I was happy to talk about the U.S. Census this week and encourage all Americans to fill out their Census forms. The U.S. Census is not only an important way to ensure fair representation in Congress, it is also a vital part of our history. One of my favorite founders is James Madison, who created this instrument of democracy by writing it into the Constitution as a requirement every 10 years. You will find that the questions in the 2010 Census are almost the same ones Madison wrote into first Census in 1790! If you have not filled out your census form yet, it is not too late. Please fill out the ten easy questions today. For the full video and more information on the 2010 U.S. Census, please visit http://bit.ly/ddOz0e.
Wishing you a very happy holiday and wonderful New Year! Especially grateful for all our service men and women who are spending their holidays away from their families and friends to keep ours safe. They are in our thoughts and prayers! Thank you for your support and encouragement over the past year. See you in 2010!
On December 8th, I went on The O’Reilly Factor to discuss President Obama’s trip to Copenhagen and to respond to critics of the Bush Administration’s green record. As I explained to Bill, many of President Obama’s targets to reduce greenhouse gases and increase renewable energy are on track with policies and goals initially put in place by President Bush. Despite the frequent attacks on the Bush energy record, the facts show that under President Bush’s policies, air pollution decreased, ethanol production quadrupled, wind energy increased by more than 400 percent, and more than $44 billion in federal funds went towards climate change and energy security programs, including more than $22 billion to technology research, development and demonstration.
Here are some related fact sheets, articles and reports on the subject:
White House FACT SHEET: “Diversifying Our Energy Supply and Confronting Climate Change,” http://bit.ly/5jF714
“Everything You Know About the Bush Environmental Record is Wrong,” Gregg Easterbrook, Brookings Working Paper, April 1, 2002, http://bit.ly/5ib387
“Greenhouse-Gas Emissions Drop 0.1% in Developed World,” Alex Morales, Bloomberg News, November 17, 2008, http://bit.ly/58DYBt
“Myths & Facts About the Real Bush Record,” Ed Gillespie, Realclearpolitics.com, December 22, 2008, http://bit.ly/5Q2rBG
"Courage and Consequence" will be published on March 9, 2010. For those of you interested in giving my book as a Christmas gift, I'm offering a free autographed bookplate to anyone who sends a self-addressed stamped envelope to my office: Karl Rove & Company, P.O. Box 25564, Washington, DC 20027.
On November 24, I brought out the whiteboard on Fox’s “Happening Now” to explain how the Democrats’ proposed health care reform bills would cause insurance premiums to skyrocket. As promised, I’ve posted the links to the reports, studies and statements from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office and other independent groups from where I got my information. If you’re interested in learning more about this issue, read the reports, take a look at the numbers, and decide for yourself!
Congressional Budget Office:
“Those projected premium amounts include the effect of the fees that would be imposed under the proposal on manufacturers and importers of brand name drugs and medical devices, on health insurance providers, and on clinical laboratories. Those fees would increase costs for affected firms, which would be passed on to purchasers and ultimately would raise insurance fees by a corresponding amount.”—CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf, “CBO’s Analysis of Premiums Under The Chairman’s Mark of the America’s Healthy Future Act,” CBO Blog, September 23 2009, http://bit.ly/8cqM94
“The gross cost of the coverage expansions, consisting of exchange subsidies, the net costs of expanded eligibility for Medicaid, and tax credits for employers: Those provisions have an estimated cost of $180 billion in 2019, and that cost is growing at about 8 percent per year toward the end of the 10-year budget window.”—CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf Letter to Senator Baucus, October 7, 2009, page 10, http://bit.ly/5r9vP
The CBO released data showing that premiums for a family’s health insurance plan will increase 28 percent under the Reid bill—from $11,000 to $14,100 per family. That is a $3,100 increase per family. The CBO explains that for the second-lowest benefit plan, called “silver,” premiums would be $5,200 for singles and $14,100 for families in 2016, when the policy is fully phased in. CBO also provides a table with the premiums people would pay in the exchange at different income levels, given the premium tax credits. The report shows that even after spending $2.5 trillion, the Reid bill still could leave middle class families with major health care costs. CBO writes that, “A family of four with income of about $54,000 (also 225 percent of the FPL in 2016) could expect to pay about 17% of its income for premiums and cost sharing for the reference plan.”—CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf Letter to Senator Reid, November 20, 2009, http://bit.ly/5bae94
Hay Group, “Impact Of Proposed Senate Finance Committee Health Care Reform Bill On the Nongroup Market,” October 5, 2009, http://bit.ly/5hULMO
PricewaterhouseCoopers, “Potential Impact of Health Reform on the Cost of Private Health Insurance Coverage,” October 11, 2009, http://bit.ly/4wN9cO
Wellpoint, “Health Care Reform Premium Impact in Ohio,” 2009, http://bit.ly/7UyLT1
Oliver Wyman, “Insurance Reforms Must Include A Strong Individual Mandate And Other Key Provisions To Ensure Affordability,” October 14, 2009, http://bit.ly/8LdIIv
While discussing the health care debate with Governor Howard Dean at the Penn State Distinguished Speaker Series, I made the point that the public option will undoubtedly have the same results as Medicare, which denies reimbursement claims at almost twice the rate of private insurers. Governor Dean insinuated that I was a liar and accused me of “making up” this fact and continued to argue that government-run insurance was the only way to improve our health care system.
At the debate, I promised to continue the discussion and back up my position in today's Wall Street Journal column. I've done so and have provided citations so you can make an informed decision about who had their facts straight and who didn’t. In the op-ed I also analyze the perils of the Pelosi Public Option and how Tuesday’s elections should be an ominous sign for Democrats who continue to support it.
In an effort to stick to the facts, I've posted the source of my claim, American Medical Association’s "2008 National Health Insurer Report Card." I would direct your attention to Metric 12 on page five, which breaks down the “percentages of claim lines denied.” As you will find, Medicare denied the highest number of claims, or 6.85% of total claims filed in 2008, while private insurers in the group denied almost half the amount, or an average of 3.89% of total claims filed.
On October 27, Governor Howard Dean and I debated at the Penn State Distinguished Speaker Series in State College, PA. During the debate, Governor Dean denied that President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore ever supported investing a percentage of Social Security tax revenues into the stock market, while I said the Clinton-Gore Administration did. Governor Dean suggested I was misleading the audience.
In response to Governor Dean's flawed argument and to set the record straight, I've posted the transcript of President Bill Clinton's 1999 State of the Union speech where he unveiled his Social Security reform plan as a "historic decision to invest the surplus to save Social Security" that would invest about 14.6% of the Social Security Trust Fund in the stock market. I’ve also listed several links to articles and official documents from 1999-2000 that discussed this Clinton-Gore proposal and the national debates that followed.
The State of the Union, President Bill Clinton, January 19, 1999, http://bit.ly/3JLerk
“Part of the surplus dedicated to Social Security would be invested in private securities, further strengthening the Trust Fund by drawing on the long-term strength of the stock market, and reducing the debt to ensure strong fiscal health.” President Bill Clinton, Page 3, Budget of the United States Government: Fiscal Year 2000, http://bit.ly/1QKFRm
“Increase returns through private investment: The Administration proposes tapping the power of private financial markets to increase the resources to pay for future Social Security benefits. Roughly one-fifth of the unified budget surplus set aside for Social Security would be invested in corporate equities or other private financial instruments.” President Bill Clinton, Page 41, Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2000, http://bit.ly/1QKFRm
"State of the Union: The Future; Greenspan Sees Possible Threat in Clinton Plan," David Rosenbaum, The New York Times, January 21, 1999, http://bit.ly/2TsMZh
"Economic Scene: Clinton's Plan for Social Security Has Its Backers. But Does America Want the Government to Be a Big Shareholder?" Michael Weinstein, The New York Times, January 21, 2001, http://bit.ly/3kfswU
"Social Security: Sticking His Neck Out," Adam Zagorin, John Cloud, TIME, February 1, 1999, http://bit.ly/37UVUm
“What the President’s Proposal Does and Does Not Do,” United States General Accounting Office, Testimony Before the Committee on Finance, February 9, 1999, http://bit.ly/3AXi2d
"On Social Security, Will the Real Al Gore Please Stand Up?" Michael D. Tanner, The Cato Institute, August 14, 2000, http://bit.ly/2j0Bl8
The Clinton-Gore approach differed from the Bush Administration’s proposal in that 14.6% of the Social Security Trust Fund would be mandatorily invested in the stock market, while Bush favored allowing younger workers the choice to put some of their Social Security taxes into broadly based mutual funds like the “Thrift-Savings Program” accounts available to federal workers.
The Executive Branch might claim that lobby restrictions for federal employees are very narrow as applied to White House Staff, but Section 1913 of title 18 of the attached memo, shows that has never been the view of Congress. The Obama Administration's practice is reckless and irresponsible—it never would have been tolerated under any other administration.
Section 1913 of title 18 currently provides:
No part of the money appropriated by any enactment of Congress shall, in the absence of express authorization by Congress, be used directly or indirectly to pay for any personal service, advertisement, telegram, telephone, letter, printed or written matter, or other device, intended or designed to influence in any manner a Member of Congress, a jurisdiction, or an official of any government, to favor, adopt, or oppose, by vote or otherwise, any legislation, law, ratification, policy or appropriation, whether before or after the introduction of any bill, measure, or resolution proposing such legislation, law, ratification, policy or appropriation; but this shall not prevent officers or employees of the United States or of its departments or agencies from communicating to any such Member or official, at his request, or to Congress or such official, through the proper official channels, requests for any legislation, law, ratification, policy or appropriations which they deem necessary for the efficient conduct of the public business, or from making any communication whose prohibition by this section might, in the opinion of the Attorney General, violate the Constitution or interfere with the conduct of foreign policy, counter-intelligence, intelligence, or national security activities. Violations of this section shall constitute violations of section 1352(a) of title 31.
18 U.S.C.A. § 1913 (West Supp. 2005).
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