Friday, September 21, 2007

Fiscal Wake-Up Tour to visit Manchester N.H.

The Fiscal Wake-Up Tour Comes to Manchester to Discuss Our Nation's Unsustainable Fiscal Policy

WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On Friday, September 28th, The Concord Coalition will join with other federal budget analysts to host a stop on our Fiscal Wake-Up Tour, a nationwide series of town hall forums on the nation's long-term fiscal challenge. U.S. Comptroller General David M. Walker will be the featured speaker. The event will be held at the
Derryfield Country Club in Manchester and will be open to the press and public.

"One thing that Democrats and Republicans can agree on is that our nation's current fiscal policy is not sustainable over the long-term. Our children's economic future is at risk, which is something no one wants. Changing course will require hard choices such as scaling back future entitlement promises, increasing revenues to pay for them, or -- most likely -- a combination of both. Because these choices are politically difficult, the active involvement of the American people is critical. Without greater understanding of the problem among the public, community leaders, business leaders and home state media, elected leaders are unlikely to break out of their comfortable partisan talking points and unlikely to find solutions. That is why we began the nationwide Fiscal Wake-Up Tour. As demonstrated by the recent election result, voters are tired of partisan gridlock. This gives both parties an opportunity and a duty to begin working together on the real problem we face. Ensuring a sound fiscal future for our children should certainly be high on their list," said Robert L. Bixby, executive director of The Concord Coalition.

What: Fiscal Wake-Up Tour

Where: The Derryfield Country Club
625 Mammoth Road
Manchester, NH 03104

When: Friday, September 28, 2007
11:30 AM to 1:00 PM

Who: U.S. Comptroller General David M. Walker
Robert L. Bixby, The Concord Coalition
Brian Reidl, The Heritage Foundation
Paul Cullinan, The Brookings Institution
RSVP to Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce at
603-666-6600 Ext: 122, or online at:

Alaska abandons 'Bridge to Nowhere' project

Americans for Prosperity Calls Victorious Defeat of Bridge to Nowhere a Testament to the Power of Grassroots Activism

Citizen Group Visited the Bridge to Nowhere in August 2006

WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On the heels of news today that the state of Alaska has officially abandoned plans to pursue the infamous Gravina Bridge to Nowhere project, Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips issued the following victory statement:

"The death of the Alaska Bridge to Nowhere is a testament to the power of grassroots activism. Citizen outrage against hard-earned tax dollars being wasted on questionable pet projects delivered this victory for taxpayers. To paraphrase the late Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois, when citizen activists turned up the heat on Congress, lawmakers saw the light.
By communicating their frustration over this incredibly wasteful use of federal tax dollars, citizens created an environment in which the Bridge to Nowhere could not survive any longer.

"I applaud those hard-nosed lawmakers that helped to fight against the Bridge to Nowhere, including Senator Tom Coburn, Representative Jeff Flake, and Representative Mark Kirk.

"As we drove more than 10,000 miles across 37 states on our Ending Earmarks Express road tour last year, which visited the Bridge to Nowhere, one outraged citizen after another told us that the earmark favor factory must be shut down. By refusing to remain silent while their tax dollars were abused, citizens defeated the Bridge to Nowhere.

"This victory today is a key reason why over 1,000 citizens are committed to come to Washington, DC, as part of Americans for Prosperity Foundation's Defending the American Dream Summit on October 4-5. This Summit will be a massive show of force in support of fiscal restraint and against abuse of tax dollars. With these grassroots troops we can restore genuine fiscal restraint to Washington and bring an end to questionable earmarks like the Bridge to Nowhere."

Editors Note: Americans for Prosperity Foundation traveled over 10,000 miles across the nation on the Ending Earmarks Express road tour last year, visiting 37 states and 50 earmarks, including the Bridge to Nowhere. AFPF was the first Washington, DC-based group to visit the proposed site of the Gravina Bridge to Nowhere.

To view video of AFP President Tim Phillips speaking on the ferry from Gravina Island to Ketchikan, please visit:

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is the nation's premier grassroots
organization committed to advancing every individual's right to economic freedom and opportunity. AFP believes reducing the size and scope of government is the best safeguard to ensuring individual productivity and prosperity for all Americans. AFP educates and engages citizens in support of restraining state and federal government growth, and returning government to its constitutional limits.

U of MN Wrestling Coach supports balanced budget amendment

Minnesota Gophers wrestling coach J. Robinson (former Army captain and National Wrestling Hall of Fame inductee) had this to say in a Q&A session with St. Paul Pioneer Press columnist Bob Sansevere in the Sept. 21, 2007 issue of the paper, prior to the team's departure for a White House ceremony commemorating their 2007 National Championship.

The second thing is a balanced budget amendment. Right now, politicians talk out of both sides of their mouth. They tell the poor people, "We're not going to cut your services." And they tell the rich people, "We're not going to raise your taxes." And they can do that and then go and vote for deficit spending. The politicians don't have to make hard choices. If you take away everybody's credit card so they can't charge anything, you know what you buy when you go to the grocery store? You buy hamburger. You don't buy steak. Because you can only afford hamburger. It makes your decision-making process completely different. It mandates what you have to do. So those two things will change America.

You can read the whole interview here:

Thursday, September 20, 2007

AP-Paulson urges Congress to lift U.S. debt ceiling

The following appeared in the Sept. 20 issue of the St. Paul Pioneer Press via the AP.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson told Congress on Wednesday the government will hit the current debt ceiling on Oct. 1. He sought quick action to increase the limit, saying it was essential to protect the "full faith and credit" of the country, especially at a time of financial market turmoil. The limit is $8.965 trillion. Unless Congress votes to raise it, the country would be unable to borrow more money to keep the government operating and to pay debt obligations coming due. The United States has never defaulted on a debt payment, but the decision on whether to raise the debt ceiling often means a prolonged battle in Congress. That does not take into account moves the government often has to use, such as withdrawing investments from certain trust funds to create room for extra borrowing until Congress finally approved a debt-limit increase. This month, the Senate Finance Committee approved increasing the limit on the debt to $9.82 trillion. That boost of $850 billion would be the fifth since President Bush took office in 2001. The House approved an increase in May. The full Senate has not acted yet.

Monday, September 17, 2007

PRNewswire: HillaryCare could create taxpayers as taxdodgers consumer group warns

An interesting read. Will we be tax dodgers if we fail to buy HillaryCare? How much would THIS add to the National Debt/

"Clinton's plan to require all Americans to buy health insurance would force people to choose between rent and health insurance, which could force people to go bankrupt if they make the wrong choice or turn into tax dodgers if they fail to buy unaffordable health insurance."

Consumer Group: Hillary Clinton's Mandatory Health Insurance Purchase Plan is an Act of War on the Middle Class Family That Can't Afford $12k Policy

Clinton Takes Over $1 Million From Insurers, Would Force All Americans to Buy Private Coverage

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Sept. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) today condemned Senator Hillary Clinton's mandatory health insurance purchase plan as a gift to insurers that have given over $1 million in campaign contributions to her presidential campaign.

FTCR said that a plan that would require every American to buy private health insurance without a cap on how much Americans would be charged is an attack on the middle class. The average American health insurance policy for a family of four costs $12,000 per year; Clinton did not say how average Americans would pay for it.

"A woman perceived as the architect of socialized medicine in America is now the godmother of a plan for corporate socialism," said Jamie Court, President of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR).

"That's a testament to the power of health insurer campaign contributions. This plan guarantees insurers a market for their products at any cost. Senator Clinton's plan is a declaration of war on middle-class families who cannot afford $12,000 a year for a health insurance policy because the
Clinton plan doesn't cap premiums or regulate them. The only reason to force Americans to buy health insurance is to bailout an industry that's failed to make its products attractive enough to the market."

FTCR said that the individual mandate is untenable and that real health care reform must rein in health insurance companies.

-- A recent report by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that the average cost of coverage for a family of four is now $12,000, not including deductibles that often require families to spend $5,000 out-of-pocket before insurance coverage kicks in.

-- Health insurance premiums are increasing 250% faster than the rate of inflation because health insurers are keeping more health care premium dollars for profit.

-- Health insurance premiums have increased 78% since 2001 compared to a 19% increase in wages and a 17% increase in inflation, according to the Kaiser report.

FTCR said that a hallmark of so-called 'individual mandate' proposals, like that already in place in Massachusetts, is high-cost polices that provide minimum benefit, bare-bones coverage. These policies do not adequately protect patients when they become sick.

"With $12,000 annual health insurance premiums fueling double-digit insurer profit increases, health reform must rein in insurance companies, not give them more control over our health care," said Jerry Flanagan of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights. "Clinton's plan to require all Americans to buy health insurance would force people to choose between rent and health insurance, which could force people to go bankrupt if they make the wrong choice or turn into tax dodgers if they fail to buy unaffordable health insurance."

The nation's largest insurers reported double-digit profit increases for the second quarter of 2007:

-- WellPoint, the nation's largest insurer and parent company of Blue Cross of California, reported an 11% profit increase over 2006.
-- UnitedHealth, the second largest insurer and parent of PacifiCare of California, reported a 22% increase in earnings over 2006.
-- Aetna's profit was up 27% over 2006.
-- Health Net's profit increased 23.1% over 2006.

According to Weiss Ratings, between 2001 & 2005, HMOs and health insurers nationally have recorded more than $38 billion in profits -- enough money to provide health insurance to 12 million Americans for an entire year.

In 2005, medical bills were responsible for half of all bankruptcies. Of the approximately 1 million Americans who file for bankruptcy each year as a result of illness, three-quarters have insurance; most have college degrees, are working and own their homes according to a Harvard Medical School report.

FTCR is California's leading public interest watchdog. For more information, visit us on the web at

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