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Mark Steyn: Tolerance enforcers won’t tolerate dissent

March 4th, 2014

Here’s the correct link for the excellent Mark Steyn piece on the intolerance of the Left.

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ObamaCare chains more of U.S. to government dole

March 4th, 2014

What sets Americans apart from people in so many other countries is that we actually like working.  No, every job isn’t fun, but Americans understand the dignity that comes with work.  We achieve a sense of self-reliance by producing something worthwhile, creatively using our unique talents, and providing security and opportunity for ourselves and our families.

When the Congressional Budget Office reported that ObamaCare would push 2.3 million people out of the workforce, all but the most blindly partisan understood this to be bad news.

The ObamaCare spin machine then proceeded to tell us that bad news is good news, up is down, and less is more.

“Think of an economy where people could be an artist or a photographer or a writer without worrying about keeping their day job in order to have health insurance,” lectured Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat leader in Congress.

Well, Ms. Pelosi, why stop at health insurance?  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people didn’t have to work in order to eat, own a home, or drive a car?  Then we could all just go fishing.

Except that somebody has to pay for all of this.

Under ObamaCare that “somebody” is increasingly young people.  Already burdened by the costs of college loans, home mortgages and car payments, young people now see their health insurance premiums increasing (often by 60 to 250 percent) and their out-of-pocket costs soaring, too. [Read more →]

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Public grows skeptical about cost of ‘Affordable Care’

October 8th, 2013

Nobody likes the unknown, so it’s easy to understand why Americans are growing increasingly wary as the implementation of ObamaCare or, as it is formally known, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, draws near.

Although the law passed in 2010, many of the key components take affect within the next 15 months:

• Health insurance exchanges open on Oct. 1 and are supposed to help people compare competing plans and discover whether they qualify for a taxpayer-funded subsidy.

• Beginning in 2014, all Americans are required to be covered by health insurance which is approved by the federal government. (Many popular high deductible plans, which are less expensive, are not government-approved.)  Those who choose not to be covered will be required to pay a tax penalty to the IRS.  That penalty begins at $95 but grows to $695 or 2.5% of your income by 2016.

• Businesses with more than 50 fulltime employees are mandated to provide health insurance coverage to all employees who work 30 hours a week or more.  The law says that mandate begins in 2014, but President Obama issued an executive order stating that his administration would not enforce that provision until 2015.

Still, the public grows skeptical.  A USA Today/Gallup poll found that Americans disapprove of the health care law 53%-42%, with 41% describing themselves as “strongly opposed.”  Another poll found that 77% want the individual mandate delayed or repealed, including 49% who want the mandate killed outright. [Read more →]

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What ObamaCare means for rural Colorado

September 29th, 2013

Whether by design or coincidence, rural residents can expect to take it in the pocketbook as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka “ObamaCare”) takes effect over the next 15 months.

Insurance exchanges, for those wanting to buy insurance, open on October 1 of this year.  In 2014, everyone is required to buy “qualified” insurance coverage or pay a penalty to the IRS.

However, the new law’s impact on for people in rural areas isn’t the same as for those in urban areas.

According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, rural residents are more likely to purchase their own coverage through the individual market or to be covered by employers with less than 50 employees.

Individuals under 35 are now experiencing premium increases of 40% and higher.  Others are finding that insurance plans they’ve used for years are being discontinued because politicians and bureaucrats have deemed them inadequate.

Rural residents are also more likely to be covered by PPO plans because HMOs are seldom offered in rural areas.  Under ObamaCare’s health insurance tax (or “HIT” tax), PPOs pay double the tax charged to HMOs and self-funded plans aren’t taxed at all. [Read more →]

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Freedom flickers in recall of senators

September 12th, 2013

After the stunning recall of two Democrat state senators who led the legislature’s lurch to the loony left, maybe there’s still hope for freedom in Colorado after all – but only if more Coloradans become fierce defenders of their freedoms.

The ouster of Senate President John Morse (D-Colorado Springs) and Sen. Angela Giron (D-Pueblo) was remarkable on many fronts. Never before has a sitting Colorado legislator been recalled. Even more impressive were overwhelming odds that recall proponents faced.

With very little outside help and ample skepticism from observers, two motivated groups of local citizens – Basic Freedom Defense Fund in Colorado Springs and Pueblo Freedom and Rights – worked their tails off on a shoestring budget to collect enough signatures to force two incumbents to justify why they should remain in office.

Those citizens later received substantial support from gun rights groups and others but were outspent 7-to-1 by backers of Morse and Giron. The incumbents’ machine unleashed a torrent of frivolous lawsuits to try to derail the election and raked in more than $3 million, including a personal check of $350,000 from gun-grabbing New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Dethroning the senate president is satisfying mostly due to Morse’s unbounded arrogance, but the Pueblo result was refreshing because it re-affirms that Democrats in some locales still value core freedoms – unlike the Denver-Boulder variety who so often behave as if the only freedoms worth fighting for involve sex and drugs. [Read more →]

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Hickenlooper: the governor that might have been

June 6th, 2013

John Hickenlooper had a chance to bring a breath of fresh air to the governor’s office.

Imminently likable and with a charmed political career, he could have been the rare maverick moderate Democrat – strong enough and bold enough to be a governor for all Colorado.  He could have been the adult in the room when liberal legislators ran amok on the lunatic fringe.

For two years, he largely fit the bill.  With a Republican majority in the state House offset by Democrats controlling the Senate, playing the centrist required little effort.

This year, however, he has been all too reminiscent of his feckless predecessor, signing virtually any bill on the wacky wish list of the loony Left. [Read more →]

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Democrats keep sticking it to rural Colorado

April 22nd, 2013

Now that they have regained total control of the State Capitol, Democrat leaders in the legislature just cannot resist kicking rural Colorado every time they get a chance.

It was necessary, they told us, for rural Coloradans – and gun owners everywhere – to compromise our lifestyle and our freedom as part of their irrational quest to make us safer by passing laws that will continue to be ignored by cold-blooded killers like James Holmes, Adam Lanza and the Boston bombers.

Now, Democrats are feeding their green-energy fetish by imposing drastically higher energy costs – 15 to 20 percent higher – on rural families, schools and the farms and ranches that put food on their dining room tables.

This is the price, they have determined, that we must pay to “save the planet” from global warming. [Read more →]

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Students, teachers short changed by PERA bailout

March 31st, 2013

As Colorado lawmakers consider an overhaul of the way the state funds K-12 education, more people are noticing that schools are increasingly forced to pay for the past rather than to invest in the future.

Our public schools must take money out of the classroom in order to pay for investment losses and unaffordable promises that have created a $25 billion shortfall in the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA).

In August 2012, Adams 12 School District teachers protested a 2 percent salary reduction enacted explicitly to offset the rising cost of PERA’s bailout plan.  For 2012-13, Adams 12 will pay $190 million in salaries, plus $36 million for PERA and Medicaid.

In 2010-11, Colorado Springs School District 11 paid $21 million to PERA, according to the Colorado Springs Independent.  Those payments, combined with funding reductions by the state legislature, led the district to close schools and make cuts that affected everything from textbooks to class size to suspending pay increases.

District 11 CFO Glenn Gustafson told the Independent: “To improve student achievement, it’s more important than ever to attract qualified and talented teachers. But we’re shifting a disproportionate amount of compensation to retirement benefits and health care.”

For 2011-12, my hometown Burlington School District RE-6J, with just 738 pupils, faced a $300,000 budget deficit – half of that amount caused by the cost of PERA’s bailout.  For 2012-13, the district decreased salaries by $54,399 but the mandatory PERA contribution increased by $38,594. [Read more →]

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Republicans are right to draw line on taxes

March 14th, 2013

The culture of Washington is one of compromise.  Go along.  Get along.  Get something done – good, bad or otherwise.

Sometimes compromise is necessary.  When the levers of power are divided, reality dictates two choices: live with the status quo or do some “horse trading” in order to make changes that are marginally better.

When Republicans in Congress compromised on the so-called fiscal cliff, they acknowledged that Barack Obama won re-election, in part, by campaigning on the idea of raising taxes on “the rich.”

Republicans fared remarkably well on that compromise.  By conceding a tax increase on those who make more than $400,000 a year, Republicans secured most of the 2003 income tax cuts that otherwise would have expired.

That brings us to the dreaded “sequester,” which President Obama’s White House concocted but now wants to disavow.  As president, Obama presides over annual deficits of more than $1 trillion – borrowing 30 cents of every dollar spent – but suggests that to cut a mere $85 billion (just over two percent) from a $3.7 trillion budget would result in calamity. [Read more →]

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The President who cares mostly about himself

October 30th, 2012

Richard Cohen, a reliably liberal columnist for the Washington Post, unloaded on Barack Obama in today’s op-ed. Not that he’s going to vote for Romney, but Cohen certainly hits the nail on the head about our Narcissist in Chief:

“Obama never espoused a cause bigger than his own political survival.”

“Bobby Kennedy showed his anger, his impatience, his stunned incredulity at the state of black America. Obama shows nothing.”

“Robert F. Kennedy’s appeal is obvious: authenticity. He cared. He showed it. People saw that and cared about him in return. With Obama, the process is reversed. It’s hard to care about someone who seems not to care in return.”

Ouch!  Any wonder the Left is depressed?  Even though they will still vote for him, they know Obama is an empty suit who only takes risks to try to ensure his own political survival.

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