masthead-highres

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pro-ObamaCare Corporations to Be Questioned at Stockholder Meetings Thursday

National Center for Public Policy Research staff members Tom Borelli, Deneen Borelli and Justin Danhof will be attending the annual stockholder meetings of Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson Thursday to directly ask the corporations' CEOs why they bankrolled lobbying and ad campaigns supporting the passage of ObamaCare.

Johnson & Johnson's CEO will also be asked why Johnson & Johnson is lobbying for cap-and-trade.

More details are available in our press release.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:38 PM

Friday, April 16, 2010

Project 21's Deneen Borelli Calls on President Obama to Attend a Tea Party Rally



While being interviewed on the Fox News Channel's Fox and Friends show April 16, Project 21's Deneen Borelli responded to President Obama's complaint that Tea Party goers really should "thank" him by calling on the President to attend a Tea Party rally and talk to rally participants in order to "really hear what is going on" in terms of public concerns and discontent.

Addendum: Always whining about something, Media Matters for America is complaining that Deneen is wrong because, to quote the Media Matters website, "the recovery act contained $288 billion in tax relief." Media Matters is pretending it doesn't understand the concept of "net," that is, if the President promotes a tiny tax cut and larger tax increases, he really ought not claim the mantle of "tax cutter."

The Heritage Foundation's Brian Riedl notes that President Obama's latest budget raises taxes by $3 trillion. The President raised tobacco taxes, which disproportionately fall upon lower income individuals. ObamaCare contains massive tax increases. Cap-and-trade, which the President ardently supports, would raise taxes still further, probably by trillions if not quickly repealed (admittedly, through a regulatory apparatus, but the money is lifted from taxpayers just as thoroughly).

Note: I fixed an incorrect link to Media Matters. I apologize for any inconvenience.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:10 AM

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Fraud Begets Fraud in ObamaCare Land

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has issued a fraud alert - apparently, the passing of ObamaCare has unleashed a torrent of miscreants peddling fake insurance policies. The Associated Press reports:
After Obama signed the law March 23, a proliferation of scams involving bogus health-insurance policies has been reported. Some hustlers are going door-to-door, claiming there's a limited open-enrollment period to buy health insurance now. Not so. Moreover, even after new marketplaces open for business in 2014, door-to-door salespeople are unlikely to be part of the outreach. Scam artists also have set up toll-free lines.
Secretary Sebelius has gall indeed to issue a fraud warning - the entire ObamaCare edifice is itself a fraud, perpetrated on the American people by a duplicitous governing class. Almost nothing that the administration has promised about the health bill is true. To take but a few glaring examples:

The Claim - ObamaCare will reduce the deficit. The President even hailed his bill as "the most significant step" toward deficit reduction in years."

The Truth - Administration officials and Congressional leaders were given cover for this ruse by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which estimated that the bill as written would reduce the deficit by over $100 billion for the first decade.

However, that estimate assumes that cost control provisions, such as the nearly half a trillion in Medicare cuts, will actually materialize - which hardly anyone believes. As former CBO director Douglas Holtz-Eakin writes in the New York Times, the CBO "is required to take written legislation at face value and not second-guess the plausibility of what it is handed. So fantasy in, fantasy out." Holtz-Eakin concludes that "if you strip out all the gimmicks and budgetary games [from the health care bill] and rework the calculus, a wholly different picture emerges: The health care reform legislation would raise, not lower, federal deficits, by $562 billion."

The Claim - ObamaCare will "bend the cost curve down," reducing health spending in the United States and saving us money.

The Truth - Oops. Obama's own Medicare actuary Richard Foster warned that ObamaCare would bend the cost curve up, increasing health spending nationally by $222 billion over ten years.

The Claim - ObamaCare will reduce health insurance premiums.

The Truth - By what economic logic does flooding the insurance pool with a new wave of sick individuals who cannot be turned away lower insurance premiums? Fantastical logic, of course. As the Associated Press recently reported, according to their analysis, under the new health care regime: "Beginning in 2014, most Americans will be required to buy insurance or pay a tax penalty. That's when premiums for young adults seeking coverage on the individual market would likely climb by 17 percent on average." The effect? "The higher costs will pinch many people in their 20s and early 30s who are struggling to start or advance their careers with the highest unemployment rate in 26 years." You don't say. Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation concurs, saying that under ObamaCare, "There's no question premiums are still going to keep going up...it would be miraculous if premiums actually went down relative to where they are today."

In addition to serial and flagrantly false fiscal promises, the very method of ObamaCare's passing - bribery and backroom deals with lobbyists and special interest groups - undermines the administration's moral authority to chastise alleged health insurance hucksters. Politico helpfully lists some of the more flagrant carve outs made during the year-long health care negotiations with key interest groups:
PhRMA, the drug industry's powerful Washington lobbying group, cut a $90 billion deal with the White House and Senate Democrats. The AHA and the hospital industry cut a $155 billion deal with Democrats to help pay for reform. The union AFSCME successfully lobbied the White House to soften the tax on high-end insurance plans.
No wonder Secretary Sebelius is angry at con artists who are selling phony health insurance plans based on false promises - clearly, she feels, that's the job of the Obama administration.

This post was written by Matt Patterson, policy analyst at the National Center for Public Policy Research.

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Posted by Matt Patterson at 12:02 AM

Friday, April 09, 2010

Our Bart Stupak Story

Bart Stupak: Good riddance to a dangerous Congressman.

Most of you will suppose I'm referencing Bart Stupak's double-cross of the pro-life movement, but that's not the only thing. In the late 1990s, Stupak tried to have this institution charged with a federal crime for publishing materials inconvenient to the left on health care issues.

Up to then, I had naively supposed prosecutors didn't investigate policy disagreements in America.

The issue in question was Section 4507 of the 1997 Balanced Budget Act, which prohibited Medicare patients from contracting privately with medical doctors unless the doctor opted out of the Medicare system for at least two years, among other requirements.

Here's how Steve Forbes described it in the American Enterprise Institute's magazine (11/1/97):
...buried in the 1,200-page budget bill is a nasty, little-known provision, Section 4507, that begins to write socialized medicine into law. Starting January 1, 1998, American doctors will effectively be prohibited from treating elderly patients on a private basis outside of the Medicare program.

The government health care bureaucracy had already been using its regulatory powers to forbid doctors who accept Medicare patients from also treating senior citizens who choose to pay out of-pocket. Republicans originally tried to insert into the budget agreement a provision that would overturn this regulation, but President Clinton protested and the Republicans caved in.

Since over 90 percent of doctors accept Medicare patients, this law makes it nearly impossible for seniors to find a doctor who will also treat them on a private basis, outside Medicare's rules and regulations. Only doctors in the very wealthiest areas will be available to seniors hoping to engage in private health care between consenting adults. Astonishingly, even Britain, mother of socialized medicine, allows patients to contract privately with physicians. Senator Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) is leading the charge to repeal Section 4507. He points out that the current law is the equivalent of forbidding everyone enrolled in Social Security from also investing his own money privately with stockbrokers: Such a law "would be met with disbelief and derision," yet it is no different from what the new Medicare law does.
To seniors, especially those not living in big cities, this had the effect of making some medical procedures unavailable to them unless they travelled long distances, as in small towns there might not be a single doctor providing the services they desired who also was willing to forgo treating anyone receiving Medicare for two years.

To conservatives, this provision was a step forward for government control of medicine and a violation of the civil rights of senior citizens.

To liberals, including the Clinton Administration, it was a way to restrict private involvement in health care. They further argued that doctors would overcharge vulnerable seniors for services, and that it would be better for seniors to be denied certain services entirely than to risk being overcharged privately.

Section 4507 received scant public attention when the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 was adopted, but seniors soon began to report difficulties. Simple and inexpensive tests sought by people with diabetes or concern that they might have diabetes, for example, were not in all circumstances covered by Medicare, and now seniors could not get them unless they found a doctor who had entirely opted out of Medicare. Similarly, men over 65 were barred from privately contracting with doctors for screening tests for prostate cancer, although Medicare did not cover these tests for men without symptoms. And there were other examples.

We, along with several other institutions (not all of them conservative), began to call attention to the detrimental impacts of Section 4507 on seniors. One think-tank published a book. Another published numerous papers and held at least one symposium. A seniors group filed suit in federal court on civil rights grounds. And a U.S. Senator (Jon Kyl) and the then-chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee (Bill Archer) introduced joint legislation to repeal Section 4507.

Our work on this was routine for a think-tank. We published informational materials on it for the public and policymakers (for example, this, posted online at that time), press materials (for example, here) for talk radio hosts and editorial writers, and collected petitions from the public about Section 4507 and sent them to Congress.

Routine work, that is, until we got a phone call from a federal investigator. Rep. Bart Stupak, we were told, had a received a copy of some of our materials and had contacted law enforcement, alleging that the Section 4507 did not do what we claimed it did, and that our claims constituted mail fraud.

To me, this was preposterous, and as I was naive back then, I told the investigator to come over, and I'd share information about the provision with him. I didn't contact legal counsel, as I did not want to waste donors' money on such a ridiculous and (I thought) easily-rebutted allegation.

The investigator came over, and I showed him the book, and the policy papers by other institutions, and information about the Kyl-Archer bill to repeal, and press materials by the seniors group that had filed suit in federal court. The investigator, however, was unmoved. Just because other groups are saying the same thing you are, he said, doesn't make you right. Instead, he said, it is evidence of a conspiracy.

I was taken aback, as one might expect, and the investigator added his coup de grace: the Congressional Research Service says all of you are wrong on this, he said, and what did I have to say to that? He made it clear he considered the CRS the final authority, and believed that publishing anything to the contrary and mailing it would constitute mail fraud. I hadn't read what the CRS said, so I couldn't comment on its position. The investigator left, and faxed me the CRS document soon after, with a cover note that wasn't promising. The CRS document itself, however, was: The CRS agreed with our position entirely.

None of this should have happened, but it didn't end there. Before long, we received a subpoena from the U.S. Justice Department requiring us to turn over all documents, communications, etc. relating to our work on Section 4507. We complied, and also involved counsel. Our attorney phoned the Justice Department attorney whose name was on the subpoena and pointed out that First Amendment protects our right to publish as we see fit on public policy issues. In fact, he said, the investigator's entire line of questioning as to whether our papers were correct was inappropriate, as people have a constitutional right to publish things the government disagrees with. The Justice Department attorney told him she in fact agreed with him, but that, because of superiors, her hands were tied on the case. So we had to consider ourselves under active investigation.

We didn't hear anything from them for about two years (to the best of my recollection, between the 2000 presidential election and Bush's inauguration), when the DOJ returned all our subpoenaed documents. We never found out anything more about who at DOJ had considered the case worth investigating, but we couldn't help thinking it was someone inclined to discourage conservative groups from working on health care. No charges were ever brought.

So now that Congressman Bart Stupak, whose office thought it was perfectly proper to sic federal law enforcement on a conservative organization simply for publishing perfectly accurate materials inconvenient to the liberal big-government position, has decided to retire, I say good riddance. We don't need any Congressmen, on the left or the right, who believe in criminalizing policy disagreements, and who oppose the people's right to free speech.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:53 PM

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Deneen Borelli Talks Tea Party on Hannity

On Fox News' "Hannity," Project 21 full-time Fellow Deneen Borelli discussed attacks on and allegations against Tea Party activists and newfound flaws in President Obama's recently-adopted health care plan.

This show was broadcast on March 26.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:51 PM

Ouch

Ed Driscoll fisked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's wires-behind-the-refrigerator health care analogy in a way that would have to hurt.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:33 PM

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Washington Post Should Fire Courtland Milloy

A long-time Washington Post columnist, Courtland Milloy, tells his readers how he would like to spit on Americans who protest against big government, and hit them and knock out all their teeth:
I know how the 'tea party' people feel, the anger, venom and bile that many of them showed during the recent House vote on health-care reform. I know because I want to spit on them, take one of their 'Obama Plan White Slavery' signs and knock every racist and homophobic tooth out of their Cro-Magnon heads.

I am sick of these people -- and those who make excuses for them and their victim-whiner mentality.

They aren't racists, the apologists say. They just don't like deficits and government takeover of health care. So what does using vile epithets for black or gay congressmen have to do with that? The tea party people didn't refer to white Democrats using racial epithets. No one yelled 'white trash' or 'redneck cracker' at any of those congressmen. And none of their own ever stands up and declares that such practices are morally wrong.
If the Washington Post has apologized for this, and fired Courtland Milloy, both of which are called for, I am unaware of it.

Milloy's piece in the Post contains an embedded link in the words "Obama Plan White Slavery," but if you click the link it goes to a long Post photo spread of the March 20 Tea Party at the Capitol, and not a single sign in the entire series contains the term "white slavery," or, unlike Milloy's column, anything else remotely racialist or pro-violence.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:34 PM

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Third Video of Tea Party Protest of Black Congressmen Reveals No Racial Taunts

I found what is (by my count) a third video showing Rep. John Lewis and fellow members of the Congressional Black Caucus walking from the House office buildings to the Capitol on Saturday, March 20 -- the walk during which the Congressmen claim to have been called the "n-word."

The other two videos, already widely viewed, are here:

I don't hear any racial epithets on any of these, although I agree with those who have said that is inconclusive. Still, William Douglas of McClatchy reported that Rep. Emanuel Cleaver said the n-word "was a chorus," so it seems odd that no videos or witnesses have appeared. This "n-word" story has been national news for four days now.

For what it's worth, I was there Saturday, Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon, and I didn't hear anything race-based the entire time. Unfortunately, that, too, is inconclusive.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 7:20 PM

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tea Party Video: Tea Partiers Sing "God Bless America"

As the March 20, 2010 Tea Party at the U.S. Capitol comes to an end, Tea Partiers sing "God Bless America."


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:29 AM

Tea Party Video: Tea Partiers Chant as Obama Arrives at Capitol to Lobby Wavering Democrats


This video was shot from the left side of the East Front of the U.S. Capitol, shot toward the south of the Capitol where the House of Representatives office buildings are located and where Tea Party protesters chanted "Kill the Bill" about an hour following the end of the March 20, 2010 Tea Party Rally. At the time this video was shot, President Obama's motorcade was expected to enter the Capitol grounds momentarily.


Although the President's motorcade entered from the north of the Capitol and avoided the protestors, the sounds of the continuing, if impromptu, Tea Party activities must have reached him loud and clear. The President's motorcade is barely visible on the video as the Capitol Police kept the public far away from the Capitol for over an hour before the President's arrival. This is as close as my son Jonathan and I were allowed to get.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:19 AM

More Tea Party Pictures

More photos of Saturday's Tea Party rally, taken by yours truly as my son Jonathan and I attended events this afternoon:

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I have to post a picture of this happy little guy first, because no matter where I looked, he caught my eye and mugged for the camera in some way.

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Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) was generous with his time, approaching Tea Partiers to thank them for expressing their views and answering everyone's questions.

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Shot of the rally from a distance, after 90 minutes after it began.

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Far edge of the rally, with a shot of the Capitol.

And the rest are crowd shots...

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:47 AM

U.S. Capitol Tea Party Pictures

Photos of the Tea Party Code Red Rally at the U.S. Capitol Saturday, taken by David Almasi:

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Even the Johns oppose it.

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If I worked for the suicidal pharmaceutical industry or was one of its twelve zillion lobbyists, I would take note of apparently spontaneous grassroots signs like this one.

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Seems clear enough.

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Fewer doctors, probably. Even doctors gotta eat.

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Actor Jon Voight talks with an unidentified Tea Partier.

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Bill supporters figure people will forget about all this in a few months.

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Survivors know a few things.

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Some folks really know how to do lettering.

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The red star reminds me of something.

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The process, the results...

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At leftie rallies, the unions preprint the signs. Not so here.

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Christopher Gadsen would appreciate this.

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Nobody's child is safe.

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This photo of David Almasi must have been taken by someone else...


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:12 AM

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Pelosi Tries to Clear Capitol; Crowd Isn't Leaving

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Spent much of the day at the Tea Party rally outside the U.S. Capitol and returned home to blog about it, but I think I'm heading back. David Almasi is still there [see addendum below] and he tells me the Tea Partiers spontaneously formed at the East side of the Capitol. The Rules Committee complained about the noise, and Nancy Pelosi ordered the grounds cleared. The crowd refused to leave and the Republican House members have joined the Tea Partiers in solidarity.

I don't see this on the news right now; don't know why, but I think I'm going back there and will blog and post pictures and videos from today later.

Addendum, midnight: First, a correction: Turned out it was Joe Roche who was texting me, not David Almasi. Amusingly, we even talked on the telephone in between texts, but the roars of the crowd were so loud I couldn't tell Joe's voice from David's and Joe couldn't hear me calling him by the wrong name.

Now for the news: When Joe, my daughter Kate, my son Christopher and I met up on the East front of the Capitol more than an hour after I posted this and after night had fallen, the crowd was breaking up in favor of an overnight vigil in front of the Supreme Court and, no doubt for some, their first food and drink since breakfast. Joe confirmed for me that Republican lawmakers had indeed come out to talk to the crowd, and that the events described above did happen. Joe added that he believed a few Democratic legislators who oppose the health care bill had joined the GOP members in speaking to the Tea Partiers, although he didn't have their names.

Among the group of perhaps 1,000 that stayed until nightfall were discussions of returning to the Capitol building again Sunday at 11:00 AM. Tea Partiers were being told by members at that time to expect that the House would begin preparing to vote around 1 PM Sunday, but to expect that the actual vote on the legislation would probably not be until 2 PM.

I've seen only vague references to these later events in just a few news stories. I can only assume most of the media stops working after a certain point on Saturdays.

And now to post some pictures...

Note: The photo in this post was taken by David Almasi.



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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:50 PM

Seeing Double: Deneen Borelli on Fox Twice Saturday Morning

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Project 21's Deneen Borelli will appear on Fox and Friends Saturday at 6:15 AM Eastern to discuss health care and the Tea Party Movement.

Deneen also pre-recorded a segment for Good Day New York Street Talk (Fox-5 WNYW in New York) to air Saturday between 6:00 to 6:30 AM discussing the decisions recently made by the Texas State Board of Education regarding textbooks, so for part of the 6 o'clock hour, she'll be competing for air time with herself.

As a bonus for Deneen fans, here's a picture of Deneen today at a rally outside the office of Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY):

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:27 AM

Defending Bill O'Reilly...

and us, and Brian Kilmeade of Fox, Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, and I don't know who else.

In the final days before the health care vote, those noted above reported that the New England Journal of Medicine had published/reported on a survey by the Medicus Firm showing, among other things, that passage of ObamaCare could result in a significant decline in the number of doctors willing to practice medicine.

Here's Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points" segment on it:


And here's what Ed Morrissey at Hot Air said, in part:
And you thought wait times were long now. The New England Journal of Medicine, hardly a bastion of conservative thought, polled health-care providers to determine their reaction to ObamaCare, and discovered that it has many doctors looking for the exits. Almost half of all general-practice doctors would feel compelled to leave medicine altogether if it passes...
Here's what Brian Kilmeade said on Fox and Friends:


And here's what we said, in part:
If ObamaCare passes, you may lose your family doctor. Oh, and good luck finding a new one.

That's the stunning conclusion of a new study by the Medicus Firm, as reported by the New England Journal of Medicine. Medicus, a national physician search firm, surveyed 1,195 practicing physicians about the health reform plans pending in Congress. The doctors, representing a wide range of specialties and career levels, were asked to assess the possible impact of ObamaCare on their careers, including "income, job satisfaction, and future career plans."
Following this, according to the Daily Kos and Media Matters, the New England Journal of Medicine came out saying it did not publish the survey at all.

From the Daily Kos, in part:

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Fox breathlessly promoted what it claims to be a new survey from the New England Journal of Medicine showing doctors oppose health care reform, but there's a problem: the non-scientific survey was conducted months ago, was not published in the NEJM, and, according to a spokesperson for the journal, it has "nothing to do with the New England Journal of Medicine's original research."

From Media Matters, in part:
Right-wing media have seized on a dubious, three-month old email "survey" that purports to show that physicians are concerned about health care reform and that 46 percent of the primary care doctors surveyed "indicated that they would leave medicine - or try to leave medicine - as a result of health reform." Many media figures have falsely attributed this survey to the New England Journal of Medicine. For example, on Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade said: "The New England Journal of Medicine has published a report and did a survey, and they said the impact of reform on primary care physicians, 46 percent, they say, feel reform will force them out or make them want to leave medicine."

This is false.

Media Matters for America contacted the New England Journal of Medicine, which confirmed it neither conducted nor published the "survey."

NEJM spokesperson Jennifer Zeis told Media Matters that the study had "nothing to do with the New England Journal of Medicine's original research." She also made clear that the study "was not published by the New England Journal of Medicine," and said that "we are taking steps to clarify the source of the survey."
Following these reports, we posted a correction, as did Ed Morrissey. I can't watch Fox all day, so I don't know what it did. But I don't want to close the book in this incident without saying something further: We made the correction to be as reliable as possible to those who rely on our materials, so if the New England Journal of Medicine is now claiming it never published the survey, and that it only intended to publish it in an affiliated newsletter, and has altered its website so that the link http://www.nejmjobs.org/rpt/health-reform-may-reduce-physician-workforce.asp no longer goes to a story about the survey, we don't want anyone who quotes us publishing something that a third party could point out is denied by the New England Journal of Medicine, thus discrediting the third party, through no fault of their own. So we made the "correction," and we'll leave it up.

But we also want to make it clear that the New England Journal of Medicine did indeed publish this survey on it website. Judge for yourselves (open in new window to enlarge):

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The NEJM has now changed the page to this, which is how we are now citing it, but we have a message for the New England Journal of Medicine: If you don't want people saying you reported on or published something, don't post it on your website with your logo at the top.

Hat tip: YouTube - PoliticsNewsNews's Channel for the Bill O'Reilly video and Media Matters for the Brian Kilmeade video.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:18 AM

Free Books to Be Distributed at Saturday Tea Party Rally at U.S. Capitol

ALT TAGCaroline May and Devon Carlin distributing Shattered Lives at the March 16 Tea Party rally

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National Center staff members will be distributing a limited number of free copies of our book Shattered Lives: 100 Victims of Government Health Care at the Tea Party rally on the west side of the U.S. Capitol at noon Saturday.

If you can't attend but want a book, you can download a free PDF of Shattered Lives here, or buy a paper copy at Amazon.com.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:10 AM

Friday, March 19, 2010

Why Read Time or McClatchy, When You Can Just Visit the Media Matters Website Directly?

Kate Pickert of Time magazine's Swampland column complains that Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh responded to the left's exploitation of 11-year-old Marcelas Owens in its desperate 14-month effort to pass its health care takeover.

According to Pickert, Limabugh said:
"Now this is unseemly, exploitative, an 11-year-old boy being forced to tell his story all over just to benefit the Democrat Party and Barack Obama ...And, I would say this to Marcelas Owens: 'Well, your mom would still have died, because Obamacare doesn't kick in until 2014.'"
and Beck said:
"That's the George Soros-funded Obama-approved group fighting for health care... Since all of the groups are so concerned and involved now, may I ask where were you when Marcelas' mother was vomiting blood?"
I don't see either of those statements as an attack on Marcelas, so if that's the worst Pickert can come up with, it appears the gentlemen were holding their fire, probably in deference to the boy's age.

Pickert then rather hypocritically says:
Since Democrats are trotting Marcelas before the cameras, there's nothing wrong with reporters or pundits checking out his story to see if it's true. That's fair game.
O-kay. Reporters checking out the family's personal history to see if Mercalas is a liar is one thing, but Limbaugh pointing out that passage of ObamaCare wouldn't help Mercalas' mother if she were alive and sick today, or Beck wondering why the groups exploiting Mercelas now didn't help his family when it could have used the help, is not?

Pickert linked to a McClatchy Newspapers story by Les Blumenthal as the source of her Limbaugh and Beck quotes. The Blumenthal story tracks extremely, extremely closely with a March 6 post by the left-wing Media Matters organization.

By sourcing Blumenthal rather than the Limbaugh and Beck shows themselves, Pickert essentially admits she did not listen to, or read a transcript of, what the two men said in context. By citing only the same quotes Media Matters reported, along with quotes from a Michelle Malkin column that the Media Matters post linked to, McClatchy's Blumenthal pretty much signals he reguritatated left-wing talking points and called it news.

Media Matters, for its part, was appreciative: It ran a post today commending Blumenthal for his article that "simply lays out the facts."

Addendum: Ed Schultz at MSNBC also seems to track pretty closely to Media Matters talking points, too:


Amazing how they all use the same quotes, isn't it?

Hat tip: YouTube - PoliticsNewsNews's Channel for the Ed Schultz video.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:30 PM

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Investor's Business Daily Cites Us on Constitutionality of Self-Executing Rule

InvestorsBusinessDailyLogoFuzzy.jpgInvestor's Business Daily was kind enough to quote this blog in an editorial.

An excerpt:
Using a parliamentary trick ironically known as the "self-executing rule," Democrats plan on passing their massive health bill without voting. In November, they'll learn just how "self-executing" it was.

Just when you thought Washington couldn't get more corrupt, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week seems intent on trampling representative government itself. Unable to get the votes to pass their U.S. health care revolution, she and her fellow Democratic leaders have figured out a way to pass it without a vote.

The "self-executing rule" has been "used to adopt concurrent resolutions correcting the enrollment of measures or to make other technical changes to legislation," according to the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress.

It's "a two-for-one procedure," as the CRS describes it, because the House of Representatives always must pass a rule, written by the House Rules Committee (where Democrats hold a 9-to-4 majority), setting the terms of debate on a particular piece of legislation. In this case, it's been rigged so that if the rule passes, the legislation passes too.

The trick has been used before, as cited by the CRS, on obscure measures like the prohibition of smoking on airline flights in 1989, an employee verification program regarding illegal aliens in 1996, the blocking of the use of statistical sampling for the 2000 census until federal courts could determine its constitutionality, and an IRS overhaul in 1997.

But never on anything approaching such landmark legislation.

Amy Ridenour, president of the National Center for Public Policy Research, is among a number of legal scholars who believe this Slaughter Solution, named after House Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., "would stand a very good chance of being tossed out by the U.S. Supreme Court."

In the 1998 Clinton v. City of New York ruling on the line-item veto, liberal Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for a 6-to-3 majority, "laid a likely road map for how the court might rule on a challenge to the constitutionality of the Slaughter Solution," according to Ridenour.

Stevens made note of "three procedural steps" that must be taken before a bill becomes law: The "exact text" must be "approved by a majority of the members of the House of Representatives"; the Senate must approve "precisely the same text"; and the same text must be "signed into law by the president. The Constitution explicitly requires that each of those three steps be taken before a bill may become a law."
There's more. You can read the rest here.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:42 PM

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

ObamaCare Would Harm Health Care Quality, Survey of Doctors Says

ALT TAGMatt Patterson


National Center for Public Policy Research Policy Analyst Matt Patterson has a new paper out today, "ObamaCare Would Drive Doctors Out of Business."

The paper begins:
If ObamaCare passes, you may lose your family doctor. Oh, and good luck finding a new one.

That's the stunning conclusion of a new study by the Medicus Firm, as reported by the New England Journal of Medicine. Medicus, a national physician search firm, surveyed 1,195 practicing physicians about the health reform plans pending in Congress. The doctors, representing a wide range of specialties and career levels, were asked to assess the possible impact of ObamaCare on their careers, including "income, job satisfaction, and future career plans."

The bottom line of that investigation, titled Physician Survey: Health Reform's Impact on Physician Supply and Quality of Medical Care, is summed up by Medicus managing partner Steve Marsh: "What many people may not realize is that health reform could impact physician supply in such a way that the quality of health care could suffer. The reality is that there may not be enough doctors to provide quality medical care to the millions of newly insured patients."

Why? Put simply, doctors fear that ObamaCare would make the business and practice of medicine more trouble than it's worth. The surveyed physicians foresee...
Read the rest here.

Addendum, 3/18/10 Correction: The Medicus Study was not reported by the New England Journal of Medicine, but by the newsletter "Recruiting Physicians Today," which is published by the publishers of the New England Journal of Medicine. Somewhat confusingly, the newsletter sports the logo of the NEJM on its masthead and prospective writers for the publication are told to submit articles to the New England Journal of Medicine, but the publication is, nonetheless, a different one. We apologize for the error.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:14 PM

Video: Project 21's Deneen Borelli on "Hannity"



In case you missed it, here's video of Deneen Borelli's appearance on Hannity yesterday.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:08 PM

Tea Party Video and Pictures from March 16 U.S. Capitol Code Red Rally

National Center for Public Policy Research David Almasi delivers petitions to Rep. Michelle Bachmann at Tea Party Rally at the U.S. Capitol, March 16


National Center Executive Director David Almasi and other National Center staffers loaded up petitions for delivery to Congress at Tuesday's Tea Party Express "Code Red" rally against ObamaCare.

The National Center delivered about 700 pounds of signed petitions (about 30,000) opposing any form of socialized medicine. Some petitions also expressed opposition to President Obama's plan to eliminate the popular Medicare Advantage option from the Medicare program. The petitions were accepted by Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN).

National Center-affiliated activists were busy outside of Washington, too. Project 21 member Emery McClendon helped organize several tea party rallies in Indiana, including in the state capital of Indianapolis. Project 21 chairman Mychal Massie, who was in Plymouth, Michigan on Sunday and Monday speaking to the "Rattle With Us" grassroots organization, attended a tea party in Easton, Pennsylvania.

Here are some photos from the petition delivery and rally:

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The National Center's Stephen Saunders (front) and Matt Patterson carry boxes of petitions from the National Center's Capitol Hill office building to the delivery van


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David Almasi shares signed petitions with Rep. Michelle Bachman (R-MN)


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Rep. Bachman and David Almasi, who holds a copy of the National Center's book of horror stories from government health care systems (free PDF copy available here)


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The National Center's Caroline May (left) and Devon Carlin distribute copies of Shattered Lives


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Crowd scene


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Crowd scene


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Crowd scene


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:01 AM

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Medicaid, Medicare Patients Find it Hard to Find Doctors

ALT TAGGovernment health care does not equal access to doctors

This New York Times story by Kevin Sack explains that 47 million Americans are covered by Medicaid (the nation's state-based, federally-supported health insurance program for the poor), but that Medicaid patients are finding it increasingly difficult to find doctors. This is because the government's reimbursement system is so unrealistic, doctors can actually lose money if they treat a patient on Medicaid.

That particular story focuses on Michigan, but here's a similar one from the Times last month, by Kevin Sack and Robert Pear, covering other states.

If adopted, ObamaCare would increase the number of people eligible for Medicaid, making it even harder for Medicaid patients to find doctors than it is now.

Last month, National Center for Public Policy Research Policy Analyst Matt Patterson completed a paper showing that Medicare patients increasingly are facing the same problem. Medicare, of course, is insolvent now, and the baby boomers are starting to retire, so things are likely to get worse before they get better. If they get better.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:39 PM

Louise Slaughter's Denture Sob Story Raises Question

Speaking of Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), why she didn't tell her constituent -- the one who allegedly wears her dead sister's dentures -- that Medicaid covers dentures in New York state?

It's possible the constituent makes too much money to be eligible for Medicaid, but if that's true, what's the point of Slaughter's sob story?


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:11 PM

Project 21's Deneen Borelli on "Hannity" Tonight

Hannity

Project 21 Fellow Deneen Borelli will appear on the "Great American Panel" on the Fox News Channel's "Hannity" program at 9:00 PM eastern on Tuesday, March 16.

Deneen has been interviewed on Fox News Channel, Hot Tea Radio and many other media outlets lately about the health care debate and how it is growing the tea party movement. Today saw several tea party rallies in Washington and across the nation related to the push for a health care vote this week, so it is likely Deneen will be speaking about this important issue tonight.

Check your local listings for Fox News Channel on cable. Fox News is available on channel 118 on Fios, channel 205 on Dish Network and channel 360 on DirecTV.

This post was written by David Almasi, executive director of the National Center for Public Policy Research. Write the author at [email protected]. As we occasionally reprint letters on the blog, please note if you prefer that your correspondence be kept private, or only published anonymously.

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Posted by David W. Almasi at 2:14 PM

On the Slaughter Solution, A Few More Thoughts

Over at the Washington Examiner, Mark Tapscott has blogged about the constitutional issues I raised Sunday with regard to the so-called "Slaughter Solution."

The Slaughter Solution is a proposed rule to allow the House to (ostensibly) pass the Senate's version of ObamaCare by passing a rule saying, in effect, that it had passed without actually voting for it.

Although it is not yet clear if the Democratic leadership will decide to use the Slaughter Rule tactic, the left is pre-emptively defending the measure, claiming the Republicans used "self-executing rules" on numerous occasions when in the majority.

To that, a few thoughts of my own:
1) While the Republicans may have done so, they (insofar as I can determine) limited the use of the tactic to measures insufficiently controversial to inspire anyone to challenge the constitutionality of the tactic in court. According to a 2006 Congressional Research Service report (pdf), for instance, the GOP used the rule for the following purposes:
a) consider a law prohibiting smoking on airline flights under two hours;
b) place a voluntary employment verification program (vis-a-vis immigration status) into an amendment under consideration in the House;
c) incorporate into legislation a ban on the use of statistical sampling in the 2000 Census until a court ruled on its constitutionality;
d) incorporate four bipartisan amendments into an IRS reform bill;
e) drop from an intelligence authorization bill a provision allowing the CIA to offer a particular early retirement program;
f) to adopt a manager's amendment, H.Res. 75, to an immigration bill in 2005.
Do these strike anyone as roughly equivalent to the significance of the ObamaCare vote?

2) So what if the Republicans did it? Does that make it right? Or constitutional? The GOP leadership also broke the House rules by holding a three-hour roll-call vote on its prescription drug bill back in 2003 (which conservatives screamed about at the time; see here for example). Does that mean conservatives and others who believe in free markets (or free choice in health care) have to sit by let the Democrats break that rule in the same fashion, too? When do we start playing by the rules?

3) If I were a Democratic politician interested in future electoral success, even if I supported ObamaCare, I would be very wary of voting for it this way. What if the legislation passes via a Slaughter Solution tactic, and the federal courts rule the tactic unconstitutional? ObamaCare would be tossed out, making supportive politicians look both impotent and vaguely corrupt, and on a judicial timetable, which could be right before an election. If I were in that situation, I'd think it better to hold an up-or-down vote and live with the consequences.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:50 AM

Monday, March 15, 2010

National Center's David Almasi to Speak at U.S. Capitol Tea Party Rally, Will Deliver Tens of Thousands of Petitions Against Socialized Health Care

health care petitionsDavid Almasi with a box of the petitions

National Center Executive Director David Almasi will speak at the Tea Party Express "Code Red" rally against Obamacare on Tuesday, March 16. The rally will be on the U.S. Capitol grounds at Taft Park (on the Senate side) at 10:00 AM. David is scheduled to speak at 10:35 AM.

David also will present Representative Michele Bachman (R-MN) with tens of thousands of petitions collected by the National Center for Public Policy Research. The petitions oppose socialized medicine and President Obama's plan to eliminate the popular Medicare Advantage option for Medicare recipients.

Here are two (unsigned) samples of the tens of thousands of petitions David will present on Tuesday (open in a new window to enlarge):

StopSocializedMedicinePetition0310.jpg

MedicareProtestPetition0310.jpg


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:44 PM

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Slaughter Solution Unconstitutional

John_Paul_Stevens,_SCOTUS_photo_portrait.jpgJustice Stevens' majority opinion in Clinton v. New York signals the Supreme Court's likely view of the Slaughter Solution

Frustrated by their inability to get President Obama's health care plan through Congress, the House leadership is now considering a mad new scheme, dubbed the "Slaughter Solution," to get the Senate version of the bill through a reluctant House.

As described by Mark Tapscott of the Washington Examiner, the Slaughter Solution would "pass [the] legislation by 'deeming' it approved under a House rule instead of following the process required by the U.S. Constitution in which they actually vote on the proposal itself... Slaughter's approach would bring to the House floor a reconcilliation bill to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions of health care reform with the rule deeming the House to have approved the Senate version."

Mark goes on to say a senior House of Representatives GOP staffer has told him the Republicans can find no evidence such a ploy has ever been tried before in the history of the House.

In my view, there's a good reason why not: the legislation would stand a very good chance of being tossed out by the U.S. Supreme Court.

A dozen years ago, in a 6-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the line item veto unconstitutional in Clinton v. City of New York, 524 U.S. 417 (1998).

Writing for the majority, Justice John Paul Stevens laid a likely roadmap for how the Court might rule on a challenge to the constitutionality of the Slaughter Solution:
...our decision rests on the narrow ground that the procedures authorized by the Line Item Veto Act are not authorized by the Constitution. The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 is a 500-page document that became 'Public Law 105--33' after three procedural steps were taken: (1) a bill containing its exact text was approved by a majority of the Members of the House of Representatives; (2) the Senate approved precisely the same text; and (3) that text was signed into law by the President. The Constitution explicitly requires that each of those three steps be taken before a bill may 'become a law.' Art. I, §7. If one paragraph of that text had been omitted at any one of those three stages, Public Law 105--33 would not have been validly enacted. [Emphasis added] If the Line Item Veto Act were valid, it would authorize the President to create a different law - one whose text was not voted on by either House of Congress or presented to the President for signature. Something that might be known as 'Public Law 105--33 as modified by the President' may or may not be desirable, but it is surely not a document that may 'become a law' pursuant to the procedures designed by the Framers of Article I, §7, of the Constitution.
Whether one agrees or disagrees with the Court in the line item veto case, one cannot deny that the majority decision here is a powerful sign that the Slaughter Solution would not be ruled constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:40 PM

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Deneen Borelli Discusses Health Care and Tea Party Movement on Fox and Friends


On this morning's edition of Fox and Friends, Project 21 full-time fellow Deneen Borelli discussed the Tea Party movement's reaction to President Obama's continuing push for the big government health care plan.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:29 PM

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The Madness of King Barack

Matt Patterson has a few words about the President's announcement that the health care reform debate is over.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:57 PM

Project 21's Deneen Borelli on "Fox and Friends" Thursday Morning

Project 21 fellow Deneen Borelli is scheduled to appear on "Fox and Friends" on the Fox News Channel on Thursday, March 4 at approximately 6:15 AM eastern.

Deneen is expected to talk about health care reform efforts and other breaking morning news. Deneen and her husband, National Center Free Enterprise Project director Tom Borelli, just authored a commentary on how tea party politics factor into the Obama health care plans that was published on the channel's "Fox Forum."

Check your local listings for Fox News Channel on cable. Fox News Channel is available on channel 118 on Fios, channel 205 on Dish Network and channel 360 on DirecTV.

This post was written by David Almasi, executive director of the National Center for Public Policy Research. Write the author at [email protected]. As we occasionally reprint letters on the blog, please note if you prefer that your correspondence be kept private, or only published anonymously.


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Posted by David W. Almasi at 9:15 PM

Friday, February 26, 2010

One Man's "Talking Points" Might be Another Man's Point

At yesterday's "Health Care Summit," President Obama frequently expressed opposition to the use of talking points during the conversation.

In our biz, that is to say, the non-political public policy arena of the think-tank world, "talking points" are simply a succinct version of one's remarks, distilled in such a way as to present information in an orderly an efficient manner. I assume the same goes for the use of the term in business settings.

As it is likely President Obama is not opposed to succinct presentations, his definition of "talking point" must be something else.

Might that "something else" be "speech uttered for political gain"?

My sense in watching the summit was that that President continuously assumed speakers who disagreed with him were engaging in political rather than policy-oriented speech. He could not, or would not, not see that disagreement with his proposed methods could be based on principle.

This says something, I think, about the insular world he inhabits.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:26 PM

"We Don't Think the Government Should Be in Control of All This"

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) on the differences between conservatives and the White House on the way to improve our health care system:

Hat tip: RealClearPolitics.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:25 PM

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Obama's Health Care Strategy in Under 25 Words

Writing in the Examiner, National Center for Public Policy Research policy analyst Matt Patterson nails the White House strategy on health care in 23 succinct words: "The President's strategy is clear: First turn the insurance companies into government utilities. Then run them out of business. Then fill the void."


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 7:20 PM

Monday, February 22, 2010

Obamacare = Socialism

Obamacare, says National Center policy analyst Matt Patterson, is socialism by any other name.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 5:45 PM

Monday, February 01, 2010

Obama Using Fear to Sell Health Care Plan

ALT TAGMatt Patterson

Policy Analyst Matt Patterson has an op-ed in today's Washington Examiner and San Francisco Examiner on President Obama's use of fear to help him increase weak public support for his health care proposal.

An excerpt:
In his efforts to reorganize the nation's health care system by giving the federal government power to compel and subsidize insurance, Obama has faced one bleak obstacle: The vast majority of Americans, while concerned about rising costs, nonetheless consistently report satisfaction with their existing health coverage.

So how do you convince people who are happy with what they have to go along with radical change? Convince them that what they are happy with can be lost at any time, and through no fault of their own.

In other words, scare them...
Read the whole thing here.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:08 AM

Copyright The National Center for Public Policy Research