Wisconsin Senate Votes To Free Workers From Union Shackles – Leftists Lose Their Minds

Wisconsin Senate Passes ‘Right To Work’ Bill Amid Protests –

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The Wisconsin Senate passed legislation late Wednesday to limit union powers amid a second day of protests as the state capitol again became a battleground over the future of organized labor.

The GOP-controlled Senate passed a “right-to-work” bill with a 17-15 vote that would allow employees in unionized private-sector workplaces to opt out of paying union dues. Republicans also control the state Assembly, making passage likely during the next week, and Gov. Scott Walker – who is considering a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 – has said he would sign such a measure into law.

Immediately after passage, the spectator gallery erupted in boos and chants of “shame, shame!” as the Senate ended its day.

Debate on the bill began Wednesday afternoon in the Senate as about 2,000 protesters jostled and chanted on the steps of the capitol and in the rotunda.

The measure comes four years after Mr. Walker pushed through legislation limiting the reach of public-sector unions, drawing tens of thousands to protest in the capitol and launching a contentious recall election, which the governor won.

Minutes after debate began, a spectator in the gallery stood up, and started yelling before being escorted from the chamber by a police officer. “This is an attack on Democracy!” he shouted.

A few minutes later, another audience member did much the same, before the gallery calmed down and debate continued. Spectators interrupted the session regularly, with the Senate president punctuating the outbursts by banging her gavel and summoning police to escort offenders from the chamber.

At the end of the night, her gavel fell apart in her hand mid-bang.

Although no arrests were made in the Senate, officers took four people into custody during protests in the rotunda, according to capitol police.

Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, the majority leader, said the bill would create a more competitive state economy and give workers more individual freedom to choose union membership, adding that the bill doesn’t prohibit collective bargaining between unions and employers.

“This legislation will ensure that Wisconsin’s workers have the sole power to determine whether they wish to belong to or support a labor organization,” he said in a statement following the vote.

“Right-to-work: it does impact the economy, except in the wrong direction,” said Democrat Senator Lena Taylor during the debate. “It will have an impact on so many things we aren’t even aware of because we’re rushing it through.”

Since his re-election last year, Mr. Walker has shown little interest in expanding union curbs to the private sector, but in recent days he reiterated his support of a right-to-work bill after state lawmakers took the lead.

The legislation still faces opposition from unions and Democratic lawmakers, who argue it is meant to undermine organized labor and won’t deliver the economic benefits backers promise. They also have accused Republican leaders of fast-tracking the legislation to stifle debate.

“It’s bad for the working men and women of this state, both union and nonunion,” said Sen. Dave Hansen, a Democrat, after the vote. “It’s ridiculous.”

But Myranda Tanck, spokeswoman for Mr. Fitzgerald, dismissed the argument, saying the idea isn’t new and possible legislation has been discussed in the state since the 1990s.

Still, the timing appears to have caught some opponents off guard, with labor leaders so far unable to muster the large crowds seen in 2011.

Senate Democrats presented more than a half-dozen amendments which were all defeated before the final vote Wednesday night. Assembly leaders have said they would take up the legislation next week following Senate action.

Twenty-four states have “right-to-work” laws, yet only three have passed such legislation in the past decade: Oklahoma, Michigan and Indiana. That could change in the coming months as several other states debate such bills.

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*VIDEO* Pajamas Media: Trifecta – Hillary Clinton’s Evil War On women


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Buried In The Numbers: Obamacare’s Costs Are Climbing, Not Receding (Sally Pipes)

Buried In The Numbers: Obamacare’s Costs Are Climbing, Not Receding – Sally Pipes

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Late last month, the Congressional Budget Office reported that the provisions within Obamacare expanding access to insurance coverage would cost 20% less than the agency estimated in 2010, when the law passed.

The White House was ecstatic. “The estimates released today by CBO once again confirm the progress we’ve made,” said deputy press secretary Eric Schultz.

Taxpayers, however, should worry. A closer look at the CBO’s numbers shows that Obamacare is growing much more expensive – and disruptive.

The CBO now expects Obamacare to cover far fewer uninsured than it previously thought. In a March 2011 report, the nonpartisan agency predicted that Obamacare would extend coverage to 34 million uninsured by 2021. It has since downgraded that number to 27 million – and concluded that Obamacare will leave 31 million Americans without insurance.

So the law’s overall price tag has declined only because it’s covering fewer people.

Left unsaid is the fact that Obamacare is set to spend more per person. If the law is not repealed, Obamacare will shell out $7,740 in subsidies for every person who gains coverage in 2021. That’s a 7% increase over the agency’s per-person estimate in 2011.

The CBO now projects that the law will cost nearly $2 trillion over the next ten years. Obamacare’s subsidies alone will cost $1.1 trillion. In 2010, the agency put the cost of the entire law at $940 billion over its first decade.

Obamacare hasn’t just failed to expand coverage as projected – it’s caused more people to lose their insurance than its architects intended. The CBO now estimates that 10 million people will lose their employer-provided health benefits by 2021. That’s a tenfold increase over the agency’s 2011 projections.

Indeed, the CBO originally predicted that Obamacare would boost employer-based health coverage by several million from 2011 to 2015.

This latest round of CBO projections could look downright rosy if health costs rise in the future.

That seems likely. National health spending shot up 5.6% last year. The agency predicts that it will climb 6% a year for the foreseeable future. That’s a 50% uptick from the average annual health inflation rate over the past six years.

Meanwhile, by offering subsidies for the purchase of insurance on state or federal exchanges, Obamacare will increase demand for it. That will fuel further price inflation.

Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber admitted as much in a January 2014 interview, saying, “The law isn’t designed to save money. It’s designed to improve health, and that’s going to cost money.” The president, of course, promised otherwise.

The law’s costs could rise even faster if companies dodge the employer mandate, which require firms with at least 100 full-time employees to offer health plans or pay a fine starting this year. Those with at least 50 full-timers must do the same beginning in 2016.

Employers might cut back on their workers’ hours so that they’re considered part-time — or stop hiring workers. Some firms may dump their health plans altogether, thanks to Obamacare’s many other cost-inflating mandates and regulations. The fine may be cheaper than the cost of coverage.

That may be good for their bottom line. But workers would suddenly have to pay for their own coverage on the exchanges. Taxpayers would have to pick up a share of the tab for those that qualify for subsidies.

These possibilities are becoming reality. A recent survey of small companies in southwestern Michigan found that one-quarter planned to drop their health plans this year because of Obamacare. Another quarter expect to do so next year.

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, another of Obamacare’s architects, believes these mass exoduses will continue. He predicts that Obamacare will bring about “the end of employer-sponsored insurance.”

It doesn’t have to be this way. Our healthcare system can deliver better quality care at lower cost – but only if the federal government repeals the Affordable Care Act and replaces it with a healthcare law based on market-friendly reforms.

Consider the market for senior care – dominated, of course, by Medicare. Lawmakers should replace the current, open-ended, fee-for-service system with means-tested vouchers available to beneficiaries at age 67, just as Social Security is. Under such a system, seniors would be able to pick from a variety of privately administered health plans. Competition can do the job of reducing costs and improving quality.

It’s already done so in the Medicare Part D drug benefit, which allows seniors to choose from among prescription drug plans offered by competing insurance companies. According to the CBO, Part D’s cost between 2004 and 2013 was 45% lower than the agency predicted at the outset.

Lawmakers should adopt a similar approach to reforming Medicaid, the joint state-federal health plan for the poor. A fixed block grant for each state – and private options for Medicaid enrollees – would empower states to experiment with their programs to determine how to deliver the best care at the lowest cost.

There’s evidence that this approach can save money and improve care. In 2011, Oregon convinced the Obama administration to give it a block grant of sorts. The results have been impressive. Emergency-room visits declined 17%. From 2011 to 2014, costs fell 19%.

If Oregon’s approach were adopted nationwide, Medicaid spending could decline by more than $900 billion over the next decade, according to CMS.

Obamacare is failing to reduce our nation’s health costs and to expand access to insurance as promised. Congress’s own budget watchdog now admits as much.

Congressional Republicans have finally begun to do something about that reality, with their vote to repeal Obamacare last week and their reinvigorated drive to formulate a replacement. They must complete the job.

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Thanks Barack… Student Loan Forgiveness Program To Cost Taxpayers $21.8 Billion

Obama’s Student Loan Forgiveness Program Has $21.8 Billion Shortfall – Daily Signal

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The Obama administration’s student loan program came up $21.8 billion short last year because of unpaid and forgiven loans.

According to Politico, which found the number buried in President Obama’s 2016 budget proposal this week, the shortfall is “the largest ever recorded for any government credit program.”

The president’s student loan initiative limits student loan payments to 10 percent of the borrower’s income, and forgives outstanding debt after 20 years – or 10 years if the borrower works in public service.

According to WhiteHouse.gov, the initiative is “part of the Obama-Biden administration’s ambitious agenda to make higher education more affordable and to help more Americans earn college degrees.”

Politico reports that 40 million Americans currently hold $1.2 trillion in outstanding student loan debt.

Romina Boccia, the Grover M. Hermann fellow in federal budgetary affairs at The Heritage Foundation, said the federal government “is hiding the very real taxpayer exposure to risk that arises from its massive and growing student loan portfolio.”

“If the federal government included the market risks of that portfolio, its student loan programs would quickly reveal themselves as big money losers for taxpayers,” said Boccia.

“According to the Congressional Budget Office, using a fair-value approach to account for student loans shows them to drain federal coffers by $88 billion over the decade – a figure that can be expected to grow even higher given Obama’s new repayment program, which would forgive many of the loans,” she added.

According to Politico, because of a “quirk” in how credit programs are budgeted, the $21.8 billion difference can be added to the deficit without “appropriations or even approval from Congress.”

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Obamaconomy Update: Number Of Full-Time Jobs As Percentage Of Population Lowest It’s Ever Been

Gallup CEO: Number Of Full-Time Jobs As Percent Of Population Is Lowest It’s Ever Been – Gateway Pundit

Gallup CEO and Chairman Jim Clifton doubled-down on his comments earlier in the week on the misleading Obama unemployment rate.

Obama says the unemployment rate is 5.6% which is very misleading.

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Clifton went on America’s Newsroom today to explain the misleading government numbers.

“The number of full-time jobs, and that’s what everybody wants, as a percent of the total population, is the lowest it’s ever been… The other thing that is very misleading about that number is the more people that drop out, the better the number gets. In the recession we lost 13 million jobs. Only 3 million have come back. You don’t see that in that number.“

Via America’s Newsrooom:

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The real Obama unemployment rate is above 10%

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Apple Breaks Record For Quarterly Corporate Profits

Apple Posts The Biggest Quarterly Profit In Corporate History – NDTV

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Apple Inc quarterly results smashed Wall Street expectations with record sales of big-screen iPhones in the holiday shopping season and a 70 per cent rise in China sales, powering the company to the largest profit in corporate history.

The company sold 74.5 million iPhones in its fiscal first quarter ended December 27, while many analysts had expected fewer than 70 million. Revenue rose to $74.6 billion from $57.6 billion a year earlier.

Profit of $18 billion was the biggest ever reported by a public company, worldwide, according to S&P analyst Howard Silverblatt. Apple’s cash pile is now $178 billion, enough to buy IBM or the equivalent to $556 for every American.

Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said the Cupertino, California-based company would release its next product, the Apple Watch, in April.

Shares rose about 5 per cent to $114.90 in after-hours trade.

Daniel Morgan, senior portfolio manager at Apple-shareholder Synovus Trust Company in Atlanta, Georgia, said that the report was a good sign in a quarter where big tech companies such as IBM and Microsoft Corp have disappointed.

Apple Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri told Reuters in an interview that the company did not sell more iPhones in China than the United States, despite some earlier predictions by research analysts.

But the big-screen iPhone 6 and 6 plus drove revenues in China were up 70 per cent in the quarter from a year earlier. The company’s success in the competitive Chinese market can be attributed to its partnership with China Mobile Ltd, the largest global mobile carrier, and the appeal of the larger screen size of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

Maestri said he does not expect Apple to struggle because of China’s slipping economic growth. “We haven’t seen a slowdown,” he added.

Maestri also said the company doubled iPhone sales in Singapore and Brazil.

Apple will reach 40 company stores in greater China by mid-2016, Maestri told analysts on a conference call.

Carolina Milanesi, an analyst with Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, also lauded a 14 per cent rise in unit sales of Apple Macintosh computers and sales of older iPhone models.

Apple was well positioned for the current quarter in China, she added, which will include the Chinese New Year holiday and reflect Apple’s attempts to sell through new channels.

Apple reported net profit of $18.02 billion, or $3.06 per diluted share, compared with $13.07 billion, or $2.07 per share, a year earlier. That topped expectations of $2.60 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Analysts had expected revenue of $67.69 billion.

Maestri said that Apple faced “a clear headwind” from the strong dollar but that it had included the challenge in its forecasts. Apple predicted revenue of $52 billion to $55 billion in its fiscal second quarter, compared with Wall Street’s average target of $53.79 billion.

Cook said that the company’s new mobile payment service, Apple Pay, which lets customer buy products from select merchants with their phones, was in its “first inning” and the company would consider adding new features as it looked at expanding outside the United States.

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Day After Obama Mentions eBay As Example Of Booming Economy In SOTU, Company Lays Off 2,400 People

eBay Lays Off Thousands After Obama Touts Company In State Of The Union Address – Washington Free Beacon

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The POLITICO reports that President Obama, during his State of the Union address on Tuesday, gave shout outs to a number of American companies in an effort to highlight the strength of the U.S. economy. Nearly all of those companies, it turns out, are big political spenders and have contributed heavily to Democrats.

One of those companies was eBay, which Obama cited as an example of how “millions of Americans [are working] in jobs that didn’t even exist 10 or 20 years ago.” That now seems like an unfortunate choice, because less than 24 hours after Obama’s speech, eBay announced it was cutting 2,400 jobs, or about 7 percent of its workforce. Investors welcomed the layoffs, and the company’s stock jumped more than 4 percent on the news.

The company has spent millions of dollars lobbying the federal government, and has contributed mostly to Democrats over the years. Its president and CEO, John Donahoe, has donated almost exclusively to Democrats. He gave thousands to Obama’s campaign in 2012, and has contributed more than $90,000 to Democratic candidates and committees since 2006, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Here’s a picture of Donahoe leaving the White House after a meeting with President Obama last year to discuss, of all things, unemployment.

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