Archive for February, 2010

Using health care to reward and punish



The Unablogger

The Unablogger

You can take the guy out of Chicago, but you can’t take Chicago out of the guy.

As is routine in Chicago-style machine politics, President Obama has crafted his health insurance plan in a way that rewards his supporters and punishes his political foes.

Take senior citizens, for example. They didn’t buy Obama’s act in 2008. Official exit polls showed that they were the only age group that backed Republican John McCain over Obama.  McCain’s margin over Obama was actually 3 points greater than George W. Bush’s senior margin over John Kerry. Those geezers were asking for it, and Obama is giving them what they deserve (in Chicago payback terms).

Obama’s new health plan, like both the Senate and House plans that the American people have overwhelmingly rejected in national polls, is funded in large part by cutting half a trillion dollars from Medicare, which is health care for the elderly. The reduced reimbursements to medical providers will cause many of them to stop serving Medicare patients, creating a shortage of medical services to Medicare patients. Obama’s plan doesn’t provide new health care; it just takes health care away from seniors in order to give it to some of the currently uninsured. Most of the currently uninsured voted for Obama; most seniors didn’t.

Seniors are being punished in a potentially deadly way. Medicare cuts will kill them off quicker, so they can’t continue to vote against Obama.

Part of the Medicare cuts is the elimination of the Medicare Advantage program. Eliminating that program is a payoff to AARP for its endorsement of Obamacare. AARP, you see, makes most of its money from selling insurance to seniors, totally dwarfing its revenue from members’ dues. It turns out that Medicare Advantage is effectively a competitor of AARP’s own endorsed “Medigap” insurance plans. Rubbing out this competitor will result in much higher profits for AARP. Again, it’s the Chicago way.

Then there’s the voters who earn over $200,000 a year, who gave Obama a 6-point margin over McCain. Now these wealthy Americans are being spared from earlier proposals to pay for the plan by limiting their itemized tax deductions. Sending seniors to an early grave is much better in the Chicago way.

And then there’s single people vs. married people. In the 2008 election, 65% of unmarried voters backed Obama, compared to only 47% of married voters. That’s an 18-point gap. The result: Obama’s proposed return of the “marriage penalty,” by which married couples are taxed more than similarly situated singles. Under Obama’s newest health care plan, an unmarried couple who each earns up to $200,000 a year from all sources will pay no Medicare tax on their investment income. But an otherwise identical married couple will pay up to $5,700 in additional Medicare tax. Married people must be made to pay for their ill-conceived support of McCain.

It’s the Obama/Emanuel/Axelrod Chicago way.

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Redistribution of the health

The Unablogger

The Unablogger

While it is well known that the Obama Administration and its rubber-stamp Congress seek to redistribute wealth from their opponents to their supporters, a more onerous pursuit is their planned redistribution of the health.

President Obama’s recently announced health care plan (in 11-page summary with no further specifics) provides health insurance to 31 million people who currently have none. But it does so by cutting half a trillion dollars from Medicare. The reduced reimbursements to medical providers will cause many of them to stop serving Medicare patients, creating a shortage of medical service to Medicare patients. In effect, Obama’s plan doesn’t create any new health care, it just gives it to one set of people by taking it away from others.

Obamacare shills love to chide critics as being “hateful” to the uninsured. So why are they themselves so hateful to seniors?

Carnahan-Martin race hitting national radar

The Unablogger

The Unablogger

The re-election contest involving Missouri Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO) continues to receive national attention. Completing his third term in a safely Democratic urban-based district (Cook Partisan Index D+7) where President Obama beat Republican John McCain by 21 points, Carnahan’s re-election shouldn’t be on anybody’s radar. Except it is.

Late last week, the influential Cook Political Report recognized the contest as having enough upset potential to bear watching, one of 25 contests nationally to get a pro-Republican rating change. House analyst David Wasserman called this contest Carnahan’s “first tough reelection,” noting that Republican challenger Ed Martin started the year with nearly as much campaign cash as the incumbent. The contest’s rating is still “likely Democrat,” but this is the first step in the evolution of ratings changes. Note that several Republican seats that Democrats won in 2006 and 2008 were still rated “safe Republican” at this time in those years.

Martin released a web video on Super Bowl Sunday that also attracted national attention. NBC’s Political Director Chuck Todd’s ‘All the Right Moves’ blog reported the following day:

MISSOURI: Ed Martin, a Republican challenging Rep. Russ Carnahan for his seat, releases a dramatic-sounding Web ad branding Carnahan “Rubber Stamp Russ” and linking his image with those of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

The video presents a compelling contrast of Martin’s conservative values and history of fighting for Missouri jobs with Carnahan’s lock-step support for the leftist agenda of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Obama. As I blogged last July, Congressional Quarterly listed Carnahan as the congressman who supported Obama’s agenda the most, with a 100% rating, earning him the title “Rubber Stamp Russ.” Highlighted in the ad is Carnahan’s vote for cap and trade and a stimulus bill which awarded his own brother taxpayer money for a wind farm. It also points out his unwillingness to listen to the people of his district even at his own town hall.

The same day that NBC’s Todd took note, the Republican National Congressional Committee announced its recognition of Martin’s campaign as a Contender, the second stage of its Young Guns program. Martin had been recognized by the NRCC as “On the Radar” since October. He earned the promotion by exceeding NRCC benchmark goals for a successful campaign. These efforts included his Town Halls on healthcare and jobs, his meet and greets with voters of the district, and successful fundraising. Being a Young Guns “contender” may attract attention from national contributors.

Carnahan received negative national attention last summer when national cable news broadcast video of his gaffes in a health care town hall, as well as McArthur Bakery’s electronic sign protest of Carnahan’s vote for the job-killing cap and trade bill. Cable news also broadcast video of the mele outside another Carnahan town hall when Carnahan supporters from SEIU assaulted an independent vendor and a woman photographing the assault.

Music video parody emerging as Tea Party anthem

The Unablogger

The Unablogger

A patriotic adaptation of a Timbaland video is emerging as an inspirational anthem for the tea party movement.

Too Late to Apologize: A Declaration is a parody of Timbaland’s Apologize,  a song about a romantic relationship coming to an end. Soomo Publishing developed a parody in which a group calling itself TJ and the Revo adapts the melody and title refrain of the song and much of the feel and imagery of the video and takes it in an entirely new direction. They depict Thomas Jefferson (that would be “TJ”) and other American patriots fed up with King George III and deciding to revolt. The refrain “It’s too late to apologize” lends itself perfectly to the feeling of the patriots in deciding they had had enough and that it was time for the colonies to declare independence from the British crown.

The new video is patriotic, but not overtly political (in a contemporary sense) on its face. Nevertheless, tea partiers see obvious similaries to our situation today: An imperial Congress seeks to force unwanted legislation down the throats of a public that has made its opposition clear. As though channeling King George himself, the ruling party and its narcissistic president respond with closed-door meetings and conscious efforts to suppress dissent. There is a clear sense in the air of the need to revolt. But because of the brilliant and enduring political system that those original patriots put in place for us, this 21st Century revolt will be with ballots instead of muskets.

The first tea parties nearly a year ago represent the modern-day Declaration of Independence, and the election of Scott Brown in deep blue Massachusetts is the modern-day ‘shot heard ’round the world.’ Lame, insincere post-Brown Democrat attempts to play nice with the newly empowered Republicans are simply too little, too late. It is, in effect, too late to apologize.

And so it is that the patriotic Too Late to Apologize: A Declaration song and video captures the spirit of the tea party revolution under way. It is emerging as the movement’s anthem.