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Entries in Obamacare (21)

Monday
Sep222014

Jeff B Willis - "Americas' Forgotten Could Swing 2016 Election

Forwarded to NHI via email

Much has been written about America's "working poor." Yet it seldom went further than some "brushover" condolences and vague statistics. Do we know who these Americans truly are?

Henry Olsen evidently does! In his June 6th, 2011 National Review article, "Dangerous Dissaffection," he introduced the "Dissaffecteds."

According to Olsen's research, 77% are white. 89% do not have a college degree. Two-thirds are classified as "Independents." Most have leaned Republican in recent times. Pundits often describe them as the "blue collar swing vote."

The majority of these Americans earn less than $30,000 per year. 44% are parents. 63% of their households were impacted in a major way by the recession. 71% had a household member unemployed in the past year.

Per Olsen, 28% gave favorable ratings to Barack Obama. Only 22% had said that they would vote to re-elect him. This was at press time of the article. Could something have changed between May 2011 and November 2012?

It certainly wasn't the perception of the two parties. Republicans are viewed favorably by a wide margin over Democrats. In that same survey only 14% of those polled indicated their satisfaction with the federal government. Only 19% said that they "trusted the government to do the right thing always or most of the time."

At first glance, these voters would appear to be firmly in the Republican camp. However, negative vibes toward the left, doesn't necessarly translate to "staunch conservativism." Republicans discovered this in 2010; when they experienced election losses in some solidly Republican districts. So, what makes these people tick?

Perhaps it amounts to a better understanding of what they deem important! Most staunch conservatives see "a balanced budget through the elimination of government programs" key in economic solidity. Not so with these voters! Most would rather keep their programs and see a balance budget as a lessor priority. Primarily because, their perception of our political leadership is cynical at best! They need and count on their Social Security and Medicare! When any politician hints of entitlement reductions, they assume that they will be taking most of the brunt!

Opposition to entitlement reform isn't necessarily consistent with oppostion to lower taxes. Most side with Republicans on the need for both lower taxes and less liberalism. But conservative support does not extend to being the world's commissary! In layman's term, "taking care of Americans here at home, first!" As in, "charity begins at home!"

Olsen's findings revealed that while 59% of staunch conservatives seek program cuts, only 17% of Disaffecteds do. Only 34% of staunch conservatives wanted a combination of spending cuts and tax hikes, 65% of Disaffecteds did. And get this! Only 15% of "Disaffecteds" polled wanted to cut Social Security and Medicare for the purpose of deficit reduction. This was the smallest percentage of any of the Pew typologies. It was actually eleven points lower than voters classified as "solid liberals."

Here is another hint. Disaffecteds are not wild about free trade! New York-26 reflected as much when Tea Party alternative, Jack Davis made it an issue. These same voters swung several traditionally Democrat districts to Scott Walker in Wisconsin in 2010, only to do "a 180" and back Democrat candidates in a Supreme Court election the following year.

Is Disaffected synonymous with the Tea party? No. In fact, 67% have no opinion of the Tea Party, highest of any Pew group. While 72% of staunch conservatives supported the Tea Party, only 19% of Disaffecteds did.

Indications are that Disaffecteds have a slightly more favorable view of labor unions as compared to staunch conservatives. This is further reflected by the tally of 57% who indicated that "free trade" agreements were bad for America.

In short, Disaffecteds can be classified as "somewhat conservative," but not "very conservative." They decidedly find more common ground with conservatives than liberals. But, they are wary. Talk of "austerity measures" amounts to "what little they have will be taken from them." Or, as Olsen phrased, "Republicans cannot reform entitlements if they are seen as motivated by money or as imposing their abstract vision on hard-pressed Americans'reality."

Amazingly enough, Disaffecteds have been pretty much ignored by both parties. In spite of the fact that these "blue collar whites" make up 40% percent of the electorate!

Republicans produced a 2012 ticket that combined "Mr. Grey Poupon" with "right wing social engineering." It might explain how Barack Obama jumped from 22% to a second term!

Conversely, Disaffecteds aren't impressed with Democrats' promise of a "$10 minimum wage and a handout." Smart money suggests that they will not favor a Hillary Clinton Presidency, unless the Republicans revert to the type of nominee produced in 2008 and 2012.

Much to the chagrin of Democrats, Obamacare may not make the cut with these voters. At best, it's seen as a "wash." Most, however, view it as a "backdoor" cut to Medicare, thus a deal breaker.

Indications suggest that Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Democrats in general don't have "their back." That's why they are open to Republican alternatives. The key will be to assure them that they won't be left holding the bag; on the short end of the stick!

Specifically, "make Social Security solvent and protect Medicare from expected pillage resulting from the Affordable Care Act." If Republicans can convince Disaffecteds that they mean business regarding these two concerns, they're in!

Any promise of "returning jobs to American shores" scores points with Disaffecteds. Pew polls suggest that while they may have protectionist leanings, they might be open to cuts in the corporate tax, if it produces more jobs. Any measures that reduce offshore outsourcing are greeted with applause!

Any talk of good paying jobs, such as energy sector jobs, not requiring a lot of education hits their hot button! Reducing a bloated federal government payroll will be applauded by these voters. Most become outraged when informed of the public to private wage/benefit disparities.

These Americans need a champion, a president who they can relate to. Ronald Reagan described them as "ordinary people who did extraordinary things." His was based on genuine empathy for the average guy.

Do we have any candidates who can make that kind of connect with this critical, yet seemingly forgotten segment of America? For starters, what differentiated Ronald Reagan from the four Presidents who have since served in the White House?

Disaffecteds are obviously not "blue bloods." Thus, Ivy League credentials don't impress them. If anything, a President like Reagan lacking such a pedigree might be seen as a plus!

Immigration reformers should be especially careful with these Americans. "Across the board Amnesty" is seen as a greenlight for increased competition for what few jobs have been available to them.

While Olsen's research reveals a mild oppostion to "overseas military adventures," it is suspected that many Disaffecteds are veterans. No doubt a lot served in Desert Storm and Viet Nam, not to mention Irag and Afghanistan. Reagan's explanation of "peace through strength" was understood and largely supported.

Republicans can win the 2016 Presidency, if they can connect with these oft-forgotten Americans. The questions are "how" and through "whom?"

In a personal way, Reagan presented a message that linked peace and prosperity to Federalism. When he proclaimed that "government, not people had lived too well," they listened. When he proposed to "reduce the cost of government," they correctly linked that reduction to wage cuts and layoffs for federal workers, not entitlement cuts. When Reagan talked about inflation as the "most cruel of taxes," they put it all together.

Defining Jeffersonism, then differentiating it from Democrat and Neo-Con Hamiltonism might be considered "too cerebral." It will depend on the messenger. The message itself is fairly cut and dry.

Hamilton was for the Patrician. He believed that decisions of government were best left to the rich, powerful and the well educated.

Jefferson was for the common man. He concluded that the best defense against an American nobility was decentralization.

Today's Democrats and Republican "New Conservatives" share the Hamitonian paradigm. In a nutshell, it's either "you're not significant" or "we know what's best; so do as you are told."

It effect, the key to winning the hearts, minds and votes of America's forgotten may be as simple as reminding them that they are not forgotten. That's why mandated voter I.D. cards experience a near universal "thumbs up!" Solvent Social Security and Medicare, affordable college tuition and real health insurance reform likewise top their wish list. Also included are accessible money for mortgage financing and the basic services such as fire and police protection.

The Jeffersonian argument that "all can be better handled at the state level" is welcomed and supported by Disaffecteds.

Closing the deal with Disaffecteds will be as easy as "believability." As with Reagan, they must first like the candidate. Then, they must be able to relate to the candidate. Finally, they must see evidence of a candidate's previous success. As Dizzy Dean phrased, "it ain't braggin', if you've done it!"

Disaffecteds are not "low interest" voters. While overly cynical, they are more familiar with issues than one might think. When they conclude that a candidate can "walk the walk," as well as "talk the talk," they will happily jump on the bandwagon!

In recent times, Republicans were evidently not paying attention to this huge voter contingent. "Why" is a question for another day and a different post. It might have something to do with party leadership.

Democrats may have taken Disaffecteds for granted. Or, maybe the real truth is, they don't fall under the auspices of one of the Dems' special interest groups.

In any case, these "ordinary people," could yield "extraordinary" results at the voting booths! The question becomes, "has America's political establishment become so far removed from America that they fail to see "who" truly is America?

Monday
Dec022013

Citizens For A Strong NH - NH's Obamacare Trio is Hiding 

"New Hampshire's Obamacare Trio is Hiding"
By: Derek Dufresne

 

 


Zero. Zilch. Nada. No matter how you say it, that's the number of public Town Hall meetings Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) and Rep. Anne McLane-Kuster (NH-02) have hosted on ObamaCare since being sworn into office in January. It has even been longer than that since Senator Jeanne Shaheen hosted a public forum for Granite Staters to discuss the most important topic of the day. New Hampshire's "ObamaCare Trio" have made it their mission to avoid us, their constituents.

Despite thousands of New Hampshire residents being affected by the failing law that all three of the aforementioned politicians supported, they have taken to the Washington DC strategy of hiding in order to protect their careers. Instead of actively engaging with those most affected by their votes, Sen. Shaheen, Rep. Shea-Porter and Rep. Kuster, all who have voted to exempt themselves from ObamaCare, have effectively screened themselves from those who are forced to live with it.

For months, Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire has been calling on Sen. Shaheen, Rep. Shea-Porter and Rep. Kuster to host public Town Hall meetings where those who have lost their health insurance or seen their premiums increase can come together to tell their elected officials how detrimental ObamaCare has been to their families. We have been asking them to provide a venue where they can listen to the small business owners who have been forced to cut back employees' hours and are timid about expanding and growing their companies out of fear from mandates within the law. However, Sen. Shaheen, Rep. Shea-Porter and Rep. Kuster have refused to do so. At this point, the message is clear - New Hampshire's "ObamaCare Trio" have no interest in hearing from Granite Staters about the failing law they continue to support.

While it is likely they are avoiding New Hampshire residents because they know they will not like what their constituents will have to say about it, that is no excuse. New Hampshire has a long tradition of its elected officials, regardless of political affiliation, returning home from Washington to discuss their votes and positions on the issues with their constituents. In fact, before she was a congresswoman, one member of New Hampshire's "ObamaCare Trio," Rep. Shea-Porter, used to attend several of former Rep. Jeb Bradley's many Town Hall meetings herself. Now that she holds the office, does she believe she is immune from the kinds of criticism she used to give the former congressman?

On behalf of the tens of thousands of Granite Staters who have already been negatively affected by ObamaCare and the countless more who will be as more of the law is implemented, we once again call on New Hampshire's "ObamaCare Trio" to stop hiding. Stop putting your political careers and your paycheck ahead of real New Hampshire residents who are feeling the pain from your continued support for the failing law. Sen. Shaheen,Rep. Shea-Porter, and Rep. Kuster, perhaps if you stopped hiding from your constituents and actually listened to what they had to say about the disaster known as ObamaCare, you might realize why so many of us are imploring you to stop supporting it.  
 
Derek Dufresne is the spokesman for Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire, which is a diverse, nonpartisan coalition of concerned citizens, community leaders and other stakeholders concerned with promoting and preserving strong families and a strong economy for New Hampshire.

 

Friday
Oct262012

Carol Shea-Porter - For the Rest of Us 

The 2012 campaign season is rapidly coming to a close. The commercials are as thick and dark and biting as black flies, and mailers warn voters to beware of Candidate X or Y. Just this week, one special interest group bought $2 million dollars of ads against me, which is more than I will spend for my whole campaign. Voters will have to wade through it all and make a decision. I hope they will vote for me for Congress because I care deeply about our state and our country and I will serve the good people of New Hampshire, not special interests.

I am a proud direct descendent of General John Stark, whose words “Live Free or Die” are frequently quoted. My roots are deep, and I know, love, and respect this great little state of ours. I grew up in a Republican family and I remember how New Hampshire Republicans and Democrats could disagree about policy but still come together to serve our communities. I believe we must do that again—walk away from the tea party agenda that divides us and join together with a renewed sense of purpose and unity to tackle our problems. During my four years in Congress, I was known for my advocacy for the middle class, for small businesses, and for the American dream. As the Seacoast Media Group and the Portsmouth Herald said, “Our interests were her interests.” I never accepted corporate PAC or DC lobbyist money. I cosponsored the Fair Elections Now Act and the DISCLOSE Act, because without campaign finance reform, we cannot tame the extraordinary influences of special interests that hurt ordinary Americans. I want to continue my efforts for campaign finance reform in Congress.

I served our military and veterans on the Armed Services Committee. As a former military spouse and proud wife of a veteran, I was especially happy to pass the new GI Bill of Rights that thanks our combat veterans with great education benefits. I introduced the bill to get a full-service VA Hospital or equal access to in-state care, and succeeded in getting more clinics and an acute care contract with Concord Hospital. Right now, New Hampshire does not have a Representative on the House Armed Services Committee, which is especially unfortunate because the current Congress’ vote for the Sequester has put New Hampshire defense jobs and jobs at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in jeopardy. I want to return to the House Armed Services Committee to advocate for the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, its defense mission, and their incredible workforce.

Serving on the Education and Labor Committee, I cosponsored legislation that cut student loan interest rates in half and increased Pell grants for students. I cosponsored the minimum wage increase, which became law, and cosponsored the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which restores a woman’s right to challenge unfair pay, also now the law of the land. I want to serve New Hampshire workers, small businesses, and families again in Congress.

I stood up for the New Hampshire environment. From the Ossipee Pine Barrens to land preservation around Great Bay, from the Presidential Range to clean water, I worked for funding to study and protect our environment.

I held seminars and workshops to help small businesses, including one in Manchester in 2010 to help small defense contractors compete for federal contracts that drew more than 150 people. I voted for the Small Business Jobs Act and eight small-business tax cuts. The Seacoast Media Group and the Portsmouth Herald wrote in their endorsement, “Voters who value bipartisanship will remember Shea-Porter’s outstanding work with her Republican colleagues from Maine and New Hampshire to safeguard funding for the new Memorial Bridge and much needed upgrades at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.”

We passed the health care law, saved the American auto industry and all of its jobs, and prevented a Depression. All of these were great accomplishments. But now we need to grow the economy, reduce the debt, protect Medicare from being changed to a voucher program, and help young people get an education and their piece of the American dream. I know we can do it—it is in the American DNA to tackle problems and succeed. I want to work on these issues for the rest of us.  I would be honored to receive your vote on November 6th.

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Former Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter represented New Hampshire’s First District from 2007-2011, she is seeking a third term in the November, 2012 election.  She wrote the proposal for and established a non-profit, social service agency, which continues to serve all ages.  She taught politics and history and is a strong supporter of Medicare and Social Security.

Saturday
Sep152012

Carol Shea-Porter - The Truth about the Independent Payment Advisory Board 

There are only two months left before voters go to the polls. They will cast their lot with either President BarackObama or with Mitt Romney, and they will also choose a member of Congress who will be in President Obama's party or in Mr. Romney's camp. Money is pouring into both the Presidential races now, and also into the Congressional races across the country, especially swing states like New Hampshire.  While I abhor the amount of money being spent by outside groups, and wish that Congressman Frank Guinta had agreed to sign a statement with me asking that outside groups stay out of our race, I am more concerned about the inaccurate messages that their money might spread across our state’s television sets.

I have listened to the false charge that President Obama and the Congressional Democrats “robbed” $716 billion from Medicare. The press and factcheck.org have done a good job explaining the facts about the $716 billion—how it actually was savings generated by stopping insurance companies who run Medicare Advantage from charging taxpayers 14% more, and by other administrative cost savings. Seniors now realize that not one dollar in benefits will be cut from their Medicare, and they also know that, as former President Clinton said, it was "brassy" of Paul Ryan to accuse Democrats of "robbing" Medicare and then include those savings in his own budget. Case closed.

However, there is a new claim about Medicare, a scary claim that is also false.  I heard our congressman, Frank Guinta, say it to a room full of seniors this week. This new claim insists that that a new board established under the Affordable Care Act, the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), will, in Congressman Frank Guinta's words, "make decisions for every Medicare recipient as to change whether, say you need a hip replacement or some sort of surgical procedure." Congressman Frank Guinta went on to say, "We're talking about every single procedure, this board will make those decisions." If that were true, that would be terrifying. Fortunately, it is false, and we need to reassure people that nobody is going to stop their hip replacements.

So, exactly what is the IPAB, as it is commonly called, and what do they do?  The Republicans falsely accuse them of being "bureaucrats." The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities describes it very well. "The board must include physicians and other health professionals, experts in health finance, health services researchers, employers, and representatives of consumers and the elderly. To prevent control by special interests, health care providers may not constitute a majority of the board's membership.”

So, clearly these are not bureaucrats. But Pat Boone and others have misled seniors in political attack ads that are funded by an outside conservative group called 60 Plus Association.

FactCheck.org says that the health care law, "explicitly says that the IPAB's proposals ‘shall not include any recommendation to ration health care, raise revenues or Medicare beneficiary premiums...increase Medicare beneficiary costsharing (including deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments), or otherwise restrict benefits or modify eligibility criteria.’”

This does not stop Republican politicians from shouting the word "rationing," although it is wrong and shameful to mislead seniors who rely on full access to medical treatment to keep them well. It is particularly "brassy,” since Paul Ryan and the Congressional Republicans actually voted to turn Medicare into a voucher program.

Let's let USA Today, a very sensible, right-in-the-middle newspaper, have the final say on the Independent Payment Advisory Board. In a 4/9/12 editorial called "Medicare Cost Panel is Common Sense," it says, "The Medicare board seems like a common-sense mechanism. The reason it engenders such heated opposition is that like the ‘death panels,’ it's a convenient way to scare people into opposing health reform—facts to the contrary."

Don't be fooled by these false claims, or any others. Educate yourself and your neighbors before Election Day. Facts are stubborn things, as we all know, and we should all be armed with the truth if we are going to be fully informed citizens at the polls. Knowledge is power—use it.

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Former Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter represented New Hampshire’s First District from 2007-2011, she is seeking a third term in the November, 2012 election.  She wrote the proposal for and established a non-profit, social service agency, which continues to serve all ages.  She taught politics and history and is a strong supporter of Medicare and Social Security.

 

Tuesday
Aug212012

Shannon McGinley - Religious Liberty is Literally Under Attack

By Shannon McGinley, acting executive director of Cornerstone Action

When President Obama visited Rochester, N.H., last week, he asked the Sisters of the St. Charles Children Home to sit behind him; an offer they declined. And when the president’s staffers said they’d be using the home as a backdrop for the president’s rally, Sister Mary Agnes covered the organization’s sign with a new message: “Pray for Religious Freedom.”

As I join the Sisters in prayer for our inalienable natural right to religious liberty, which is protected by both our state and federal constitutions, I thought the Sisters’ statement deserved a bit of public meditation to clarify exactly how severely this right has come under attack by this president and those who agree with him.

It is with great sorrow that I can so easily point to the shooting last week at the Family Research Council in Washington as an example. On Wednesday, bigot Floyd Lee Corkins II opened fire in the council lobby, stating, “I don’t like your politics.” He injured the building’s security guard, who stopped what could have easily become a massacre. Reportedly, the homosexual-rights activist also had the address for the Traditional Values Coalition on his person, along with a full box of ammunition. Both organizations defend religious liberty and advocate for traditional marriage as the bedrock of society, which it is.

If only this were an isolated incident. My counterpart at the Family Institute of Connecticut Action, Peter Wolfgang, said he has been receiving death threats from a homosexual activist, who has finally been charged and will appear in court this week. It’s really sad commentary that we have to wait for tragedy before anyone takes people’s hateful threats seriously. It would be even more tragic, however, if these attacks silenced the political debate about religious freedom that led to these attacks.

In a sense, these actual attacks symbolize the problem facing religious liberty in today’s America. Whether it’s a leftist lunatic with a gun or the government with its laws and regulations, liberals are now using coercion in an attempt to drive faith out of the lives of citizens and business owners. It is not politically correct, or physically safe for that matter, for citizens to openly express their deeply held religious beliefs, unless of course they are practicing secular humanism, which is now the well-established religion of our government.

Thanks to the president and his Obamacare law, the government is now forcing business owners to violate their deepest held beliefs just to make a living. This isn’t about access to contraception or abortion pills; two medical treatments that are available to people who want to pay for them. This is about government inventing a right to force religious people to pay for that contraception or those abortion pills even if they morally object. This is about government declaring by fiat that the fake right it now recognizes supersedes the fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Rights of Conscience clause in the N.H. Constitution.

To fully grasp the significance of this stance, consider for a moment whether you would think it’s OK for government to force a Quaker manufacturing company to produce weapons that will be used in the war on terror. Should government force the owner of an animal-rights conscious cosmetics-supply company to pay for torturous experiments using chimpanzees and kittens? Should government force a state prison employee to administer an execution drug to a convicted capital felon even though the employee has a conscientious objection to the death penalty?

Are these scenarios really any different than the government forcing a photographer who disagrees with the homosexual lifestyle to photograph a homosexual “commitment ceremony”? The New Mexico Human Rights Commission did just that when it fined Elane Photography more than $6,000 for refusing to participate in a gay ceremony. The government also tried to force Bill Newland at his Denver-based Hercules Industries to pay for his employees’ abortion pills. And Boston Mayor Thomas Menino as well as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel told Chick Fil-A it wasn’t welcome because of the owner’s open statements that homosexual “marriage” should not take place.

In the end, it doesn’t matter what ethical issue is at stake. Government should not be able to force people to do something that violates their freedom of conscience. Government should not be able to fine people or prohibit people from earning a living simply because they choose to exercise their religious liberty. These concepts are dangerous in a free society, and could ultimately lead to the end of freedom itself.

All Americans, whether acting as individuals or business owners, should be able to express and live out their religious beliefs in their public life without sacrificing their hard-earned dollars or their freedom. And it is for this type of religious liberty that we all need to pray.