All In

January 30, 2014

By:  Rob Jones

I wanted to take a little bit of time to digest the president’s fifth State of the Union Address, on Tuesday, January 28, before I wrote my next column. If you didn’t watch any of it, let me tell you, you didn’t miss anything. If you did watch it, you saw more lies and twisted facts. No other way to say it, folks. In this column, I’m going to touch on a few things the president lied about and then cover something that blew me away. Republicans filed for all 117 seats, in the Great State of West Virginia!! No, that is not a typo. All 117 seats!! Let’s take a look at a few things that Obama lied about, on Tuesday evening, first.

Obama: “Because of this law (Affordable Care Act), no American can ever again be dropped or denied coverage for a preexisting condition like asthma, back pain, or cancer. No woman can ever be charged more just because she’s a woman. And we did all this while adding years to Medicare’s finances, keeping Medicare premiums flat, and lowering prescription costs for millions of seniors.”

Facts: Medicare’s monthly premium for outpatient care has gone up in recent years. The basic premium remained the same, at $104.90, but it increased by $5 a month in 2013. This law also raised Medicare premiums on for upper income beneficiaries and both the president and Republicans want to expand that. The level, at which the health care law improved Medicare finances, is heavily debated. On paper, the programs large trust fund for inpatient care gained more than ten years of solvency because of cuts to service providers, required under the law, but those savings can’t be used to expand coverage for the uninsured, and shore up Medicare.

Obama: “Today, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better. But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled.”

Facts: The most recent evidence suggests that mobility has not worsened. A Harvard team of economists, led by Raj Chetty, released a study, last week, that found the United States isn’t any less socially mobile than it was in the 1970’s. Looking at kids born between 1971 and 1993, the economists found that the odds of a child born in the poorest 20% of families making it into the top 20% has not changed. The authors said, “We find that children entering the labor market today have the same chances of moving up in the income distribution (relative to their parents) as children born in the 1970’s.”

Obama: “We’ll need Congress to protect more than 3 million jobs by finishing transportation and waterways bills this summer. But I will act on my own to slash bureaucracy and streamline the permitting process for key projects, so we can get more construction workers on the job as fast as possible.”

Facts: Cutting rules and regulations does not address what’s holding up most transportation projects, which is a lack of money. The federal Highway Trust Fund will run out of money in August without action. To finance infrastructure projects, Obama wants Congress to raise taxes on businesses that keep profits or jobs overseas, but that idea has been a political nonstarter. Joshua Schank, president and CEO of the Eno Center for Transportation, a think tank, said, “The number of projects affected by the administration’s efforts to cut red tape is relatively small. The reason most of these projects are delayed is they don’t have enough money. So it’s great that you are expediting the review process, but the review process isn’t the problem. The problem is we don’t have enough money to invest in our infrastructure in the first place.”

Obama: “More than 9 million more American’s have signed up for private health insurance or Medicaid coverage.”

Facts: That does not mean that 9 million more American’s have gained insurance under the law. The administration says about 6 million people have been determined to be eligible for Medicaid since Oct. 1 and an additional 3 million roughly have signed up for private health insurance through the new markets created by the health care law. That’s where Obama gets the number of 9 million from. But it’s not clear how many in the Medicaid group were already eligible for the program or renewing existing coverage. It’s also not known how many of those who signed up for private coverage were previously insured. A large survey released last week suggests the numbers of uninsured gaining coverage may be smaller. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index found that the uninsured rate for U.S. adults dropped by 1.2 percentage points in January, to 16.1 percent. That would translate to roughly 2 million to 3 million newly insured people since the law’s coverage expansion started Jan. 1.

Obama: “In the coming weeks, I will issue an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour, because if you cook our troops’ meals or wash their dishes, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty.”

Facts: This would be a large increase in the minimum wage, which is now $7.25, but not many would see it. Most federal contractor employees already make more than $10.10. About 10% of those workers, maybe 200,00, may be covered by the higher minimum wage. But there are several problems. The increase wouldn’t take effect till 2015 at the earliest and it doesn’t apply to existing federal contracts, only new ones. Renewed contracts will also be exempt from Obama’s order unless other terms of the agreement change, such as the type of work or number of employees needed. Obama also said that he’ll press Congress to raise the federal minimum wage overall. He tried that last year, seeking a $9 minimum, but Congress didn’t act.

As you can see, just from a small portion of statements made by Obama, he’s lying. These were just the ones that jumped out at me the most. I actually couldn’t believe that these were so blatant, yet no one said much about them. Later, I may go over some more and give you the facts that the president won’t. For now, I want to move on to West Virginia and what happened here, which is, Republicans will fill every ballot position in the 2014 election for the West Virginia Legislature.

The GOP party Chairman, Conrad Lucas, said, “This is a new era. This is a great moment for the future of West Virginia. We have combed the state for job creators, community leaders, and true conservatives who will come to Charleston to set us on a new course for prosperity. Republicans will stand up for coal, fight to lower taxes, and make West Virginia the kind of place where businesses succeed. And, rest assured, no one on our team will support Obama’s liberal agenda.”

West Virginia voters will be electing members to all 100 seats in the House and 17 of 34 seats in the Senate. Among local races where Democrats have not filled the ballot positions are the Senate Districts 3 and 4 and House Districts 7, 10, and 11. Greg Smith, Chairman of the Wood County Republican Party said, “That’s the third time in a row the 10 District wasn’t filled. Incumbent Delegate Dan Poling, D-10th, was the only Democrat for three positions in the district in 2012. By having a Republican in every race, it deters the Democrat candidates from donating their campaign funds to other, less fortunate Democrats.”

According to the Secretary of State’s office, as of Wednesday, Republicans filing in the 10th District were Courtney Lynne Ahlborn, Mike Azinger, Vernon Criss, Frank Deem, John R. Kelly, Amanda “Amy” Knicely, and Debra L. Steed. Democrats were Poling and Paul Miller. As of Tuesday, records show Republican candidates for 100 House of Delegates seats and all 17 state Senate seats on the ballot this year.

It looks like the GOP is setting up to take over this state. With this many Republicans running, we will be gaining seats. That’s a “gimme”. The question is, how many of these seats will we be gaining? That’s where you and I come in. These people can’t elect themselves. They will all need our help and support. We all need to do the right thing and find a Republican candidate that we can get behind and push into a seat. Once we get a good candidate elected, we need to hold them accountable for their actions, while in office.

Somewhere, our elected leader have forgotten that they are public servants. That they do, in fact, work for We the People. They are sent to Charleston and Washington DC to do our bidding. Be our collective voice. We have very few of those men and women left. In recent years, they’ve begun to do more and more of what they want. What they think that is best for us. They have no right to decide, themselves, what is best for me, you, or anyone else. We have a president that doesn’t respect the United States Constitution and is about as lawless as can be. That doesn’t set a very good example for state officials to follow. This kind of rule was in effect once before and 239 years ago, we stood up against it and said, “No more. We are a free people.” We are free people. Free West Virginian’s and free American’s. God Bless You! God Bless West Virginia! God Bless America!



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