Now that Obama has successfully shifted the GOP campaign off of the economy, jobs, debt and spending, and into a bizarre form of acceptance of federal intrusion into national health care criteria, events that should be good news for the GOP are getting buried under passionate rhetoric. I’m not sure if any one has spent time, pondering the convenient timing of this contraceptive mandate’s rise to prominence, two years after it’s creation and in a hot election year. But does the usual Alinksy bait and switch maneuver come to mind? How convenient to steer the conversation away from Obama’s past and looming future fiscal failures, and into a predictably divisive conservative arena…. to the exclusion of most everything else.
That’s not wise…
The contraceptive mandate that insurers include birth control and emergency contraceptives as part of their prescription plans was specifically laid out in the O’healthcare legislation almost two years ago, and already implemented in more than half the states over the past decade via their 10th Amendment powers. Some of these state mandates do not include any exceptions for religious or conscientious objection and – considering the passion it inspires – quizzically remained unchallenged in all that time. But the overlooked state battles are not the point on a federal level.
The point is that when the GOP argues that the contraceptive mandate should not apply to the religious, they are simultaneously admitting that the feds, indeed, have the right to mandate insurers minimum coverage nationwide… just as long as they include some religious exceptions.
Arguing that perspective differs little from the old adage, “We have established what you are, madam. We are now merely haggling over the price.”
Instead the GOP is getting bogged down in details, and allowing Obama to frame his performance as being the compromising adult in the room by “accommodating” for religious exemptions – all for a mandate the feds have no Constitutional authority to implement in the first place. He’s like the savvy flea market barker who wants $10 for a stolen, defective lamp, so he asks $20. The gullible buyer wanders it, and walks off feeling like he got a bargain – half off the asking price. It never occurs to him that the barker never had the right to sell that lamp, or that when he gets it home and plugs it in, he’ll find out it doesn’t even work.
And then, after selling the stolen goods that he had no right to sell, that same savvy flea market barker/thief goes on late night TV with adverts about what a great outlet he is for lamps (albeit stolen…). Come on.. get serious. Is this where you really want the O’healthcare/federal powers debate to go?
Forget religious exceptions and compromises from Obama. Do not be lulled into false victories for wide religious exceptions, for you will have won nothing. The feds do not possess the constitutional authority to demand *anyone*, religious or not, acquire or provide coverage including contraceptives. Nor do they have the right to tell insurers nationwide that their prescription packages contain that benefit.
The contraceptive mandate ties into the larger issue that O’healthcare, in it’s entirety, is a costly and defective overreach of stolen federal powers, and needs to be repealed and replaced. And part of that replacement is reform of the entitlement programs doomed to bankrupt this nation.
Considering that the largest issue on all voters’ minds- both parties – is the economy, jobs and out of control debt/spending, the GOP needs to seize upon the largest gift that will keep on giving throughout the campaign season… Treasury Secretary, Tim “tax cheat” Geithner has made an unapologetic confession to the House Budget Committee chair, Rep. Paul Ryan, that not only did Obama and his admin *not* have a “definitive solution” on the out of control long term debt, but the only thing they *were* definitively sure of is that they didn’t like the GOP solutions.
This is the perfect political personification of the infamous line from the the 1948 movie, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, by Alfonso Bedoya’s character Gold Hat – later resurrected in Mel Brooks’ successful comedy, Blazing Saddles:
“Badges/Plans? We ain’t got no badges/plans! We don’t need no badges/plans! I don’t have to show you any stinking badges/plans!”
And what is the reason for our out of control debt? The entitlements… the very same issue that Obama and the Democrats refuse to address at every avenue. Instead, they are piling on to the cost of the entitlements with O’healthcare and unconstitutional mandates, despite Geithner’s second confession that entitlements are the problem.
Partial and pertinent transcript below:
Congressman Paul Ryan: Let’s show Slide 8. I know you didn’t necessarily want to see this chart. The red is the status quo, that’s the baseline we’re on.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner: You could have taken it to 3,000 or 4,000…
Congressman Paul Ryan: Yeah, right. We cut it off at the end of the century because the economy, according to the CBO, shuts down in 2027 on this path.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner: I like this chart; I looked at this chart yesterday. You’re talking about I think more than half a century. But if you look at the gap between us—
Congressman Paul Ryan: I understand the gap.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner: —between 10 and 20, it’s a pretty small gap. In that gap though—that 10 to 20 gap, which is all we’re debating today—is a gap where you’re achieving that slightly diminished path.
Congressman Paul Ryan: Here’s the point, if you’ll allow me. This is your time, so we’ll just take a long time. Here’s the point. Leaders are supposed to fix problems. We have a $99.4 trillion unfunded liability. Our government is making promises to Americans that it has no way of accounting for. And so you’re saying yeah, we’re stabilizing it but we’re not fixing it in the long run. That means we’re just going to keep lying to people. We’re going to keep all these empty promises going.
So what we’re saying is, in order to avert a debt crisis—you’re the Treasury Secretary, of all people—if we can’t make good on our bonds in the future, who is going to invest in our country? We do not want to have a debt crisis. It comes down to confidence in trajectory. Do we have confidence that we’re going to get our fiscal situation under control and prevent the debt from getting to these catastrophic levels?
If we go back to the preceding chart, Chart 13, you’re showing that you have no plan to get this debt under control. You’re saying we’ll stabilize it but then it’s going to shoot back up. So my argument is, that’s Europe. That is bringing is toward a European debt crisis because we’re showing the world, the credit market’s future seniors—people who are organizing their lives around the promises that are being made to them today—that we don’t have a plan to make good on this.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner: Mr. Chairman, as I said, we’re not disagreeing in that sense. I made it absolutely clear that what our budget does is get our deficit down to a sustainable path over the budget window.
Congressman Paul Ryan: And then it takes off.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner: Let’s ask ourselves why they take off again. Why do they do that?
Congressman Paul Ryan: Because we have 10,000 people retiring everyday and healthcare costs going up.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner: That’s right. We have millions of Americans retiring everyday and that will drive substantial growth rates for healthcare costs. We’re not becoming before you to say we have a definitive solution to our long-term problem. What we do know is that we don’t like yours.
The chart in question? The future of publicly held debt under the recently submitted Obama budget.
Still, this chart – showing only an Obama possible second term making headway against the debt and spending – requires the “willing suspension of disbelief”. As James Pethokoukis points out at AEI’s Enterprise Blog.
Well, at least the president’s budget keeps the debt problem from getting any worse over the next decade, right? Not really. Despite $1.7 trillion in tax increases, debt as a share of GDP—already at a historically high level—actually ticks up a bit to 76.5 percent from 67.7 percent in 2011 and 74.2 percent in 2012.
And even to achieve this, the Obama White House has to assume rosy economic growth. As the CRFB says:
OMB’s economic assumptions are somewhat more optimistic than CBO’s, as well as the Blue Chip consensus ranges. The Administration projects real GDP growth to be 2.7 percent in 2012 and 3.0 percent in 2013, compared to 2.2 percent and 1 percent, respectively, from the CBO. Importantly, much of this difference is due to the fact that CBO assumes a temporary economic contraction in 2013 due to all the tax cuts expiring and the automatic spending sequester going off at the same time in the start of 2013.
However, OMB continues to be more optimistic than CBO beyond this contractionary period, with estimated growth rates of 2.5 percent per year by the end of the decade as opposed to 2.4 percent by CBO. On the whole, these faster growth rates likely lead to a more favorable fiscal picture than what CBO would show using its economic projections. By our estimates, if OMB were to employ CBO assumptions debt would stabilize at about 80 percent of GDP as opposed to 76 percent.
This is a political era where the GOP is constantly being accused of being “obstructionists”. Yet what can be more of an obstacle than a leadership that refuses to deal with the opposition party’s solutions on the entitlements that are obviously going to destroy the US economy? Instead, the campaign plan seems to be to keep the conservatives squabbling over limited federal mandates so that they don’t notice that the admin will implement measures designed to look good for their legacy, then let it explode under future Congresses and admins, allowing them to take the blame.
Is this anyway to run a country? Having leaders this cowardly, and this short sighted as to deliberately ignore genuine long term problems?
As obviously foolhardy as it was for Geithner to admit Obama’s lack of solutions and leadership – archived on the Congressional records – he did no apology on the faux pas. Instead he went on to the talking heads Sunday circuit to defend this “no solution” POTUS and administration to Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, effectively denying that admission and accusing the Republicans for spinning his words.
Is this “no plan” a new event in performance for this administration? Of course not. Nor is the accusation by the GOP for a lack of leadership new. Even July of last year, Speaker Boehner was pointing out the same lack of leadership.
So what’s different now? We have a confession from the horse’s mouth. In essence, what Geithner has done was hand the GOP a winning campaign slogan
“Obama? Plan? I don’t need no stinkin’ plan! And thanks for not noticing.”
The gifted slogan should be replayed on every Republican campaign commercial for every GOP candidate, and broadcast everywhere possible – if for nothing else to drive home that reality that this admin is clueless to effective leadership – a message valuable to *all* registered voters.
Now the question is, will the GOP return to the most important issue as use this gift, or continue to shift the debate away in order to “negotiate the price” for unconstitutional federal contraceptive mandates on any individual or business – religious or not?