Obamanomics Update: Economy Shrinks By 0.7% In First Quarter

“Welcome To The Contraction”: Q1 GDP Drops By 0.7%, Corporate Profits Crash – Zero Hedge

And you thought the preliminary 0.2% Q1 GDP print from last month was bad. Moments ago, just as we warned, the BEA released its latest, first, revision of Q1 GDP (pre second-seasonal adjustments of course), and we just got confirmation that for the third time in the past four years, the US economy suffered a quarterly contraction, with the Q1 GDP revised drastically from a 0.2% growth to a drop of -0.7%: the worst print since snow struck, so very unexpectedly, last winter.

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Incidentally, there has not been a US “expansion” with three negative quarters in it in the past 60 years.

Worse, the breakdown shows that far from being a non-core slowdown, consumption rose just 1.8%, below the 2.0% expected, and contributed just 1.23% of the bottom line GDP number. This was the worst Personal Spending contribution since Q1 of last year, when revised GDP dropped by -2.11%.

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What is disturbing is that as noted before, inventories contributed the biggest component of Q1 GDP growth, adding $106 billion in nominal “growth.” Without that contribution, annualized GDP would have been worse than -3%!

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And worst of all, was the plunge in corporate profits. According to the report:

Profits from current production (corporate profits with inventory valuation adjustment (IVA) and capital consumption adjustment (CCAdj)) decreased $125.5 billion in the first quarter, compared with a decrease of $30.4 billion in the fourth.

Profits of domestic financial corporations decreased $2.6 billion in the first quarter, compared with a decrease of $12.5 billion in the fourth. Profits of domestic nonfinancial corporations decreased $100.4 billion, in contrast to an increase of $18.1 billion. The rest-of-the-world component of profits decreased $22.4 billion, compared with a decrease of $36.1 billion. This measure is calculated as the difference between receipts from the rest of the world and payments to the rest of the world. In the first quarter, receipts decreased $28.9 billion, and payments decreased $6.5 billion.

Or visually, here was the third largest corporate profit crash since the financial crisis:

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In short: welcome to the recession, which however will soon be double seasonally adjusted into another flourishing, of only stiatistically, “recovery.”

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Former U.S. Marine Organizes ‘Draw Muhammad’ Contest Outside Islamic Community Center In Phoenix

Phoenix Bikers Sponsor ‘Draw Muhammad’ Contest On Friday – Breitbart

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On May 29, bikers in Pheonix, Arizona, are holding a “Draw Muhammad” contest outside the mosque at the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, which is where the two gunmen who opened fire in Garland, Texas, allegedly attended.

Nadir Soofi and Elton Simpson drove from Phoenix to Garland and opened fire outside of the Curtis Culwell Center on May 3, while a Muhammad cartoon contest was being held. The two men were quickly killed by police working security at the event.

In the weeks since that event, numerous media pundits have criticized Pamela Geller for organizing the Muhammad cartoon contest to begin with. At what she described as her freedom of speech and expression, pundits recoiled and said she was asking for it by allegedly antagonizing Muslims.

For example, following the attack, The New York Times said Geller’s contest “was not really about free speech. It was an exercise in bigotry and hatred posing as a blow for freedom.” The paper tried to explain that those who see it otherwise are confusing “hate speech” with free speech.

Enter former Marine Jon Ritzheimer, who is organizing Friday’s “Draw Muhammad” contest in Phoenix.

According to Vocativ, Ritzheimer says his contest is an exercise in free speech and is being held, in part, to respond to the “liberals” who criticized those gathered in Texas with Geller instead of criticizing the two Islamic men who walked up to a cartoon contest and opened fire.

He put it this way:

This is not about race or any other side agenda that the Liberals are making it out to be. This is purely 100% a Freedom of Speech Rally. Stand Tall and show that we can PEACEFULLY protest our rights that are under attack. That is the sole cause for this Rally and Islam wants to silence us.

Ritzheimer is also asking all attendees to exercise their Second Amendment rights and bring firearms in case the expression of a First Amendment right “comes under the much anticipated attack.”

The group is meeting at Denny’s by the Islamic Community Center at 5 pm and plans to walk to the mosque itself at 6 and hold the contest right outside. The current president of the center is Usama Shami. He responded to Ritzheimer’s announcement by saying, “Everyone has a right to be a bigot. Everyone has a right to be racist.”

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Leftist Incompetence Update: Unfinished Prison Costs Detroit $1.2 Million Per Month

Liberals Built This: Unfinished Prison Costs Detroit $1.2 Million Per Month – Weasel Zippers

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This is liberal control.

Via Fox News:

A prison in downtown Detroit that was deemed too expensive to complete is now a construction site frozen in time that still costs cash-strapped local taxpayers more than $1 million a month.

It was supposed to be a state-of-art lockup in the heart of the Motor City, but four years after breaking ground, with construction costs totaling $150 million and no end in sight, the city pulled the plug on the project four years ago.

Now, the Wayne County Jail sits empty among the ruins of a bankrupt city, costing taxpayers upwards of $1.2 million in debt service and monthly upkeep costs for electricity, security, sump pumps – and even off-site storage for pre-fabricated jail cells that will never be used.

Keep reading

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Emails Show Hitlery Wanted To Arm Libyan Rebels Using Private Security Contractors Despite Prohibitions

Emails Show Clinton’s Interest In Arming Libyan Rebels Despite Prohibitions – Fox News

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Recently released emails detail then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s interest in arming Libyan opposition groups using private security contractors before the fall of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011 – though at the time, the opposition was not formally recognized by the U.S. or United Nations, which prohibited arming without following strict guidelines and oversight.

The issue remains so sensitive that the emails recently released by the State Department redacted a key line on the matter. But the unredacted version of the same email, released to the congressional Benghazi Select Committee and first posted by The New York Times last Thursday, showed Clinton appearing to endorse the idea of using private contractors to her then-deputy chief of staff, Jake Sullivan.

“FYI. The idea of using private security experts to arm the opposition should be considered,” Clinton wrote to Sullivan on April 8, 2011, attaching an intelligence report from Hillary’s adviser Sidney Blumenthal. The opposition was known as the Transitional National Council, or TNC.

Another email released by the State Department shows that five days earlier, on April 3, 2011, Bill Clinton said he would not rule out arming the Libyan opposition. The story was circulated by Cheryl Mills, Hillary Clinton’s principal personal adviser at the State Department, to “H.” While it’s not clear who “H” is, based on the message traffic it is likely Hillary Clinton or possibly adviser Huma Abedin.

Later that same year, a Sept. 10, 2011 email with a subject line “Rogers” said, “Apparently wants to see you to talk Libya/weapons.”

At the time, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee was Mike Rogers, who abruptly announced he would not seek re-election in the spring of 2014. Rogers did not immediately respond to questions seeking comment. Fox News also filed its own Freedom of Information Act request for the documents in October 2012.

Current and former intelligence and administration officials consistently have skirted questions about weapons shipments, first documented by Fox News in October 2012, one month after the Benghazi terrorist attack, and what role the movement played in arming extremist groups the U.S. government is now trying to defeat in Syria and Iraq.

Through shipping records, Fox News confirmed that the Libyan-flagged vessel Al Entisar, which means “The Victory,” was received in the Turkish port of Iskenderun – 35 miles from the Syrian border – on Sept. 6, 2012, five days before the Benghazi terrorist attack. The cargo reportedly included surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles, RPG’s and Russian-designed shoulder-launched missiles known as MANPADS.

On the movement of weapons, in an interview broadcast May 11, former acting CIA director Mike Morell said the CIA and U.S. government “played no role. Now whether we were watching other people do it, I can’t talk about it.”

Heavily redacted congressional testimony, declassified after the House intelligence committee’s Benghazi investigation concluded in 2014, shows conflicting accounts about the movement of weapons from Libya to Syria were apparently given to lawmakers.

On Nov. 15, 2012, Morell and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified “Yes” on whether the U.S. intelligence community was aware arms were moving from Libya to Syria. This line of questioning by Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, who is now the intelligence committee chairman, was shut down by his predecessor Rogers, who said not everyone in the classified hearing was “cleared” to hear the testimony, which means they did not have a sufficient security clearance.

An outside analyst told Fox News that Rogers’ comments suggest intelligence related to the movement of weapons was a “read on,” and limited to a very small number of recipients.

Six months later, on May 22, 2013, Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, now chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, asked if the CIA was “monitoring arms that others were sending into Syria.” Morell said, “No, sir.”

Several individuals connected to Benghazi and Hillary Clinton’s term at the State Department now work at the D.C. consulting firm Beacon Global Strategies. Among them are Clinton’s principal gatekeeper Philippe Reines; Morell, who’s listed as a senior counselor; and Andrew Shapiro, who was a Clinton policy adviser at the State Department whose portfolio included ridding Libya of shoulder-launched missiles called MANPADs. Critics argue no group knows more about Benghazi or has such a vested interest in the outcome of the congressional Benghazi investigation.

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Related article:

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The Day-By-Day Clinton Scandal Tracker – Doug Ross Journal

Just so you can keep ’em all straight. Summarized and sanitized for your protection!

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27-May-2015

* Clinton Foundation hit with racketeering lawsuit
* Clinton Foundation finds itself drawn into FIFA soccer corruption scandal

26-May-2015

* Hillary never disclosed secret shell company funneling income to Bill

25-May-2015

* Did Clinton pay-to-play arrangement hand over port container operations to UAE?

24-May-2015

* Emails reveal Hillary cared so much about Benghazi she slept through intel briefing 4 days later
* Stephanopoulos joined Bill Clinton on Pedophile Island
* The 15 Benghazi emails you need to read

23-May-2015

* Hillary’s Real Benghazi Problem
* Hillary claim she used only one email address while at State? Another lie
* Hillary Deliberately Caused Delay Of Email Release By Submitting Only Paper Copies

22-May-2015

* New Hillary Emails Confirm She Received Classified Info on Private Email
* Hillary Was Pushing For Tax Breaks To Benefit Clinton Library Donors
* Clinton Foundation Had $26M In Contributions It “Forgot” To Disclose

21-May-2015

* Clinton Aides at State Handled FOIA Requests, Not Experts: WSJ
* Hillary can’t shake email controversy
* Does Hillary deserve to be President after jeopardizing national security?

20-May-2015

* The State Department’s In-Kind Contribution to the Clinton Campaign
* State Dept Won’t Comment on Report Cheryl Mills Interfered with Hillary Clinton FOIA Requests

19-May-2015

* Did Hillary Clinton know of Benghazi attack in advance?
* Hillary, “Sid Vicious”, and Libya

18-May-2015

* The Truth About Benghazi Slowly Emerges
* Proof: US Was Running Weapons Thru Benghazi to Syria
* Key Hillary Clinton Claim on Emails Was a Lie

17-May-2015

* Stop me if you’ve heard this one; Hillary took money from more companies seeking influence
* ‘Clinton Cash’ author: George Stephanopoulos guilty of “hidden-hand journalism”
* Clinton Cash’ Author Reveals Other Ties Stephanopoulos DIDN’T Admit or Apologize For

16-May-2015

* ABC, Stephanopoulos Clinton Foundation Hypocrisy Staggering
* Hillary Clinton personally took money from companies that sought to influence her
* Clintons Earned $30 Million in 16 Months, Report Shows

15-May-2015

* Former Obama CIA Chief: Hillary’s Emails Compromised By Our Enemies
* Guess Who Delayed Response to Stephanopoulos Scoop So Politico Could Publish First?
* Clinton Foundation donors include dozens of media organizations, individuals
* Stephanopoulos Another Example Of Revolving Door Journalism

14-May-2015

* Clinton Connections Paid Off for Indonesian Tobacco Tycoon
* Former CIA Official: WH’s Story on Benghazi Talking Points Isn’t Credible

13-May-2015

* Clinton Foundation donor can’t explain role in Russian uranium deal
* Alan Colmes: FBI Should Investigate Clinton Foundation

12-May-2015

* Clinton Foundation Donors Fill Hillary’s Campaign Coffers

11-May-2015

* Report: Clinton Foundation Tried to “Strong-Arm” Leading Charity Watchdog
* Federal Court Reopens State Dept. FOIA Lawsuit: “Newly Discovered Evidence” of Clinton Crimes

9-May-2015

* Stunned Reporter Grills State Dept.: Why Won’t Hillary’s Breaches Be Investigated?

7-May-2015

* Why Did a Nigerian Company Pay Bill Clinton $1.4MM for 2 Speeches?
* Clinton Crime Fund Reportedly Took Funds From Human Rights Violators
* Four Clinton Foundation Trustees Charged Or Convicted Of Financial Crimes

6-May-2015

* The Hill-Billy Cash Pump
* Bill Clinton Puts Blame for Family’s Scandals on Accountant

5-May-2015

* The Clinton Foundation isn’t a “charity” in any normal sense of the word

4-May-2015

* Bill Clinton: Foundation didn’t do anything “knowingly inappropriate”
* Bill Clinton on Huge Speaking Fees: ‘I Gotta Pay Our Bills,’ You Know

3-May-2015

* The Clintons, a luxury jet and their $100 million donor from Canada

30-April-2015

* The Clintons, a luxury jet and their $100 million donor from Canada
* Hillary Opposed Sending Nuke Tech to India… Until Huge Donations Flowed In

29-April-2015

* Benghazi Committee Gets Some Subpoeaned Docs from State Dept. Two Years Later
* Clinton Foundation spent more on office supplies than on charity gifts in 2013
* 181 Clinton Foundation donors who lobbied Hillary’s State Department

28-April-2015

* Report alleges Clintons personally profited from Hillary’s tenure at State
* The Clintons lower the bar again
* If This Is the Best Defense of the Clinton Foundation, She’s in Trouble

27-April-2015

* Sunlight Foundation leader: Clinton Foundation a “slush fund”
* So About the Clintons’ So-Called ‘Charity’
* Who’s Afraid of the Benghazi Hearings?

26-April-2015

* The Fall of the House of Clinton
* Hillary’s Day of Wrath
* Clinton Foundation distributed useless drugs to AIDS patients
* For the Clinton Defense
* ABC This Week With George Stephanopoulos owe their viewers an Apology

25-April-2015

* Report: Clintons Engaged in Pay-for-Play During Efforts to Rebuild Haiti
* Clinton relatives, donors got rich off taxpayer-funded Haiti contracts
* Clinton Greed

24-April-2015

* Who is really drawing out the Benghazi investigation?
* “Hillary Thinks She Is Bigger Than God”
* Hillary now raising funds off of evidence of her corrupt fundraising
* Muslim Brotherhood Payrolled By Clinton Foundation

23-April-2015

* How long can this train wreck continue?
* Bill Clinton sold us to the ChiComs; Hillary sold us to the Russians
* White House Refuses to Comment on Shady Deal Hillary Made With Russia
* Many Clinton charity donors got State Dept. awards under Hillary
* Clintons Lied on Tax Forms, Claiming No Foreign Money to Foundation
* Oops: Clinton Foundation Re-Filing Five Years of Tax Returns Over “Errors”
* State Dept. Documents Reveal Concern about Bill Clinton’s Activities with “Saudi Entities”

22-April-2015

* Cash Flowed to Clintons as Russians Pressed for Control of Uranium Company
* Former Clinton Employee Tied To Muslim Brotherhood Sentenced To Life In Prison

21-April-2015

* White House Won’t Deny Clinton Foundation Donors Got Special Treatment
* The Latest Available Clinton Foundation Filings Appear Deceptive

19-April-2015

* ‘Clinton Cash’ Reveals Foreign Pay-to-Play Deals with Clinton State Dept.

18-April-2015

* Newsweek: Largest donor to Clinton Foundation has trade ties to Iran
* Cisco Used Clinton Foundation To Cover-up Human Rights Abuse In China

12-April-2015

* Here’s a breakdown of every scandal swirling around Hillary

9-April-2015

* Hillary Reversed Position on Trade Deal With Colombia After Huge Donation to Clinton Foundation
* Hillary For Sale: At Least $1 Million From Morocco Flowing Into Clinton Foundation

7-April-2015

* Top Spy: Hillary’s Emails ‘Likely’ Hacked by China, Russia, Iran
* How the U.S. thinks Russians hacked the White House
* Hillary’s Brothers Unlike Any Others

31-March-2015

* Hillary’s accidental drone email about decorating reveals BIG new problems
* Hillary’s private intel chief Sidney Blumenthal also an illegal lobbyist?

30-March-2015

* Did Clinton’s Backdoor Adviser Illegally Lobby for Putin Ally?
* The long, complicated story of Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi subpoena
* Obstruction of Justice – A Must For Hillary
* The Latest Bombshell from Mrs. Clinton’s Lawyer

29-March-2015

* Situation Normal: Hillary Clinton obstructs justice and operates outside the law

28-March-2015

* Get Hillary’s server, it’s now evidence of a potential crime
* GOP: ‘Even Nixon Didn’t Destroy the Tapes’

27-March-2015

* Hillary Clinton Defies Subpoena, “Wiped Her Server Clean”
* Hacked Hillary Emails: Getting Fed Intelligence By Her Own Private Spy Service

26-March-2015

* Clintons Received Money from ‘Front for the Government of Iran’
* Did Hillary Run Her Own Intelligence Operation?
* Lawsuit: Clintons are guilty of racketeering, influence peddling
* Business dealings of Hillary Clinton’s brother raise new questions

25-March-2015

* Clinton Nemesis Ramps Up Effort to Get State Dept. to Spill on Hillary’s Tenure

21-March-2015

* Bill Clinton ‘Unaware’ Brother-In-Law on Board of Haitian Gold Mine that Landed Rare Permit

20-March-2015

* Trey Gowdy to Hillary Clinton: Hand Over Your E-Mail Server
* Now Huma Abedin is Being Scrutinized for Possible Corruption

19-March-2015

* Emails sought of nearly a dozen U.S. State Department workers under Clinton

18-March-2015

* State Dept. Employees Who Don’t Sign Separation Agreement Face Dire Consequences
* Hillary committed obstruction of justice

17-March-2015

* Clintonworld’s Self-Pitying Shadiness Returns
* Clintons UAE Quid Pro Quo
* Hillary Clinton’s Top Five Secrecy Scandals

16-March-2015

* Hillary Clinton’s Top Five Secrecy Scandals
* Clintons Cover-Up Team
* Hillary Clinton should face criminal charges
* The “Hillary Was Right to Break the Law Because Republicans Are Mean” Defense

15-March-2015

* Trey Gowdy: House may go to court to get Clinton email server
* On Benghazi, a timeline of State Department obstruction
Hillary Clinton Lies… A Lot
* Clinton camp issues clarification on deleted emails, claims “every” message was reviewed

14-March-2015

* Valerie Jarrett behind leak of Hillary Clinton’s email scandal
* State Department contradicts Hillary Clinton’s email claim
* An Open Letter to hdr22@clintonemail.com

13-March-2015

* Hillary Is Being Investigated for a Possible Felony
* Clinton Faces Broader Email Deception Issue Involving Entire State Department

12-March-2015

* Did Hillary let friends use State Department gigs as a piggy bank?
* Hillary’s Rose Law Firm Career a Sign of What Was to Come?

11-March-2015

* Hillary’s email explanation is self-contradictory, here’s how

10-March-2015

* The Hillary Email Scandal: Who Profits?
* The Mendacious, Charmless, Painfully Mediocre And Unelectable Hillary Clinton
* Hillary’s Train Wreck Press Conference: Spin, Lies and Unanswered Questions
* Carefully scripted Hillary knocked out of comfort zone
* Internet Catches Hillary in Three Provable Email Falsehoods
* Hillary emerges from behind stonewall for tightly controlled press conference
* Mystery location of Clinton email server seen as ‘matter of national security’
* Hillary Tries To Quell Email Controversy, But Only Creates More Questions
* Trey Gowdy: Hillary’s Server Or Hillary’s Testimony
* Hillary’s brother got the gold mine, Haiti got the shaft

9-March-2015

* “It will be a crime if she knowingly withholds documents pursuant to subpoena”
* Clinton e-mail scandal disqualifies her for president
* Hillary Clinton’s Possibly Fatal Email Mistake
* Cheryl Mills, Hillary Clinton: What We Musn’t Forget About Benghazi
* New FOIAs Probe Clinton Secret Email System, Lawsuits May Follow In 20 Days
* White House: Hillary And Obama Did Email Each Other
* Why Would Foreign Governments’ Donations to the Clinton Foundation Not Count as Bribes?
* Wealthy at Scandal-Plagued HSBC Have Donated/Bribed $81 Million to Hillary’s Bribery Storefront

8-March-2015

* Gowdy: Huge Gaps Of “Months And Months” In Emails Hillary Turned Over
* Hillary Milhous Clinton

7-March-2015

* Hillary Exposed Her Emails To Spies… To Hide Them From You
* While Clinton Hid Emails, $6 Billion Went Missing in Her State Dept.

6-March-2015

* State Department: Hillary decides what emails we can see
* FOIA Request for Hillary Clinton’s Email Address Went Missing

5-March-2015

* Hillary fired US Ambassador to Kenya for using personal email account
* Server, Serve Her: Clinton Crumbling
* Hillary Clinton Still Doesn’t Get It
* Hillary’s Brother Gets Exclusive Mining Permit from Haiti After Taxpayers Sent Country Billions

4-March-2015

* Emailgate May Be the Final Scandal to Sink Hillary Clinton
* Hacker Reveals Contents from Hillary’s Private E-Mails and Shows Who She Was Talking To
* Bigger Question: Did Hillary use unsecured email for Classified Info?
* Hillary Clinton leaked e-mail story to New York Times before tweet
* MSNBC: Hillary Personal Email Use at State “Staggering, Shocking, and Ridiculous”

3-March-2015

* The Hillary Cover-Up and the End of Democracy
* Hillary Clinton’s Private E-Mail Draws Scrutiny

2-March-2015

* Hillary Clinton Used Personal Email Account at State Dept., Possibly Breaking Rules
* Report: Hillary Clinton Evaded Government Email While Secretary Of State

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Federal Court Deals Blow To President Asshat’s Executive Amnesty Scheme

Federal Appeals Court Deals Blow To President Obama’s Amnesty – Washington Times

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A federal appeals court upheld an injunction against President Obama’s new deportation in a ruling Tuesday that marks the second major legal setback for an administration that had insisted its actions were legal.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled in favor of Texas, which had sued to stop the amnesty, on all key points, finding that Mr. Obama’s amnesty likely broke the law governing how big policies are to be written.

“The public interest favors maintenance of the injunction,” the judges wrote in the majority opinion.

Mr. Obama had acted in November to try to grant tentative legal status and work permits to as many as 5 million illegal immigrants, saying he was tired of waiting for Congress to act.

The full amnesty, known as Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, or DAPA, had been scheduled to begin last week, while an earlier part had been slated to accept applications on Feb. 18. But just two days before that, Judge Andrew S. Hanen issued his injunction finding that Mr. Obama had broken the law.

Administration officials had criticized that ruling, and immigrant-rights advocates had called Judge Hanen an activist bent on punishing immigrants. But Tuesday’s ruling upholds his injunction, giving some vindication to the judge.

It also could mean Mr. Obama will have to appeal to the Supreme Court if he wants to implement his amnesty before the end of his term.

In the 2-1 decision, Judge Jerry E. Smith and Jennifer Elrod ruled in favor of Texas, finding that the state would suffer an injury from having to deliver services to the illegal immigrants granted legal status, and ruling that it was a major enough policy that the president should have sent it through the usual rule-making process.

“DAPA modifies substantive rights and interests – conferring lawful presence on 500,000 illegal aliens in Texas forces the state to choose between spending millions of dollars to subsidize driver’s licenses and changing its law,” the judges wrote.

Judge Stephen A. Higginson dissented from Tuesday’s ruling, saying he would have left the fight over immigration policy to the White House and Congress, saying Mr. Obama should have broad discretion to decide who gets deported and how he goes about that.

Just Higginson also said the fight was a political battle, not a legal one

“The political nature of this dispute is clear from the names on the briefs: hundreds of mayors, police chiefs, sheriffs, attorneys general, governors, and state legislators – not to mention 185 members of Congress, 15 states and the District of Columbia on the one hand, and 113 members of Congress and 26 states on the other,” he wrote.

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Ready For Another Obamacare Price Hike? (David Catron)

Ready For Another Obamacare Price Hike? – David Catron

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In July of 2009, as the Obamacare debate was heating up, Gallup published a survey indicating that 83 percent of Americans wanted health care reform to make their health insurance more affordable. Now, more than five years after the President’s “signature domestic achievement” was passed, health insurance premiums are higher than ever. And it’s obvious that Obamacare is a major driver of the increase. The Wall Street Journal reports that insurers are proposing rate increases ranging from 25 to 51 percent for 2016. Why? “All of them cite high medical costs incurred by people newly enrolled under the Affordable Care Act.”

Obamacare apologists suggest different causes, of course. Jonathan Cohn writes, “One reason could be the normal and predictable competition among insurance plans jostling for market share.” Cohn’s grasp of economics is so tenuous that he doesn’t know insurers compete for market share by reducing premiums. He also connects the increases to anxiety about that bête noire of Obamacarians everywhere, King v. Burwell: “If the court rules in favor of the plaintiffs… millions will drop their coverage because they will no longer be able to afford it.” Cohn evidently thinks insurers will respond by making insurance even less affordable.

The real reason for the proposed increases is that insurers now have real data on real Obamacare enrollees rather than implausible projections from the Obama administration. And this new information makes it clear that they’ll lose their shirts if they sell coverage at anything resembling 2015 rates. Many young, healthy individuals have refused to buy pricy Obamacare coverage, leaving insurance carriers with sluggish premium streams out of which to pay the large dollar claims coming in from seriously ill patients willing to buy coverage regardless of cost. This dynamic has already caused a number of health insurers to incur huge losses.

Obviously, not even an evil insurance company can stay in business if it consistently loses large amounts of money. Earlier this month, Assurant Health announced that losses related to Obamacare are causing it to close its doors. Western Journalism reports, “The company and industry watchers blamed its losses directly on the impact of Obamacare… Assurant lost $63.7 million in 2014. The insurer raised its rates by 20 percent in 2015, in hopes of returning to profitability, but lost between $80 to $90 million during the first quarter of this year.” The company has been in business for 123 years and provides coverage for 1 million people.

Assurant is based in Wisconsin, but insurers all across the country are attempting to survive the same perverse incentives that finally undid that venerable company. The Journal lists proposed increases by companies offering plans through exchanges in Connecticut, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington state. And many of these companies are already losing huge amounts of money: “BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee… lost $141 million from exchange-sold plans, stemming largely from a small number of sick enrollees.” It is asking for a 36.3 percent rate increase.

All of which suggests that the “premium stabilization” safeguards ostensibly meant to prevent Obamacare from sending the health insurance industry into a death spiral aren’t working. The “reinsurance program,” as Philip Klein explains at the Washington Examiner, “slaps fees on insurance policies and uses the revenue to funnel payments to insurers to compensate them for taking on individuals with a high-risk profile.” “Risk corridors” are a corporate redistribution scheme whereby the government uses the profits of some insurers to offset the losses of others. But, as Klein points out, both programs will be gone after 2016.

If disasters like Assurant and BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee are occurring while these programs remain in place, what will happen when they’re gone? Well, we’ll have more insurers proposing hair-raising rate increases in order to avoid the fate of Assurant. But, not to worry, says Charles Gaba at HealthInsurance.org, upon whom the erstwhile “Citizen Cohn” rather desperately relies upon as the voice of reason: “These requested rate changes are being submitted to the state insurance commissioner’s office… and in most states either the commissioner or some other regulatory body has to either approve the requests or deny them.”

In other words, some state bureaucrat may simply deny the insurance company’s rate request and impose a more “appropriate” premium. This means that, in New Mexico, Health Care Service Corp. may get a mere 25 percent increase rather than the 51 percent it has proposed. In Tennessee, Blue Cross may get only 20 percent rather than the requested 36.3 percent increase. In Maryland, the state bureaucrats may decide that, instead of a 30.4 percent increase, Blue Shield may only get 18 percent. All of these outcomes have one thing in common: The rate goes up by double digits. That means you pay a higher premium no matter how it turns out.

In other words, in the best case scenario, the your health insurance premiums are going up. And this is not simply because Obamacare has been unable to accomplish the main thing most Americans wanted from health reform in first place – more affordable medical care. Barack Obama’s “signature domestic achievement” is actually making health care less affordable. Good job, Mr. President. Please use the rest of your term perfecting your chip shot.

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