Morning Action: Things Obama’s Gotten Wrong: Obamacare, Infrastructure, Education, Etc.
OBAMACARE. Though Obamacare’s costly Medicaid expansion will burden both federal and state governments, some are calling Florida Governor Rick Scott’s decision to do so a “win” for the Obama White House:
Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s decision to expand his state’s Medicaid program is a huge political and practical win for President Obama’s White House.
Scott, who rose to the governor’s mansion on an anti-Obamacare campaign, also led the legal effort to overturn the president’s health reform law last year.
Without the multistate lawsuit led by Florida, expanding state Medicaid programs would never have been optional. Now, he is one of seven Republican governors who have endorsed expanding their programs.
But was there a quid pro quo?
For weeks, Scott has said the debate on expanding Medicaid was directly tied to the state’s application for waivers it needs to allow private companies to run the program.
His endorsement of the expansion came hours after the federal government agreed to grant Florida a conditional waiver to privatize Medicaid statewide for the state’s more than 3 million current recipients, more than half of which are children or people under age 21.
INFRASTRUCTURE. The Obama administration announced Wednesday another economic plan to “invest” in infrastructure. The press release touted the administration’s willingness to cut red tape. Note the language:
The President’s plan will cut timelines in half for infrastructure projects and create incentives for better outcomes for communities and the environment through a historic modernization of agency permitting and review regulations, procedures, and policies.
Yet, the Daily Caller points out:
However, the announcement makes no mention of fast-tracking permits for oil and natural gas drilling on federal lands — a promise the president made during President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address.
Obama promised to focus on building up the country’s infrastructure in order to create jobs and grow the economy, as well as continue to promote using renewable energy sources like wind and solar. The president also promised to cut the red tape and speed up the issuance of oil and gas permits on federal lands — something he came under fire for during the election.
PRESCHOOL. In light of the Obama administration’s aggressive push for universal, taxpayer-funded preschool, a revealing exercise is to look at how that’s worked for states that have attempted this already. Georgia and Oklahoma are two examples. Heritage’s Lindsey Burke explains:
More than a decade after offering students universal preschool, neither Oklahoma nor Georgia has shown impressive progress in students’ academic achievement, as measured by the NAEP. In fact, in Oklahoma, fourth-grade reading test scores have declined since 1998.
She offers this precaution:
Georgia and Oklahoma should provide a cautionary note to proponents of government preschool. The experiences of these two states casts doubt that a federal universal preschool would yield the significant long-term benefits that supporters promise.
HAGEL. Sen. Chuck Schumer no longer has any “qualms” about the nomination of former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel for the next U.S. Secretary of Defense. The President recommended that Schumer – who originally had reservations about the nominee – sit and talk with Hagel, who cried (!):
I told him what a double standard is. That Jewish people throughout the centuries have suffered a double standard. Everyone could be a farmer except Jewish people. Everyone could live in Moscow except Jewish people. I said when everyone else can lobby but all of a sudden when those of us who are pro-Israel lobby, it’s a negative, that’s a double standard. And I’m sure you didn’t mean it, but it harkens to the old days… And he really, you know, he almost had tears in his eyes when he understood. So I believe he will be good.