By Inez Feltscher Stepman • The Federalist
Most Americans are still under the illusion that when they elect a president, he takes control over the executive branch and proceeds to implement his agenda by working with Congress. Sadly, “School House Rock” is out of date.
An enormous amount of policymaking these days goes through the administrative state – the alphabet soup of agencies that have been proliferating like weeds since Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. The outsourcing of legislative and adjudicatory powers to agencies is bad enough, and cannot square with the separation of powers between legislation, judiciary, and executive that is delineated in the Constitution. To make matters worse, these agencies and the employees who staff them are also politically unaccountable to the elected representatives of the people, violating not just the wise guardrails of our Constitution, but also the very idea of self-government.
Today, it is nearly impossible to fire the 2.8 million federal bureaucrats who staff the executive agencies, from which they issue regulations and policy guidance that directly affect the lives of Americans every day. Continue reading
by Robert E. Moffit • National Interest
For starters, everyone now knows that federal officials are challenged when it comes to setting up a website. But they’ve demonstrated the ability to dole out a huge amount of taxpayers’ money for millions of people signing up for Medicaid, a welfare program. And they’ve proved they can send hundreds of millions of federal taxpayers’ dollars to their bureaucratic counterparts in states, like Maryland and Oregon, that can’t manage their own exchanges. But there are many other lessons to be gleaned from Year One of Obamacare. Here are three of the most important ones.
1. Health costs jumped—big time. Huge increases in deductibles in policies sold through the exchanges were a big story in Florida, Illinois and elsewhere. While the average annual deductible for employer-based coverage was a little over $1,000, the exchange deductibles nationwide normally topped $2,000. Continue reading
The VA offers precisely what Obamacare offers: not a guarantee of treatment in time of need, but a guarantee of a place in line for treatment at a time of the bureaucracy’s choosing.
by Kevin O’Brien
The White House says Americans can’t draw any conclusions yet about just how screwed up is the Department of Veterans Affairs medical care system.
Well, yes, Americans can. And if they have any sense — always a debatable proposition — Americans will.
One conclusion we can draw is an old, familiar one: No matter what the issue or activity, bureaucracy’s first and strongest instinct is to protect itself in the face of a perceived threat. Continue reading
The unraveling rollout of the Affordable Care Act has provided an excellent, surprising, and little noticed lesson in the failures of big government.
Although many, like George Will, Charles Krauthammer, and other commentators, have rightly pointed to President Obama’s acknowledgement in his recent MSNBC interview of the problems of “big agencies, some of which are outdated, some of which are not designed properly,” perhaps a more important and more revealing indictment of big government was an overlooked admission Mr. Obama made at his November 14 press conference to announce his insurance “fix” for the millions losing their health plans.
Attempting to explain the disastrous rollout, Obama lamented, “[H]ow we purchase technology in the federal government is cumbersome, complicated and outdated.”
He added, “If you’re doing it at the federal government level, you’re going through 40 pages of specs and this and that and the other, and there are all kinds of laws involved, and it makes it more difficult. It’s part of the reason why, chronically, federal IT programs are over budget, behind schedule.”
It may be difficult to appreciate what a remarkable, revealing, and damaging confession this is. If the federal government can’t manage an IT program on time and on budget, how will it manage the intricacies of an entire health care industry? It won’t be able to, and here is the leader of the modern liberal movement for an all-encompassing, all-caring state making it plain that it can’t. Continue reading
How many times did the Obama Administration promise that GM would repay every dime of the taxpayer provided bailout? And how many times have you heard the lie that GM has fully repaid the federal government for the taxpayer provided bailout? The truth is the taxpayers lost $10 billion on GM, but GM CEO says the taxpayer took a risk like any other investor. That sucking sound you hear is the government taking $10 billion out of the taxpayer’s pocket.
by Todd Spangler
The General Motors bailout may have cost the government $10 billion, but GM CEO Dan Akerson rejects any suggestion that the company should compensate for the losses.
He says Treasury officials took the same risk assumed by anyone who purchases stock.
“I would not accept the premise that this was a bad deal,” Akerson said during a question-and-answer session at the National Press Club in Washington. He also said the government’s $49.5-billion aid to GM helped save billions of dollars in tax revenue and government social services. Continue reading