Republican Health Care Fiasco, Part II

John C. Goodman

“Only a few years ago, the party was united behind three reforms that are consistent with individual empowerment and limited government: (1) a universal health refund that transfers all government tax and spending subsidies to ordinary citizens each year with no strings attached other than the requirement that it be used for health care, (2) a flexible Health Savings Account that allows people to manage some of their own health care dollars and (3) pre-existing condition protection for people who lose their insurance because of government policies.

For well over a decade House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) was a steadfast supporter of all three ideas, including replacing tax and spending subsidies for health care and health insurance with a universal tax credit. John McCain ran on these ideas in the 2008 election. The legislative embodiment of McCain’s plan was the Patients Choice Act, which Ryan cosponsored in 2009 along with Devin Nunes (R– CA) in the House and Tom Coburn (R–OK) and Richard Burr (R–NC) in the Senate.”

“The American Health Care Act (AHCA), proposed by the House leadership, was not about health care. It was about taxes. Over and over, Ryan said he needed to do health reform before tax reform. In particular, he said he needed to reduce Obamacare taxes by $1 trillion and to reduce spending by more than $1 trillion.

As noted, a tax cut tied to health care is part of good health reform. But the Ryan tax cut wasn’t tied to health care. It consisted of repealing the very revenues that were funding Obamacare. (See below.)  Since the tax cut took money out of the system, the spending cuts paired with it also removed money from the system.”

Source: Republican Health Care Fiasco, Part II

Rand Paul Blasts Republicans for Repealing Obamacare with Budget – YouTube

Great tutorial that can get you up-to-speed on the budget and how it won’t balance under current trajectory.  Senator Paul explains a simple way to balance and control the debt.

 

Time for Republicans to Pull the Plug on Border-Adjustable Tax Scheme | International Liberty

“We already know that the flat tax is the gold standard of tax reform. And we already know the various ways of moving the tax code in that direction.

My advice is that Republicans abandon the border-adjustable provision and focus on lowering tax rates, reducing double taxation, and cutting back on loopholes. Such ideas are economically sounder and politically safer.”

As part of an otherwise very good tax reform plan, House Republicans have proposed to modify the corporate income tax so that it becomes a “destination-based cash-flow tax.” For those n…

Source: Time for Republicans to Pull the Plug on Border-Adjustable Tax Scheme | International Liberty

Will Trumponomics Mean More Freedom and Prosperity? | International Liberty

danmitchel

Dan Mitchell

I was sitting directly under a television in a Caribbean airport yesterday when Trump got inaugurated, so I inadvertently heard his speech.

The bad news is that Trump didn’t say much about liberty or the Constitution. And, unlike Reagan, he certainly didn’t have much to say about shrinking the size and scope of Washington.

On the other hand, he excoriated Washington insiders for lining their pockets at the expense of the overall nation. And if he’s serious about curtailing sleaze in DC, the only solution is smaller government.

But is that what Trump really believes? Does he intend to move policy in the right direction?

Well, as I’ve already confessed, I don’t know what to expect. The biggest wild card, at least for fiscal policy, is whether he’ll be serious about the problem of government spending. Especially entitlements.

Source: Will Trumponomics Mean More Freedom and Prosperity? | International Liberty

Venezuela and Santa Claus vs Thomas Sowell and the Little Red Hen | International Liberty

In the short run, though, the Venezuelan government gets to play Santa Claus. At least for 2016.

But it won’t have that option in 2017. And because the nation’s kleptocratic government is running out of victims, it’s just a matter of time before the system collapses, at which point the government either gives up power or launches a brutal crackdown.

Hopefully the former.

Though it would remain to be seen whether the leftist thugs who currently hold power are able to escape the country with all the loot they’ve stolen, or whether they get the Ceausescu treatment.

They deserve the latter.

Earlier this year, I borrowed from Dante’s Inferno and created the Five Circles of Statist Hell. At the time, I suggested that Venezuela was on the cusp of moving from the third circle (̶…

Source: Venezuela and Santa Claus vs Thomas Sowell and the Little Red Hen | International Liberty

Does “Wagner’s Law” Mean Libertarians Should Acquiesce to Big Government? | International Liberty

Back in October, Will Wilkinson of the Niskanen Center wrote a very interesting – albeit depressing – article about the potential futility of trying to reduce the size of government. He starts with the observation that government tends to get bigger as nations get richer.

“Wagner’s Law” says that as an economy’s per capita output grows larger over time, government spending consumes a larger share of that output. …Wagner’s Law names a real, observed, robust empirical pattern. …It’s mainly the positive relationship between rising demand for welfare services/transfers and rising GDP per capita that drives Wagner’s Law.

I’ve also written about Wagner’s Law, mostly to debunk the silly leftist interpretation that bigger government causes more wealth (in other words, they get the causality backwards), but also to point out that other policies matter and that some big-government nations have wisely mitigated the harmful economic impact of excessive spending and taxation by having very pro-market policies in areas such as trade and regulation.

In any event, Will includes a chart showing that there certainly has been a lot more redistribution spending in the United States over the past 70 years, so it certainly is true that the political process has produced results consistent with Wagner’s Law. As America has become richer, voters and politicians have figured out how to redistribute ever-larger amounts of money.

There’s a lot of speculation in Washington about what a Trump Administration will do on government spending. Based on his rhetoric it’s hard to know whether he’ll be a big-spendin…

Source: Does “Wagner’s Law” Mean Libertarians Should Acquiesce to Big Government? | International Liberty

California’s Public Option Would Not Rescue Obamacare | Health Policy Blog | NCPA.org

The wheels are falling off Obamacare in California. UnitedHealth Care, the nation’s largest health insurer, only participated in the state’s exchange, Covered California, for one year before deciding to bail out. Participants are much older and sicker than the Administration or health insurers expected. So, premiums are spiraling up, beyond people’s ability to pay.

Covered California is already responsible for a significant taxpayer-funded cash flow. Currently, only a very small share is borne by the state. That will change if a public option relieves beneficiaries of their sky-high premiums. Last March (after the dust had settled on Obamacare’s third open season), Covered California had just under one million policies in force, covering almost 1.4 million enrollees. Total annual 2016 premiums would amount to $6.8 billion.

However, nine of ten enrollees pay significantly discounted premiums, because the insurers who write the policies receive significant tax credits to induce them to participate. Only $2.4 billion of the estimated total 2016 premium will have been paid by enrollees. Fully $4.4 billion will have been funded by federal taxpayers. So, if the public option eliminates enrollees’ responsibility to pay premium, state taxpayers would be on the hook for $2.4 billion.

But wait, there’s more! The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services estimatesthere are 313,000 Californians who are eligible for subsidized health insurance in Covered California, but chose to buy unsubsidized individual policies outside the exchange. It is not clear why they forgo the subsidies. Perhaps they want access to more doctors and hospitals than are available in Covered California’s infamously narrow networks. If they were freed from the responsibility of paying for any part of their premium in Covered California, surely many would get onboard.

If they are similar to the current enrollees, they would add almost half a billion dollars to the state taxpayers’ tab…

(A version of this Health Alert was published by the Orange County Register.) Dave Jones, California’s Insurance Commissioner, has lifted a page from Hillary

Source: California’s Public Option Would Not Rescue Obamacare | Health Policy Blog | NCPA.org

Comparing the cost of living between 1975 and 2015: You are being lied and fooled when it comes to inflation data and the cost of living.

Inflation is widely misunderstood by the public. Even economists tend to have a hard time coming to a general agreement to the true definition of inflation.  When you ask the person on the street what inflation is they usually respond by saying the “price of things going up” which is more of a

Source: Comparing the cost of living between 1975 and 2015: You are being lied and fooled when it comes to inflation data and the cost of living.

Comparing the cost of living between 1975 and 2015: You are being lied and fooled when it comes to inflation data and the cost of living.