Romeo Area Tea Party
When: Wed March 26th @ 7PM
Where: Washington Township Hall/Senior Center
57900 Van Dyke, Washington Twp.
(park in the back lot and enter in the South entrance)
****This event is free and open to the public****
About Indoctrinate U:
Indoctrinate U is a revolutionary new film about the repressive climate on our nation’s campuses. To make the film, director and star Evan Coyne Maloney traveled to campuses across the country, interviewing students, professors, and administrators to find out what life on campus is really like. The film reveals a national campus culture in which speech codes rule the day; in which free inquiry has been replaced with prescribed, politically correct values; and in which students are not taught how to think, but what to think. An explosive portrait of how colleges and universities routinely compel students to check their First Amendment rights at the door, Indoctrinate U makes the campus culture wars—often treated as abstract battles of ideas between conservatives and liberals—intensely personal and unforgettably human. At once topical and timeless, Indoctrinate U will remain relevant for years to come.
SE Michigan 9.12 Tea Party
Tuesday, March 4th. starting at 7:00 pm
Dave & Busters
45511 Park Ave. Utica 48315
If President Obama—or anyone else—is expecting that Medicaid will be Obamacare’s salvation, look elsewhere.
The president said last week that “We’ve got close to 7 million Americans who have access to health care for the first time because of Medicaid expansion.”
But even The Washington Post’s “fact checker” gave President Obama four Pinocchios for that statement (and said the enrollment numbers are iffy as well).
The Post says President Obama “seems to be falling into the same trap as other Democrats, and some reporters, by assuming that everyone in the Medicaid list is getting health insurance for the first time because of the Affordable Care Act.”
And this misconception—saving the uninsured—isn’t the only one keeping Americans from the truth about this part of Obamacare’s plan, which actually dumps millions of people into a failing program.
Two big problems with expanding Medicaid:
- States have to trust the federal government to keep its funding promise.Not exactly a great basis for such a costly undertaking—and states can’t afford to be left with the tab for the portion Washington was supposed to pay.
- Medicaid is not good quality health coverage. As Heritage’s Alyene Senger notes, “Research has consistently shown that Medicaid produces worse access and health outcomes than private insurance.” That shows a program that desperately needs fixing for the people it already serves—not one that’s ready to welcome in millions more.
Medicaid was supposed to help the needy and vulnerable—those Heritage expert Edmund Haislmaier describes as having “little if any ability to improve their circumstances on their own.” Obamacare twists it to take on an entirely different group of people.
Haislmaier recently testified to Arkansas lawmakers:
In contrast, the expansion population consists of able-bodied adults, who are neither vulnerable, nor dependent, nor incapable of bettering their current circumstances. Indeed, nearly three-quarters of them do not have dependent children, meaning that while their incomes may be low, no one else depends on their income and they do not have any child-rearing responsibilities that might affect their ability to work full-time.
An analysis for the state of Utah by the Foundation for Government Accountability and the Sutherland Institute similarly warns that the Medicaid expansion “will ultimately create a two-tiered system of care, where able-bodied adults are prioritized over the truly needy.”
Needy Americans who depend on Medicaid deserve a reformed program that can serve them better. And those who are able to work, but need affordable coverage, deserve better than being dumped into this failing system.
Despite its encroaching mandates and rules, Obamacare is not the only option for states when it comes to their population in need of affordable coverage. States have the opportunity to create patient-centered solutions that would give people a much better value.
A group working to substantially increase Michigan’s minimum wage says doing so would not likely lead to job losses or higher prices. But restaurant and bar owners disagree.
The coalition, Raise Michigan, is working to increase the minimum wage for all workers from $7.40 to $10.10 per hour over a period of three years. Currently, all Michigan workers are required by law to make at least $7.40 per hour, but tipped workers are allowed to be paid a base wage of $2.65 provided their tips take them over the minimum. If they do not, their employer is required to make up the difference.
Going from $2.65 per hour to $10.10 is a 280 percent increase for some employees, which restaurant managers say would be hard to take.
Paola Mendivil is a general manager and server at her family’s restaurant, El Granjero Mexican Grill in Grand Rapids.
“[Some] tipped employees … will obviously be happy about it, but there will be a negative impact,” Mendivil said. “We might have less employees or reduce the hours they work [to] a part-time schedule.”
Scott Parkhurst, an operating partner with Restaurant Partners Inc., which runs 17 businesses including the Omelette Shoppe in Traverse City and Boone’s Prime Time Pub in Sutton’s Bay, said the average wage of their tipped employees is closer to $15 per hour than $10.
“This [hike] would be potentially devastating to the industry,” Parkhust said. “It would definitely discourage new business growth. There are a lot of people who wouldn’t survive. The margins are already so thin.”
He said he thinks restaurants would be more likely to change their business model, becoming buffets or adapting in ways that require less staff.
Frank Houston, head of the Restaurant Opportunity Center-Michigan (ROC), is helping run the ballot campaign to increase the minimum wage and he disagrees that there would be much of a negative effect. He said the tipped hourly wage would be raised 85 cents a year to transition the cost to businesses.
“We understand it’s a dramatic change for how [bars and restaurants] traditionally pay employees,” Houston said. “[But] when other states did this, they did not see a dramatic dip in small businesses or a dramatic [increase] in unemployment.”
Houston said this is “not unprecedented” and pointed to other states that do not make exceptions for tipped workers. He said it is problematic for tipped workers to have to go back to their employers when they make under the legislated minimum.
Tim Barr, the owner of Art’s Tavern in Glen Arbor, said he thinks the proposal would put restaurants and bars on a more level playing field, but would lead to an increase in prices.
“We would strive to keep the employees we have, as we have the right amount of employees for the business we have,” he said. “If there is a business downturn because of the need to increase the price on menu items, we would most likely have to decrease the amount of employees we employ year round.”
Among the states with the highest mandated wage floor, Oregon and Washington do not allow exceptions to their laws for tipped workers while Vermont, Connecticut, New Jersey and Illinois do. Only seven states do not make exceptions for tipped workers.
If the ballot proposal were to pass, Michigan would have the highest minimum wage in the nation.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average pay of tipped workers is about $10 per hour nationally and $9.50 in Michigan. The National Restaurant Association says this amount “greatly underestimates” the actual earnings of servers, which their survey data shows to be $16 per hour for entry-level workers to $22 per hour for experienced servers.
Previously, employees were asked their wages excluding tips by the BLS, said Katie Laning Niebaum, director of communications and media relations with the association. This was changed a few years ago when the survey began asking for both wages and tips.
“[T]he [government] data has never reflected an uptick in the numbers that would be expected with this change in the survey methodology,” she said. “[T]he BLS field economists are aware of this situation, and they are currently working on a solution.”
The ballot proposal language for Raise Michigan wasaccepted Wednesday by the state Board of Canvassers. The group will have to collect 258,088 signatures by May 28 to place the proposal on the November ballot.
A working paper from professors Joseph Sabia of San Diego State University and Richard Burkhauser from Cornell University suggests that increasing the minimum wage is a poor way to deal with the problem of poverty.
Analyzing Census data, the professors show that, “Under 15 percent of workers who would be affected by a $10.10 federal minimum wage live in poor households. Nearly two-thirds live in households with incomes of over two times the poverty line and approximately 40 percent live in households with incomes over three times the poverty line.”
The same applies to Michigan, Sabia said.
“In contrast to the myth that a common minimum wage worker is a poor single mother head-of-household struggling to make ends meet, the typical minimum wage worker is actually a second- or third-earner in their 20s from a non-poor household,” Sabia said. “Thus, the increase in the minimum wage in Michigan is unlikely to appreciably affect poverty because most poor individuals will not be affected by it.”
Sabia added that the consensus of the economic literature suggests that every 10 percent increase in the minimum wage is associated with a 1 percent to 3 percent decline in low-skilled workers.
“This could suggest that the 36.5 percent increase in the minimum wage (from $7.40 an hour to $10.10 an hour) in Michigan would reduce low-skilled employment by approximately 4 to 12 percent,” he said.
Inside the IRS Corruption Scandal
Sure, a high-level IRS official left after the scandal erupted last year about the agency targeting conservative groups. But what good did it do?
IRS officials admitted that groups with conservative leanings, especially with the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their names, had been targeted for special scrutiny, asked for “inappropriate” information, and had their applications for nonprofit status delayed on purpose. Now it’s coming out that nothing is changing—and in fact, the Obama administration has been pursuing a stiffer crackdown all along.
Nowadays, “Instead of trying to correct its internal bias and problems, the IRS is apparently trying to double down and stifle the political activity of opponents of the Obama administration and its policies,” says Heritage’s Hans von Spakovsky. He explains:
[I]t appears the administration not only tried to delay and prevent conservative organizations from receiving their tax-exempt status prior to the 2012 election, but was also already planning new regulations that would stifle their political speech and potential criticism of the administration.
Organizations on both the left and the right have warned that the proposed rules would be harmful to their communications with members and the public.
So, instead of serious investigations and consequences, we find out that the IRS was carrying out the will of the Obama administration—and woe be unto those who try to go against it.
Their stories are disturbing. Catherine Englebrecht testified that after filing for nonprofit status for two groups she was launching, “my private businesses, my nonprofit organizations, and family have been subjected to more than 15 instances of audit or inquiry by federal agencies.”
Kevin Kookogey, a Heritage member who founded Linchpins of Liberty, told us about his run-in with the IRS.
Kookogey’s organization is focused on mentoring high school and college students in conservative philosophy. After his application for tax-exempt educational status was delayed, he received 95 questions from the IRS—including queries about the identities of everyone connected with the organization and its leaders’ political views. He later learned that his group was one of hundreds in the same boat.
“A lot of people were afraid…that if they started fighting the government, they were going to be attacked,” he said. “This has manifested itself—we know that it’s become true, that people have indeed been attacked by the IRS for taking on this case.”
Von Spakovsky agrees: “What is clear from these hearings and the other evidence that has surfaced over the past eight months is that the First Amendment rights of Americans are under assault.”
Regulation: This Is What The First Two Months Of A ‘Year Of Action’ Look Like
by Sam Rolley
President Barack Obama has promised that 2014 will be a “year of action,” during which Administration officials will do everything possible to avoid Congressional hurdles in furthering the White House’s policy agenda. Signaling that the Administration is poised to make good on Obama’s promise, the Federal government added 56 finalized regulations and 1,516 new pages to the Federal Register last week.
According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Obama Administration has added an average of one new regulation every three hours over the past two weeks. Since Jan. 1, the Administration has added 327 final regulations to the Register.
Remarkably, according to the free market organization, if the Obama Administration continues to enact new regulations at its current pace, there will be a total of 2,637 new regulations this year, the lowest total in decades.
The 2014 Federal Register has mushroomed to 9,079 pages in the year’s first two months. If government continued enacting new rules at its current pace, the Register will accumulate 73,218 pages by 2015. According to CEI, that would actually be the lowest number of new pages added to the Register in the past five years.
But keep in mind that the current President has vowed to legislate with his phone and pen and that he already has a higher average of yearly major rulemakings than President George W. Bush. Therefore, it’s likely that regulatory bombardments strategically timed around elections will expand the Register far beyond 73,218 pages by the end of the year.
Usually the number of “economically significant” new regulations, those with costs of $100 million or more in a given year, falls between 127 and 224 annually. In the first two months of 2014, the Obama Administration has pushed forward six such regulations (two from the Energy Department last week), costing somewhere between $614 million and $885 million.