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Sunday, October 23, 2016

CHICAGO — The Democrats’ biggest strategic challenge in maintaining control of the U.S. Senate involves motivating the party’s base while simultaneously attracting swing and even Republican voters in contests being waged in conservative states.

This base-versus-swing dilemma exists in every election, but the tension is aggravated for Democrats this year because they are trying to hold so many seats in Republican territory. Incumbents such as Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, Mark Pryor in Arkansas, Mark Begich in Alaska and Kay Hagan in North Carolina can’t win with the base alone. The Democrats’ hopes to take seats away from the GOP in Kentucky and Georgia also hinge on reaching beyond loyalists.

Compounding the Democrats’ quandary: President Obama’s approval ratings are particularly low in the red states with tough Senate races. This explains the ambivalence of many in his party toward the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and it’s the reason Republicans insist on calling it “Obamacare.”

The law has been working far better than Republicans who predicted its demise last fall said it would. And if Democrats don’t force Republicans to acknowledge the high costs of repealing the ACA, the airwaves will be dominated by horror stories — many of them made up out of whole cloth — about the law’s shortcomings.

This is moving some red-state Democrats, notably Landrieu, to praise important aspects of the law, and private polling suggests that most voters don’t want to go through the health care fight and its uncertainties all over again. Given the president’s ratings, Democrats are trying to figure out how to defend the “care” part of Obamacare while encouraging voters outside their base to forget the “Obama” part.

But the decisive question may be whether Democrats can find crossover issues that turn out their core constituencies while also persuading undecided voters in the red states to come their way.

Both publicly and privately, Democrats say they are well into this quest. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York have been pushing what they call the party’s “fair shot” agenda. Its components include raising the minimum wage and measures to make college more affordable. They are also aggressively seeking to tie the entire Republican Party to David and Charles Koch, the billionaire brothers who are spending lavishly on behalf of the GOP.

This fits with the advice of Democratic consultants Stan Greenberg and James Carville. They recently released a public memo urging Democrats to revive the party’s 2012 campaign theme contrasting the interests of the top “1 percent” with what’s good for the rest of the country. They would have the party link this overarching theme to policies promising relief and opportunity to middle-class voters, especially women who are already more inclined toward the Democrats.

  • paulyz

    Give it up E.J. Dionne, the class warfare strategy is getting stale when the Middle Class under Obama has disinegrated, 6 straight years of record unemployment, and pushing Amnesty and more foreign workers. Plus Obamacare is further hurting the Middle Class by them paying more for less coverage while losing their jobs……….

    • JPHALL

      Where have you been the last month? Even the Repugs in Congress have stopped pushing those lies.

    • Allan Richardson

      It’s conservative public and private policies that have caused the middle class to disintegrate. Offshoring, anti-union business policies, wages dropping for all except the wealthy for 30 years, then to top it off, the banking and mortgage crisis of 2008.

  • Dominick Vila

    Considering the number of seats open for election/re-election in red states, it will be a miracle if the GOP does not get a super majority in the House and gets control of the Senate. A massive Democratic turnout may help, but it is likely to not be enough.
    For the Reds, it doesn’t matter that President Obama prevented the collapse of the U.S. economy, that he saved American industrial icons from bankruptcy, that his policies contributed to a return to normal bankruptcy and foreclosure levels, that the large increases in unemployment that began in 2008 have been turned into steady unemployment decreases and job creation, that his efforts to reduce the size of government and prudent economic policies have produced significant reductions in the Federal government budget deficits, that no foreign terrorist attacks have taken place in the USA during his tenure, that we are out of Iraq and will soon be out of Afghanistan, that the embarrassing policies of torture and renditions have been replaced with policies consistent with the Geneva convention expectation that we have supported for decades, and that we are once again respected worldwide. For them, it is all about abortion, gay marriage, illegal immigration, affirmative action, gun control, and all the anti-middle class and anti-democracy principles that characterize Republican orthodoxy.

    • Kurt CPI

      So you’re saying all those working class Republicans who are just as screwed by declining wages, unemployment, and mis-representation vote to deliberately keep it that way or exacerbate it? I think you have the electrical contractor down the street confused with one of the Koch Brothers.

  • Snowbeard

    Democrats should explain to the people and to illiterate Republican politicians that there is no such law as “Obamacare” and they should stop trying to scare people with the word, or prove that it exists on the record.
    Secondly, we should allow states like Texas to secede. They keep whimpering about it, so just let em do it. We sure as heck don’t need em.

    • itsfun

      Obama himself calls it obamacare. Texans would love to secede. They are thinking about all the foreign aid the US would send them.

      • Allan Richardson

        What foreign aid? Whatever “trickles up” from Mexico City?

        • itsfun

          Just look at all the money we send overseas. If Texas secedes, the US would send them what they ask for in aid. They could drill their own oil, make sweet heart deals with Mexico.

    • Billie

      They would never secede. Too many of us would move to New Mexico. They would have to take their share of the national debt. They would have to start taxing corporations for money. I love my state, just not our politics.

      • stcroixcarp

        Not to mention the fact that if they secede the US military bases will not go with them. They will need passports to enter the US. They will not get federal dollars for anything. The US navy could blocade their access to the Gulf. They would have to build a fence to keep Texans in. Mexico could invade and the US would not be obligated to stop them.

        • Billie

          Wow, those military bases being closed would kill us outright. Fort Bliss and Fort Hood are both huge. Not to mention the bases in San Antonio.

        • Lynda Groom

          Don’t forget they would have to create their own Coast Guard and Border Patrol. The hole idea of secession is a red herring. However, it sells well to the anti-government types.

        • Allan Richardson

          Not to mention the Johnson Space Flight Center. But they could move it BACK to Cape Canaveral, where the NASA administration was located before the death of JFK. Florida is a swing state that may very well have a Democratic Governor next year (one who was formerly a Republican Governor).

          Maybe the feds should start the moves NOW, just in CASE Texas wants to secede. The impact of that might get the attention of their Republican voters!

    • elw

      It really does not matter what they call it, I think that is why the President embraced their little nickname for the ACA. What matter is that it is working and the Republicans have yet to come up with any viable alternative that costs less than the ACA.

  • latebloomingrandma

    What a contrast to read Dominick’s letter followed by Pauly’s. Are we all living in the same country? Some of us choose to see the good things and some to just gripe. The conservatives are just so full of negativity. It’s one thing to identify problems, quite another to identify solutions. So far, the institution in charge of solutions, the Republican led Congress, is paralyzed. Why would anyone vote for any of them?

  • elw

    I think it is time that Democrats start talking loud and clear about the true scandal in this Country, how are political campaigns are finance. Talking about things like immigration, abortion, unemployment and the dying middle class is OK, but means nothing when we are living in an age where just a few hundred people control who is running for office. Until the Democrats have the courage to stand up to their own personal threat of being defunded by the very rich who provide the bulk of the money for them to campaign – none of the those issues really matter because how they are solved will be controlled by less than one-half of one percent of the very richest people in this Country, who for the most part are more concerned about their personal bank account (hidden somewhere overseas) than what happens to people like me and you. This is an issue that is not about being a Democrat or Republican – it is an issue that is threatening the very health and well being of 99% of the people in this Country. I do not want to hear about the same old issues 24/7 again – I want to know what the candidate that gets my vote is going to do the change the dynamics that Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United and McCutchen has caused and will continue cause in the future unless something is changed. Read the Sunlight Foundations (it on the Internets) report on how and who funds all of are politicians campaigns – you will be unable to sleep.

    • Kurt CPI

      Standing with you on this ground you’ll find ALL Democrats, ALL Independents, and MOST working-class Republicans. The only cheerleaders for these rulings are the SCOTUS justices and the corporate moguls who paid for them.

      • elw

        Well then we all need to keep talking about it every chance we get, question our political leader and vote for candidates who want to do something about it. That is how the women got the vote, we got Social Security, Medicare and the ACA.

  • wilty707

    As far as “Obamacare” is concerned, all Democrats running in these races and their supporters should drop that appellation right NOW, and refer to it only as the Affordable Care Act. And, all Democrats must show up, and get in the faces of these lying Republicans and DEMAND that these scoundrels put the confirmable FACTS to their statements. Put THEM on the defensive, and call ’em on every point they try to snake oil on the electorate, the media, in short EVERYBODY!!!

    • Kurt CPI

      “The lady doth protest too much, methinks”. Or the dude as the case may be.

  • Angel Perea

    KEEPING IT THOUGHTFULLY HONEST: Speaking as an informed and independent intelligent Voter, I have a message for the Republican tea party Clowns. Let’s exam their Grand achievements since the last election! I recall the Close Down of our Govt. and the later give away payments to those Fed. workers that did not work with a resulting of wasted cost of $27K in our tax payer funds. Second, the continuing
    record Obstruction votes: there has been no Veterans Benefits Bill and the lack of concern and failure to act on any Job creation bill for Middle Class Americans, or any Immigration Reform, and the clowns obstruct to passage of unemployed insurance for middle class Americans including returning Vets that can’t find jobs. And finally, now they refuse to establish a reasonable living minimum Wage or Equal pay for Equal work for Women so that working Americans can earn something just above the poverty level to support their families! So it is going to take more than the blame game towards their FAVOR TARGET THAT BLACK GUY IN THE WHITE HOUSE or the use of “modern political outreach techniques” such Voter Suppression! So how is the Republican orthodoxy and these accomplishments working out for your pocketbook issues? Do you really think that most intelligent thinking Americans are that stupid?

    • Kurt CPI

      Well, you might think you’re an independent, but being an independent, I have to say you sound like a Democrat – Which is not a bad thing. But real Independents can find plenty of nicks and gouges on both sides of the political coin!

      • wilty707

        Ah, the observations of a “real” fence sitter – Observing and making comments are one thing, action involving hard work and commitment is another.

        • Kurt CPI

          Ah, the standard answer to all things by all zealots, “keep the faith”. Drinking only the white wine is one thing. Listening to all perspectives, concluding that the devil is neither Republican nor Democrat, weighing the evidence presented by both sides and coming up with thoughtful, personal points of view is another.

          • wilty707

            Zealot, my foot! Again, passive and dulled (white wine) cognition only goes so far, as does the love of listening to one’s own voice. For any real efficacy in political action to occur, it is strongly suggested that one get off his duff, and get involved, taking risks, keeping on open mind while simultaneously keeping a focus on the objectives. Flapping of the lips and trying to be cute about it, will not do the trick!

          • Kurt CPI

            Not buying it. Religiously supporting one party, either because they represent the lesser of two evils or because of a hatred of a small group of well-funded and well-enabled (thanks a bunch, SCOTUS!) self-serving autocrats – and yes, I fully agree that’s what they are – is not a good reason to throw everything behind every aspect of the resistance. There’s plenty of that going around over there, too. I’ll support candidates on their merits as I see them relating to the good of America. Being cute (I call it civil) is a virtue in my opinion.

          • wilty707

            it isn’t for sale. if you cut the verbosity and arrogance, you might get some to agree with your premises – so, why not try a little humility, you might get your points through.

          • Kurt CPI

            Actually, that last bit does sound a tad arrogant, doesn’t it. That’s not how I meant it. I just meant that I don’t come here to have my back patted, nor to return the pat. I enjoy debate – real debate, not the typical series of insult trades.

            Sorry, can’t help the verbosity. English is such a beautiful language with nuances and color that is just not replicated in other languages. It would be sinful to abandon such an art form.

            Hard as I try not to, I do get people agreeing with me on occasion. That always puts me into self-assessment mode. As long as my positions are equally as troubling to Democrats as they are to Republicans, I know I’m squarely in the realm of independence 🙂

  • exdemo55

    To understand how Democrats plan to hold the Senate, consider President Obama’s claim about the Affordable Care Act: “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.” Why did he so often say something that wasn’t true?

    In 2009 and early 2010, he made this false promise to pass the Affordable Care Act. It’s unlikely every congressional Democrat would have voted for it if their constituents knew the truth. And from March 2010 through November 2012, he said it to get re-elected. If voters knew what was coming, more Democrats would have lost, and perhaps even the president himself.

    The lesson many Democrats seem to have taken away is that the benefits of misleading voters outweigh the downsides. At least that view seems to be guiding Democrats in the battle for the Senate, especially the work of Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Senate Majority PAC.

    Consider Republican Congressman Tom Cotton, who is challenging Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor. A Senate Majority PAC ad claimed Mr. Cotton “got paid handsomely working for insurance companies.” Actually, the management consultants McKinsey & Company employed Mr. Cotton. The Afghanistan and Iraq veteran’s only work involving insurance was helping the Federal Housing Administration to improve services, including insurance, for companies that finance apartment construction. His annual salary was $85,000. But Democrats are determined to portray Mr. Cotton as a rich tool of insurance companies, no matter how many lies are involved.

    Senate Majority PAC also ran an ad implying that Louisiana Republican Senate hopeful Bill Cassidy was part of “the fight to let flood insurance premiums soar, helping the insurance companies and cut off hurricane relief for Louisiana families.” In reality, Rep. Cassidy and several other Republican congressmen from coastal regions proposed an amendment that kept flood-insurance premiums from rising. The idea that a congressman from the state hit by Katrina would “cut off hurricane relief” is absurd.

    Campaigns often make shaky claims, but these Democratic ads are flat-out falsehoods. Republicans have an opportunity to counterpunch powerfully. Many Republican candidates are doing so, diminishing the credibility of Democrats while offering a governing agenda for the middle class. GOP candidates must be disciplined and have the resources to fight back.

    Democrats are hoping to repeat 2010 and 2012, when opportunities for GOP pickups were squandered by weak Republican candidates, such as Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana. Democrats and their super PACs are spending money in 2014 Republican primaries to defeat the strongest candidate in the field.

    For example, the Put Alaska First PAC boosting Sen. Mark Begich’s re-election received 82% of its money from Harry Reid’s Senate Majority PAC. In turn, Put Alaska First attacked Dan Sullivan, the GOP front-runner, for owning a home in Maryland, suggesting he was not an Alaskan.

    American Crossroads (a group I helped organize) replied with an ad featuring former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. She explained Mr. Sullivan’s family had a home in suburban D.C. when, as a decorated Marine, he was stationed at the White House and then, after two tours in the Middle East, returned to serve as assistant secretary of state. The ad also reinforced his record as Alaska’s attorney general and Natural Resources Commissioner.

    In North Carolina, Senate Majority PAC wants to keep North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis from winning 40% in the May 6 Republican primary and force him into an expensive runoff. It has unleashed a $973,000 attack on Mr. Tillis over the 2012 resignations of two of his legislative aides caught having affairs. This is more than all seven of Mr. Tillis’s GOP primary opponents are spending on ads, combined.

    Left unanswered, these Democratic attacks might work. But if addressed effectively, they are unlikely to prevail. GOP candidates should ask Republican primary voters if they really want Harry Reid, smear artist extraordinaire, picking their nominees.

    Democrats may also hope their attacks cause voters to stay home. This worked in 2012, when months spent bashing Mitt Romney’s career at Bain and his wealth caused the number of presidential voters to decline for the first time in 16 years. Many who didn’t vote were disposed to Mr. Romney.

    The Romney campaign didn’t respond, feeling that if they were responding they were losing. But responding often means demolishing your opponent’s credibility while establishing yours by offering voters better ideas and a brighter future. Candidates who identify with the concerns of voters while Democrats try to alienate them may help the GOP remove Mr. Reid as Senate majority leader this fall.

    • guest

      What you people seem to also not understand is this. Actually at the time the President said those words, for the most part they were true. The reason that the policies did get cancelled is because the insurance companies changed the policies on purpose. Every policy needed to have basic coverages as laid out in the ACA. Most plans did at the time the ACA was signed into law. Following this – those policies were modified and changed so they no longer provided the basic coverages which were required. THIS is the reason they were cancelled – NOT because a democrat lied about anything. Those companies KNEW what to do to create havoc and succeeded in doing so. Not every insurance company was happy with the ACA – most were, but some were not. Those companies were offering garbage policies to people. Very low cost but nothing in return so they were doing nothing but collecting premiums while providing nothing in return. The point of ACA was to fix that problem and ensure that everyone would have some kind of basic coverage and that insurance companies would be required to either pay claims with the money the took from their customers OR give refunds to their customers for the amounts that were not being used to pay claims. Personally I don’t see a thing wrong with ensuring that the insurance company doesn’t charge premiums, limit what they will pay out, and then use the money to give huge bonuses to their CEOs and managers for stealing money from their customers. People are actually NOT paying more for less, they are paying more and getting more protections and more payouts, if they need it.

      • latebloomingrandma

        Great explanation.

        • Lynda Groom

          Spot on, but too subtle for many to grasp.

      • exdemo55

        Even the president now acknowledges that his promise went too far.

        In an interview with Chuck Todd of NBC News on Nov. 7, Obama offered an apology to the many Americans who have been notified that they are, in fact, losing the health plans they previously had and wanted to keep.

        “I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me,” Obama said. “We’ve got to work hard to make sure that they know we hear them and that we’re going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this.”

        Strangely, the White House linked to the apology on a health care Web page that carried the same promise he now says went too far.

      • exdemo55

        The Line: If you like your health insurance plan, you can keep it.

        The Party: Democratic

        For years, President Obama promised millions of Americans with health insurance that “if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan” under his health care overhaul. He wasn’t the only one, either.

        Back in 2009, several top congressional Democrats echoed the president’s assurances that those who were happy with their plans would be able to keep them.

        Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the health care overhaul efforts “means making sure you can keep your family’s doctor or keep your health care plan if you like it.”

        Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin told the happily insured “we are going to put in any legislation considered by the House and Senate the protection that you, as an individual, keep the health insurance you have, if that is what you want.”

        And current Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray also said: “If you like what you have today, that will be what you have when this legislation is passed.”

        But longtime readers of know we’ve been writing since August 2009 that that promise simply couldn’t be made to everyone who already had health insurance.

        That’s because most Americans are covered by plans through their jobs, and nothing in the health care law prohibited employers from dropping coverage or changing health plans as they have been able to previously. Before the health care bill even became law, the Congressional Budget Office projected that up to 10 million people who otherwise would have been covered by employer-provided plans would not be offered coverage under one Democratic proposal.

        The health care law also sets minimum standards for insurance coverage, requiring that all health plans cover mental health benefits, prescription drug coverage, vaccinations, dental and vision care for children, maternity care for women, and more. The upgrades mean that some plans that were inexpensive for purchasers — but didn’t cover the required benefits — would eventually cease to exist.

        Americans who purchase such plans on the individual insurance market have been receiving notices that their current plans will no longer be offered after this year, as several news organizations reported in October. Those notices make it clear that Obama was over-simplifying and over-promising when he kept saying, “if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.”

        STORY: Rush is on to get health care under old insurance plans

        Obama, in a Nov. 4, 2013, speech, tried to explain his past promises by saying “what we said was you can keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law passed.” Asked when the president had previously included that detail, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, in a Nov. 5 press briefing, said Obama was referring to the law’s clause allowing insurers and employers to “grandfather” plans offered before the bill became law.

        “The president was referring to the law and to the fact that the law was written in a way — and everybody who closely covered the drafting of that legislation knew it was written about — that the grandfathering clause was in the law, and he was referring to the implementation of that law through the rule process,” Carney said.

        Grandfathered health plans do not have to meet all of the law’s new coverage requirements. But in order to be grandfathered, health plans must have existed on March 23, 2010. Those with individual grandfathered plans had to have them before the law took effect. And to maintain their grandfathered status, the plans must not be changed to cut benefits or significantly raise prices for consumers through deductibles or co-pays.

        It’s true that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius explained the grandfather clause in a June 14, 2010, blog post announcing new health care regulations.

        “Under the rule issued today, employers or issuers offering such coverage will have the flexibility of making reasonable changes without losing their ‘grandfathered’ status,” Sebelius wrote. “However, if health plans significantly raise co-payments or deductibles, or if they significantly reduce benefits – for example, if they stop covering treatment for a disease like HIV/AIDS or cystic fibrosis – they’ll lose their grandfathered status and their customers will get the same full set of consumer protections as new plans.”

        Sebelius went on to say that the “bottom line is that under the Affordable Care Act, if you like your doctor and plan, you can keep them.” But that still wouldn’t be true for many, and Obama glossed over those details in his speeches. The president made the sweeping promise, in one variation or another, while the Affordable Care Act was being debated in Congress in 2009. He said it again after he signed the bill into law in 2010. And he continued to say it after the Supreme Court ruled the law was constitutional in 2012.

        • Lynda Groom

          You need to read the latest report from the journal ‘Health Affairs’ by Benjamin Sommers, an assistant professor at the Harvard School of Public Health. The report goes into great detail regarding the history of the private insurance market before ObamaCare was passed.

          The good professor found that historically, the non-group insurance market has tended to have lots of churns. He found that few people hold onto non-group policies for very long–typically just a transitional phase between jobs that provide insurance directly. Example: The number of people who still had the same policy after just four months was already less than two-thirds; after one year, it was donw to 42%; after two years it was down to 27%. Generally people who lost their non-group insurance simply picked up coverage through new employers, some ended up with public insurance, different non-grup policies, or without any insurance at all.

          It was further found that 65% of the people losing insurance had incomes below 400% of the poverty line, which means they’d be eligible for tax credits that make non-group insurance less expensive than sticker price.

          The same basic info was found by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Urban Institute, which noted the same basic fact: The non-group market is extremely unstable, which translates to few people keep the same policies for long.

          Here is the abstract from the report: ‘Recent cancellations of non group health insurance plans generated fmuch policy debate and raised concerns that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may increase the number of uninsured Americans in the short term. This article provides evidence on the stability of non group covering using US census data for the period 2008-2011, before ACA provision took effect. The principal findings are threefold. First, this market was characterized by high turnover; Only 42% of people with non group coverage at the outset of the sutday period retained that coverage after 12 months. Second, 80% of people experiencing coverage changes acquired other insurance within a year, most commonly from an employer. Third, turnover varied across grups, with stable coverage more common from whites and self-employed people than for other groups. Turnovere was particularly high among adults ages 19-35, with only 21% of young adults retaining continuous non group coverage for two years. Given estimates from 2012 that 10.8 people were covered in this market, these results sugges that 6.2 million people leave non group coverage annually. This suggest that the non group market was characterized by frequent disruptions in coverage neessarily out of the norm. These results can serve as a useful pre-ACA baseline with which to evaluate the law’s long-term impact on the stability of non group coverage.’

          From the conclusion: An analysis of nongroup coverage patterns from 2008-11 shows that this market was characterized by high turnover even before the ACA’s reforms were inplemented. Thus, recent plan cancellations may not have an impact that is markedly different from the normal turnover in the market. It remains to be seen whether the ACA will succeed in both expanding coverage and making that coverage more stable over time, especially since many people previously covered by non group insurance will transition into health insurance Market-places.

          Prof. Sommers report is available on line.

          • exdemo55

            Last Thursday, President Obama used the announcement that there were now eight million people signed up for ObamaCare as the excuse for yet another touchdown dance celebrating what he touted as the success of his signature health-care law. The president’s boasts were as unfounded as the numbers are bogus. As I wrote then, not only are the figures for enrollment untrustworthy because so many of those being counted have not paid for their insurance, but they also include many Americans who lost their insurance because of the law and are now saddled with higher costs and coverage that doesn’t suit their needs. These ObamaCare losers may well equal or outnumber the number of those who have actually benefitted from it. Even more to the point, the administration’s delays of many of the provisions of the law have put off the negative impact it will have on jobs and the economy until after the midterm elections.

            Americans are bracing for massive health-care cost increases next year. Stories about the hardships faced by many individuals and companies as a result of ObamaCare have been cited by the law’s critics. But the president has denounced them, and other Democratic apologists such as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have claimed they are falsehoods or outright inventions cooked up by the Koch brothers and other conservatives. The truth, however, is not hard to discover. After reading the piece I wrote last week about the president’s claims, one Connecticut businessman (who wishes to remain anonymous) whom I know wrote to me to tell the story of his company’s experience with the law and the way his representatives in Washington had responded to his complaints. Here is his story:

            As usual, your column regarding President Obama and the Affordable Care Act was insightful and on target. Here’s a real world example of the future negative effects on businesses and individuals we aren’t likely to hear from the White House.

            In November of last year, I met with our health insurance broker and learned that the renewal of our policy for our company’s employees would result in a 53 percent increase in premiums – largely due to increased mandates and other nuances of the Affordable Care Act. We developed a short-term solution by renewing our current policy (pre-ACA) for another year and moving its effective date from January 1, 2014 to December 1, 2013. This adjustment allowed us to avoid the effect of the new ACA requirements that took effect on January 1, 2014. Our premiums under this alternate plan increased, but only by 9%. I realize we’re a small company and this is but a single case. However, our broker indicated this scenario is likely to play out in many organizations next year.

            In early January, we sent a letter describing this situation to our Governor, Congressman, and Senators. Finally, last week Senator Chris Murphy responded with what was essentially a staff-drafted form letter. No responses from our other elected officials have been received to date. Sen. Murphy’s letter completely ignored our message — specifically that our premiums were about to increase by 53 percent. Instead, the letter claimed, “research indicated the ACA should stabilize and possibly decrease health care premiums for small businesses and individuals.”

            Silly me, I guess the emperor really does have clothes after all.

            As I mentioned, the large increase resulted, in part, from certain mandates not previously covered. However, Connecticut already had a lot of mandated benefits in place (thanks primarily to our state’s kind-hearted special interest advocates). The large increase also resulted from a change in the way coverage for dependents will now be rated and priced. Previously, dependents were treated similarly across all age cohorts. Under the ACA, dependent coverage is and will be rated and priced separately for each age – with costs significantly increasing among the 18-26 year age cohorts. So, for people with kids of college age and a few years older, premiums are likely to increase significantly.

            The “blame” for this spike can probably be placed more on the insurance industry than specifically the Congressional staffers who drafted the ACA. However, my understanding is the insurance industry was heavily involved with developing the legislation and, of course, the industry was an advocate for the enactment of the ACA. What a surprise that insurers will benefit from the new law.

            By backdating its policy, this company saved itself from a devastating increase in 2014. But that won’t be possible in 2015 when it and innumerable other small, mid-sized, and large companies will be faced with the enforcement of more ObamaCare mandates. The impact of these increases on the ability of businesses to maintain their level of employment and benefits will be considerable. So, too, will the effect of this massive federal power grab on the economy. Thus, in addition to the millions of individual ObamaCare losers that lost their coverage, in 2015 we will have countless others who will suffer from the law.

            All this means that, contrary to the president’s claims and demands that critics shut up and do as he says, the debate over ObamaCare is far from over. If anything, as this one businessman seems to be telling us, in 2015 it will just be getting started.

      • exdemo55

        Why the cancellations happened

        How did we get to this point?

        The Affordable Care Act tried to allow existing health plans to continue under a complicated process called “grandfathering,” which basically said insurance companies could keep selling plans if they followed certain rules.

        The problem for insurers was that the Obamacare rules were strict. If the plans deviated even a little, they would lose their grandfathered status. In practice, that meant insurers canceled plans that didn’t meet new standards.

        Obama’s team seemed to understand that likelihood. U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the grandfathering rules in June 2010 and acknowledged that some plans would go away. Yet Obama repeated “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it” when seeking re-election last year.

        In 2009 and again in 2012, PolitiFact rated Obama’s statement Half True, which means the statement is partially correct and partially wrong. We noted that while the law took pains to leave some parts of the insurance market alone, people were not guaranteed to keep insurance through thick and thin. It was likely that some private insurers would continue to force people to switch plans, and that trend might even accelerate.

        In the final months of 2013, several critical elements of the health care law were being enacted, and media attention was at its height. made its debut on Oct. 1. It didn’t take long for the media, the public and Obama’s own team to realize the website was a technological mess, freezing out customers and generally not working.

        Also on Oct. 1, insurers started sending out cancellation letters for 2014.

        No one knows exactly how many people got notices, because the health insurance market is largely private and highly fragmented. Analysts estimated the number at about 4 million (and potentially higher), out of a total insured population of about 262 million.

        That was less than 2 percent, but there was no shortage of powerful anecdotes about canceled coverage.

        One example: PBS Newshour interviewed a woman from Washington, D.C., who was a supporter of the health care law and found her policy canceled. New policies had significantly higher rates. She told Newshour that the only thing the new policy covered that her old one didn’t was maternity care and pediatric services. And she was 58.

        “The chance of me having a child at this age is zero. So, you know, I ask the president, why do I have to pay an additional $5,000 a year for maternity coverage that I will never, ever need?” asked Deborah Persico.

        The administration’s botched response

        Initially, Obama and his team didn’t budge.

        First, they tried to shift blame to insurers. “FACT: Nothing in #Obamacare forces people out of their health plans,” said Valerie Jarrett, a top adviser to Obama, on Oct. 28.

        PolitiFact rated her statement False. The restrictions on grandfathering were part of the law, and they were driving cancellations.

        Then, they tried to change the subject. “It’s important to remember both before the ACA was ever even a gleam in anybody’s eye, let alone passed into law, that insurance companies were doing this all the time, especially in the individual market because it was lightly regulated and the incentives were so skewed,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

        But what really set everyone off was when Obama tried to rewrite his slogan, telling political supporters on Nov. 4, “Now, if you have or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law, and you really liked that plan, what we said was you can keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law passed.”

        Pants on Fire! PolitiFact counted 37 times when he’d included no caveats, such as a high-profile speech to the American Medical Association in 2009: “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

        Even Obama’s staunchest allies cried foul.

        On Nov. 6, columnist Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune wrote that the public “was entitled to hear the unvarnished truth, not spin, from their president about what they were about to face. I don’t feel good about calling out Obama’s whopper, because I support most of his policies and programs. But in this instance, he would have to be delusional to think he was telling the truth.”

        The next day, Obama apologized during a lengthy interview with NBC News’ Chuck Todd.

        “We weren’t as clear as we needed to be in terms of the changes that were taking place, and I want to do everything we can to make sure that people are finding themselves in a good position, a better position than they were before this law happened. And I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me,” he said.

    • kevin robinson

      have you ever considered giving an ‘abridged’ version?

      • JohnnyH

        I’ll help out – “Obama Lied”
        And that’s about as ‘abridged’ as you need.
        And the Democrats are going to have to wear Obamacare in the elections.

        • kevin robinson

          oh my gawd! a president lied. that’s never happened before. & if you think that continuing to bash Obamacare for the next 6 months, with no positive proposals of your own is going to win for you in november, then i say, “go 4 it”.

    • JPHALL

      Both sides have liars from outside groups spending dark money on ads. By dark money I mean money that cannot be traced back to its donors. Therefore there is no accountability for the statements made in the ads. Thank the Supreme Court for this mess since they believe that free speech equals money and corporations are people.

    • charleo1

      First of all. when it comes to misleading the public, Republicans
      are in no position to cast stones. In fact, it’s harder to catch them
      telling the truth, than it is to point out their, fish in a barrel, lies.
      And there’s a very good reason for all the lying. It’s called best interests. And they, and their policies are complete roll overs for
      the tiny sliver of well healed billionaires, and moocher corporations, that fund 90% of their campaigns. Did it ever occur to you that the Romney campaign didn’t respond to the criticisms of him being a born wealthy and privileged, out of touch corporate raider, because
      they were spot on true? That, if the GOP had tried to choose an
      individual to serve as a poster boy, for what’s gone wrong in the economy for Middle Income families, and the working poor, trying to reach the Middle Class. They could not have picked anyone that more epitomized that, than Mitt Romney. In fact, no one in the GOP
      has an agenda for the Middle Class. Well, that’s not entirely true. No one in the GOP has an agenda to help the Middle Class. And there’s another very good reason for that, besides making sure their campaigns are lavishly funded. It’s because, at the end of the day, they really don’t give a genuine damn about the Middle Class. As
      to, “the big lie,” you’ve hammered on here. “If you like your plan, you
      can keep it.” Was more the case of a President trying to give a cogent, and simple description of health care reform. And how the
      enactment go this healthcare law, would not in, and of itself, effect
      the vast majority of those receiving health insurance through their
      employer. Expecting people to realize, their job based insurance,
      which, before ACA changed for 40% of the workforce in some way each year, would not fear he was proposing to eliminate those policies, and allow the government take over. Which has been a ridiculous charge of the Right Wingers from day one.

      • exdemo55

        The American middle class, like the American economy in general, is ailing. Labor-force participation has hit a 35-year low.

        Median household income is lower than it was five years ago. Only the top 5 percent of households have seen their incomes rise under President Obama.

        Commuters are paying more than twice as much for gas as they were in 2008. Federal payouts for food stamps, unemployment insurance, and disability insurance have reached unprecedented levels.

        Meanwhile, the country is still running near-record budget deficits and is burdened by $17 trillion in aggregate debt. Yet the stock market is soaring.

        How can we make sense of all this contradictory nonsense? Irony.

        Obama promised to restore the middle class. In truth, he has enacted the very policies that have done it the most damage in years. That paradox may explain why his base of support remains the very rich and the very poor. Goldman Sachs, federal bureaucrats, and aid recipients are helped in a way that the strapped hardware-store owner, Starbucks barista, and part-time welder are not.

        For all the talk of infrastructure or stimulus, the latest $6 trillion in federal borrowing seems to have been wasted on bailing out insider banks and green companies, growing the federal work force, regulating the private sector into stasis, and subsidizing those who are not working.

        The Federal Reserve still keeps interest rates at near zero. That mostly helps Wall Street, where money flows madly in search of any sort of return.

        Most real interest rates for consumer purchases somehow remain exorbitant. Banks obtain their money cheaply and lend it out expensively. No wonder that so many Wall Street and banking executives — Timothy Geithner, Jack Lew, Peter Orszag, Gene Sperling, Larry Summers — revolve in and out of the highest levels of this “no revolving door” administration.

        Middle-class workers see little chance of retiring when their meager savings earn almost no interest, so they are apt to stay on the job longer. Their continuance only makes unemployment rates for young entry-level workers even worse.

        Obama always threatened higher taxes on the well-off. He achieved that goal with a new 39.6 percent federal rate on upper incomes, a rate paid on top of state and payroll taxes. Yet such steep taxes do not much affect the super-rich. Their income is often exempted through sophisticated tax-avoidance or, more often, earned through less-taxed capital gains.

        Small employers in many states have no such recourse and now pay more than half their incomes in assorted federal, state, and local taxes. Naturally, they are hiring fewer people and making fewer capital investments.

        That greater tax hit might have been worth it had the new rates been part of a balanced-budget agreement like the Bill Clinton–Newt Gingrich deal of 1997, which froze spending levels and, for a time, stopped our ruinous borrowing.

        Not this time. We end up with the worst of all worlds: once again a 39 percent top tax rate, but now with out-of-control federal spending and more multibillion-dollar budget deficits.

        By virtually shutting down gas and oil leases on federal lands, the administration has declined the chance to create millions of new energy jobs and to lower fuel prices. For now, lower power bills and gasoline prices, and the creation of more jobs in energy, depend entirely on those who drill on private lands — despite, not because of, federal efforts.

        Even the many sires of Obamacare now deny their paternity. Unions want out of it. Congress demands exclusion from it. Well-connected businesses won exemption from it.

        The poor who mostly do not pay federal income taxes will get a largely free, bureaucratized federal health-care system. Many of the rich praise Obamacare but will quietly use their own money to avoid it. The middle class will see their premiums soar and the quality of their coverage erode.

        These are surreal times. Wealthy elites who help to shut down jobs in energy, timber, and mining are deemed liberal — but not always so the middle classes, who suffer the consequences in lost jobs and higher prices.

        Universities voice progressive bromides, but they care mostly for the tenured and the technocrat, not the part-timer and the indebted student. Thanks to soaring tuition, campus is now the haunt of the very wealthy who can afford it and the very poor who are often exempted from it. The less romantic middle class goes $1 trillion into debt for their high-interest student loans.

        Never has it been so good to be invested in a vastly expanding federal government — either to distribute or receive federal subsidies. Never has it been so lucrative to work in banking or on Wall Street. And never has it been so bad to try to find a decent job making something real.

        To paraphrase the Roman historian Tacitus, where we have made a desert of the middle class, we call it a recovery.

        • charleo1

          Well, look. The overwhelming majority of the skewed
          tax regimens, for the upper, 1/2 of 1%, deregulation of the banking system, falling wages, outsourcing
          of jobs, and excessive, and proliferate government spending, plus expansion of the Federal Govt. and
          so on. In fact, most everything you listed, has been the results of more than 10 years of GOP supply side economics. Enacting tax cuts that didn’t incentivize, or target, cash starved sectors of the economy. But were passed on an ideological premise, that all taxes are self funding. Because
          the money is in the hands of the private sector.
          So if follows, failed economic theories always have consequences. Trillion dollar wars that drained the treasury. Interests rates already at near zero levels, to try to stave off a financial disaster, that at the time of Obama’s inauguration, was spreading world wide, and had been costing Americans, 700,000 to 900,000 jobs each month since September of 2008.
          This is the system Barack Obama, or John McCain
          would have found, when they took office. An economy, with it’s build in structural inequities, that had been eroding the Middle Class, and a Federal Govt. that was running unprecedented levels of
          debt, and deficits before the financial crisis. And
          never, ever, has there ever been a severe slow down
          that allowed budgets to be balanced. Why should
          the Right suddenly expect that to happen in the
          worst economy America has seen in over 80 years?
          Why would Right Wing politicos want to cut safety
          net programs in such a poor economy? From a purely economic standpoint, it makes no sense,

          • exdemo55

            The House Republican budget cuts spending by $5.1 trillion over the next ten years. It targets wasteful Washington spending and reforms the drivers of the debt.

            This budget stops spending money we don’t have. A balanced budget will foster a healthier economy and help create jobs. This will ensure the next generation inherits a stronger, more prosperous America.

            House Budget Committee | April 2014 5

            Key Components of the House Republican Budget:

            Protect the Nation

            The first job of the federal government is to protect the country from threats at home and abroad. Whether defeating the terrorists who attacked this country on September 11, 2001, deterring the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, or battling insurgents who would harbor terrorist networks, the men and women of the United States’ military have performed superbly. This budget rejects the President’s additional cuts to national security. It provides the best equipment, training, and compensation for their continued success. It also keeps faith with the veterans who have served and protected the nation.

            Expand Opportunity

            Though not sufficient by themselves, federal policies can help foster a stronger economy. This budget seeks to equip Americans with the skills they need in a 21

            st-century economy and to create jobs through long-overdue tax reform. Both reforms work off the same principle: The American people know their needs better than bureaucrats thousands of miles away.

            Strengthen the Safety Net

            This budget applies the lessons of welfare reform to other federal-aid programs. It gives states more flexibility to tailor programs to their people’s needs. It gives those closest to the people better tools so they can root out waste, fraud, and abuse. Finally, it empowers recipients to get off the aid rolls and back on the payroll. By enlisting states in the fight against poverty, this budget builds a partnership between the federal government and our communities. Although this budget does not lay out a full welfare-reform plan, it takes steps toward reforming these programs to encourage work, to increase economic growth and jobs, and to preserve the safety net.

            Secure Seniors’ Retirement

            This budget protects and strengthens Medicare for current and future generations. It also requires the President and Congress to work together to develop a solution for Social Security. This budget recognizes that the federal government must keep its word to current and future seniors. And to do that, it must reform these programs.

            Restore Fairness

            The administration’s uncontrolled, wasteful spending in combination with an overzealous regulatory agenda has weakened an anemic economy and hurt job creation, especially for small businesses. To restore fairness and vitality to our economy, this budget ends cronyism; eliminates waste, fraud, and abuse; reforms the regulatory state; and returns the federal government to its proper sphere of activity.


          • charleo1

            That, my friend is a lot of hooey. It’s the same wet
            tongue, spit swap, the Right Wingers always have
            ready for their Plutocratic Johns. It worsens income
            inequality, promotes the same failed top down,
            approach, to economic prosperity, you just got thru blaming Obama for. It’s an immoral document, that
            fortunately will never see the light of day. Restore
            fairness? Now that’s a hoot!

          • exdemo55

            History has proven it works every time. It worked for John Kennedy in 1962 and it woked for Ronald Reagan in 1980. If you are willing to face the truth go to YOUTUBE and look up Kennedy’s 1962 speech on Taxes.

          • Kurt CPI

            Both of you are true believers. You’ve both spoken truths and untruths, but it’s clear that it’s truth, not beauty, that’s in the eye of the beholder. No question but that education has been dummied down. Just who’s to blame though is a shared indictment. I agree with exdemo55 that the American notion of equality never meant equal distributions of the GDP, but rather equal opportunity to, as he said, succeed or fail and reap the rewards or consequences of individual efforts. But the people at the helm of Republican politics since Eisenhower have not shown me that they have the interests of the general population as the focus of their representative interests. To deny that they support policies that take from the wage-earning class and feather the beds of the upper crust is to bury one’s head in the sand. Still capitalism has yielded great successes and the fruits of capitalism have yielded prosperity for all.
            By the same token, one has to bury their head equally as deep to deny that liberal policies that promise social-equality but require nothing in return haven’t weakened the will of Americans. As a baby boomer, I understand that pre-war Americans, those who preceded the baby boomers, see my generation as the instigators of this sad decline in all of the ethics of self-respect and self-reliance that is so sadly vacant in the common sensibilities of today. As with any progressive disease of self-abuse, it’s unlikely that a recovery will occur until we hit that proverbial state of “rock-bottom”.
            We need regulated capitalism, we need consequences for bad behavior including sloth. We need compassion for those who truly, through no fault of their own, need some help. And when there are too many of those in need, we need to find out why and fix the problem – not just throw more money and hope it will go away – that never works. I’m all for lower corporate taxes – but only for corporations that manufacture on US soil using US raw materials and employ US workers. I’m all for helping my neighbors who are sick, injured, or become unemployed. But I’m not for financing generations of people who choose to take only because it’s given.
            There’s good and bad, right and wrong in both philosophies. And in both cases, the good that both philosophies have to offer becomes lost and corrupt in the politics of selling them. In both cases, granting more power to the government will lead only to more manipulation and corruption – that’s a given.

          • exdemo55

            You seem to be someone that could have a civil conversation. Normally on this site you get only name calling, insults, and hate speech.

          • Kurt CPI

            Ya, I get a lot of that 🙂

          • charleo1

            Just how does a budget balanced by cutting programs, and services that help the Middle Class,
            and working poor, foster a healthier economy, and
            create jobs? When jobs are created by consumers.
            Presumably, the same consumers that Mr. Ryan
            wants to balance the budget, and, also expects to
            buy in large enough quantities, business have to expand to keep up with all the demand. That’s the
            stupidest God Damn way of growing an economy,
            I’ve ever heard a supposedly educated man suggest.
            The second claim about regulations is equally as
            ignorant. In a era when a deregulated Wall Street put
            the economy in danger of collapse. And a deep water
            oil rig exploded, and poured 10s of millions of barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Or a chemical
            tank, not inspected since 1992, develops a leak, and
            pollutes the drinking water for thousands of West Virginians. Only an idiot, or a sold out politician would
            continue to call for an aggressive, unspecified, deregulatory regimen. To restore fairness, and vitality? Who’s? These are not policies that help small business. They are a corporate wish list to increase their bottom line, at the expense of everyone else.
            An accurate description of Ryan’s budget, come to
            think of it. No sir! The Federal Government is in it’s
            proper sphere of activity.

          • exdemo55

            Why did the middle class thrive and have more money under Reagan?

            The Reagan expansion years marked a period of economic progress for middle class Americans. Middle class income increased 11 percent after adjustment for inflation, while nearly 20 million new jobs were created. Nonetheless, there are those, such as Secretary Reich, who have attempted to portray the 1980s as a period of economic hardship and decline for most Americans.

            This paper will rely on data from the Census Bureau to analyze the income growth of the 1980s. The evidence shows that the percentage of households in the low income category declined during the 1980s, while the proportion of high income households increased. Furthermore, while the middle class shrank as a share of all households, the reason for this is upward, not downward, mobility.

            Middle Class “Shrinking” Upward

            The graph below shows the percentage of all households in low, middle, and high income categories. During economic decline, household income tends to fall, while during economic progress, household incomes tend to increase. The 1982-89 expansion conforms to the expected pattern of income growth during an economic upturn.

            The percentage of households in the low income category dropped during the 1980s. This group comprised 27.5 percent of all households in 1980, 28.5 percent in 1982, and only 25.3 percent by 1989. As a share of all households, the proportion of those with low incomes became less prominent by the end of the 1980s.

            Meanwhile, the percentage of households with incomes over $50,000 jumped from 17.6 percent in 1980 and 1982, to 23.5 percent in 1989. This remarkable increase in the proportion of high income households is another sign of solid income growth.

            Notice how the strong upward mobility has affected the middle category. This group comprised 55 percent of all households in 1980, 53.8 percent in 1982, and 51.1 percent by 1989. In this one sense, the middle class did indeed shrink during the 1980s. Is this good or bad?

            If the middle class shrinkage had resulted from massive income losses resulting in expansion of the low income group, it would clearly signal that something was seriously wrong. However, a review of the data shows that the reverse was happening. Income gains were pushing a greater proportion of middle class households into the high income category. Of the 4 percentage point reduction in the middle class percentage between 1980 and 1989, all of it is accounted for by net upward movement into the high income category.


            Liberal critics of the 1980s who argue that the middle class withered are half right for the wrong reasons. The proportion of middle class Americans did indeed decline, but this reflected an upward movement of households into the high income category. Meanwhile, the proportion of low income households declined, as more became middle class. The income growth of the Reagan years boosted the fortunes of Americans at all income levels.

          • charleo1

            The Middle Class had more money under Reagan,
            because, for one thing, they were in better shape in
            1980, than in 2008. Reagan also did two things that are an anathema to today’s ultra conservative, anti-govt. zealots. He expanded the size of the Federal Govt. by 260,000 workers. Borrowed heavily, and increased the Federal deficit to inject money into the economy. Doubled the military budget. Instructed the Fed to start the money presses, and lowered interest rates for home mortgages, and cut the top marginal tax rate by 20%. All things the Carter Administration declined to do, for fear of reigniting inflation. By contrast, President Obama inherited an economy far weaker, and with a lot less tools in his
            belt to set the economy of 2008 back on course.
            For one thing, interest rates were already near zero.
            The Country had suffered a tremendous shock to
            both it’s financial sector, and the confidence needed
            by the private market to invest, lenders to advance
            credit, or wholesale retailers to order inventory.
            And the economy that suffered the collapse of the
            housing bubble, the one President Obama had to
            deal with, had been losing economic steam for
            decades. More than 10 million manufacturing jobs
            between 1998, and 2002, had been outsourced to the cheap labor of China, Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka,
            etc. And 39 of the 50 States were facing fiscal bankruptcies, due to a recession that had obliterated revenue streams. Highly dependent on
            the sales, and transfers of real estate properties.
            License, and title fees, and other taxes collected
            on sales of automobiles, and other chattel requiring
            registration. Add to that their share of somewhere
            between 10, and perhaps as many as 20 million
            people suffering slow downs, or outright lay offs.
            And you’ve got yourself, one big f*ing mess.
            That’s why I get more than a little perturbed, when
            I read statements like, “Well, he promised to restore
            the Middle Class, and he hasn’t.” It’s total bullshit.
            He said we need to restore the Middle Class, by
            first of all not attempting to balance a budget that
            first was, first hammered by the loss of our manufacturing base, followed by a terrorist attack,
            and a bailout of the airline industry. Two very large
            tax cuts, skewed to the rich, the addition of two hugely expensive public programs. The Homeland Security Bureau, and the addition of the drug benefit to Medicare, two wars, a bank bailout, and
            every penny of all this, unfunded. Every penny
            borrowed. Then, Obama gets the shittest economy
            in 85 years, and now he’s supposed to balance
            the budget, find jobs for 20 million people. With the f*ing Republicans, parading around like idiots, responsible for near every bit this crap. Hollering
            Stop the spending! Stop the spending!

          • exdemo55

            Of all the distortions perpetrated at the Democratic National Convention, the
            worst was claiming that the economic circumstances under which President Barack
            Obama took office were not the worst since the Great Depression.

            In fact, the problems Obama inherited pale in comparison to the problems
            President Ronald Reagan inherited. Beside double-digit unemployment, high
            interest rates and inflation, Social Security was bankrupt and we were losing
            the Cold War. With diplomats being held hostage abroad, Reagan faced a hostile
            Congress and a hostile press. As if he didn’t have enough problems, air traffic
            controllers challenged the new president with an illegal strike within days of
            him taking the oath of office.

            Unlike Obama’s self-serving Armageddon economic propaganda, Reagan calmed our
            fears by embracing the worth of individuals and extolling American ingenuity in
            his inaugural speech, saying, “The crisis we are facing today does not require
            of us the kind of sacrifice that … so many thousands of others were called
            upon to make. It does require, however, our best effort, and our willingness to
            believe in ourselves and to believe in our capacity to perform great deeds; to
            believe that together, with God’s help, we can and will resolve the problems
            which now confront us. And, after all, why shouldn’t we believe that? We are

          • charleo1

            You are so full of it. Stay in school! Not in school?
            Take up number painting, or something.

          • exdemo55

            In 1999, liberals were bragging about extending affirmative action to the financial sector. Los Angeles Times reporter Ron Brownstein hailed the Clinton administration’s affirmative action lending policies as one of the “hidden success stories” of the Clinton administration, saying that “black and Latino homeownership has surged to the highest level ever recorded.” Meanwhile, economists were screaming from the rooftops that the Democrats were forcing mortgage lenders to issue loans that would fail the moment the housing market slowed and deadbeat borrowers couldn’t get out of their loans by selling their houses. A decade later, the housing bubble burst and, as predicted, food-stamp-backed mortgages collapsed. Democrats set an affirmative action time-bomb and now it’s gone off. In Bush’s first year in office, the White House chief economist, N. Gregory Mankiw, warned that the government’s “implicit subsidy” of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, combined with loans to unqualified borrowers, was creating a huge risk for the entire financial system. Rep. Barney Frank denounced Mankiw, saying he had no “concern about housing.” How dare you oppose suicidal loans to people who can’t repay them! The New York Times reported that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were “under heavy assault by the Republicans,” but these entities still had “important political allies” in the Democrats. Now, at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars, middle-class taxpayers are going to be forced to bail out the Democrats’ two most important constituent groups: rich Wall Street bankers and welfare recipients. Political correctness had already ruined education, sports, science and entertainment. But it took a Democratic president with a Democratic congress for political correctness to wreck the financial industry Democrat Libs caused the financial collapse Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt Former Senior Policy Advisor U.S. Department of Education

          • exdemo55

            The republican congress under Clinton did a good job controlling spending, admittedly under Bush they spent way too much and were subsequently tossed out of control. But then the Demos came in and quadrupled down on spending.
            Tax cuts are always good, did you watch Jonh Kennedy’s 1962 speech on youtube yet?

          • charleo1

            Tax cuts that blow huge holes in the budget, enacted
            on blind political ideology, are irresponsible, and stupid. And that bit of Armageddon propaganda?
            You’re done talking about that, aren’t you? You’re
            a lot of what’s wrong with the participation process.
            They’ve taught you this story than exonerates the
            Right Wingers, while making the Democrats the villain.
            But it’s pure bunk. It’s propaganda, exactly like your
            assertion it was President Obama’s “Armageddon,”
            like description of the economic crisis. Juxtaposed
            against Reagan’s rosy, “can do,” shinning city on the
            hill contrivances. Which you obviously believe will
            turn around anything. Including the collapse of the
            world’s largest economy’s financial sector. As far as
            Democrats,”forcing,” Republicans to do anything,
            be it Fannie Mae, or Freddy Mac, or anything else.
            The Republican Party controlled Congress for the
            last 6 years of the Clinton Administration. And the
            first 6 years of the Bush Administration. There was
            no forcing Republicans. It’s more like, they screwed
            up, and now lack the internal fortitude to stand up, and take any responsibility for the mess. And you are willing to ignore the facts, and allow them to do it. Do you feel any sense of civic responsibility as a citizen, to educate yourself, and learn the truth?

          • exdemo55

            The difference between Conservative Government and a Socialist Government (that of the American Left) when shaken down to its raw essentials will make, or break, the United States of America.

            The American Democrat Party, which is, in truth, the socialist party, does not see it that way. Actually they do see it that way, but the problem they have is that they cannot exist under a Constitutional government in the US. Freedom and Socialism cannot exist in the same place, much like “Matter” and “Anti-Matter”. And therein lies the problem, which is rotting away at the foundation of the United States.

            Let me see if I can break it down a bit more:

            Under a Constitutional government, the power of the government is limited. Limited government allows the citizens to rule their country.

            Under the Socialist brand of government, sometimes called an “Administrative state”, citizens do not rule their country, bureaucrats do, and with them the elite intellectuals. At least THEY think they are elite!

            The United States was founded as a free country. Its citizens were autonomous. They were free. The US had a free economy. That was the way the designers of this land, the Founding Fathers, planned it. And it worked… right up to the dawn of “Socialism in American” during the reign of, and as the direct results of actions taken by, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It has been downhill for America ever since.

            Socialism is a creeping disease. It is quiet and deadly. It offers much and deliver almost nothing.

            Simply put, Socialism is a trade off. A people must give up freedom for security. It is just that simple. IF you would be a free people, then you cannot allow socialism, in any form, in your country’s government. If, on the other hand, you wish to be secure, from want and fear, then you absolutely MUST give up your freedom. That is the choice.

            The American Left is the driving force behind socialism in America. Lets be clear: Socialism is anti-American.

            The Founding Fathers did not give us a socialist state; they gave us a Representative Republic. America is NOT a Democracy as you may have been taught in school. America is a representative republic.

            Look… Americans , indeed, human beings, are not equal. A stroll down any beach, on a hot summer day, will give the lie to that! And the Founding Fathers knew that. That was not what they meant when they noted in “The Declaration” that “all men are created equal”. They were referring to those inalienable rights, and natural rights, which are the endowment of all mankind as a gift from our Creator. So they set about designing a form of government, which would balance freedom and equality in a state, which would allow both. That was a near impossible task, if not entirely impossible. But they made a grand attempt at it and it worked right up ’til the FDR Administration.

            You see, under the original Constitution, the people of the United States were, indeed, a free people. We were autonomous. And… WE were sovereign. The Government was created, by the Founding Fathers, to be a servant of the people of the U.S. Roosevelt and the American Left didn’t see it that way and they began to change it. There had been, previously, a contract, a covenant, if you will, between the American people and the American government under which the American people would grant the American government certain powers… while at the same time granting themselves certain rights. The government had no power of it’s own, All government power was derived from the people and the government could grant themselves none.

            But Roosevelt, and the American Left, changed that. The Left decided the agreement, the contract, if you will, between the people of the US and their government was backwards. They decided that instead of the people deciding the powers granted to the government, the government would grasp power and the government would decide the limits of the people’s freedom and the sovereignty of the people! No longer would the people dictate to the government. Now, the government dictates to the people. The government is no longer OF the people. It is run, and ruled over, by bureaucrats and intellectual elites who know better, what you need and want, than you do! What we have today is a government running this country, which has never stood for election… ever! The elected officials are simply shills of that shadow government of bureaucrats and intellectuals who actually pull the strings, and push the buttons.

            It takes very little thought and consideration to see that this form of government is absolutely NOT what the Founding Fathers wanted, and planned, for this country.

            In effect, what we have had in this country is a coup-de-tat, American Style!

            To put it plainly, the US government has been hi-jacked!

            Those Americans, my age, look around us and we do not recognize this socialist state, this welfare state, this “nanny state”. It certainly is NOT the America of our youth, where a man was free to be what he wanted and to suffer the consequences of bad decisions, and bad choices, as well as good decisions and good choices.

            Equality was understood to mean Equality of Endowment by the Creator. Not equality of social status, of income, of education, of well, the modern day list goes on and on. Each time a rule, or law, was passed to make society more equal… somebody lost. Americans lost. What did we lose? Freedom is what we lost.

            The American Left has decided they are the elite Americans who know, better than you, how you should live your life, worship your God, do your job, enjoy your vacation, build your house, drive your car, get an education, which doctor you visit, which hospital you select, even to the last detail of how you groom your lawn, or whether you can fly a US flag outside the home you THINK you own! The American Left is into every aspect of your daily life. Because they are convinced that you and I, the rabble, the “great unwashed”, are not capable of taking care of ourselves. No one is required to be responsible for his or her actions anymore. It is now understood that when someone commits a heinous act, it is not the perpetrator’s fault! That is a part of the bargain struck with the American Left.

            The American Left simply seized the power as a “Beneficent Dictator”. And Americans allowed it; indeed some welcomed it with open arms! (The slow-witted among us, the least ambitious among us, those who sought to milk the system for every dime they could, and of course, those who sought power for themselves in the New American Socialism.)

            What Americans forgot was… that dictators, beneficent or otherwise, take your freedom! A dictator cannot exist in a free environment. Today’s America has become content to allow “others” to govern us, to rule over us. We know longer believe ourselves capable of ruling ourselves.

            The Great Ronald Reagan, in a speech he made in 1964, said the following:

            “It doesn’t require expropriation or confiscation of private property or business to impose socialism on a people. What does it mean whether you hold the deed or title to your business or property if the government holds the power of life and death over that business or property? Such machinery already exists. The government can find some charge to bring against any concern it chooses to prosecute. Every businessman has his own tale of harassment. Somewhere a perversion has taken place. Our natural, inalienable, rights are now considered to be dispensation of government, and freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp, as it is at this very moment!”

            And THAT, dear reader was in 1964!

            The American left is slick. They have packaged themselves as loving, tolerant, do-gooders, who seek only to make your life easier and to make, and keep, you secure. You needn’t worry about a thing ’cause they have it covered! Americans have bought it… hook, line, and sinker. At least those of the baby boom generation have.

            Those of us born before World War Two experienced the actual loss of our country. We slipped though the Public School System ahead of the changes, which “dumbed down an entire generation of American kids” while stoking their self-esteem. We came out the other side of the American education system aware of the value of a free country. The baby boom generation did not. It is entirely the product of the American Left.

            Today, the New American Socialism reigns supreme. The result? A nation in decline! A nation, having not yet reached its zenith, has sold its birthright to the devil. Now, America is reaping, what it has sown.

            We are quickly becoming a second rate power. Our citizens are among the least educated in the world. We no longer have an economy based on research, development, and manufacturing, we have only a “service economy”. We service that which others build! Our society is quite likely the most amoral society on earth. It has been said that if God, Himself does not destroy us, then HE owes an apology to Sodom and Gomorrah! Yes, we, America, have/has become the kind of country to which we used to send missionaries!

            Oh, yeah, that Baby Boom Generation, the American generation “dumbed down” but filled with carefully stoked self-esteem… well, they ran, head long, into reality. And… they folded like a cheap suit!

            Like a virulent cancer the American Left’s brand of socialism is eating away the bedrock of America. It is relentlessly chewing away at the fabric of what was once the greatest nation on earth. Socialism, like the evil that it is, lies. All the promises of “paradise on earth” are all lies.

            America has bought the Big Lie. The price was freedom. America is no longer free. America is, once again, only a dream in the restless night of those of us who knew her when she was “that bright shining city on a hill”. Like Camelot, it was only a passing, ethereal, grandiose, dream. A dream the American Left has turned into a nightmare.

          • charleo1

            Now I know how a doctor must feel, when he
            opens up a patient that is eat up with cancer.
            There is really no hope for you I’m afraid. Unless
            your heroes are able to completely enact 100%
            of their agenda. Which is highly unlikely. Or your monitory worth is at least 10 million. Again, highly
            unlikely. Yeah I know you throughly enjoyed the
            Gipper’s speech, where Medicare was going to
            end freedom. I wonder how many Republicans,
            T-Party Patriots, or States Rights, Federalists,
            sent back their Medicare cards last year? The big
            lie is, the Conservative Right gives a damn about
            freedom, free markets, Civil Rights, or that small
            Federal Gov. they keep talking about, when they’re
            not in charge of the Gov. But, never bring it up
            when they are. You lament America’s loss of
            power, the disintegration of the Middle Class, but
            have no idea how it was created, or why it’s
            evaporating right before our eyes. You allow the
            Republican Party, which has never held itself to
            account for anything, go their merry unaccountable
            way. Blaming this person, that President, “The
            Socialist Left.” Even the American people are blamed. But themselves? No Sir! They were never around when the shit hit the fan. No, they were trying to warn people, but the God Damn Democrat Party, tied their asses up in the basement of the Capitol, or some such ridiculous excuse. Don’t like Socialism? Then make a video of yourself sending your fuc*king Medicare Card back to the Gov. And post it on You-Tube. Otherwise, you’re just another hypocrite Right Winger, cussing the Federal Gov. While personally benefiting from exactly the things you piss and moan
            about all the time. Go ahead! Post it You-Tube, and I’ll take back everything I think about you being just another run of the mill, lying fool for the Plutocracy.

          • exdemo55

            Has any U.S. President ever been re-elected based on blaming his predecessor throughout his entire first term? Just look at everything Obama has said over the past few years:

            “I love listening to these guys give us lectures about debt and deficits. I inherited a trillion dollar deficit. We had a surplus. They turned it into a did he sit, built in a structural deficit that extends for decades.”

            “We inherited a trillion dollar deficit, we signed $2 trillion of spending cuts into law. I laid out a detailed plan for a total of $4 trillion of deficit reduction.”

            “My opponent won’t admit it, but even when you count the steps we took to prevent a depression and jump start the economy, right, so, you include the recovery, all the stuff we did to help states like Maryland-”

            And perhaps most importantly: If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.

            “He’s been in office now for 1200 and some days and he is still blaming George W. Bush nearly day and on many occasion, more than — he’s look a cuckoo clock. George Bush, George Bush, George Bush. Every hour on the hour, George Bush. He’s used the inherited excuse over and over again. Not my fault, not my fault. Must be 1:00,” Glenn said.

            “His surrogates have used it over and over and over again on each of those days. It’s possible that we have heard this excuse from this administration with all of its different forms and all of its different messengers about 10000 times. It is absolutely possible that that’s about how many times you say a line often enough and people start to believe it and, yet, people don’t believe it.”


            “Has any U.S. President ever been reelected based on blaming his predecessor throughout his entire first term? Has any President ever been reelected who said, four years later, It’s his fault? This is just incredible.”

            “The other issue with what you just heard is it’s just a pack of lies. Now, I realize that most Americans don’t believe or don’t want to believe that their President would just come out and blatantly lie to their faces, but the effect is – and this is one of the things that separate the men from the boys, the weaklings from the cowards – is when you have the truth, no matter how ugly it is, no matter how much you don’t want to agree with it, the truth is the truth and as much as we don’t want to believe the President would blatantly lie the to our face, the President is lying to us and he’s not the first. You have Nixon that lied to us. You have, you know – you have poor dear old Clinton who lied to his wife and lied to us.”

            “Now, can any rational American accept what he is saying here? Because we’re not talking about an affair with some intern I did not have – we’re talking about I did not raise this $5 trillion deficit. I didn’t do it. Now, you did and it’s math. We’re not having to look for cigars or stains. It’s math. He’s been saying that he’s spending money at the slowest rate in 60 years. That’s incredible. The debt when Bush left office was $10,626,000,000. Bush increased it by $5 trillion in eight years. This program was strongly opposed to the debt and the deficit. The out of control spending, strongly against the out of control spending and named names and were held – we’re holding the feet of George Bush, his administration, on this issue to the fire almost every day, to the expense of listenership because when the election started, nobody wanted to hear it.”

            “So, what’s the bottom line on the debts these two Presidents have rung up? I can’t believe we’re actually having to spell this out for Americans. Bush ran up an average of $410 billion deficit spending per year. Obama is running up an average of $1.413 trillion per year. Again, one of these numbers is bigger than the other. Bush, $410 billion deficit spending, out of control. As President Obama said, it’s unpatriotic, it’s unAmerican at $410 billion a year. Obama, $1.413 trillion a year. Hum. So, that’s just a tad more than a trillion dollars more than Bush.”

            ” Numbers don’t lie but politicians do.”

            “Here’s some other staggering facts that the American people are now starting to get their arms around and there’s no way to blame anybody else,” he continued. “The real U.S. budget deficit in 2011, the real budget deficit in 2011 would have been $5 trillion if it weren’t for Obama, you know, using all of the crafty mathematics accounting techniques that you and I would go to jail for. Now, it’s not – it’s not just him. Bush used those same crafty – this is a politician thing. However, that’s what allows him to spin the numbers. The real deficit was $5 trillion in 2011. If you can’t cook the books, if they did the budget the way you have to do it, the way I have to do it, in one year we were another $5 trillion in the hole. At this point the Federal Reserve is essentially monetizing most of the U.S. national debt. For example, Federal Reserve bought up approximately 61% of all the government debt issued by the U.S. Treasury department during 2011. Think of that. Where are they getting that money? How do they possibly have enough money to do that? The Federal – the Federal Reserve has enough money to lend the largest debtor and the largest spender in global history? Wow, that’s a sweet business. They’re – they must be thrifty. They must be saving their pennies for a very long time. The amount of money that the Federal Government gives directly to persons under Barack Obama has increased by 32%. That’s why they’re confident that you will vote for him. Today an astounding 49.1% of Americans live in a home where at least one person receives benefits from the government, almost half of us. Shockingly, 48% of all Americans are either considered to be low income or living in poverty under Barack Obama. Not George Bush, under Barack Obama. 48% of us are living in poverty? Real median household income has decreased $4,300 since Obama took office. Your salary is getting lower and they’re depreciating the money at the same time. There are now over 46 million Americans on food stamps. There were 32 million when Bush left office, this apparently a good and healthy thing for the Obama team, since they’re running commercials to try to ad to that total.”

            “When George Bush left office, the average price of gasoline was $1.85. Today it’s 3.59. Housing prices are down 35%. Official unemployment rate has been positive above 8% for 40 straight months. There are 88 million working age Americans that are currently not employed and are not looking for a job. That’s an all-time high.”

            “I could go on and on. Obama can and will go on and on blaming George Bush for all of these numbers another 10000 times if you let him, but it won’t change the facts that Americans are waking up and there’s no way to deny it. We’re worse off than we were four years ago, much, much worse and he’ll try to convince us, he’ll try to tell us that this time, this time, with another four years, this time it will be better, this time, if he doesn’t get it done in seven years, well, then it will be time for a change. ”

            “Please, Mr. President, spare your breath.”

          • charleo1

            Obama was also the first President besides FDR, reelected with an unemployment rate over 8%. So,
            what do you think about that? It seems to me a
            lot of voters realized it would be unrealistic to
            expect such a mess to be cleaned up in 4 years.
            And, people are not as dumb as to believe this
            mess wasn’t going to cost a lot of money. Which
            anytime 20 million jobs are lost, these laid off
            workers are not paying monies into the Gov. They
            are receiving benefits from the Gov. As I mentioned,
            most of the States were in terrible shape. But, this
            very consequential circumstance, you seem to have
            dismissed it as unimportant. Or had not considered it at all. You point out how ridiculous you believe it
            is for Obama to point out these bills made during
            the previous administration, are now due. But,
            you’re trashing the man for spending money, that’s
            going to pay down the bills Bush left on the books.
            He should what? Keep his mouth shut? You know,
            you really believe some very strange things. But,
            then I thought, you’re an elderly person. And I
            should take that into consideration. The world you
            remember. The one you probably think still exists. Is actually recreated for you by Fox News, and an assorted group of professional advocates. They
            insert words into their messages, their polling data
            tells them you like to hear. Words like freedom, or
            liberty. Democrats are always the tax, and spend
            Party, right? Until you look at the numbers. Over the last 4 decades, it’s been Republicans. The fact
            that they refuse to raise money for their proliferate
            spending, and subsidies to wealthy corporations.
            And would rather deficit spend, than spend less,
            or raise the taxes to pay for it. Doesn’t make them
            heroes, when they come prowling around the lower
            incomes, looking for a way to finance their gifts to
            some of the richest companies, and people in the
            world. It makes them bullies. Why should Obama
            turn to Middle Class families, and ask them to pay
            down the debt by paying higher taxes, cutting
            education, making due with less. when Republicans
            won’t ask their constituents for another dime? And,
            that’s another reason Obama was reelected. Don’t
            talk to a Republican about fairness. It’s obvious they
            know it’s not fair, what they are proposing. It’s
            also obvious they don’t care if it’s fair or not.

          • exdemo55

            The 12 years of Republican Congressional control, they were winnies and were afraid to fix Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac because they didn’t want to be accused of being racists. Which is what demos do whether they did anything or not. So, the housing and banking markets collapsed And the Demos blame them. Either way the demos attack on false claims. Neat trick, didhonest but neat.

            Democrats set an affirmative action time-bomb and now it’s gone off. In Bush’s first year in office, the White House chief economist, N. Gregory Mankiw, warned that the government’s “implicit subsidy” of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, combined with loans to unqualified borrowers, was creating a huge risk for the entire financial system. Rep. Barney Frank denounced Mankiw, saying he had no “concern about housing.” How dare you oppose suicidal loans to people who can’t repay them! The New York Times reported that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were “under heavy assault by the Republicans,” but these entities still had “important political allies” in the Democrats. Now, at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars, middle-class taxpayers are going to be forced to bail out the Democrats’ two most important constituent groups: rich Wall Street bankers and welfare recipients. Political correctness had already ruined education, sports, science and entertainment. But it took a Democratic president with a Democratic congress for political correctness to wreck the financial industry Democrat Libs caused the financial collapse

          • charleo1

            What a fine little tale! And you know what? I’d be
            willing to bet you, yourself don’t believe it for a second. Why? Because, you’ve already revealed yourself to be too seasoned, and around too long, to swallow such a ridecoulous story. “Republicans were weenies, afraid of being called racist?” Since when have Republicans been intimidated, because some Democrat might call them prejudice? Heck! Since when, would being accused of racism, cause their White, Southern, rural, and Conservative voter base, to not vote for them? Isn’t that some kind of plus, in Republican primaries? I don’t doubt the economist for the White House warned about the Gov. getting in too deep with these quasi gov. agencies. Anyone could could see a huge housing bubble was being created. And everyone involved was getting in over their heads. But the thing is, they were also making incredible amounts of money, As the Fed, instead of putting the brakes on the whole house of cards that was being build. Just kept lowering interest rates, and feeding the fire. And, it wasn’t only the bankers who were cleaning up. Everyone was making a fortune. Banks, real estate speculators, builders, suppliers to builders, house flippers, and homeowners too. I’m not ashamed to say, I wanted to believe it was true. As a homeowner who seen the value of my $200,000 dollar house in S. Florida, skyrocket to $435,000, in just 5 years! But, it was all on paper, of course. Too good to be true, and wasn’t true. But it sure made the economy hum right along while it lasted. People might even excuse the Iraqi invasion, which wasn’t going as promised. And it was costing the Country a fortune. But people will put up with a lot, if the economy is percolating right along. So, would you want to be the politician that got famous for throwing a wet towel on the whole thing? Even if it was the right thing to do? No, on this one, there is plenty of blame to around, on a lot of people, and entities. But, it wasn’t political correctness that motivated the powers that be, to be drawn further, and further out on that financial limb. It was something much more universal to all of us. greed.

          • exdemo55

            Back in the early Clinton years, the big public debate was over Hillary Clinton’s controversial plan to overhaul the healthcare system. But the Clintons had another major agenda item that was hardly noticed at the time: to aggressively promote homeownership for racial minorities.

            Based on a flawed study by the Boston Fed in 1992 (coauthored by an economist friend of Hillary), the Democrats claimed that minority homeownership rates were being held back by “racist” banking practices. The study found that minorities had a higher rejection rate for home loan applications than the general public. Without providing any direct evidence, the authors simply assumed that the underlying cause must be institutional racism in the banking industry.

            Common sense tells us, however, that racist lending practices would backfire and harm no one except the very banks, if any, that engaged in such practices. If some banks were willing to pass up good business opportunities in order to deny loans to minorities, other banks would certainly be more than happy to step in and take the business. And if all white-owned banks were racist, a golden opportunity would exist for wealthy minorities (or non-racist whites) to open banks in under-served areas and do a booming business with little effort. Any wealthy entertainer or athlete, such as Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, or any of hundreds of other wealthy athletes, could easily sponsor such a bank, for example. To believe that racist banks can stop qualified minorities from getting loans in this day and age, one must believe that (1) all white-owned banks are racist, and (2) no wealthy minorities (or non-racist whites) are willing to fill the void and make lots of easy money while providing badly needed services to minority communities.

            But the Clintons and many other Democrats apparently believed such economic nonsense. To remedy the alleged racism at banks, they strengthened the “anti-redlining” regulations of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which had originally been passed during the Carter years, and they instituted an aggressive campaign that forced lenders to abandon their established underwriting criteria and drastically lower their standards to accommodate minorities who would not otherwise qualify for a home loan.

            Key figures in the matter were Attorney General Janet Reno and her Deputy, none other than Eric Holder. They aggressively intimidated banks with threats of prosecution, lawsuits, stiff fines, and regulatory roadblocks to expansion and mergers. They paid little attention to actual lending practices and underwriting criteria, focusing instead on the end results in terms of percentages of minority loans approved. It mattered not whether the lenders were actually discriminating on the basis of race or whether minorities in general simply had worse credit histories (statistics show that they do). It was classic “affirmative action” for home loans.

            Reno aggressively prosecuted several banks for “racist” lending practices, and she also encouraged private lawsuits against banks. One such lawsuit was filed against Citibank by a little-known community organizer and civil-rights lawyer named Barack Obama. Other government agencies also embarked on witch-hunts, including the Comptroller of Currency, the President’s Fair Housing Council, and the Inter-agency Task Force on Fair Lending, the latter two having been set up by the Clinton administration specifically to harass banks. They even pressured some banks to open offices in dangerous neighborhoods.

            With the US Attorney General and several other government agencies pressuring them to give more loans to minorities, banks and other lenders had no choice but to figure out ways to lower their underwriting standards. They drastically reduced or eliminated minimum down payments, increased limits on debt-to-income ratio, and started counting unemployment checks and food stamps as “income”! Then there were the infamous “NINJA” loans (no income, no job, no assets — no problem). It was financial insanity run amok — forced on lenders by the authority of the US government.

            Not surprisingly, the reckless lending standards created the largest housing bubble in history. The bubble masked the underlying problem for several years. As long as housing prices were appreciating at a sufficient rate, the problem was not apparent and did not seem particularly urgent, certainly not to the general public. The unqualified buyers who got in early enough did reasonably well. As long as their property value had appreciated sufficiently they could always sell at a profit, or refinance, and not face default and foreclosure. But the unqualified buyers who got in later lost their homes and ended up much worse off than they would have been had traditional, uncoerced banking practices been permitted. It was a classic case of the unintended consequences of bad economic policy — ultimately harming the very minorities it was intended to help.

            In 1995, HUD (The Dept. of Housing and Urban Development) authorized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to purchase mortgage-backed securities that included subprime and other risky CRA home loans. Since Fannie and Freddie are government sponsored enterprises (GSEs), this unprecedented move was widely interpreted by banks and Wall Street as implied government backing of subprime mortgages. Though hardly noticed at the time, this development effectively shifted the liability for loan defaults from lenders to taxpayers. By relieving lenders of financial risk for loan defaults, it strongly encouraged them to give more loans to unqualified applicants. As if all that weren’t bad enough, it also started the whole secondary market for subprime mortgages, which ended with the massive failures and subsequent bailouts of financial giants such as AIG and Citigroup. Had Clinton not started this bogus “investment” policy back in 1995, the massive TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) bailouts in 2008 would have been completely unnecessary.

            Eventually the housing bubble burst, but not until around 2006 or 2007. By 2008 it brought the entire financial system to its knees, and since the Republicans had the White House at that time, the Democrats and the “mainstream” media were able to pin the brunt of the political blame on them. The general public was hardly aware of the historical roots of the problem, and the party in power was assumed to be responsible, as usual. The general public tends to naively assume that the party in power has full control of the economy and is completely unencumbered by existing laws, regulations, and policies that were in place before they were elected. In the case of the subprime mortgage crisis, that was a very bad assumption.

            The Republicans were not completely innocent in the matter, but they were certainly not the driving force behind the subprime mortgage meltdown and the subsequent financial crisis. President Bush promoted legitimate homeownership, but he also caved in to the Democrats’ racial demagoguery and “went along” with their program to some extent. However, when Bush and the Republican Congress tried to actually head off the subprime mortgage crisis before it was too late, the Democrats opposed them fiercely.

            When the Republicans attempted to rein in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2005, for example, the Democrats called them racists, as usual, and thwarted their efforts by filibustering with only 45 votes in the Senate. (A filibuster allows the minority party to block legislation in the US Senate with only 40 of 100 votes.) Hence, the Democrats prevailed even though the Republicans had the Presidency and controlled both house of Congress. But the general public simply assumes that the party in power must be responsible, and the Democrats managed to perpetrate the blatant lie that Republican opposition to stronger regulation was at the root of the problem.

            Democratic Congressman Barney Frank and Democratic Senator Chris Dodd, along with nearly all other Democrats in Congress, opposed the Republicans initiatives to reform Fannie and Freddie, insisting repeatedly that those government sponsored enterprises were in sound financial condition and functioning as intended. Many Democrats claimed that Republicans simply wanted to suppress minority homeownership. It’s all on record, both written and video. Dodd and Frank later became the primary architects of the massive Dodd-Frank banking reform Act that was signed into law by Obama. Yeah, those are the two guys who should be rewriting banking regulations! (Not surprisingly, their reform bill does nothing to reform Fannie and Freddie.)

            Leftists talk about “greedy” banks and “predatory” lending practices, but it was the Democrats who had actually forced banks against their will to recklessly provide home loans to unqualified applicants, many of whom later lost their homes to foreclosure. Before the housing bubble burst, Bill Clinton’s website proudly touted his accomplishments in promoting minority homeownership. After the bubble burst, that material was scrubbed and replaced with material blaming Republicans and banks for the financial crisis and the ensuing major recession. As a community organizer, Barack Obama sued banks to force them to give risky loans to unqualified minorities. Later, as a US Senator, he joined in the Democrats’ filibuster of the Republican attempts to reform the subprime mortgage industry. Yet he has the gall to routinely claim with a straight face that Republicans “drove the economy into a ditch.” That sort of mendacity is perhaps to be expected from politicians, but we certainly don’t have to fall for it.

            The bottom line is that Democrats were the primary architects and the driving force behind the irresponsible banking practices that led to the subprime mortgage meltdown, the financial crisis, and the recession that resulted. But they managed to successfully pin the public blame on Republicans, and Barack Obama was elected as a result. If the Democrats are not finally held accountable in the next election, they will continue to wreck the US economy until it is unrecognizable as a free market, and the days of American prosperity will be over.

          • charleo1

            Well, what you wrote is certainly an indictment that’s
            been made by some on the Right. But, the thing about indictments, they need to be proven out, to be
            of any real value. Except to perhaps cloud the water,
            so as to claim, it wasn’t me! Must have been them
            guys over there! And I have no doubt in the world,
            if the shit had hit the fan while Obama was President,
            they’d find some way to pin the whole thing on him.
            The thing about the CRA from the beginning, clearly
            stated, the law is not a mandate to an institution to
            make risky loans. Ben Bernanke, former head of The
            Federal Reserve, in his report to Congress, that CRA did not significantly contribute to the size of the housing bubble. That in fact, the issuance of the
            majority of the so called sub-prime mortgages were
            sold by private companies, not subject at all to the
            law. Those blaming the law say the government
            applied covert pressure to make loans in inner city,
            and rural communities, as a perquisite to approval
            of large institutions to buy out or merge with other
            banks also covered by the law. Your contention that
            Barack Obama, as a community organizer, and
            lawyer, filed suit to force a bank, or banks to make
            risky loans. I, in good faith will check on it. However,
            it doesn’t jibe with what community organizers were
            doing in relation to the mortgage boom. They were
            actually against this whole business, that was pricing
            low income people out of the rental market. And
            putting them on the street. And I quote here: According to the New York Times, some of these housing advocacy groups provided early warnings about the potential impact of lowered credit standards and the resulting unsupportable increase in real estate values they were causing in low to moderate income communities. Ballooning mortgages on rental properties threatened to require large rent increases from low and moderate income tenants that could ill afford them. Housing advocacy groups were also leaders in the fight against subprime lending in low- and moderate-income communities, “In fact, community advocates had been telling the Federal Reserve about the dangers of subprime lending since the 1990s”, according to Inner City Press. “For example, Bronx-based Fair Finance Watch commented to the Federal Reserve about the practices of now-defunct non-bank subprime lender New Century, when U.S. Bancorp bought warrants for 24% of New Century’s stock. The Fed, rather than take any action on New Century, merely waited until U.S. Bancorp sold off some of the warrants, and then said the issue was moot.” However, subprime loans were so profitable, that they were aggressively marketed in low-and moderate-income communities, even over the objections and warnings of housing advocacy groups like ACORN.

          • exdemo55

            The Acorn scandal, in which amateur journalists posing as a prostitute and a pimp went seeking a mortgage for a house of prostitution and received advice on how to evade the law, is a fitting new chapter in the controversial history of the advocacy group.

            Acorn found its way into the mortgage business through the Community Reinvestment Act, the 1977 legislation that community groups have used as a cudgel to force lenders to lower their mortgage underwriting standards in order to make more loans in low-income communities. Often the groups, after making protests under CRA, were then rewarded by banks with contracts to act as mortgage counselors in low-income areas in return for dropping their protests against the banks. In one particularly lucrative deal, 14 major banks eager to put CRA protests behind them in 1993 signed an agreement to have Acorn administer a $55 million, 11-city lending program. It was precisely such agreements that helped turn Acorn from a network of small local groups into a national player. And Acorn hasn’t been alone. A U.S. senate subcommittee once estimated that CRA-related deals between banks and community groups have pumped nearly $10 billion into the nonprofit sector.

            Given the economic fallout from the long efforts by advocacy groups to water down mortgage lending standards, as well as the controversy surrounding Acorn’s mortgage counseling methods, you would imagine that politicians in Washington would be eager to narrow the scope of the CRA and reduce the leverage that community groups wield under it. But to the contrary, Washington is actually looking to expand the CRA once again.

          • charleo1

            So you say. Look, you’ve got your story of what you
            think happened. The facts say different. But, it’s your story, you like it, and at the end of the day, what does it matter? It does reflect the kind of down
            the rabbit hole world that only exists in Right Wing
            fairy tales. Where two minority Congressmen, one Senator, Chris Dodd, and one Democratic House
            member, Barney Frank. Both of which, chaired no committees, had no President in the WH, and, no Democratically appointed, Attorney General. Didn’t appoint the head of the Federal Reserve, or the SEC. Nor were they able to set the agenda at any of the numerous Congressional oversight panels. But were somehow in this very strange world, were able to block all efforts, by the ruling majority. And then, frighten, and bully, some of the most powerful financial corporations in the world, into issuing what was several trillions in collateralized debt obligations. When neither of these men had
            the final say, as to the compliance of any of these institutions, as to the CRA, or any statute of law.
            And why weren’t these Republicans more vigilant in this topsy turvy land, where up is down, the sun rises in the West, and the poor push the rich around.
            And Republican were petrified as just the thought of someone on the Left calling them racists. So, alas!
            Even though they controlled the Legislative Branch,
            the Executive Branch, and Conservatives held sway,
            on the Highest Court in the land. They were only able to warn their Nation of the coming cataclysm.
            But unable to do a damn thing about it. To me, that
            doesn’t sound like the Washington I know. Or a
            Republican Party I’ve ever witnessed. And you know
            what they say? If it don’t make sense, it’s probably
            not true.

          • exdemo55

            Frank, who in his 16th term in the U.S. House of Representatives, was the highest ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee. In recent years especially, he’s been a prolific fund-raiser, often raising huge sums from the industries that the Financial Services Committee regulates.

            Since 1989, Frank has raised more than $13 million for his campaigns, according to research by the Center for Responsive Politics. About $1 of every $3 he has raised as come from interests within the finance, insurance and real estate sector, according to the Center’s research, or a total of $4.3 million since 1989.

            The securities and investment industry alone has given Frank more than $920,800 — or about 7.5 percent of his total war chest, according to the Center’s research. In every election cycle since 2004, the securities and investment industry has ranked as Frank’s top industry backer.

            Commercial banks, too, have shared their riches with Frank.

            Since 1989, the people and political action committees associated with the commercial banking industry have donated $623,400 to Frank’s campaigns — or about 4.8 percent of his total haul over the years, according to the Center’s research. That’s enough to rank the industry as his No. 5 top all-time backer.

            During the 2008 election cycle, Frank was the top beneficiary among all members of the U.S. House of Representatives from the mortgage banking interests — an industry that includes Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and the Mortgage Bankers Association. (During the 2010 election cycle, he ranked as the third highest beneficiary of the industry.)

            As the chair of the House Financial Services Committee during the 111th Congress, Frank helped shepherd the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009 to President Barack Obama’s desk last year.

            That law is commonly referred to as the Dodd-Frank Act, after Frank and the legislation’s chief sponsor in the U.S. Senate, Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), who chaired the Senate Banking Committee. (Notably, Dodd opted not to stand for re-election last year, and instead, he spun through the revolving door and now serves as the chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, a pivotal player in the film industry lobby in Washington.)

            Frank, who, in 1987, was the first member of Congress to come out as openly gay has also reaped financial rewards from gay rights advocates. The PAC of the pro-gay rights group Human Rights Campaign has donated $76,000 to Frank over the years — enough to rank the group as his No. 5 top organizational backer.

            Additionally, about 22 percent of the money that Frank has raised over the years has come from residents of the Boston metro area, according to the Center’s research.

            He ended the third quarter with $389,600 cash on hand.

          • exdemo55

            Barack Obama prides himself on his career as a community organizer. Back then, he worked for an organization called the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), to which he still has extensive ties. Before digging into Obama’s links to ACORN, it’s important to understand exactly how corrupt and anti-American this organization truly is.
            I’ve dug around through tons of resources online to come up with this collection of information that reveals the vast corruption perpetrated by ACORN. Take a few moments to read through the reports and learn about the organization that created Barack Obama.
            ACORN’s Hypocritical House Of Cards: How One “Community” Group Helped the Housing Crisis Harm Taxpayers (Consumers Rights League):

            This report focuses on the troubling record of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) and its tax-exempt offshoot, the ACORN Housing Corporation (AHC). The ACORN/AHC version of consumer advocacy has consisted of a three-decade assault on free enterprise and a history of extracting resources from financial lenders seeking abatement of ACORN’s public relations assaults. Specifically, this report examines ACORN’s impact on the housing problem. Documents provided by internal whistleblowers, cross-checked with public records and recorded events, expose hypocritical lending recommendations tied to ACORN Housing Corporation’s agreements with major banks–agreements that end up harming consumers.
            Media reports, combined with information provided by former ACORN employees, show that:

            ACORN leveraged the Community Reinvestment Act in order to attack lenders’ reputations and secure financial resources for itself; it has also endorsed loans offered by companies that fund ACORN operations

            ACORN’s decades of lobbying and publicity seeking have contributed to the current housing crisis by lowering lending standards

            Despite raking in a troubling 40 percent of its revenue from taxpayers over the last three years, ACORN Housing Corporation’s actions range from controversial to borderline illegal:

            AHC has worked to obtain mortgages for undocumented workers

            AHC relies on undocumented income, “under the table” money that may not be reported to the Internal Revenue Service

            ACORN’s “financial justice” operations attack lenders for “exotic” loans, but AHC has recommended ten-year interest-only loans (which deny equity to the buyer) and reverse mortgages (which can be detrimental to senior citizens)

            AHC may have violated federal law by failing to maintain a proper distinction between its tax-exempt housing work and the aggressive political activities of ACORN

          • charleo1

            You do know AACORN no longer exists? I informed you in my last post, and you didn’t check. You also
            must know the trumped up, IRS scandal, was about
            these so called non-profits organizing themselves
            as political PACs and requesting tax exemption, as charitable entities? Characterized as Obama using
            the IRS to go after his political enemies? Oh, they
            were breaking IRS guidelines for exemption status.
            In all cases but one, (Left Wingers,) it was granted.
            And, surely if they were threatening these banks,
            there must be at least one where they attacked an
            institution’s reputation. Can you produce one?
            Or, the banks always gave in to the threats? Never
            called in authorities to investigate the blackmail?
            Ben Bernanke, a Republican appointee, head of
            the Federal Reserve, never once mentioned this
            or any other advocacy group’s actions as contributing to the financial crisis. I’m sure if he neglected to include such a juicy, and pertinent contributor, someone would call him out on it. Have you found such a response correcting the former Fed Chair?
            So, no banks I’ve ever heard of, slandered by AACORN. Were there names? No correction of the Fed’s report on the causations of the credit crisis. I would like to read a report by credible sources, that are willing to put their hard earned reputation on the line. Stating how this group, or groups threatened lenders. What were they threatening to say about them, and so on. Because anyone can write a report and put in on the internet, and claim anything they want. Also, am I to believe the campaign researchers for John McCain, and Mitt Romney, were so pitiful,
            they never brought out all this damaging material
            on Obama? If true, they would have won, Don’t
            you think? I see Fred Thompson selling reverse
            mortgages on T.V. all the time. Do you think AACORN is threatening him too?

          • exdemo55

            NEW YORK (CNN) – Troubled community organizing group ACORN suffered another setback on Monday, when Bank of America announced it is pulling its funding of ACORN Housing.

            In a statement, Bank of America said that is it “suspending current commitments to ACORN Housing and will not enter into any further agreements with ACORN or any of its affiliates” until it is satisfied that all issues related to the organization have been resolved.

            The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, known as ACORN, has been under investigation by both the Justice and Treasury Department after videos recorded on hidden cameras by conservative activists showed
            employees allegedly giving advice on illegal activities.

            ACORN is also conducting its own investigation through an independent auditor and it says that it has fired the employees involved in the recorded incidents.

            The organization was in the headlines during the recent presidential campaign after allegations of voter registration fraud. Some of its voter registration workers were prosecuted and some other employees resigned.

            Even greater controversy was ignited by the videos, which show some ACORN workers advising two conservative activists – posing as a pimp and a prostitute – how to set up a prostitution business involving underage, foreign girls.

            Bank of America said it “takes recent allegations made against ACORN and ACORN Housing Corporation employees very seriously.”

            ACORN did not immediately respond to a CNN request for comment.

          • exdemo55

            The Fed was in CYA mode:

            Your tax dollars at work: Feds have given ACORN $31 million

            An analysis of federal spending reveals that the vote-fraud specialists known as ACORN have received $31 million in taxpayer funds. ACORN, which is under an FBI investigation for a “coordinated national scam” according to the AP, has also received untold millions from state and local agencies that receive federal block grants.

            “Senator Obama recently said that he doesn’t need ACORN. Well, American taxpayers don’t need ACORN either. They don’t need ACORN’s voter registration fraud, and they no longer need to support ACORN with federal funds,” said Republican House Leader John Boehner. “In conjunction with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and its political allies in the Democratic Party, ACORN also played a key role in creating the financial crisis that ultimately put our entire economy in peril. It’s time for us to stop forcing American taxpayers to fund the ACORN machine.”

            One of the grants to an ACORN affiliate — a Jan. 17, 2007 award to ACORN Associates in New Mexico — appears to encourage the use of risky subprime loans, now viewed by many as a contributing factor in the recent freezing up of international credit markets. The title for the grant? “Education and Outreach Initiative/Subprime Lending Component.”

            Barack Obama and ACORN played a critical role in the mortgage meltdown that precipitated the financial crisis in which we find ourselves. Beginning with community activism that flooded bank lobbies with angry protesters in the seventies and eighties, ACORN’s leverage with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reached a high point under the Clinton administration.

            Another factor working in ACORN’s favor was that its increasing success with local banks turned those banks into allies in the battle with Fannie and Freddie. Precisely because ACORN’s local pressure tactics were working, banks themselves now wanted Fannie and Freddie to loosen their standards still further, so as to buy up still more of the high-risk loans they’d made at ACORN’s insistence. So by the 1993, a grand alliance of ACORN, national Democrats, and local bankers looking for someone to lessen the risks imposed on them by CRA and ACORN were uniting to pressure Fannie and Freddie to loosen credit standards still further.

            At this point, both ACORN and the Clinton administration were working together to impose large numerical targets or “set asides” (really a sort of poor and minority loan quota system) on Fannie and Freddie. ACORN called for at least half of Fannie and Freddie loans to go to low-income customers. At first the Clinton administration offered a set-aside of 30 percent. But eventually ACORN got what it wanted. In early 1994, the Clinton administration floated plans for committing $1 trillion in loans to low- and moderate-income home-buyers, which would amount to about half of Fannie Mae’s business by the end of the decade…
            In June 1995 Clinton and HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros (of Barrett Report fame) announced a comprehensive strategy for dramatically increasing home ownership. ACORN officials were guests of honor at the event. Clinton said, “Our homeownership strategy will not cost the taxpayers one extra cent. It will not require legislation.”

            What he meant was that the unstated partnerships between Fannie and Freddie and groups like ACORN would facilitate mortgages to those “who have historically been excluded from homeownership.”

            As we now know, Clinton’s plan was an utter disaster and cost taxpayers trillions of dollars. And it was around this time in 1995 when Chicago-area advertisements began hawking mortgages to customers with poor credit, few assets and even histories of bankruptcies. ACORN’s role in this disaster is not nearly as well-known as that of Democrats Franklin Raines, Chris Dodd and Barney Frank, but it deserves to be.

            And ACORN doesn’t have its hands in just taxpayers’ pockets. Consider that retired anchorman Tom Brokaw sits on the board of a liberal foundation that has given ACORN nearly a million dollars, presumably to fund its oh-so-pristine voter registration efforts.

            If the economy is running on fumes, why would you turn it over to a Marxist who tacitly supports voter registration fraud, would raise taxes significantly and “spread the wealth around”? And if the country takes additional steps towards socialism — controlling all three branches of government — how could the U.S. ever return to its roots of individual liberty as envisioned by the Framers?

            The answer is to ensure that the crypto-Marxist doesn’t win the election, no matter how many bogus registrations ACORN submits and no matter how much crack cocaine it gives out in exchange for votes.

          • exdemo55

            Case Name
            Buycks-Roberson v. Citibank Fed. Sav. Bank Fair Housing/Lending/Insurance
            Docket / Court 94 C 4094 ( N.D. Ill. ) FH-IL-0011
            State/Territory Illinois

            Case Summary
            Plaintiffs filed their class action lawsuit on July 6, 1994, alleging that Citibank had engaged in redlining practices in the Chicago metropolitan area in violation of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), 15 U.S.C. 1691; the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. 3601-3619; the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; and 42 U.S.C. 1981, 1982. Plaintiffs alleged that the Defendant-bank rejected loan applications of minority applicants while approving loan applications filed by white applicants with similar financial characteristics and credit histories. Plaintiffs sought injunctive relief, actual damages, and punitive damages.

            U.S. District Court Judge Ruben Castillo certified the Plaintiffs’ suit as a class action on June 30, 1995. Buycks-Roberson v. Citibank Fed. Sav. Bank, 162 F.R.D. 322 (N.D. Ill. 1995). Also on June 30, Judge Castillo granted Plaintiffs’ motion to compel discovery of a sample of Defendant-bank’s loan application files. Buycks-Roberson v. Citibank Fed. Sav. Bank, 162 F.R.D. 338 (N.D. Ill. 1995).

            The parties voluntarily dismissed the case on May 12, 1998, pursuant to a settlement agreement.
            Plaintiff’s Lawyers Alexis, Hilary I. (Illinois)
            FH-IL-0011-7500 | FH-IL-0011-7501 | FH-IL-0011-9000
            Childers, Michael Allen (Illinois)
            FH-IL-0011-7500 | FH-IL-0011-7501 | FH-IL-0011-9000
            Clayton, Fay (Illinois)
            FH-IL-0011-7500 | FH-IL-0011-7501 | FH-IL-0011-9000
            Cummings, Jeffrey Irvine (Illinois)
            FH-IL-0011-7500 | FH-IL-0011-7501 | FH-IL-0011-9000
            Love, Sara Norris (Virginia)
            Miner, Judson Hirsch (Illinois)
            FH-IL-0011-7500 | FH-IL-0011-9000
            Obama, Barack H. (Illinois)
            FH-IL-0011-7500 | FH-IL-0011-7501 | FH-IL-0011-9000
            Wickert, John Henry (Illinois)

          • exdemo55

            Trumped Up?

            Last May, Lois Lerner invoked the Fifth during hearings on the Internal Revenue Service. In September, she retired. And just last month, she invoked the Fifth a second time — making clear she has no intention of answering Congress’ questions.

            This week, two committees of Congress will turn up the heat.

            The House Ways and Means Committee will do so today by sending a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder recommending the Justice Department file criminal charges against Lerner.

            The accusations include violating the constitutional rights of American taxpayers by singling out conservative groups for special treatment, making misleading statements to a Treasury investigator and mishandling private taxpayer information.

            On Thursday, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee will vote to hold Lerner in contempt for her refusal to answer its questions. If the vote passes, as it’s expected to do, it will go to the full House. If the House holds Lerner in contempt, it will direct the local US attorney to refer the matter to a grand jury for action.

            In the meantime, a new report from this same committee says the Democratic talking point that the IRS targeted liberal as well as conservative organizations is simply not true. It argues no liberal or progressive groups were specifically targeted.

            It’s too early to say whether any of this will achieve what Americans are really after: holding the woman who headed the IRS division at the heart of this scandal accountable to the people’s elected representatives. Lerner may still refuse. But the price for her refusal has just gone up.

          • charleo1

            Yes, trumped up.It’s what Republicans do, when they don’t run the govt. Personally, I believe it’s because of PTSD after Watergate. Oh sure, they always like to be very uncooperative. And give the impression they are about to really pop the big one. The scandal that will top Watergate, and the Democrat will be forced to resign. The truth is on these PACs requesting tax treatment that’s supposed to be reserved for charities, like the Red Cross, has run amuck, with both sides acquiring status they don’t actually qualify for. Another truth is, our system of justice is based on presumed innocence. Darrell Issa is operating on a system of
            presumed guilt, and baseless statements based on
            what he himself describes as a, “gut feeling.” His
            problem is the same problem Republican led panels
            had with the Whitewater investigation. After months
            of baseless allegations, a special prosecutor, and
            86 million wasted tax dollars later. Just another GOP
            political headhunting operation, waged to soley

          • exdemo55

            Since Barack Obama doesn’t have time to be in D.C. during the intense negotiations over the financial crisis, it’s probably a good thing he really isn’t the chair of the Banking Committee — not that it’s any better that Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) aka “Senator Acorn” is in charge. Besides, as all of you regular readers know, Barack Obama has NO time for the committees that he IS on, even NO time for the subcommittee he chairs but has utterly ignored for two years because, as he admitted in a primary debate, he’s too busy “running for president.”

            Dusted off, here’s my July 23rd story on Obama’s gaffe and related fall-out:


            Yet Another Worrisome “Obamaism”: The Banking Committee Is “My Committee” [UPDATES], July 23, 2008:

            At today’s press conference, Barack Obama said that the U.S. Senate’s banking committee is his committee, which will surely come as a surprise to the chairman of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs committee, Christopher Dodd, an Obama sycophant.

          • exdemo55

            House Financial Services Committee chairman Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) lied to Lou Dobbs on national television the other night but no one seems to have noticed.

            On the May 18 edition on CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) said she was worried about the fact that ACORN and other organizations would “have access potentially to $8.5 billion” in federal funds.

            ACORN, which Bachmann noted has received about $53 million in federal money since the early 1990s, has “a pattern of indictment for voter fraud,” she said. “It’s very concerning. No organization has a right to federal taxpayer money.”

            During the heated discussion that followed, longtime ACORN ally Frank said, “the notion that they’re eligible for $8 billion is nonsense.” A moment later Frank, who appeared last year in one of the group’s promotional videos on YouTube called “ACORN Grassroots Democracy Campaign,” repeated his mantra.

            “But it’s not $8 billion,” he said.

            Bachmann, whose provision blocking ACORN from receiving funding in a recent mortgage reform bill was stripped out at the urging of Frank, has previously said that ACORN and other left-wing advocacy groups could have a shot at pocketing up to $8.5 billion this year.

            She’s correct. I am the researcher who came up with the $8.5 billion figure.

            Let’s break the $8.5 billion down.

            The relevant fiscal provisions are buried deep in the $800 billion-plus stimulus package now known formally as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 or Public Law 111-5 and in the $47.5 billion proposed fiscal 2010 budget for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

            The stimulus legislation originally set aside $5.2 billion that could flow directly or indirectly into the coffers of ACORN and its liberal friends. The $5.2 billion was chopped down to $3 billion in the version of the bill that President Obama signed into law on February 17. The $3 billion consists of $2 billion in funds set aside for the redevelopment of abandoned and foreclosed homes and $1 billion in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG).

            CDBG is good old-fashioned graft. Local politicians of both parties adore CDBG because it is flexible. The program gives them wide latitude when spending grant money and allows local leaders to use federal dollars on local projects that they wouldn’t dream of asking local taxpayers to fund. In the words of Heritage Foundation analyst Brian Riedl, CDBG “serves as little more than a congressional slush fund for favored interests…it funds local projects that local governments would not spend their own tax dollars on.”

            ACORN loves CDBG because it is especially adept at extracting CDBG funds from local governments.

            In addition to the $3 billion available in the stimulus package, the proposed HUD budget for the fiscal year that begins October 1 provides $1 billion for the affordable housing trust fund and $4.5 billion in CDBG funds that could in theory find their way to ACORN and other liberal groups.

            ACORN acknowledged at page 47 of its 2006 year-end report that it expected to be able to receive funds from “a housing trust fund” that would “make funding available for our development program.” The housing trust fund ACORN was hoping for was not enacted until 2008 as part of the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac rescue bill.

            But the funding formula in the legislation enacted called for Fannie and Freddie to contribute to the housing trust fund out of profits, and it doesn’t look like the two government-sponsored enterprises will be able to pay into the fund anytime soon. Adding new money to the fund through the HUD budget is an excellent way to roll out the goodies for loyal supporters in left-of-center political advocacy groups such as ACORN.

            Moreover, as the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s John Berlau wrote on these cyber pages last June 17, there is no guarantee that the trust fund monies will find their way to their intended recipient. The housing trust fund “is almost set up from the beginning to be diverted to purposes other than affordable housing,” he wrote.

            The legislation contains few safeguards to ensure the money is spent on affordable housing and has so many holes in it that “would allow the money to be easily siphoned off to liberal activist groups such as Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) for lobbying and political campaigning.”

            Federal lawmakers have known about ACORN’s unorthodox financial practices, including its use of government resources to promote legislation and its commingling of funds within its network of affiliates.

            A congressional report noted that there was “apparent cross-over funding between

            ACORN, a political advocacy group and ACORN Housing Corp. (AHC), a non profit, AmeriCorp [sic] grantee” that is a major affiliate of ACORN.

            The government-funded AmeriCorps, which promotes public service, suspended AHC’s funding “after it was learned that AHC and ACORN shared office space and equipment and failed to assure that activities and funds were wholly separate.”

            The report noted that, “AmeriCorps members of AHC raised funds for ACORN, performed voter registration activities, and gave partisan speeches. In one instance, an AmeriCorps member was directed by ACORN staff to assist the [Clinton] White House in preparing a press conference in support of legislation.” (“Report on the Activities of the Committee on Economic and Educational Opportunities During the 104th Congress,” Report 104-875, January 2, 1997)

            It’s impossible to figure out where all of ACORN’s money goes. As the Employment Policies Institute noted in a report: “Because it operates a virtual self-contained economy, ACORN entities exchange millions of dollars every year for goods and services. The scant financial documents available for public inspection paint a picture of a spider web of ACORN-run organizations that trade loans, leases, payments, and grants.”

            Congresswoman Bachmann is right to be worried about ACORN getting its hands on federal tax dollars.

            Given its long history of electoral fraud and unorthodox accounting practices it shouldn’t get even a penny of federal money.

          • exdemo55

            The fact is that the roots of this economic crisis go back to the Clinton and
            Carter Administrations , the radical group ACORN, and Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)
            and Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT).

            Here are the facts:

            Under President Jimmy Carter, the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) was
            passed. It required federal financial institutions to encourage banks to give home loans to persons with little credit
            and low income. Economist Russell Roberts said that the CRA played a major
            role in creating the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the U.S.

            Under Bill Clinton, the CRA was expanded and Clinton set targets for
            low-income home ownership at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and
            at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Banks were forced by the federal government to
            provide bad loans to unqualified people.

            Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) is Chairman of the Financial Services Committee in
            the House of Representatives. In 2003, he said of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: “These two
            entities – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – are not facing any kind of financial
            crisis. The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on
            these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.” In the
            late 1980s and early 90s, Frank was engaged in a sexual relationship with Herb
            Moses, who was Fannie Mae’s assistant director of product initiatives! Bill
            O’Reilly exposed Frank’s involvement in the mortgage crisis: YouTube – O
            ‘Reilly – Barney Frank Had Affair with Fannie Mae Exec. Frank looked the
            other way, while our economy was being destroyed by federal policies created in
            Clinton and Carter Administrations. (Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae help
            fund the homosexual agenda.

            In 2008, Freddie gave $20,000 to a Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
            (PFLAG) event; Fannie Mae gave nearly $19,000 to the same event. Freddie has
            donated $125,000 and Fannie donated $80,000 to homosexual groups since 2005.)

            Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) is head of the powerful banking committee in
            the Senate. He and Barney Frank consistently resisted attempts by the Bush Administration to
            closely regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Dodd also got preferential
            treatment from Countrywide on two mortgages. Countrywide was one of the biggest
            subprime providers.

            Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd received thousands of dollars in contributions from Fannie Mae
            and Freddie Mac over the years. Dodd has received $133,900 since 1989; Frank
            received $40,100. (While in the Senate, Barack Obama received $105,849).

            As long ago as 2003, President Bush was
            trying to get the House and Senate to carefully monitor the actions of
            Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. His efforts were rejected by Democrats.

            Obama associates headed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the
            years that the crisis was getting out of control. Obama friend Franklin Raines
            ran Fannie Mae and collected $50 million from it. Obama friend Jamie Gorelick
            worked for Fannie Mae and earned $26 million; Jim Johnson, formerly Obama’s vice
            president search committee chairman, hauled in millions from his work with
            Fannie Mae as CEO.

            ACORN, the socialist group that routinely engages in voter fraud, was
            involved in pushing for risky loans to people with bad credit histories or
            little money for down payments. ACORN intimidated banks in Chicago and elsewhere to give risky
            loans! Obama actually trained ACORN workers when he was a community organizer in
            Chicago! ACORN used provisions of the Community Reinvestment Act to delay or
            halt efforts of banks to merge or expand until they had lowered their credit

            The financial mess we face now was created by Democrats and
            friends of Barack Obama over the past two decades. Yet, President Obama now
            pretends that his economic stimulus package will solve our crisis. What
            we’re now facing is four years of Obamunism – socialism with an Obama

            The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of his
            stimulus package says that his nearly trillion dollar spending bill will do
            little or nothing to create or maintain jobs for the American worker! It will,
            however, enrich groups like ACORN and serve as a piggy bank for state and local
            communities to use for whatever projects they want. The
            money isn’t going for jobs creation but for government projects – including
            paying for sod for the Washington Mall.

          • exdemo55

            If I’m not mistaken, Reagan’s increase in public sector jobs was in the military an area Obama is taking every opportunity to cut.

            Ronald Reagan inherited a U.S. military that had been decimated by the vast cuts under the Carter Administration. America would not have been able to sustain the military operations we now support without Reagan’s rebuilding efforts. The largest military pay raise in history was signed by him. He believed in a strong America and backed that doing what needed to be done to make us safe. Bin-Laden would not have come at us with Reagan in office

          • charleo1

            And you’re a fortune teller & a Neo-Con with your
            very own version of American history. Lovely!

          • exdemo55

            I tell it like it is.

          • charleo1

            Educate yourself, and you will.

    • elw

      Talk all you want, none of the misleading statements or lies helped Romney win and none will help in 2014. Voters will pick who they trust more and if you look at the polls the President and Democrats are in double digit percentage points ahead of the Republicans. Yes most politicians turn and twist the facts, but Republicans win first place in the activity and most people know that. it is why the number of people who call themselves Republicans continues to shrink.

      • exdemo55

        Democrats face serious obstacles as they look to the November elections, with President Obama’s approval rating at a new low and a majority of voters saying they prefer a Congress in Republican hands to check the president’s agenda, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

        Obama’s approval rating fell to 41 percent, down from 46 percent through the first three months of the year and the lowest of his presidency in Post-ABC News polls. Just 42 percent approve of his handling of the economy, 37 percent approve of how he is handling the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and 34 percent approve of his handling of the situation involving Ukraine and Russia.

        Obama receives low marks as Democrats face midterm turnout challenge

        Why the 2014 election is starting to look a lot like the 2010 election

        The Obama coalition is decidedly ‘meh’ on this election.

        Obama’s low rating could be a significant drag on Democratic candidates this fall — past elections suggest that when approval ratings are as low as Obama’s, the president’s party is almost certain to suffer at the ballot box in November.

        Republicans are favored to maintain control of the House, with the focus now on whether they can take control of the Senate. One key question about November is who will vote. Turnout in midterm elections is always lower than in presidential elections, and at this point, key elements of the Republican coalition — namely white voters and older voters — say they are more certain to cast ballots this fall than are younger voters and minorities, two groups that Democrats and Obama relied on in 2008 and 2012.

        • elw

          Oh, please. Repeating what you have already said will not make it true, no matter how often you repeat it, any more then it helped when Romney ran for office.

  • Wanda Schlegel

    For me the statement was true. My insurance didn’t change a bit! No one cared about that except me.

    • Billie

      Same here. It’s exactly the same.

    • Kurt CPI

      This is the same for me, but it also goes without saying. For the majority of working Americans with company health insurance programs, their insurance didn’t change – at least no more than the usual annual changes we’ve all grown to expect.