Tag: legislation

Poll Suggests Caution on Citizens United Response

The Center for Competitive Politics has just published a new poll measuring public views about the recent Citizens United decision. The poll provides a lot of interesting information.

About one in five said they were aware of the decision. Fully 60 percent of respondents said they were not aware of the case, and it is fair to say that almost all of the other 20 percent who responded “don’t know” or refused to answer were also poorly informed about it.

Congress is now trying to write and enact legislation to overcome the strictures imposed on campaign finance regulation by the Citizens United decision. Members cite surveys supporting such legislation as a justification for the new restrictions.

At best, however, public opinion is immature on this issue. Congress should deliberate and give the public some time to foster a more informed view of this decision. Deliberation is all the more necessary since we are talking about First Amendment rights in this case. Congress itself may wish to know more about the likely consequences of intervening in complex matters like corporate governance.

The CCP poll is worth reading in detail. I don’t remember a poll that asks so many objective and interesting questions about First Amendment issues.

Before Administering the Lethal Injection, Dr. Obama Offers to Sterilize the Needle

In a letter to congressional leaders, President Obama wrote of his openness to including Republican proposals in his health care legislation.

Dropping a few Republican ideas into a government takeover of health care is like sterilizing the needle before a lethal injection: a nice thought, but the ultimate outcome is the same.

This is not bipartisanship.  President Obama is creating the illusion of bipartisanship while taking the most partisan route possible: forcing his legislation through Congress via reconciliation.

(Cross-posted at National Journal’s Health Care Arena.)

The Best and Worst Ways to Reform Health Care

From my health care reform oped in today’s Daily Caller:

President Obama wants to work with Republicans on health care reform. “I am going to be starting from scratch,” he says, “in the sense that I will be open to any ideas that help promote” controlling health care costs and making health insurance more widely available.

As it happens, many of the worst ideas are in the legislation Obama supports. Republicans have embraced some of the best ideas, but also some of the worst.

The best health care reform ideas ideas give consumers the money, let them choose a health plan regulated by a state of their choice, and reduce the federal government’s role in providing medical care to the needy.  The worst ideas?  Creating or expanding government health care programs, mandates, price controls on health insurance, and federal med mal reform.

A Campaign Finance Lesson

The Washington Post offers an instructive campaign finance story this morning. The essence of the story: employees of banks and brokerage houses contributed more to candidate Barack Obama in 2008 than to his rival John McCain. A lot more in fact: such employees gave almost twice as much to the current president at they did to the Arizona senator.

Now, however, President Obama is attacking the banks and Wall Street for greed and selfishness, not to mention for ruining the economy. Moreover, Obama is proposing curbs on Wall Street pay and heavy regulation of banks. It would appear, in other words, that contributions don’t buy many favors with this administration.

But the story goes deeper. Wall Street is now shifting its contributions to the GOP.  That’s not surprising. In fact, being an intelligent man, President Obama must have known his attacks on Wall Street might deprive his party of contributions. Yet, he went forward with the attacks and proposed laws.

Why? In the coming election, contributions will matter a lot less than votes. Obama thinks his attacks on Wall Street will cast the Democrats as the party of “us” against the detested “them.” The votes gained will greatly outweigh the donations lost. The currency of politics is votes in the market for election.

The next time someone tells you that donations are “legalized bribery,” ask them why Obama took $18 million from Wall Street and gave them in return endless abuse and hostile legislation.

Quid pro quo, indeed.

Health Summit: A Public Co-Option?

Still doubt that the Church of Universal Coverage is a bona fide religion?  Consider:

  1. The American people have been solidly against the Democrats’ universal-coverage plan since July 2009.
  2. Roughly 60 percent of the public wants Congress to scrap that legislation and start over.
  3. President Obama will nevertheless use that legislation as the starting point for negotiations with Republicans at next week’s health care summit.

Mmmm, that’s good fervor.

Republican summiteers shouldn’t spend too much time discussing their own ideas – which aren’t going anywhere, and really aren’t that great anyway – lest they unwittingly aid Democrats in changing the below-illustrated narrative.  They should instead focus like a laser beam on the dangers of the Democrats’ legislation, and how dangerously close it is to becoming law.

Then they can all return to the drawing board and come back with better ideas.

‘Father of HSAs’ John Goodman Plays Host to ‘Father of the Individual Mandate’ Mitt Romney

“Father of the Individual Mandate” Mitt Romney

The former nickname came from National Journal or The Wall Street Journal, I’m not sure which.  The latter nickname comes from Institute for Health Freedom president Sue Blevins.

See here for details on an upcoming event in Dallas where Goodman’s National Center for Policy Analysis will play host to Romney.

It should be an interesting event.  With all 40 Republican members of the U.S. Senate, including moderates like Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), voting to declare an individual mandate unconstitutional…with 35 states moving legislation to block an individual mandate…with the Heritage Foundation rebuking an individual mandate…and with Virginia’s Democratically controlled Senate approving legislation to block an individual mandate…well, Romney may have a tough road to hoe with the conservatives who typically attend NPCA events.

Obama Small Business Lending Fund Likely A Bust

President Obama has announced his intention to use $30 billion in TARP funds to create a new small business lending fund.  In all likelihood, this is $30 billion the taxpayers will never see returned.

First of all, the problem facing small business, outside of the massive uncertainty being created by Washington, is one of credit availability, not cost.  For those who can get credit, its quite cheap, arguably too cheap.  So if the president doesn’t intend to lower the cost of credit, the plan must be to lower the quality; using the $30 billion to cover expected credit losses.  Of course, we tried throwing lots of taxpayer money at unsustainable homeownership, is there any reason to believe throwing taxpayer money at unsustainable businesses is going to work any better?

Using TARP funds for this program is also somewhat disingenuous.  This program adds $30 billion to the deficit regardless of whether it’s funded by TARP or by Congressional appropriations.  Taking from the TARP only allows the President to keep treating the TARP as his personal slush fund.  Nowhere in the TARP legislation can you find language authorizing the use of funds to cover credit losses on new loans.  Being a constitutional scholar, the President should know very well that the spending power rests with Congress, not the President.  If we are to have a new small business lending program, it should be designed and funded by Congress, not bureaucrats at the Treasury Department.

Historically the two main sources of small business start-up funding have been home equity and credit cards.  Clearly the availability of home equity has declined.  Sadly as well, with the passing of credit card “reform” the availability of credit card lending has also declined.  If the President truly wants to help small business, then the first thing to do is ask Congress to repeal the credit card bill and then just get out of the way.