Showing posts with label The Foundry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Foundry. Show all posts

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Truth About Spending Cuts and the Economy

Liberal economists like Paul Krugman might be calling for more government spending to help our ailing economy, but federal spending cuts are the better bet for long-term economic growth according to a new study released today by The Heritage Foundation’s Romina Boccia.
Krugman stubbornly argues that government should spend more for the economy to thrive. Last spring as the 2013 sequester took place, he offered “a refresher on the nature of our economic woes and why this remains a very bad time for spending cuts.”
Just a few months after that, Moody’s asserted that the U.S. economy “has demonstrated a degree of resilience to major reductions in the growth of government spending.” It appears Krugman and his big-spending allies are the ones in need of a “refresher”: Spending cuts help, rather than hinder, long-term economic growth.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

After His Health Plan Was Canceled, The Cheapest Option Under Obamacare Was Anything but Cheap

John HawkinsDespite assurances from his insurance broker, and even the President, that it wouldn’t happen, John Hawkins recently learned his health plan has become another casualty of Obamacare.
Hawkins is one of more than 3.5 million Americans (and increasing) who have had their individual health plans canceled because those plans don’t comply with the stringent mandates in the health law.
Once his plan was canceled, Hawkins found that the cheapest comparable plan that met the essential benefits from Obamacare would involve a “substantial price increase.”
Currently, I pay $191 per month. That will go up to $274. That’s nearly $1,000 a year more for a service that I already have. In addition, the deductible on my current plan is $200 and that will be going up to $6,000.
In spite of his setback, Hawkins writes he feels lucky the insurance fallout isn’t as bad as some insurance holders have reported.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

YOUR STORIES: Insurance Plans Cancelled Due to Obamacare

NBC News - Health Insurance Plans Canceled
Estimates this week suggest that 11 million people could lose their current insurance plans because of Obamacare’s mandatory requirements. We knew that included many Heritage readers, so earlier this week we asked: Has your health insurance plan been canceled?
Here are some of your stories:
tatum davies morgan
John B:
IL family of 4. Both parents & a 23 yr. old canceled. We’re scrambling to replace coverage by Jan. 1st at a 80% increase in premiums. Washington, you’re killing us out here.
Via: The Foundry

Continue Reading..... 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Court Rebukes Obama Administration’s “Trust Us” Revision of the HHS Mandate

The influential D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a short procedural order rebuking the Obama Administration in a lawsuit that was filed by Wheaton College and Belmont Abbey College. The two religiously affiliated organizations had challenged the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) anti-conscience mandate that requires them to fund health care plans for their employees that provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization, or else pay substantial penalties.
As discussed in a Heritage Legal Memorandum, the plaintiffs have very strong claims that the mandate violates their rights under the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Following the uproar that ensued after the mandate was issued, the government announced a one-year, temporary enforcement suspension against some religious employers. The Obama Administration misleadingly labeled this move a “safe harbor.” The Administration then announced its intention to develop and propose changes to the HHS mandate that would provide contraceptive coverage without cost-sharing to covered individuals while at the same time accommodating the religious objections of nonprofit organizations like the plaintiffs.
In light of this non-binding promise to make some hypothetical policy changes that would supposedly assuage objectors’ concerns, some lower courts dismissed this and other similar lawsuits as being premature. But the D.C. Circuit has now indicated that it is prepared to hold the government’s feet to the fire, so to speak.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Saturday, November 3, 2012

5 Effects Obamacare Will Have on Working Americans

Obamacare will certainly have a negative impact on every American, but here are five ways it will harm working Americans:
  1. Two-thirds of American employees’ wages will decrease as employers deal with increasing costs. Heritage’s Drew Gonshorowski explains the results of an Urban Institute study: “The Urban Institute claims that mid-size firms will see spending per person increase by 4.6 percent, while large firms will see spending increases by 0.3 percent per person. According to the U.S. Census, this accounts for 65.1 percent of employees—or roughly 79 million—in the U.S. who are employed by medium- or large-size firms. The study suggests: ‘Any increase in employers’ health-related costs will be offset by decreases in other compensation—whether wages or other benefits.’ This means that individuals in mid- and large-size firms will receive less in take-home wages (or other benefits) and pay a greater proportion of their compensation to health care due to Obamacare.”
  2. Loss of existing insurance coverage. Because of Obamacare’s high costs, experts predict that employers will stop offering employees health coverage, forcing employees into the new government-run exchanges. Although estimates vary, it is likely that millions of Americans will lose their current coverage. For instance, the non-partisanCongressional Budget Office estimates that between 5 million and 20 million Americans will lose employer-sponsored coverage, the American Action Forum estimates 35 million, and McKinsey, a consulting firm, estimates that 30 percent of employers will definitely or probably stop offering coverage after Obamacare takes full effect in 2014.
  3. Premiums in the individual market are set to skyrocket. Obamacare’s new, extreme insurance rules and regulations will have dire effects on the cost of coverage that individuals and small businesses purchase on their own. As Forbes columnist and health policy analyst Avik Roy has pointed out in recent articles, “Obama adviser Jonathan Gruber has estimated that, by 2016, the cost of individual-market health insurance under Obamacare, relative to what it would have been under prior law, will increase by an average of 19 percent in Colorado29 percent in Minnesota, and 30 percent in Wisconsin. A prestigious actuarial firm, Milliman, has estimated that individual-market premiums in Ohio could increase by 55 to 85 percent.”
  4. Full-time workers turned part-time to avoid the employer mandate. As Heritage predicted, businesses have already begun limiting the hours their employees can work, turning full-time workers into part-time workers, to avoid paying the employer mandate penalty or providing costly insurance coverage. For example, one of the nation’s 30 largest employers, Darden Restaurants, is experimenting with keeping employees under the 30-hour threshold established for Obamacare’s mandate. According to the Orlando Sentinel, “In an emailed statement, Darden said staffing changes are ‘just one of the many things we are evaluating to help us address the cost implications health care reform will have on our business.’”
  5. The heavy burden of 18 taxes and penalties. Obamacare imposes 18 new taxes and penalties that will cost Americans over $836 billion between 2013 and 2022. These taxes will either hit consumers directly or be passed on through higher prices. For example, the infamous individual mandate to purchase health insurance will be imposed on 6 million Americans in 2016, many of whom are the working middle class. Nearly 70 percent of payers will be below 400 percent of the federal poverty level, and even those below the poverty level could be forced to pay the mandate tax.
Obamacare must be repealed in order to protect hard-working Americans from its harmful and far-reaching effects.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Chart of the Week: Major Benefits of Free Trade

Nations that embrace international trade enjoy significantly stronger economies, achieve lower rates of hunger, and maintain a better stewardship of the environment, according to new data published by Heritage for the forthcoming Index of Economic Freedom.
There are, of course, other factors that contribute to such positive trends. But international trade undoubtedly plays a major role in determining the success of a nation and its economy. Contrary to the claims that “unfair” foreign competition hurts the jobs at home, the unemployment rate actually fares better in times of higher trade deficits. Bryan Riley and former Ambassador Terry Miller provide further clarification:
When the trade deficit increases, the unemployment rate decreases, and vice versa. For example, in 2009, the U.S. trade deficit shrank by 46 percent, and the unemployment rate increased by 60 percent.
Many critics of trade deals such as NAFTA and the WTO agreement argue that free trade benefits big multinational corporations and “the rich” at the expense of everyone else. In fact, poverty rates are much lower in countries with low trade barriers than in those where trade is restricted.
It adds up to this: Limited regulations on trade expand the economy and improve the well-being of both a nation’s citizens and its environment. With a lagging U.S. economy still bound by the recession, the expansion of trade is as important today as ever before. Trade can make everyone better off.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Paul Ryan: How Conservatism Helps the Poor

When it comes to explaining how their policies would help the poor and the disadvantaged, conservatives can all too often be likened to a football team that drives all the way to the one-yard line and then just kneels down. Rock-solid principles and policies drive them forward, but they fail to take that last extra little step and explain how these policies would help all Americans—especially those at the bottom who most need a hand up and a way out.
And because of this, the left’s grotesque claims that capitalism allows the 1 percent to fleece the 99 percent or that conservatism is a ploy to justify government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich are left standing.
How exciting and invigorating, then, to see a prominent conservative clearly explain how conservative policies sustain the American Dream for all Americans. Yesterday in Cleveland, Representative Paul Ryan (R–WI) delivered one of the best speeches in recent memory that articulated the conservative vision of an America where prosperity and opportunity flourish and the “engines of upward mobility” are on full throttle.
It’s a must-read for those who want to learn how to make a compelling case for conservatism.

Friday, October 19, 2012

List: The 36 Obama-Funded Green Energy Failures…

The complete list of faltering or bankrupt green-energy companies:
  1. Evergreen Solar ($25 million)*
  2. SpectraWatt ($500,000)*
  3. Solyndra ($535 million)*
  4. Beacon Power ($43 million)*
  5. Nevada Geothermal ($98.5 million)
  6. SunPower ($1.2 billion)
  7. First Solar ($1.46 billion)
  8. Babcock and Brown ($178 million)
  9. EnerDel’s subsidiary Ener1 ($118.5 million)*
  10. Amonix ($5.9 million)
  11. Fisker Automotive ($529 million)
  12. Abound Solar ($400 million)*
  13. A123 Systems ($279 million)*
  14. Willard and Kelsey Solar Group ($700,981)*
  15. Johnson Controls ($299 million)
  16. Schneider Electric ($86 million)
  17. Brightsource ($1.6 billion)
  18. ECOtality ($126.2 million)
  19. Raser Technologies ($33 million)*
  20. Energy Conversion Devices ($13.3 million)*
  21. Mountain Plaza, Inc. ($2 million)*
  22. Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Company ($10 million)*
  23. Range Fuels ($80 million)*
  24. Thompson River Power ($6.5 million)*
  25. Stirling Energy Systems ($7 million)*
  26. Azure Dynamics ($5.4 million)*
  27. GreenVolts ($500,000)
  28. Vestas ($50 million)
  29. LG Chem’s subsidiary Compact Power ($151 million)
  30. Nordic Windpower ($16 million)*
  31. Navistar ($39 million)
  32. Satcon ($3 million)*
  33. Konarka Technologies Inc. ($20 million)*
  34. Mascoma Corp. ($100 million)
*Denotes companies that have filed for bankruptcy.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Another DOE-Backed Solar Company Goes Bankrupt

A solar company that got a multi-million-dollar grant from the Department of Energy earlier this year announced Wednesday that it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, making it the second taxpayer-backed green energy company to file for bankruptcy this week.
Satcon Technology Corp. announced the decision in a Wednesday news release. “This has been a difficult time for Satcon,” president and CEO Steve Rhoades said. “After careful consideration of available alternatives, the Company’s Board of Directors determined that the Chapter 11 filings were a necessary and prudent step, allowing the Company to continue to operate while giving us the opportunity to reorganize with a stronger balance sheet and capital structure.”
Satcon received a $3 million DOE grant in January to develop “a compact, lightweight power conversion device that is capable of taking utility-scale solar power and outputting it directly into the electric utility grid at distribution voltage levels—eliminating the need for large transformers.”
“If successful,” noted DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E) at the time, “Satcon would simplify the solar power conversion process and significantly reduce the cost of operating, installing, and siting a PV power system—helping to facilitate their widespread use.”
ARPA-E also stated that the grant “could create jobs for system installers, technicians, and salespeople.”

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Bankrupt DOE Loan Recipient Abound Solar Under Investigation, Panels Suffered “Catastrophic Failure”

Abound Solar, a Department of Energy $400 million loan guarantee recipient that went bankrupt earlier this year, is under investigation by officials in Weld County, Colorado.
The company, which received nearly $70 million in loan funding before payments were cut off by DOE in 2011, also received a $100,000 tax break from the Colorado county in 2010. The county decided not to extend that offer when the company failed to achieve prescribed benchmarks for the tax break.
The county is also seeking nearly $2 million in unpaid property taxes from 2011 and 2012.
Denver’s 7NEWS has confirmed the investigation:
Sources tell 7NEWS that the company’s finances are under scrutiny.
7NEWS obtained internal documents from 2012 that show orders for tens of thousands of replacement solar panels. The orders cite different reasons for the replacements including, “low performance,” “under performance” and “catastrophic failures.”
The orders are for replacements requested after the Department of Energy stopped stimulus money payments to Abound.
Rep. Cory Gardner, R-CO, has announced his intent to issue a letter to DOE “seeking records and information about what it knew while providing money to Abound.”
Gardner told 7NEWS that the document request would be comprehensive.
“We need to know, did the Department of Energy — did they close on the loan when they knew there were technical problems with the product?” Gardner told the station.
The revelation of an investigation into the shuttered solar manufacturer comes less than a week after The Daily Caller News Foundation cited sources that appear to corroborate the issue of faulty, underperforming, and even dangerous solar modules, one of which the outlet showed bursting into flames in a video released with their report:

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Heritage Expert Confounds the “Fact Checkers” on Welfare Reform

“Obama’s Palace Guard,” Mark Hemingway’s Weekly Standard cover story exposing fact-checkers for willful complicity in the gutting of welfare reform, is a must read for anyone who cares about the state of the news media—and for those who plan to watch, cover, or participate in the presidential debates.
Hemingway meticulously details the checkosphere’s studied indifference—with rare exceptions—to the plain facts. In 4,000 words, he lays bare the media fact-checkers’ almost comical avoidance of the one expert who could help them understand how the Obama Administration is dismantling “workfare”: The Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector, who helped write the work requirements in the 1996 welfare reform law and just published his latest paper on the outrage.
PolitiFact, Hemingway concludes, came off as more interested in consulting liberal critics of welfare reform and dismissing Rector, conservatives in Congress, and Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) for daring to suggest the left would want to undo the workfare program it opposed from the start:
PolitiFact said [Rector’s] concerns should be dismissed for no other reason than they are at odds with the Obama administration’s spin. PolitiFact didn’t even address the fact that Rector … was the source of the charge the Obama administration is gutting welfare reform or that he helped write the welfare reform law.
The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler gets some credit from Hemingway for awarding Bill Clinton two out of four “Pinocchios” for stretching the truth in his speech defending Obama’s move to administratively undo welfare reform.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Theodore Roosevelt: Progressive Crusader

Theodore Roosevelt, America’s 26th President, famously declared that the country ought to “speak softly and carry a big stick.” Good advice, especially in light of recent events. However, “when it came to the decibel level, [TR] did not always follow his own advice,” quips Jean Yarbrough in the latest “Makers of American Political Thought” paper from The Heritage Foundation.
And the volume of his rhetoric wasn’t the only place TR stumbled. Yarbrough, a professor of Social Sciences at Bowdoin College and the author of Theodore Roosevelt and the American Political Tradition, explains that TR was also the nation’s first “progressive” leader. “As President, he pushed executive powers to new limits, arguing that the rise of industrial capitalism had rendered limited government obsolete.”
For example, TR styled himself the “steward of the people.” This belief “unmoored presidential power from the Constitution and made it directly accountable to the people,” Yarbrough writes. “It is not uncommon today for progressives to give short shrift to constitutional questions or to cite phrases such as ‘We the people’ and ‘the general welfare’ rather than specific constitutional provisions to justify their proposals.”

Carbon Tax: Won’t Reduce Deficit or Temperature

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a report that should be a cause for concern to all who believe in limited government. In it, CRS argues that a new tax on carbon could cut the deficit in half.
There is nothing special about a carbon tax in terms of raising revenue. CRS could have written that significantly increasing the income tax or payroll tax could cut the deficit in half. They could’ve written the same thing about instituting a new value-added tax as well.
But cutting the deficit isn’t as simple as increasing taxes. Higher taxes hurt the economy. CRS failed to mention the devastating impact that higher taxes would have on the economy. The extra revenue that would result from a carbon tax would certainly be lower than CRS estimates after considering the economic slowdown that would no doubt result.
About 85 percent of America’s energy needs are met by fossil fuels. A carbon tax would directly raise the cost of electricity, gasoline, diesel fuel, and home heating oil. This would disproportionately hurt lower-income families, who spend nearly a quarter of their budgets on energy.
But the economic pain for consumers doesn’t stop there. Businesses, faced with higher energy costs, would pass those costs on to consumers. Higher sticker prices for products lower consumer demand, and as a result, businesses must cut production and jobs.
Supposedly, the goal of a carbon tax is to reduce carbon emissions and do something about global warming, not to raise extra revenue. However, reduction in carbon dioxide emissions would yield negligible benefits in terms of temperature reduction.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Chart of the Week: 70% of Spending Goes to Dependence Programs

Federal spending concentrated on the 47 dependence-creating government programs that include housing, farm subsidies, and entitlements now comprises more than 70.5 percent of total federal expenditures as of 2010, according to Heritage’s Index of Dependence on Government.
This represents the fourth year in a row that the Index of Dependence on Government has risen, increasing by nearly a third — 31.73 percent — in that time span.
As Heritage’s Alison Acosta Fraser, director of the Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, noted this week:
The 2012 Heritage Index of Dependence on Government found that 63.7 million Americans received either Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Social Security, or support for higher education—an 8 percent increase over the previous year. These same people were very likely to receive other federal benefits, such as Medicare or food stamps. Separately, The Wall Street Journal found that in 2011, 49 percent of Americans lived in a household where at least one member of the family received a government benefit.
Then there are the 78 million baby boomers who have begun to head into retirement. Further whittling the taxpayer rolls, many  are projected to be substantially if not entirely dependent on Social Security and Medicare, further exacerbating the federal spending crisis that currently exists.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

[VIDEO] Senator Rand Paul on the “Charade and Farce” of Debate in the Senate

On Wednesday, Senator Rand Paul (R–KY) requested a vote on two amendments to S.3457, the Veterans Jobs Corps Act. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D–NV) blocked a vote on those amendments and has not allowed a free and fair debate on a very important issue to the American people.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Second Coming of Cap and Trade?

The Obama Administration, at this sensitive time, is playing down its expansive regulatory agenda, but some insiders are predicting a new onslaught of costly rules—including the imposition of cap-and-trade schemes on industry.
Although Congress rejected cap-and-trade legislation in 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) remains intent on effectively rationing the use of fossil fuels. A court ruling earlier this year upheld the agency’s “finding” that emissions of carbon dioxide pose a threat to public health. The ruling has only emboldened the EPA’s regulatory impulses. According to Carol Browner, former administrator of the agency, the EPA is now poised for “piecemeal progress on cap-and-trade.”
Browner’s forecast came Wednesday during a panel discussion on “Energy and the Presidency” sponsored byPolitico this week. As reported by The Hill, “Browner offered that Obama would use the [Clean Water Act] and the [Clean Air Act] to go even further in his attempts to regulate air pollution.”
Such talk is certainly bad news for the energy and manufacturing sectors, which have borne the brunt of Obama’s regulatory hyperactivity. But revived prospects for cap-and-trade might well hearten the environmental lobby, which has criticized President Obama for (supposedly) ignoring global warming despite his declaration that the 2008 election “was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”
While the President may appear to avoid direct reference to the global warming issue, his regulatory record bespeaks allegiance to drastic and unwarranted cutbacks in emissions of carbon dioxide—the supposed source of looming environmental cataclysm.
For example, the consulting group ICF International estimates that 20 percent of America’s coal power plants could be retired as soon as 2020 because of the Administration’s regulatory actions. Indeed, the EPA’s newestmercury and air toxics rule alone could cost as much as $100 billion per year, according to the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council.
Whether the President overtly pursues a costly cap-and-trade scheme remains to be seen. But there’s no question that his Administration is aggressively imposing regulations that have much the same effect—i.e., inflating the cost of fossil fuel energy in order to reduce some of the disadvantages of solar and wind power.
One might hope that today’s disappointing jobs report—and all the others like it during the previous three years—would persuade Obama that his regulatory agenda is doing more harm than good. But hope for such wisdom from this Administration appears to be in vain.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Chart of the Week: Tax Revenues Devoured by Entitlements

The looming unsustainability of the big three entitlement spending programs—Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security—is not inevitable, but in order to avoid the catastrophic effects of consuming every bit of tax revenue in just one generation, reform is a necessity.

Take a look at Medicare, the largest portion of the projected entitlement expense by the year 2045.

Here’s the projected outlook of spending on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security by 2045, when entitlement spending matches tax revenues, from Heritage’s Federal Budget in Pictures, using Congressional Budget Office figures:

The need for Medicare reform in light of the impending crisis going forward has elicited the acknowledgement of all sides, which Heritage’s Amy Payne highlighted in a recent Morning Bell:

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