FOCUS ON WINNING THE WAR

Obamacare is one of those disasters half of us would just like to go away. The other half either has selfish financial interests or Utopian pipe dreams tied up in such Socialist legislation. Think I am being unfair to the other half? From the beginning we knew Obamacare would not work. Obamacare is economically unsound. So from the beginning we knew what the Democrats wanted was a single payer, government-run healthcare monopoly. Don’t we know how, if Hillary Clinton had been elected, Obamacare would have been fixed? Don’t we already know Obamacare needs to be fixed?

So now we have this stinking albatross around our neck. What is the best way to get rid of it? There is no quick and simple answer.  Budget reconciliation does not clearly provide it.

The reconciliation process, created by the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 (Pub. L. 93–344, 88 Stat. 297, 2 U.S.C. §§ 601–688), establishes the mechanism by which Congress can move controversial legislation without it being subject to a filibuster in the Senate. But to use the authority, Congress must take certain prescribed steps and avoid potential pitfalls. (continued here)

Pitfalls! So it is that Congress cannot include matters extraneous to budget reconciliation in a budget reconciliation bill.

Specifically, section 313(b)(1) of the Congressional Budget Act defines “extraneous” matters as those that:

  • do not produce a change in outlays or revenues;

  • produce changes in outlays or revenue which are merely incidental to the non-budgetary components of the provision;

  • are outside the jurisdiction of the committee that submitted the title or provision for inclusion in the reconciliation measure;

  • increase outlays or decrease revenue if the provision’s title, as a whole, fails to achieve the Senate reporting committee’s reconciliation instructions;

  • increase net outlays or decrease revenue during a fiscal year after the years covered by the reconciliation bill unless the provision’s title, as a whole, remains budget neutral; or

  • contain recommendations regarding the OASDI (social security) trust funds.

(from here)

Thus, when Congress tried to repeal Obamacare in 2015 they ran into problems in the Senate.

In October 2015, the House passed H.R. 3762: Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom, which repealed significant portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including:

  • the Automatic Enrollment Requirement,
  • the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF, also referred to as the “Obamacare slush fund”),
  • both the Individual and Employer Mandates,
  • the Medical Device Tax, and
  • the health insurance “Cadillac Tax,”.

The bill also prohibited federal funds for Planned Parenthood, its affiliates, subsidiaries, successors, and clinics for one year. Instead, the bill designated an additional $235 million for the Community Health Center Fund.

When the bill reached the Senate in January 2016, the Senate parliamentarian reviewed the House-passed bill to see if provisions of the bill met the extraneous matter requirements of the Byrd Rule.  She determined that repeal of the individual mandate and employer mandate, were extraneous policies, and not primarily budgetary in nature.  As a result, they were dropped from the bill and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) offered an amended version of the reconciliation bill that retained the policy of the individual and employer mandates, but eliminated the penalty for non-compliance.

Final passage from the conference committee occurred January 6, 2016 and was vetoed by President Obama two days later. (from here)

So even if the House passes the bill before it, the Senate may weaken it.  Unfortunately, we have little reason to believe the Senate dislikes big government.

So let consider a solution for this problem. Let’s begin by properly defining the problem. How did Obamacare happen? Democrats, politicians who do not respect the Constitution or our nation’s traditions, got control of the presidency, the House, a 60-vote majority in the Senate, and a practical majority on the Supreme Court. Therefore, to repeal Obamcare, we need control of the presidency, the House, a 60-vote majority in the Senate, and a practical majority on the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, we are not quite there. So, the solution is getting there, getting enough Conservative politicians to pass Conservative legislation.

Why do the American people elect politicians who do not respect the Constitution or our nation’s traditions? That is both a problem of the heart and the heart of the problem. To the extent we can do something about it, it is an education problem. Before the Democrats created budget-busting boondoggles like Social Security, Medicare, and now Obamacare, they took over the education of our nation’s children. So it is we have public funding of schools starting in kindergarten and ending with the completion of doctoral programs. Inevitably, people educated in socialist institutions by people who make their living off socialist institutions have difficulty seeing what is wrong with Socialism.  Inevitably, when the absence of instruction suggests such things don’t matter, children raised in secularized institutions have a difficult time relating to God and God-given rights. Therefore, if we don’t want everything run by our government, we must privatize our education system.

Are you familiar with school choice? Even if you are, you may find it useful to visit What is School Choice?  This is an article provided by Focus on the Family, which some would call a right-wing Christian organization. Here is how that article begins.

School choice is a nationwide movement that empowers parents by enabling them to make the best possible choice for their children’s education. In short, it puts power in the hands of parents to decide which type of education best fits the needs of their particular child – whether that is a public, private or religious institution, or educating their child at home.

School choice also protects parents’ constitutional rights to direct their children’s upbringing in accordance with the values, principles and religious convictions they hold dear. (continued here)

Think about it. Has the notion of the People running the own lives — educating their own children as they see fit — become as scary to our government as it was to the British Crown in 1776?

So what do we do with President Donald Trump’s and Speaker Paul Ryan’s bill, the American Health Care Act? I suggest we help Trump and Ryan pass the bill.  It is not perfect, but we need to keep our allies strong.  Trump and Ryan need the win, and half a loaf is better than none. At this point, half a loaf is all we can expect.

Why must we keep Trump and Ryan strong? Although we must fight our school choice battles predominantly at the state level, we must keep strong advocates for school choice in charge of the Federal Government. Otherwise, Democrats will win the fight to federalize the education of our nation’s children with programs like Common Core. See the following.

Is Common Core is a commie plot? Who knows?  The point is that the Constitution does not authorize a Federally run educational bureaucracy. Even if the Constitution did authorize Federal spending on education, do we actually need massive numbers of bureaucrats to educate our children? What possible good could they do?

29 thoughts on “FOCUS ON WINNING THE WAR

  1. How can Common Core federalize education when it is a state-adopted program? I always thought it was hilarious when your side would talk about federalism and abolishing common core at the same time? Are you going to support the Fed trying to strong arm states into abandoning common core? What’s next? What kind of precedent does that make?

    School choice is not a bad plan per se. Its a nice idea but privatizing schools has had disastrous results in many jurisdictions.

    Like

    1. @Stephen

      Are you serious? When the Democrats want the states to do something, they just dangle some money in front of state politicians. Too many politicians, unfortunately, think that their job is spending other people’s money.

      Like

      1. Is that why the National Governor’s Association created the Common Core project before federal grants were created to incentive it? 42 states formally adopted Common Core, many of them were GOP held legislatures. In fact, South Carolina’s GOP legislature voted for it and then voted to repeal it in the course of two years, causing Republican legislators who voted for it to begin with and advocated for it to suddenly and radically change their minds.

        41 states had signed on to adopting CC before Race to the Top was announced. Kentucky is likely to keep it since their high school graduation rate spiked 6% in three years and improved their academic quality rating from the Fordham Intitute.

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        1. @Stephen

          I will let Tricia’s article, https://www.cato.org/blog/getting-common-core-federal-facts-right, deal with how the Obama Administration pushed Common Core.

          http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2014/04/16/common-core-the-fordham-institute-and-the-d-c-edu-blob/

          https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-05-27/new-education-law-bipartisan-no-more

          Why did the government want Common Core? Big donors like things like Common Core because it makes it easier to sell “educational” stuff.

          Like

        2. Seeing as Texas, who petitioned the fed to get funds by arguing their standards met or exceeded CC, is one state that benefits the most from any education reform being the place where all these books and such are made, I don’t see what they have to complain about.

          You should know I won’t read anything from the National Socialists at Breitbart.

          And I agree that the majority of regulations should not come from the top down, hence why I am against Dillion’s Rule and you should too. But the bipartisan law that was passed gave the Ed Dept the power to regulate and they did. Regulators are going to regulate and the only way to fix it is to legislate and legislate well. I think we can all agree on that.

          As I pointed out to Tricia, the states had already pledged to adopt CC BEFORE RttT and the federal incentives. They had to drop it into the context of NCLB because that was federal law. So you have the majority of state legislatures pledging to pass CC and then the fed jumping on board. Because the CC project goes all the way back to 2005.

          It is also very important to note that CC is a set of standards. There are curricula that you can get from the creators, but states have complete freedom to develop their own courses. And these standards are rather rigorous. They are teaching algebra to 1st graders essentially. But again, the states have control over how and what is taught. For the English standards, the CC folks throw out texts like Ovid, Voltaire, William Shakespeare, Ivan Turgenev, Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Frost, W. B. Yeats, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. I didn’t read some of these until I got to college.

          Personally, I think there SHOULD be a standard curriculum: the Liberal Arts. It worked for generations for thousands of years and it worked for our Founders. This idea that we modern people somehow know better about how to educate people than our ancestors is the hieght of liberal arrogance.

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        3. @Stephen

          Arguing against an incoherent philosophy is kind of difficult. It also pointless to get so focused on details we miss the forest for the trees. So I will just comment on your last thought, that there should be common standard.

          You say the founders had a common standard? You say this common standard worked for generations, for thousands of years? Then we must already have a common standard. If we already have a common standard, why we need Common Core?

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        4. “The liberal arts do not conduct the soul all the way to virtue, but merely set it going in that direction.” ― Seneca

          “It could be said that a liberal education has the nature of a bequest, in that it looks upon the student as the potential heir of a cultural birthright, whereas a practical education has the nature of a commodity to be exchanged for position, status, wealth, etc., in the future. A liberal education rests on the assumption that nature and human nature do not change very much or very fast and that one therefore needs to understand the past. The practical educators assume that human society itself is the only significant context, that change is therefore fundamental, constant, and necessary, that the future will be wholly unlike the past, that the past is outmoded, irrelevant, and an encumbrance upon the future — the present being only a time for dividing past from future, for getting ready.

          But these definitions, based on division and opposition, are too simple. It is easy, accepting the viewpoint of either side, to find fault with the other. But the wrong is on neither side; it is in their division…

          Without the balance of historic value, practical education gives us that most absurd of standards: “relevance,” based upon the suppositional needs of a theoretical future. But liberal education, divorced from practicality, gives something no less absurd: the specialist professor of one or another of the liberal arts, the custodian of an inheritance he has learned much about, but nothing from.” ― Wendell Berry

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      1. “And they are definitely not legislatures, which much more than governors represent “the people” of their states. So no, it was not “states” that developed the standards.”

        Big lie number one here. The state legislatures may not have been the ones who initiated the project, but they certainly climbed on board when the legislation came before them. Furthermore, states had the options to order their curricula as they saw fit, provided they had the minimum benchmarks. They could even opt out of PARC testing.

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        1. See Tom’s point about federal funding being granted or denied depending on compliance. If you can’t understand how that will influence state and local education decisions there is not much more to say.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. But states pledged to adopt the standards BEFORE RttT and changing their educational standards to align with CC. So that argument doesn’t hold water. It is further invalidated by the fact that some states did not change their standards but argued that their current standards met the feds and so got state funds.

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    1. @silenceofmind

      It is a matter of degree. I would say more people in the Republican Party care about the rule of law than those in the Democratic Party. However, in the long run, that makes the Democratic Party weaker, not stronger. Virtue strengthens us. Sin, however, is tempting, and when we neglect the proper instruction of our children, our children, not knowing proper virtue, become very vulnerable.

      Like

      1. Citizen,

        Machiavelli’s rules of power politics are actually natural laws.

        The answer is to challenge and then politically annihilate the left where ever it pops up.

        The Republican Party is a go-along-to-get-along political party.

        If the language of the Bible, it is lukewarm and needs to be spit out by the voters.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “Think I am being unfair to the other half?”

    Not so much. I was actually thinking of Obamacare, “die,die you evil thing,” which has kind of totally left the realm of objectivity. 🙂

    One thing that makes me crazy, I work in healthcare. People like our family are actually who Obamacare was allegedly designed for. Myself and many others began screaming from the rooftops, “hold up,there are a whole lot of unintended consequences here that are going to do tremendous harm.” It all fell on deaf ears and our leadership refused to listen. So then you get to not only become a piece of collateral damage from these policies,you get to watch the whole nightmare unfold exactly as you predicted.

    One thing I really appreciate about our change in leadership is suddenly feeling as if I have been heard, rather then dismissed or worse, silenced.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @insanitybytes22

      The most serious complaint I have heard about the “American Health Care Act” came from Congressman Dave Brat. He said it needs to be modified so that it actually does reduce costs. He seems to think that is doable, and the Republicans would be foolish if they don’t make that happen. What most people care about is paying the bill.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Good post Tom. You know I don’t think much of the American Health Care Act, but I agree we should support its passage if some necessary changes are added. Hopefully after this step 1 is done, steps 2 and 3 can complete it to a more reform minded program. And school choice for parents? YES! What a no brainer for anyone not in bed with the teacher’s unions.

    I like the question you ask about why do people keep electing politicians who don’t abide by the Constitution? Ben Shapiro has a great column today that touches on this by discussing what he calls our natural desire to want free things and politicians natural inclination to lie to people that they will provide them.

    “But thankfully, there is another human tendency that helps counteract the desire to receive from the government: the natural outrage at being lied to. Human beings aren’t fond of being promised the moon and then delivered moldy cheese.”

    Limited government of course is the answer. Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/445967/republicans-trump-should-stop-lying-no-free-health-care-nothing-free

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Tricia

      Thank you for your comments and your links.

      Politicians do give us lots of moldy cheese, don’t they. It is hard enough for them to protect our rights. When they start giving us things, they first have to deprive us of our right to keep our own personal property.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “Personally, I think there SHOULD be a standard curriculum: the Liberal Arts. It worked for generations for thousands of years and it worked for our Founders.”

    I’m going to object to Common Core on the grounds that it is elitist, dehumanizing, and treats kids as if we were all robots to be programmed, indoctrinated. In truth, people are individuals and have different strengths and weaknesses. I know a plumber who graduated from high school and can hardly even read and yet he now runs a business and is far more successful than many highly educated people. Institutionalized education is what flunked Einstein in math. There are brilliant, capable people who are never going to be good at language skills, just as there are people who have an innate talent for math. We dishonor the truth of human nature when we try to create educational standards upon which to weigh and measure success.

    Also, I can’t even begin to tell you how many people with liberal arts degrees are currently on welfare or “permanently disabled due to depression from chronic unemployment.” We can’t blame the degree I suppose, but we sure can blame the system that sets people up for failure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @insanitybytes22

      Excellent comment!

      Generally, because every customer has highly individualized needs, we don’t see huge dental concerns. It is hard to set up an assembly line that fixes dental problems.

      Similarly, as you pointed out, people have highly individualized educational needs. Yet we have for some screwy reason set up our public school system to operate like an assembly line.

      Like

  5. in so many ways, as with so much of what Washington does “to” us, it all seems to boil down to a matter of the lesser of two, three, four or twenty evils….and that is what this bill is—as you say, it is not perfect…but it is a step in a direction walking us back to where it is we need to go…
    but the frustrating thing is that Washington is so splintered.
    There was a time when the bigger picture was important….yet now it’s sadly as if we are gazing into a fractured mirror seeing only the distortion we’ve allowed those who wish to govern us…have now become

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Julie (aka Cookie)

      Public opinion is usually divided. During WWII we were unified, but that was not necessarily a good thing. FDR was taking too much power to himself.

      Nevertheless, I think you know the problem.

      There was a time when the bigger picture was important….yet now it’s sadly as if we are gazing into a fractured mirror seeing only the distortion we’ve allowed those who wish to govern us…have now become

      We have vested too much power in those who wish to govern us.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I so agree about FDR—as you may or may not know, I am an ardent Churchillian….and FDR was none too kind, especially when the alliance with Stalin emerged, to Churchill, who for a time did “hero” worship FDR —until he finally saw the truth…
        I’ll be the first to say that Winston was no saint nor perfect leader…but I believe wholeheartedly he was the leader who God had in place during such a globally dark time…as our lives would be greatly different had he not been so tenacious—a weaker leader would have capitulated (think France) as FDR would have claimed not to “have a dog in that fight” and let GB go the way of the rest of Europe—under Hitler…leaving the USSR and Asia to dicker over the rest—as it would have simply been a matter of time before the ugly heads turned our direction…we have Churchill to thank that such never happened….
        and Obama was much of the same mind set as he vied for the power of sweeping control…and so our Frankenstein continues to turn on us as we sweetly pick our pretty little daisies….

        Liked by 1 person

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