Tag Archives: Let Them Eat Cake

Democrats refuse another offer from Republicans to avoid government shutdown

As expected, the Senate Democrats rejected the compromise on Tuesday.

Last Night, Senate Democrats Voted Along Party Lines To Shut Down The Government Rather Than Agree To Delay Obamacare’s Individual Mandate And Surrender Their Special Insurance Subsidies. “In an extraordinary back-and-forth between the House and Senate that extended late into the night, Democrats beat back attempt after attempt to gut President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. After Senate Democrats rejected the House’s year-long delay of Obamacare and a repeal of the medical device tax on Monday afternoon, Democrats returned to the floor after 9 p.m. to kill another House GOP proposal. The second measure would have kept the government open in exchange for delaying the health care law’s individual mandate and eliminating federal health care contributions for lawmakers and Capitol Hill aides. (Burgess Everett and Manu Raju, “Government Shutdown Update: Senate Rejects House Plan – Again,” Politico, 9/30/13)

According To The Congressional Budget Office, Delaying The Individual Mandate By One Year Would Reduce The Federal Budget Deficit By $35 Billion. “CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimate that enacting H.R. 2668 would reduce federal deficits by roughly $36 billion over the 2014-2018 period and by roughly $35 billion over the 2014-2023 period.” (Cost Estimate Of H.R. 2668: An Act To Delay The Application Of The Individual Health Insurance Mandate, To Delay The Application Of The Employer Health Insurance Mandate, And For Other Purposes, Congressional Budget Office, 9/6/13)

A July Poll Found That 77 Percent Of Registered Voters Support Delaying The Individual Mandate Or Repealing It Entirely. (Morning Consult Poll, 2,076 RV, MOE 2%, 7/24-26/13)

Member of Congress And Their Staff Are Required To Enroll In ObamaCare’s Exchanges. “Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, then succeeded in adding a measure to Obama’s health care bill three years ago requiring members of Congress and employees in their offices to leave the Federal Employee Health Benefits program and start buying their insurance through the state exchanges that open Tuesday under the Obamacare law.” (Laurie Kellman, “GOP demanded lawmakers pay more for health care,” The Associated Press, 10/1/13)

But OPM Granted Congress The Ability To Provide Subsidies, Which Are Not Available For Other Americans, To Help Purchase Insurance Though The Exchanges. “But the statute means that about 11,000 Members and Congressional staff will lose the generous coverage they now have as part of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). Instead they will get the lower-quality, low-choice “Medicaid Plus” of the exchanges. The Members-annual salary: $174,000-and their better paid aides also wouldn’t qualify for ObamaCare subsidies. That means they could be exposed to thousands of dollars a year in out-of-pocket insurance costs…And now the White House is suspending the law to create a double standard. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) that runs federal benefits will release regulatory details this week, but leaks to the press suggest that Congress will receive extra payments based on the FEHBP defined-contribution formula, which covers about 75% of the cost of the average insurance plan. For 2013, that’s about $4,900 for individuals and $10,000 for families.” (Editorial, “Congress’s ObamaCare Exemption,” The Wall Street Journal, 8/5/13)

I listened to a recent episode of the Weekly Standard podcast, and guest Bill Kristol was advising the GOP to make exactly this proposal, saying that it was a strong move by the Republicans. I agree. We now have vulnerable Democrats going on record in favor of special perks for themselves and their staff, as well as the hated individual mandate. As soon as people see the sticker shock of being forced to buy insurance, or pay a fine, we are going to have a valuable tool in the 2014 elections. The left-wing media isn’t going to be able to protect the Democrats from their own votes.

UPDATE: The Weekly Standard approves of what the GOP is doing.

Obama and family bill taxpayers for 17 lavish vacations

FrontPage Magazine explains.

Excerpt:

When the president’s 13-year-old daughter, Malia, took a Spring Break trip to Mexico with 12 of her friends and 25 Secret Service agents–one that reportedly cost taxpayers $2.5 million–it was covered by the mainstream media. AFP filed the initial report, and the story was subsequently picked up by Yahoo, the Huffington Post, and the International Business Times, as well as foreign publications, such as Daily Mail, the Telegraph and The Australian.

Yet by the same evening, all of the stories had been removed from each of those sites. The updated links either directed one to a site’s home page or 404 error pages, reading “page not found.” What happened? The White House got a compliant media to scrub the story. Kristina Schake, Communications Director to the First Lady, confirmed this to Politico: “From the beginning of the administration, the White House has asked news outlets not to report on or photograph the Obama children when they are not with their parents and there is no vital news interest. We have reminded outlets of this request in order to protect the privacy and security of these girls.”

Again, such concerns for the safety of First Family members are entirely legitimate. Yet some questions remain unanswered. Why would the president allow his daughter to travel to Mexico despite a Texas Department of Public Safety warning not to go there because “cartel violence and other criminal activity represent a significant safety threat, even in some resort areas”? Why was it necessary to include a dozen friends, making the trip more expensive and security far more complicated? Why are members of the mainstream media taking marching orders from the White House? Why did the trip costtaxpayers $2.5 million?

Perhaps, as the saying goes, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Last week, Judicial Watch released a report revealing that First Lady Michelle Obama’s trip to Costa Del Sol, Spain in 2010 cost taxpayers $467,585. Again, no reasonable person begrudges a woman in the public spotlight some rest and relaxation. But as the New York Times reports, part of that R&R included a stay at the “five-star Hotel Villa Padierna near Marbella, where at least 30 rooms were reserved for the entourage, including those for security. The hotel is one of Spain’s more luxurious establishments, with rooms ranging from $500-a-night to a $6,600 suite with 24-hour butler service.”

Furthermore, Mrs. Obama is hardly reticent when it comes to taking vacations. Her February 2012 trip to upscale Aspen, Colorado, for a President’s Day ski weekend with daughters Sasha and Malia, marked the 16th vacation (the updated number is now 17) taken by Obama family members in just over three years, not including visits to the Camp David compound, or short trips like a New York City “date night” taken in May 2009. Nor is the First Lady or the president seemingly concerned saddling taxpayers with the cost of flying separately to the same vacation sites. It cost taxpayers $100,000 when the First Lady jetted to a 2010 Hawaii vacation ahead of her husband, and several thousands more when the First Lady traveled to a Martha’s Vineyard vacation on a separate government jet only four hours prior to the president’s trip there. While at Martha’s Vineyard, the First Family stayed at Blue Heron Farm, a property that reportedly rents for approximately $50,000 per week. And on a trip to Maine in July of 2010, the President’s dog, Bo, and his handler traveled on a separate plane to that destination.

Such a penchant for extravagance has added up to some pretty daunting numbers. The UK’s Daily Mail, citing White House sources who referred to the First Lady as “a vacation junkie,” claimed Michelle Obama had “has spent $10 million of U.S. taxpayers’ money on vacations alone in the past year”–as of August 2011. The unnamed source further notes that Mrs. Obama also enjoys “drinking expensive booze during her trips. She favors martinis with top-shelf vodka and has a taste for rich sparking wines.”

We are now approaching a $16 trillion dollar national debt, with $8 trillion of it accumulated between the time when the Democrats took over the House and Senate in January 2007 to now. You would think that we might see some awareness of the situation from the man in charge. But he seems to be oblivious to what real Americans are facing as they try to make ends meet.