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Hillary Clinton Has A History of Using Private Investigators — Imagine What She Would Do If Elected President With The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and National Security Agency (NSA) — Hillary Would Turn The Key Of NSA’s Turnkey Tyranny — Indict Hillary Clinton For Her Crimes of Destroying Government Documents and Obstructing Justice! — Videos

Posted on July 2, 2015. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, Business, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), College, Communications, Computers, Computers, Congress, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Crisis, Documentary, Economics, Education, European History, Faith, Family, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, government, government spending, history, Illegal, Immigration, IRS, Language, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, media, Middle East, Money, National Security Agency (NSA), National Security Agency (NSA_, People, Philosophy, Photos, Police, Politics, Private Sector, Public Sector, Radio, Rants, Religion, Strategy, Systems, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Unions, Video, War, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 498  July 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 497  July 1, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 496  June 30, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 495  June 29, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 494 June 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 493 June 25, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 492 June 24, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 491 June 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 490 June 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 489 June 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 488 June 18, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 486 June 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 485 June 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 484 June 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 483 June 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 482 June 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 481 June 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 480 June 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 479 June 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 478 June 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 477 June 3, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 476 June 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 475 June 1, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 474 May 29, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 470 May 22, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 467 May 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 466 May 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 465 May 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 464 May 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 463 May 13, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 459 May 4, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 458 May 1, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 457 April 30, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 456: April 29, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 455: April 28, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 454: April 27, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 453: April 24, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 452: April 23, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 451: April 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 450: April 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 449: April 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 448: April 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 447: April 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 446: April 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 445: April 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 444: April 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 443: April 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 442: April 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 441: April 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 440: April 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 439: April 1, 2015

Story 1: Hillary Clinton Has A History of Using Private Investigators — Imagine What She Would Do If Elected President With The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and National Security Agency (NSA)  — Hillary Would Turn The Key Of NSA’s Turnkey Tyranny — Indict Hillary Clinton For Her Crimes of Destroying Government Documents and Obstructing Justice! — Videos

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Kurtz: Sid Blumenthal’s shadowy role

New revelation in the Clinton email scandal

Impact of the Clinton emails on the Benghazi investigation

John King: Hillary Clinton ‘Has Only Herself to Blame’ for Private Email Scandal

America’s Forum | Dick Morris discusses the Hillary Clinton email scandal

Dick Morris: Beware hillary’s abuse of women + power

The Hard Line | Dick Morris discusses Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and Martin O’Malley

Hillary Clinton Cold Open – SNL

Bernie Sanders gaining momentum in presidential race

Bernie Sanders Says He’ll Win New Hampshire, Iowa, and the White House

Bernie Sanders Speaks With Katie Couric – Full Interview

Bernie Sanders Rally in Madison, Wisconsin

Hillary Clinton Exposed, Movie She Banned From Theaters Full Movie

Hillary’s Flawed Strategy! Dick Morris TV: Lunch ALERT!

America’s Forum | Dick Morris discusses Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton

President Bill Clinton on the resignation of aide Dick Morris

NSA Whistleblower: Everyone in US under virtual surveillance, all info stored, no matter the post

He told you so: Bill Binney talks NSA leaks

William Binney – Inside NSA

NSA Whistleblower William Binney: The Future of FREEDOM

Enemy Of The State 1998 (1080p) (Full movie)

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Through a PRISM, Darkly – Everything we know about NSA spying [30c3]

Published on Dec 30, 2013

Through a PRISM, Darkly
Everything we know about NSA spying

From Stellar Wind to PRISM, Boundless Informant to EvilOlive, the NSA spying programs are shrouded in secrecy and rubber-stamped by secret opinions from a court that meets in a faraday cage. The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Kurt Opsahl explains the known facts about how the programs operate and the laws and regulations the U.S. government asserts allows the NSA to spy on you.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit civil society organization, has been litigating against the NSA spying program for the better part of a decade. EFF has collected and reviewed dozens of documents, from the original NY Times stories in 2005 and the first AT&T whistleblower in 2006, through the latest documents released in the Guardian or obtained through EFF’s Freedom of Information (government transparency) litigation. EFF attorney Kurt Opsahl’s lecture will describe how the NSA spying program works, the underlying technologies, the targeting procedures (how they decide who to focus on), the minimization procedures (how they decide which information to discard), and help you makes sense of the many code names and acronyms in the news. He will also discuss the legal and policy ramifications that have become part of the public debate following the recent disclosures, and what you can do about it. After summarizing the programs, technologies, and legal/policy framework in the lecture, the audience can ask questions.

Speaker: Kurt Opsahl
EventID: 5255
Event: 30th Chaos Communication Congress [30c3] by the Chaos Computer Club [CCC]
Location: Congress Centrum Hamburg (CCH); Am Dammtor; Marseiller Straße; 20355 Hamburg; Germany
Language: english

Has Clinton Dispatched Oppo Researchers to UVM’s Sanders Archive?

bernie

Librarians at the University of Vermont’s special collections say interest is spiking in the “Bernard Sanders papers” — 30 boxes of meticulously organized material documenting Sanders’ eight years as mayor of Burlington.

That should come as no surprise, given the independent senator’s rapid rise in the polls in New Hampshire and Iowa, which hold the nation’s first presidential nominating contests.

Media outlets, such as the Guardian, have drilled deep into the archives and unearthed tasty tidbits — but they’re not the only ones interested in getting to know the senator.

Last Thursday, two casually dressed twentysomethings were spotted combing through the Sanders files and decades-old Vermont newspapers. As they were on their way out the door at the end of the day, Seven Days asked what they were doing.

“No comment,” said one of the young men, dressed in a T-shirt and flannel. “No comment.”

As they emerged into the sunlight outside Bailey/Howe Library, Seven Dayspressed again: “Come on! We’re all doing the same thing.”

“No, we’re not,” Flannel Man shot back.

“We’re just looking,” said the other one, dressed in a white shirt with black stripes.

“Looking at what?”

“Old newspapers,” Stripy said. “Vermont history.”

So who were these mysterious characters? Opposition researchers working for one of Sanders’ rivals? Earlier that day a super PAC supporting former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley launched the first negative ad of the race targeting Sanders.

Asked if Team O’Malley had dispatched Flannel Man and Stripy to Burlington, campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith said, “We have not, and they are not affiliated with our campaign.”

But wait! Here’s a clue: That T-shirt Flannel Man was wearing? It read, “New Hampshire for Jeanne Shaheen.”

Earlier this year, Hillary Clinton absorbed much of Shaheen’s political operation to run her Granite State campaign: state director Mike Vlacich, senior political aide Kari Thurman and spokesman Harrell Kirstein.

Asked if Flannel Man and Stripy belonged to Team Clinton, Kirstein did not respond.

Welcome to Burlington, Hillary. Next time, tell your people to leave their Shaheen shirts at home.

http://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/has-clinton-dispatched-oppo-researchers-to-uvms-sanders-archive/Content?oid=2700753

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Greece Defaults On Debt — Barring Last Minutes Rescue Attempts and Results of Sunday Referendum — No Vote Would Result in Greece Exiting Eurozone And Declaring Debt Odious! — Whose Next? — Videos

Posted on July 2, 2015. Filed under: American History, Articles, Babies, Blogroll, College, Communications, Corruption, Crime, Economics, Education, European History, Faith, Family, Foreign Policy, Fraud, Freedom, government, government spending, history, Investments, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Money, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Private Sector, Public Sector, Radio, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Strategy, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxation, Unemployment, Unions, Video, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 497  July 1, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 496  June 30, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 495  June 29, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 494 June 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 493 June 25, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 492 June 24, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 491 June 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 490 June 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 489 June 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 488 June 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 487 June 17, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 485 June 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 484 June 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 483 June 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 482 June 10, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 479 June 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 478 June 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 477 June 3, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 476 June 2, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 474 May 29, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 470 May 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 469 May 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 468 May 20, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 467 May 19, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 457 April 30, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 456: April 29, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 455: April 28, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 454: April 27, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 451: April 22, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 448: April 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 447: April 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 446: April 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 445: April 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 444: April 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 443: April 9, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 441: April 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 440: April 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 439: April 1, 2015

Story 1: Greece Defaults On Debt — Barring Last Minutes Rescue Attempts and Results of Sunday Referendum — No Vote Would Result in Greece Exiting Eurozone And Declaring Debt Odious! — Whose Next? — Videos

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‘Greece should Grexit which is fantastic, they could restart their economy’ – Max Keiser

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Keiser Report: We Are All Greeks Now (E764)

Greece Defaults on IMF Loan Despite New Push for Bailout Aid

European finance chiefs shut down Athens’s last-minute request for emergency financial aid

Greece became the first developed country to default on the International Monetary Fund, as the rescue program that has sustained it for five years expired and its creditors rejected a last-ditch effort to buy more time.

The Washington-based fund said the Greek government failed to transfer €1.55 billion ($1.73 billion) by close-of-business on Tuesday—the largest, single missed repayment in the IMF’s history.

The failure to pay the IMF was a dramatic, if anticipated, conclusion to a day full of unexpected twists and turns. On Tuesday morning—with the clock ticking toward the midnight expiration on the European portion of Greece’s €245 billion bailout—officials in Athens said they were working on a new solution to the four-month old impasse with creditors.

By the afternoon, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had asked for a new rescue program—the country’s third in five years—to help pay for some €29.15 billion ($32.52 billion) in debt coming due between 2015 and 2017.

Late Tuesday, Greek officials were also raising doubts over their plans for a referendum planned for Sunday, in which the government had asked its citizens to vote against pension cuts and sales-tax increases demanded by its creditors.

ENLARGE

Some officials suggested that Mr. Tsipras and his ministers could campaign for a “yes” if a better offer from the rest of the eurozone and the IMF was on the table, while others indicated that the vote might even be called off altogether.

Whether any of these developments would keep Greece from financial meltdown andsecure its spot in Europe’s currency union was still unclear. But the prospect of more rescue loans—however dim—might help buffer some of the effects of the nonpayment to the IMF.

But in Berlin, Chancellor Angela Merkel and other senior officials sought to lower expectations for a quick resolution to Greece’s financial crisis.

Before Greeks have voted on the measures demanded by creditors, “we will not negotiate about anything new at all,” Ms. Merkel said. Her deputy and coalition partner, Sigmar Gabriel of the Social Democrats, urged Greece to cancel the referendum altogether. “Then one could very quickly gather for talks, initial talks. If that’s not the case, then we should certainly do this after the referendum,” Mr. Gabriel said.

European stocks and bonds fell amid the uncertainty and the euro declined against the U.S. dollar.

But most of the moves were smaller than the declines a day earlier in reaction to Athens’s weekend announcement that the government would call a referendum on whether to accept the terms that creditors are offering and the government’s shutdown of its banking system to prevent a financial collapse.

In Washington, President Barack Obama played down the potential impact of Greece’s worsening crisis on the U.S. and broader global economy. “That is not something that we believe will have a major shock to the system,” he said.

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has been urging his European counterparts to press ahead with bailout talks to find a “pragmatic compromise” that includes both tough economic overhauls and debt relief, to prevent Europe’s economic problems from dragging on U.S. growth.

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Greek banks have been heavily dependent on support from the European Central Bank. WSJ’s Charles Forelle explains why the country’s banking sector could turn out to be its Achilles heel.

Eurozone finance ministers are scheduled to discuss Greece’s bailout request, along with new proposals for budget cuts and policy overhauls, in a teleconference Wednesday morning.

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis told his counterparts Tuesday that these plans would be close to the creditors’ latest demands, Austrian Finance Minister Hans Jörg Schelling said in a television interview.

Mr. Varoufakis also suggested that his government might campaign for a “yes” in the referendum if its new proposals were accepted, Mr. Schelling said.

Other officials were more skeptical that, after four months of at times acrimonious negotiations, Mr. Tsipras’s left-wing government was finally giving in to creditors’ demands.

“The political stance of the Greek government doesn’t appear to have changed,” said Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister who presides over the talks with his eurozone counterparts. Mr. Dijsselbloem already said over the weekend that the government would have a hard time convincing creditors and investors that it would implement measures it has to far opposed.

The expiration of the existing bailout and a default on the IMF aren’t expected to have immediate consequences for Greece’s economy. Its banks have already been ordered closed until Monday, after the European Central Bank capped emergency loans to Greek lenders over the weekend. Cash withdrawals by Greeks have been limited to €60 a day for each account-holder since Monday.

On Wednesday, the focus will again be on the ECB, whose governing council is due to meet in Frankfurt.

The council, which includes central bankers from the eurozone’s 19 member states, is reluctant to take any additional steps for now that would inflict more pain on Greek banks—for instance, by forcing them to pay back the outstanding loans just days ahead of the referendum, people familiar with the matter said, despite a growing level of impatience over the central bank’s exposure to Greece.

One largely symbolic option would be for the ECB to raise the amount of collateral that banks have to post in return for the emergency loans, but calibrate the reductions on the face value of assets used for collateral so that Greek lenders would still have enough to cover the existing €89 billion loan pile.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/some-greek-banks-to-open-for-pensioners-1435653433

Greek crisis deepens as loan repayment deadline passes

Kim Hjelmgaard and Marco della Cava,

reece’s midnight deadline passed Tuesday for repaying $1.8 billion to the International Monetary Fund and other international creditors, deepening a financial crisis that threatens the Mediterranean nation’s membership in the European Union.

Despite an eleventh-hour effort by Greek lawmakers Tuesday to secure a new two-year debt deal before the deadline, European finance ministers reviewing Greece’s proposal concluded their conference call without offering a bailout extension.

The ministers agreed to convene again Wednesday to further discuss the details of a new series of loans from the eurozone’s European Stability Mechanism, its $560 billion rescue fund.

After the deadline passed (at 6 pm ET), Greece joined Zimbabwe, Sudan and Somaliain being in arrears to the IMF. Fitch Ratings has downgraded Greece’s government debt further into junk territory.

Standing in the way of any new deal from the IMF and other creditors is Sunday’s Greek referendum on whether to accept the terms that would come with a new aid package, which includes tax increases and spending cutbacks after years of recession. There is some dispute over whether such a referendum could be canceled, with some Greek lawmakers arguing that the vote is now set in stone.

Late Tuesday, thousands of Greeks took to the streets of Athens, many of them in support of accepting new bailout terms. A “no” vote would lead to Greece leaving the European Union and abandoning the euro currency.

The $1.8 billion Greece owes is part of a $270 billion aid plan it received from the IMF, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the European Commission — 19 eurozone governments — during its financial crisis.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel made her position clear Tuesday, telling reporters in Berlin, “We’ll negotiate about absolutely nothing before the planned referendum is held.”

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has said that his government would step down if “yes” votes prevailed, telling a Greek public broadcasting outlet Monday, “We’ll choose in a sovereign way what our future will be like, we will insist on negotiating.”

President Obama cautioned that a failed Greek economy could have significant ripple effects on markets around the world, adding Tuesday that “what you have here is a country that has gone through some very difficult economic times, and needs to find a path toward growth and a path toward staying in the eurozone.”

But should there be a so-called Grexit — or Greek exit from the European financial community — Obama added that “it is important for us that we plan for any contingency, that we work with the ECB and other international institutions to ensure that some of the bumps that occur in the financial markets are smoothed out.”

Greece had previously indicated it would not be able to make the payment. The IMF said it would not give Greece its customary 30-day grace period before issuing a notice of technical default.

But Athens is not expected to immediately go bankrupt. That would only happen if its non-payment triggers further defaults in its financial system, which is not expected.

Next month, on July 20, Greece is also due to pay the ECB $3.9 billion.

Talks between Greece and its creditors have broken down as Athens has tried to negotiate less onerous repayment terms, mainly centered around austerity measures. Global markets on Monday tumbled over fears that the country’s attempts to strike a better deal could see it forced out of the eurozone. Its membership in the European Union is also at stake.

But markets bounced back Tuesday in Asia, and European indexes moved away from earlier losses after steep sell-offs in those regions helped push the Dow down 350 points in the prior session — its biggest one-day point loss since June 20, 2013.

On Tuesday, U.S. markets edged higher, buoyed by Greece’s new proposal that came against the dominant crisis narrative of the last 48 hours.

Earlier, citing unnamed government sources, Greece’s Ekathimerini newspaper reported Athens was reconsidering a previous proposal by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. No details were provided.

A Greek eurozone exit, it is feared, would reignite the financial contagion experienced during the sovereign debt crisis of 2009 and beyond when billions of dollars were wiped off the value of European government debt and other assets.

Still, while many analysts and officials have warned that Greece leaving the eurozone could have far-reaching consequences for economies and markets across the world, the specific impact of that possible development remains mostly unclear.

“If Greece leaves the eurozone, there is unlikely to be a big bang moment when the country adopts the drachma (the currency it used prior to adopting the euro in 2001),” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, a unit of the ratings firm.

“It will happen over time, as the Greek government issues IOUs that effectively become the new currency,” he said.

Greek Prime Minister Tsipras hinted Monday that he may resign if his nation votes “yes” in the referendum Sunday. Tsipras’ leftist Syriza party insists the vote is being called to strengthen its negotiating mandate with its creditors.

“If the Greek people want to proceed with austerity plans in perpetuity, which will leave us unable to lift our head, we will respect it, but we will not be the ones to carry it out,” he said on Greek television late Monday.

European leaders including Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and French PresidentFrancois Hollande dispute that. They say that Sunday’s vote will effectively be a referendum on whether Greece wants to remain part of the eurozone.

The government has limited cash withdrawals from banks to about $68 per day in a bid to stave off bank runs and keep its financial system from collapsing, triggering protests from groups on both sides of Sunday’s yes or no vote.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/06/30/greek-crisis-deepens-as-loan-repayment-deadline-nears/29518847/

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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie Throws His Heft Into The Republican Race for 2016 Presidential Nomination — Fat Chance He Will Win Nomination — Cartoonist Candidate Chris Christie — Videos

Posted on July 2, 2015. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, Business, Comedy, Communications, Congress, Constitution, Culture, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, government, government spending, Health Care, history, Illegal, Immigration, Inflation, Law, Legal, liberty, Links, Literacy, media, Money, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Radio, Raves, Resources, Strategy, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxation, Unemployment, Unions, Video, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 496  June 30, 2015

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Story 2: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie Throws His Heft Into The Republican Race for 2016 Presidential Nomination — Fat Chance He Will Win Nomination — Cartoonist Candidate Chris Christie — Videos

 

Polling Data

Poll Date Bush Walker Rubio Carson Huckabee Paul Trump Cruz Christie Perry Santorum Fiorina Kasich Jindal Graham Spread
RCP Average 5/28 – 6/28 15.0 10.6 9.4 9.4 8.0 8.0 6.0 4.8 3.8 3.4 2.6 2.0 1.8 1.2 1.2 Bush +4.4
CNN/ORC 6/26 – 6/28 19 6 6 7 8 7 12 3 3 4 3 1 2 2 1 Bush +7
FOX News 6/21 – 6/23 15 9 8 10 6 9 11 4 2 2 3 3 2 2 1 Bush +4
NBC/WSJ 6/14 – 6/18 22 17 14 11 9 7 1 4 4 5 0 2 1 0 1 Bush +5
Monmouth 6/11 – 6/14 9 10 9 11 8 6 2 5 4 4 3 2 1 1 2 Carson +1
ABC/Wash Post 5/28 – 5/31 10 11 10 8 9 11 4 8 6 2 4 2 3 1 1 Tie

All 2016 Republican Presidential Nomination Polling Data

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CHRIS CHRISTIE
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Chris Christie announces 2016 presidential bid

Chris Christie Announces Presidential Bid | The New York Times

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Will A Greece Default On Debt Trigger A World Recession? — Bubbles Bursting? — Greek Odious Debt Default On The Brink — Jump! — Greece Defaults! — Videos

Posted on June 30, 2015. Filed under: Blogroll, Politics, Video, Taxes, Raves, Economics, Links, Music, People, Life, Investments, Talk Radio, Education, Employment, Strategy, Communications, Law, Philosophy, Foreign Policy, Culture, Wisdom, liberty, Crime, Monetary Policy, Fiscal Policy, government spending, media, Psychology, history, government, College, Business, Money, Banking, Wealth, American History, European History, Inflation, Macroeconomics, Tax Policy, Federal Government Budget, Radio, Literacy, Constitution, Press, Dance, Writing, Fraud, Faith, Family, Friends, Freedom, Welfare, Crisis, Documentary, Corruption, Articles, Taxation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 495  June 29, 2015

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Story 1: Will A Greece Default On Debt Trigger A World Recession? — Bubbles Bursting? — Greek Odious Debt Default On The Brink — Jump! — Greece Defaults! — Videos

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Greece’s bailout expires, country defaults on IMF payment

By ELENA BECATOROS and DEREK GATOPOULOS

y to fall into arrears on payments to the fund. The last country to do so was Zimbabwe in 2001.

After Greece made a last-ditch effort to extend its bailout, eurozone finance ministers decided in a teleconference late Tuesday that there was no way they could reach a deal before the deadline.

“It would be crazy to extend the program,” said Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbleom, who heads the eurozone finance ministers’ body known as the eurogroup. “So that cannot happen and will not happen.”

(AP) An elderly man passes a graffiti outside an old bank in Athens, Tuesday, June 30,…
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“The program expires tonight,” Dijsselbleom said.The brinkmanship that has characterized Greece’s bailout negotiations with its European creditors and the IMF rose several notches over the weekend, when Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced he would put a deal proposal by creditors to a referendum on Sunday and urged a “No” vote.

The move increased fears the country could soon fall out of the euro currency bloc and Greeks rushed to pull money out of ATMs, leading the government to shutter its banks and impose restrictions on banking transactions on Monday for at least a week.

But in a surprise move Tuesday night, Deputy Prime Minister Yannis Dragasakis hinted that the government might be open to calling off the popular vote, saying it was a political decision.

The government decided on the referendum, he said on state television, “and it can make a decision on something else.”

(AP) A demonstrator waves a Greek flag during a rally organized by supporters of the YES…
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It was unclear, however, how that would be possible legally as Parliament has already voted for it to go ahead.Greece’s international bailout expires at midnight central European time, after which the country loses access to billions of euros in funds. At the same time, Greece has said it will not be able to make a payment of 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion) to the IMF.

With its economy teetering on the brink, Greece suffered its second sovereign downgrade in as many days when the Fitch ratings agency lowered it further into junk status, to just one notch above the level where it considers default inevitable.

The agency said the breakdown of negotiations “has significantly increased the risk that Greece will not be able to honor its debt obligations in the coming months, including bonds held by the private sector.”

Fitch said it now considered a default on privately-held debt “probable.”

(AP) People stand in a queue to use an ATM outside a closed bank, next to a sign on the…
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Hopes for an 11th-hour deal were raised when the Greek side announced it had submitted a new proposal Tuesday afternoon, and the eurozone’s 19 finance ministers held a teleconference to discuss it.But those hopes were quickly dashed.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she ruled out further negotiations with Greece before Sunday’s popular vote on whether to accept creditors’ demands for budget reforms.

“Before the planned referendum is carried out, we will not negotiate over anything new,” the dpa news agency quoted Merkel as saying.

Greece’s latest offer involves a proposal to tap Europe’s bailout fund — the so-called European Stability Mechanism, a pot of money set up after Greece’s rescue programs to help countries in need.

(AP) The word “NO”, referring to the upcoming referendum, is written in red paint outside…
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Tsipras’ office said the proposal was “for the full coverage of (Greece’s) financing needs with the simultaneous restructuring of the debt.”Dijsselbloem said the finance ministers would “study that request as we should” and that they would hold another conference call Wednesday, as they had also received a second letter from Athens that they had not had time to read.

Dragasakis said the new letter “narrows the differences further.”

“We are making an additional effort. There are six points where this effort can be made. I don’t want to get into specifics. But it includes pensions and labor issues,” he said.

European officials and Greek opposition parties have been adamant that a “No” vote on Sunday will mean Greece will leave the euro and possibly even the EU.

(AP) Demonstrators shout slogans during a rally organized by supporters of the YES vote…
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The government says this is scaremongering, and that a rejection of creditor demands will mean the country is in a better negotiating position.In Athens, more than 10,000 “Yes” vote supporters gathered outside parliament despite a thunderstorm, chanting “Europe! Europe!”

Most huddled under umbrellas, including Athens resident Sofia Matthaiou.

“I don’t know if we’ll get a deal. But we have to press them to see reason,” she said, referring to the government. “The creditors need to water down their positions, too.”

The protest came a day after thousands of government supporters advocating a “No” vote held a similar demonstration.

(AP) Demonstrators gather under the rain during a rally organized by supporters of the…
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On Monday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker made a new offer to Greece. Under that proposal, Tsipras would need to accept the creditors’ proposal that was on the table last weekend. He would also have to change his position on Sunday’s referendum.Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said the offer would also involve unspecified discussions on Athens’s massive debt load of over 300 billion euros, or around 180 percent of GDP. The Greek side has long called for debt relief, saying its mountainous debt is unsustainable.

A Greek government official said Tsipras had spoken earlier in the day with Juncker, European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi and European Parliament president Martin Schulz.

Meanwhile, missing the IMF payment will cut Greece off from new loans from the organization.

And with its bailout program expiring, Greece will lose access to more than 16 billion euros ($18 billion) in financial support it has not yet tapped, officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because talks about the program were still ongoing.

On the streets of Athens, long lines formed again at ATM machines as Greeks struggled with the new restrictions on banking transactions. Under credit controls imposed Monday, Greeks are now limited to ATM withdrawals of 60 euros ($67) a day and cannot send money abroad or make international payments without special permission.

The elderly have been hit particularly hard, with tens of thousands of pensions unpaid as of Tuesday afternoon. Many also found themselves completely cut off from any cash as they do not have bank cards.

The finance ministry said it would open about 1,000 bank branches across the country for three days beginning Wednesday to allow pensioners without bank cards to make withdrawals. But the limit would be set at 120 euros for the whole week.

 http://apnews.myway.com/article/20150630/eu–greece-bailout-26fc170deb.html

What happens if Greece defaults on its International Monetary Fund loans?

Cash-starved Athens has resorted to extraordinary measures to avoid defaulting to the IMF. But what would be the fall-out of a disorderly default?

No county has ever defaulted to the Fund in its 70-year history

The Greek government faces the prospect of becoming the first developed nation to ever default on its international obligations.

After a harrowing five months, and in a drama of soft deadlines, the cash-strapped government now faces a €1.55bn payment to the International Monetary Fund due at 11pm tonight.

With negotiations have broken off in dramatic fashion last week, a cacophony of voices on Syriza’s Left have vowed to prioritise domestic obligations unless creditors finally unlock the remainder of its €240bn bail-out programme. Greece only avoided going bust earlier this month after the government has asked for a Zambia-style debt bundling which will now be due on June 30.

The rhetoric is a far cry from February, when Greece’s finance minister pledged his government would “squeeze blood out of a stone” to meet its obligations to the Fund.

Greece owes €9.7bn to the IMF this year. Missing any instalment to the IMF would see the country fall into an arrears process, unprecedented for a developed world debtor.

Although no nation has ever officially defaulted on its obligations in the post-Bretton Woods era, Greece would join an ignominious list of war-torn nations and international pariahs who have failed to pay back the Fund on time.

What happens after a default?

In choosing to bundle up four separate June repayments, Greece avoided triggering an immediate default.

But in the event of a delayed repayment, according to IMF protocol, Greece could be afforded a 30-day grace period, during which it would be urged to pay back the money as soon as possible, and before Ms Lagarde notifies her executive board of the late payment.

However, with talks have broken down in acrimonious fashion between the country and its creditors, Ms Lagarde has said she will renege on this and notify her board “immediately”.

Having spooked creditors and the markets of the possibility of a fatal breach of the sanctity of monetary union, Greece may well stump up the cash if an agreement to release the country more emergency aid is reached (that’s looking increasingly unlikely however).

But should no money be forthcoming however, the arrears process may well extend indefinitely.

Greece’s other creditor burden would also start piling up, with the government due to pay another €6.6bn to the European Central Bank in July and August.

Stopping the cash

Although the exact process is uncertain, falling into a protracted arrears procedure could have major consequences for continued financial assistance from Greece’s other creditors – the European Central Bank and European Commission.

“If Greece defaults to the IMF, then they are considered to be in default to the rest of the eurozone,” says Raoul Ruparel, head of economic research at Open Europe.

The terms of Greece’s existing bail-out programme stipulate that a default to the IMF would automatically constitute a default on the country’s European rescue loans.

“Such a scenario would risk the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) cancelling all or part of its facility or even declaring the principal amount of the loan to be due immediately,” say analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Should the EFSF take such a decisive move, it could activate a range of cross default clauses on Greek government bonds held by private investors and the ECB. These clauses state a default to one creditor institution applies to all.

The political and market damage that may ensue would be substantial. Popular sentiment in creditor nations would turn against the errant Greeks, while the position of the ECB in particular could quickly come under the spotlight.

The central bank has kept Greek banks on a tight leash, maintaining that it would only restore normal lending operations to the country once “conditions for a successful completion of the programme are in place”.

A wave of defaults may force the ECB into finally pulling the plug on the emergency assistance it has been providing in ever larger doses since February.

What would happen if Greece left the euro? In 60 seconds

Scrambling for funds

Whatever the outcome, Greece on many measures, is all but bankrupt.

In addition to the half a billion euros plus it owes the Fund this month, the Leftist government will still be paying back the IMF until 2030. In total, its repayment schedule stretches out over the next 42 years to 2057.

Greece makes new aid proposal, seeks debt restructuring

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece has submitted to creditors a new two-year aid proposal calling for parallel debt restructuring, the office of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Tuesday, in what seemed like a last-ditch effort by Athens to resolve an impasse with lenders.

The statement came hours before Athens was set to default on a loan to the International Monetary Fund. It was unclear how creditors would respond.

“The Greek government proposed today a two-year deal with the ESM (European Stability Mechanism) to fully cover its financial needs and with parallel debt restructuring,” the government said in a statement.

“Greece remains at the negotiating table,” the statement said, adding that Athens would always seek a “viable solution to stay in the euro.”

http://news.yahoo.com/greece-makes-aid-proposal-seeks-debt-restructuring-134508038–business.html

If Greece defaults on its debt, it will be the biggest default by a country in history.
Greece is expected to miss a €1.5 billion ($1.7 billion) debt payment on Tuesday. That won’t be enough to put it in the record books yet, but it could eventually make Greece default on its entire debt load: €323 billion ($360 billion).

This isn’t the first time Greece has been on the brink. Greece already holds the record for the biggest default ever by a country from 2012 when it went into technical default and had to restructure about $138 billion of its debt. Back then, Greece was quickly bailed out by its European peers. That’s unlikely to happen now.
The Greek government pulled its negotiators from talks with European officials Friday after little progress was made on a debt payment plan and economic reforms. Greece has called for a referendum vote on July 5 on the latest proposal from Europe and the International Monetary Fund.

Greece already holds the record: Greece’s 2012 technical default shattered the previous record set by Argentina in 2001, when the South American nation defaulted on $95 billion in debt. While there are parallels between the two countries, experts say this potential Greek default could be much worse.
“Things are incredibly dire,” says Anna Gelpern, a Georgetown University professor. “For political reasons and market-confidence reasons, they need to deal with the debt…It’s not clear to me how they deal with it without defaulting on anyone.”

Greece won’t officially be in default right away. The International Monetary Fund generally gives countries a month after missing a debt payment before it declares a country in defaulted. However, the markets will most likely judge Greece to be in default by July 1.
Greece’s debt is spread out across the board. Greece owes money to the International Monetary Fund, Germany, France, Greek banks and several others.
But consider this: Whatever happens to Greece, it’s likely to be a long process. Argentina is still in default. But a key difference is that Greece has four times the debt load of Argentina — the next worst default — but Greece’s economy is only half the size of Argentina’s.
While Greece would be the biggest sovereign default, Lehman Brothers had over $600 billion in assets when it filed for bankruptcy in 2008. A Greek default would be smaller and unlikely to rattle the global financial system like Lehman, but it would have a long-lasting impact on the Greek people.
Here are some of the worst sovereign defaults since 2000.

1. Greece — $138 billion, March 2012. Despite going into a technical default, the Greek government is propped up by bailout funds from its European peers. Those bailout funds eventually lead to the current dilemma.
2. Argentina — $95 billion, November 2001. Argentina’s currency was “pegged” or equal to one U.S. dollar for years — a currency exchange that eventually proved to be completely inaccurate. Like Greece is doing this week, Argentina also clamped down on Argentines trying to take money out of the banks. It didn’t help. The country’s economy was nearly three times smaller just one year later, according to IMF data. In July 2014, Argentina went into a technical default after it missed a debt payment to its hold out creditors.
3. Jamaica — $7.9 billion, February 2010. Massive government overspending for years and rapid inflation pushed Jamaica into default five years ago. At the time, over 40% of the government’s budget went to paying debts. Its economy, which depends on tourism, suffered when the U.S. recession began in late 2008.
4. Ecuador — $3.2 billion, December 2008. Ecuador pulled a fast one on its creditors. With a debt payment looming, the Ecuardor’s government, led by President Rafael Correa, just said no to its creditors. He claimed the debt, some which was owned by American hedge funds, was “immoral.” Rich in resources, Ecuardor could have made debt payments, but intentionally chose not to.

http://money.cnn.com/2015/06/29/investing/greece-default-bigger-than-argentina/

Despite Lagarde’s initial reluctance, IMF on the hook for Greece

By Anna Yukhananov

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As French Finance Minister in 2010, Christine Lagarde opposed the involvement of the International Monetary Fund in Greece.

Now as the country stands on the edge of defaulting on a 1.6 billion euro ($1.8 billion) payment to the Fund, Lagarde’s tenure at the head of the IMF since 2011 will be shaped by Greece, which holds a referendum on Sunday that could pave the way to its exit from the euro.

By its own admission the Washington-based institution broke many of its rules in lending to Greece. It ended up endorsing austerity measures proposed by the European Commission and European Central Bank, its partners in the troika of Greece’s lenders, instead of leading talks as it had done with other countries such as Russia and in the Asian financial crisis.

“I think the IMF has missed the opportunity (on Greece), because it has not fully leveraged the lessons it learned from the previous crises it was involved in, due to this asymmetric relationship within the troika,” said Domenico Lombardi, a former IMF board member.

That the IMF lent to Greece at the behest of Europe, which has nominated every IMF Managing Director since the inception of the Fund in 1946, may expose the institution to greater scrutiny, especially as it has $24 billion in loans outstanding to Greece in its largest-ever program.

“When it was clear that the Greek program was underperforming, they did not push back sufficiently against the euro zone, which had at the time a misguided policy emphasis on only austerity,” said Jacob Funk Kirkegaard, a fellow at the Peterson Institute in Washington.

The involvement of the Fund in Greece and its continued support for decisions driven by eurozone governments caused a deep split in the institution.

Some IMF economists had misgivings about lending to Greece in 2010 within the constraints of the so-called “troika” of lenders, where the Fund would be the junior partner to the European Central Bank and the European Commission.

IMF board members also protested the “exceptional” size of the program, as Athens did not meet the Fund’s criteria for debt sustainability, meaning it would have trouble repaying.

Yet swayed by the fear that contagion in Athens could spread to French and German banks, the IMF agreed to participate in a joint 110-billion-euro bailout of Greece with the Europeans.

“The Europeans have a third of the voting rights (at the IMF), and they have appointed the managing director since the beginning, so essentially it is the governance that has driven the Greek program,” said Lombardi who is now with the Canada-based Center for International Governance Innovation.

Later, the Fund admitted that its projections for the Greek economy had been overly optimistic. Instead of growing after a year of austerity, Greece’s economy plunged into one of the worst recessions to ever hit a country in peacetime, with output falling 22 percent from 2008 to 2012.

While the euro zone’s insistence on drawing a direct link between euro membership and Greece’s debt sustainability and the negotiating tactics of the Greek government have exposed both to questions of credibility, the Fund stands charged as well.

“The IMF’s reputation, too, has been shaken from widespread criticism of the Greek program, including its own admission of its failures,” said Lombard Street Research economist Konstantinos Venetis.

TEMPTATION TO GO BIG

If Greece does default on all $24 billion it owes to the Fund, that will dwarf previous delinquencies from countries like Sudan, Zimbabwe and Somalia.

While the IMF was worried about contagion when it made the loans, it also had institutional incentives for wanting to bail out troubled countries, said Andrea Montanino, a former IMF board member who left the Fund in 2014 after participating in reviews of Greece’s second bailout in 2012.

“The IMF is in a preferred creditor status; the more you lend, the more you earn,” said Montanino, now with the Atlantic Council.

The IMF’s heavy involvement in large bailouts for euro zone countries, which included Ireland and Portugal, have enabled it to build up its reserve buffers in recent years. It is now aiming to store away some $28 billion by 2018.

From interest and charges on the Greek program alone, the IMF has earned some $3.9 billion since 2010, according to figures on the IMF’s website.

“I think the Greek lesson is in the future, the IMF will be much more careful,” said Montanino.

https://ca.news.yahoo.com/despite-lagardes-initial-reluctance-imf-hook-greece-223005193–business.html

Greece lifelines run out as IMF payment looms

Greece is widely expected to miss a crucial payment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday—hours before its bailout officially ends at midnight and the country is left with few, if any, financial lifelines.

Greek officials have already warned the country is unable to pay the 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion) due to the IMF by 6 p.m. ET, after reforms-for-aid talks with creditors broke down at the weekend.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the president of the Eurogroup, subsequently tweeted on Tuesday that there would be a teleconference to discuss an “official request” from the Greek government “received this afternoon” at 1 p.m. ET.
The Greek government on Tuesday proposed a new, two-year bailout deal with the European Stability Mechanism. This would be to “fully cover its financing needs and the simultaneous restructuring of debt,” according to a translated press release from the office of the Greek Prime Minister.

A protester waves a Greek flag in front of the parliament building during a rally in Athens, Greece, June 22, 2015.

Yannis Behrakis | Reuters
A protester waves a Greek flag in front of the parliament building during a rally in Athens, Greece, June 22, 2015.

This comes at a time when Greece’s financial future is in jeopardy. The country will potentially have no access to external sources of cash, once its funding from the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) expires at midnight.

Read MoreEFSF: CNBC Explains

Meanwhile, Greece’s banking system is being kept afloat by emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) from the European Central Bank, which is up for review on Wednesday.

Against a backdrop of uncertainty, Tsipras has called a referendum on July 5 of the Greek people on whether to accept the bailout proposals—and accompanying austerity measures—proposed by creditors.

Tsipras has urged the public to vote “no” to more austerity.

“The Greek government will claim a sustainable agreement within the euro. This is the message of NO to a bad deal at the referendum on Sunday,” the translated statement from the prime minister’s office said on Tuesday.

‘Running out of notches’

Meanwhile, credit ratings agencies are increasingly nervous about the country’s solvency.

Fitch Ratings downgraded Greek banks on Monday to “Restricted Default,” after Athens imposed capital controls to prevent an exodus of deposits from Greece.

In addition, Standard & Poor’s (S&P) lowered Greece’s credit rating to CCC- from CCC, saying the probability of the country exiting the euro zone was now 50 percent.

Moritz Kraemer, chief rating officer of sovereign ratings at S&P, told CNBC on Tuesday that the group was “actually running out of notches” for Greece.

“We have the rating at CCC- and that’s pretty much the lowest rung that we have on our scale,” he told CNBC Europe’s “Squawk Box.”

Default?

If Greece misses its payment on Tuesday, then the IMF will consider it in “arrears” – a technical term used by the IMF, which is similar to default.

If a country is in arrears to the IMF, it means it won’t get any future aid until the bill is repaid.

Read MoreIMF’s Lagarde on Greece: Next few days are crucial

Although the IMF payment is dominating headlines, S&P’s Kraemer said that Greece’s bailout program ending at midnight was just as significant.

“Basically after that we’re back to square one,” he said. “So even if there was to be a change of heart in Athens and they did decide to take the creditors’ offer, that’s legally no longer possible as the program would have elapsed.”

Greece’s debt crisis: It all started in 2001…

Yannis Behrakis | Reuters

Odious debt

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In international law, odious debt, also known as illegitimate debt, is a legal theory that holds that the national debt incurred by a regime for purposes that do not serve the best interests of the nation, should not be enforceable. Such debts are, thus, considered by this doctrine to be personal debts of the regime that incurred them and not debts of the state. In some respects, the concept is analogous to the invalidity of contracts signed under coercion.[1]

History

The doctrine of odious debt was formalized in a 1927 treatise by Alexander Nahum Sack, a Russian émigré legal theorist. It was based on two 19th century precedents—Mexico‘s repudiation of debts incurred by Emperor Maximilian, and the denial by the United States of Cuban liability for debts incurred by the Spanish colonial regime.[2]

Sack wrote:

When a despotic regime contracts a debt, not for the needs or in the interests of the state, but rather to strengthen itself, to suppress a popular insurrection, etc, this debt is odious for the people of the entire state. This debt does not bind the nation; it is a debt of the regime, a personal debt contracted by the ruler, and consequently it falls with the demise of the regime. The reason why these odious debts cannot attach to the territory of the state is that they do not fulfil one of the conditions determining the lawfulness of State debts, namely that State debts must be incurred, and the proceeds used, for the needs and in the interests of the State. Odious debts, contracted and utilised for purposes which, to the lenders’ knowledge, are contrary to the needs and the interests of the nation, are not binding on the nation – when it succeeds in overthrowing the government that contracted them – unless the debt is within the limits of real advantages that these debts might have afforded. The lenders have committed a hostile act against the people, they cannot expect a nation which has freed itself of a despotic regime to assume these odious debts, which are the personal debts of the ruler.[3]

There are many examples of similar debt repudiation.[4]

Reception

Patricia Adams, executive director of Probe International, a Canadian environmental and public policy advocacy organisation and author of Odious Debts: Loose Lending, Corruption, and the Third World’s Environmental Legacy, stated: “by giving creditors an incentive to lend only for purposes that are transparent and of public benefit, future tyrants will lose their ability to finance their armies, and thus the war on terror and the cause of world peace will be better served.”[5] In a Cato Institute policy analysis, Adams suggested that debts incurred by Iraq during Saddam Hussein‘s reign were odious because the money was spent on weapons, instruments of repression, and palaces.[6]

A 2002 article by economists Seema Jayachandran and Michael Kremer renewed interest in this topic.[7] They propose that the idea can be used to create a new type of economic sanction to block further borrowing by dictators.[8] Jayachandran proposed new recommendations in November 2010 at the 10th anniversary of the Jubilee movement at the Center for Global Development in Washington, D.C.[9]

Application

In December 2008, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa attempted to default on Ecuador’s national debt, calling it illegitimate odious debt, because it was contracted by corrupt and despotic prior regimes.[10] He succeeded in reducing the price of the debt letters before continuing paying the debt.[11]

After the overthrow of Haiti‘s Jean-Claude Duvalier in 1986, there were calls to cancel Haiti’s debt owed to multilateral institutions, calling it unjust odious debt, and Haiti could better use the funds for education, health care, and basic infrastructure.[12] As of February 2008, the Haiti Debt Cancellation Resolution had 66 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives.[13] Several organizations in the United States issued action alerts around the Haiti Debt Cancellation Resolution, and a Congressional letter to the U.S. Treasury,[14] including Jubilee USA, the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti and Pax Christi USA.

See also

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odious_debt

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Gay Hollywood Mafia Money and Propaganda Succeeds — Supreme Court Ignores States Rights, Will of American People, United States Constitution And Bill of Rights and Rules in Favor of Same Sex Gay Marriage — Betrayal of Oath of Office — End The Two Party Tyranny — Videos

Posted on June 29, 2015. Filed under: American History, Articles, Babies, Blogroll, Business, Catholic Church, Comedy, Communications, Congress, Constitution, Corruption, Faith, Family, Federal Government, government, government spending, history, Law, liberty, Life, Literacy, media, Narcissism, People, Philosophy, Political Correctness, Politics, Press, Psychology, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Religion, Strategy, Supreme Court, Talk Radio, Taxation, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Gay Hollywood Mafia Money and Propaganda Succeeds — Supreme Court Ignores States Rights, Will of American People, United States Constitution And Bill of Rights and Rules in Favor of Same Sex Gay Marriage —  Betrayal of Oath of Office — End The Two Party Tyranny — Videos

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First Amendment

The First Amendment guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition.  It forbids Congress from both promoting one religion over others and also restricting an individual’s religious practices.  It guarantees freedom of expression by prohibiting Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely.  It also guarantees the right of citizens to assemble peaceably and to petition their government.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/first_amendment

14th Amendment

The Fourteenth Amendment addresses many aspects of citizenship and the rights of citizens.  The most commonly used — and frequently litigated — phrase in the amendment is  “equal protection of the laws“, which figures prominently in a wide variety of landmark cases, including Brown v. Board of Education (racial discrimination),Roe v. Wade (reproductive rights),  Bush v. Gore (election recounts), Reed v. Reed (gender discrimination),  and University of California v. Bakke (racial quotas in education).  See more

Amendment XIV

Section 1.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Section 2.

Representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the executive and judicial officers of a state, or the members of the legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such state, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such state.

Section 3.

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Section 4.

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any state shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

Section 5.

The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/amendmentxiv

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The Gay Mafia Is Upset With ET Williams

CULTURAL MARXISM: The Corruption of America

The Historic Ruling On Same-Sex Marriage

Gay Marriage Backers Win Supreme Court Victory

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/27/us/supreme-court-same-sex-marriage.html?_r=0

Supreme Court opinion on same sex marriage

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Constitution requires that same-sex couples be allowed to marry no matter where they live and that states may no longer reserve the right only for heterosexual couples. Supreme Court rules gay couples nationwide have a right to marry

The Supreme Court’s Same-Sex Marriage Decision Is Already Being Used to Sell You Washing Machines

From Miller Lite to Maytag, here’s how popular brands reacted to the SCOTUS ruling this morning.

Not very long ago, even the token gay television character could cause an uproar, and while popular brands may have voiced unequivocal support for some sort of nebulous gay “pride,” many avoided staking a position on the controversial political question of same-sex marriage. Today, with the U.S. Supreme Court declaring “the right of same-sex couples to marry” throughout the country, brands from Miller Lite to Maytag were quick to react in support the decision on social media. It all may be a bit hokey and opportunistic, but the extent to which iconicly American brands aren’t worried about alienating customers with pro-gay-marriage messages perhaps shows us more than anything that America is ready for marriage equality to be the law of the land. Here’s a sampling of brand tweets this morning about the SCOTUS marriage decision:

@MillerLite: As long as you are you, #ItsMillerTime. #LoveWins

@MillerLite/Twitter@MillerLite/Twitter

@TheMaytagMan: Here’s to finding the one who completes you. #SCOTUSMarriage

@TheMaytagMan/Twitter@TheMaytagMan/Twitter

@Cheerios: And now, no one can tell you otherwise. #LoveWins

@Cheerios/Twitter@Cheerios/Twitter

‏@ChipotleTweets: Homo Estas? Very well, thank you. #LoveWins 

@ChipotleTweets/Twitter@ChipotleTweets/Twitter

@VogueMagazine: LoveWins today: http://vogue.cm/1Ja0KIU

@voguemagazine/Twitter@voguemagazine/Twitter

@Staples: MAKE equality HAPPEN #LoveWins

@Staples/Twitter@Staples/Twitter

@CocaCola: It’s now official. Love is love is love. #LoveWins

@CocaCola/Twitter@CocaCola/Twitter

@SubPop: It’s a great day in the USA. #lovewins 

@subpop/Twitter@subpop/Twitter

@Macys: From this day forward… #loveislove

@Macys/Twitter@Macys/Twitter

@Uber_Ohio: Destination: Love #SCOTUSmarriage #LoveWins

@Uber_Ohio@Uber_Ohio

@Motorola: Today #LoveWins and we couldn’t be happier – Now everyone can #ChooseLove

@Motorola/Twitter@Motorola/Twitter

Elizabeth Nolan Brown is a staff editor at Reason.com.

http://reason.com/blog/2015/06/26/brand-tweets-about-gay-marriage-decision

Supreme Court rules gay couples nationwide have a right to marry

By Robert Barnes

The Supreme Court on Friday delivered a historic victory for gay rights, ruling 5 to 4 that the Constitution requires that same-sex couples be allowed to marry no matter where they live and that states may no longer reserve the right only for heterosexual couples.

The court’s action marks the culmination of an unprecedented upheaval in public opinion and the nation’s jurisprudence. Advocates called it the most pressing civil rights issue of modern times, while critics said the courts had sent the country into uncharted territory by changing the traditional definition of marriage.

“Under the Constitution, same-sex couples seek in marriage the same legal treatment as opposite-sex couples, and it would disparage their choices and diminish their personhood to deny them this right,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. He was joined in the ruling by the court’s liberal justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

All four of the court’s most conservative members — Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. — dissented and each wrote a separate opinion, saying the court had usurped a power that belongs to the people.

How same-sex marriage became legal across the country VIEW GRAPHIC
Reading a dissent from the bench for the first time in his tenure, Roberts said, “Just who do we think we are? I have no choice but to dissent.”

In his opinion, Roberts wrote: “Many people will rejoice at this decision, and I begrudge none their celebration. But for those who believe in a government of laws, not of men, the majority’s approach is deeply disheartening.”

[It’s the first time Roberts has had such a bold statement from the bench]

Scalia called the decision a “threat to American democracy,” saying it was “constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine.”

In a statement in the White House Rose Garden, President Obama hailed the decision: “This ruling is a victory for America. This decision affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts. When all Americans are truly treated as equal, we are more free.”

Obama said change on social issues can seem slow sometimes, but “sometimes there are days like this when that slow and steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt. This morning the Supreme Court recognized that the Constitution guarantees marriage equality. In doing so they’ve reaffirmed that all Americans are entitled to equal protection under the law. . . . Today we can say in no uncertain terms that we have made our union a little more perfect.”

How people outside the court reacted to the gay marriage ruling
View Photos A sea of cheering, rainbow flag-waving people filled the sidewalk in front of the Supreme Court to celebrate the decision.
There were wild scenes of celebrations on the sidewalk outside the Supreme Court, as same-sex marriage supporters had arrived early, armed with signs and rainbow flags. They celebrated the announcement of a constitutional right to something that did not legally exist anywhere in the world until the turn of the new century.

Jim Obergefell, who became the face of the case, Obergefell v. Hodges, when he sought to put his name on his husband’s death certificate as the surviving spouse, said: “Today’s ruling from the Supreme Court affirms what millions across the country already know to be true in our hearts: that our love is equal.”

“It is my hope that the term gay marriage will soon be a thing of the past, that from this day forward it will be simply, marriage,” he said. “All Americans deserve equal dignity, respect and treatment when it comes to the recognition of our relationships and families.’’

But Austin R. Nimocks, senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, a pro-traditional marriage group, said: “Today, five lawyers took away the voices of more than 300 million Americans to continue to debate the most important social institution in the history of the world. That decision is truly unfortunate. . . . Nobody has the right to say that a mom or a woman or a dad or a man is irrelevant. There are differences that should be celebrated. Millions of Americans still believe that.’’

[Opponents of gay marriage are divided on whether to resist the ruling]

This country’s first legally recognized same-sex marriages took place just 11 years ago, the result of a Massachusetts state supreme court decision. Now, more than 70 percent of Americans live in states where same-sex couples are allowed to marry, according to estimates.

The Supreme Court used cases from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, where restrictions about same-sex marriage were upheld by an appeals court last year, to find that the Constitution does not allow such prohibitions.
Kennedy has written the Supreme Court’s most important gay rights cases: overturning criminal laws on homosexual conduct, protecting gays from discrimination and declaring that the federal government could not refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed where they were legal.

He often employs a lofty, writing-for-history tone, and Friday’s decision was no different.

Referring to the couples who brought the cases before the court, Kennedy wrote: “It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions.”

Kennedy did not respond directly to the court’s dissenters, but he addressed the argument that the court was creating a new constitutional right. The right to marriage is fundamental, he said. The difference is society’s way of thinking who may marry, he said.

“The limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples may long have seemed natural and just, but its inconsistency with the central meaning of the fundamental right to marry is now manifest,” he wrote. “With that knowledge must come the recognition that laws excluding same-sex couples from the marriage right impose stigma and injury of the kind prohibited by our basic charter.”

Scalia declared that Kennedy’s writing style was “as pretentious as its content is egotistic.”

And Roberts, in a biting dissent far more harsh than his usual style, said the decision was “an act of will, not legal judgment” with “no basis in the Constitution or this court’s precedent.”

“The court invalidates the marriage laws of more than half the states and orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs,” Roberts wrote. “Just who do we think we are?”
The questions raised in the cases decided Friday were left unanswered in 2013, when the justices last confronted the issue of same-sex marriage. A slim majority of the court said at the time that a key portion of the Defense of Marriage Act — withholding the federal government’s recognition of same-sex marriages — was unconstitutional. In a separate case, the court said procedural issues kept it from answering the constitutional question in a case from California, but that move allowed same-sex marriages to resume in that state.

Since then, courts across the nation — with the notable exception of the Cincinnati-based federal appeals court that left intact the restrictions in the four states at issue — have struck down a string of state prohibitions on same-sex marriage, many of them passed by voters in referendums.

When the Supreme Court declined to review a clutch of those court decisions in October, same-sex marriage proliferated across the country.

Public attitudes toward such unions have undergone a remarkable change as well. A recent Washington Post-ABC poll showed a record 61 percent of Americans say they support same-sex marriage. The acceptance is driven by higher margins among the young.

[Interactive: See how gay rights have spread around the world over 224 years]

When the justices declined in October to review the string of victories same-sex marriage proponents had won in other parts of the country, it meant the number of states required to allow gay marriages grew dramatically, offering the kind of cultural shift the court often likes to see before approving a fundamental change.

The Obama administration had urged the court to find that the Constitution requires such restrictions be struck down, and Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. made the case on behalf of the administration at the court’s oral arguments in April.

“In a world in which gay and lesbian couples live openly as our neighbors, they raise their children side by side with the rest of us, they contribute fully as members of the community . . . it is simply untenable — untenable — to suggest that they can be denied the right of equal participation in an institution of marriage, or that they can be required to wait until the majority decides that it is ready to treat gay and lesbian people as equals,” he said.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/gay-marriage-and-other-major-rulings-at-the-supreme-court/2015/06/25/ef75a120-1b6d-11e5-bd7f-4611a60dd8e5_story.html

How each justice came down on same-sex marriage

  • Mark Berman

The Supreme Court’s ruling followed a swell of courts striking down state bans on same-sex marriage and a surge in public support for such marriages. Still, the high court’s 5 to 4 ruling was a historic and narrow victory for gay rights.

The court’s four most conservative members dissented, and each of them wrote a separate opinion decrying the decision. Justice Antonin Scalia, unsurprisingly, wrote the fieriest dissent, needing just two sentences to say that the majority’s decision is a “threat to American democracy.”

He the decision a “judicial Putsch,” says it is delivered in a style “as pretentious as its content is egotistic” and — at one point — follows a quote from the majority opinion with “Really?” and another with “Huh?” In a footnote, Scalia says that if he ever joined an opinion that opens the way the majority opinion does, “I would hide my head in a bag.” He then adds: “The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie.” Scalia was not a fan.

For more on how Scalia explained his decision and how the other justices explained theirs, head to Post Nation.

The paragraph gay marriage supporters will never forget

  • Max Ehrenfreund

The final paragraph of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion holding that couples of the same sex havea constitutional right to wed is a cogent statement of what marriage means.

kennedygraf

Kennedy is responding to opponents of gay marriage who argue that it undermines the traditional sanctity of an ancient institution by redefining it. The point of same-sex unions is not to weaken marriage, he argues, but to expand it in the nation as a whole and honor it more fully in their own lives.

These lines echo the final paragraph of Loving v. Virginia, the case in which the Supreme Court threw out laws banning interracial marriage in 1967.

“Marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival,”Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote then.

And the passage is also reminiscent of the conclusion of Griswold v. Connecticut, an important case from 1965 on contraception among married couples.

“Marriage is a coming together for better or for worse, hopefully enduring, and intimate to the degree of being sacred,” Justice William O. Douglas argued. “It is an association that promotes a way of life, not causes; a harmony in living, not political faiths; a bilateral loyalty, not commercial or social projects. Yet it is an association for as noble a purpose as any involved in our prior decisions.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-nation-live/liveblog/live-updates-supreme-court-rules-gay-couples-nationwide-have-a-right-to-marry/

SAME SEX MARRIAGE

Kayoun Kim

One issue receiving considerable attention in the popular press is same-sex marriage and the current loosening of social constraints against gay marriage. Same-Sex Marriage , defined as marriage between two people of the same biological sex and/or gender identity, is a new social phenomenon, “leading to a new type of family formation. In modern times same-sex marriage did not exist until the twenty-first century when an increasing number of countries began permitting same-sex couples to marry legally. In addition, beginning in the late twentieth century there has been a growing global movement to regard marriage as a fundamental human right to be extended to same-sex couples. These events are extraordinary given that even during most of the twentieth century, homosexuals were closeted and the concept of same-sex marriage was inconceivable, perceived by nearly all as an oxymoron.” (Chamie, Joshph, and Barry, M. 2011. “Same-Sex Marriage: A New Social Phenomenon.” Pppulation Council37(3): 529-551)

Marriage equality has made significant gains with public opinion and within state legislature, since Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage within its borders in 2004. A result of the change in legal status in same-sex marriage is the growth in the marriage industry for gay men and lesbians. “Currently, as of 15 October 2014, 29 states and the District of Columbia, and ten Native American tribal jurisdictions allow and fully recognize same-sex marriages: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. There are 21 states, and 2 territories (Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin islands), that explicitly prohibit same-sex marriages in their constitutions and/or by statute, including: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming. Of these states banning same-sex marriage, the following states have been declared that same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional, but the rulings have been stayed: Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan and Texas.” (“Same-Sex Marriage Fast Facts.” 2014. CNN U.S. October 14. (http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/28/us/same-sex-marrage-fast-facts/))

“As a result of successful legal challenges and related social and policy developments, same-sex marriage is generating a combination of elation, controversy, and opposition in many countries around the world, notably in the United States. Indeed, the legal recognition of same-sex marriage has emerged as one of the most socially, politically, and legally divisive issues of the day. While most reactions to this new form of marriage and family formation have been intense and vocal, many commentators as well as the general public have little factual knowledge about same-sex marriage. All too often, public opinion and attitudes concerning same-sex marriage are based on apprehension, misconception, and hearsay.” (Chamie, Joshph, and Barry, M. 2011. “Same-Sex Marriage: A New Social Phenomenon.” Pppulation Council37(3): 529-551)

Attitudes Towards Same-Sex Marriage

During the 21st century, public support for same-sex marriage has grown considerably, and national polls conducted since 2011 show that a majority of Americans support legalizing it.
“On May 9, 2012, Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. president legalize same-sex marriage through popular vote.” ( Stein, Sam. 2012. ” Obama Backs Gay Marriage.” Huff Post Politics, May 5. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/09/obama-gay-marriage_n_1503245.html))
“Support for same-sex marriage jumped 21 percent points from 2003, when Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage, to 2014. Currently, a majority (55%) of Americans favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry, compared to 41% who oppose. In 2003, less than one-third (32%) of Americans supported allowing same-sex couples to legally marry, compared to nearly 6 in 10 (59%) who opposed.” (“Survey A shifting Landscape: A decade of Change in American Attitudes about Same-Sex Marriage and LGBT Issues.” 2014. Public Religion Research Institute, January 26. (http://publicreligion.org/research/2014/02/2014-lgbt-survey/))

Prevalence of Same-Sex Households

“According to the Census Bureau, the same-sex couples households in the US in 2010 were 646,464.” (Amy Roberts and Caitlin Stark. 2014. “By the numbers: Same-sex marriage.” CNN Politics, October 6. (http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/11/politics/btn-same-sex-marriage/) One study demonstrated how using linked micromaps can improve mapping of same-sex couples household data. This study found that “an estimated 1 percent of US couple households, from 2006 through 2010, were same-sex couples households, and the percentage of same-sex couples household is much higher in metropolitan areas than in non-metropolitan areas. It found that the reason that Washington D.C. has the highest percentage of same-sex households because Washington D.C. itself is a central city.” (Mast, Brent, D. 2013. “Visualizing Same-Sex Couple Household Data With Linked Micromaps.” US Department of Housing and Urban Development15(2):267-271.)

Same-Sex Marriage Experience

Aine Marie Humble examined married older same-sex couples’ experiences of transitioning into marriage in order to explore how and why these couples in mid-to later life decided to marry and the characteristics of their weddings and wedding planning. She found that getting married for many older same-sex couples is even harder than for younger same-sex couples, because older cohorts of same-sex couples could not easily dispel the internalized beliefs “such as same-sex couples could never marry and marriage was not for them due to the fact that they have lived most of their lives through years of homophobia and heterosexism, which has affected their worldviews. Moreover, some older same-sex couples, particularly those in long-term relationships, may already view themselves as married and thus do not initially see the need for the legal marriage.” (Humble, Aine, M., 2013. “Moving from Ambivalence to Certainty: Older Same-Sex Couples Marry in Canada.” Canadian Journal on Aging 32(2): 131-144)
Pamela J. Lannutti examined the ways in which legally recognized same-sex marriage has affected the lives of same-sex couples in order to see how same-sex marriage is benefiting and challenging these couples on the individual and interpersonal levels. She found that “all of the couples that she had interviewed with expressed some way in which same-sex marriage improved or strengthened their romantic relationship, and others expressed that it contributed to a closer emotional bond between them. However, some participants expressed that they were stressed out during their marriage decision process or planning their weddings, because they lacked support from their families-of-origin.” (Lannutti, Pamela, J. 2007. “”This is Not a Lesbian Wedding”: Examining Same-Sex Marriage and Bisexual-Lesbian Couples.” Co-published simultaneosly in Journal of Bisexuality 7(3/4): 237-260; and: Bisexuality and Same-Sex Marriage 7(3/4): 237-260.)
Pamela J. Lannutti’s another study examined same-sex couples’ attractions to marriage and obstacles that challenged them when considering marriage. She found that the primary reason why same-sex couples decide to marry is because it would offer greater legal protections and civil benefits for their committed relationship. Another reason is that it would make it easier to bring children into their lives or protect their relationships with the children they already had. In terms of obstacles of same-sex marriage, the majority of these couples (41%) expressed that family disapproval, usually parental disapproval, was an obstacle to their marriage.

Reference Page

Chamie, Joshph, and Barry, M. 2011. “Same-Sex Marriage: A New Social Phenomenon.” Population Council 37(3): 529-551.

“Same-Sex Marriage Fast Facts.” 2014. CNN U.S. October 14. (http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/28/us/same-sex-marriage-fast-facts/)

Stein, Sam. 2012. “Obama Backs Gay Marriage.” Huff Post Politics, May 5. (http:222.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/09/obama-gay-marriage_n_1503245.html)

“Survey A shifting Landscape: A decade of Change in American Attitudes about Same-Sex Marriage and LGBT Issues.” 2014. Public Religion Research Institute, January 26. (http://publicreligion.org/research/2014/02/2014-lgbt-survey/)

Amy Roberts and Caitlin Stark. 2014. “By the numbers: Same-sex marriage.” CNN Politics, October 6. (http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/11/politics/btn-same-sex-marriage/)

Mast, Brent, D. 2013. “Visualizing Same-Sex Couple Household Data with Linked Micromaps.” US Department of housing and Urban Development 15(2): 267-271.

Humble, Aine, M., 2013. “Moving from Ambivalence to Certainty: Older Same-Sex Couples Marry in Canada.” Canadian Journal on Aging 32(2): 131-144

Lannutti, Pamela, J. 2007. “”This is Not a Lesbian Wedding”: Examining Same-Sex Marriage and Bisexual-Lesbian Couples.” Co-published simultaneously in Journal of Bisexuality 7(3/4): 237-260; and:Bisexuality and Same-Sex Marriage 7(3/4): 237-260.)

http://www.personal.psu.edu/users/k/v/kvk5348/essay%20and%20image.html

Obama marriage shift ‘boost’ for donors

President Barack Obama’s public support for gay marriage could be a boon to his campaign war chest.

Supporters of gay marriage predicted the president’s announcement Wednesday that he thinks same-sex couples should be able to marry would energize the gay community.

Democratic donor Steve Elmendorf said he believes Obama’s announcement will “energize people for Obama at all levels. It’s not just about the LGBT community…everybody all the way up to the maximum [donors] will be excited.”

“It’s going to create some real energy for the campaign, not just for the donor community, but among people who care about this issue,” he added.

Obama already had significant financial support from LGBT donors. About one in six of Obama’s top campaign “bundlers” are gay, according to a Washington Post analysis. But the president’s reluctance to publicly come out in favor of gay marriage was a sticking point for some potential donors.

“It’ll be a big boost for donors,” one gay lobbyist said of the Wednesday announcement. “It’s been very frustrating to the gay community that he’s done so much that there is just this one issue. It’s the civil rights issue of our generation.” The lobbyist added that independents are the most likely donors to be swayed by Obama’s new stance, since many gay donors have already been supportive of Obama.

One gay bundler told Capital City New York that it will be “immeasurably easier” for him to raise money for Obama in the LGBT community and among progressives more broadly.

“Whether it’s for shoe leather or whether it’s for financial contributions, I think it will engage people,” said Chuck Wolfe, president of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, noting that much of the community’s support and financial donations already go to Obama. Obama has helped usher in a new era of gay rights at the federal level, helping pass the controversial repeal of the military “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal.

A heightened enthusiasm for the president in the LGBT community following this announcement could spur donors to shell out big bucks for his campaign, especially given conservative Republicans push on this issue in other states like Minnesota and GOP presumptive nominee Mitt Romney’s opposition to gay marriage.

Obama’s public announcement came just a day after North Carolina, a swing state for the presidential election in November, voted on a state ballot measure that prohibits marriage or rights to same-sex couples.

Elmendorf dismissed critics of Obama’s timing.

“We’re in a presidential campaign so everyone is going to say it’s politically motivated,” Elmendorf said. “I take him at his word. It’s not unusual for people of his age and demographic.”

The vast majority of money from gay and lesbian rights groups goes to Democratic candidates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In the 2010 election cycle, 96 percent of the $1.3 million given to federal candidates by LGBT organizations’ PACs and employees went to Democrats.

Still, some LGBT advocates say there’s been a lull in enthusiasm since last year’s repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy for gays in the military.

“There’s been a drop off in participation and enthusiasm and even knowledge that we’re not done,” said Denny Meyer, a spokesman for American Veterans for Equal Rights.

But the shift on gay marriage could energize voters as well as donors who have burned out, he said. “The president making a policy change like that could result in people realizing … you have to make this happen by voting for people who will pass this.”

Obama’s decision to publicly support gay marriage didn’t appease all gay activists, and Republicans accused the White House of trying to have it both ways on the contentious issue.

Clarke Cooper, head of Log Cabin Republicans, wrote in an email that “LGBT Americans are right to be angry that this calculated announcement comes too late to be of any use to the people of North Carolina, or any of the other states that have addressed this issue on his watch.”

Futher, Cooper said that the administration has, “manipulated LGBT families for political gain as much as anybody, and after his campaign’s ridiculous contortions to deny support for marriage equality this week Obama does not deserve praise for an announcement that comes a day late and a dollar short.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0512/76128.html#ixzz3eE1voM5P

See also[edit]

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Supreme Court Obamacare Attack On American Consumer Sovereignty and Individual Freedom — Big Government Tyranny and Coercion — Videos

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Story 1: Supreme Court Obamacare Attack On American Consumer Sovereignty and Individual Freedom — Big Government Tyranny and Coercion — Videos

“The state is that great fiction by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else.”

“Each of us has a natural right, from God, to defend his person, his liberty, and his property.”

~ Frederic Bastiat

“Liberty is always freedom from the government.”

“The fact is that, under a capitalistic system, the ultimate bosses are the consumers.

The sovereign is not the state, it is the people.”

“The common man is the sovereign consumer whose buying or abstention from buying ultimately determines what should be produced and in what quantity and quality.”

“It is important to remember that government interference always means either violent action or the threat of such action.

The funds that a government spends for whatever purposes are levied by taxation.

And taxes are paid because the taxpayers are afraid of offering resistance to the tax gatherers.

They know that any disobedience or resistance is hopeless.

As long as this is the state of affairs, the government is able to collect the money that it wants to spend.

Government is in the last resort the employment of armed men, of policemen, gendarmes, soldiers, prison guards, and hangmen.

The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning.

Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.”

~Ludwig von Mises

“In a democracy, the power to make the law rests with those chosen by the people. Our role is more confined —’to say what the law is.’ … That is easier in some cases than in others. But in every case we must respect the role of the Legislature, and take care not to undo what it has done. A fair reading of legislation demands a fair understanding of the legislative plan. Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter.”

~Chief Justice John Roberts

“Today’s interpretation is not merely unnatural; it is unheard of. Who would ever have dreamt that ‘Exchange established by the State’ means ‘Exchange established by the State or the Federal Government’? Little short of an express statutory definition could justify adopting this singular reading.”

“We should start calling this law SCOTUScare.”

~Justice Antonin Scalia

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The Truth About Obamacare

In Upholding Obamacare’s Subsidies, Justice Roberts Rewrites the Law—Again

Time to start calling the Affordable Care Act SCOTUScare.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has rewritten the law to save Obamacare—again.

Roberts’ majority opinion today in King v. Burwell, which ruled that the Obama administration’s decision to allow health insurance subsidies flow through the law’s federal exchanges, leaves no doubt that Roberts considers it his duty to keep the law afloat.

“Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them,” he writes. “If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter.”

And so Roberts decided that a law which explicitly and repeatedly states that subsidies are limited to exchanges “established by a State,” and which defines “State” as one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia, actually allows subsidies in exchanges established by a State or the federal government. Roberts’ decision does not interpret Obamacare; it adds to it and reworks it, and in the process transforms it into something that it is not.

Roberts has not merely tweaked the law; he has rewritten it to mean the opposite of what it clearly means. Why include the phrase “established by a State under Section 1311″—the section dealing with state-based exchanges—except to limit the subsidies to those particular exchanges? Roberts’ opinion reconceptualizes this limiting language as inclusive.

The Chief Justice frames his decision as a form of respectful deference to congressional intent. As my colleague Damon Root noted earlier, his opinion cautions that in “every case we must respect the role of the Legislature, and take care not to undo what it has done. A fair reading of legislation demands a fair understanding of the legislative plan.”

But Roberts’ opinion is far more than a fair reading of the legislative plan; it is a Court-imposed decision as to what that plan must be.

As Justice Antonin Scalia writes in a scathing dissent, Roberts presumes, with no definitive evidence, that his interpretation is the one that Congress intended. “What makes the Court so sure that Congress ‘meant’ tax credits to be available everywhere?” Scalia asks. “Our only evidence of what Congress meant comes from the terms of the law, and those terms show beyond all question that tax credits are available only on state Exchanges.”

Roberts’ opinion declares its intent to uphold the law’s basic policy scheme, arguing that there would be adverse insurance market effects to a decision in favor of the challengers. In other words, there would have been policy implications to a ruling for the plaintiffs. That is almost certainly true, but it is not an excuse to rewrite the clear language of the law.

As Scalia says in the dissent, “The Court protests that without the tax credits, the number of people covered by the individual mandate shrinks, and without a broadly applicable individual mandate the guaranteed-issue and community-rating requirements ‘would destabilize the individual insurance market.’ If true, these projections would show only that the statutory scheme contains a flaw; they would not show that the statute means the opposite of what it says.” The majority has decided how Obamacare’s policy scheme should work, and redrafted the statute accordingly.

If Roberts had truly wanted to defer to Congress, he could have ruled that the law means what says rather than what it does not, and effectively handed the issue back to the legislature, letting Congress decide whether and how to update the law in accordance with its own wishes. Instead, Roberts made the choice for Congress—taking its power to craft law for itself. As Scalia writes, “the Court’s insistence on making a choice that should be made by Congress both aggrandizes judicial power and encourages congressional lassitude.”

This is not the first time that Roberts has rewritten the law in order to uphold it. In 2012, he declared that the law’s individual mandate to purchase insurance was unconstitutional under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause—and yet upheld it by declaring that the law’s penalty was instead permissible as a tax. In the same decision, he also found that the law’s threat to revoke all federal Medicaid funding from states that decline to participate in Obamacare’s expansion of the program was unconstitutionally coercive. But rather than strike the whole thing down, Roberts rewrote it, allowing the Medicaid expansion, and the rest of the law, to continue but without the same threat to state budgets.

In his dissent, Scalia argues that there’s a pattern to these rulings. “Under all the usual rules of interpretation, in short, the Government should lose this case. But normal rules of interpretation seem always to yield to the overriding principle of the present Court: The Affordable Care Act must be saved.”

If anything, it’s even worse. What Roberts has saved is not the law so much as the Obama administration’s dubious, textually unsupported interpretation and implementation of Obamacare. This is not judicial restraint. It is judicial hubris.

And while it would be overstatement to say that this damages the legitimacy of the Court, it certainly reflects on the legacy and status of the law. As even Roberts admits in his opinion, the law “contains more than a few examples of inartful drafting” and generally “does not reflect the type of care and deliberation that one might expect of such significant legislation.” It is a shoddy, messy piece of legislation, held together, barely, by Supreme Court duct tape.

At this point, then, the law is as much a joint project between the administration and the Roberts court as it is a creation of Congress. As Scalia snarks at the end of his dissent, “we should start calling this law SCOTUScare.” Regardless of what we call it, that’s effectively what it has become.

http://reason.com/blog/2015/06/25/in-upholding-obamacares-subsidies-justic

Supreme Court Rules Obamacare Subsidies Are Legal

By Krishnadev Calamur

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday handed the Obama administration a major victory on health care, ruling 6-3 that nationwide subsidies called for in the Affordable Care Act are legal.

“Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them,” the court’s majority said in the opinion, which was written by Chief Justice John Roberts. But they acknowledged that “petitioners’ arguments about the plain meaning … are strong.”

The majority opinion cited the law’s “more than a few examples of inartful drafting,” but added, “the context and structure of the Act compel us to depart from what would otherwise be the most natural reading of the pertinent statutory phrase.”

Roberts was joined by the court’s liberal justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, as well as by Anthony Kennedy.

In his dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia said: “We should start calling this law SCOTUScare,” an apparent reference to the fact the Supreme Court has now saved the Affordable Care Act twice. Scalia called the majority’s reading of the text “quite absurd, and the court’s 21 pages of explanation make it no less so.”

As NPR’s Nina Totenberg reported in March, opponents of the law contended “that the text of the law does not authorize subsidies to make mandated insurance affordable in 34 states.”

At issue were six words in one section of the law. As Nina pointed out: “Those words stipulate that for people who cannot afford health coverage, subsidies are available through ‘an exchange established by the state.’ ” She added:

“The government [contended] that those words refer to any exchange, whether it is set up by the state itself or an exchange run for the state by the federal government in accordance with individual state insurance laws and regulations. The challengers [said] the statute means what it says and no more.”

The court agreed Thursday with the government’s position.

The decision comes three years after a bitterly divided high court upheld the Affordable Care Act as constitutional by a 5-4 vote.

President Obama made a statement on the ruling late Thursday morning, saying the Affordable Care Act “is here to stay.”

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/06/25/417425091/supreme-court-rules-obamacare-subsidies-are-legal

Supreme Court Upholds Obamacare Subsidies in King v. Burwell

SCOTUS rules 6-3 in favor of administration in major defeat for critics of the health law.

Obamacare’s health insurance subsidies will live, thanks to the Supreme Court.

The High Court has ruled 6-3 in favor of the administration to uphold the subsidies in Obamacare’s federal exchanges. The case challenged the administration’s decision, through the Internal Revenue Service, to allow subsidies in the 36 exchanges run by the federal government under the law.

The challengers argued that the plain text of the law, which states that subsidies are only available in an exchange “established by a State,” defining “State” to mean the 50 states or the District of Columbia, prohibited subsidies in the federal exchanges. The administration argued that the IRS rule allowing those subsidies was consistent with the overall structure of the law, and with congressional intent.

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the administration’s position, saying that although the health law contains “more than a few examples of inartful drafting,” the Court nevertheless believes that the relevant section of the law “can fairly be read consistent with what we see as Congress’s plan, and that is the reading we adopt.” The complete ruling can be read here.

Basically, the Supreme Court, decided they’d rather squint at the law and look at its general shape rather than bother too much with the plain meaning of the relevant text.

This is a major victory fo the administration and backers of the health law, whose decision to ignore the plain text of the law has been blessed by the Court. It’s also a big loss for critics of Obamacare, who hoped to see the law’s implementation restrained by its legislative text, and for straightforward interpretation of congressional statute.

What it means is that the crazy array of post-King scenarios that many had speculated about over the last few months will never come to pass. Obamacare stays the same, in terms of both policy and politics. It’s a ruling for the status quo.

Reason will have much more on this throughout the day.

http://reason.com/blog/2015/06/25/supreme-court-upholds-obamacare-subsidie

Supreme Court Allows Nationwide Health Care Subsidies

The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that President Obama’s health care law allows the federal government to provide nationwide tax subsidies to help poor and middle-class people buy health insurance, a sweeping vindication that endorsed the larger purpose of Mr. Obama’s signature legislative achievement.

The 6-to-3 ruling means that it is all but certain that the Affordable Care Act will survive after Mr. Obama leaves office in 2017. For the second time in three years, the law survived an encounter with the Supreme Court. But the court’s tone was different this time. The first decision, in 2012, was fractured and grudging, while Thursday’s ruling was more assertive.

“Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for a united six-justice majority. In 2012’s closely divided decision, Chief Justice Roberts also wrote the controlling opinion, but that time no other justice joined it in full.

Photo

Demonstrators expressed their support for the Affordable Care Act outside of the Supreme Court on Thursday. CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

In dissent on Thursday, Justice Antonin Scalia called the majority’s reasoning “quite absurd” and “interpretive jiggery-pokery.”

He announced his dissent from the bench, a sign of bitter disagreement. His summary was laced with notes of incredulity and sarcasm, sometimes drawing amused murmurs in the courtroom as he described the “interpretive somersaults” he said the majority had performed to reach the decision.

“We really should start calling this law Scotus-care,” Justice Scalia said, to laughter from the audience.

In a hastily arranged appearance in the Rose Garden on Thursday morning, a triumphant Mr. Obama praised the ruling. “After multiple challenges to this law before the Supreme Court, the Affordable Care Act is here to stay,” he said, adding: “What we’re not going to do is unravel what has now been woven into the fabric of America.”

The ruling was a blow to Republicans, who have been trying to gut the law since it was enacted. But House Speaker John A. Boehner vowed that the political fight against it would continue.

“The problem with Obamacare is still fundamentally the same: The law is broken,” Mr. Boehner said. “It’s raising costs for American families, it’s raising costs for small businesses and it’s just fundamentally broken. And we’re going to continue our efforts to do everything we can to put the American people back in charge of their health care and not the federal government.”

The case concerned a central part of the Affordable Care Act that created marketplaces, known as exchanges, to allow people who lack insurance to shop for individual health plans. Some states set up their own exchanges, but about three dozen allowed the federal government to step in to run them. Across the nation, about 85 percent of customers using the exchanges qualify for subsidies to help pay for coverage, based on their income.

The question in the case, King v. Burwell, No. 14-114, was what to make of a phrase in the law that seems to say the subsidies are available only to people buying insurance on “an exchange established by the state.”

A legal victory for the plaintiffs, lawyers for the administration said, would have affected more than six million people and created havoc in the insurance markets and undermined the law.

Chief Justice Roberts acknowledged that the plaintiffs had strong arguments about the plain meaning of the contested words. But he wrote that the words must be understood as part of a larger statutory plan. “In this instance,” he wrote, “the context and structure of the act compel us to depart from what would otherwise be the most natural reading of the pertinent statutory phrase.”

The court decided in King v. Burwell that tax subsidies are being provided lawfully in three dozen states that have decided not to run the marketplaces for insurance coverage. Full analysis »
6-3
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This was challenging, he said, in light of the law’s “more than a few examples of inartful drafting,” a consequence of rushed work behind closed doors that “does not reflect the type of care and deliberation that one might expect of such significant legislation.”

But he said the law’s interlocking parts supported a ruling in favor of the subsidies, particularly given that a contrary decision could have given rise to chaos in the insurance markets. A ruling rejecting subsidies in most of the nation would have left in place other parts of the law, including its guarantee of coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions, its requirement that most Americans obtain insurance or pay a penalty, and its expansion of Medicaid.

Without the subsidies, many people would be unable to afford insurance, and healthier consumers would go without coverage, leaving insurers with a sicker, more expensive pool of customers. That would raise prices for everyone, leading to what supporters of the law called death spirals.

“The statutory scheme compels us to reject petitioners’ interpretation,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote, referring to the challengers, “because it would destabilize the individual insurance market in any state with a federal exchange, and likely create the very ‘death spirals’ that Congress designed the act to avoid.”

In dissent, Justice Scalia wrote that the majority had stretched the statutory text too far.

Photo

Copies of the court’s ruling in favor of nationwide health insurance subsidies were rushed to television news reporters. CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

“I wholeheartedly agree with the court that sound interpretation requires paying attention to the whole law, not homing in on isolated words or even isolated sections,” Justice Scalia wrote. “Context always matters. Let us not forget, however, why context matters: It is a tool for understanding the terms of the law, not an excuse for rewriting them.”

“Reading the act as a whole leaves no doubt about the matter,” he wrote. “ ‘Exchange established by the state’ means what it looks like it means.”

Justice Scalia said the decision had damaged the court’s reputation for “honest jurisprudence.”

The court, he said, had taken into its own hands a matter involving tens of billions of dollars that should have been left to Congress.

“It is up to Congress to design its laws with care,” he added, “and it is up to the people to hold them to account if they fail to carry out that responsibility.”

Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. joined Justice Scalia’s dissenting opinion.

Chief Justice Roberts rejected the argument that Congress had limited the availability of subsidies in order to encourage states to create their own exchanges, a notion that had occurred to almost no one at the time the law was enacted.

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have established their own exchanges. Under the law, the federal government has stepped in to run exchanges in the rest of the states.

“The whole point of that provision,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote, “is to create a federal fallback in case a state chooses not to establish its own exchange. Contrary to petitioners’ argument, Congress did not believe it was offering states a deal they would not refuse — it expressly addressed what would happen if a state did refuse the deal.

The case started when four plaintiffs, all from Virginia, sued the Obama administration, saying the phrase meant that the law forbids the federal government to provide subsidies in states that do not have their own exchanges.

The plaintiffs challenged an Internal Revenue Service regulation that said subsidies were allowed whether the exchange was run by a state or by the federal government. They said the regulation was at odds with the Affordable Care Act.

In July, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va., ruled against the challengers.

Judge Roger L. Gregory, writing for a three-judge panel of the court, said the contested phrase was “ambiguous and subject to multiple interpretations.” That meant, he said, that the I.R.S. interpretation was entitled to deference.

The Supreme Court’s ruling was more forceful. “This is not a case for the I.R.S.,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote. “It is instead our task to determine the correct reading.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/26/us/obamacare-supreme-court.html

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

Syllabus

KING ET AL. v. BURWELL, SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, ET AL.

CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT

Supreme Court Ruling – Obamacare Subsidies Stay

Posted by William A. Jacobson

Decision just in in King v. Burwell. Here.

In a 6-3 ruling authored by Chief Justice Roberts, the Court held that subsidies are available on the federal exchanges. Those voting in the majority were Roberts, Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan.

Had the court ruled otherwise, it would have put all of Obamacare in jeopardy, since 38 states do not have exchanges and Obamacare is too expensive for most people without a subsidy.

The issue was whether only state-established exchanges could issue tax credits, or whether the federal exchanges could also. Challengers to IRS regulations pointed to the words “established by the State” in the legislation as clear and unambiguous that subsidies were limited to state exchanges.

The Court rejected this assertion:

These provisions suggest that the Act may not always use the phrase “established by the State” in its most natural
sense. Thus, the meaning of that phrase may not be as clear as it appears when read out of context. [at 11.]

As he did in upholding an Obamacare constitutional challenge in 2012, Roberts found a way to read the law so as to save the law:

The upshot of all this is that the phrase “an Exchange established by the State under [42 U. S. C. §18031]” is properly viewed as ambiguous. The phrase may be limited in its reach to State Exchanges. But it is also possible that the phrase refers to all Exchanges—both State and Federal—at least for purposes of the tax credits. If a State chooses not to follow the directive in Section 18031 that it establish an Exchange, the Act tells the Secretary to establish “such Exchange.” §18041. And by using the words “such Exchange,” the Act indicates that State and Federal Exchanges should be the same. But State and Federal Exchanges would differ in a fundamental way if tax credits were available only on State Exchanges—one type of Exchange would help make insurance more affordable by providing billions of dollars to the States’ citizens; the other type of Exchange would not.2 [at 12-13]

The Court found Obamacare so “inartfully drafted” that the Court essentially wrote the law for Congress through “statutory interpretation.”

The Affordable Care Act contains more than a few examples of inartful drafting. (To cite just one, the Act creates three separate Section 1563s. See 124 Stat. 270, 911, 912.) Several features of the Act’s passage contributed to that unfortunate reality. Congress wrote key parts of the Act behind closed doors, rather than through “the traditional legislative process.” Cannan, A Legislative
History of the Affordable Care Act: How Legislative Procedure Shapes Legislative History, 105 L. Lib. J. 131, 163 (2013). And Congress passed much of the Act using a complicated budgetary procedure known as “reconciliation,” which limited opportunities for debate and amendment, and bypassed the Senate’s normal 60-vote filibuster requirement. Id., at 159–167. As a result, the Act does not reflect the type of care and deliberation that one mightexpect of such significant legislation….

Anyway, we “must do our best, bearing in mind the fundamental canon of statutory construction that the words of a statute must be read in their context and with a view to their place in the overall statutory scheme.” Utility Air Regulatory Group, 573 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 15) (internal quotation marks omitted). After reading Section 36B along with other related provisions in the Act, we cannot conclude that the phrase “an Exchange established by the State under [Section 18031]” is unambiguous. [at 14-15]

Nowhere in any of the opinions is the term “Gruber” mentioned. Jonathan Gruber, one of the architects of the law, stated on numerous occasions that there was a specific purpose of the language to exclude the federal exchange, so as to pressure states to get subsidies for their citizens by establishing exchanges.

Architect of Obamacare: Only get tax credits if buy on state exchanges

The Court rejected the Gruber view of Congressional intent:

The whole point of that provision is to create a federal fallback in case a State chooses not to establish its own Exchange. Contrary to petitioners’ argument, Congress did not believe it was offering States a deal they would not refuse—it expressly addressed what
would happen if a State did refuse the deal.

Having found the term “established by the State” ambiguous, the Court read it in a way such as to save Obamacare and prevent a “death spiral” of the law:

Given that the text is ambiguous, we must turn to the broader structure of the Act to determine the meaning of Section 36B. “A provision that may seem ambiguous in isolation is often clarified by the remainder of the statutory scheme . . . because only one of the permissible meanings produces a substantive effect that is compatible with the rest of the law.” United Sav. Assn. of Tex. v. Timbers of Inwood Forest Associates, Ltd., 484 U. S. 365, 371 (1988). Here, the statutory scheme compels us to reject petitioners’ interpretation because it would destabilize the individual insurance market in any State with a Federal Exchange, and likely create the very “death spirals” that Congress designed the Act to avoid. [at 15]

Reliance on context and structure in statutory interpretation is a “subtle business, calling for great wariness lest
what professes to be mere rendering becomes creation and attempted interpretation of legislation becomes legislation itself.” Palmer v. Massachusetts, 308 U. S. 79, 83 (1939). For the reasons we have given, however, such reliance is appropriate in this case, and leads us to conclude that Section 36B allows tax credits for insurance purchased on any Exchange created under the Act. Those credits are necessary for the Federal Exchanges to function like their State Exchange counterparts, and to avoid the type of calamitous result that Congress plainly meant to avoid. [at 21]

Roberts and the majority did not want to be the ones to take down Obamacare, and that drove everything:

Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter. Section 36B can fairly be read consistent with what we see as Congress’s plan, and that is the reading we adopt. [at 21]

Scalia’s dissent, joined by Thomas and Alito, was stinging, and in my opinion correct as to the absurdity of the Court contorting itself to save the law (as Roberts did in the original Obamacare challenge):

The Court holds that when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act says “Exchange established by the State” it means “Exchange established by the State or the Federal Government.” That is of course quite absurd, and the Court’s 21 pages of explanation make it no less so. [at 1]

Scalia points out that the words have a plain meaning:

This case requires us to decide whether someone who buys insurance on an Exchange established by the Secretary gets tax credits. You would think the answer would be obvious—so obvious there would hardly be a need for the Supreme Court to hear a case about it. In order to receive any money under §36B, an individual must enroll in an insurance plan through an “Exchange established by the State.” The Secretary of Health and Human Services is not a State. So an Exchange established by the Secretary is not an Exchange established by the State—which means people who buy health insurance through such an Exchange get no money under §36B.

Words no longer have meaning if an Exchange that is not established by a State is “established by the State.” …. [at 2, italics in original]

Scalia argued — persuasively — that the overriding goal seems to be saving Obamacare, not exercising normal judicial interpretation of plain language:

“[T]he plain, obvious, and rational meaning of a statute is always to be preferred to any curious, narrow, hidden sense that nothing but the exigency of a hard case and the ingenuity and study of an acute and powerful intellect would discover.” Lynch v. Alworth-Stephens Co., 267 U. S. 364, 370 (1925) (internal quotation marks omitted). Under all the usual rules of interpretation, in short, the Government should lose this case. But normal rules of interpretation seem always to yield to the overriding principle of the present Court: The Affordable Care Act must be saved. [at 2-3]

Scalia wrote that the majority opinion rewrote the law “with no semblance of shame”:

The Court interprets §36B to award tax credits on both federal and state Exchanges. It accepts that the “most natural sense” of the phrase “Exchange established by the State” is an Exchange established by a State. Ante, at 11. (Understatement, thy name is an opinion on the Affordable Care Act!) Yet the opinion continues, with no semblance of shame, that “it is also possible that the phrase refers to all Exchanges—both State and Federal.” Ante, at 13. (Impossible possibility, thy name is an opinion on the Affordable Care Act!) [at 3]

Scalia then delivered the best line of the day. Looking back over multiple decisions from the Court to rewrite Obamacare in order to save it, Scalia insisted that the law now should be called SCOTUScare:

Today’s opinion changes the usual rules of statutory interpretation for the sake of the Affordable Care Act. That, alas, is not a novelty. In National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, 567 U. S. ___, this Court revised major components of the statute in order to save them from unconstitutionality. The Act that Congress passed provides that every individual “shall” maintain insurance or else pay a “penalty.” 26 U. S. C. §5000A. This Court, however, saw that the Commerce Clause does not authorize a federal mandate to buy health insurance. So it rewrote the mandate-cum-penalty as a tax. 567 U. S., at ___–___ (principal opinion) (slip op., at 15–45).

The Act that Congress passed also requires every State to accept an expansion of its Medicaid program, or else risk losing all Medicaid funding. 42 U. S. C. §1396c. This Court, however, saw that the Spending Clause does not authorize this coercive condition. So it rewrote the law to withhold only the incremental funds associated with the Medicaid expansion. 567 U. S., at ___–___ (principal opinion) (slip op., at 45–58). Having transformed two major parts of the law, the Court today has turned its attention to a third. The Act that Congress passed makes tax credits available only on an “Exchange established by the State.” This Court, however, concludes that this limitation would prevent the rest of the Act from working as well as hoped. So it rewrites the law to make tax credits available everywhere.

We should start calling this law SCOTUScare. [at 20-21, emphasis and hard paragraph breaks added.]

The legacy of this Court, Scalia wrote, will live on just as Obamacare, but in infamy:

Perhaps the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will attain the enduring status of the Social Security Act or the Taft-Hartley Act; perhaps not. But this Court’s two decisions on the Act will surely be remembered through the years. The somersaults of statutory interpretation they have performed (“penalty” means tax, “further [Medicaid] payments to the State” means only incremental Medicaid payments to the State, “established by the State” means not established by the State) will be cited by litigants endlessly, to the confusion of honest jurisprudence. And the cases will publish forever the discouraging truth that the Supreme Court of the United States favors some laws over others, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to uphold and assist its favorites.

I dissent.

http://legalinsurrection.com/2015/06/supreme-court-ruling-obamacare-subsidies/

From ‘Jiggery-Pokery’ to ‘SCOTUScare,’ Read the Best Quotes From Today’s Obamacare Ruling

Justice Antonin Scalia’s flair for the dramatic shines through, while Chief Justice John Roberts plays it straight.

Jessica Ellis, right, with

Supporters of the Affordable Care Act react with cheers as the opinion for health care is reported outside of the Supreme Court in Washington on Thursday .

By U.S. News Staff
Thursday’s 6-3 ruling by the Supreme Court upholding the validity of tax credits that help millions of people afford health insurance under the Affordable Care Act came down to a literal matter of interpretation.

At issue were words in the law that subsidies could be distributed for health coverage purchased through “an Exchange established by the State.” The plaintiffs argued the law should be read literally, nullifying subsidies provided through exchanges that relied on the federal government. The Obama administration countered that the law never intended to limit subsidies in such a way.

Chief Justice John Roberts authored the court’s majority opinion, and was countered by Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissent. Here are some select quotes from both.

Roberts:

John Paul Stevens, Supreme Court Justice 13
Chief Justice John Roberts authored the court’s majority opinion.

“The upshot of all this is that the phrase ‘an Exchange established by the State under [42 U. S. C. §18031]’ is properly viewed as ambiguous. The phrase may be limited in its reach to State Exchanges. But it is also possible that the phrase refers to all Exchanges—both State and Federal—at least for purposes of the tax credits.”

“It would be odd indeed for Congress to write such detailed instructions about customers on a State Exchange, while having nothing to say about those on a Federal Exchange.”

“The Affordable Care Act contains more than a few examples of inartful drafting. Several features of the Act’s passage contributed to that unfortunate reality. Congress wrote key parts of the Act behind closed doors, rather than through ‘the traditional legislative process’ … As a result, the Act does not reflect the type of care and deliberation that one might expect of such significant legislation.”

“The statutory scheme compels us to reject petitioners’ interpretation because it would destabilize the individual insurance market in any State with a Federal Exchange, and likely create the very ‘death spirals’ that Congress designed the Act to avoid.”

“In petitioners’ view, Congress made the viability of the entire Affordable Care Act turn on the ultimate ancillary provision: a sub-sub-sub section of the Tax Code. We doubt that is what Congress meant to do.”

“In a democracy, the power to make the law rests with those chosen by the people. Our role is more confined —’to say what the law is.’ … That is easier in some cases than in others. But in every case we must respect the role of the Legislature, and take care not to undo what it has done. A fair reading of legislation demands a fair understanding of the legislative plan. Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter.”

Scalia:

widemodern_scalia_091613.jpg

Justice Antonin Scalia authored the court’s dissenting opinion.

“Today’s interpretation is not merely unnatural; it is unheard of. Who would ever have dreamt that ‘Exchange established by the State’ means ‘Exchange established by the State or the Federal Government’? Little short of an express statutory definition could justify adopting this singular reading.”

“We should start calling this law SCOTUScare.”

“The Court holds that when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act says ‘Exchange established by the State’ it means ‘Exchange established by the State or the Federal Government.’ That is of course quite absurd, and the Court’s 21 pages of explanation make it no less so.”

“Yet the opinion continues, with no semblance of shame, that ‘it is also possible that the phrase refers to all Exchanges—both State and Federal.’ (Impossible possibility, thy name is an opinion on the Affordable Care Act!)”

“The Court’s next bit of interpretive jiggery-pokery involves other parts of the Act that purportedly presuppose the availability of tax credits on both federal and state Exchanges.”

“Much less is it our place to make everything come out right when Congress does not do its job properly. It is up to Congress to design its laws with care, and it is up to the people to hold them to account if they fail to carry out that responsibility.”

“Pure applesauce.”

“The somersaults of statutory interpretation they have performed (‘penalty’ means tax, ‘further [Medicaid] payments to the State’ means only incremental Medicaid payments to the State, ‘established by the State’ means not established by the State) will be cited by litigants endlessly, to the confusion of honest jurisprudence. And the cases will publish forever the discouraging truth that the Supreme Court of the United States favors some laws over others, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to uphold and assist its favorites.”

Read the full opinion and dissent below: 

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/06/25/read-the-best-quotes-from-roberts-and-scalia-in-the-king-v-burwell-obamacare-opinion

Key Facts about the Uninsured Population

Decreasing the number of uninsured is a key goal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which provides Medicaid coverage to many low-income individuals in states that expand and Marketplace subsidies for individuals below 400% of the poverty line. Baseline estimates show that over 41 million individuals were uninsured in 2013, prior to the start of the major ACA coverage provisions, and early evidence suggests that the ACA has reduced this number. This brief describes trends in coverage leading up to the ACA, reviews early estimates of the impact of the ACA on the uninsured, examines the characteristics of the uninsured population, and summarizes the access and financial implications of not having coverage.

Summary: Key Facts about the Uninsured Population

What was happening to the uninsured leading up to the ACA?

Trends in the uninsured have historically tracked economic conditions, with the number of uninsured people increasing during recessionary periods when people lost their jobs. Public programs provided a safety net during the Great Recession and prevented many from going uninsured. On the eve of the ACA, as the economy stabilized, coverage losses slowed. However, over 41 million people were still without coverage in 2013.

What has been happening to the uninsured under the ACA?

As of 2014, the ACA helps expand coverage to millions of currently uninsured people through the expansion of Medicaid eligibility and establishment of Health Insurance Marketplaces. The ACA also includes reforms to help people maintain coverage and make private insurance affordable and accessible. Early evidence on coverage in the first few months of 2014 indicates that the number of uninsured has declined since the availability of these new provisions.

Why are so many Americans uninsured?

The high cost of insurance has been the main reason why people go without coverage. In 2013, 61% of uninsured adults said the main reason they were uninsured was because the cost was too high or because they had lost their job. Many people do not have access to coverage through a job, and gaps in eligibility for public coverage in the past have left many without an affordable option.  Even after ACA coverage expansions, Medicaid eligibility for adults remains limited in states that did not expand their programs.

Who are the uninsured?

Most of the uninsured are in low-income working families. In 2013, nearly 8 in 10 were in a family with a worker, and nearly 6 in 10 have family income below 200% of poverty. Reflecting the more limited availability of public coverage, adults have been more likely to be uninsured than children. People of color are at higher risk of being uninsured than non-Hispanic Whites.

How does the lack of insurance affect access to health care?

People without insurance coverage have worse access to care than people who are insured. Almost a third of uninsured adults in 2013 (30%) went without needed medical care due to cost. Studies repeatedly demonstrate that the uninsured are less likely than those with insurance to receive preventive care and services for major health conditions and chronic diseases.

What are the financial implications of lack of coverage?

The uninsured often face unaffordable medical bills when they do seek care. In 2013, nearly 40% of uninsured adults said they had outstanding medical bills, and a fifth said they had medical bills that caused serious financial strain.  These bills can quickly translate into medical debt since most of the uninsured have low or moderate incomes and have little, if any, savings.

What was happening to the uninsured leading up to the ACA?

The number of uninsured people steadily increased throughout most of the past decade due to decreasing employer sponsored insurance coverage and rising health care costs. The recent recession led to a steep increase in uninsured rates from 2008 to 2010 as a high jobless rate led millions to lose their employer sponsored coverage.1Medicaid and CHIP prevented steeper drops in insurance coverage, as many Americans became newly eligible for these programs when their income declined during the recession. From 2011 to 2013, uninsured rates dropped as the economy improved and early provisions expanding coverage under the ACA went into effect.

Key Details:

Figure 1: Uninsured Rates Among the Nonelderly, 2000-2013

  • The share of the nonelderly population with employer-sponsored coverage declined steadily between 2000 and 2010, dropping nearly ten percentage points over the decade.2 In 2011, this trend ended as the share with employer-sponsored coverage held nearly constant at around 58% between 2011 and 2013. This break in trend was likely due to uptake of the ACA provision that allowed young adults to continue as dependents on parents’ private plans until age 26. It also reflects improving economic conditions. The unemployment rate peaked at 10.0 percent in October 2009. From 2010 on, the unemployment rate improved steadily, corresponding with a drop in the uninsured rate from 2010 to 2013 (Figure 1).
  • The share of people covered by Medicaid increased significantly during the recent recession due to the weak economy and loss of jobs, which led to declining family incomes and decreasing employer-sponsored coverage among families. Between 2007 and 2013, over 10 million people—primarily children—gained Medicaid coverage. These gains offset some of the loss of employer coverage over the period.
  • In 2013, the uninsured rate among nonelderly individuals was at 16.7%, a level comparable to pre-recession uninsured rates (Figure 1). Still, many uninsured individuals had been uninsured for long periods, often five years or more,3 indicating that their lack of coverage was related to forces outside the recession. With the major ACA coverage provisions going into effect in 2014, many are newly-insured.

What has been happening to the uninsured under the ACA?

Under the ACA, as of 2014, Medicaid coverage is expanded to nearly all adults with incomes at or below 138% of poverty in states that expand, and tax credits are available for people who purchase coverage through a health insurance Marketplace. Early data suggest that the ACA has helped expand coverage to millions of previously uninsured people, but some—particularly poor adults in states that do not expand Medicaid—are still left without affordable coverage.

Key Details:

Figure 2: Percentage Point Decrease in Uninsured by State Medicaid Expansion Status, 2013- Q1 2014

  • As of mid-April 2014 (after the first open enrollment period), over 8 million people selected plans through the federal or state Marketplaces.4 The vast majority of Marketplace enrollees (85%) were eligible for premium tax credits. Many Marketplace enrollees are newly-insured. A survey of people with private non-group plans after open enrollment found that nearly six in ten (57 percent) of those with Marketplace coverage were uninsured prior to purchasing their current plan.5 Other data from insurers suggest a large increase in the individual market in the first quarter attributable to the ACA.6
  • Enrollment data also show that as of July 2014, Medicaid enrollment has grown by 8 million since the period before open enrollment (which started in October 2013).7 This growth is an increase of 14% in monthly Medicaid enrollment.8 Enrollment increases were higher (20%) among states that chose to expand Medicaid eligibility. These data suggest that Medicaid enrollment growth is related to ACA expansions.9
  • Early survey data suggest that the uninsured rate is falling. The early release of estimates from the first quarter (January through March) of the 2014 National Health Interview Survey indicates that the uninsured rate dropped for nonelderly individuals in the first quarter of 2014 by a full percentage point relative to the first quarter of the previous year.10 However, the NHIS early results were not likely to have captured most or all of the ACA’s effects, as many people enrolled in coverage after survey data were collected. NHIS early results also show that states that chose to expand Medicaid saw significant declines in uninsured rates among adults from 2013 to the first quarter of 2014 (Figure 2). States that did not choose to expand Medicaid did not see corresponding declines. Several private polls and surveys also indicate that the uninsured rate has been decreasing since the period prior to ACA open enrollment. While these surveys have different methodologies and often have high error margins that make point estimates unreliable, they are all in agreement that the uninsured rate has dropped in 2014.
  • Even with the availability of new coverage options, millions remain uninsured. Previous analyses show that many poor adults in states that do not expand Medicaid will continue to be at risk to be uninsured.11 People of color, people living in the South,12 and individuals living in rural areas are especially at risk to be left out of ACA coverage expansions.13

Why are so many Americans uninsured?

Insurance is expensive, and few people can afford to buy it on their own. Most Americans obtain health insurance coverage through an employer, but not all workers are offered employer-sponsored coverage. Also, not all who are offered coverage by an employer can afford their share of the premiums. Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) cover many low-income individuals, particularly children. However, Medicaid eligibility for adults remains limited in some states, and few people can afford to purchase coverage on their own without financial assistance.

Key Details:

Figure 3: Reasons for Being Uninsured among Uninsured Nonelderly Adults, 2013

  • Uninsured individuals report that cost poses a major barrier to purchasing coverage. In 2013, 61% of adults said that the main reason they are uninsured is either because the cost is too high or because they lost their job, compared to 1.7% who said they are uninsured because they do not need coverage (Figure 3). Under the ACA, financial assistance is available to help many uninsured people afford coverage.
  • Not all workers have access to coverage through their job. Most uninsured workers are self-employed or work for small firms where health benefits are less likely to be offered.14 Low-wage workers who are offered coverage often cannot afford their share of the premiums, especially for family coverage.15,16
  • Workers usually enroll in employer-sponsored health insurance if they are eligible.17 However, it has become increasingly difficult for many workers to afford coverage. In 2014, the average annual total cost of employer-sponsored family coverage was $16,834, and the worker’s share averaging $4,823 per year.18 Between 2004 and 2014, total premiums have increased by 69%, and the worker’s share has increased over 81%.19 Starting in 2015, under the ACA, employers with 50 or more workers will be penalized if they do not offer affordable coverage. As of 2014, the ACA provides Marketplace tax credits or Medicaid coverage for many employees without access to affordable employer-sponsored insurance.20
  • In 2013, over 51 million nonelderly individuals were covered by Medicaid and CHIP.21 Historically, Medicaid was only available to low-income children, parents, pregnant women, people with disabilities, and the elderly. While states have increasingly expanded eligibility for children over time, eligibility for parents remained much more limited before ACA coverage expansions.22
  • As of September 2014, 28 states are moving forward or will be moving forward with expanded Medicaid eligibility for most nonelderly individuals under 138% FPL.23 This expansion will fill in historical gaps in eligibility for public coverage. However, in states that do not expand their Medicaid programs, eligibility for adults remains limited: the median eligibility level for parents is just 47% of poverty, and adults without dependent children are ineligible in nearly all states not expanding.

Who are the Uninsured?

The majority of the uninsured are in low-income working families. Reflecting the more limited availability of public coverage, adults are more likely to be uninsured than children. People of color are at higher risk of being uninsured than non-Hispanic Whites.

Key Details:

Figure 4:  Characteristics of the Nonelderly Uninsured, 2013

  • Based on the most recent data that is available (which reflects coverage prior to the major ACA provisions), over six in ten of the uninsured have at least one full-time worker in their family, and 16% have a part-time worker in the family (Figure 4).
  • Individuals below poverty are at the highest risk of being uninsured, and this group accounted for 27% of all the uninsured in 2013 (the poverty level for a family of three was $19,530 in 2013). In total, almost nine in ten of the uninsured are in low- or moderate-income families, meaning they are below 400% of poverty (Figure 3).
  • While a plurality (46%) of the uninsured are White, non-Hispanic, people of color are at higher risk of being uninsured than White non-Hispanics. People of color make up 40% of the population but account for over half of the total uninsured population. The disparity in insurance coverage is especially high for Hispanics, who account for 19% of the total population but more than 30% of the uninsured population. Hispanics and non-Hispanic Blacks have significantly higher uninsured rates (25.6% and 17.3%, respectively) than Whites (11.7%).24
  • About eight in ten of the uninsured are U.S. citizens and 19.7% are non-citizens. Uninsured non-citizens include both lawfully present and undocumented immigrants. Undocumented immigrants and legal immigrants residing in the U.S. for less than five years are ineligible for federally funded health coverage.
  • Uninsured rates vary widely by state and by region, with individuals living in the South and West the most likely to be uninsured (Figure 5). This variation reflects different economic conditions, availability of employer-based coverage, demographics, and eligibility for public coverage.

How does the lack of insurance affect access to health care?

Figure 5: Uninsured Rates Among the Nonelderly by State, 2013

Almost a third of uninsured adults (30%) in 2013 went without needed care each year due to cost (Figure 5). Studies repeatedly demonstrate that the uninsured are less likely than those with insurance to receive preventive care and services for major health conditions and chronic diseases.25, 26, 27, 28 Research also has suggested that insurance can decrease likelihood of depression and stress.29

Key Details:
  • Health providers can choose to not provide care to the uninsured. Only emergency departments are required by federal law to screen and stabilize all individuals. However, the uninsured are not necessarily more likely to use the emergency room than those with insurance.30 If the uninsured are unable to pay for care in full, they are often turned away when they seek follow-up care for urgent medical conditions.31
  • The uninsured receive less preventive care and recommended screenings than the insured. In 2013, only 1 in 3 uninsured adults (33%) reported a preventive visit with a physician in the last year, compared to 74% of adults with employer coverage and 67% of adults with Medicaid.32 Uninsured older adults (ages 50-64) were far less likely than their insured counterparts to report having been screened for cancer in the past five years.33

Figure 6:  Barriers to Health Care Among Nonelderly Adults by Insurance Status, 2013

  • Receiving needed care is especially important for the uninsured since they are generally not as healthy as those with private coverage. The uninsured are at higher risk for preventable hospitalizations and for missed diagnoses of serious health conditions.34 After a chronic condition is diagnosed, they are less likely to receive follow-up care and as a result are more likely to have their health decline.35 Lack of follow-up attributed to being uninsured can delay the detection of certain cancers, which can result in adverse outcomes.36 It follows that the uninsured also have significantly higher mortality rates than those with insurance.37,38
  • The uninsured report higher rates of postponing care and forgoing needed care or prescriptions due to cost compared to those enrolled in Medicaid and other public programs (Figure 6). A seminal study of health insurance in Oregon found that the uninsured were less likely to receive care from a hospital or doctor than newly insured Medicaid enrollees.39A follow-up study found that newly insured Medicaid enrollees were much less likely to delay care because of costs than the uninsured.40

What are the financial implications of lack of coverage?

The uninsured often face unaffordable medical bills when they do seek care. These bills can quickly translate into medical debt since most of the uninsured have low or moderate incomes and have little, if any, savings.

Key Details:

Figure 7: Financial Consequences of Medical Bills by Insurance Coverage, 2013

  • Those without insurance for an entire year pay for one-fifth of their care out-of-pocket.41 They are typically billed for any care they receive, often paying higher charges than the insured.42
  • Medical bills can put great strain on the uninsured and threaten their physical and financial well-being. The uninsured are significantly more likely than individuals covered by employer coverage, non-group insurance or Medicaid to have trouble paying medical bills (Figure 7). Almost 40% of uninsured adults have outstanding medical bills.
  • A study based on the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment found that the uninsured were more likely to experience financial strain from medical bills and out-of-pocket expenses than those with Medicaid coverage. The uninsured were also more likely than the insured to have to postpone care because of costs.43
  • The uninsured live with the knowledge that they may not be able to afford to pay for their family’s medical care, which can cause anxiety and potentially lead them to delay or forgo care. Almost three-quarters (70%) of the uninsured are not confident that they can pay for the health care services they think they need, compared to 13% of those with employer coverage and 37% with Medicaid.44
  • The average uninsured household has no net assets.45 Without sufficient income or assets to pay their medical bills, uninsured individuals often see their debts accumulate while their credit ratings are compromised. Medical debts contribute to almost half of all bankruptcies in the United States.46

Conclusion

Over 41 million nonelderly individuals were uninsured in 2013.  This figure represents the baseline against which most changes in the ACA will be measured. While we do not yet know the full effect of the major coverage provisions of the ACA, early evidence indicates that it is working to expand insurance to those who need it.

Going without coverage can have serious health consequences for the uninsured because they receive less preventive care, and delayed care often results in more serious illness requiring advanced treatment. Being uninsured also can have serious financial consequences. The ACA holds promise for many people who will gain access to health insurance coverage, but monitoring how coverage changes and who is left out of coverage expansions is also important.

http://kff.org/uninsured/fact-sheet/key-facts-about-the-uninsured-population/

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 490 June 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 489 June 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 488 June 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 487 June 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 486 June 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 485 June 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 484 June 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 483 June 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 482 June 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 481 June 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 480 June 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 479 June 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 478 June 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 477 June 3, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 476 June 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 475 June 1, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 474 May 29, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 473 May 28, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 472 May 27, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 471 May 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 470 May 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 469 May 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 468 May 20, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 467 May 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 466 May 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 465 May 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 464 May 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 463 May 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 462 May 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 461 May 7, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 460 May 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 459 May 4, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 458 May 1, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 457 April 30, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 456: April 29, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 455: April 28, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 454: April 27, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 453: April 24, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 452: April 23, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 451: April 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 450: April 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 449: April 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 448: April 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 447: April 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 446: April 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 445: April 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 444: April 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 443: April 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 442: April 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 441: April 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 440: April 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 439: April 1, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 438: March 31, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 437: March 30, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 436: March 27, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 435: March 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 434: March 25, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 433: March 24, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 432: March 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 431: March 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 430: March 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 429: March 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 428: March 17, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 427: March 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 426: March 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 425: March 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 424: March 2, 2015

Story 1: Is Pope Francis The First Watermelon Pope? – Green On The Outside, Red On The Inside — Trying To Convert Catholics To The Religion of Anti-Scientists Alarmist Socialists — Skeptical Capitalist Heretics Unite — Pope Francis Wrong On Science, Wrong On Economics, Not An Authority — Good Intentions Are Not Enough — Videos

Galileo – “Faith can never conflict with reason” –

~Pope John Paul II – November 4, 1992

climatefactorsCO2andTemp600millionyrstopresentgeocraftDansgaard-Temperature2hansen-1988-a-b-c-scenariosclimate change failco2_800kclimate-reconstructions-1-million-yearsicecore_recordsgreenlandice_fig5

Pope Francis: “Bold Cultural Revolution” Needed to Save Planet from Climate Change & Consumerism

Did Pope Francis go too far on global warming?

Pope Francis’ stand on climate change

Cardinal Suggests Rush Limbaugh Doesn’t Understand What Pope Is Saying On Environment

60 Minutes on Pope Francis (Why the Pope is unlike any pontiff of modern times)

Socialism vs Capitalism: Milton Friedman

Milton Friedman – Is Capitalism Humane? (Lecture)

Murray Rothbard: Free Markets Again?

Pope Francis Gets Owned by Alex Jones

Pope Francis Now The New Face of Climate Change

Rush Limbaugh, Fox Host Attack The Pope

Global Warming: A Religion of Anti-Science – Journalist James Delingpole

ManBearPig, Climategate and Watermelons: A conversation with author James Delingpole

Climate Change in 12 Minutes The Skeptic s Case By Dr. David M.W. Evans

Freeman Dyson

Freeman Dyson on the Global Warming Hysteria April, 2015

Freeman Dyson: A Global Warming Heretic & Denier

“…Professor Fred Singer presents the Report “Nature, not Human Activity, Rules the Climate by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change”‘(NIPCC) at CFACT’s International Climate Eco-Summit (I.C.E.), held on December 11, 2009 at the Center for Political Studies, Copenhagen, Denmark. …”

Richard Lindzen

Interview with Professor Richard Lindzen

The experts explain the global warming myth: Richard Lindzen

Richard Lindzen at International Conference on Climate Change

Richard Lindzen, Ph.D. Lecture Deconstructs Global Warming Hysteria (High Quality Version)

Roy Spencer

Global Warming / Climate Change Hoax – Dr. Roy Spencer (1)

Why Climate Models Are Wrong

Dr Roy Spencer on Global Warming Part 1 of 6

Dr Roy Spencer on Global Warming Part 2 of 6

Dr Roy Spencer on Global Warming Part 3 of 6

Dr Roy Spencer on Global Warming Part 4 of 6

Dr Roy Spencer on Global Warming Part 5 of 6

Dr Roy Spencer on Global Warming Part 6 of 6

Fred Singer

Global Warming Debate – Dr. Fred Singer (1 of 2)

Global Warming Debate – Dr. Fred Singer (2 of 2)

Professor Fred Singer on Climate Change pt 1

Professor Fred Singer on Climate Change pt 2

Unstoppable Solar Cycles

Prof. Fred Singer on Climate Change – CFACT (1 of 5)

Prof. Fred Singer on Climate Change – CFACT (2 of 5)

Prof. Fred Singer on Climate Change – CFACT (3 of 5)

Prof. Fred Singer on Climate Change – CFACT (4 of 5)

Prof. Fred Singer on Climate Change – CFACT (5 of 5)

MAJOR REDUCTIONS IN CARBON EMISSIONS ARE NOT WORTH THE MONEY 4 /14- Intelligence Squared U.S.

Climategate: What They Aren’t Telling You!

The 97% Consensus? Global Warming Unmasked!

And yet it moves.

~Galileo Galilei

Galileo’s Battle for the Heavens 1

Galileo’s Battle for the Heavens 2

Galileo’s Battle for the Heavens 12

Nova Galileo’s Battle For The Heavens

The Current Pope’s Advisor On Climate Change (Really?)

Prof. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Climate change: state of play

UC San Diego Professor Advises Pope on Climate Change

How climate-change doubters lost a papal fight

By Anthony Faiola and Chris Mooney

Pope Francis was about to take a major step backing the science behind ­human-driven global warming, and Philippe de Larminat was determined to change his mind.

A French doubter who authored a book arguing that solar activity — not greenhouse gases — was driving global warming, de Larminat sought a spot at a climate summit in April sponsored by the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Nobel laureates would be there. So would U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, U.S. economist Jeffrey Sachs and others calling for dramatic steps to curb carbon emissions.

After securing a high-level meeting at the Vatican, he was told that, space permitting, he could join. He bought a plane ticket from Paris to Rome. But five days before the April 28 summit, de Larminat said, he received an e-mail saying there was no space left. It came after other scientists — as well as the powerful Vatican bureaucrat in charge of the academy — insisted he had no business being there.

“They did not want to hear an off note,” de Larminat said.

The incident highlights how climate-change doubters tried and failed to alter the landmark papal document unveiled last week — one that saw the leader of 1 billion Catholics fuse faith and reason and come to the conclusion that “denial” is wrong.

It marked the latest blow for those seeking to stop the reform-minded train that has become Francis’s papacy. It is one that has reinvigorated liberal Catholics even as it has sowed the seeds of resentment and dissent inside and outside the Vatican’s ancient walls.

Yet the battle lost over climate change also suggests how hard it may be for critics to blunt the power of a man who has become something of a juggernaut in an institution where change tends to unfold over decades, even centuries. More than anything, to those who doubt the human impact of global warming, the position staked out by Francis in his papal document, known as an encyclical, means a major defeat.

“This was their Waterloo,” said Kert Davies, executive director of the Climate Investigations Center, who has been tracking ­climate-change deniers for years. “They wanted the encyclical not to happen. And it happened.”

Growth in the Internet of Things promises to transform life, work and industry.READ MORE

Papal advisers say Francis signaled his intent to draft a major document on the environment soon after assuming the throne of St. Peter in March 2013. His interest in the topic dates to his days as a bishop in Buenos Aires, where Francis, officials say, was struck by the effects of floods and unsanitary conditions on Argentine shantytowns known as “misery villages.”

In January, Francis officially announced his goal of drafting the encyclical — saying after an official visit to the Philippines that he wanted to make a “contribution” to the debate ahead of a major U.N. summit on climate change in Paris in December.

But several efforts by those skeptical of the scientific consensus on climate change to influence the document appear to have come considerably later — in April — and, maybe, too late.

In late April, the Chicago-based Heartland Institute, a free-market group that serves as a hub of skepticism regarding the science of human-caused global warming, sent a delegation to the Vatican. As a Heartland news release put it, they hoped “to inform Pope Francis of the truth about climate science: There is no global warming crisis!”

It was meant to coincide with the same April meeting that de Larminat was trying to attend. Heartland’s activists were not part of the invited contingent, either, Heartland communications director Jim Lakely said.

“It was a side event,” he said. “We were outside the walls of the Vatican. We were at a hotel — literally, I could throw a football into St. Peter’s Square.”

Seven scientists and other experts gave speeches at the Heartland event, raising doubts about various aspects of the scientific consensus on climate change, even as several also urged the pope not to take sides in the debate. It’s impossible to know how that influenced those in the Vatican working on the pope’s document — which one Vatican official said was at “an advanced stage.” But Lakely said his group did not see much of its argument reflected in the final document.

“We all want the poor to live better lives, but we just don’t think the solution to that is to restrict the use of fossil fuels, because we don’t think CO2 is causing a climate crisis,” Lakely said. “So if that’s our message in a sentence, that message was not reflected in the encyclical, so there you go.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/how-climate-change-doubters-lost-a-papal-fight/2015/06/20/86af3182-15ce-11e5-8457-4b431bf7ed4c_story.html

Read Pope Francis’s full document on Climate Change

n the 192-page paper released Thursday, the pope lays out the argument for a new partnership between science and religion to combat human-driven climate change — a position bringing him immediately into conflict with skeptics, whom he chides for their “denial.” And you can also read 10 key excerpts from Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/06/18/read-pope-franciss-full-document-on-climate-change/

Pope Francis, in Sweeping Encyclical, Calls for Swift Action on Climate Change

In his encyclical, read by a nun at the Vatican on Thursday, Francis focused on the harm climate change poses to the poor. CreditMax Rossi/Reuters

Francis has made it clear that he hopes the encyclical will influence energy and economic policy and stir a global movement. He calls on ordinary people to press politicians for change. Catholic bishops and priests around the world are expected to discuss the encyclical in services on Sunday. But Francis is also reaching for a wider audience, asking in the document “to address every person living on this planet.”

Even before the encyclical, the pope’s stance against environmental destruction and his demand for global action had already thrilled many scientists. Advocates of policies to combat climate change have said they hoped that Francis could lend a “moral dimension” to the debate.

“Within the scientific community, there is almost a code of honor that you will never transgress the red line between pure analysis and moral issues,” said Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founder and chairman of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. “But we are now in a situation where we have to think about the consequences of our insight for society.”

Francis has been sharply criticized by those who question or deny the established science of human-caused climate change, and also by some conservative Roman Catholics, who see the encyclical as an attack on capitalism and as political meddling.

Graphic: On Planet in Distress, a Papal Call to Action

Governments are now developing domestic climate-change plans to prepare for aUnited Nations summit meeting on the issue in Paris in December. The meeting’s goal is to achieve a sweeping accord in which every nation would commit to new policies to limit greenhouse-gas emissions. Many governments have yet to present plans, including major emitters like Brazil, which has a large Catholic population. The encyclical is seen as an unsubtle nudge for action.

“It gives a lot of cover to political and economic leaders in those countries, as they make decisions on climate change policy,” said Timothy Wirth, vice chairman of the United Nations Foundation.

Catholic theologians say the overarching theme of the encyclical is “integral ecology,” which links care for the environment with a notion already well developed in Catholic teaching: that economic development, to be morally good and just, must take into account people’s need for things like freedom, education and meaningful work.

“The basic idea is, in order to love God, you have to love your fellow human beings, and you have to love and care for the rest of creation,” said Vincent Miller, who holds a chair in Catholic theology and culture at the University of Dayton, a Catholic college in Ohio. “It gives Francis a very traditional basis to argue for the inclusion of environmental concern at the center of Christian faith.”

Photo

Metropolitan of Pergamon John Zizioulas, left, and Cardinal Peter Turkson presented the 184-page papal encyclical on Thursday.CreditAndrew Medichini/Associated Press

He added: “Critics will say the church can’t teach policy, the church can’t teach politics. And Francis is saying, ‘No, these things are at the core of the church’s teaching.’ ”

Francis tapped a wide variety of sources in his encyclical, partly to underscore the universality of his message. He cites passages from his two papal predecessors, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, and draws prominently from a religious ally, Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, leader of the Eastern Orthodox Church. He also cites a ninth-century Sufi mystic, Ali al-Khawas.

“This is not a correct interpretation of the Bible as understood by the Church,” Francis writes. The Bible teaches human beings to “till and keep” the garden of the world, he says. “ ‘Tilling’ refers to cultivating, plowing or working, while ‘keeping’ means caring, protecting, overseeing and preserving.”

His most stinging rebuke is a broad critique of profit-seeking and the undue influence of technology on society. He praises achievements in medicine, science and engineering, but says that “our immense technological development has not been accompanied by a development in human responsibility, values and conscience.”

Central to Francis’ theme is the link between poverty and the planet’s fragility. The pope rejects the belief that technology and “current economics” will solve environmental problems, or “that the problems of global hunger and poverty will be resolved simply by market growth.”

“A huge indictment I see in this encyclical is that people have lost their sense of ultimate and proper goals of technology and economics,” said Christiana Z. Peppard, an assistant professor of theology, science and ethics at Fordham University in New York. “We are focused on short-term, consumerist patterns.”

Encyclicals are letters to the clergy and laity of the church that are considered authoritative. Catholics are expected to try to sincerely embrace their teachings. But more specific assertions in them can be categorized as “prudential judgments,” a phrase that some critics have invoked to reject Francis’ positions on issues like climate change or economic inequality.

Many conservatives will be pleased with the encyclical’s strong criticism of abortion, and its dismissal of arguments that population control can be an answer to poverty. However, Francis sharply criticizes the trading of carbon credits — a market-based system central to the European Union’s climate policy — and says it “may simply become a ploy which permits maintaining the excessive consumption of some countries and sectors.”

Above all, Francis frames the encyclical as a call to action. He praises young people for being ready for change, and said “enforceable international agreements are urgently needed.” He cites Benedict in saying that advanced societies “must be prepared to encourage more sober lifestyles, while reducing their energy consumption and improving its efficiency.”

“All is not lost,” he writes. “Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/19/world/europe/pope-francis-in-sweeping-encyclical-calls-for-swift-action-on-climate-change.html?_r=0

The Scientific Pantheist Who Advises Pope Francis

The scientist who influenced Laudato Si, and who serves at the Vatican’s science office, seems to believe in Gaia, but not in God.

By ILLIAM M BRIGGS Published on June 22, 2015

1.4K432641
William M Briggs

St. Francis of Assisi’s hymn Laudato Si’ spoke of “Brothers” Sun and Fire and “Sisters” Moon and Water, using these colorful phrases figuratively, as a way of praising God’s creation. These sentimental words so touched Pope Francis that he named his encyclical after this canticle (repeated in paragraph 87 of the Holy Father’s letter).

Neither Pope Francis nor St. Francis took the words literally, of course. Neither believed that fire was alive and could be talked to or reasoned with or, worse, worshiped. Strange, then, that a self-professed atheist and scientific advisor to the Vatican named Hans Schellnhuber appears to believe in a Mother Earth.

Gaia

The Gaia Principle, first advanced by chemist James Lovelock (who has lately had second thoughts) and microbiologist Lynn Margulis in the 1970s, says that all life interacts with the Earth, and the Earth with all life, to form a giant self-regulating, living system.

This goes far beyond the fact that the Earth’s climate system has feedbacks, which are at the very center of the debate over climate change. In the Gaia Principle, Mother Earth is alive, and even, some think, aware in some ill-defined, mystical way. The Earth knows man and his activities and, frankly, isn’t too happy with him.

This is what we might call “scientific pantheism,” a kind that appeals to atheistic scientists. It is an updated version of the pagan belief that the universe itself is God, that the Earth is at least semi-divine — a real Brother Sun and Sister Water! Mother Earth is immanent in creation and not transcendent, like the Christian God.

What’s this have to do with Schellnhuber? In the 1999 Nature paper “‘Earth system’ analysis and the second Copernican revolution,” he said:

Ecosphere science is therefore coming of age, lending respectability to its romantic companion, Gaia theory, as pioneered by Lovelock and Margulis. This hotly debated ‘geophysiological’ approach to Earth-system analysis argues that the biosphere contributes in an almost cognizant way to self-regulating feedback mechanisms that have kept the Earth’s surface environment stable and habitable for life.

Geo-physiological, in case you missed it. Cognizant, in black and white. So dedicated is Schellnhuber to this belief that he says “the Gaia approach may even include the influence of biospheric activities on the Earth’s plate-tectonic processes.”  Not the other way around, mind you, where continental drift and earthquakes effects life, but where life effects earthquakes.

He elaborates:

Although effects such as the glaciations may still be interpreted as over-reactions to small disturbances — a kind of cathartic geophysiological fever — the main events, resulting in accelerated maturation by shock treatment, indicate that Gaia faces a powerful antagonist. Rampino has proposed personifying this opposition as Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction.

Mother Earth gets the flu and instead of white blood cells and a rise in temperature to fend off the infection, it sends white ice and a decrease in temperatures. How? Geophysiologically! I remind the reader that our author, writing in one of the world’s most prominent science journals, does not use these propositions metaphorically. He proposes them as actual mechanisms.

Schellnhuber echoes the theme of a cognizant, i.e. self-aware, planet in another (co-authored) 2004 paper in Nature 2004, “Climbing the co-evolution ladder,” suggesting again that mankind is an infection, saying that mankind “perturbs … the global ‘metabolism’” of the planet.

Tipping Points

Schellnhuber, a one-time quantum physicist who turned his attention to Mother Earth late in his career, was also co-author of a 2009 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences paper “Imprecise probability assessment of tipping points in the climate system,” which asked select scientists their gut assessment about the arrival of various “tipping points.” Tipping points are a theme of Schellnhuber’s research (see inter alia this and this).

Tipping points are supposed moments when some doom which might have been avoided if some action had been taken, is no longer possible to avoid and will arrive no matter what. Tipping points have come and gone in climate forecasts for decades now. The promised dooms never arrive but the false prophets never quit.  Their intent is less to forecast than to induce something short of panic in order to plead for political intervention. When the old tipping point is past, theorists just change the date, issue new warnings and hope no one will notice.

One of the tipping points Schellnhuber asked about was the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, depending on what the temperature did. All of the selected experts (who answered the questions in 2004 and 2005) gave moderate (~15-25%) to quite high probabilities (50-80%) for this event to have occurred by 2015. The ice did not melt.

Schellnhuber Michelangelo Gaia

Schellnhuber presented more tipping points to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in 2014 in the co-authored paper, “Climate-System Tipping Points and Extreme Weather Events.” In that paper, Schellnhuber has a “scientific” graph with Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Adam “flicking” a planet earth over a methane tipping point, such that the earth would roll down into a fiery pit labeled the “Warming Abyss.” Hell on earth.

The Problem of People

Schellnhuber is most famous for predicting that the “carrying capacity” of the earth is “below” 1 billion people. When confronted with this, he called those who quoted him “liars.” But he then repeated the same claim, saying, “All I said was that if we had unlimited global warming of eight degrees warming, maybe the carrying capacity of the earth would go down to just 1 billion, and then the discussion would be settled.”  And he has often said that this temperature tipping point would be reached — unless “actions” were taken.

The man is suspicious of people. In that same interview he said, “If you want to reduce human population, there are wonderful means: Improve the education of girls and young women.” Since young women already know where babies come from, and since this knowledge tends neither to increase nor decrease population, the “education” he has in mind must be facts about how to avoid the consequences of sex. Austin Ruse discovered a 2009 talk in which Schellnhuber said the earth “will explode” due to resource depletion once the population reaches 9 billion, a number that the UN projects in 2050. Presumably he wants earth to avoid that fate, so he mustsupport the population control that Pope Francis so clearly repudiated in his encyclical.

Bad Religion

Confirmation bias happens when a scientist manipulates an experiment so that he gets the outcome he hoped he would get. When Schellnhuber invites only believers in tipping-points-of-doom to characterize their guesses of this doom, his view that the doom is real will be confirmed. And when he publishes a paper that says, “Scientists say world is doomed” the public and politicians believe it. Scientists skeptical of the doom are dismissed because they are skeptics. This isn’t good science. It’s really bad religion, and a pagan one at that.

Global warming research is characterized by an insider’s club. If you believe, you’re in. If you doubt, you’re out. This is also so at the Pontifical Academies of Science where Schellnhuber was appointed by Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo. The bishop locked scientists with contrary views out of the process, scientists he has repeatedly dismissed as “funded by the oil industry.” Given this, how likely is it that the Holy Father was fully aware of the views of the chief scientist who advised him?

https://stream.org/scientific-pantheist-who-advises-pope-francis/

Background Articles and Videos

An Honest IPCC Scientist Tackles ‘ClimateGate’

Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change

“…On June 2, as Congress debated global warming legislation that would raise energy costs to consumers by hundreds of billions of dollars, the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) released an 880-page book challenging the scientific basis of concerns that global warming is either man-made or would have harmful effects.

In “Climate Change Reconsidered: The 2009 Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC),” coauthors Dr. S. Fred Singer and Dr. Craig Idso and 35 contributors and reviewers present an authoritative and detailed rebuttal of the findings of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), on which the Obama Administration and Democrats in Congress rely for their regulatory proposals.

The scholarship in this book demonstrates overwhelming scientific support for the position that the warming of the twentieth century was moderate and not unprecedented, that its impact on human health and wildlife was positive, and that carbon dioxide probably is not the driving factor behind climate change.

The authors cite thousands of peer-reviewed research papers and books that were ignored by the IPCC, plus additional scientific research that became available after the IPCC’s self-imposed deadline of May 2006.

The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) is an international panel of nongovernment scientists and scholars who have come together to understand the causes and consequences of climate change. Because it is not a government agency, and because its members are not predisposed to believe climate change is caused by human greenhouse gas emissions, NIPCC is able to offer an independent “second opinion” of the evidence reviewed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). …”

http://www.climatechangereconsidered.org/

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The Cloward-Piven Strategy Of The Progressive Radical Socialists: Wrecking The U.S. Economy By Massive Government Dependence, Spending, Deficits, Debts, Taxes And Regulations!

The Cloward-Piven Strategy Of The Progressive Radical Socialists: Wrecking The U.S. Economy By Massive Government Dependence!

President Barack Obama’s Role Model–President Franklin D. Roosevelt–The Worse President For The U.S. and World Economies and The American People–With The Same Results–High Unemployment Rates–Over 25 Million American Citizens Seeking Full Time Jobs Today–Worse Than The Over 13 Million Seeking Jobs During The Worse of The Great Depression!

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Progressive Radical Socialist Health Care Plan Written In Prison By Convicted Felon Richard Creamer!

Obamanomics–New Deal Progressive Radical Socialist Interventionism

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Progressive Radical Socialist Canned Criticism of American People: Danger, Profits, and Wrong Thinking

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Broom Budget Busting Bums: Replace The Entire Congress–Tea Party Express and Patriots–United We Stand!

Obama’s Civilian National Security Force–Youth Corp Wave–Friendly Fascism Faces–Cons–Crooks–Communists–Communities–Corps!

Obama’s Hidden Agenda and Covert Cadre of Marxists, Communists, Progressives, Radicals, Socialists–Far Left Democrats Destroying Capitalism and The American Republic

Yuri Bezmenov On KGB Soviet Propaganda and Subversion–Videos

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Obama Youth–Civilian National Security Force–National Socialism–Hitler Youth–Brownshirts– Redux?–Collectivism!

American Progressive Liberal Fascism–The Wave of The Future Or Back To Past Mistakes?

Today’s Progressives–Obama’s Radical Socialist Democratic Party

President Obama–Killer of The American Dream and Market Capitalism–Stop The Radical Socialists Before They Kill You!

The Progressive Radical Socialist Family Tree–ACORN & AmeriCorps–Time To Chop It Down

It Is Official–America On The Obama Road To Fascism–Thomas Sowell!

President Obama and His Keynesian Spending Cult of The Fascist Democrat Radicals–FDRs

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Congress Using Fast Track Authority To Open The Back Door To Millions of H-1 B Visas For Foreign Workers Replacing American Workers (Trade In Services Agreement) — The Selling Out of The American People By Political Elitist Establishment (PEE) For Corporate Campaign Contributions — Vote The Bastards Out of Office — Videos

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Story 1: Congress Using Fast Track Authority To Open The Back Door To Millions of H-1 B Visas For Foreign Workers Replacing American Workers (Trade In Services Agreement) — The Selling Out of The American People By Political Elitist Establishment (PEE) For Corporate Campaign Contributions — Vote The Bastards Out of Office — Videos

158-fast-track-trade

Obama-Fast-TrackObam-Train

George Carlin on

the American Dream

‘Fast-track’ Trade Bill Derailed in House in Blow to Obama

Democrats Derail Obama’s Trade Deal for Now

The Fall of Cover Garbage

SR in 60: House lawmakers vote to derail Obama’s trade agenda

McConnell Says Pres Obama Has Done An Excellent Job Pushing Trade Deal Jeff Sessions Lou Dobbs

Investor Jim Rogers on why TPP is so secret

No one knows what the TPP is

Wikileaks Releases Part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Text…

WikiLeaks Launches Campaign to Offer $100,000 “Bounty” for Leaked Drafts of Secret TPP Chapters

Belgium: Assange slams EU/US plans revealed in leaked TiSA documents

Mark Levin: Fast Track trade bill massively expands Obama’s executive authority over immigration!

Breaking! TPA Passes House While TAA Fails

Disney Fires Hundreds Of American Tech Workers, Forced To Train Foreign Replacements

Disney Setting Up High Tech Sweatshops In US (TPP Foreshadow)

TPP: The Dirtiest Trade Deal You’ve Never Heard Of

Infowars Blows The Lid Off TPP Agreement

The Truth About Free Trade Agreements | Trans-Pacific Partnership TPP

Free Trade and the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Revolt over TPP: Senate Dems Rebuke Obama by Blocking Debate on Secretive Trade Deal

Cruz Supports Giving Fast Track Authority on Trade to Obama

Sen Ted Cruz Wants to DOUBLE Immigration

Sen. Cruz Amendment to Immigration Legislation to Increase H-1B Visas

REVEALED: THE SECRET IMMIGRATION CHAPTER IN OBAMA’S TRADE AGREEMENT

PEDRO SANTANA/AFP/Getty Images

Discovered inside the huge tranche of secretive Obamatrade documents released by Wikileaks are key details on how technically any Republican voting for Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) that would fast-track trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal would technically also be voting to massively expand President Obama’s executive authority when it comes to immigration matters.

The mainstream media covered the Wikileaks document dump extensively, but did not mention the immigration chapter contained within it, so Breitbart News took the documents to immigration experts to get their take on it. Nobody has figured how big a deal the documents uncovered by Wikileaks are until now. (See below)

The president’s Trade in Services Act (TiSA) documents, which is one of the three different close-to-completely-negotiated deals that would be fast-tracked making up the president’s trade agreement, show Obamatrade in fact unilaterally alters current U.S. immigration law. TiSA, like TPP or the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) deals, are international trade agreements that President Obama is trying to force through to final approval. The way he can do so is by getting Congress to give him fast-track authority through TPA.

TiSA is even more secretive than TPP. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill can review the text of TPP in a secret, secured room inside the Capitol—and in some cases can bring staffers who have high enough security clearances—but with TiSA, no such draft text is available.

Voting for TPA, of course, would essentially ensure the final passage of each TPP, T-TIP, and TiSA by Congress, since in the history of fast-track any deal that’s ever started on fast-track has been approved.

Roughly 10 pages of this TiSA agreement document leak are specifically about immigration.

“The existence of these ten pages on immigration in the Trade and Services Agreement make it absolutely clear in my mind that the administration is negotiating immigration – and for them to say they are not – they have a lot of explaining to do based on the actual text in this agreement,” Rosemary Jenks, the Director of Government Relations at Numbers USA, told Breitbart News following her review of these documents.

Obama will be able to finalize all three of the Obamatrade deals, without any Congressional input, if Congress grants him fast-track authority by passing TPA. Fast-track lowers the vote thresholds in the Senate and blocks Congress from amending any trade deals—and also, since each of these three deals are pretty much entirely negotiated already, it wouldn’t lead to any more congressional involvement or transparency with each.

The Senate passed the TPA last month, so it is up to the House to put the brakes on Obama’s unilateral power. The House could vote as early as Friday on fast-track, but may head into next week. By all counts, it’s going to be a very tight vote—and may not pass. It remains to be seen what will happen in light of leaks about things like the immigration provisions of TiSA—which deals with 24 separate parties, mostly different nations but also the European Union. It is focused on increasing the free flow of services worldwide—and with that, comes labor. Labor means immigration and guestworkers.

“This Trade and Services Agreement is specifically mentioned in TPA as being covered by fast-track authority, so why would Congress be passing a Trade Promotion Authority Act that covers this agreement, if the U.S. weren’t intended to be a party to this agreement – so at the very least, there should be specific places where the U.S. exempts itself from these provisions and there are not,” explained Jenks.

She emphasized that this is a draft, but at this point “certainly the implication is that the U.S. intends to be a party to all or some of the provisions of this agreement. There is nothing in there that says otherwise, and there is no question in my mind that some of the provisions in this Trade and Services Agreement would require the United States to change its immigration laws.”

In 2003, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution that said no immigration provision should be in trade agreements – and in fact, former Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) voted for this resolution.

The existence of these 10 pages is in clear violation of that earlier unanimous decision, and also in violation of the statements made by the U.S. Trade Representative.

“He has told members of Congress very specifically the U.S. is not negotiating immigration – or at least is not negotiating any immigration provisions that would require us to change our laws. So, unless major changes are made to the Trade and Services Agreement – that is not true,” said Jenks.

There are three examples within the 10 pages of areas where the U.S. would have to alter current immigration law.

First, on page 4 and 5 of the agreement, roughly 40 industries are listed where potentially the U.S. visa processes would have to change to accommodate the requirements within the agreement.

Jenks explained that under the agreement, the terms don’t have an economic needs based test, which currently U.S. law requires for some types of visa applications in order to show there aren’t American workers available to fill positions.

Secondly, on page 7 of the agreement, it suggests, “The period of processing applications may not exceed 30 days.”

Jenks said this is a massive problem for the U.S. because so many visa applications take longer than 30 days.

“We will not be able to meet those requirements without essentially our government becoming a rubber stamp because it very often takes more than 30 days to process a temporary worker visa,” she said.

Jenks also spotted another issue with the application process.

“The fact that there’s a footnote in this agreement that says that face to face interviews are too burdensome … we’re supposed to be doing face to face interviews with applicants for temporary visas,” she added.

“According to the State Department Consular Officer, it’s the in person interviews that really gives the Consular Officer an opportunity to determine – is this person is a criminal, is this person a terrorist … all of those things are more easily determined when you’re sitting face to face with someone and asking those questions.”

The third issue is present on page 4 of the agreement. It only provides an “[X]” where the number of years would be filled in for the entry or temporary stay.

Jenks explained that for example, with L visas under current U.S. immigration law, the time limit is seven years – so if the agreement were to go beyond seven years, it would change current U.S. law.

This wouldn’t be unconstitutional if Obama has fast-track authority under TPA, as Congress would essentially have given him the power to finalize all aspects of the negotiations, including altering immigration law.

“I think this whole thing makes it very clear that this administration is negotiating immigration – intends to make immigration changes if they can get away with it, and I think it’s that much more critical that Congress ensure that the administration does not have the authority to negotiate immigration,” Jenks said.

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/06/10/revealed-the-secret-immigration-chapter-in-obamas-trade-agreement/

TiSA: A Secret Trade Agreement That Will Usurp America’s Authority to Make Immigration Policy

By  Daniel Costa and Ron Hira

Proponents of Trade Promotion Authority (aka fast-track trade negotiating authority), which the House of Representatives will likely vote on soon, have made an unequivocal promise that future trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will explicitly exclude any provisions that would require a change to U.S. immigration law, regulations, policy, or practices. Many members of Congress in both parties have expressed concern that trade agreements might limit America’s ability to set immigration policy. Republican congressmen Paul Ryan and Robert Goodlatte have responded by explicitly assuring members of their party that there will be no immigration provisions in any trade bill.

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman has stated in an interrogatory with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and via letter that nothing is being negotiated in the TPP that “would require any modification to U.S. immigration law or policy or any changes to the U.S. visa system.”

Furthermore, just a few weeks ago, the Senate Finance Committee released a statement titled “TPA Drives High-Quality Trade Agreements, Not Immigration Law: The Administration Has No Authority Under TPA or Any Pending Trade Agreement to Unilaterally Change U.S. Immigration Laws,” and the committee’s May 12 report on the Fast Track bill that was eventually passed by the full Senate contained this relevant language:

For many years, Congress has made it abundantly clear that international trade agreements should not change, nor require any change, to U.S. immigration law and practice…

The Committee continues to believe that it is not appropriate to negotiate in a trade agreement any provision that would (1) require changes to U.S. immigration law, regulations, policy, or practice; (2) accord immigration-related benefits to parties to trade agreements; (3) commit the United States to keep unchanged, with respect to nationals of parties to trade agreements, one or more existing provisions of U.S. immigration law, policy, or practice; or (4) expand to additional countries immigration-related commitments already made by the United States in earlier trade agreements.

Congress’ intent could not be any clearer, but there’s strong evidence to doubt that these assurances will be upheld. If you read these statements closely, you’ll see that most of them concern only the TPP and its lack of impact on immigration policy. But the Trade in Services Agreement, or “TiSA”—another trade deal being negotiated in secret by the Obama administration—is another story; there is little doubt that it will constrain the future ability of the United States Congress to regulate U.S. immigration policy. In fact, deregulating the U.S. work visa system, and therefore opening it up to foreign corporations that provide services (as opposed to goods) is the explicit purpose of an entire annex (section) in TiSA, entitled “Movement of Natural Persons.” The text was heretofore secret until Wikileaks published it on its website last week.

It should be noted that much of the text is a proposed draft for negotiation, and within the text, numerous parts of specific provisions are bracketed to denote which countries support or oppose particular sections or language within sections. But the thrust of the text in the annex is clear. For example, Article 4 is about the schedules (i.e., lists) of commitments that countries will have to put together regarding the “Entry and Temporary Stay of Natural Persons,” and a proposed version of Article 4, Section 2 would prohibit member states from “maintain[ing] or adopt[ing] Economic Needs Tests, including labor market tests, as a requirement for a visa or work permit” in the sectors where commitments are made. (In other words, U.S. laws or regulations limiting guestworkers only to jobs where no U.S. workers were available would violate the terms of the treaty.)

Proposed draft Article 5, Section 1 then requires that “Each Party shall take market access and national treatment commitments for intra-corporate transferees, business visitors and categories delinked from commercial presence: contractual service suppliers and independent professionals.” Section 3 gets more specific about the sectors of the economy where member states will have to allow access to intra-corporate transferees, business visitors, contractual service suppliers, and independent professionals:

3. Subject to any terms, limitations, conditions and qualifications that the Party sets out in its Schedule, Parties shall allow entry and temporary stay of [contractual service suppliers and independent professionals3] for a minimum of [X%] of the following sectors/sub-sectors:

Professional services:

  1. Accounting, auditing and bookkeeping services (CPC 862)
  2. Architectural services (CPC 8671)
  3. Engineering services (CPC 8672)
  4. Integrated engineering services (CPC 8673)
  5. Urban planning and landscape architectural services (CPC 8674)
  6. Medical & dental services (CPC 9312)
  7. Veterinary services (CPC 932)
  8. Services provided by midwives, nurses, physiotherapists and paramedical personnel (CPC 93191)

Computer and related services:

  1. Consultancy services related to the installation of computer hardware (CPC 841)
  2. Software implementation services (CPC 842)
  3. Data processing services (CPC 843)
  4. Data base services (CPC 844)
  5. Other (CPC 845+849)

Research and Development services:

  1. R&D services on natural sciences (CPC 851)
  2. R&D services on social sciences and humanities (CPC 852)
  3. Interdisciplinary R&D services (CPC 853)

Other business services

  1. Advertising services (CPC 871)
  2. Market research and public opinion polling services (CPC 864)
  3. Management consulting services (CPC 865)
  4. Services related to management consulting (CPC 866)
  5. Technical testing & analysis services (CPC 8676)
  6. [CH propose: Services incidental to manufacturing]
  7. Related scientific and technical consulting services (CPC 8675)
  8. Maintenance and repair of equipment (not including maritime vessels, aircraft or other transport equipment) (CPC 633 + 8861-8866)
  9. Specialty design services (CPC 87907)

Construction and related engineering services:

  1. General construction work for buildings (CPC 512)
  2. General construction work for civil engineering (CPC 513)
  3. Installation and assembly work (CPC514+516)
  4. Building completion and finishing work (CPC 517)
  5. Other (CPC 511+515+518)

Environmental services:

  1. Sewage services (CPC 9401)
  2. Refuse disposal services (CPC 9402)
  3. Sanitation and similar services (CPC 9403)
  4. Other

[CH propose: Financial Services]

[CH propose: Financial advisors]

Tourism and travel related services:

  1. Hotels and Restaurants (CPC Ex. 641)
  2. Travel Agencies and Tour Operators services (CPC 7471)
  3. Tourist Guides services (CPC 7472)

[CH propose: Transport services

[CH propose: Other services auxiliary to all modes of transport CPC]

Recreational, cultural and sporting services:

38. Sporting and other recreational services (CPC 964)

In the United States, this means the L-1 intra-company transferee, B-1 business visitor visa programs, and any other applicable visa programs could be used to permit temporary employees from abroad to work in the United States, and no economic needs tests (i.e., testing the labor market) could ever be imposed by Congress. To translate, that means that foreign firms would not be required to advertise jobs to U.S. workers, or to hire U.S. workers if they were equally or better qualified for job openings in their own country. (It should be noted that the L-1 is already restricted in this way, as a result of the United States’ commitments under the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATS).) These visa programs are already under-regulated and abused by employers, but since neither the L-1 nor the B-1 visa program is numerically limited by law, this means that potentially hundreds of thousands of workers could enter the United States every year to work in these 38 sectors.

This is worrying and problematic, not because there shouldn’t be any foreign competition from service-providing companies in the United States, but because the competitive advantage foreign companies will get from TiSA is the ability to provide cheaper services by importing much cheaper labor to supplant American workers. They’ll do this by paying their workers the much lower salaries they would earn in their home countries (as they often already do in the L-1 and B-1 visa programs), and the United States might even be prohibited in future from imposing minimum or prevailing wage standards (at present, neither the L-1 or B-1 visa program has a minimum or prevailing wage rule).

There is clear precedent for this. The multilateral GATS agreement, to which the United States is a party, includes limits on the U.S. government’s ability to change the rules on H-1B and L-1 guestworker visas. That’s why when Congress wants to raise visa fees, as they did in 2010, the Indian government cries foul and threatens to formally complain to the World Trade Organization. The U.S.-Chile and U.S.-Singapore trade deals also included new guestworker programs similar to the H-1B and constraints on the U.S. government’s ability to set rules on L-1 intracompany transfers.

The TiSA draft annex on Movement of Natural Persons would also likely restrict the ability of the current and future administrations to continue some of the basic immigration procedures it currently follows, such as requiring an in-person interview with L-1 applicants. The draft treaty might even prohibit common sense legislative proposals that Congress has considered over the past few years, including minimum wage rules for companies seeking to hire guestworkers in the L-1 visa program. This is particularly disturbing since the L-1 visa program has been a primary vehicle to facilitate the offshoring of high wage jobs and for replacing American workers with cheaper guestworkers.

TiSA has been written in secret by and for major corporations that will benefit greatly if it becomes law. If the House of Representatives grants the Obama administration the fast-track trade promotion authority it seeks, the authority will be valid for six years, which means TiSA (like TPP) would also get an up-or-down vote in Congress without any amendments—making it very likely to pass and become law without the necessary democratic deliberations on immigration that such major changes should have. The leaked TiSA text makes it clear that contrary to the claims by proponents of fast-track trade promotion authority, the reality is that those voting for fast track are ceding key powers to make immigration law and policy to an unelected group of corporations and foreign governments.

REVEALED: THE SECRET IMMIGRATION CHAPTER IN OBAMA’S TRADE AGREEMENT

Roughly 10 pages of this TiSA agreement document leak are specifically about immigration

Revealed: The Secret Immigration Chapter in Obama’s Trade Agreement
Image Credits: Backbone Campaign / Flickr.

by ALEX SWOYER | BREITBART | JUNE 10, 2015
Share on Facebook89Tweet about this on Twitter65Share on Google+0Email this to someonePrint this page
Discovered inside the huge tranche of secretive Obamatrade documents released by Wikileaks are key details on how technically any Republican voting for Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) that would fast-track trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal would technically also be voting to massively expand President Obama’s executive authority when it comes to immigration matters.

The mainstream media covered the Wikileaks document dump extensively, but did not mention the immigration chapter contained within it, so Breitbart News took the documents to immigration experts to get their take on it. Nobody has figured how big a deal the documents uncovered by Wikileaks are until now. (See below)

The president’s Trade in Services Act (TiSA) documents, which is one of the three different close-to-completely-negotiated deals that would be fast-tracked making up the president’s trade agreement, show Obamatrade in fact unilaterally alters current U.S. immigration law. TiSA, like TPP or the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) deals, are international trade agreements that President Obama is trying to force through to final approval. The way he can do so is by getting Congress to give him fast-track authority through TPA.
TiSA is even more secretive than TPP. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill can review the text of TPP in a secret, secured room inside the Capitol—and in some cases can bring staffers who have high enough security clearances—but with TiSA, no such draft text is available.

Voting for TPA, of course, would essentially ensure the final passage of each TPP, T-TIP, and TiSA by Congress, since in the history of fast-track any deal that’s ever started on fast-track has been approved.

Roughly 10 pages of this TiSA agreement document leak are specifically about immigration.

http://www.infowars.com/revealed-the-secret-immigration-chapter-in-obamas-trade-agreement/

The congressional trade debate, explained in 6 factions

By Amber Phillips

Few issues shuffle Washington around into weird alliances like trade policy. President Obama’s two ambitious, legacy-defining trade deals with Pacific Rim countries and Europe are no different.

Obama is trying to get Congress to let him negotiate the deals without lawmakers’ input until the very end, when Congress would get a yes-or-no vote on each deal. It’s known as “fast-track authority.” The Senate approved the president’s power to do that in last month, but the bigger challenge is in the House of Representatives.

It’s a tough sell, but not for the reasons you might think. Broadly speaking, House Republicans are on board; Democrats, not so much.

A major reason for the division is labor unions, which fear trade deals can take manufacturing jobs away from American workers and ship them overseas. Labor unions are also huge supporters of Democrats. So Obama and Republicans are in the odd situation of trying to convince Democrats to reluctantly give the president what he wants.

As they scramble to find the votes ahead of a potential vote on Friday, here are the six factions Congress falls into on trade.

1. The Labor Democrats

Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is not a fan of Obama’s trade deals. (REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)
Who they are: Pretty much all House and Senate Democrats who don’t want labor unions spending big money against them in their next campaigns. In the House, that’s about two-thirds of the party’s 180 Democrats. Labor unions have become the most vocal group on either side of the trade debate, and they appear to be putting their money where their mouth is. Politico reports labor activists say they’ll run $84,000 in TV ads against a California Democrat who supports the fast-track bill.

On Capitol Hill, Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts lead the charge for this group. On the campaign trail, Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley also oppose the trade deals.

What they believe: That opening up U.S. markets to foreign countries will also open up American workers to lower wages and job losses, particularly while U.S. manufacturing companies take advantage of open borders to move plants overseas for cheaper labor.

There’s some truth to that, economists say. By allowing goods and services to flow more freely across borders, trade deals helps countries specialize in just a few goods and services they’re really good at. That makes economies more efficient but means some workers will inevitably lose out.

But the size of which industries like manufacturing will lose out in these trade deals is debatable, as many such low-wage jobs have already moved overseas.

Key talking point: Warren: The deals are “going to help the rich get richer and leave everyone else behind.”

2. Silicon Valley Democrats

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is among those who support Obama’s trade deals. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Who they are: A relatively small group of about 40 pro-business, moderate Democrats who are allied with Silicon Valley executives. The Washington Post’s David Nakamura notes those executives include the influential Silicon Valley Leadership Group, which represents 390 companies, including Facebook, Google and Microsoft, and is aligned with tech CEOs from Cisco Systems, Oracle and AT&T in lobbying for fast track.

What they believe: That the trade deals — and particularly Obama’s massive 12-nation deal with Pacific Rim countries — protects one of America’s top money-makers: intellectual property. The deals as drafted strengthen patents and extend copyright protections for the things Americans are good at inventing, like pharmaceuticals, movies and technology start-ups.

This argument offers Democrats an alternative to labor unions’ message: Perhaps some manufacturing jobs will indeed ship overseas, but low-wage manufacturing isn’t where America’s economy is headed anyways.

Key talking point: Obama made the best argument for this group recently: “If we are going to capture the future, then we’ve got to open up markets to the kinds of things that we’re really good at, that can’t be duplicated overseas.”

3. On-the-fence Democrats

U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) speaks to the press about the potential for a U.S. government shutdown, alongside House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), are torn on trade. (REUTERS/Jason Reed )
Who’s in this camp: A handful of Democrats who are torn between supporting their president and the labor unions’ strong pull. These Democrats include House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland. This group is small but significant; Obama and Republicans need about 25 Democrats to support the fast-track legislation when it comes to a vote, so the president is lobbying these people hard.

What they think: Two competing thoughts here: Let’s give our president what he wants … but I don’t know if that’s worth risking a primary challenge supported by labor unions.

With the vote count coming down to the wire, the AP’s Josh Lederman reports Obama has promised to help campaign in 2016 for anyone in this group who crosses the line and votes yes for fast-track legislation.

Key talking point: “There’s a difference between growing the economy and helping American companies grow the bottom line and creating jobs.” Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) told The Hill.
4. Gung-ho trade supporters

House Speaker John A. Boehner, left, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are Obama’s biggest advocates on trade. (AP Photo/PennLive.com, Mark Pynes )
Who’s in this camp: Establishment Republicans, including leaders like House Speaker John A. Boehner (Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), have Obama’s back on fast-track legislation and the two trade bills. In the House, they have the support of about 110 Republicans, according to The Hill’s whip count.

What they believe: Trade deals are job creators, because they allow the United States to require other countries to the same labor and environmental standards that our businesses must follow. That makes a more even global playing field for Americans. And fast-tracking the deals is the only way to get them negotiated; imagine if every country involved allowed its legislative bodies to chime in. Nothing would get done!

Key talking point: “We have a chance here to write the rules on our terms,” said Rep. Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican who is central to crafting the fast-track legislation. “We have a chance here to write the rules on our terms, to raise other countries to our standards, to create more opportunity for our people.”

5. The anti-Obama Republicans

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) has warned about the dangers of giving Obama fast track trade authority. (AP Photo/CBS News, Chris Usher)
Who’s in this camp: Republicans who might support fast-track legislation and the trade deals but who are wary of giving the president so much authority to negotiate them without Congress’s input. This camp encompasses about 50 of Republicans’ Southern and tea party-leaning lawmakers.

What they believe: By voting for fast-track legislation, they’re essentially blocking themselves from the discussion about what should be put in the trade deals.

Key talking point: Here’s one from Alabama Rep. Bradley Byrne’s (R) office: “Congressman Byrne is a strong supporter of free trade, which supports almost 3,000 jobs in the 1st district alone. That said, he believes Congress must have a seat at the table as the trade negotiations continue.”

6. The swing-state Republicans

Rep. Dave Joyce (R-Ohio) is among a small group of swing state House Republicans who are worried about a vote on trade. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Who’s in this camp: About 12-20 recently elected House Republicans who came into power during midterm Republican waves and now represent swing districts with decisive moderate constituents who might not like Obama’s trade deals. They include Midwestern lawmakers like Ohio’s David Joyce and Long Island’s Rep. Lee Zeldin.

The environmentalist group Sierra Club recently held a rally in Zeldin’s district to convince him to oppose the fast-track legislation.
What they believe: This group usually aligns with the Republican establishment on most issues. But on trade, these lawmakers carry the same concerns as Labor Democrats: A vote for fast track could mean a vote for them out of office.

Key talking point: “I support trade,” Zeldin told Facebook supporters in March. But on the trade deals and fast-track authority, “I will read it and decide at that time whether to vote for it or against it.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/06/10/heres-what-you-need-to-know-about-the-trade-debate-explained-by-6-house-factions/

Obama makes last-ditch plea to Dems ahead of showdown vote on trade

President Obama went to Capitol Hill Friday morning to make a final plea to congressional Democrats for his trade agenda, ahead of a showdown vote in the House.

The president met with House Democratic leaders ahead of a caucus meeting. While it is extremely rare for a president to make a visit like this before a big vote, the last-minute lobbying comes after the president also made a surprise appearance at the annual congressional baseball game between Democrats and Republicans the night before. His personal involvement underscores how fragile the effort is — Fox News is told the effort is still short on the votes — and how important he sees it to his second-term legacy.

The night before, a bizarre scene unfolded as the crowd crammed inside Nationals Park lurched into a chant about the legislation.

“TPA! TPA! TPA!” chanted Republican congressional aides seated near the first base dugout when Obama stepped onto the field at the top of the fourth inning.

This wasn’t quite the drunken, Bronx throng at Yankee Stadium cantillating “Reg-GIE! Reg-GIE! Reg-GIE!” after Reggie Jackson swatted three consecutive home runs in Game Six of the 1977 World Series. This was gamesmanship, Washington-style. A game in which most congressional Republicans find themselves backing the Democratic president’s efforts to pass Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), a framework for a big trade deal the administration hopes to advance later this year.

TPA, which would give the president the ability to “fast-track” future trade deals, is one of two bills due up in the House on Friday. And it’s anybody’s guess if the bills will pass. Members of Congress may have been mixing it up on the diamond. But there is just as much gamesmanship underway on Capitol Hill as lawmakers try to leverage passage or defeat of the trade legislation.

More on this…

  • Stage set for vote to give Obama fast-track trade authority

First, the basics.

Most House Republicans want to approve TPA. But they don’t quite have the votes to do it on their own. They need Democratic support. Yet the irony is that even though Obama is pushing the deal, only about 20-plus House Democrats support their own chief executive on this issue.

So various political gambits kick in.

Republicans find it absurd that Obama can’t persuade more than two-dozen Democratic members to support the trade plan. Conversely, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is stunned that House Republicans, boasting a 246-188 majority, can’t excavate at least 200 GOPers to approve the package.

So Pelosi and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, cut a deal. Neither side promised a certain number of votes to the other. But both House leaders forged a plan which could conceivably reward both sides with a political victory and concurrently test their respective abilities to gin up votes.

Pelosi and Boehner engineered a deal to advance the trade framework to the floor – so long as Democrats scored a vote on something called Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA).

TAA is a program near and dear to the hearts of many Democrats. It’s a method to cushion the blow for various workers and industries damaged by business reallocations in trade agreements. So House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., teed up  two votes for Friday: One for TAA and one on TPA. But a TPA vote was contingent on the House first adopting TAA. The procedural maneuver would require Republicans to carry most of the freight to adopt TPA. But to get there, Democrats would be expected to provide the lion’s share of votes for TAA. If the House doesn’t approve TAA, everything comes to a screeching halt and there’s no vote on TPA.

Further complicating matters, Pelosi has spoken openly against the trade accord but has yet to definitively say how she’ll vote.

Capitol Hill is weird. Weird enough to have Republicans serving as Obama’s TPA cheerleaders – both at the ballpark and in the House chamber. It’s even weirder to have House Democrats working against Obama on this. And then there’s Pelosi – stuck in the middle.

On trade, Pelosi is a switch-pitcher. She’s trying to keep the Democratic caucus from embarrassing Obama with a paltry vote total for TPA. Yet she’s working to make sure most of her caucus gets what it wants: a defeat of TPA. At the same time, Pelosi secured a deal for the TAA vote – which could help pass TPA … or blow it up.

Major League Baseball has a rule for ambidextrous pitchers, few as there may be. Such cross-hurlers must first declare whether they intend to pitch left-handed or right-handed to each batter. There’s no such rule on Capitol Hill. That’s why when it comes to trade, Pelosi is chucking political curveballs from both sides of the mound.

But Democrats are working against Pelosi. A senior House GOP leadership source says Republicans can only provide 50 to 70 votes for TAA. Democrats must make up the difference. However, many Democrats now see a means to an end. Some intend to vote no on TAA simply to detonate the entire process and never get the TPA bill to the floor — which they so despise.

The House nearly voted to truncate the entire process before the first pitch, coming close to voting down a procedural vote just to get the measures to the floor.

Some observers interpreted the uneven procedural vote as a harbinger of things to come Friday on the trade bills. Some lawmakers wondered if Obama – fresh off his dugout diplomatic mission — might ring up lawmakers and implore them to vote aye.

One longtime Democratic member doubted that would happen, noting that Obama had already done all of the calling he could do.

There are games here, too. The same lawmaker signaled that some colleagues might not even take the call if the president phones. In fact, they might even keep their phones switched off.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/06/12/house-obama-trade-agenda/

Obama-backed trade bill fails in the House

By David Nakamura and Paul Kane

President Obama suffered a major defeat to his Pacific Rim free trade initiative Friday as House Democrats helped derail a key presidential priority despite his last-minute, personal plea on Capitol Hill.

The House voted 302 to 126 to sink a measure to grant financial aid to displaced workers, fracturing hopes at the White House that Congress would grant Obama fast-track trade authority to complete an accord with 11 other Pacific Rim nations.

“I will be voting to slow down fast-track,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on the floor moments before the vote, after keeping her intentions private for months. “Today we have an opportunity to slow down. Whatever the deal is with other countries, we want a better deal for American workers.”

The dramatic defeat could sink the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a sweeping free trade and regulatory pact that Obama has called central to his economic agenda at home and his foreign policy strategy in Asia. Obama’s loss came after a months-long lobbying blitz in which the president invested significant personal credibility and political capital.

Republican leaders, who had backed the president’s trade initiative, pleaded with their colleagues to support the deal or risk watching the United States lose economic ground in Asia.

“The world is watching us right now,” Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said before the vote.

Obama had rushed to Capitol Hill on Friday morning to make a last-ditch plea to an emergency meeting of the Democratic caucus. The president urged members to vote with their conscience and “play it straight,” urging them to support the financial package for displaced workers, which Democrats have long supported.

“I don’t think you ever nail anything down around here,” Obama told reporters on his way out of the Capitol. “It’s always moving.”

But anti-trade Democrats pushed hard to block the financial aid plan, knowing that its defeat would also torpedo a companion measure to grant Obama fast-track authority to complete the TPP. That bill was later approved with overwhelming Republican support in what amounted to a symbolic vote because it could not move forward into law without the related worker assistance package.

The legislation is now paralyzed in the House — “stuck in the station,” as Pelosi described in her speech. House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) has decided to give Obama the weekend to try to coax enough Democrats into supporting the worker assistance package by bringing it up for reconsideration next Tuesday.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest insisted that the president’s trade agenda was still alive and vowed that Obama would continue to urge passage of the package in the coming days. He noted that the Senate approved the fast track legislation last month after initially voting to block it.

“To the surprise of very few, another procedural snafu has emerged,” Earnest said in an attempt to play down the outcome.

In a message on Twitter, AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka, one of the most vehement opponents of the trade deal, hailed Pelosi as “a champion for workers.”

[The trade deal, explained for people who fall asleep hearing about trade deals]

Obama made an impassioned plea during his visit to Capitol Hill. But he appeared not to have changed many minds among fellow Democrats. After the president departed, two anti-trade Democrats, Louise Slaughter of New York and Gene Green of Texas, came out of the meeting determined to oppose Obama.

“I don’t want this trade bill to go through,” Slaughter, who represents the economically depressed area of Rochester, said of the fast-track bill.

Several members said Obama took no questions and received applause on several occasions when discussing his previous efforts to deliver on Democratic priorities.

Lawmakers said the White House had pushed harder on trade than any legislative issue since the health-care reform effort during his first year. After keeping trade on the back burner, Obama joined forces with business-friendly Republicans after the midterm elections in pursuit of a rare bipartisan deal and launched a fierce effort to win support from his usual Democratic allies over the intense opposition of labor unions.

“The president and his counselors understand that this is a legacy vote for his second term,” Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.), who supported the fast-track bill, said Thursday. “It’s a philosophical battle, a political battle and an economic battle. The president finds himself in the crossfire with the base.”

The debate among Democrats has at times been raw and personal, and it has exposed old divisions on trade as the party attempts to coalesce around a common agenda ahead of the 2016 campaign to select Obama’s successor. Other Democratic leaders, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), have questioned Obama’s commitment to workers and the middle class, while union officials accused the president of marginalizing them.

“I would ask that you not mischaracterize our positions and views — even in the heat of a legislative battle,” Trumka wrote this week in a letter to the president. “You have repeatedly isolated and marginalized labor and unions.”

White House officials had cast the dispute with labor as a difference of opinion that does not reflect a deeper divide within a party focused on stemming the nation’s growing wealth divide. Obama has framed the 12-nation TPP as a way to lock in rules to ensure U.S. economic primacy in the fast-growing Asian-Pacific region against increasing competition from China. In the president’s view, that would benefit American workers as the world’s economy shifts toward high-tech industries in which the United States maintains an advantage.

A failure on fast-track could lend weight to Chinese claims that the United States does not have staying power in Asia.

The president’s pitch was met with widespread skepticism among Democrats who blame past trade deals for killing jobs and depressing wages for Americans in traditional manufacturing work.

[What Chicago Democrats tell us about Obama’s problems on trade]

On Thursday night, Obama made a surprise visit to the annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity at Nationals Park to woo Pelosi and other Democrats.

“The president is personally engaged on this,” Wyden said Thursday. “He’s all in.”

Despite the intensive campaign, however, Obama struggled to convince more than a sliver of House Democrats to back his push for the fast-track authority. The legislation would have allowed him to submit the trade pact to Congress for a vote in a specified timetable without lawmakers being able to amend it.

The White House has called such powers crucial to persuading the other 11 nations involved in the TPP negotiations to put their best offers on the table in the final round of talks this summer.

But opponents said they feared that approving the fast-track measure would be akin to ratifying a pact that is still being negotiated and whose terms have been kept largely hidden from public view. (Lawmakers are permitted to read draft sections of the agreement in a classified setting and are prevented from talking about specifics in public.)

On Thursday, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and other Obama aides huddled with House Democrats in a bid to alleviate objections.

But at each turn, the administration was met by a determined coalition of opponents, made up of labor unions, environmental groups and progressive Democrats. Led by Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.), the coalition has been meeting for two years with individual Democrats, and with small groups, to pressure them to oppose a fast-track bill.

Trumka met with the same House Democrats on Thursday soon after the White House officials had departed.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/president-obama-is-all-in-on-trade-sees-it-as-a-cornerstone-of-his-legacy/2015/06/12/32b6dce8-1073-11e5-a0dc-2b6f404ff5cf_story.html

Fast track (trade)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is in a list format that may be better presented using prose. You can help by converting this article to prose, if appropriate. Editing help is available. (June 2015)
The fast track negotiating authority for trade agreements is the authority of the President of the United States to negotiate international agreements that Congress can approve or disapprove but cannot amend or filibuster. Also called trade promotion authority (TPA) since 2002, fast track negotiating authority is a temporary and controversial power granted to the President by Congress. The authority was in effect from 1975 to 1994, pursuant to the Trade Act of 1974, and from 2002 to 2007 by the Trade Act of 2002. Although it expired for new agreements on July 1, 2007, it continued to apply to agreements already under negotiation until they were eventually passed into law in 2011. In 2012, the Obama administration began seeking renewal of the authority.

Enactment and history
Congress started the fast track authority in the Trade Act of 1974, § 151–154 (19 U.S.C. § 2191–2194). This authority was set to expire in 1980, but was extended for eight years in 1979.[1] It was renewed in 1988 for five years to accommodate negotiation of the Uruguay Round, conducted within the framework of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).[2] It was then extended to 16 April 1994,[3][4][5] which is one day after the Uruguay Round concluded in the Marrakech Agreement, transforming the GATT into the World Trade Organization (WTO). Pursuant to that grant of authority, Congress then enacted implementing legislation for the U.S.-Israel Free Trade Area, the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the Uruguay Round Agreements Act.

In the second half of the 1990s, fast track authority languished due to opposition from House Republicans.[6]

Republican Presidential candidate George W. Bush made fast track part of his campaign platform in 2000.[7] In May 2001, as president he made a speech about the importance of free trade at the annual Council of the Americas in New York, founded by David Rockefeller and other senior U.S. businessmen in 1965. Subsequently, the Council played a role in the implementation and securing of TPA through Congress.[8]

At 3:30 a.m. on July 27, 2002, the House passed the Trade Act of 2002 narrowly by a 215 to 212 vote with 190 Republicans and 27 Democrats making up the majority. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 64 to 34 on August 1, 2002. The Trade Act of 2002, § 2103–2105 (19 U.S.C. § 3803–3805), extended and conditioned the application of the original procedures.

Under the second period of fast track authority, Congress enacted implementing legislation for the U.S.–Chile Free Trade Agreement, the U.S.–Singapore Free Trade Agreement, the Australia–U.S. Free Trade Agreement, the U.S.–Morocco Free Trade Agreement, the Dominican Republic–Central America Free Trade Agreement, the U.S.–Bahrain Free Trade Agreement, the U.S.–Oman Free Trade Agreement, and the Peru–U.S. Trade Promotion Agreement. The authority expired on July 1, 2007.[9]

In October 2011, the Congress and President Obama enacted into law the Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, the South Korea–U.S. Free Trade Agreement, and the Panama–U.S. Trade Promotion Agreement using fast track rules, all of which the George W. Bush administration signed before the deadline.[10]

In early 2012, the Obama administration indicated that renewal of the authority is a requirement for the conclusion of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, which have been undertaken as if the authority were still in effect.[11] In July 2013, Michael Froman, the newly confirmed U.S. Trade Representative, renewed efforts to obtain Congressional reinstatement of “fast track” authority. At nearly the same time, Senator Elizabeth Warren questioned Froman about the prospect of a secretly negotiated, binding international agreement such as TPP that might turn out to supersede U.S. wage, safety, and environmental laws.[12] Other legislators expressed concerns about foreign currency manipulation, food safety laws, state-owned businesses, market access for small businesses, access to pharmaceutical products, and online commerce.[10]

In early 2014, Senator Max Baucus and Congressman Dave Camp introduced the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014,[13] which sought to reauthorize trade promotion authority and establish a number of priorities and requirements for trade agreements.[14] Its sponsors called it a “vital tool” in connection with negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and trade negotiations with the EU.[13] Critics said the bill could detract from “transparency and accountability”. Sander Levin, who is the ranking Democratic member on the House Ways and Means committee, said he would make an alternative proposal.[15]

Procedure[edit]
If the President transmits a fast track trade agreement to Congress, then the majority leaders of the House and Senate or their designees must introduce the implementing bill submitted by the President on the first day on which their House is in session. (19 U.S.C. § 2191(c)(1).) Senators and Representatives may not amend the President’s bill, either in committee or in the Senate or House. (19 U.S.C. § 2191(d).) The committees to which the bill has been referred have 45 days after its introduction to report the bill, or be automatically discharged, and each House must vote within 15 days after the bill is reported or discharged. (19 U.S.C. § 2191(e)(1).)

In the likely case that the bill is a revenue bill (as tariffs are revenues), the bill must originate in the House (see U.S. Const., art I, sec. 7), and after the Senate received the House-passed bill, the Finance Committee would have another 15 days to report the bill or be discharged, and then the Senate would have another 15 days to pass the bill. (19 U.S.C. § 2191(e)(2).) On the House and Senate floors, each Body can debate the bill for no more than 20 hours, and thus Senators cannot filibuster the bill and it will pass with a simple majority vote. (19 U.S.C. § 2191(f)-(g).) Thus the entire Congressional consideration could take no longer than 90 days.

Negotiating objectives[edit]
According to the Congressional Research Service, Congress categorizes trade negotiating objectives in three ways: overall objectives, principal objectives, and other priorities. The broader goals encapsulate the overall direction trade negotiations take, such as enhancing the United States’ and other countries’ economies. Principal objectives are detailed goals that Congress expects to be integrated into trade agreements, such as “reducing barriers and distortions to trade (e.g., goods, services, agriculture); protecting foreign investment and intellectual property rights; encouraging transparency; establishing fair regulatory practices; combating corruption; ensuring that countries enforce their environmental and labor laws; providing for an effective dispute settlement process; and protecting the U.S. right to enforce its trade remedy laws”. Consulting Congress is also an important objective.[16]

Principal objectives include:

Market access: These negotiating objectives seek to reduce or eliminate barriers that limit market access for U.S. products. “It also calls for the use of sectoral tariff and non-tariff barrier elimination agreements to achieve greater market access.”
Services: Services objectives “require that U.S. negotiator strive to reduce or eliminate barriers to trade in services, including regulations that deny nondiscriminatory treatment to U.S. services and inhibit the right of establishment (through foreign investment) to U.S. service providers.”
Agriculture: There are three negotiating objectives regarding agriculture. One lays out in greater detail what U.S. negotiators should achieve in negotiating robust trade rules on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures. The second calls for trade negotiators to ensure transparency in how tariff-rate quotas are administered that may impede market access opportunities. The third seeks to eliminate and prevent the improper use of a country’s system to protect or recognize geographical indications (GI). These are trademark-like terms used to protect the quality and reputation of distinctive agricultural products, wines and spirits produced in a particular region of a country. This new objective is intended to counter in large part the European Union’s efforts to include GI protection in its bilateral trade agreements for the names of its products that U.S. and other country exporters argue are generic in nature or commonly used across borders, such as parma ham or Parmesan cheese.”

Investment/Investor rights: “The overall negotiating objectives on foreign investment are designed “to reduce or eliminate artificial or trade distorting barriers to foreign investment, while ensuring that foreign investors in the United States are not accorded greater substantive rights with respect to investment protections than domestic investors in the United States, and to secure for investors important rights comparable to those that would be available under the United States legal principles and practices.”[17]

Scope
Fast track agreements were enacted as “congressional-executive agreements” (CEAs), which must be approved by a simple majority in both chambers of Congress.

Although Congress cannot explicitly transfer its powers to the executive branch, the 1974 trade promotion authority had the effect of delegating power to the executive, minimizing consideration of the public interest, and limiting the legislature’s influence over the bill to an up or down vote:[18]

It allowed the executive branch to select countries for, set the substance of, negotiate and then sign trade agreements without prior congressional approval.

It allowed the executive branch to negotiate trade agreements covering more than just tariffs and quotas.
It established a committee system, comprising 700 industry representatives appointed by the president, to serve as advisors to the negotiations. Throughout trade talks, these individuals had access to confidential negotiating documents. Most members of Congress and the public had no such access, and there were no committees for consumer, health, environmental or other public interests.
It empowered the executive branch to author an agreement’s implementing legislation without Congressional input.

It required the executive branch to notify Congress 90 days before signing and entering into an agreement, but allowed unlimited time for the implementing legislation to be submitted.
It forced a floor vote on the agreement and its implementing legislation in both chambers of Congress; the matters could not “die in committee.”

It eliminated several floor procedures, including Senate unanimous consent, normal debate and cloture rules, and the ability to amend the legislation.

It prevented filibuster by limiting debate to 20 hours in each chamber.
It elevated the Special Trade Representative (STR) to the cabinet level, and required the Executive Office to house the agency.

The 1979 version of the authority changed the name of the STR to the U.S. Trade Representative.[18]

The 2002 version of the authority created an additional requirement for 90-day notice to Congress before negotiations could begin.[18]

Arguments in favor[edit]
Helps pass trade agreements: According to AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall L. Stephenson, Trade Promotion Authority is “critical to completing new trade agreements that have the potential to unleash U.S. economic growth and investment”. Jason Furman, chairman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, also said “the United States might become less competitive globally if it disengaged from seeking further trade openings: ‘If you’re not in an agreement—that trade will be diverted from us to someone else—we will lose out to another country'”.[19]

Congress is allowed more say and members are shielded: According to I.M. Destler of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, fast track “has effectively bridged the division of power between the two branches. It gives executive branch (USTR) negotiators needed credibility to conclude trade agreements by assuring other nations’ representatives that Congress won’t rework them; it guarantees a major Congressional role in trade policy while reducing members’ vulnerability to special interests”.[20]
Assurance for foreign governments: According to President Reagan’s Attorney General Edwin Meese III, “it is extremely difficult for any U.S. President to negotiate significant trade deals if he cannot assure other nations that Congress will refrain from adding numerous amendments and conditions that must then be taken back to the negotiating table”. The very nature of Trade Promotion Authority requires Congress to vote on the agreements before they can take effect, meaning that without TPA, “those agreements might never even be negotiated”.[21]

Arguments against
Unconstitutional: Groups opposed to Trade Promotion Authority claim that it places too much power in the executive branch, “allowing the president to unilaterally select partner countries for ‘trade’ pacts, decide the agreements’ contents, and then negotiate and sign the agreements—all before Congress has a vote on the matter. Normal congressional committee processes are forbidden, meaning that the executive branch is empowered to write lengthy legislation on its own with no review or amendments.”[22]

Lack of transparency: Democratic members of Congress and general right-to-know internet groups are among those opposed to trade fast track on grounds of a lack of transparency. Such Congressmen have complained that fast track forces “members to jump over hurdles to see negotiation texts and blocks staffer involvement. In 2012, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) complained that corporate lobbyists were given easy access while his office was being stymied, and even introduced protest legislation requiring more congressional input.”[23]

Renewed Interest
As recently as May 21, 2015, the United States Senate has utilized the fast-track process to move a trade bill between the U.S. as well as Japan and 10 other countries. Although the bill has yet to move to the House, the renewed interest in this tract is intriguing given the 2016 election cycle beginning to pick up. [24]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fast_track_(trade)

Trade Adjustment Assistance

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) is a federal program of the United States government to act as a way to reduce the damaging impact of imports felt by certain sectors of the U.S. economy. The current structure features four components of Trade Adjustment Assistance: for Workers, Firms, Farmers, and Communities. Each Cabinet level Department was tasked with a different sector of the overall Trade Adjustment Assistance program. The program for workers is the largest, and administered by the U.S. Department of Labor. The program for Farmers is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Firms and Communities programs are administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

History

Trade Adjustment Assistance consists of four programs authorized under the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 and defined further under the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. § 2341 et seq) (Trade Act). The original idea for a trade compensation program goes back to 1939.[1] Later, it was proposed by President John F. Kennedyas part of the total package to open up free trade. President Kennedy said: “When considerations of national policy make it desirable to avoid higher tariffs, those injured by that competition should not be required to bear the full brunt of the impact. Rather, the burden of economic adjustment should be borne in part by the Federal Government.”[2]

Justification

TAA for workers

Supporters argue that free trade offers widespread benefits among consumers, workers and firms in the U.S. in terms of lower prices, higher efficiency and quality, and more jobs. They claim that gains from negotiated trade deals are large and widely distributed across sectors. For example, in 2011 there were 9.7 million jobs supported by exports, nearly 15% more than in 2010.[3] Benefits from free trade agreements (FTA) with Chile, Singapore, Australia, Morocco, and South Korea for the U.S. economy are estimated in $4 billion, $17 billion, $19 billion, $6 billion and $30 billion, respectively.[4]

In order to achieve trade benefits, however, the U.S. economy must reallocate production factors between sectors. Thus, free trade also leads to costs associated with workers displaced by import competition and offshore outsourcing. According to the Department of Labor (DOL), displaced workers are defined as “persons 20 years of age and older who lost or left jobs because their plant or company closed or moved, there was insufficient work for them to do, or their position or shift was abolished”.[5] The International Labour Organization (ILO) states that workers bore high adjustment costs such as unemployment, lower wage during transition, obsolescence of skills, training costs, and personal costs (e.g. mental suffering). These trade costs, albeit relatively smaller than the benefits, are highly concentrated by region, industry and worker demographics. For instance, some occupations, like teacher, have not experienced import competition while for shoe manufacturing occupations import competition has increased by 40 percentage points.[6]

In general, manufacturing workers are most affected by import competition compare to workers in other sectors. Furthermore, while gains from trade require a long time to take full effect, costs are felt rapidly, particularly in less competitive sectors.[7]

There is a strong correlation between import penetration and unemployment. Ebenstein et al. (2009) find that a 1 percentage point increase in import penetration leads to a 0.6 percentage point decrease in manufacturing employment in the U.S. resulting in a reduction of manufacturing jobs of almost 5%.[8] According to a report by the Progressive Policy Institute, between 2007 and 2011, 1.3 million direct and indirect jobs were lost to increasing imports of goods and services.[9]Similarly, Kletzer (2005) estimations suggest that industries facing high import competition account for 40% of manufacturing job losses.[10] The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) estimates that by 2015 the overall U.S. trade deficit will correspond to the loss of additional 214,000 jobs.[11]

Although trade-dislocated workers are not significantly different from workers displaced by other reasons, they present some slight differences. They tend to be older, less educated, more tenured and production-oriented, have higher earnings on the lost job and fewer transferable skills, and the prevalence on women is higher than for other displaced workers. These characteristics are associated with limited labor mobility and reemployment difficulties, especially for workers with obsolete skills who do not receive additional training, no matter the reason of displacement.[12] Furthermore, asymmetric information in absence of good job-search skills and geographic mismatch lead to prolong unemployment.[13] Hence, trade-displaced workers face longer periods to find a new job and have low reemployment rates (63% during the last two decades according to Kletzer, 2005). Reemployment is particularly challenging for older workers. The DOL (2012) reports that in 2012 reemployment rates for workers ages 55 to 64 and 65 years and over were 47 and 24% respectively while the rate for those ages 20 to 54 was about 62%.[5]

Once dislocated workers obtain a new job, they suffer significant wage reductions.[14] About two thirds of dislocated workers have lower wages in the new job and one quarter of displaced workers from manufacturing who find a new full-time job suffer earning losses of 30% or more.[15] The reason is that many workers find jobs in services sector where salaries are lower. Ebenstein et al. (2009) find that displaced workers from manufacturing who find a job in the services sector suffer a wage decline of between 6 and 22%. They conclude that a 1 percentage point increase in occupation-specific import competition is associated with a 0.25 percentage point decline in real wages.[8]

Import competition impacts negatively not only dislocated workers but also their families and communities. Displaced workers fall behind in their mortgage payments and in providing health care to their families. Families must spend down assets to smooth consumption.[16] There is evidence that displaced workers are in worse health after losing a job.[17] According to a Report by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), more than 46% of the jobless lack health insurance and 31% of workers without insurance do not see a doctor although sick. If the worker is able to be relocated in other job in other region the whole family is displaced and children are uprooted from their schools, increasing domestic tensions. The phenomenon of displaced workers has a broader impact because it also affects aggregate demand for goods and services and tax collections.[18]

In brief, trade leads to an unequal redistribution of costs and benefits. The adjustment process impacts not only displaced workers but also the whole society and economy. Furthermore, labor reallocation from inefficient to competitive sectors aimed at realizing the benefits of trade can be impeded by several obstacles described above, prolonging the transition period and increasing the adjustment costs. In this framework, several scholars and policy-makers have argued that trade-related adjustment costs merit a policy response.[13] The TAA has persisted for more than five decades showing ample political support.[19] Having an assistance program targeted exclusively at trade-displaced workers enjoyed wide political support among Congressional representatives in the past because the program served to decrease political resistance to and workers’ lobbying efforts against FTAs.[20] As a 2012 Report by the Joint Economic Committee states: “TAA needs to remain an integral part of trade policy because it compensates those harmed by import competition without sacrificing the larger demonstrable benefits of trade.”[21]

Specific Programs

Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers

The Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration program, Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers, provides a variety of reemployment services including training and job-searching assistance and benefits to displaced workers who have lost their jobs or suffered a reduction of hours and wages as a result of increased imports or shifts in production outside the United States. The TAA program aims to help program participants obtain new jobs faster, ensuring they retain employment and earn wages comparable to their prior employment. Among the main benefits are: trade readjustment allowances (TRA) in addition to regular unemployment insurance (UI) up to 117 weeks of cash payments for all workers concurrently enrolled only in full-time training (workers must be enrolled in training 8 weeks after certification or 16 weeks after layoff, whichever is later, to receive TRA), and Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance (RTAA) or supplementary wages for workers age 50 and over, and earning less than $50,000 per year in reemployment. It provides a wage supplement equal to 50% of the difference between a worker’s reemployment wage and wage at the worker’s certified job with a maximum benefit of $10,000 over a period of up to two years (workers must be reemployed within 26 weeks). The TAA used to include a Health Coverage Tax Credit Program which will definitively expire at the end of 2013 and other tax credits related to health coverage will become available (e.g. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act). The program promotes retraining since workers receive the TRAs only if they participate in a full-time TAA training (or are under a waiver).[22] The program is administered by the Department of Labor (DOL) in cooperation with the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

The Secretary of Labor was authorized to implement Trade Readjustment Assistance (TRA) and relocation allowances through cooperating state agencies. TRA are income support payments that were, at that time, paid in addition to an individual’s regular unemployment compensation. The original program had no training or reemployment component. The program was rarely used until 1974, when it was expanded as part of the Trade Act of 1974. The Trade Act of 1974 established the training component of the program. In 1981, the program was sharply curtailed by the Congress at the request of the Reagan Administration.[23] In 2002, the Trade Adjustment Assistance Reform Act (TAARA) expanded the program and it was combined with the trade adjustment program provided under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).[24]

The TAA has recently suffered several amendments. In 2009, the TAA program was expanded by the Trade and Globalization Adjustment Assistance Act (TGAAA) of 2009, which was part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. These benefits were extended through February 2011 by the Omnibus Trade Act of 2010. After that, the program reverted to the pre-expansion provisions under the TAARA of 2002. In October 2011, the Trade Adjustment Assistance Extension Act (TAAEA) of 2011 was signed into law, reinstating most of the benefits included in the TGAAA of 2009. The TAA is authorized through December 31, 2014 but with some modifications. The TAA will operate under its current provisions through December 31, 2013. For the additional year until its expiration on December 31, 2014, the TAA is set to operate under the eligibility and benefit levels established by the TAARA of 2002.[22]

Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms

The Department of Commerce program, Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms,[25] provides financial assistance to manufacturers and service firms affected by import competition. Sponsored by the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), this cost-sharing federal assistance program helps pay for projects that improve firms’ competitiveness. EDA, through a national network of 11 Trade Adjustment Assistance Centers (TAACs), provides technical assistance on a cost-shared basis to U.S. manufacturing, production, and service firms in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms provides import impacted companies with professional guidance, business recovery plan development, and cost-sharing for outside consulting services. Eligibility is established along similar lines, with companies showing that there has been a recent decrease in sales and employment, in part due to customers shifting purchases away from the applicant and to imported goods. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 expanded eligibility to service firms as well as the traditional manufacturing companies that had been the sole focus of the program. This expansion for service firms and workers was scheduled to expire on December 31, 2010, and the program would revert to the pre-ARRA structure without a vote to extend the authorization.

Trade Adjustment Assistance for Farmers

Trade Adjustment Assistance for Farmers, created in 2002 by wide-ranging trade legislation (P.L. 107-210, Sec. 141), authorizes the expenditure of up to $90 million per year through FY2007. Under the program, certain agricultural producers can each receive payments of up to $10,000 per year if price declines for their commodity were at least partly caused by imports. To be eligible for such assistance, such producers must be members of certified groups and meet a number of criteria specified by the law. The program is administered by the Department of Agriculture.

Program Eligibility

TAA for workers

Workers must be directly impacted by imports or by a shift in production of their firm to any country with a free trade agreement with the United States or to beneficiary countries under the Andean Trade Preference, the African Growth and Opportunity, or by certain other shifts in production. Employees of upstream suppliers are eligible if the product supplied to the primary firm consists 20% of the production or sales of the secondary workers’ firm, or their employer’s loss of business with the primary firm contributed significantly to the secondary workers’ separation from work.

Employees of downstream producers are eligible if they perform additional, value-added production processes for articles produced by primary firms, and the primary certification was based on an increase in imports or a shift in production to Canada or Mexico.

In order to receive the benefits displaced workers must fill a petition as a group to initiate the investigation to address the reasons of their layoff. Once the DOL finds that trade has contributed notably to the layoff, the group is certified but the individual worker must still apply for benefits at a local One-Stop Career Center.[22]

Under the current law, as modified in 2009, workers in most service jobs (call center operators, for example) are eligible for trade adjustment assistance. In 2004, a group of computer experts displaced by overseas labor tried to apply for trade adjustment assistance but were rejected because computer software was not considered an “article” by the DOL. After a series of scathing decisions by the United States Court of International Trade criticizing the DOL’s approach, the DOL revised its policies in April 2006 to extend trade adjustment assistance to more workers producing digital products such as software code.[26] Nevertheless, the program under the TAARA of 2002 starting on January 1, 2014 does not include trade-displaced workers in services sectors.[22]

TAA for farmers

Farmers and ranchers adversely impacted by trade will be eligible to participate in a new program operated by the Department of Agriculture and are potentially eligible to receive training under TAA. They are not eligible for the Trade Readjustment Allowance.

Program Cost

TAA for workers

There are several components of the overall cost of the program. The principal spending of the program is in reemployment services which are set to the annual funding levels of the Trade Act of 2002: $220 million for state grants (plus administrative allotments equal to 15% of each state’s grant). The TRA income support and RTAA wage insurance program are uncapped entitlements. In FY 2011, the cost of TRA was $234,126,500 and the cost of RTAA was $43,227,212, based on the number of participants of each program in this year (25,689 and 1,133 participants respectively).[27]

Program Effectiveness

TAA for workers

The TAA for workers have demonstrated overall low effectiveness so far which is reflected in the controversy to reauthorize the program before the 112th Congress and the fact that the TAA will be discontinued in 2015.

First, the program is not very effective providing support during the transition because a significant portion of workers does not receive TRA. In FY2011 there were over 196,000 TAA participants and only around 46,000 received TRA.[27] One reason is that the training enrollment deadline of 8/16 weeks seriously limits the ability of workers to enroll in training programs and receive the benefit. Moreover, even for those workers receiving TRA and UI, only a portion of the lost income is replaced.[28] The program provides health insurance coverage but in the past it has not been very effective since participation in TAA was associated with decreased coverage in the period following job loss like a joint report by Mathematica Policy Research and Social Policy Research (SPR) prepared for the DOL evaluating the TAA program under the Trade Act of 2002 shows.[29]

The effectiveness of the program in terms of fostering reemployment is very low too. Data on post-TAA outcomes for program exiters based on DOL estimations shows that the entered employment rate was 66% in 2011.[22] The Mathematica Policy Research and SPR report finds that the TAA is not effective in terms of increasing employability. There is positive effect on the reemployment rate for participants but it is not statistically different from that for non-participants.[29]

The effectiveness of the program in terms of mitigating earning losses in the new job is very low too as several studies report. Reynolds and Palatucci (2008) estimate that “participating in the TAA program causes a wage loss approximately 10 percentage points greater than if the displaced worker had chosen not to participate in the program.”[20] The report by Mathematica Policy Research and SPR states that TAA was estimated to have no effect on earnings and compared to a sample of UI claimants, TAA participants worked about the same number of weeks but had lower earnings.[29]

Moreover, a 2007 GAO report shows that in FY 2006 only 5% or less of TAA participants received wage insurance. The program is ineffective closing the earning gap because in order to be eligible for wage insurance workers must find a job within 26 weeks after being laid off, which proved to be a very short period.[30]Additionally, the program only replaces half of the losses.

Finally, the implementation of this program overlaps extensively with others such as Workforce Investment Act generating extra costs and duplicating administrative efforts.[13] The process to allocate training funds is also problematic. States receive funds at the beginning of the fiscal year but it does not properly reflect the state´s demand for training services. In addition, states do not receive funds for case management and lack flexibility to use the funds for training. Thus, states face challenges in providing services to workers properly.[30]

Policy Alternatives

TAA for workers

Over last years, the TAA program has been subject to diverse critics due to its flawed performance and extremely high cost. The TAA was only extended to the end of 2014 and the last reauthorization process before the 112th Congress exposed a lack of consensus about the program.[19] Several scholars from different institutions have proposed policy alternatives.

Integrated Adjustment Assistance Program

The Financial Services Forum, through its 2008 white paper “Succeeding in the Global Economy: An Adjustment Assistance Program for American Workers,” proposes to combine the UI and TAA programs into a single integrated program for all displaced workers who qualify for UI no matter the reason of displacement[31]The program includes: wage insurance, portability of health insurance (under the current program COBRA), and reemployment services such as assistance with geographic relocation and retraining. The wage insurance would cushion the cost of lower wages in the new job for workers age 45 and older. The program replaces 50% of workers’ lost wages for up to two years, for up to $10,000 per year, for workers that hold the previous job for at least two years. Regarding retraining, workers would be able to deduct from their gross income, for tax purposes, the full cost of education and training expenses, and there will be no limitations in terms of area of training.

The estimated annual cost of the program is $22 billion. The Financial Services Forum proposes to replace the current tax system with a flat 1.2% tax on all earning at the state level, and a flat rate of 0.12% on all earnings at the federal level to pay for the program.

Wage Insurance and Subsidies for Medical Insurance Program

Scholars at the Brookings Institution and the Institute for International Economics proposed a twofold program including a wage insurance and subsidy for medical insurance in addition to the UI program for eligible workers.[32] On the one hand, the program covers workers displaced by any reason, not just trade, who suffer an earning loss after reemployment. Displaced workers defined as “workers displaced due to plant closing or relocation, elimination of position or shift, and insufficient work”.[33]

It would replace a portion between 30% and 70% of the difference between earnings on the old and new job. In order to be eligible, workers must have been employed full-time at their previous job for at least two years, and suffered a wage decrease that can be documented. The insurance would be paid only after workers found a new job and they will receive it for up to two years from the original date of job loss. Annual payments would be capped at $10,000 or $20,000 per year. The payments would be administered through state UI.[32]

In addition, the program would also offer a health insurance subsidy for all full-time displaced workers, for up to 6 months, or until they found a new job (whichever is earlier). Workers would be limited to receiving the subsidy no more frequently than once during a certain period, probably 3 or 4 years, in order to prevent job churning.[32]

Kletzer and Litan (2001) estimate that about 20% of displaced workers reemployed full-time would have had at least 2 years’ tenure on their previous job and suffered a wage loss in the new one. The program would cost from $2 to $5 billion per year. This cost is estimated with a national unemployment rate between 4.2% and 4.9%.[32] In 2012, the average national unemployment rate was 8.9%.[33] Consequently, the projected cost would be higher if the program would be implemented today.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trade_Adjustment_Assistance

Trans-Pacific Partnership: Summary of U.S. Objectives
The United States is participating in negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement with 11 other Asia-Pacific countries (Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam) – a trade agreement that will open markets, set high-standard trade rules, and address 21st-century issues in the global economy.  By doing so, TPP will promote jobs and growth in the United States and across the Asia-Pacific region.

The Obama Administration is pursuing TPP to unlock opportunities for American manufacturers, workers, service providers, farmers, and ranchers – to support job creation and wage growth.  We are working hard to ensure that TPP will be a comprehensive deal, providing new and meaningful market access for goods and services; strong and enforceable labor standards and environmental commitments; groundbreaking new rules designed to ensure fair competition between state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and private companies; commitments that will improve the transparency and consistency of the regulatory environment to make it easier for small- and medium-sized businesses to operate across the region; a robust intellectual property (IP) rights framework to promote innovation, while supporting access to innovative and generic medicines and an open Internet; and obligations that will promote a thriving digital economy, including new rules to ensure the free flow of data.

This document describes the Administration’s goals and objectives for TPP, and presents the main elements of each chapter from the United States’ perspective.  Negotiations toward a TPP Agreement are ongoing, and many of the elements detailed below are not settled.  These are our objectives; there is still work to be done to achieve them.  This document lays out the Administration’s vision, which the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is advancing, of harnessing trade as a tool for economic growth and supporting jobs, and building opportunity for Americans in the context of an agreement that will benefit all TPP countries.

We are committed to providing the public information on what we are working to achieve through trade negotiations, and we will continue to share this information through the press, social media, and at www.ustr.gov as we move forward in the TPP negotiations.

TRADE IN GOODS

The United States ships more than $1.9 billion in goods to TPP countries every day.  In today’s highly competitive global marketplace, even small increases in a product’s cost due to tariffs or non-tariff barriers can mean the difference between success and failure for a business.  That is why the United States is working to negotiate in TPP comprehensive and preferential access across an expansive duty-free trading region for the industrial goods, food and agriculture products, and textiles, which will allow our exporters to develop and expand their participation in the value chains of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

The United States exported more than $622.5 billion of manufactured products to TPP countries in 2013.  With the elimination of TPP countries’ tariffs on manufactured products, including innovative and high technology products, such as industrial and electrical machinery, precision and scientific instruments, and chemicals and plastics, U.S. products will compete on a more level playing field with goods from TPP countries’ other free trade agreement (FTA) partners – including China, India, and the EU.  As just one example, certain U.S. auto parts currently face a 27-percent tariff entering Vietnam.  Other countries that have an FTA with Vietnam, such as China, Thailand, and Indonesia, export their auto parts to Vietnam duty free.  By eliminating duties U.S. auto parts companies face, TPP would help boost their competitiveness in the Vietnamese market.

Twenty percent of U.S. farm income comes from agricultural exports and those exports support rural communities.  In fact, U.S. food and agricultural exports to the world reached an all-time high in 2013 of over $148 billion.  Of that total, we exported more than $58 billion to TPP countries – a figure that would increase as a result of tariff elimination under TPP.  As just one example:  U.S. poultry currently faces a 40-percent tariff in Malaysia.  U.S. poultry would become more affordable in Malaysia under a TPP agreement that reduces these duties to zero.

Specifically, in the TPP we are seeking:

  • Elimination of tariffs and commercially-meaningful market access for U.S. products exported to TPP countries; and
  • Provisions that address longstanding non-tariff barriers, including import licensing requirements and other restrictions.

TEXTILES

U.S. textile and apparel manufacturers sold more than $10 billion worth of products to TPP countries in 2013, an increase of 5.4 percent from the previous year.  Many U.S. yarns, fabrics, and apparel currently face tariffs as high as 20 percent upon entering some TPP countries.  Our goal in the TPP negotiations is to remove tariff and non-tariff barriers to textile and apparel exports to enhance the competitiveness of our producers in the Asia-Pacific region.

Specifically, in the TPP we are seeking:

  • Elimination of tariffs on textile and apparel exports to TPP countries;
  • A “yarn forward” rule of origin, which requires that textile and apparel products be made using U.S. or other TPP country yarns and fabrics to qualify for the benefits of the agreement, so as to ensure that non-qualifying textiles and apparel from non-TPP countries do not enjoy the benefits reserved for TPP countries;
  • A carefully crafted “short supply” list, which would allow fabrics, yarns, and fibers that are not commercially available in the United States or other TPP countries to be sourced from non-TPP countries and used in the production of apparel in the TPP region without losing duty preference;
  • Strict enforcement provisions and customs cooperation commitments that will provide for verification of claims of origin or preferential treatment, and denial of preferential treatment or entry for suspect goods if claims cannot be verified; and
  • A textile specific safeguard mechanism that will allow the United States and other TPP countries to re-impose tariffs on certain goods if a surge in imports causes or threatens to cause serious damage to domestic producers.

SERVICES

Services industries account for four out of five U.S. jobs and also represent a significant and growing share of jobs in other TPP countries.  Securing liberalized and fair access to foreign services markets will help U.S. service suppliers, both small and large, seeking to do business in TPP markets, thereby, supporting jobs at home.

Specifically, in the TPP we are seeking:

  • Liberalizing access for services companies so they receive better or equal treatment to service suppliers from TPP countries’ other FTA partners and face a more level playing field in TPP markets;
  • Provisions that would enable service suppliers to supply services without establishing an office in every TPP country;
  • New or enhanced obligations in specific sectors important to promoting trade (e.g., enhanced disciplines for express delivery services will promote regional supply chains and aid  small businesses, which often are highly dependent on express delivery services for integration into supply chains and distribution networks); and
  • Commitments to liberalize foreign financial services and insurance markets while protecting a government’s broad flexibility to regulate, including in the financial sector, and to take the actions necessary to ensure the stability and integrity of a financial system.

INVESTMENT

With trade following investment, we are working to ensure that U.S. investors abroad are provided the same kind of opportunities in other markets that we provide in the United States to foreign investors doing business within our borders.  That is why we are seeking to include in TPP many of the investment obligations that have historically proven to support jobs and economic growth, as well as new provisions to take on emerging investment issues.

Specifically, in the TPP we are seeking:

  • Liberalized access for investment in TPP markets, non-discrimination and the reduction or elimination of other barriers to the establishment and operation of investments in TPP countries, including prohibitions against unlawful expropriation and specified performance requirements;
  • Provisions that will address measures that require TPP investors to favor another country’s domestic technology in order to benefit SOEs, national champions, or other competitors in that country; and
  • Procedures for arbitration that will provide basic rule of law protections for U.S. investors operating in foreign markets similar to those the U.S. already provides to foreign investors operating in the U.S.  These procedures would provide strong protections to ensure that all TPP governments can appropriately regulate in the public interest, including on health, safety, and environmental protection.  This includes an array of safeguards designed to raise the standards around investor-state dispute settlement, such as by discouraging and dismissing frivolous suits, allowing governments to direct the outcome of arbitral tribunals in certain areas, making proceedings more open and transparent, and providing for the participation of civil society organizations and other non-parties.

LABOR

Ensuring respect for worker rights is a core value.  That is why in TPP the United States is seeking to build on the strong labor provisions in the most recent U.S. trade agreements by seeking enforceable rules that protect the rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining; discourage trade in goods produced by forced labor, including forced child labor; and establish mechanisms to monitor and address labor concerns.

Specifically, in the TPP we are seeking:

  • Requirements to adhere to fundamental labor rights as recognized by the International Labor Organization, as well as acceptable conditions of work, subject to the same dispute settlement mechanism as other obligations in TPP;
  • Rules that will ensure that TPP countries do not waive or derogate from labor laws in a manner that affects trade or investment, including in free trade zones, and that they take initiatives to discourage trade in goods produced by forced labor;
  • Formation of a consultative mechanism to develop specific steps to address labor concerns when they arise; and
  • Establishment of a means for the public to raise concerns directly with TPP governments if they believe a TPP country is not meeting its labor commitments, and requirements that governments consider and respond to those concerns.

ENVIRONMENT

Environmental stewardship is a core value and advancing environmental protection and conservation efforts across the Asia-Pacific region is a key priority for the United States in TPP.  In addition to core environment obligations, we are seeking trailblazing, first-ever conservation proposals to address some of the region’s most urgent environmental challenges.

Specifically, in the TPP we are seeking:

  • Strong and enforceable environment obligations, subject to the same dispute settlement mechanism as other obligations in TPP;
  • Commitments to effectively enforce domestic environmental laws, including laws that implement multilateral environmental agreements, and commitments not to waive or derogate from the protections afforded in environmental laws for the purpose of encouraging trade or investment;
  • New provisions that will address wildlife trafficking, illegal logging, and illegal fishing practices; and
  • Establishment of a means for the public to raise concerns directly with TPP governments if they believe a TPP member is not meeting its environment commitments, and requirements that governments consider and respond to those concerns.

E-COMMERCE AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS

In the past five years, the number of Internet users worldwide has ballooned from 2 to 3 billion and will continue to grow.  The increase in Internet use creates significant economic potential, particularly for small businesses. The Obama Administration is working through TPP to unlock the promise of e-commerce, keep the Internet free and open, promote competitive access for telecommunications suppliers, and set digital trade rules-of-the-road.

Specifically, in the TPP we are seeking:

  • Commitments not to impose customs duties on digital products (e.g., software, music, video, e-books);
  • Non-discriminatory treatment of digital products transmitted electronically and guarantees that these products will not face government-sanctioned discrimination based on the nationality or territory in which the product is produced;
  • Requirements that support a single, global Internet, including ensuring cross-border data flows, consistent with governments’ legitimate interest in regulating for purposes of privacy protection;
  • Rules against localization requirements that force businesses to place computer infrastructure in each market in which they seek to operate, rather than allowing them to offer services from network centers that make business sense;
  • Commitments to provide reasonable network access for telecommunications suppliers through interconnection and access to physical facilities; and
  • Provisions promoting choice of technology and competitive alternatives to address the high cost of international mobile roaming.

COMPETITION POLICY AND STATE-OWNED ENTERPRISES

U.S. goals on competition policy and SOEs are grounded in long-standing principles of fair competition, consumer protection, and transparency.  The United States is seeking rules to prohibit anticompetitive business conduct, as well as fraudulent and deceptive commercial activities that harm consumers.  We are also pursuing pioneering rules to ensure that private sector businesses and workers are able to compete on fair terms with SOEs, especially when such SOEs receive significant government backing to engage in commercial activity.

Specifically, in the TPP we are seeking:

  • Basic rules for procedural fairness on competition law enforcement;
  • Commitments ensuring SOEs act in accordance with commercial considerations and compete fairly, without undue advantages from the governments that own them, while allowing governments to provide support to SOEs that provide public services domestically; and
  • Rules that will provide transparency with respect to the nature of government control over and support for SOEs.

SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED ENTERPRISES

Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the U.S. economy and are key contributors to economic growth in other TPP economies as well.  The United States’ 28 million SMEs account for nearly two-thirds of net new private sector jobs in recent decades.  SMEs that export tend to grow even faster, create more jobs, and pay higher wages than similar businesses that do not trade internationally.  We are seeking through this agreement to provide SMEs the tools they need to compete across TPP markets.  TPP will benefit SMEs by eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers, streamlining customs procedures, strengthening intellectual property protection, promoting e-commerce, and developing more efficient and transparent regulatory regimes.  In addition, TPP will include a first-ever chapter focusing on issues that create particular challenges for SMEs.

Specifically, in the TPP we are seeking:

  • Commitments to provide access to information on utilizing FTAs – a problem that SMEs have identified as a disproportionate challenge for them; and
  • Establishment of a regular review of how TPP is working for SMEs.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS

As the world’s most innovative economy, strong and effective protection and enforcement of IP rights is critical to U.S. economic growth and American jobs.  Nearly 40 million American jobs are directly or indirectly attributable to “IP-intensive” industries.  These jobs pay higher wages to their workers, and these industries drive approximately 60 percent of U.S. merchandise exports and a large share of services exports.  In TPP, we are working to advance strong, state-of-the-art, and balanced rules that will protect and promote U.S. exports of IP-intensive products and services throughout the Asia-Pacific region for the benefit of producers and consumers of those goods and services in all TPP countries.  The provisions that the United States is seeking – guided by the careful balance achieved in existing U.S. law – will promote an open, innovative, and technologically-advanced Asia-Pacific region, accelerating invention and creation of new products and industries across TPP countries, while at the same time ensuring outcomes that enable all TPP countries to draw on the full benefits of scientific, technological, and medical innovation, and take part in development and enjoyment of new media, and the arts.

Specifically, in the TPP we are seeking:

  • Strong protections for patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets, including safeguards against cyber theft of trade secrets;
  • Commitments that obligate countries to seek to achieve balance in their copyright systems by means of, among other approaches, limitations or exceptions that allow for the use of copyrighted works for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research;
  • Pharmaceutical IP provisions that promote innovation and the development of new, lifesaving medicines, create opportunities for robust generic drug competition, and ensure affordable access to medicines, taking into account levels of development among the TPP countries and their existing laws and international commitments;
  • New rules that promote transparency and due process with respect to trademarks and  geographical indications;
  • Strong and fair enforcement rules to protect against trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy, including rules allowing increased penalties in cases where counterfeit or pirated goods threaten consumer health or safety; and
  • Internet service provider “safe harbor” provisions, as well as strong and balanced provisions regarding technological protection measures to foster new business models and legitimate commerce in the digital environment.

TECHNICAL BARRIERS TO TRADE AND SANITARY AND PHYTOSANITARY MEASURES

Non-tariff trade barriers, such as duplicative testing and unscientific regulations imposed on food and agricultural goods, are among the biggest challenges facing exporters across the Asia-Pacific region.  An effective regulatory program should protect the public interest – for example in health, safety, and environmental protection – and do so in a manner that is no more trade restrictive than necessary to achieve the policy goal.  The United States is therefore seeking in TPP to strengthen rules intended to eliminate unwarranted technical barriers to trade (TBT) and build upon WTO commitments in this area, and to ensure that sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS) are developed and implemented in a transparent, science-based manner.

Specifically, in the TPP we are seeking:

  • Commitments to enhance transparency, reduce unnecessary testing and certification costs, and  promote greater openness in standards development;
  • Commitments aimed at adopting common approaches to regulatory matters related to trade in products in key sectors such as wine and distilled spirits, medical devices, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, information and communication technology, and food formulas
  • New and enforceable rules to ensure that science-based SPS measures are developed and implemented in a transparent, predictable, and non-discriminatory manner, while at the same time preserving the ability of U.S. and other TPP regulatory agencies to do what they deem necessary to protect food safety, and plant and animal health; an
  • Establishment of an on-going mechanism for improved dialogue and cooperation on addressing SPS and TBT issues.

TRANSPARENCY, ANTICORRUPTION AND REGULATORY COHERENCE

Through TPP, we are seeking to make trade across the TPP region more seamless, including by improving the coherence of TPP regulatory systems, enhancing transparency in policy-making processes, and combatting corruption.  These “good government” reforms also play an important role in ensuring fairness for American firms and workers

Specifically, in the TPP we are seeking:

  • Commitments to promote greater transparency, participation, and accountability in the development of regulations and other government decisions, including by promptly publishing laws, regulations, administrative rulings of general application, and other procedures that affect trade and investment, and providing opportunities for stakeholder comment on measures before they are adopted and finalized;
  • For the first time in a U.S. trade agreement, a chapter on regulatory coherence, including commitments on good regulatory practices; and
  • Commitments discouraging corruption and establishing codes of conduct to promote high ethical standards among public officials.

CUSTOMS, TRADE FACILITATION AND RULES OF ORIGIN

Cutting the red-tape of trade, including by reducing costs and increasing customs efficiencies, will make it cheaper, easier, and faster for businesses to get their products to market.  In TPP, we are looking to facilitate trade across the TPP region; support the deep integration of U.S. logistics, manufacturing, and other industries in regional supply chains; and reduce costs for U.S. business by removing onerous and opaque customs barriers.

Specifically, in the TPP we are seeking:

  • Commitments that will ensure the quick release of goods through customs, expedited procedures for express shipments, advance rulings, and transparent and predictable customs regulations;
  • Strong customs cooperation commitments in order to ensure that TPP countries work together to prevent smuggling, illegal transshipment, and duty evasion, and to guarantee compliance with trade laws and regulations; and
  • Strong and common rules of origin to ensure that the benefits of TPP go to the United States and other TPP countries, and also that TPP promotes the development of supply chains in the region that include companies based in the United States.

GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT

Increasing access to government procurement markets in TPP countries, which represent an estimated 5-10 percent of a country’s economy, will unlock significant opportunities for U.S. and other TPP businesses and workers.

Specifically, in the TPP we are seeking:

  • Creation of fair, transparent, predictable, and non-discriminatory rules to govern government procurement in TPP countries; and
  • Commitments to liberalize TPP countries’ government procurement markets, with comparable levels of coverage by all TPP countries, taking into account the particular sensitivities of specific countries.

DEVELOPMENT AND TRADE CAPACITY-BUILDING

The United States views development as a way to further strengthen the region and lay the groundwork for future economic opportunities by improving access to economic opportunity for women and low income individuals; incentivizing private-public partnerships in development activities; and designing sustainable models for economic growth.  In addition, the United States sees trade capacity-building as critical to assist TPP developing countries in implementing the agreement and ensuring they can benefit from it.  In TPP, we plan to include a chapter on cooperation and capacity building and, for the first time in any U.S. trade agreement, a chapter dedicated specifically to development.

Specifically, in the TPP we are seeking:

  • Agreement on cooperative development activities TPP countries could conduct to promote broad-based economic growth and sustainable development, including public-private partnerships, science and technology cooperation, and other joint development activities; and
  • Mechanisms for collaboration and facilitation of capacity-building activities by both TPP government and non-government representatives, as well as the private sector, in order to help TPP workers and businesses, including SMEs and micro- enterprises participate in global trade and take advantage of the agreement.

DISPUTE SETTLEMENT

When the United States negotiates a trade agreement, we expect our trading partners to abide by the rules and obligations to which they agree.  Under the TPP, countries will first seek to address an issue cooperatively.  If they are unable to do so, the Parties have recourse to an independent tribunal to determine whether a Party has failed to meet its obligations, and ultimately to allow suspension of benefits if a Party fails to come into compliance.  Through the TPP dispute settlement mechanism, we are seeking to give the American public the confidence that the United States has the means to enforce the strong, high-standard obligations we are negotiating in this agreement.

Specifically, in the TPP we are seeking:

  • Establishment of a fair and transparent dispute settlement mechanism that applies across the agreement; and
  • Procedures to allow us to settle disputes on matters arising under TPP in a timely and effective manner.

U.S.-JAPAN BILATERAL NEGOTIATIONS ON MOTOR VEHICLE TRADE AND NON-TARIFF MEASURES

With the participation of Japan, TPP countries account for nearly 40 percent of global GDP and about one-third of all world trade.  Japan is currently the fourth-largest goods trading partners of the United States.  The United States exported $65 billion in goods and an estimated $48 billion in services to Japan in 2013.

Nevertheless, U.S. exporters have faced a broad range of formidable non-tariff measures in Japan’s automotive and other markets.  As a result, prior to Japan joining the TPP negotiations, the United States reached a series of agreements with Japan to address a range of issues in conjunction with Japan’s participation in TPP.  This includes an agreement that U.S. tariffs on motor vehicles will be phased out in accordance with the longest staging period in the TPP negotiations and will be back-loaded to the maximum extent.

The United States and Japan also agreed to address non-tariff measures through parallel negotiations to TPP, which were launched in August 2013.

Specifically, in these negotiations with Japan we are seeking:

  • Enforceable commitments related to the automotive sector that will address a broad range of non-tariff measures – including those related to regulatory transparency, standards, certification, financial incentives, and distribution;
  • Establishment of an accelerated dispute settlement procedure that would apply to the automotive sector that includes a mechanism to “snap back” tariffs as a remedy, as well as a special motor vehicle safeguard; and
  • Meaningful outcomes that address cross-cutting and sectoral non-tariff measures, including in the areas of insurance, transparency, investment, IP rights, standards, government procurement, competition policy, express delivery, and SPS.

https://ustr.gov/tpp/Summary-of-US-objectives

H-1B visa

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa in the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 101(a)(15)(H). It allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. If a foreign worker in H-1B status quits or is dismissed from the sponsoring employer, the worker must either apply for and be granted a change of status to another non-immigrant status, find another employer (subject to application for adjustment of status and/or change of visa), or leave the U.S.

The regulations define a “specialty occupation” as requiring theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge in a field of human endeavor[1] including but not limited to biotechnology, chemistry, architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, law, accounting, business specialties, theology, and the arts, and requiring the attainment of a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent as a minimum[2] (with the exception of fashion models, who must be “of distinguished merit and ability”).[3] Likewise, the foreign worker must possess at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent and state licensure, if required to practice in that field. H-1B work-authorization is strictly limited to employment by the sponsoring employer.

Structure of the program

Duration of stay

The duration of stay is three years, extendable to six years. An exception to maximum length of stay applies in certain circumstances

  • If a visa holder has submitted an I-140 immigrant petition or a labor certification prior to their fifth year anniversary of having the H-1B visa, they are entitled to renew their H-1B visa in one-year or three-year increments until a decision has been rendered on their application for permanent residence.
  • If the visa holder has an approved I-140 immigrant petition, but is unable to initiate the final step of the green card process due to their priority date not being current, they may be entitled to a three-year extension of their H-1B visa. This exception originated with the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000.[4]
  • The maximum duration of the H-1B visa is ten years for exceptional United States Department of Defense project related work.

H-1B holders who want to continue to work in the U.S. after six years, but who have not obtained permanent residency status, must remain outside of the U.S. for one year before reapplying for another H-1B visa. Despite a limit on length of stay, no requirement exists that the individual remain for any period in the job the visa was originally issued for. This is known as H-1B portability or transfer, provided the new employer sponsors another H-1B visa, which may or may not be subjected to the quota. Under current law, H-1B visa has no stipulated grace period in the event the employer-employee relationship ceases to exist.

Congressional yearly numerical cap and exemptions

The current law limits to 65,000 the number of foreign nationals who may be issued a visa or otherwise provided H-1B status each fiscal year (FY). Laws exempt up to 20,000 foreign nationals holding a master’s or higher degree from U.S. universities from the cap on H-1B visas. In addition, excluded from the ceiling are all H-1B non-immigrants who work at (but not necessarily for) universities, non-profit research facilities associated with universities, and government research facilities.[5]Universities can employ an unlimited number of foreign workers as cap-exempt. This also means that contractors working at but not directly employed by the institutions may be exempt from the cap as well. Free Trade Agreements carve out 1,400 H-1B1 visas for Chilean nationals and 5,400 H-1B1 visas for Singapore nationals. However, if these reserved visas are not used, then they are made available in the next fiscal year to applicants from other countries. Due to these unlimited exemptions and roll-overs, the number of H-1B visas issued each year is significantly more than the 65,000 cap, with 117,828 having been issued in FY2010, 129,552 in FY2011, and 135,991 in FY2012.[6][7]

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services starts accepting applications on the first business day of April for visas that count against the fiscal year starting in October. For instance, H-1B visa applications that count against the FY 2013 cap could be submitted starting from Monday, 2012 April 2. USCIS accepts H-1B visa applications no more than 6 months in advance of the requested start date.[8] Beneficiaries not subject to the annual cap are those who currently holdcap-subject H-1B status or have held cap-subject H-1B status at some point in the past six years.

Tax status of H-1B workers

The taxation of income for H-1B employees depends on whether they are categorized as either non-resident aliens or resident aliens for tax purposes. A non-resident alien for tax purposes is only taxed on income from the United States, while a resident alien for tax purposes is taxed on all income, including income from outside the US.

The classification is determined based on the “substantial presence test“: If the substantial presence test indicates that the H-1B visa holder is a resident, then income taxation is like any other U.S. person and may be filed using Form 1040 and the necessary schedules; otherwise, the visa-holder must file as a non-resident alien using tax form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ; he or she may claim benefit from tax treaties if they exist between the United States and the visa holder’s country of citizenship.

Persons in their first year in the U.S. may choose to be considered a resident for taxation purposes for the entire year, and must pay taxes on their worldwide income for that year. This “First Year Choice” is described in IRS Publication 519 and can only be made once in a person’s lifetime. A spouse, regardless of visa status, must include a valid Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) or Social Security number (SSN) on a joint tax return with the H-1B holder.

Tax filing rules for H-1B holders may be complex, depending on the individual situation. Besides consulting a professional tax preparer knowledgeable about the rules for foreigners, the IRS Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens, may be consulted. Apart from state and federal taxes, H-1B visa holders pay Medicareand Social Security taxes, and are eligible for Social Security benefits.

H-1B and legal immigration

Even though the H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa, it is one of the few visa categories recognized as dual intent, meaning an H-1B holder can have legal immigration intent (apply for and obtain the green card) while still a holder of the visa. In the past the employment-based green card process used to take only a few years, less than the duration of the H-1B visa itself. However, in recent times the legal employment-based immigration process has backlogged and retrogressed to the extent that it now takes many years for guest-work visa holders from certain countries to obtain green cards. Since the duration of the H-1B visa hasn’t changed, this has meant that many more H-1B visa holders must renew their visas in one or three-year increments for continued legal status while their green card application is in process.

Dependents of H-1B visa holders

H-1B visa holders can bring immediate family members (spouse and children under 21) to the U.S. under the H4 Visa category as dependents. An H4 Visa holder may remain in the U.S. as long as the H-1B visa holder retains legal status. An H4 visa holder is not eligible to work or get a Social Security number (SSN).[9]However, a DHS ruling made on Feb 24, 2015 provides certain H4 visa holders with eligibility to work, starting May 26, 2015.[10] An H4 Visa holder may attend school, get a driver’s license, and open a bank account in the U.S. To claim a dependent on a tax return or file a joint tax return, the dependent must obtain an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN), which is only used for tax filing purposes.

Administrative processing

When an H-1B worker goes outside of U.S. for vacation, he or she has to get the visa stamped on his passport unless he has already done so for re-entry in the United States. The interview is taken in U.S. Embassy by a visa officer. In some cases, H-1B workers can be required to undergo “administrative processing“, involving extra, lengthy background checks. Under current rules, these checks are supposed to take ten days or less, but in some cases, have lasted years.[11]

Application process

The process of getting a H-1B visa has three stages:

  • The employer files with the United States Department of Labor a Labor Condition Application (LCA) for the employee, making relevant attestations, including attestations about wages (showing that the wage is at least equal to the prevailing wage and wages paid to others in the company in similar positions) and working conditions.
  • With an approved LCA, the employer files a Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) requesting H-1B classification for the worker. This must be accompanied by necessary supporting documents and fees.
  • Once the Form I-129 is approved, the worker may begin working with the H-1B classification on or after the indicated start date of the job, if already physically present in the United States in valid status at the time. If the employee is outside the United States, he/she may use the approved Form I-129 and supporting documents to apply for the H-1B visa. With a H-1B visa, the worker may present himself or herself at a United States port of entry seeking admission to the United States, and get an Form I-94 to enter the United States. Employees who started a job on H-1B status without a H-1B visa because they were already in the United States still need to get a H-1B visa if they ever leave and wish to reenter the United States while on H-1B status.

OPT cap-gap extension for STEM students

On April 2, 2008, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Michael Chertoff announced a 17-month extension to the OPT for students in qualifying STEM fields. Also known as the cap-gap, the rule change allows foreign STEM students opportunities unavailable to foreign students of other disciplines. The 17 month work-authorization extension allows the foreign STEM student to work up to 29 months under the student visa, allowing the STEM student multiple years to obtain an H-1B visa.[12][13] To be eligible for the 12-month permit, any degree in any field of studies is valid. For the 17-month OPT extension, a student must have received a Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics degree in one of the following approved majors listed on the USCIS website.[14]

In 2014, a Federal Court denied the government’s motion to dismiss the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers (Washtech) and three other plaintiff’s case against the OPT extension. Judge Huvelle noted that the plaintiffs had standing due to increased competition in their field, that the OPT participation had ballooned from 28,500 in 2008, to 123,000 and that while the students are working under OPT on student visas, employers are not required to pay Social Security and Medicare contributions, nor prevailing wage.[15]

Evolution of the program

Changes to legal and administrative rules

Congress Effect on fees Effect on cap Effect on LCA attestations and
DOL investigative authority
Immigration Act of 1990, November 29, 1990, George H. W. Bush
101st Only a base filing fee Set an annual cap of 65,000 on new 3-year H-1Bs, including transfer applications and extensions of stay. Set up the basic rules for the Labor Condition Application
American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act (ACWIA), October 21, 1998, Bill Clinton
105th Added a $500 fee that would be used to retrain U.S. workers and close the skill gap, in the hope of reducing subsequent need for H-1B visas. Temporary increase in caps to 115,000 for 1999 and 2000[16] Introduced the concept of “H-1B-dependent employer” and required additional attestations about non-displacement of U.S. workers from employers who were H-1B-dependent or had committed a willful misrepresentation in an application in the recent past. Also gave investigative authority to the United States Department of Labor.
American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act, (AC21), October 17, 2000, Bill Clinton
106th Increased $500 fee for retraining US workers to $1000. Increase in caps to 195,000 for Fiscal Years 2001, 2002, and 2003.
Creation of an uncapped category for non-profit research institutions.
Exemption from the cap for people who had already been cap-subject. This included people on cap-subject H-1Bs who were switching jobs, as well as people applying for a 3-year extension of their current 3-year H-1B.
H-1B Visa Reform Act of 2004, part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005, December 6, 2004, George W. Bush
108th Increased fee for retraining US workers to $1500 for companies with 26 or more employees, reduced to $750 for small companies.
Added anti-fraud fee of $500
Bachelor’s degree cap returns to 65,000 with added 20,000 visas for applicants with U.S. postgraduate degrees. Additional exemptions for Non-profit research and governmental entities. Expanded the Department of Labor’s investigative authority, but also provided two standard lines of defense to employers (the Good Faith Compliance Defense and the Recognized Industry Standards Defense).
Employ American Workers Act, February 17, 2009, Barack Obama
Part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (sunset on February 17, 2011)
111th No change. No change. All recipients of Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) or Federal Reserve Act Section 13 were required to file the additional attestations required of H-1B-dependent employers, for any employee who had not yet started on a H-1B visa.

Changes in the cap, number of applications received, and numbers of applications approved vs. visas issued

During the early 1990s, the cap was rarely reached. By the mid-1990s, however, the allocation tended fill each year on a first come, first served basis, resulting in frequent denials or delays of H-1Bs because the annual cap had been reached. In 1998, the cap increased to 115,000.

For FY2007, with applications accepted from 2006 April 1, the entire quota of visas for the year was exhausted within a span of 2 months on May 26,[17] well before the beginning of the financial year concerned. The additional 20,000 Advanced Degree H-1B visas were exhausted on July 26.

For FY2008, the entire quota was exhausted before the end of the first day that applications were accepted, April 2.[18] Under USCIS rules, the 123,480 petitions received on April 2 and April 3 that were subject to the cap were pooled, and then 65,000 of these were selected at random for further processing.[19] The additional 20,000 Advanced Degree H-1B visas for FY2008 was exhausted on April 30.

For FY2009, USCIS announced on 2008 April 8, that the entire quota for visas for the year had been reached, for both 20,000 Advanced and the 65,000 quota. USCIS would complete initial data entry for all filing received during 2008 April 1 to April 7, before running the lottery, while 86,300 new visas were approved.[20]

For FY2010, USCIS announced on 2009 December 21, that enough petitions were received to reach that year’s cap.[21]

For FY2011, USCIS announced on 2011 January 27, that enough petitions were received to reach that year’s cap on January 26.

For FY2015, USCIS announced on 2014 April 10 that received about 172,500 H-1B petitions during the filing period which began April 1, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption.[22]

For FY2016, USCIS announced on 2015 April 7 that enough petitions were received to reach that year’s cap.[23] On 2015 April 13, USCIS announced completion of the H1B cap lottery selection processes. The USCIS reported receipt of almost 233,000 H1B petitions, well in excess of the limits of 65,000 for the regular cap and 20,000 advanced-degree exemptions (or, “master’s cap”).

Numbers of applications approved

The applications received are evaluated by USCIS, and some subset are approved each year. It is possible for an individual to file multiple applications, for multiple job opportunities with a single employer/sponsor or with multiple employer/sponsors. It is possible for an individual applicant to have multiple applications approved and to be able to choose which one to take.

In its annual report on H-1B visas, released in 2006 November, USCIS stated that it approved 130,497 H-1B visa applications in FY2004 (while 138,965 new visas were issued through consular offices) and 116,927 in FY2005 (while 124,099 new visas were issued via consular offices).[24][25][26][27][28][28][29][30]

In FY2008, a total of 276,252 visa applications (109,335 initial, 166,917 renewals and extensions) were approved, and 130,183 new initial visas were issued through consular offices.

In FY2009, 214,271 visas were approved, with 86,300 being for initial employment, and 127,971 being for continued employment)[31] and 110,988 initial H-1B visas were issued from consular offices.[32]

In FY2010, 192,990 new visas were approved, with 76,627 being for initial employment and 116,363 being for continuing employment. 117,828 new visas were issued through consular offices[33]

In FY2011, 269,653 new visas were approved, with 106,445 being for initial employment and 163,208 being for continued employment. 129,552 new visas were issued through consular offices.[33]

In FY2012, 262,569 new visas were approved with 136,890 being for initial employment and 125,679 being for continued employment.[26][27][28][29][30][33][33][33][34][35]

American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000[edit]

The American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000 (AC21) and the U.S. Department of Labor’s PERM system for labor certification erased most of the earlier claimed arguments for H-1Bs as indentured servants during the green card process. With PERM, labor certification processing time is now approximately 9 months (as of Mar 2010).[36]

Because of AC21, the H-1B employee is free to change jobs if they have an I-485 application pending for six months and an approved I-140, and if the position they move to is substantially comparable to their current position. In some cases, if those labor certifications are withdrawn and replaced with PERM applications, processing times improve, but the person also loses their favorable priority date. In those cases, employers’ incentive to attempt to lock in H-1B employees to a job by offering a green card is reduced, because the employer bears the high legal costs and fees associated with labor certification and I-140 processing, but the H-1B employee is still free to change jobs.

However, many people are ineligible to file I-485 at the current time due to the widespread retrogression in priority dates. Thus, they may well still be stuck with their sponsoring employer for many years. There are also many old labor certification cases pending under pre-PERM rules.

Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008

The Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008, which, among other issues, federalizes immigration in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, stipulates that during a transition period, numerical limitations do not apply to otherwise qualified workers in the H visa category in the CNMI and Guam.[37]

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

Further information: Employ American Workers Act

On Feb. 17, 2009, President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (“stimulus bill”), Public Law 111-5.[38] Section 1661 of the ARRA incorporates the Employ American Workers Act (EAWA) by Senators Sanders (I-Vt.) and Grassley (R-Iowa) to limit certain banks and other financial institutions from hiring H-1B workers unless they had offered positions to equally or better-qualified U.S. workers, and to prevent banks from hiring H-1B workers in occupations they had laid off U.S. workers from. These restrictions include:

  1. The employer must, prior to filing the H-1B petition, take good-faith steps to recruit U.S. workers for the position for which the H-1B worker is sought, offering a wage at least as high as what the law requires for the H-1B worker. The employer must also attest that, in connection with this recruitment, it has offered the job to any U.S. worker who applies who is equally or better qualified for the position.
  2. The employer must not have laid off, and will not lay off, any U.S. worker in a job essentially equivalent to the H-1B position in the area of intended employment of the H-1B worker within the period beginning 90 days prior to the filing of the H-1B petition and ending 90 days after its filing.[39]

Changes in USCIS policy

After completing a policy review, the USCIS clarified that individuals who spent more than one year outside of U.S. and did not exhaust their entire six-year term can choose to be re-admitted for the “remainder” of initial six-year period without being subject to the H-1B cap.[40]

After completing a policy review, the USCIS clarified that, “Any time spent in H-4 status will not count against the six-year maximum period of admission applicable to H-1B aliens.”[40]

USCIS recently issued a memorandum dated 8 Jan 2010. The memorandum effectively states that there must be a clear “employee employer relationship” between the petitioner (employer) and the beneficiary (prospective visa holder). It simply outlines what the employer must do to be considered in compliance as well as putting forth the documentation requirements to back up the employer’s assertion that a valid relationship exists.

The memorandum gives three clear examples of what is considered a valid “employee employer relationship”:

  • a fashion model
  • a computer software engineer working off-site/on-site
  • a company or a contractor which is working on a co-production product in collaboration with DOD

In the case of the software engineer, the petitioner (employer) must agree to do (some of) the following among others:

  • Supervise the beneficiary on and off-site
  • Maintain such supervision through calls, reports, or visits
  • Have a “right” to control the work on a day-to-day basis if such control is required
  • Provide tools for the job
  • Hire, pay, and have the ability to fire the beneficiary
  • Evaluate work products and perform progress/performance reviews
  • Claim them for tax purposes
  • Provide (some type of) employee benefits
  • Use “proprietary information” to perform work
  • Produce an end product related to the business
  • Have an “ability to” control the manner and means in which the worker accomplishes tasks

It further states that “common law is flexible” in how to weigh these factors. Though this memorandum cites legal cases and provides examples, such a memorandum in itself is not law and future memoranda could change this.

Protections for U.S. workers

Labor Condition Application

Further information: Labor Condition Application

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is responsible for ensuring that foreign workers do not displace or adversely affect wages or working conditions of U.S. workers. For every H-1B petition filed with the USCIS, there must be included a Labor Condition Application (LCA) (not to be confused with the labor certification), certified by the U.S. Department of Labor. The LCA is designed to ensure that the wage offered to the non-immigrant worker meets or exceeds the “prevailing wage” in the area of employment. (“Immigration law has a number of highly technical terms that may not mean the same thing to the average reader.”[41] last updated 2011 March 31, visited 2012 November 5) The LCA also contains an attestation section designed to prevent the program from being used to import foreign workers to break a strike or replace U.S. citizen workers.

While an employer is not required to advertise the position before hiring an H-1B non-immigrant pursuant to the H-1B visa approval, the employer must notify the employee representative about the Labor Condition Application (LCA)—or if there is no such representation, the employer must publish the LCA at the workplace and the employer’s office.[42][43] Under the regulations, LCAs are a matter of public record. Corporations hiring H-1B workers are required to make these records available to any member of the public who requests to look at them. Copies of the relevant records are also available from various web sites, including the Department of Labor.

History of the Labor Condition Application form

The LCA must be filed electronically using Form ETA 9035E.[44] Over the years, the complexity of the form increased from one page in 1997[45] to three pages in 2008,[46] to five pages as of August 2012.[47]

Employer attestations

By signing the LCA, the employer attests that:[48]

  • The employer pays H-1B non-immigrants the same wage level paid to all other individuals with similar experience and qualifications for that specific employment, or the prevailing wage for the occupation in the area of employment, whichever is higher.
  • The employment of H-1B non-immigrants does not adversely affect working conditions of workers similarly employed.
  • On the date the application is signed and submitted, there is not a strike, lockout, or work stoppage in the course of a labor dispute in the occupation in which H-1B non-immigrants will be employed at the place of employment. If such a strike or lockout occurs after this application is submitted, the employer must notify ETA within three days, and the application is not used to support petition filings with INS for H-1B non-immigrants to work in the same occupation at the place of employment until ETA determines the strike or lockout is over.
  • A copy of this application has been, or will be, provided to each H-1B non-immigrant employed pursuant to this application, and, as of the application date, notice of this application has been provided to workers employed in the occupation in which H-1B non-immigrants will be employed:
    • Notice of this filing has been provided to bargaining representative of workers in the occupation in which H-1B non-immigrants will be employed; or
    • There is no such bargaining representative; therefore, a notice of this filing has been posted and was, or will remain, posted for 10 days in at least two conspicuous locations where H-1B non-immigrants will be employed.

The law requires H-1B workers to be paid the higher of the prevailing wage for the same occupation and geographic location, or the same as the employer pays to similarly situated employees. Other factors, such as age and skill were not permitted to be taken into account for the prevailing wage. Congress changed the program in 2004 to require the Department of Labor to provide four skill-based prevailing wage levels for employers to use. This is the only prevailing wage mechanism the law permits that incorporates factors other than occupation and location.

The approval process for these applications are based on employer attestations and documentary evidence submitted. The employer is advised of their liability if they are replacing a U.S. worker.

Limits on employment

According to the USCIS, “H-1B nonimmigrants may only work for the petitioning U.S. employer and only in the H-1B activities described in the petition. The petitioning U.S. employer may place the H-1B worker on the worksite of another employer if all applicable rules (e.g., Department of Labor rules) are followed. Generally, a nonimmigrant employee may work for more than one employer at the same time. However, each employer must follow the process for initially applying for a nonimmigrant employee.”[49]

H-1B fees earmarked for U.S. worker education and training

In 2007, the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (ETA), reported on two programs, the High Growth Training Initiative and Workforce Innovation Regional Economic Development (WIRED), which have received or will receive $284 million and $260 million, respectively, from H-1B training fees to educate and train U.S. workers.[citation needed] According to the Seattle Times $1 billion from H1-B fees have been distributed by the Labor Department to further train the U.S. workforce since 2001.[50]

Criticisms of the program

The H-1B program has been criticized on many grounds. It was the subject of a hearing, “Immigration Reforms Needed to Protect Skilled American Workers,” by theUnited States Senate Committee on the Judiciary on March 17, 2015.[51][52] According to Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the committee:

The program was intended to serve employers who could not find the skilled workers they needed in the United States. Most people believe that employers are supposed to recruit Americans before they petition for an H-1B worker. Yet, under the law, most employers are not required to prove to the Department of Labor that they tried to find an American to fill the job first. And, if there is an equally or even better qualified U.S. worker available, the company does not have to offer him or her the job. Over the years the program has become a government-assisted way for employers to bring in cheaper foreign labor, and now it appears these foreign workers take over – rather than complement – the U.S. workforce.[53]

Use for outsourcing

In large part, rather than being used to hire talented workers not available in the American labor market, the program is being used for outsourcing.[54] SenatorsDick Durbin and Charles Grassley of Iowa began introducing “The H-1B and L-1 Visa Fraud & Prevention Act” in 2007. According to Durbin, speaking in 2009, “The H-1B visa program should complement the U.S. workforce, not replace it;” “The…program is plagued with fraud and abuse and is now a vehicle for outsourcing that deprives qualified American workers of their jobs.” The proposed legislation has been opposed by Compete America, a tech industry lobbying group,[55] Outsourcing firms, many based in India, are major users of H-1B visas. The out-sourcing firm contracts with an employer, such as Disney, to perform technical services. Disney then closes down its in-house department and lays off its employees. The outsourcing firm then performs the work.[56]

In June 2015 congressional leaders announced that the Department of Labor had opened an investigation of outsourcing of technical tasks by Southern California Edison to Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys then laying off 500 technology workers.[57]

No labor shortages

Paul Donnelly, in a 2002 article in Computerworld, cited Milton Friedman as stating that the H-1B program acts as a subsidy for corporations.[58] Others holding this view include Dr. Norman Matloff, who testified to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Immigration on the H-1B subject.[59] Matloff’s paper for theUniversity of Michigan Journal of Law Reform claims that there has been no shortage of qualified American citizens to fill American computer-related jobs, and that the data offered as evidence of American corporations needing H-1B visas to address labor shortages was erroneous.[60] The United States General Accounting Office found in a report in 2000 that controls on the H-1B program lacked effectiveness.[61] The GAO report’s recommendations were subsequently implemented.

High-tech companies often cite a tech-worker shortage when asking Congress to raise the annual cap on H-1B visas, and have succeeded in getting various exemptions passed. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), described the situation as a crisis, and the situation was reported on by the Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek and Washington Post. Employers applied pressure on Congress.[62] Microsoft chairman Bill Gates testified in 2007 on behalf of the expanded visa program on Capitol Hill, “warning of dangers to the U.S. economy if employers can’t import skilled workers to fill job gaps”.[62] Congress considered a bill to address the claims of shortfall[63] but in the end did not revise the program.[64]

According to a study conducted by John Miano and the Center for Immigration Studies, there is no empirical data to support a claim of employee worker shortage.[65] Citing studies from Duke, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Georgetown University and others, critics have also argued that in some years, the number of foreign programmers and engineers imported outnumbered the number of jobs created by the industry.[66] Organizations have also posted hundreds of first hand accounts of H-1B Visa Harm reports directly from individuals negatively impacted by the program, many of whom are willing to speak with the media.[67]

Studies carried out from the 1990s through 2011 by researchers from Columbia U, Computing Research Association (CRA), Duke U, Georgetown U, Harvard U, National Research Council of the NAS, RAND Corporation, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rutgers U, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Stanford U, SUNY Buffalo, UC Davis, UPenn Wharton School, Urban Institute, and U.S. Dept. of Education Office of Education Research & Improvement have reported that the U.S. has been producing sufficient numbers of able and willing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) workers, while several studies from Hal Salzman, B. Lindsay Lowell, Daniel Kuehn, Michael Teitelbaum and others have concluded that the U.S. has been employing only 30% to 50% of its newly degreed able and willing STEM workers to work in STEM fields. A 2012 IEEE announcement of a conference on STEM education funding and job markets stated “only about half of those with under-graduate STEM degrees actually work in the STEM-related fields after college, and after 10 years, only some 8% still do”.[68]

Ron Hira, a professor of public policy at Howard University and a longtime critic of the H-1B visa program, recently called the IT talent shortage “imaginary,”[69] a front for companies that want to hire relatively inexpensive foreign guest workers.

Wage depression

Wage depression is a chronic complaint critics have about the H-1B program: some studies have found that H-1B workers are paid significantly less than U.S. workers.[70][71] It is claimed[72][73][74][75][76][76] that the H-1B program is primarily used as a source of cheap labor. A paper by George J. Borjas for the National Bureau of Economic Research found that “a 10 percent immigration-induced increase in the supply of doctorates lowers the wage of competing workers by about 3 to 4 percent.”[77]

The Labor Condition Application (LCA) included in the H-1B petition is supposed to ensure that H-1B workers are paid the prevailing wage in the labor market, or the employer’s actual average wage (whichever is higher), but evidence exists that some employers do not abide by these provisions and avoid paying the actual prevailing wage despite stiff penalties for abusers.[78]

Theoretically, the LCA process appears to offer protection to both U.S. and H-1B workers. However, according to the U.S. General Accounting Office, enforcement limitations and procedural problems render these protections ineffective.[79] Ultimately, the employer, not the Department of Labor, determines what sources determine the prevailing wage for an offered position, and it may choose among a variety of competing surveys, including its own wage surveys, provided that such surveys follow certain defined rules and regulations.

The law specifically restricts the Department of Labor’s approval process of LCAs to checking for “completeness and obvious inaccuracies”.[80] In FY 2005, only about 800 LCAs were rejected out of over 300,000 submitted. Hire Americans First has posted several hundred first hand accounts of individuals negatively impacted by the program, many of whom are willing to speak with the media.[67]

DOL has split the prevailing wage into four levels, with Level One representing about the 17th percentile of wage average Americans earn. About 80 percent of LCAs are filed at this 17th percentile level[citation needed]. This four-level prevailing wage can be obtained from the DOL website,[81] and is generally far lower than average wages[citation needed].

The “prevailing wage” stipulation is allegedly vague and thus easy to manipulate[citation needed], resulting in employers underpaying visa workers. According to Ron Hira, assistant professor of public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology, the median wage in 2005 for new H-1B information technology (IT) was just $50,000, which is even lower than starting wages for IT graduates with a B.S. degree. The U.S. government OES office’s data indicates that 90 percent of H-1B IT wages were below the median U.S. wage for the same occupation.[82]

In 2002, the U.S. government began an investigation into Sun Microsystems’ hiring practices after an ex-employee, Guy Santiglia, filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Labor alleging that the Santa Clara firm discriminates against American citizens in favor of foreign workers on H-1B visas. Santiglia accused the company of bias against U.S. citizens when it laid off 3,900 workers in late 2001 and at the same time applied for thousands of visas. In 2002, about 5 percent of Sun’s 39,000 employees had temporary work visas, he said.[83] In 2005, it was decided that Sun violated only minor requirements and that neither of these violations was substantial or willful. Thus, the judge only ordered Sun to change its posting practices.[84]

Risks for employees

Historically, H-1B holders have sometimes been described as indentured servants,[85] and while the comparison is no longer as compelling, it had more validity prior to the passage of American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000. Although immigration generally requires short- and long-term visitors to disavow any ambition to seek the green card (permanent residency), H-1B visa holders are an important exception, in that the H-1B is legally acknowledged as a possible step towards a green card under what is called the doctrine of dual intent.

H-1B visa holders may be sponsored for their green cards by their employers through an Application for Alien Labor Certification, filed with the U.S. Department of Labor.[citation needed] In the past, the sponsorship process has taken several years, and for much of that time the H-1B visa holder was unable to change jobs without losing their place in line for the green card. This created an element of enforced loyalty to an employer by an H-1B visa holder. Critics[who?] alleged that employers benefit from this enforced loyalty because it reduced the risk that the H-1B employee might leave the job and go work for a competitor, and that it put citizen workers at a disadvantage in the job market, since the employer has less assurance that the citizen will stay at the job for an extended period of time, especially if the work conditions are tough, wages are lower or the work is difficult or complex. It has been argued that this makes the H-1B program extremely attractive to employers, and that labor legislation in this regard has been influenced by corporations seeking and benefiting from such advantages.[citation needed]

Some recent news reports suggest that the recession that started in 2008 will exacerbate the H-1B visa situation, both for supporters of the program and for those who oppose it.[86] The process to obtain the green card has become so long that during these recession years it has not been unusual that sponsoring companies fail and disappear, thus forcing the H-1B employee to find another sponsor, and lose their place in line for the green card. An H-1B employee could be just one month from obtaining their green card, but if the employee is laid off, he or she may have to leave the country, or go to the end of the line and start over the process to get the green card, and wait as much as 10 more years, depending on the nationality and visa category.[87]

The American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000 provides some relief for people waiting for a long time for a green card, by allowing H-1B extensions past the normal 6 years, as well as by making it easier to change the sponsoring employer.

The Out-Sourcing/Off-Shoring Visa

Further information: Body shopping

In his floor statement on H-1B Visa Reform, Senator Dick Durbin stated “The H-1B job visa lasts for 3 years and can be renewed for 3 years. What happens to those workers after that? Well, they could stay. It is possible. But these new companies have a much better idea for making money. They send the engineers to America to fill spots–and get money to do it—and then after the 3 to 6 years, they bring them back to work for the companies that are competing with American companies. They call it their outsourcing visa. They are sending their talented engineers to learn how Americans do business and then bring them back and compete with those American companies.”[88] Critics of H-1B use for outsourcing have also noted that more H-1B visas are granted to companies headquartered in India than companies headquartered in the United States.[89]

Of all Computer Systems Analysts and programmers on H-1B visas in the U.S., 74 percent were from Asia. This large scale migration of Asian IT professionals to the United States has been cited as a central cause for the quick emergence of the offshore outsourcing industry.[90]

In FY 2009, due to the worldwide recession, applications for H-1B visas by off-shore out-sourcing firms were significantly lower than in previous years,[91] yet 110,367 H-1B visas were issued, and 117,409 were issued in FY2010.

Social Security and Medicare taxes

H-1B employees have to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes as part of their payroll. Like U.S. citizens, they are eligible to receive Social Security benefits even if they leave the United States, provided they have paid Social Security payroll taxes for at least 10 years. Further, the U.S. has bilateral agreements with several countries to ensure that the time paid into the U.S. Social Security system, even if it is less than 10 years, is taken into account in the foreign country’s comparable system and vice versa.[92]

Departure Requirement on Job Loss

If an employer lays off an H-1B worker, the employer is required to pay for the laid-off worker’s transportation outside the United States.

If an H-1B worker is laid off for any reason, the H-1B program technically does not specify a time allowance or grace period to round up one’s affairs irrespective of how long the H-1B worker might have lived in the United States. To round up one’s affairs, filing an application to change to another non-immigrant status may therefore become a necessity.

If an H-1B worker is laid off and attempts to find a new H-1B employer to file a petition for him, the individual is considered out of status if there is even a one-day gap between the last day of employment and the date that the new H-1B petition is filed. While some attorneys claim that there is a grace period of 30 days, 60 days, or sometimes 10 days, that is not true according to the law. In practice, USCIS has accepted H-1B transfer applications even with a gap in employment up to 60 days, but that is by no means guaranteed.

Some of the confusion regarding the alleged grace period arose because there is a 10-day grace period for an H-1B worker to depart the United States at the end of his authorized period of stay (does not apply for laid-off workers). This grace period only applies if the worker works until the H-1B expiration date listed on his I-797 approval notice, or I-94 card. 8 CFR 214.2(h)(13)(i)(A).

American workers are ordered to train their foreign replacements[edit]

There have been cases where employers used the program to replace their American employees with H-1B employees, and in some of those cases, the American employees were even ordered to train their replacements.[93][54][56]

Age discrimination

Age discrimination in the program results in older workers being replaced by H-1B applicants. In FY 2014, 72% of H-1B holders were between the ages of 25 and 34, according to the USCIS “Characteristics of Specialty Occupation Workers (H-1B): Fiscal Year 2014″[94] report for that year, the most recent it has published on its public website. In Table 5 of the same report, only 3,592 of the 315,857 H-1B visas were approved for workers over the age of 50.[94]

Fraud

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services “H-1B Benefit Fraud & Compliance Assessment” of September 2008 concluded 21% of H-1B visas granted originate from fraudulent applications or applications with technical violations.[95] Fraud was defined as a willful misrepresentation, falsification, or omission of a material fact. Technical violations, errors, omissions, and failures to comply that are not within the fraud definition were included in the 21% rate. Subsequently, USCIS has made procedural changes to reduce the number of fraud and technical violations on H-1B applications.

In 2009, federal authorities busted a nationwide H-1B Visa Scam.[96]

Fraud has included acquisition of a fake university degree for the prospective H-B1 worker, coaching the worker on lying to consul officials, hiring a worker for which there is no U.S. job, charging the worker money to be hired, benching the worker with no pay, and taking a cut of the worker’s U.S. salary. The workers, although they have little choice in the matter, are also engaged in fraud, and may be charged, fined, and deported.[97]

Similar programs

In addition to H-1B visas, there are a variety of other visa categories that allow foreign workers to come into the U.S. to work for some period of time.

L-1 visas are issued to foreign employees of a corporation. Under recent rules, the foreign worker must have worked for the corporation for at least one year in the preceding three years prior to getting the visa. An L-1B visa is appropriate for non-immigrant workers who are being temporarily transferred to the United States based on their specialized knowledge of the company’s techniques and methodologies. An L-1A visa is for managers or executives who either manage people or an essential function of the company. There is no requirement to pay prevailing wages for the L-1 visa holders. For Canadian residents, a special L visa category is available.

TN-1 visas are part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and are issued to Canadian and Mexican citizens.[98] TN visas are only available to workers who fall into one of a pre-set list of occupations determined by the NAFTA treaty. There are specific eligibility requirements for the TN Visa.

E-3 visas are issued to citizens of Australia under the Australia free-trade treaty.

H-1B1 visas are a sub-set of H-1B issued to residents of Chile and Singapore under the United States-Chile Free Trade Agreement of 2003; PL108-77 § 402(a)(2)(B), 117 Stat. 909, 940; S1416, HR2738; passed in House 2003-07-24 and the United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement of 2003; PL108-78 § 402(2), 117 Stat. 948, 970-971; S1417, HR2739; passed in House 2003-07-24, passed in senate 2003-07-31, signed by executive (GWBush) 2003-05-06. According to USCIS, unused H-1B1 visas are added into the next year’s H-1B base quota of 58,200.

One recent trend in work visas is that various countries attempt to get special preference for their nationals as part of treaty negotiations. Another trend is for changes in immigration law to be embedded in large Authorization or Omnibus bills to avoid the controversy that might accompany a separate vote.

H-2B visa: The H-2B non-immigrant program permits employers to hire foreign workers to come to the U.S. and perform temporary nonagricultural work, which may be one-time, seasonal, peak load or intermittent. There is a 66,000 per year limit on the number of foreign workers who may receive H-2B status.

H-1B demographics

H-1B Applications Approved

H-1B Applications Approved by USCIS[24][25][26][27][28][29][30][33][35][99][100]
Year Initial employment approvals Continuing employment approvals Total
1999 134,411 na na
2000 136,787 120,853 257,640
2001 201,079 130,127 331,206
2002 103,584 93,953 197,537
2003 105,314 112,026 217,340
2004 130,497 156,921 287,418
2005 116,927 150,204 267,131
2006 109,614 161,367 270,981
2007 120,031 161,413 281,444
2008 109,335 166,917 276,252
2009 86,300 127,971 214,271
2010 76,627 116,363 192,990
2011 106,445 163,208 269,653
2012 136,890 125,679 262,569
2013 128,291 158,482 286,773
2014 124,326 191,531 315,857
H-1B Applications Approved by USCIS for those with less than the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree[24][25][26][27][28][29][30][33][35][99][100]
Year No HS Diploma Only HS Diploma Less Than 1 year of College 1+ years of College Equivalent of Associate’s Total Less Than Equivalent of U.S. Bachelor’s
2000 554 288 158 1,290 696 2,986
2001 247 895 284 1,376 1,181 3,983
2002 169 806 189 849 642 2,655
2003 148 822 122 623 534 2,249
2004 123 690 137 421 432 1,803
2005 107 440 77 358 363 1,345
2006 96 392 54 195 177 914
2007 72 374 42 210 215 913
2008 80 174 19 175 195 643
2009 108 190 33 236 262 829
2010 140 201 24 213 161 739
2011 373 500 44 255 170 1,342
2012 108 220 35 259 174 796
2013 68 148 15 162 121 514
2014 32 133 18 133 88 404

H-1B visas issued per year[edit]

new/initial H-1B visas issued by State Department through consular offices<[101]
Year H-1B H-1B1 Total
1990 794 na 794
1991 51,882 na 51,882
1992 44,290 na 44,290
1993 35,818 na 35,818
1994 42,843 na 42,843
1995 51,832 na 51,832
1996 58,327 na 58,327
1997 80,547 na 80,547
1998 91,360 na 91,360
1999 116,513 na 116,513
2000 133,290 na 133,290
2001 161,643 na 161,643
2002 118,352 na 118,352
2003 107,196 na 107,196
2004 138,965 72 139,037
2005 124,099 275 124,374
2006 135,421 440 135,861
2007 154,053 639 154,692
2008 129,464 719 130,183
2009 110,367 621 110,988
2010 117,409 419 117,828
2011 129,134 418 129,552
2012 135,530 461 135,991
2013 153,223 571 153,794

Employers ranked by H-1B visas approved

Companies receiving H-1Bs[102][103][104]
2013 Rank Company Primary Emp. Base 2006 [105] 2007 [106] 2008 [107] 2009 [108] 2010 [109] 2011 [110] 2012 [111] 2013 [112]
1 Infosys
Bangalore, Karnataka, India
India 4,908 4,559 4,559 440 3,792 3,962 5,600 6,298
2 Tata Consultancy Services
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
India 3,046 797 1,539 1,740 7,469 6,258
3 Cognizant
Teaneck, New Jersey
U.S. 2,226 962 467 233 3,388 4,222 9,281 5,186
4 Accenture Inc
Dublin, Ireland
U.S. 637 331 731 287 506 1,347 4,037 3,346
5 Wipro
Bangalore, Karnataka, India
India 4,002 2,567 2,678 1,964 1,521 2,736 4,304 2,644
6 HCL Technologies Ltd
Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India
India 910 102 1,033 2,070 1,766
7 IBM
Armonk, New York
U.S. 1,324 199 381 865 882 853 1,846 1,624
8 Mahindra Satyam
Hyderabad, Telangana, India
India 2,880 1,396 1,917 219 224 1,963 1,589
9 Larsen & Toubro Infotech
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
India 947 292 403 602 333 1,204 1,832 1,580
10 Deloitte
New York City, New York
U.S. 1,555 525 413 563 196 1,668 1,491
11 IGATE (merged w Patni)
Bridgewater, NJ & Bengaluru, India
India 1,391 477 296 609 164 1,260 1,157
12 Microsoft
Redmond, Washington
U.S. 3,117 959 1,037 1,318 1,618 947 1,497 1,048
13 Syntel
Troy, Michigan
India 416 130 129 1,161 1,041
14 Qualcomm
San Diego, California
U.S. 533 158 255 320 909
15 Amazon
Seattle, Washington
U.S. 262 81 182 881
16 Intel Corporation
Santa Clara, California
U.S. 828 369 351 723 772
17 Google
Mountain View, California
U.S. 328 248 207 211 172 383 753
18 Mphasis
Bangalore, Karnataka, India
India 751 248 251 229 197 556
19 Capgemini
Paris, France
E.U. 309 99 500
20 Oracle Corporation
Redwood Shores, California
U.S. 1,022 113 168 272 475
21 UST Global
Aliso Viejo, California
U.S. 339 416 344 475
22 PricewaterhouseCoopers
London, United Kingdom
E.U. 591 192 449
23 Cisco Systems
San Jose, California
U.S. 828 324 422 308 379
24 Ernst & Young LLP
London, United Kingdom
UK 774 302 321 481 373
Top 10 universities and schools receiving H-1Bs[102][103][105]
School H-1Bs Received 2006
New York City Public Schools 642
University of Michigan 437
University of Illinois at Chicago 434
University of Pennsylvania 432
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine 432
University of Maryland 404
Columbia University 355
Yale University 316
Harvard University 308
Stanford University 279
Washington University in St. Louis 278
University of Pittsburgh 275

See also

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H-1B_visa

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