mcauliffeby James A. Bacon

We live in truly extraordinary times in Virginia. Never in my 61 years have I had occasion to ask myself, “Do Virginians believe in the rule of law or the rule of men?”

Governor Terry McAuliffe exercised his prerogative as governor yesterday to veto portions of the state budget passed by both houses of the General Assembly. Among the items he nixed was $20 million in funding for about 35 vacant or new judgeships. As I understand the state constitution (and I am no expert) he was fully within his rights to do so. Republicans can wail and gnash their teeth at the injustice or foolhardiness of it all, but nobody questions the fact that Virginia’s governor possesses the right to exercise a line-item veto.

More controversially, McAuliffe vetoed language in the budget bill specifying that Virginia’s Medicaid program cannot be expanded unless the General Assembly explicitly appropriates money for it. “The amendment is unnecessary,” he stated, “given its intent to restrict an appropriation that does not exist anywhere in the budget.” Republicans argue that the governor can veto the entire budget bill or he can veto specific appropriations but he cannot veto language in the bill that he does not like. Again, I am no constitutional law expert but the Republican argument seems plausible. The issue could well wind up being decided by the ultimate arbiter on state constitutional questions, the Virginia Supreme Court.

Then there is McAuliffe’s promise to find a way to bypass the will of the legislature and enact Medicaid expansion on his own authority. The money is there for the taking, with 100% of the funding provided by the federal government for the next few years under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The problem is that Medicaid is administered by the state and any federal pass-through funds must be incorporated in the state budget, which under any traditional interpretation of the state Constitution requires legislative approval.

Calling expanded health care coverage a “moral imperative,” according to the Times-Dispatch, McAuliffe directed Secretary of Health and Human Services Bill Hazel to give him a plan by Sept. 1 on “how we can move Virginia health care forward even in the face of the demagoguery, lies, fear and cowardice that have gripped this debate for too long.”

Sen. Donald McEachin, D-Henrico, chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus, vowed that Democrats would stand behind the governor “like a solid wall.” Reports Michael Martz with the T-D:

McEachin, a lawyer, also supported McAuliffe’s vow to expand health coverage by unspecified executive actions. “I’m comfortable with the legality of it,” he said, while declining to say how the governor plans to proceed.

I cannot imagine what novel legal doctrine Democrats might call upon to eviscerate the power of the legislature, but they can rest assured that they will face a battle royal from Republicans who will regard any such effort as an attempt to usurp the legislature’s constitutional powers.

McAuliffe appears to be modeling himself after President Barack Obama who, frustrated by his inability to get his legislative agenda through a hostile House of Delegates, has chosen to rule by executive action. The most notable of his unilateral actions has been expansion of the regulatory purview of the Environmental Protection Agency from air pollutants enumerated by the Clean Air Act to carbon dioxide, a chemical essential to life on the planet, on the grounds that CO2 contributes to global warming.

Impressed by the moral righteousness of their causes and contemptuous of Republicans who in their “demagoguery, lies, fear and cowardice” resist their efforts to re-engineer the nation according to their wishes, Democrats seem increasingly willing to dispense with the niceties of constitutional law. Rest assured, if the shoe were on the other foot — if, say, Sarah Palin or Ken Cuccinelli attempted to impose their agenda by such means — they would be howling that Republicans were dismantling the republic. Frankly, I am amazed how subdued the Republican reaction has been so far.

While McAuliffe calls them demagogues, liars and cowards, they have refused — so far — to respond in kind. But if the governor sticks to his guns and tries to impose Medicaid expansion against the wishes of the electorate (if we believe the polls) and both houses of the General Assembly, it won’t be long before people start calling him an usurper and  tyrant. He had better watch himself. His power grab could generate so much ill will that the Republican-dominated legislature will cut him off at the knees in any way it can. He will find himself a lame duck governor a mere half year into his administration.

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45 responses to “From Budget Crisis to Constitutional Crisis”

  1. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    An “usurper and tyrant? Golly, gee whiz!!

  2. larryg Avatar

    I think when the General Assembly is playing blatant partisan politics with issues – they engender more bad stuff.

    you can’t have it both ways.

    the whole Republican objection to MedicAid is a blatant LIE…

    first they could reform it ANYTIME and should have long ago but have chosen not to.

    second, the money that funds the MedicAid Expansion comes from earmarked taxes, much like the transportation fuel tax – and not the general fund.

    the only way it does not get funded is if the GOP in Congress specifically repeals those taxes so it has absolutely nothing to do with the Feds “not funding as promised”. The only way this happens is if the GOP makes it happen.

    there is always grey areas between the executive and the legislative branch and there are always the courts to figure out the fine points – but given the fact that we have GA people who dispute the power of the EPA to regulate .. and at the same time believe the earth is 6000 years old … ignorance, on many levels is certainly in play.

    remember this is the same group that voted for things like vaginal probes and Confederate flag memorials, and the like… and were just fine with McDonnell selling the GOvernor Mansion for hawking diet supplements.

    Finally – we are talking about people who work for a living – getting means-tested access to health care … who have the opportunity to go on welfare and get Medicaid as an entitlement.

    How stupid can you get? Expanding MedicAid for the working poor is a no-brainer unless you are so partisan that you cannot even do what services the best interests of the state and it’s citizens.

    It is dumb and ignorant as well as partisan to not expand MedicAid. Even GOP governors of other states came to this conclusion. Why does Va have to be saddled with a bunch of knuckle-dragging neanderthals..???

  3. larryg Avatar

    If the GOP Neanderthals in the Va GA essentially believe that it’s wrong for the Federal Govt to do MedicAid – then man up and withdraw from the program all together on that principle.

    If the GOP wants reform as a condition of expansion, then stop dragging your feet. Specify the reforms needed and move forward – with the reforms – and the expansion.

    You can start with making MedicAid ineligible to people who have significant assets like real estate which you have to ask yourself – if Va is a real “conservative” state, how in the world, did we even allow that option in MedicAid to start with?

    If you got rid of that option alone – you’d probably cover the expansion.

    Basically what the GOP is saying is that they prefer to subsidize those who are using MedicAid as a wealth preservation program – over providing access to health care – for people who are working 40 hours a week for minimum wage or less.

    How perverted can the GOP be – to support MedicAid subsidies for retired people with assets over people who are working poor?

    and we say this is a “Constitutional” issue? Au contraire. I can think of a lot of things to call it – but “Constitutional” does not get close other than as a refuge for scoundrels.

  4. larryg Avatar

    re: ” but he cannot veto language in the bill”

    who says that such language is “Constitutional” and not legislative “creep”?

    you KNOW who is making partisan arguments when you get to questions like this.. right?

  5. Breckinridge Avatar

    It was the U.S. Supreme Court decision which ruled the ACA a “tax” which also allowed the individual states to decide whether to expand Medicaid. Virginia is one of more than 20 still declining to do so, and there are strong arguments on both sides. And yes, there are distortions and not a few elements of demagoguery — on both sides (Larry). Unfortunately, it will now be the Virginia Supreme Court that gets to follow SCOTUS and play tie breaker. The Virginia Supreme Court is not quite a eager as SCOTUS to be making those kinds of decisions, and it has a history of deferring to the General Assembly’s decisions.

    The first case will likely focus on the vetoes, and the line item veto process is not cut and dried when (as has been noted) a governor is trying to veto the conditions on an appropriation and leave the appropriation intact. And while his vetoes are not posted yet, it looks like that is what he is proposing — veto the conditions on Medicaid (the MIRC and the Stanley language) while leaving the sum sufficient provision intact.

    Then we get the case on his proposal to expand the program without the approval of the General Assembly.

    With the support of 14 Democrats in the Senate (and he has 19) his vetoes can be sustained on the floor. But he cannot veto a state constitution that vests the vast majority of the sovereign power in the General Assembly.

    FYI, I think he is right to veto any provision that would allow the General Assembly to vest the appointment of judges in the Courts committees. In that case, it is the Assembly which thumbed its nose at the constitution. And I think he is wrong to announce unilaterally that he will ignore directions to move forward on capital projects that he did not veto when he had the chance. His oath is to execute the laws and the budget is a law.

    There is a whole lot of posturing and primping for the base going on here, again on both sides. Perhaps folks will calm down a bit when facing the judges.

  6. larryg Avatar

    Breckinridge – I just thought the Va courts would be the ones to sort out what powers the GOv had (or not).

    I’m not all humped up over this and only mildly surprised, mostly because McAuliffe is proving to be of sterner stuff than the sleazy car salesman personna before the election.

    the taxes that fund the expansion do not come from General Revenues so how does the argument that the Feds may not be able to fund it in the future hold up?

    Ad when I see the GOP reform the current MedicAid – which is totally optional anyhow including the wealth transfer going on for people with assets, when I see GOP address these issues – I might find them more credible in their “concerns”.

    We are talking about people who work for a living – as opposed to those who don’t and have full access to MedicAid unlike those who are working.

    Finally – I think most people do not understand the full depth of the powers of the Gov and that includes a good number of the dolts in the GA (or for that matter, the “impeach” boys in Congress).

    At the end of the day – this is not about the budget, it’s partisan politics.

    So, we’re surprised that McAuliffe is proving as partisan as the GOP?

    I mean holy cow!

    The outrage that McAuliffe has returned that hardball at the same speed he received it?

    Here’s the deal for me – the GOP cannot find ANY middle ground AT ALL?

    I’m tired of this – on both sides – but especially so on the GOP these days.

    so what happened to this guy: ” I have always figured that a half a loaf is better than none, and I know that in the democratic process you’re not going to always get everything you want. So, I think what they’ve misread is times in which I have compromised”

    we can’t do that anymore?

  7. Ghost of Ted Dalton Avatar
    Ghost of Ted Dalton

    I actually agree with you that the constitutionality of this is a bit shaky. BUT….let’s also take a look at the facts. MIRC was established by a GOP Governor and GA to be the vehicle to expand Medicaid or not. There were a series of reforms to be implemented and then MIRC was supposed to expand Medicaid. Go read the legislation that established MIRC.

    This was a bit of GOP chicanery. They all know that their base (rural VA) needs Medicaid expansion more than any other community in the state. Yet they know that if it’s put up for a vote by the full GA, they “can’t” for fear of Tea Party primary challenges. Thus, they created MIRC….something that AG Cuccinelli said was unconstitutional. The GA said, “screw constitutionality, we’re still going with MIRC.”

    Now you have a situation where it’s impossible to deny that both the McD and McA admins have implemented every suggested Medicaid reform. At this point in the Rube Goldberg GOP contraption, Medicaid is supposed to be expanded. But now MIRC is balking b/c of, you guessed it, Tea Party pressure.

    So….to sum up….even though I think Medicaid expansion may not be advisable, I can’t tell you who’s right here. Though I think it’s disingenuous for the GOP to talk about McAuliffe acting “unconstitutionally” when they went ahead with MIRC which their own AG deemed unconstitutional. Do as I say, not as I do……

    If you want someone to “blame”, as we’re seeing with a lot of things, it’s McD. The guy made a determination that Medicaid should be expanded. But he didn’t have the political courage to push it through the Assembly. He still thought he would run for President and wanted to have “plausible deniability” to deny he “implemented Obamacare.” So he and Howell and their minions invented the Frankensteinian MIRC. Ridiculous.

  8. The problem is much broader than the pros and cons of Medicaid expansion. It’s about voiding the constitutional system of government. The very checks and balances that were put into the System back in the 1700s. This risks an “ends justify the means” government, where the political whims of one elected official (the Governor) can override the General Assembly, the courts, the state constitution and the will of the people. I really don’t think that this is what the people want.

    If McAuliffe can create a law against the will of the General Assembly, what stops the next Governor from doing the same? Even the morons writing editorials for the Post understand this. As my Dad repeatedly reminded me as I was growing up, What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

  9. Ghost of Ted Dalton Avatar
    Ghost of Ted Dalton

    I agree TMT. However, I do think the whole MIRC idiocy is what’s caused this. Let’s say the MIRC was never created. I don’t think this would be occurring. The MIRC gives McA a fig leaf. NO ONE on the MIRC is denying that the McD and McA admins have implemented every proposed reform. That’s what gives this situation the tiniest shade of gray for McA to hide behind. I think he can half-heartedly argue that the GA set up MIRC to propose and implement reforms and then Medicaid is to be expanded. He can plausibly argue that those reforms have been implemented. It’s awfully disingenuous of the GOP to now say, “Oh, we lied. Forget MIRC, our own creation.” Again, I strongly disagree with what McA is about to do, but can I say he’s 100% wrong? No, not really. The GOP has some blame in this as well.

  10. Have the MIRC reforms been implemented? I haven’t read that anywhere (although I don’t comb the inside pages of the major dailies looking for such news). I agree with you, that would change the tenor of the debate. McAuliffe needs to state that the reforms have, in fact, been enacted — and say it loudly enough so that it penetrates to the news media. If he can plausibly say that reforms to the Virginia Medicaid program will offset the future outlay of Virginia’s 10% share when that kicks in, he would be in a much stronger position.

    1. Earlier this year, I asked Senator Barbara Favola several questions about how Virginia could expand Medicaid without seeing an massive increase in the use of ERs by newly covered persons, as occurred in both Washington and Oregon. Her answer was we have managed care. But that is not a good answer since the insured can simply bypass the PCP gatekeeper. I find her answer lacking. How do can we ensure the Oregon and Washington experiences don’t occur in Virginia? Do we limit the number of covered ER visits, as was considered and rejected in Oregon?

      I also asked the senator how Virginia can avoid the results incurred in North Carolina where state aid to public schools was cut twice to pay Medicaid shortfalls? Her answer was it won’t happen in Virginia. Is that a valid answer? I don’t think so.

      Finally, I asked Senator Favola to explain her statement that taxpayers and premium payers would save money by covering the uninsured by demonstrating how the law would mandate such a result. I noted McAuliffe had proposed setting aside $200 to $250 million from “savings” to create an escrow fund to help pay for state costs once the federal share drops from 100%. Shouldn’t the law mandate a flow-through of the savings? Senator Favola simply danced around and did not address my question.

      Bottom line – there is no mechanism in place to prevent overuse of ERs (something proponents promise, but are contradicted by Oregon and Washington); with Medicaid spending being the fastest growing item in the Commonwealth budget, there is no mechanism in place that would prevent spending cuts experienced by North Carolina; and there is no plan to return alleged savings from Medicaid expansion to taxpayers and premium payers.

      When a business makes claims of savings that cannot be proven correct, the FTC and state attorneys general often file suit; obtain fines and refunds. Sometimes, the defrauders are prosecuted.

      If my questions had been answered satisfactorily, I’d be supporting the planned expansion. But to me, it looks like fraud. Fraud that is legal only because the government is the party engaged in fraud. When I raise this to my liberal friends, they only get angry and dodge my questions. That tells me a lot.

      1. larryg Avatar

        thanks for posting the reforms!

        1. – they have completed dates on them… who approved those changes?

        2. – I still do not see reforms on providing nursing home care to people who have significant assets… (or perhaps I’m not reading carefully enough).

  11. Ghost of Ted Dalton – there are reasonable arguments on both sides of the merits on expansion. I’ll not address them in this post.

    As I understand one of the legal issues is: what does a line-item veto mean? It clearly means a governor can reject a specific appropriation while signing the rest of the appropriations bill. That makes a Virginia governor different from the president. But there is a serious question as to whether a Virginia governor can go further and remove other language from an appropriations bill. For example, what if the governor wanted to eliminate the Department of Rail and Public Transportation by vetoing language that described the Agency? Or, on the other hand, make it a cabinet position and remove the Secretary of Transportation from the cabinet. There is a body of law, which I have only skimmed that suggest line item veto is not this broad.

    There is a 1940 Virginia case that seems to say a governor cannot veto some general provision of law contained in an appropriations bill. The US and other state Supreme Courts have ruled accordingly. From what I see, McAuliffe is attempting to veto not an appropriation, but rather, a broader provision of law.

    This is the very type of political struggle envisioned by the Founders when they set up our system of checks and balances. Sometimes, we get results we don’t like. But if we do not permit that to happen, don’t we have a dictatorship? Or we can change the system. But I don’t think the voters of Virginia want to neuter the General Assembly and put all their trust in a Governor, who may have won by a mere plurality.

    1. larryg Avatar

      re: changing language.

      He cannot “undo” language that has already been codified into law in prior approved budgets.

      but he CAN with new changes.

      For instance, if the VA GA decided to change the “language” that constituted the missions or activities or structure of existing agencies, he certainly could object to that – and should.

      For instance, if the GA made a “language change” only that said NoVa would be responsible for it’s own roads from now on.

      would you want that to be the final decision and not have the govt weigh in on it?

      this is really sad.. when things have become so partisan that even common sense is tossed aside.

  12. policy geek Avatar
    policy geek

    If the Governor believes he has the constitutional authority to expand Medicaid on his own, then why he did not do this using executive order on his first day in office? Instead, the Governor-through his actions of demanding that the General Assembly pass a budget with Medicaid expansion-acknowledged that only the General Assembly has this authority. In short, the Governor cannot even make a logically consistent argument.

    What is remarkable is how the Virginia media establishment is either too stupid (or the more sophisticated ones are sympathetic to the policy goal McAuliffe is trying to achieve) to point out this contradiction to the public. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the WashPo, Virginian Pilot, etc to run investigative stories about how the Governor’s staff originally believed that their only route was through the General Assembly.

    1. larryg Avatar

      I don’t think they EVER thought that their ONLY ROUTE was through the GA.

      They wanted to take the path of least resistance – as any right-thinking executive would.

      But real leaders – don’t have one plan then run for cover when that plan fails.

      they plan on achieving the goal – using whatever means are available to them.

      this is actually the mark of an effective leader and I realize that it’s a bit of a novel concept after a GOP GOvernor.

  13. larryg Avatar

    re: “…. then why he did not do this using executive order on his first day in office? ”

    because you give the opportunity to everyone to do the right thing – the easier way before you go to the harder approach.

    People forget how the interstate highway system was done – by the Feds and guess what – 90% covered by the Feds… and not one weasel in the GA fretting about Virginia getting screwed downstream.

    This is not about Constitutionality at all. It’s a proxy excuse.

    As to TMTs concerns. we don’t have guarantees on the ERs. We’re trying to turn the ship. It may take “more” to make the transition – but you sure as hell are NEVER going to get there if you are fighting it from the get go to start with.

    that’s the problem here.

    Virginian’s ARE GOING to pay the taxes that finance this just as we pay Federal gas taxes for interstates.

    you may disagree with the Federal way of “strings attached” funding but it started with the interstates in the 1960’s not Barrack Obama or McAuliffe.

    It’s crystal clear what the right wing zealots game is. They are hoping to eventually repeal ObamaCare including the expansion and so accepting it even on a 90-10 basis (the same as the interstate system) is political poison.

    remember – we’re not talking about people on 100% welfare here. We’re talking about people who work for a living – just like all the folks who also work for a living but get tax-free health insurance – something that has a subsidy similar in cost to what the means-tested subsidy would be for the expansion.

    All this talk about Constitutionality is basically subterfuge by weasels.

    let’s them pull out of the interstate highway system using the same argument if they are truly serious – because the Federal Highway Trust fund IS going broke… unless we – subsidize it from general revenues or increase the Federal gas tax.

    this is pretty simple. It’s a spineless refusal to govern by rural-elected legislators who are willing to screw the folks who elected them – over ideology.

    1. policy geek Avatar
      policy geek

      Re “because you give the opportunity to everyone to do the right thing – the easier way before you go to the harder approach,” skirts the key question: Does the Governor have the authority to spend money that the General Assembly has not appropriated? And then the secondary question of whether the Governor can use his line item veto to strike a clause intended to prevent the Governor from spending this money without the General Assembly’s consent.

      Those questions have enormous significance about the future of Virginia’s constitution, which you seem unconcerned about. And your analogy to building the interstate highway system is irrelevant to this issue because the Virginia General Assembly agreed to accept that federal money unlike the situation today.

      1. larryg Avatar

        He clearly should not be able to spend money that the GA has not appropriated but can he spend money that the Feds HAVE appropriated AND Virginians’s are paying the taxes?

        We have obstructionism going on and my “concern” for the questions of Constitutionality are tempered by what is causing those questions to start with.

        this would be LIKE the Feds providing interstate highway money and the Genera Assembly refusing to accept it – because they disagree with the Federal Gas Tax.

        the only crisis we have – is that we have not heard a word about the specifics of what needs to be reformed in MedicAid ostensibly before we expand it.

        where is that discussion? what reforms?

        Right now – the people who govern Va – have chosen to subsidy people who have homes – from MedicAid – at the same time they’re saying that MedicAid is killing our budget and thus we are unable to expand it to the working poor.

        Never-mind that we have always had the opportunity before now to make these changes to MedicAid and have not only chose not to make these changes but use the failure to make them as the reason why we cannot make other changes like expansion.

        which is worse – a failure to govern responsibly at the GA level or a Gov who is determined to exercise all possible other avenues – to try to make thing better for Virginians?

        so we have people saying they’re not going to lift a finger to do this and if the Gov attempts to – they’re going to “use” the Constitution (which does purport to respond to the needs of Virginians) to block him – when to me, it’s clear they don’t even know themselves what the powers are or are not – but they are willing to assert they do? what a bunch of clowns!

        If this was at the crux of some real Constitutional issue involving – say – the gov actually appropriating monies the GA actually collected then yes, we’d have an issue worthy of fretting about.

        but exactly what future threat do we have if McAuliffe successfully breaks precedent here?

        Are future Gov going to spend STATE taxes collected but not appropriated?

        WHY is all of this going on to start with?

        why is forcing the issue?

        it’s basically bogus bad faith.

        bad faith because the GOP is using a “study commission” as an obstacle to reforming MedicAid – something they have, at the same time, cited as the reason they can’t make more changes to it.

        bogus – because – just like the transportation money from the Feds – the GA has no problem taking that money even if the Fed money will dry up in the future..they still take it….

        but they can’t do the same thing with another Federal program?

        but wait – MedicAid itself, the CURRENT program is 1/2 funded by the Feds.

        It’s a voluntary program. Va does not have to participate AND unlike the expansion, it IS funded from general revenues.

        If the GA is so worried about the Feds reneging on future MedicAid money, why are we still taking it now?

        so all of this totally bogus weaseling on the part of hypocrites has “forced” them to confront this Constitutional Crisis which they, themselves have precipitated with their own partisan and feckless actions and mean old McAuliffe is actually going to exercise his options – up to the letter of the law ?

        cry me a river.

        the last time I saw this kind of behavior from the General Assembly was during Massive Resistance….

        I respect McAuliffe for pursuing the limits of his power and I’ll abide by whatever decisions are made to better define it but I’m not going to spend nights awake over a totally partisan hatefest perpetrated by those who could truly care less for the working poor in Va which they could easily do something about – and in doing so pull the rug out from under McAuliffe…

        Sorry. I’d like to see all of them herded down to Jamestown and put in stocks and given copies of the Constitution to read.

    2. As to TMTs concerns. we don’t have guarantees on the ERs. We’re trying to turn the ship. It may take “more” to make the transition – but you sure as hell are NEVER going to get there if you are fighting it from the get go to start with.

      Wait a minute. The reason I jumped on the cost savings issue was Senator Favola’s comments that expanding Medicaid would reduce both taxes spent on uncompensated care and premiums paid by insured people or their employers. Is it unfair to challenge those remarks? If someone says “Buy this and you will save money,” shouldn’t they explain where the savings will go? If the expansion of Medicaid will produce savings, why can’t I know who gets the savings?

      Larry, why are you giving Senator Favola and other Democrats a pass? They are affirmatively making statements that Medicaid expansion will produce savings. But I cannot ask them to explain Oregon and Washington unless I have a substitute plan, according to your argument. Do you really mean that? To me, the supporters of Medicaid expansion are purposely engaging in fraud. They know expansion will, in the long term, raise costs and suck up even more tax dollars and know that, if they told the truth, there would be even less support for expansion.

      1. larryg Avatar


        ” Wait a minute. The reason I jumped on the cost savings issue was Senator Favola’s comments that expanding Medicaid would reduce both taxes spent on uncompensated care and premiums paid by insured people or their employers. Is it unfair to challenge those remarks? If someone says “Buy this and you will save money,” shouldn’t they explain where the savings will go? If the expansion of Medicaid will produce savings, why can’t I know who gets the savings?”

        because you only know what the INTENT is and there are no guarantees that the initial policy is going to be 100% successful.. but you have to start.

        why do you expect guaranteed success ON ANYthing but especially this kind of thing – to start with? l

        Are you not – basically setting up a permanent reason to defend the status quo and accept no changes with your approach?

        “Larry, why are you giving Senator Favola and other Democrats a pass? They are affirmatively making statements that Medicaid expansion will produce savings.”

        do you differentiate between the INTENT and a GUARANTEE?

        “But I cannot ask them to explain Oregon and Washington unless I have a substitute plan, according to your argument.”

        are you expecting an immediate transformation or consider it a failure even if the intent of the policy may require a work-in-progress approach?

        and NO.. if you say you want solutions and are not defending the status quo – and you are opposed to other approaches, then YES – you need to affirmatively participate.

        “Do you really mean that? To me, the supporters of Medicaid expansion are purposely engaging in fraud. They know expansion will, in the long term, raise costs and suck up even more tax dollars and know that, if they told the truth, there would be even less support for expansion.”

        why do you assume bad faith on those who think we have a problem and need to change?

        why do you not want to change even though you know what we have now is bad?

        how do other countries pay for ALL of their people for 1/2 of what we pay?

        we are talking about people who work for a living – who are dying or become too sick to work because they do not get an equal opportunity at health care that you have.

        you and I benefit from govt subsidies to get your health care and yet you oppose even an equivalent treatment for others?

        that’s pretty bad. If you really wanted a fair – and equal system – we’ll all get the same treatment – no subsidies at all.. no regulations that help you but not others.

        so basically you’re supporting a status quo that unfairly benefits some of us and punishes others – for no real good reason other than we approached health care piecemeal and now that we’re dealing with the poor – they’re crap out of luck because the rest of us got what we wanted and we don’t want those without to get help if it “might” hurt us, i.e. unless we get absolute guarantees that it won’t then we’re not having it.

        isn’t that the truth? be honest here. How can that be a morally defensible position?

        1. Larry, Senator Favola specifically said Medicaid expansion will save both taxpayers and premium payers money. I called her bet. I asked her to put a provision in state law that would guarantee that amount. I could see asking for a year or two before the savings were passed along. But she dodged that.

          If she would have said “I have a product that places magnets on your auto engine that will produce 25% better gas mileage,” would you let her off the hook by not requiring some type of guarantee? Would you let her keep the money taken from purchasers who didn’t get any increase in gas mileage? Of course not. But we are supposed to pay state taxes to expand Medicaid based on the promise that there are long-term savings when the Plan doesn’t include any means to capture and flow through the savings. That’s fraud.

          Let’s resolve this before we go to your “moral duty” argument.

          1. larryg Avatar

            “Larry, Senator Favola specifically said Medicaid expansion will save both taxpayers and premium payers money. I called her bet. I asked her to put a provision in state law that would guarantee that amount. I could see asking for a year or two before the savings were passed along. But she dodged that.”

            I think you misinterpreted – on purpose. The INTENT – perhaps not instantaneously nor without some follow-up adjustments is what she probably meant and you purposely looked at differently.

            “If she would have said “I have a product that places magnets on your auto engine that will produce 25% better gas mileage,” would you let her off the hook by not requiring some type of guarantee? Would you let her keep the money taken from purchasers who didn’t get any increase in gas mileage? Of course not. But we are supposed to pay state taxes to expand Medicaid based on the promise that there are long-term savings when the Plan doesn’t include any means to capture and flow through the savings. That’s fraud.”

            why would you expect guarantees on ANY legislation much less changes overnight when the current system was decades in the making.

            The thing is – there’s not promising you savings right away – but they are trying to change the system so that – over time – it functions better to save money.

            you’re under the illusion apparently that you’re not paying for it now nor will pay more in the future so you want “guarantees”.

            “Let’s resolve this before we go to your “moral duty” argument.”

            okay. let’s do

            why do you expect overnight guarantees for a system that has been broken for decades and has a bunch of moving parts?

  14. larryg Avatar

    ………and TMT – if the folks who oppose the expansion over doubts over the ERs – actually had an alternative way to achieve the goal – then we’d at least be able to focus on the better solution.

    but you can’t do that – when you’re opposed to any solutions.

    this is just plain ignorant. We have people going to ERs right now – and the rest of us are paying for it.

    We are paying hundreds/thousands of dollars to treat sore throats … and the like…

    and our response to this is what? that it can’t be fixed?

    here we have a serious fiscal problem – a natural conservative issue – and we can’t even consider solutions to it?

  15. DJRippert Avatar


    It’s great to have a good laugh on Monday morning. Virginians believe in the rule of law? That’s rich.

    Does living in the 5th most gerrymandered state sound like a rule of law place?

    Does a General Assembly that uses a loophole in Virginia’s God awful constitution to avoid vetoes sound like a rule of law state? Here’s what Brian Schoenman had to say about vetoes, “That’s why Senator Stanley’s two step amendment process was better than Senator Black’s – Senator Black’s did not excise the appropriation language in the bill, it simply papered over it. By cutting out the appropriation and then adding the new language, the provision became veto proof.”.

    The General Assembly is prohibited from passing location-specific legislation. So, when they want to target legislation at Arlington they pass a law pertaining to all counties with less than 100 sq mi of area.

    Some rule of law there.

    “It’s about voiding the constitutional system of government. The very checks and balances that were put into the System back in the 1700s.”

    Wow, TMT – you know better than that. Yes, Virginia’s original constitution was a great document. However, the bastards in Richmond have rewritten that constitution over and over again. The current abortion of a constitution was adopted in 1971 and has no semblance of effective checks and balances. America’s only one term governor? Legislators who directly elect the judiciary? Endless gerrymandering? Loopholes preventing vetoes? No effective local government power?

    If George Washington came back to life he’s grab Bill Howell by the throat and rip his tongue out just so he didn’t have to listen to the nattering nabob of nit-wittery prattle on. Then, he’d give the current constitution to Thomas Jefferson with instructions to shred it and then rewrite it with proper checks and balances.

    1. larryg Avatar

      methinks the “concern” over the Constitution is pretty lame and based on a bogus premise the VA GA having to approve changes in existing Federal Program funding.

      For instance, did the General Assembly have to approve money obtained from the Feds – for METRO – or for Amtrak to Lynchburg or for changes to food stamp eligibility.

      I don’t truly know the answer but it’s not like we haven’t had this kind of issue before and I just do not recall the VA GA asserting itself in it’s ability to reject funds from the Feds …. much less because they think the Fed will renege on the funding in the future.

      If the VA GA had a consistent track record and practice of not taking any new money from the Feds unless they approved it – there would nothing unusual here. Everyone would know that even when the Feds offer more transportation money for say – rail – that we can’t accept it without approval of the General Assembly.

      If fact, I cannot recall Virginia not taking Fed money before – regardless of reason but especially so when that money being offered is actually what Virginia citizens have paid.

      When your legislative branch refuses tax money paid by it’s own citizens – I think the idea that we have a Constitutional Crisis is illustrative of the abject disaster of what “the Virginia Way” has become.

      When I see the Va GA tell the Gov that VDOT cannot take additional Fed money for roads without their direct approval – I’ll take their complaint more seriously. When I see them tell VDOT the cannot commit the State to debt to a private company without Va GA approval, I’ll accept their concern about the Constitution more seriously.

      What really steams me here is that many of the rural Delegates have thousands of people in their districts that are so desperate for health care that they line up a 2am in the morning to get into a mobile clinic – that is funded from charitable Virginians and Federal Grant money – and these same charlatans have their fat butts in Richmond playing “constitutional” games wit the Gov – over what – providing medical care to their own citizens.

      it is just maddening that we have these losers controlling how govt works and worrying about the Constitution.

      1. Quick translation of Larry speak: It’s OK to ignore the state Constitution if it helps us accomplish what we want.

        1. larryg Avatar

          Nope. I’m all for LEGITIMATE concerns from a body that has a consistent record of doing just that.

          but picking and choosing has no virtue.

          I think this is one of those areas that needs to be addressed but I do not presume like some that the VA GA assertion is the truth and I think given the disgusting and disingenuous behavior of the VA GA that a Gov with some backbone is justified in challenging them.

          you may once again – if you claim to be a real fiscal conservative – explain – why we haven’t had reform prior to now especially with regard to the subsidization of nursing homes for folks with significant assets by acquiescence and consent by the same feckless fools that now say we need reform… before we do anything else.

          the only “constitutional” question here is the scurrilous and dishonest playing disingenuous Constitutional question games.

          amazing to me that the hapless folks standing in line at 5am for free medical clinics (paid for by other Virginians) – don’t “get” the connection between their votes and their guy in Richmond.

    2. True, a lot of the laws suck. But imagine if the knuckleheads in the General Assembly weren’t constrained by a Constitution of any kind. You can’t just throw out the Constitution because it constrains you from getting what you want. If that’s the attitude our rulers have, what’s would be the point in having a better Constitution, whether written by T.J. himself (James Madison would be the better choice, actually) or not?

      1. DJRippert Avatar

        The constitution is supposed to balance the authority among the branches of government. Our present state constitution (adopted in 1971) gives too much power to the legislative branch and uses sloppy wording that allows our political class to warp the intention of the constitution.

        You’ll recall that the 1971 constitution was written because the prior constitution (adopted in 1902) was written with the clear intent of disenfranchising African American voters and was largely found to be in violation of the US Constitution. The 1902 constitution was written to replace the 1870 constitution which was basically written by “carpetbaggers”. Interestingly, the so-called carpetbaggers wrote a much better constitution than the clown “native Virginians” wrote in 1902.

        Let’s review:

        1776 constitution – not bad for the times, included a bill of rights. However, it began the multi-century process of giving superior rights to residents of southeastern Virginia by requiring land ownership in order to vote.

        1830 – Unsurprisingly, by the time this constitution was drafted Virginia was one of only two states that required voters to own land. The Richmond – area tyrants were already in place. Voting rules were relaxed. However, most people in the western part of the state (which then included what is now West Virginia) opposed this constitution.

        1851 – The Richmond elite could no longer suppress the rest of the state and the so-called reform constitution was adopted. All judges were elected by popular vote under this constitution. Virginia was finally on its way to a fair and reasonable form of governance.

        1864 – Written by the Virginians smart enough to stay with the Union this constitution formed West Virginia and abolished slavery. Of course, the Richmond elite would need to see hundreds of thousands of Americans die in an un-winnable war before most of these provisions were adopted in the unified Virginia constitution.

        1870 – Perhaps Virginia’s best constitution, written by northerners who formed the provisional government of Virginia after the Civil war. Virginia traditionalists refused to participate in this constitutional convention which opened the door for intelligent reforms like establishing a free public school system with mandatory attendance. However, the writers didn’t fully trust the Virginia electorate and reverted the election of judges to the General Assembly.

        1902 – With the Richmond elite fully back in power this constitution was a tribute to the entrenched racism of southeastern Virginia. Poll taxes, literacy tests and other deterrents to broad voting were enacted by the future Hee Haw fanatics who have long dominated Virginia politics.

        1971 – With much of the 1902 constitution left in tatters by the US Constitution the Richmond elite once again wrote a sloppy, half-witted constitution that gave far, far too much power to the General Assembly and provided nearly no checks on the corrupt power structure in Virginia. However, it has been mostly found in compliance with the US Constitution.

        2018(?) – With the Richmond elite in full retreat throughout the state, a new Virginia constitution will be written which backhands the Imperial Clown Show in Richmond. Term limits for all state politicians (not just the governor), dilution of Dillon’s Rule, citizen initiated referenda and recall elections will be hallmarks of this new constitution. When interviewed during commercial breaks during the Hee Haw marathon Republicans from the Richmond elite said, “Guess we ain’t gettin’ no more Rolexs”.
        So, let’s see ….

        We have the original constitution, two constitutions written by the Richmond elite in an effort to let that group of miscreants control the state, two good constitutions written by the anti-Richmond elite, one average constitution and our latest constitution – written to replace the patently racist constitution of the Richmond elite.

        There have been six constitutions since the original. The two best were adopted when the Richmond-elite refused to participate. The two worst were written by the Richmond elite. One good constitution (1851) was a failed effort by the Richmond elite to keep the western part of the state in Virginia and the latest – a sloppy throwback again written by the Richmond elite.

        The moral of the story is that the less the Richmond elite have to do with the governance of Virginia, the better the governance becomes.

    3. Every state has a different version of what was established in the 1700s – an executive, a legislature and a judiciary. Some states are so-called “strong governor” states (Kansas, Michigan, Montana, New York, Ohio, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming). Some are weak governor states (Mississippi, Rhode Island, and South Carolina, along with Texas).

      South Carolina also has its legislature select judges. In some states, the Governor appoints them. There are judicial selection commissions and elections. In Connecticut the governor appoints and the legislature reappoints. The President appoints local judges in D.C. Does this mean we don’t have separation of powers?

      1. DJRippert Avatar

        Since you brought up South Carolina …

        But some people are questioning whether any court could be unbiased in a case involving a lawmaker. That is because South Carolina is one of only two states where lawmakers elect judges. Judicial applicants are screened by a panel that is selected by legislators. The panel then passes on recommendations to the Legislature for final approval.

        The process creates a judiciary that is beholden to the Legislature, some say.

        “That’s the separation of powers that’s missing in this state,” Landess told The Associated Press recently. “This shouldn’t be hard. It should be really easy and obvious.”

        Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, an attorney, said changing the way judges are elected should be part of ethics reform.”

        Please note … South Carolina has a merit screening panel. Given that the panel is appointed by the legislature that’s not a great process. However, to the best of my knowledge, Virginia doesn’t even bother with a screening panel.

        In Virginia, legislators who are practicing attorneys elect the judges who will preside over their cases.

        If that isn’t the definition of corruption I don’t know what is.

  16. Richard Avatar

    I don’t know whether this is constitutional or not, and neither do you. It’s the executive’s responsibility to act in the best interests of the state. If the legislature or a citizen has a problem with an executive’s act, the legislature (or citizens) can challenge the constitutionality of the action. I’m sure they can find the funding for it from their own funds or from the ubiquitous Koch brother funded groups. The Governor has good lawyers and a good attorney general, and I’m sure he will believe he has the authority to do what he eventually does.

    It seems to me that your carping about his statements is part of a pattern of consistently agreeing with the Republicans, no matter what. You don’t even know what he will actually do.

    I agree with the Governor that we have a health care problem in Virginia and hope that he will do something about it.

  17. “It seems to me that your carping about his statements is simply because you don’t agree with him, and because you consistently go with the Republicans.”

    Richard, it seems to be that your carping with my statements is simply because you don’t agree with me and because you consistently go with the Democrats! So there!!

    We’ll see how good the governor’s lawyers are.

  18. DJRippert Avatar

    Doesn’t the Virginia Constitution have a “single purpose” requirement whereby all laws need to serve a single purpose? My understanding is that this was put into the constitution to prevent the kind of asinine game playing with “riders” that is done every day in Washington. So, why do the Republican “lovers of the rule of law” think it’s OK to add a restriction on the governor’s power to a budget bill?

    “The amendment is unnecessary,” he stated, “given its intent to restrict an appropriation that does not exist anywhere in the budget.”

    That sounds right, and it sounds like the Republicans are trying to violate the single purpose rule.

    So, Jim – tell me again – who believes in respecting the rule of law?

  19. larryg Avatar

    has it occurred to anyone that the Constitution is a document mean to assure that the needs of Virginians are addressed and it’s being used in the most perverted of ways – to deny health care to 400,000 Virginians of which they are paying taxes to support?

    I’ve been reading the History of Roads in Virginia:

    and which outlines the changing of the Virginia Constitution at least twice to recognize that Virginians have a basic right to good roads.

    think about this.

    The Constitution of Virginia says that all Virginians have a right to mobility and access and education – and that document is being used by the RPVA to deny those same Virginians – access to health care… that will cost Virginia almost nothing compared to roads and education.

    this is the “Constitutional Crisis” asserted by these whacko-birds and supported by Jim Bacon and like-minded.

    Good Grief! What KIND of people are these people?

    they blather on about mobility and access and education – and then do what about the same guy they say needs to have a farm-to-market road and a school for his kid.. If that guy gets sick – well.. screw him.. because.. of course.. that’s the “Virginia Way”.

    what in the world is Jim Bacon smoking these days! We need to have a brand of “pot” called for our esteemed GOP elected.

    1. DJRippert Avatar

      Larry … you are getting wrapped around the axle again. The constitutional crisis comes from three directions:

      1. The General Assembly decided not to expand Medicaid. This, by itself, is part of the normal course of business. Then, Terry McAuliffe said he wouldn’t sign the budget. That created a bit of a crisis since the state needs to pay its bills.

      2. McAuliffe decided to veto wording in the budget bill. There is considerable debate as to whether the Virginia constitution allows this. The general consensus is that a line item veto must veto an amount of spending not just wording.

      3. Finally, it may be debatable whether including non-budgetary legislation in the appropriations bill is allowable under Virginia’s single purpose rule.

      Now, add the Puckett resignation and you have a real mess. Did the Republicans agree to elect Puckett’s daughter as a judge if he resigned? Did they threaten to prevent her appointment if he stayed? Being the only state that allows the legislature to directly elect judges with no form of merit committee causes problems.

      Nobody questions whether the General Assembly had the right to either accept the Medicaid expansion or reject the Medicaid expansion. The questions arise from the method in which the decisions are being made.

      At least, that’s my take.

      1. larryg Avatar

        the creation of the budget is a dual responsibility and one that requires concurrence on both sides.

        that’s not a Constitutional “crisis”. It’s the way the process was set up to work – on purpose. and thank GOD we are not subjected to just what the Va GA would do – not just on this issue.

        two. I pointed out how “language” can essentially do away with a state agency or re-structure it or change it’s mission – with dollars being in the words and I would think even you would agree that “logically” because of that – the Gov maintains just as much power as the GA does on “language”.

        I don’t see anything in the Constitution that’s say “language” is the exclusive prerogative of the GA.

        I do agree that the GOv cannot appropriate money from Virginians, no question about it.

        but who can decide to refuse or accept Federal tax dollars – for education, transportation, health care, METRO?

        do you think, would you support the ability of the VA GA to refuse Federal money for METRO?

        Come on DJ – just on the merits here.. nothing about me…

        1. DJRippert Avatar

          You know my position LarryG – government, at all levels, has been growing like a weed. Government now consumes more of America’s GDP than at any time in history other than during world wars.

          Keynesian economics has been proven wrong. FDR invreased government spending by 11 percentage points of GDP during the Great Depression. Liberals will say he “cured” the depression. Conservatives will say that WWII “cured” the depression. Either way, total government spending went from 10% of GDP to 21% of GDP during a time when GDP often fell. Bush and Obama increased government spending from 30% of GDP to 41% of GDP in an effort yo “cure” a recession. They cured nothing.

          Total state spending was less than 3% of GDP in 1953. It was 8.85% in 2013. It has been growing (as a percentage of GDP) much faster than local spending or federal spending. Despite the claptrap from Richmond about frugality, the Virginia way and other nonsense – per capita taxes in Virginia have grown faster than inflation between 2009 – 2013. In other words, Virginia is growing taxes faster than the increase in population and inflation combined.

          Against that backdrop I understand the Republican reluctance to expand Medicaid.

          Constitutionally, some states seem to follow the legislative path while others do not. A state judge recently ruled that Kentucky’s governor can expand Medicaid himself. The Tea Party is appealing. In Maryland HB0228 passed the legislature by a 2:1 vote in the House and a 3:1 vote in the Senate.

          I haven’t heard anybody claim that the General Assembly lacks the power to decide the matter in Virginia. I have heard people complain that adding the prohibition against the governor expanding the program in the appropriations bill was unconstitutional based on the single purpose rule. I have heard that Mcauliffe’s use of the line item veto of that measure was constitutional and unconstitutional.

          Bill Howell proved that McAuliffe’s characterization of him as cowardly was deserved as the denizen of the smoke filled room ruled McAuliffe’s veto out of order rather than demanding a vote.

          Meanwhile, there is fresh evidence that McDonnell took inappropriate gifts from someone other than Jonnie Williams cementing Virginia’s reputation as the most corrupt state in the nation. You’ll recall that Bill “the Virginia Way” Howell made it a point to water down the ethics laws to nothing.

          So, where are we?

          I would hold off on expanding Medicaid if I could decide.

          McAuliffe should have been able to veto the legislation that prohibited him from expanding Medicaid. However, underhanded RPV politicians bent the law yet again to subvert the intent of the Virginia Constitution.

          Bill Howell is every bit as much of a coward as McAuliffe claims.

          The courts will ultimately decide in favor of McAuliffe in my opinion.

          After the OJ trial there was an oft repeated phrase – “Looks like they framed the right guy.” Here, we may have blundered into the truth in that opaque, corrupt way that typifies The Virginia Way.

          1. larryg Avatar

            re: increased govt spending.

            do something for me if you will.

            1. don’t count FICA/SS as “spending” in terms of GDP or deficit
            2. look at the spending that is funded from the general revenues
            3. tell me how much IT HAS increased both in dollars and as a percent of GDP.

            4. – finally and this is important – tell me WHAT spending has increased.

            I will AGREE with you on the increased spending. Will you be willing to take a hard look at WHAT has increased?

            re: MedicAid

            Virginian’s are ALREADY paying the taxes that fund the expansion.

            it’s like the gas tax we are already paying.

            1. – do you know what taxes we are paying for Medicare expansion?
            it is a KNOWABLE thing…

            2. not taking the expansion does not save Virginia money, it only means we are turning away our “share” of what we are already paying – 3 billion.

            3. – not taking the expansion won’t “undo” the earmarked taxes that we all pay that fund the expansion.

            4. – the only way that the expansion does not get funded in the future – is in
            the GOP repeals each one of the dozen or more earmarked taxes. Now why would they do that if the expansion costs have NOTHING to do with the general fund, the deficit and debt and functions almost identically to FICA/SS/MedA?

            if you REPEAL FICA – for instance, you de-fund SS and cause it to go belly-up , but you don’t save a dime on the actual govt spending that drives the deficit and debt.

            The 3 billion dollars could be used to set up a state-wide managed care program for the 400,000 working poor – to receive quality medical care including things like cancer screening which will save us money downstream if people who get sick, quit their jobs and go on full MedicAid.

            30,000 new jobs – more primary care physicians, more physician assistants, more community clinics…

            the hospitals want it. Businesses want it. The Chamber of Commerce wants it. Fairfax County wants it.

            What would any normal GOv whose job is to look out for Va citizens do when presented with that proposition – no matter his political party affiliation or political philosophy?

            What possible reason could he give for NOT expanding MedicAid that makes any sense at all?

            McAuliffe has a right and actually a duty – to do the most he can within the limits of his Constitutional power.

            If the jerks who oppose him had an ounce of honesty – they would at least be saying “This is unnecessary because we ALREADY have a plan that we’re going forward with and the Gov is just being an idiot”.

            So what exactly are these fools actually fighting FOR – affirmatively?

            They’re basically trying to FURTHER neuter what is already a weak Gov role to enable them to basically rule the state with a minority with a far right ideological agenda – the same guys who did trans-vaginal probes and the same guys that you have asserted over and over are screwing Northern Va.

            this walks and talks like the same “Virginia Way” that supported Massive Resistance… and Dillon… etc…

  20. DJRippert Avatar

    “Virginian’s are ALREADY paying the taxes that fund the expansion.”

    That’s not entirely right. We pay taxes to the federal government. The federal government has agreed to fund Medicaid expansion to the states at 100% for the next 3 years. However, if half the states don’t agree to take the federal money then the states who do agree don’t get more. The undistributed portion is used by the federal government for something else. As far as I know, we have no special tax account called “Medicaid expansion in Virginia” at the US Treasury.

    As far as removing this or that from federal spending – I won’t do that. FICA payments have gone up and up and up over the years – even when expressed as a percentage of income. It was originally 1% from the employee and 1% from the employer. Now, it’s something like 6.8% from each. Sorry, but it’s just another exploding government sinkhole. Reagan and Tip O’Neill fixed it forever in the 1980s but guess what – it’s broken again. Talk of raising or eliminating the cap just makes it less of a retirement plan and more of a wealth redistribution process. Medicare has no cap. It is plainly a wealth redistribution process.

    FICA is the tax and spend government at its worst.

    I am ready to put the brakes on any new spending at the state or federal level. what was supposed to be a one time stimulus has become a free for all. It’s time for both Washington and Richmond to call a “time out” on new spending programs.

    First quarter GDP growth was negative (although revisions may be coming / have already come). State GSP growth has been negative after subtracting federal spending growth in Virginia for some time.

    The government has never consumed a larger percentage of GDP and we are still running stunning deficits. Meanwhile, as Darrell correctly pointed out, the fed is going to taper and interest rates are going up. That will squeeze budgets even more.

    Unless I see a recovery starting in the US and in Virginia I don’t want to spend an additional cent of government money.

    Look at the UK. In early 2008 there were 1.6m unemployed in the UK. Today the number is 2.16m.

    Everybody wants to talk about Germany but Germany is still benefitting from the absorption and rehabilitation of a well educated workforce in East Germany that was mired in communist mis-management.

    Unemployment in France (the epicenter of the “tax them to death” theory) stands at 10.1%.

    We’ve tried pouring government money into the economy as a means of stimulus. It didn’t work. Not here. Not anywhere.

    Time for a new theory.

    1. larryg Avatar

      re: ” As far as I know, we have no special tax account called “Medicaid expansion in Virginia” at the US Treasury.”

      I don’t know what to do with you. You need to inform yourself here.

      there ARE taxes nationwide and they are being paid by citizens in every state whether they take the expansion or not.

      re: ” However, if half the states don’t agree to take the federal money then the states who do agree don’t get more.”

      never heard that – can you back it up with a cite?

      ” As far as I know, we have no special tax account called “Medicaid expansion in Virginia” at the US Treasury.”

      the collected taxes are earmarked and go into trust funds that can only be spent on the purpose they were set up for.

      re: ” Reagan and Tip O’Neill fixed it forever in the 1980s but guess what – it’s broken again. Talk of raising or eliminating the cap just makes it less of a retirement plan and more of a wealth redistribution process. Medicare has no cap. It is plainly a wealth redistribution process.”

      no. What Reagan did was increase the tax – to build up a surplus that would be used to fund the program until it was determined what needed to be done to fix it permanently for the boomers.

      you can argue philosophically about SS that’s fine – but please don’t included it in general revenues spending in the budget – because it’s not and it’s misleading to use the numbers in that way. Almost 90% of the populace supports the concept of SS and calling it “govt spending” is ludicrous. Go tell that to the people that receive SS in their retirements. They are GLAD that the money got set aside when they were working. Many of them will admit that they would not have set it aside when they were young.

      but the govt does not spend FICA money – it goes right back to the people that paid into it.

      if you really want to brutally understand the spending – you have to look at the NON FICA money which is, as I told you before and provided a clear reference is about 1.3T a year.

      do you want reference again: page 56

      one important thing I like about you is that you say you are fact-based – and more often than not – you are – but then you go off the trolley on this kind of stuff.

      Do you know what we are spending the 1.3T in general revenues on?

      you should know that if you believe we are spending too much. What are we spending “too much ” on?

      It’s NOT SS – that program – by LAW cannot pay out more than it takes in.

      It’s actually the ONLY program in the govt that cannot by law – go into deficit. This is why you hear that if we don’t do something – payouts will reduce… because by law – they cannot pay out more than FICA will bring in.

      you have to get this stuff straight guy. You’re a businessman and a person who claims to be fact-based and this is an issue where you need to do that.

      once you realize what we are actually spending more money on – then come back and let’s talk.

    2. larryg Avatar

      re: how is the MedicAid expansion paid for –

      these taxes and changes to taxes are being collected – the money is going to
      be collected in Virginia… where we participate or not. 3 billion is about what we’re going to pay in taxes that we’d get back:

      2.3% Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers 2014

      • 10% Tax on Indoor Tanning Services 2014

      • Blue Cross/Blue Shield Tax Hike

      • Excise Tax on Charitable Hospitals which fail to comply with the requirements of ObamaCare

      • Tax on Brand Name Drugs

      • Tax on Health Insurers

      • $500,000 Annual Executive Compensation Limit for Health Insurance Executives

      • Elimination of tax deduction for employer-provided retirement Rx drug coverage in coordination with Medicare Part D

      • Employer Mandate on business with over 50 full-time equivalent employees to provide health insurance to full-time employees. $2000 per employee $3000 if employee uses tax credits to buy insurance on the exchange (marketplace). (pushed back to 2015)

      • Medicare Tax on Investment Income 3.8% over $200k/$250k

      • Medicare Part A Tax increase of .9% over $200k/$250k

      • Employer Reporting of Insurance on W-2 (not a tax)

      • Corporate 1099-MISC Information Reporting (repealed)

      • Codification of the “economic substance doctrine” (not a tax)

      ObamaCare Taxes That (may) Directly Affect the Average American

      • 40% Excise Tax “Cadillac” on high-end Premium Health Insurance Plans 2018

      • An annual $63 fee levied by ObamaCare on all plans (decreased each year until 2017 when pre-existing conditions are eliminated) to help pay for insurance companies covering the costs of high-risk pools.

      • Medicine Cabinet Tax
      Over the counter medicines no longer qualified as medical expenses for flexible spending accounts (FSAs), health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), health savings accounts (HSAs), and Archer Medical Saving accounts (MSAs).

      • Additional Tax on HSA/MSA Distributions
      Health savings account or an Archer medical savings account, penalties for spending money on non-qualified medical expenses. 10% to 20% in the case of a HSA and from 15% to 20% in the case of a MSA.

      • Flexible Spending Account Cap 2013
      Contributions to FSAs are reduced to $2,500 from $5,000.

      • Medical Deduction Threshold tax increase 2013
      Threshold to deduct medical expenses as an itemized deduction increases to 10% from 7.5%.

      • Individual Mandate (the tax for not purchasing insurance if you can afford it) 2014
      Starting in 2014, anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance must pay an income tax surtax at a rate of 1% or $95 in 2014 to 2.5% in 2016 on profitable income above the tax threshold. The total penalty amount cannot exceed the national average of the annual premiums of a “bronze level” health insurance plan on ObamaCare exchanges.

      • Premium Tax Credits for Small Businesses 2014 (not a tax)

      • Advanced Premium Tax Credits for Individuals and Families 2014 (not a tax)

      • Medical Loss Ratio (MRL): Premium rebates

    3. larryg Avatar

      re: ” As far as removing this or that from federal spending – I won’t do that. FICA payments have gone up and up and up over the years – even when expressed as a percentage of income. It was originally 1% from the employee and 1% from the employer. Now, it’s something like 6.8% from each. Sorry, but it’s just another exploding government sinkhole.”

      all I am saying is that including it in the tax and spend, deficit and debt discussion does not lead to an accurate understanding.

      you may believe that FICA/SS is bad policy – fine… but don’t conflate it with general revenue taxing, spending, deficit and debt which are totally different and totally misunderstood by many people with abundant help from think thanks who prefer that you be confused about it.

      We take in about 1.3T in individual and corporate income taxes – not 2 trillion, not 3 trillion.

      that’s the honest truth.

      It’s from that 1.3T (and a few other taxes like gas taxes) that we spend on DOD and other National Defense like Homeland Security, NSA, FBI and the VA.

      Anyone who considers themselves a fiscal conservative concerned about Federal spending – should know these numbers.

      Otherwise you’re living in LA LA Land which seems to be a preferred state of mind these days for more than a few.

      I just think you should seek the truth – know the facts – and WANT to know the facts – BEFORE one can really have an informed view and decide what they would like to see cut.

      Cutting FICA/SS won’t fix the deficit.

      blaming the POTUS for spending instead of Congress , won’t fix spending.

      there are some honest players in the media on these issues. The problem is there are also a lot of dishonest players and way too many people who are too lazy to seek the actual facts and that really leads to dysfunctional government because the elected themselves seem to be largely ignorant and more than willing to decide a gullible electorate.

      Here are the simple facts: We take in 1.3T in income taxes. Any discussion of a percentage of GDP is totally loony in my view. Why in the world would you develop ANY budget based on a percent of GDP rather than your actual tax revenues that you get?

      DJ – would you do a budget for your company based on projected sales or actual revenues?

      Why in the world would you run a country based on GDP rather than actual tax revenue?

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