Those were President Barack Obama’s words yesterday at an Organizing for America meeting as he fought back against his critics over the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The criticism from supposed “allies” like Elizabeth Warren, Allan Grayson, and the labor movement has increased in vitriol and volume.
“Show us the bill!”
“Why is it secret!?”
“This is NAFTA 2!!”
Everyone agrees that no one has seen anything of the deal aside from the summary. And, in perusing the summary, I don’t see anything which approaches an excuse for the Gotterdammerung levels of hysteria.
“It’s being negotiated in secret! It must be bad!”
Name me one treaty which has been negotiated live on C-SPAN.
“NAFTA was awful, so all trade pacts are awful!”
This is a very parochial view. Without growing trade, the economy won’t grow. And NAFTA provides lessons in how not to forge a trade pact, which Pres. Obama is following.
“There are no wage/labor/environmental protections!”
That’s just false. The summary shows this. You can only believe this if you, without evidence, assume the summary is false propaganda.
And that last point leads into the meat of the essay.
White House: Medicare Trustees Report Shows Significant Improvements For Seniors And Taxpayers
Today’s annual report from the Medicare program’s Boards of Trustees brings good news about the program’s financial future: Its Trust Fund will last four more years, to 2030, and projected Part B premiums for 2015 will not increase for the second year in a row. As we celebrate Medicare’s 49th birthday this week, we will recommit to ensuring that the program continues providing health and economic security for the nation’s elderly and people with disabilities through the 21st century and beyond. Today’s news shows that we are on the right track, and we are optimistic that the promising results we’ve seen in recent years can continue into the future. In 2009, the Trustees projected the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund would not be able to pay its bills in 2017 – just three years from now. Today’s new date is 2030, 13 years later than that projection – an improvement that is thanks in part to reforms in the Affordable Care Act (Chart 1).
The law implemented changes to promote value-based payments, reduce waste and fraud, and strengthen the program’s benefits. These changes, for example, have reduced hospital spending on preventable readmissions, helping to lower hospital costs, which constitute a significant portion of trust fund spending. Lower Medicare spending means lower cost sharing and lower premiums for Medicare beneficiaries. For the second year in a row, premiums in Part B are projected to stay the same in 2015 as in 2013 and 2014. This means seniors are expected to keep more of their annual Social Security cost of living adjustment. In fact, the last six years have seen some of the slowest premium growth in the program’s history. Moreover, the Affordable Care Act has saved millions of beneficiaries over $10 billion in prescription drug costs by improving prescription drug benefits and closing the “donut hole.”
Sahil Kapur: Obamacare Will Help Medicare Remain Solvent Even Longer, Trustees Report Says
The Medicare insurance trust fund will be solvent until 2030, four years longer than projected last year, according to a trustees report released Monday. The trustees report chalked up the new projection to the recent slowdown in health spending growth and various cost-saving reforms enacted under Obamacare. “In recent years U.S. national health expenditure (NHE) growth has slowed relative to previous historical patterns,” the report read.
It added: “The Board assumes that the various cost-reduction measures … will occur as the Affordable Care Act requires.” (Obamacare has been credited in recent years with extending the life of Medicare beyond 2016, the year it was projected to go in the red prior to the ACA’s enactment.)
Amy Goldstein: Medicare Finances Improve Partly Due To ACA, Hospital Expenses, Trustee Report Says
Medicare’s financial stability has been strengthened by the Affordable Care Act and other forces that have been subduing health-care spending, according to a new official forecast that says the fund covering the program’s hospital costs will remain solvent until 2030 — four years later than expected a year ago. The trustees’ forecast said that the trust fund that pays for hospital care — Medicare Part A — has been strengthened significantly,
with the date when it is predicted to start running short of money extended by 14 years since the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010. The report also predicted that the insurance premiums that older Americans pay for the portion of Medicare that covers doctors’ visits and other outpatient care would probably remain the same for a third year in a row.
Freep.com: Long lines of people wait on the outdoor football field outside the Glick Fieldhouse on the campus of the University of Michigan hours before President Obama was to deliver his speech about education to over 3,000 people inside today
9:45 ET PBO delivers remarks at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor
11:00: Departs Michigan en route to Joint Base Andrews
12:25: Arrives at Joint Base Andrews
12:30: Departs Joint Base Andrews en route to Cambridge, Md.
1:15 PBO address House Democrats at their annual retreat (Listed for live coverage by C-Span 2 and CNN streaming)
3:00: Arrives at the White House
3:30: PBO and VP Biden meet with Secretary of State Clinton
4:30: PBO delivers remarks at a campaign event
Jonathan Cohn (TNR): President Obama visits the Detroit area on Friday, and his timing couldn’t be better: Today’s Detroit Free Press brings more good news from the auto industry:
General Motors, Ford and Chrysler all plan to add jobs in Michigan, which stands to benefit more than any other state. Nissan, BMW, Honda, Toyota, Kia and Mercedes-Benz also are hiring. Suppliers are looking to add engineers and technical people, but at a more gradual pace.
About 15,000 auto-related Michigan jobs could be created this year….
President Barack Obama greets people following his remarks at Buckley Air Force Base in Denver, Colo., Jan. 26, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The Nation: It is hard to read Remedy and Reaction, Paul Starr’s remarkable chronicle of the hundred-year effort to legislate universal health insurance in the United States, without recalling Robert Gibbs’s tortured quip that Democrats who’ve denounced the Obama White House for having knuckled under to Republican principles or intimidation “ought to be drug-tested.” Nobody with a sense of history – that is, nobody who reads Starr’s book – could doubt how sensible and brave was the president’s effort to drive the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 through Congress. Nobody with a feel for the present moment should doubt how imminent is the threat to the act, how urgent it is for progressive Democrats to rally around Obama – and without all the condescending qualifications that “independents,” who flock away from allegedly weak or incompetent leaders, interpret as contempt.
Greg Sargent: …. At an event in Las Vegas (yesterday), Obama offered his most extensive rebuttal by far to the bogus GOP charge that the push for higher taxes on the wealthy is about “class warfare” and “envy”. The whole thing is worth a watch – the tone was not one of outrage, but one laced with a good deal of mockery and derision:
Washington Post: The Obama administration finalized a rule Thursday governing the management of 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands, establishing a new blueprint to guide everything from logging to recreation and renewable energy development.
The guidelines – which will take effect in early March and apply to all 155 national forests, 20 grasslands and one prairie – represent the first meaningful overhaul of forest rules in 30 years….
Several environmentalists and scientists praised the guidelines … “The vision is laudable, and this is no small shift in how the national forests will be managed, from one of commodity extraction into a vision of protection, restoration and water preservation,” said Dominick DellaSala, president and chief scientist for the Oregon-based Geos Institute.
The Guardian: Antitrust enforcement is back in America, perhaps in a serious way. If so, it’s long overdue.
But even though the US justice department is suing to block AT&T’s buyout of T-Mobile’s US wireless operations, competition in America’s telecommunications industry is fading…..
Still, Wednesday’s legal action, filed by the department’s antitrust division, is welcome. The George W Bush administration was easily the most lax in antitrust enforcement in recent history, and the Obama administration hadn’t been significantly more ardent to protect competition…..
…. (but) the government’s complaint in this case says what most people – apart from those who stood to gain directly – already knew: The deal would reduce competition in a marketplace that is already an oligopoly.
The deal could still happen, in one of several ways …. the act of going to court, however, suggests that either AT&T wasn’t interested in dealing or that the government simply found this buyout unacceptable on its face.
…. AT&T’s lobbying efforts on behalf of this deal, and its brazen lack of regard for reality, have been epic …. the primary motive for the buyout was to reduce competition, contrary to countless statements about how this would be great for customers…
Think Progress: House Minority Whip Eric Cantor has often expressed concern for how Obama administration policies are supposedly a “grave danger to America’s prosperity.” Now, the Wall Street Journal finds that Cantor actually invests in an exchange-traded fund that “takes a short position in long-dated government bonds” – effectively betting against the U.S. Treasury bonds that the government uses to fund its operations:
[Cantor] bought up to $15,000 in shares of ProShares Trust Ultrashort 20+ Year Treasury ETF last December, according to his 2009 financial disclosure statement. The exchange-traded fund takes a short position in long-dated government bonds. In effect, it is a bet against U.S. government bonds – and perhaps on inflation in the future.
If Cantor truly cares about “America’s prosperity,” one would have to wonder why he is literally betting against its financial future. The Washington Independent’s Annie Lowrey adds that “Cantor is not a very canny investor. The fund is down 31 percent this year.”