A Call for ‘Do-Nothing’ Presidents Without Legacies

Some in the news media and editorial page pundits are aghast that many of President Donald Trump’s executive orders and legislative proposals sent off to the United States Congress represent an attempt to undue the presidential ‘legacy’ of Barack Obama. The question is, why should it be presumed that presidents need to have policy legacies to leave behind after their term in office has ended?
In this particular case, many of those on the political ‘left’ are focused on the proposals coming out of the Trump White House to repeal and replace ObamaCare – the (un)Affordable Care Act – as well as ‘climate change’ legislation and international agreements, land use and mining regulations, and the Iran nuclear armaments deal.
Not All Presidential Legacies are ‘Equal’ in the Eyes of the Pundits An interesting question is whether the news pundits would be in the same public policy uproar if an immediately preceding president had been a classical liberal or libertarian and had left a ‘legacy’ of having dismantled the interventionist-welfare state, which his successor started to intentionally reverse by once more introducing all the same regulatory and redistributive legislation that had been repealed and abolished.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on October 17, 2017.

Trump And Bannon Make Up: Breitbart Chief Slams Vanity Fair, Predicts Huge Victory For Trump In 2020

The original, populist, “grassroots” Trump, the one who won the elections before surrounding himself with various Goldman Sachs-derived advisors, made a solid comeback this past week: just consider the flurry of recent actions undertaken by the president.
When Trump ran for president last year, he frequently said that only he ‘alone’ could fix the nation’s problems. But once he took office, Trump attempted to follow the lead of Republicans on Capitol Hill, and he watched with dismay how little movement was made on priorities such as healthcare, immigration, and national security. And, after weeks of seeing his agenda imperiled by Republican divisions and infighting among his aides, Trump became a whirlwind of activity this week, reasserting his campaign priorities and trying to deliver wins for his fervent but frustrated base of supporters.
Indeed, Trump took steps to dramatically undercut the Obamacare health system, sent notice he was willing to scuttle the nuclear deal with Iran, moved to roll back coal-plant limits, and again demanded a wall along the Mexican border. In doing so, Trump reverting back to conflicts and fights that defined the core of his campaign, and which drifted as Trump became increasingly more institutionalized by the Washington swamp. Meanwhile, on Twitter Trump increasingly relished his feuds with the news media, senior Republicans in Congress, and National Football League players who have protested during the national anthem.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 14, 2017.

“We Will Own This” – Retiring Republican Congressman Bashes Trump’s Obamacare Order

Pennsylvania Congressman Charlie Dent is just one of a handful of Congressional Republicans who has stepped up his criticisms of the president after announcing – often with a purposeful air of liberation – that he would not seek another term in 2018. So perhaps with an eye toward landing a lucrative TV news analyst job in 15 months, Dent took to CNN to share his views about the president’s controversial decision to cancel federal cost-sharing subsidies to Obamacare insurers, a decision that Dent believes will ultimately hurt the Republicans by forcing them to take ownership of the ‘death spiral’ that now appears inevitable as insurers jack up premiums – or pull out of markets like UnitedHealth did – to compensate now that the lucrative government payoffs that made it possible (and profitable) for insurers to provide coverage for the riskiest patients (aka those with preexisting conditions) have ended.
Trump has been threatening to kill the subsidies for months – a fact that hasn’t been lost on insurers, who’ve jacked up premiums preemptively to account for the ‘uncertainty’ surrounding future federal health-care policy. But as Dent sensibly asserts, by killing the payments, Trump is creating an opening for Democrats to sell a narrative where the Republicans spitefully sabotaged Obamacare after failing to repeal it and replace it with ‘something way better,’ as president Trump had repeatedly promised.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 14, 2017.

Democrat AGs From 18 States Sue To Keep Obamacare Subsidies, But Who Really Benefits?

It did not take long for democrats to respond to Trump’s executive order halting key subsidies known as Cost-Sharing Reductions or CSRs to insurers.
On Friday, just hours after the executive order was signed, Democratic attorneys general from eighteen states as well as Washington D. C., sued President Trump’s administration to stop him from scrapping a critical component of Obamacare – insurer subsidies that allow millions of low-income people pay medical expenses, even as Trump invited Democratic leaders to negotiate a deal. The states include: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington state.
The suit follows the administration’s announced plans to end the payments next week; Trump said he would dismantle Obamacare ‘step by step.’ His latest action raised concerns about chaos in insurance markets. Frustrated by the failure of Republicans who control both houses of Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare, Trump’s action took aim at a critical element of Obama’s signature 2010 law. ‘As far as the subsidies are concerned, I don’t want to make the insurance companies rich,’ Trump told reporters at the White House. ‘They’re making a fortune by getting that kind of money.’
On Saturday morning, Trump doubled down, tweeting that “Health Insurance stocks, which have gone through the roof during the ObamaCare years, plunged yesterday after I ended their Dems windfall!”
Health Insurance stocks, which have gone through the roof during the ObamaCare years, plunged yesterday after I ended their Dems windfall!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 14, 2017

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 14, 2017.

Trump To Scrap Crucial Obamacare Insurer Subsidy

Update: Late Thursday, the administration said it would immediately stop paying what are known as cost-sharing reduction subsidies. The payments go to health insurers in the Affordable Care Act to help lower-income people with co-pays and other cost sharing. Without them, insurers have said they’ll dramatically raise premiums or pull out of the law’s state-based markets.
According to Bloomberg, the White House said the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services both concluded that there is no appropriation for cost-sharing reduction payments to insurance companies under Obamacare. ‘The bailout of insurance companies through these unlawful payments is yet another example of how the previous administration abused taxpayer dollars and skirted the law to prop up a broken system,’ the White House said in the statement.
The payments will stop immediately, with no transition period, Acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement. They next payments were due next week.
‘Congress has not appropriated money for CSRs, and we will discontinue these payments immediately,’ the department said.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 13, 2017.

“The Democrats ObamaCare Is Imploding” Trump Tweets Hours After Cutting Off “Broken Mess” Obamacare Subsidies

Update: President Trump has continued to hammer Obamacare…
ObamaCare is a broken mess. Piece by piece we will now begin the process of giving America the great HealthCare it deserves!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 13, 2017

As we detailed earlier, it was an early morning for a seemingly excited, insomniac Donald Trump, who shortly before 6am tweeted on the topic of the night, namely the late Thursday elimination of subsidies to health insurers, which took place just hours after the president signed an executive order to designed to draw people away from Obamacare coverage markets.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 13, 2017.

“The Democrats ObamaCare Is Imploding” Trump Tweets Hours After Cutting Off Obamacare Subsidies

It was an early morning for a seemingly excited, insomniac Donald Trump, who shortly before 6am tweeted on the topic of the night, namely the late Thursday elimination of subsidies to health insurers, which took place just hours after the president signed an executive order to designed to draw people away from Obamacare coverage markets.
“The Democrats ObamaCare is imploding. Massive subsidy payments to their pet insurance companies has stopped. Dems should call me to fix!”
The Democrats ObamaCare is imploding. Massive subsidy payments to their pet insurance companies has stopped. Dems should call me to fix!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 13, 2017

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 13, 2017.

One Angry American Rages: “Obama Lied, My 4th Health Plan Just Died”

Cue the funeral bagpipes. My fourth health insurance plan is dead.
Two weeks ago, my husband and I received yet another cancellation notice for our private, individual health insurance coverage. It’s our fourth Obamacare-induced obituary in four years.
Our first death notice, from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, arrived in the fall of 2013.
The insurer informed us that because of “changes from health care reform (also called the Affordable Care Act or ACA),” our plan no longer met the federal government’s requirements.
Never mind our needs and desires as consumers who were quite satisfied with a high-deductible PPO that included a wide network of doctors for ourselves and our two children.
Our second death knell, from Rocky Mountain Health Plans, tolled in August 2015.
That notice signaled the end of a plan we didn’t want in the first place that didn’t cover our kids’ dental care and wasn’t accepted at our local urgent care clinic. The insurer pulled out of the individual market in all but one county in Colorado, following the complete withdrawal from that sector by Humana and UnitedHealthcare.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 11, 2017.

Trump To Sign Executive Order On Obamacare Tomorrow Morning

As first previewed over the weekend, tomorrow at 11:15am, President Trump will sign an executive order aimed at taking action on health care, or as the White House put it, “to promote health care choice and competition”, after Congress’s failure to repeal ObamaCare. The order – which is expected to further weaken Obamacare – should, in theory, ease rules on small businesses banding together to buy health insurance, through what are known as association health plans, and lift Obama administration limits on short-term health insurance plans, according to a source on a call with administration officials Wednesday night.
According to The Hill’s sources, the order will direct the Department of Labor to “modernize” rules to allow small employers to create association health plans. Small businesses will be able to band together if they are within the same state, in the same “line of business,” or are in the same trade association.
Needless to say, this latest attempt to dismantle Obamacare did not make the likes of Andy Slavitt, who ran Medicare, Madicaid and Obamacare under Obama, happy, and he took to twitter to make it clear:
BREAKING: Tomorrow 11:15 Eastern, Trump will sign his Executive Order on ACA. 1/
— Andy Slavitt (@ASlavitt) October 12, 2017

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 11, 2017.

LIBERALS ONLY LIKE STATE POWER WHEN THEY WIELD IT

Jimmy Kimmel is once again trying to be the moral voice of our country in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre.
Two weeks ago, Kimmel dedicated his late-night show to stopping GOP efforts to repeal Obamacare. Now, he is using his platform to call for immediate action on guns.
In a monologue frequently interrupted by the comedy host being on the brink of tears, Kimmel condemned Republican lawmakers for letting the ‘gun lobby’ take over America. He dismissed their offerings of prayers for the Las Vegas victims and suggested, ‘they should be praying for God to forgive them for letting the gun lobby run this country.’
All of this made for good viral material to influence the current gun debate. Liberals and Democrats are all behind Kimmel’s desire to act immediately on guns – yet, there is no real legislation that would have done a damn thing to stop the deadliest mass shooting in American history. (RELATED: Democrats Immediately Call For Gun Control After Las Vegas Shooting)
The current focus is stopping a bill that would remove restrictions on gun suppressors, an item the Las Vegas shooter did not use. Noted firearm expert Hillary Clinton has offered the theory that a silencer would have allowed the shooter to kill dozens with no one hearing him, apparently believing that a suppressor makes one of those dreaded assault rifles completely inaudible.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on OCTOBER 3, 2017.

2009 – 2016: Was the Eight-Year Experiment in Maintaining the Status Quo a Success or a Failure?

Clearly, the core strategy of maintaining the status quo is to borrow and spend trillions of additional dollars every year.
The Obama presidency was a grand experiment to test this thesis: the status quo of the U. S. is a self-correcting mechanism. Left to its own devices, it will automatically correct any socio-economic-political imbalances, given enough time.
The Grand Strategy of the post-Global Financial Crisis era was simple: maintain the status quo as is. The Obama administration’s major policy initiative, ObamaCare, a.k.a. the Affordable Care Act, was nothing but the formalization of the existing status quo in healthcare, i.e. the taxpayers subsidize private-sector profiteering.
That is the Affordable Care Act in a nutshell. Costs have not declined, the health of Americans can hardly be said to have improved significantly, but garsh, did healthcare sector profits soar. Most importantly, the status quo was maintained: nothing actually changed in the insurance, pharmaceutical or hospital sectors.
The same can be said for every other sector of the economy: nothing really changed, just more of the same. Higher education: nothing changed, just more student loan debt was issued. The defense industry: more of the same. Global War on Terror, a.k.a. The National Security State–more billions sluiced into the shadows.
President Obama was a master of telling everyone what they wanted to hear while changing nothing in the basic structure of the Empire. The Imperial Imperative of destabilizing nations that didn’t meet with Imperial approval continued unchanged. The murder-by-drone campaign expanded, the support of a hopelessly corrupt regime in Afghanistan continued unchanged, and so on.

This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on OCTOBER 01, 2017.

Even The Cheapest Obamacare Plans Are “Unaffordable” In 94% Of American Cities, New Study Finds

We’ve frequently warned that Obamacare is locked in an inescapable death spiral that will result in its inevitable failure. The problem is that the folks who make too much to qualify for subsidies (currently defined as roughly $80,000 for a family of 3) are increasingly being priced out of the market for individual insurance by Obamacare’s 30%+ price hikes that consistently come year after year. Meanwhile, those “rich” families making $80,000 a year are the ones expected to overpay for their health insurance so that a portion of their premiums can be “spread around a little bit” (as Obama likes to say) to subsidize the premiums of others. Of course, it’s easy to see the circularity here as higher premiums equals less “full-paying” customers and less subsidies equals higher premiums…until the whole system collapses.
Luckily you no longer have to take our word for it as eHealth.com has just published a new study that finds that, even by Obamacare’s own definition of “affordability”, residents in 47 out of 50 cities surveyed can’t afford the cheapest Obamacare plan.
According to a study released today by eHealth, Inc., which operates eHealth.com, the average family of three earning slightly too much to qualify for subsidies in 2018 would need to increase its household income by nearly $29,000 before health insurance became ‘affordable’ based on Obamacare criteria.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) considers health insurance to be ‘unaffordable’ when annual premiums for the lowest-priced plan in a market cost more than 8.16% of a household’s modified adjusted gross income (or MAGI). When health insurance is unaffordable by this standard, individuals and families may qualify for an exemption from Obamacare’s individual mandate to buy health insurance.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 29, 2017.

Can Republicans in Congress Get Anything Done?

Obamacare repeal 3.0 went down in flames Tuesday. According to Bloomberg, opposition from three Republican Senators derailed the latest attempt to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.
Leaders decided the Senate won’t vote before Saturday’s deadline to use a fast-track procedure to keep Democrats from blocking a GOP-only bill. On Monday, Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine added her opposition to that of GOP Senators John McCain of Arizona and Rand Paul of Kentucky, enough to sink the legislation in the 52-48 Senate.’
This raises broader questions: Can Republicans get anything done? Is there any chance of Trump pushing through his ambitious economic agenda?
Calling the so-called Graham-Cassidy bill a ‘repeal’ was a bit of a stretch. It would have turned Obamacare Medicaid funds into block grants to the states, and repealed the penalties that enforce the individual and employer mandates. Most of the ACA taxes and insurance regulations would have stayed in place. In fact, even the mandates would have technically remained on the books. The penalties would have simply been set at zero.

This post was published at Schiffgold on SEPTEMBER 27, 2017.

Trump Trounces “Hypocrite” McCain, Thinks Rand Paul “May Find A Way” To Save Obamacare Repeal Bill

In mid-October President Trump will be required to certify the Iranian Nuclear compliance once again or push to nullify the multi-nation Nuclear Arms Treaty. Already the US has presented evidence of an unrelated UN Security Council resolution violation. This resolution has not been accepted by Iran and is insufficient to breach the treaty. While the UN will not support strict nuclear inspection enforcement, the odds are strong that new US economic sanctions will be imposed on Iran in mid-October. This will add some wind behind the oil rally, as it will be assumed the US is one step closer to abrogating the nuclear deal and shutting down a major portion of Iranian oil sales.
Listen to Are Commodities Getting Ready for a Big Move?
Iran’s production goal is 4 Million barrels and any enforceable US sanctions or related military strike will send oil prices surging back towards $60 and shut down some of the newfound windfall.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 09/22/2017.

GLOBALIST PUPPET JOHN MCCAIN SHOWERED WITH PRAISE BY LIBERAL ESTABLISHMENT AND HOLLYWOOD OVER HEALTH CARE BILL OPPOSITION S

The liberal establishment, with help from Hollywood, is showering turncoat Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) with praise after his stunning announcement that he would once again go directly against his own campaign promise and oppose the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare repeal bill.
McCain made the announcement in a statement Friday, saying that he could not in ‘good conscience’ vote for the repeal of a law that he ran against during his last campaign.
‘I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal. I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried,’ McCain declared.
‘Nor could I support it without knowing how much it will cost, how it will effect insurance premiums, and how many people will be helped or hurt by it,’ his statement continued. ‘Without a full CBO score, which won’t be available by the end of the month, we won’t have reliable answers to any of those questions.’
After the announcement the liberal media immediately went to work praising the senator, with multiple ‘news’ outlets spending considerable time painting McCain as some sort of hero standing up to the forces of Trump when in reality he is nothing more than an establishment puppet working for the very same masters who control the mainstream press.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on SEPTEMBER 23, 2017.

John McCain Kills GOP’s Last Ditch Effort To Repeal Obamacare

Third time turned out to be unlucky after all.
Earlier today, Sen. Susan Collins said that she has serious concerns about the latest GOP bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare as Republicans prepare to vote on the legislation next week, adding that she was “leaning against the bill… I’m just trying to do what I believe is the right thing for the people of Maine.” And with Collins voicing against the bill, it meant that GOP leadership would be left with no room for error if they want to get their last-ditch ObamaCare repeal bill through the Senate next week.
The math is simple: Republicans have 52 seats and need 50 senators to support the bill, which would require Vice President Pence to break a tie, under the special budget rules being used to avoid a Democratic filibuster. Sen. Rand Paul has already said he will vote against the legislation.
Which meant that losing just one more vote would mean the end of this latest attempt to repeal Obamacare.
They lost it moments ago when John McCain said in a statement that “I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 22, 2017.

Trump Slams Rand Paul As “Negative Force” On Fixing Healthcare; Paul Immediately Responds

Now that hopes for a bipartisan deal to fix Obamacare are dead and the Republicans are pushing on with a last-minute scramble to repeal Obamacare ahead of a Sept. 30 legislative deadline in hopes third time will be the charm, on Wednesday morning just after 8am, President Trump slammed Sen. Rand Paul for being a “negative force” on health care.
“Rand Paul is a friend of mine but he is such a negative force when it comes to fixing healthcare. Graham-Cassidy Bill is GREAT! Ends Ocare!” Trump tweeted adding “I hope Republican Senators will vote for Graham-Cassidy and fulfill their promise to Repeal & Replace ObamaCare. Money direct to States!”
Rand Paul is a friend of mine but he is such a negative force when it comes to fixing healthcare. Graham-Cassidy Bill is GREAT! Ends Ocare!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 20, 2017

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 20, 2017.

The Obamacare “Death Spiral”: Health Plans Now Cost Employers More Than A New Car

With the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare replacement now officially dead, it appears Senate Republicans will be unable to pass a repeal-and-replace bill before the Sept. 30 deadline announced by the Senate Parliamentarian arrives – though it’s impossible to rule out another long-shot plan gaining momentum in the coming days.
After the deadline, Senate Republicans would need 60 votes for their repeal-and-replace bill, effectively killing the repeal-and-replace effort, at least for now.
As Republicans struggle to fulfill their campaign promises to the American people, the Wall Street Journal has published a report showing that rising premiums are forcing some small business owners to stop offering benefits, the latest sign that Democrats ignored Republican rhetoric about the bill’s job-killing potential at their own political peril.
As we’ve reported time and time again, the bill has increased cost pressures on businesses, forcing them lay off employees or pare back benefits to stay in business.
According to WSJ, the average cost of health coverage offered by employers pushed toward $19,000 for a family plan this year, while the share of firms providing insurance to workers continued to edge lower, according to a major survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 19, 2017.