Throw The Bums Out–All Of Them

The Republicans still don’t get it. They were voted in to repeal ObamaCare and let the free market apply to all Americans. Well, according to an article in The Conservative Review today, they haven’t figured that out yet.

The article reports:

How many times have conservatives criticized Democrats in Congress for exempting themselves from feeling the full effects of Obamacare?

Well, now Republicans in Congress have done the same thing, exempting themselves and their staff from the effects of their own proposed health insurance legislation.

The GOP’s proposed reforms to the Affordable Care Act will permit states to apply for waivers to repeal Obamacare regulations driving up the cost of premiums — regulations like the essential benefits mandates and community rating requirements. The tentative proposal is a compromise between the Freedom Caucus conservatives who want to see Obamacare fully repealed and the party moderates who want Obamacare regulations to remain in place. On the face of it, the idea is “if you can’t fix it, federalize it.”

Unless the Republican Party fully repeals ObamaCare and puts Congress under the same healthcare program as the rest of America, they will be voted out of office as soon as possible. I will work hard to do this. If they are going to do the same corrupt things and the Democrats, why should we vote for them? Who do they actually represent? Thank God for the Freedom Caucus. May they stand strong again.

The article concludes:

Republicans are trying to sell something to the American people they don’t want to buy themselves. Is it any wonder 50 percent of Americans have “little or no confidence” in the Republican plan to reform health care? Not even Republicans believe in it!

A Republican Victory In The Kansas Special Election

Fox News is reporting today that Kansas state Treasurer Ron Estes has won the special election in Kansas to fill the House seat vacated by CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Why does this matter? Because it is an indication that other than in the northeast and California, Americans are happy with the leadership of President Trump.

The article reports:

The race had been closely watched nationally for signs of a backlash against Republicans or waning support from Trump voters in a reliably GOP district. Trump won 60 percent of the votes cast in the 17-county congressional district this past November.

The president himself entered the fray Monday with a recorded get-out-the-vote call on Estes’ behalf and tweeted his support on Tuesday morning.

Other nationally known Republicans pitched in over the final days of the race. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas campaigned for Estes Monday in Wichita, while Vice President Mike Pence also recorded a get-out-the-vote call. The National Republican Congressional Committee spent roughly $90,000 in last-minute TV and digital ads.

Thompson (Democratic civil rights attorney James Thompson) reckoned that the high-profile support for Estes helped push him over the top, and claimed he could have won had national Democrats rallied to him sooner. Readers of the liberal blog Daily Kos donated more than $200,000 to Thompson in the final days of the race. Thompson was also backed by Our Revolution, the group that grew out of Sen. Bernie Sanders‘ 2016 presidential campaign.

The Our Revolution backing of Attorney Thompson is interesting. If you remember, Bernie Sanders ran as an outsider and definitely leaned to the left side of the political spectrum. In 2016, Bernie Sanders won the Kansas Democratic Primary with 67 percent of the votes.

The article includes some comments by voters:

All those GOP calls prompted Charlene Health, a 52-year-old homemaker and Republican in Belle Plaine, to cast a ballot for Estes.

“I wasn’t even going to vote,” she said as she left her polling site Tuesday morning. “I finally did. I realized this was important.”

Alan Branum, 64, a retired construction worker is a Wichita Democrat who voted for Estes and plans to change his party affiliation to Republican since he leans more conservative. He thinks Trump has been been doing fine so far.

“I don’t think it is fair people condemn him,” he said of the president. “He hasn’t been in long enough to make a judgment. People need to give him some time.”

Estes supported Trump last year and backs the president’s policies. He supports the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, backs funding for a wall on the border with Mexico, opposes funding for Planned Parenthood, and does not believe an independent investigation into Russian hacking of the election is needed.

Lucy Jones-Phillips, a 31-year-old insurance representative and Democrat, acknowledged she doesn’t vote in every election, but said she voted for Thompson because she wanted to ensure supporters of Gov. Sam Brownback are not in office. She was especially upset when the Republican governor recently vetoed Medicaid expansion.

There are upcoming special elections in Georgia, Montana, South Carolina, and California. California is the only special election this year for a seat formerly held by a Democrat.

The Individual States Are Laboratories To Determine The Best Policies

For whatever reason, the Republicans seem to have a problem keeping their campaign pledge to repeal ObamaCare. For some reason, they just can’t seem to bring up any one of the many bills they passed to repeal ObamaCare in the past when they knew the President would veto the bill. They are behaving like cowards. The problem is not the Freedom Caucus; the problem is the establishment Republicans who, like the Democrats, love bigger government. At any rate, the states have shown the way to repeal ObamaCare.

On Friday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial showing how various states have dealt with various aspects of ObamaCare.

The editorial explains:

In the early 1990s, several states adopted “guaranteed issue” (which banned insurers from turning anyone down for health reasons) and “community rating” (which banned insurers from charging the sick more than the healthy).

As with ObamaCare, these regulations banned insurers from denying coverage or charging people more because they were sick. Like ObamaCare, these reforms were popular with the public.

And, just like ObamaCare, they all caused their individual insurance markets to collapse, as premiums skyrocketed and insurers fled the markets.

So what happened?

Of 10 states that adopted ObamaCare-style market regulations, four repealed their “guaranteed issue” and “community rating” regulations altogether, according to a detailed analysis by Milliman in 2012.

New Hampshire, for example, adopted these protections in 1994. By 2000, only two insurance companies were writing individual policies in the state, and by 2001, only 3% of the state’s non-elderly population were enrolled in an individual insurance plan, down from 7.6% before the reforms kicked in.

The editorial goes on to explain that when the regulations were repealed in 2002 and a high-risk pool created for those with pre-existing conditions, more people bought insurance. By 2010, 8.5% of the population were buying on the individual market.

The editorial cites a similar experience in Kentucky:

Kentucky likewise abandoned these protections six years after adopting them, and after making various modifications in hopes to get the rules to work. When Kentucky first imposed guaranteed issue and community rating in 1994, there were more than 40 insurers in the state’s individual market. By 1996, only one was left.

Iowa and South Dakota also ditched their guaranteed issue and community rating reforms within nine years of enacting them. Washington weakened its guaranteed issue provision in 2000.

The editorial concludes:

These states show that repealing blanket “guaranteed issue” protections is politically possible, that it will restore the individual insurance market to health, and that there are other, better ways to take care of the sick.

The free market works every time it is tried!

The government does very few things well. Right now I can’t think of any of them. I am reminded of the Milton Friedman quote:

“If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand”

We need to keep that quote in mind when Congress talks about expanding government programs.

Somehow Most Of The Media Has Avoided The History On This

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article today about the confirmation process of Judge Gorsuch. The bottom line of the article is that it will take real talent for for Republican party to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in this instance. The article reminds us that until the administration of the 43rd President of the United States, Supreme Court Justices were sworn in by a simple majority.

The article reports the following quote from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared on both FOX News Sunday and Meet the Press yesterday:

“I can tell you that Neil Gorsuch will be confirmed this week. How that happens really depends on our Democratic friends. How many of them are willing to oppose cloture, on a partisan basis, to kill a Supreme Court nominee? Never happened before in history, in the whole history of the country. In fact, filibustering judges at all is a rather recent phenomen[on] started by your next guest, Senator Schumer, after George Bush 43 got elected president. We didn’t used to do this. Clarence Thomas was confirmed 52-48, the most controversial Supreme Court nominee in history. And not a single Senator said he has to get 60 votes.”

Senator Harry Reid brought back the traditional concept of an up or down vote to confirm lower court judges. It will not be a big step to go back to the historical precedent of confirming Supreme Court judges the same way. The question is, “Do the Republicans have the intestinal fortitude to do what they need to do to put Judge Gorsuch on the Supreme Court?” This is nothing more than a political game of chicken. If the Democrats force the issue, the filibustering of Supreme Court judges will end. Because the Democrats are generally the party that uses this tactic, it will be their loss. There may be other vacancies on the Supreme Court in the next three years, and the Democrats will have given up a tool to oppose those nominations. If the Democrats allow this nomination to go through, they will simply replace a conservative judge with a conservative judge. They will also keep their powder dry for the next fight which may involve replacing a more liberal judge. It’s their choice.

Just as a point to remember–for those who are still screaming because Merrick Garland never got a hearing, remember that the Biden rule was called into effect during the last two years of the Bush Administration. The Republicans simply made the Democrats follow the rule that Joe Biden had stated! They simply enforced the same rule for both political parties.

Why The Support For Repealing ObamaCare Was Not There On Friday

Yesterday The Conservative Review posted an article about the fact that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan pulled the bill to repeal ObamaCare because there were not enough votes to pass it. Well, that’s what happens when you change the rules in the middle of the game.

The article quotes a statement made by Speaker Ryan in January of 2016 after Obama vetoed the bill:

It’s no surprise that someone named Obama vetoed a bill repealing Obamacare, and we will hold a vote to override this veto. Taking this process all the way to the end under the Constitution. But here’s the thing the idea that Obamacare is the law of the land for good is a myth. This law will collapse under its own weight or it will be repealed. Because all those rules and procedures Senate Democrats have used to block us from doing this that’s all history. We have shown now that there is a clear path to repealing Obamacare without 60 votes in the Senate. So next year if we’re sending this bill to a republican president it will get signed into law. Obamacare will be gone … [emphasis added]

But the bill they sent to the Republican president (Donald Trump) was not the same bill that they had sent to President Obama.

The article concludes:

This week, Speaker Ryan should abandon his RINOcare bill and bring the 2015 reconciliation bill to the floor of the House for a vote.

It’s time to stop the bait and switch.

Donald Trump is the elected President of the United States. One of the reasons he was elected was that the voters were tired of the kind of behavior illustrated by Speaker Ryan. The problem Friday was the broken promise of Speaker Ryan–it was not the Freedom Caucus who expected Speaker Ryan to keep his word.

Why ObamaCare Was Not Repealed

I used to be a Democrat. Then I used to be a Republican. Now I am an unaffiliated voter because there is not a conservative party that believes in smaller government. The Republicans used to believe in smaller government, but they have forgotten who they are. Yesterday was a glaring example of that fact. The Conservative Review posted an article yesterday about the failure of the House of Representatives to vote on the repeal (and replacement) of ObamaCare. The headline of the article is, “How DARE House Freedom Caucus hold GOP accountable to its promises!?” For me, that pretty much sums up what happened.

The article reminds us:

In 2016, the GOP-controlled Congress passed a clean repeal bill through the reconciliation process. It was sent to Barack Obama who vetoed it, as CNN reported at the time. In 2017, Rand Paul (R-Ky) has offered a bill that does many of the same things, as the 2016 legislation.

CNN reported:

The GOP-controlled House of Representatives on Wednesday afternoon passed legislation that would repeal ObamaCare, and after more than 60 votes to roll back all or part of the law, the bill (to) dismantle it will finally get to the President’s desk.

But it won’t stay there long; President Barack Obama has vowed to veto any Republican bill that guts his signature health care law, a five-year-and-counting effort.

The vote was 240-181, largely along party lines.

The article goes on to explain that members of the House Freedom Caucus wanted the 2016 bill to be voted on in this session of Congress. It is very annoying to those of us who have followed this story closely (rather than listen to what the media is telling us) that the Freedom Caucus is being blamed for the failure of this bill. This is simply not true. As usual, the establishment GOP has dissed its voters.

The article concludes:

It’s pretty easy to see who one should truly be disgusted at. It’s not Mark Meadows (R-NC), and the other members of the Freedom Caucus. It is Paul Ryan and his leadership team, who refuse to offer the bill they already passed in 2016 as the model they would use if they had a president who would sign it.

Ryan now has a president who would sign the 2016 legislation that easily passed in a campaign year as the blueprint for repeal. He refused to bring it to a vote, lest it show that the GOP campaign promises mean nothing. The Freedom Caucus is absolutely right to insist that the House and Senate do so.

President Trump is a very smart man, but I believe that he does not yet fully understand the backstabbing that is an everyday part of Washington. I believe Paul Ryan purposely stabbed President Trump in the back. Paul Ryan has become part of the Republican establishment that is fighting to maintain the status quo. The Republican establishment would like to see President Trump fail as much as the Democrats would. As ObamaCare collapses, which it will, the establishment Republicans will be the ones who will bring us nationalized healthcare. That is truly sad. It can be prevented, but it needs to be done quickly and decisively. It may be time to change the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives.

I’m Not Sure What The Underlying Strategy Is On This

John Hinderaker at Power Line is reporting this morning that the Democrats plan to filibuster the Supreme Court nomination of Neil Gorsuch.

The article reports:

It seems odd, too, that Schumer didn’t even wait until the hearing on Gursuch’s nomination has been concluded to announce the Democrats’ filibuster. This would appear to support the view that the decision is political and has little to do with the merits of Gorsuch’s nomination.

I don’t know how to explain Schumer’s announcement, except as evidence that 1) Senate Democrats perceive that they need to cater to the party’s hysterical base, and 2) they are convinced that the filibuster, as to Supreme Court nominees, is dead in any event.

This is an awkward decision–Judge Gorsuch was confirmed by voice vote by the U.S. Senate on July 20, 2006. In September 2016. He was respected by members of both parties. He has done nothing in his career since his 2006 confirmation that warrants any changed votes. It is unfortunate that the choosing of a Supreme Court Justice is now a political exercise rather than a judgement on qualifications. I would like to point out that the Republicans gave Democratic presidents most of their nominees (with the exception of following the Biden Rule, which the Democrats have now chosen to ignore). An elected President should be able to put his nominees on the Supreme Court. In this case, because President Trump released a list of potential nominees during the election campaign, the people who voted for him obviously approved on the list. The filibuster may please the base of the Democratic Party, but I suspect it will make moderate Democrats (if there are any left) very unhappy.

Changing the Wrapping Doesn’t Change The Package

Yesterday Paul Mirengoff posted an article at Power Line about the changes made to the ObamaCare replacement bill.

The article quotes Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton:

“Despite the proposed amendments, I still cannot support the House health-care bill, nor would it pass the Senate. The amendments improve the Medicaid reforms in the original bill, but do little to address the core problem of Obamacare: rising premiums and deductibles, which are making insurance unaffordable for too many Arkansans. The House should continue its work on this bill. It’s more important to finally get health-care reform right than to get it fast.”

The article at Power Line states the following:

If, under a Republican plan, premiums/deductibles continue to rise, people will believe that Obamacare’s replacement made things worse. They will blame Republicans and the GOP will pay a heavy price.

No Republican should support replacement legislation unless he or she is confident it will result in better outcomes with regard to premiums/deductibles. If Democrats won’t support legislation that’s likely to produce that result, Republicans should either push such legislation through without Democratic support (overruling the Senate parliamentarian) if necessary or let such legislation be voted down.

Republicans have no obligation to pass replacement legislation they don’t like in order to patch up Obamacare. The Democrats created the current mess. If they won’t cooperate with the GOP in fixing it properly, Republicans shouldn’t take the political hit that would come with pretending to fix it on their own.

I left the Republican Party because I felt that they had forgotten their commitment to smaller government and had become part of the problem rather than part of the solution. The current ObamaCare replacement bill is a perfect example of that. Republicans were told that if we gave them the House, ObamaCare would be gone. When it wasn’t gone, we were told that if we gave them the House and the Senate, ObamaCare would be gone. When it wasn’t gone, we were told that if we gave them the House, the Senate, and the Presidency, ObamaCare would be gone. If this bill passes, it won’t be gone. We will simply have ObamaCare Light, a bad bill that the Republicans would be totally responsible for–just as the Democrats were totally responsible for ObamaCare. That is not a step forward–it is a step backward! Please, Republicans, do not pass this bill. Simply repeal ObamaCare. Then you can fight over its replacement. Don’t break faith with the voters.

 

ObamaCare Is Not Doing Well

Politico posted an article today about sign-ups for ObamaCare.

The article reports:

Sign-ups for Obamacare coverage declined for the first time in the 2017 season and fell below the Obama administration‘s estimates for the three-month enrollment window, according to figures released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services.

A total of 12.2 million people enrolled in Obamacare plans nationwide between Nov. 1 and Jan. 31 — a drop-off from the 12.7 million sign-ups at the close of the last open-enrollment season. The Trump administration soon after taking office scaled back enrollment outreach during the critical final week of sign-ups.

The article reminds us that roughly four out of five people who sign up for ObamaCare receive tax credits to offset their monthly premiums. Even at that, people are not rushing to sign up.

The article concludes:

The Trump administration reversed plans to scrap phone calls and other forms of outreach to encourage sign-ups in the finals days of the enrollment period after the move sparked outcry from the law’s supporters and health insurers. Officials said they were unable to pull back some HealthCare.gov radio and TV advertising that had been purchased by the Obama administration. HHS was able to cancel about $4 million to $5 million in ads.

The enrollment report comes amid a spate of troubling news about health law insurance markets. Last month, Humana announced it would become the first major insurer to pull out of the market completely next year. Molina, which had an unexpected loss, said it would assess ongoing participation at a later date. Other insurers are sounding alarms.

ObamaCare needs to go away. The Republicans need to pass the bill they have passed before in order to end it. The gamesmanship that is going on now in the Republican Party is totally unacceptable.

Three Phases Of HealthCare Reform Might Not Work

Townhall posted an article this morning about the Republican plan to reform ObamaCare. The current plan being discussed does not replace ObamaCare–it merely tweeks it a bit and changes the name.

The article quotes Senator Tom Cotton:

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), one of many skeptical Republicans, told radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday that the three-phase process is a myth. What we see right now is what we get.

“Hugh, there is no three-phase process,” Cotton said. “There is no three-step plan. That is just political talk. It’s just politicians engaging in spin. This is why. Step one is a bill that can pass with 51 votes in the Senate. That’s what we’re working on right now. Step two, as yet unwritten regulations by Tom Price, which is going to be subject to court challenge, and therefore, perhaps the whims of the most liberal judge in America. But step three, some mythical legislation in the future that is going to garner Democratic support and help us get over 60 votes in the Senate. If we had those Democratic votes, we wouldn’t need three steps. We would just be doing that right now on this legislation altogether. That’s why it’s so important that we get this legislation right, because there is no step three. And step two is not completely under our control.”

Somehow, when the Republicans were repealing ObamaCare knowing that whatever they did would not make it past President Obama, they were willing to repeal ObamaCare. Now, when their votes actually matter, they seem to be afraid to make a move. Republicans need to realize that even if they do nothing and ObamaCare collapses under its own weight, Republicans will be blamed. That is the nature of the media. ObamaCare was passed by reconciliation, it can be repealed through reconciliation. It is time to get it done.

A Law We Can Understand And Support

Yesterday CSC Media Group, a conservative website, posted an article about S.222, a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Rand Paul. The bill, called the ObamaCare Replacement Act, would repeal and replace ObamaCare. Currently the bill has been referred to the Committee on Finance. The bill is four pages long. The summary of the bill is not yet posted at Thomas.gov, but you can go to Thomas.gov and put in S.222 and read the entire bill. You can also follow the link to the website above and read the bill.

The following is the CSC Summary of the bill given in the article:

Legalizes Inexpensive Insurance Plans:

  • Ensures that Americans can purchase the health insurance coverage that best fits their needs.
  • Eliminates Obamacare’s essential health benefits requirement, along with other restrictive coverage and plan requirements, to once again make low-cost insurance options available to American consumers.

Protects Individuals with Pre-Existing Conditions:

  • Provides a two-year open-enrollment period under which individuals with pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage.
  • Restores HIPAA pre-existing conditions protections. Prior to Obamacare, HIPAA guaranteed that those in the group market could obtain continuous health coverage regardless of preexisting conditions.

Helps More People Save To Buy Health Insurance and Cover Medical Costs:

  • Incentivizes savings by authorizing a tax credit (up to $5,000 per taxpayer) for individuals and families that contribute to HSAs.
  • Removes the annual cap on HSAs so individuals can make unlimited contributions.
  • Allows HSA funds to be used to purchase insurance, cover premiums, and more easily afford a broader range of health-related expenses, including prescription and OTC drugs, dietary supplements, nutrition and physical exercise expenses, and direct primary care, among others. 

Guarantees Fair Tax Treatment of Health Insurance:

  • Equalizes the tax treatment of the purchase of health insurance for individuals and employers by allowing individuals to deduct the cost of their health insurance from their income and payroll taxes.
  • Frees more Americans to purchase and maintain insurance apart from their work status.
  • Does not interfere with employer-provided coverage for Americans who prefer those plans.

Helps Individuals Join Together to Purchase Insurance:

  • Expands Association Health Plans (AHPs) to allow small business owners and individuals to band together across state lines through their membership in a trade or professional association to purchase health coverage for their families and employees at a lower cost.
  • Also allows individuals to pool together through any organization to purchase insurance.
  • Widens access to the group market and spreads out the risk, enhancing the ability of individuals and small businesses to decrease costs, increase administrative efficiencies, and further protect those with pre-existing conditions.

Allows the Purchase of Insurance Across State Lines:

  • Creates an interstate market that allows insurers who are licensed to sell policies in one state to offer them to residents of any other state.

Increases State Medicaid Flexibility:

  • Enables states to fully exercise current flexibilities afforded to them through Medicaid waivers for creating innovative state plan designs.

Empowers Physicians:

  • Allows non-economically aligned physicians to negotiate for higher quality health care for their patients.
  • Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow a physician a tax deduction equal to the amount such physician would otherwise charge for charity medical care or uncompensated care due to bad debt, limited to 10% of a physician’s gross income for the taxable year.

Rand Paul is a doctor who practiced medicine for more than ten years before becoming a Senator. I believe he understands the problems involved in health insurance better than most senators. Among other things, his plan allows doctors to treat patients who cannot pay and take a limited tax deduction for providing the services. I think that is a wonderful idea.

This is a healthcare plan I can support.

It Can Be Fixed, But It’s Not Right Yet

Yesterday The Heritage Foundation posted their evaluation of the bill to replace ObamaCare. Admittedly, The Heritage Foundation is a politically conservative group, so their solution to ObamaCare would be aimed at shrinking government, not just moving the chairs around.

The article lists some of the problems with the bill:

Basically, the bill focuses on protecting those who gained subsidized coverage through the law’s exchange subsidies and Medicaid expansion, while failing to correct Obamacare’s misguided insurance regulations that drove up premiums for Americans buying coverage without government subsidies.

That is both a policy problem and a political problem.

The article goes on to explain that the people who need relief from ObamaCare are the people whose premiums and deductibles rose dramatically. That is the group the does not get relief in the new bill. The new bill leaves costly regulations in place and attempts to offset those costs with subsidies. That is what most Americans want to get rid of.

The article explains:

In that regard, the draft bill’s new “Patient and State Stability Fund” is particularly problematic. That program would provide grants to states of up to a total of $100 billion over the nine years 2018-2026.

There are a several significant problems with this new program.

First, it substitutes new funding for old Obamacare funding without adequately addressing the misguided Obamacare insurance market rules and subsidy design that made the exchanges a magnet for high cost patients.

Those mistakes in Obamacare created an insupportable burden on the individual insurance market by concentrating expensive patients in only that small portion of the total market.

Second, like Obamacare, it doesn’t actually reduce premiums, but rather masks with subsidies the effects of Obamacare provisions that drove up premiums in the first place.

Third, it creates a new entitlement for states. Furthermore, without a resulting reduction in unsubsidized premium levels, future Congresses will likely face pressure from states and constituents to extend and expand the program.

That is exactly backwards from what is needed.

The new healthcare bill also fails to reign in Medicaid.

The article reports:

Under the Medicaid expansion, the federal government reimbursed states 100 percent of the cost of expanding Medicaid to able-bodied adults, with federal support eventually declining to 90 percent.

Yet, states continue to receive significantly less federal assistance (50 percent to 75 percent, depending on the state) for covering the more vulnerable populations (such as poor children and the disabled) that the program was intended for. That policy was both inequitable and unaffordable.

The draft bill does not correct that inequity, but rather reduces the enhanced match rate from 95 percent to 80 percent. The better approach would be to allow states to immediately cap expansion population enrollment, while also setting federal reimbursement for any new expansion enrollees at normal state match rates.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. There are three things that need to happen with health insurance in America–the policy needs to be attached to the person–not their employer, policies need to be portable across state lines, and people with pre-existing conditions need to have a way to be insurance. Other than that, the government needs to get out of the healthcare business and let the free market rule. It will be bumpy for a short while, but if we don’t do it now, things will only get worse.

Americans Are Actually Unified On Some Things

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an editorial written by David Schoenbrod, a Trustee Professor of Law at New York Law School. The editorial is titled, “Washington’s War Against The People.” Professor Schoenbrod makes a few very good points in his editorial. He reminds us that the percentage of Americans who trust Washington to “do the right thing” “just about always” or “most of the time” was 76 percent in 1964. In 2015, that percentage had fallen to 19 percent. So what happened? Those in power in Washington learned a few tricks to avoid taking responsibility for their actions and to increase their own power and wealth. Meanwhile, they began to ignore the wishes and well being of the American people.

The editorial lists some of the ways that those in Washington promise good things while avoiding the blame for bad things:

  1. The Money Trick lets them get credit for tax cuts and spending increases, but shift the blame for the inevitable tax increases and spending cuts to their successors in office when the deficits and debt will become unsustainable.
  2. The Debt Guarantee Trick lets them get support from the too-big-to-fail financial giants whose profits they increase by guaranteeing their debts at little or no cost, but shift the blame for the inevitable bailouts to their successors in office when the speculation encouraged by the cheap debt guarantees will trigger another fiscal crisis and economic crash.
  3. The Federal Mandate Trick lets them get credit for the benefits they require the state and local government to deliver, but shift the blame for the burdens required to deliver those benefits to state and local officials.
  4. The Regulation Trick lets them get credit for granting rights to regulatory protection, but shift the blame for the burdens required to vindicate those rights and the failures to deliver the protection promised to federal agencies.
  5. The War Trick lets members of Congress get credit for having a statute that requires them to take responsibility for going to war, while colluding with the president to evade responsibility for wars that might later prove controversial.  So members of Congress can march in the parade if the war proves popular, but otherwise put the entire blame on the president.
The editorial points out that many Americans believe that Washington insiders have misled or tricked them. That explains why Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, both outsiders, received more votes in 2016 than anyone expected.

The current battle is between Washington insiders and the American people. Both Republicans and Democrats have forgotten who they represent. Some elected officials still try to represent the voters, but they are few and far between. The problem is across party lines. The only solution is well-educated voters (which will be a challenge because the mainstream media supports the Washington insiders). However, if it is possible to drain the swamp, I suspect it will have to happen in the next two years. I believe that is the size of the window Donald Trump will be given to accomplish anything.

Repeal It Or Go The Way Of The Whigs

Yesterday Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about the repeal of ObamaCare. The editorial made some very important points. First of all, the writer reminded us that the demonstrations opposing the repeal of ObamaCare were planned by the Democrats shortly after the election. There are some people who want to keep ObamaCare, but despite what you see on the news, they are a minority.

The editorial reminds us:

Imagine that Democrats announced a health care reform plan that would force millions to cancel health plans and leave the doctors they like, drastically reduce choice and competition in the individual market, cause health insurance premiums to skyrocket, blow billions of taxpayer dollars creating faulty “exchanges” and failing co-ops, leave millions of middle-class families stuck with higher deductibles and higher premiums, cause massive industry losses, slow the economy, cost jobs, and increase the deficit.

Those are the results ObamaCare’s critics predicted and, without exaggeration, what it has produced. Does anyone honestly believe ObamaCare would have ever made it to Obama’s desk if its backers had been honest with the public?

Yes, the uninsured rate has come down, but as IBD noted, the “20 million gained insurance thanks to ObamaCare” claim is a wild exaggeration, and the gains that did occur are entirely due to the expansion of Medicaid — a terrible and financially troubled program — and other government insurance programs, not ObamaCare’s individual market “reforms.”

ObamaCare will implode on its own in a year or so, but the chaos it will leave will take years to undo. It makes much more sense to repeal it before it collapses.

There is another aspect of this mentioned in the editorial–the trust of the voters. First Republicans said, “Give us the House, and we will repeal ObamaCare.” Voters did that, and ObamaCare was not repealed. Then Republicans said, “Give us the House and the Senate, and we will repeal ObamaCare. Voters did that, and ObamaCare was not repealed. Then Republicans said, “Give us the Presidency, and we will repeal ObamaCare.” Well…

During the Obama Administration, Congress took numerous votes to repeal ObamaCare. It was a safe vote–Congressmen knew that President Obama would veto anything that actually got through the Senate, and nothing would happen. Now that a vote to repeal ObamaCare would actually mean something, Congress is stalling.

I have not given up on the repeal of ObamaCare. However, I have pretty much given up on the Republican party. If they choose not to repeal ObamaCare, how are they any different from the Democrats? How can their platform say that they support smaller government and their actions say something else? In plain English, it is time for the Republicans in Congress to put up or shut up.

The Consequences Of ObamaCare

We all know the obvious consequences of ObamaCare–higher premiums, people losing their insurance policies, people having health insurance but not being able to find doctors that accept their plans, etc. Well, there were also some other consequences.

Yesterday The Conservative Treehouse posted an article that illustrates one consequence of ObamaCare that is sometimes not mentioned. The article mentions that Senator Harry Reid kept the Senate in session during the ObamaCare debate so that Democratic Senators would not hear the voters’ opposition to ObamaCare. The Democrats claimed that the Tea Party was astroturf. Was it?

The article includes the following chart:

Recently we have seen protesters at townhall meetings of Congressmen who want to repeal ObamaCare. These are protesters organized according to the Democrat’s Alinsky playbook. They can protest all they want, but it doesn’t change the fact that more Americans have been hurt rather than helped by ObamaCare. Those Senators who do not support the repeal of ObamaCare need to keep this in mind.

 

What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

Donald Trump was elected President In November. To say the least, he did not fit the profile of recently elected Presidents. His election was a statement by the American people that they wanted Washington, D.C., to listen to what they were saying. I left the Republican Party because I was tired of supporting people who promised things and then made excuses for why they couldn’t keep their promises. I am hoping President Trump will end that trend, but I am not sure Congress is with him.

The New York Post posted a story today that echoes my feelings.

The story reports:

House Speaker Paul Ryan says lawmakers will focus first on replacing . . . er, “repairing” ObamaCare and on President Trump’s infrastructure plans, and only take up tax bills sometime in the spring.

That means Trump won’t be able to sign anything until before the fall — at the earliest, if no other delays pop up.

No. Just No. Fall is too late. People and businesses need to know what the changes in the tax laws are going to be in order to make plans. Is this the year to take capital gains? Is my mortgage still going to be deductible? Are medical expenses and charitable giving still going to be deductible? These are questions I expect to have answered by mid-summer at the latest.

The article reminds us:

Recall the early 1980s: President Ronald Reagan got his tax cuts passed, but allowed years for them to phase in. The economy didn’t take off until 1983 — and hit recession first. In ’82, Republicans lost 26 House seats.

Similar results in 2018 could make Nancy Pelosi the speaker — and block any further reform, while empowering Democrats to launch endless investigations to gum up the Executive Branch and feed the press a heavy diet of administration “scandal.”

Above all else, Trump promised “jobs, jobs, jobs,” and the American people expect him to deliver. If he doesn’t, they’ll start looking elsewhere for answers.

This is the Republican Party’s final opportunity to get it right. Speaker Ryan can either get on the train or get run over by it. Pushing back tax reform is a mistake. Congress may never get another chance to fix a badly broken law. I tend to wonder how many lobbyists are behind the effort to delay tax reform. If it is not done quickly, it will not be done. A reformed tax code would be a serious step forward in draining the swamp. I suspect there are a lot of residents of the swamp that are trying to prevent that draining.

One Disaster Under ObamaCare

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about Pamela Weldin, a Nebraska woman who has lost her health insurance four times under ObamaCare.

The article reports:

A former dental hygienist, Weldin has all the hallmarks of a consumer intended to benefit from the Affordable Care Act.

She has been denied coverage in the past because of a pre-existing condition related to her career as a dental hygienist.

Additionally, Weldin qualifies for a tax credit, which she has received every year since 2014.

As a result, her premiums are low when compared to consumers who don’t qualify for financial assistance: In early 2015, Weldin purchased a plan through Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska that cost her $232 each month.

This year, premiums for her silver-level plan with Medica are $161 per month after her tax credit.

But though Weldin has benefited from aspects of the law, she hasn’t been immune to the changes in the health insurance market that have occurred in last few years.

“I’m a person who has been denied because of pre-existing conditions,” Weldin, a Pampered Chef director, said. “I’m on Obamacare and have lost my insurance four times in three years. I understand the challenges, but it’s not sustainable.”

It gets worse:

It wasn’t until after she paid her first month’s premium, however, that Weldin learned from the insurance company that any doctor located more than 100 miles from her rural Nebraska home wasn’t in her network.

If she wanted to see her doctor in Colorado—considered out-of-network now—Weldin had to meet a $20,000 out-of-network deductible before Aetna would start covering her medical expenses.

That information, she said, wasn’t listed on HealthCare.gov when she was shopping for plans.

“$20,000 for a deductible? Are you kidding me?” Weldin said. “How is that affordable?”

If the Republican Party ever wants me to support one of their candidates again, they need to make sure ObamaCare is gone permanently by June. Otherwise they might as well be Democrats.

It’s Getting So Ridiculous It’s Funny

The Daily Caller today is reporting that protesters at the Supreme Court were prepared to protest whoever President Trump nominated for the Supreme Court. One of the interesting traits of all of these ‘spontaneous’ protests the left engages in is that the majority of the signs are professionally printed. Well, what do you do when you don’t have enough information to preprint the signs? You improvise!

The article illustrates:

The article further points out:

“Went to the Supreme Court to talk to the protesters. But it turns out to be a Mad-Lib protest. #Fill-In-The-Blank,” the senator  ((Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse)) tweeted with a picture reading, “Stop Gorsuch.” The sign, however, only had the word “Stop” printed on it, with “Gorsuch” added after his name was announced in marker.

Sasse then tweeted, “By the way, protestors- Among those who were in the Senate when Gorsuch was last unanimously confirmed: *Obama *Biden *Clinton & *Schumer.”

We’re going to need more popcorn.

Why It Is So Difficult To Drain The Swamp

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as ObamaCare, was signed into law on March 23, 2010. It was passed with only Democratic votes in the House of Representatives and in the Senate. In September 2009, The Tea Party organized a march on Washington and protests in other cities. The protestors were opposing the proposals for ObamaCare, increased federal spending, bigger government, and higher taxes. In 2010, the Republicans were elected to a majority in the House of Representatives and in 2014, the Republicans were elected to a small majority in the Senate. So why, after the elected Republicans promised smaller government, lower taxes, and less spending, did the government continue to grow? At the heart of the matter is the difference between process and policy. There is also the element of showmanship—the Republicans voted to repeal ObamaCare on a regular basis knowing that even if they had the votes to repeal it, they did not have the votes to override a Presidential veto that would surely occur.

So how does the process impact the policy? The following notes are taken from a Heritage Action Sentinel Brief explaining how Washington actually works.

The GOP Pledge to America included the following:

“We will end the practice of packaging unpopular bills with ‘must-pass’ legislation to circumvent the will of the American people. Instead, we will advance major legislation one issue at a time”

Well, that promise was quickly broken.

The Heritage Action Brief explains:

Congressmen may claim that they had no other choice but to vote on the package once Leadership made the decision. That is not true; it was not a fait accompli. As is custom, right before the House voted on the CR (Continuing Resolution), Leadership holds a procedural rule vote to consider every bill and set the terms of the debate. Any member who did not like the process whereby the subsequent provisions were to be considered has the opportunity to vote against the rule. This would prevent Leadership from packaging in unfavorable legislation, like the Ex-Im reauthorization or a myriad of other bad legislation.

Hiding Policy in Process. For more than a decade, GOP Leadership, when in control of the House, has promulgated the view that procedural “rule” votes are routine, party line votes that should be approved without a second thought. This has given them a relatively free license to bring bills to the floor not supported by conservatives, and they rely on Democrats for the necessary votes to pass them. The concept of “logrolling” bad bills into a crucial funding measure or, worse, a matter of foreign policy, is a compelling reason (one of many) for challenging a procedural rule. Not to mention, the American people voted this type of legislating out of office in 2010 when House Republicans adopted the Pledge of America, which precluded the packaging of unpopular legislation together.

Remember this the next time your Representative tells you they have no choice but to vote for more bad policy. Usually they only need to vote NO on the rule to change the process and allow better policy.

The longest serving congressman in history, former Michigan Representative John Dingell once said, “I’ll let you write the substance…you let me write the procedure, and I’ll [beat] you every time.” In other words, process is policy, and Congressmen who vote on auto-pilot on process fail to represent their constituents on a vast number of votes.

This is the swamp that needs to be drained. The best thing President Trump could do would be to give the conservatives in Congress the courage to stand up against the process status quo. It is time to make Congress more transparent and more responsive to the voters. We saw in this past election that the voters will speak up. It is time that our representatives started listening.

How To Lie With Statistics

The mainstream media has not yet realized that they have been revealed as dishonest and misleading. They are still at it. A story posted yesterday in The Daily Caller illustrates that point.

The article reports:

Two polls released Tuesday — one from ABC and a second from CNN — tout Donald Trump as being the most unfavorable incoming president in modern history — yet on second look, the data is clearly boosted by the pollers’ decision to oversample Democrats.

According to Gallup, 28 percent of Americans identify themselves as a Republican, while 25 percent identify as a Democrat.

ABC’s poll sampled 1,005 adults across the nation. However, partisan breakdown shows that only 23 percent of participants identified as Republican.

Conversely, 31 percent of participants identified as Democrats and 37 percent as independent, while nine percent did not answer.

…Similarly, CNN’s poll also featured an eight-point partisanship gap.

Of the 1,000 adults taking part in the Atlanta-based news network’s poll, 32 percent claimed to be Democrats, 24 percent claimed to be Republicans and the remaining 44 percent claimed to be “independents or members of another party.”

I they had chosen their samples according to the actual statistics on party affiliation, I suspect they might have gotten a different result. However, they did get the result they wanted so that they could report it as news.

This Doesn’t Deserve The Attention It Is Getting

Yesterday John Podhoretz posted an article at The New York Post about some unfounded allegations against President-elect Trump reported by Buzzfeed. John Podhoretz is not by any stretch of the imagination a Trump supporter, and these are his comments about the allegations:

So the website BuzzFeed decided to publish a series of memos that have been floating around for months alleging all kinds of terrible things about Donald Trump.

Some of those terrible allegations have to do with efforts to influence the American elections and Trump. Some of them have to do with Trump’s personal sexual conduct.

…There is literally no evidence on offer in these memos or from BuzzFeed that any single sentence in these documents is factual or true. What’s more, we know most major news organizations in America had seen them and despite their well-known institutional antipathy toward Trump, had chosen not to publish them or even make reference to them after efforts to substantiate their charges had failed.

…“Publishing this dossier reflects how we see the job of reporters in 2017,” Smith (Ben Smith, editor of Buzzfeed) writes. This is an amazing thing to say, because if you think it through, it means publishing open libels and slanders is the job of reporters in 2017.

Fake news will become more sophisticated, and fake, ambiguous, and spun-up stories will spread widely,” warned an important American editor at the end of December 2016. His name: Ben Smith. His publication: BuzzFeed.

Every day we see new evidence of the threat Donald Trump as President poses to the status quo in Washington. It is amazing. It is not just Democrats–some high level Republicans would also like very much to discredit President Trump before he takes office. If he can be stopped before he takes the oath of office, President Trump won’t be able to interfere with the cushy lifestyles that Washington politicians have acquired through insider trading, rewarding large donors, and exempting themselves from the laws that they have passed. The Buzzfeed story has been claimed as a hoax (story here). However, this won’t be the last story we hear reporting horrible things about Donald Trump. I would love to be wrong about that, but I don’t think I am.

The Past Eight Years

Jeff Jacoby at The Boston Globe posted an article today evaluating the eight years of the Presidency of Barack Obama. President Obama is planning to give his farewell address in Chicago on Tuesday. The purpose of the address is to“celebrate the ways you’ve changed this country for the better these past eight years.” Wow.

The article takes a look at the past eight years to see if there is anything worth celebrating. Here are a few of the highlights:

In 2010, two years after electing him president, voters trounced Obama’s party, handing Democrats the biggest midterm losses in 72 years. Obama was reelected in 2012, but by nearly 4 million fewer votes than in his first election, making him the only president ever to win a second term with shrunken margins in both the popular and electoral vote.

The trend continued, he campaigned for Hillary Clinton in 2016, saying that a vote for Hillary would be a vote to support his policies during the past eight years. Hillary lost.

The article notes the economy during President Obama’s time in office:

The economy. Obama took office during a painful recession and (with Congress’s help) made it even worse. Historically, the deeper a recession, the more robust the recovery that follows, but the economy’s rebound under Obama was the worst in seven decades. Annual GDP growth since the recession ended has averaged a feeble 2.1 percent, by far the puniest economic performance of any president since World War II.

…In 2008, when Obama was first elected president, 63 percent of Americans considered themselves middle class. Seven years later, only 51 percent still felt the same way.

The article talks about President Obama’s impact on healthcare:

But Obamacare has been a fiasco. At least 27 million Americans are still without health insurance, and many of those who are newly insured have simply been added to the Medicaid rolls. Far from reducing costs, Obamacare sent premiums and deductibles skyrocketing. Insurance companies, having suffered billions of dollars in losses on the Obamacare exchanges, have pulled out from many of them, leaving consumers in much of the country with few or no options. And the administration, it transpired, knew all along that millions of Americans would lose their medical plans once the law took effect. The deception was so egregious that in December 2013, PolitiFact dubbed “If you like your health plan, you can keep it” as its “Lie of the Year.”

President Obama has not been successful in the area of foreign policy. The world is less safe now than it was when he took office. Part of the problem is the premature troop withdrawal from Iraq, which paved the way for ISIS. This is not totally President Obama’s fault–America has politicized wars since the Korean War. We have forgotten how to win them, and thus have wasted more lives because we were not willing to fight hard. War is ugly, nasty, and horrible, but there would be less of it if it were fought quickly and ended quickly. Somehow since the Korean War, politics have determined battle strategy, and that is a recipe for disaster. President Obama has to take some responsibility for politicizing the war in Iraq (along with his Democratic Party allies), but the precedent for their behavior was set many years ago.

The most disturbing area of failure that the article brings up is the area of national unity. The article states:

According to Gallup, Obama became the most polarizing president in modern history. Like all presidents, he faced partisan opposition, but Obama worsened things by regularly taking the low road and disparaging his critics’ motives. In his own words, his political strategy was one of ruthless escalation: “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” During his 2012 reelection campaign, Politico reported that “Obama and his top campaign aides have engaged far more frequently in character attacks and personal insults than the Romney campaign.” And when a Republican-led Congress wouldn’t enact legislation he sought, Obama turned to his “pen and phone” strategy of governing by diktat that polarized politics even more.

The article concludes:

Obama’s accession in 2008 as the nation’s first elected black president was an achievement that even Republicans and conservatives could cheer. It marked a moment of hope and transformation; it genuinely did change America for the better.

It was also the high point of Obama’s presidency. What followed, alas, was eight long years of disenchantment and incompetence. Our world today is more dangerous, our country more divided, our national mood more toxic. In a few days, Donald Trump will become the 45th president of the United States. Behold the legacy of the 44th.

We need to remember that the U.S. Constitution was put in place to limit government–not to limit American citizens. Hopefully Donald Trump is aware of that history and will act accordingly.

As The Discussion About ObamaCare Continues…

The discussions on the repeal of ObamaCare are beginning. This is going to be interesting. The House and Senate have voted numerous times to repeal ObamaCare, but have never had to worry about the President agreeing with their efforts–so the votes really didn’t mean anything. Now the game is real.

Yahoo News is reporting today on the events surrounding the newly-elected Congress. President Obama met with the Democrats and Mike Pence met with the Republicans. President Obama wants to save ObamaCare as his legacy. Congress supports ObamaCare at its own risk.

You can find countless articles that detail the premium hikes and increased deductible for the average American, so I am going to skip those numbers. However, I want to remind anyone reading this about some of the history of how we got ObamaCare.

ObamaCare was passed in the Senate on the morning of December 24th, 2009. All the Democrats voted for it; all the Republicans voted against it. ObamaCare was signed into law on March 23, 2010. There was an election that year. The Republicans regained control of the House of Representatives, and the Democrats lost seats in the Senate. During the debate on ObamaCare, the Tea Party was formed. The political consequences of the law were all negative for the Democratic Party. (There was a serious loss of power by the Democratic Party at  the federal, state, and local level continued during the eight years of the Obama Administration).

ObamaCare was finally passed through reconciliation. That is the reason that it can be repealed through that process. Hopefully it will be. The government needs to get its nose out of healthcare and give the free market a chance to work. The private sector can find a way to attach healthcare to the person rather than the employer so that preexisting conditions will not be an issue. There are three things that are needed to make healthcare work in America–portability across state lines, tax breaks for low-income families to encourage them to get health insurance, and health savings accounts. I am sure there are other worthwhile suggestions, but those are my three.

Meanwhile, Democrats oppose the repeal of ObamaCare at their own risk!

Looking Past The Obvious

HB2 is a controversial piece of legislation passed in accordance with the North Carolina Constitution. Efforts to repeal it recently failed. Actually, the Democrats in the North Carolina legislature (yes, I said Democrats) have blocked repealing it four times.

American Lens has the story and reports:

May 2016
The Charlotte Observer reported that a bipartisan group of Charlotte City Council (CLTCC) members went to Raleigh to meet with House Speaker Tim Moore to try to facilitate a deal where the council would repeal their ordinance in exchange for the state making significant changes to HB2.

In response, the Democrat-controlled council, led by Mayor Jennifer Roberts – and after heavy-duty lobbying by liberal LGBT groups – refused to put on the table the possibility of repealing the city’s controversial non-discrimination ordinance, which passed in February. The ordinance included a ban on sex-segregated facilities like showers, locker rooms, fitting rooms, and bathrooms in both public and private businesses.

June/July 2016
Charlotte’s WBTV News reported that a bipartisan deal to broadly amend HB2 was axed after political strong-arming from then-candidate-for-governor Roy Cooper (emphasis added):

September 2016
The NC Restaurant and Lodging Association said in a press release they had “received assurances this week from legislative leadership” that they were ready to move on a repeal of House Bill 2 provided that the Mayor Jennifer Roberts and the CLTCC agreed to repeal their ordinance

…December 2016
In a surprise flip-flop from their September stance, the CLTCC voted on Monday the 19th – over a month after the election- to repeal their February ordinance as part of an alleged deal “brokered” by Gov.-Elect Cooper in an effort to motivate the NCGA for a HB2 repeal.

A special session was called by Gov. McCrory in response and Republican members of the House and Senate began informally caucusing on Tuesday in advance of the Wednesday special session.

One small problem blew everything up, though. As it turns out, Mayor Roberts and the CLTCC did not repeal the February NDO in full as they’d previously announced.

So why did the Democrats vote against repeal? Because that keeps the issue on the table to be used to sway voters who do not truly understand the implications of the Charlotte ordinance.. Do North Carolina parents of high school girls want high school boys in their daughters’ locker rooms? Do North Carolina women using locker rooms at fitness facilities want men in their locker rooms? Keep in mind that the non-exclusive locker room part of the Charlotte ordinance that HB2 eliminated did not distinguish as to what private parts a person actually had. A fully equipped male (if he claimed to be transgender) was allowed to use the women’s locker room and women’s showers. I am not sure that every women in North Carolina would be happy to find a man in her gym locker room.

The purpose of leaving HB2 in place was to continue to bring outside money into the coffers of Democratic candidates in North Carolina. It’s not about rights–it’s about politics.

In The End, Our Votes Do Count

Yesterday The New York Post posted an article about some of the things President Obama has done in the final days of his administration. His actions have not been respectful of either the American voters or the incoming President. Just for the record, outside of the State of California, Donald Trump won 58,474,401 votes and Hillary Clinton won 57,064,530 votes–a victory margin of approximately 1.4 million for Donald Trump. I won’t even speculate on how many non-citizens voted in California.

If you remember, back in 2008, after the votes were tallied, but before the electoral college had met, Barack Obama created the office of the President-elect. There was no such office, and until the Electoral College voted in December, he wasn’t even officially the President-elect. However, President George W. Bush did everything he could to insure a smooth transition. Unfortunately, President Obama has chosen to ignore the good example that was placed before him.

The New York Post reports:

From his dramatic and disastrous change of US policy on Israel to his executive order restricting 1.65 million acres of land from development despite local objections, Obama is trying to make it impossible for Donald Trump and a GOP-controlled Congress to govern.

Even Thursday’s announcement of wide-ranging sanctions against Russia presents Trump with a foreign-policy crisis immediately upon taking office.

By contrast, many of Obama’s predecessors have stood back in their final days in office and refrained from any dramatic shifts, in deference to the agenda of the man voters sent to succeed them.

But Obama won’t accept the election results. As he suggested the other day, Trump’s election was a fluke — and he himself would have easily been re-elected if allowed to stand for a third term.

He believes this not just because he’s an effective campaigner, but because he thinks his “vision” and policies continue to be backed by “a majority of the American people.”

But Obama, like many Democrats, fails to understand what happened in the election: Voters were calling for real change from the status quo — from his policies. Indeed, before the vote, he himself said it was a referendum on him and his policies.

Memo to the president: You lost.

President Obama has stated that if he were able to run for a third term as President, he would have won. To believe that is to ignore the fact that during the Obama Administration the Democrats have lost a tremendous number of governorships, state legislatures, and majorities in Congress.

On Tuesday, Fox News reported the following:

While Obama’s tireless campaigning, broad demographic appeal and message of “hope” and “change” helped propel him to two terms in the White House, his skills on the stump haven’t translated down the ballot.

The Democratic Party suffered huge losses at every level during Obama’s West Wing tenure.

The grand total: a net loss of 1,042 state and federal Democratic posts, including congressional and state legislative seats, governorships and the presidency. 

The latter was perhaps the most profound example of Obama’s popularity failing to translate to support for his allies. Hillary Clinton, who served as secretary of state under Obama, brought the first family out for numerous campaign appearances. In September, Obama declared that his “legacy’s on the ballot.”

Less than two months later, Americans voted for Donald Trump.

American voters voted against President Obama’s legacy–now President Obama is trying to tie President-elect Donald Trump’s hands in undoing the parts of that legacy that have been harmful to Americans–the Iran deal, fighting against energy independence, over regulation, extreme environmentalism, treating our allies badly and our enemies well, etc. The voters have spoken. It is time for President Obama to quietly leave the stage.