Eric Cantor weighed in today at Quora on the balanced budget Amendment. This is what he said:
Once created, government programs build constituencies of special interests determined to keep the money flowing, whether or not the particular program is effective. There have been many times when the House has placed wasteful and duplicative programs on the chopping block, only to see pressure from the spending lobby win the day in the Senate.
Near-term spending cuts are necessary to alter the course, but they will not be enough without long-term changes. Likewise, promises of cuts 10 years from now mean little without a way to enforce them. The only way to truly guarantee delivery from future elected officials is for the Constitution to demand it.
To that end, the House has scheduled a vote on a balanced budget amendment that would require supermajorities in both chambers to run a deficit, raise the debt ceiling, raise taxes and spend more than 18% of the GDP. With the balanced budget movement gaining momentum, members of the spending lobby want to argue that Congress and the President already have the ability to control spending. Ability and discipline are not the same. If Washington actually had the discipline to live within its means over the long-term, every American citizen would not owe $46,000 toward the national debt.
In my view, the importance of these upcoming votes cannot be overstated. The adoption of a Balanced Budget Amendment would make reckless borrowing a thing of the past, and will ensure that our children enjoy futures full of opportunity.
Democrats and Republicans should join together to do the right thing, pass this amendment, and make a real difference for the future of our country.Read below the fold...
With health insurance marketplaces about to open for 2015 enrollment, the Obama administration has told insurance companies that it will delay requirements for them to disclose data on (1) the number of people enrolled, (2) the number of claims denied and (3) the costs to consumers for specific services.
For months, insurers have been asking the administration if they had to comply with two sections of the Affordable Care Act that require “transparency in coverage.”
In a bulletin sent to insurers last week, the administration said, “We do not intend to enforce the transparency requirements until we provide further guidance.” Administration officials said the government and insurers needed more time to collect and analyze the data.
The mind boggles, doesn't it? Remember, the whole (flawed) rationale for ObamaCare (assuming good faith) was that consumers, by shopping in the marketplace, would bring costs down by forcing competition on insurers. Suppose -- bear with me, here -- I were ordering health insurance from Amazon.com; not so far fetched when you remember Obama compared using the marketplaces to buying a flat screen TV at Best Buy. At Amazon, you'd see (1) how many people bought the product ("the number of people enrolled"), (2) whether the shipper actually delivered on the product ("number of claims denied"), and (3) how much the product costs ("the costs to consumers for specific services"). On this last, yes, I know services are supposed to be covered by the policy, but with narrow networks and formularies, along with high deductibles and co-pays, it's hard to know. For example, I'd want to make damned sure, with a high-priced procedure, that the service provider was in network. Price breakouts would help with that.)
So, Obama wants you to be a smart shopper; he just doesn't want to give you the information that would make you smart (again, assuming the idea that shopping makes you a better consumer of health care works, which it doesn't). That's some catch. Read below the fold...
A classic example from The Economist:
DESPITE headwinds from the continent, Britain’s economy continues to do pretty well. GDP has exceeded forecasts so far this year, and in the second quarter was 3.1% larger than a year ago. The economy has at last surpassed its pre-crisis peak. Yet working Britons are not feeling the benefit. Real wages have fallen for seven consecutive years, and are 6.9% below their 2007 level. Britain is experiencing its longest period of pay stagnation since records began in 1855 (see chart).
And the handy chart: Read below the fold...
[PLATTS:] I spent the first ten years of my political life as a Democratic Party activist and turn after turn through the Iraq War and the way the Democrats kept authorizing funding… And saying publicly that they don’t condone torture but after leaks it would turn out that not only did they condone it, they were complicit by not doing anything about it… Between all of that and impeachment proceedings, which the Democratic Party activist base was trying to do everything in their power to bring against the Bush Administration for war crimes and the leadership was doing everything that could be done to stop that from happening. Then from 2008 to 2010, when the party controlled the House, Senate and presidency, and here in Maine they controlled the governorship and both sections of the legislature, nothing progressive happened. In fact, here in Maine in 2009, Democrats voted for a flat tax, which is just crazy to me.
I became very disillusioned. I had believed very strongly in the idea that you stay in the Democratic Party and reform it but I had spent ten years doing that and it had only gotten worse. I had worked for Dennis Kucinich’s presidential campaign and I saw the immune response the party has within its various apparatuses to any progressive voices and I was just like, alright, this entire power structure has been build to prevent itself from reform. So I gave up on trying to reform an essentially broken structure and decided to work towards building a different structure entirely. The Green Party is that structure.
Well, maybe. Read below the fold...
Some Blue Dog-centric Democratic apparatchik seems to have laid eggs in Jack Trammell's brain. The ongoing process of transformation and assimilation has been horrifying to watch. The Star-Exponent:
"[TRAMMELL:] The government needs to balance its checkbook like ordinary people have to do."
Buried the lead on that one, didn't they? Read below the fold...
I'm dithering about ripping up the weeds; and also about putting the garlic in, which should be done a month before the ground freezes hard, so I'm probably a bit late). So I came in and cleaned part of the kitchen; I'm about a third of the way round, now. Big win: I can sit down at my kitchen table. Anyhow, while I was dithering:
I confess it: I hate flossing. And not only that, I hold to the bizarre and so clearly "just a rationalization" theory that my teeth are an ecology, and if I get them too clean, I could kill off beneficial bacteria and end up worse than before. (To be fair to myself, my theory was semi-borne out by my last trip to Thailand: Despite 7 (seven) years without dental care of any kind, I had only three cavities, and, except for the disintegrating molar caused by a poor filling from a corporate dental rental extraction machine, all were small.) That said: Read below the fold...