Jane Chastain : Politically Direct

Archive for the ‘Reform’ Category

Big Bird: You’re Fired!

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On Monday, Donald Trump signed an executive order aimed at cutting out waste in the federal government.  The ink wasn’t dry when the Washington Post trotted out Big Bird, the affable “Sesame Street” figure who has been used to blunt past efforts to cut unnecessary government programs.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/the-end-of-big-bird-hes-survived-the-budget-ax-many-times-before/2017/03/13/f5c1c94a-082a-11e7-93dc-00f9bdd74ed1_story.html?utm_term=.c6a28dc55b29

“Sesame Street” has millions of fans and I am one of them, but this bird is a fat cat!  It’s time we recognize that his life and our lives will not change if we cut the funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, NPR and all the rest. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jane Chastain

March 15th, 2017 at 5:30 pm

Obamacare Replacement: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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After seven years of promising to repeal and replace Obamacare, Republicans finally have a plan.  If only we had held our breaths during all that time, they could have skipped it.  We’d all be dead.

Will it lower individual cost and provide better coverage?  Hopefully.  However, it falls well short of providing free-market coverage.  The only way to do that is to repeal Obamacare and get out of the way.  Something that Democrats are adamantly against and timid Republicans are reluctant to do.

Americans are generous people and would never abandon the poor to charity or, horrors, leave that responsibility to their families.  In our “me-first” society, it’s just too much to expect people to take care of their own.  Nevertheless, what we desperately need is a two-tier system:  One for the poor where there are special government-run, low cost, bare-bones centers that provide basic emergency care, and one for all the rest who must pay their own way.

Yes, health care cost something.  If our government would simply take care of those who truly cannot take care of themselves and get out of the way, we would have a free-market that would offer more choices than we could imagine and all levels of coverage.  The average person could easily find one that fits his or her need and pocketbook.   Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jane Chastain

March 14th, 2017 at 1:50 pm

Report Card on President Trump’s First 12 Days

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Hate him or love him, you must admit that President Trump has been working overtime to do the things he believes will make this country great again.   In his first 11 days,  he has signed more executive actions that any other president in modern history.  In addition, he rounded out his cabinet, held meetings with business and union leaders, spent hours in person or on the phone with world leaders and gave us a Supreme Court nominee.

President’s can’t make law.  Therefore, Trump will have to depend on Congress to see that his major policy proposals become reality.  However, presidents have wide discretion how our laws are implemented and many of his moves have already changed the status quo.

Some initial actions are perfunctory and done by every president.   Therefore, for this report card I am focusing only on those that have a direct bearing on policy.

Cabinet Picks —  Tells us a lot about how serious a president is about keeping his campaign promises.  Trump’s picks, unlike Obama’s policy wonks, have real world experience.  They have achieved tremendous success and are willing to give the agencies they run the benefit of that experience.  Others such as Jeff Sessions and Betsy DeVos have spent years working to advance the policies on which Trump campaigned.

Grade A+

Executive Order 13765  —   Minimizes the economic effects of Obamacare by directing federal agencies to give states, insurance companies and consumers the maximum amount of flexibility in complying with the law.  Trump is laying down a marker that he intends to see Obamacare repealed and replaced.

Grade A

Presidential Memorandum:  Withdrawal from the Trans Pacific Partnership — Trump is making good on his promise to negotiate trade deals to make sure they are both fair and profitable.

Grade A

Presidential Memorandum:  Mexico City Policy — Trump not only reimplemented the policy put in place by President Reagan that prevents our tax money from going to overseas family planning agencies that perform abortions, he expanded it.

Grade A+

Presidential Memorandums on the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines — Ordered agencies involved to expedite these projects.  Also ordered the Department of Commerce to review ways to mandate the use of American-made steel in all pipeline projects in the U.S.

Grade A+

Executive Order 13766  — Expedited Environmental Reviews for Infrastructure Projects.  Remember all those “shovel-ready” jobs that Obama promised?  By the time they saw the light of day they were loaded down with millions of dollars of bureaucratic waste.

Grade A

Presidential Memorandum:  Streamlining Permitting and Reducing Regulatory Burdens for Domestic Manufacturing — The first step to bringing manufacturing back to the U.S.

Grade A+

Executive Order 13767:  Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements —

Build the wall and hire more border security officers.

Grade A+

Executive Order 13768: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior — Cuts off federal funds to Sanctuary Cities and gives immigrations officers the authority to deport any noncitizen judged to be a threat to pubic safety.

Grade A+

Executive Order: Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States  —  Immediate travel ban for the seven countries judged to be most dangerous for 90 days until we can reform the vetting process. Despite what you may have heard, the threat from refugees is real.  Since September 11, 2001, at least 40 people admitted to the U.S. as refugees have been implicated in terrorism. http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/08/10/jeff-sessions-highlights-20-vetted-terrorist-refugees-obama-ramps-admissions-terror-hot-spots/ Trump was criticized for not giving our security agencies time to thoroughly brief all those involved with implementing this order.  However, this would have leaked and given those intent on doing us harm an opportunity to sneak in before the ban.  There was no perfect way to do this without inconveniencing the people affected by the ban.

Grade B

National Security Presidential Memorandum 1: Rebuilding the U.S. Armed Forces —Pentagon and Office of Management and Budget are to come up with a plan to bolster the military, examine our nuclear arsenal and missile-defense capabilities.

Grade A

National Security Presidential Memorandum 3 — Plan to Defeat ISIS to be delivered in 30 days

Grade A

Executive Order:  Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs —  Requires agencies to rescind two regulations for every new one.  Total cost of all new regulations for 2017, including those repealed, to be 0.

Grade A+

The Nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court —  Another campaign promise delivered.  He picked this nominee from the list he presented to the voters which he compiled with the help of the Federalist Society.  Indications are that Judge Gorsuch is a strict constructionist in the mold of Antonin Scalia but only time will tell.

Grade Incomplete

Written by Jane Chastain

February 1st, 2017 at 5:30 pm

Why Obamacare must Go

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The first order of business for the new Congress is the repeal of Obamacare.  The American people demand it.  The only people who seem to be happy with Obama’s signature achievement are those who are rich or getting it for free, or nearly free.

Dig a little deeper you will find that the bleeding-heart liberal rich with their on-call concierge physicians or so-called Cadillac plans are the only ones truly happy because they are unaffected.  Those who get Obamacare free through the expansion of Medicaid, or nearly free, have found it is a trap because fewer and fewer doctors are willing to take these patients.  The doctors who do require long waits.  It’s call rationing which is a hallmark of socialized medicine or Obamacare-Lite, as the case may be.

For the average guy or gal, Obamacare has been a disaster.  My cousin Lori is a case in point.  As an adjunct college professor she was informed that she would no longer be eligible for company health benefits for 2017.  The college then offered her the ability to self-pay through Obamacare. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jane Chastain

January 11th, 2017 at 5:30 pm

The Democrats Terrible, Tumultuous Temper Tantrums

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The hallmark of democratic governments is the smooth transition of power from one duly elected leader and duly elected legislature to the next.  Never before in our history have we seen an outgoing president and the leaders of his losing political party so hellbent on tripping up those who will succeed them.

Obama set the stage by inviting the president-elect to the White House for a friendly chat and then snatching the welcome matt right from under his feet as he was leaving the White House.

After jetting off to Hawaii for another luxury vacation, costing taxpayer millions of $$$ ( http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/dec/22/obamas-hawaii-christmas-vacations-cost-taxpayers-3/), it became obvious that Obama left land mines for his successor, hoping they will blow up during some portion of  Trump’s initial stay in the White House.  Between rounds of golf, he gave orders to throw Israel under the bus at the United Nations.  He expelled 35 Russian diplomats.  He used an arcane statue to block oil drilling in much of the Arctic and portions of the Atlantic Ocean in an obvious attempt to keep Trump from making good on his promise to use all available fuel reserves and take actions to allow more off-shore drilling.  He used another arcane statue to grab 1.6 million acres of valuable land in Utah and Nevada, two states that helped put Trump over the top.

Obama is going to extreme lengths to make it difficult for Trump to roll back job killing federal regulations that have been crippling economic growth by releasing hundreds more in the waning days of his administration.  Word Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jane Chastain

January 4th, 2017 at 5:30 pm


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