Heritage’s new chart series, “Medicare at Risk: Visualizing the Need for Reform,” shows that, without the necessary structural reform, Medicare’s finances will have devastating consequences on the federal budget, not to mention taxpayers and seniors alike.
Medicare’s Impact on the Budget. Medicare spending is rising faster than any other part of the federal budget, and it’s a major driver of runaway deficit spending in the not-so-distant future. Retiring baby boomers and rising health care costs will cause Medicare’s shortfall to contribute to 81 percent of federal deficits by 2040. Clearly, the federal deficit cannot be contained without addressing Medicare’s structural problems.
Medicare’s Impact on Seniors. Obamacare did nothing to improve Medicare’s fiscal crisis. Even though Medicare spending falls by $421 billion under the health care law, the savings offset the cost of other provisions in Obamacare instead of shoring up Medicare’s deficits. Worse yet, Obamacare’s flawed method of controlling Medicare’s costs by cutting provider payments will significantly reduce seniors’ access to care. As the charts show, these profound cuts put 40 percent of providers in danger of closing their doors by 2050. As the number of beneficiaries rise, the number of providers cannot decrease without causing serious access issues.
Medicare reform is vital if the program is going to be ready to handle what’s to come. Explore the charts now >>
Initially reported by Human Events and the Drudge Report, on Sunday, June 3, Edward Klein’s must-read biography of President Obama, The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House (Regnery Publishing), will debut at #1 on the New York Times bestseller List. Klein has released three hours of audio of his exclusive interview with Rev. Jeremiah Wright in which Wright revealed exclusively and on-the-record to Klein that close Obama friend Eric Whitaker offered Wright a $150,000 bribe to remain silent in the months leading up the 2008 presidential election. Neither Wright nor Whitaker have denied this story, even though the tapes were first aired over a week ago on the Sean Hannity Show. Their silence suggests there is truth to the story, which begs the larger question about whether or not then candidate (and future President) Barack Obama was aware of the bribery attempt. To interview Klein about his bestselling book, or to obtain the full audio of his interview with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 703-683-5004 ext.159. Of note:
On Wright, Byron York, Washington Examiner: http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/article/new-allegation-rev-wright-needs-answer/555561
“Is Wright’s version of the story correct? Did Whitaker actually make the offer Wright says he did? If so, did Obama know about it? And where would the money have come from? All are questions that deserve answers.
There’s no doubt Whitaker is close to the president. Whitaker was with Obama during the president’s last Christmas vacation in Hawaii — and the Christmas before that and the Christmas before that and the Christmas before that. Whitaker was also with Obama last summer on Martha’s Vineyard — and the summer before that and the summer before that.”
On Valerie Jarrett – the most powerful woman no one knows about, Matt Lewis, Daily Caller: http://dailycaller.com/2012/05/24/conservatives-preemptively-urge-courage-from-the-scotus-on-obamacare/
“According to the book, written by former New York Times Magazine editor Edward Klein, many of Obama’s most liberal and costly political mistakes stemmed from Jarrett’s advice. Jarrett reportedly hatched the idea of Obama flying to Copenhagen to ‘make a dramatic presentation to the International Olympic Committee’ for Chicago’s Olympic bid — and also encouraged Obama’s visit to ‘the Bay area solar company Solyndra’ — despite the protestations of Lawrence Summers (who in 2009 warned against the loan guarantee) and others.”
On the Obamas’ past marital problems, Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner: http://washingtonexaminer.com/politics/washington-secrets/2012/05/book-michelle-threatened-divorce-after-barack%E2%80%99s-2000-loss/609751
“First lady Michelle Obama warned her husband not to challenge former Black Panther and four-term Rep. Bobby Rush in 2000, threatening divorce when Barack Obama got walloped in his first bid for national office, a new biography of the president claims. ‘Michelle actually had divorce papers drawn up,’ author Edward Klein wrote, quoting one of Mrs. Obama’s friends. In the unauthorized ‘The Amateur,’ Klein also said that Obama was talking divorce after the loss. ‘This was a calamitous turn of events, and during the dark days that followed his defeat, he turned to Michelle for comfort. But she was in no mood to offer him sympathy. After all, he had refused to listen to her warnings about taking on the formidable Bobby Rush. He had put his family in a precarious financial position. And he had dashed Michelle’s hopes of creating a stable and secure future. As a result, their marriage was on the rocks, and Obama confided to friends that he and Michelle were talking about divorce.’”
On Bill Clinton urging Hillary to run against Obama in 2012, Carl Campanile, New York Post: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/bill_blockbuster_an_amateur_XJHYdaV5LT1vpr5I39IKrN
“Bill Clinton thought so little of President Obama — mocking him as an “amateur” — that he pressed his wife last summer to quit her job as secretary of state and challenge him in the primaries, a new book claims. … The title of Klein’s explosive, unauthorized bio of Obama, ‘The Amateur’ (Regnery Publishing), was taken directly from Bill Clinton’s bombshell criticism of the president, the author said. ‘Barack Obama,’ Bill Clinton said, according to book excerpts, ‘is an amateur.’ Obama, Bill Clinton said, ‘doesn’t know how to be president’ and is ‘incompetent.’ But Hillary resisted the entreaties, according to two of the guests interviewed for the book. ‘Why risk everything now?’ a skeptical Hillary told her husband, emphasizing that she wanted to leave a legacy as secretary of state. ‘Because,’ Bill replied, his voice rising, ‘the country needs you!’”
“The deficit was $5 trillion last year under those rules. The official number was $1.3 trillion. Liabilities for Social Security, Medicare and other retirement programs rose by $3.7 trillion in 2011, according to government actuaries, but the amount was not registered on the government’s books.”
The typical American household would have paid nearly all of its income in taxes last year to balance the budget if the government used standard accounting rules to compute the deficit, a USA TODAY analysis finds.
Under those accounting practices, the government ran red ink last year equal to $42,054 per household — nearly four times the official number reported under unique rules set by Congress.
A U.S. household’s median income is $49,445, the Census reports.
The big difference between the official deficit and standard accounting: Congress exempts itself from including the cost of promised retirement benefits. Yet companies, states and local governments must include retirement commitments in financial statements, as required by federal law and private boards that set accounting rules.
The deficit was $5 trillion last year under those rules. The official number was $1.3 trillion. Liabilities for Social Security, Medicare and other retirement programs rose by $3.7 trillion in 2011, according to government actuaries, but the amount was not registered on the government’s books.
In 2008, then-Candidate Barack Obama promised to usher in an era of transparency, “put an end to the game playing” in Washington, and broadcast health care negotiations on C-SPAN. The Energy and Commerce Committee launched an investigation more than a year ago to allow Congress and the American public to understand whether he upheld his promises when writing legislation that fundamentally transformed the nation’s health care system. This video examines those promises and the confusion and conflicting information surrounding the closed-door negotiations that led to enactment of the law.
Wall Street Journal editorial: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303610504577416710604278438.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop
“You can tell the Supreme Court is getting closer to its historic ObamaCare ruling because the left is making one last attempt to intimidate the Justices. The latest effort includes taunting Chief Justice John Roberts that if the Court overturns any of the law, he’ll forever be defined as a partisan ‘activist.’ … The most dishonest argument is the liberal media chant that overturning the law means overturning the New Deal era’s Commerce Clause precedents. This is propaganda. None of the plaintiffs advocated that any precedents be overturned, even though in our view some of those cases deserve to be overturned. Paul Clement and Michael Carvin, who argued for the plaintiffs before the Court, explicitly denied any such desire. … We doubt the High Court will be intimidated by any of this, and the truth is that no Justice would be worthy to sit on the Court if he is. As Chief Justice Roberts said at his confirmation hearing, a judge should be a neutral umpire who calls legal balls and strikes fairly as he sees them. The Court’s reputation will be tarnished if it bows to the political distemper of the moment, not if it follows the Constitution.”
Kathleen Parker, Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/democrats-put-john-roberts-on-trial/2012/05/22/gIQAijq8iU_story.html
“Novelist John Grisham could hardly spin a more provocative fiction: The president and his surrogates mount an aggressive campaign to intimidate the chief justice of the United States, implying ruin and ridicule should he fail to vote in a pivotal case according to the ruling political party’s wishes. If only it were fiction. … Publicly chastising the court — and now taunting Roberts specifically — seems to have two purposes. One is to get under Roberts’s skin in the hopes that he’ll rule the ‘correct,’ if not necessarily ‘legally correct,’ way. Two is to lay the groundwork for declaring the court illegitimate if all or part of Obamacare is overturned. Either way, it’s politics at its filthiest and is beneath the dignity of the court — and of the White House. Unfortunately for Roberts, it’s up to the chief justice to hold the bar high.”
Randy Barnett, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory at the Georgetown University Law Center: http://volokh.com/2012/05/20/judicial-minimalism-and-the-individual-mandate/
“The justices know what many readers of the New Republic do not: Nowhere did the challengers to the ACA ever base their claim on ‘conservative economic doctrines.’ No. Where. Our case has always been simply that this claim of federal power exceeds any that has ever previously been authorized by the Supreme Court, and that it is an uncabined, unnecessary and dangerous power to recognize for the first time.”
Stephen B. Presser, Raoul Berger Professor of Legal History at Northwestern University School of Law: http://cnsnews.com/blog/stephen-presser/heavens-will-not-fall-if-obamacare-does
“In the face of this disappointing attempt to intimidate the Court, and, in particular, its Chief Justice John Roberts and its perpetual swing voter Anthony Kennedy, it will take some courage for the Court to do what is Constitutionally correct, and we can only hope that courage is forthcoming. The individual mandate of the PPACA is the boldest attempt yet to dramatically expand the reach of Congressional power. And, simply stated, no one has been able to explain how, if the Congress can do this, any limits remain on its power. The Government attorneys defending the PPACA at the recent Supreme Court arguments were not able to limn any such remaining limits, and this is because there are none.”
Carrie Severino, chief counsel, Judicial Crisis Network: http://www.nationalreview.com/bench-memos/300658/chief-justice-roberts-moment-truth-carrie-severino
“In Rosen’s world, avoiding 5–4 decisions at all costs is apparently a higher virtue than following the law. … First, it ignores the fact that the chief can only directly control his own vote and therefore would only be in a position to flip a 5–4 decision against the mandate to another 5–4 decision in favor of it. If Rosen is really concerned more about the vote counts than the ultimate results, both results would leave identical black marks on the chief justice’s record. To the extent that Rosen hopes the chief justice will engage in lobbying of his colleagues reminiscent of the Warren-era court, such a strategy is inherently limited. Even if the chief justice were able to articulate a narrow decision that avoided making any major constitutional ruling (and if there were an obvious route to such a ruling, it is hard to imagine another of the many parties and amici would not have hit upon it), a determined coalition of four liberal justices would still be in a position to foreclose a consensus result simply by rallying around a position they knew none of the conservatives would accept.”
Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/post/what-would-a-change-of-vote-on-obamacare-cost/2012/05/23/gJQApViNkU_blog.html
“The Obama-Leahy-Rosen tag team would ask that Roberts subscribe to some alternate political reality in which Obamacare is very popular and the public would be shocked and rise up in anger that the Supreme Court would overturn the ‘popular will.’ (They must assume Roberts isn’t aware more than 70 percent of the public think the law is unconstitutional.) The pleaders would ask Roberts to adopt the left’s contention that conservative justices who adhere to the meaning and text of the Constitution can’t all vote one way for fear it will “look bad,” but liberal justices are free to march uniformly as they see fit.”
Investors Business Daily editorial: http://news.investors.com/article/612508/201205231905/obamacare-will-test-supreme-court-justices-integrity.htm
“Rosen contends that ‘In addition to deciding what kind of chief justice he wants to be, he has to decide what kind of legal conservatism he wants to embrace.. This was a favorite pastime of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy — instructing conservatives on the differences between acceptable and unacceptable versions of the political philosophy of which he was a mortal enemy. … Roberts’ thinking may not be as well-identified as that of Justices Scalia, Thomas, or even Alito. But we can be sure of this: He’s enough of his own man not to be cowed by politically motivated appeals — whether they come from a president or a lefty magazine.”
National Review editorial: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/300872/pressuring-chief-editors
“The four liberal justices appear very likely to uphold the mandate, a fact that somehow does not lead to their description as partisans. For the justices who are prepared to consider whether the mandate is unconstitutional, the path of duty is clear: They should uphold the Constitution as best they understand it, explain their reasoning as well as they can, and let their critics and supporters have at it.”
Ilya Somin, associate professor of law, George Mason University: http://volokh.com/2012/05/21/nonlegal-arguments-for-upholding-the-individual-mandate/
“Claims that a decision striking down the mandate will undermine the Court’s “legitimacy” founder on the simple reality that an overwhelmingly majority of the public wants the law to be invalidated. Even a slight 48-44 plurality of Democrats agree, according to a Washington Post/ABC poll. Decisions that damage the Court’s legitimacy tend to be ones that run contrary to majority opinion, such as some of the cases striking down New Deal laws in the 1930s. By contrast, a decision failing to strike down a law that large majorities believe to be unconstitutional can actually damage the Court’s reputation and create a political backlash, as the case of Kelo v. City of New London dramatically demonstrated.”
Yesterday, we read at the the Orange County Register, how State Senator Alan Lowenthal is accusing Long Beach city councilman Gary DeLong of hiding mail-ballot applications submitted by Democrats and all we could say was… really?
There’s funny business brewing in the race for the newly configured 47th Congressional District, which extends from Long Beach to Little Saigon.
A Republican candidate who’s courting Democratic voters has been accused of hiding mail-ballot applications submitted by some of those Democrats. But the evidence is thin and circumstantial, giving the accused candidate, Gary DeLong, leverage in his argument that his opponent is making the whole thing up.
It’s a typically tawdry tale of campaign hanky panky, but the details are unlike any I’ve come across in nearly three decades of covering elections. Including the twist that the accused ended up encouraging me to write about the incident more energetically than the accuser.
On Monday, I received an email from Mike Shimpock, the consultant for the congressional campaign of state Sen. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach. It claimed that one of the leading Republican candidates, Long Beach Councilman DeLong, solicited vote-by-mail applications from Democrats but didn’t turn them in to the Registrar of Voters within 72 hours, as required by law.
Really, at this critical time for our nation with record high deficits, outrageous spending, and a US debt at $15.7 Trillion and rising… this is what’s passing for news and what these two so-called front runner candidates are focused on in the race to represent the new 47th district in California?
Instead of inventing clever new ways to garner Democrats votes or waste time crying foul about imagined campaign infractions Steve Foley is talking about the issues that matter most to Americans and providing detailed Bold Solutions:
As a trusted conservative, Steve’s focus in Congress will be to stop the liberal agenda, restore constitutional principles, and get America working again!
- BOLD SOLUTION: Restore Authority over Firearms Policy to the States
- BOLD SOLUTION A: Pass a Balanced Budget Amendment
- BOLD SOLUTION B: Cut Spending Immediately and Significantly
- BOLD SOLUTION C: Replace Our Antiquated Tax Code
- BOLD SOLUTION D: Roll Back Burdensome Regulations
- BOLD SOLUTION E: Advance Energy Independence
- BOLD SOLUTION F: Audit the Federal Reserve
- BOLD SOLUTION A: De-Fund the U.S. Department of Education
- BOLD SOLUTION B: Restore Educational Decision-Making to the States
- BOLD SOLUTION A: Get Government out of the Way
- BOLD SOLUTION B: End Energy Subsidies and Let the Free Market Work
- BOLD SOLUTION C: Restore Federal Lands to the States
- BOLD SOLUTION A: Repeal Obamacare
- BOLD SOLUTION B: Roll Back Other Regulatory Health Care Mandates
- BOLD SOLUTION A: Fully Secure Our Nation’s Borders
- BOLD SOLUTION B: Enforce Existing Federal Immigration Laws
- BOLD SOLUTION C: Eliminate Incentives for Illegal Aliens
- BOLD SOLUTION D: Reform the Legal Immigration Process
- BOLD SOLUTION A: Strip away Overregulation of Business and Industry
- BOLD SOLUTION B: Reform the Federal Tax Code and Corporate Tax Rates
- BOLD SOLUTION C: Debt Reduction
- BOLD SOLUTION D: Revamp Energy Policy
- BOLD SOLUTION E: Reform Patent Law and the FDA Approval Process
- BOLD SOLUTION A: Build a Tech-Savvy Fence and Properly Man Our Border
- BOLD SOLUTION B: Honestly Assess Foreign Relationships and Act Accordingly
- BOLD SOLUTION C: Safeguard American Sovereignty
- BOLD SOLUTION D: Move America Toward Greater Energy Independence
- BOLD SOLUTION E: Reassert Constitutional Principles and Procedure over Deployment of Our Military
- BOLD SOLUTION F: Roll Back Federal Measures that Threaten American Citizens
- BOLD SOLUTION A: Adopt the Paul-Lee-Graham Social Security Reform Plan
- BOLD SOLUTION B: Abolish Medicaid
- BOLD SOLUTION C: Replace or Abolish Medicare
- BOLD SOLUTION: Embrace the 9-9-9 Plan
On the Senate floor today, U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) announced introduction of the Stopping Ongoing Lender Delays (SOLD) Act (S. 3177).
The Stopping Ongoing Lender Delays Act would:
[list type="arrow"] [li] • Require mortgage servicers to respond to a short-sale offer within 30 days, and make a final decision on acceptance within 60 days of receiving purchase offers.
• Bring all short-sale decisions in line with the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA’s) April 17th announcement that loan servicers that collect payments for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mae must review and respond to short-sale requests within 60 days.
•Awards homeowners a $1,000 monetary award per violation, if a loan servicer fails to make a decision within 60 days. [/li] [/list]
Full Text of the bill
S 3177 IS
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ‘Stopping Ongoing Lender Delays Act’ or the ‘SOLD Act’.
SEC. 2. TRUTH IN LENDING ACT AMENDMENTS.
Chapter 2 of the Truth in Lending Act (15 U.S.C. 1631 et seq.) is amended by inserting before section 130 (15 U.S.C. 1640) the following new section:
‘SEC. 129I. RESPONSES REQUIRED FOR MORTGAGOR REQUESTS FOR REFINANCING.
‘(a) In General-
‘(1) WRITTEN RESPONSE TO MORTGAGOR REQUESTS REQUIRED-
‘(A) IN GENERAL- Each servicer shall respond in writing to a mortgagor of a residential mortgage loan who has submitted a written request that meets the requirements of subsection (b), not later than the end of the 30-calendar day period beginning on the date of receipt of such request, subject to paragraphs (2) and (3).
‘(B) APPLICABILITY- Subparagraph (A) shall apply, except as provided in subsection (b), and notwithstanding any other provision of law or of any contract, including a contract between a servicer of a residential mortgage loan and a securitization vehicle or other investment vehicle.
‘(2) CONTENT- A written response by a servicer under paragraph (1) shall specify–
‘(A) a decision on whether such request has been denied or approved, or that such request has been approved subject to specified changes; or
‘(B) that additional time is required, in which case the servicer shall provide a new decision date.
‘(3) SINGLE EXTENSION OF NEW DECISION DATE AUTHORIZED- A servicer may, upon written notice to the mortgagor, extend a new decision date provided under paragraph (2)(B) a single time, for a period of not longer than 30 additional calendar days.
‘(b) Inapplicability to Certain Existing Mortgages- Subsection (a) shall not apply with respect to any residential mortgage with respect to which the mortgagor and the mortgagee or servicer have entered into a written agreement before the date of enactment of this Act explicitly providing a procedure or terms for approval of a short sale.
‘(c) Mortgagor Submission- Subsection (a) shall apply in any case in which the mortgagor under a residential mortgage loan submits to the servicer thereof–
‘(1) a written offer for a short sale of the dwelling or residential real property that is subject to the mortgage, deed of trust, or other security interest that secures the mortgage loan; and
‘(2) all information required by the servicer in connection with such a request (including a copy of an executed contract between the owner of the dwelling or property and the prospective buyer that is subject to approval by the servicer).
‘(d) Civil Actions Authorized- An aggrieved individual may bring an action in a court of competent jurisdiction, asserting a violation of this section. Aggrieved individuals may be awarded all appropriate relief, including equitable relief, and a monetary award of $1,000 per violation, plus reasonable attorneys’ fees, or such higher amount as may be appropriate in the case of an established pattern or practice of such failures.
‘(1) RESIDENTIAL MORTGAGE LOAN- The term ‘residential mortgage loan’ means any consumer credit transaction that is secured by a mortgage, deed of trust, or other equivalent consensual security interest on a dwelling or on residential real property that includes a dwelling, other than a consumer credit transaction under an open end credit plan or an extension of credit relating to a plan described in section 101(53D) of title 11, United States Code.
‘(2) SERVICER- The term ‘servicer’ has the same meaning as in section 129A, except that such term includes a person who makes or holds a residential mortgage loan (including a pool of residential mortgage loans), if such person also services the loan.
‘(3) SHORT SALE- The term ‘short sale’ means the sale of the dwelling or residential real property that is subject to the mortgage, deed or trust, or other security interest that secures a residential mortgage loan that–
‘(A) will result in proceeds in an amount that is less than the remaining amount due under the mortgage loan; and
‘(B) requires authorization by the securitization vehicle or other investment vehicle or holder of the mortgage loan, or the servicer acting on behalf of such a vehicle or holder.’.