Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News/Commentary, Blog posts and publications(...)IWF RSS Halbig Case Is Already A Loss For Big Government<p> A legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act,&nbsp;<em>Halbig v. Burwell</em>, gained momentum and notoriety when a panel of judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the Obama Administration acted illegally in authorizing subsidies and tax credits in the federal exchange. The text and intent of the law, challengers allege, was for subsidies to only be available through state-established exchanges (not the federal exchange).</p> <p> Of course,&nbsp;<em>Halbig</em>&nbsp;proponents would be happy to see their case prevail at the Supreme Court level. This would deal a major blow to Obamacare. But regardless of any further rulings, this case &ndash; just by its existence &ndash; should undermine support for President Obama&rsquo;s health law by highlighting the lawlessness and incompetence of big government.</p> <p> The debate over health policy in the United States largely revolves around one question: What role should the government play?&nbsp; Some people argue that the government should play the role of &ldquo;single-payer,&rdquo; the one and only source of reimbursement for medical care. Others believe the government should stay out of it.</p> <p> Obamacare is somewhere in the middle, although it is significantly closer to government-run health care. Millions more Americans have become dependent on the government for their health insurance (through the Medicaid expansion and subsidized Obamacare exchange plans), and what remains of the private-sector is more highly regulated than ever before. All insurance plans must meet the federal government standard.</p> <p> How much do Americans trust the government to competently deliver (or help deliver) health insurance? In 2013, Gallup asked if Americans believed it was the government&rsquo;s responsibility to provide health insurance, and&nbsp;<a href="">56 percent of adults</a>&nbsp;said no. The issues and the facts of the&nbsp;<em>Halbig</em>&nbsp;case will only serve to bring more Americans to this point of view.</p> <p> Supporters of Obamacare are reading from a confused script in their response to this case. Some say that it was a &ldquo;drafting error&rdquo; that resulted in the omission of subsidies from the federal exchange. Others believed that very few &ndash; perhaps none &ndash; of the states would decline to establish their own exchanges, and that&rsquo;s why this issue was not discussed previously.</p> <p> <a href=";;t=30m59s">Not one</a>, but&nbsp;<a href=";">two videos</a>&nbsp;surfaced of Jonathan Gruber, also known as the architect of Obamacare, explaining in 2012 that, &ldquo;if you&rsquo;re a state and you don&rsquo;t set up an exchange, that means that your citizens don&rsquo;t get tax credits.&rdquo; This is pretty damning evidence that the law intended for the subsidies to act as a carrot, or an incentive, to get states to run their own exchanges.</p> <p> Regardless of what happens in the courts, this looks bad. None of the possible explanations build trust in government-run health care. How could a &ldquo;drafting error&rdquo; imperil the implementation of a major reform in 36 states, affecting as many as&nbsp;<a href="">57 million people and 250,000 firms</a>? Or the other explanation &ndash; perhaps even worse &ndash; is this: Out of desperation to fix this error, the executive branch would commit behind-the-scenes trickery, illegal and unauthorized executive rulings within the IRS, and then lie about their intent all along?</p> <p> This reeks of a federal government that is lawless and incompetent &ndash; not the entity you want in charge of your health care.</p> <p> Before Obamacare, much of health insurance regulation was the purview of states.&nbsp; Even this was better, since state governments are closer to the people.&nbsp; But the design of Obamacare was not meant to honor federalism. It took a Supreme Court ruling to make the Medicaid expansion optional for states, and a vital piece of evidence in this decision was a&nbsp;<a href="">letter from then-HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius</a>, who threatened funding for the state of Arizona&rsquo;s entire Medicaid program if the state did not implement CHIP as dictated by the feds. Clearly, this Administration is not afraid to try to bully states into compliance by withholding federal funds.</p> <p> The original language about exchanges said, &ldquo;Each state shall establish&hellip;&rdquo; an exchange. No room for choice.&nbsp; But a later revision provided a fallback plan. Perhaps the sloppy writers of this law foresaw a legal challenge in forcing states to create their own exchanges. A later section explains that if a state &ldquo;elects&rdquo; not to establish an exchange, the federal government would do so in their place. The question in&nbsp;<em>Halbig</em>, is whether the 36 states who defaulted to this arrangement would have federal subsidies, tax credits, and even the individual and employer mandates they trigger.</p> <p> The fact that this is even in question creates political trouble for Obamacare and for all government-run health care supporters. It should create further questions in the minds of Americans about whether the federal government should play such a central role in something so personal and so vital as our health insurance and health care.</p> HeathWed, 30 Jul 2014 17:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHow to Take the Free-Market Message to Young, Unmarried Voters<p> This summer I got married. In political terms, this means I exited one of the most left-leaning voting blocs (single women) and joined a more evenly divided group (married women). But I&rsquo;ve only spent about two months being married; my other 26 years I spent as a single. During that time I noticed that free-market supporters often committed serial mistakes in marketing their ideas to my demographic.</p> <p> Philip Klein wrote in his&nbsp;<a href=""><em>Washington Examiner</em>&nbsp;column</a>&nbsp;last week that conservatives can&rsquo;t leave unmarried voters behind. He&rsquo;s absolutely right. As Millennials delay or disregard marriage, the percentage of the public that is unmarried has increased dramatically and will continue to do so. According to the University of Virginia report, &ldquo;<a href="">Knot Yet</a>,&rdquo; the percent of women married by their late 20s has dropped from 90 to 50 percent since the 1970s.</p> <p> While Klein makes an excellent argument for better political marketing to singles, he stops short of telling conservatives and libertarians what they can do better. That&rsquo;s why I&rsquo;ve compiled the following list of tips &mdash; just from my personal experience &mdash; to improve political communications with young, unmarried voters.</p> <p> <strong>Take Back &ldquo;Community&rdquo;</strong></p> <p> One of the most important moments of the 2012 election cycle was former President Clinton, sitting on the DNC stage, saying, &ldquo;If you want a you&rsquo;re-on-your-own, winner-take-all society, you should support the Republican ticket. If you want a country of shared prosperity and shared responsibility &mdash; a we&rsquo;re-all-in-this-together society &mdash; you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.&rdquo;</p> <p> Clinton presented a pretty clear choice. For singles, especially, life can often be lonely. This makes Clinton&rsquo;s promise of a &ldquo;together society&rdquo; appealing, and now today we have &ldquo;community organizer&rdquo; in the White House.</p> <p> As free-market supporters, we don&rsquo;t talk enough about our alternative vision for communities: voluntary relationships driven by love, benevolence, and charity. We don&rsquo;t often enough call the left out for their&nbsp;<em>forced</em>&nbsp;form of &ldquo;community&rdquo; &mdash; yes, &ldquo;communism&rdquo; comes from the same root word.</p> <p> Sadly, my peers are less familiar with what it means to live in real community. Millennials, especially singles, are less likely to attend church or to be part of the local Lions&rsquo; Club, Rotary Club, Junior League or PTA. Fewer young singles can afford to buy their own homes, meaning they don&rsquo;t interact with a Homeowners&rsquo; Association or even the local Welcome Wagon.</p> <p> These voluntary community associations played a big role in my parents&rsquo; life, but so far they&rsquo;ve been mostly absent in the life of my peers, especially since we left our parents&rsquo; households or the more structured environments of high school or college. This presents a political challenge for supporters of voluntary community; Millennials need to know that&nbsp;<em>real community</em>&nbsp;is a product of freedom, not force.</p> <p> <strong>Careful with Language</strong></p> <p> Politicians are apt to describe how their policy agenda will affect &ldquo;families.&rdquo; While I&rsquo;m proud to be a daughter, sister, niece, etc., I did not think of myself in a family unit during my single years. Why not use &ldquo;individuals and families&rdquo; or just &ldquo;Americans?&rdquo; Simple word-choice signals like these can be subconsciously isolating or inviting.</p> <p> Also, can we avoid gratuitous bashing? I mean immigrant-bashing, union-bashing, sexual-revolution-bashing, and even Democrat-bashing? There&rsquo;s a right way and a wrong way to critique public policies and cultural trends, without the unnecessary blame-laying and divisive language.</p> <p> <strong>Emphasize Control over One&rsquo;s Own Life</strong></p> <p> One basic philosophical difference between the left and the right is this: How much control does a person actually have over his or her life? The left would have us believe that all of life is a game of chance; some people get lucky and others don&rsquo;t. Young singles, who are often focused on professional and personal goals, need to hear that their goals are&nbsp;<em>achievable&nbsp;</em>and their outcomes<em>depend on their efforts</em>.</p> <p> The left has been incredibly successful wooing singles in my generation with the message of social justice, because they&rsquo;ve first convinced singles that no success is earned. (I.e., &ldquo;You didn&rsquo;t build that.&rdquo;) We have to change this premise if we are going to combat the redistributive tendencies that naturally follow.</p> <p> While it is fair and good to acknowledge that life comes with some uncertainty, the left&rsquo;s message of victimhood is disempowering. Here, the right has an opportunity to offer an alternative vision and become the party of empowerment.</p> <p> <strong>A Huge Missed Opportunity on Entitlement Reform and the Economy</strong></p> <p> Many of my peers do not understand how Social Security and Medicare are funded. In fact, many older Americans don&rsquo;t get it either. Talking about &mdash; or better yet,&nbsp;<em>doing something about</em>&nbsp;&mdash; the inherent unfairness of these entitlement programs would be a big win with young, single workers. These workers, at the bottom of the income chain, shouldn&rsquo;t have to fund the retirement or health insurance of baby boomers.</p> <p> Like any demographic group, single Americans have their own set of priorities when it comes to the issues. Student loans and underemployment plague many of my single (and married) young peers. Free-market supporters need to spend more air-time showing that these issues matter to us, and that we have solutions.</p> <p> <strong>Loosen Up</strong></p> <p> Finally, loosen up. I know President Obama has been in the White House for six years, and he&rsquo;s arguably been one of the worst presidents in history. I know the debt is $17 trillion. I know the labor force participation rate is at a 30-year-low. But being the serious, stuffy, bearer of bad news is not the way to reach young singles.</p> <p> Although the 20s can be a rocky decade, full of tough choices and big changes, many young singles see this time in their life as fun and exhilarating. They don&rsquo;t want to listen to nonstop bad news about the world around them, but rather, what are you going to do to fix it? What can you say to give me hope? That was what was so attractive about candidate Obama in 2008.</p> <p> And, if truth be told, that&rsquo;s the exciting thing about free markets: People working together to innovate and add value have already solved many problems, and we can continue to do so, bringing hope of a better life to the whole world. Millennials need to hear that message.</p> <p> <strong>Conclusion</strong></p> <p> Being young and single was really fun. (For the record, being married is fun, too.) But in my single years, I often felt that my cohort was being ignored by conservative and libertarian messages that seemed to focus on families, faith or just plain freedom. These (of course) are vital principles to emphasize to all age groups, but sadly fall on deaf ears among many single Millennials. By including messages of community, inclusiveness, empowerment, fairness and opportunity &mdash; all with a brighter, more hopeful tone &mdash; the political right can make inroads with this group.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> HeathWed, 30 Jul 2014 15:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumFocus on Growth - Not Jobs or Wages<p> At a time when our national labor force participation rate is at a&nbsp;<a href="">37-year low</a>, the temptation in American economic policy is to focus on job creation above all things. Politicians of all stripes promise that they have what it takes to create jobs and boost wages, and anything that potentially &ldquo;kills jobs&rdquo; is viewed as a negative.&nbsp; But&nbsp;<a href="">a recent report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis</a>&nbsp;highlighted where the true focus of our economic policy should be: growth. GDP growth in the first quarter of 2014 was an abysmal negative 2.9 percent.</p> <p> The economic indicators of unemployment, wages, and GDP growth can fall prey to a chicken-and-the-egg question (What comes first?). But it&rsquo;s important to understand that job creation and wage growth are byproducts of growth, not the ingredients.&nbsp; Unfortunately, focusing our economic policies too much on job creation (or job protection) and regulation-induced wage growth can work counter to economic growth.</p> <p> For example, news that McDonald&rsquo;s and other food establishments&nbsp;<a href="">could begin using kiosks or smartphone applications to place orders</a>&nbsp;troubled some people who feared this would replace cashier jobs. Even the President expressed the same (flawed) line of thinking a few years ago, when he suggested that ATMs were replacing bank teller jobs.</p> <p> Automation and technology may seem to replace jobs in the short run, and they often do displace some workers from some industries as they make various aspects of business more efficient. This process though (often known as &ldquo;progress&rdquo;) makes us all richer, and ultimately frees up resources to allow for investment in other industries and other roles, creating new jobs to replace the old.</p> <p> Milton Friedman once traveled to China, where he was surprised to see workers digging with shovels rather than automated equipment. When he asked why, the Chinese officials said that shoveling created more jobs. To this, Friedman wittily responded:&nbsp;<a href="">&ldquo;Why not use spoons?&rdquo;</a></p> <p> Another example: In Washington, D.C.,&nbsp;<a href="">cab drivers protested</a>&nbsp;the newest innovation in transportation &ndash; Uber.&nbsp; The new smartphone-centric, credit-card-only chauffeur company is out-competing the traditional taxi, possibly putting some drivers out of business. Uber (and the McDonald&rsquo;s app) is an example of &ldquo;creative destruction.&rdquo;&nbsp; Someone had a good (creative) idea, and this is destroying the pre-existing, less efficient way of doing things.</p> <p> Government leaders should not listen to the protestations of these cab drivers or others who ask for regulations to protect them from such competition.&nbsp; We must also consider the consumer experience, which is improved by creative destruction and competition: More and better options become available at lower and lower prices.</p> <p> Protecting status-quo jobs does not help the economy, but weakens it and denies progress.</p> <p> Similarly, wage growth is not the starting point for economic growth. Some advocates of higher minimum-wage regulations argue that putting more money into the pockets of low-income workers would result in higher consumer spending and therefore stronger economic growth. This simplistic (demand-driven) view of the economy has it completely backwards, and ignores many variables (on the supply side). After all, money for artificially increased wages must be moved away from another part of business, resulting in decreased profits, increased prices, or fewer jobs.</p> <p> When minimum wage laws increase the cost of labor, there are fewer jobs available, working contrary to the interests of all workers, who benefit when there are more, not fewer, jobs in the market.</p> <p> Here&rsquo;s how people truly become richer: Natural, real wage growth (positive relative to the cost of living) happens when there are more jobs than there are workers. Then employees have the bargaining power to negotiate or change jobs to obtain a better paycheck. There are more jobs available when firms are more innovative and productive, reinvesting healthy profits into the right parts of the economy. When entrepreneurs and investors see an opportunity to turn a profit, that&rsquo;s when new ventures take off, and new jobs are created in the process.</p> <p> Productivity &ndash; not jobs or wages &ndash; is at the heart of an economy. More workers can equal more productivity, but progress means that sometimes firms will be able to be more productive, even with fewer workers. A healthy economy will ultimately produce plentiful job opportunities, wages, and wealth for everyone, but the focus must be on the Goose, not her Golden eggs.</p> HeathFri, 25 Jul 2014 14:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWomen and Funding: Why a disparity? • Mid Point with Ed Berliner NewsmaxTV HeathThu, 24 Jul 2014 14:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHalbig Victory at Appeals Court<p> Today the federal U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. ruled against the government in&nbsp;<a href=""><em>Halbig v. Burwell</em></a>. The three-judge panel sided with the law&#39;s challengers, who argued that the IRS does not have the authority to extend ObamaCare&#39;s subsidies to states that did not establish an ObamaCare exchange. In other words, the Court ruled to uphold ObamaCare as written. The text of the law specifies that only state-established exchanges (as opposed to federally-established exchanges) can disburse subsidies and tax-credits to certain middle- and low-income customers.</p> <p> Perhaps even more significant, this case could ultimately disrupt not only ObamaCare&#39;s subsidies, but the enforcement of the law&#39;s individual mandate and employer mandate. This case has the potential to undo major portions of ObamaCare in 36 states - the states that did not opt to establish their own ObamaCare exchange. Needless to say, this case poses a serious threat to ObamaCare.</p> <p> <em>Halbig</em>&nbsp;has been widely debated from the beginning, with supporters such as The Cato&#39;s Institute&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="">Michael Cannon</a>&nbsp;and Case Western professor&nbsp;<a href="">Jonathan Adler</a>&nbsp;and many naysayers including Washington and Lee&#39;s&nbsp;<a href=";utm_source=AltURL&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_campaign=am?AllowView=VXQ0UnpwZTVEUFdhL1I3TkErT1lBajNja0U4VURPZFpFQjBKQWc9PQ==&amp;mh">Timothy Jost.</a></p> <p> In today&#39;s ruling, federal Judges Thomas B. Griffith and A. Raymond Randolph ruled with the plaintiffs, and Judge Harry T. Edwards dissented. The next step will almost undoubtedly be an appeal from the government to the full circuit, meaning other judges who sit in the federal Court of Appeals in D.C. would cast a vote in the case. From there, the case would head to the Supreme Court. Today&#39;s ruling at the appellate level was a huge blow to ObamaCare.&nbsp;</p> <p> <em>This blog is cross-posted at Visit <a href="">Health Care Lawsuits</a> to learn more about this case and others, including King v. Burwell, a similar case that received a less-favorable ruling in the Fourth Circuit today.</em></p> HeathTue, 22 Jul 2014 10:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSmart Phone Race: Is bigger better? • Cavuto HeathTue, 22 Jul 2014 10:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumNo party of big business, just big-government in bed with big business • Cavuto HeathTue, 22 Jul 2014 10:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumLabor Supply vs Jobs Supply Problem: What is in the way of job creation? • Cavuto HeathTue, 22 Jul 2014 10:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumIs Detroit the first sign America is starting to take cuts seriously? • Cavuto HeathTue, 22 Jul 2014 10:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumCoziness between Big Business and the Left is on the rise • Arise XChange HeathTue, 22 Jul 2014 10:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumObamaCare affects both our health insurance and medical systems • NRA News Freedom Fest HeathFri, 18 Jul 2014 11:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHouse to vote on challenging President Obama's executive actions • OANN Rick Amato Show HeathWed, 16 Jul 2014 11:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumMore restaurants blaming phone use for long waits • Cavuto HeathTue, 15 Jul 2014 09:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumRent Too High: Foreign investors buying blitz • Cavuto HeathTue, 15 Jul 2014 09:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumBig Immigration Backfire: Democrats admit immigration isn't a winning issue • Cavuto HeathTue, 15 Jul 2014 09:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum