“There is no correlation between a union mine being safer than a non-union mine. Union membership has plummeted over the decades, with only 3 percent of Kentucky coal miners being represented by the UMWA.” — Bill Bissett, Kentucky Coal Association president
While Washington continues to battle over the budget, the forecast for entitlement spending grows more grim.
This graph by The Heritage Foundation’s lead budget analyst, Brian Riedl, shows the trajectory of entitlement spending in the US budget.
The question we should be debating is not whether or not we should reform entitlements but how. Entitlement spending continues to drive up the debt, and the problem is only getting worse.
This projection certainly has significant implications for Kentucky, particularly as the commonwealth continues to struggle with its Medicaid budget. As a joint state and federal program, the forecast for increasing federal Medicaid spending will not leave Kentucky’s program untouched.
I read today that the Obama administration is considering a working draft of a bill that would tax drivers based on how many miles they drive.
What’s next? Taxing musicians based on how many notes they play? A tax based on how many square feet your gas powered mower travels when you are maintaining your property?
Reminds me of a song…
“The fear of losing taxpayers to another jurisdiction gives policymakers an incentive to keep taxes, regulations and other intrusions modest; but homogenized, top-down policy diminishes the incentives for states to compete for residents.
“Instead of competing for residents, states compete for federal funding and privileges. It’s a system that rewards the best lobbyists while wasting taxpayers’ money.”
–The Heritage Foundation, “Make States Compete by Reviving Fiscal Federalism”
Not only will failing to bring down Obamacare result in a loss of our personal liberties, it will also offer the equivalent of a “do not resuscitate order” for one of America’s greatest founding principles — federalism, writes the Heritage Foundation’s Robert Moffit.
Moffit notes the uniquely American principle of federalism “was already on life support before the individual mandate.”
In a recent edition of The Insider , he makes a strong case for state officials going to battle with the federal government over this issue — not just because of what it will do to our health care system, but due to the precedent it will set in opening the floodgates for other government intrusion.
Of course, Kentucky officials have been very partisan, choosing to side with their political pals in Washington on this issue rather than serve the citizens they committed to protect and the Constitution they swore to uphold.
He urges state officials to:
* “Move ahead with their own agenda for health reform, not just play a waiting game until 2014, listening for Washington to tell them what to do and how to do it.
* “Seize every inch of territory in the health policy debate within the law, such as health insurance market reform.”
* “Challenge every transgression of their legitimate authority if and when federal officials violate it.”
* “Hold their own public hearings on the impact of the federal law on their citizens, employers, employees, insurers and medical professionals, and state agencies.”
* “U.S. senators who voted to impose costly mandates on their states should be invited to state legislative hearings to give an account of their actions and explain why they believe such mandates advance the true interests of the states they represent.” (Since neither Kentucky U.S. senator voted for this fiasco, we would urge, instead that House members who support it be invited to Frankfort.)
* “Invite federal officials to appear and explain how they intend to implement mandates and make them justify their proposed rules in broad daylight.”
* “State legislators, in cooperation with colleagues in sister states, should make it clear that dumping hundreds of pages of complex federal rules into the Federal Register for public notice and comment is no longer sufficient.”
We wonder when our Governor and Attorney General might quit just feeling good about sending out meaningless press releases full of warm fuzzies about ribbon cuttings and start getting serious about fulfilling their constitutional obligations to protect Kentuckians from an ever-encroaching federal government.
Yesterday, House and Senate Republicans announced a new bill that would provide states with more flexibility to run their Medicaid programs. The proposed legislation would repeal the maintenance of effort (MOE) requirements of ObamaCare.
While ObamaCare’s official Medicaid expansion does not take place until 2014, states are not allowed to scale back their eligibility levels in the interim.
An initial estimate from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported that over the next five years this increased flexibility granted to states would save the federal government $3 billion. Supporters of the bill argue that the inability of state officials to manage their Medicaid eligibility standards will inevitably result in cuts to providers.
The commonwealth watched as state officials struggled to shore up the Medicaid budget deficit during this year’s session, and the scrutiny will only continue until savings are realized. This type of legislation could have significant implications for future budget discussions.