Morning Examiner: The Obamacare Straightjacket

“My proposal would bring down the cost of health care for millions – families, businesses, and the federal government,” President Obama said in early March 2010 before Obamacare became law. Controlling health care spending was supposed to be one of the major benefits of Obama’s signature domestic accomplishment. Hard-core liberals like University of California at Berkeley professor Brad DeLong still claim to this day that Obamacare is a deficit reduction plan. But if the debt limit fight we just had proves anything, it is that the right, center, and all but the
far-left, all agree that Obamacare will not drive health care costs down, but will in fact make them increase.

One expects House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to write, as he does in today’s Wall Street Journal, “We are already seeing evidence that its maze of mandates, dictates, controls and tax hikes will actually push costs even further in the wrong direction.” And it is not that surprising to read National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility co-chairs Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson write, “If we can’t find a way to slow the rapid rise of health care costs, they will drive this country to bankruptcy.” But what is noteworthy is to see The New York Times admit, “Indeed, both the government and its debts will continue to grow faster than the American economy, primarily because the new [debt limt] law does not address federal spending on health care.”

Obamacare has completely trapped the Democrats on fiscal policy. In order to pay for Obamacare’s trillions of dollars in new spending, they had to raise taxes by $500 and raid Medicare by another $500 billion. As a result, all the low-hanging revenue and spending fruit are already gone. As even The Washington Post Ezra Klein admits, the Democrats must now argue for higher taxes, and not just on the wealthy. In order to pay for all their entitlement programs, the middle class is going to have to pay more, too. But Ezra can admit this because he doesn’t have to win elections; Democrats in public offices do. That is the reason you haven’t seen a Democratic budget since Obamacare became law and it is the reason you will not see another one till at least 2013.

Around the Bigs
The Washington Examiner, Debt deal done, Obama focuses on jobs: President Obama, again, “pivoted” to jobs yesterday after first signing the just-passed debt limit hike. He called for higher taxes, patent reform, job training assistance, and Federal Aviation Administration construction funding.

The Wall Street Journal, Economic Fears Hit Global Markets: Mounting evidence that the global economy is weakening drove down markets in Asia, Europe, and New York yesterday.

The Washington Post, Stocks plunge; S&P turns negative for 2011: Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index tumbled 2.6 percent Tuesday, the seventh straight day of losses, making it the longest decline since the 2008 financial crisis. The Nasdaq composite index and Dow Jones industrial average also fell.

The New York Times, op-ed, A Crisis Merely Postponed: National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility co-chairs Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson write: “The problem with the plan is that it’s just a step forward; it isn’t a solution. It leaves more than half of its work — finding at least $1.2 trillion in savings to avert an automatic set of cuts — to a new bipartisan Congressional committee. Even if that committee is successful, more tough work will be necessary to avoid, a few years down the road, another crisis over the deficit. ”

The New York Times, Spending Cuts Seen as Step, Not as Cure: Thanks to unchecked health care spending, the debt deal signed yesterday does not actually cut federal spending and the federal debt will be much larger ten years from now than it is today. In fact, both the government and its debts will continue to grow faster than the American economy.

The New York Times, Record Numbers Are Receiving Food Stamps: According to the Department of Agriculture, a record 45.753 million Americans received food stamps in May, up 12 percent from a year before.

Reuters, Senate fails to end partial FAA shutdown: Unwilling to give in to House demands for further spending cuts, Senate Democrats refused to pass a Federal Aviation Administration funding bill yesterday necessary to avoid a partial agency shutdown. Aircraft safety programs will continue but the FAA has issued stop work orders for 241 airport construction projects worth nearly $11 billion.

The Washington Examiner, Senate blocks Obama from making recess appointments during August break: Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced yesterday, that the Senate would be in “pro forma” sessions throughout August, effectively blocking President Obama from making any recess appointments.

The Los Angeles Times, Federal officials investigate eagle deaths at DWP wind farm: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are investigating the deaths of six golden eagles at a California wind farm. The company that operates the wind turbines could face prosecution under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. A successful prosecution would cripple the wind power industry.

The Wall Street Journal, Alabama Immigration Law Spurs Wider Fight: An Alabama law modeled after Arizona’s immigration enforcement law was challenged by the Obama Justice Department in a Birmingham federal court Monday. The Obama administration claims the law will overwhelm federal resources with arrests made at traffic stops.

Righty Playbook
Paul Ryan has a an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal today asking “Where’s Your Budget, Mr. President?” Ryan notes that ever since they passed Obamacare, Democrats have been unable to produce credible spending plans.

The Weekly Standard‘s Michael Warren notes that parties now have until August 16th to name their Super Congress representatives. Warren guesses that Sens. Jon Kyl, R-Ari., Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Reps. Eric Cantor, R-Va., Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Alan West, R-Fla., will fill out the Republican side. Sens. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., Dick Durbin, R-Ill., and Reps. Chris van Hollen, D-Md., Jan Schakowsky, R-Ill., and Xavier Beccerra, R-Calif., are leading Dem possibilities.

At The Corner, Mark Krikorian flags a Sacramento Bee story showing that attrition through enforcement is reducing the number of illegal immigrants in the United States.

Lefty Playbook

The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein admits that raising taxes on the rich is not enough to pay for the Democrats’ unsustainable welfare state and advises them to let all of the Bush tax cuts expire.

Mother Jones’ David Corn soothes liberal fears over the debt limit loss by outlining Obama’s Hope-a-Dope Strategy: “Though critics deride his soft-on-Republican-extremism approach for letting the opposition set the terms of debate, White House officials maintain that it has worked for Obama on key fronts.”

Talking Points Memo links to a Pew Study showing that Tea Partiers outworked Democrats in debt fight and worries: “The numbers suggest that Democrats still have a ways to go before they fully reactivate the base voters that powered them into the White House in 2008.”

Beltway Confidentialmorning examinerUS

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