The below piece was first published on Rampart Media back in February of 2013. Apparently, the President is reaching back into his emotional, fact-less rhetoric in order to stir wage envy for the 2014 elections. Here is what I wrote then:
We know our economy’s stronger when we reward an honest day’s work with honest wages. But today, a full-time worker making the minimum wage earns $14,500 a year. Even with the tax relief we’ve put in place, a family with two kids that earns the minimum wage still lives below the poverty line. That’s wrong. Tonight, let’s declare that, in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full time should have to live in poverty — and raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour.”
Oh! The horror! The horror I say! Barack Obama's demagoguery knows no bounds. This is just the latest example of emotional rhetoric from the Campaigner in Chief. Let's look at some Obama kryptonite, i.e. data.
From Investors Business Daily:
6.3 million: Net new jobs created since Obama's recovery started in June 2009
13.8 million: New jobs that would have been created had Obama's kept pace with the average of the previous 10 recoveries.
3.6%: Growth in private jobs since Obama took office.
43%: Growth in the number of temp jobs.
91.8 million: Number of people not in the labor force as of December.
525,000: Increase since November.
11.2 million: Increase since Obama took office.
6.7%: Jobless rate 54 months into Obama's recovery.
5.1%: Unemployment rate 54 months into George W. Bush's "jobless" recovery.
13.1%: Jobless rate in Dec. using a broader measure — U6 — which includes people marginally attached to labor force or working part time for economic reasons.
9.2%: Average U6 rate in Bush's eight years in office.
26%: Share of adults who say at least one household member is unemployed, based on IBD/TIPP Poll data.
10%: Share who say a household member had work hours cut because of ObamaCare.
3.9 million: Number of people who've been jobless 27 weeks or more in December.
2.7 million: That number when Obama took office.
37 weeks: Average length of unemployment in Dec.
20 weeks: Average length when Obama took office.
861,000: Number of discouraged workers in Dec.
734,000: Number when Obama took office.
58.6%: Current employment-to-population ratio.
61%: Ratio when Obama took office.
62%: Average employment-to-population ratio in the 30 years before Obama took office.
$1,006: Drop in median household income during the 2007-09 recession.
$2,535: Drop in median income after the recession ended in June 2009, according to Sentier Research.
Here's the latest email blast from the Alexander 2014 campaign:
"It's been quite a year. While I have been working in the Senate to fight Obamacare and reduce entitlements that are the biggest cause of our out of control spending, I continue to run into roadblocks from Harry Reid and the Democrats that control the Senate.
Harry Reid has become the "Obstructionist in Chief." Our country has serious issues to address and instead of taking them on, Senator Reid seems to prefer placing roadblocks that prevent real debate from taking place in the U.S. Senate. We are not tackling the real problems America needs us to solve. We aren’t fixing the debt; we aren’t replacing Obamacare; we aren’t balancing the budget...all because Harry Reid makes it almost impossible to move legislation through the Senate. I know of one way to fix this problem and that’s to take back the Senate from the Democratic majority. I’m not sitting by and waiting for change. I’m working to make sure it happens and I want your help.
We need to replace 6 Democrat Senators with 6 Republican Senators next year to help usher Harry Reid into the minority. Together we can win this battle. Will you support our efforts and give my campaign at least $6 today? That is one dollar for each seat we need to retake the majority and will be a huge help to our efforts here in Tennessee! If you can contribute more, please do so.
Your contribution to my campaign of at least $6 today will help us attain our goal of regaining a Republican Senate Majority and replacing Harry Reid.
Can I count on your support today and help us kick off 2014 in the right direction?"
Haha. Good one. No need to debunk this nonsense. Just go here.
A system that robs Peter to pay Paul will always have the support of Paul.....
The Democrat Party gets its political power by making people dependent on government. People dependent on big government are dependent on big government politicians which of course are Democrats. I find this morally reprehensible and repugnant.
I do not believe for one second that when Democrat politicians argue/craft policy for expanding or creating a new program that they really care about the people who are getting the supposed benefits. They just want their power so they can carry on their merry way of creating more wards of the state. They do not want economically free people. They want slaves. Free people are a threat to their power structure because they do not need them.
During elections how many times do we hear something along these lines from a libtard politician: "You have to vote for me because if you don't then Republican candidate Joe Smith will take away your (insert government program here) benefit!!" People either don't see this or they do and just don't care because hey, they are getting something provided to them by their neighbors for "free."
This is what the libtard politician is actually saying: "Vote for me so I can take money from your neighbor, your kid and your grand kid and give it to you. This in turn will make you reliant upon me and my party for your livelihood. You will have to vote for me and my party in order to live."
This isn't a new insight. I'm just sick of it. I'm sick of the detestable Democrat Party and their bullcrap. I'm sick of their class warfare rhetoric.I'm sick of their redistributionist schemes. They don't give a damn about the actual implications of their policies. They just want a good sound bite. They just want a quick bumper sticker slogan to spit out to make them sound like they are the defenders of the poor. In truth, they want them poor. They need people poor.
I find it no coincidence that the very groups (Blacks and Hispanics) that have the worse economic conditions as a group in America are the very groups that the Democrat Party has taken upon itself to represent. Wherever you'll find a large population of poor black people you'll find a Democrat political machine. You'll find a Democrat politician arguing for higher taxes, more programs, and more government regulation. Rinse and repeat for decades.
It's a good racket if you are a Democrat politician.
Gail Kerr, a columnist for The Tennessean, wrote an article in the December 22nd edition of the paper expressing support for the state expanding Medicaid (or as it's called in Tennessee, TennCare).
No facts, logic or reason is used in her support for such an expansion. She uses emotional arguments and arguments tinged with the "Republicans don't care about poor people" line that has become so prevalent in the discourse of the intellectually dishonest Left.
Kerr mainly directs her attacks at Governor Bill Haslam who is up for re-election in 2014. She correctly points out that, "He has no known opponent to stop him from easily being re-elected. The possible negatives he may face during a campaign are long shots. He’s Teflon right now." However, I see this issue being used more against Republicans running for the Tennessee General Assembly than against Governor Haslam. That is why I decided to address this issue one claim at a time in an attempt to head this off at the pass.
Claim: He [Gov. Haslam] has not been swayed by arguments that other states will get our federal tax dollars.
What she is saying here, is that if Tennessee does not expand Medicaid, then the money that Tennessee would have gotten if the program would have been expanded would go to other states instead of Tennessee. This is false. Nina Owcharenko explains: "The federal share of Medicaid is based on a formula calculation and actual expenditures. Rejected funds do not go into a general fund for redistribution to other states."
I also find it puzzling that in her previous paragraph, Kerr says that "Instead, the governor is trying to persuade the federal government to allow Tennessee to use federal dollars to pay private insurers to take on those people." Wouldn't this qualify as Tennessee getting "our" federal tax dollars?
Claim: He has not been convinced that Tennessee would get this money with no strings attached.
Really? No strings attached? How many federal dollars come into states with absolutely no strings attached? (Also notice that no source was given to substantiate this claim by Kerr.)
How's this for a string: "Expanded Medicaid’s fine print holds surprise: ‘payback’ from estate after death." Or how about the fact that the states will eventually have to pay 10% of the total cost of expansion? (Medicaid is one of the biggest expenses state governments face. It makes no difference the percentage that the federal government pays if states can't pay their piece.)
The biggest "string" attached to the Medicaid expansion is that Medicaid is not really that effective of a program if you consider that:
Claim: In three years, the state would be required to pick up part of the tab, but the state can withdraw from the program at any time.
Can you imagine the disaster this would be? What exactly would happen if a state was to withdraw? Would that mean that the state would then be responsible for all the added costs of Medicaid expansion? What would be more likely to happen would be all the new enrollees would be kicked off Medicaid. This is too much of a risk to make this an argument for expanding Medicaid.
Claim: He’s not convinced, even though 26 other states have opted into this program with great success
Again, no source was given to show the "success" of other states. We can look to two states who have expanded Medicaid, Arizona and Maine, and see what experiences they have had. They don't look like successes to me:
Claim: Logic has not convinced the governor that it makes more sense to insure people than to require you and me to pay for them with higher health care costs stemming from their frequent emergency room visits. With no insurance, the uninsured wait until small problems become big ones and then seek help in the ER. They also go to the emergency room with nonemergencies, because it’s the only way they can receive a doctor’s care. That expensive price tag is passed to paying patients.
Here's the biggie. This is the most common argument used to support expanding Medicaid. It might seem logical on the surface, but if you dig a little deeper it becomes obvious it is not. Kerr makes a lot of assumptions here that are flawed. Let's dive in.
First, Kerr claims that "it makes more sense to insure people than to require you and me to pay for them with higher health care costs stemming from their frequent emergency room visits."
This is a silly claim to make. Why? Because when Kerr says it makes more sense to "insure" people she means to insure them with Medicaid. Well, who pays for Medicaid? You and me! The same people are paying for it. They are just doing it through a different financial apparatus. The "insuring" of the uninsured through Medicaid doesn't magically absolve taxpayers from paying for it. We are still going to pay for it.
This statement also makes one big assumption: that the amount paid for uncompensated care for the uninsured will be reduced if more people are insured with Medicaid. This is not true. Let's look at Maine and Massachusetts for an example.
Maine expanded their Medicaid program in 2002. This state's Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner said in 2013 that uncompensated care more than doubled to $194 million from $94 million dollars and also that this expansion has been a "calamitous failure". So, Maine's uncompensated care went up even after Medicaid was expanded. Why? Because the number of uninsured people was not significantly reduced.
Massachusetts's program was expanded in 2006. Their share of uncompensated care didn't decrease either. Hospitals have still successfully lobbied for continued funding of over $200 million a year to cover uncompensated care.
The second claim made by Kerr is this: "With no insurance, the uninsured wait until small problems become big ones and then seek help in the ER. They also go to the emergency room with nonemergencies, because it’s the only way they can receive a doctor’s care."
To make this argument another way, you could say because people are uninsured, they use the ER more. If they were insured they would use the ER less because they wouldn't go for "nonemergencies". This is the implication given with Kerr's statement. However, the evidence shows that the opposite is true.
The Journal of the American Medical Association conducted a study centered around Emergency Department visits from 1997 to 2007. They found that, "Adults with Medicaid accounted for most of the increase in ED visits....These findings indicate that ED visit rates have increased from 1997 to 2007 and that EDs are increasingly serving as the safety net for medically underserved patients, particularly adults with Medicaid."
If giving people Medicaid would prevent Emergency Room visits then why did ERs see the biggest increase of visits by Medicaid recipients? If Kerr was correct, the biggest increase would be among the uninsured, but it wasn't.
The New York Times reports that people on Medicaid use Emergency Rooms more than uninsured people, "Among the uninsured, 7.4 percent made two or more visits to an E.R., but so did 5.1 percent of people with private insurance. Medicaid recipients were the heaviest users of E.R.’s, with 15.3 percent of them making two or more visits during the year." So, if we want to reduce the amount of ER visits, expanding Medicaid is not the answer.
Another study, The Oregon study mentioned above that looked at Oregon's Medicaid expansion, found "we did not find significant changes in visits to the emergency department or hospital admissions."
The Boston Globe reported that, "The number of people visiting hospital emergency rooms has climbed in Massachusetts, despite the enactment of nearly universal health insurance that some hoped would reduce expensive emergency department use."
All of this is all well and good, but this has been the experience of other states. What about in Tennessee?
The University of Memphis Methodist LeBonheur Center for Healthcare Economics released a study showing similar results. Here is the main highlight:
"TennCare patients made up 35.0% of all ED visits, and 59.3% of these were non-urgent. Uninsured patients, in contrast, made up 17.5% of all ED visits, and 52.0% of these were non-urgent"
This study strikes a death blow to Kerr's claims that expanding Medicaid will reduce ER visits and would reduce the ER being used for "nonemergencies." As we can see, visits to Emergency Rooms by TennCare enrollees were double that of the uninsured. Not only that, but TennCare enrollees use ERs for non-urgent visits more so than uninsured patients.
Emotional rhetoric never stands up to facts.
Lamar Alexander is up to his old tricks again.
In a press release issued after Alexander voted "No" on the deal, his office had this to say:
“Although I can’t support it, I appreciate the efforts of Rep. Ryan and Sen. Murray to bring certainty to the budget process, which is why I voted Tuesday to allow a Senate vote on their agreement, which had passed the House with two-to-one Republican support.”
Alexander's vote to allow a Senate vote on this agreement is what allowed the deal to ultimately pass the Senate. I will give him credit for one thing; he admitted his phoniness for the world to see.
After this, maybe the Senate Conservatives Fund will endorse Joe Carr against Lamar.
Constitutional conservative and free-market defender blogging about national and Tennessee politics