A Further Perspective

A Further Perspective

Obamacare’s War on Civil Society

By 12.24.13

Washington offers many opportunities for Schadenfreude, that wonderful German word which means to enjoy the misery of others. The sudden realization of liberal professionals who voted for Barack Obama that they will be forced to spend thousands more on health insurance was one of those moments. It couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of people!

Reported the New York Times: “Many in New York’s professional and cultural elite have long supported President Obama’s health care plan. But now, to their surprise, opera singers, music teachers, photographers, doctors, lawyers and others are learning that their health insurance plans are being canceled and they may have to pay more to get comparable coverage, if they can find it.”

It’s not that they didn’t have coverage. Policies that they liked and wanted to keep. They were precisely the people who believed the president when he said if you liked it you could keep it. Gullible fools.

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A Further Perspective

Two and a Half Cheers for Ryan-Murray

By 12.18.13

My life’s work is devoted to cutting the federal government in half. In fact, I have published detailed plans regarding how to do that (it’s called entitlement reform), in far too many places already (just a start on what needs to be done), including in my 2011 book, America’s Ticking Bankruptcy Bomb (HarperCollins), in this column, and with every free market think tank tuned in to the real world.

In fact, I’m probably the only person in Washington who thinks the legislation that would have that effect over the long run can and quite possibly will be enacted within the next 10 years (politics operates in cycles, like a pendulum, thank you Barack Obama). And I have worked directly on that project with Paul Ryan — he is one of the few people in America who understands that if these reforms are done right, the poor, seniors, those in need of health care, working people, America, and the taxpayers will all be vastly better off.

I say that so you know where I am coming from in analyzing the Ryan-Murray budget deal.

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A Further Perspective

Christmas Traditions Help to Define Family

By 12.17.13

Some of my warmest family memories center on Christmas traditions. Christmas celebrations and traditions help to define what it means to be family. The repetition of these traditions becomes a shared memory that helps cement the ties that bind us together as grandparents, parents, and children and as siblings and cousins. Conversations in adulthood often revisit, rehash, and embellish favorite times from years past, and often, those memories are about Christmas traditions and shared celebrations.

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A Further Perspective

On Selfies and Shackleton

By 12.13.13

Leadership can mean many things to many people. But its absence is obvious, as it was with President Barack Obama, Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and British Prime Minister David Cameron snapping a “selfie” Tuesday like teenagers at a rock concert and not dignitaries celebrating the life of former South African president Nelson Mandela at his funeral. His funeral. And this was not just any funeral. It was one for a man who led the fight to end apartheid in South Africa and “the great liberator” who “makes me want to be a better man” in Mr. Obama’s soaring words that he spoke at the funeral.

Taking that photo and his flirting with Ms. Thorning-Schmidt undermined his speech. It said: I am outside the rules. I am the center of attention. I don’t have to follow protocol because I am the protocol.

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A Further Perspective

The Legislature’s First Job Is Not to Legislate

By 12.13.13

Defenders of Sen. Harry Reid’s triggering of the “nuclear option,” ending the filibuster for all Executive Branch nominees save those to the Supreme Court, call it a triumph for democracy. Hogwash.

Democratic governance isn’t about a majority doing whatever it wants, much less when that involves advancing a president’s agenda. Congress, in effect, has abandoned its purpose within our system of separation of powers, and needs to turn back.

As every child in America learns in civics class, Congress, as the legislature of the United States, has as its primary job to pass laws. But its responsibilities don’t end there. Congress’s functional role is to legislate, but it has an equally important structural role within our system of government: to check the powers of the other branches, especially the Executive. Unfortunately, Congress has abdicated its checking role, leading to the overly mighty Executive of today.

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GOP About to Snatch Defeat From Jaws of Victory?

By 12.9.13

It is an old story. The Republicans could, once again, snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

On one of my infrequent visits to the Hill last week, I heard a lot of chatter about offsets and other ways to get around the sequester caps, especially on defense spending, on the part of some of the House GOP leadership. The appropriators, whose stock in trade is spending other people’s money, are chafing under the sequester, maybe the single biggest victory for House Republicans since President Obama moved into the White House. This is unfortunate in that the current reduction in the deficit, stemming largely from the automatic sequester, is the largest and fastest since the post-World War II period.

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A Further Perspective

The ‘Benefits’ of Greater Dependency

By 12.3.13

The Wall Street Journal carried a report this past weekend on the continuing partisan confrontation over a new farm bill. Democrats are already accusing Republicans of “politicizing what had traditionally been a bipartisan bill” by demanding that Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — or “food stamp” — expenditures be scaled back. For their part, Republicans can note that their proposed reductions would, over a decade’s time, return food stamp expenditures to approximately the same (then record high) level as in 2008.

The explosive growth of the food stamp program under President Obama has seen expenditures double from roughly $40 billion in 2008 to about $80 billion today. And, of course, the food stamp program is but one of several federal welfare regimes that have been expanded dramatically, as the current administration strives to increase dependence on government as a means of recruiting voters.

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