The Locker Room

March 22, 2010

Yahoo! Bias on Health Care

Posted by Daren Bakst at 5:59 PM

Yahoo has this article featured on its home page.  It basically is a an attempt by a so-called writer to list the ways that the health care debate will hurt Republicans (listing the actions of the "Tea Party protesters" as one reason why R's will be hurt).

On the Yahoo home page is this teaser regarding the article:

"Rep. Randy Neugebauer's stinging words during the health vote debate may say a lot about the GOP."

I imagine this teaser will be taken off soon.

It turns out Rep. Neugebauer screamed "It is a baby killer" (referring to the health care bill) at Rep. Stupak during last night's debate.

So Yahoo decides that this quote says a lot about the GOP?  So one legislator defines a party?  What exactly does Yahoo think it says about the GOP?

I don't care about the GOP, but I do care about blatantly biased and irresponsible journalism.

Yahoo should have listed this on their home page instead: "Biased reporting says a lot about Yahoo!"

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ObamaCare in NC

Posted by Becki Gray at 4:12 PM

Hood won't comply.

Ten states are suing based on the requirement that individuals purchase health care insurance is unconstitutional.  Roy Cooper says NC won't be one of them.

Sen. Phil Berger and Rep. Paul Stam will push for legislation to  ensure that North Carolina citizens are not subject to the mandates of the federal health care plan.

Quick back-of-the-envelope math looks like North Carolina's hit will be about $45 Billion over a ten year time period plus another $80 million annually in additional Medicaid costs.

Feeling ill yet?

 

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Obamacare: it's just a fraud

Posted by George Leef at 3:39 PM

So argues my Freeman colleague Sheldon Richman in this piece. Instead of attacking any of the reasons why our health care system is inefficient, it just (greatly) increases the government meddling that we ought to be getting rid of.

Our challenge is to get ordinary Americans to see past the silly talking points of the Dem high command and understand that this "reform" can only make things worse.


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Obamacare by the numbers

Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 2:01 PM

NCPA's John  Goodman documents Obamacare by the numbers.  Below are just 7 of the 32 numbers he provides in his post here

There have been 8 versions of ObamaCare. The numbers below are estimates made for one or more of them. We believe they are still in the ballpark, and we will update as more information becomes available.

“If you like the plan you are in you can keep it.”
19 millionNumber of people predicted to lose their employer plan (Lewin Group)
  
8 to 9 million Number of people predicted to lose their employer plan (CBO)
  
$11,543 Employer incentive to drop coverage for a $30,000 a year worker with family [Tax subsidy in the exchange minus tax subsidy at work minus $2,000 fine] (IRET)
  
8.5 million Number of seniors and disabled people at risk of losing their Medicare Advantage plan (Medicare Chief Actuary)
  
3 million Additional people who will likely lose Medicare Advantage plan benefits (Medicare Chief Actuary)
  
$816 Average annual benefit loss for 11 million seniors and disabled in Medicare Advantage plans (CBO)
  
33 million Number of people in traditional Medicare at risk of losing access to care because of $523 billion in cuts in Medicare spending (Medicare Chief Actuary)
  

 

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Greetings from the front lines

Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 1:48 PM

Wendy and I have good friends in Washington NC who traveled to DC Saturday to join the thousands protesting Obamacare.  Here is their report from the front lines. 

 It was great and don't be depressed - there were about 40,000 there (not that the media cared) and we all pledged that this is not the end but just the beginning AND IT IS. I'm calling today to volunteer to help unseat Butterfield who is in the congressional district next to us. We all need to have even more resolve that we are not going to let this happen to this country. It was very uplifting to meet those around us - a 35 year dad with his 10 year old son from Pittsburgh, a 65 year old volunteer firechief from Colorado, a 45 year old mom from Richmond who drove up alone and could only stay for 2 hours because she needed to pick up her son at 4 pm, it went on and on. People are so ready for this fight.

We will send pictures later. Keep the faith, Ann & Bob

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Meaningful annexation reform

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 1:46 PM

Annexation reform in North Carolina requires two main elements: a voice for those targeted for forced annexation, and a requirement that the city or town seeking the annexation provide at least one meaningful service to the annexed.

That's the conclusion Daren Bakst has drawn in his latest report on annexation reform, and it's the message he delivered during a presentation today to the John Locke Foundation's Shaftesbury Society.

In the video clip below, Bakst mentions those major elements and explains how county governments could play a greater role in improving the annexation process.

2:15 p.m. update: Watch the entire 52:20 presentation by clicking play below.

You'll find other John Locke Foundation video presentations here.

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Mountain Resources Commission gets started

Posted by Becki Gray at 12:00 AM

The Mountain Resources Commission was created by the North Carolina General Assembly through Senate Bill 968 (S.L. 2009-485) and passed overwhelmingly in the final days of the 2009 long session.  Its purpose is “to encourage quality growth and development while preserving the natural resources, open spaces, and farmland of the mountain region of Western North Carolina.”   

They also will be identifying and evaluating issues affecting the mountains, coordinating area council of government efforts, provide a forum for discussion of these issues, collect research within NC and from other states and regions, and make recommendations it deems necessary to protect mountain resources in NC.   The commission has the authority “to seek, apply for, accept, and expend gifts, grants, donations, services, and other aid from public or private sources.”

If this seems like deja vue all over again, it could be.  

Another legislative commission, (authorized by S.L. 2005-442) the Climate Change Commission met 21 times over three years, cost the taxpayer $80,000 and relied largely on national environmental advocacy groups whose advice and counsel has been questionable, at best.   

The Center for Climate Strategies, a subsidiary of a global warming advocacy group based in Pennsylvania, advocates for environmental regulations on global warming. It also controls the Center for Climate Strategies, or North Carolina Climate Action Plan Advisory Group (NC-CAPAG).  NC-CAPAG provided information, guidance and reports to the Climate Change Commission that was largely debunked in a peer review by Suffolk University.  The Climate Registry, the state’s air quality officials have also relied upon a California nonprofit with potential financial conflicts of interest.    

The Climate Change Commission’s term has expired and many argue it has failed in it's mission. Despite criticism, efforts are underway to make it a permanent legislative committee to “consider other long-term proposals the current panel will suggest and help lawmakers respond to future federal emissions restrictions.” (Read: Cap and Trade)   

The mountains of North Carolina, with their beauty and abundant natural resources are a treasure worth preserving. But we need to make sure all efforts are reasonable, based on sound research, cost efficient and not high-jacked by national environmental extremists.   

The Mountain Resources Commission held it's first meeting Friday, March 19 at the Blue Ridge Parkway Destination Center, milepost 384 of the Blue Ride Parkway, Asheville at 1:00. Contact: Jamie Kritzer, 715-7357.

 

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N.C. Republican chairman pushes Board of Elections to investigate Perdue

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 11:37 AM

State Republican Party chairman Tom Fetzer used his latest news conference this morning to urge action from the State Board of Elections on a complaint he filed against Gov. Beverly Perdue's campaign committee.

Click play below to watch the 26:30 briefing.

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How far can states go in nullifying federal overreach?

Posted by George Leef at 11:24 AM

Idaho law now contains the following language:

The power to require or regulate a person’s choice in the mode of securing health care services, or to impose a penalty related thereto, is not found in the Constitution of the United States of America, and is therefore a power reserved to the people pursuant to the Ninth Amendment, and to the several states pursuant to the Tenth Amendment. The state of Idaho hereby exercises its sovereign power to declare the public policy of the state of Idaho regarding the right of all persons residing in the state of Idaho in choosing the mode of securing health care services.

It is hereby declared that the public policy of the state of Idaho, consistent with our constitutionally recognized and inalienable rights of liberty, is that every person within the state of Idaho is and shall be free to choose or decline to choose any mode of securing health care services without penalty or threat of penalty.

I hope to see some top legal scholars putting their minds to work on this question: how far could a state go in saying "NO" to Obamacare?

How about a reporter asking Beverly Perdue how she feels about this move?

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Stupak then, Stupak now

Posted by David N. Bass at 10:33 AM

On March 9, Bart Stupak told The Weekly Standard the following (emphasis mine):

Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak said yesterday at a townhall in his home state, "I'm more optimistic than I was a week ago" that a deal could be reached to pass a health care bill that bans public funding of abortion. Some speculated that this meant Stupak was ready to cave. "Obviously they don’t know me," Stupak said in an interview this afternoon with THE WEEKLY STANDARD. "If I didn’t" cave in November, "why would I do it now after all the crap I’ve been through?"

SNIP

Stupak affirmed that he will not settle for an agreement to pass the bill now and fix the bill's problems on abortion later: "If they say 'we’ll give you a letter saying we'll take care of this later,' that’s not acceptable because later never comes."

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We're consuming our capital

Posted by George Leef at 10:24 AM

In view of yesterday's "historic" vote (indeed it was: one of the greatest blunders in history), I recommend reading this essay by law professor Butler Shaffer entitled "Consuming Our Capital."

America built up tremendous capital during the years when freedom prevailed, but since the 1930s we've changed the rules so that those who want to consume our capital (i.e., wealth belonging to others) can easily do so. That trend has been accelerating rapidly in recent years and is now in high gear.

Greece, here we come.

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'Pro-life Democrat' has become an oxymoron

Posted by David N. Bass at 09:36 AM

Jim Antle has a terrific piece in the American Spectator this morning illustrating the schizoid voting patterns of supposedly pro-life Democrats — a term which, after the vote last night, has effectively become an oxymoron (emphasis on moron).

Even before the health care vote, these Dems had disparate voting patterns on abortion, sometimes changing from year to year. It's obvious they're playing politics.

Antle concludes:

What made the Stupak Dozen a swing vote was the fact that they were not only pro-life Democrats, but mostly pro-life liberals. But that is precisely what made depending on them so risky -- most of them, including Stupak himself, did not oppose the health care bill in principle. They had all been willing to back the public option when it was voted on in the House. Hailing from union-heavy, fundamentally Democratic districts, they were all going to have a hard time voting against a vision of health care reform with which they substantially agreed.

Consequently, the pro-life Democrats who voted against the health care bill in the largest numbers were those who are to the right of their party on a broad spectrum of issues. Fox interviewed a stricken Rep. Gene Taylor (D-MS) as Stupak got ready to announce his deal with the president. "I told Bart what the president can do he can also undo," Taylor, a no vote, said quietly. But Democrats like Taylor would have voted against the health care bill even with the Stupak language, as they also opposed it on other grounds.

Now the Stupak Democrats will have to go home to their pro-life constituents and try to persuade them they are not pro-choice, but just cheap dates. Perhaps those pro-life constituents might not be so easily wooed.

The Stupak Dems might have claimed to uphold one plank of Locke's "life, liberty, and property" ethic, but they ignored the other two. That was telling.

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In Case You Were Wondering

Posted by Hal Young at 09:12 AM

Here's the N.C. 5-8 contribution to last night's 219-212 vote on health care:

Voting in favor of Obamacare:

Five Democrats -- Butterfield, Etheridge, Miller, Price, and Watt.

Voting against it:

All five Republicans -- Coble, Foxx, Jones, McHenry, and Myrick -- plus three Democrats -- Kissell, McIntyre, and Shuler.

(From Fox News)

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Forced busing in Wake County: A few practical suggestions

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 08:43 AM

Today I was reminded that only three percent or around 4,200 of the 140,000+ students in the Wake County Public School System are bused for "diversity."

If this is the case (and I have not reason to believe otherwise) and proponents insist that forced busing works, then

1) The school system should evaluate the academic performance of these 4,000+ students, compared to students with similar demographic characteristics;

2) The school system should determine the mean and median road miles, time traveled, and transportation costs for the bused cohort, compared to their neighborhood school peers;

3) The school system should provide descriptive/demographic statistics on the bused cohort and compare those statistics to district and school means and medians;

4) If we can identify the bused cohort, then (note to pro-busing researchers) district-level performance is irrelevant. A cohort representing three percent of the student body will have a negligible effect on district averages. School-level performance may be relevant, depending on the number of students forcibly bused to a given school. Classroom-level performance comparisons would be an important measure; and

5) Forcibly bused students and their parents should be surveyed to obtain qualitative date on the physical, behavioral, and educational ramifications of forced busing.

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You know you're a progressive if...

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 08:31 AM

...you need to beef up the police state by 60,000 IRS agents in order to implement your health reform plan.

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Getting government out of the way

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:53 AM

The headline of TIME’s latest cover story promises to explain “How to Create a Job.” The subheadline explains that getting back 8.4 million lost jobs “means understanding what makes the economy tick.” (You’ll find the same article online with a different headline here.)

Writer Barbara Kiviat demonstrates that she has at least a great understanding of the economy than those in Washington who approved a “jobs package.”

President Barack Obama, in his State of the Union address, called jobs his "No. 1 focus" and proposed repurposing bank-bailout money to lend more to small businesses, which would then, presumably, generate jobs. On March 17, Congress passed a job-creation bill that includes, among other things, an estimated $13 billion worth of tax incentives to coax companies into adding to their payrolls.

The cold truth of the matter, though, is that there's not much Washington can do to gin up permanent jobs on such short notice. The federal government is a key player in engendering job growth in the long term — by establishing smart policy in areas such as trade, education, immigration, health care, energy, infrastructure and taxes — but over the course of months or even a few years, there's little it can effectively do besides hiring directly or stepping in as a buyer of goods and services.

Kiviat does not mention that government hiring and purchasing require taking resources out of the private sector — resources that could have created jobs to serve actual consumer demand.

In considering the proper role of government in creating a job, one is tempted to turn to the same seven-word recommendation George Will recently offered to the group looking for deficit-reduction measures: “Stop doing almost everything you are doing.”

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Global warming alarmism — a selfless act of concern?

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:52 AM

Despite all of the evidence to the contrary, many people still believe that existing scientific data prove we’re headed toward a global warming catastrophe.

For Al Gore and other vocal alarmists, that belief fits in nicely with their self-interest, as Stephen Spruiell reminds us in the latest National Review:

This is not to suggest that Al Gore or his allies have spent years warning of a climate catastrophe merely for the promise of a big payoff at the end. Gore either sincerely believes his alarmist theories or performs an utterly convincing imitation of someone who does. As for the investments, he says he’s simply putting his money where his mouth is, and he pledges to donate his gains to his nonprofit foundations — which will use them to campaign for even more green subsidies and global-warming regulations, of course. But Gore’s involvement in these ventures shines a light on the fact that private actors have bet a considerable amount of money on Washington’s willingness to continue transferring wealth from taxpayers to politically connected green-tech companies that probably would not survive, let alone thrive, without government support. Those business interests will keep exerting considerable pressure to keep the cash flowing.

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Our entitlement challenge

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:51 AM

The latest National Review features an article from Andrew G. Biggs that offers a clear picture of the pending budget crisis tied to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

To balance the budget over the next 25 years would require an immediate and permanent 30 percent increase in all federal taxes. That is the future we face, and it is a future of our own making.

Entitlements traditionally have paid generous benefits — financed by affordable taxes — to rich and poor alike, because the ratio of workers to beneficiaries has been high. Those days are gone and will not return. Maintaining entitlements in their current form will require either crippling taxes or crippling debt. Alternatively, we can rethink the entitlement philosophy, focusing resources where they’re needed most, empowering individuals to make choices and giving them incentives to reduce waste, and buttressing personal retirement savings.

We spend 9.7 percent of GDP on entitlements today, and by 2030 we will spend around 14.4 percent.

What a good time for the government to take on even more responsibility in the health-care sector.

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John Locke Foundation experts brief election candidates on top N.C. issues

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:49 AM

Whether you’re a candidate for public office or an observer interested in the state’s top election issues, you might enjoy CarolinaJournal.tv’s coverage of Friday’s John Locke Foundation Candidate Policy Briefing.

We’ve posted the two-hour session in 11 digestable segments. You’ll find them at the following links:

Questions about any items covered in the briefing? Contact Becki Gray, John Hood, Rick Henderson (Carolina Journal) , Roy Cordato (JLF philosophy/environmental issues), Terry Stoops (education), Joseph Coletti (budget/health care), Daren Bakst (Property rights/taxpayer-financed election campaigns), Jon Sanders (crime), or Michael Sanera (local government).

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New Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:38 AM

The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Daren Bakst's recommendations for improving North Carolina's laws governing forced annexation. Bakst discusses the topic today at the John Locke Foundation's Shaftesbury Society meeting.

John Hood's Daily Journal focuses on the real message of Vice President Joe Biden's recent visit to the Triangle.

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