Friday, June 29, 2012

SCOTUS and Obamacare

What’s New Today

Story #1 is the story gives you five silver linings for the survival of Obamacare.  #2 lists the seven tax hikes associated with Obamacare. #3 lists the 10 worst things about Obamacare.  #4 looks at the Robert’s decision to see if it is a benefit or a tax to those who are opposed to it.  #5 links you to a viral video of the Obamacare decision.  #6 is Mickey Klaus’ look at the future for Obamacare and specifically can it be repealed.
Today’s Thoughts

Today’s SCOTUS ruling makes you wonder if Obama is thanking his lucky stars his vote against Roberts didn’t carry the day.

“It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.”  Chief Justice John Roberts on Obamacare   So elections do have consequences. 

As we start looking at Obama’s achievements, the successful completion of the relief well (Deep Water Horizon) was on September 17, 2010 some 148 days after the disaster occurred.

1.  Five Possible Silver Linings in the Obamacare Ruling

I have not been as overwhelmed with grief at the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act as some of my fellow conservatives.  I was wondering whether I was just being naive, but since I just listened in person to a talk from Paul Clement, who actually argued the case on behalf of the states before the Supreme Court, and his feelings seemed to resonate with my own, I feel a little more confident now to share what might be some of the silver linings in this decision…:

Cutting to the chase the five silver linings are 1) it pushes new power grabs out of the commerce clause and into the taxing power and tax laws are more difficult to pass, 2) as a tax it will be easier to repeal (no filibusters allowed), 3) the state can now back out of the Medicaid expansion, 4) the Democrats now own the most deceptive tax hike in history, and 5) this focuses the election on whether the government should have more power over the individual or less. 

2.  Obamacare’s 7 tax hikes on people earning under $250,000

By ruling that ObamaCare is constitutional, the Supreme Court has set in motion a slew of tax hikes. Well, someone has to pay for it. For rich folks, looming big is the 3.8% Medicare surtax on investment income, and the 0.9% Medicare payroll tax hike (from 1.45% to 2.35%). And then there are the tax hikes for everybody else.

Obama’s pledge against any form of tax increase on Americans making less than $250,000 a year “was thrown out the window” when he signed the healthcare law, says John Kartch, communications director with Americans For Tax Reform (founded by anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist).

Here’s a rundown of seven ObamaCare tax hikes that affect the hoi polloi…

Another promise broken.  Here’s a list of 20 tax increases by the Obama Administration.

3.  10 Worst things about Obamacare

Now, all the rest of us are going to find out a lot more about what’s in the 2,700-page health overhaul law.
The president now must spend the next four months defending a law that the majority of Americans dislike, and the more they learn about it, the more they dislike it. Worse, the part of the law that is the least popular — the individual mandate — has now been declared a tax.

That’s double jeopardy for the president: The unpopular mandate stands, and it is called a tax.  Either the president admits it’s a tax as a way of keeping the law on the books, or he says that the Supreme Court is wrong, that it’s not a tax, in which case his law would be invalid….

…Here’s a quick checklist of the ten worst things in the law — in addition to the individual and Medicaid mandates:

1. Employer mandate. Most companies will have to provide and pay for expensive government-determined health insurance for their employees or face federal fines.
2. Anti-conscience mandate. Religious organizations will be required to provide free sterilization, contraceptives, and abortion-inducing drugs to their employees, even if it violates their religious beliefs.
3. New and higher taxes. The law contains at least 20 new taxes totaling $500 billion that will hit medical innovators, health insurance, and even the sale of your home.
4. The Independent Payment Advisory Board. IPAB will still stand, with its rationing power over Medicare.
5. State exchanges. States will be compelled to set up vast new bureaucracies to check into our finances and families so they can hand out generous taxpayer subsidies for health insurance to families earning up to $90,000 a year.
6. Medicare payment cuts. $575 billion in payment reductions to Medicare providers and Medicare Advantage plans will cause more and more physicians to stop seeing Medicare patients, exacerbating access problems.
7. Higher health-care costs. The Kaiser Family Foundation says the average price of a family policy has risen by $2,200 during the Obama administration. The president promised premiums would be $2,500 lower by this year. Hospitals, doctors, businesses, and consumers all expect their taxes and health costs to rise under Obamacare.
8. Government control over doctor decisions. Value-based payments, quality reporting requirements, and government comparative-effectiveness boards will dictate how doctors practice medicine. Nearly half of all physicians are seriously considering leaving practice, leading to a severe doctor shortage.
9. Huge deficits. The CBO has raised its cost estimate for the law to $1.76 trillion over ten years, but that is only the opening bid as more and more people lose their job-based coverage and flood into taxpayer-subsidized insurance. At this rate, the cost will be $2 trillion, not the less than $1 trillion the president promised.
10. 159 new boards, agencies, and programs: The Obama administration will work quickly to set up as many of the law’s new bureaucracies as fast as it can so they can take root before the election.

This will be playing out over time and offers Romney plenty of fodder to use in the coming election. 

4.  Robert’s ruling a Benefit or a Tax?

OK, it’s hard to admit but my initial reaction to this morning’s Obamacare decision by the Supreme Court – a snide tweet branding  Chief Justice John Roberts as another “gift” from President George W. Bush like the Medicare Prescription Drug benefit program – was embarrassingly hasty.

After reading and stewing about it all day, I’ve concluded that what Roberts has done is fundamentally shift the constitutional debate away from the liberal assumption since the Woodrow Wilson era that an Imperial Presidency and supine Congress can pretty much do as they please so long as it’s covered by at least one of those fig leaves known as the General Welfare, Necessary and Proper or Commerce clauses of the Constitution.

The new assumption is, thanks to Roberts, that at least two of those clauses in fact cannot simply be dragooned into the service of whatever a passing majority in Congress wants to do. And having shifted the meaning of those two clauses, courts will likely now have to view the other clause differently as well.
In other words, the Constitution means something today that it didn’t yesterday, at least in terms of constitutional precedent. It’s not a grand rout of liberalism from the field of battle, but the correlation of constitutional forces has now shifted under their feet in such a way that they must go over to the defensive on ground not of their choosing.

Further, the holding that Obamacare passes constitutional muster if it is understood as a tax may be an even more significant victory for conservatives. To understand why, which of these two words sounds more positive? “Benefit” or “tax”? Who is more likely to prevail – the advocate offering a positive benefit without having to explain in any detail how it will be funded, or the advocate who right out front says your taxes have to go up but, trust me, you’re going to love this new benefit?...

This is probably the best silver lining I’ve read about since the verdict on Obamacare was written.  Precedent is a powerful force and Roberts has changed the precedents not to the liberals benefit.  In fact they will now be taxed with the responsibility to telling people not only the benefit but the cost.

5.  Viral Video on ObamaTax

Expect to see a lot more like this.  I especially thought “not any of your taxes.  You will not see your taxes go up.”  Barack Obama was particularly effective.

6.  Mickey Klaus on the Repeal of Obamacare

…After all, why couldn’t Republicans use the “reconciliation” process to get around a Dem filibuster? Lizza says:

But reconciliation wouldn’t work here—the process can only be used for policies that have budgetary effects and a C.B.O. score. Much of the A.C.A., such as the insurance exchanges and subsidies, would fall under these categories. But a lot of it, including the hated individual mandate, does not. Repealing the exchanges and subsides without repealing the mandate and the other regulations and cost controls in the law would create a health-care Frankenstein that a President Romney would be rather nuts to support.

Huh? The individual mandate is a tax! The Supreme Court has now told us. Maybe the Senate parliamentarian calls it something else–but whatever you call it, it raises revenue and repealing it would have a budgetary effect, and hence be reconciliationable.  Here’s Republican Congressional expert Keith Hennessey admitting that the mandate is subject to reconciliation (and this at a time when his interest was in blocking Obamacare, which meant having as few things subject to reconciliation as possible). Certainly the GOPs could cut the monetary penalty (ax-tay) for not having health insurance to, say, a dime. That would certainly have a budgetary effect and a C.B.O. score.

Maybe the exchanges themselves wouldn’t be reconcilable, but if Romney could get rid of the mandate and the subsidies the exchanges would be stripped of their power as a vehicle to ensure universal coverage. Obamacare would effectively be repealed.

Frum,** for his part, thinks politics will preclude repeal even before the main parts of the Act kick in in 2014:

[E]ven if Republicans do win the White House and Senate in 2012, how much appetite will they then have for that 1-page repeal bill? Suddenly it will be their town halls filled with outraged senior citizens whose benefits are threatened; their incumbencies that will be threatened

Again, huh? Senior citizens already have Medicare. They hate Obamacare, in part because it came packaged with Medicare cuts. Why would they storm town halls to protest its repeal?

Facts are not things the left really likes to look at if it goes against them.  I thought Frum’s comments about senior citizens filling town halls with because their benefits are threatened is true.  But it will be Democrats town halls, not Republicans for the reasons Klaus outlined here. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Obamacare is Constitutional

What’s New Today

Story #1 is the story that Obamacare was found Constitutional (with just a little bit of rewriting by SCOTUS).  #2 looks at the effect of the decision to keep Obamacare.  #3 in the meantime shows the Eric Holder was found in contempt of congress with 17 Democrats joining the Republicans.  #4 talks about the cuts in defense.  #5 has three graphs demonstrating how the Dodd Frank financial reform bill evidently hurt the recovery.  #6 looks at the difference in coverage of campaign fund raising from 2008 to 2012.  #7 reviews how the courts have sided with Florida in purging its lists of illegal aliens.  

Today’s Thoughts

The surprise ruling that Obamacare is Constitutional because the  mandate is actually a tax does have a silver lining.  Tax bills cannot be filibustered in the Senate.  

In another thought in view of President Obama telling ICE not to deport a certain group of illegals, can President Romney tell the IRS not to collect this tax?  

Here’s a good question about Fast and Furious.  What was putting 2,500 untraceable guns in the hands of Mexican drug dealers was supposed to accomplish?  Could that be what the Justice Department is hiding?

1.  Obamacare stands:  Conservatives scratch their heads

Artur Davis was the only member of the Congressional Black Caucus to oppose Obamacare in 2010. Later that year, the four-term Democrat lost a primary in Alabama for governor in part on his opposition to the law. Since then, Davis has moved to the right, and even went so far as to join the Republican party last month. The Harvard Law School graduate and former civil-rights lawyer’s reaction to the Supreme Court’s ruling is stinging. He thinks the Court gave in to elite opinion that claimed the court’s legitimacy would be hurt if Obamacare were overturned.

He wrote in Politico’s Arena:

John Roberts’ surprise defection is a policy victory for Barack Obama that is worth no votes: just as Democrats miscalculated in 2010 by assuming that the passage of the healthcare law would prove that they could get things done, they are drawing the wrong lesson today if they assume a court’s vindication of an unpopular law will somehow validate the first Obama term.  The hostility to Obamacare among independents and swing voters is based on the cold fact that precious few of them believe it has done a thing to lower their premiums or improve their coverage, and that won’t change.
But there is a larger story: this result shows the left’s continuing capacity to shape elite opinion by marginalizing positions that roughly half the country holds. Just as the left has caricatured opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion as retrograde and extreme, it just pulled off the same feat in the context of Obamacare: the case was made, and Roberts bought it, that a Court that has struck down 169 congressional statutes would somehow be dangerously activist if it added a 170th one to the mix. Its an undemocratic, disingenuous sleight of hand that the left is practicing, but it is winning: the cost is that it only widens the gap between Middle America and the elite.

This was a surprise and we shouldn’t make light of it.  It is a victory of Obama.  But the statement above shows that it isn’t an unmitigated victory. 

2.  SCOTUS’s ruling and the effect on Freedom

I know it doesn’t look like it at first glance, but it really is (a victory for limited government). When this legislative atrocity first passed, it was assumed by most people that the Commerce Clause had rendered the Ninth and Tenth Amendments dead letters, per Wockard, and that there really were no limits to federal power. A few lonely voices (particularly Randy Barnett) argued that in fact there were such limits, and that this bill exceeded them. He was scoffed at by many, but those same people were shocked when the court actually took that argument seriously a few months ago. And today, a 5-4 majority of the court, including the Chief Justice, declared that in fact those limits exist and that ObamaCare did indeed transgress them. The bill was allowed to stand only because Justice Roberts declared that it passed constitutional muster under the Congress’s ability to tax (presumably under Article I, Section 8), and that while it had been fraudulently passed (that’s why the president had to lie about it being a tax — he knew that if he admitted it, he would not only lose whatever “moderate” support he had for it, but that he would be going back on his promise not to raise taxes on the middle class), that didn’t make it unconstitutional. Here is a key phrase from his opinion: “It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.” 

The nation made a terrible political choice in 2008. It started to fix it in 2010, largely driven by this monstrosity. We have another chance in November to fix it once and for all, with a new president and Senate, and I suspect that’s going to happen. But going forward, future courts will recognize that the Commerce Clause is not a get-out-of-jail-free card for any tyrannical thing that the federal government chooses to do. If we want to continue to rein it in, an amendment of the taxing clause might be useful going forward.

An interesting look at what happened today and one that is hopeful.  It is now time to repeal Obamacare 

3.  Holder held “in contempt” of Congress

The House on Thursday cited Attorney General Eric Holder for contempt of Congress in a historic vote weighted with political significance, though it does little to break the stalemate over his decision to withhold documents over the Justice Department’s actions in a botched gun-walking operation.
The 256-67 vote amounted to a political spanking for Mr. Holder and President Obama, and 17 Democrats joined with Republicans in demanding the documents be released. Most Democrats, however, walked out in protest of the vote.

It marks the first time an attorney general has been held in contempt by a chamber.

But the White House dismissed the proceedings as a sideshow, and the vote does nothing to break the impasse, though it further poisoned feelings in an already bitterly divided chamber.

“No Justice Department is above the law, and no Justice Department is above the Constitution,” said House Speaker John Boehner, Ohio Republican.

Democrats pleaded with the Republicans to slow down the proceedings, saying the oversight committee, led by Chairman Darrell Issa, California Republican, has done a shoddy job in putting together its investigation.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Texas Democrat, even introduced a resolution demanding that the House reprimand Mr. Issa for partisanship and accusing him of having “engaged in a witch hunt.”

Many Democrats walked out of the contempt vote in protest, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, said the vote was a black eye for the Republicans….

Sometimes you have to think that Nancy Pelosi is suffering from dementia.  This is a black eye, but it is a black eye for the attorney general.

4. Defense Cuts and the Ramifications 

Colorado's wildfire has exploded into an "epic firestorm," in the words of Colorado Springs fire chief Richard Brown. Over 30,000 people have evacuated, and already hundreds of homes have been consumed. Ironically, the U.S. Air Force Academy has also been evacuated, at the very time that Colorado desperately needs more Air Force C-130s to fight the massive fire.

A C-130 fitted with the Modular Airborne FireFighting System (MAFFS) can drop 3,000 gallons of fire-retardant material in 5 seconds, and reload in just 15 minutes. This tempo is crucial to containing wildfires like the one devastating Colorado Springs. However, of a current fleet of nearly 380 C-130s, only eight can be fitted with the MAFFS—and four of them are already in the skies over Colorado. With another fire looming in the north of the state, there is no excess capacity to help protect civilian areas. That means thousands of exhausted firefighters on the ground are without enough of the crucial support they need to control the fires.

All this raises concerns about President Obama’s defense budget, which cuts 65 C-130s from the fleet over the next four years. While that will leave 318 C-130s, the demands on the fleet are not shrinking in Afghanistan or other places. Nor did the Air Force have much choice in the matter…

It seems the Democrats willingness to cut defense has some other ramifications as well.

5.  How Obama’s Financial Reform Crashed the Recovery

The three graphs are impressive in making this point.

6.  2008 vs 2012:  Things have Changed for the Left

What a difference four years make. Around this time in 2008, Sen. Barack Obama was well on his way to shattering every campaign fundraising record on the books. Before his campaign was over, the great reformer from Chicago decided public campaign financing wasn't so great after all — and he passed it up in favor of accepting almost three-quarters of a billion dollars in contributions.

But for a handful of muted good-government voices, the entire political left celebrated Obama's fundraising as proof of his extraordinary support and mass appeal. When it was over, the president-elect outspent his political opponent, John McCain, by more than 3-to-1.

Fast forward to 2012 and Mitt Romney's first month of out-fundraising the president, notwithstanding the fact that Obama has spent more time fundraising, by a factor of two or more, than any incumbent president in history. All of a sudden, the news is awash in the left's concerns about unregulated campaign fundraising.

Twice in the past week, in fact, The New York Times editorial page singled out Republican fundraising efforts as a serious threat to our democracy.

In the more sanctimonious of its two editorials, the Times railed against Sheldon Adelson, a wealthy casino owner who gave $20 million to Newt Gingrich in his unsuccessful bid to capture the Republican nomination and now has pledged millions more for the Romney campaign effort.

Apparently blind to its own reporting that Adelson's money did virtually nothing to help Gingrich, the Times is now in a state of panic that Adelson's money could upset the balance of the fall campaign. Even worse — for the Times — the editors wrote that Adelson was “attempting to advance his personal, ideological and financial agenda, which is wildly at odds with the nation's needs.”..

It appears the NYT doesn’t have any real principles except they want the left to win and whatever helps that is what they will come out for.

7.  Court Okays Florida Purging of voter rolls

A federal judge has upheld the legality of Florida’s purge of non-citizens from voting rolls, denying the Obama administration’s request for a halt to the program, which could handicap Obama’s performance in Florida.

The Orlando Sentinel reports:

The Justice Department had asked for a restraining order, arguing that the program attempting to remove 2,600 non-citizens from the voter rolls violated federal voting law that prohibits the systemic removal of voters 90 days before an election.

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle said that, according to his reading of the law, the 90-day provision did not apply to removing non-citizens from the rolls….

Another reason Obama must be defeated. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Obama's truth

What’s New Today

Story #1 tells reminds us of how Obama seems to change his position depending on how close the election is.  #2 looks to see if voter apathy is bad (it isn’t).  #3 has John Stossel cheering on discrimination.  #4 is about Mia Love, the new black Republican woman who is running for congress.  #5 looks at the money likely to be raised and spent in 2012.  

Today’s Thoughts

Revenge of the incumbents:  U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch has won Utah's Republican primary and Charlie Rangel won the Democratic nomination for his 22 term in office.

Leno on Obama spending more money than he took in in May:  “That’s called being a Democrat.”

 “Yesterday, his advisers (Romney) tried to clear this up by telling us that there was a difference between ‘outsourcing’ and ‘offshoring.’ Seriously. You can’t make that up.”  Barack Obama.  Seriously you can’t make up that he doesn’t understand the difference between the two.  Outsourcing happens when an American firm hires IBM to take over its IT function .  

1.  Obama and the truth

A sign of an undisciplined mind is serial lapses into self-contradiction, or blurting out a thought only to refute it entirely on a later occasion. For a president to do that is to erode public confidence and eventually render all his public statements irrelevant. That is now unfortunately the case with Barack Obama, who has established a muddled record of confused and contradictory declarations.

Last week, the president invoked executive privilege to prevent the release of administration documents related to the Fast and Furious operation. All presidents on occasion use that tactic, but rarely after they have put themselves on record, as did Senator Obama just five years ago, damning the practice as a de facto admission of wrongdoing. Does President Obama remember his earlier denunciation — or why he thought a special prosecutor was necessary to look into the Scooter Libby case, but not the far greater mess surrounding Eric Holder?

About the same time, President Obama offered de facto amnesty for an estimated 800,000 to 1 million illegal aliens. Aside from his circumvention of Congress and his casual attitude toward his own constitutional duty to enforce the laws as they are written, Obama had on two earlier occasions stated that he not only would not grant such blanket exemptions from the law, but also legally could not. That was then, this is now — the middle of a reelection campaign?...

So which Obama are we supposed to believe? 

2.  Voter apathy better than the alternative

It's a sure sign someone is losing when he demands that the rules be changed.

That might explain the renewed interest in forcing people to vote against their will. Peter Orszag, President Obama's former budget director and now a vice chairman at Citigroup, recently wrote a column for Bloomberg View arguing for making voting mandatory.

He's not alone. Icons of the Beltway establishment Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann also favor the idea. As does William Galston, a former advisor to President Clinton. (Mann and Galston are scholars at the liberal Brookings Institution; Ornstein is a colleague of mine at the American Enterprise Institute.)
While I have great respect for Ornstein, Mann and Galston -- I'm undecided about Orszag -- I find the idea absurd, cynical and repugnant.

Let's start with the repugnant part.

One of the chief benefits of coerced voting, according to Orszag, is that it increases participation. Well, yes, and kidnapping drunks in pubs increased the ranks of the British navy, but it didn't turn the conscripted sailors into patriots.

I think everyone can agree that civic virtue depends on civic participation. Well, any reasonable understanding of civic participation has to include the idea of voluntarism. If I force you to do the right thing against your will, you don't get credit for doing the right thing.

Let's move on to the absurdity. Ornstein and Mann suggest fining people, say $15, if they don't vote and using the proceeds to set up a lottery to bribe reluctant voters. If the old line that lotteries are taxes on stupid people is correct, then the upshot of this proposal is that the cure to what ails democracy is an influx of large numbers of stupid voters….

We don’t need more stupid people voting without having the slightest idea of who or what they are voting on.  This is kind of a poll tax in reverse. 

3.  Stossel on the benefits of Discrimination

I’m scared.

I fear that even if the Supreme Court overrules most of Obamacare (or did already, by the time you read this), Republicans will join Democrats in restoring “good” parts of the law, like the requirement that insurance companies cover kids up to age 26 and every American with a pre-existing condition.
Those parts of Obamacare are popular. People like getting what they think is free stuff. But requiring coverage to age 26 makes policies cost more.

Even Bill O’Reilly lectures me that government should ban discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions. Most Americans agree with him. Who likes discrimination? Racial discrimination was one of the ugliest parts of American history. None of us wants to be discriminated against. But discrimination is part of freedom. We discriminate when we choose our friends or our spouse, or when we choose what we do with our time.

Above all, discrimination is what makes insurance work. An insurance regime where everyone pays the same amount is called “community rating.” That sounds fair. No more cruel discrimination against the obese or people with cancer. But community rating is as destructive as ordering flood insurance companies to charge me nothing extra to insure my very vulnerable beach house, or ordering car insurance companies to charge Lindsay Lohan no more than they charge you. Such one-size-fits-all rules take away insurance companies’ best tool: risk-based pricing. Risk-based pricing encourages us to take better care of ourselves.

Car insurance works because companies reward good drivers and charge the Lindsay Lohans more. If the state forces insurance companies to stop discriminating, that kills the business model.
No-discrimination insurance isn’t insurance. It’s welfare. If the politicians’ plan was to create another government welfare program, they ought to own up to that instead of hiding the cost.

Obama — and the Clintons before him — expressed outrage that insurance companies charged people different rates based on their risk profiles. They want everyone covered for the same “fair” price….

Most people don’t really think in this regard, they simply emote.  The point of preexisting conditions is that you should have had insurance before you got the condition.  The left recognizes that and that is why they insist on a mandate with health insurance.  If that goes down, then everyone will have to take personal responsibility for this.

4.   Mia Love for Congress

Today’s Washington Post contains a front page story about Mia Love, the Republican candidate for Congress in Utah’s Fourth Congressional District. Love, age 36, is the mayor of Saratoga Springs, a rapidly growing Utah town of about 18,000. She is also Black, Mormon, and quite conservative. If elected, she will become the first Black female Republican member of Congress.

Love entered politics when she heard talk about taking the words “under God” out of the Pledge of Allegiance. As mayor of Saratoga Springs, she has shown a strong commitment to balanced budgets. Love vows to apply the same approach to the federal budget. For example, she has advocated eliminating the Energy and Education departments. Her campaign focuses on issues such as tax reform, energy exploration, and a strong military. It also emphasizes fiscal responsibility, smaller government, and personal responsibility.

Paul Ryan recently hosted a fundraiser for Love. He told the audience, “Mia has a great opportunity to extend the message of liberty and economic freedom in ways that many of us can’t, and we’re excited about that.”

Standing in the way of this happy scenario is Jim Matheson, the incumbent Democrat. Matheson is a moderate (he voted against Obamacare, for example), but too liberal for Utah, I would have thought. Republicans make up a majority of voters in the Fourth District. The Cook Political Report considers the race a toss-up.

Matheson’s big advantage is money. Thus far, according to the Post, he has outraised Love by a ratio of 10-1….

She would be a great addition to congress.  Send her a small donation.

5. Spending on the 2012 Election

As the Wisconsin recall unfolded, Democrats watched in horrified helplessness as their candidate was overwhelmed by the other side's seemingly endless millions of dollars. Then came the news that Mitt Romney's campaign was raising more money than the president's reelection effort. And every few days seem to bring new reports of right-wing billionaires boasting of the tens or even hundreds of millions they plan to pour into the effort to defeat the president.

Even as Obama narrowly leads most polls, a creeping sense of doom underlies many conversations among liberals these days: the haunting fear that the left may get so swamped by the other side's money that the president and his allies are rendered simply unable to compete.

Democrats have been acutely nervous about the potential for massive GOP spending ever since the 2010 Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court helped open the floodgates of campaign spending. But in recent weeks the level of alarm has escalated to panic.

"If the president and his allies get outspent like Democrats did in Wisconsin, Wisconsin could happen all over again" in the general election, said Bill Burton, the senior strategist for the Obama-supporting super PAC Priorities USA, which has struggled to keep pace with its Republican counterpart….

Obama outspent McCain by over 2 to 1 in 2008.  In Wisconsin, Scott Walker outspent the recall groups about 2 to 1 (not the 7-1 the Democrats like to talk about).  And it looks as if Romney may be able to outspend Obama this year by 2-1.  Perhaps panic is a smart move on the Democrats part.