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Eliminator

National Review

Kamala Harris has a big idea for your health-care plan: elimination.

The early contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination are working feverishly to out-radical each other. Senator Elizabeth Warren has come out with a confiscatory wealth tax that in practice proved too oppressive for Sweden and Denmark, both of which abolished theirs years ago. Harris, not wanting to be outflanked on her left, has now called for the abolition of private health insurance, a proposal that would go well beyond even the practice in single-payer systems such as those of the United Kingdom and Canada.

CNN’s Jake Tapper asked her whether under her “Medicare for All” proposal people would be permitted to keep their insurance if they like it. Harris, unlike Barack Obama, offered no such concession. Instead, she offered this: “Let’s eliminate all of that. Let’s move on.”

Move on to what? Continue reading


The Super Bowl of Corporate Welfare

By John Stossel • Reason

Today is the Super Bowl.

I look forward to playing poker and watching. It’s easy to do both because in a three-hour-plus NFL game there are just 11 minutes of actual football action.

So we’ll have plenty of time to watch Atlanta politicians take credit for the stadium that will host the game. Atlanta’s former mayor calls it “simply the best facility in the world.”

But politicians aren’t likely to talk about what I explain in my latest video—how taxpayers were forced to donate more than $700 million to the owner of Atlanta’s football team, billionaire Arthur Blank, to get him to build the stadium. Continue reading


School Vouchers Aren’t Welfare for the Rich

By Christian Barnard • Reason

“Do School Vouchers Only Benefit the Wealthy?” asks an article this month in Governing. Like too many headlines, the implication is that school choice is a scam that disproportionately benefits wealthy students who already live in high-performing districts. The Governing story suggests that Arizona’s education savings accounts (ESAs)––publicly-funded savings accounts that parents can use to pay for private school tuition or other education services for their children––rarely help out those who authentically need assistance, favoring already-privileged children instead.

The article cites a 2017 report from The Arizona Republic which found that 75 percent of the ESA money went to students leaving districts that had an “A” or “B” ranking, and only 4 percent of the money followed students opting out of districts rated “D” or lower.

But these numbers hardly even hint at the full story. Arizona’s ESA program can only be used by specific groups of disadvantaged students. In fact, Arizona Department of Education data from 2017 reveals that 82 percent of ESA recipients were students with special needs, from military families, or students from D/F rated schools. Continue reading


The Crippling Cost of 70% Tax Rates

By Edward Conard • Wall Street Journal

Newly elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spent her first few weeks on Capitol Hill calling for a 70% top marginal income-tax rate, and suddenly the debate over optimal rates has reopened. To support her charge, some liberals are citing a 2011 study by economists Peter Diamond and Emmanuel Saez, which advocates for confiscatory upper-range tax rates. But a quick look at their analysis reveals grave caveats that only an advocate of higher taxes could possibly overlook.

Messrs. Diamond and Saez admit that taxes can have detrimental…

Newly elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spent her first few weeks on Capitol Hill calling for a 70% top marginal income-tax rate, and suddenly the debate over optimal rates has reopened. To support her charge, some liberals are citing a 2011 study by economists Peter Diamond and Emmanuel Saez, which advocates for confiscatory upper-range tax rates. But a quick look at their analysis reveals grave caveats that only an advocate of higher taxes could possibly overlook. Continue reading


After Trump Gets His Wall Funding, He Should Fire The TSA

Investor’s Business Daily

In their constant search for shutdown-related disasters, the media are now fixated on airport screeners. The shutdown is wreaking havoc on airports, they say. Except that it isn’t. The shutdown does, however, present an opportunity to re-privatize the troublesome TSA.

News reports focus on the fact that TSA worker no-shows are up from a year ago. But the TSA’s own data show that wait times haven’t changed. Its latest report finds that “99.9% of passengers waited less than 30 minutes and 95.4% of passengers waited less than 15 minutes.”

That’s in line with normal operations. TSA reported in 2017, for example, that 99.9% of passengers waited less than 30 minutes during summer months. Continue reading


McAuliffe: I Don’t Want Dems Making ‘False Promises’ Like Free College

By Cameron Cawthorne • Washington Free Beacon

Former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe (Va.) on Monday said he doesn’t want Democrats going out on the campaign trail in 2020 making “false promises” like free college.

McAuliffe, who said he will make a decision on 2020 by the end of March, said Democrats don’t need a “compulsive liar” running against President Donald Trump, but instead a “compulsive optimist” and a “compulsive realist,” appearing to hint American voters need him.

Bloomberg’s “Balance of Power” host Jason Kelly referenced McAuliffe’s Washington Post op-ed from last week, where he said Democrats must not “make unrealistic ideological promises.” He then asked McAuliffe which policy proposal from his op-ed was the most “feasible.” Continue reading


Crowley christens LNG-powered El Coqui

American Shipper

Crowley Maritime Corp. on Saturday christened its Commitment Class combination container and roll-on/roll-off ship El Coquí, which is among the first of its kind to be powered by liquefied natural gas.

Crowley said the ship is a key component in its supply chain transformation in the U.S. mainland-Puerto Rico trade.

A crowd of more than 350 people, including White House officials, U.S. congressional members, local dignitaries, representatives from shipbuilder VT Halter Marine and Eagle LNG joined Crowley employees, vessel crew members and other industry and union representatives to celebrate christening. Continue reading


Congress must head off pension plan crisis

By George LandrithManistee News Advocate

I am not generally a big fan of lame-duck sessions because such a large number of soon-to-be former senators and congressmen are voting on their way out the door. But Congress must do something about a looming multi-employer pension plan disaster or we could see very difficult economic times ahead.

Multi-employer pension plans have more than $600 billion of unfunded liabilities and are dangerously close to failing. Once these endangered plans fail, others will not be far behind. Additionally, state and local governments have about $6 trillion in unfunded pension promises. If these potential failures come to fruition, it could be a disaster far worse than the 2008 housing bust.

The White House understands the risks and has met with the chief players on Capitol Hill, encouraging them to work together to find a lasting solution. Continue reading


Don’t Import Foreign Price Controls; Break Them

By Phil Kerpen • American Commitment

Americans are justifiably angry that we pay the highest prescription drugs prices in the world – anger President Trump tapped into on the campaign trail. The disparity exists because other rich countries use price control schemes, forcing American consumers to provide the returns on capital that justify the enormous research and development costs associated with bringing new cures to market; the rest of the world free-rides on our innovation.

The good news is that the Trump administration has been aggressive on the trade front in efforts to break foreign price control regimes; the bad news is that the Trump administration is also proposing to actually import foreign price control regimes into the Medicare program by adopting a payment formula that is pegged to foreign prices.

In its recent report “The Opportunity Costs of Socialism,” the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) looked at “the impact on medical innovation of the U.S. adopting European-style price controls” and found: Continue reading


Checking In On New York’s (Health Care) State Of Mind

By Sally C Pipes • Investor’s Business Daily

Every year for the past four years, the liberal State Assembly has approved the New York Health Act, which would establish a statewide single-payer plan. But the bill always died in the State Senate, where Republicans have held the majority since 2011. These Republicans united with the centrist members of the Independent Democratic Conference to oppose single-payer.

Most of those Independent Democrats, as well as a handful of Republicans, lost their elections to progressive challengers in 2018. So when the new Democratic majority is sworn in this January, there may be enough single-payer proponents to radically reform New York’s health care system. State Senator Gustavo Rivera, a Bronx Democrat, has pledged to put forward a new single-payer bill in January. Assembly Member Richard Gottfried, a Democrat from Manhattan, confidently predicted the legislature is “on track” to pass the proposal. Continue reading


Ocasio-Cortez backs green policies that would hurt the poor and cripple our economy

By Liz Peek • Fox News

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez promises that going green – removing all fossil fuels from our energy mix – will “establish economic, social and racial justice in the United States.”

In fact, her proposal would cripple our economy and hurt our poorest citizens.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has admirable passion, but needs some schooling in energy economics. The cost of renewable energy is dropping fast, but is still more expensive in many applications than traditional fossil fuels like coal or oil. That’s one reason that adoption of wind and solar power has been slow, and that many countries, including the United States, underwrite renewables with subsidies and tax credits. The International Energy Agency predicts in its 2018 report that “the share of renewables in meeting global energy demand is expected to grow by one-fifth in the next five years to reach 12.4% in 2023.” Continue reading


Poll: People Care More About High Health Costs Than About Pre-Existing Conditions

By Christopher Jacobs • The Federalist

Now they tell us! A Gallup poll, conducted last month to coincide with the midterm elections and released on Tuesday, demonstrated what I had posited for much of the summer: Individuals care more about rising health insurance premiums than coverage of pre-existing condition protections.

Of course, liberal think tanks and the media had no interest in promoting this narrative, posing misleading and one-sided polling questions to conclude that individuals liked Obamacare’s pre-existing condition “protections,” without simultaneously asking whether people liked the cost of those provisions.

Overwhelming Concern about Premiums

The Gallup survey asked the public whether it viewed each of four scenarios as a major concern for them. Among those: “Your health insurance plan will require you to pay higher premiums or a greater portion of medical expenses,” and “you or someone in your immediate family will be denied health insurance coverage for a pre-existing medical condition.” Continue reading


No, The Deficit Isn’t ‘Soaring,’ And Yes, Tax Revenues Are At Record Highs

Investor’s Business Daily

In the first two months of the new fiscal year, tax revenues are up. But so is the deficit. Why? Because spending continues to outpace revenues. So why do tax cuts keep getting blamed?

The latest monthly budget report from the Congressional Budget Office shows the deficit jumping $102 billion in just the first two months of the new fiscal year.

That sure looks like the deficit is “soaring,” as one news outlet claimed. But as the CBO makes clear, almost all that deficit increase was the result of quirks of the calendar. Depending on where weekends fall, significant sums of spending can get shifted into different months.

A true apples-to-apples comparison, the CBO says, shows that the deficit climbed by just $13 billion. Continue reading


‘Let Them Come to Venezuela’ and See the Wreck of Socialism For Themselves

By ANDRES MALAVEInvestors Business Daily

“There are some who say that communism is the wave of the future. Let them come to Berlin!”

That was June 1963 in West Berlin where President John F. Kennedy gave one of his most memorable addresses. The speech was a stirring defense of liberty and a pointed critique of communism.

Whether you agree with Kennedy broadly or narrowly, I’ve rediscovered that speech and find it to relate now more than ever to the unfolding drama in the country of my birth, Venezuela. My family and I left Venezuela when I was 10. We had every intention of returning. Then Hugo Chavez took power, promising to usher in shared prosperity for all with his “21st century socialism.” We never went back. Continue reading


The Risks of Medicare for All

by Doug Badger • National Review

Critics of American health care often ask why ours is the only highly developed country without a taxpayer-funded universal health-care system.

It is a question meant to answer itself: There is no good reason, so the U.S. should fall in line with European financing methods. That is the view of advocates of “Medicare For All,” a proposal backed by most House Democrats.

But the question deserves more than a rhetorical response. Health care is financed differently in the United States because it evolved differently. Private arrangements among hospitals, doctors, employers, and labor unions to finance medical insurance developed and matured over the course of decades, abetted by government policy that treats employer-sponsored health benefits differently than wages for tax purposes. That generally did not happen in Europe.

The American approach offers several advantages that often are overlooked. Continue reading