Monday, January 13, 2014

Don McEachin Got Busted

What was that saying about apples and trees? 
Senator Don McEachin was found out today. He is on the hook for soliciting and accepting donations on behalf of the Senate Democratic Caucus; $1,695 to be exact. Not  a bad haul for 5 days after Virginia law prohibits all fundraising.... 

Maybe this will quiet down the rabid cries of the Left that Republicans are the money men who need ethics reform, but not them of course...

For nearly a full week, the Senate Dem Caucus has had a perfectly functioning money portal, and they have obviously been plugging it. McEachin's actions, and those of the Caucus are at best, laughably negligent. But the best is hard to believe, since (then-Delegate) McEachin (himself, a lawyer) voted for the very law he is in hot water for breaking. At worst, the actions of the Caucus are a blatant violation of the Virginia Code,

It does show the bullets that they are sweating in the races for the 6th and 33rd though...and they should be.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Lowell Feld's Immense Foolishness

Over the weekend, Lowell Feld over at Blue Virginia blurbed about submitted legislation; which is to say he continued his annual cartoonish and foolish rant making fun of GOP bills. In it, the blogger obviously bashes three GOP bills, and gushess over two bills submitted by Dems(though he does honorably mention Delegate Habeeb's initiative to re-enfranchise nonviolent felons). Feld makes himself look a particular fool while attacking Delegate Tim Hugo's HB11.

Little does Mr. Feld know that he is firing on his own squad. Hugo's bill, which deals with mapping in Virginia's textbooks, is already supported by both parties, will be co-sponsored by a Korean-American Democrat and has already been cleared with Governor-elect McAuliffe.

Mark Keam will co-sponsor in the House, David Marsden will carry it in the Senate, and the Governor-elect has already clarified that he would sign it. Feld "doubt[s] that Delegate Hugo cares about the dispute over what the Sea of Japan (which most Koreans believe should be named the East Sea) is labeled as in Virginia textbooks"

Your idiocy is showing, Lowell. 

It doesn't surprise me that a vitriolic spin doctor like Feld wouldn't take the time to realize that the bill is meant to right a historic wrong between two nations. But five minutes of research would have shown him that Delegate Hugo represents a large and thriving Korean community. One look at LIS, and Feld would have understood Tim Hugo actually cares about representing his constituents. 

Is the truth too much work, Lowell? 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Electoral Math Lesson

"Peace is that brief, glorious moment when everybody stands around reloading" 


Now that 2013's election is over, we have but to look forward to those in 2014. Looking back at 2013 and what it can tell us about 2014, there are some optimistic signs, when money, votes, and issues are all taken into account together.

McAuliffe's win was closer than most expected, but he raised more money than anyone should ever have had to for a Governor's race. There was a very interesting Watchdog article yesterday, that broke down what each candidate spent on each of their votes. For his investment and result, Terry paid over 30 dollars per vote, Cuccinelli paid almost 19 dollars, and the the Little Libertarian Engine that Could, Robert Sarvis got the year's best bargain at LESS THAN A DOLLAR PER VOTE. But I digress.

I took the numbers, and rather than measuring dollar for vote, I decided to test the difference. McAuliffe won by 55,737 votes, and spent $13,712,821 more. That math comes out to Terry paying $246.03 for each vote of his lead, as deducted only from his lead in fundraising. Flawed candidate notwithstanding, that is a heavy price for a victory that seemed to defy the issues, and hinge on GOTV.

In 2014, I ask you...WHAT OTHER DEM CAN PAY THAT? 

One Dem in particular may have to. With issues like the Obamacare rollout, the looming budget and spending crisis, and immigration reform coming down the pipes in the near future. These are issues that Virginia tends to lean right on, and a non-Presidential election year means a conservative heavy electorate. The path to victory for Senator Mark Warner in the midterm is...narrowing.

Thanks to Virginia's decisive position against Obamacare, and the satirically bad rollout of the program, Mark Warner's seat is looking vulnerable(probably the reason that he was one of those 16 Senators meeting with Obama about fixing the ACA).

Warner is certainly no slouch in fundraising. The man won his own Governor's race. But when a career fundraiser like Terry can barely muster the money to win an election driven by money more than message, the question changes. The question becomes can Warner raise the cash necessary to offset his contrary views?

The Democrat model needs high spending to drive out the apathetic Obama-esque turnout model that they rely on to drown out the rural conservative votes from the counties. Can even Mark Warner, a popular past Governor, bring home those numbers with this slate of issues? I think not.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fast Terry and the Swindlers: Greatest Hits

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Please share this with your friends, family, and anyone who plans on voting this November. After the past few weeks of this election, and all of the developments that have come to light over our friend Terry, one question plagues my mind...

Why does nothing stick to this man? What do I have to say to convince you fine citizens of Virginia that the man who leads by 7 points is the human equivalent of Giardia?! He is most comfortable down in the mud, you could catch him without knowing it if you aren't careful, and whatever he is involved in ends up stinking!

Here is a run-down of some of Fast Terry's Greatest Hits: 

1. GreenTech/EB-5: He didn't start a business, he bought one from China and ran it into the ground. The man sells visas for money to put into a company that produces practically nothing. The whole scheme has been called out as a fraud by economists. The company and its Federal EB-5 license are under SEC investigation, and Terry didn't even want to mention that he was at the helm for nearly the company's entire history!

2. New York and Florida: Two OTHER STATES that Terry considered running in, because he couldn't care less where he collects his reward from the Clintons, he just wants to be boss of somewhere. Terry just saw Virginia as the easiest target, people.

3. Global Crossing: Terry is good at one thing, and that is finding money. It's a shame that when the telecom giant went bankrupt, he found 18 million dollars while the company's employees were kicked out on the street without pensions. I wonder how much of a golden parachute they got...

4. Pretty much his entire "Small Business" Stump Speech: The man has achieved a lot in his career, but Google these terms to see how much of that is really in business: hint, one is a scam and two went bankrupt.
A. American Pioneer Savings Bank
B. Gulf Coast Funds Management
C. GreenTech Automotive

5. Let's end on an anecdote: Terry says in his own words, in his own book that he abandoned his wife and newborn in a car to pick up a fundraising check for the DNC. That is offensive on about 5 levels! AND HE WROTE IT AS A BOAST! 

Share this with everyone.

From all of us following this race who are blue in the face from reminding Virginia just what they are getting, voting for this guy. We are all just trying to help Virginia avoid the buyers remorse that follows wherever Terry tries to sell his partisan snake oil.

Monday, July 22, 2013

PolitiFact Rules Terry McAuliffe a Liar(again)

Last weekend, in the first of a series of debates, Ken Cuccinelli and Terry McAuliffe squared off at the Homestead under the auspices of the Virginia Bar Association. The debate was focused mainly on the two men saying directly to each other what their campaigns and communication outfits had been saying to each other for months now. 

"Lack of ideas"

It was at about this point in the debate, that Terry McAuliffe slipped up (again). Citing a legal report on the AG's admission and correction of unreported gifts from 2009 to 2012, Terry said that Cuccinelli "should have been prosecuted" for disclosure violations, but Virginia's law was too weak.

Without skipping a beat, Cuccinelli said he would leave this one up to fact checkers. Politifact has come back on Terry's statement almost immediately, rating it "Pants on Fire", the falsest of the false. To quote from their article, 

"McAuliffe said the ethics report said Cuccinelli "should have been prosecuted, but Virginia laws are insufficient."

There is nothing in the report that remotely supports McAuliffe’s claim. To the contrary, the report concludes Cuccinelli did not violate any laws.
McAuliffe’s hyperbolic statement is not only wrong, it defies any reasonable reading of the report. We rate his comment Pants on Fire."

With that, we begin (again)Watch 2013. How many of those tags will be assigned to the fallacies, manipulations, and outright lies before the election is over? This is not the first time that Terry McAuliffe has tried to steal the election on false laurels. By our count, there have been three big (again)'s. 

The recent three Pinocchio's he garnered from the Washington Post about Medicaidthe false ruling that Politifact gave his explanation of how GreenTech passed over hard-hit areas of Virginia for employment, and his constant strategy to divide Virginians based on ideology amidst an election about jobs and economic growth. Now this becomes the fourth.

Virginia does not need an injection of federal bureaucracy, and does not need a Governor who cares so little (if at all) about the average citizen. If Terry thinks he can lie his way into the Governor's mansion, then we will point out those lies; (again) and (again)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Galen Institute delineates 46 new IRS powers under Obamacare

The following is a cached copy of the article from the Galen Institute of June 5, 2013. This article for one reason or another is no longer available online, but is important nonetheless. 

The power granted to the IRS to enforce ObamaCare’s mandates, taxes, penalties, reporting, and other requirements is unprecedented. Based upon Government Accountability Office data, we count 46 new responsibilities assigned to the IRS under the health law.1

IRS officials have acknowledged the huge problems these major new responsibilities will create for the agency.  On March 5, 2013, an official from the Treasury Department’s Inspector General for Tax Administration, J. Russell George, testified before the House Appropriations Committee. Mr. George was asked about the tax implications of ObamaCare.

“It is unprecedented in recent history, the amount of responsibility the IRS is being given in an area that most people don’t think of as an IRS function,” George said. Americans, he added, will have more questions about their taxes because of health care penalties or credits, flooding already busy call-in and walk-in tax help centers. “This is going to lead to problems, sir,” he testified.

Many people are especially concerned about assigning an unprecedented number of major new responsibilities to implement ObamaCare to an agency whose primary task is collecting revenues to fund the Federal government.

We have used the GAO list as the basis for our list and have organized it by categories of new tasks:  Collecting taxes, distributing subsidies, collecting information, and enforcing compliance.

Collecting taxes2

  1. Charitable Hospital Tax: Imposes additional reporting requirements for charitable hospitals to qualify as tax-exempt under IRC 501(c)(3) and requires hospitals to conduct a community health needs assessment at least once every 3 years and to adopt a financial assistance policy and policy relating to emergency medical care.
  2. Codification of the “Economic Substance Doctrine”: Clarifies and enhances the applications of the economic substance doctrine and imposes penalties for underpayments attributable to transactions lacking economic substance.
  3. “Black liquor” tax hike: Amends the cellulosic biofuel producer credit (nonrefundable tax credit of about $1.01 for each gallon of qualified fuel production of the producer) to exclude fuels with significant water, sediment, or ash content (such as black liquor).
  4. Tax on Innovator Drug Companies: Imposes a fee on each covered entity engaged in the business of manufacturing or importing branded prescription drugs.
  5. Blue Cross/Blue Shield Tax Hike: Limits eligibility for deductions under section 833 (treatment of Blue Cross and Blue Shield) unless the organizations meet a medical loss ratio standard of at least 85 percent for the taxable year.
  6. Tax on Indoor Tanning Services: Imposes a tax on any indoor tanning service equal to 10 percent of amount paid for service.
  7. Medicine Cabinet Tax: Repeals the tax exclusion for over-the-counter medicines under a Health Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA), Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA), Health Savings Account (HSA), or Archer Medical Savings Account (MSA), unless the medicine is prescribed by a physician.
  8. HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike: Increases tax on distributions from HSAs and Archer MSAs not used for medical expenses.
  9. Employer Reporting of Insurance on W-2: Requires employers to disclose the value of the employee’s health insurance coverage sponsored by the employer on the annual Form W-2.
  10. Surtax on Investment Income: Imposes an unearned income Medicare contribution tax of 3.8 percent on individuals, estates, and trusts on the lesser of net investment income or the excess of modified adjusted gross income (AGI + foreign earned income) over a threshold of $200,000 (individual) or $250,000 (joint).
  11. Hike in Medicare Payroll Tax: Imposes an additional Hospital Insurance (Medicare) Tax of 0.9 percent on wages over $200,000 for individuals and over $250,000 for couples filing jointly.
  12. Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers: Imposes a tax of 2.3 percent on the sale price of any taxable medical device on the manufacturer, producer, or importer.
  13. High Medical Bills Tax: Increases the threshold for the itemized deduction for unreimbursed medical expenses from 7.5 percent of Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) to 10 percent of AGA (unless taxpayer turns 65 during 2013-2016 and then threshold remains at 7.5 percent).
  14. Flexible Spending Account Cap: Limits health FSAs under cafeteria plans to a maximum of $2,500 adjusted for inflation.
  15. Retiree Rx Drug Coverage Tax Hike: Allows the deduction for retiree prescription drug expenses only after the deduction amount is reduced by the amount of the excludable subsidy payments received.
  16. Compensation Limit: Denies the business expenses deductions for wage payments made to individuals for services performed for certain health insurance providers if the payment exceeds $500,000.
  17. PCORI Fee:  Imposes a fee through 2019 on specified health insurance policies and applicable self-insured health plans to fund the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund to be used for comparative effectiveness research.
  18. Individual Mandate Tax: Requires all U.S. citizens and legal residents and their dependents to maintain minimum essential insurance coverage unless exempted starting in 2014 and imposes a fine on those failing to maintain such coverage.
  19. Employer Mandate Tax: Imposes a penalty on large employers (50+ FTEs) who (1) do not offer coverage for all of their full-time employees, offer unaffordable minimum essential coverage, or offer plans with high out-of-pocket costs and (2) have at least one full-time employee certified as having purchased health insurance through a state exchange and was eligible for a tax credit or subsidy.
  20. Tax on Health Insurers: Imposes an annual fee on any entity that provides health insurance for any U.S. health risk with net premiums written during the calendar year that exceed $25 million.
  21. Excise Tax on Health Insurance: Imposes a 40 percent excise tax on high cost employer-sponsored health insurance coverage on the aggregate value of certain benefits that exceeds the threshold amount.
Distributing subsidies
  1. Early Retiree Subsidy: Establishes a temporary reinsurance program to provide reimbursement for a portion of the cost of providing health insurance coverage to early retirees.
  2. Nonprofit Tax Exemption: Provides tax exemption for nonprofit health insurance companies receiving federal start-up grants or loans to provide insurance to individuals and small groups.
  3. Reinsurance Tax Exemption: Provides tax exemption for entities providing reinsurance for individual policies during first 3 years of state exchanges.
  4. State Exchange Tax Credit: Provides premium assistance refundable tax credits for applicable taxpayers who purchase insurance through a state exchange, paid directly to the insurance plans monthly or to individuals who pay out-of-pocket at the end of the taxable year.
  5. Cost-Sharing Subsidy: Provides a cost-sharing subsidy for applicable taxpayers to reduce annual out-of-pocket deductibles.
  6. Small Business Tax Credit: Provides nonrefundable tax credits for qualified small employers (no more than 25 full-time equivalents (FTE) with annual wages averaging no more than $50,000) for contributions made on behalf of its employees for premiums for qualified health plans.
  7. Small Business Tax Exclusion: Offers tax exclusion for reimbursement of premiums for small-group exchange participating health plans offered by small employers to all full-time employees as part of a cafeteria plan.
  8. Indian Tribe Tax Exclusion: Allows an exclusion from gross income for the value of specified Indian tribe health care benefits.
  9. Therapeutic Discovery Tax Credit: Establishes a 50 percent nonrefundable investment tax credit for qualified therapeutic discovery projects.
  10. Adoption Tax Credit: Increases the maximum adoption tax credit and the maximum exclusion for employer-provided adoption assistance for 2010 and 2011 to $13,170 per eligible child.
  11. Tax Exclusion for Dependent Coverage: Extends the exclusion from gross income for reimbursements for medical expenses under an employer-provided accident or health plan to employees’ children under 27 years.
  12. Advance Tax Credit and Cost-Sharing Reductions: Allows advance determinations and payment of premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions.
  13. Health Care Services Loan Tax Exemption: Excludes from gross income amounts received by a taxpayer under any state loan repayment or loan forgiveness program that is intended to provide for the increased availability of health care services in underserved or health professional shortage areas.
Collecting Information
  1. State Exchange Information Reporting: Requires state exchanges to send to Treasury a list of the individuals exempt from having minimum essential coverage, those eligible for the premium assistance tax credit, and those who notified the exchange of change in employer or who ceased coverage of a qualified health plan.
  2. Exchange Participation Requirement: Outlines the procedures for determining eligibility for exchange participation, premium tax credits and reduced cost-sharing, and individual responsibility exemptions.
  3. Taxpayer Information Disclosure: Authorizes IRS to disclose certain taxpayer information to HHS for purposes of determining eligibility for premium tax credit, cost-sharing subsidy, or state programs including Medicaid, including (1) taxpayer identity; (2) the filing status of such taxpayer; (3) the modified adjusted gross income of taxpayer, spouse, or dependents; and (4) tax year of information.
  4. Insurance Provider Information Reporting: Requires every person who provides minimum essential coverage to file an information return with the insured individuals and with IRS.
  5. Large Employer Information Reporting: Requires information reporting of health insurance coverage information by large employers (subject to IRC 4980H) and certain other employers.
  6. Medicare Beneficiary Information Disclosure: Authorizes IRS to disclose certain taxpayer information to the Social Security Administration (SSA) regarding reduction in the subsidy for Medicare Part D for high-income beneficiaries. (Conforming amendment)
Enforcing compliance
  1. Health Plan Penalty: Imposes a penalty on health plans identified in an annual Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) penalty fee report, which is to be collected by the Financial Management Service after notice by the Department of the Treasury (Treasury).
  2. New Group Plan Penalty: Subjects new group health plans to certain Public Health Service Act requirements and imposes the excise tax on plans that fail to meet those requirements. (Conforming amendment)
  3. Group Plan Compensation Discrimination Prohibition: Prohibits group health plans from discriminating in favor of highly compensated individuals.
  4. Nonprofit Indicator System: Requires the independent institute partnering with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to implement a key national indicator system to be a nonprofit entity under section 501(c)(3).
  5. Small Business Exemption for Cafeteria Plans: Allows small businesses to offer simple cafeteria plans-plans that increase employees’ health benefit options without the nondiscrimination requirements of regular cafeteria plans.
  1. Corporate Tax Advance: Increases the required payment of corporate estimated tax due in the third quarter of 2014 by 15.75 percent for corporations with more than $1 billion in assets, and reduces the next payment due by the same amount.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Why in Virginia, Federal is a 4-Letter Word

Yesterday, Democrats across the Commonwealth herded to churches, elementary schools, and all manner of polling places to choose the rest of Terry McAuliffe's ticket. 

Ralph Northam's hard swing to the left paid off, he should probably send a thank you card to E.W. Jackson for a very nice push near the finish line. Jackson's questioning of Chopra's knowledge of the now-infamous Federal PRISM program was an important step to defeating the former Federal Chief Technology Officer. Jackson's recent ad slammed Chopra for his ties to the Obama administration and the proverbial scandal fountain that has erupted at the White House in recent weeks.

Jackson may have uncovered a key advantage here, knocking Chopra based on his Washington past. Virginia voters showed a bias (the correct one, I would argue). They are suspicious of ties to big greasy Washington politics. They're worried about the tactics that those federal ties bring into the election. Of course, knowing that, their choice for a gubernatorial candidate now makes zero sense.

Instead, Dems turned to a pair of state senators. Northam's no fed, but he did have to swing pretty far to the left to convince some skeptical money-trees on the left (see: Planned Parenthood and the Washington Post) that he will be a photo-negative of the conservative GOP ticket this year.

Mark Herring edged out prosecutor Justin Fairfax, even in his home county (insert pun here) for the AG nod as well. Herring, a Loudoun native, was not expected to carry Fairfax County, which was by and away the largest voting force in this election, covering almost fifteen percent of the total votes in the race. But he took it by a pretty comfortable 1,564 votes.

Yesterday showcased a bit of the sweat that Dems are putting on the Lieutenant Governor's office in this election particularly. Northam presiding over the split senate could be the last ray of sunshine to Dems fed up with the solidly red House and the prospect of Ken Cuccinelli behind the desk of the Governor.

But the real mystery of the Democratic primary...where were they? Turn-out at primaries is generally low thanks to an apathetic populace, but state-wide less than 140,000 votes were cast in the Attorney General contest. That's roughly two and a half percent of Virginia's registered voters. The LG race only came in a few thousand higher.

Where are the blue tides that Obama rode to victory last year? Have their dreams of hope and change abated? Are they inclined to reasonable thought now that they know their fearless leader listens to their conversations too? Are the Dems fed up with their choices? Either way, an apathetic and divided Democratic party can only mean good things for Cuccinelli, Jackson, and Obenshain in the fall.

VA GOP Caucus