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e-News June 11, 2010

The Week Just Past:  America’s debt, borrowing and spending
The Selling of ObamaCare at Taxpayer Expense
IranSanctions: How Effective Are They?
Concern About China: Military Build-up, Partnering with Greece
 
The Week Just Past:  America’s spiraling debt!

“Less than one week after the U.S. national debt surged past the $13 trillion mark, the Reuters headline on Tuesday warned ‘U.S debt to rise to $19.6 trillion by 2015.’  You can read the whole story by clicking on the link below.

“This unsustainable mountain of borrowed money will quickly bring the ratio of debt to the gross domestic product (GDP) to 102 percent by 2015 from 93 percent this year.  Translated: the amount of money owed to our creditors – many of them foreign nations such as China and Japan – will exceed the value of the goods and services we produce. 

“Of course, we must pay interest on that debt.  And that is money we cannot use to provide one small business loan, close our borders to illegal aliens, provide security sensors at our ports, or train, equip and better protect one soldier or Marine.

“And if that was not bad enough, the uncontrolled spending by the President and Speaker Pelosi is having a measurable impact on jobs.  The President's own economic experts say a 1 percent increase in GDP can create almost 1 million jobs.  Well, that 1 percent is what experts think we are losing because of the debt's massive drag on our economy.

“And what is the White House response?  In a largely symbolic gesture, Obama's administration said this week that it would cut spending at some federal government agencies by 5 percent - starting in October 2011.  Budget Director Peter Orszag rejected the call for immediate spending cuts, saying they'd ‘go nowhere’ in Congress.

“Enough said?

“As I get around my Congressional District and listen to my constituents, so many people say they are worried about what their children will inherit – fewer employment opportunities, a staggering amount of debt and a business climate with no jobs!

“Reversing these trends must be our top priority.”

      Rodney Frelinghuysen

Read the Reuters story “U.S debt to rise to $19.6 trillion by 2015” here.

Recommended Reading II: Please read an insightful article by Thomas Cooley in the June 8 edition of Forbes:  “The Dark Side Of Stimulus.”

The Selling of ObamaCare

President Obama has launched an expensive, government-financed public relations campaign designed to ‘sell’ his new health care law to older Americans.  The centerpiece of this week’s event outside Washington was a $250 dollar rebate check that the administration will send out to the fraction of seniors on Medicare who qualify for it.  What the Administration did not mention, however, is that for every senior who gets a check, more than three other seniors will see an increase in their prescription drug insurance premiums.

And that’s not all.  The reality of the government takeover of health care becomes more and more disturbing as we learn more details. 

For your continuing information, here is a partial list of the health care law’s consequences for Americans: 

Costs $2,100 more for families:  The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has predicted that early retirees, the self-employed, small business workers, and millions of others who buy family coverage in the individual market will pay $2,100 more for their health insurance under ObamaCare.

$107 billion in Pass -Through Taxes:  President Obama’s chief actuary concludes that taxes on medical devices, pharmaceutical companies, and health insurance companies will be passed on to health insurance buyers in the form of higher premiums. 

Medicine Cabinet Tax:  ObamaCare increases taxes on aspirin, cough syrup, and other non-prescribed medical withdrawals from Health Savings Accounts (HSA), Flexible Savings Accounts (FSAs), and Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRA) and limits tax-free contributions to FSAs. 

No More Employer Provided Coverage:  Several large employers are considering dropping health benefits because it is cheaper for them to pay the penalty than it is for them to provide health insurance.

$115 billion more in health care spending:  Recently, the CBO concluded that ObamaCare will cost $115 billion more than it originally predicted. 

“Medicare Advantage” Cuts: President Obama’s chief actuary believes 50 percent of seniors will lose their Medicare Advantage plans because of these cuts.  Seniors lose benefits and services starting in 2011 as Medicare Advantage plans start to eliminate services because of the passage of the health care “reform” law.   

Seniors’ Access to Doctors:  Again, President Obama’s chief actuary believes these Medicare cuts will have the effect of “possibly jeopardizing access to care” and estimates that 15 percent of providers will not make a profit because ObamaCare reduces the reimbursement rate for providers.    

Noted with Interest:  The President’s Director of Management and Budget, Peter Orszag, wrote this week to Speaker Nancy Pelosi “to urge the Congress to move quickly in enacting the FY 2010 Supplemental request” – legislation designed to provide necessary funding for our deployed troops in Afghanistan.  Interestingly, Director Orszag never mentioned the primary reason for the “supplemental appropriation” bill is to pay for the troop reinforcements in Afghanistan  and our withdrawal costs from Iraq!

Read the letter here.

IranSanctions: Congress Must Act Now!

After months of delay and foot-dragging which only bought time for Iran to advance its nuclear program, the United Nations finally mustered the will to act and impose sanctions this week.  While any additional sanctions are a step in the right direction, these sanctions are weak and are not likely to slow down Iran’s nuclear arms programs.

The resolution, which passed 12-2, includes such elements as a conventional arms sales ban, a ban on certain nuclear and missile investments abroad and measures that could thwart Iranians' banking and shipping maneuvers and hinder the growing role of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in proliferation activities.  It is interesting to note that Turkey, a NATO ally, and Brazil, a major regional power, voted against the sanctions resolution. Lebanon, a beneficiary of U.S. aid, abstained, despite the “engagement” strategy of the Obama Administration.

“This cannot be the end of the sanctions effort,” Rodney said.  “Now that the UN has belatedly acted, it is imperative that Congress quickly pass sanctions legislation with real teeth.”

Rodney is a cosponsor of the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act and other Iran sanctions bills now being finalized in a House-Senate “conference committee.” 

“We waited more than a year for a weak UN resolution,” he said.  “There is no doubt that we are in a worse position than we were 18 months ago when the President started his ‘diplomacy’ and ‘engagement’.  It is now time for Congress to approve the Iran sanctions bill without watering it down.”

“Iran and the 'Freedom Recession': Facebook had no answer to the pro-regime vigilantes who ruled the streets.  And the U.S. president, who might have helped, stood aside.” Read how Johns Hopkins Professor Fouad Ajami characterizes the essense of the President’s foreign policy in the Wall Street Journal.

Recommended Reading IV: Charles Krauthammer writing in today’s Washington Post, “The myth of Iran's 'isolation.'

Concern About China: Military Build-up, Partnering with Greece

U.S. President Barack Obama’s top military adviser said he has grown “genuinely concerned” over China’s motives for building up its armed forces. Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a speech in Washington this week that he was worried by China’s “heavy investments” in sea and air capabilities and its rejection of military contacts with the U.S.

“A gap as wide as what seems to be forming between China’s stated intent and its military programs leaves me more than curious about the end result,” Mullen told the Asia Society. “Indeed, I have moved from being curious to being genuinely concerned.”

“Welcome to the club, Admiral Mullen,” said Rodney, a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee and the House Special Intelligence Oversight Panel.  “China’s investments in new aircraft, submarines, surface ships, anti-ship missiles and cyber and space assets have sounded alarms for years.   If we do not react and prepare now, we may live to regret a lack of foresight in years to come.”

Read Bloomberg’s article here.

Recommended Reading VI:  “Greece is tapping China's deep pockets to help rebuild its economy,” in Thursday’s Washington Post.

Treaties and Trade Agreements

Read John Bellinger III in the Friday Washington Post.  While this eNewsletter has focused in the past on the failure of the House and Senate to approve Free Trade Agreements with South Korea, Columbia and Panama, this article sheds some disturbing light of the Administration's failure to better protect American interests.