Sunday, January 25, 2009

Stimulus Plan: $115 Billion to Cover "The Poor Kids", More Pork, Less Stimulus. The Goal: Get Everyone On Public Assistance

This is "fiscal responsibility"? And before you cry foul, nobody is against providing government assistance for children to get health care.

It is not what the bill stands for, it is how much it will cost and another example of the Democrats Socialist Agenda of "trickle-up poverty".

From WaPo:

  • President-elect Barack Obama will convene a "fiscal responsibility summit" in February designed to bring together a variety of voices on solving the long term problems with the economy and with a special focus on entitlements, he said during an interview with Washington Post reporters and editors this afternoon.
    "We need to send a signal that we are serious," said Obama of the summit

  • Obama said that he has made clear to his advisers that some of the difficult choices--particularly in regards to entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare - should be made on his watch. "We've kicked this can down the road and now we are at the end of the road," he said.

George Will mentions the questionable spending in his column.

  • By a vote of 289-139, with 40 Republicans joining the majority, the House, in the process of reauthorizing the State Children's Health Insurance Program, doubled the funding, thereby transforming it through "mission creep." SCHIP's purpose, when it was enacted by a Republican-controlled Congress in 1997, was to subsidize state governments as they subsidize health care for families too affluent to be eligible for Medicaid but not affluent enough to afford health insurance. Because any measure acquires momentum when it is identified as for "the children," SCHIP was said to be for "poor children" or children of "the working poor."
  • In 2007, President Bush proposed a $5 billion increase in SCHIP, the House voted a $50 billion increase but receded to the Senate's proposed $35 billion, which became the definition of moderation. That compromise, which Bush successfully vetoed, at first would have extended SCHIP eligibility to some households with incomes 400 percent of the poverty line ($83,000 for a family of four), and more than $30,000 above the median household income ($50,233). So people with incomes higher than most people's became eligible for a program supposedly for low-income people. Call that compassionate arithmetic.
  • The new expansion, which is vengeance for Bush's veto, is mission gallop: It will make it much easier for some states to extend SCHIP eligibility to children from families earning up to $84,800. Furthermore, to make "poor" an extremely elastic concept, generous "income disregards" are allowed. Families can, depending on their state's policies, subtract from their income calculation what they spend on rent or mortgage or heating or food or transportation or some combination of these. So children in some families with incomes well over $100,000 will be eligible.
  • Grace-Marie Turner, a student of health care policies, says this SCHIP expansion is sensible -- if your goal is quickly to get as many people on public coverage as possible, and to have children grow up thinking that it is normal for them to get their health insurance from the government. That is the goal.
    And this is the Congress with which the president will try to strike a grand bargain. Because of the 22nd Amendment, he may not be president long enough to get a Democratic Congress to agree to the shape of the table at which to bargain.
  • If he does tackle the problem of the teetering entitlement system, he will do so at an unpropitious moment: Events are making reform more necessary while making it seem less urgent. A nation in which $350 billion was but the first half of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, and in which TARP is distinct from the perhaps $850 billion "stimulus" program, is a nation being taught not to take seriously sums with merely nine digits and two commas. Remember, just 15 months ago Bush vetoed SCHIP because of $30 billion, a sum that, from the TARP bucket, nowadays disappears into the thin air from which much of the almost $1 trillion of stimulus will be conjured.
  • The theory of a grand bargain is that if every American faction is being nicked simultaneously -- if tax increases and benefit cuts ("cuts" understood, perhaps, as disappointing increases) make everyone surly at the same time -- there will be unity born of universal grievance, which will morph into a public-spirited consensus. Perhaps. On the other hand, George Kennan, diplomat and historian, said that the unlikelihood of any negotiation reaching an agreement grows by the square of the number of parties involved.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that toal costs of H.R. 2, the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009, to be in excess of $115 Billion over the next ten years.

The Hill has more on Senate Republican opposition to the bill and what Harry Reid's definition of bipartisan is:

  • If Reid continues that strategy with the SCHIP bill, the economic stimulus package and other measures, Republicans may not be able to see their ideas included in the final legislation but they will be able to get Democrats on the record voting against their priorities.

  • Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) predicted the SCHIP bill would sail through the Senate and said he welcomed Republican opposition to expanding health coverage for children.
  • “This bill is going to absolutely steamroll right out of here,” Rockefeller said.
  • “I almost can’t wait” for the political debate, Rockefeller said. “It’s going to pass. Just go ahead and vote against kids and then run for reelection.”

What a great example of Democrat tactics. "It's for the children!". Nice try at a smear campaign. But not so fast Jay.

  • “The turn of events with reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program is disappointing and unfortunate,” Finance Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said after last week’s markup. “Today, the spirit of bipartisanship for the well-being of low-income children is disappearing before our eyes.”

  • The Finance Committee, like the House, voted to repeal a law that requires documented immigrants to wait five years before they can enroll their children in SCHIP. Under the language passed by the House and headed to the Senate floor, states can opt to waive that restriction.Republicans strongly object, saying opening the program to more immigrants, even those who legally reside in the United States, weakens protections against illegal immigrants receiving benefits.

  • Republicans proposed limitations on covering children from families with incomes higher than three times the federal poverty level...

Frankly, there's not much left to say about this bogus Economic Recovery plan.

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