Given the magnitude of the Obamacare debacle, it's hard to imagine how Republicans could manage to one-up the dysfunction and dissolution of the Democrat party. Much to the delight of the media, however, the GOP has managed to redirect the spotlight away from the train wreck of the Affordable Care Act in exchange for its own dog and pony show.
Frustrated by conservative criticisms of the recently passed House budget compromise, Speaker John Boehner has declared open season on "outside conservative groups," claiming that their criticism of the budget deal is mere window dressing designed to foment grassroots anger against the "establishment":
"They are not fighting for conservative principles," Mr. Boehner told rank-and-file House Republicans during a private meeting on Wednesday as he seethed and questioned the motives of the groups for piling on against the plan before it was even made public. "They are not fighting for conservative policy," he continued, according to accounts of those present. "They are fighting to expand their lists, raise more money and grow their organizations, and they are using you to do it. It's ridiculous." more >>
A new study just published by the National Institute on Retirement Security – Race and Retirement Insecurity in the United States- presents a dismal snapshot of the state of retirement savings of minority American families.
It reports that 54.3 percent of blacks work for employers that offer retirement plans compared to 62.3 percent of whites. And 43.9 percent of blacks participate in those plans compared to 53.9 percent of whites.
Among Latinos, 37.8 percent work for employers with retirement plans and just 29.7 percent participate. more >>
On Tuesday, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R, WI-1) announced a two-year budget agreement that could potentially offer a respite from the fiscal fights of the past few years. But many conservative House Republicans are already balking at the deal because it breaks the spending caps called for under the sequester. Some conservative groups, such as Americans for Prosperity and the Club for Growth, have already come out in opposition, offering threats to GOP incumbents who vote for it.
Our bet is that the bill will pass, perhaps handily. But legislative politics is trickier in some ways than electoral politics because the number of "voters" is far smaller, and they are all highly informed and strategic in their thinking. Therefore, let's suppose the Crystal Ball is wrong in its prediction of passage. How would the budget compromise be defeated in Congress?
At present, there are 432 members in the U.S. House. While the special election to replace now-Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) took place on Tuesday and saw Katherine Clark (D) duly elected, she hasn't been seated yet. It's also unlikely that Rep. Mel Watt (D, NC-12) will vote considering he was just confirmed in the Senate as the new head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. This means that we can expect about 430 votes on the Murray-Ryan deal, as Speaker of the House John Boehner (R, OH-8) may not vote (the speaker rarely votes, although he did vote for the deal to end the shutdown). For simplicity's sake, let's just say 216 votes are needed to stop the deal. more >>
During his eulogy for South African anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, President Obama may have promoted his own political positions by connecting them to Mandela's achievements. Christian leaders denounced him for possibly turning the solemn remembrance of a great man into a political plug.
"Again, the president seeks to divide rather than unite — even a eulogy of a foreign leader is used to promote his agenda; it's all about him and he turns everything into a campaign speech," Janice Crouse, senior fellow at Concerned Women for America's Beverly LaHaye Institute, told The Christian Post in an interview on Wednesday. "No wonder Americans are weary of everything and everybody in Washington — with this president, it's all politics, all the time," Crouse quipped.
Obama's speech began focused on Mandela, discussing his achievements and how the great South African leader wanted to be remembered. But toward the end, he strayed from historical remembrance to hot-button political issues. "There are too many people who happily embrace Madiba's legacy of racial reconciliation, but passionately resist even modest reforms that would challenge chronic poverty and growing inequality," Obama declared. more >>
Even as ObamaCare is trying to self-destruct, its advocates suggest a détente in which "Republicans recognize the conservative nature of the law," in the words of Austin Frakt in Bloomberg News.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), they point out, incorporates some ideas from a Heritage Foundation proposal and a law promoted by Mitt Romney. Those are not, however, conservative ideas, much less good ideas, and are not a "sound chassis" for anything.
There is nothing conservative about the forcible redistribution of wealth. And even Wall Street Occupiers should be against redistributing people's earnings to Big Insurance, Big Pharma, Big Hospitals, Big Data Mining, and nameless unaccountable bureaucrats in the vast, ever-expanding realm of Kathleen Sebelius. more >>
When presidents give speeches, the affair is choreographed like a Broadway production. The message is not just the words of the speech, but where it is given and who happens to be the chosen audience.
So it was not by accident that President Obama chose a theater in a poor black neighborhood in Washington, DC, where the average income is barely half the national average, to speak this week about economic opportunity and fairness.
What exactly was the President trying to achieve by sharing with a low-income black audience that "today's CEO now makes 273 times more" than the average worker? more >>