WASHINGTON, July 2, 2017 – After dealing in our previous article with media madness spawned by an acute case of Trump Derangement Syndrome (which was preceded by Palin Derangement Syndrome and Bush Derangement Syndrome), we move on today to topics the Lamestream Media seems studiously to avoid: Budgets, entitlements, and the utter inability of the U.S. Government (and many state governments) to live within their means.
Allied with this issue is the obvious fact that far too much of local, state and Federal government budgets are spent on overly generous pension plans for grossly overpaid bureaucrats while the services taxpayers are allegedly paying for – like healthcare, roads and infrastructure – are thrown onto the dust heap of history. But this is boring. The media would rather highlight the pissing contests between their phony reporters and Sean Spicer.
Let’s start today’s edition by traveling to the provinces. Via ZeroHedge, we find that a fiscal implosion may be imminent in Barack Obama’s adopted home state of Illinois. Like most Blue State bastions, this bluest of the Blue States needs to ratchet taxes relentlessly higher on the Deplorables so they can support gargantuan state employee union pensions that are already higher than most Deplorable taxpayers can earn on a regular job.
“According to Bloomberg, on Friday Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Democrat who controls much of the legislative agenda, pleaded with [bond] rating companies to ‘temporarily withhold judgment’ as lawmakers negotiate. ‘Much work remains to be done,’ the Democrat said on the floor of the House Friday, before the chamber adjourned for the day. ‘We’ll get the job done.’
“Meanwhile, the state remains without a spending plan, its tax receipts and outlays mostly on ‘autopilot,’ leaving it with a record $15 billion of unpaid bills as it spent over $6 billion more than it brought in over the past year, and with $800 million in interest on the unpaid bills alone. The impasse has devastated social-service providers, shuttering services for the homeless, disabled and poor. The lack of state aid has wrecked havoc on universities, putting their accreditation at risk.
“However, in a ‘shocking’ development, just hours remaining before the midnight deadline to pass the Illinois budget, and Illinois’ imminent loss of its investment grade rating, federal judge Joan Lefkow in Chicago ordered Illinois to come up with hundreds of millions of dollars it owes in Medicaid payments that state officials say the government doesn’t have, the Chicago Tribune reported. Judge Lefkow ordered the state to make $586 million in monthly payments (from the current $160 million) as well as another $2 billion toward a $3 billion backlog of payments – a $167 million increase in monthly outlays – the state owes to managed care organizations that process payments to providers.”
Comment: The mendacious Madigan claims “We’ll get the job done.” The problem is, they haven’t gotten anything sensible done in the Illinois legislature since Deplorables in that machine-Democrat state somehow managed to elect a fiscally responsive Republican governor. The state employee union-owned legislature has fought Gov. Bruce Rauner’s attempts to scale back the Democrats’ spendthrift ways, but to no avail. The legislature won’t bend, and the only compromise Rauner can hope for is a total cave-in on his part. At that point, Illinois will probably descend into insolvency, which will be a very bid deal in Washington and for which we taxpayers may ultimately be on the hook. Meanwhile, the media continue to trash Rauner, not Madigan. Go figure.
That always-puckish denizen of West Virginia, Don Surber hones in on another of Illinois’ Blue State budget woes, reminding Illinois residents of another gaping budget sinkhole: An out-of-control Medicaid bill, courtesy of Obamacare’s deficit-busting generosity to unemployed Democrat voters who don’t like anything unless it’s free.
“Yes, I get that the pension costs in Illinois are through the roof. ERISA – a 1974 congressional act that protects private pensions – does not cover government workers.
“But what is really sinking Illinois’s state budget is Medicaid. In order to receive $12 billion in federal money, the state must pony up $8 billion next year.
“That is a whopping 22% of the state budget. State after state after state faces the same dilemma.
“The medical industry has milked state taxpayers dry by providing the poor routine services at emergency room prices. If states said no, hospitals would stop giving routine treatment in ER.
“Reining in Medicaid is long overdue, yet the medical industry’s lobbyists are persistent. People will die!
“Odd that the two most tax-exempt industries in America – higher education and hospitals – have jacked up their prices thanks to student loans and government programs, while the taxpaying industries keep prices low.
“Reining in Medicaid would free money for roads, schools, prisons, and other state services.”
Comment: Our thoughts exactly, Don. Reining in Medicaid would do all that. Problem is, as I learned selling insurance policies many years ago, once you give people free stuff, they’re hooked. Taking the free stuff away, or even cutting it back to a reasonable degree, will make you an unemployed politician if you represent a Blue State or any big city, pretty much all of which are Blue as well. Blue states and cities habitually vacuum up ever more taxpayer money to create bigger and bigger fiscal deficits that “someone else will pay for.” Illinois’ problems will not end well.
Speaking of Medicaid, PowerLine opines on another time-honored trick Democrats routinely use (and get away with) in order to tar hapless Republicans as cruel, heartless cheapskates who hate the American people.
“The AP criticizes this tweet by President Trump, which it concedes is entirely correct:
Democrats purposely misstated Medicaid under new Senate bill – actually goes up. pic.twitter.com/necCt4K6UH
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 28, 2017
“The Democrats howled that the GOP Senate bill ‘slashes’ Medicaid spending. Trump accurately pointed out that on the contrary, Medicaid spending will grow under the Senate plan. The AP admits this is true. Nevertheless, it headlines: ‘AP FACT CHECK: When a swoopy line on a chart misleads.’
“President Donald Trump has been spread [sic] around a chart purportedly showing Medicaid spending rising under the Republican health legislation. According to the raw numbers, that’s true.
“Then why the ‘purportedly’?
“But an AP Fact Check finds that the bill would inflict deep cuts in the program by slowing Medicaid’s projected growth.
“If you think that ‘slowing…projected growth’ constitutes ‘inflict[ing] deep cuts,’ you qualify as a D.C. Democrat. But for the AP to claim that it is “misleading” to point out that the ‘raw numbers’ will rise is absurd.
“I give the AP four Pinocchios.”
Comment: Here’s some non-Fake News for our Deplorable readers. No Federal giveaway program ever gets cut. Repeat: No Federal giveaway program ever gets cut. All Republicans are ever able to do in Washington is slow the rate of spending increases in giveaway programs (aka, entitlements). But whenever it looks like Republicans might at least be able to slow the growth of these taxpayer supported programs, the Democrats scream “spending cuts!” Lo and behold! Quivering PTSD Republican back off in mortal fear of the negative media cascade that’s likely to follow the Democrats’ “spending cuts!” charges. It’s the tactic Democrats always employ to make sure their giveaway-vote purchase programs grow and grow whether we have the money or not. And right now, we seriously don’t.
Speaking of Obamacare, Medicaid, and all things medical. Let’s never forget that what Democrats and their Deep State pals want is “single payer” health insurance for all of us. That means the government itself becomes the sole provider of medical care, and what they say goes. That includes “end of life” situations where, lest we forget, Obamacare’s Death Panels will decide if life saving treatment is just too expensive for you and me. This is because single-payer healthcare, i.e., socialized medicine, not us, will decide whether we live or die, as in this tragic UK case reported by the Washington Examiner:
A baby is condemned to death by socialized medicine
“Charlie was born in October with encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, or MDDS. It has left him crippled and with brain damage. He depends on a ventilator to keep him alive.
“We don’t know what’s best for Charlie. But we do know that the British government doesn’t either. Nevertheless the NHS, installed by socialists in the last century, has decided that it will not treat Charlie anymore, although his parents desperately want to save and nuture their son.
“Worse yet, and an outrage that boggles the mind, is that the NHS refuses to release Charlie into the care of his parents. Charlie’s mother and father want to bring him to America for an experimental treatment that could help his body work more normally. They have even, through an appeal for charitable donations, raised enough money to bring their son here and get him treated. But the NHS has said it will not release the child, and every court has agreed.”
In an article just published today by CDN, CDN reporter Stephen Z. Nemo zeroes in on the issue further:
“Britain’s little Charlie Gard was sentenced to die in the name of ‘dignity.’ The European Court on Human Rights has decreed it so, ‘with complete conviction for Charlie’s best interests.’
“In 1999, Britain’s Labor government, which created the NHS in 1948, augmented the program with the creation of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), a committee of two dozen bureaucrats who make life and death decisions for all.
“Here in the United States, [Obamacare] includes the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a 15-member panel empowered to ration health care for the nation’s elderly if Medicare costs under Obamacare rise above a certain level.”
Comment: Sound familiar? The problem with this approach, aside from perpetual budget overruns and deficits, is the fact that so much taxpayer money goes to support the fat salaries of the layers of bureaucrats who run such socialized healthcare programs that less and less funding is available for the truly ill. All we have to do is look at Charlie’s case to see where this will go. (Note: As of this writing, Britain’s NHS has not yet pulled Charlie’s plug.)
Another way to avoid certain death is to avoid encounters with illegal aliens who are also serial criminals but who, under Obama, have been let back in to the U.S. again and again until they do like they always do: kill or maim an American citizen. True, we have plenty of our own criminals who do this as well. But why add countless more of these murderous recidivists and worsen the averages for law-abiding U.S. citizens like Kate Steinle? She’s the innocent who lost her life at the hands of one of these murderous and illegal fiends Obama couldn’t bother to deport?
The Conservative Treehouse reports the just, legal solution to the issue, which the MSM is unlikely to report when Mika’s facelift is still front-page news:
“The House of Representatives passed Kate’s Law a bill that increases penalties against deported illegal aliens who reenter the country illegally. The bill is named for Kate Steinle who was murdered in San Francisco in 2015 by an illegal alien who was previously deported five times and convicted of seven felonies.
“The passing of Kate’s Law followed passage of another bill that allows the federal government to strip so-called “sanctuary cities” of federal funding if they refuse to cooperate with federal officials on immigration enforcement. San Francisco, where Steinle was killed, is a self-proclaimed sanctuary city.”
Comment: The institutional left will figure out a way to bottle the sanctuary city stuff in court the way they slow-rolled President Trump’s perfectly legal temporary ban on immigration from certain countries known to harbor terrorists. But Kate’s Law and the sanctuary city law, if seconded by the Senate’s razor-thin and often dubious majority, will be signed into law by the President, and the legislation will ultimately prevail. Likely lowering Medicaid costs in the process, BTW.
Have a good week.