cost pressures.

Unfortunately, noted the Beacon Hill Institute, “private companies have no choice but to pass the higher costs onto the insured. Some of these costs fall in the double-digit range.” That naturally displeased public officials, since it undercut their claim to have solved Massachusetts’ health care problems.

Gov. Deval Patrick responded like King Canute: he insisted that premiums not rise. Predictably, his rejection of proposed rate hikes required insurers to operate at a loss and placed several in financial jeopardy.

Robert Dynan, the career insurance commissioner tasked with maintaining insurer solvency, wrote that the state “implemented artificial price caps on HMO rates. The rates, by design, have no actuarial support.”  Last year Sandy Praeger, Kansas’ insurance Commissioner, observed: “Right now, premium increase have never been more political. If there is any way to justify not granting the increase, commissioners are looking for them.”

Thankfully, Gov. Patrick’s price controls did not fare well when challenged in court and his administration eventually negotiated reduced rate hikes. But the governor then came up with a new legislative program to arbitrarily reduce medical costs.

Even weaker restrictions would be counterproductive. The Beacon Hill Institute warned that “Controlling costs will translate into capping services provided by physicians and other caregivers. These are, in effect, price controls that will dampen the incentive to provide services and lead to longer wait times and the rationing of healthcare.”

Even worse, bankrupt insurance carriers would mean either no health care coverage or expensive government bail-outs. Yet John Graham of the Pacific Research Institute detailed shrinking margins and pervasive losses for Massachusetts health insurers. He warned “that if politicians refuse to allow health plans to increase their premiums at a rate commensurate with the increase in medical costs, health plans will plunge into financial crisis within a remarkably short period of time.” Indeed, carriers “will stand at the precipice of insolvency if the political class in Massachusetts insists on continuing to follow the path that it has chosen.”

Unfortunately, worse is likely to come. The Rand Corporation concluded that “in the absence of policy change, health care spending in Massachusetts is projected to nearly double to $123 billion in 2020, increasing 8% faster than the state’s” GDP. Added Rand, continued cost increases of this magnitude “threaten the long-term viability of the initiative.” Nor can the state count on an increasingly strapped federal government to continue its generous subsidies. Moreover, at some point people and businesses will flee the state rather than pay ever more to underwrite the state’s health care program.

Finally, RomneyCare inflated demand for medical services without increasing the corresponding supply. The Beacon Hill Institute concluded: “The vast number of the newly insured residents in Massachusetts is responsible for bottlenecks in the primary care system that forces residents to utilize emergency room care at a significantly higher than expected rate.”

A fifth of adults report difficulty in finding a physician to treat them. Earlier this year the Massachusetts Medical Society discovered “more than half of primary care practices closed to new patients, longer wait times to get appointments with primary and specialty physicians, and significant variations in physician acceptance of government and government-related insurance products.”

New York internist Marc Siegel observed: “The wait time for an appointment is now routinely over a month for primary-care doctors and specialists … . Internists and family practitioners report being so overwhelmed — too many patients, too much time pressure — that more than half are closing their practices to new patients.” You’d think Massachusetts was a province of Canada.

The state’s subsidized programs effectively drive away doctors. Explained Siegel: “More than half of primary-care docs in Massachusetts find themselves unable to work with Medicaid or Commonwealth Care (state-subsidized insurance), which both pay providers poorly.” Acceptance rates are far lower than even for Medicare, and one Massachusetts legislator has proposed making medical licensure contingent upon acceptance of state-subsidized plans.

Although the expansion of insurance was supposed to reduce emergency room use, visits rose 9% from 2004 to 2008. Ironically, noted Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute, “difficulties in getting primary care have led to an increasing number of patients who rely on emergency rooms for basic medical services.” Thus, uncompensated care still costs more than $400 million annually.

The state also encouraged adverse selection, as predicted. Many healthy people chose to remain uninsured and pay the fine (or lie about having purchased coverage). They then bought insurance when sick, and dropped the policy when it was no longer necessary. Massachusetts was forced to institute an open enrollment period, limiting when people could sign up for insurance — an otherwise bizarre restriction when the objective is to increase the number of people insured.

ObamneyCare is bad policy. Gov. Romney’s signature policy achievement, no less than President Obama’s principal legislative victory, is a bust.

At least Mitt Romney did not compound bad policy with unconstitutionality, but his health care failure inevitably taints his presidential bid. He rightly faces an uphill task in convincing Republican primary voters that he is the best choice to be their nominee.

Cain’s 9-9-9 plan center stage at Republican debate of October 11, 2011 (with video clip)

Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan did steal the show at the Republican debate of October 11, 2011. Take a look at this article below:

The Republican presidential debate in Hanover, N.H. (AP)

There was one clear winner from Tuesday’s Republican presidential debate, based on the simple metrics of name recognition: businessman Herman Cain’s “9-9-9 Plan.”

Virtually all the candidates at the debate table had something to say about Cain’s plan to replace the tax code with three, flat nine-percent federal taxes on consumption, business and income. Cain, once delegated to the remote wings of the debate stage, has enjoyed a surge in the polls ever since he won the straw poll in Orlando, Fla., last month, and at the first debate since he joined former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry in the top tier, Cain and his policy proposals took up more of the debate’s time than the ideas floated by any other candidate.

Of course, this isn’t to say that any of them praised Cain’s idea. Far from it. In fact, everyone who had an opportunity took shots at the plan.

Former Utah Gov. Huntsman reduced it to “a catchy phrase” and joined former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum in saying it would never be signed into law.

Related posts:

Rick Perry’s answer in Republican debate of October 11, 2011 (with video clip)

I really like Rick Perry because he was right when he called Social Security a “Ponzi Scheme” which it is. How did he do in the last debate? You be the judge by watching his response above. Rick Perry’s Moment Posted by Roger Pilon Last night POLITICO Arena asked: Who won the Reagan debate? My […]

Romney attacked in Republican debate of October 11, 2011 (with video clip)

I am not too pleased with Mitt Romney and the article below shows one good reason to oppose him. Can Mitt Romney Escape His Romneycare Albatross? by Doug Bandow Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. A former special assistant to Ronald Reagan, he is the author of Foreign Follies: America’s New […]

Cain’s 9-9-9 plan center stage at Republican debate of October 11, 2011 (with video clip)

Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan did steal the show at the Republican debate of October 11, 2011. Take a look at this article below: The Republican presidential debate in Hanover, N.H. (AP) There was one clear winner from Tuesday’s Republican presidential debate, based on the simple metrics of name recognition: businessman Herman Cain’s “9-9-9 Plan.” Virtually […]

Ron Paul speaking at Values Voter Summit

Ron Paul speaking at Values Voter Summit In this speech above Ron Paul repeats his view that we should not have a Dept of Education and the article below does the same thing. Beating Back Big (Ed.) Brother? Posted by Neal McCluskey It certainly seems quixotic to try to reverse the federal invasion of American […]

Mitt Romney’s religion is becoming an issue

This issue concerning Mitt Romney’s religion is heating up. Baptist pastor taken to task Russ Jones and Chad Groening – OneNewsNow – 10/10/2011 11:05:00 am Popular radio and television commentator Glenn Beck wrapped up the Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC, Sunday in a wave of anti-Mormonism comments lodged towards GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.   […]

Will the Republicans embrace an agenda that will get our country back on tract?

Will the Republicans embrace an agenda that will get our country back on tract? Republicans need to cut spending as the video above says. I wish the Republican candidates for president will embrace these policy positions: A Republican Agenda for Real Change by Doug Bandow This article appeared in Forbes on October 3, 2011 The desperate search […]

Lt Gov. Mark Darr endorses Romney

I think that many evangelical Christians may have a problem with supporting Mitt Romney who is a Mormon. I think that Romney is a very good speaker and will beat President Obama easily. He is not my favorite candidate though. John Brummett rightly noted that this endorsement by Lt. Governor was sought after by Romney […]

Ron Paul, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney have the money coming in

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Will the Republicans embrace an agenda that will get our country back on tract?

Will the Republicans embrace an agenda that will get our country back on tract?

Republicans need to cut spending as the video above says. I wish the Republican candidates for president will embrace these policy positions:

A Republican Agenda for Real Change

by Doug Bandow

This article appeared in Forbes on October 3, 2011

The desperate search for an acceptable Republican Party presidential candidate continues. Republican leaders apparently are pushing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who previously said no, to jump into the race.

The GOP’s frustration is palpable. Mitt Romney has been running for four years but generates little enthusiasm. Rick Perry was an instant front-runner before losing much of his support after unimpressive debate performances. Michelle Bachmann briefly streaked across the political firmament but now barely registers in the polls. Newt Gingrich committed political seppuku shortly after announcing his candidacy. Ron Paul’s support is fervent but limited.

However, the real Republican problem is positions, not candidates.

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. A former special assistant to Ronald Reagan, he is the author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire(Xulon).

More by Doug Bandow

The Republican Party cheerfully ran up the national debt before surrendering the keys to Capitol Hill and the White House. President George W. Bush’s promiscuous war-making cost the U.S. thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars, while making Americans less secure. The GOP centralized more power in Washington. Republican lawmakers managed to turn laudable opposition to tax hikes into a deplorable defense of the status quo.

Most of the GOP presidential candidates offer little new. Mitt Romney, the ultimate political weathervane, implemented ObamaCare in Massachusetts before there was ObamaCare. He now fervently defends Social Security, despite its design as a public Ponzi scheme. Gov. Perry talks of domestic budget cuts but on foreign policy appears to be Bush-lite, yet another hawk disconnected from reality. The sharpest dissent from big government conservatism comes from the candidates least likely to win the nomination: Rep. Paul, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, and former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, who has been excluded from most of the debates.

President Barack Obama obviously is vulnerable, as well he should be. The problem is not that he is responsible for all of America’s economic woes — no president “runs” the $15 trillion U.S. economy. But this president has no solution for slow growth and high unemployment other than spending more money, increasing the deficit, and running up the debt.

Unfortunately for the Republicans, simply denouncing President Obama for every ill known to man may not lead to victory. Voters dislike much current GOP orthodoxy. President Obama could win an election which turns into competitive political demonization and personal destruction.

Republicans should offer a positive agenda while addressing the party’s past failings. First, they should explain that current budget policy is unsustainable on both a short- and a long-term basis. Economist Larry Kotlikoff figures that America’s real public debt is $211 trillion, 15 times the nominal national debt. Public finance in states like California already looks a lot like that in Greece.

Unless Americans want to turn their entire incomes over to government, public spending must be cut, and cut sharply. And it must be cut across-the-board.

However, to regain lost credibility GOP politicians should lead with proposals to cut spending benefiting “their” interest groups. Corporate welfare should top any Republican Party list of budget cuts. Too often Republican apparatchiks have been pro-business rather than pro-free market, attacking financial transfers to the poor while endorsing subsidies for corporate America.

The GOP also needs to support significant reductions in military outlays. There is no more important responsibility for the U.S. government than protecting America. However, most of the Pentagon’s current activities have little to do with protecting America.

Instead, most U.S. forces currently defend prosperous, populous allies around the world. Europe has a larger GDP and population than America, yet continues to rely on Washington to provide most of NATO’s combat capability. Japan long had the world’s second largest economy but nevertheless relied on America for its protection. South Korea has 40 times the GDP of its northern adversary, but nearly 30,000 U.S. military personnel remain in the South, creating a “tripwire” for war.

Equally wasteful and far more costly in human terms have been nation-building exercises in Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, and more. Going to war in 2001 to punish the Taliban for hosting terrorist training camps made sense. Staying at war a decade later in an attempt to create a competent, honest centralized government in Kabul is foolish.

Also required is an honest discussion of Social Security’s and Medicare’s funding crises. Neither is financially sustainable and both risk triggering generational conflict. The longer Congress puts off addressing these issues the costlier will be any solution.

The GOP should reaffirm its opposition to tax hikes, but emphasize that taxes can be kept low only if outlays are reduced. Endless borrowing threatens a financial death spiral of increased debt, higher interest payments, slower economic growth, and lower investor confidence. The U.S. now is on the road to fiscal ruin.

Moreover, Republicans should endorse President Obama’s attack on special interest tax breaks. Not all tax preferences are equally bad, but the narrower the tax break the more it approaches a special interest subsidy. The GOP should push legislation that simultaneously kills dubious tax “loopholes” and reduces overall marginal tax rates. Republicans should similarly respond to tax proposals from President Obama or congressional Democrats. Rather than defend the undefendable, the GOP should challenge yet another form of corporate welfare.

With job creation at issue, Republicans should develop a list of regulations and taxes which interfere with a growing economy. Political candidates enjoy denouncing “over-regulation” in the abstract, but they would be more convincing if they targeted specific policies costing real jobs. The House GOP should follow the example of its earlier majority which held hearings on regulatory abuses.

Republicans should challenge politically popular public agencies. For instance, the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were at the epicenter of the housing and financial crises. The GOP rightly criticized Democrats for not including the two GSEs in last year’s financial “reform” bill. But so far House Republicans have done nothing to close Fannie and Freddie, which continue to lose money.

Deregulation should include proposals to make more market friendly controls which are necessary even in a free society. After all, few Americans want to breathe dirty air or swim in dirty water. And there is no simple market solution to such problems. But people don’t want to needlessly waste money and destroy jobs when cleaning up the environment.

The Republicans also should offer a more restrained foreign policy. Doing so is necessary to curtail military outlays — in effect, the defense budget is the price of a nation’s foreign policy, since the more Washington seeks to do in the world, the more military force it requires. So long as the U.S. government is determined to dominate every region of the globe against every power, it will have to spend as much on the military as the rest of the world combined. Indeed, real, inflation-adjusted military outlays have doubled over the last decade, and today are higher than at any point during the Cold War, Korean War, and Vietnam War.

But a more humble foreign policy also would be a better foreign policy. Rather than engage in social engineering abroad, Republican politicians should leave friendly states with responsibility for international problems. If there is a problem in the Balkans or North Africa, Europe should address it. Japan, South Korea, Australia, and other democratic nations should cooperate to restrain potential Chinese aggressiveness. Only the Afghans can create a sustainable political order, of whatever form, in Afghanistan.

The GOP should simultaneously support a globally engaged America and Americans. For instance, international cooperation can help meet humanitarian, environmental, and other problems which transcend national boundaries. Whatever U.S. policy toward illegal aliens, Americans should expand the legal immigration of entrepreneurial professionals.

Trade benefits Americans. Washington’s failure to ratify the free trade agreement with South Korea is beyond foolish. A commercial war with China would hurt Americans while poisoning the most important bilateral relationship of the 21st century.

Other issues also deserve attention — such as expanding educational opportunities for children stuck in poorly performing public schools. Even here, however, the GOP needs to break with recent Republican Party orthodoxy. President Bush and the Republican Congress centralized even more authority in Washington with the “No Child Left Behind” legislation.

Perhaps Chris Christie or some other late electoral entrant will revolutionize the GOP presidential sweepstakes. But without good ideas well-expressed, the GOP could still end up outside the White House looking in. The Republican Party deserves to win in 2012 only if it recognizes that it deserved to lose in 2008.

Ron Paul, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney have the money coming in

I really like Ron Paul and Rick Perry.

In GOP race, Romney, Perry, Paul are the money men

Only three Republican presidential candidates are worth any money _ campaign money, that is. Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Ron Paul have banked millions. But the other GOP candidates are struggling or broke, putting their candidacies in question four months before the first nominating contests take place.

Ahead of a critical fundraising deadline Friday, all of the GOP’s contenders _ regardless of the level of their financial health _ are furiously courting donors in Texas, Georgia, Washington and elsewhere. It’s a last-minute attempt to pick up cash before they file a three-month summary that will measure one aspect of the financial strength of their campaigns.

“With the support of people like you, we will be able to get America back to work again,” Romney wrote to his email list Tuesday while he personally pressed donors in New York to pony up.

The candidates’ own cash is just part of the picture because, this year, outside groups are allowed to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to back specific candidates. And allies of Romney, Perry and Paul all have formed so-called SuperPACs to help their preferred candidates win the nomination.

LPAC 2011: Ron Paul – Pt. 1

That money aside, Romney is likely to post the strongest fundraising numbers, although his spokeswoman, Andrea Saul, said he’ll raise “considerably less” than he did between April and June, his first fundraising quarter as a presidential candidate. In that period he reported gathering $18 million.

Perry donors claim he could hit $10 million, raised since he entered the race early last month. His advisers, however, dispute that. They’re lowering expectations either so Perry’s haul looks more impressive when it’s announced, or it’s an indication that the GOP front-runner hasn’t seen a flood of money accompany the huge dose of enthusiasm he initially generated.

Paul’s campaign asked supporters to celebrate the Texas congressman’s Aug. 20 birthday with a donation _ and they gave him $1.6 million on that day alone. It’s a pattern for Paul, who can seemingly turn on the money spigot when he needs to; his loyal libertarian backers have delivered like that on five occasions, to the tune of a million or more at a time.

The rest of the field lags far, far behind.

Jon Huntsman, the former Utah governor who is in the single digits in most state and national public opinion polls, recently had to write himself a half-million dollar check to keep his campaign afloat. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann spent so much money in Iowa in August to win a statewide test vote that her web videos look more amateurish than professional now. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is still mired in debt. Herman Cain, the former pizza company executive, has loaned himself hundreds of thousands of dollars so he can keep running. And Rick Santorum’s team acknowledges that the former Pennsylvania senator is barely scraping by.

All of these second- and third-tier candidates are trying to prove that they are still viable while trying to gather enough cash to pay for polling and advertising to push them through the pack. That’s only going to get harder. Campaign fundraising is time-intensive and expensive. It limits time candidates can spend with voters. The meetings are private, limiting a candidate’s ability to earn “free media” from news coverage.

“Listen: Money will always follow a message and a winning candidate. When you’re out there moving up in the polls, you’re going to be able to raise more money. That’s just the way the way the system works,” said Huntsman, who has contributed at least $2.5 million of his own cash since entering the race in June. He also has a SuperPAC backing him, though it’s unclear just how much it’s collected.

Bachmann, too, has help from an outside organization. And it looks like she’s going to need it.

Early on, the tea party favorite built a base of small but repeated donors. But she’s faced the challenge of pairing that network with people willing to chip in the $2,500 maximum. And, unlike some of her rivals, she doesn’t have the big roster of fundraising consultants who specialize in raising big bucks. A huge investment in Iowa last month resulted in victory at an early test vote in the lead-off caucus state. But she fizzled out after that as Perry eclipsed her in state and national polls.

Now there are indications that she’s struggling to raise the money needed to keep up with what Republicans say is a campaign that has a high “burn rate” in political speak, referring to the amount of money a campaign is spending against how much they’re bringing in. Many of her top staffers have left the campaign, and she has scaled back what early on were slickly produced _ and costly _ events. It’s unclear exactly how much she will report, and she was working right up to the deadline to prove she still was bringing in enough to compete.

There’s no question that others are worse off.

Gingrich is expected to report a debt of around $500,000, substantial though less than the $1 million debt he posted three months ago. Santorum isn’t in the red, though he’s running a slimmed down campaign with few staffers and expenses. Cain, the former chief executive of Godfather’s Pizza, has loaned himself $500,000 to keep running and says he’s not paying as much attention to fundraising.

“Message is more important than money,” said Cain.

Maybe to him.

Both Romney and Perry _ who lead the field in polls _ are working feverishly to prove their strength.

Romney, who has a fundraising network left over from his first campaign, has been “lining up” cash since spring in anticipation of a protracted nomination fight that will require loads of money. He is expected to raise less than the $18 million he brought in earlier this year, though he still will lead the field in overall money raised.

“We expect to raise what we need to run a competitive campaign,” Saul, his spokeswoman, said.

Perry has been in the race less than two months, and his report will be dissected for clues about just how healthy his campaign really is, especially in the wake of shaky debate performances this month. His aides are working to make sure they collect on the promises donors have made over the past few months.

“It’s hard cash and not good intentions that matter,” said David Carney, Perry’s top strategist. He noted that it takes time to put a fundraising operation in place, saying: “That doesn’t happen in mere weeks.”

___

Associated Press writer Brian Bakst in St. Paul, Minn., contributed to this report.

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Rick Perry’s Ponzi-scheme claim is in no way unprecedented

Rick Perry and Mitt Romney went after each other at the debate over this term “Ponzi scheme.”

Janet M. LaRue

Janet M. LaRue  

Romney’s Ponzi Phobia

9/19/2011

When it comes to Social Security, Republicans should stop treating seniors like the feeble-minded demographic portrayed in commercials written by 13-year-olds on Madison Avenue.

It’s like the home security commercial targeting seniors for a medical alert pendant to be worn around the neck. White-haired “Mom” didn’t want one because “it was for “some old person.” But daughter, seen patting Mom’s hand, “talked Mom into it.” Next we see “Mom” carrying a basket of laundry down a flight of uncarpeted stairs without holding the handrail. Sure enough, Mom’s lying at the bottom of the staircase pressing her alert button because she’s fallen, broken her hip and can’t get up because “the pain was terrible.” “Mom” and daughter are so glad that she was wearing her alert and could summon help.

You expect to see a disclaimer at the end: “Don’t try this at home. These are actors who are paid to behave stupidly. You could hurt yourself.”

Madison Avenue convinced the marketing geniuses at the security company that they can sell more medical alerts by scaring seniors even if it insults them. I don’t patronize a company run by upstarts who think senior is synonymous with senile. I doubt that many seniors do.

Gov. Mitt Romney and political commentators, such as Karl Rove and Dick Morris, are treating seniors as condescendingly as the commercial. To hear them tell it, if Gov. Rick Perry calls Social Security a “Ponzi Scheme,” seniors will have a seizure, and press a political alert hanging around our neck, which will connect us to the Obama campaign.

Not likely, unless we fall down the stairs and land on our head.

Seniors didn’t put Barack Hussein Obama in the White House. Those of us 65 and over are the only voting bloc who chose McCain over Obama—and by eight percentage points.

Obama’s disapproval rating is at 55 percent and his approval rating is 44 percent. It means that other voting blocs are beginning to wise up to what seniors knew in 2008. Seniors are the least likely group to vote for Obama in 2012.

For one thing, we rejected Obama’s outrageous and vague promise to fundamentally transform the greatest nation in history. And certainly not by a community organizer with a resume thinner than our hair who thinks voting “absent” is leadership and that America should repent for its greatness.

Our sight and hearing may be diminished, but we still know bovine scatology when we smell it.

Seniors deal with hard truth every day. Many of us handle it without our beloved spouse at our side. Health and financial concerns are more pressing. We live on a fixed income and still know the checkbook has to balance. We’re not the demographic maxing out credit cards and living beyond our means. Many dear old friends reside only in our memories. We know that our days dwindle down to a precious few. But it doesn’t mean that our minds have departed.

We certainly can handle the truth that Social Security isn’t sustainable for our children and grandchildren. We know that without a major restructuring, it will remain a pyramid scheme deficient of funds and contributors, a sham promise of retirement security for future generations.

The Social Security trustees released a 244-page report on Monday revealing the gravity of the situation. Page 13 states that payroll tax contributions for 2010 were $544.8 billion; total expenditures were $584.9 billion. That’s a $40 billion deficit. The Department of Labor released a report on Monday stating that there are only 1.5 workers supporting Social Security for every one recipient.

During the Republican debate on Monday night, Romney again accused Perry of scaring seniors by calling Social Security a “Ponzi Scheme.” Where does Romney get the idea that we were clueless until Perry mentioned it?

What is over the top is Romney’s pretense or delusion that Perry coined the term. Stanley Kurtz of National Review cites scores of uses of the term by Republicans and Democrats, academics, and journalists, long enough for Romney to have heard it long before Perry said it. Kurtz concludes in “Perry and the Ponzis”:

Our historical tour of the claim that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme confirms what we already knew: Rick Perry’s remarks are uncharacteristically bold for a politician, most especially a candidate in the midst of a presidential race. Yet Perry’s Ponzi-scheme claim is in no way unprecedented. On the contrary, the Ponzi comparison has been a staple of conservative warnings about Social Security’s financial soundness for decades.

So the question today is not simply whether Rick Perry will be punished or rewarded for showing the honesty even many liberal commentators once pined for. The more interesting issue raised by this historical investigation may be the fate of the Democratic Party and the media. Where today are the liberal and centrist Democrats who only yesterday called Social Security a Ponzi scheme and supported bold reforms? Where now are the columnists and editors at Newsweek and the New York Times willing to reward truth-tellers and to criticize reporters who cover for cowardly politicians? The fate of Rick Perry’s blunt talk may tell us more than we want to know, not only about Social Security, but also about who we are and what we have become.

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