Category Archives: Fiscal Responsibility

Medicaid ExSPAMsion Effort Calls for A Response

Kaye Beach

Oct. 5, 2013

There is an awful lot of work going on both before and behind the scenes to expand Medicaid in Oklahoma.

I think the recent uptick of Oklahoma pro-Obamacare propaganda, social media feather fluffing and “like” padding lends the effort a distinctive SPAM-like flavor but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take this campaign seriously.  In fact, conservative policy-watchers caution against letting our guard down now.

Medicaid expansion, of course,  is an integral part of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) And the states have a choice in whether or not to expand the deeply flawed and expensive system.  25 states, including the state of Oklahoma, have chosen to reject Medicaid expansion.

Oklahoma’s stance against Medicaid expansion is well-established,  however some think that this could change.  As reported by the Oklahoma Council on Public Affairs, ‘Will Oklahoma expand Medicaid?’, Oct. 2, 2013;

“. . a consultant for Gov. Fallin’s re-election campaign — who is also a consultant for entities promoting the Obamacare Medicaid expansion — is on the record saying Gov. Fallin “hasn’t slammed the door either. If it were dead on arrival we wouldn’t be taking our time and energy to do this.”  Read more from OCPA
While we are swivel-heading back and forth over other sensational current events, pro-Obamacare forces are mobilizing.  For instance, the Oklahoma Hospital Association which is leading a PR campaign for Medicaid expansion based on their discovery through market research that by reframing the issue, Oklahomans are a little warmer to the idea of Medicaid expansion.
The strategy of framing the issue as the rejection or acceptance of  federal money — rather than pitching it as Medicaid expansion — appears to be supported by a recent survey done for the Oklahoma Hospital
Association. Read more from NewsOK

The fact remains that majority of Oklahoman’s oppose the implementation of Obamacare and 46.2 percent of Oklahomans across the board specifically oppose Medicaid expansion but the Oklahoma Hospital Association doesn’t seem to mind going the extra mile to  manipulate the public on important policy issues nor the investment of time and  resources  it takes to carry out the time tested strategy of grinding them down.

Jonathan Small, OCPA  does a great job tackling Obamacare boosters’ favorite deceptive arguments such as  “if Oklahoma doesn’t act, our tax dollars will be sent to other states.” and the “it’s our money” line of thinking in this recent article
We should take note,  Obamacare supporters are feeling rather optimistic that Governor Fallin might cave to pressure.
“. . . Fallin is, above all, a creature of Oklahoma’s corporate elite. And many of them — Chambers of Commerce and the big hospital interests, to name two — think the Medicaid expansion is a splendid idea”  Link
Big business does have a lot of pull so please take a few moments this week to fortify our Governor and encourage her to hold fast to her promises not to expand Medicaid.
**Read this excellent editorial by Jonathan Small and Sen. Tom Coburn,

Expanding Medicaid threatens Oklahoma’s bright future

 

Remind the Governor:

The Office of Governor Mary Fallin

Oklahoma State Capitol
2300 N. Lincoln Blvd., Room 212
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

Local: (405) 521-2342
Fax: (405) 521-3353

Tulsa Office of Governor Mary Fallin
440 S. Houston Ave., Suite 304
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74127

Phone (918) 581-2801
Fax (918) 581-2835

Tonight on AxXiom For Liberty Live! 6-8 PM Central – Grassroots Wins and Free Market Friday!

a4l 55Kaye Beach

Dec. 14, 2012

Tonight on AxXiom For Liberty Live!  6-8 PM Central  - Grassroots Wins and Free Market Friday!

Listen Live-LogosRadioNetwork.com  click ‘Listen’ then choose your Internet speed.  Logos Radio Network is a listener supported, free speech radio network and your contributions are vital but you do not have to be a subscriber in order to hear the show.

A big thank you to co-host Howard Houchen who put together this great line up of liberty lovers for your listening pleasure tonight!

First, we will have the pleasure of speaking with Mr.  J.B. Alexander.  He is the current Tulsa County GOP Chair, a member of the Owasso Taxpayers Alliance and part of Tulsa’s recent successful Stop Vision 2 effort.  J.B. is going to help us recharge our activist batteries by sharing with us exemplary David vs. Goliath grassroots wins!

www.tulsagop.org

www.owassotaxpayer.com

Dr. Keith Smith, Oklahoma Surgical Center

Next, we are honored to be speaking with Keith Smith, MD of the Oklahoma Surgery Center.

“Three years ago, Dr. Keith Smith, co-founder and managing partner of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, took an initiative that would only be considered radical in the health care industry: He posted online a list of prices for 112 common surgical procedures. The 51-year-old Smith, a self-described libertarian, and his business partner, Dr. Steve Lantier, founded the Surgery Center 15 years ago, after they became disillusioned with the way patients were treated at St. Anthony Hospital in Oklahoma City, where the two men worked as anesthesiologists. In 1997, Smith and Lantier bought the shell of a former surgical center with the aim of creating a for-profit facility that could deliver first-rate care at a fraction of what traditional hospitals charge.”  Read more about Dr. Keith Smith and the Oklahoma Surgical Center; ‘Oklahoma Doctors vs. Obamacare’, Reason Magazine, Nov. 15, 2012

Great finds here!  G. Keith Smith’s Blog

Jonathan Small, C.P.A.

And last, but never least, Jonathan Small C.P.A., Fiscal Policy Director for the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA).

The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA) is an independent, nonprofit public policy organization— a think tank—which formulates and promotes public policy research and analysis consistent with the principles of free enterprise and limited government.

Jonathan is one of our favorite guests bringing us common sense views on economic policy always grounded in free-market principle.  Tonight Jonathan is going to weigh in on Corporate Tax Credits.  www.ocpathink.org

What is total state spending?

 Economics 101

Your questions or comments are always welcome!

CALL IN LINE 512-646-1984

 

Miss a show?  Get the Podcast!  Archives here

Other ways to listen;

Listen to Logos Radio Network on SHOUTcast

iTunes-AxXiom For Liberty and other great Logos Radio Network shows can be accessed by iPhone and iPad on iTunes!  Just search iTunes for “AxXiom For Liberty” or “Logos Radio Network”

1/3 Oklahoma’s Budget Dedicated to Corporate Incentive Payouts

The New Economy-How do we like it so far?

The New Economy-How do we like it so far?

Kaye Beach

Dec. 3, 2012

Welcome to the New Economy!

The New York Times spent 10 months investigating business incentives awarded by hundreds of cities, counties and states. Since there is no nationwide accounting of these incentives, The Times put together a database and found that local governments give up:

  • $80.3 billion in incentives each year
  • 1,874 No. of program

Check out the interactive map that shows spending incentive spending state by state here

Oklahoma

Oklahoma spends at least $2.19 billion per year on incentive programs, according to the most recent data available. That is roughly:

  • $584 per capita
  • 37¢ per dollar of state budget

Read more about Oklahoma

Here is the NYT accompanying news report;

Tax Incentives to Companies Bleeding Towns Dry, With Few Results

Sunday, 02 December 2012 09:51 By Louise Story, The New York Times News Service | Report

In the end, the money that towns across America gave General Motors did not matter.

When the automaker released a list of factories it was closing during bankruptcy three years ago, communities that had considered themselves G.M.’s business partners were among the targets.

For years, mayors and governors anxious about local jobs had agreed to G.M.’s demands for cash rewards, free buildings, worker training and lucrative tax breaks. As late as 2007, the company was telling local officials that these sorts of incentives would “further G.M.’s strong relationship” with them and be a “win/win situation,” according to town council notes from one Michigan community.

Yet at least 50 properties on the 2009 liquidation list were in towns and states that had awarded incentives, adding up to billions in taxpayer dollars, according to data compiled by The New York Times.

Some officials, desperate to keep G.M., offered more. Ohio was proposing a $56 million deal to save its Moraine plant, and Wisconsin, fighting for its Janesville factory, offered $153 million.

But their overtures were to no avail. G.M. walked away and, thanks to a federal bailout, is once again profitable. The towns have not been so fortunate, having spent scarce funds in exchange for thousands of jobs that no longer exist.

One township, Ypsilanti, Mich., is suing over the automaker’s departure. “You can’t just make these promises and throw them around like they’re spare change in the drawer,” said Doug Winters, the township’s attorney.

Yet across the country, companies have been doing just that. And the giveaways are adding up to a gigantic bill for taxpayers.

A Times investigation has examined and tallied thousands of local incentives granted nationwide and has found that states, counties and cities are giving up more than $80 billion each year to companies. The beneficiaries come from virtually every corner of the corporate world, encompassing oil and coal conglomerates, technology and entertainment companies, banks and big-box retail chains.

The cost of the awards is certainly far higher. A full accounting, The Times discovered, is not possible because the incentives are granted by thousands of government agencies and officials, and many do not know the value of all their awards. Nor do they know if the money was worth it because they rarely track how many jobs are created. Even where officials do track incentives, they acknowledge that it is impossible to know whether the jobs would have been created without the aid.

“How can you even talk about rationalizing what you’re doing when you don’t even know what you’re doing?” said Timothy J. Bartik, a senior economist at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in Kalamazoo, Mich.

The Times analyzed more than 150,000 awards and created a searchable database of incentive spending. The survey was supplemented by interviews with more than 100 officials in government and business organizations as well as corporate executives and consultants.

A portrait arises of mayors and governors who are desperate to create jobs, outmatched by multinational corporations and short on tools to fact-check what companies tell them. Many of the officials said they feared that companies would move jobs overseas if they did not get subsidies in the United States.

Over the years, corporations have increasingly exploited that fear, creating a high-stakes bazaar where they pit local officials against one another to get the most lucrative packages. States compete with other states, cities compete with surrounding suburbs, and even small towns have entered the race with the goal of defeating their neighbors.

While some jobs have certainly migrated overseas, many companies receiving incentives were not considering leaving the country, according to interviews and incentive data.

Read more

Pass-Through Money Benefits Many Groups

From the McCarville Report

Nov. 1, 2012

Jerry Bohnen
Contributing Editor

While Oklahoma City attorney Andrew Karim has written to top state leaders demanding the recovery of $2 million in state money given to the Youth Expo livestock show, some lawmakers point out there are dozens of other groups getting the same kind of pass-through money.

They are lawmakers who support the lawsuit filed in September challenging the Oklahoma Agriculture Department’s $2 million pass-through funding of the Oklahoma Youth Expo. And they say they’ve found nearly 40 other groups getting nearly $11 million in state money without providing any accountability.

The lawsuit was filed in Oklahoma County District Court by Representatives Mike Reynolds, a Republican from Oklahoma City and Mike Ritze, a Republican from Broken Arrow.  They contend the pass-through funding of the Youth Expo is a violation of the Oklahoma Constitution.

. . . Rep. Wesselhoft provided a list of at least 40 other groups like the Youth Expo that also get the pass-through funding that was arranged by what he called powerful legislators.  “These are non-profits but not a single one appears on the budget.” He said he’s met with more than a dozen legislators who were unaware of the pass-through funding and ‘were shocked.’ “The constitution is very clear. We do not give tax moneys to non-profits. But they get around it by calling it a pass through.”

Read more

Sorrels hopes to bring ‘accountability, transparency’ as sheriff

Kaye Beach

Get to know Darrell Sorrels!

Mark Schlachtenhaufen The Edmond Sun Oct. 27, 2012

Darrell Sorrels’ parents were born and raised in Oklahoma.

His mother was a meat wrapper for Humpty Dumpty and his father was an in-city truck driver for Chief Freightline. When he was a child the family lived in Nicoma Park, where they had a small acreage with farm animals. Sorrels was raised with three siblings and attended First Baptist Church in Nicoma Park.

“My parents taught us about hard work and to be honest, which produced integrity,” said Sorrels, a Republican challenging incumbent Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel. “They raised us with Christian values and to always remember how important family is.”

Sorrels said he was taught to treat people with respect, and his father showed by example that it is wise to save a portion of his earnings for the future.

“He also taught us to stand firm in what we knew was right,” Sorrels said.

Read More

DHS ‘fusion centers’ “pools of ineptitude, waste and civil liberties intrusions”

Kaye Beach

Oct. 3, 2012

Maybe the civil liberty violations alone weren’t enough to get the kind of attention on these hometown spy centers deserve but add to that the shocking lavish spending, waste and ineptitude. .  .well finally!

Thanks to Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) Oklahoma’s own Senator Tom Coburn for their great work on this eye opening report on DHS’ Fusion Centers. (Read the report)

Close them down!

The Washington Post’s Robert O’Harrow reports;

Oct. 2, 2012An initiative aimed at improving intelligence sharing has done little to make the country more secure, despite as much as $1.4 billion in federal spending, according to a two-year examination by Senate investigators.The nationwide network of offices known as “fusion centers” was launched after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to address concerns that local, state and federal authorities were not sharing information effectively about potential terrorist threats.But after nine years — and regular praise from officials at the Department of Homeland Security — the 77 fusion centers have become pools of ineptitude, waste and civil liberties intrusions, according to a scathing 141-page report by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs permanent subcommittee on investigations.

Read More

Rep. Key Criticizes Lankford’s Vote on Debt Deal

August 3, 2011

 

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Charles Key today criticized those who voted to raise the debt ceiling, including U.S. Congressman James Lankford.

“S 365 will do nothing to solve our spending and debt problem,” Key (R- Oklahoma City ) said. “In fact this bill does nothing to balance the budget, something that every taxpayer has to do with their personal budget. What it will do is add trillions of dollars to the deficit. The deficit this year will be $1.6 trillion, which means the projected cut of just $9 billion this year is a drop in the bucket compared to what must be cut.”

Key said U.S. legislative history provides an example of similar action and its consequences.

“This same approach was attempted in the past during the Reagan administration,” Key said. “Liberals promised to go along with cuts for tax increases. It didn’t work then and it won’t work this time because it is the same old failed policy of the past. The newly created Debt Commission is nothing more than passing of the responsibility that Congress should be taking. There is nothing to stop it from proposing tax increases or using the smoke and mirrors game of cutting the ‘projected increase’ instead of real spending cuts. Some politicians like to make a ‘crisis’ out of a situation like this and force and immediate solution, their solution, which is a compromise to take on more debt.”

Key said the solution is the same that all taxpayers face with their personal budgets, which Washington politicians overlook again and again. Cut spending and allow free enterprise coupled with solid economic, fiscal and monetary policy to help dig us out of the current recession.

“We already have a built-in solution in the debt ceiling itself, if we won’t keep raising it,” Key said. “Free enterprise and sound economic, fiscal and monetary policy is the answer to our out-of-control spending and debt. It is what made America great. If we keep moving away from the principles on which this nation’s economy was founded, we will lose the promise of America .”

Key said Oklahomans are tired of irresponsible fiscal policy.

“I applaud Senators Inhofe and Coburn for opposing raising the debt ceiling and hope they hold to their convictions.” Key said. “ Oklahoma is adversely affected by the national debt, irresponsible spending and the making of policy that the U.S. Constitution does not authorize. A minority of legislators like myself have tried to address this problem but have again and again run into roadblocks.”

 

 

U.S. caught China buying more debt than disclosed

Kaye Beach

August 2, 2011

Does this make anyone a little nervous?

U.S. caught China buying more debt than disclosed

Originally published  Thu Jun 30, 2011

(Reuters) – The rules of Treasury auctions may not sound like the stuff of high-stakes diplomacy. But a little-noticed 2009 change in how Washington sells its debt sheds new light on America’s delicate balancing act with its biggest creditor, China.

When the Treasury Department revamped its rules for participating in government bond auctions two years ago, officials said they were simply modernizing outdated procedures.

The real reason for the change, a Reuters investigation has found, was more serious: The Treasury had concluded that China was buying much more in U.S. government debt than was being disclosed, potentially in violation of auction rules, and it wanted to bring those purchases into the open – all without ruffling feathers in Beijing.

Read more

 

Dr. Michael Coffman on the same subject;

PLAYING POLITICS WITH U.S. DEFICITS AND DEBT

By Michael S. Coffman, Ph.D. and Kristie Pelletier
July 26, 2011
NewsWithViews.com

As the European Union appears to be heading for total collapse, Progressive Democrats seem to have completely lost all connection to reality and refuse to take any corrective action on our out-of-control deficits and staggering national debt.

In addition to the now probable economic collapse in Europe negatively affecting the U.S. economy, America’s staggering $14.5 trillion debt and trillion dollar deficits also threaten to sink us. There are two sides to the debt problem; (1) the inability or unwillingness of China and Japan to continue loaning us money to fund our enormous deficits and expand our debt; and (2) the progressives in the U.S. continuing to fast-track America toward economic ruin.

China is the United States’ largest lender and holds at least $1.115 trillion in U.S. government debt, approximately 26 percent of all U.S. debt. There is compelling evidence that China’s banks are thoroughly corrupt and its economic might is just a new credit bubble.[1] China’s local governments are carrying at least a $1.7 trillion debt, most of which is coming due over the next five years with only a weak ability to pay it off. If China’s economy flounders, will it be able to buy U.S. Treasuries to increase and sustain our deficits and debt?

Read More

IS TOTAL SOCIALISM IN YOUR FUTURE?

Guest post by Ken Moore

kenmooreok@cox.net

August 1,  2011

Real conservatives in Congress/legislatures have always told us that enough savings to balance any budget can be made by cutting fraud, waste, abuse, outrageous programs, etc.  The reason this is so hard to do now is that this President and this Senate are determined to tax the middle class into permanent hard times that are bad enough that they will accept extreme taxes in exchange for the federal government’s doling out enough small amounts of tax credits, favors, welfare, etc. so that we will have enough money/government entitlements to maintain a minimum middle class lifestyle existence.

Over time this “middle class existence” will become extremely over-regulated, burdensome, motivation-killing, and less than fulfilling to talented entrepreneurs:   It will include $7-$8 gasoline; uncontrolled border with Mexico; almost unlimited welfare for illegals;  favoritism for public sector workers resulting in more budget-busting government salary caused by union paybacks for influencing and/or throwing elections;  “free” cradle-to-grave government health insurance for everybody which will ration care that, for instance, requires you to wait  8 months or more get on chemotherapy if you get cancer; surveillance cameras watching everybody while recording “suspicious” activities such as what churches and organization meetings they attend; people being economically forced to live in inner city high rises to save energy and/or meet government Section 8 or other welfare requirements; total individual income/social security tax burdens of 65% and upward; extreme control, burdens, and taxes on  small business, a 25% value-added tax (VAT, which is a federal sales tax) on everything people buy; etc., etc.

Cooperating/chosen wealthy people and political socialists will become the new ruling class.  The rest of the wealthy will be taxed into becoming middle class like us.  “Cooperating” means letting the government pretty much control big business companies with guarantees that they will not be allowed to fail. Guarantees fulfilled by spending our tax money. The ruling class will help the government to maintain control.

You don’t like all this?  You need to become active politically, and do what you can to see that it doesn’t happen.  Many, many lawmakers from both parties and the President need to be voted out in 2012, but it will require lots of work.

Republican Study Group Issues Proposed Budget Cuts

•Corporation for Public Broadcasting Subsidy. $445 million annual savings.
•Save America’s Treasures Program. $25 million annual savings.
•International Fund for Ireland. $17 million annual savings.
•Legal Services Corporation. $420 million annual savings.
•National Endowment for the Arts. $167.5 million annual savings.
•National Endowment for the Humanities. $167.5 million annual savings.
•Hope VI Program. $250 million annual savings.
•Amtrak Subsidies. $1.565 billion annual savings.
•Eliminate duplicative education programs. H.R. 2274 (in last Congress), authored by Rep. McKeon, eliminates 68 at a savings of $1.3 billion annually.
•U.S. Trade Development Agency. $55 million annual savings.
•Woodrow Wilson Center Subsidy. $20 million annual savings.
•Cut in half funding for congressional printing and binding. $47 million annual savings.
•John C. Stennis Center Subsidy. $430,000 annual savings.
•Community Development Fund. $4.5 billion annual savings.
•Heritage Area Grants and Statutory Aid. $24 million annual savings.
•Cut Federal Travel Budget in Half. $7.5 billion annual savings
•Trim Federal Vehicle Budget by 20%. $600 million annual savings.
•Essential Air Service. $150 million annual savings.
•Technology Innovation Program. $70 million annual savings.
•Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Program. $125 million annual savings.
•Department of Energy Grants to States for Weatherization. $530 million annual savings.
•Beach Replenishment. $95 million annual savings.
•New Starts Transit. $2 billion annual savings.
•Exchange Programs for Alaska, Natives Native Hawaiians, and Their Historical Trading Partners in Massachusetts. $9 million annual savings
•Intercity and High Speed Rail Grants. $2.5 billion annual savings.
•Title X Family Planning. $318 million annual savings.
•Appalachian Regional Commission. $76 million annual savings.
•Economic Development Administration. $293 million annual savings.
•Programs under the National and Community Services Act. $1.15 billion annual savings.
•Applied Research at Department of Energy. $1.27 billion annual savings.
•Freedom CAR and Fuel Partnership. $200 million annual savings.
•Energy Star Program. $52 million annual savings.
•Economic Assistance to Egypt. $250 million annually.
•U.S. Agency for International Development. $1.39 billion annual savings.
•General Assistance to District of Columbia. $210 million annual savings.
•Subsidy for Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. $150 million annual savings.
•Presidential Campaign Fund. $775 million savings over ten years.
•No funding for federal office space acquisition. $864 million annual savings.
•End prohibitions on competitive sourcing of government services.
•Repeal the Davis-Bacon Act. More than $1 billion annually.
•IRS Direct Deposit: Require the IRS to deposit fees for some services it offers (such as processing payment plans for taxpayers) to the Treasury, instead of allowing it to remain as part of its budget. $1.8 billion savings over ten years.
•Require collection of unpaid taxes by federal employees. $1 billion total savings.
•Prohibit taxpayer funded union activities by federal employees. $1.2 billion savings over ten years.
•Sell excess federal properties the government does not make use of. $15 billion total savings.
•Eliminate death gratuity for Members of Congress.
•Eliminate Mohair Subsidies. $1 million annual savings.
•Eliminate taxpayer subsidies to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. $12.5 million annual savings
•Eliminate Market Access Program. $200 million annual savings.
•USDA Sugar Program. $14 million annual savings.
•Subsidy to Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). $93 million annual savings.
•Eliminate the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program. $56.2 million annual savings.
•Eliminate fund for Obamacare administrative costs. $900 million savings.
•Ready to Learn TV Program. $27 million savings.
•HUD Ph.D. Program.
•Deficit Reduction Check-Off Act.
•TOTAL SAVINGS: $2.5 Trillion over Ten Years

Obamacare Can’t Be Fixed, and Now Is the Time to Dismantle It

Kaye Beach

March 23, 2011

Here is another excellent article on Obamacare and how the states are enabling the government takeover of health care by implementing the so-called state-based exchanges.

A few choice quotes from the article are below but be sure to read the whole thing.

This article appeared in the March 21, 2011 issue of National Review.

By Michael F Cannon

. . . opponents may never have more power to chart Obamacare’s course than they do right now. In particular, the decisions that federal and state officials make today could determine whether the 2012 elections produce a Congress and president who are willing to repeal the law. In other words, the iron is hot.

Congressional Republicans appear to grasp the weight of this moment. They are doing everything they can to ensure that Obamacare never sees the year 2014: forcing votes on repealing and de-funding the law, and undertaking a two-year campaign to expose its harmful effects. Unfortunately, their efforts are being undercut by their friends back home.

Rather than beat their plowshares into swords, Obamacare opponents in most state capitols are laying the bureaucratic foundations for the law’s new entitlement spending and lending it legitimacy by accepting its debt-financed federal grants.

Running their own exchanges won’t empower states to prevent both the most economical and the most comprehensive health plans from disappearing from their markets. . . .Nor can state-run exchanges prevent other dimensions of quality from eroding. Even in state-run exchanges, the sickest patients would struggle to get their claims paid by insurers who are trying to avoid, mistreat, and dump them, because that is what Obamacare’s price controls reward.

. . .There is no good way, or even a less-bad way, for states or the feds to implement Obamacare’s exchanges or other central elements. Permitted to stand, Obamacare will reduce Americans’ incomes, harm their health, and decrease their freedom

Read the article