The Ramblings of a Mad Man

Posts tagged “Obama

Vets Deliver “Barry-cades” to the White House

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In U.S., Perceived Need for Third Party Reaches New High

Twenty-six percent believe Democratic and Republican parties do adequate job

by Jeffrey M. Jones
This article is part of an ongoing series analyzing how the government shutdown and the debate over raising the debt ceiling are affecting Americans’ views of government, government leaders, political parties, the economy, and the country in general.

PRINCETON, NJ — Amid the government shutdown, 60% of Americans say the Democratic and Republicans parties do such a poor job of representing the American people that a third major party is needed. That is the highest Gallup has measured in the 10-year history of this question. A new low of 26% believe the two major parties adequately represent Americans.

Trend: Perceived Need for a Third Major U.S. Political Party

The results are consistent with Gallup’s finding of more negative opinions of both parties since the shutdown began, including a new low favorable rating for the Republican Party, and Americans’ widespread dissatisfaction with the way the nation is being governed.

The prior highs in perceived need for a third party came in August 2010, shortly before that year’s midterm elections, when Americans were dissatisfied with government and the Tea Party movement was emerging as a political force; and in 2007, when the newly elected Democratic congressional majority was clashing with then-President George W. Bush.

A majority of Americans have typically favored a third party in response to this question. Notably, support has dropped below the majority level in the last two presidential election years in which Gallup asked the question,2012 and 2008. Support for a third party was lowest in 2003, the first year Gallup asked the question. That year, 40% thought the U.S. needed a third party, while 56% believed the Republicans and Democrats were doing an adequate job.

Republicans, Democrats Equally Likely to See Need for Third Party

Republicans (52%) and Democrats (49%) are similar in their perceptions that a third party is needed. In fact, this marks the first time that a majority of either party’s supporters have said a third party is needed.

Trend: Support for a Third Major U.S. Political Party, by Political Party Affiliation

As would be expected, a majority of independents — those who profess no initial allegiance to either party — have always said the U.S. needs a third party. Seventy-one percent currently hold that view, which has been exceeded twice before, in 2007 and 2010.

Implications

Given the inability of the Republican and Democratic parties to agree on the most basic of government functions — passing an annual budget to pay for federal programs — it is perhaps not surprising that the percentage of Americans who believe a third party is needed has never been higher.

However, the desire for a third party is not sufficient to ensure there will be one. Structural factors in the U.S. election system and the parties’ own abilities to adapt to changing public preferences have helped the Republican and Democratic parties to remain the dominant parties in U.S. government for more than 150 years. Third parties that have emerged to challenge their dominance have not been able to sustain any degree of electoral success.

Survey MethodsResults for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Oct. 3-6, 2013, with a random sample of 1,028 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by region. Landline and cell telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

Samples are weighted to correct for unequal selection probability, nonresponse, and double coverage of landline and cell users in the two sampling frames. They are also weighted to match the national demographics of gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, population density, and phone status (cellphone only/landline only/both, and cellphone mostly). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2012 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older U.S. population. Phone status targets are based on the July-December 2011 National Health Interview Survey. Population density targets are based on the 2010 census. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

View methodology, full question results, and trend data.

For more details on Gallup’s polling methodology, visit www.gallup.com.

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Reagan warned us about Obama


Let’s try a little math problem

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Press Release of Senator Cruz: Sen. Ted Cruz to donate salary to charity if Harry Reid forces government shutdown

Monday, September 30, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC — Today U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) announced his intention to donate his salary to charity for each day Majority Leader Harry Reid forces a government shutdown:

“Harry Reid should not force a government shutdown. I hope that Reid stops refusing to negotiate and works with the House to avoid a government shutdown, and, at the same time, prevent the enormous harms that Obamacare is inflicting on the American people.

“If, however, Harry Reid forces a government shutdown, I intend to donate my salary to charity for each day the government is shut down. Elected leaders should not be treated better than the American people, which is precisely why hardworking Americans deserve the same Obamacare exception that President Obama has already granted Members of Congress.”

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Examiner Editorial: More Obamacare premium fables

To President Obama’s now-infamous promise that Obamacare “will lower premiums” for health insurance can now be added this whopper from Gary Cohen, described by the Wall Street Journal as “a top regulator” at the Department of Health and Human Services: “The prices are affordable.” Judging by the schedule of health insurance premium prices made public this week by the Obama administration for coverage offered on government-run exchanges in 36 states, Cohen certainly has an odd idea of affordability.

Based on the example of a 27-year-old male nonsmoker living in Nashville, Tenn., who presently can get a bare-bones policy for $41 a month, the Journal said the equivalent coverage under Obamacare will cost $114 a month. That’s a 178 percent increase. Obamacare defenders will say that’s an apples-and-oranges comparison since the government mandates benefits that aren’t presently included in a bare-bones policy. That’s true, but it doesn’t change the fact that the young consumer is being forced to pay 178 percent more to buy a product he may not want or need.

The more likely outcome is millions of similarly situated young consumers will opt to have no coverage because the premium increases in other cities across the country will be comparable or, in many cases, much steeper. In Miami, the same 27-year-old now paying $66 per month will pay $163, a 147 percent increase. The figures for other major cities include Chicago (69 percent), Atlanta (286 percent), New Orleans (336 percent), Houston (119 percent), Philadelphia (167 percent) and Omaha (523 percent).

And don’t forget that to keep down costs while meeting Obamacare’s regulatory requirements, many insurance companies have opted to strip down the provider networks of the policies they are offering on the exchanges, meaning fewer choices of doctors and hospitals.

When those millions of young people opt out, rates will have to be increased for everyone else. This is because, as the Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein has conclusively demonstrated, Obamacare absolutely depends for its success upon the infusion of revenue from healthy young policyholders to subsidize coverage for older people who will cost far more to insure.

Spinning fables about the cost of Obamacare premiums apparently is the irresistible temptation for the Obama administration because, as the Manhattan Institute’s Avik Roy points out, the official announcement from HHS of the 36-state premium rates included the claim that “premiums nationwide will also be around 16 percent lower than originally expected.” That statement is an artful misrepresentation created by comparing the new rates to Congressional Budget Office projections of what rates might be in 2016.

Roy quotes former CBO chief Douglas Holtz-Eakin saying of the HHS claim, “There are literally no comparisons to current rates. That is, HHS has chosen to dodge the question of whose rates are going up, and how much. Instead they try to distract with a comparison to a hypothetical number that has nothing to do with the actual experience of real people.” A lot of folks are going to wish Sen. Ted Cruz had kept on speaking.

From the Examiner


From House Republicans: One Proposal Not Offered

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September 28, 2013, 6:56 PM

WASHINGTON—When House Republicans laid out their terms on Saturday for funding the federal government, one widely discussed idea wasn’t among them.

Proposals to delay the new federal health law and repeal a tax on medical devices were included in the GOP plan. But House Republicans skipped ending government contributions to offset the costs of health-care premiums paid by lawmakers and their staffs. Although touted by some lawmakers, that proposal proved to be deeply unpopular among the Republican ranks.

Although some Republicans publicly clamored for the change, many resisted doing so privately, said Rep. Dennis Ross, a Florida Republican. He had pushed this week to attach a measure limiting federal health-care contributions to lawmakers, staff and to some White House officials to the short-term federal spending bill, but he found few supporters.

“I can tell you that I’m not popular with staff, and I’m not popular with some of my [fellow GOP] members who don’t want to see their contributions to health care go away,” Mr. Ross said in an interview Saturday.

Mr. Ross said his plan would show the public “that Congress is willing to accept the ramifications of a bad law.’’ The lawmaker had circulated a letter seeking support to add his amendment to legislation funding the government into the new fiscal year. Only one other Republican signed on: fellow Floridian Rep. Bill Posey.

The issue arises because of a provision in the new health law aimed at lawmakers and staff.

Currently, lawmakers and their aides are covered under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. And just like most large businesses that pay for part of their employees’ health-care costs, the government has traditionally paid part of the insurance premium for lawmakers and congressional staff.

But a provision of the new health requires lawmakers and their aides to sign up for coverage through the new marketplaces aimed at covering millions of Americans who don’t have insurance through a large employer.

Because of their income level, lawmakers and many aides will not qualify for subsidies, increasing the cost of their health care. So, in August, the Obama administration released draft rules saying that the federal government could continue to pay a portion of premiums for lawmakers, staff and family for insurance obtained through the exchanges.

Mr. Ross’s amendment would prevent the government from paying those premium subsidies. He said the goal was to ensure that Congress receives no “special consideration” under the new health-care law.

“Nobody likes my amendment, because it requires us to do what the letter of the law says,
” said Mr. Ross, who estimated his health-care costs would go up by at least $6,000 if his amendment became law. He said that House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) told lawmakers at their closed-door meeting on Saturday that they would address the issue some other time.

From the Washington Wire