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Carlo Pietro Giovanni Guglielmo Obama

February 12th, 2014 - 3:09 pm

Daniel Mitchell at Cato makes the trite but shockingly simple observation that it is only necessary to stop increasing expenses to balance the budget without raising taxes. Without spending increases the natural growth in GDP would proportionally increase tax revenues and overtake the fixed expenses. Then government would move into the black.

a spending freeze (similar to what we got in 2012 and 2013) would almost balance the budget in 2016 and would definitely produce a budget surplus in 2017. I also highlight what would happen if politicians merely limited spending so it grew at the rate of inflation, about 2.3 percent per year. Under that scenario, the budget would be balanced in 2019 (actually a $20 billion surplus, but that’s an asterisk by Washington standards).

Of course you knew this already because every householder understands that keeping spending constant while salary increases eventually means you can start paying off your debt. So if the solution’s so simple why does Washington have such a problem with money?  The problems is with rates of change. The rate at which Washington increases spending is greater than the rate at which revenues increase.

They’ve just gotta have more — and more — each year. But Washington really doesn’t like to talk about changes in rates. Sarah Kliff happily reports that “January [is] the first month that the Obama administration has beaten an enrollment target” but adds “however, the Obama administration still falls short of projected, cumulative enrollment by 1 million people, largely due to the anemic sign-ups in October and November”. And of course, the enrollment target for January itself was lower than December’s.

The good news is that they can report more enrollees. The bad news is they’re further behind in what really matters — money.

Obamacare is a wonderful case study of how to rob Peter to pay Paul. The seed money for the president’s flagship health subsidies came from reducing Medicare payments to the elderly. “Obamacare financed its assault on existing insurance arrangements in part by $156 billion over 10 years in direct cuts to Medicare Advantage plans — cuts to be exacerbated by indirect spillovers from changes in the Medicare Advantage funding formula.”

The plan was to recoup that money by soaking the “young invincibles”, a plan that is failing so badly that insurance companies have now spent $40 million in advertising to pull in Pajama Boy and his buddies. “The insurer spending was widely expected. The industry has a lot to lose if people – particularly young and healthy ones, who don’t cost a lot to insure – do not sign up for health insurance in droves this year.”

Without the young they’ll be no option but to let the elderly twist in the wind. “The options: raise premiums, reduce the optional benefits, pull out of certain counties, increase cost-sharing, or limit physician and hospital networks. This is a menu of potential to harm seniors’ finances and health care choices.”

The situation is exactly like the classic Ponzi scheme. They borrowed from the elderly to pay out their “subsidies” but the only way to make good the hit on the old is to overcharge the young. Which leaves the problem of how to serve the young. It’s a system that can only sustain itself by finding more and more new sources of money to keep paying off the old markers. At some point the system has to break even. The problem is it’s not.

When some of the largest insurance firms in the country are unable to absorb the payment cuts and have to cut significant numbers of physicians from their networks, there is little hope for smaller plans and, more importantly, the seniors who rely on them.

More disruption will come next year unless the administration exercises its discretion to block further Medicare Advantage cuts.

The rate at which Obamacare is burning money is exceeding the rate at which it is finding new sources of funding. Even the money used to launch the exchanges themselves needs paying back. writes: “A little-noticed problem is fast emerging in states that decided to set up their own ObamaCare exchanges. Many of them face financial crises once the federal grant money runs out.”

After taking nearly $4 billion in federal grants to set up and run their exchanges this year, 14 states and the District of Columbia are supposed to be self-sufficient by next year.

At least that’s what the ObamaCare statute says (which these days doesn’t mean much). But from the looks of it, many are heading into a fiscal brick wall.

California, for example, is supposed to be a big ObamaCare success story. But it faces a $78 million shortfall next year and a $34 million deficit in 2016. So the state is setting aside $184 million of its federal grant money to offset those projected deficits.

Executive Director Peter Lee told the state finance commission that Covered California still faces a “long-term sustainability” problem.

Minnesota’s MNSure, meanwhile, is looking at deficits equal to 11% of revenues next year and 13% in 2016.

Everybody knows that sooner or later, someone will be around to collect. Nobody realizes this more than Obama himself. And this helps explain why he’s constantly changing the text of Obamacare itself. Many pixels have been spilled to denounce the wanton way in which the president has changed and continues to change the deadlines that Nancy Pelosi, presumably with his help, wrote into the state. For example Megan McArdle has gone so far as to say “Obamacare Is Whatever Obama Says It Is”.

Sarah Kliff at the Washington posts thinks the changes are no big deal, but Rich Tucker at Heritage thinks they go straight to the rule of law.  Be that as it may it is probably fair to observe that the rapid changes represent a way for the president to stay one jump ahead of the markers he has to pay off. He is in a fatal kind of race one in which his promises are mounting at a rate faster than he can keep them. So to keep the consequences from overtaking him, he’s postponing one mandate after the other. Lightening ship. Anything to keep ahead.

The president is in a situation similar to that of Indiana Jones who is pursued by a gigantic accelerating boulder. He took the money from the elderly without really knowing how he was going to square the account. In fact he’s been creating new expenses and commitments at a dazzling pace. Risk corridors for the insurance companies, reinsurance payments, retroactive coverage to people who can’t even be found in the porous Obamacare system …

The only way he can keep ahead of the thundering mass of granite behind him is to issue exemption after exemption after exemption in the hopes of surviving one more instant. What we are witnessing now is the transformation of a financial crisis into a political and finally a constitutional crisis.

Being caught on a Ponzi treadmill is no fun. Pretty soon you start throwing even your close associates to the wolves. Anything to live for one more second. Perhaps that is why even Democratic candidates are engaged in the remarkable spectacle of distancing themselves from a program their president supported. They don’t want to be flattened by the rock.

it is fascinating to watch a Political Action Committee associated with Nancy “we’re going to run on Obamacare” Pelosi slamming the White House for “the disastrous healthcare website” and boasting — without any time qualification, it should be said — that its man “voted to let you keep your existing health plan.”

Obama is one step ahead for now. The problem is the rock is getting faster. Its the rate that matters.

What exactly it means to be run over by the rock was spelled out by Kaiser Health News. Before Obamacare “Half of American families spent 3.1 percent or less of their income on health care before the law took effect—with those who have job-based coverage generally spending less than those who buy their own insurance, studies by Linda Blumberg at the Urban Institute show.”

A quarter of all households spent 8.2 percent or more on health care, which includes premiums and out-of pocket costs, such as copayments for doctor visits, hospital care or prescription drugs. Those are the ones most likely to struggle to pay bills – and who risk falling into medical debt.

But while Obamacare may mean cheaper insurance for certain target groups it will be devastating to the middle class. “The lure used to get uninsured Americans to sign up for health law coverage was the promise of generous premium subsidies. But the promise comes with a catch for almost 3 million people earning between three and four times the federal poverty rate: They may have to pay up to 9.5 percent of their income toward that premium before the subsidy kicks in.”

So it’s an increase from 3.1 to 8.2 up to the new 9.5 percent. And that’s just the premium. Add the copayments and other out of pockets to that and you’re looking at serious money.

And those who make between three to four times the poverty level — less than 16 percent of all consumers eligible for federal subsidies – must pay the highest percentage of their income, or up to 9.5 towards the premiums before getting federal help. Not everyone will pay that much because premiums vary around the country and some people will be able to purchase a plan for less than 9.5 percent of their income.

The millions who qualify for Medicaid, the state-federal program for the poor, generally pay little or nothing for their health care.

Most people with job-based coverage – the majority of insured Americans — are not eligible for subsidies and therefore not affected by the 9.5 percent requirement….

The law’s drafters set the 9.5 percent benchmark during final negotiations over the health law, mainly to meet a directive from the White House and congressional leadership that the law cost less than $1 trillion over 10 years and contain provisions to pay for that, which included new taxes and fees on drug makers, insurers and high-income Americans. The primary goal was to get the bill passed, not figure out what struggling middle-class families thought they could afford. An earlier version would have required some families to pay even more.

The guys who will really get whacked are those who lose job-based insurance. This is why it was so imperative to delay Obamacare’s implementation for small and medium businesses. One of Obamacare’s eventual goals is get people off job-based coverage (thereby liberating them from job-lock). But once that happens the 9.5 percentage hit will hit the newly liberated like a ton of bricks — unless they become beggars, in which case they qualify for subsidies.

Once it gets that far the Democratic Party is flattened. So it’s a race to November 2014. If Obama can make it that far then he’s got the rubes in the bag.

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Top Rated Comments   
I don't think president Obama actually believes that stuff about "giving America a raise". But he's cynical enough to say it because he knows some soft headed, big hearted guy -- let's call him "Toolbox" -- the kind of person who falls for all the laff lines and focus group tested non-sequiturs -- will lap it up.

"Yeah! It's a moral imperative," ain't it Toolbox? Exactly like what your sociology teacher in college said. By and by Toolbox will bethink himself to ask, 'where is the money going to come from?'

Well from the government, where else? Simple. And so Toolbox signs away his life for the promise of a raise.

Stupidity is easy to forgive. It's taking advantage of the blind that's a little harder to overlook.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Here's an idea from Obama,..."

The Left's total failure to connect income and value is on display. If people work they "deserve" wealth. The usefulness of their work does not matter. The willingness of others to part with wealth and convey it to the person who feels entitled to it does not matter. Obama knows in his bones that he does not earn his wealth and cannot believe that anyone else really does. If people show up they deserve to be paid. If they do not show up, well something or someone got in their way.

What Obama has achieved is not the return of the Clinton administration, it isn't even simply the return of the Carter administration. We sold him short. It is the delayed installation of the McGovern administration. In 1972 when George McGovern proposed that the government give everyone $1,000, and raise tax rates to recover the money from the wealthy, the average US personal income was just over $7,100/yr. Today the average income is more than five times what it was 40 years ago. Two income households are also now more likely, except for the Great Society's gift of single mothers mired in poverty.

While it might be politically useful to remind America just how reactionary the Obama agenda is, by demonstrating that it is a return to the discredited and rejected proposals of McGovern, we must in fairness add a disclaimer. George McGovern for all his faults was a far more honorable man than Barack Obama.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"The situation is exactly like the classic Ponzi scheme. They borrowed from the elderly to pay out their “subsidies” but the only way to make good the hit on the old is to overcharge the young. Which leaves the problem of how to serve the young. It’s a system that can only sustain itself by finding more and more new sources of money to keep paying off the old markers. " Wretchard

The root cause of the Obamacare failure is that Obama's neo-Marxist (my new, permanent term for the Obamacrats and socialist progressives) health care plan ignored human nature and was anti-capitalist (essentially, one in the same thing). Government will never "force" Americans to do anything they don't want to do. Obama cannot make young Americans "want" health care they do not need and cannot afford.

A capitalist inspired health care insurance system would create a product of services that potential consumers wanted, at prices they could not only afford, but that they WANTED to pay. The last thing that young American's wanted was a $300 to $500 health care plan that provided them "free" birth control and abortions. They might have gladly signed up for a $75 plan that gave them regular (i.e. low cost) checkups and exceptional catastrophic coverage. My 26 year old son has been paying for his own insurance for the past 2-3 years which originally started at $120 a month, rose to about $180 a month (post Obamacare), and after it was cancelled, was slated to go as high as $350 a month (he'll eventually qualify for Medicaid after "Covered California" processes his application - 3 months and counting). Now, what my son WANTED was the $120 policy he originally bought and paid for, before the Obama neo-Marxists warped the insurance system out of control into the current death spiral starting in 2009.

The neo-Marxists use pejorative terms like "Profiteer", "the Rich", and "one percenters" to marginalize conservative principles and promote socialism. The real comparison should be qualified as:

NeoMarxist socialism is: regressive, coercive, unproductive, and oppressive.

Captialism is: productive, respectful, constructive, productive, and FREEDOM and prosperity enhancing.

If Obamacare had been capitalist inspired, they'd have no problem finding customers, the services wouldn't have to be free to bribe most of the actual customers, they health insurance companies would be making money hand-over-fist, and the customers would be well served with cost-efficient services.

Again, remember, the proper comparison isn't "the quality of medical insurance before and after the ACA/Obamacare was passed", but "medical insurance unfettered by most of the neo-Marxist regulation, and a medical insurance system operating under oppressive socialism".
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (65)
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"Mix's lawyers say they have searched in vain for a parallel"

Talk about an incestuous "elite"!

Stanwood Duval Jr., Daley, David Duval, C. Berwick Duval II, Alexis Duval, Stanwood R. Duval all have fingers in the pie.

They are the presiding judge, his wife, his son, his brother, his sister in law and his nephew.

I thought we banned lynch mobs.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Good Louisiana Democrats, all? There's a certain kind of long legal tradition there ....
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yes. Good Louisiana Democrats all. Just like Ray Nagin.

Hurricane Katrina should have taught the voters a lesson about Louisiana Democrats, such as Mary Landrieu and her brother (and current Mayor of New Orleans) Mitch Landrieu.

Plus, she is notorious for the "Louisiana Purchase".

There must be lots of LIVs in that electorate.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
what's not understood is that the fed's printing money juiced the stock market which made the rich richer but also added about $100 billion annually to federal coffers in new tax revenues over the last couple years. the current expansion would be total crap and the doom sayers would be totally on the money if it weren't for the fracking revolution which has added about 400 billion to the economy annually on its way to 1 trillion annually in 2-4 years plus 100 billion in federal revenues annually on its way to 200 billion plus cut the trade and federal deficit plus added about 40 Trillion dollars worth of oil/gas reserves to the backing of the dollar. The economy will poke along at about 2% growth for the next couple years mostly because of oil. But also because of oil the economy won't go under and also because the money is so narrowly focused--most people won't feel it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
all that gingrich did during the late 90's was keep the government from growing. he didn't cut the budget. all he did was cut the rate of budget growth.

the booming stock market and lower gas prices produced receipts that killed the budget shortfall. something similiar is working today. the rising stock market produced 100 billion in extra receipts in 2013 and the oil boom produced another 100 billion in extra receipts. rising taxes produced another 100 billion. that reduced the deficit from 1 trillion to about 680 billion. (all rough numbers) absent tax increases this year current forcasts for the budget shortfall in 2014 are for about 500 billion. The shortfall would have been closer to 400 billion but the pubbies caved in january and gave back about 90 billion of the budget "cuts" they garnered last year. (I think a lot of the give backs went to the military.)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Great British historian, Lord Macaulay, predicted the future unraveling of the United States economy in a letter written in May 1857. Macaulay’s prediction was based on his analysis of American institutions. Discussing the life of Thomas Jefferson with an American author, Macaulay wrote, “You are surprised to learn that I have not a high opinion of Mr. Jefferson, and I am surprised at your surprise. I am certain that I never wrote a line, and … uttered a word indicating an opinion that the supreme authority in a state ought to be entrusted to the majority of citizens [counted] by the head; in other words, to the poorest and most ignorant part of society.”


(

According to Macaulay the United States was becoming increasingly democratic throughout the nineteenth century. And this tendency, he argued, was dangerous to liberty and to the country’s economic well-being. As Macaulay explained, “I have long been convinced that institutions purely democratic must, sooner or later, destroy liberty or civilization, or both.”

Macaulay pointed to the French Revolution and to the tendency of democratic movements to despoil the rich. “You may think that your country enjoys an exemption from these evils,” Macaulay wrote to his American correspondent. “I will frankly own to you that I am of a very different opinion. Your fate I believe to be certain, though it is deferred by a physical cause. As long as you have a boundless extent of fertile and unoccupied land, your laboring population will be far more at ease than the laboring population of the Old World, and, while that is the case, the Jefferson politics may continue to exist without causing any fatal calamity.”
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Your fate I believe to be certain, though it is deferred by a physical cause. As long as you have a boundless extent of fertile and unoccupied land, your laboring population will be far more at ease than the laboring population of the Old World, and, while that is the case, the Jefferson politics may continue to exist without causing any fatal calamity.”
yes. he had this right. (that is he agrees with me) I have said for the last 3-4 years that the great gift of the USA to the world until 1970-- was limited government and unlimited resources--what Macaulay called "boundless extent of fertile and unoccupied land". cheap energy in the first half of the 20th century extended this. what happened in the 1970's was that energy stopped being cheap and we came to an era of limited resources. this in turn led to ever more unlimited government. Watch carefully the discussions of energy because they at root also feed back into the nature of how much government we have. The shale revolution is only the first of several energy revolutions that will wash over the USA and the world in the next 20 years. They will in the end collapse the cost of energy. Lower energy costs, create more energy independence individually and nationally--and (if we take Maccaully correctly)logically should lead to less government. Nice theory. We'll see.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Another side of this is an interesting discussion Richard posted mayby 7-8 months ago which showed two kinds of billionaires. The first grows the wealth of the nation and then takes a small chunk out of of the growth. An example of this is everyone from Henry Ford Model T to bill gates microsoft. The second simply extracts wealth from the whole without adding anything so that the wealthy person becomes wealthy shrinking the wealth of the whole. The OPEC strikes of 1973 and 1979 and their subsequent choke hold on world oil prices is an example of wealth extraction which does not add to the whole but rather shrinks the whole.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
PS, "Upward Mobility or Bust!"
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The unemployment rate for men 18-54 years of age is now 17%. More than 10 million people who should have entered the workforce and gotten a job during the Obama era have not.

There was a time not too long ago where these figures would have been a source of enormous scandal and unremitting shame for the party in power. Not so anymore. At this point, neither party has any realistic proposals that would return that unemployment rate to historical levels, and they appear to not even care.

One of the reasons for the deficit is that due to astronomically high unemployment levels and the fact that every cohort of the economy excepts perhaps the upper 1 to 5% is taking it on the chin. People forget that our government is addicted to the well off making lots of money, and when they don't due to our steeply progressive income tax structure, government revenue falls badly.

All throughout the Obama era tax receipts has lagged far below historical levels because the government for the reason stated above -the government is too busy killing small business ,discouraging people making money through new start up and development ventures, and raising dramatically the cost of living and doing business through things like Obamacare.

Excellent essay
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I don't think the tax receipts are that low:

But starting in 2009, and on the precedent of TARP (and not to mention the off-budget funding of the Iraq and Afghan wars) we added a trillion dollars in expenditures, all funded by debt - and that still does not count Fed printing.

Tax receipts are not much lower because they all come from the top 10% anyway, and the top 1% and 0.01% are doing great.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Tax Receipts as a percentage of GDP:
2009 15.1%
2010 15.1%
2011 15.4%
2012 15.8%
2013 16.7%

Since the early 50's and a different size economy/government, only two other years- the post dot com bust/post 911 Iraq War years of 2003 and 2004 - at 16.1 and 16.2% have been less than 17% of GDP. The Obama Era are without a doubt the worst years for tax revenue since the early 1950's even though it was a period of high tax rates.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Excellent essay
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Speaking of Kaiser Health News...

Let's also review the history of Henry Kaiser and Kaiser Permanente.

"The history of Kaiser Permanente dates to the year 1933 and a tiny hospital in the town of Desert Center, California. At that time, Kaiser and several other large construction contractors had formed an insurance consortium called Industrial Indemnity to meet their workers' compensation obligations. Dr. Sidney Garfield had just finished his residency at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center at a time when jobs were scarce; fortunately, he was able to secure a contract with Industrial Indemnity to care for 5,000 construction workers building the Colorado River Aqueduct in the Mojave Desert. Soon enough, Garfield's new hospital was in a precarious financial state (with mounting debt and the staff of three going unpaid), due in part to Garfield's desire to treat all patients regardless of ability to pay, as well as his insistence on equipping the hospital adequately so that critically injured patients could be stabilized for the long journey to full-service hospitals in Los Angeles.[11]

However, Garfield won over two Industrial Indemnity executives, Harold Hatch and Alonzo B. Ordway. It was Hatch who proposed to Garfield the specific solution that would lead to the creation of Kaiser Permanente: Industrial Indemnity would prepay 17.5% of premiums, or $1.50 per worker per month, to cover work-related injuries, while the workers would each contribute five cents per day to cover non-work-related injuries. Later, Garfield also credited Ordway with coming up with the general idea of prepayment for industrial healthcare. Garfield also later explained that he did not know much at the time about other similar health plans except for Ross-Loos.[12]

Hatch's solution enabled Garfield to bring his budget back into the positive, and to experiment with providing a broader range of services to the workers besides pure emergency care. By the time work on the aqueduct concluded and the project was wrapped up, Garfield had paid off all his debts, was supervising ten physicians at three hospitals, and controlled a financial reserve of $150,000.[13]

Garfield returned to Los Angeles for further study at County-USC with the intent of entering private practice. However, in March 1938, Consolidated Industries (a consortium led by the Kaiser Company) initiated work on a contract for the upper half of the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington state, and took over responsibility for the thousands of workers who had worked for a different construction consortium on the first half of the dam. Edgar Kaiser, Henry's son, was in charge of the project. To smooth over relations with the workers (who had been treated poorly by their earlier employer), Hatch and Ordway persuaded Edgar to meet with Garfield, and in turn Edgar persuaded Garfield to tour the Grand Coulee site. Garfield subsequently agreed to reproduce at Grand Coulee Dam what he had done on the Colorado River Aqueduct project. He immediately spent $100,000 on renovating the decrepit Mason City Hospital and hired seven physicians.[14]

Unlike the workers on Garfield's first project, many workers at Grand Coulee Dam had brought dependents with them. The unions soon forced the Kaiser Company to expand its plan to cover dependents, which resulted in a dramatic shift from industrial medicine into family practice and enabled Garfield to formulate some of the basic principles of Kaiser Permanente. It was also during this time that Henry Kaiser personally became acquainted with Garfield and forged a friendship which lasted until Kaiser's death.[15]"
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
O/T -Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin GUILTY!!!! on 20 charges.

"Former New Orleans mayor C. Ray Nagin — who became the face of a desperate, drowning city during Hurricane Katrina — was convicted Wednesday on charges of accepting bribes from city contractors while in office.

Nagin, a Democrat, was found guilty by a federal jury on 20 of 21 criminal counts, including bribery, conspiracy and wire fraud. He was acquitted on one count of bribery.

Prosecutors said that Nagin accepted illegal gifts from contractors, beginning before Katrina hit and continuing afterward. Among the gifts: money, free vacation travel and truckloads of granite for Stone Age LLC, a business Nagin and his sons owned."

Once again NOLA lives up to its reputation for corrupt DEMOCRATS.

Want another example? read Kurt Mix's call for the recusal of the presiding judge (appointed by Bill Clinton ) in his criminal trial.

"...The defense learned all of this information on Friday. Master Complaint 879 — the complaint against BP in which the Court and Law Clerk are joined as plaintiffs — is replete with allegations that, during the Macondo response effort, BP, through its executives, managers, and engineers (including Kurt Mix), made material misrepresentations and misled the public and the United States Government regarding the rate at which the oil was flowing from the Macondo Well and regarding Top Kill. These fraud allegations are made not only in support of Master Complaint 879’s prayer for compensatory damages, but also in support of its prayer for punitive damages against BP. Over the past several months, in seeking to prove up Master Complaint 879’s fraud allegations and punitive damages claim, the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee and Plaintiffs’ Liaison Counsel (“PSC/PLC”) has submitted in MDL 2179 numerous court pleadings, evidence, and arguments that are directly adverse to Mr. Mix and, in fact, repeatedly refer by name to Mr. Mix and individuals with whom Mr. Mix directly worked during the Macondo response effort, including individuals who served as witnesses in Mr. Mix’s criminal case. The inflammatory fraud allegations advanced by these materials align with and expand upon the disputed theories of motive and intent that the prosecution has been advancing in Mr. Mix’s obstruction of justice case since late 2012. The Third, Mr. Mix’s motion does not require the Court to address questions of statutory waiver. Under 28 U.S.C. § 455(e), a party cannot “waive” recusal absent a prior “full disclosure on the record of the basis for disqualification.” Mr. Mix’s motion is not premised on the Court’s mere ownership of property that may have sustained unspecified, compensable injury as a result of the oil spill, which is the disclosure that the Court made on May 31, 2012. Mr. Mix’s motion is based on the fact that, nearly a year later and without any disclosure, the Court and Law Clerk did file lawsuits against BP and did join Master Complaint 879, adopting the inflammatory (and hotly disputed) fraud allegations that have an unmistakable nexus to the obstruction of justice prosecution of Mr. Mix. Thus, § 455(e) is plainly inapplicable.

Moreover, there can be no question that Mr. Mix’s instant recusal motion is timely. See United States v. Sanford, 157 F.3d 987, 988 (5th Cir. 1998) (holding that a party seeking recusal under 28 U.S.C. § 455 “must do so at the earliest moment after knowledge of the facts demonstrating the basis” for the recusal). The only question that Mr. Mix’s recusal motion presents is whether, under the facts now presented and considering the current procedural status of Mr. Mix’s case, one or more of § 455’s recusal provisions is triggered. If the answer is “yes,” the Court must recuse itself. For the reasons explained below, the answer clearly is “yes.” "

So we have a Democrat judge presiding in a case in which he is a party.

I thought they outlawed lynch parties in New Orleans.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Looks to me like Ray Nagin got stuck on stupid.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Nagin, he's the new N-word.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The system can keep going because there is an infinitude of transactions and possessions to tax.

If you drive a car, I'll tax the street,
If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat.
If you get too cold I'll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
“What we are witnessing now is the transformation of a financial crisis into a political and finally a constitutional crisis.”

The Obamacare statute is not just a tax-and-subsidy machine in the spirit of Ponzi (with an assist by Rube Goldberg), it is a regulatory statute. In that aspect, it more resembles statutes such as Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley than it does new-program statutes like Social Security and Medicare. The statute sets the general parameters and leaves it to the agencies to fill in the myriad details. The huge number of occurrences of the phrases “the secretary shall” and “the secretary may” in the statute is a tip-off to this.

Well, most statutes are like that now; we live in the Administrative State. Congress is happy to strike virtuous poses and hand off the real work to the agencies. The courts are no effective check; as long ago as 1928, in the Hampton case, the Supreme Court ruled that Congress could delegate its legislative power to an executive agency as long as Congress provided the agency with an “intelligible principle” by which the agency could be guided. Such is rarely hard to find, of course, so the nondelegation doctrine—necessary to any separation-of-powers constitution—is a dead letter in the U.S.

So one could see all these discretionary administrative actions by Obama and his agencies as very much in the long-established American grain; we hear his defenders arguing this. But a crisis can occur when a previously embryonic danger becomes full grown, when a latent tendency becomes patent. The Administrative State always tended away from democracy and toward prerogative; the frantic improvisation we see Obama engaged in now is the culmination of that State, which is very much not in the American grain.

Statists have racked up a lot of gains in America for a long time; they have a lot to lose. The crisis we see emerging now, brought on by their overreach, could go in surprising directions. One such is represented by those military campaigns in which a long-victorious army undertakes a major offensive that turns out to be beyond its capabilities—Napoleon into Russia, Hitler into Russia (why is it always Russia?)—and thereby doesn’t just risk defeat in that offensive, but puts at risk all previous gains.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Exactly!-The very reason that NO immigration bill be passed, no matter the details, no matter how seemingly benign. The tiniest privilege becomes a "foothold" for a future bundle of rights. I cringe when Repubs link citizenship provided the applicant "learn English." The minute the illegal can memorize a rap-song, some lawyer will sue on his behalf and on behalf of all others who have memorized a rap-song, and the "learn english" requirement will be deemed fulfilled by some liberal judge. A requirement that the illegal pay all back taxes will be similarly deem fulfilled by a "promise to repay." That's why the dems never care about the details of legislation-it's always been "pass the bill and find out what's in it."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We are ruled by lawyers whose only solution to problems, mostly imaginary, is more law. Since when have lawyers taken several classes in abolishing law? Since when has a party of lawyers written a policy that stated, “I know! Less law!”

Until conflict of interest laws exclude lawyers from elective office, this problem will remain.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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