Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Garrett's $339 Billion Distortion

It's been a while since we've needed a piece like this, but as the Health Insurance debate heats up, one had to guess at some point Representative Scott Garrett was going to start spinning like a top again.

At issue is a floor speech made yesterday, that will also likely be included in this week's Garrett Gazette to mislead constituents. The focus of the speech is a report by HHS Chief Actuary Richard Foster. It has become a rallying cry to those opposed to the health insurance overhaul.

Might as well get into the speech:
According to that chief actuary whom I just mentioned, total spending on health care would actually increase by $750 billion more than if we did nothing at all.
This is the second to last true statement in the speech, an average of $75 billion a year for 10 years.

From Garrett:
You see, the real overall cost of this bill would be $1.2 trillion.
From the Actuary:
We estimate that Federal expenditures would increase by a net total of $861 billion.
That's the $339 billion distortion. Not only is Garrett's gross cost more than $100 billion higher than the Actuary's gross ($1,035 billion), he doesn't mention the savings. It's wholly dishonest of Garrett not to mention the savings.

From Garrett:
After all of this spending, there would still be around 20-some-odd million uninsured Americans. So, for those folks who are trying to keep score of all of this, that comes out to be about $35,000 per uninsured person out there.
First off, the "20-some-odd million" includes illegal immigrants, per the Actuary, so I guess it's nice Garrett's calling them Americans.

Second, based on the above correction in numbers saying that all of the money spent is only to insure the uninsured (which it's not), the cost OVER TEN YEARS is roughly $25,000 per person, or an average of $2,500 per year per newly insured person. Garrett seems back to making up five figure distortions again.

From Garrett:
Now, another promise that the President made was that he said, ‘‘if you like your current coverage, you keep it.’’ Well, again, look back to that government actuary whom we talked about before. According to that chief actuary, that’s not true if you’re a senior on Medicare, because 8.5 million seniors on Medicare today would lose their current coverage, and they would be forced into some different coverage.
This is Garrett scaring seniors again. Readers may remember Medicare Advantage is one of Garrett's favorite taxpayer fleecing programs. He conveniently left out Advantage, from Medicare Advantage, when saying these words.

The reason is because it's inconvenient for him to acknowledge that, according to the Actuary, once insurance companies can't charge the government up to a 40% mark up on the same services provided as Medicare they're likely to reduce their available plans.

Seniors will be able to get the same services, it's just that Medicare won't be billed 40% extra for the same services, thus saving taxpayers money. The Actuary and the CBO see this as a good thing. And Garrett claims to be a fiscal conservative?

From Garrett:
The chief actuary says the cuts could force such organizations, such as nursing homes and home health agencies, to leave the Medicare program and, thus, ‘‘possibly jeopardizing access to care for beneficiaries.’’
Readers have to remember that if Garrett had his way, nursing care could be dropped by insurers anyway. Kind of a tough call, but as the Actuary actually said that we'll give this one to Garrett.

I've written before how this speech structure is an effective way to misrepresent the truth: book-ending the misrepresentations with facts to give credibility to the misrepresentations. The added twist here is that Garrett's talking about a report based on a bill that does not exist anymore, and won't be voted on.

And the spin goes on...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Garrett and Consumer Protection

Representative Scott Garrett voted against creation of the Consumer Protection agency yesterday. He discusses his stance and reasoning over on MSNBC, opposite Barry Ritholtz. Ritholtz takes Garrett to task for his characterization of the bill, as well as his belief we already do enough, and Garrett even seems to back off his stance when faced with the practical implications of the agency:

No Bidding Bergen: Ferriero Goes Down

This is long overdue. Papa Joe Ferriero has been convicted.

While I've written a couple dozen times about Papa Joe, and could only hope they throw the 40 year/$500,000 book at him to send a message; the Record Editorial about the conviction makes me less enthused than I thought I would be. Here's the important part:

However, it is too early to break out the champagne. New Jersey’s culture of corruption has not been dismantled. It has been slowed down, nothing more. The steady stream of public officials hauled before judges and juries has not been diminished by high-profile arrests.

In Bergen County, the Democratic Party has operated with barely a blip since Ferriero’s arrest. The same candidates are seeking office; the same county committee people control the process. Removing the king, while the rest of the kingdom remains firmly in place, is more show than substance. What happens next is what is important.

Democrats in Bergen have a choice to make, keep doing things the same corrupted way or follow the path of State Senator Loretta Weinberg and win based on principle. They only have to look at the BCRO to see how quickly things can fall apart following a corruption bust. Unfortunately, as the Record pointed out, they haven't even attempted to reform themselves.

The no-bid contracts associated with corruption cost all of us money. And although people barely list corruption as one of their concerns when voting, they're fooling themselves if they think high property taxes and high corruption are unrelated. When the public finally puts two and two together, if the BCDO hasn't changed their ways, they won't be able to win an election for dog catcher.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Caroline Kennedy's Speech

This was quite the surprise, to have Caroline Kennedy speak yesterday before Governor Corzine and President Obama.

Obama's Entire Speech

It was quite the event. Here is Obama's speech for Governor Corzine:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More Updates

Obama: One voice can change a room...

Obama: Tells the story about Fired Up; Ready to Go. Pretty amazing.

Obama: The outcome of this race isn't up to Jon, it's up to you.

Obama is on absolute fire. Super aggressive.

Obama "there seems to be some selective memory on how we got in this fix"

Obama is on the stage. He has given his shout outs.

We need to cover the facts: Jon is running for re-election during challenging times.

Corzine: Over next 13 days I ask you to stand strong with me; and I'll stand with you for four more years.

Scrolling down has become onerous.

Obama visiting NJ

Update: Corzine is hammering education and health. He's slamming mandate free policies.

Corzine: I believe we have a moral obligation to provide a world class education.

Update: Corzine is thanking everyone. This crowd is loving him. "Yes we can". "We are all in this together"

Update: Kennedy- Corzine introduced after she says he's never forgotten the value of a good education.

Update: This is a good speech. Real meat and potatoes, and now we get Caroline Kennedy.

Update: Oh, the "Jewish Grandmother" as hatchet woman is interesting to see in person. She's tearing Christie apart, but seems like she's about to offer the audience milk and cookies.

Update: Senator Loretta Weinberg is speaking now. She's highlighting NJ's diversity. She just used "Strength in Diversity"

Update: Just a reminder, you can watch live at http://www.joncorzine09.com/

Update: We're in the holding pattern dance party now. Nothing to do with politics, but watching senior citizens jam to "Sexy Back" is always fun.

Update: The obligatory Bon Jovi. Still can't believe they're having him open Giants Stadium.

Update: We're at the strategic placing stage, with people being lined up behind the podium.

Update: Rothman is tying his support of Obama into Corzine. He mention's Sarah Palin's name and the crowd boos loudly.

Rothman is claiming Corzine will go down in history as one of our greatest Governors ever.

"Let's get the job done" is his ending.

Update: Rep. Steve Rothman. Obama's first backer. They're rolling out the big guns in order.

Update: Huttle- "Chris Christie is wrong when it matters most"

Update: Valerie Huttle up there. Talking about stimulus money. "Jon Corzine knows what matters" seems to be the developing theme.

Update: Vernon Walton is getting the crowd chatting yes we can.

Update: Dennis McNerney is on the stage.

Update: 3,500 folks are going to be here.

Update: And here we go.

Update: The campaign is running live video on their website: http://www.joncorzine09.com/

Update: Ah. I doubt the music selection is as interesting at most political functions.

Update: Heard the Joe Ferriero verdict may come today. Would provide for an interesting contrast if he came back guilty the same day Loretta is on with the President.

Update: Best sticker so far: Mammos Matter. Cozine/Weinberg also have a ton of pink signs in the crowd.

Update: I'm actually hoping to hear State Senator Loretta Weinberg speak. She has been at the forefront of cleaning up politics in the Democratic Party and the state. After her battles, and more important victories against Papa Joe and the BCDO, her ending up NJ's Lt. Governor has great potential.

Update: All the regular press are starting to fill into our area. Very good to see some familiar faces.

Update: This venue is much more intimate than PNC, and has the temperature of the ice rink VP Biden visited so many months ago.

One thing that seems to be a common visit during the events this week is voter turnout. Less than 50 percent of people vote, and therefore 25.1 percent can decide who will be our Governor.

I wrote a rather long piece on this a few years back. Above all, people need to participate to gain accountability of their government.

President Obama has returned to NJ in support of Governor Corzine and I'm here. The crowd is starting to be let in and the music is starting to play. Frequent updates to come...

Garrett Talking Down Payments

Here's Representative Scott Garrett discussing his plan to increase the down payment on FHA loans to 5%.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Christie Just Keeps Burying Himself

One has to wonder if Chris Christie is purposely trying to lose, or if his recent issues are reflective of what his management of the state would be like. We're in rough enough shape as it is, this kind of mismanagement won't help us get better.

In case you missed it, there are two issues that he just keeps making worse for himself.

First, Christie just keeps getting deeper in the scandal with Michelle Brown, his former assistant/travel buddy. The NY Times ran a scathing piece, highlighting her alleged interference at the US Attorney's office. Christie's surrogates then tried to deflect the criticism. However, they can't avoid the issue and the more they try and say he didn't do anything wrong the worse they're sounding.

Second, and this really should be first, on whether or not he's going to be a fiscal conservative, Christie himself has been quoted as saying he would allow cabinet officials to put themselves up at expensive hotels. The story was picked up by News 12:

And by WPIX:

You simply can't claim to be a fiscal conservative and then propose to govern like this. As Christie has started to attack Chris Daggett to stop from taking fiscal conservatives, one has to realize it's because Christie himself is not a fiscal conservative. No way, no how.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Daggett Supporter Drops By

As a former Independent candidate myself, I have a tremendous amount of respect for Chris Daggett and what his campaign has been able to accomplish to date.

He's earned the endorsement of the Star Ledger, seeks the council of solid centrists like Governor Angus King (quoted under my picture to the right), receives full write-ups in the New York Times, and is currently polling at 16%. Pretty remarkable.

So, as I have spoken about the other two candidates, I figure it only fair to let one of Daggett's folks have a voice here. Here's a comment left on my post yesterday (I took the liberty of connecting the hyperlinks):
Unfortunately politicians in both parties do this. We need to shake up the system by electing Chris Daggett.

That's why The Star Ledger’s endorsement of Chris Daggett is great news. I wish the Republicans would stop the Bush/Rove Fear mongering. There is obviously a consensus that a vote for Daggett is not a vote for Corzine.

Daggett is a viable candidate and there are many of this who are voting for him because we know he can win and is the only candidate who can change this state. The Star Ledger’s endorsement echoes and re-affirms that opinion.

We need people to get involved and spread the word about Chris Daggett.

Learn 15 ways to help and get started now.

Even if your not from NJ you can still cyber volunteer. Go here to get Html and Text code to post on the web or in an email!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Christie's Room(s) at the Inn

Update: Hotwire lays out the trips; Blue Jersey promoted a thoughtful comparison between Christie and Sharpe James.

I'm going to flat out say it, Chris Christie is not the sharpest politician in the world.

From the AP:

On trips in 2007 and 2008, his top deputy, Michele Brown, also exceeded the guidelines after Christie approved her requests for rooms in the same five-star hotels where he was booked.

The vouchers show Christie and Brown stayed at the NineZero Hotel in Boston on Oct. 16, 2007 and each billed taxpayers $449 plus taxes and fees for their rooms, more than double the government allowance for a Boston hotel room at the time, according to a General Services Administration travel reimbursement table.

You can't claim to be fiscally conservative, and then act like it only applies to everyone else. To make matters worse, in addition to Christie taking taxpayers for a ride, Christie approved his assistant doing it, too.

In fairness to Christie, he's said he couldn't find a room. Although the Red Sox were playing in the playoffs that night (was he there?) and Tori Amos was in town (or there?), it's unlikely every affordable hotel in Boston was booked on a Tuesday night. In fact, Christie has a demonstrated history of this sort of blatant waste, exceeding federal limits on 87.5% of his trips.

Then, going back to things you should think about, the AP article points out some interesting timing:
Christie made a mortgage loan to Brown five days after they returned from Boston, on Oct. 22, 2007. He failed to report the loan on federal ethics forms and on his 2007 federal income tax returns, omissions he later described as a mistake. Brown has since resigned and joined a private law firm.
While no one is saying that Christie and Brown have had an affair, he should have realized at some point in time, such a coincidence in timing would sow seeds of doubt in the public's mind.

So not only does he abuse taxpayer dollars, he doesn't think.

New Jersey has a long and sorry history of politicians who don't think, which is part of the reason we're in the mess we're in. While people are already seem burned out over the campaign, it will be interesting to see how the public reacts.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Garrett Talking Health Care

Representative Scott Garrett was on CNBC chatting about President Obama's health care reform plan.