RSS

Monthly Archives: November 2009

Health Insurance at DMV?

Terence P. Jeffrey
You Will Get Health Insurance at DMV — Literally (It’s in the Bill)
10/2009
The most revelatory passage in the so-called “plain English” version of the health care bill that the Senate Finance Committee approved on Tuesday (without ever drafting the actual legislative language) says that in the future Americans will be offered the convenience of getting their health insurance at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

This is no joke. If this bill becomes law, it will be the duty of the U.S. secretary of health and human services or the state governments overseeing federally mandated health-insurance exchanges to ensure that you can get your health insurance at the DMV.

You will also be able to get it at Social Security offices, hospitals, schools and “other offices” the government will name later.

Page 19 of the committee’s “plain English” text says: “The Secretary and/or states would do the following: … Enable customers to enroll in health care plans in local hospitals, schools, Departments of Motor Vehicles, local Social Security offices, and other offices designated by the state.”

This is the bill’s most revelatory passage because it sublimely symbolizes the bill’s true aim: a government takeover of the health care system.

You do not get food at the DMV. You do not even get auto insurance at the DMV. But under what The Associated Press inaptly calls the Finance Committee’s “middle-of-the-road health care plan,” you will get health insurance at the DMV.

What will the DMV and health care have in common if this bill is enacted? Government will control both.

A couple of weeks ago, the Finance Committee voted down the public option — a health insurance plan run directly by the government. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and all three House committees working on the bill had included the public option in their versions. So, the establishment media made much of the fact that the Finance Committee did not.

But the omission is almost meaningless.

The public option is only one lane on the road to socialized medicine. Government subsidies and government regulations are two others — and they run like a super highway through the Finance Committee bill.

The bill orders all states to create an “exchange” where companies offering government-approved plans can sell health insurance. Americans earning up to 400 percent of the poverty level ($103,000 for a family of five) would be eligible for federal subsidies in the form of a refundable tax credit to buy health insurance — but only if they buy one of the government-approved plans in the government-created exchange.

The government will not pay this subsidy to the individuals purchasing insurance. The U.S. Treasury will pay it directly to the government-approved insurance providers.

“The Treasury would pay the premium credit amount to the insurance plan in which the individual is enrolled,” says the committee’s “plain English” text.

Four different levels of insurance plans will be available in the exchange — Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. But every year, the secretary of health and human services will determine what services need to be offered by these government-approved and government-funded plans.

“The Secretary of HHS,” says the “plain English” text, “would be required to define and update the categories of covered treatments, items and services within the benefit classes no less than annually through a transparent and public process that allows for public input, including a public comment period.”

Under this bill, the government commands individuals to secure insurance for themselves and their dependents. “In order to insure compliance, individuals would be required to report on their Federal tax return the months for which they maintain the required minimum health coverage for themselves and all dependents under age 18,” says the text.

The government would enforce this mandate with a fine. “The consequence for not maintaining insurance would be an excise tax of $750 per adult in the household,” says the text.

The bill does not similarly order businesses to provide employees with health insurance. However, people who get insurance through their employer will not be eligible for the federal subsidies.

And here is the whip the government will use to drive most Americans into government-approved, government-subsidized, government-controlled health insurance: An employer that decides not to provide health insurance for its workers will be required to pay a fee to the government for each of its workers that receives a federal subsidy. But the total paid to the government by any employer will be capped at $400 times the total number of that employer’s workers.

Even though this fee will not be tax deductible, it will be far cheaper for a business to pay the government $400 per worker than to pay a private insurance company thousands per worker for an insurance plan.

The Finance Committee has created an irresistible incentive for American businesses to drop their workers off at the DMV where they can enroll in government-funded, government-approved, government-regulated health insurance plans.


Terence Jeffrey is editor at large of HUMAN EVENTS.

If you would like to send a comment to Mr. Jeffrey you can reach him by email at terencejeffrey@eaglepub.com

 

Tags:

Obamanomics: How Big Government Took Over Our Economy

 

Every free-market conservative….needs to read this book.”

—Congressman Ron Paul

The federal government now controls 30% of the U.S. economy, thanks to billion-dollar bailouts of insurance companies, banks, Wall Street firms, and the auto industry.

How did the freest economy in the world come to this?

In his shocking exposé, Obamanomics, investigative reporter Tim Carney reveals how Big Government partnered with Big Business and Big Labor to cover up failure—and squash small business.

From conspiring with the healthcare industry to cutting sweetheart deals with corporate cronies and union boss buddies, the Obama administration is working hand-in-hand with Big Business to line Wall Street’s pockets, gain more power, and crush tax payers.

Featuring a foreword by Ron Paul, Obamanomics reveals:

     

  • How despite Obama’s campaign promises of hope and change in Washington, his record shows he constantly favors lobbyists and special interests over entrepreneurs and taxpayers

     

     

  • The Great Health Care Scam—Obama’s backroom deals with drug companies spell profits and more government control

     

     

  • The Global Warming Hoax—Obama has bought off industries with a pork-filled bill that will drain your wallet for Al Gore’s agenda

     

     

  • How the GOP needs to drastically change its tune to battle Obamanomics

     

  •  

Think Big Government and Big Business are rivals with opposite interests? After reading Obamanomics, you’ll know that’s just a Big Myth. And you will understand the threat posed by Obamanomics to all entrepreneurs, small businessmen, and American tax payers.

 

 

Tags:

Black Friday: Vote with your Wallet

National Center for Public Policy Research Press Releases


        For Release: Immediate
Contact: David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 or e-mail dalmasi@nationalcenter.org or Judy Kent at (703) 759-7476 or jkent@nationalcenter.org to schedule an interview with Tom Borelli


Black Friday Payback: Vote with your Wallet — Don’t Buy Products from Companies That Support President Obama’s Cap-and-Trade Policy

Patriots Need to Send a Message to Companies that Wield their Special Interest Influence to Undermine Liberty, says the Free Enterprise Project

Washington D.C.: Today the Free Enterprise Project of the National Center for Public Policy Research calls on patriotic Americans to vote with their wallets starting on Black Friday and avoid buying products from companies that are working with President Obama and liberals in Congress to impose cap-and-trade policies.

“The only reason why cap-and-trade is on the national scene is because CEOs of major corporations are actively lobbying for the legislation. Every time we buy products from these companies our money is rewarding CEOs who are the enemies of liberty,” said Tom Borelli, Ph.D., Director of the Free Enterprise Project. “Cap-and-trade legislation will cause higher energy prices, lower economic growth and increase unemployment. The consequence of this legislation will cause a severe reduction in our standard of living.”

Companies such as Starbucks, Levi Strauss and Company and Nike are members of the Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy — a group that supports aggressive federal laws to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and limits on construction of coal-fired power plants.

General Electric, BP, Shell and Johnson & Johnson are members of the United States Climate Action Partnership – a lobbying group comprised of corporations and environmental special interest groups that have been active in supporting cap-and-trade legislation.

Al Gore is on Apple’s board of directors and the company recently canceled its membership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce because of differences over global warming policies.

“Avoiding that Starbucks cup of coffee and that BP gas station are easy choices we can make every day. Companies need to know there will be a price to pay for colluding with environmental activists and liberal politicians that seek to loot us of our liberty,” said Borelli.

“We don’t need to wait for elections to exercise our belief in limited government and individual liberty. Every day we have an opportunity to vote with our wallet and avoid products from companies that are advancing the left-wing agenda,” said Borelli.

The following is a partial list of companies whose products should be avoided on Black Friday and going forward until they stop lobbying for cap-and-trade: Starbucks, Levi Strauss & Company, Nike, Apple, Timberland, Gap Inc., General Electric, BP, Shell and Johnson & Johnson.

The Free Enterprise Project can be visited online at www.freeenterpriser.com/.

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a non-partisan, non-profit educational foundation based in Washington, DC. It receives most of its funding through hundreds of thousands of individual gifts.

 

Tags:

Black GOP Candidates Mount Serious 2010 Bids Nationwide

Republican Party Could Change Image With an African American in Congress

By David Weigel 10/6/09 6:00 AM
sadf
Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams at the 2008 GOP Texas State Convention (williamsfortexas.com)

“Let’s talk about race,” wrote Michael Williams.

It was September 22, six days after former President Jimmy Carter suggested that race was one reason for the special political animosity toward President Barack Obama. Williams, the four-term Texas railroad commissioner–a job, he tells everyone, that has everything to do with energy policy and nothing to do with railroads–had already dinged Carter for the remarks. But in a long blog post at his campaign website, Williams went further.

Image by: Matt Mahurin  

“As an African-American son of the South,” wrote Williams, “I grew up in a time and place where you didn’t have to divine intent or deconstruct code words to find racism.” The crisis in America, he explained, was the proliferation of people calling one another “racists” for their position on Obama’s policies. “We have rid our institutions of government of the practice of discrimination; if only we could rid our political discourse of the ugliness that ensues when we ascribe discriminatory motive to statements with no obvious discriminatory aspect.”

There was a nuts-and-bolts political point to this. Williams is one of the nation’s very few African-American Republicans who hold statewide office. He’s running for the U.S. Senate seat expected to be vacated by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.), a candidate for governor that year. If elected, he would be the only African-American member of the Senate, as the appointed and scandal-plagued Democrat Roland Burris is retiring next year. That means Williams is threatening to jump out of obscurity and into the position of a credible, high-profile critic of Obama.

“Williams is awesome,” said Erick Erickson, managing editor of RedState.com. “He’s a true rock star in the movement right now. People like him because of his beliefs, not because of his skin color, but there is definitely a bonus to having a black conservative who can be a voice of opposition to the first black President.” One example of Williams’ rock star status came in July, when he joined Liz Cheney as a speaker and guest at the RedState Gathering in Atlanta.Williams is only the most experienced and best-known African-American Republican candidate out of a pool of them mounting a serious bid sfor national office in 2010. In Colorado, 31-year-old city councilman Ryan Frazier is running for the U.S. Senate seat held by Michael Bennet, a first-time candidate who was appointed by Gov. Bill Ritter (D-Co.) In Florida, Lt. Col. Allen West (Ret.) is making his second bid for a swing seat in Congress held by Rep. Ron Klein (D-Fla.). In western North Carolina, Ret. Col. Lou Huddleston is running against freshman Rep. Larry Kissell (D-N.C.). Reached by TWI, all of them stressed that their campaigns had nothing to do with race. At the same time they pointed out if they got to Congress, the image of the GOP would change immediately, and any attempt to find racism in Obama’s critics would hit some sand traps.

“I don’t know if some of the criticisms President Obama has received have been about veiled prejudices,” Frazier told TWI while on the road to an event in Durango, Col., a small city with a black population of less than one percent. “But when it comes to me, Democrats are not going to be able to use some of those same tactics and rhetoric–which have actually tended to work for them–accusing me of disagreeing with the president because of his race. I’m not one of those Republicans sitting around, questioning the president’s citizenship.”

While Republican strategists have spun some outbreaks of racial dialogue to their advantage–virtually all of them feel that Jimmy Carter’s comments reflected poorly on the former president, not on Republicans–there is a stark awareness that the party’s lack of African-American faces is a problem when opposing the first African-American president. Despite the elevation of RNC Chairman Michael Steele, not many Republicans spoke highly of his attempts to turn racial controversies against the Democrats, such as his suggestion that the White House may have pressured Gov. David Paterson (D-N.Y.) to leave the 2010 campaign because he’s black. As the party has pointed to anti-tax Tea Parties for proof of political momentum, the lack of more African-American spokespeople has been notable.

“It’s hard for a white liberal to call black a Republican a racist,” said Richard Ivory, the editor of HipHopRepublican.com.

Since former Rep. J.C. Watts (R-Okla.) retired in 2002, the party has had no African-American representation in Congress, and that’s led to some missed opportunities. In 2005, when then-Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean joked that Republicans couldn’t match the diversity of a Democratic meeting unless they invited “the hotel staff,” the semi-official Republican response to Dean came from a decidedly low-profile group of eight black Republicans in Mississippi.

In 2006, when the party ran credible African-American candidates in Ohio, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, GOP strategists gleefully turned the race card over on Democrats. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), for example, was pilloried by Republicans for saying then-Senate candidate, now RNC Chairman Michael Steele had followed his party “slavishly.” But in a bad year for the party, its top-tier African-American candidates were wiped out.

Black Republicans have no problem portraying Democrats as especially interested in bringing them down. Herman Cain, a 2004 U.S. Senate candidate in Georgia–who lost the primary to now-Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.)–has claimed that Democrats want him and fellow black Republicans to “stay on the plantation.” The National Black Republican Association called the January 2009 election of Steele “the Democrats’ worst nightmare,” an accurate reflection of the reason some Republican National Committee members gave Steele a shot at the job. In an interview with TWI, Ken Blackwell–who has remained a sought-after conservative speaker since losing a 2006 race for governor of Ohio–argued that Democrats targeted him early to prevent the rise of a powerful black Republican voice.

“When I was re-elected as secretary of state, I got 42 percent of the African-American vote,” Blackwell reminisced. “That just worried the Democrat strategists and leaders. So I got targeted. If I had been running for another term as secretary of state, they wouldn’t have wasted the time on me. But a conservative, African-American governor? That’s problematic.”

Some of the party’s 2010 hopefuls have hurdles to overcome within the party. Neither Williams nor Frazier is the favorite in his respective Senate race. Despite polls showing that either of them would be likely to win their general elections, Williams trails either Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R-Tex.) and Attorney General Greg Abbott (R-Tex.), and Frazier trails former Lt. Jane Norton (R-Co.), who entered the race only last month. “Michael Williams is a black candidate for the U.S. Senate in Texas,” said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. “How much of a chance would I give him of surviving a runoff with Dewhurst or Abbott? None.”

The prospects are better for Huddleston and West. Privately, Republican strategists suggested that they will not face serious primary challenges, and are strong contenders for support from the National Republican Campaign Committee if they post strong fundraising numbers of their own. West raised more than $550,000 in 2008 for his first race, with what he characterized as “nothing” from the state or national parties, and pulled 45 percent of the vote in a district that gave 48 percent to George W. Bush in 2004 and John McCain in 2008. West relished the idea of arriving in Washington and demanding membership in the Congressional Black Caucus.

“They don’t want that to be out there,” West told TWI. “They don’t want to see empowerment. They want to have entitlement. You undercut the people like the Jesse Jacksons, the James Clyburns, the Maxine Waterses. You know–the John Conyerses, the Diane Watsons. I am their worst nightmare and I understand that. I welcome them to come and engage me on that level.”

Huddleston, who ran and lost a campaign for the North Carolina legislature last year, may be running in a more favorable district. While Rep. Larry Kissell (D-N.C.) easily won the seat in 2008, he was aided by a massive turnout of African-American voters who make up 28 percent of the district. Huddleston said he’d had eyeball-to-eyeball conversations with black voters who split their ballots for Obama, Kissell and him. He also hinted at a possible endorsement from former Secretary of State Colin Powell, whom Huddleston called a “mentor” in his military career.

“He and I have communicated,” said Huddleston. “Let’s leave it at that.”

Alone among the Republican candidates that TWI spoke to, Huddleston balked at the idea of becoming a high-profile, go-to spokesman on racial flare-ups if he got to Congress. Democrats keep their base “stoked” when they “play the race card,” he said. “I will not be a token for anybody. If I’m on your team, you let me on because I can play the position. And if you’re a reporter and you ask me to comment on what Jimmy Carter said about race, I will give you my time. I’ll have the expectation that you come back to me to talk about national security, or about trade, or about one of the issues I actually am running on.”

According to Bruce Bartlett, a conservative economist whose book “Wrong on Race” argued that Republicans should be able to capitalize on Democrats’ weak record on racial progress, Huddleston might have the clearest view of how a black Republican could take advantage of the political scene.

“Not to be crude,” said Bartlett but I think [J.C.] Watts and [former Rep. Gary] Franks (R-Conn.) were always viewed as tokens in the black community. Their election led neither to an increase in voting for Republicans by blacks nor any increased effort by Republicans to attract black votes.”

 

Tags: , ,

New Book To Reach Black Voters

Last weekend during a meeting with conservative ethnic minorities from around the state it was noted that during the past 52 years Republicans only won three statewide elections: two governorships and one Senate seat (the other senate seat was an appointment by Gov. Spellman). Technically speaking, Republicans have spent millions during the past 52 years and have come up empty. Why? Because in each of these elections they are losing the ethnic votes in Seattle and the greater King County area and this ethnic population is growing every year.

Since getting the black vote is vitally essential to future success, my 501 C3 foundation, the Legacy of Lincoln Foundation has decided to produce a special edition of my latest book to reach African American leaders and clergy throughout Washington State and beyond. The original book which revealed the role that the Democrats played in denying blacks Civil Rights received raved reviews from the Chairman of the National NAACP. We will change the title of this book to appeal to black leaders and update the contents to include discriminatory practices by the Democrats in 2009 (facts like cutting the funding for Historical Black Colleges by $73 million). The original title was: The Drama of Obama Regarding Racism. The new title will be:

The Politics Behind Racism

The Party That Supported Slavery & Opposed Civil Rights

The book will cover a period from 1792 to 2009, highlighting the Democrats racist past and the Republicans’ efforts to bring about equality. We hope to distribute the book during the week of Dr. King’s birthday and must to raise $25,000 to finance this project. With your help we can finally bring truth the black community before the 2010 election. Please mail your generous tax deductible donation immediately to help us reach our deadline. Send your check or money order to:

The Legacy of Lincoln Foundation
P.O. Box 256
Mercer Island, WA 98040

We will send you a complimentary copy of the book when it comes off the press.

Your help is really appreciated,

Wayne Perryman       November 18th, 2009

 
8 Comments

Posted by on November 18, 2009 in Politics, Religion

 

Tags:

REILICH PROVIDES REAL SOLUTIONS FOR GROWING ECONOMIC CRISIS

Assemblyman calls on majority legislature to follow suit  11/17/09

Assemblyman Bill Reilich joined other members of the Assembly Republican Conference this morning to present real solutions to New York’s growing budget deficit. The budget deficit is currently $3.7 billion and is projected to grow to over $7.3 billion by next year.

We have consistently presented the governor and the Democratic majority with real solutions to the growing economic crisis in New York state. Time is ticking away at the chance for us to implement these solutions; it is critical that the Senate and Assembly Democrats step up to the plate and make the budget crisis their number one priority.

Eliminating member item funds, consolidating specific state agencies with overlapping functions, and reducing non-personal services across all agencies, are among the many solutions proposed by Assemblyman Reilich and the Republican Conference.

Residents of Monroe County and across the state have carried the financial burden of a dysfunctional government for far too long, Higher taxes and nuisance fees only add to a state in economic turmoil. It is time for real solutions; we have presented our proposal and ask that the majority – at the very least – to meet us half way.

New York State Assemblyman

District:

134th District

Party:

Republican

 

Tags: ,

REILICH SECURES VICTORY IN LICENSE PLATE BATTLE

Bill Reilich
by New York State Assemblyman Bill Reilich
November 15, 2009
The license plate mandate which was presented by the governor will no longer be going forward as of Sunday. The new license plate mandate, would have forced all New York motorist to purchase a new license plate in April 2010, costing $25. This was yet another example of the ‘Albany as usual’ mentality; taxing the people of New York rather than fixing the root of the problem, a government in need of spending reform. It is with this same mentality that I voted against the $8.2 billion in tax and fee increases in the 2009-2010 budget. In tough economic times raising taxes and implementing extraordinary fees on hard working families and small businesses is never a positive decision. I will continue to act as a strong voice for the people of Monroe County; and will persistently fight for real solutions and government reform, while rolling back tax and fee increases.

lp

 

Tags: ,

Voting With Your Feet Against Disastrous Climate Change Policy

deneenBy Deneen Borelli
November 12, 2009

It’s time to kick those expensive kicks, black Americans.  Nike and Timberland aren’t working in your best interests.

Saying goodbye won’t be hard to do since these companies want to eventually make it impossible to afford their shoes.

Nike and Timberland are affiliated with the Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP) coalition, which wants to unilaterally impose a risky “cap-and-trade” regulatory scheme on our nation.  This would raise prices on virtually everything, with costs falling the hardest on those who can least afford it.

To disrespect consumers in this way is reason enough to take your business elsewhere, but it gets worse.  While asking us to tighten our belts, these companies are going to be making their shoes in countries where they can skirt the laws they want enforced here.

Essentially, cap-and-trade is a tax on fossil fuels.  Businesses, in theory, will convert to alternative energy sources rather than pay higher costs for oil, coal and natural gas.

With wind turbines and solar panels in short supply right now, future suffering is inevitable.  President Obama realizes this, noting in January of 2008 that “under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”  He also casually noted that affected businesses “will pass that money on to consumers.”

A study released by the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) also suggests cap-and-trade could kill more than 2.7 million jobs a year through 2030.  The liberal Brookings Institution paints no better picture – estimating 1.7 million would be lost annually.

Additionally, the NBCC study says cap-and-trade would reduce the American GDP by $350 billion a year and cost the average worker around $400 while consumer prices rise.

The little guy will suffer most.  The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office noted “most of the cost of meeting a cap on [carbon dioxide] emissions would be borne by consumers, who would face persistently higher prices for products such as electricity and gasoline… [and] poorer households would bear a larger burden relative to their income than wealthier households would.”

Under cap-and-trade, a policy desired by President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Nike and Timberland, it seems the rich will get richer while the poor get poorer.

Nike and Timberland wouldn’t feel the real pain of cap-and-trade restrictions.  The proposal their BICEP coalition wants applies only to the United States.  Nike makes a good deal of footwear in places such as South Korea and Vietnam.  Those countries will not be affected.  Timberland makes shoes in China – another country not willing to inflict cap-and-trade on itself.

Nike recently resigned from the board of directors of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to protest the business organization’s opposition to the Obama-Pelosi-Reid cap-and-trade scheme.  The Chamber, however, is not opposed to regulating carbon dioxide emissions as much as imposing cap-and-trade restrictions unilaterally.  The Chamber is worried about the United States losing its ability to compete.  Nike and Timberland seem to have put their own interests ahead of America’s.

Placing environmental desires before economic recovery is unpopular.  A recent Public Strategies’ poll found 62 percent of respondents say economic recovery is a higher priority than environmental protection.  A National Center for Public Policy Research-commissioned poll of black Americans found 76 percent held similar views.

In promoting his company’s cap-and-trade policy on the environmental web site Grist, Timberland CEO Jeff Swartz noted “Consumers can now discriminate.”  And they should.  In the face of Timberland, Nike and other companies’ disregard for their customers’ economic well-being, they don’t deserve your hard-earned money.

Many black Americans put a great deal of value on the shoes they wear, but Nike and Timberland don’t appear to put a lot of value in them.  Black Americans should return the favor and buy elsewhere.

Deneen Borelli is a fellow for the Project 21 black leadership network.  Comments may be sent to DBorelli@nationalcenter.org.

Published by The National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints permitted provided source is credited. New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21 or the National Center for Public Policy Research.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 14, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: ,

Obamacare vs. the Working Class

Mises Daily: Thursday, November 12, 2009 by

Given the recent announcement that the government’s measure of unemployment has hit 10.2 percent, and given that the official House version of Obama’s healthcare plan, HR 3962, has now passed, a close examination of the effects of “Obamacare” on the labor market is important. It will be no surprise to readers of this site to learn that the Democrats’ bill will seriously harm precisely those poor and uninsured citizens it is ostensibly designed to help. The harm will come by compounding mass unemployment and depriving these citizens of consumption choices.

Obamacare as Labor Tax

According to pages 269–273 of the gargantuan bill,Download PDF employers of full-time workers will be required to cover at least 72.5 percent of the premium of the least expensive health-insurance plan available that fulfills the bill’s minimum criteria of “acceptable coverage.” In cases in which family coverage is provided, 62.5 percent of the premium is to be borne by the employer. Depending on the specific plan and other variables such as location, this amounts to a direct labor tax of approximately $300 per month for an individual, or nearly $700 for family coverage.Download PDF

The implication of this increased cost is that workers whose revenue productivity is less than $300 per month higher than their wages will be laid off, or have their hours cut to the level that will classify them as part-time. Ignoring established labor law, the bill leaves the definition of part-time and full-time to the discretion of the Commissioner of Obama’s massive new health bureaucracy. The lower the new “Health Choices Commissioner” sets the threshold in an attempt to maximize the number of people receiving the employer contribution, the more hours of production employers will have to shave off to push their employees under the threshold, and the less those workers will take home in wages each week.

Unfortunately, the bill also requires employers to cover a (smaller) percentage of the premium of the same minimum plan for part-time workers. The effects here are even worse than above, because they weaken the ability of an employer to escape the labor tax by employing his workers for fewer hours. Instead, with a labor tax on part-time workers as well, some low-productivity workers who are currently only working a few hours per week will be forced out of work entirely.

The Burden of Obamacare

We can say, as a mathematical certainty, that this labor tax is a regressive tax. Because the tax is defined as 72.5 percent of the same premium for all workers, that absolute tax will fall more heavily on workers for whom the tax represents a higher percentage of their wages or salary.

To understand this better, we will apply a $300 monthly labor tax to the differences between wages and revenue production for two different workers. If we make the simplifying assumption that a laborer is paid 99 percent of his revenue productivity, we can see that the absolute difference between productivity and wages is larger for high-income workers.

For example, a worker producing $50,000 of revenue per month will be paid $49,500 over the same period, delivering $500 in profit to his employer. A worker producing $10,000 in revenue monthly, meanwhile, will receive $9900, for a difference of only $100. Despite the differences in their absolute return, in a free economy, both laborers are profitable hires and thus employed.

In a post-Obama America, however, only the high-wage worker will be employed, leaving the low-productivity worker out of employment. When a $300 per month charge is added to the cost of employing either worker, it is plain to see that only the high-wage worker’s absolute profit will remain positive.

The firm will continue to make $200 by employing the high-productivity worker, while it will be forced to lay off the low-productivity worker rather than lose $200 by employing him. The Obamacare health tax thus will fall directly on the same employees who are hurt by minimum wage increases: teenagers, the disabled, and disadvantaged minorities.

If they do not wish to be laid off or cut to part-time, these low-productivity workers will accept a lower salary to keep their position and work schedule. Thus, the worker who produces $10,000 monthly will offer to accept a salary of $9700 or less to save himself from a complete loss of employment or cut to part-time. These workers will offer to shift the cost directly onto themselves rather than burdening the employer with it, which would result in their unemployment.

Predictably, though, the Democrats fully intend to “protect” workers from the choice to save their jobs by working for less. Page 273 of the bill stipulates that any amount pledged for the minimum-health-insurance plan that corresponds to a fall in salary or wage will not be considered a contribution at all. Page 310 establishes a $100 per day, per case fine for any privately negotiated fall in wages. Thus, salaries will be locked in at current rates, with any cuts being considered an attempt to subvert the labor tax, and thus being subject to financial penalties.

In reality, this clause is no favor to workers, and instead acts as a wage floor to ensure that the unemployment effect will be immitigable and widespread. Because any drop in wages during the months following the bill’s enactment would be considered a violation of the employer-contribution mandate and therefore would carry heavy fines, literally all wages will be prevented from falling below their current levels.

Implementing these indirect wage floors in literally every industry during a recession is downright ludicrous. During a recession, wages rise and fall in different lines of production to align producers’ demand for laborers with consumers’ demand for the goods each type of labor produces.

In a dynamic market — that is, any market in which people are free to change their minds — different workers’ wages must rise and fall every day to accommodate changing consumer preferences. To prevent this process from taking place is to prevent the structure of production from being corrected.

These wage floors will also hasten the decline of industries that are less valuable to consumers than they were at an earlier time, but that may still be a productive use of resources at a lower price. Businesses in these industries will be unable to legally cut their labor costs to lower their prices and satisfy consumers who are less eager to buy their goods. Without this option, such firms will need to either lay off part of their labor force, or simply go out of business entirely.

Destroying Real Production

It is equally important to consider the other end of the production chain, which is to say the actual output of goods and services. By destroying the demand for marginally productive labor, Obamacare’s labor tax will necessarily destroy that labor’s end product, which is of course marginally-valued goods and services. Thus, it is rational to expect fewer late-night fast food options, less-cleanly hotel rooms, fewer sales associates at retail outlets, and the like.

While these effects may not be as easily visible as a plant closure, they are real losses of consumable utility. Free-market firms produce convenience and extra quality until the point at which it is no longer profitable to do so. Destroying the production of these goods and services would destroy the niceties that capital accumulation and progress allow Americans to take for granted.

The effect of Obamacare on the prices of produced goods is obviously inflationary. Increasing the cost of employing every single laborer by $300 a piece is certain to increase the price of all produced goods. Combining price increases with rising unemployment is hardly a laudable strategy for improving the lives of poor citizens.

Conclusion

The historic passage of HR 3962 by the House of Representatives is not an event to be celebrated. Obamacare will exacerbate the nation’s rising unemployment and will prevent wages from fluctuating according to market demand. Just as with other sectors, a supposedly beneficial social policy hurts the poorest and least-able citizens the most.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 12, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , ,

The Myth of the Racist Republicans

The Claremont Institute

Books Discussed in this Essay:

The Southern Strategy Revisited: Republican Top-Down Advancement in the South, by Joseph A. Aistrup.

The Rise of Southern Republicans, by Earl Black and Merle Black.

From George Wallace to Newt Gingrich: Race in the Conservative Counterrevolution, 1963-1994, by Dan T. Carter.

A Stone of Hope: Prophetic Religion and the Death of Jim Crow, by David L. Chappell.

The Emerging Republican Majority, by Kevin Phillips.

A myth about conservatism is circulating in academia and journalism and has spread to the 2004 presidential campaign. It goes something like this: the Republican Party assembled a national majority by winning over Southern white voters; Southern white voters are racist; therefore, the GOP is racist. Sometimes the conclusion is softened, and Republicans are convicted merely of base opportunism: the GOP is the party that became willing to pander to racists. Either way, today’s Republican Party—and by extension the conservative movement at its heart—supposedly has revealed something terrible about itself.

This myth is not the only viewpoint in scholarly debates on the subject. But it is testimony to its growing influence that it is taken aboard by writers like Dan Carter, a prize-winning biographer of George Wallace, and to a lesser extent by the respected students of the South, Earl and Merle Black. It is so pervasive in mass media reporting on racial issues that an NBC news anchor can casually speak of “a new era for the Republican Party, one in which racial intolerance really won’t be tolerated.” It has become a staple of Democratic politicians like Howard Dean, who accuses Republicans of “dividing Americans against each other, stirring up racial prejudices and bringing out the worst in people” through the use of so-called racist “codewords.” All this matters because people use such putative connections to form judgments, and “racist” is as toxic a reputation as one can have in U.S. politics. Certainly the 2000 Bush campaign went to a lot of trouble to combat the GOP’s reputation as racially exclusionary. I even know young Republicans who fear that behind their party’s victories lies a dirty, not-so-little Southern secret.

Now to be sure, the GOP had a Southern strategy. Willing to work with, rather than against, the grain of Southern opinion, local Republicans ran some segregationist candidates in the 1960s. And from the 1950s on, virtually all national and local GOP candidates tried to craft policies and messages that could compete for the votes of some pretty unsavory characters. This record is incontestable. It is also not much of a story—that a party acted expediently in an often nasty political context.

The new myth is much bolder than this. It insists that these events should decisively shape our understanding of conservatism and the modern Republican Party. Dan Carter writes that today’s conservatism must be traced directly back to the “politics of rage” that George Wallace blended from “racial fear, anticommunism, cultural nostalgia, and traditional right-wing economics.” Another scholar, Joseph Aistrup, claims that Reagan’s 1980 Southern coalition was “the reincarnation of the Wallace movement of 1968.” For the Black brothers, the GOP had once been the “party of Abraham Lincoln,” but it became the “party of Barry Goldwater,” opposed to civil rights and black interests. It is only a short step to the Democrats’ insinuation that the GOP is the latest exploiter of the tragic, race-based thread of U.S. history. In short, the GOP did not merely seek votes expediently; it made a pact with America’s devil.

The mythmakers typically draw on two types of evidence. First, they argue that the GOP deliberately crafted its core messages to accommodate Southern racists. Second, they find proof in the electoral pudding: the GOP captured the core of the Southern white backlash vote. But neither type of evidence is very persuasive. It is not at all clear that the GOP’s policy positions are sugar-coated racist appeals. And election results show that the GOP became the South’s dominant party in the least racist phase of the region’s history, and got—and stays—that way as the party of the upwardly mobile, more socially conservative, openly patriotic middle-class, not of white solidarity.

Let’s start with policies. Like many others, Carter and the Black brothers argue that the GOP appealed to Southern racism not explicitly but through “coded” racial appeals. Carter is representative of many when he says that Wallace’s racialism can be seen, varying in style but not substance, in “Goldwater’s vote against the Civil Rights Bill of 1964, in Richard Nixon’s subtle manipulation of the busing issue, in Ronald Reagan’s genial demolition of affirmative action, in George Bush’s use of the Willie Horton ads, and in Newt Gingrich’s demonization of welfare mothers.”

The problem here is that Wallace’s segregationism was obviously racist, but these other positions are not obviously racist. This creates an analytic challenge that these authors do not meet. If an illegitimate viewpoint (racism) is hidden inside another viewpoint, that second view—to be a useful hiding place—must be one that can be held for entirely legitimate (non-racist) reasons. Conservative intellectuals might not always linger long enough on the fact that opposition to busing and affirmative action can be disguised racism. On the other hand, these are also positions that principled non-racists can hold. To be persuasive, claims of coding must establish how to tell which is which. Racial coding is often said to occur when voters are highly prone to understanding a non-racist message as a proxy for something else that is racist. This may have happened in 1964, when Goldwater, who neither supported segregation nor called for it, employed the term “states’ rights,” which to many whites in the Deep South implied the continuation of Jim Crow.

The problem comes when we try to extend this forward. Black and Black try to do this by showing that Nixon and Reagan crafted positions on busing, affirmative action, and welfare reform in a political climate in which many white voters doubted the virtues of preferential hiring, valued individual responsibility, and opposed busing as intrusive. To be condemned as racist “code,” the GOP’s positions would have to come across as proxies for these views -and in turn these views would have to be racist. The problem is that these views are not self-evidently racist. Many scholars simply treat them as if they were. Adding insult to injury, usually they don’t even pause to identify when views like opposition to affirmative action would not be racist.

In effect, these critics want to have it both ways: they acknowledge that these views could in principle be non-racist (otherwise they wouldn’t be a “code” for racism) but suggest they never are in practice (and so can be reliably treated as proxies for racism). The result is that their claims are non-falsifiable because they are tautological: these views are deemed racist because they are defined as racist. This amounts to saying that opposition to the policies favored by today’s civil rights establishment is a valid indicator of racism. One suspects these theorists would, quite correctly, insist that people can disagree with the Israeli government without being in any way anti-Semitic. But they do not extend the same distinction to this issue. This is partisanship posturing as social science.

The Southern Strategy

This bias is evident also in how differently they treat the long Democratic dominance of the South. Carter and the Black brothers suggest that the accommodation of white racism penetrates to the very soul of modern conservatism. But earlier generations of openly segregationist Southerners voted overwhelmingly for Woodrow Wilson’s and Franklin Roosevelt’s Democratic Party, which relaxed its civil rights stances accordingly. This coalition passed much of the New Deal legislation that remains the basis of modern liberalism. So what does the segregationist presence imply for the character of liberalism at its electoral and legislative apogee? These scholars sidestep the question by simply not discussing it. This silence implies that racism and liberalism were simply strange political bedfellows, without any common values.

But the commonality, the philosophical link, is swiftly identified once the Democrats leave the stage. In study after study, authors say that “racial and economic conservatism” married white Southerners to the GOP after 1964. So whereas historically accidental events must have led racists to vote for good men like FDR, after 1964 racists voted their conscience. How convenient. And how easy it would be for, say, a libertarian conservative like Walter Williams to generate a counter-narrative that exposes statism as the philosophical link between segregation and liberalism’s economic populism.

Yet liberal commentators commit a further, even more obvious, analytic error. They assume that if many former Wallace voters ended up voting Republican in the 1970s and beyond, it had to be because Republicans went to the segregationist mountain, rather than the mountain coming to them. There are two reasons to question this assumption. The first is the logic of electoral competition. Extremist voters usually have little choice but to vote for a major party which they consider at best the lesser of two evils, one that offers them little of what they truly desire. Segregationists were in this position after 1968, when Wallace won less than 9% of the electoral college and Nixon became president anyway, without their votes. Segregationists simply had very limited national bargaining power. In the end, not the Deep South but the GOP was the mountain.

Second, this was borne out in how little the GOP had to “offer,” so to speak, segregationists for their support after 1968, even according to the myth’s own terms. Segregationists wanted policies that privileged whites. In the GOP, they had to settle for relatively race-neutral policies: opposition to forced busing and reluctant coexistence with affirmative action. The reason these policies aren’t plausible codes for real racism is that they aren’t the equivalents of discrimination, much less of segregation.

Why did segregationists settle for these policies rather than continue to vote Democratic? The GOP’s appeal was mightily aided by none other than the Democratic Party itself, which was lurching leftward in the 1970s, becoming, as the contemporary phrase had it, the party of “acid, amnesty, and abortion.” Among other things, the Democrats absorbed a civil rights movement that was itself expanding, and thus diluting, its agenda to include economic redistributionism, opposition to the Vietnam War, and Black Power. The many enthusiasms of the new Democratic Party drove away suburban middle-class voters almost everywhere in the country, not least the South.

Given that trend, the GOP did not need to become the party of white solidarity in order to attract more voters. The fact that many former Wallace supporters ended up voting Republican says a lot less about the GOP than it does about segregationists’ collapsing political alternatives. Kevin Phillips was hardly coy about this in his Emerging Republican Majority. He wrote in 1969 that Nixon did not “have to bid much ideologically” to get Wallace’s electorate, given its limited power, and that moderation was far more promising for the GOP than anything even approaching a racialist strategy. While “the Republican Party cannot go to the Deep South”—meaning the GOP simply would not offer the policies that whites there seemed to desire most—”the Deep South must soon go to the national GOP,” regardless.

Electoral Patterns

In all these ways, the gop appears as the national party of the middle-class, not of white solidarity. And it is this interpretation, and not the myth, that is supported by the voting results. The myth’s proponents highlight, and distort, a few key electoral facts: Southern white backlash was most heated in the 1960s, especially in the Deep South. It was then and there that the GOP finally broke through in the South, on the strength of Goldwater’s appeals to states’ rights. Democrats never again won the votes of most Southern whites. So Goldwater is said to have provided the electoral model for the GOP.

But hidden within these aggregate results are patterns that make no sense if white solidarity really was the basis for the GOP’s advance. These patterns concern which Southern votes the GOP attracted, and when. How did the GOP’s Southern advance actually unfold? We can distinguish between two sub-regions. The Peripheral South—Florida, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, and Arkansas—contained many growing, urbanizing “New South” areas and much smaller black populations. Race loomed less large in its politics. In the more rural, and poorer, Deep South—Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, and Louisiana —black communities were much larger, and racial conflict was much more acute in the 1950s and ’60s. Tellingly, the presidential campaigns of Strom Thurmond, Goldwater, and Wallace all won a majority of white votes in the Deep South but lost the white vote in the Peripheral South.

The myth that links the GOP with racism leads us to expect that the GOP should have advanced first and most strongly where and when the politics of white solidarity were most intense. The GOP should have entrenched itself first among Deep South whites and only later in the Periphery. The GOP should have appealed at least as much, if not more, therefore, to the less educated, working-class whites who were not its natural voters elsewhere in the country but who were George Wallace’s base. The GOP should have received more support from native white Southerners raised on the region’s traditional racism than from white immigrants to the region from the Midwest and elsewhere. And as the Southern electorate aged over the ensuing decades, older voters should have identified as Republicans at higher rates than younger ones raised in a less racist era.

Each prediction is wrong. The evidence suggests that the GOP advanced in the South because it attracted much the same upwardly mobile (and non-union) economic and religious conservatives that it did elsewhere in the country.

Take presidential voting. Under FDR, the Democrats successfully assembled a daunting, cross-regional coalition of presidential voters. To compete, the GOP had to develop a broader national outreach of its own, which meant adding a Southern strategy to its arsenal. In 1952, Dwight Eisenhower took his campaign as national hero southward. He, like Nixon in 1960, polled badly among Deep South whites. But Ike won four states in the Peripheral South. This marked their lasting realignment in presidential voting. From 1952 to the Clinton years, Virginia reverted to the Democrats only once, Florida and Tennessee twice, and Texas—except when native-son LBJ was on the ballot—only twice, narrowly. Additionally, since 1952, North Carolina has consistently either gone Republican or come within a few percentage points of doing so.

In other words, states representing over half the South’s electoral votes at the time have been consistently in play from 1952 on—since before Brown v. Board of Education, before Goldwater, before busing, and when the Republicans were the mainstay of civil rights bills. It was this which dramatically changed the GOP’s presidential prospects. The GOP’s breakthrough came in the least racially polarized part of the South. And its strongest supporters most years were “New South” urban and suburban middle- and upper-income voters. In 1964, as we’ve seen, Goldwater did the opposite: winning in the Deep South but losing the Peripheral South. But the pre-Goldwater pattern re-emerged soon afterward. When given the option in 1968, Deep South whites strongly preferred Wallace, and Nixon became president by winning most of the Peripheral South instead. From 1972 on, GOP presidential candidates won white voters at roughly even rates in the two sub-regions, sometimes slightly more in the Deep South, sometimes not. But by then, the Deep South had only about one-third of the South’s total electoral votes; so it has been the Periphery, throughout, that provided the bulk of the GOP’s Southern presidential support.

* * *

The GOP’s congressional gains followed the same pattern. Of course, it was harder for Republicans to win in Deep South states where Democratic-leaning black electorates were larger. But even when we account for that, the GOP became the dominant party of white voters much earlier in the Periphery than it did in the Deep South. Before Goldwater, the GOP’s few Southern House seats were almost all in the Periphery (as was its sole Senator—John Tower of Texas). Several Deep South House members were elected with Goldwater but proved ephemeral, as Black and Black note: “Republicans lost ground and stalled in the Deep South for the rest of the decade,” while in the Periphery they “continued to make incremental gains.” In the 1960s and ’70s, nearly three-quarters of GOP House victories were in the Peripheral rather than the Deep South, with the GOP winning twice as often in urban as rural districts. And six of the eight different Southern Republican Senators elected from 1961 to 1980 were from the Peripheral South. GOP candidates tended consistently to draw their strongest support from the more educated, middle- and upper-income white voters in small cities and suburbs. In fact, Goldwater in 1964—at least his Deep South performance, which is all that was controversial in this regard—was an aberration, not a model for the GOP.

Writers who vilify the GOP’s Southern strategy might be surprised to find that all of this was evident, at least in broad brush-strokes, to the strategy’s early proponents. In his well-known book, Kevin Phillips drew the lesson that a strong appeal in the Deep South, on the model of 1964, had already entailed and would entail defeat for the GOP everywhere else, including in what he termed the Outer South. He therefore rejected such an approach. He emphasized that Ike and Nixon did far better in the Peripheral South. He saw huge opportunities in the “youthful middle-class” of Texas, Florida, and other rapidly growing and changing Sun Belt states, where what he called “acutely Negrophobe politics” was weakest, not strongest. He thus endorsed “evolutionary success in the Outer South” as the basis of the GOP’s “principal party strategy” for the region, concluding that this would bring the Deep South along in time, but emphatically on the national GOP’s terms, not the segregationists’.

The tension between the myth and voting data escalates if we consider change across time. Starting in the 1950s, the South attracted millions of Midwesterners, Northeasterners, and other transplants. These “immigrants” identified themselves as Republicans at higher rates than native whites. In the 1980s, up to a quarter of self-declared Republicans in Texas appear to have been such immigrants. Furthermore, research consistently shows that identification with the GOP is stronger among the South’s younger rather than older white voters, and that each cohort has also became more Republican with time. Do we really believe immigrants (like George H.W. Bush, who moved with his family to Texas) were more racist than native Southerners, and that younger Southerners identified more with white solidarity than did their elders, and that all cohorts did so more by the 1980s and ’90s than they had earlier?

In sum, the GOP’s Southern electorate was not rural, nativist, less educated, afraid of change, or concentrated in the most stagnant parts of the Deep South. It was disproportionately suburban, middle-class, educated, younger, non-native-Southern, and concentrated in the growth-points that were, so to speak, the least “Southern” parts of the South. This is a very strange way to reincarnate George Wallace’s movement.

The Decline of Racism

Timing may provide the greatest gap between the myth and the actual unfolding of events. Only in the 1980s did more white Southerners self-identify as Republicans than as Democrats, and only in the mid-1990s did Republicans win most Southern House seats and become competitive in most state legislatures. So if the GOP’s strength in the South only recently reached its zenith, and if its appeal were primarily racial in nature, then the white Southern electorate (or at least most of it) would have to be as racist as ever. But surely one of the most important events in Southern political history is the long-term decline of racism among whites. The fact that these (and many other) books suggest otherwise shows that the myth is ultimately based on a demonization not of the GOP but of Southerners, who are indeed assumed to have Confederate flags in their hearts if not on their pickups. This view lends The Rise of Southern Republicans a schizophrenic nature: it charts numerous changes in the South, but its organizing categories are predicated on the unsustainable assumption that racial views remain intact.

What’s more, the trend away from confident beliefs in white supremacy may have begun earlier than we often think. David Chappell, a historian of religion, argues that during the height of the civil rights struggle, segregationists were denied the crucial prop of religious legitimacy. Large numbers of pastors of diverse denominations concluded that there was no Biblical foundation for either segregation or white superiority. Although many pastors remained segregationist anyway, the official shift was startling: “Before the Supreme Court’s [Brown v. Board] decision of 1954, the southern Presbyterians. . . and, shortly after the decision, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) overwhelmingly passed resolutions supporting desegregation and calling on all to comply with it peacefully. . . . By 1958 all SBC seminaries accepted black applicants.” With considerable understatement, Chappell notes that “people—even historians—are surprised to hear this.” Billy Graham, the most prominent Southern preacher, was openly integrationist.

The point of all this is not to deny that Richard Nixon may have invited some nasty fellows into his political bed. The point is that the GOP finally became the region’s dominant party in the least racist phase of the South’s entire history, and it got that way by attracting most of its votes from the region’s growing and confident communities—not its declining and fearful ones. The myth’s shrillest proponents are as reluctant to admit this as they are to concede that most Republicans genuinely believe that a color-blind society lies down the road of individual choice and dynamic change, not down the road of state regulation and unequal treatment before the law. The truly tenacious prejudices here are the mythmakers’.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 7, 2009 in Education, Politics

 

Tags: ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.