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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Welcome to “This Week In Crazy,” The National Memo’s weekly update on the wildest attacks, conspiracy theories, and other loony behavior from the increasingly unhinged right wing. Starting with number five:

5: John Fleming

john fleming

Congressman John Fleming (R-LA) — best known for his genuine outrage over a satirical Onion story about Planned Parenthood’s fictional “$8 billion abortionplex” — is apparently still struggling to separate fiction from reality.

During a Tuesday appearance with hate-group leader Tony Perkins, Fleming ranted about the recently approved UN Arms Trade Treaty. According to Fleming, the treaty — which seeks to prevent the sale of weapons to human rights violators and shut down black market arms sales — is actually a liberal plot to repeal the Second Amendment.

“This is a dangerous thing when it comes to the Second Amendment. People need to understand that there is an end-run around the Second Amendment that is available to the Senate and I do think President Obama and others do support this,” Fleming said, clearly not understanding exactly how the Constitution works.

He added that the treaty could prevent parents from spanking their children, speculating, “That could potentially be up for a ratification of a treaty with other nations. So that if you for instance spanked your child, you could be in violation of a UN treaty and a law created as such.”

Only three countries voted against the treaty: Iran, North Korea, and Syria. Based on Fleming’s extreme right-wing platform, the three states make good company for the Louisiana congressman.

  • I believe Tennessee is considering legislation to tie welfare assistance to poor children to school performance. If they don’t meet a specific academic standard they don’t get food stamps!
    Gun control may lead to bestiality? For a while, I thought Republicans were shaken by the election results last year. I am beginning to think some of them are either crazy or Comedy Channel wannabes.

    • Independent1

      Dominick, I think most of them are both: Crazy and Comedy Channel wannabes and then just plain out of it!!

      • Seriously, regardless of what influences their irrational behavior, some of these people are plain dangerous. Consider the number of law enforcement officers that have been gunned down in recent weeks, ostensibly, for enforcing our laws and protecting our communities. I think it is naive to think these are isolated cases. I would not be surprised if these murders are being carried out by members of hate groups, anti-government organizations, and ignorant people consumed by fear and intolerance. Not surprisingly, some Republicans refer to these terrorists as “Patriots”.

        • Independent1

          Your so right! I believe that all the spewing of hate over the past 10 plus years by radio and TV hosts like Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck and the like is not only escalating the level of hate in the minds of many people who are addicted to listening to these folks, but it has reached the level of getting them to act on their hate driven impulses. It’s even reached the point where our elected officials are believing the hate rhetoric and conspiracy theories these right-wing wacks spew.
          To me, something needs to be done to tone down this hate but unfortunately with our constitutional right to free speech it’s going to be hard to do. There are laws against shouting ‘Fire’ where people are enclosed in a hall or theatre; there needs to be a law against expressing too much hate rhetoric on the airwaves and in politically motivated speeches, but having said that, I don’t know how you would fairly determine what is ‘too much hate rhetoric.

          • We may be able to be more proactive if we can establish a link between the murders of so many government (Federal, state and local) personnel and the hate groups. One thing is to express our opinion; murdering law enforcement officers, judges, and elected officials is an entirely different matter.

          • Independent1

            I like your suggestion: ” one thing is to express our opinion”. In thinking about how we might do that “express our opinion”, what seems to be needed is a citizen’s group focused on eliminating hate violence. We have groups that work to reduce gun violence, and motor vehicle deaths created by drunken drivers, and violence against women, etc etc. And as you point out, the killings of law enforcement officers and others whose job it is to protect society have reached the point to really be troubling, such that a group of citizens focused on reducing hate violence needs to be mobilized. Unfortunately, as much as I’d like to see all this hate violence stopped, I’m not really in a position to be of much help: I live in a very rural part of my state with few folks around for me to mobilize.

          • Barbara Morgan

            Do you have a veteran’s hall close to you where maybe you could get people to meet and discuss this, or a library or school gym or a church that would allow you to have such meetings and people that would help you get people to the meeting or meeting?. Also Independent 1 do you phone, email or text people that are your neighbors though they are not close. If you do, do it one person at a time and you can be surprised by how many people you can mobilize. You mobilize one ask that one to mobilize another and so on

          • I agree with you. These right-wing whack-jobs present a clear and
            growing danger to our Republic. But I can not see curtailing the
            freedom of speech,to solve the problem. That would only play into
            their hands. If the hate they spew, could be directly tied to acts
            of domestic terrorism, then Right-wing-nuts like Limbaugh and his
            buddy Hannity, could be held criminally responsible.

            How to determine how much rhetoric is too much? I am not sure. But a
            start might be, to compare the uptick in violence to the increase in
            the rhetoric of hate. Still that would not be enough to
            override the freedom of speech. It is a conundrum.

          • Barbara Morgan

            We scream more and more often and mobilize people that feel like we do even if it is just one person at a time. Try to show the haters where they are wrong and work at the problems as much as we can one day at a time one person at time.

      • Guest

        I agree

    • The reason they don’t get As and Bs is because they don’t eat. It is called malnutrition and is quite common in the third-world part of the USA. What is this idea supposed to do, kill off these little under-acheivers?

      • Good question. Perhaps some of the pro-birth folks could illuminate the rest of us regarding the consistency of their purported values with the realities of their actions.

        • docb

          Dom, they would first have to comprehend your question.!. An insurmountable task for the republicans of today!

          Neither actions nor elections have consequences in their limited lexicon!

      • jointerjohn

        Their goal is to drive those pesky, lazy “47%” families to other states so Tennessee can live happily ever after. They envision food stamp recipients as worthless bums. They don’t realize they are the people who do their dry cleaning, operate the cash registers at nearly every retail establishment, and drive the taxis.

        The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development still recognizes (and grants huge money) to businesses that create minimum wage jobs. We need to realize that $8.00 per hour jobs are not economic development, they are government subsidized indentured servitude.

        • @Jointerjohn,
          What they do not realize is that the 47% is them.
          Most are already on food stamps and welfare.

      • I am saddened to acknkowledge that President Obama’s decision to tie Social Security benefit raises to inflation is a horrible idea. Not only will it hurt Democrats running for re-election and do little to reduce spending in a significant way, his efforts to meet Republicans half way is going to backfire. The GOP will use his decision to destroy Democrats in future elections. To make matters worse, from a fiscal perspective, inflation is likely to go up in the not too distant future, which means that instead of saving we are going to spend more. As a retiree and SS recipient, I like the latter, but from a political perspective this is lethal. Hopefully the good looking AG from California will come to the rescue! 🙁

        • ralphkr

          Uh, Dominick, SS COLA has always been tied to inflation and I am amazed that you did not know that since you do get SS. I certainly agree with you that Obama making such a proposal is just about the dumbest move he could make. It is particularly stupid since SS has nothing to do with the annual budget (It is supposed to be a trust fund) and should never have been used to hide budget deficits.

          Although I do not get SS AARP can’t believe that I don’t since I turned 65 in the 20th Century and they keep sending me information. According to their calculator my pension which uses the SS COLA to compute my COLA (except from time to time when my pension skips a raise that SS gets) I shall lose over $12K over the next 15 years if the new “chained” CPI is adopted. Yes, my pension is modest but considerably more than SS, in fact, my pension is set up so that if I do become eligible for SS my pension shall be reduced by over $2 for every $1 of SS benefit. Such a deal!

          The current formula reflects the change in prices while the chained benefit reflects the change in PURCHASES due to higher prices. In other words: In the 1970s I often had Tenderloin or Flank steak and as those cuts became to expensive I switched to Hamburger and then to Peanut butter (now peanut butter is outrageously expensive) so my food expenses have not gone up as much as inflation would indicate because I now eat much poorer grade of protein.

        • Independent1

          I’m troubled too that Obama seems to be willing to offer cuts to SS to get higher taxes on the wealthy with respect to future votes from seniors, but what puzzles me the most is that during the entire campaign in 2012, Romney and Ryan kept promoting virtual destruction of SS as we know it, yet they won 56% of the votes from people 65 and over. I have no explanation for that.

          • Don’t worry. The Transylvania tea bags will never accept any “revenue enhancements.

          • idamag

            I think that the Republican seniors are not aware that there has been a far right entity, since Social Security’s inception, that have been trying to destroy it. Senator Preston Bush led the first opposition to it. His grandson tried to follow in his footsteps and thought he would be the one to do the dirty by putting SS on the stock market.

        • Obama knows the bat s#!t right wingers will never take his offer to cut Social Security if they have to take any type of “revenue enhancements”. Before they would close a single loop hole on the rich, or raise their taxes a fraction of a percent, they would let the economy go to hell in a hand basket.

        • Barbara Morgan

          I am sure you have let the President know what you think about his Social Security and vet idea in regards to the chanined index plan. I did.

        • idamag

          That was my thought, exactly. I e-mailed the President and let him know the damage he had done to the party.

      • Barbara Morgan

        There is nothing in the Tennessee newspapers where it would be front page headlines if it was true and nothing on the local news about such idea. As I told Dominnick I hope they don’t see his post, they are just uncaring and dumb enough to try and pass such law. But I can one half way good thing about Tennessee’s Republican politicans I use to think that my state had the misfortune to have the dumbesta nd craziest Republican politicans in the US but NC Republican politicans have Tennessee’s beat hands down.

        • plc97477

          Florida’s are in the running also.

        • mississippi has some dumb=== representatives and politicians too!

    • CPAinNewYork

      Interesting that you used “final solution” in your discussion of the Tennessee legislature’s proposal to tie grades to food. Slip of the tongue?

      • Allan Richardson

        Probably not. After all, if you have no conscience, killing off poor children IS cheaper and easier than helping them to become productive and prosperous adults. Although it sounds more like “A Modest Proposal” to me (Jonathan Swift wrote much more than Gulliver’s Travels).

      • Nope. It was deliberate.

        • Barbara Morgan

          Dominick where did you get information on Tennessee, children and food stamps? The governor and legislature would be a tarred and feather and ran out of Nashvile if they tried to do such thing? And I would be at the head of the tar and feather group.

          • docb

            The idiot was on the Bashir Show on Friday..Martin decimated him!

    • docb

      Well said Dom but the truth is if the children are hungry they can’t THINK! The usual back-asswords logic of the repub baggers…Punish the already victimized!

      Reprehensible!

      • Barbara Morgan

        Don’t know where Dominick got that information but as far as I know it is not true and I live in Tennessee and keep up with what our Republican Governor and state Republican Congress are trying to pass . Right now they are working on messing up the way worker’s comp claims are handled and who makes the descision as to wheter the worker gets worker comp and how much it will be.

    • Might be crazy” Yeah think?

    • Barbara Morgan

      Dominick, I lve in Tennesse and there has been nothing in the papers and local newscast about such a plan but I won’t put it pass the govenor and Republican legislturers here. Hope they don’t see your post, it might give them the idea to do that. But i will say that I thougth our Republicans in the state legislature were the craziest and dumbest one in the US but NC best Tennesse hands down.

  • You would think that the Conservatives would be against drug use in general, and smoking the “Wacky Weed” in particular.

    However, this is more proof that many of the Conservatives in power do indeed partake from time to time. And some more frequently than others.

    • Independent1

      How else can you explain their craziness?? They’re either smoking or injecting something or maybe their just looney to begin with. What’s more sad than the way these people act is that there were actually enough people who totally ignored their craziness in voting them into office.

      • Barbara Morgan

        They aren’t thinking,they are seeing black skin color and that is all they think about.They don’t think about the fact that unless they are rich the Republican politicans consider them dirt and only think about them on election day until they vote then they are no longer even part of the human race as far as Republican politicans are concerned. Their hatred of the multiracial guy in the White House is fed and nurtured by the Republicans so they don’t see that when they vote Republican they are voting against their own best interest.

  • wesley rasmussen

    I think they are showing us all that Democrats are an endangered species in the event of the dreaded ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!! After all, the zombies will be looking to eat brains, and this just proves that they will not go after Republicans….

    • Independent1

      Yeah! If Zombies are looking for brains around a lot of the Republican crowd, they’re going to starve for sure.

    • too funny Wes…it scares me to know that my son will be growing up in a world where these people reside, walk amongst us and breed…

      • It is why I have dogs and cats…no children.

      • WhutHeSaid

        Well, if the Republicans continue their despicable assault on women’s rights for much longer, that breeding part may begin to diminish.

        • Allan Richardson

          Au contraire, the overbreeding will get worse with no way for women to stop it. Poor women will be enslaved and raped by rich men. Another book and movie reference: A Handmaid’s Tale.

          • WhutHeSaid

            I trust the wisdom of American women to avoid selecting obnoxious Neanderthals as their mates. Given that the vast majority of procreation is voluntary, and Republicans make themselves less attractive by the day, the net result has to be less Neanderthal offspring.

          • Susan Dean

            Unfortunately, the Republican war against birth control and abortion in the case of rape make it less likely that the vast majority of future procreation will be voluntary.

          • WhutHeSaid

            That’s assuming that they will be successful in forcing their policies upon unwilling American women. I’m confident that in the long run this will not be the case.

          • plc97477

            Not as long as women are allowed to vote. And I feel sorry for anyone that tries to stop them.

          • WhutHeSaid

            Did you intend to insult the Neanderthals.

          • WhutHeSaid

            If any Neanderthal out there expresses his (or her) outrage at my posts, I will be forced to offer them my apologies.

            All joking aside, I truly do consider a good deal of Republican policies as vestiges of delayed human evolution. As a country — and also the world at large — we are headed towards equality for all people. One day these types of discriminatory policies that I speak of will be embraced by only a tiny minority, and that day is already here for the newest generations.

          • idamag

            I read that book and it gave me nightmares.

  • David Turrentine

    Louie Gohmert is proof positive that some people who vote are just idiots.

    • Independent1

      You really do have to question the motivation and intelligence of people who have voted for candidates that the mainstream of America consider to be at the extreme fringe.

      • Barbara Morgan

        I wonder sometimes if there was voter fraud involved in the electon of people like Louie Gomert after all he was elected in a Republican controlled state and the Republicans were the only ones charged in voter fraud last year.

    • Louie Gomert and other politicians who think like him are not my main worry. What I fear most, is the fact that there were enough voters who think like them to put them in office.

  • David Turrentine

    What will their state religion be? Fundamantalist asininity?

  • Someone wrote this on another blog the other day…..I felt it was worth re-posting:
    When trees are about to die they produce a lot more fruit. If you want a good harvest from apple trees you strip them of their barks a little and they are panicked into producing more apples. And so it is, apparently, with the wizened old stump that was once the mighty GOP. It knows its end is near, and is producing all the fruit it can in one last grand hurrah, before the current generation of angry old white guys croak.
    Hopefully, seeing how disgusting the potential of this last spurt of poison is, a new generation of political activists will step up and change the landscape even more swiftly than it might otherwise have done were this grisly, croaking swan-song not so ubiquitous.
    Step forward, young heroes! Within 10 years you will flourish and conquer. If anything should convince you, it is the seedy dealings of this dying breed.

    • WhutHeSaid

      Too bad that Republicans don’t behave more like trees. All of the latest fruit harvest has been rotten.

  • Erin Argast

    Each state is NOT sovereign. Read The US Constitution, and take special note of Article Six.

    • I seem to remember, that there was a war fought to decide that question. The
      Federal government won the civil war. The states are NOT sovereign.
      Nullification of Federal authority,by a bogus appeal, to one of the
      constitution’s amendments, is pretzel logic!

  • docb

    When you are the party standing with N.Korea, Iran, and Syria for the NRA..They have problems with every factor in the USA and the World…except old white guys and their stepford wives! Nothing has changed ..they are the party of STUPID and ANTI -American….to quote jindal!

  • The fact that this online media outlet is able to do the feature “This Week in Crazy” about the insanity of the Republican Party tells you how bad off the GOP are. They’d probably still be able to do it if it were a “top” ten countdown…

  • I love Monty Python. That’s what the GOP reminds me of…cool British satire.

    • plc97477

      That’s a good idea. Lets put them in charge of the bureau of silly walks.

  • elw

    It is getting hard to laugh at these people; they are over the edge and dropping into the danger zone. With recent rash of elected and appointed officials that have gunned down, I am wondering if it time to take them more seriously and to begin treating them like the traitors and criminals they are.

    • plc97477

      At least keep an eye on them at all times.

  • They might have a point, if it weren’t for that pesky Article III. Apparently they have never heard of the Supreme Court or the entire federal court system that devolves from it.

  • And they wonder why we are skeptical that there are any folks with the sense god gave a jackass living in the south!

    • plc97477

      I have heard people on this site that are obviously pretty smart that claim to be from the south. The could be pulling my leg or be a transplant from else where though.

      • Independent1

        Remember, you can’t count Florida as part of the south in this context as Floridia is made up of folks from all over the country.

      • Barbara Morgan

        I am from the South and was born and raised in Tennessee and still live here.I don’t consider myself a dummy and think I post good sense post. We do have smart people in Tennessee who are working to get rid of our Republican governor and state legislature and Congressional members. By the way you left the y off of The in your posting.

        • plc97477

          Thank you for the spell check.

    • Barbara Morgan

      I resent your statement Sandra. There are plenty of us living in the South with good sense and smarts. You need to include other parts of the Country that vote Republican constantly not just the South in the not having good sense and smart column. Also if you are refering to the post that Dom posted about Tennesse, food stamps eating and good grades, it isn’t true unless the Republicans have managed to keep it secret from the news sources in Tennessee and the citizens of Tennessee like me who checks all news sources dailey for information on what stupid bill has been introduced today by the Republicans to make Tennessee a laughing stock today.

      • plc97477

        Knowing you are keeping an eye on things in Tennessee makes me feel a little better.

  • Justin Napolitano

    More? You want more? Sorry, you don’t get more until you get better grades. What’s that? You say that it is hard to study when all you can think about is food. Well, we can fix that. How about we take away your parents minimum wage so that they can’t afford to heat the one room apartment you live in. I’ll bet that will inspire you when you are freezing your little ass off in addition to being hungry? Not enough? Then maybe you should walk those 5 miles to school instead of talking the school bus. That will give you time to think about those low grades. Still not enough? I guess the answer is to kick you out of school until you appreciate that you must pull yourself up by your bootstrap’s if you are going to succeed. What’s that? You say that if you don’t get any help with school and food you will go buy a gun and start using it on people that are making your life miserable. OK, we have no problem with that please make sure it is an assault weapon with an extra large clip. By the way we have a program that will help you buy that weapon. I mean after all we don’t wnat your 2nd amendment rights to be not exercised.

  • This isn’t even something the people of Nelson intend to take seriously. It’s only intended to be a great big middle finger to the rest of the country. These same people were likely screaming at the top of their lungs about how it was government tyranny to force people to buy health insurance, but then they come out and sign a law forcing all of their people to buy guns.

    It’s not serious legislation, nor even a symbolic statement. It’s a flailing temper tantrum by a bunch of party-before-country anarchists.

  • Not only are they trying to nullify the 1st amendment, they’re trying to do it with the 10th amendment. Or, in short, they’re saying the Constitution is unconstitutional.

    Don’t think about that too hard or your brain will flash the blue screen of death on you.

  • JDavidS

    It’s just not the same without Beck, Limbaugh, O’Reilly, Hannity et al making the list. Still, the right-wing loons that did make it prove that with the Republican Party, there’s plenty of stupid to go around.

  • Unfortunately, Cunningham is a “local nitwit” here in Cincinnati, which is also home to Jone Bonehead.

    Both are an embarrassment and a disgrace to our nation.

  • North Carolina is “just itching for a fight”.
    The establishment clause also applies to the states.
    This is a waste of time, and would be a waste of the state’s and federal government’s money to take it to court to throw it out.

  • The republicans can only be describes as insane savages.

  • And the Federal Government let that state back into the Union. Who is the reall stupid?

  • Ronald Haste

    What most of you don’t seem to realize is that President Obama will never do anything for the 47 %ers. He is too much in the pocket of the Israel lobby,the defense lobby,So don’t worry Repubs. He is more attuned to do for the white half of him than the black half. So far he has continued most things that GWBush did…….some are even worse than Bush.Most GOPers should be happy with Obama as president.He didn’t make good on most of his campaign promises…..like closing Gitmo or “Change You Can Believe In”.Nothing has changed for the poor people of America……..not a damned thing.

  • Pamby50

    North Carolina wants to create there own religion. They also want college students who vote, there parents pay a tax. As for TN, I live in this crazy state. The first time I heard that they are going to cut off food stamps for children if they fail there tests, I was shocked. That this bill has actually gone through committee in both houses, is sad. They will be voting on this next week. I sure hope the governor vetos it. How sad that this state claims they are pro-life when actually they are only pro birth. They don’t give a damn about these children once they come into this world. If it does pass, will anyone be keeping records to see if any of these kids get sick due to malnutrition.

    As for Louie Gohmert, what can anyone say. Maybe someone should ask if he has had sex with an animal, seeing he keeps bringing up bestiality.

    • Barbara Morgan

      I live in Tennesse where did you see or hear this information because I haven’t seen it or read about it. If true I got the feathers you got the tar for anyone that votes yes for this bill.

      • Pamby50

        Barbara, I had to go listen to Martin Bashir again. TN State Sen Stacey Campfield has proposed bill SB132. The house is HB261. I also heard this on the local news. It is not food stamps they are cutting off but reducing there wellfare checks by 30% if the children don’t preform well. That child gets about 93 a month. Now if they don’t make the grades, it will be 63. Tell me how a first, second or third grader understands this. The vote in the full senate takes place this week.

        • Barbara Morgan

          Which Ramsey will get passed because it is the kind of bill he seems to like , one where the victim can’t fight back. I don’t see how this could be legal?I know that the state gets block grants from the Federal government for the welfare checks but the government can say no to something like this and the state can’t do it, at least that is how it used to work. As for the sponsor of the bill Stacy Campfield should be put in the nearest mental hospital and the key thrown away for ever. I know that the people that represent my area won’t vote for it they are all Democrats so have to have a plan to get the rest to vote with them Any ideas.

          • Pamby50

            Memphis has it’s own problems. They gave up their school charter & Shelby County doesn’t want the schools either. What a hot mess. Since 2010 when the republicans got control, the things they have been passing is ridiculous.I would say lets get the teachers involved but they are under attack. Family services is not pleased because they see who this is going to effect. They seem to think that by passing this law, parents will start taking parenting classes. Or they will show up for parent teacher conferences. I don’t know what the solution is. Let’s start with stop punishing the child. If they want the parents at school, why don’t they have the parents show up at school to pick up there wlefare checks in person. That way the schools gets to meet the parents. We democrats need organize locally. They gerrymandered this state so that they could stay in control.

    • idamag

      I also wondered about his constant focus on bestiality. .

  • Barbara Morgan

    To all posters, there has not been anything in Tennessee newspapers about what Dominick posted in regards to food stamps , if it was an actual fact it would be head line news in all all newspaper, on TV and radio and all the stores, fast food joints, bars and so on. As I told him I hope our Repblican governor and Republican legislature doesn’t see his post and see if they can get it passed. They have enough of their own dumb idea please don’t give them anymore. Republican politicians here are crazy and dumb in Tennessee but NC Republican politicians have Tennessee’s beat hands down,

  • exdemo55

    The midterm election is still 19 months away, but for some it’s never too early for demagoguery. And so this week the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched a new “Mediscare” ad. The targets are 17 Republican congressmen who supported the House budget framework that includes Medicare reforms.

    The ad has menacing music, doomsday predictions and a tagline that these GOP congressmen voted for “a radical vision for America” that guts Medicare. The spot is deceitful but still deserves a swift, powerful rebuttal. Even a deeply dishonest attack on Medicare, if unrefuted, can do damage.

    There’s also an important upside to fighting back effectively. It will not only increase the likelihood of these Republicans surviving similar assaults in the months ahead. It can also undermine the Democrats’ credibility on the issue, deepen support for Medicare reform, and burnish Republican credentials for bipartisanship and practical leadership.

    Here’s how Republicans might pull off a successful counterpunch. When attacked, they can say that the GOP’s budget framework adopted a proposal from the Medicare reform commission of a Democratic president (Bill Clinton) and introduced by a Democratic senator (John Breaux of Louisiana). More important, that proposal—premium support—has been successfully tested for almost a decade.

    The GOP proposal to reform Medicare puts consumers in charge by relying on competition and choice instead of centralized government planning and price controls. It was the organizing principle of the successful Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit passed in 2003.

    Here’s how premium support works. Seniors who participate in Medicare Part D choose among drug coverage plans offered by competing private insurers. The federal government helps them pay for this coverage. The amount of support is a weighted average of the premiums charged by plans in the part of the country where they live.

    If seniors want a more-expensive plan, they pay the difference. If they pick a less-expensive plan, then more of its cost is covered by government’s premium support. But requiring seniors to pay at least part of the premium encourages them to shop for value when comparing plans and to use generic drugs where possible.

    Medicare Part D has been in operation for eight years, and the results are extraordinary. In 2003, the Congressional Budget Office projected Part D’s cost for its first decade would be $552 billion. The actual cost will be around $358 billion, 35% less than forecast and 64% less than the $1 trillion cost that the CBO estimated for the competing Democratic plan, in which the federal government would decide who got what drugs when and at what price.

    The average premium for drug coverage is $30 a month, half what the actuaries estimated it would be this year. A 2011 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the prescription benefit helped reduce hospital stays and delay the need for nursing care, saving Medicare $12 billion a year. The Congressional Budget Office also reported last November that seniors “had fewer hospitalizations and used fewer medical services as a result” of participating in Part D.

    This hasn’t kept the Obama administration from trying to undermine the drug benefit’s market-centered approach. ObamaCare changed Part D by raising the government’s contribution to some groups of beneficiaries, which will reduce their incentives to shop around or use generic drugs. Another proposal floated by the Obama administration would essentially levy a tax on pharmaceutical manufacturers that they would pass on in higher drug prices and thus higher premiums for seniors enrolled in Part D.

    Republicans shouldn’t shrink from discussing Medicare reform. They have a great story to tell. Republican politicians will have to tell it, but they’ll have plenty of help. Many seniors will eagerly share their good experience and high opinion of the Medicare prescription drug program.

    A thorough airing of Part D’s approach and success will allow GOP candidates to refute “Mediscare” attacks by making this simple argument: If premium support works for prescription drug coverage, it will work for all of Medicare and keep Medicare itself from going broke. Republicans can prove this is possible because Medicare Part D is an actual success.

    Democrats are relying on scare tactics and overplaying their hand. Republicans can rely on real reform, real success and real life to turn back this attack to their advantage.

  • exdemo55

    When Dan Pfeiffer, a senior adviser to President Obama, spoke at a Politico event last week, he was asked what would constitute success in 2013 for the White House. One of his answers was making headway to “rebalance our economy.” The goal, he said, is an economy that’s “not top down.”

    Like their boss, Obama aides often speak in euphemisms. So here’s the translation: The Obama administration will continue to pursue redistribution of wealth and income, taking from the well-to-do and giving to the poor and middle class (at least to the lower middle class).

    The president has his own way of touting redistribution. Whenever he uses the word “fair,” you can bet he’s really referring to redistribution. He talks of everyone getting a “fair shake” and a “fair shot.” In his State of the Union address in February, he insisted economic growth requires “everybody doing their fair share.” In his inaugural speech in January, he said a free market “only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play.”

    But Obama’s emphasis on redistribution and his policies to further it create a problem that he either doesn’t recognize or, as I suspect, chooses to ignore. He insists economic growth is his “top priority.” Redistribution, however, is not the friend of growth. It impedes growth.

    The most effective tool in spurring growth is private investment. Obama may not like it, but major investors tend to be well off. They have money to invest. Rather than encourage them to invest in growth and jobs, Obama does the opposite. By raising their taxes and leaving a strong impression he’d like to raise them even more, he discourages investment.

    In the fiscal cliff deal, Obama not only hiked the top rate on individual income, he increased the tax rates on two incentives to invest, capital gains and dividends. In addition, in Obamacare, he imposed a new tax specifically on investment income. In effect, Obama is waging a war on investment.

    “He’s not a pro-saving, pro-wealth president,” says Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the former director of the Congressional Budget Office. “So he can’t be pro-growth.”

    Obama says he’s eager for bipartisan tax reform. And if he favored the traditional method of overhauling the tax code, that would put him on the side of growth. But instead of wiping out tax preferences and loopholes to broaden the base and lower tax rates, Obama wants to get rid of special breaks as a way to jack up tax revenues. Incentives for growth? Forget it.

    The president has also endorsed entitlement reform. And at the Politico gathering, Pfeiffer boasted about Obama’s endorsement of “chained-CPI.” It would recalculate the rate of inflation and slightly restrain annual cost-of-living adjustments in entitlements, notably Social Security. “That is on the table and waiting for someone to come to take it,” Pfeiffer said.

    There’s a reason no one has jumped at the chance. Obama’s price is sure to be high. As part of a deal on entitlements, Republicans would have to accept still-higher taxes. We don’t have to guess from whom Obama would want those revenues to come. On top of that, Pfeiffer suggested the well off would be expected to pay higher premiums for Medicare.

    That deal might be worthwhile if chained-CPI would affect entitlements significantly. It wouldn’t. Social Security and Medicare are projected to spend more than $18 trillion over the next decade. According to Holtz-Eakin, chained-CPI would trim that by $280 billion, which he calls no more than a “rounding error.”

    Obama’s own ideas for promoting growth indicate he’s a slow learner. He’s bent on pursuing the same policies that have produced the slowest economic recovery since World War II. The recession ended in June 2009, yet the economy has struggled with GDP growth averaging around 2 percent (only 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012).

    The result is scary, as John Cassidy outlined in Fortune. Since the recession began in 2008, the working population​—​those employed or looking for jobs​—​has increased by 12.2 million. But in five years, the number of jobs has grown by only 1.4 million. Indeed, participation in the labor force actually shrank from 66.2 percent of the civilian population in January 2008 to 63.5 percent in February 2013.

    In the face of this, Obama is proposing to pour money into roads, bridges, and other infrastructure. “There are few more important things we can do to create jobs right now and strengthen our economy over the long haul than rebuilding the infrastructure that powers our businesses and our economy,” he said in Miami in March.

  • exdemo55

    Early analysis: Obama’s 2014 budget numbers are based on bad math, phantom revenues, imagined spending cuts and a middle-class tax hike
    White House promises $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction, although similar previous claims have been debunked
    New method of measuring cost-of-living increases will lower benefit payouts and push middle-class earners into higher tax brackets
    Speaker Boehner’s spokesperson: ‘Any deficit reduction will come exclusively from tax hikes’

    Administration’s formula depends on cost savings from Obamacare, which may be more costly to implement than previously thought