Obama to Top Brass: Will you fire on American Citizens?

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This is going viral on the Internet.  Don’t know how credible the source is, but Obama’s actions do not make me disbelieve it.  A number of high ranking military leaders have been removed from their positions recently, and people are wondering why.  In addition to the litmus test revelation, there are a few observations about China that you should be aware of.

America’s fiscal cliff and the President’s “balanced” solution

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http://cdn2-b.examiner.com/sites/default/files/styles/image_content_width/hash/f1/41/1354424929_5249_Geithner.jpgThis is an excerpt of an article I wrote for Examiner.com
Excerpt:  President Obama, Harry Reid and the Democrats in the Senate, have, for three years, refused to pass, or even seriously propose or discuss a budget as required each year by law. This has necessitated the need for continuing resolutions to keep our government running as it reaches its borrowing limits. Following the last debt ceiling crisis, the plan for sequestration was enacted as an incentive for Congress and the President to enact legislation that both parties believed would put us on a sustainable economic path. The January 1, 2013 deadline looms, as the can has once again been kicked down the road.
Each time, the Democrats have used the debt crisis to demonize the Republicans, as the President is doing now, blaming them for the stalemate. This is both a political and tactical maneuver to advance his liberal, progressive spending goals and he has no intention of changing direction.
The President campaigned on a “balanced approach” to the crises that he and the Democrats created. His proposal, as presented by Treasury Secretary Geithner, was to increase taxes by $1.6 trillion, mostly on the job creators, spend an additional $25 billion on failed stimulus projects, defer the sequestration spending cuts and maybe reduce some “unspecified” entitlement spending. He also proposed the removal of the requirement for Congressional approval for debt ceiling increases.
Read my full Examiner.com article here.

Oversight Releases Report on Medicaid Overpayments Costing Taxpayers Billions

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WASHINGTON, DC – Today House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa released a new staff report entitled, “The Federal Government’s Failure to Prevent and End Medicaid Overpayments,” which examines outrageous abuses of federal tax dollars within the Medicaid program, specifically regarding New York State developmental centers (see chart below). The report finds that over the past two decades, New York State has received billions of dollars in Medicaid reimbursements through mismanaged overpayments, and that the overpayments are continuing. Further, the report documents that as Medicaid payment rates increased, Federal officials failed to question the rising cost or implement measures that would bring the rates in line with actual costs.

At 2:00pm today, the Subcommittee on Health Care, District of Columbia, Census, and the National Archives will examine the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service’s (CMS) actions that resulted in New York facilities receiving billions of dollars in federal Medicaid overpayments over the past two decades, as well as CMS’s efforts to address the problem.

Key findings from the report include:

• The Committee estimates that the State-operated facilities in New York that house and treat individuals with developmental disabilities have received federal Medicaid overpayments of $15 billion over the past two decades.• The daily per patient payment rate at New York’s developmental centers rose from $348 in 1990 to $5,118 in 2011.  Medicaid’s payment rates to the developmental centers were ten times higher than Medicaid rates for similar privately-run Intermediate Care Facilities in New York.

• The daily payment rate skyrocketed because the formula governing Medicaid payment rates for the developmental centers allowed the State-operated facilities to retain nearly two-thirds of the total Medicaid reimbursement when an individual left the facility.  According to OIG, this formula feature meant taxpayers paid twice for individuals who leave the developmental centers since most of them were transitioned into settings, such as group homes, also financed by Medicaid.

• Although the federal overpayments to New York began in 1990, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) was unaware of the growing payment rates until they reached $3,715 per patient per day in 2007.  Although learning of the overpayments in 2007, CMS delayed any action for three years and only acted after a local New York newspaper reported on the high overpayments received by the developmental centers.

• At a briefing with Committee staff in June 2012, CMS officials informed the Committee that CMS is negotiating on a plan that gradually reduces the overpayments but allows New York to continue to receive billions in federal overpayments over the next five years.

•  CMS’s failure to question Medicaid’s excessive payments to New York developmental centers is inexcusable given that Medicaid payments to New York State’s developmental centers exceeded the entire Medicaid budgets of 14 states during this time period.  In fact, total Medicaid’s payments to New York’s developmental centers that served about 1,700 residents in 2009 was roughly the same as total payments made on behalf of the 372,522 enrollees in Kansas’s Medicaid program.

• The overpayments violate Title XIX of the Social Security Act which mandates that state Medicaid payment rates must be consistent with “efficiency, economy and quality of care.”  The overpayments also violate Medicaid Upper Payment Limit requirements that Medicaid reimbursements not exceed what Medicare would have otherwise paid for similar services.

Today’s Hearing Witnesses: Mr. John Hagg, Director of Medicaid Audits, Office of Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services (testimony); Ms. Penny Thompson, Deputy Director, Center for Medicaid & CHIP Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (testimony)

Today’s report and hearing continue the Committee’s oversight of how the Medicaid program is misspending tens of billions of taxpayer funds each year.

List of proposed Republican cuts

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Saw this on Facebook today.

Notice S.S.. and the military are NOT on this list.

These are all the programs that the new Republican House has proposed cutting. Read to the end.

* Corporation for Public Broadcasting Subsidy — $445 million annual savings.

* Save America’s Treasures Program — $25 million annual savings.

* International Fund for Ireland — $17 million annual savings.
* Legal Services Corporation — $420 million annual savings.
* National Endowment for the Arts — $167.5 million annual savings.
* National Endowment for the Humanities — $167.5 million annual savings.
* Hope VI Program — $250 million annual savings.
* Amtrak Subsidies — $1.565 billion annual savings.
* Eliminate duplicating education programs — H.R. 2274 (in last Congress), authored by Rep. McKeon, eliminates 68 at a savings of $1.3 billion annually.
* U.S. Trade Development Agency — $55 million annual savings.
* Woodrow Wilson Center Subsidy — $20 million annual savings.
* Cut in half funding for congressional printing and binding — $47 million annual savings.
* John C. Stennis Center Subsidy — $430,000 annual savings.
* Community Development Fund — $4.5 billion annual savings.
* Heritage Area Grants and Statutory Aid — $24 million annual savings.
* Cut Federal Travel Budget in Half — $7.5 billion annual savings
* Trim Federal Vehicle Budget by 20% — $600 million annual savings.
* Essential Air Service — $150 million annual savings.
* Technology Innovation Program — $70 million annual savings.
* Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Program — $125 million annual savings.
* Department of Energy Grants to States for Weatherization — $530 million annual savings.
* Beach Replenishment — $95 million annual savings.
* New Starts Transit — $2 billion annual savings.
* Exchange Programs for Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Their Historical Trading Partners in Massachusetts — $9 million annual savings
* Intercity and High Speed Rail Grants — $2.5 billion annual savings.
* Title X Family Planning — $318 million annual savings.
* Appalachian Regional Commission — $76 million annual savings.
* Economic Development Administration — $293 million annual savings.
* Programs under the National and Community Services Act — $1.15 billion annual savings.
* Applied Research at Department of Energy — $1.27 billion annual savings.
* Freedom CAR and Fuel Partnership — $200 million annual savings.
* Energy Star Program — $52 million annual savings.
* Economic Assistance to Egypt — $250 million annually.
* U.S. Agency for International Development — $1.39 billion annual savings.
* General Assistance to District of Columbia — $210 million annual savings..
* Subsidy for Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority — $150 million annual savings.
* Presidential Campaign Fund — $775 million savings over ten years.
* No funding for federal office space acquisition — $864 million annual savings.
* End prohibitions on competitive sourcing of government services.
* Repeal the Davis-Bacon Act — More than $1 billion annually.
* IRS Direct Deposit: Require the IRS to deposit fees for some services it offers (such as processing payment plans for taxpayers) to the Treasury, instead of allowing it to remain as part of its budget — $1.8 billion savings over ten years.
* Require collection of unpaid taxes by federal employees — $1 billion total savings. WHAT THE HECK IS THIS ABOUT?
* Prohibit taxpayer funded union activities by federal employees — $1.2 billion savings over ten years.
* Sell excess federal properties the government does not make use of — $15 billion total savings.
* Eliminate death gratuity for Members of Congress.WHAT???
* Eliminate Mohair Subsidies — $1 million annual savings.
* Eliminate taxpayer subsidies to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — $12.5 million annual savings WELL ISN’T THAT SPECIAL
* Eliminate Market Access Program — $200 million annual savings.
* USDA Sugar Program — $14 million annual savings.
* Subsidy to Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) — $93 million annual savings.
* Eliminate the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program — $56.2 million annual savings.
* Eliminate fund for Obamacare administrative costs — $900 million savings.
* Ready to Learn TV Program — $27 million savings..WHY?????
* HUD Ph.D. Program.
* Deficit Reduction Check-Off Act.
* TOTAL SAVINGS: $2.5 Trillion over Ten Years

My question is, what is all this crap doing in the budget in the first place?
Send to everyone you know.

The Silent Second-Term Agenda

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The most important of these is the shift in the balance of the Supreme Court.

Excerpt:  Let’s dispense with the obvious: An Obama second term will be foremost about higher taxes and greater spending. The president has been clear about the former and will consider victory in November a mandate to raise taxes on higher-income Americans and small businesses—at the least.

Meanwhile, no matter how the coming budget sequester sorts out, nobody should forget why it came into being: It was the result of Mr. Obama’s refusal to consider any real changes to Social Security or Medicare. There will be no reason to budge in a second term. Absent reform to these drivers of debt, and given Mr. Obama’s ambitions to further “invest” in education, energy and infrastructure, a second term means proposals for even broader and bigger tax hikes—and not just for his favorite targets. Continued and growing deficits are likely as well.

 

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Presidents often use re-election to revive leftover policy objectives. A New Yorker magazine article in June noted: “The President has said that the most important policy he could address in his second term is climate change.” Such an unpopular policy focus might seem crazy if Republicans hold the House, but then again Mr. Obama will want an issue where he can press his advantage and blame an obstinate GOP. The president has to date been unconcerned by how his agenda hurts congressional Democrats; he’s unlikely to begin caring once he has been re-elected.

Yet since the probable outcome of his approach would be continued gridlock, his real efforts will be devoted to fine-tuning the regulatory apparatus he has designed specifically to go around Congress—as the administration has done the past two years. 

Read full WSJ article here.

Paul Ryan’s foreign policy views and “American Exceptionalism”

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Official portrait of Congressman .

Official portrait of Congressman . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For those of you who think Paul Ryan is a one issue candidate, this foreign policy speech he gave in June of last year should put that to rest. Reading the whole speech will give you a sense of his world view and possible approach to the world’s problems. 

Excerpt: Our fiscal crisis is above all a spending crisis that is being driven by the growth of our major entitlement programs: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. In 1970, these programs consumed about 20 percent of the budget. Today that number has grown to over 40 percent.

Over the same period, defense spending has shrunk as a share of the federal budget from about 39 percent to just under 16 percent – even as we conduct an ambitious global war on terrorism. The fact is, defense consumes a smaller share of the national economy today than it did throughout the Cold War.

If we continue on our current path, the rapid rise of health care costs will crowd out all areas of the budget, including defense. 

This course is simply unsustainable. If we continue down our current path, then a debt-fueled economic crisis is not a probability. It is a mathematical certainty.

Some hear these facts and conclude that the sun is setting on America… that our problems are bigger than we are… that our competitors will soon outrun us… and that the choice we face is over how, not whether, to manage our nation’s decline. 

It’s inevitable, they seem to say, so let’s just get on with it. I’m reminded of that Woody Allen line: “More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.”

Look – our fiscal problems are real, and the need to address them is urgent. But I’m here to tell you that decline is not a certainty for America. Rather, as Charles Krauthammer put it, “decline is a choice.”

It is hard to overstate the importance of this choice. In The Weary Titan, Aaron Friedberg − one of the founders of the Hamilton Society − has shown us what happened when Britain made the wrong choice at the turn of the 20th century.

At that time, Britain’s governing class took the view that it would be better to cede leadership of the Western world to the United States. Unfortunately, the United States was not yet ready to assume the burden of leadership. The result was 40 years of Great Power rivalry and two World Wars.

The stakes are even higher today. Unlike Britain, which handed leadership to a power that shared its fundamental values, today’s most dynamic and growing powers do not embrace the basic principles that should be at the core of the international system.

A world without U.S. leadership will be a more chaotic place, a place where we have less influence, and a place where our citizens face more dangers and fewer opportunities. Take a moment and imagine a world led by China or by Russia. 

Choosing decline would have consequences that I doubt many Americans would be comfortable with.  

So we must lead. And a central element of maintaining American leadership is the promotion of our moral principles – consistently and energetically – without being unrealistic about what is possible for us to achieve.

 

Read full Paul Ryan speech here.