The only bipartisan thing about ObamaCare remains the opposition to it. The House today voted to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) with three Democrats joining Republicans in the end. Larry Kissell (NC-7), who voted against PPACA the first time, was a fourth Democrat for repeal until the very end. Mike McIntyre (NC-2) was one of the three. Blue Dog Heath Shuler, who ran against Nancy Pelosi and voted against the law last March, decided to vote against repeal now that he's safely back in Washington for another two years.
David Bass' latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive recounts the Tar Heel congressional delegation's response to the health care repeal vote. Only Rep. Mike McIntrye, D-7th District, broke from his party to support repeal.
Sarah Ovaska, investigative reporter for NC Policy Watch, details Wake County school board member John Tedesco's unfortunate situation in a blog post on The Progressive Pulse.
She called Mr. Tedesco for further information.
Tedesco, when reached by phone, said he’s been trying to get a loan modification through his servicer, Chase Manhattan, and that the filing of foreclosure papers at the courthouse is part of that process.
“I’ve been working with my lender through the home modification process,” Tedesco said. “And part of that process is setting a (hearing) date.”
On a personal note, I wish you the best, John. Please let me know if I can do anything to help.
Update: The News & Observer's WakeEd blog has a short summary of the situation.
Update 2: One frequent commentator on The Progressive Pulse blog argues, "The PUBLIC records of his financial acumen are certainly relevant to the position he holds."
Jonah Goldberg's latest article for National Review Online diagnoses a malady linked to a belief in the inevitability of American decline and Chinese ascendancy.
[W]e’re told one of the consequences of the new multipolar world will be that we won’t be able to do things unilaterally anymore. Anymore? What movie were they watching?
When we were supposedly cock of the walk, under Democratic and Republican presidents alike, anti-Americanism flourished. The United Nations refused to authorize the use of force to stop ethnic cleansing in the Balkans. Sure, we didn’t take no for an answer, but we didn’t go it alone. We joined with our NATO allies to put an end to the bloodshed.
During the Persian Gulf War, America had that “grand coalition” that Sen. John Kerry talked about. During the second Iraq war, the “coalition of the willing” was smaller, but we were hardly flying solo. U.S. leaders decried unilateralism, an odd sentiment for the undisputed global hegemon.
Another reigning cliché is that the sun is setting on us as it did on the British Empire. But what does that mean? China isn’t remotely powerful, influential, or rich enough to play the leading role of America, and we aren’t nearly so weak, ignorable, or poor as to deserve the supporting gig as 1950s Britain.
Fiscal responsibility, limits on government regulations, protecting property rights, and innovation in education is the way to address the years of overspending and overtaxing, i.e. the too much government hangover.
In the latest Index of Economic Freedom, the United States fell to 9th in the world. The writer of the following letter in today's Wall Street Journal brings up an aspect of economic freedom -- the freedom to leave the country without being penalized -- that the Index apparently doesn't include. That freedom is also eroding.
Freedom Means Free to Leave, Too
Regarding Terry Miller's "The U.S. Loses Ground on Economic Freedom" (op-ed, Jan. 12): For all of its methodological strength, the Index of Economic Freedom entirely leaves out one of the most treasured individual freedoms—the freedom to migrate out of one's own country without undue interference from government. As long as a person has remained current on tax payments, the ability to leave a nation to establish citizenship elsewhere should be a sacrosanct human right. As Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: "Everyone has the right to leave any country, even his own."
In the U.S., the economic penalty for permanent expatriation is so severe that it is unduly burdensome to exercise the "right to emigrate." If the Index were to account for this freedom (or lack thereof), there is no doubt that our country would finish even further down the list.
Under U.S. tax law, a citizen who wishes to renounce his citizenship must pay a mark-to-market exit tax. This tax treats all assets in excess of $600,000 as if they had been sold, and thus liable for immediate payment of capital gains taxes. There is also a 10-year reporting requirement to the IRS, post expatriation.
Other countries have found more fair ways to deal with this issue. Ireland taxes its expatriating citizens only when they actually sell their assets within three years of emigrating. Denmark gives its former citizens the option to pay when they sell their assets anytime in the future. Switzerland avoids a mark-to-market exit tax and requires only that a citizen be current on his existing taxes when he leaves.
Adding this metric would enhance an otherwise interesting set of measurements on economic freedom. It would also further demonstrate our eroding economic freedom.
Democrats have been pressuring the newest member of North Carolina's congressional delegation, Republican Renee Ellmers of the 2nd Congressional District, to vote against the health-care-law repeal bill.
Yesterday, Ellmers gave these comments on the floor of the House.
In today's Pope Center Clarion Call John Rosenberg reviews a recent book that purports to show how awful it was for California to have adopted Proposition 209, thereby dropping racial preferences. Alas, it's just the same, tired, often-refuted claims, stated over and over.
You might think that scholars writing a book on the alleged need for "diversity" would try to deal with the counter-arguments that it does not in fact produce a "better" student body or improved learning environment, and that it can damage its supposed beneficiaries. But no -- the book is mere cheerleading for racial preferences rather than an examination of it.
Regular readers of this forum already know high-speed rail is a high-priced boondoggle. Now Michael Barone's latest Washington Examinerarticle offers more evidence for that argument.
High-speed rail may sound like a good idea. It works, and reportedly even makes a profit, in Japan and France. If they can do it, why can't we?
A look at some proposed projects gives the answer. Take the $2.7 billion, 84-mile line connecting Orlando and Tampa that incoming Florida Gov. Rick Scott is mulling over.
It would connect two highly decentralized metro areas that are already connected by Interstate 4. Urban scholar Wendell Cox, writing for the Reason Foundation, found that just about any door-to-door trip between the two metro areas would actually take longer by train than by auto, and would cost more. Why would any business traveler take the train?
As for tourists headed for Orlando's theme parks, there is already a convenient rental car operation, with some of the nation's lowest rates, at the Orlando airport. Why would parents get on a train, pay a separate fare for each kid and then rent a car at the station when you could more easily get one at the airport?
As Cox points out, cost estimates for the Florida train seem underestimated and the ridership estimates seem wildly inflated. If he's even partially right, Florida taxpayers will be paying billions for this white elephant over the years.
The former U.S. House speaker uses his latest column to highlight some of the 1,968 powers assigned in the 2010 federal health care reform legislation to the U.S. secretary of health and human services:
1. The Secretary determines “clinical concern”of drugs -- Section 3307 -- (ii) IDENTIFICATION OF DRUGS IN CERTAIN CATEGORIES AND CLASSES. (I) … the Secretary shall identify, as appropriate, categories and classes of drugs for which the Secretary determines are of clinical concern. (II) CRITERIA. The Secretary shall use criteria established by the Secretary in making any determination under subclause (I). (iii) IMPLEMENTATION. The Secretary shall establish the criteria … and any exceptions … through the promulgation of a regulation which includes a public notice and comment period.
Meaning: The Secretary will decide what clinical drugs seniors can access.
2. Secretary decides how drugs are dispensed in long-term care facilities -- Section 3310 -- (3) REDUCING WASTEFUL DISPENSING OF OUTPATIENT PRESCRIPTION DRUGS IN LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES. The Secretary shall require PDP sponsors of prescription drug plans to utilize specific, uniform dispensing techniques, as determined by the Secretary, in consultation with … any other stakeholders the Secretary determines appropriate ... when dispensing covered part D drugs to enrollees who reside in a long-term care facility in order to reduce waste associated with 30-day fills.
Meaning: The Secretary will instruct physicians and nurses exactly how to give a drug to their patients in long-term care facilities.
3. “Tooth-level surveillance” -- Section 4102-- (2) NATIONAL HEALTH AND NUTRITION EXAMINATION SURVEY. The Secretary shall develop oral healthcare components that shall include tooth-level surveillance for inclusion in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey … the term ‘tooth-level surveillance’ means a clinical examination where an examiner looks at each dental surface, on each tooth in the mouth and as defined by the Division of Oral Health of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Meaning: The Secretary will determine how dentists and dental hygienists should examine your teeth.
Let's not take Stephen Colbert's segment on the Wake County Schools too seriously. My guess is that someone called in a favor.
Moreover, Colbert attended the Porter-Gaud School, a private Episcopal school in Charleston, SC. His children attend the Montclair Kimberley Academy in Montclair, NJ. (Tuition at MKA is between $22,500 and $29,700 per child, not including books, optional lunch, and bus service. Financial aid is available.) Colbert and his children do not have to worry about "getting poor all over them."
My guess is that the graduation rate for black males at MKA (if they have any) is 100 percent. In Wake County, it is around 56 percent.
But now momentum seems to be shifting—at least at the state level.
Four new GOP governors have backed voucher programs, including three that also have Republican majorities in their legislatures. The most intriguing reforms are in Florida, where Gov. Rick Scott is the first to propose making vouchers available to all students, not just those in low-income areas. He hopes the distinction will satisfy a federal law requiring a “clear and uniform” public-education system. There may, in fact, be something new under the sun.
The John Locke Foundation recommends — in addition to lifting the public charter school cap — instituting education tax credits:
Family education tax credits would reduce the state income tax liability of families that incur out-of-pocket expenses for private school tuition and educational services and expenses. A philanthropy education tax credit would reduce the state income tax liability of individuals and business that donate to scholarship funding organizations. Research has shown that both types of tax credits are educationally and fiscally sound.
George Will’s latest Newsweekcolumn labels our current president a “tonic for conservatism.”
Will also labels the first 24 months under an Obama administration as the Great Unraveling:
That has been the fate of American liberals’ agenda in the 24 months since Barack Obama’s inauguration. That event was supposed to launch a long liberal epoch, something unknown since the one that ended in 1938, when the nation recoiled against Franklin Roosevelt’s overreaching, which included his attempt to “pack” the Supreme Court by enlarging it. Because the episode that ended in 1938 had lasted only six years, counting it as an “epoch” amounts to defining “epoch” down. Today, the long list of liberal disappointments is still growing:
Organized labor’s top priority—“card check” legislation to make unionization of workplaces easier by abolishing workers’ rights to secret ballots—is dead. So is the environmentalists’ dream of a cap-and-trade regime—or, failing that, a carbon tax. The Environmental Protection Agency, which seems determined to do by regulation what Congress will not do by legislation concerning limits on emissions, is provoking a contest with Congress over supremacy—a contest the EPA cannot win because Congress cannot afford to lose.
The near invisibility and complete futility of last month’s Cancún conference on climate change marked the exhaustion of a U.N. delusion: It was that almost 200 nations were going to negotiate a treaty unanimously requiring a few of them to bribe the rest to reduce greenhouse--gas emissions—and that 67 U.S. senators would vote to ratify it.
Things that liberals thought would be gone by now include: Guantánamo, the Patriot Act, and the Bush tax rates.
Last week, we highlighted in this forum Jonah Goldberg’s doubts about the accuracy of contending that extremists are hijacking the peaceful religion of Islam.
Goldberg cited the case of assassinated Pakistani governor Salman Taseer in making his argument. Now Taseer’s daughter shares similar concerns in the pages of Newsweek:
From 1986 to 2009, 479 Muslims, 340 Ahmadis, 119 Christians, 14 Hindus, and 10 others have been charged with blasphemy, according to the National Commission for Justice and Peace, an advocacy group set up by Pakistan’s Catholic bishops. No one convicted of blasphemy has ever been executed by the state, but many have been mowed down by Islamist vigilantes.
The biggest danger faced by Islam comes from those who claim to serve it. Its first victims are its own adherents. But our fight against these forces of darkness—forces that seek to snuff out the voices they disagree with—must begin with the strengthening of basic law and order. The extremists are a small minority, but they’re raucously vocal, well armed, and well funded. They operate by instilling fear in those they oppose. This intimidation works all too well.