Speaker John Boehner to Retire

Wow, according to the Speaker‘s office, John Boehner will step down as Speaker and he will leave congress by the end of October.

I am shocked by this announcement…. Even though Boehner has had issues controlling his majority in the House, I just never thought he would walk away. Could it be that meeting the Pope yesterday really got to Boehner and put things into perspective for him?

It’s a nice thought that Pope Francis could have that effect, but as Ezra Klein explained in Vox; Boehner was facing a House that’s thirsty for another government shutdown and a possible coup attempt on his leadership.

I can only imagine Boehner, a veteran of Congress had to be sitting and said to himself, “Who needs this shit!”

The Speaker’s office released the following statement

Speaker Boehner believes that the first job of any Speaker is to protect this institution and, as we saw yesterday with the Holy Father, it is the one thing that unites and inspires us all.

The Speaker’s plan was to serve only through the end of last year. Leader Cantor’s loss in his primary changed that calculation.

The Speaker believes putting members through prolonged leadership turmoil would do irreparable damage to the institution.

He is proud of what this majority has accomplished, and his Speakership, but for the good of the Republican Conference and the institution, he will resign the Speakership and his seat in Congress, effective October 30.

While I have not been a fan of John Boehner, the idea of one of these new age Republicans taking his place as Speaker scares the SHIT out of me! They are willing to burn the whole thing down instead of trying to work out a solution that helps both sides.

It should be an interesting next couple of months, stay tuned…

 

As always….

If there is something to be said, “It’s On Broadway” to step up and say it!!

 

 

Takeover Thursdays – Let’s Fact-Check Paul Ryan’s Convention Speech

Paul Ryan

So Paul Ryan aka Mr Budget had a whole lot to say Wednesday night at the Republican National Convention (RNC).  If you’re a hardcore, Liberal hating Republican you have to be thrilled with what you heard from Ryan.

But….

If you are a common sense person who prefers facts over fiction than Ryan probably pissed you off a lil bit with what he said.  Or maybe you don’t care and the only thing about Ryan that bothered you was the constant grunting/clearing throat noise he was making….  Side note I hate it when Obama constantly thumps the podium during some of his speeches, seriously dude keep your hands on the podium!

 Ok ok ok, I am getting a little off topic here.

When Ryan was announced as Mitt Romney‘s running mate I thought he was the perfect guy to help move the conversation to the economy and start having a serious discussion about long-term debt.  So needless to say I was looking forward to Ryan’s speech last night….

Unfortuantely, I was very much disappointed in what Ryan had to say.  So far in this campaign both sides had done their fair share of stretching of the truth, and for some silly reason I thought this would be the lead into serious debate.

Mannnnnn, was I wrong!!!!

Ryan continued the theme of false and misleading information, instead of elevating the conversation Ryan took on the role of attack dog and ran with it. Best believe the Obama Campaign will be working overtime to launch attack ads on Ryan’s speech.  The following is from  Dylan Matthews(@dylanmatt) article in Ezra Klein‘s (@ezraklein) WONKBLOG in The Washington Post.  He covers ‘The true, the false, and the misleading’ put together a good analysis of the key points of Ryan’s speech:

TRUE

Obama cut Medicare – Ryan blasted the cuts to Medicare reimbursements and Medicare advantage included in the Affordable Care Act. “They just took it all away from Medicare,” Ryan declared. “Seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama.” That much is correct – the Affordable Care Act contained over $700 billion in cuts to Medicare reimbursement rates and Medicare advantage. The Obama administration insists the cuts will not hurt quality and are necessary to control costs, while the Romney-Ryan campaign disputes this, but the underlying claim is correct.

Obama didn’t fix the housing crisis – Ryan claimed Obama’s presidency, “began with a housing crisis they alone didn’t cause; it ends with a housing crisis they didn’t correct.” It is true that Obama did not cause the financial crisis and true that it has still not fully recovered almost four years later, as Ezra detailed in a recent column.

FALSE

A GM plant in Ryan’s district shut down on Obama’s watch – From Ryan’s speech:

My home state voted for President Obama. When he talked about change, many people liked the sound of it, especially in Janesville, where we were about to lose a major factory.

 A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: “I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.”  That’s what he said in 2008.

 Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year.  It is locked up and empty to this day.

The decision to close the plant was made in June 2008, when George W. Bush was president. Ryan says that Janesville was “about to” lose the factory at the time of the election, and Obama failed to prevent this. This is false, as Ryan knew in 2008 when he issued a statement bemoaning the plant’s impending closing.

The stimulus was the biggest expenditure in government history – The stimulus, Paul Ryan writes, “cost $831 billion – the largest one-time expenditure ever by our federal government.” This is false any way you cut it. By comparison, the Congressional Research Service estimates (pdf) that World War II cost $4.1 trillion in 2011 dollars. That was the biggest one-time expenditure ever, not the stimulus. Ryan is simply incorrect.

The Affordable Care Act increases taxes on millions of small businesses – Paul Ryan declared that the Affordable Care Act would impose “new taxes on nearly a million small businesses.” The Act changes taxes for small businesses in three ways. It provides a tax credit (pdf) to subsidize insurance coverage for which between 1.4 and 4 million small businesses are eligible. It imposes a tax on medical device manufacturers, of which there were only 5,300 (pdf) in the United States in 2007. Finally, it imposes an employer mandate on businesses that do not provide coverage, which will not affect (pdf) businesses with under 50 employees. Most small businesses, then, get a tax cut, and the number of small businesses facing tax increases is about five thousand, far under a million. Ryan’s claim is just false.

The stimulus was full of fraud – “The stimulus was a case of political patronage, corporate welfare, and cronyism at their worst,” Ryan boomed. No it wasn’t. According to TIME’s Michael Grunwald, whose new book The New New Deal is the definitive history of the stimulus, only 0.0001 percent of stimulus funds were wasted on fraud. Grunwald quotes the stimulus’s head watchdog, Earl Devaney: “We don’t get involved in politics, but whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, communist, whatever, you’ve got to appreciate that the serious fraud just hasn’t happened.” Even in the notorious case of Solyndra, House Republican investigation chair Darrel Issa found no evidence of undue political influence. Ryan is wrong to say that the stimulus was unusually corrupt or devoted to political patronage.

The Affordable Care Act was a government takeover –  ”We got a long, divisive, all-or-nothing attempt to put the federal government in charge of health care,” Ryan stated. Nope. The Affordable Care Act greatly expands private insurance rather than implementing a truly government-run insurance system, like those in Canada and Australia, or a government-run hospital system, like that in the United Kingdom. As Jonathan Oberlander, a health policy expert at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, put it, “The label ‘government takeover’ has no basis in reality, but instead reflects a political dynamic where conservatives label any increase in government authority in health care as a ‘takeover.’”

Obama doesn’t have a debt plan – On the debt, Ryan says, “Republicans stepped up with good-faith reforms and solutions equal to the problems.  How did the president respond?  By doing nothing – nothing except to dodge and demagogue the issue.” Wrong again. President Obama has released a comprehensive debt reduction plan (pdf), in response to the brewing debate in Congress. You don’t have to like it but Ryan is incorrect in stating it doesn’t exist.

MISLEADING

Obama didn’t support Bowles-Simpson’s report – “[Obama] created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report,” Ryan stated. “He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing.” But the bipartisan debt commission itself didn’t come back with a report. There were not enough votes to agree upon recommendations, in part due to opposition from committee member, er, Paul Ryan. The statement misleads viewers by implying that Ryan supports the proposal, when he aggressively opposed it, and by using the third person to avoid noting that Ryan was on the commission and voted no.

Obama caused the debt downgrade – Paul Ryan said in his speech that Obama’s presidency “began with a perfect Triple-A credit rating for the United States; it ends with a downgraded America.” This implies that Obama was responsible for Standard and Poor’s downgrading of U.S. debt. That is false. In its report announcing the downgrade, S&P was clear that blame rested with House Republicans for making the debt ceiling increase conditional on deficit reduction. “The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as America’s governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective,and less predictable than what we previously believed,” the report reads. “The statutory debt ceiling and the threat of default have become political bargaining chips in the debate over fiscal policy.” It also faults Congressional Republicans for “continu[ing] to resist any measure that would raise revenues.”

Obama added more to the deficit than any other president – “President Obama has added more debt than any other president before him,” Ryan stated. As Ezra has explained, the vast majority of this debt was due either to the Bush tax cuts or the Iraq war, and only a tiny sliver due to the stimulus and other recovery measures. It is misleading to imply that Obama’s policies are primarily responsible for the size of the deficit.

As always….

If there is something to be said, “It’s On Broadway” to step up and say it!!

Facts about the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare…

Thursday June 28th will go down as a pivotal moment in President Obama‘s presidency, whether this will be a good or bad moment is yet to be determined as now President Obama will turn his complete focus to winning his re-election bid.  In that re-election bid President Obama will have another chance to sell the Affordable Care Act as Mitt Romney and the Republican congress will campaign against it.

Ezra Klein laid out 11 key facts about the Affordable Care Act in his WonkBlog:

  • By 2022, the Congressional Budget Office estimates (pdf) the Affordable Care Act will have extended coverage to 33 million Americans who would otherwise be uninsured.
  • Families making less than 133 percent of the poverty line — that’s about $29,000 for a family of four — will be covered through Medicaid. Between 133 percent and 400 percent of the poverty line —  $88,000 for a family of four – families will get tax credits on a sliding scale to help pay for private insurance.
  • For families making less than 400 percent of the poverty line, premiums are capped. So, between 150% and 200% of the poverty line, for instance, families won’t have to pay more than 6.3 percent of their income in premiums. Between 300 percent and 400 percent, they won’t have to pay more than 9.5 percent. This calculator from the Kaiser Family Foundation will let you see the subsidies and the caps for different families at different income levels.
  •  When the individual mandate is fully phased-in, those who can afford coverage — which is defined as insurance costing less than 8 percent of their annual income — but choose to forgo it will have to pay either $695 or 2.5 percent of the annual income, whichever is greater.
  • Small businesses that have fewer than 10 employees, average wages beneath $25,000, and that provide insurance for their workers will get a 50 percent tax credit on their contribution. The tax credit reaches up to small businesses with up to 50 employees and average wages of $50,000, though it gets smaller as the business get bigger and richer. The credit lasts for two years, though many think Congress will be pressured to extend it, which would raise the long-term cost of the legislation.
  • Insurance companies are not allowed to discriminated based on preexisting conditions. They are allowed to discriminate based “on age (limited to 3 to 1 ratio), premium rating area, family composition, and tobacco use (limited to 1.5. to 1 ratio).”
  • Starting in 2018, the law imposes a 35 percent tax on employer-provided health plans that exceed $10,200 for individual coverage and $27,500 for family coverage. The idea is a kind of roundabout second-best to capping the tax code’s (currently unlimited) deduction for employer-provided heath insurance. The policy idea is to give employers that much more reason to avoid expensive insurance policies and thus give insurers that much more reason to hold costs down.
  • The law requires insurers to spend between 80 and 85 percent of every premium dollar on medical care (as opposed to administration, advertising, etc). If insurers exceed this threshold, they have to rebate the excess to their customers. This policy is already in effect, and insurers are expected to rebate $1.1 billion this year.
  • The law is expected to spend a bit over $1 trillion in the next 10 years. The law’s spending cuts — many of which fall on Medicare — and tax increases are expected to either save or raise a bit more than that, which is why the Congressional Budget Office estimates that it will slightly reduce the deficit. (There’s been some confusion on this point lately, but no, the CBO has not changed its mind about this.) As time goes on, the savings are projected to grow more quickly than the spending, and CBO expects that the law will cut the deficit by around a trillion dollars in its second decade. Here’s its graph, which covers the period between 2012 and 2021:
  • In recent years, health-care costs have slowed dramatically. Much of this is likely due to the recession. Some of it may just be chance. But there’s also evidence that the law has accelerated changes in the way the medical system delivers care, as providers prepare for the law’s efforts to move from fee-for-service to quality-based payments.
  • The law’s long-term success at controlling costs will likely hinge on its efforts to change the way health care is delivered, most of which have gotten very little attention. They include everything from encouraging Accountable Care Organizations to spreading medical homes to penalizing hospitals with high rates of preventable infections to creating an independent board able to quickly implement new reforms through the Medicare system. A partial list of these efforts can be found here.

Without a doubt the Affordable Care Act is not perfect, it will need work as it is implemented.  When this bill is broken down and explained many Americans like what’s in the bill.

AGAIN LET ME CLEARLY STATE, WHEN THE BILL IS BROKEN DOWN PIECE BY PIECE AMERICANS LIKE WHAT’S IN THE BILL!!!

Instead of Republicans worrying about repealing Obamacare how about Republicans and Democrats work together to make the law better.

As always….

If there is something to be said, “It’s On Broadway” to step up and say it!!

Judgment Day for Obamacare aka Affordable Care Act!

Around 10am Eastern we will know the fate of Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) as the Supreme Court of the United State aka SCOTUS will deliver their decision concerning the constitutionality of the mandate.

Of course everyone has an opinion on what the decision will be but as folks like Ezra Klein and Lawrence O’Donnell will tell you, know whats what the decision of SCOTUS will be.  Whatever the decision, this battle of Health Care will be far from being over.

  • Millions of Americans will still be without health care
  • Health Care costs continue to rise, albeit at a slower rate
  • Republicans have no plan to replace the Affordable Care Act

The ability to support Americans with pre-existing conditions along with trying to give health care to low-income families would die with the lost of the mandate.  If you don’t believe me you can look to Washington state as an example of how taking away the mandate will lead to failure.  Check out Ezra Klein‘s article on the mandate in Washington state.

All in all Thursday June 28th will be a long day for both Republicans and Democrats, and it doesn’t matter which side SCOTUS rules in favor of.

And of course the REAL loser in all of this… THE AMERICAN PEOPLE!!

 

As always….

If there is something to be said, “It’s On Broadway” to step up and say it!!

WTF/WTH Wednesdays – The Republican Presidential Debate…

Tonight’s Republican Presidential Debate will include a lot of promises that these candidates will more than likely not be able to keep; you will have Mitt Romney talk about the bills he will pass the 1st day he is in the White House, Michele Bachmann might foolish promise returning the price of gas to $2 (YEAH RIGHT), and Rick Perry will…. Well who knows what he will promise, LOL!

Today Ezra Klein had a great article explaining that candidates promise a lot of policies during debates, but when it comes down to it they barely keep those promises.  For example, President Obama‘s Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare is not what he promised during debates.  Obama never mentioned an individual mandate during his campaign in 2008, but things changes when the reality of what can REALLY be done becomes evident.  So keep that in mind when the candidates say things that sound GREAT; of course what you will NOT hear is how all of this can be done.

Especially Bachmann, if there was a way to bring gas prices back down to $2 a gallon don’t you think it would have already been done!  I mean what’s really holding Bachmann back from releasing the details of how this can be done?  If she was a good American she would share this info not so that we have cheaper gas tomorrow!!

Oh yeah, since this debate is happening at the Ronald Reagan Library you will definitely hear about the Great Ronald Reagan aka Mr Conservative.

You will hear how Reagan…

  • Reduced the size government
  • Cut taxes
  •  The most popular president 

Blah, blah, blah…..

But what you will not hear is what EVERY Conservative seems to forget about the Great Reagan.  Here is a list of what Reagan actually did while he was president, this is a subset of a longer list Think Progress put together; 10 Things Conservatives Don’t Want You To Know About Ronald Reagan 

  1. Reagan raised taxes
  2. Reagan nearly tripled the federal deficit
  3. Unemployment rose after Reagan’s 1981 tax cuts
  4. Reagan grew the size of government
  5. Reagan gave amnesty to 3 million undocumented immigrants
Say what???? Ronald Reagan raised taxes????
Yessir, so while you watch the debate (and you really should watch) just remember it’s never as easy as they say it is and there is always more to the story.  This is a lesson that we should have all learned over the past 3 years as we have witnessed President Obama have problems keeping promises he talked about during debates in 2008.
Also check out PolitiFact to fact-check what the candidates talk about during the debate; http://www.politifact.com/.  They do a great job verifying what both Democrats and Republicans like to spit as so-called facts!
As always….

If there is something to be said, “It’s On Broadway” to step up and say it!!

Takeover Thursdays – A Compromise to forget??

President Barack Obama

When the news 1st came down about the deal President Obama was supporting where Republicans will support a temporary extension of Middle Class Tax Cuts as long as tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% where also temporary extended I was upset but I was willing to give the president the benefit of the doubt.  I knew the president was breaking one of his key campaign promises but the idea of a compromise still sounded good as I knew the type of opposition the president was facing from Republicans.  So a compromise couldn’t be that bad right????

Well….

All that changed when I found out the price tag of this Tax Cuts Compromise; $900 Billion…

WTF!!!

So what exactly contained in this tax compromise

The GOP got around $95 billion in tax cuts for wealthy Americans and $30 billion in estate tax cuts. Democrats got $120 billion in payroll-tax cuts, $40 billion in refundable tax credits (Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and education tax credits), $56 billion in unemployment insurance, and, depending on how you count it, about $180 billion (two-year cost) or $30 billion (10-year cost) in new tax incentives for businesses to invest. – via Ezra Klein (Washington Post)

When you look at the details of the compromise Progressives will see that the deal favors Democrats as it includes many initiatives that Progressives have supported in the past (Child and Education Tax Credit, and Middle Class Tax Cuts, and extending unemployment benefits).  There are plenty things about the deal that I am happy about, the 13 month extension of unemployment benefits was a great move as this issue will not have to be revisited for a year.  The problem is not necessarily in the deal itself, its how we got to the point of making a deal that bothers me the most (along with price tag).

On September 12, 2010 soon to be Speaker of the House John Boehner (Republican) said the following on Face the Nation:

“If the only option I have is to vote for some of those tax deductions (Middle Class Tax Cuts), I’ll vote for them”

With that said, why would President Obama then turn around and offer the possibility of temporarily extending tax cuts for the rich… it doesn’t make sense.  All that talk about drawing a line in the sand was nothing but BS; if the line your drawing in the sand is coming from a position of giving up ground then why draw the line?  The president gave up ground when HE started talking about temporarily extending tax cuts for the rich.

This whole summer Obama talked about letting the tax cuts for the rich expire and how that will generate $700 billion in revenue that would be used to pay down our $13 trillion-dollar deficit.  Obama even talked about how it would not be fiscally responsible for us to borrow money from China or Saudi Arabia to pay for tax cuts for the rich.  So what happened?

The president says he did it so not to hold the middle class and unemployed “hostage”; I can understand this thought but I thought we don’t give into terrorist??  Obama has to understand that Democrats like me are upset by his lack of fight.  He can talk all he wants about Republicans should not take this compromise as a sign of weakness, but the fact is they are and what’s worse Democrats are starting to think the same thing.  Where is the threat of veto from the president?  Why didn’t Obama challenge Republicans to be the group that voted down Middle Class tax cuts?  Instead after cutting the deal the only tough talk I am seeing/hearing from the president is at Democrats for not supporting him on this.

One congressman said it best, if the president didn’t have the guts to let the tax cuts expire now…  why should we believe he will have the guts to let the tax cuts expire in 2 years during his re-election campaign??

As always….

If there is something to be said, “It’s On Broadway” to step up and say it!!!