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‘Other’ spending is expanding the national debt by trillions

Think you understand the size and scope of the national debt? It’s growing much more quickly than you think thanks to the many ways the government borrows money, according to an analysis from the Washington Examiner. While most people assume the national debt grows each year because of the budget deficit, that’s not the only way that national debt expands. In the last 10 years, the national debt has actually expanded past the collective sum of adding every year's budget deficit together … by more than $3 trillion. That difference comes from two main things: Decisions related to federal lending (e.g., student loans, mortgage progra...

Policy expert: President Obama planning ‘backdoor attempt’ to bail out insurers

President Obama is working on using a special fund to bail out insurers who claim they lost money on the Obamacare exchanges – a plan that bypasses the consent of Congress. National Review has the commentary: If it successfully executes this plan, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will have circumvented Congress to secure a taxpayer bailout for insurers — directly contradicting Congress’s intentions as expressed by multiple spending bills, and possibly violating federal law. Currently, insurers are suing HHS for more than $2.5 billion promised them under ACA’s “risk corridor” program, which was designed to ...

Trump policy adviser: ‘That’s the plan: Try to pass a tax cut’

Conservative-leaning Heritage Foundation Fellow and Economist Stephen Moore Wednesday during a Politico forum says he would tell President-elect Trump to first focus on slashing business taxes and then follow up later with reforming individual tax rates. Reuters has the details: Trump's proposal would reduce the official corporate tax rate to 15 percent from 35 percent, allow corporations to repatriate overseas profits at a 10 percent rate and reduce the top individual tax rate to 33 percent from 39.6 percent. Moore estimated that the cuts would lead to a revenue loss of about $3 trillion over 10 years, for which Trump would compensate with ...

IRS denies tea partyers’ longtime requests for tax-exempt status

The IRS has denied tax-exempt status to two tea-party groups, including an Albuquerque, New Mexico-based tea-party group that for seven years was waiting on an answer from the tax-collection agency. The Washington Times has the story: The tax agency, under orders from a federal judge, is belatedly tackling the remaining tea party cases that it delayed for years, and so far the tea party isn’t doing well. Only one of the three groups in the case was approved, and the other two, including Albuquerque, got notices of proposed denials last week. The applicants will have a chance to appeal, but the denials aren’t sitting well with the groups, ...

Legal expert thanks senators for ‘giving the American people a voice in filling the vacancy left by Justice Scalia’

Judicial Crisis Network Chief Counsel Carrie Severino today expressed her gratitude for those senators who refused to consider President Obama’s liberal Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland in the hopes of confirming a nominee more suited to fill Justice Antonin’s Scalia’s vacant seat on the bench. The Washington Examiner has the story: The power to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court was a major factor in 21 percent of voters' decisions on Election Day, and a majority of those voters, 57 percent to 40 percent, pulled the lever for Trump, according to an ABC News exit poll. Carrie Severino, the chief counsel and policy director for the ...

Policy expert: American middle class in ‘deep trouble’ over Obamacare premium increases

Americans enrolled in Obamacare will ring in the new year with Obamacare premium hikes whose deductibles under the silver plan – on average – are nearly $3,600 for singles nearly $7,500 for families. And, while those who make up to $47,080 will have help with their premiums, those who make more than $47,080 will have no help and be forced decide whether to drop their health insurance altogether. CNS News has the commentary: But a large chunk of the American middle class earns too much (more than 400 percent of the poverty level) to qualify for either the premium tax credits or the cost-sharing subsidies. If these persons don’t have, or ...

Policy expert: National debt ‘highly problematic’

Romina Boccia, economic-policy-studies research fellow for the Heritage Foundation, in a recent commentary piece warns that our $20 trillion national debt puts our nation in a volatile position. LifeZette has the commentary: Soon the national debt will top $20 trillion. Three-fourths of that has been borrowed from domestic and foreign investors. The rest is money the government has “borrowed” from government trust funds, like Social Security. In total, the gross national debt already exceeds 100 percent of what the economy produces in a given year (GDP) — and taxpayers are on the hook for all of it. This excessive debt is highly problem...

Washington Examiner: Women’s Obamacare insurance will be ‘essentially worthless’

Women in general have a greater need for health insurance by virtue of their sex and likelihood of requiring pregnancy-related care and therefore shell out more money for health care than men do – something Obamacare was supposed to fix. Female enrollees, however, have apparently fallen victim to Obamacare architects who didn’t work into their equation the percentage of men who – in lieu of higher premiums – forego health insurance altogether. The Washington Examiner has the details: Post the ACA, insurance is now gender neutral, meaning you can't charge a woman more than you would charge a man for the same coverage. Like most of Obamaca...

VA executives awash in bonuses despite ongoing wait-list scandal

Veteran Affairs employees raked in a combined $177 million in bonuses in fiscal-year 2015 even though VA offices across the country remain plagued by reports of mismanagement and continued manipulation of veteran wait-list times. USA Today has the scoop: More than 300 senior executives of the troubled agency received $3.3 million in bonuses, for an average payment of about $10,000 each. The non-executives received about $900 on average. Among those receiving bonuses was the former top VA official in Ohio who retired the same day he received a notice he was going to be fired. Another was the former chief of staff at the Phoenix VA Medical Center ...

New York Times: Obamacare tax penalty ‘has not worked all that well’

The New York Times documents the people choosing to go without Obamacare this coming year because of the price spikes sweeping the country and instead take the tax penalty and pray they don’t need health insurance. Here are some of the details: It has not worked all that well, and that is at least partly to blame for soaring premiums next year on some of the health law’s insurance exchanges… William H. Weber, 51, a business consultant in Atlanta, said he paid $1,400 a month this year for a Humana health plan that covered him and his wife and two children. Premiums will increase 60 percent next year, Mr. Weber said, and he does not see ...