Day: July 28, 2017

This Can Be America's Century


When Donald Trump promised 3% growth, all the media pundits and progressive economists laughed their heads off. It’s no longer possible, they asserted — the new normal is less than 2%. Remember these same people promised that demographic changes guaranteed unending progressive governance and that Barack Obama’s trillion-dollar-plus “stimulus” was going boost the economy and create jobs. To that, Mr. Trump is still guffawing as he has his second scoop of ice cream.

Here’s the thing: all of America could have that second scoop as well.

Pessimist progressives underestimate the America the framers gifted the world. Remove the Obama-era restraints from the economy and it will come thundering back to lead the world just as it did last century.

Two things have always separated America from the pack: free markets and energy. Cheap reliable energy built America and our free-market system and relatively nonpunitive taxation made this nation the economic powerhouse that doughtily still stands today.

Three percent growth is still achievable in America. Rein in the economically damaging environmental overreach of the last administration and unleash the energy resources at America’s disposal while instituting tax reform and we might even see the 7% growth that the nation experienced under Ronald Reagan. It was inconceivable under Barack Obama and it would have been unattainable under Hillary Clinton. Under the leadership of Donald Trump, however, it is entirely possible.

Energy and the Environment

President Trump in a recent energy policy speech said that since he became president, “we [have] reduced the petroleum share of the trade deficit by 5 percent.” Oil and gas production has almost doubled in the last decade and that was under the previous administration’s crippling energy policies. This is largely due to oil and natural gas development on private lands made possible by hydraulic fracking and horizontal drilling.

Imagine what can be done under an administration that understands business and will set free the fossil-fuel industry. Even coal production is up this year by almost 15%. Exporting coal to China and India alone could save Old King Coal and coal mining jobs for decades at the very least.

President Trump told Europe in his speech in Poland, “We are committed to securing your access to alternate sources of energy, so Poland and its neighbors are never again held hostage to a single supplier of energy.” No longer will energy-barren Europe be held captive by the Russians to heat their homes and power their industry. With liquid natural gas (LNG) plants under construction to take advantage of America’s vast supplies of natural gas the nation could very well become the leading supplier of the fuel to Europe and Asia.

Exploiting America’s energy reserves could also provide trillions of dollars to the federal treasury through leases, taxes, and fees.

Environmentalists want to leave all that energy in the ground, forcing us to pay more and have less. They want no fossil fuel development ever. They don’t even like nuclear power, the only zero-carbon emission source of energy that is viable. In New York State, Governor Andrew Cuomo is closing the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant (the main supplier of electricity to New York City) and replacing it with, well, nothing. It’s almost as if environmentalists want rolling blackouts and electricity prices three times what they are now. We don’t need AC or heat when we have our leaders to keep us warm and cool while we spend all our money charging our electric cars.

President Trump has restarted the Keystone XL pipeline and the Dakota Extension in addition to issuing a special permit for a new transnational pipeline to carry oil from Mexico into Texas.

Scott Pruitt at EPA in conjunction with the Department of the Army is proposing a rule to rescind the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. This was an attempt at controlling all development in the nation by defining almost any body of water either in situ year-round or merely reoccurring as Waters of the United States.

In theory, this could define small streams and even big puddles as WOTUS and controllable by the EPA — and thus, render unto the EPA control of all business and all development.

Everyone wants clean water; no one is pro-pollution, but WOTUS is nothing more than a naked attempt by bureaucrats at the EPA to abrogate property rights and control all development everywhere.

It’s the same reasoning behind declaring CO2 a dangerous pollutant — control. 

CO2 is essential for plant growth and while the premise that global increases will make the planet warmer is debatable, it is unassailable that increases will make the planet greener and be a boon to crop growth. Plants breathe in CO2 and expel oxygen; the main reason behind the explosion of crop growth in the latter half of the twentieth century was the increase of CO2. The earth’s population is 7.5 billion people. In a few years, it will be, 8 billion and a few years after that, 10 billion. All those people are going to need to eat. The EPA may have labeled CO2 a pollutant, but it is not a pollutant; CO2 is life. Legislatively that should be one of the goals for Republicans, rewrite the Clean Air Act of 1990 to remove CO2 as a pollutant.

In any case, while there is still much to be done, energy under President Trump is going to be a growth industry and cheap energy will help make this century an American century like the last one. If the nation continues in this new direction, concentrating on exporting coal and LNG as well as opening up our coasts and as much land as possible to oil exploration the United States could become the Saudi Arabia of the 21st century because it is also entirely feasible for America to become a leading oil exporter. Taken all together, that means jobs, jobs, jobs, as well as revenues for the treasury and prosperity for the nation.

Tax Reform

To date, confidence is up and the economy is starting to awaken from a decade of economic malaise. Yet it is assuredly the result of the belief that a businessman would be a better steward of the economy than a community organizer. The stock market is booming because of similar expectations and recent proclamations from Janet Yellen, Chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve System that interest rates will not have to rise as fast as predicted because expectations of increasing inflation have not come to pass.

Tax reform for America is the “Holy Grail.” The United States tax code has not been significantly reformed since Reagan. Simplifying and codifying common sense reforms could give the economy the boost it needs to get it from the previous administration’s 1.5 % “new reality” growth to the 3% plus growth America has historically enjoyed.

Tax Reform:

  1. A reduction of the corporate tax rate from 39.1% to 15%
  2. Year one total expensing of equipment and capital purchases
  3. Special one-time 0% tax on repatriated monies currently held overseas and invested in America during a specified time period
  4. Reduction of the seven current tax brackets to two, 10% and 25%, as well as doubling the standard deduction
  5. The elimination of the Estate Tax
  6. Elimination of the deduction for state and local taxes, while keeping the charitable contributions and mortgage interest deductions
  7. Repeal of the Alternative Minimum Tax

The first four points merit further examination. Reducing corporate taxes from 39.1% to 15% will make the nation competitive with other countries and perhaps attract corporations to America, the world’s largest market.

Most businesses in America file under the Sub-Chapter S designation in order to escape double taxation. An S corporation is really a pass-through type of arrangement where the taxes on profits are paid by the principals according to their tax bracket (at the highest 39%). Tax reform is imperative to realize the potential of a free society. The maximum tax bracket must come down to 25% (15% would be better but probably politically impossible). This will be a blessing to small business, which is paradoxically defined as businesses with incomes below $100 million (if only we could all be that small).

Most importantly, institute a one-time 0% tax rate on money currently held by corporations overseas that is repatriated to America and invested during a specified period of time. America is alone among nations in that it has a global corporate tax system. This means the nation taxes U.S. corporations on total income, regardless of whether it is earned domestically or overseas but only when the money is repatriated. It is estimated that corporations are holding more than $2.5 trillion overseas.

This money is earned from business operations in other countries and is already taxed by those particular nations. It is after-tax income (albeit taxed by other countries). It’s held overseas instead of brought back to America to invest because America would then tax it at the corporate rate of 39.1%, after allowing foreign taxes paid to be deducted from income.

As an example, if a corporation earned $1.5 million in a foreign country and paid a half-million dollars in taxes to that country, the remaining $1 million after-tax money would be taxed in America at the rate of 39.1%. This would result in a tax liability of $391,000. Add in the $500,000 already paid, and that is an effective rate of 59.4%. When that is taken into account, anyone can understand why corporations hold money abroad.

Imagine the boost to the economy the investment of $2.5 trillion would be. In addition, this money would be invested by businessmen in what they think would earn a profit. Politicians spent the trillion-plus dollars of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 as a reward for political backers and unions. What would have happened had we taken that money and allowed businessmen to invest in things that would have turned a profit? Business surely could have done a better job than the politicians did.

Couple this with the full expensing of all new capital investment instead of requiring it be depreciated over a number of years and the nation just might be able to get that 7.83% growth rate America achieved in 1983 under Ronald Reagan.

Remember, they also told Reagan it couldn’t be done. 

When Donald Trump promised 3% growth, all the media pundits and progressive economists laughed their heads off. It’s no longer possible, they asserted — the new normal is less than 2%. Remember these same people promised that demographic changes guaranteed unending progressive governance and that Barack Obama’s trillion-dollar-plus “stimulus” was going boost the economy and create jobs. To that, Mr. Trump is still guffawing as he has his second scoop of ice cream.

Here’s the thing: all of America could have that second scoop as well.

Pessimist progressives underestimate the America the framers gifted the world. Remove the Obama-era restraints from the economy and it will come thundering back to lead the world just as it did last century.

Two things have always separated America from the pack: free markets and energy. Cheap reliable energy built America and our free-market system and relatively nonpunitive taxation made this nation the economic powerhouse that doughtily still stands today.

Three percent growth is still achievable in America. Rein in the economically damaging environmental overreach of the last administration and unleash the energy resources at America’s disposal while instituting tax reform and we might even see the 7% growth that the nation experienced under Ronald Reagan. It was inconceivable under Barack Obama and it would have been unattainable under Hillary Clinton. Under the leadership of Donald Trump, however, it is entirely possible.

Energy and the Environment

President Trump in a recent energy policy speech said that since he became president, “we [have] reduced the petroleum share of the trade deficit by 5 percent.” Oil and gas production has almost doubled in the last decade and that was under the previous administration’s crippling energy policies. This is largely due to oil and natural gas development on private lands made possible by hydraulic fracking and horizontal drilling.

Imagine what can be done under an administration that understands business and will set free the fossil-fuel industry. Even coal production is up this year by almost 15%. Exporting coal to China and India alone could save Old King Coal and coal mining jobs for decades at the very least.

President Trump told Europe in his speech in Poland, “We are committed to securing your access to alternate sources of energy, so Poland and its neighbors are never again held hostage to a single supplier of energy.” No longer will energy-barren Europe be held captive by the Russians to heat their homes and power their industry. With liquid natural gas (LNG) plants under construction to take advantage of America’s vast supplies of natural gas the nation could very well become the leading supplier of the fuel to Europe and Asia.

Exploiting America’s energy reserves could also provide trillions of dollars to the federal treasury through leases, taxes, and fees.

Environmentalists want to leave all that energy in the ground, forcing us to pay more and have less. They want no fossil fuel development ever. They don’t even like nuclear power, the only zero-carbon emission source of energy that is viable. In New York State, Governor Andrew Cuomo is closing the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant (the main supplier of electricity to New York City) and replacing it with, well, nothing. It’s almost as if environmentalists want rolling blackouts and electricity prices three times what they are now. We don’t need AC or heat when we have our leaders to keep us warm and cool while we spend all our money charging our electric cars.

President Trump has restarted the Keystone XL pipeline and the Dakota Extension in addition to issuing a special permit for a new transnational pipeline to carry oil from Mexico into Texas.

Scott Pruitt at EPA in conjunction with the Department of the Army is proposing a rule to rescind the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. This was an attempt at controlling all development in the nation by defining almost any body of water either in situ year-round or merely reoccurring as Waters of the United States.

In theory, this could define small streams and even big puddles as WOTUS and controllable by the EPA — and thus, render unto the EPA control of all business and all development.

Everyone wants clean water; no one is pro-pollution, but WOTUS is nothing more than a naked attempt by bureaucrats at the EPA to abrogate property rights and control all development everywhere.

It’s the same reasoning behind declaring CO2 a dangerous pollutant — control. 

CO2 is essential for plant growth and while the premise that global increases will make the planet warmer is debatable, it is unassailable that increases will make the planet greener and be a boon to crop growth. Plants breathe in CO2 and expel oxygen; the main reason behind the explosion of crop growth in the latter half of the twentieth century was the increase of CO2. The earth’s population is 7.5 billion people. In a few years, it will be, 8 billion and a few years after that, 10 billion. All those people are going to need to eat. The EPA may have labeled CO2 a pollutant, but it is not a pollutant; CO2 is life. Legislatively that should be one of the goals for Republicans, rewrite the Clean Air Act of 1990 to remove CO2 as a pollutant.

In any case, while there is still much to be done, energy under President Trump is going to be a growth industry and cheap energy will help make this century an American century like the last one. If the nation continues in this new direction, concentrating on exporting coal and LNG as well as opening up our coasts and as much land as possible to oil exploration the United States could become the Saudi Arabia of the 21st century because it is also entirely feasible for America to become a leading oil exporter. Taken all together, that means jobs, jobs, jobs, as well as revenues for the treasury and prosperity for the nation.

Tax Reform

To date, confidence is up and the economy is starting to awaken from a decade of economic malaise. Yet it is assuredly the result of the belief that a businessman would be a better steward of the economy than a community organizer. The stock market is booming because of similar expectations and recent proclamations from Janet Yellen, Chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve System that interest rates will not have to rise as fast as predicted because expectations of increasing inflation have not come to pass.

Tax reform for America is the “Holy Grail.” The United States tax code has not been significantly reformed since Reagan. Simplifying and codifying common sense reforms could give the economy the boost it needs to get it from the previous administration’s 1.5 % “new reality” growth to the 3% plus growth America has historically enjoyed.

Tax Reform:

  1. A reduction of the corporate tax rate from 39.1% to 15%
  2. Year one total expensing of equipment and capital purchases
  3. Special one-time 0% tax on repatriated monies currently held overseas and invested in America during a specified time period
  4. Reduction of the seven current tax brackets to two, 10% and 25%, as well as doubling the standard deduction
  5. The elimination of the Estate Tax
  6. Elimination of the deduction for state and local taxes, while keeping the charitable contributions and mortgage interest deductions
  7. Repeal of the Alternative Minimum Tax

The first four points merit further examination. Reducing corporate taxes from 39.1% to 15% will make the nation competitive with other countries and perhaps attract corporations to America, the world’s largest market.

Most businesses in America file under the Sub-Chapter S designation in order to escape double taxation. An S corporation is really a pass-through type of arrangement where the taxes on profits are paid by the principals according to their tax bracket (at the highest 39%). Tax reform is imperative to realize the potential of a free society. The maximum tax bracket must come down to 25% (15% would be better but probably politically impossible). This will be a blessing to small business, which is paradoxically defined as businesses with incomes below $100 million (if only we could all be that small).

Most importantly, institute a one-time 0% tax rate on money currently held by corporations overseas that is repatriated to America and invested during a specified period of time. America is alone among nations in that it has a global corporate tax system. This means the nation taxes U.S. corporations on total income, regardless of whether it is earned domestically or overseas but only when the money is repatriated. It is estimated that corporations are holding more than $2.5 trillion overseas.

This money is earned from business operations in other countries and is already taxed by those particular nations. It is after-tax income (albeit taxed by other countries). It’s held overseas instead of brought back to America to invest because America would then tax it at the corporate rate of 39.1%, after allowing foreign taxes paid to be deducted from income.

As an example, if a corporation earned $1.5 million in a foreign country and paid a half-million dollars in taxes to that country, the remaining $1 million after-tax money would be taxed in America at the rate of 39.1%. This would result in a tax liability of $391,000. Add in the $500,000 already paid, and that is an effective rate of 59.4%. When that is taken into account, anyone can understand why corporations hold money abroad.

Imagine the boost to the economy the investment of $2.5 trillion would be. In addition, this money would be invested by businessmen in what they think would earn a profit. Politicians spent the trillion-plus dollars of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 as a reward for political backers and unions. What would have happened had we taken that money and allowed businessmen to invest in things that would have turned a profit? Business surely could have done a better job than the politicians did.

Couple this with the full expensing of all new capital investment instead of requiring it be depreciated over a number of years and the nation just might be able to get that 7.83% growth rate America achieved in 1983 under Ronald Reagan.

Remember, they also told Reagan it couldn’t be done. 



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Indiana police officer fatally shot after responding to car crash


A police officer died on Thursday after he was shot multiple times after responding to a car crash outside of Indianapolis.

At least two suspects are in custody, police said. Witnesses at the scene of the incident reported hearing several shots.

The police officer was identified as Lt. Aaron Allan, IMPD told FOX 59.

Allan, the Southport Police Department’s officer of the year for 2015, was responding to a car crash in southern Marion County, according to the Indianapolis Star.

NEW YORK CITY COP ‘ASSASSINATED’ IN THE BRONX

Allan and a second officer from the Homecroft Police Department were in the process of responding to the crash in which a vehicle had turned over before 3 p.m. When he approached the vehicle one of the two occupants started shooting, the Indianapolis Star reported. 

The Homecroft officer and an off-duty Johnson County Sheriff’s deputy who was in the location at the time returned fire and hit the shooter, authorities said.

“We heard a lot of sirens. We were unsure what was going on,” witness Ciarra Williams told FOX 59. “And then we come up here and we were told by police officers that there was four teenagers in the vehicle and that fires were shot (sic).”

INDIANAPOLIS DEPUTY POLICE CHIEF DIES FROM INJURIES SUFFERED IN CAR CRASH

Allan was the second Indiana police officer to die on Thursday. 

Deputy Chief James “Jim” Waters, 48, died after being involved in a serious car crash during the weekend. Waters was traveling eastbound on the interstate when a semi hit his vehicle from behind, fire officials told FOX 59.



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Security officer allegedly steals $100G first day on job


A New Jersey security officer has been charged with stealing $100,000 from a business on his first day of work, Fairfield police said.

Larry Brooks, 19, of Elizabeth, was working for Garda, a cash vault and armored car company, when he was captured by company surveillance cameras taking the money, NJ.com reported.

Township police Chief Anthony Manna said security officers reportedly found $85,900 in a parked vehicle in Elizabeth, but added there was no definitive conclusion of what happened to the remaining cash. 



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Texas executes man for killing woman in 2004


HUNTSVILLE, Texas — A Texas prisoner was executed Thursday evening for killing a San Antonio woman after breaking into her apartment more than 13 years ago.

TaiChin Preyor, 46, was put to death after his attorneys failed to convince courts that he had deficient legal help during earlier stages of his appeals and that he deserved a reprieve so his case could be reviewed more fairly.

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected his final appeal about 2 ½ hours after the six-hour execution window opened at 6 p.m. CDT. Once the justices ruled, Preyor was taken to the death chamber in Huntsville, Texas, for lethal injection. Preyor’s execution was Texas’ fifth this year and the 16th nationally.

Asked by the prison warden if he had a final statement, Preyor replied, “First and foremost, I’d like to say: Justice has never advanced by taking a human life,” and attributed the statement to Coretta Scott King. Then he said that he would love his wife and children “forever and always.”

“That’s it,” Preyor said.

As the lethal dose of pentobarbital began taking effect, he took several deep breaths, then began snoring, each sound decreasing in volume. Within a minute, all movement stopped.

He was pronounced dead 19 minutes later at 9:22 p.m.

Preyor selected no friends or relatives to witness his punishment. No one related to the victim in his case attended.

Preyor was convicted in the February 2004 slaying of 24-year-old Jami Tackett, who court records identified as Preyor’s drug supplier. She was stabbed and her throat was cut.

Preyor’s lawyers earlier argued unsuccessfully in the Texas courts and lower federal courts that an inexperienced California attorney who handled federal appeals in his case from 2011 to 2014 was “utterly unqualified.” They said she employed a disbarred lawyer for guidance, perpetrating a fraud on the courts.

State attorneys said the late appeals to reopen his case were legally improper and that it was Preyor’s decision to stay with the inexperienced lawyer who didn’t appear to miss any filing deadlines and filed appropriate pleadings. The disbarred lawyer wasn’t precluded from assisting Preyor’s attorney, state lawyers said.

Testimony showed that in the early hours of Feb. 26, 2004, Preyor, dressed in black and wearing a hood and gloves, kicked in the door of a San Antonio apartment where Tackett lived and kept drugs in a safe.

Tackett recognized Preyor when he barged into a bedroom, calling him by his nickname “Box.” He attacked her boyfriend, who escaped to a neighbor’s apartment and called for help. Evidence showed Preyor, a drug seller and user since adolescence, then stabbed Tackett and cut her throat.

He fled the apartment but returned because he lost his car keys in the struggle. By the time he tried to flee a second time, police had arrived and used pepper spray to subdue him. He was covered with the blood of his victims.

At least six other Texas prisoners are scheduled to be executed in the next several months.



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'TUCKER TONIGHT' Sessions stands by recusal in Russia probe


Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in an interview Thursday with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, stood firmly by his recusal from the FBI’s Russia investigation – saying he made “the right decision,” despite the criticism he faces from President Trump.

Speaking with “Tucker Carlson Tonight” in El Salvador, Sessions admitted Trump’s criticism has been “kind of hurtful,” but insisted he would continue in the job unless Trump fired him.

“I serve at the pleasure of the president,” Sessions said. “If he wants to make a change, he can certainly do so and I would be glad to yield in that circumstance, no doubt about it.”

Trump has repeatedly slammed Sessions in media interviews and on Twitter over the attorney general’s decision in March to recuse himself from the FBI’s investigation into Russian activities during last year’s election campaign.

“I understand [Trump’s] feelings about it, because this has been a big distraction for him,” Sessions told Tucker Carlson. “[But] I’m confident I made the right decision. The decision is consistent with the rule of law. An attorney general who doesn’t follow the law is not very effective in leading the Department of Justice.”

Sessions was in San Salvador Thursday as part of a two-day trip meant to bolster cooperation with the Central American nation in the fight against the MS-13 street gang, which the attorney general has described as a top security threat to the United States.

“I do believe that we are making tremendous progress,” said Sessions. “We had a 25 percent increase in prosecution of criminals with guns just this last quarter, the first real quarter that I’ve been in office … We’ve achieved, in many ways, more than I thought at this point in time.”

Sessions pointed out that despite the rift over his recusal, he and Trump share “a common interest” in cracking down on crime and illegal immigration.

“I believe that I understand [Trump’s] mission. I understand his goals,” the attorney general said. “That’s why I supported him for president. I share his beliefs that we’ve got to do more about crime, more about illegal immigration, more about gangs and violence and it’s an honor and a pleasure to be able to lead that effort.”

Sessions also told Carlson that the Justice Department would step up its investigation and prosecution of what he called “criminal leaks” after a series of reports detailing the progress of the Russia investigation and disclosing sensitive national security information.

“It cannot continue. Some people need to go to jail,” warned Sessions, who vowed, “If we can make cases, they are going to jail … The president has every right to ask the Department of Justice to be more aggressive in that, and we intend to.”



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New Jersey Gov. Christie says public outcry over Beachgate 'hurt' family


New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says public outcry over his decision to lounge with his family on a public beach that was closed during the state’s government shutdown “upset his children more than anything else” since he’s been in office.

The two-term Republican governor made the comments Thursday night during his regular radio call-in show on New Jersey’s WKXW-FM radio.

Christie was photographed over Fourth of July weekend by NJ.com at Island Beach State Park, where the state provides a summer home to the governor. Christie ordered the shutdown of nonessential state government, including state beaches and parks, amid a budget impasse.

He said during Thursday’s radio show that his family was hurt by the backlash and “they don’t understand people’s unfairness and, quite frankly, their ignorance.”

Christie was blistered online and in the real world after he was photographed with his family soaking up the sun on a beach that he had closed to the public over the holiday weekend.

He has been lambasted as selfish and arrogant, and jokesters online inserted the picture of him in sandals, shorts and a T-shirt into various photos and movie and TV scenes since he was spotted on the beach.

“Tell Gov. Christie: Get the hell off Island Beach State Park,” read a banner carried by a plane flying up and down the New Jersey coast during the holiday weekend, mocking the time the tough-talking governor told people to “get the hell off the beach” during a hurricane in 2011.

Christie defended his visit at the time to the shore while the public was denied access, saying that he had previously announced his plans to vacation at the state-owned governor’s beach house and that the media had simply “caught a politician keeping his word.”

Christie also said his son apologized to him for inviting his friends to the house and getting him “all this heat,” to which Christie said his son “never” has to apologize and he has no regrets about spending time with his family.

“This is who I am, and I’ve never pretended to be anything other than that,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.



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Why Replace Obamacare with Anything?


Obamacare, like almost everything the government is in charge of, is undoubtedly a disaster and needs to be repealed.  Why should it be replaced with anything?  We already have an extensive Medicaid program, which was supposedly designed to provide a safety net for those unable to afford insurance.  Like most if not all government programs, it is rife with fraud and abuses. 

Medicare is another disaster.  The majority of people think this is a free government program that pays 80% of everything.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Seniors pay for Medicare, and Medicare pays for 80% of what Medicare thinks you should have been billed.  For example, if your doctor charges you $200 for an annual exam, Medicare might decide that you should have been charged only $100, and it will pay 80%, or $80, of that amount.  The Medicare enrollee is left with a bill for $120.  That’s why almost all seniors have what is called “gap” insurance, a secondary insurance, which can be costly but pays most or all of the gap left between what you are billed and what Medicare pays.  The same holds true for all medical testing and hospitalizations. 

One of the popular narratives for replacing Obamacare is that so many people were uninsured before its passage and need to be insured.  What I haven’t heard is who these people are.  I know that a good portion of them are young people who choose not to have health insurance.  Since when did the government decide how a person should live his life?  And should it?

Another portion are those with pre-existing conditions.  Unless someone was born with congenital defects, these people are also mostly those who chose not to have insurance until they acquired a medical problem; were without insurance; and found that insurance, once they had this problem, was very costly.  There may be some companies, if you are going from job to job, who will not cover you if you have a pre-existing condition, but I’m not aware of any.

Compare health insurance with car insurance.  If you feel you are an incredibly safe driver and choose not to have any, or adequate, insurance, what happens if you are in a serious and costly collision?  It certainly isn’t the responsibility of the government to bail you out for your poor choice.  And if you try, after this costly collision, to increase your auto insurance or get insurance, you will probably find yourself in a high-risk pool paying incredible amounts of money.  No one expects the American taxpayers to pay for your poor decisions. 

So why should the American taxpayers pay for your poor medical decisions?  They shouldn’t. 

Another thing touted as popular is keeping children on their parents’ policy until they are 26 years old.  This sounds good, but 26-year-olds are not children.  By all indices, they are adults.  Yes, a lot of them are still living at home – but why?  What are they doing with their money?  Looking at the adult children of people I know, they are having a wonderful time, spending their money on cars I can’t afford at 72 because I realize that Medicare pays very little of hospital bills and I need a good secondary insurance, clothes, and miscellaneous other things.  These young people are the ones who probably, when they turn 26, won’t get their own insurance.  Again, should the taxpayers be responsible for their poor decisions and priorities?

It seems to be all about priorities.  There are certain things in life that should be a priority.  Medical insurance should be one of those.  There’s an idea for a mandatory high school class – what is a priority and how to establish those priorities.  But that would be a sensible, worthwhile class and definitely not part of the liberal agenda.

Another reason against government health care is that, legally, no one is ever turned away from a hospital based on ability to pay.  I spent years working in information technology with hospital accounting.  I know not only how many millions of dollars in only free care were provided by the hospital, but how many millions of dollars were written off as bad debts and how many debts were worked out with patients for a nominal monthly charge – with no late fees or charges.  If a hospital accepts Medicare and Medicaid, it is required to provide a certain amount of “charitable” care or risk losing its funding from these sources.  Not only that, but every hospital I have been associated with has staff who specifically assist people who are uninsured to apply for Medicaid.

There is no magic formula for deciding what any individual needs in health insurance, just as there isn’t a magic formula for deciding what type of auto insurance an individual needs.  This is a personal decision and should be made by the persons directly involved – not the government and definitely not by Congress, whose members live in their elitist bubble and have a wonderful health care program and know almost nothing about medical insurance.

Government insurance is just another step toward socialized medicine, where the government will be deciding not only what type and amount of insurance you need, but how you should be cared for.

Obamacare, like almost everything the government is in charge of, is undoubtedly a disaster and needs to be repealed.  Why should it be replaced with anything?  We already have an extensive Medicaid program, which was supposedly designed to provide a safety net for those unable to afford insurance.  Like most if not all government programs, it is rife with fraud and abuses. 

Medicare is another disaster.  The majority of people think this is a free government program that pays 80% of everything.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Seniors pay for Medicare, and Medicare pays for 80% of what Medicare thinks you should have been billed.  For example, if your doctor charges you $200 for an annual exam, Medicare might decide that you should have been charged only $100, and it will pay 80%, or $80, of that amount.  The Medicare enrollee is left with a bill for $120.  That’s why almost all seniors have what is called “gap” insurance, a secondary insurance, which can be costly but pays most or all of the gap left between what you are billed and what Medicare pays.  The same holds true for all medical testing and hospitalizations. 

One of the popular narratives for replacing Obamacare is that so many people were uninsured before its passage and need to be insured.  What I haven’t heard is who these people are.  I know that a good portion of them are young people who choose not to have health insurance.  Since when did the government decide how a person should live his life?  And should it?

Another portion are those with pre-existing conditions.  Unless someone was born with congenital defects, these people are also mostly those who chose not to have insurance until they acquired a medical problem; were without insurance; and found that insurance, once they had this problem, was very costly.  There may be some companies, if you are going from job to job, who will not cover you if you have a pre-existing condition, but I’m not aware of any.

Compare health insurance with car insurance.  If you feel you are an incredibly safe driver and choose not to have any, or adequate, insurance, what happens if you are in a serious and costly collision?  It certainly isn’t the responsibility of the government to bail you out for your poor choice.  And if you try, after this costly collision, to increase your auto insurance or get insurance, you will probably find yourself in a high-risk pool paying incredible amounts of money.  No one expects the American taxpayers to pay for your poor decisions. 

So why should the American taxpayers pay for your poor medical decisions?  They shouldn’t. 

Another thing touted as popular is keeping children on their parents’ policy until they are 26 years old.  This sounds good, but 26-year-olds are not children.  By all indices, they are adults.  Yes, a lot of them are still living at home – but why?  What are they doing with their money?  Looking at the adult children of people I know, they are having a wonderful time, spending their money on cars I can’t afford at 72 because I realize that Medicare pays very little of hospital bills and I need a good secondary insurance, clothes, and miscellaneous other things.  These young people are the ones who probably, when they turn 26, won’t get their own insurance.  Again, should the taxpayers be responsible for their poor decisions and priorities?

It seems to be all about priorities.  There are certain things in life that should be a priority.  Medical insurance should be one of those.  There’s an idea for a mandatory high school class – what is a priority and how to establish those priorities.  But that would be a sensible, worthwhile class and definitely not part of the liberal agenda.

Another reason against government health care is that, legally, no one is ever turned away from a hospital based on ability to pay.  I spent years working in information technology with hospital accounting.  I know not only how many millions of dollars in only free care were provided by the hospital, but how many millions of dollars were written off as bad debts and how many debts were worked out with patients for a nominal monthly charge – with no late fees or charges.  If a hospital accepts Medicare and Medicaid, it is required to provide a certain amount of “charitable” care or risk losing its funding from these sources.  Not only that, but every hospital I have been associated with has staff who specifically assist people who are uninsured to apply for Medicaid.

There is no magic formula for deciding what any individual needs in health insurance, just as there isn’t a magic formula for deciding what type of auto insurance an individual needs.  This is a personal decision and should be made by the persons directly involved – not the government and definitely not by Congress, whose members live in their elitist bubble and have a wonderful health care program and know almost nothing about medical insurance.

Government insurance is just another step toward socialized medicine, where the government will be deciding not only what type and amount of insurance you need, but how you should be cared for.



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QUENCHING THE FIRE Huckabee Sanders hopes Scaramucci cools rhetoric


After newly hired White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci set off a firestorm Thursday with vulgar remarks in a New Yorker magazine interview, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was quick to try to put out the blaze.

Sanders told reporters outside the White House on Thursday that she hoped Scaramucci could learn to use more restraint in his rhetoric – especially when discussing fellow Trump administration staffers.

“Anthony has put out a statement that has made pretty clear that sometimes he is a passionate guy and he has made pretty clear that sometimes he has let that passion get the better of him,” Sanders told a reporter outside the West Wing. “I don’t anticipate he will do it again.”

Scaramucci “is a passionate guy and he has made pretty clear that sometimes he has let that passion get the better of him. I don’t anticipate he will do it again.”

– Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House press secretary

Sanders also addressed concerns that Scaramucci might be serious in wanting to “kill” leakers in the White House, as he was quoted as saying.

“In terms of people’s safety, I certainly hate that somebody feels that way, but I have worked with an incredible team over the last six months,” Sanders told Fox News. “We have a great group of people. I love coming to work every day. I consider it a privilege. I certainly feel very safe in the building, and happy to be here.” 

In the interview, Scaramucci bluntly assailed his top White House rival, chief of staff Reince Priebus, as well as Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon. He also threatened “leakers” among his new staff, or White House staffers who serve as unnamed sources to the White House press corps.

“They’ll all be fired by me,” Scaramucci told a New Yorker reporter, after the reporter refused to divulge a source. “I fired one guy the other day. I have three to four people I’ll fire tomorrow. I’ll get to the person who leaked that to you.”

One White House official expressed concern about Scaramucci’s comments since being hired.

“This is getting out of hand. I am honestly getting concerned for my safety in the office tomorrow,” the official, who is well liked by many among the different factions in the White House, told Fox News exclusively Thursday. 

The official said Scaramucci’s tough language in the article was not only concerning but below the dignity and decorum of White House traditions and etiquette.

“This type of behavior is unbelievable,” the official told Fox News. “Working in the White House and something like that is said … it is a disgrace.”

Thursday’s Scaramucci episode has become a combustible and potentially defining moment of the first six months of the Trump White House. The new communications director, with smooth-talking skills in the briefing room and a stellar Wall Street background, unleashed a barrage of expletive-laden comments to the New Yorker.

“Reince is a (expletive) paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,” he told the New Yorker about the White House chief of staff, who has apparently fallen out of favor with Trump.

Scaramucci also took a shot at Bannon.

“I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own (expletive),” Scaramucci said. “I’m not trying to build my own brand off the (expletive) strength of the president. I’m here to serve the country.”

Scaramucci later tweeted his response to the article.

“I sometimes use colorful language. I will refrain in this arena but not give up the passionate fight for @realDonaldTrump’s agenda.  #MAGA”

 

 

 

Serafin Gomez is a White House Producer for FOX News Channel, who also covered the 2016 election as a Special Events & Politics producer and former special campaign correspondent for Fox News Latino. Fin formerly worked as the Miami Bureau Producer for Fox News Channel where he covered Florida Politics & Latin America. Follow him on Twitter: @Finnygo

 

 



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'SKINNY REPEAL' FAILS Senate rejects GOP-led measure to strip key parts of ObamaCare


Senate Republicans failed to pass Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s proposed “skinny repeal” amendment in a vote Friday morning, signaling what could be the end to any hopes of repealing and replacing ObamaCare.

As the clock neared 2 a.m. ET, the amendment proposal failed, 51-49, with Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska joining Democrats in voting no.

“It is time to move on,” McConnell said after the vote.

Added Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.: “We are not celebrating. We are relieved.”

Shortly after, President Trump took to Twitter to express his disapointment in the three Republicans who voted against the amendment, saying they “let the American people down.”

“3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!” Trump tweeted.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Republicans will now have to work on improving the current health care legislation alongside their Democratic counterparts

“The American people have spoken loud and clear against the higher costs and monstrous cruelty of Trumpcare,” Pelosi said.

The decision came after House Speaker Paul Ryan honored Republican senators’ request that the body vote on a vehicle to continue moving forward with discussions to repeal and replace the health care legislation through a conference committee.

“Senators have made clear that this is an effort to keep the process alive, not to make law. If moving forward requires a conference committee, that is something the House is willing to do,” Ryan said in a statement Thursday night.

But McCain said he was skeptical that the House would take the bill to committee and approve it as is, so he voted no, dooming the “skinny repeal” after his triumphant return to Washington this week following a brain cancer diagnosis and surgery.

“We must now return to the correct way of legislating and send the bill back to committee, hold hearings, receive input from both sides of the aisle, heed the recommendations of the nation’s governors, and produce a bill that finally delivers affordable health care for the American people,” McCain said in a statement.

After McConnell’s pared-down ObamaCare bill failed to receive enough votes early Friday, he took to the podium and delivered a somber message on the Senate floor.

“This is clearly a disappointing moment. From skyrocketing costs to plummeting choices and collapsing markets, our constituents have suffered through an awful lot under ObamaCare,” McConnell said. “We thought they deserved better. It’s why I, and many of my colleagues, did as we promised and voted to repeal this failed law. We told our constituents we would vote that way. When the moment came, most of us did. We kept our commitments.”

“So yes, this is a disappointment, a disappointment indeed,” he added.

However, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said he hasn’t lost faith in the GOP’s promise to ultimately repeal and replace ObamaCare, and believes “in time, we will honmor our promise.”

Cruz added that the focus needs to shift to lowering premiums in order to reach the majority.

Failure to pass the amendment underscored the ongoing struggle within the Republican Party between moderates and conservatives who can’t seem to reach a consensus on their efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 law that is considered the signature legislation of President Barack Obama’s presidency.

The GOP will now have to grapple with the real possibility of failing to deliver a full repeal and replace of the law, something the party has been promising its supporters for more than seven years.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.



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SPAIN STATION ACCIDENT Train crash in Barcelona leaves at least 48 injured


DEVELOPING — A commuter train crashed into a railway buffer in Barcelona’s Francia station, injuring 48 people, with five gravely injured.

The train was coming from Sant Vicenc de Calders village in the province of Tarragona on the Rodalies commuter rail service at 7:15 a.m. local time when it crashed into a railroad buffer at the train platform at Francia, a landmark train station in the heart of the city. The impact tore open the nose of the locomotive.

At least 18 of the injured needed hospital attention, emergency services said, according to Reuters. The driver was among the injured, they said. Medics were also treating passengers on the platform in a makeshift triage.

No deaths were reported.

The cause of the crash was not immediately known.



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