Montana Candidate Opens Can of Whup–ass

Rumor has it that like President–elect Trump, Congressman–elect Greg Gianforte is creating Montana jobs before he’s been administered the oath of office. The personal security industry is experiencing a mini–boom as reporters are said to be hiring bodyguards to accompany them on interviews.

Gianforte is the candidate who got all up close and personal with Ben Jacobs — a reporter for the biased, lefty British paper “The Guardian.”

According to the campaign, Gianforte was in the midst of a private interview with a Fox reporter when Jacobs opened the door and barged in. This is where the story becomes confusing for me. I formerly had honest work as a journalist. My career included small TV stations, large radio networks and the Dallas Morning News.

If I had arranged a private interview with a candidate in a race that had national attention focused on it, and another journalist butted in to my interview, the candidate wouldn’t have had time to do a thing.

I would have personally tossed the jerk out on his ear.

That’s not the way it works in today’s kinder, gentler media that reserves its attacks for conservatives. Which in this case includes the particulars of what happened. To find out details of the encounter and my insight into what probably happened, please click on the link below and visit the rest of the column at Newsmax (featuring another inexplicable headline).

https://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/acuna-election-gianforte-jacobs/2017/05/31/id/793304/

The Car Dealership Solution to Health Insurance Costs

Bloomberg reports Obamacare premiums are scheduled to skyrocket up to 59 percent in Maryland, 38 percent in Virginia and 34 percent in Connecticut. A Baltimore 40–year–old would pay $715.00 a month for a plan with a $2,500 deductible.

Health insurance is costly for three reasons: Government interference, lack of price transparency and consumer overuse.

Here’s what would happen if we used car insurance like health insurance.

We’d expect oil changes to be covered after our $20.00 co–pay. There’d also be a long list of routine checks and diagnostics run each time your ride was in the shop, because the Dept. of Transportation requires mechanics to treat every vehicle like it was a 1961 DeSoto that had never had the oil changed.

Your $250.00 invoice would have itemized charges for GoJo, shop rags, coveralls, disposable ratchets, oil, opening the oil, oil filter and about a hundred other entries.

But that doesn’t matter, since after the co–pay, everything is free! Besides you feel sorry for DeSoto owners.

Later the car breaks down on the highway. You tell the CarFlight pilot to drop it off at the Mercedes dealer. Cost doesn’t matter once the deductible is paid, but you do demand a nice loaner while your car is in surgery.

Before leaving, you tell the mechanic to check the tires and see if they need replacing, because after all that’s what insurance is for, isn’t it?

Car insurance usage at that level would end our obesity crisis, because we’d soon be a nation of pedestrians. Obamacare would be joined by Obamacar.

Real Obamacare reform would require the health market to operate like the auto market.

I don’t mean the patient goes in the doctor’s office, negotiates for six hours and agrees on a price have his appendix removed. Then, in his weakened state, the finance manager pressures him into breast implants for the wife.

What I do mean is allowing consumer choice and provider accountability.

Smart consumers get an estimate before their car is serviced. If it’s too high, they talk to another shop. If it’s too much money to sink into an old car, you start shopping for new.

That’s price transparency. In health care we have price opacity. If you ask the hospital what it costs to have your appendix removed you get one of three replies: Uproarious, table–pounding laughter. Dead silence. Or thinly veiled contempt at such an ignorant question.

Price uncertainty might make sense if it was a brain transplant. Plenty of variables there, but that’s not the case with appendectomies.

The Annals of Surgery estimates 280,000 are performed each year. Producing a reliable cost estimate should be routine — give or take a sponge left inside.

Yet you can’t get an estimate because consumer knowledge is consumer power.

One way to begin imposing market discipline would be to require any hospital taking federal money to post turnkey prices for the 25 most common hospitalized surgical procedures; the 25 most common out–patient procedures and the 25 most common tests. All charges must match the best price offered insurance companies.

The howls this would generate from the medical–industrial complex prove how useful the information is. (More details on this in an earlier column here.)

And speaking of sponges, if you take your car in to the shop for an engine overhaul and a mechanic leaves a wrench in the crankcase, that car is going back to the shop. The subsequent repair–to–fix–the–repair is free.

That’s not the way it works with hospitals. Hospitals make money on their mistakes and get away with it because consumers send the bill to the insurance company.

That means higher premiums in the long run and it encourages incompetence. If the guy who works on your car has to fix his mistakes for free, the guy who works on your heart should, too.

People should pay for routine doctor’s visits out of their own pocket and save insurance for major expenses. When my family was between insurance policies I negotiated the cost of doctor’s appointments and lab tests by offering to pay in full right before I left. I saved 30 to 40 percent by taking the insurance company out of the equation.

Putting a middleman between the provider and the patient adds another layer of cost and bureaucracy. Hiding the cost of medical services encourages overuse.

Consumers can choose health insurance coverage options just like they can choose auto insurance coverage. Government “experts” requiring coverage simply guarantees a lifetime income to lobbyists and treats citizens like serfs.

My car market analogy isn’t perfect. Legislators protect in–state auto dealers from out of state completion, just like health insurance companies are protected now. It is certainly a start, though, and a vast improvement over what we have now.

Moral Instruction From the Opposition Media

How accurate is a poll based on a set of facts that don’t exist?

The WaPost’s Greg Sargent is excited about a new CNN poll claiming a vast majority of Americans essentially support open borders. But before we decide to delete the 4th of July from the calendar and add Cinco de Mayo, it’s crucial to know the entire question, so as to judge the accuracy of the result.

It reads:

Now, thinking about how the U.S. government should treat illegal immigrants who have been in this country for a number of years, hold a job, speak English and are willing to pay any back taxes that they owe.

Would you favor or oppose a bill that allowed those immigrants to stay in this country rather than being deported and eventually allow them to apply for U.S. citizenship?”

CNN may as well have asked respondents their view on the commercial viability of unicorn ranching. A more accurate question would have included the qualifier “and meet only one of the following four conditions.

An accurate question is both longer and more truthful:

Estimates of the number of illegal or undocumented immigrants currently living in the US range from 9 million to 19 million. One approach to dealing with those who have lived here a number of years is to offer amnesty or a path to citizenship. [Rotate description]. Supporters say it’s morally right that illegal or undocumented immigrants who have a job, speak English and are willing to pay back taxes should have the opportunity to become productive and legal. Opponents say the jobs illegal or undocumented immigrants hold are taken from citizens, bi–lingual ballots prove the requirement to speak English is not enforced now and depending on immigrants to admit to owing taxes is unrealistic and back taxes won’t be paid. [Rotate arguments]

Knowing this do you favor or oppose a bill that allowed those immigrants to stay in the country rather than be deported and eventually be offered amnesty or a path to citizenship?

That balanced question reflects reality and produces an answer that would merit news coverage and analysis, rather than the 90 percent approval CNN’s fantasy question got.

So what did the media make of these results and how were they wrong? You guessed it, click on the link below and go to my complete Newsmax column:

https://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/bannon-california-cnn/2017/04/27/id/786847/

 

 

Gullible Republican Voters Fooled Again

When Republican voters went to the polls last November, electing Trump meant seizing the last branch of government in Washington. Trump would join the existing Republican House and Senate. These optimistic voters looked forward to ushering in a new era of unchallenged conservative government. Trump’s election would be a stunning repudiation of Obama’s eight years of big government, soft socialism,

Instead, what Trump voters got was Vichy France.

Although in fairness to the French, when President Albert Lebrun surrendered to the Germans in 1940 Hitler was at the height of his power.

Republicans in Washington — led by Curator of the Senate, Mitch McConnell —surrendered to Chuck Schumer after Hillary lost the presidential election and Schumer failed to capture the Senate. But Democrats don’t have to actually win to defeat Republicans.

Democrats just have to exist.

I’m sure the explanation for this rout has something to do with the 2018 mid–term election.

In the run up to the 2016 vote, Republicans were warned not to expect too much in the way of conservative legislation from the GOP–controlled Senate and House. The GOP was defending more incumbent Senate seats than Democrats and McConnell had to protect the vulnerable.

In 2018 it looks like Republican voters can’t expect a return to conservative government this time because the Democrats are defending more incumbent Senate seats.

How does this budget bill betray the base who keeps electing Republicans and the new voters Trump added? You’ll see for yourself when you click the link below to the rest of the column on Newsmax.

https://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/congress-goals-legislation/2017/05/02/id/787714/

 

Trump Looks for Love in All the Wrong Places

If President Trump is disappointed by the outcome of his dalliance with Amanda Knox, wait until he gets a load of what passes for reciprocity from Rep. Hal Rodgers.

This clown caucus is the last place Trump should go to for support.

Amanda Knox is the student that was accused of a particularly gruesome murder in Italy, where she was attending school. Most of us would gravitate toward OJ or Robert Durst if we were going to advocate for someone accused of a messy murder, but maybe Trump thought he already had senior offenders in the bag.

Trump picked the hot coed and tweeted during her appeal trial, “Everyone should boycott Italy if Amanda Knox is not freed – she is totally innocent.”

Fortunately for the Italian tourism board, Knox was found innocent and returned to the US, where she proceeded to display a politician’s gratitude. The Independent reports the accused murderer endorsed the enthusiastic abortion supporter, Hillary Clinton, instead of her Twitter buddy, Trump.

In a column Knox wrote for the West Seattle Herald she observed, “If Obama’s song was a rousing anthem, Clinton’s is a subtle symphony. And Trump, a broken trumpet. [Clinton’s] impending victory represents the triumph of nuance and poise over prejudice and childishness.”

I won’t go out on a limb and contend Trump’s elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts in his proposed budget was to make sure Amanda never received a “writer in residence” grant, but it is an intriguing thought.

Now Trump is looking for love in all the wrong places. I know Trump is new at this, but it’s time to focus. Reaching out to RINOs and Democrats in the White House means asking Ivanka to pass the salt. Doing so in Congress can have serious repercussions with Trump’s base.

How serious? To learn that you’ll have to click on the link below and read the rest of my column at Newsmax.com:

https://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/trump-freedom-caucus-rep-hal-rodgers/2017/04/19/id/785266/

 

National Review “Never Trumpers” Hold a Summit

Almost exactly 14 months since the editors at conservative National Review published an entire issue dedicated to being “Against Trump,” the magazine held an “ideas summit” titled “Working on a Path Towards Conservatism.”

This doesn’t exactly represent suing for peace, particularly since panelist Peter Wehner, of the Ethics & Public Policy Center, evidently believes the nuclear attack codes should be put in a blind trust during the Trump administration. Yet it appeared that, at least on the Trump side, there were no hard feelings, since Kellyanne Conway, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and HHS Sec. Tom Price appeared at the two–day event.

That may change after the rest of Wehner’s remarks reach the Oval Office. He had no problem personally attacking Trump by recycling the Opposition Media’s false attack lines.

That’s something that struck me about the National Review crowd. During the primary, when Trump appeared at the Values Voters Conference before an audience of evangelicals and conservative Christians, he made a passing reference to “Little Marco” and the crowd immediately booed him to show the remark was out of line.

Yet when Wehner emphatically declared Trump is “erratic, cruel, vindictive and morally corrupt” no one in the crowd of movers–and–shakers let out a peep. It was as if he was speaking before assembly line workers at the “Don’t Blame Me, I voted for Evan McMullin” bumper sticker plant.

The entire “Ideas Summit” atmosphere was one of lukewarm support for president. I can recall no speakers praising the Trump budget that zeroed out agencies conservatives have railed against for decades, yet the crowd gave Speaker Paul Ryan a partial standing ovation after he spent a half hour essentially asking the audience “are you going to believe me or your lying eyes” with regard to his Obamacare Lite bill.

But that’s not all! Ryan’s performance even reminded me of an all–time classic advertising account executive joke, but to learn which joke, you’ll have to click on the link below and finish my column at Newsmax.com:

https://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/national-review-obamacare-lite-against-trump-paul-ryan/2017/03/22/id/780209/

 

Helping Chuck Schumer Commit Political Suicide

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is preparing to offer Majority Leader Mitch McConnell the gift of a lifetime, but I don’t know if McConnell is astute enough to accept it. Mitch McClellan’s career has been defined by a gopher–like reluctance to risk anything that causes him to stray too far from the safety of his den. (To learn how McConnell earned the nickname “Mitch McClellan,” click here.)

Accepting Schumer’s gift will require Mitch to go head–to–head in the arena of public opinion, which he is evidently reluctant to do since, like most of the Republican leadership in Congress, he doesn’t believe enough in conservative principles to make a compelling case in public.

This is why Trump is president and McConnell isn’t, but that’s another column entirely, which can be found here.

So let me explain another missed opportunity for Republicans to show the American public just how far out of the mainstream Democrats are.

AP reports Schumer “has concluded that denying President Trump his wall is perhaps the surest major defeat Democrats can hand the President in his first year.” And he plans to do it by filibustering the wall.

This is the biggest tactical error Schumer has made since he didn’t object to Fauxcahontas being sworn in.

If only McClellan would exploit Schumer’s gift.

So what can the Curator of the Senate do to exploit Schumer’s gift? All the exciting details can be yours by clicking on the link below and being whisked to my Newsmax.com column. Thanks.

http://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/mitch-mcconnell-chuck-schumer-border-wall-filibuster/2017/03/07/id/777474/

 

Business Learns Trump Giveth and Trump Taketh Away

Conservatives always knew Trump’s policies would be a dog’s breakfast of competing initiatives and impulsive proposals. His State of the Administration speech only served to confirm it.

There were solid assurances to reestablish the rule of law and promises to develop a “historic” tax reform program that will make US businesses more competitive with other countries.

Unfortunately, waiting for tax reform from a Republican Congress that supports business because it makes campaign contributions and ignores competition because it doesn’t, is like waiting for a pause in an Obama monologue.

Rather than wait, Trump issued an order that requires the executive branch to remove two old regulations for every new one it issues.

That’s a great start; although something tells me at least initially the regulations deleted are going to be those covering the sodium content of salt pork issued to the Army of the Potomac.

But how does removing burdensome regulations on US business square with requiring those same businesses to provide paid family leave? I know it’s a logical progression from universal Pre–K, which is taxpayer–funded daycare, to paying mothers to raise their own babies, but it’s not logical for Republicans trying to make America competitive.

Trump’s new Commissar of Motherhood is going to be regulating up a storm. What number employees is the cutoff for coverage? Will men get to take advantage of paid leave? What about men who can’t decide if they are a man or a woman? Can homosexuals take off to raise a surrogate child? Is a polygamist limited to children from one wife or do all qualify? Does a mother of twins get twice as much leave? Can a divorced husband take off if he still gets along with the ex–wife and she has a child? Will leave only apply to immediate family or will it be like chain immigration and apply to cousins, uncles and people with similar last names?

Do mothers who abort their child get time off to sooth a guilty conscience? How long does the leave last? If a woman gives birth to a girl and a few years later she decides she’s a boy, can mom take another leave to help with the transition? If a woman adopts an infant, does she qualify? If a woman serves as a surrogate mother can she take paid leave, too?

Will the payment be a percentage of salary or a fixed rate? Will there be a means test? How about a citizenship test? Does a woman continue to earn seniority as she cares for junior? Does the leave clock for a premie start when the child was born or when it should have been born? If a mother’s state already has a paid leave program does she have to choose one or can she double–dip?

Just answering those few questions will generate reams of regulations. Will the Commissar get a free pass on the new one–for–two regulatory rule and start from scratch? Or will he have to persuade other agencies to donate old regulations he can sacrifice on the altar of red tape?

I’m sorry, but this has Ivanka’s fingerprints all over it and no one that I know of voted for her.

This program better left to the states. California, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Rhode Island already have leave programs. The other states are free to follow their lead and burden their businesses, too.

This is not to say I downplay the importance of motherhood. I don’t. Conservatives put much more emphasis on the nurturing of the nuclear family than the left does. Strong families build a strong society.

Let’s say Virginia, where I live, wanted to encourage working mothers to stay home with their children for the first three months. I could support a plan that takes inspiration from the foster parent program.

Virginia pays foster parents $462 a month for children under age four. It could start a new Leg Up on Life program that pays working mothers a similar amount for the first three months of the child’s life. This encourages mothers to take time off from work to establish a relationship with the newborn and removes some of the financial pressure.

In the interest of equity I would allow both working and non–working women to be eligible. In the interest of keeping the program simple, the payment would not be means tested. If women already had paid leave from their place of employment, they could collect both payments.

This program has the advantage of being simple, non–federal and no burden on business. It encourages mothers without discouraging job creation. Best of all it doesn’t establish a federal entitlement Democrats could increase at some time in the future, like Trump’s does.

Civil Servants Foment Civil Insurrection Against Trump

The United States is the only nation on earth where the saboteurs are both well paid and impossible to fire. Some nations call them spies, other nations — Iran comes to mind — claim they are Zionists, but here at home we call them “public servants.”

trump-why-doesnt-what-american-people-want-happenFederal employees have decided they’re the 4th branch of government and if you can believe the opposition media, they intend to do what they can to make the Trump presidency a failure. As Steven Hayward has written, “That bureaucratic government is the partisan instrument of the Democratic Party is the most obvious, yet least remarked upon, trait of our time.”

This is why it’s not surprising the New York Times writes, “Across the vast federal bureaucracy, Donald J. Trump’s arrival in the White House has spread anxiety, frustration, fear and resistance among many of the two million nonpolitical civil servants who say they work for the public, not a particular president.”

That concept is a convenient misunderstanding of the role of public employees by pretentious public employees. “Working for the public” means they are claiming to work for a concept. One that doesn’t issue annual performance reviews or provide direct supervision.

These “non–political” public employees — who just happened to send an astonishing 95 percent of their presidential campaign contributions to Pantsuit Nation in 2016 — will now claim to act as oracles who can divine the will of “public” and formulate appropriate policy.

If they get their way, it will be the Obama administration all over again without the annoying self–regard and afternoon tee times.

Now I’ve got you wondering: Who will save us? It depends. If someone sends the rest of my Newsmax.com column to President Trump and he takes my advice, there’s hope. See for yourself how I would put recalcitrant bureaucrats in their place by clicking here:

http://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/employees-federal-public/2017/02/14/id/773615/

 

Congressional GOP: The Dogs that Caught the Obamacar

Pity the poor Republican leadership in Congress. There they sit – paralyzed by the power for which they pleaded over the last four elections.

In 2010 when the GOP took control of the House they were powerless because Republicans didn’t have control of the Senate.

obamacare-crushes-middle-classIn 2014 Senate control fell into their hands, yet they were still powerless because Democrats controlled the White House.

Now they control the House, Senate and the presidency, but they remain powerless. This time because the left still controls the media and Jake Tapper doesn’t stand for re–election.

The Obama presidency was really the good old days. Congress could bravely vote to repeal Obamacare secure in the knowledge the bill would never take effect because Obama would veto it. And it he did.

All those votes were so many talking points in a re–election commercial. Now a vote to repeal Obamacare will pass and result in the Opposition Media’s veto. And our timid, public trough–feeders fear the consequences.

Damn, no one told them winning in 2016 would mean they’re now responsible!

So what are Congressional Republicans going to do? You’ll have to read the rest of my column on Newsmax to find out. Plus there’s a bonus: I answer the main arguments leftists have against repeal. Clip and save for your member of congress. Thanks for reading.

http://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/Obamacare-premiums-repeal-replace/2017/02/23/id/775154/