Thursday, March 31, 2011

Medicaid and the States

Medicaid is a federal-level United States health care program for families and individuals with low income. It is jointly funded by the individual states and the federal government. Management of the program falls to the states with federal edicts governing their conduct.

Under Obamacare, state Medicaid spending is charted to go through the roof. Obamacare uses Medicaid to pad the books on the number of Americans that gain coverage. Under Obamacare, nearly half of the Americans to gain coverage do so through a huge expansion in Medicaid. The greatest portion of this unfunded mandate will fall to the states and their state taxpayers to make up the difference.

Unlike the federal government, states cannot simply print money to cover their debts or go into a structural deficit like that. This is especially true where a state, like Pennsylvania, has to pass a balanced budget.

Under Republican Governor Tom Corbett’s budget proposal, nearly half is already consumed with Health and Human Services (over $30 billion of the $63 billion budget) costs.

Medicaid was in trouble before Obamacare. With the expansion of this unfunded federal mandate, it will only get worse.

One solution to save Medicaid was to repeal Obamacare. The Republicans in the House of Representatives attempted that in a series of bills during their first few days in office. Senate Democrats obstructed the repeal of Obamacare and proposed no solution to the problems with Medicare, they merely said “NO!”

Realizing that the Democrats will stop any attempt at repealing Obamacare in the Senate, the Republicans now must find solutions to save the budgets of the states.

One such solution is being proposed by Republican Congressman Paul Ryan. Ryan plans to unveil a plan that will preserve the existing Medicare program for those currently enrolled. His proposal will also preserve the program as is for those that will become eligible in the next 10 years. His solution fully funds Medical Savings Accounts for low-income beneficiaries and allows everyone else to set up and fund tax-free accounts for themselves. His plan modernizes and strengthens Medicaid by reforming high-risk pools and gives the various states the right to use their individual program as they believe best fits their population.

The Democrats have not proposed a serious solution to the Medicaid problem. So far, they have only exacerbated the problem with the passage of Obamacare and their unwillingness to reform it. Passing the bill on to the taxpayers of the various states is not an acceptable solution. If they oppose Ryan’s plan, they should simultaneously offer a solution of their own.

Absent an alternative solution to fix Medicaid, Congress should act to pass Ryan’s plan.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Gas Prices on the Rise

High gas prices negatively effect every single person in these United States like nothing else. It directly influences the price of nearly every product we purchase from food to medicine and increases the cost of doing business for every industry from the service industry to the construction industry to the manufacturing industry.

Part of that, is due to the logistic changes that have happened in how we move products - now, virtually everything moves by truck. Compounding the issue, American workers travel further than they used to just to go to work.

In the middle (no, it isn't the end) of a recession and some of the highest true unemployment (it's actually a little over 20%) the United States has seen in decades, gas is predicted to hit $4 a gallon again. If this occurs, it would be disastrous to our already fragile economy.

Under a true fair market system, this would only occur due to a market shortage. So, the first question to ask is if there is a shortage of oil.

The answer to that is a resounding "NO!"

Despite that answer, Democrats are talking about releasing oil from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve to artificially increase supply and thus, artificially drive down the price. They want to use the money for electric cars and deficit reduction.

Haven't heard of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve? It is the emergency fuel kept by the Department of Energy. It has the capacity to hold about 727 million barrels of oil and is pretty close to that presently. It is supposed to be used for national emergencies, not for electric cars. This is oil that taxpayers buy for our nation in time of crisis.

While the national debt is certainly a national emergency, Democrats would be acting more in the interest of the American people to stop spending instead of selling off our national security assets to the highest bidder.

But back to oil...

Since it isn't a supply problem, what's left? Regulation. Regulation is an artificial encumbrance on the market that interrupts the normal supply and demand of the market. Don't misunderstand, we're not advocating for the removal of all regulation on energy companies. What this country needs is an all of the above strategy towards energy that includes responsible environmental stewardship. All sources of energy should be explored from shale to geothermal, domestic drilling to wind and everything in between.

The dirty little secret is that their are tons of regulatory roadblocks that keep us from being energy independent as a country.

Congressman Lou Barletta gets it. The Democrats need to figure it out or understand that people will pay not only at the pump, but at the grocery store and the pharmacy for their ignorance.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Big Labor Crushes Taxpayers

Drinking Postmen Want Jobs Back:

A better example of the problem with Big Labor would be hard to find.

Union Postal Carriers were caught drinking at a local bar while on the clock and then driving their delivery vehicles after drinking. Two of the Union Postal Carriers also appeared to use scanners allegedly to make it appear as though they were working their route.

The Union’s response?

Their Postal Carrier Union Local has filed grievances on their behalf to get their jobs back.

Putting aside the danger involved in drinking and driving perpetuated by these union members, this demonstrates the problem with organized labor.

Why should they have their jobs back?

I guess Big Labor believe that it is your right to drink and drive on the job in a government vehicle while on the job.

These people should be fired and count their blessings that they were not charged with a crime. The fact that their Union is defending them and trying to get their jobs back shows just how out of touch Big Labor is with reality.

Labor is not for the working man. If Labor were for the working man, he would not allow abuses like this to occur on the working man’s taxpayer funded dime.

Big Labor is for Big Labor.

Whatever they can do to keep their membership numbers up and thus, their mandatory dues collection up, is all that matters as evidenced by this disgusting act.

Closing thought, how much more do you think the taxpayers will have to pay during the legal proceedings for these grievances?


Democrat President Barack Hussein Obama's former spiritual advisor makes the news again.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Metcalfe Vs. Fillman Cage Match

Well, not really a cage match.

But it should still be good. State Representative Daryl Metcalfe, one of the leading voices for PA Right to Work Laws, will face off against David Fillman from the AFSCME Council 13 Live on PCN.

They will be talking about right to work, collective bargaining, and mandatory union dues.

The main event will take place on Tuesday, March 15th at 7:00 PM on PCN.

You can take part by calling toll-free at 1-877-726-5001.

Visit for a list of additional air times.

Andrew Klavan on Public Sector Unions

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Republican Governor Tom Corbett's Budget Proposal

Much has been said about Republican Governor Tom Corbett’s proposed budget. This budget should have been called the taxpayer’s budget. This budget is in line with our current economic situation and increases taxpayer rights throughout the state. Of particular note, is placing many tax increases on the ballot letting the taxpayers decide if they are willing to pay more to the government for the services it renders.

The salient point in evaluating this budget should be that Governor Corbett did exactly what he said he would do on the campaign trail. Nothing in this budget should be a surprise to anyone that even passively paid attention during the election. At the end of the day, Governor Corbett kept his promise to the taxpayers of Pennsylvania. During the campaign, he promised that his budgets would include no tax increases and no fee increases. His budget holds the line on both.

His budget protects the job growth incentives that Pennsylvania needs to get our economy back on the right track.

The point that many in the media and just about every Democrat that can get in front of a microphone seems to miss is that we, as a commonwealth, are in a recession. When your average family doesn’t have the money to pay for extra things, they have to tighten their belts. This budget forces the government and public sector employees to do the same thing that working families across the Commonwealth have to do.

You will hear commentary about how bad the cuts are. In truth, if we are going to bail this state out of the mess Democrat Governor Ed Rendell left it in, they should have been more significant. All this budget does is reduce spending to about the pre-recession 2008-2009 levels.

The fact is that Democratic Governor Ed Rendell’s legacy for Pennsylvania is a $4,000,000,000 budget gap and an approximately 40% spending increase in state spending over his 8 years at the helm.

Those days are over.

Pennsylvania families and business have all had to cut the fat to keep their head above water. Now, the Commonwealth will do that too.

The budget reduces the cost of government by 2%. On the campaign trail, Corbett promised to reduce it by 10% over four years. 2% is a start but it should have been greater in both the current year cut as well as his projected cut over the next four years. Pennsylvania’s government costs too much.

Now that the Republicans control the State House, steps are finally being taken to reduce the size of the legislature. Our Constitution requires that the process to change the legislature takes several years. It is a ray of hope, but at least a few years away before this can legally be completed.

Continuing on the House Republican initiative above, they should continue to show more leadership on the issue. Republican Speaker Sam Smith should see Governor Corbett’s offer and raise him. The legislature could show better leadership and more concern for the taxpayers by leading on this by example.

The subject that seems to be getting the most interest are those related to education funding. There is a great deal of misinformation on this subject – largely perpetuated by labor unions.

Tom Corbett is an advocate for the quality education of our children. The previous administration put the needs of the public sector union educators and the votes they can deliver above the needs of the children they are charged with educating. Corbett has righted it by placing our children and their parents well ahead of the unions and their members.

Governor Corbett’s plan maintains basic education funding at the 2.8% growth rate even though the Federal Government has stopped funding the program. Again, as is necessary to balance the checkbook, Corbett also returns education funding to pre-recession levels.

To maintain actual funding for education, Corbett has called for a freeze in teacher salaries which will save the taxpayers $400,000,000.

To maintain actual funding for education, Governor Corbett has called for the elimination of education programs that simply do not work and free perks for teachers. Items such as free Masters-level education for teachers through tuition reimbursements and increased wages once they get the degree have been gutted. Its an issue of fairness. These perks are not offered to other taxpayers in the Commonwealth, they should not be available to educators either. Most people actually have to pay for their own education instead of just going to the public trough to have it paid for them. Worse is that after spending taxpayer money for their free education, these teachers actually got taxpayer funded raises because of their taxpayer funded education.

Enough is enough.

To protect taxpayers, Governor Corbett has also called for the taxpayers to be put in charge of tax rates, not school boards. He did this by requiring voter approval for any property tax increase above the rate of inflation. Since our School Districts have not shown leadership on this issue, Corbett will by letting the people decide.

Governor Corbett also proposed that the current tenure system be reformed to prevent automatic tenure for educators. Instead, Governor Corbett has called for educators to have to earn their raises and job protection by being effective in their profession…just like the real world.

This budget is a good start. Ideally, the cuts would have been deeper. The taxpayers should support Governor Corbett for his courage to make the decisions necessary for the success and future of the Commonwealth instead of the success and future of his political career.