When Vice President George H.W. Bush accepted the GOP nomination for president in New Orleans in 1988, he memorably said: "Read my lips, no new taxes." Too memorably, as things turned out. He won that election handily, carrying forty states against the hapless Michael Dukakis and 53 percent of the vote. It was the last comfortable victory the Republicans have seen.
By 1990, however, President Bush was in a bind. He had an army in Saudi Arabia as part of Operation Desert Shield and he had a solidly Democratic Congress determined to force him to break his tax pledge. His OMB Director, the late Dick Darman, urged him to make a deal with the Hill and get on with the business of governing. When more savvy political advisers protested, citing the "Read my Lips, no new taxes" pledge to the American people, Darman reportedly replied that those were just words some speechwriter put in front of the president.
That may be. But the president's lips pronounced those words. And his breaking of his over-the-top promise to Americans doomed the Bush presidency. Arguably, the Bush fracturing splintered Ronald Reagan's winning coalition, a solid majority that Republicans have not been able to reassemble since. Despite a stratospheric 91 percent approval rating following his lightning victory over Saddam Hussein's forces in the first Gulf War, Bush's standing sagged for two years. His broken promise fueled grassroots rage and the Perot challenge. Bush 41 fell to Bill Clinton in the 1992 election, gaining an abysmal 37 percent of the popular vote. Columnist George Will said he had made a sow's ear of the Reagan silk purse. Even Barbara Bush piled on. Commenting on his retirement sport of skydiving, she puckishly said she hadn't seen her George take such a plunge since the `92 campaign. more >>
The country of Greece is in catastrophic economic chaos due to a history of irresponsible spending. This is where the U.S. will be in few years unless drastic changes are made. The question is no longer if, but when. At some point, there will no longer be any low-interest credit available to continue letting Santa Claus run the U.S.; the interest owed on existing debt will exceed tax revenues.
We can get a feel for what will happen to us by looking at Greece. When Greece reached that point six years ago, the Greek government was forced to impose painful austerity measures, with little success, in order to try and rein in the spending.
Living conditions in Greece have become shocking. Greece's universal coverage health insurance, which no doubt was a significant contributing factor to the overspending, is now utterly unaffordable, so the country is relying on volunteer doctors and medical personnel to work for free. It is estimated that 100,000 children are working – illegally – just to help their families get by. It is reported that 70,000 children dropped out of school in 2012 to do so. more >>
Well, well, well. When Republicans tried to delay the Obamacare individual mandate during the government shutdown, Democrats and President Barack Obama called them "meanies" and obstructionists. But when the Obama administration quietly had the Department of Health and Human Services announce Wednesday night it would extend the deadline for individuals to enroll in Obamacare, the media yawned as if to say "No, Big Deal."
In fact, reporter Dana Milbank of The Washington Post turned to mocking House Republicans for their persistence in pointing out the multitude of problems since the law's October 1 rollout. Even Democrats are shaking their heads at the mess. Yet Milbank haughtily writes in his bold liberal tone, "Okay, okay we get it: Republicans still don't like the healthcare-law. But can't they talk about anything else?"
Actually Dana, we can't because this nearly $3 trillion Affordable Care Act, which will add $1 trillion to our debt over 10 years, in all its glitch filled glory is giving Republicans and even some Democrats enough to talk about for the next 10 years. And talk they should. The Obamacare rollout has more glitches in its software than a hooker has runs in her panty hose. more >>
The last week or two have brought with them a cascade of negative news about Obamacare. Almost every day I read of a friend or relative whose premiums are skyrocketing, policies are being cancelled, do not qualify for subsidies, and the like. So far, the sign-up process has had its share of troubles. Even President Obama has not been impressed.
What if Obamacare is not the worst thing happening? What if something was happening with the potential to dwarf Obamacare?
There is. And, it could. more >>
It's official: the Obamacare rollout was an unmitigated, absurdly expensive disaster. When even the administration's biggest fans in the media (The Huffington Post, The New York Times, The Washington Post) are forced to admit it, it's so obvious as to be excruciatingly painful.
But some of us who teach entrepreneurship could have predicted it. (Though, I will admit, even I was stunned to read that the federal government had shelled out nearly two-thirds of a billion dollars on millions of lines of garbage code.) Observing this administration's complete ignorance of (and often, hostility to) business made clear early on that such a failure would be inevitable. They made every mistake in the book. Here are just a few of them:
1. Not identifying your assumptions This is Obamacare Major Mistake #1. And to a certain extent, it's forgivable. Even businesses blow this. All first-time entrepreneurs think they are launching a product or starting a business. But they aren't. They are actually testing assumptions about that product or business: assumptions about the customers; assumptions about the features and functions those customers want; assumptions about pricing; assumptions about the competition; even just basic assumptions about human behavior. more >>
Amid the news of the debt ceiling debate and the government shutdown, a disturbing report was released in the U.S. Senate on October 7 revealing rampant abuse in the approval process of Social Security Disability benefits. The report, issued by the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, offers a peek into just how loosely at least one government benefits program is administered and sheds light on the need for more oversight of the programs that swallow 10 percent of the nation's GDP.
The Committee report encapsulates a two-year investigation, led by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), of a West Virginia Social Security office charged with the disbursement of Social Security Disability funds. The investigation uncovered an advanced network of inside dealings between a Kentucky-based law firm, local doctors, and an Administrative Law Judge resulting in a complex rip-off of the federal government's disability program. The suitably named Eric Conn of the Conn law firm in Kentucky paid doctors substantial fees for unsubstantiated medical evaluations of his clients, maintained a highly questionable relationship with the judge who consistently approved Conn's clients for benefits, and in doing so generated more than $4.5 million in attorney fees paid by the Social Security Administration for services rendered to disability applicants.
The travesty, however, is not the millions paid to the attorney, but the billions that will be paid out over the lifetimes of those whose claims were improperly approved under this scheme to defraud the U.S. taxpayers. more >>