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The Pronk Pops Show 393, January 5, 2015, Story 1: Dallas Cowboys Win 24 -20 Over Detroit, Dallas Citizens Pockets Picked By City five-cent environmental fee for each single-use bag — plastic and paper bags! — It Is A Tax Stupid — Vote Out of Office All Representatives Who Passed This Tax — Videos

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Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 393: January 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 392: December 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 391: December 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 390: December 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 389: December 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 388: December 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 387: December 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 386: December 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 385: December 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 384: December 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 383: December 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 382: December 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 381: December 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 380: December 1, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 379: November 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 378: November 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 377: November 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 376: November 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 375: November 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 374: November 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 373: November 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 372: November 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 371: November 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 370: November 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 369: November 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 368: November 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 367: November 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 366: November 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 365: November 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 364: November 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 363: November 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 362: November 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 361: October 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 360: October 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 359: October 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 358: October 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 357: October 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 356: October 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 355: October 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 354: October 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 353: October 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 352: October 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 351: October 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 350: October 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 349: October 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 348: October 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 347: October 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 346: October 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 345: October 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 344: October 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 343: October 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 342: October 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 341: October 1, 2014

Story 1: Dallas Cowboys Win 24 -20 Over Detroit, Dallas Citizens Pockets Picked By City five-cent environmental fee for each single-use bag — plastic and paper bags! — It Is A Tax Stupid  — Vote Out of Office All Representatives Who Passed This Tax — Videos

 

jerry-chris-jones-christie-hugWhere Can I Put Them?

An Inconvenient tax: picking people’s pockets

By Raymond Thomas Pronk

Warning, when you check out, be on the lookout for pickpockets.

The latest green movement cause du jour is the banning or taxing of disposable plastic and paper bags. These laws or city ordinances are designed to nudge or coerce customers to bring their own reusable tote bag when they shop for groceries and other merchandise.

A number of United States cities including Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Boulder, Austin and now unfortunately Dallas have either banned or taxed disposable plastic and/or paper bags or so-called “single-use carryout bags.” According to the Earth Policy Institute, over 20 million people are currently covered by 132 city and county plastic bag bans or fee ordinances in the U.S.

For decades most American and European businesses have provided their customers bags, at no additional charge, to carryout and transport their purchase. In the 1980s businesses began to give their customers a choice of paper or plastic.

On March 26, 2014, the Dallas City Council passed an 8 to 6 City Ordinance No. 29307. It requires business establishments that provide their customers “single-use carryout bags” to register with the city annually each location providing these bags and charge their customers an “environment fee” of 5 cents per bag to promote a “culture of clean” and  “to protect the natural environment, the economy and the health of its residences.”

Give me a break. It is a new tax to raise millions in new tax revenue for the City of Dallas. Who are the elected Dallas-8 council member watermelons (green on the outside, red on the inside) that ordained this tax on the people and businesses of Dallas? The names of the Dallas-8 are Tennell Atkins, Carolyn R. Davis, Scott Griggs, Adam Medrano, Dwaine R. Caraway, Sandy Greyson, Philip T. Kingston, and Mayor Mike Rawlings.

The Dallas-8 are led by council member Caraway, who wanted to completely ban plastic and paper single-use carryout bags. Instead they decided to shake down Dallas businesses and their customers with a new highly regressive tax. Caraway refuses to call it a tax and claims the new ordinance which went in effect on January 1 is “a ban with a fee, such as other cities are doing across the United States.”

The eight-page ordinance includes the definition and standards that reusable carryout bags must satisfy: “A reusable carryout bag must meet the minimum reuse testing standard of 100 reuses carrying 16 pound.” Reusable bags may be made of cloth, washable fabric, durable materials, recyclable plastic with a minimum thickness of 4.0 mil or recyclable paper that contains a minimum of 40 percent recycled content.

All of the above reusable bags must have handles with the exception of small bags with a height of less than 14 inches and a width of less than 8 inches.

Business establishments can either provide or sell reusable carryout bags to its customer or to any person.

The city ordinance exempts some bags from the single-use carryout definition including:

  • Plastic bags used for produce, meats, nuts, grains and other bulk items inside grocery or other retail stores,
  • Single-use plastic bags used by restaurants to take away prepared food only where necessary to prevent moisture damage from soups, sauces, gravies or dressings,
  • Recyclable paper bags used by restaurants to take away prepared food,
  • Recyclable paper bags from pharmacies or veterinarians for prescription drugs,
  • Laundry, dry cleaning or garment bags,
  • Biodegradable door-hanger and newspaper bags, and
  • Bags for trash, yard debris and pet waste.

The Dallas 5 cent paper and plastic bag tax or environment fee applies only to single-use carryout bags defined as bags not meeting the requirements of a reusable bag.

Businesses that violate the ordinance can be fined up to a maximum of $500 per day.

Lee Califf, executive director of the American Progressive Bag Alliance, a bag manufacturing group, said “This legislation applies to a product that is less than 0.5 percent of municipal waste in the United States and typically less than 1 percent of litter in studies conducted across the country;” “Placing a fee on a product with such a minuscule contribution to the waste and litter streams will not help the environment: but it will cost Dallas consumers millions more per year on their grocery bills, while hurting small business and threatening the livelihoods of the 4,500 Texans who work in the plastic bag and recycling industry.”

Stop the shakedown of Dallas businesses and their customers. Repeal the inconvenient tax on paper and plastic disposable bags by voting out of office the Dallas-8 city council members who voted for this tax, Dwaine Caraway. Support your Texas state representatives in passing a new law that would prohibit cities such as Dallas and Austin from banning or taxing paper and plastic carryout bags.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

taxesdc-chart-feeOregon-Plastic-bag-tax-banbird_bagTax-Day-6Plastic_bagsingle-use-plastic-bags-areplastic bag12009-04-08plastic_bags_600Watermelons

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BookTV: James Delingpole, “Watermelons: The Green Movement’s New Colors”

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

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Carryout Bag Ordinance

Disponible en español      NEW⇒Tiếng Việt

On January 1, 2015, the Carryout Bag Ordinance will start in Dallas. 

Are you ready?

 

Shop
shoppers

RETAILERS

CUSTOMERS

Retailers offering single-use bags to customers must:
  • Register ELECTRONICALLY HERE; works best on Chrome or Firefox (if you need to register using a paper form via USPS, clickhere)
  • Assess a five-cent environmental fee for each single-use bag; the environmental fee is not subject to sales tax
  • Print total number of bags and fee on each receipt
  • Keep records available for inspectors
  • Post signs in controlled parking lots reminding customers to bring their bags
  • Post signs in the store, within six feet of each register, per the ordinance SAMPLE HERE 
  • The full link to the Code Compliance carryout bag website, with forms and additional information, is here

Retailers offering only reusable bags, as defined by the ordinance, have different requirements.

All retailers should look at their operations and determine if their bags are single-use, reusable, or exempted from the single-use definition. Consult the full ordinance for all details pertaining to the ordinance and what is expected for each type of bag including thickness, language on the bag, durability, signage, and other considerations.

Customers, you are encouraged to bring your bagand keep your change.Single-use carryout bags have a five-cent per bag environmental fee.  A single-use bag can be paper or plastic.Reusable bags do not have the environmental fee, though stores may charge you to offset costs.  Reusable bags stores offer can be made from cloth or other washable woven materials, recyclable paper, or recyclable plastic so long as they meet certain requirements.  However, any bag you bring with you to use is considered reusable since you are reusing it.There are some bags that are exempted from the single-use bag definition:

  • Laundry, dry cleaning or garment bags;
  • Biodegradable door-hanger and newspaper bags;
  • Bags for trash, yard debris or pet waste;
  • Plastic bags used for produce, meats, nuts, grains and other bulk items inside grocery or other retail stores;
  • Recyclable paper bags from pharmacies or veterinarians for prescription drugs; and,
  • Recyclable paper bags used by restaurants to take away prepared food.
  • Single-use plastic bags used by restaurants to take away prepared food only where necessary to prevent moisture damage from soups, sauces, gravies or dressings.

Remember to recycle the bags you can recycle appropriately.

Why

Many wonder why the City passed this ordinance.  The Dallas City Council passed the ordinance to help improve the environment and keep our city clean.  The City is currently spending nearly $4 million dollars to remove litter from our community to keep it beautiful and thriving.

The Carryout Bag ordinance is intended to encourage shoppers to use reusable bags to carry goods from stores, restaurants, and other locations to reduce the number of bags that can end up loose in the environment as litter. 

To help you understand, we have created this list of frequently asked question.

whatThe carryout bag ordinance outlines the City’s “desire to protect the natural environment, the economy and the health of its residents,” and the “negative impact on the environment caused by improper disposal of single-use carryout bags.” The Dallas City Council approved the ordinance on March 26, 2014.

whenThe ordinance takes effect on January 1, 2015.

Retailers and customers should be ready and know all the details.  This website and the City’s Code Compliance Services website have details to help retailers prepare.  The links to the Code website on DallasCityHall.com are below.

howSome are still unclear how the ordinance may impact them.

Businesses will have to register each location with the City in order to offer single-use bags.  No registration is necessary if a business is only offering reusable bags or bags that are exempted from the single-use bag definition in the ordinance.  Businesses must be registered before distributing single-use carryout bags starting January 1, 2015. Businesses are required to collect a five-cent environmental fee for every single-use bag used by a customer.

Customers will be charged a five-cent environmental fee for each single-use bag, paper or plastic, they receive from retailers.  Again, reusable bags and bags exempted from the definition of single-use bags do not carry the environmental fee.  You can avoid the environmental fee by bringing your own bags with you.  The five cent fee assessed for the single-use bag is not subject to sales tax.

Will I still be able to get plastic carryout bags?
Yes, provided your retailer chooses to offer them and collect the environmental fee.

Can I bring my own reusable bags to carry out items I purchased?
Yes. Customers are encouraged to bring their own reusable bags to carry out their items instead of paying the five-cent environmental fee per single-use plastic or paper bag.

If I reuse a single-use carryout bag, will I have to pay the fee again?
Whatever bag you bring — tote bag, golf bag, diaper bag, satchel, purse, or produce bag — if you bring it with you to reuse, you do not have to pay the environmental fee.

Where does the money go?
A portion of the fees will be used to pay for enforcement of the ordinance and for public education efforts.  Stores keep 10 percent of the five-cent fee to help offset administrative costs.

Does this ordinance apply to all businesses?
All retailers that offer single-use carryout bags in Dallas are subject to this ordinance.

What about non-profits or charities?
If the non-profit or charity offers food, groceries, clothing, or other household items free of charge to clients, they may still use single-use carryout bags for the specific function of distributing those items.  However, the ordinance will apply to any bags used at the point of sale for any goods sold through the non-profit or charity.
Additionally, any non-profit or charity that collects goods for donation from the public or which leaves informational material for the public must be sure any door-hanger bags left for collecting those goods or providing that informational material are biodegradable.

Does the ordinance include all bags?
The ordinance applies to single-use paper or plastic carryout bags used by businesses as defined in the ordinance language.

What if businesses don’t follow the ordinance?
Businesses that violate the ordinance could face fines of up to $500 per day.

How will the ordinance be enforced?
City Code Compliance inspectors will respond to complaints and provide proactive enforcement.

How can the City know if businesses aren’t complying with the law? Will they be doing more inspections?
There will be proactive enforcement and periodic audits.  Additionally, the City will respond to complaints from residents.

Will the ban on single-use bags at city facilities apply to retailers at American Airlines Center, city museums, the Omni Dallas Hotel, and Fair Park?
Yes.  The City Attorney’s Office will work with Code Enforcement to determine which facilities are affected and how.

Whom should I contact if I have additional questions?
Call 3-1-1, the Office of Environmental Quality, Code Compliance or email us atgreendallas@dallascityhall.com.

NEW⇒ Where can I find the forms?
Forms and more information are available on the Code Compliance website dedicated to the Carryout Bag Ordinance here.

http://greendallas.net/carryout-bag-ordinance/

 

Dallas City Council OK’s fee-based ordinance that says retailers must charge five cents for carryout bags

For months Dwaine Caraway has insisted he had the votes to pass at least a partial ban on the single-use carryout bag. He was right: By a vote of 8-6 the Dallas City Council passed the so-called “environmental fee ordinance,” which bans single-use carryout bags at all city facilities and events while still allowing retailers to use plastic and paper bags.

But beginning January 1 retailers will have to charge customers who want them “an environmental fee” of five cents per bag, and they will get to keep 10 percent of that money. The ordinance also says retailers who want to keep handing out plastic and paper bags will have to register with the city and keep track of bags sold.

The city says the money raised from the bag fees will help go toward funding enforcement and education efforts that assistant city manager Jill Jordan told the council could cost around $250,000 and necessitate the hiring of up to 12 additional staff members.

Wednesday’s vote came a year after council member Dwaine Caraway asked the city attorney to draft an ordinance that completely banned the bag. The council member says the ordinance passed today was a compromise born out of “a fair process” that included environmentalists, bag manufactures and retailers. Several of his colleagues wanted to send the proposed ordinances back to committee for further debate. But Caraway wanted a vote now.

“You get to a point where it’s time to make decisions, decisions that will have a great impact on the city of Dallas and our environmental status … and the beautification of our city,” he said. The process has “been pretty tough. it’s been back and forth. We listened and listened fairly.”

But six of his colleagues disagreed: Sheffie Kadane said the fee-based ban will result in a lawsuit from retailers and manufacturers. Rick Callahan called it a “government intrusion.” Jennifer Staubach Gates said it wouldn’t do any good, because in five years the reusable bags supported by the environmentalists will end up in landfills too. And Jerry Allen said the three options being considered by council, including a full-out ban, represented “a lack of clear conviction,” which he found disappointing.

And then there was Lee Kleinman, who on Friday indicated he supported the fee-based ordinance. Five days later he’d changed his mind and said he no longer cared what happened in his colleagues’ districts.

“I would personally probably stay more focused on my own district, which does not have the same trash problems as others,” he said, to the amazement of some of his southern sector colleagues. “Why should I care if someone is shopping like at Southwest Center Mall and they want a plastic bag? If people in that community are satisfied with the conditions around that mall, why should I utilize my position in North Dallas to improve those conditions? I should just focus my energies on North Dallas redevelopment projects and not help another improve quality of life in other areas of the city.”

That entire speech is above, thanks to my colleague Scott Goldstein.

Vonciel Jones Hill, who has said in the past she opposes any ban or bag tax, was no present for today’s vote. Monica Alonzo also voted against it, but said nothing.

In a statement released following the vote, the American Progressive Bag Alliance said it’s “a move that will fail to accomplish any environmental goals while jeopardizing 4,500 Texas jobs and hurting consumers.”

Its executive director, Lee Califf, said in a statement that “the vote to approve a 5-cent plastic and paper grocery bag fee in Dallas is another example of environmental myths and junk science driving poor policy in the plastic bag debate.”

But it’s not clear if the state will allow Dallas’ new bag “ban” — or bag tax, more appropriately.

Attorney General Greg Abbott is going to weigh in on the legality of bag bans, following a request by state Rep. Dan Flynn of Canton on behalf of the Texas Retailers Association. Jerry Allen asked Dallas City Attorney Warren Ernst if the state allows bag bans.

“We are ready to defend that position,” Ernst said. “If it’s the will of the council to pass the ordinance, we’ll defend that as a legal action by the city.”

Allen was not convinced, insisting “there’s a tremendous amount of uncertainty.” Ernst appeared to agree.
Those council members opposed to the ordinance said Dallas needs to do a better job of enforcing its litter laws. Jordan told the council that the city spends $4 million annually on trash pick-up, “and we still have litter.”

In the end, said council member Scott Griggs, “this is just one step. We tackle the bags then we can move on to Styrofoam and other issues that cause trash. This is a large elephant we’ll have to take on as a city and a council.”

Kroger’s Gary Huddleston, also of the Texas Retailers Association, shared a hug with Dwaine Caraway following today’s council vote.

Following the vote, Gary Huddleston, head of the Texas Retailers Association, said he wasn’t sure whether his organization would sue the city. He noted that they are awaiting the attorney general’s ruling on the legality of a fee.

“It will affect the retailers in the city of Dallas and it will affect our customers,” Huddleston said. “They’ll have to pay for their paper and plastic bags or they bring in their reusable bags.”

“We personally believe the solution to litter in the city of Dallas is a strong recycling program and also punishing the people that litter and not punishing the retailer,” Huddleston said.

The fee means that businesses will have to institute additional programming and training in order to enforce ordinance and track the fees. Customers will “have to pay a nickel a bag, whereas maybe they use that nickel to buy more product in my store.”

But Huddleston’s concerns didn’t stop him from hugging Caraway outside chambers. The two men smiled and embraced in front of television cameras.

The council member said he was pleased with the result of more than a year of work. He refused to call the fee a “tax.”

“It’s a ban with a fee, such as other cities are doing across the United States,” Caraway said.

He said it’s important for residents to know the ban does not cover a variety of bags, such as those in the produce section of grocery stores or at restaurants

“Folks need to understand that these are single-use carryout bags,” Caraway said. “These are simply those thin, flimsy bags that take flight and that are undesirable and bad for the environment.”

Staff writer Scott Goldstein contributed to this report.

http://cityhallblog.dallasnews.com/2014/03/dallas-city-council-approves-partial-fee-based-ban-on-single-use-carryout-bags.html/

Dallas Will Charge Fees for Plastic Bag Use
By Josh Ault and Ken Kalthoff

The City of Dallas has implemented new rules for plastic grocery bags, imposing a 5 cent fee on single-use plastic or paper grocery bags. The rules go into effect in January. (Published Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014)
Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 • Updated at 5:56 AM CST
The Dallas City Council has passed a proposal ordering retailers to charge a fee for one-time use plastic bags while partially banning them from city-owned facilities.
In a 8-6 vote, the council passed the ordinance requiring retailers to charge customers a $0.05 fee if they request single-use plastic or paper bags.
Dallas Plastic Bag Ban Vote Wednesday[DFW] Dallas Plastic Bag Ban Vote Wednesday
The Dallas City Council is expected to vote on plastic bag ban issue on Wednesday. (Published Monday, Mar 24, 2014)
Dallas City Councilman Dwaine Caraway accepted the compromise of a bag fee after spending a year fighting for a ban on single-use bags.
“This is an opportunity for us to clean our city, to clean our environment and to move forward, and to be like the other cities across the country and around the world,” Caraway said.
Zac Trahan with Texas Campaign for The Environment said Austin and eight smaller Texas cities have taken stronger action by banning single-use bags, but he still supported the Dallas regulations.
“It’s still a step in the right direction because it will still result in a huge reduction in the number of bags that will be distributed,” he said.
The ordinance also requires those retailers to register with the city and track the number of single-use bags sold.
The retailer would keep 10 percent of the environmental fee with the remainder going to the city to fund enforcement and education efforts.
Lee Califf, the executive director of the bag manufacturers’ group American Progressive Bag Alliance, released the following statement after the ordinance was passed.
“The vote to approve a 5-cent plastic and paper grocery bag fee in Dallas is another example of environmental myths and junk science driving poor policy in the plastic bag debate. This legislation applies to a product that is less than 0.5% of municipal waste in the United States and typically less than 1% of litter in studies conducted across the country. The City Council rushed through a flawed bill to appease its misguided sponsor, despite the fact that 70% of Dallas residents opposed this legislation in a recent poll.

“Placing a fee on a product with such a minuscule contribution to the waste and litter streams will not help the environment; but it will cost Dallas consumers millions more per year on their grocery bills, while hurting small businesses and threatening the livelihoods of the 4,500 Texans who work in the plastic bag manufacturing and recycling industry. Councilman Caraway may view this vote as a victory for his political career, but there are no winners with today’s outcome.”
Several Council Members opposed any new restrictions.
Rick Callahan said grocery bags are only a small part of the Dallas litter problem and better recycling education is needed.
“Banning something or adding a fee, putting more regulation on business is not the answer,” Callahan said.
The ordinance does ban single-use plastic or paper bags at city-owned facilities and events.
It still allows distributing multi-use, or stronger, paper or plastic bags for free so stores can get around charging the fee by offering better bags.
The ordinance goes into effect Jan. 1, 2015.

http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Dallas-Council-to-Consider-Plastic-Bag-Ban-252427601.html

 

Dallas’ new plastic bag fee: for and against

By Steve Blow

After more than a year of considering a ban on disposable shopping bags, the Dallas City Council voted instead last week to impose a 5-cent “environmental fee” on each bag.

In previous columns, Steve Blow had opposed a ban, while Jacquielynn Floyd had supported it. Today, they debate the council’s new approach.

Steve: Leave it to the Dallas City Council to take a bad idea and find a way to make it worse. I thought a ban on shopping bags was a bad idea, but slapping a new tax on Dallas shoppers is even more pointless.

This isn’t just a new tax, it’s a new mini-bureaucracy at City Hall. There’s talk of hiring 12 new people to run the program. And I’m sure someone is already writing a job description for a Deputy Junior Assistant City Manager for Retail Packaging Assessment and Oversight.

Good grief. I had little faith that a ban would accomplish much. I’m even more dubious about a bag tax — except as a tool of government growth.

Jacquielynn: Dude, it’s a nickel. Nobody’s getting taxed into bankruptcy here.

I hope, in fact, that this modest 5 cents is enough to assign at least minimal value to these awful bags. The reason they end up on fences, in fields and as tree garbage is that they’re so free and plentiful.

Almost everybody collects them every day — yet they have virtually no value. It’s human nature to take something for free, then toss it or lose track if you don’t need it.

Like it or not, this is the direction cities are headed. Los Angeles has had a ban in effect for more than a year. New York and Chicago are talking about either banning or limiting plastic bags.

I don’t think this is a case of forcing people to bow to the authoritarian rule of government overlords — we’re asking for a very minor change in their habits. It makes environmental sense, like other conservation and recycling measures that have become routine.

Steve: They don’t end up as litter because they’re free and plentiful. They end up as litter because a few dopes among us litter. A nickel is not going to transform those dopes into responsible citizens. Anyone careless with trash is not going to suddenly become careful with 5-cent trash.

On a fundamental level, this issue chaps my inner libertarian. I don’t think “government regulation” is automatically a dirty word. But I firmly believe the need must be obvious and compelling before we add more regulation.

Jack, you may be fixated on plastic bags as you drive around, but I promise they make up a small percentage of the litter that’s out there. I see more cups than anything. Will we be required to carry around reusable cups next? Or pay a cups tax?

Jacquielynn: Steve, I agree that clueless dolts dump all kinds of garbage, from burger wrappers to moldy old sofas.

Plastic bags are a particular problem, though, for the very qualities that make them such a successful consumer product: They’re cheap, durable, lightweight and water-resistant. They’re mobile, easily blown into trees, creeks, fences and even for miles out into rural areas. A farmer who lives outside Dallas told me this week he hates plastic bags because when they land on his property, baby calves can choke on them.

Most of us don’t have calf problems, but the bags’ weightlessness makes them vulnerable to any breeze. Even if they’re responsibly discarded, they’ll blow out of open trash cans, trucks, you name it.

They’re not just a blight — they’re a highly contagious blight.

Steve: Oh, c’mon. How am I supposed to rebut choking baby calves?

I will point out that Washington, D.C., has a real paradox on its hands. It implemented a 5-cent fee on disposable bags in 2010. And in a survey last year, residents reported using 60 percent fewer bags.

But get this: Tax revenue from the bags has been going up, not down as was expected. The city had originally projected to collect $1.05 million in fiscal 2013. Instead, bag fees topped $2 million.

The dollars don’t lie. More bags are being used after four years. Sure, some people will switch to reusable bags. But this sure isn’t going to make plastic bags disappear. Is a regressive new tax really worth it?

Jacquielynn: I’d be happy to sidestep the entire “tax” issue by banning bags outright. If you want groceries, make sure you have a way to get them home.

But if cities aren’t ready to take that step, and they actually see a windfall out of bag taxes, maybe that should be dedicated to cleanup efforts.

Ideally, though, stores wouldn’t have the things at all. They can make boxes available (a la Costco). They can sell heavier plastic multiple-use bags for 25 or 50 cents. Shoppers buying just one or two items could learn to use the flexible appendages at the ends of their arms to carry stuff away.

The mail I’ve received from angry readers makes it plain that a lot of people loathe this plan, whether you call it a ban or a tax.

But I just don’t think we’re asking for a dramatic change in the way we live our lives. If we don’t stop assuming that everything we send to the landfill magically disappears, the landfill is going to start coming to us. Do you really want to live in a city that has garbage in the trees?

Steve: No, it’s not a drastic change. Just a needless one. And I’m looking out my office window at six or seven trees with nary a bag in sight. Except for a few spots, the litter problem has been overblown.

I just wish we had tried a major public-awareness campaign before imposing more taxes and more regulation. 1. Recycle bags where you get them. 2. Try reusable bags. 3. Don’t litter, you dope.

Jacquielynn: On those points, we’re in wholehearted agreement.

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/columnists/steve-blow/20140329-dallas-new-plastic-bag-fee-for-and-against.ece

 

Attorney General asked to weigh in on bag bans

Don’t bag it. Butt out. That’s the message Wednesday to Attorney General Greg Abbott from supporters of efforts to ban the use of plastic bags in Texas. The Attorney General has been asked to determine whether or not city ordinances like the one in Austin go too far and violate state law. While Abbott was told to back off, the state lawmaker who asked the Attorney General to get involved explained why he made the request.

It’s no longer legal in Austin for a retailer to provide customers with plastic bags. Wednesday, those who want to keep the bag ban on the books gathered at the state capitol to send a message.

“We call on the Attorney General today to keep his nose out of local government’s business of protecting the health of their residents and local communities, and leave well enough alone,” said Robin Schneider who is the Executive Director of Texas Campaign for the Environment.

The group is filing a legal brief to convince the Attorney General that cities in Texas have the Home-Rule authority to out-law plastic bags. Austin is among nearly a dozen towns that have passed bag ban ordinances. Wednesday is the deadline to weigh in before the Attorney General issues an opinion. The question is whether or not a municipal ban violates the state health and safety code.

The state lawmaker who requested the legal opinion, state Rep. Dan Flynn (R) Vann said his concern is not necessarily about the use of plastic bags but about the perceived abuse of power.

“The last this particular law was looked at was about 20 years ago,” said Rep. Flynn.

The Republican from Van heads up a House Committee created to make government more transparent. According to Flynn, he made the request for a legal opinion after getting several calls asking for clarification.

“It’s not about Austin, it’s all about state authority and the power grab by some cities over state law, that’s just about the easiest way to say it.”

When a ban on plastic bags was approved in Austin, the lack of a similar, free, option spurred much of the opposition. Shoppers are required to buy their own reusable cloth of thick plastic bags. Some stores in Austin do provide paper bags but typically charge for them,” said Flynn.

“They’re not charging in Fort Stockton,” said Darren Hodges, Mayor Pro Tem of that west Texas town.

The Fort Stockton city council worked with local retailers before being one of the first to pass a ban. According to Hodges, free biodegradable bags are offered to Fort Stockton shoppers. That kind of option, he agreed, could help reduce back lash in communities considering similar action.

“It’s best to get with your big bag people and work with them on something that they can live with, at least get everyone involved in the process and see if you can move forward,” said Hodges.

An A.G. ruling against bag bans will not strike down any ordinance. It could provide a legal foot-hold for any group that takes a city to court.

The Dallas city council, earlier Wednesday, considered its own bag ban. Instead of out-lawing them, in a close vote, the Dallas council passed an environmental fee ordinance, which is essentially a new tax.

Starting next year shoppers in Dallas will be charged 5-cents for every plastic and paper bag that they use.

In reaction to the Dallas council vote, the American Progressive Bag Alliance issued the following statement:

“The vote to approve a 5-cent plastic and paper grocery bag fee in Dallas is another example of environmental myths and junk science driving poor policy in the plastic bag debate. This legislation applies to a product that is less than 0.5% of municipal waste in the United States and typically less than 1% of litter in studies conducted across the country. The City Council rushed through a flawed bill to appease its misguided sponsor, despite the fact that 70% of Dallas residents opposed this legislation in a recent poll.”

http://www.myfoxaustin.com/story/25082745/attorney-general-asked-to-weigh-in-on-bag-bans

 

Plan B Updates
APRIL 22, 2014
Plastic Bag Bans Spreading in the United States
Janet Larsen and Savina Venkova

Los Angeles rang in the 2014 New Year with a ban on the distribution of plastic bags at the checkout counter of big retailers, making it the largest of the 132 cities and counties around the United States with anti-plastic bag legislation. And a movement that gained momentum in California is going national. More than 20 million Americans live in communities with plastic bag bans or fees. Currently 100 billion plastic bags pass through the hands of U.S. consumers every year—almost one bag per person each day. Laid end-to-end, they could circle the equator 1,330 times. But this number will soon fall as more communities, including large cities like New York and Chicago, look for ways to reduce the plastic litter that blights landscapes and clogs up sewers and streams.

While now ubiquitous, the plastic bag has a relatively short history. Invented in Sweden in 1962, the single-use plastic shopping bag was first popularized by Mobil Oil in the 1970s in an attempt to increase its market for polyethylene, a fossil-fuel-derived compound. Many American customers disliked the plastic bag when it was introduced in 1976, disgusted by the checkout clerks having to lick their fingers when pulling the bags from the rack and infuriated when a bag full of groceries would break or spill over. But retailers continued to push for plastic because it was cheaper and took up less space than paper, and now a generation of people can hardly conceive of shopping without being offered a plastic bag at the checkout counter.

The popularity of plastic grocery bags stems from their light weight and their perceived low cost, but it is these very qualities that make them unpleasant, difficult, and expensive to manage. Over one third of all plastic production is for packaging, designed for short-term use. Plastic bags are made from natural gas or petroleum that formed over millions of years, yet they are often used for mere minutes before being discarded to make their way to a dump or incinerator—if they don’t blow away and end up as litter first. The amount of energy required to make 12 plastic bags could drive a car for a mile.

In landfills and waterways, plastic is persistent, lasting for hundreds of years, breaking into smaller pieces and leaching out chemical components as it ages, but never fully disappearing. Animals that confuse plastic bags with food can end up entangled, injured, or dead. Recent studies have shown that plastic from discarded bags actually soaks up additional pollutants like pesticides and industrial waste that are in the ocean and delivers them in large doses to sea life. The harmful substances then can move up the food chain to the food people eat. Plastics and the various additives that they contain have been tied to a number of human health concerns, including disruption of the endocrine and reproductive systems, infertility, and a possible link to some cancers.

Graph on Population Under Plastic Bag Bans and Charges in the United States, 2007-2014

California—with its long coastline and abundant beaches where plastic trash is all too common—has been the epicenter of the U.S. movement against plastic bags. San Francisco was the first American city to regulate their use, starting with a ban on non-compostable plastic bags from large supermarkets and chain pharmacies in 2007. As part of its overall strategy to reach “zero waste” by 2020 (the city now diverts 80 percent of its trash to recyclers or composters instead of landfills), it extended the plastic bag ban to other stores and restaurants in 2012 and 2013. Recipients of recycled paper or compostable bags are charged at least 10ȼ, but—as is common in cities with plastic bag bans—bags for produce or other bulk items are still allowed at no cost. San Francisco also is one of a number of Californian cities banning the use of polystyrene (commonly referred to as Styrofoam) food containers, and it has gone a step further against disposable plastic packaging by banning sales of water in plastic bottles in city property.

All told, plastic bag bans cover one-third of California’s population. Plastic bag purchases by retailers have reportedly fallen from 107 million pounds in 2008 to 62 million pounds in 2012, and bag producers and plastics manufacturers have taken note. Most of the ordinances have faced lawsuits from plastics industry groups like the American Chemistry Council (ACC). Even though the laws have largely held up in the courts, the threat of legal action has deterred additional communities from taking action and delayed the process for others.

Ironically, were it not for the intervention of the plastics industry in the first place, California would likely have far fewer outright plastic bag bans. Instead, more communities might have opted for charging a fee per bag, but this option was prohibited as part of industry-supported state-wide legislation in 2006 requiring Californian grocery stores to institute plastic bag recycling programs. Since a first attempt in 2010, California has come close to introducing a statewide ban on plastic bags, but well-funded industry lobbyists have gotten in the way. A new bill will likely go up for a vote in 2014 with the support of the California Grocers Association as well as state senators who had opposed an earlier iteration.

Seattle’s story is similar. In 2008 the city council passed legislation requiring groceries, convenience stores, and pharmacies to charge 20ȼ for each one-time-use bag handed out at the cash register. A $1.4 million campaign headed by the ACC stopped the measure via a ballot initiative before it went into effect, and voters rejected the ordinance in August 2009. But the city did not give up. In 2012 it banned plastic bags and added a 5ȼ fee for paper bags. Attempts to gather signatures to repeal this have been unsuccessful. Eleven other Washington jurisdictions have also banned plastic bags, including the state capital, Olympia. (See database of U.S. plastic bag initiatives and a timeline history.)

U.S. Plastic Bag Laws Map

(Click for a live map)

A number of state governments have entertained proposals for anti-plastic bag legislation, but not one has successfully applied a statewide charge or banned the bags. Hawaii has a virtual state prohibition, as its four populated counties have gotten rid of plastic bags at grocery checkouts, with the last one beginning enforcement in July 2015. Florida, another state renowned for its beaches, legally preempts cities from enacting anti-bag legislation. The latest attempt to remove this barrier was scrapped in April 2014, although state lawmakers say they will revisit the proposal later in the year.

Opposition to plastic bags has emerged in Texas, despite the state accounting for 44 percent of the U.S. plastics market and serving as the home to several important bag manufacturers, including Superbag, one of America’s largest. Eight cities and towns in the state have active plastic bag bans, and others, like San Antonio, have considered jumping on the bandwagon. Austin banned plastic bags in 2013, hoping to reduce the more than $2,300 it was spending each day to deal with plastic bag trash and litter. The smaller cities of Fort Stockton and Kermit banned plastic bags in 2011 and 2013, respectively, after ranchers complained that cattle had died from ingesting them. Plastic bags have also been known to contaminate cotton fields, getting caught up in balers and harming the quality of the final product. Plastic pollution in the Trinity River Basin, which provides water to over half of all Texans, was a compelling reason for Dallas to pass a 5ȼ fee on plastic bags that will go into effect in 2015.

Washington, D.C., was the first U.S. city to require food and alcohol retailers to charge customers 5ȼ for each plastic or paper bag. Part of the revenue from this goes to the stores to help them with the costs of implementation, and part is designated for cleanup of the Anacostia River. Most D.C. shoppers now routinely bring their own reusable bags on outings; one survey found that 80 percent of consumers were using fewer bags and that over 90 percent of businesses viewed the law positively or neutrally.

Montgomery County in Maryland followed Washington’s example and passed a 5ȼ charge for bags in 2011. A recent study that compared shoppers in this county with those in neighboring Prince George’s County, where anti-bag legislation has not gone through, found that reusable bags were seven times more popular in Montgomery County stores. When bags became a product rather than a freebie, shoppers thought about whether the product was worth the extra nickel and quickly got into the habit of bringing their own bags.

One strategy of the plastics industry—concerned about declining demand for its products—is an attempt to change public perception of plastic bags by promoting recycling. Recycling, however, is also not a good long-term solution. The vast majority of plastic bags—97 percent or more in some locales—never make it that far. Even when users have good intentions, bags blow out of outdoor collection bins at grocery stores or off of recycling trucks. The bags that reach recycling facilities are the bane of the programs: when mixed in with other recyclables they jam and damage sorting machines, which are very costly to repair. In San Jose, California, where fewer than 4 percent of plastic bags are recycled, repairs to bag-jammed equipment cost the city about $1 million a year before the plastic bag ban went into effect in 2012.

Proposed plastic bag restrictions have been shelved in a number of jurisdictions, including New York City, Philadelphia, and Chicago, in favor of bag recycling programs. New York City may, however, move ahead with a bill proposed in March 2014 to place a city-wide 10ȼ fee on single-use bags. Chicago is weighing a plastic bag ban.

In their less than 60 years of existence, plastic bags have had far-reaching effects. Enforcing legislation to limit their use challenges the throwaway consumerism that has become pervasive in a world of artificially cheap energy. As U.S. natural gas production has surged and prices have fallen, the plastics industry is looking to ramp up domestic production. Yet using this fossil fuel endowment to make something so short-lived, which can blow away at the slightest breeze and pollutes indefinitely, is illogical—particularly when there is a ready alternative: the reusable bag.

 

A Short History of the Plastic Bag: Selected Dates of Note in the United States and Internationally
1933 Polyethylene is discovered by scientists at Imperial Chemical Industries, a British company.
1950 Total global plastics production stands at less than 2 million metric tons.
1965 Sten Thulin’s 1962 invention of the T-shirt bag, another name for the common single-use plastic shopping bag, is patented by Swedish company Celloplast.
1976 Mobil Oil introduces the plastic bag to the United States. To recognize the U.S. Bicentennial, the bag’s designs are in red, white, and blue.
1982 Safeway and Kroger, two of the biggest U.S. grocery chains, start to switch from paper to plastic bags.
1986 Plastic bags already account for over 80 percent of the market in much of Europe, with paper holding on to the remainder. In the United States, the percentages are reversed.
June 1986 The half-million-member-strong General Federation of Women’s Clubs starts a U.S.-wide letter writing campaign to grocers raising concerns about the negative environmental effects of plastic bags.
Late 1980s Plastic bag usage estimated to catch up to paper in U.S. groceries.
1989 Maine passes a law requiring retailers to only hand out plastic bags if specifically requested; this is replaced in 1991 by a statewide recycling initiative.
1990 The small Massachusetts island of Nantucket bans retail plastic bags.
1994 Denmark begins taxing retailers for plastic bags.
1996 Four of every five grocery bags used in the United States are made of plastic.
1997 Captain Charles Moore discovers the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” in the remote North Pacific, where plastic is estimated to outweigh zooplankton six to one, drawing global attention to the accumulation of plastics in the ocean.
2000 Mumbai, India, bans plastic bags, with limited enforcement.
2002 Global plastics production tops 200 million metric tons.
March 2002 Ireland becomes the first country to tax consumers’ use of plastic bags directly.
March 2002 Bangladesh becomes the first country to ban plastic bags. Bags had been blamed for exacerbating flooding.
2006 Italy begins efforts to pass a national ban on plastic bags; due to industry complaints and legal issues, these efforts are ongoing.
April 2007 San Francisco becomes the first U.S. city to ban plastic grocery bags, later expanding to all retailers and restaurants.
2007-2008 The ACC spends $5.7 million on lobbying in California, much of it to oppose regulations on plastic bags.
June 2008 China’s plastic bag ban takes effect before Beijing hosts the Olympic Games.
September 2008 Rwanda passes a national ban on plastic bags.
2009 Plastics overtake paper and paperboard to become the number one discarded material in the U.S. waste stream.
July 2009 Hong Kong’s levy on plastic bags takes effect in chains, large groceries, and other more sizable stores; it is later expanded to all retailers.
August 2009 Seattle’s attempt to impose a 20ȼ fee on both paper and plastic bags is defeated before it can take effect by a referendum financed largely by the American Chemistry Council (ACC).
December 2009 Madison, Wisconsin, mandates that households recycle plastic bags rather than disposing of them with their trash.
January 2010 Washington, D.C., begins requiring all stores that sell food or alcohol to charge 5ȼ for plastic and paper checkout bags.
2010 Major bag producer Hilex Poly spends over $1 million in opposition to a proposed statewide plastic bag ban in California.
2010 Plastic bags appear in the Guinness World Records as the world’s “most ubiquitous consumer item.”
October 2011 In Oregon, Portland’s ban on plastic bags at major groceries and certain big-box stores begins.
May 2012 Honolulu County approves a plastic bag ban (to go into effect in July 2015), completing a de facto state-wide ban in Hawaii.
July 2012 Seattle’s plastic bag ban takes effect nearly three years after the first tax attempt failed.
March 2013 A bag ban takes effect in Austin, TX.
September-October 2013 During the Ocean Conservancy’s 2013 Coastal Cleanup event, more than 1 million plastic bags were picked up from coasts and waterways around the world.
January 2014 Los Angeles becomes the largest U.S. city to ban plastic bags.
April 2014 Members of the European Parliament back new rules requiring member countries to cut plastic bag use 50 percent by 2017 and 80 percent by 2019.
April 2014 Over 20 million people are covered under 132 city and county plastic bag bans or fee ordinances in the United States.
Source: Compiled by Earth Policy Institute, www.earth-policy.org, April 2014.

 

Selected Plastic Bag Regulations in the United States
Boulder, CO Boulder grocery stores charge 10ȼ for plastic and paper bags. The city’s reasons for applying the fee to both were that plastic bags are difficult to recycle and paper bag production is also energy- and water-intensive. Stores keep 4ȼ and the rest of the money goes to the city to cover administrative costs, to provide residents with free reusable bags, and to otherwise minimize the impacts of bag waste. Just six months after the fee began in 2013, the city announced that bag use had dropped by 68 percent.
Chicago, IL The Chicago City Council has visited the idea of limiting plastic bags giveaways several times over the last six years. In 2008 a proposed bag ban was rejected in favor of a bag recycling program. A bill banning plastic bags at most retailers is under consideration.
Dallas, TX Plastic bags and bottles make up about 40 percent of all the trash in the Trinity River that provides water to over half of all Texans, including those living in Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston, according to estimates by Peter Payton, Executive Director of Groundwork Dallas, a group that does monthly cleanups in the watershed. In March 2014, a 5ȼ fee on plastic and paper bags at all grocery and retail stores, along with a ban on plastic bags at all city events, facilities, and properties, was approved by the City Council. It will go into effect in January 2015. Nine tenths of the revenue generated from bag sales will go to the city.
Hawaii In April 2012, Honolulu County joined the counties of Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii in banning non-biodegradable plastic bags. This amounts to a de facto statewide bag ban—a first for the United States. The ordinances state that plastic bag use must be regulated “to preserve health, safety, welfare, and scenic and natural beauty.” Retailers have until mid-2015 to comply.
Los Angeles County (Unincorporated), CA In July 2011, a ban on plastic bags in large stores took effect in the unincorporated area of Los Angeles County, home to 1.1 million people. In January 2012, that ban expanded to include small stores, like pharmacies and convenience marts. Nearly 800 retail stores are affected. This was the first in California to add a 10ȼ charge for paper bags; since its enactment, all other California municipalities have included a paper bag charge. In December 2013, the Department of Public Works announced that the ordinance had resulted in a sustained 90 percent reduction in single-use bag use at large stores.
Los Angeles, CA In June 2013, the City Council of Los Angeles voted to ban stores from providing plastic carryout bags to customers, as well as to require stores to charge 10ȼ for paper bags. Large retailers are affected in January 2014; smaller retailers are affected in July 2014. The city was spending $2 million a year cleaning up plastic bags.
Manhattan Beach, CA After passing a plastic bag ban in 2008, the city became the first to be sued by the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition—a group of plastic bag manufacturers and distributors—for not preparing an environmental impact report as required under the California Environmental Quality Act. The Coalition claimed a shift from plastic to recycled paper bags would harm the environment. Two lower courts sided with the Coalition and ruled that a report was required, but in 2011, on appeal, the California Supreme Court said that any increased use of paper bags in a small city like Manhattan Beach would have negligible environmental impact and therefore a report was unnecessary. This precedent allowed many California cities to proceed with banning plastic bags without such a report.
Nantucket Island, MA Nantucket, a small seasonal tourist town, banned non-biodegradable plastic bags in 1990. Facing a growing waste disposal problem, the town envisioned building a facility where as much material as possible could be diverted from the landfill to be recycled or composted; such a facility would only be able to accept biodegradable bags.
New York City, NY Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a 5ȼ tax on plastic bags in 2009, but the idea was later dropped in a budget agreement with the City Council. In March 2014, the City Council began to consider a proposal mandating a 10ȼ charge per plastic and paper bag at most stores.
San Francisco, CA San Francisco was the first U.S. city to regulate plastic bags. The original ordinance, which was adopted in April 2007, banned non-compostable plastic bags at all large supermarkets and chain pharmacies. In October 2012 the law was applied to all stores, and in October 2013 the law expanded to restaurants. The Save the Plastic Bag Coalition sued the city, contesting the extensions to the ban, but those were upheld by the First District Court of Appeal in December 2013. In April 2014, the Supreme Court of California denied the Coalition’s first appeal, allowing the city to keep its bag ban.
Santa Monica, CA Santa Monica has banned plastic bags from all retailers since September 2011. Grocery, liquor, and drug stores may offer paper bags for 10ȼ each, while department stores and restaurants may provide paper bags for no fee. Because the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition had sued other cities for not conducting an environmental impact review prior to the announcements of their bag bans, Santa Monica conducted a review and thus avoided a lawsuit. Plastic bags for carryout food items from restaurants and reusable bags made from polyethylene are allowed.
Seattle, WA In July 2008 the Seattle government approved a 20ȼ charge on all paper and plastic checkout bags, but opponents collected enough signatures to put the ordinance up for a vote on the August 2009 primary ballot. The Coalition to Stop the Seattle Bag Tax—consisting of the American Chemistry Council’s Progressive Bag Affiliates, 7-Eleven, and the Washington Food Industry—spent $1.4 million on the referendum campaign (15 times more than fee supporters), and voters chose to reject the ordinance. It took until July 2012 for the city to enact its current ban on plastic bags and place a 5ȼ fee on paper bags. Seattle residents are largely in favor of the ban, and attempts to gather signatures to repeal it have not been successful.
Washington, DC In January 2010, Washington, D.C., began requiring a 5ȼ charge for plastic and paper carryout bags at all retailers that sell food or alcohol. Businesses keep a portion of the fee, and the remainder goes to The Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Fund. A survey conducted in early 2013 found that four out of five District households are using fewer bags since the tax came into effect. Almost 60 percent of residents reported carrying reusable bags with them “always” or “most of the time” when they shop. Two thirds of District residents reported seeing less plastic bag litter since the tax came into effect. One half of businesses reported saving money because of the fee.
Source: Compiled by Earth Policy Institute, www.earth-policy.org, April 2014.

 

http://www.earth-policy.org/plan_b_updates/2014/update122

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The Pronk Pops Show 370, November 13, 2014, Story 1: Part II More On Jonathan Gruber, Basically PhD (Piled Higher and Deeper) on Healthcare, Obamacare and Lack of Transparency — The American Voters Were Not Stupid And Rejected Democrats Who Supported Obamacare By Voting Them Out of Office — But The Democratic Progressive Elitist Establishment Are Liars and Losers — Stupid Is As Stupid Does — Death Knell of Socialized Medicine — Repeal Obamacare Now! — Videos

Posted on November 13, 2014. Filed under: American History, Biology, Blogroll, Budgetary Policy, Business, Chemistry, Communications, Consitutional Law, Corruption, Crime, Diets, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Food, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health Care, History, Insurance, Investments, Labor Economics, Law, Media, Medical, Medicine, Monetary Policy, Nutrition, Obama, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Public Sector Unions, Radio, Regulation, Resources, Scandals, Science, Security, Social Science, Success, Taxes, Technology, Unemployment, Unions, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 370: November 13, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 307: August 1, 2014

Story 1: Part II More On Jonathan Gruber, Basically PhD (Piled Higher and Deeper) on Healthcare, Obamacare and Lack of Transparency — The American Voters  Were Not Stupid And Rejected Democrats Who Supported Obamacare By Voting Them Out of Office — But The Democratic Progressive Elitist Establishment Are Liars and Losers — Stupid Is As Stupid Does — Death Knell of Socialized Medicine — Repeal Obamacare Now! — Videos

Stupid Is As Stupid Does


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obamacare_architect_jonathan_gruber_open_mic

“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO [Congressional Budget Office] scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Okay, so it’s written to do that. In terms of risk rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in – you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed… Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical for the thing to pass….Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.”

~Jonathan Gruber

Stupid is as stupid does, Mrs. Blue..

Jonathan-Gruber

How Did The Media Cover Jonathan Gruber

SMOKING GUN! Gruber Admits Obama Was in Room During Planning of Cadillac Lie

Gruber’s ObamaCare Remarks?

Stupid Is as Stupid Does’: Judge Jeanine Slams Obama, Pelosi and Gruber

CNN airs New Video of Jonathan Gruber: Exploit the Lack of American Voters’ Economic Understanding

Trey Gowdy on Gruber comments

Megyn Kelly: Democrats Committed Fraud By Not Representing Obamacare as a Tax

Greater Boston Video: Jonathan Gruber Pushes Back

Krauthammer rips Jonathan Gruber: “We’re hearing the true voice of liberal arrogance”

GRUBER: “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage.”

The Worst of Jonathan Gruber

Flashback: Obama: Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.

The Changing Touchstone of Transparency

Nets Ignore ObamaCare Architect Crediting Law’s Passage On ‘The Stupidity Of The American Voter’

Megyn Slams ObamaCare Architect Who Declined to Appear on ‘Kelly File’

WHY IS OBAMA NOT IN PRISON FOR STEALING TAXPAYER MONEY?

ObamaCare: Bill’s architect Gruber admits lies, deception necessary because Americans are stupid

President Obama in 2009: Mandate is Not a Tax

Obama on single payer health insurance

Barack Obama Promotes Single-Payer Universal Healthcare

Dems including Harry Reid, Sebelius, and Obama admit Single Payer Healthcare is ultimate goal

 

Democrats Push for a Single Payer Health Care System Katie Pavlich Charles Payne 8 12 13

Socialize Medicine! – Influential Democrat Calling For Single Payer System Amid Obamacare Trouble

 

obamacare

“If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.” – Barack Obama

obama

Obama-If-You-Like-Your-Health-Care-Plan-You-Can-Keep-It

losing_plan

Jon Stewart on You Can Keep Your Plan. Period.

Jonathan Gruber on MSNBC says he “regrets” calling the American voter stupid

Conversation: “Health Care Reform,” The Comic Book

Gruber Files- Harvard University

The Cadillac Tax

Obama admits he DID raise taxes

Obamacare’s Cadillac Tax Pushing People To Plans With High Deductible- Union You Got What You Wanted

Jonathan Gruber brags about the “basic exploitation” of American voters

What is the “cadillac tax?” M3 Insurance HCR

Unions & Cadilac Health Care Plans

Obama’s Health Care Lies And Reversals

Obama lies about “cadillac” plan taxation.

Rep Joe Courtney Discusses “Cadillac Tax” with Neil Cavuto on Fox Business News Channel

HealthCare Reform – Modified Community Rating Part 1 – Federal Marketplace

HealthCare Reform – Modified Community Rating Part 2 – Federal Marketplace

Community Rating – How the Affordable Care Act Impacts Small Business Owners

Forrest Gump TRAILER

Honest Trailers – Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump’s most beautiful quote

Funeral Toll & Peal, Mount Angel Abbey

When a monk passes away during the night, the toll is sounded early the following morning. It is repeated after the funeral Mass, when the monks process down to the cemetery, and ends with a peal of all the bells. These are the last few tolls of the sequence on the largest bell in the Pacific Northwest.

Please pray for the eternal repose of the soul of this monk, that he may enter into everlasting life with Christ.

Martin Luther King – For whom the bell tolls

Nancy Pelosi says she doesn’t know who Jonathan Gruber is. She touted his work in 2009.

By Aaron Blake

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that, not only did Jonathan Gruber not play a significant role in drafting Obamacare, but that she doesn’t even “know who he is.”

Many have pointed out since then that Pelosi’s office has cited Gruber’s work in the past. That’s notable, but it’s very unlikely Pelosi herself wrote those press releases herself or even participated in their drafting.

But then there’s this: Pelosi herself has also mentioned Gruber and his work — back in November 2009, at the height of the Obamacare debate.

Here’s the transcript, via Nexis:

Q: As you know, the Republicans released their health- care bill this week. And I wanted to get your comment on the bill, and specifically on the CBO analysis that it would cost significantly less than the Democratic plan and that it would lower premiums.

PELOSI: Let me just say this. Anything you need to know about the difference between the Democratic bill and the Republican bill is that the Republicans do not end the health insurance companies’ discrimination against people with preexisting conditions. They let that stand. That’s scandalous, the fact that it exists. I don’t understand why they have not heard the American people, who have said preexisting conditions should not be a source of discrimination.

And secondly, the Republican plan ensures about 3 million more people than now, and ours does 36 million people. So that’s a very big difference in that.

We’re not finished getting all of our reports back from CBO, but we’ll have a side by side to compare. But our bill brings down rates. I don’t know if you have seen Jonathan Gruber of MIT’s analysis of what the comparison is to the status quo versus what will happen in our bill for those who seek insurance within the exchange. And our bill takes down those costs, even some now, and much less preventing the upward spiral.

So again, we’re confident about what we set out to do in the bill: middle class affordability, security for our seniors, and accountability to our children.

Pelosi’s office told the Washington Post that the minority leader meant that she didn’t know Gruber personally.

“She said she doesn’t ‘know who he is,’ not that she’s never heard of him,” Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said.

Hammill added: “We’ve cited the work of dozens upon dozens of economists over the years. As the leader said today, Mr. Gruber played no role in drafting our bill.”

Pelosi clearly wants to distance herself and Obamacare from Gruber, given Gruber’s controversial comments about “the stupidity of the American voter,” and Democrats are going to argue that Gruber wasn’t instrumental in the bill. But, as an architect of the Massachusetts health-care law and a consultant to the White House on Obamacare, he’s been regularly cited by Democrats as an authority on this issue — including, apparently, by Pelosi.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/11/13/nancy-pelosi-says-she-doesnt-know-who-jonathan-gruber-is-she-touted-his-work-in-2009/

This Philly-Based Investment Adviser Has Become Obamacare’s Digital Menace

Sam Stein

You could pardon Rich Weinstein for gloating. These past few days, he’s enjoyed the type of journalistic high that comes with unearthing a particularly meaty scoop.

Except Weinstein is no journalist. He’s a Philadelphia-based investment adviser approaching 50 who, until a half-year ago, was unknown to the political world. A set of videos he found of Jonathan Gruber, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist who played an important role in drafting the Affordable Care Act, changed all that. The videos have become rich context for a legal challenge to the law now heading to the Supreme Court, and they’ve made Weinstein the celebration of conservative circles.

“This is going to sound a little cocky and I don’t want it to be,” Weinstein told The Huffington Post Tuesday in one of the the media interviews he’s given on his feat. “But I’m not partially responsible for finding those clips. I’m completely responsible.”

Weinstein’s story, in some respects, would be the stuff of a made-for-TV movie — if the director is a member of the tea party and eager to dramatize the Affordable Care Act’s unraveling (those two points, admittedly, are redundant).

Weinstein, who runs his own company, and his family lost their health insurance after Obamacare forced higher standards for policies. On the exchange, the only plan with similar benefits was twice the cost of his old one. Irritated, he began looking into who put together the Affordable Care Act, searching Google with the term “ACA architects.” Days consumed with researching old videos became nights.

“Remember when the husbands used to come home at night in the ’50s and ’60s and grab a newspaper and read it?” said Weinstein. “Well, I’m like that with the iPad. It was a lot of time. For the past year, I put a lot of time into this.”

His break came last winter. An op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by Scott Pruitt, the attorney general of Oklahoma, outlined a long-shot legal argument that said a direct interpretation of Affordable Care Act precluded giving subsidies to people on federally run exchanges. Weinstein had seen that argument before, albeit from a different vantage point. Months earlier, he had stumbled across video of Gruber stating that the subsidies to help low-income Americans buy insurance are reserved for state-established exchanges, if only to give states an incentive to establish an exchange

Weinstein had a smoking gun, but no one to show it to.

“I’ve got the tinfoil hat,” Weinstein said, excusing the reporters who ignored his early entreaties. “People in the media must be overwhelmed with idiots like me who think they have something.”

So he took time off — three to four months — and watched his kids play lacrosse. Then, in July, two conservative justices on a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the subsidies for those shopping on federally run exchanges were, indeed, illegal. People were talking about the issue again.

Weinstein dropped comments about his Gruber video onto The Washington Post’s Volokh Conspiracy blog. Eventually, Ryan Radia, of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian think tank, noticed and turned it into a blog post.

Dominos began to fall. Weinstein’s first video was included in the legal challenge to Obamacare. And that challenge — King v. Burwell — ended up making its way to the Supreme Court. “Which is crazy,” Weinstein said. “Crazy because I found it. Not crazy because it is a crazy legal case.”

This week, another of Weinstein’s videos emerged. This one is of Gruber saying that a bit of budgetary deception helped Obamacare pass in Congress (“call it the stupidity of the American voter, or whatever,” said the professor). This, too, found its way into the mainstream conversation. Gruber on Tuesday went on MSNBC to apologize for his language, though he may have return. Weinstein said he has another video of a similar comment that he will soon release.

Should the Supreme Court ultimately rule against subsidies being available on federally run insurance exchanges, it would, in some ways, make the perfect ending to a conservative-inspired Horatio Alger story.

“I’m kind of a nobody,” said Weinstein. “And, I think, people who are out there, just the average person who gets hacked off about something or has an interest about something, I think I’m a perfect lesson that any one person can make a difference. Anybody. Even guy with the tinfoil hat in his mom’s basement.”

Except life and politics aren’t that simple. There is texture. Weinstein doesn’t live in his mom’s basement. He just says it for rhetorical flair. For those who would like to dismiss him as a knee-jerk partisan, he’s not that, either. He voted for Bill Clinton, he said, before he cast a ballot for Ross Perot and, most recently, Mitt Romney. Certainly, he’s no longer a “nobody” in the fight against Obamacare. Elements of the conservative movement have geared up to both promote and protect his work.

Phil Kerpen, who founded the group American Commitment and formerly was vice president for the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity, helped spread the second of Weinstein’s videos. Once Kerpen found out an article was in the works, he sent a tweet suggesting The Huffington Post was “doxxing” Weinstein for attacking Gruber. The tweet came just minutes after The Huffington Post asked Weinstein whether he had used an online alias before commenting on The Volokh Conspiracy.

But the real nuance is in the history and the policy details. Gruber was an architect of Obamacare. But he wasn’t the only architect. The staffs to former Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), among others, deserve their fair share of credit or blame, depending on one’s perspective.

On the issue of subsidies, the Gruber statement that Weinstein unearthed remains a gem for a reason. It’s because it’s rare (Gruber called it a “speak-o” — like a typo). There has been one other instance unearthed of Gruber discussing tax incentives as a means of compelling a state to set up an exchange.

For defenders of the law, that’s still thin gruel compared with the widely accepted belief during and after the crafting of the bill that subsidies would be universal. (The IRS ruled this way in May 2012, five months after Gruber’s speech.)

For critics, it’s proof enough.

“I don’t think he misspoke at all. I don’t think he was taken out of context and I don’t think he misspoke,” said Weinstein.

And then there is the issue of practical outcomes. Weinstein became a digital archaeologist after the cost of his insurance went up two-fold. Should a lawsuit succeed in eliminating subsidies for those buying insurance on federally run exchanges, it would result in many people confronting similar, or worse, price hikes. It’s an outcome that Weinstein admitted weighs on him, even as he keeps scanning the Web for more Gruberisms.

“It does,” Weinstein said. “But the way you say it makes it sound like nothing else will happen. Like it is a straight line. Subsidies are taken away and the world ends. And I think that’s not fair. I think there will most certainly be a disruption. No doubt about it. I think some states will go build their own exchanges quickly. But, I think the markets would find a way to adjust.”

“It does bother me,” he added later. “I get it. I’m not an evil person. I just think people should see these videos. I just think people should know what’s going on. “

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/11/rich-weinstein-jonathan-gruber_n_6142340.html

Hearings floated as Hill Republicans seize on Gruber Obamacare comments

 By Robert Costa and Jose A. DelReal

Congressional Republicans seized Wednesday on controversial commentsmade by a former health-care consultant to the Obama administration, with one leading House conservative suggesting that hearings could be called in response as part of the GOP effort to dismantle the law in the next Congress and turn public opinion ahead of the 2016 election.

“We may want to have hearings on this,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), an influential voice among GOP hardliners and a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, in an interview at the Capitol. “We shouldn’t be surprised they were misleading us.”

The firestorm began when a video emerged showing Jonathan Gruber, a high-profile architect of the Affordable Care Act and one of its fiercest advocates, suggesting that the health reform law passed through Congress because of the “stupidity of the American voter” and a “lack of transparency” over its funding mechanisms. The remarks were originally made in 2013 during a panel discussion at the University of Pennsylvania but began heavy circulation on social media Monday.

“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes,” Gruber said. “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the ‘stupidity of the American voter’ or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass.”

Gruber apologized for his incendiary remarks in an on-air interview with MSNBC Tuesday afternoon, calling his comments inappropriate and saying he was speaking “off the cuff.” On Tuesday evening, Fox News’ Megyn Kelly aired a second video, of Gruber calling voters stupid, also from 2013.

The controversy has lit a fire under conservatives eager to dismantle the law and has raised eyebrows among the law’s defenders, who are concerned that such comments will further damage the law’s already shaky standing with American voters. It also comes after a sweeping electoral victory for Republicans last Tuesday, who won control of the Senate and bolstered the size of their majority in the House.

Jordan said House Republicans have been sending each other a blizzard of e-mails and text messages this week, and he expects the interest in “bringing [Gruber] up here to talk” will gain traction as members return to Washington. House Republicans will gather Thursday evening for their first series of votes since the election.

“I just had a colleague text me saying, ‘We’ve got to look into this!” Jordan said as he glanced at his phone outside the House floor Wednesday morning.

The chatter among lawmakers echoes the outrage among the conservative grassroots over the comments. Sen. Ted Cruz in a speech last week said targeting ACA must remain the party’s top priority. “Now is the time to go after and do everything humanely possible to repeal Obamacare,” he said.

House GOP leadership aides expressed new optimism that their desire to target the ACA could get some momentum. While rhetorically committed to full repeal, in order to keep the party’s right flank on board, the party is looking more seriously at undermining specific parts of the law as it navigates divided government next year. Those moves could include repealing the medical device tax; watering down a requirement that employers offer full time workers coverage, which takes effect in January; and changing the definition of a full-time worker from someone who works at least 30 hours a week to someone who works at least 40 — all proposals which could win some Democratic support.

On the other side of the Capitol, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who is slated to become chairman of the powerful Senate budget committee, also threw his support behind possible hearings. In a furious gaggle with reporters, Sessions said Gruber’s comments could make dealings with the White House more difficult, days after Republican leaders said they would seek areas of common ground.

“The strategy was to hide the truth from the American people,” Sessions said. “I’m not into this post-modern world where you can say whatever you want to in order to achieve your agenda. That is a threat to the American republic… This is far deeper and more significant than the fact that he just spoke.”

Other Senate Republicans expressed similar discomfort with Gruber, but warned conservatives to not get their hopes up about repealing the health-care law while President Obama remains in office, underscoring the tonal difference between the more rabble-rousing House GOP and the new and more even-tempered Republican Senate majority.

Heading into a party luncheon on Wednesday, retiring Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said the health care law “is going to still be there regardless because we don’t have the votes” to undo it.

“We can talk all we want but he is going to veto whatever we send him,” Coburn said. “That’s the reality.”

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said he was unsure of how Senate Republicans would use the Gruber kerfuffle to go after the law, if at all. For the moment, he said, Republicans should focus on using the episode to highlight how the national press has covered the president’s signature policy.

“What Gruber said should be read and reported on by every news organization,” he said. “People should be aware of how this administration thinks.”

Several Democrats said Wednesday that they were unaware of Gruber’s comments and declined to speculate on whether there could be political consequences, underscoring how much of the discussion is being driven by Republicans. One, however, did distance herself from the arguably aloof phrasing used by Gruber. “I have not seen them,” said Sen. Patty Murrary (D-Wash). “But I do think voters are pretty smart.”

The challenge for Republicans will be balancing the conservative ire surrounding Gruber with the leaders’ political imperative to establish themselves as a governing congressional majority. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and incoming Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-Ky.) have pledged to bring another repeal bill to floor, but are also focused on achieving incremental legislative gains on Keystone XL and trade agreements.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/11/12/hearings-floated-as-hill-republicans-seize-on-gruber-obamacare-comments/

 

 

Jon Gruber finally speaks! … to MSNBC

POSTED AT 6:01 PM ON NOVEMBER 11, 2014 BY NOAH ROTHMAN

On Saturday, Newsbusters was the first major website to feature a video posted to YouTube by AmericanCommitment of Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber boasting in 2013 how he helped deceive the public via a lack of transparency about that bill. Some readers were anxious about that video being made better known to the public since at the time the article was published, there were only a couple of dozen views of the video on YouTube.

Well they needn’t have worried because since then the video has gone over the top viral to the extent that Rush Limbaugh led his show talking about it at length this morning as did Sean Hannity on his radio show. In addition, the video made it into the mainstream media other than Fox News when Jake Tapper showed the video today on The Lead and The Hill has an article about it as well. As of this writing the video has over 177,000 views and growing fast. Reason today had an excellent analysis of the Gruber revelations:

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Jonathan Gruber was, by most accounts, one of the key figures in constructing the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. He helped designed the Massachusetts health care law on which it was modeled, assisted the White House in laying out the foundation of the law, and, according to The New York Times, was eventually sent to Capitol Hill “to help Congressional staff members draft the specifics of the legislation.” He provided the media with a stream of supportive quotes, and was paid almost $400,000 for his consulting work.

Jonathan Gruber, in other words, knows exactly what it took to get the health care law passed.

And that’s why you should take him seriously when he says, in the following video, that it was critical to not be transparent about the law’s costs and true effects, and to take advantage of the “stupidity of the American voter” in order to get it passed:

Here’s the full quote:

“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO [Congressional Budget Office] scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Okay, so it’s written to do that. In terms of risk rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in – you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed… Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical for the thing to pass….Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.”

This validates much of what critics have said about the health care law, and the tactics used to pass it, for years.

For one thing, it is an explicit admission that the law was designed in such a way to avoid a CBO score that would have tanked the bill. Basically, the Democrats who wrote the bill knowingly gamed the CBO process.

It’s also an admission that the law’s authors understood that one of the effects of the bill would be to make healthy people pay for the sick, but declined to say this for fear that it would kill the bill’s chances. In other words, the law’s supporters believed the public would not like some of the bill’s consequences, and knowingly attempted to hide those consequences from the public.

Most importantly, however, it is an admission that Gruber thinks it’s acceptable to deceive people if he believes that’s the only way to achieve his policy preference. That’s not exactly surprising, given that he failed to disclose payments from the administration to consult on Obamacare even while providing the media with supposedly independent assessments of the law.

…Gruber may believe that American voters are stupid, but he was the one who was dumb enough to say all this on camera.

Now that various MSM outlets have begun to pay attention to the Gruber Obamacare deception video, it will be fascinating to see what type of excuses will be made by the pundits to cover for what he admitted. Bonus points to Jonathan Cohn at New Republic or Politico or any of a vast number of liberal sources for whoever can dream up the most entertaining spin control to explain away this viral video.

p.s. Did I mention that Newsbusters was the first major website to feature this video?

– See more at: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/pj-gladnick/2014/11/10/jonathan-gruber-obamacare-deception-video-goes-viral-newsbusters-was#sthash.OIUxVcFC.dpuf

http://hotair.com/archives/2014/11/11/jon-gruber-finally-speaks-to-msnbc/

Jonathan Gruber at Noblis – January 18, 2012

Honors Colloquium 2012 – Jonathan Gruber

Dr. Jonathan Gruber is a Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has taught since 1992. He is also the Director of the Health Care Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research, where he is a Research Associate. He is an Associate Editor of both the Journal of Public Economics and the Journal of Health Economics. In 2009 he was elected to the Executive Committee of the American Economic Association. He is also a member of the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Social Insurance.

Dr. Gruber received his B.S. in Economics from MIT, and his Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University. Dr. Gruber’s research focuses on the areas of public finance and health economics. He has published more than 140 research articles, has edited six research volumes, and is the author of Public Finance and Public Policy, a leading undergraduate text, and Health Care Reform, a graphic novel. In 2006 he received the American Society of Health Economists Inaugural Medal for the best health economist in the nation aged 40 and under. During the 1997-1998 academic year, Dr. Gruber was on leave as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy at the Treasury Department. From 2003-2006 he was a key architect of Massachusetts’ ambitious health reform effort, and in 2006 became an inaugural member of the Health Connector Board, the main implementing body for that effort. In that year, he was named the 19th most powerful person in health care in the United States by Modern Healthcare Magazine.

2012-01-09 Jonathan Gruber on Mitt Romney and Health Care Reform

Jonathan Gruber Once Again Says Subsidies Are Tied to State-Based Exchanges

Jonathan Gruber discusses health care law’s next step

Healthcare Reform 101 Part 1.

Healthcare Reform 101 Part 2.

Healthcare Reform 101 Part 3.

Jonathan Gruber on Obamacare: Part 1 of 3

Jonathan Gruber on Obamacare: Part 2 of 3

Crafting ObamaCare

Obamacare Architect: No State Exchange = No Subsidies; Blatant Enough

#GruberGate: Tale of the Tapes

Rush Limbaugh – MIT Gruber Lied about Obamacare

Rush Limbaugh: Jonathan Gruber says you are Life’s Lottery Winners – Eugenics

Gwen and Jonathan Gruber Talk Health Care with Chris Matthews

Obama 2008: Bypassing Congress Unconstitutional; I’ll Reverse It

Lec 1 | MIT 14.01SC Principles of Microeconomics

 

Meet Jonathan Gruber, the man who’s willing to say what everyone else is only thinking about Obamacare

By Jason Millman

Jonathan Gruber might not be a household name, but in the world of health care policy, he’s a pretty big deal. And now he’s also known as the guy who’s credited “the stupidity of the American voter” for the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

An old video surfaced this week of Gruber saying that a lack of transparency was one of the reasons Obamacare got through Congress in 2010. Gruber, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology health economist who’s credited as one of the intellectual godfathers of the Affordable Care Act, has apologized for speaking off the cuff, but critics of the law are eagerly highlighting his comments.

That’s because of what Gruber represents. He was one of the architects of the 2006 Massachusetts health care law, which became the basis for the ACA, and he helped craft the federal legislation that used a similar scheme of guaranteed coverage, financial assistance and insurance mandates. He was far from the only person who helped shape the ACA, but he has been one of its most vocal academic defenders in the nearly five years since it passed. (And he’s the only one to write a comic book about the law.)

It’s easy to see why Gruber’s comments get pored over by ACA opponents. There’s plenty of misunderstanding about what’s in the ACA and mistrust of the motivations for passing the law — just recall Nancy Pelosi’s infamous line about needing to pass the bill to find out what’s in it. So when someone like Gruber, who’s supposed to know the law inside and out, seemingly confirms critics’ worst suspicions, that makes for a powerful anecdote.

Gruber, who’s fiercely intelligent and passionate about the health reforms he helped create, also isn’t one to always sugarcoat things.

Earlier this year, a pretty important health policy study showed that the expansion of Medicaid coverage in Oregon was associated with a spike in emergency room visits. The research potentially undercut an argument by supporters of the law who said it would save money since giving more people health insurance meant patients would rely more on primary care providers, rather than expensive trips to the ER. And Gruber, commenting on the study, offered an uncomfortable truth.

“I would view [the study] as part of a broader set of evidence that covering people with health insurance doesn’t save money,” Gruber told the Washington Post at the time. “That was sometimes a misleading motivator for the Affordable Care Act. The law isn’t designed to save money. It’s designed to improve health, and that’s going to cost money.”

You may also remember Gruber from the last presidential campaign, when there was plenty of debate over just how similar Obamacare and Romneycare actually were to one another. It was Gruber who artfully cleared up the confusion. “They’re the same f—— bill,” he told Capital New York in what became a widely circulated interview three years ago. It’s probably what ACA supporters wanted to say all along, but only Gruber went ahead and did it.

His most potentially damaging comments surfaced just over the summer, when Gruber seemingly gave credence to the ACA challenge just taken up by the Supreme Court last week — a challenge that if successful couldtorpedo the law.

The case revolves around whether residents in states that refused to set up their own health insurance marketplaces should still be able to claim tax subsidies to help them afford their insurance. Opponents say no, Congress intentionally didn’t allow that under the law. Democrats say they never intended for people in these 36 states to not have access to the financial assistance.

Here was Gruber again, in January 2012, telling a health-care conference that states refusing to set up their own exchanges would deny their residents premium tax credits. The video wasn’t widely viewed until June of this year, but this is what he said at the time:

I think what’s important to remember politically about this, is if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits. But your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill. So you’re essentially saying to your citizens, you’re going to pay all the taxes to help all the other states in the country. I hope that’s a blatant enough political reality that states will get their act together and realize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these Exchanges, and that they’ll do it. But you know, once again, the politics can get ugly around this.

Here’s the video, with these comments near the 31:30 mark:

 

Critics of the law jumped on those comments as further validation of their challenge to the subsidies in the 36 states relying on the federal-run insurance marketplaces, or exchanges. Gruber later said that he misspoke, and that his own work always assumed all exchanges — whether run by the states or the federal government — would be eligible for subsidies.

Gruber’s latest comments have surfaced at an especially inopportune time for the Obama administration. The next enrollment period is approaching this weekend with lowered expectations, just as Republicans reclaimed the Senate and the Supreme Court agreed to hear a new Obamacare challengethat could seriously weaken the law.

The Democrats, realizing how harmful Gruber’s latest comments have become, are already out doing damage control. Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean was on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” today to put distance between Gruber and the health-care law, saying he’s not even sure that Gruber ever met with President Obama.

“He’s a consultant, not the architect [of Obamacare,” Dean said. “I’m not excusing the language — it’s terrible.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/11/12/meet-jonathan-gruber-the-man-whos-willing-to-say-what-everyone-else-is-only-thinking-about-obamacare/

Jonathan Gruber (economist)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other people of the same name, see Jonathan Gruber (disambiguation).
Jonathan Gruber
Born September 30, 1965 (age 49)
Nationality American
Institution MIT
Field Health economics
Alma mater Harvard University (PhD, 1992)
MIT (BSc, 1987)
Information at IDEAS/RePEc

Jonathan Holmes Gruber is a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has taught since 1992. He is also the director of the Health Care Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research, where he is a research associate. He is an associate editor of both the Journal of Public Economics and the Journal of Health Economics.

Gruber has been heavily involved in crafting public health policy. He was a key architect of both the 2006 Massachusetts health care reform, sometimes referred to as “Romneycare”, and the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, sometimes referred to as “Obamacare”.

Contents

Early life

Gruber was born on September 30, 1965. He completed his BS in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1987 and his PhD in economics from Harvard University in 1992, with a thesis titled Changes in the Structure of Employer-Provided Health Insurance.[1]

Academic career

Gruber began his career as an assistant professor of economics at MIT.[2] Currently, [clarification needed] he is a professor of economics at MIT. He is also a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.[2]

Gruber’s research has focused on public finance and health economics. He has published more than 140 research articles, and has edited six research volumes. He is a co-editor of the Journal of Public Economics, an associate editor of the Journal of Health Economics, and the author of Public Finance and Public Policy.[3] and Health Care Reform, a graphic novel delineating the Affordable Care Act.[citation needed]

Public service

During the 1997–1998 academic year, Gruber was on leave as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy at the Treasury Department. From 2003–06 he was a key architect of Massachusetts health care reform, also known as “Romneycare”. In 2006 he became an inaugural member of the Health Connector Board, the main implementing body for that effort. In that year, he was named the 19th most powerful person in health care in the United States by Modern Healthcare magazine. During the 2008 election he was a consultant to the Clinton, Edwards and Obama presidential campaigns.

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

In 2009–10 Gruber served as a technical consultant to the Obama Administration and worked with both the administration and Congress to help craft the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often referred to as the ACA or “Obamacare”.[4] The act was signed into law in March 2010, and Gruber has been described as an “architect”, “writer”, and “consultant” of the legislation. He was widely interviewed and quoted during the roll-out of the legislation. [5][6][7][8][9]

In January 2010, after news emerged that Gruber was under a $297,000 contract with the Department of Health and Human Services, while at the same time promoting the Obama administration‘s health care reform policies, some conservative commentators suggested a conflict of interest.[10][11][12] While he did disclose his HHS connections in an article for the New England Journal of Medicine, his oversight in doing this earlier was defended in the New York Times .[13]

One heavily-scrutinized part of the ACA reads that subsidies should be given to healthcare recipients who are enrolled “through an Exchange established by the State”. Some have read this to mean that subsidies can be given only in states that have chosen to create their own healthcare exchanges, and do not use the federal exchange, while the Obama administration says that the wording applies to all states. This dispute is currently part of an ongoing series of lawsuits referred to collectively as King v. Burwell. In July 2014, two separate recordings of Gruber, both from January 2012, surfaced in which he seemed to contradict the administration’s position.[4] In one, Gruber states, in response to an audience question, that “if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits”,[14] while in the other he says, “if your governor doesn’t set up an exchange, you’re losing hundreds of millions of dollars of tax credits to be delivered to your citizens.”[15] When these recordings emerged, Gruber called these statements mistaken, describing them as “just a speak-o — you know, like a typo”.[14]

In a panel discussion about the ACA at the University of Pennsylvania in October 2013, Gruber stated that the bill was deliberately written “in a tortured way” to disguise the fact that it created a system in which “healthy people pay in and sick people get money”. He stated that this obfuscation was necessary, due to “the stupidity of the American voter or whatever”, in order to get the bill passed and that a “lack of transparency is a huge political advantage.”[16] His comments caused controversy after a video of them was placed on YouTubein November 2014.[17][18][19][20]

Published works

  • On February 15, 2006, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities published an article by Gruber entitled “The Cost and Coverage Impact of the President’s Health Insurance Budget Proposals”[21]
  • In a December 4, 2008 New York Times op-ed, “Medicine for the Job Market”, he claimed that expanding health insurance, even in difficult financial times would stimulate the economy.[22]
  • On February 9, 2011, the Center for American Progress published an article by Gruber titled “Health Care Reform Without the Individual Mandate,” analyzing the health insurance coverage impacts of alternative policy options for encouraging purchase of health insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, including the mandate, a late penalty, and auto-enrollment.[23]

He has published over 100 research articles.[24]

Awards and honors

In 2006, Gruber received the American Society of Health Economists Inaugural Medal for the best health economist in the nation aged 40 and under.[25] He was elected a member of the Institute of Medicine in 2005.[26] In 2009 he was elected to the Executive Committee of the American Economic Association.

In 2011 he was named “One of the Top 25 Most Innovative and Practical Thinkers of Our Time” by Slate Magazine. In both 2006 and 2012 he was rated as one of the top 100 most powerful people in health care in the United States by Modern Healthcare Magazine.

References

  1. Jump up^ Gruber, John. “Changes in the structure of employer-provided health insurance”. ProQuest. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b http://economics.mit.edu/files/6400. Retrieved 25 July 2014. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. Jump up^ Worth Publishers Student Center for Public Finance and Policy
  4. ^ Jump up to:a b Cannon, Michael. “ObamaCare Architect Jonathan Gruber: “If You’re A State And You Don’t Set Up An Exchange, That Means Your Citizens Don’t Get Their Tax Credits””. Forbes. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
  5. Jump up^ http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/post/jon-gruber-on-the-premiums-in-health-care-reform/2011/08/25/gIQAN0TUWS_blog.html
  6. Jump up^ http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/29/business/jonathan-gruber-health-cares-mr-mandate.html?pagewanted=all
  7. Jump up^http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052748704586504574654362679868966
  8. Jump up^ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2010/01/on-jonathan-gruber-and-disclosure/
  9. Jump up^ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jane-hamsher/how-the-white-house-used_b_421549.html
  10. Jump up^ James, Michael (January 9, 2010). “On Jonathan Gruber and Disclosure”. ABC News. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
  11. Jump up^ “Jonathan Gruber Failed to Disclose His $297,600 Contract With HHS”. Huffington Post. May 25, 2011. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
  12. Jump up^ Berger, Judson (January 8, 2010). “Economist Was Under Contract With HHS While Touting Health Reform Bill”. Fox News. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
  13. Jump up^ “Jonathan Gruber”. New York Times. January 11, 2010. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
  14. ^ Jump up to:a b Cohn, Jonathan (July 25, 2014). “Jonathan Gruber: ‘It Was Just a Mistake'”. The New Republic.
  15. Jump up^ Oops!…Gruber Did It Again, Forbes, July 25, 2014
  16. Jump up^ “GRUBER: “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage.””. American Commitment. October 13, 2013. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  17. Jump up^ Roy, Avik (November 10, 2014). “ACA Architect: ‘The Stupidity Of The American Voter’ Led Us To Hide Obamacare’s True Costs From The Public”. Forbes.
  18. Jump up^ http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/11/11/obamacare-consultant-under-fire-for-stupidity-of-the-american-voter-comment/
  19. Jump up^ http://nation.foxnews.com/2014/11/10/obamacare-architect-admits-deceiving-americans-pass-law
  20. Jump up^http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/nov/10/obamacare-architect-we-passed-law-due-to-stupidity/
  21. Jump up^ The Cost and Coverage Impact of The President’s Health Insurance Budget Proposals, February 15, 2006]
  22. Jump up^ Gruber, Jonathan (December 4, 2008), Medicine for the Job Market, New York Times
  23. Jump up^ Gruber, Jonathan (February 9, 2011), Health Care Reform Without the Individual Mandate
  24. Jump up^ NBER Working Papers by Jonathan Gruber
  25. Jump up^ Honors & awards – Fall 2006 Soundings
  26. Jump up^ National Academy of Social Insurance

External links

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Gruber_(economist)

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The Pronk Pops Show 330, September 16, 2014, Story 1: Ebola Spreading with Reproductive Number, R0 or R Naught Exceeding 1 — Obama Sends 3,000 U.S. Troops to Liberia — worst-case hypothetical scenario, should the outbreak continue with recent trends, the case burden could gain an additional 77,181 to 277,124 cases by the end of 2014! — Videos

Posted on September 16, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Books, Business, Communications, Culture, Disasters, Drugs, Ebola, Economics, Education, European History, Food, Foreign Policy, Health Care, History, Law, Media, Medicine, Movies, Networking, Nutrition, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Resources, Science, Security, Social Science, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Ebola Spreading with Reproductive Number, R0 or R Naught Exceeding 1 — Obama Sends 3,000 U.S. Troops to Liberia — worst-case hypothetical scenario, should the outbreak continue with recent trends, the case burden could gain an additional 77,181 to 277,124 cases by the end of 2014! — Videos

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Ebola mathematics stark warning of disease’s spread

by MARYN MCKENNA

The Ebola epidemic in Africa has continued to expand since I last wroteabout it, and as of a week ago, has accounted for more than 4,200 cases and 2,200 deaths in five countries: Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone. That is extraordinary: Since the virus was discovered, no Ebola outbreak’s toll has risen above several hundred cases. This now truly is a type of epidemic that the world has never seen before. In light of that, several articles were published recently that are very worth reading.

The most arresting is a piece published last week in the journal Eurosurveillance, which is the peer-reviewed publication of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (the EU’s Stockholm-based version of the US CDC). The piece is an attempt to assess mathematically how the epidemic is growing, by using case reports to determine the “reproductive number.” (Note for non-epidemiology geeks: The basic reproductive number — usually shorted to R0 or “R-nought” — expresses how many cases of disease are likely to be caused by any one infected person. An R0 of less than 1 means an outbreak will die out; an R0 of more than 1 means an outbreak can be expected to increase. If you saw the movie Contagion, this is what Kate Winslet stood up and wrote on a whiteboard early in the film.)

The Eurosurveillance paper, by two researchers from the University of Tokyo and Arizona State University, attempts to derive what the reproductive rate has been in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. (Note for actual epidemiology geeks: The calculation is for the effective reproductive number, pegged to a point in time, hence actually Rt.) They come up with an R of at least 1, and in some cases 2; that is, at certain points, sick persons have caused disease in two others.

You can see how that could quickly get out of hand, and in fact, that is what the researchers predict. Here is their stop-you-in-your-tracks assessment:

In a worst-case hypothetical scenario, should the outbreak continue with recent trends, the case burden could gain an additional 77,181 to 277,124 cases by the end of 2014.

That is a jaw-dropping number.

 

The epidemic curves of the Ebola epidemic; look especially at the line for Liberia.

Nishiura and Chowell

What should we do with information like this? At the end of last week, two public health experts published warnings that we need to act urgently in response.

First, Dr. Richard E. Besser: He is now the chief health editor of ABC News, but earlier was acting director of the US CDC, including during the 2009-10 pandemic of H1N1 flu; so, someone who understands what it takes to stand up a public-health response to an epidemic. In his piece in the Washington Post, “The world yawns as Ebola takes hold in West Africa,” he says bluntly: “I don’t think the world is getting the message.”

He goes on:

“The level of response to the Ebola outbreak is totally inadequate. At the CDC, we learned that a military-style response during a major health crisis saves lives…

“We need to establish large field hospitals staffed by Americans to treat the sick. We need to implement infection-control practices to save the lives of health-care providers. We need to staff burial teams to curb disease transmission at funerals. We need to implement systems to detect new flare-ups that can be quickly extinguished. A few thousand U.S. troops could provide the support that is so desperately needed.”

Aid ought to be provided on humanitarian grounds alone, he argues – but if that isn’t adequate rationale, he adds that aid offered now could protect us in the West from the non-medical effects of Ebola’s continuing to spread: “Epidemics destabilise governments, and many governments in West Africa have a very short history of stability. US aid would improve global security.”

Should we really be concerned about the global effect of this Ebola epidemic? In the New York Times, Dr. Michael T. Osterholm of the University of Minnesota* – an epidemiologist and federal advisor famous forinadvertently predicting the 2001 anthrax attacks – says yes, we should. In “What We’re Afraid to Say About Ebola,” he warns: “The Ebola epidemic in West Africa has the potential to alter history as much as any plague has ever done.”

He goes on:

“There are two possible future chapters to this story that should keep us up at night.

“The first possibility is that the Ebola virus spreads from West Africa to megacities in other regions of the developing world. This outbreak is very different from the 19 that have occurred in Africa over the past 40 years. It is much easier to control Ebola infections in isolated villages. But there has been a 300 percent increase in Africa’s population over the last four decades, much of it in large city slums…

“The second possibility is one that virologists are loath to discuss openly but are definitely considering in private: that an Ebola virus could mutate to become transmissible through the air… viruses like Ebola are notoriously sloppy in replicating, meaning the virus entering one person may be genetically different from the virus entering the next. The current Ebola virus’s hyper-evolution is unprecedented; there has been more human-to-human transmission in the past four months than most likely occurred in the last 500 to 1,000 years. Each new infection represents trillions of throws of the genetic dice.”

Like Besser, Osterholm says that the speed, size and organisation of the response that is needed demands a governmental investment, but he looks beyond the US government alone:

“We need someone to take over the position of “command and control.” The United Nations is the only international organisation that can direct the immense amount of medical, public health and humanitarian aid that must come from many different countries and nongovernmental groups to smother this epidemic. Thus far it has played at best a collaborating role, and with everyone in charge, no one is in charge.

“A Security Council resolution could give the United Nations total responsibility for controlling the outbreak, while respecting West African nations’ sovereignty as much as possible. The United Nations could, for instance, secure aircraft and landing rights…

“The United Nations should provide whatever number of beds are needed; the World Health Organization has recommended 1,500, but we may need thousands more. It should also coordinate the recruitment and training around the world of medical and nursing staff, in particular by bringing in local residents who have survived Ebola, and are no longer at risk of infection. Many countries are pledging medical resources, but donations will not result in an effective treatment system if no single group is responsible for coordinating them.”

I’ve spent enough time around public health people, in the US and in the field, to understand that they prefer to express themselves conservatively. So when they indulge in apocalyptic language, it is unusual, and notable.

When one of the most senior disease detectives in the US begins talking about “plague,” knowing how emotive that word can be, and another suggests calling out the military, it is time to start paying attention.

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-09/15/ebola-epidemiology

 

Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa
2014 Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa.png

Situation map of the outbreak
Date December 2013 – present[1]
Location Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal,Sierra Leone
Casualties

As of 2014, an epidemic of Ebola virus disease (EVD) is ongoing in West Africa. The outbreak began in Guinea in December 2013 after which it spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal. The outbreak is caused byEbola virus (EBOV). It is the most severe outbreak of Ebola in terms of the number of human cases and deaths since the discovery of the virus in 1976,[4] with the number of cases from the current outbreak now outnumbering the combined cases from all known previous outbreaks.[5] Another outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has 62 possible and confirmed cases and 35 deaths as of 9 September 2014, is believed to be unrelated to the West African outbreak.[6]

As of 10 September 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a total of 4,846 suspected cases and 2,375 deaths (2,898 cases and 1,386 deaths being laboratory confirmed).[2][3] Many experts believe that the official numbers substantially understate the size of the outbreak because of families’ widespread reluctance to report cases.[7] On 28 August, the WHO reported an overall case fatality rate (CFR) estimate of 52%, considerably lower than an average of the rates reported from previous outbreaks. However, difficulties in collecting information and the methodology used in compiling it may be resulting in an artificially low number.[8] A more accurate method that observed patient outcomes in Sierra Leone found a CFR of 77%.[9]

Affected countries have encountered many difficulties in their attempt to control the spread of this Ebola epidemic, the first that West African nations have experienced. In some areas, people have become suspicious of both the government and hospitals; some hospitals have been attacked by angry protestors who believe that the disease is a hoax or that the hospitals are responsible for the disease. Many of the areas that have been infected are areas of extreme poverty without even running water or soap to help control the spread of disease.[10] Other factors include belief in traditional folk remedies, and cultural practices that predispose to physical contact with the deceased, especially death customs such as washing the body of the deceased.[11][12][13] Some hospitals lack basic supplies and are understaffed, which has increased the likelihood of staff catching the virus themselves. In August, the WHO reported that ten percent of the dead have been health care workers.[14]

By the end of August, the WHO reported that the loss of so many health workers was making it difficult for them to provide sufficient numbers of foreign medical staff.[15] By September 2014, Médecins Sans Frontières, the largest NGO working in the affected regions, had grown increasingly critical of the international response. Speaking on 3 September, the international president spoke out concerning the lack of assistance from the United Nations member countries saying, “Six months into the worst Ebola epidemic in history, the world is losing the battle to contain it”.[16] A United Nations spokesperson has stated “they could stop the Ebola outbreak in west Africa in 6 to 9 months, but only if a ‘massive’ global response is implemented.”[17] The Director-General of the WHO, Margaret Chan, called the outbreak “the largest, most complex and most severe we’ve ever seen” and said that it “is racing ahead of control efforts”.[17] On 12 September Chan stated, “In the three hardest hit countries, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the number of new cases is moving far faster than the capacity to manage them in the Ebola-specific treatment centers. Today, there is not one single bed available for the treatment of an Ebola patient in the entire country of Liberia.”[18]

Development of the outbreak

Initial outbreak in Guinea

Researchers believe that the first human case of the Ebola virus disease leading to the 2014 outbreak was a 2-year-old boy who died 6 December 2013 in the village of Meliandou, Guéckédou Prefecture, Guinea. His mother, sister and grandmother then became ill with symptoms consistent with Ebola infection and died. People infected by those victims spread the disease to other villages.[1][19]

On 19 March, the Guinean Ministry of Health acknowledged a local outbreak of an undetermined viral hemorrhagic fever; the outbreak, ongoing since February, had sickened at least 35 people and killed 23. Ebola was suspected,[20] and on 25 March, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that the Ministry of Health of Guinea had reported an outbreak of Ebola virus disease in four southeastern districts, with suspected cases in the neighbouring countries of Liberia and Sierra Leone being investigated. In Guinea, a total of 86 suspected cases, including 59 deaths (case fatality ratio: 68.5%), had been reported as of 24 March.[21]

On 31 March, the U.S. CDC sent a five-person team to assist Guinea Ministry of Health and WHO to lead an international response to the Ebola outbreak. On that date, the WHO reported 112 suspected and confirmed cases including 70 deaths. Two cases were reported from Liberia of people who had recently traveled to Guinea, and suspected cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone were being investigated.[21] On 30 April, Guinea’s Ministry of Health reported 221 suspected and confirmed cases including 146 deaths. The cases included 25 health care workers with 16 deaths. By late May, the outbreak had spread to Conakry, Guinea’s capital, a city of about two million inhabitants.[21] On 28 May, the total cases reported had reached 281 with 186 deaths.[21]

Subsequent spread

Situation in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone as of 4 September 2014.[22]

Liberia

In Liberia, the disease was reported in Lofa and Nimba counties in late March,[23] and, by mid-April, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare had recorded possible cases in Margibi and Montserrado counties.[24] In mid-June, the first cases in Liberia’s capital Monrovia were reported.[25][26][27]

Sierra Leone

The outbreak next spread to Sierra Leone and progressed rapidly. The first cases were reported on 25 May in the Kailahun District, near the border with Guéckédou in Guinea.[28] By 20 June, there were 158 suspected cases, mainly in Kailahun and the adjacent district of Kenema, but also in the Kambia, Port Loko, and Western districts in the north west of the country.[29] By 17 July, the total number of suspected cases in the country stood at 442, and had overtaken those in Guinea and Liberia.[30] By 20 July, cases of the disease had additionally been reported in the Bo District;[31] the first case in Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital, was reported in late July.[32][33]

Nigeria

The first case in Nigeria was reported by the WHO on 25 July:[34] Patrick Sawyer, who flew from Liberia to Nigeria after exposure to the virus, and died at Lagos soon after arrival.[35] As part of the containment efforts, 353 possible contacts were monitored in Lagos and 451 in Port Harcourt. As at 16 September, the outbreak appears to have stabilised with 22 confirmed cases and 8 deaths, no new cases having been confirmed for 2 weeks.[36]

Senegal

On 29 August, the Senegalese Health minister, Awa Marie Coll Seck, announced the first case of Ebola in Senegal. [37][38] This case has subsequently recovered, but 67 possible contacts are being monitored in order to prevent further spread of the disease.[36]

Virology

A researcher working with the Ebola virus while wearing a BSL-4 positive pressure suit to avoid infection

Main article: Ebola virus

Life cycles of the Ebolavirus

Ebola virus disease is caused by four of five viruses classified in the genus Ebolavirus, family Filoviridae, order Mononegavirales. The four disease-causing viruses are Bundibugyo virus, Sudan virus, Taï Forest virus, and one called simply, Ebola virus (formerly and often still called the Zaire Ebola virus). Ebola virus is the most dangerous of the known Ebola disease-causing viruses, as well as being responsible for the largest number of outbreaks.[39]The strain of virus affecting people in the current outbreak is a member of the Ebolus virus (Zaire) lineage.[40] An article published in the New England Journal of Medicine on-line in April 2014 asserted that while the Ebola virus in Guinea shared 97% of its genetic code with the Zaïre lineage, it was of a different clade than the strains from outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon, and constituted a new strain indigenous to Guinea, and was not imported from Central Africa to West Africa.[19] This result, however was contradicted by two subsequent reports.

The first of these reports reached the conclusion that the outbreak “is likely caused by a Zaire ebolavirus (Ebola virus) lineage that has spread from Central Africa into Guinea and West Africa in recent decades, and does not represent the emergence of a divergent and endemic virus.”[41] A second report published in June 2014 also supports the latter view, determining that it was “extremely unlikely that this virus falls outside the genetic diversity of the Zaïre lineage” and that their analysis “unambiguously supports Guinea 2014 EBOV as a member of the Zaïre lineage.”[40]

Among 78 patients diagnosed with the Ebola virus during the first 24 days of the outbreak in Sierra Leone, 300 genetic changes were found that make the 2014 Ebola virus distinct from previous outbreaks. It is still unclear whether these differences are related to the severity of the current outbreak.[9][42]

Containment efforts

Various aid organisations and international bodies, including the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the U.S. CDC and the European Commission have donated funds and mobilised personnel to help counter the outbreak; charities including Médecins Sans Frontières, the Red Cross,[43] and Samaritan’s Purse are also working in the area. At the end of August, the WHO reported that the loss of so many health workers was making it difficult for them to provide sufficient numbers of foreign medical staff, and the African Union launched an urgent initiative to recruit more health care workers from among its members.[15]

Médecins Sans Frontières described the situation as being “totally out of control” in late June. Urging the world to offer aid to the affected regions, the Director-General said, “Countries affected to date simply do not have the capacity to manage an outbreak of this size and complexity on their own. I urge the international community to provide this support on the most urgent basis possible.”[44]

The outbreak was formally designated as a public health emergency of international concern on 8 August.[45] This is a legal designation used only twice before (for the 2009 H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic and the 2014 resurgence of polio) and invokes legal measures on disease prevention, surveillance, control, and response, by 194 signatory countries.[46][47]

Disease reports accelerated in August with 40% of the total cases reported in a period of only three weeks. The WHO stated that the acceleration could see the number of cases reported exceed 20,000.[47][48]

Speaking at a United Nations (UN) briefing on 2 September, Joanne Liu, international president of Médecins Sans Frontières, criticized the lack of assistance from UN member countries.

“Six months into the worst Ebola epidemic in history, the world is losing the battle to contain it. In West Africa, cases and deaths continue to surge. Riots are breaking out. Isolation centers are overwhelmed. Health workers on the front lines are becoming infected and are dying in shocking numbers. Others have fled in fear, leaving people without care for even the most common illnesses. Entire health systems have crumbled. Ebola treatment centers are reduced to places where people go to die alone, where little more than palliative care is offered. It is impossible to keep up with the sheer number of infected people pouring into facilities. In Sierra Leone, infectious bodies are rotting in the streets.”[14]

Speaking in September after visiting Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. CDC, said, “There is a window of opportunity to tamp this down, but that window is closing … we need action now to scale up the response.”[49] On 16 September, United States President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. military will take the lead in overseeing the response to the epidemic.[50]

Travel restrictions

On 8 August, a cordon sanitaire, a disease fighting practice that forcibly isolates affected regions, was established in the triangular area where Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone are separated only by porous borders and where 70 percent of the known cases had been found.[7] By September, the closure of borders had caused a collapse of cross-border trade and was having a devastating effect on the economies of the involved countries. A United Nations spokesperson reported that the price of some food staples had increased by as much as 150% and warned that if they continue to rise widespread food shortages can be expected.

On 2 September, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan advised against travel restrictions saying that they are not justified and that they are preventing medical experts from entering the affected areas and “marginalizing the affected population and potentially worsening [the crisis]”. UN officials working on the ground have also criticized the travel restrictions saying the solution is “not in travel restrictions but in ensuring that effective preventive and curative health measures are put in place.” [14] Médecins Sans Frontières, also speaking out against the closure of international borders, called it “another layer of collective irresponsibility”: “The international community must ensure that those who try to contain the outbreak can enter and leave the affected countries if need be. A functional system of medical evacuation has to be set up urgently.”[16]

Complications

Difficulties faced in attempting to contain the outbreak include the outbreak’s multiple locations across country borders,[44] Dr Peter Piot, the scientist who co-discovered the Ebola virus, has stated that the present outbreak is not following its usual linear patterns as mapped out in previous outbreaks. This time the virus is “hopping” all over the West African epidemic region.[51] Furthermore, past epidemics have occurred in remote regions, but this outbreak has spread to large urban areas which has increased the number of contacts an infected person may have and has also made transmission harder to track and break. [15][15]

Adequate equipment has not been provided for medical personnel,[52] with even a lack of soap and water for hand-washing and disinfection.[53] Containment efforts are further hindered because there is reluctance among country people to recognize the danger of infection related to person-to-person spread of disease, such as burial practices which include washing of the body of one that has died.[11][12][13][32] A condition of dire poverty exists in many of the areas that have experienced a high incidence of infections. According to the director of the NGO Plan International in Guinea, “The poor living conditions and lack of water and sanitation in most districts of Conakry pose a serious risk that the epidemic escalates into a crisis. People do not think to wash their hands when they do not have enough water to drink.”[10]

Denial in some affected countries has often made containment efforts difficult.[54] Language barriers and the appearance of medical teams in protective suits has sometimes exaggerated fears of the virus.[55] There are reports that some people believe that the disease is caused by sorcery and that doctors are killing patients.[56] In late July, the former Liberian health minister, Peter Coleman, stated that “people don’t seem to believe anything the government now says.”[57] Acting on a rumor that the virus was invented to conceal “cannibalistic rituals” (due to medical workers preventing families from viewing the dead), demonstrations were staged outside of the main hospital treating Ebola patients in Kenema, Sierra Leone. The demonstrations were broken up by the police and resulted in the need to use armed guards at the hospital.[58] In Liberia, a mob attacked an Ebola isolation centre stealing equipment and “freeing” patients while shouting “There’s no Ebola”.[59] Red Cross staff was forced to suspend operations in southeast Guinea after they were threatened by a group of men armed with knives.[60]

Contact tracing is an essential method to tamp down the spread of the disease. It involves finding everyone who had close contact with an Ebola case, and track them for 21 days. However this requires careful record keeping by properly trained & equipped staff.[61] WHO Assistant Director-General for Global Health Security, Keiji Fukuda, said on 3 September “We don’t have enough health workers, doctors, nurses, drivers, and contact tracers to handle the increasing number of cases.”[62]

Healthcare providers

Healthcare providers caring for people with Ebola and family and friends in close contact with people with Ebola are at the highest risk of getting infected because they may come in direct contact with the blood or body fluids of the sick person. In some places affected by the current outbreak, care may be provided in clinics with limited resources (for example, no running water, no climate control, no floors, and inadequate medical supplies), and workers could be in those areas for several hours with a number of Ebola infected patients.[63]In August, it was reported that healthcare workers have represented nearly 10 percent of the cases and fatalities, significantly impairing the ability to respond to the outbreak in a country which already faces a severe shortage of doctors.[64] In August, the WHO reported that more than 240 health care workers had developed Ebola and more than 120 had died; by 7 September, the cases had risen to 301 with 144 deaths.[65] According to the WHO, the high proportion of infected medical staff can be explained by lack of the number of medical staff needed to manage such a large outbreak, shortages of protective equipment, or improperly using what is available, and “the compassion that causes medical staff to work in isolation wards far beyond the number of hours recommended as safe.”.[15]

Comparing the present Ebola outbreak to some in the past, the WHO notes that many of the most recent districts in which epidemics have occurred were in remote areas where the transmission had been easier to track and break. This outbreak is different in that large cities have been affected as well, where tracking has been difficult and medical staff may not suspect Ebola disease when they make a diagnosis. Several infectious diseases endemic to West Africa, such as malaria and typhoid fever, mimic the symptoms of Ebola disease, and doctors and nurses may see no need to take protective measures.[15] Also, without recent past experience with the disease, people have become intensely fearful and have, in some cases, attacked medical staff, believing that they cause the disease.[15]

The WHO reports that in the hardest hit areas there have historically been only one or two doctors available to treat 100,000 people, and these doctors are heavily concentrated in urban areas; the loss of so many health workers has made it difficult for the WHO to provide sufficient numbers of medical staff. Among the fatalities is Samuel Brisbane, a former advisor to the Liberian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, described as “one of Liberia’s most high-profile doctors.”[66] In July, leading Ebola doctor Sheik Umar Khan from Sierra Leone died in the outbreak. His death was followed by two more deaths in Sierra Leone: Modupe Cole, a senior physician at the country`s main referral facility,[67] and Sahr Rogers, who worked in Kenema.[68][68][69][70] The African Union has launched an urgent initiative to recruit more health care workers from among its members.[15]

Two American health workers that contracted the disease in Liberia and later recovered said that their team of workers had been following “to the letter all of the protocols for safety that were developed by the CDC and WHO”, including a full body coverall, several layers of gloves, and face protection including goggles. One of the two, a physician, had worked with patients, but the other was working to help workers get in and out of their protective gear, while wearing protective gear herself. In an interview she stated, “At this time we have not been able to confirm 100 percent the method of contagion. We are working closely with CDC and WHO to investigate. It is just an incredibly contagious disease.”[71]

Treatment

Treatment facilities in West Africa
WHO ebola response map.jpg

Treatment facilities and responses in the West African Ebola region as of 12 September 2014[72]

No proven Ebola virus-specific treatment exists as of August 2014.[73] Treatment is primarily supportive in nature and includes minimizing invasive procedures, balancing fluids and electrolytes to counter dehydration, administration of anticoagulants early in infection to prevent or control disseminated intravascular coagulation, administration of procoagulants late in infection to control bleeding, maintaining oxygen levels, pain management, and the use of medications to treat bacterial or fungal secondary infections.[74][75][76] Early treatment may increase the chance of survival.[77]

Level of care

In late August, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) called the situation “chaotic” and the medical response “inadequate”. They report that they have expanded their operations but have been unable to keep up with the rapidly increasing need for assistance which has forced them to reduce the level of care they are able to offer: “It is not currently possible, for example, to administer intravenous treatments.” Calling the situation “an emergency within the emergency”, MSF reports that many hospitals have had to shut down due to lack of staff or fears of the virus among patients and staff which has left people with other health problems without any care at all. Speaking from a remote region, a MSF worker said that a shortage of protective equipment was making the medical management of the disease difficult and that they had limited capacity to safely bury bodies.[78] By September, treatment for Ebola patients had become unavailable in some areas. Speaking on 12 September, WHO director-general Margaret Chan said, “In the three hardest hit countries, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the number of new cases is moving far faster than the capacity to manage them in the Ebola-specific treatment centers. Today, there is not one single bed available for the treatment of an Ebola patient in the entire country of Liberia.”[18]

Experimental treatments

The unavailability of treatments in the most-affected regions has spurred controversy, with some calling for experimental drugs to be made more widely available in Africa on a humanitarian basis, and others warning that making unproven drugs widely available would be unethical, especially in light of past experimentation conducted in developing countries by Western drug companies.[79][80] As a result of the controversy, an expert panel of the WHO on 12 August endorsed the use of interventions with as-yet-unknown effects both for treatment and for prevention of Ebola, and also said that deciding which treatments should be used and how to distribute them equitably were matters that needed further discussion.[81] Subsequently the WHO assistant director-general for health systems and innovation said on 5 September that transfusion of whole blood or purified serum from Ebola survivors is the therapy with the greatest potential to be implemented immediately on a large scale in West Africa, although there is little information on the efficacy of such treatment.[82] In mid-September the sale of black market blood from survivors of the disease has been noted as a new trend in the Ebola-affected regions. While serum derived blood from surviving victims has been used under strict control in certain cases, this trend in an uncontrolled manner could lead to other infectious diseases. This treatment must be properly implemented as a medical treatment under strict control and screening of possible donors. Margaret Chan of the WHO has criticized the use of this practice in a black market environment, noting concerns over “storage and collection methods”.[83]

A number of experimental treatments are being studied or will undergo trials proximately:[84]

  • ZMapp, a monoclonal antibody vaccine. The limited supply of the drug has been used to treat a small number of individuals infected with the Ebola virus. Although some of these have recovered the outcome is not considered statistically significant.[85] ZMapp has proved highly effective in a trial involving rhesus macaque monkeys.[86]
  • TKM-Ebola, an RNA interference drug.[87]
  • Favipiravir, a drug approved in Japan for stockpiling against influenza pandemics.[88] The drug appears to be useful in a mouse model of the disease[89][90] and Japan has offered to supply the drug if requested by the WHO.[91]
  • The Jenner Institute has announced a first phase I trial of a vaccine targeted at the Zaire strain of Ebola virus that is causing the current outbreak, to commence mid-September.[92]

Prognosis

According to a website for collaborative analysis and discussion about the Ebola emergence, as of 7 August, attempts to create an accurate Case Fatality Rate (CFR) had been unreliable due to differences in testing policies, the inclusion of probable and suspected cases, and primarily the rate of new cases that have not run their course.[93] However, on 28 August, the WHO made their first overall case fatality rate estimate of 52%. It ranges from 42% in Sierra Leone to 66% in Guinea.[94][95] Compared to previous Zaire strain outbreaks, this number is quite low. The twelve Zaire strain outbreaks since the first one reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976 have had an average CFR of about 76%. Even the Sudan ebolavirus species, known to be less virulent than the Zaire species of the Ebola virus, has had an average CFR of about 57%.[96] However, a weakness of the WHO figures is that they simply divide the number of deaths by the total number of total cases; this will underestimate the CFR as it includes recent diagnoses who may not survive.[8]

Projections

The basic reproduction number is a statistical measure of the number of people who are expected to be infected by one person who has the disease in question. If the rate is less than 1, the infection will die out in the long run. But if the rate is greater than 1 the infection will be able to spread in a population.[97] Using data supplied by the WHO, an August study found that an estimate for this virus was between 1.4 and 1.7 at that time, meaning that each newly infected individual had subsequently infected 1.4 to 1.7 more. The time between initial infection and the infecting of others for this virus is short. The basic reproduction number coupled with a short transfer time for this epidemic is of great concern [98] According to a research paper released in August, in the hypothetical worst-case scenario, if a reproduction number of over 1.0 continues for the remainder of the year we would expect to observe a total of 77,181 to 277,124 additional cases within 2014.[99]

On 28 August, the WHO released its first estimate of the possible total cases (20,000) from the outbreak as part of its roadmap for stopping the transmission of the virus.[100][101] The WHO roadmap states “[t]his Roadmap assumes that in many areas of intense transmission the actual number of cases may be 2 – 4 fold higher than that currently reported. It acknowledges that the aggregate case load of EVD could exceed 20,000 over the course of this emergency. The Roadmap assumes that a rapid escalation of the complementary strategies in intense transmission, resource-constrained areas will allow the comprehensive application of more standard containment strategies within 3 months.”[101] It does not provide details of how it made this total casualty estimate or a more detailed projection of how Ebola casualty statistics might evolve over time. It includes an assumption that some country or countries will pay the required cost of their plan, estimated at half a billion dollars.[101] However, while the WHO has projected a total of 20,000 cases, some of the United States’ leading epidemiologists predict a much higher number. Writing in the NYT on 12 September, Bryan Lewis, an epidemiologist at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech, said that researchers at various universities who have been using computer models to track the growth rate say that at the virus’s present rate of growth, there could easily be close to 20,000 cases in one month, not in nine. [102]

On 3 September, Thomas Kenyon]], Director of the U.S. CDC’s Center for Global Health, said “The highly virulent disease, which has claimed more than 1,900 lives so far, is spreading faster than health workers in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone can manage”.[103] Similar comments were made by Anthony Fauci, Director of [the US] NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who said that 42 percent of the cases have occurred in the last month and that the outbreak is “completely out of control”. He further noted that the rate of infection is exponential: “The number of cases per unit time is dramatically increasing.”[104] On 8 September, the WHO warned that the number of new cases in Liberia was increasing exponentially, and would increase by “many thousands” in the following 3 weeks.

On 9 September, Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit of the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine controversially announced that the containment fight in Sierra Leone and Liberia has already been “lost” and that the disease will “burn itself out” after, eventually, infecting nearly the entire population, with half of them, or around five million deaths.[105]

Epidemiology

Countries with local transmission

Guinea

Researchers believe that the first human case of the Ebola virus disease leading to the 2014 outbreak was a 2-year-old boy who died 6 December 2013 in the village of Meliandou, Guéckédou Prefecture. In early August, Guinea closed its borders with both Sierra Leone and Liberia to help contain the spread of the disease, as more new cases were being reported in those countries than in Guinea.

Thinking that the virus was contained, Médecins Sans Frontières closed its treatment centers in May leaving only a small skeleton staff to handle the Macenta region. However, high numbers of new cases reappeared in the region in late August. According to Marc Poncin, a coordinator for MSF, the new cases are related to persons returning to Guinea from neighbouring Liberia or Sierra Leone.[51]

Liberia

In Liberia, the disease was reported in Lofa and Nimba counties in late March.[106] By 23 July, the Liberian health ministry began to implement measures to improve the country’s response to the outbreak.[107] On 27 July, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Liberian president, announced that Liberia would close its borders, with the exception of a few crossing points, such as the country’s principal airport, where screening centres would be established, and the worst-affected areas in the country would be placed under quarantine.[57] Footballevents were banned, because large gatherings and the nature of the sport increase transmission risks.[108] Three days after the borders were closed, Sirleaf announced the closure of all schools nationwide, including the University of Liberia,[109] and a few communities were to be quarantined.[110] Sirleaf declared a state of emergency on 6 August, partly because the disease’s weakening of the health care system has the potential to reduce the system’s ability to treat routine diseases such as malaria; she noted that the state of emergency might require the “suspensions of certain rights and privileges.”[111] On the same day, the National Elections Commission announced that it would be unable to conduct the scheduled October 2014 senatorial election and requested postponement,[112] one week after the leaders of various opposition parties had publicly taken different sides on the question.[113] On 30 August, Liberia’s Port Authority cancelled all “shore passes” for sailors from ships coming into the country’s four seaports.[114]

On 18 August, a mob of residents from West Point, an impoverished area of Monrovia, descended upon a local Ebola clinic to protest its presence. The protesters turned violent, threatening the caretakers, removing the infected patients, and looting the clinic of its supplies, including blood-stained bed sheets and mattresses. Police and aid workers expressed fear that this would lead to mass infections of Ebola in West Point.[115][116] On 19 August, the Liberian government quarantined the entirety of West Point and issued a curfew state-wide.[117][118] Violence again broke out on 22 August after the military fired on protesting crowds.[119] The quarantine blockade of the West Point area was lifted on 30 August. The Information Minister, Lewis Brown, said that this step was taken to ease efforts to screen, test, and treat residents for the disease.[120]

On 8 September, an offer from U.S. President Barack Obama to provide military support to assist in establishing isolation units and providing security for health workers was accepted by the Liberian government.[121]

Nigeria

Nigeria Ebola areas-2014
Nigeria Map Ebola 2014.png

Nigeria Situation Map as of 5 September 2014[122]
Date July 2014 – present[123]
Casualties
  • Cases / Deaths (as of 5 September 2014)[2]
  •  Nigeria: 22 / 8

The first reported Ebola case in Nigeria was an imported case of a Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer, who travelled by air from Liberia and became violently ill upon arriving in the city of Lagos. Sawyer died five days later, on 25 July. In response, the Nigerian government observed all of Sawyer’s contacts for signs of infection and increased surveillance at all entry points to the country; health officials were placed at entry points to conduct tests on people arriving in the country.[124] On 19 August, it was reported that the doctor who treated Sawyer, Ameyo Adadevoh, had also died of Ebola disease.[125][126] Adadevoh, a descendant of Herbert Macaulay[127][128] andSamuel Ajayi Crowther[129] was posthumously praised for preventing the index case (Sawyer) from leaving the hospital at the time of diagnosis, thereby playing a key role in curbing the spread of the virus in Nigeria. On 6 August, Nigerian authorities confirmed the Ebola death of a nurse who had also treated Sawyer.[130]

In July, Arik Air, Nigeria’s main airline, stopped flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone.[57]

On 9 August, the Nigerian National Health Research Ethics Committee, the organization regulating research ethics in the country, issued a statement waiving the regular administrative requirements that limit the international shipment of any biological samples out of Nigeria.[131] The statement also supports the use of non-validated treatments without prior review and approval by a health research ethics committee.[131]

On 19 August, the Commissioner of Health in Lagos announced that Nigeria had seen twelve confirmed cases; four died (including the index case) while another five, including two doctors and a nurse, were declared disease-free and released.[122][132] Other than increased surveillance at the country’s borders, the Nigerian government states that they have also made attempts to control the spread of disease through an improvement in tracking, providing education to avert disinformation and increase accurate information, and the teaching of appropriate hygiene measures: “Efforts are currently ongoing to scale up and strengthen all aspects of response, including contact tracking, public information and community mobilization, case management and infection prevention and control, and coordination. There is now increased disease surveillance system in a bid to monitor, control, and prevent any occurrence of the disease”.[122]

On 22 August, a doctor who treated a Liberian diplomat (Olubukun Koye) in the Mandate Hotel [133]—who had contact with Patrick Sawyer—died in Port Harcourt from Ebola. The BBC report said the diplomat had escaped from quarantine in Lagos and traveled to the city for medical treatment where he survived after being treated. As at the end of August, the total number of deaths from Ebola in Nigeria stood at six. The Good Heart Hospitalwhere the doctor had been admitted before his death and the hotel where he treated the diplomat were shut down. As a result, suspected contacts were subsequently quarantined.[134][135][136] On 11 September, Nigeria announced that it no longer has even a single case of Ebola, but will need to wait for about a week more before declaring itself completely Ebola-free.[137][138]

Sierra Leone

The first person recorded to be infected with Ebola was a tribal healer who had treated an infected person, or persons, in her area and was reported to have died on 26 May. According to tribal tradition, her body was washed for her burial and several women from neighboring towns became infected.[139]

On 1 April, Sierra Leone instituted a temporary measure which included reactivation of its “Active Surveillance Protocol” that would see all travellers into the country from either Guinea or Liberia subjected to strict screening to ascertain their state of health.[140] The government of Sierra Leone declared a state of emergency on 30 July and deployed troops to quarantine the hot spots of the epidemic.[141]

On 29 July, well-known physician Sheik Umar Khan, Sierra Leone’s only expert on hemorrhagic fever, died after contacting Ebola at his clinic in Kenema. Khan had long worked with Lassa fever, which kills over 5,000 a year in Africa, and had expanded his clinic to accept Ebola patients when the disease broke out. At his death, Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma celebrated Khan as a “national hero”.[139]

In August, awareness campaigns in Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital, were delivered over the radio or through car loudspeakers.[142] Also in August, Sierra Leone passed a law that will subject a two-year jail term on anyone found to be hiding a person who is believed to be infected with Ebola disease. The new measure was announced as a top parliamentarian lashed out at neighbouring countries for failing to do more to curtail the outbreak.[143]

On 26 August, the WHO said it had shut down one of its two laboratories in Sierra Leone after a health worker there was infected with Ebola. The laboratory is situated in the Kailahun district, one of the worst affected areas in Sierra Leone. This may disrupt efforts to increase the global response to the outbreak of the disease in the district.[144] “It’s a temporary measure to take care of the welfare of our remaining workers,” WHO spokesperson Christy Feig announced. He did not specify how long the closure would last, but they will return after the WHO assessment of the situation. The medical worker is one of the first WHO staff infected by the Ebola Virus. The worker was first treated at a government hospital in Kenema and then evacuated to Germany for further treatment.[144][145]

Senegal

In March, the Senegal Ministry of Interior ordered all movements of people through the southern border with Guinea to be suspended indefinitely to prevent the spread of the disease, according to a statement published on 29 March by state agency APS.[146]

On 29 August, the Senegalese Health minister, Awa Marie Coll Seck, announced the first case of Ebola in the country. The patient arrived from the neighbouring country Guinea, where the virus was first reported. The case has been confirmed in Senegal.[37][38] The patient, a university student from Guinea, is being treated in Dakar. Samples were sent to the Institut Pasteur, where Ebola was confirmed. The WHO was informed of the situation on 30 August [147] and is treating the situation “as a top priority emergency”, and it has now dispatched operational personnel to Dakar.[148]

Countries with imported cases

Germany

Germany has set up a special isolation ward that will care for up to six patients at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf to provide treatment for Ebola patients. On 27 August, the first patient arrived, a Senegalese epidemiologist who was working for the WHO in Sierra Leone.[145]

India

On 27 August, a Health Ministry official said that 112 Indian citizens and four Nepalese citizens had landed in Mumbai and Delhi from Liberia.[149] Of the 17 who had arrived in Delhi, one had fever symptoms and had been quarantined at the Airport Health Organisation (APHO), an airport medical facility. Six others were screened for Ebola, and five passengers who arrived on routine flights from affected countries showing fever symptoms had also been quarantined. Earlier, it was reported that an isolation facility with 120 beds was being created in the Hindu Hriday Samrat Jogeshwari trauma care hospital by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).[150] On 28 August, the Health Ministry reported that 821 people were being monitored and tracked for the Ebola virus.[151]

Spain

On 5 August, the Brothers Hospitallers of St. John of God confirmed that the Spanish Brother Miguel Pajares was infected with the Ebola virus while volunteering in Liberia. His repatriation, coordinated by the Spanish Ministry of Defence, occurred on 6 August 2014.[152]Spanish authorities confirmed that the patient would be treated in the ‘Carlos III’ hospital in Madrid. The decision attracted some controversy, amid questions as to the authorities’ ability to guarantee no risk of transmission.[153] Brother Pajares died from the virus on 12 August.[154]

United Kingdom

In August, an isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital in North London was prepared to treat patients with highly infectious diseases. On 24 August, William Pooley, a British citizen, was medically evacuated from Sierra Leone for treatment in the newly created unit. Pooley, a British health worker, is the first British citizen confirmed to have contracted the disease in Sierra Leone.[155] On 3 September, the 29-year old Pooley was discharged from hospital after a making full recovery from the disease.[156]

United States

American aid worker Kent Brantly, a physician, became infected with Ebola, while working in a Monrovia treatment centre as medical director for the aid group Samaritan’s Purse; Nancy Writebol, one of Brantly’s missionary co-workers, became infected at the same time.[71][157][158] Both were flown to the United States at the beginning of August for further treatment in Atlanta‘s Emory University Hospital, near the headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control.[159] On 21 August, both Brantly and Writebol were discharged from Emory University Hospital, having recovered from the virus.[160]

On 4 September, a Boston physician, Rick Sacra, was airlifted from Liberia to be treated in the United States. He is the third US missionary, working for Serving In Mission (SIM), who has tested positive for the disease. Sacra is being treated in Omaha at the Nebraska Medical Center.[161] The doctor did not get infected while treating Ebola patients, but was exposed to the virus while delivering babies at a hospital in Liberia.[162] On 9 September, it was reported that Sacra is receiving an experimental therapy (not ZMapp) and it was later announced that he had received a blood transfusion from Kent Brantly, an American physician who has recovered from the disease. It has been theorized that transfusing blood products from former Ebola patients may assist a diseased person’s immune system to fight the disease. As of 11 September, he has shown “remarkable” improvement though recovery remains uncertain.[163][164]

On 9 September, the fourth U.S. citizen who contracted the Ebola virus arrived at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta for treatment. The patient was airlifted from Sierra Leone and landed at Dobbins Air Reserve Base. The identity of the patient, a male doctor working for the WHO in Sierra Leone, has not been released. According to doctors at the hospital, he will not be receiving any experimental treatment and will only receive supportive care to boost his immune system. The patient exited the ambulance and was assisted into the hospital while walking on his own.[165]

Timeline

A timeline of the outbreak follows, using data reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention[166] and the WHO.[167] The table also includes suspected cases that have yet to be confirmed for the virus. The reports are sourced from official information from the affected countries’ health ministries. WHO has stated the reported numbers “vastly underestimate the magnitude of the outbreak”.[168] Cases in remote areas may also be missed.[169]

Note that numbers for cases and deaths are in constant flux. Numbers reported for cases may include probable or suspected cases; numbers are revised downward if a suspected case turns out to be negative.

Ebola cases and deaths by country and by date
Date Total Guinea Liberia Sierra Leone Nigeria Senegal Refs
Cases Deaths Cases Deaths Cases Deaths Cases Deaths Cases Deaths Cases Deaths
10 Sep 2014 4,846 2,375 899 568 2,415 1,307 1,509 493 22 8 3 0 [170][171]
7 Sep 2014 4,366 2,177 861 557 2,081 1,137 1,424 476 22 7 3 0 [65][172]
3 Sep 2014 4,001 2,089 823 522 1,863 1,078 1,292 452 22 7 1 0 [173]
31 Aug 2014 3,707 1,808 771 494 1,698 871 1,216 436 21 7 1 0 [174][175]
25 Aug 2014 3,071 1,553 648 430 1,378 694 1,026 422 19 7 [176]
20 Aug 2014 2,615 1,427 607 406 1,082 624 910 392 16 5 [177]
18 Aug 2014 2,473 1,350 579 396 972 576 907 374 15 4 [178]
16 Aug 2014 2,240 1,229 543 394 834 466 848 365 15 4 [179]
13 Aug 2014 2,127 1,145 519 380 786 413 810 348 12 4 [180]
11 Aug 2014 1,975 1,069 510 377 670 355 783 334 12 3 [181]
9 Aug 2014 1,848 1,013 506 373 599 323 730 315 13 2 [182]
6 Aug 2014 1,779 961 495 367 554 294 717 298 13 2 [183]
4 Aug 2014 1,711 932 495 363 516 282 691 286 9 1 [184]
1 Aug 2014 1,603 887 485 358 468 255 646 273 4 1 [185]
30 Jul 2014 1,440 826 472 346 391 227 574 252 3 1 [186]
27 Jul 2014 1,323 729 460 339 329 156 533 233 1 1 [187]
23 Jul 2014 1,201 672 427 319 249 129 525 224 [188]
20 Jul 2014 1,093 660 415 314 224 127 454 219 [189]
17 Jul 2014 1,048 632 410 310 196 116 442 206 [190]
14 Jul 2014 982 613 411 310 174 106 397 197 [191]
12 Jul 2014 964 603 406 304 172 105 386 194 [192]
8 Jul 2014 888 539 409 309 142 88 337 142 [193]
6 Jul 2014 844 518 408 307 131 84 305 127 [194]
2 Jul 2014 779 481 412 305 115 75 252 101 [195]
30 Jun 2014 759
(6/25)+22
467
+14
413
+3
303
+5
107
+8
65
+7
239
+11
99
+2
[196]
22 Jun 2014 599 338 51 34 [197]
20 Jun 2014 581 328 390
+0
270
+3
158
+0
34
+4
[197]
17 Jun 2014 528 337 97
(6/15)+31
49
+4
[198]
16 Jun 2014 526 334 398 264 33
(6/11)+9
24
+5
[198]
15 Jun 2014 522 333 394 263 33 24 95 46 [199]
10 Jun 2014 474 252 372 236 CDC[21]
6 Jun 2014 453 245 89
+8
7
+1
[200]
5 Jun 2014 445 244 351
+7
226
+6
[200]
5 Jun 2014 438 233 81
+9
6 [201]
3 Jun 2014 436 233 344
+11
215
+3
[201]
1 Jun 2014 383 211 328 208
+21
79
+13
6 [202]
29 May 2014 354 211
+1

+1
50
+34
6
+1
[203]
28 May 2014 319 209 291 193 [203]
27 May 2014 309 202 281 186 16 5 [204][205]
23 May 2014 270 185 258 174 [206]
18 May 2014 265 187 253 176 [207]
12 May 2014 260 182 248 171 [208]
10 May 2014 245 168 233 157 12 11 [209]
7 May 2014 249 169 236 158 [210]
3 May 2014 244 166 231 155 0 0 [211]
2 May 2014 239 160 13 11 [212]
1 May 2014 237 158 226 149 [212]
30 Apr 2014 233 155 221 146 CDC[21]
24 Apr 2014 253 152 35 [213]
23 Apr 2014 252 152 218 141 [213]
21 Apr 2014 242 147 34
↓26?
11
-2
[214]
20 Apr 2014 235 149 208 136 [214]
17 Apr 2014 230 142 203 129 27 13 GU[215]
LI✓[216]
16 Apr 2014 224 135 197 122 27 13 (1) [217]
14 Apr 2014 194 121 168 108 [218]
11 Apr 2014 184 114 26 13 [218]
10 Apr 2014 183 113 25 12 [219]
9 Apr 2014 179 111 158 101 [219]
7 Apr 2014 172 105 151 95 21 10
(-2)
[220][221]
1 Apr 2014 135 88 127 83 8
+0
5
+1
[222]
31 Mar 2014 130 82 122 80 8 2 [223]
29 Mar 2014 114 71 2
↓5
1
↓1
?[224]
28 Mar 2014 120 76 112 70 (2) (2) [225]
27 Mar 2014 111 72 103 66 8 6 (6) (5) [226]
26 Mar 2014 86 62 86 62 [227]
25 Mar 2014 86 60 86 60 [228]
24 Mar 2014 86 59 86 59 [229]
22 Mar 2014 49 29 49 29 [230]
Notes:

Date is the “as of” date from the reference. A single source may report statistics for multiple “as of” dates.
Total cases and deaths before 1 July 2014 are calculated.
Numbers with ± are deltas from a previous report. The deltas may not be consistent.
Numbers with a ↓ indicate cases that were eliminated.
Liberia:

29 Mar: LI data is confused. Earlier, there were 8 suspected cases and 6 deaths (no confirmed cases). Seven suspected cases were tested by 29 Mar, and five were not Ebola. That should take suspected cases to 3, but a total was not stated; it also implies deaths should be at most 3. The report states only 2 suspected deaths were tested, and one was not Ebola.[224]
21 Apr: reduced deaths by 2: one in Guinea total and one case discarded. 26 samples negative for Ebola.[214]
24 Apr: stated it was reviewing its 27 suspected cases and may toss all of them;[213]
2 May: reclassification complete.[212]
Sierra Leone: cases were reported, but by 3 May there were no cases.[211] Early reports are marked with parens “()”.

7 Apr: 2 suspected cases of EVD were confirmed as Lassa Fever.[220]
15 Apr: Of 12 suspected cases, 11 were tested for Ebola but came up negative.[217]
Mali: 4 possible cases were reported on 7 April,[220][221] but they were not EVD.[217]
Note: 31 August WHO SL death toll wrong [175]
Note: 7 Sep WHO report Sierra Leone death rate suspected added up double in report.[172]
10 Sep From Primary Source OCHA and Liberia government—Note Nigeria and Senegal stat[171]

Democratic Republic of Congo

Democratic Republic of Congo-2014
DRC Ebola Map.png

DRC Ebola area as of 6 September 2014[231]
Casualties
  • Cases / Deaths (as of 9 September 2014)[6]
  •  DR Congo: 62 / 35

On 20 August, several people, including four health care workers, were reported to have died of Ebola-like symptoms in the remote northern Équateur province, a province that lies about 750 miles north of the capitalKinshasa.[232] By 21 August, 13 people were reported to have died with similar symptoms. On 26 August, the Équateur Province Ministry of Health confirmed an outbreak of Ebola to the WHO.[233] The initial case was a woman from Ikanamongo Village who became ill with symptoms of Ebola after she had butchered a bush animal that her husband had killed. She was treated in a private clinic, but on 11 August she died of a then-unidentifiedhemorrhagic fever. The following week relatives of the woman, several health-care workers who had treated the woman, and individuals that they had been in contact with came down with similar symptoms. Five health care workers subsequently died.[233]

On 26 August, the WHO reported that between 28 July and 18 August a total of 24 suspected cases of Ebola virus disease, including 13 deaths, had been reported. The index case and the 80 contacts had no history of travel to the Ebola-affected countries or history of contact with individuals from the affected areas, and it was believed that the outbreak in DRC was unrelated to the ongoing outbreak in West Africa.[233]

On 2 September, the WHO said that there were currently 31 deaths in the Northern Boende area in the province of Équateur and 53 confirmed, suspected or likely cases.[231] The WHO confirmed that the current strain of the virus in the Boende District is the Zaire Ebola species. This strain is common in the country and similar to the 1995 Kikwit outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The virology results and epidemiological findings indicated no connection to the current epidemic in West Africa Region or Nigeria.[234]

On 9 September, the WHO raised the number of cases to 62 and the death toll to 35 from possible or confirmed Ebola cases. Included in this number are 9 health-care workers with 7 deaths among them. In total 386 contacts have been listed and 239 contacts are being followed up. The outbreak is still contained in Jeera county in the Boende region.[6]

Economic effects

In addition to the loss of life, the outbreak is having a number of significant economic impacts.

  • Markets and shops are closing, due to travel restrictions, cordon sanitaire, or fear of human contact, leading to loss of income for producers and traders.[235]
  • Movement of people away from affected areas has disturbed agricultural activities.[236][237]
  • Tourism is directly impacted in affected countries.[238] Other countries in Africa which are not directly affected by the virus have also reported adverse effects on tourism.[239]
  • Foreign mining companies have withdrawn non-essential personnel, deferred new investment, and cut back operations.[237][240][241]
  • Many airlines have experienced reduced traffic. Some airlines have suspended flights to the area.[242]
  • Forecasts of economic growth have been reduced.[243] An initial World Bank-IMF assessment for Guinea projects a full percentage point fall in GDP growth from 4.5 percent to 3.5 percent[244]
  • The outbreak is straining the finances of governments, with Sierra Leone using Treasury bills to fund the fight against the virus.[245]
  • The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has warned that the outbreak could endanger harvest and food security in West Africa.[246]
  • The IMF is considering expanding assistance to Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia as their national deficits balloon and their economies contract sharply. [247]

Responses

World Health Organization

The World Health Organization‘s (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, Luis Sambo, visited the affected countries from 21 to 25 July, meeting with political leaders, ministers of health, NGOs, and other agencies. He stressed the need to “promote behavioural change while respecting cultural practices.”[34] On 24 July, WHO’s Director General met with agencies and donors in Geneva to facilitate an increase in funding and manpower to respond to the outbreak.[34]

WHO declared the outbreak an international public health emergency on 8 August, after a two-day teleconference of experts.[45] On 11 August, they emphasised lack of supplies and capacity as one of the problems, while local awareness of the disease had increased.[248] Revised guidelines on how to prevent the spread of the disease were released, updating guidelines from 2008.[249]

On 28 August, the WHO said it is seeking $490 million in funding to fight the outbreak.[250] They report that they “are on the ground establishing Ebola treatment centres and strengthening capacity for laboratory testing, contact tracing, social mobilization, safe burials, and non-Ebola health care” and “continue to monitor for reports of rumoured or suspected cases from countries around the world.” Other than cases where individuals are suspected or have been confirmed of being infected with Ebola, or have had contact with cases of Ebola, the WHO does not recommend any travel or trade restrictions.[15]

On 16 September WHO Assistant Director General, Bruce Aylward, announced that the cost for combating this disease epidemic will spiral to a staggering $1 billion. “We don’t know where the numbers are going on this,” according to Aylward. In addition aid workers have predicted an “explosive” increase in new case numbers in the following days in the epidemic area.[251]

US Centers for Disease Control

On 31 July, US health officials from the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a travel advisory for Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, warning against non-essential travel.[252] By 26 August, the CDC had issued a Level 3 travel warning for Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia and a Level 2 travel warning for Nigeria.[253] The Level 3 warning is the highest that can be issued and will be in place until 27 February 2015. It means that United States residents must avoid nonessential travel to the three countries worst hit by the virus.

By the beginning of August, the US Centers for Disease Control had placed staff in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria to assist the local Ministries of Health and WHO-led response to the outbreak.[122] On 6 August, the Centers for Disease Control moved its Ebola response to Level 1 (the highest on a scale from 1 to 6) to increase the agency’s ability to respond to the outbreak.[254]

On 29 August, the CDC issued a Level 2 travel warning for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), warning against contact with body fluids of people with Ebola.[255]

Médecins Sans Frontières

The humanitarian aid organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) started its Ebola intervention in West Africa in March 2014 and is now present in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. By the end of August, the organization ran five Ebola case management centers with a total capacity of 415 beds. Since March, MSF has admitted a total of 1,885 patients. Of these patients 907 tested positive for Ebola and 170 recovered. MSF has deployed 184 international staff to the region and employs 1,800 nationally hired personnel.[78] On 29 August MSF described the international response as slow and derisory.[256]

Samaritan’s Purse

Samaritan’s Purse is also providing direct patient care in multiple locations in Liberia.[257] At a congressional committee hearing on 7 August 2014, the head of Samaritan’s Purse stated that “The disease is uncontained and out of control in West Africa.”[258]

World Food Program

On 18 August, World Food Program announced plans to mobilise food assistance for an estimated 1 million people living in restricted access areas.[259]

World Bank Group

The World Bank Group has pledged up to US $200 million in emergency funding to help Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone contain the spread of Ebola infections, help their communities cope with the economic impact of the crisis, and improve public health systems throughout West Africa.[244]

Response by countries

Australia

On 14 August, the Australian ambassador to the People’s Republic of China revealed that the Australian government would donate US$1 million to the World Health Organization, in addition to its annual support, to assist in combating the Ebola outbreak.[260]

Brazil

Brazil has donated three kits to Guinea, five to Sierra Leone and five more to Liberia. They are waiting for the United Nations to indicate how and when to ship. Each kit can handle up to 500 people for three months which contains gloves, hats, saline and more.[261]

Canada

On 12 August, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) announced that the country would donate between 800 and 1,000 doses of an untested vaccine (VSV-EBOV) to the WHO.[262] The offer was made by the Minister of Health directly to the Director General of the WHO as part of the country’s commitment to containment efforts. The Government of Canada holds the intellectual property associated with the vaccine, but has licensed BioProtection Systems of Ames, Iowa to develop the product for use in humans.[263]

As of 12 August, Canada’s contribution to address the spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa is estimated at $5,195,000. This includes resources dedicated to humanitarian, security, and public health interventions.[264]

On 26 August, the PHAC said it is preparing to bring home three members from their mobile laboratory in Sierra Leone. The three Canadians were among six workers at the mobile lab. The team is from the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg. The recall follows the diagnoses of three persons, staying at the same hotel as the team members, with the Ebola virus. The team members had no direct contact with the infected persons and are not showing any signs of the disease. The team members will be monitored as they travel back to Canada and will remain in voluntary isolation until cleared, officials from the PHAC said.[265]

On 6 September, the Public Health Agency of Canada announced that they will be resuming work at the Kailahun mobile laboratory after recalling them in late August for safety reasons. A three person team have been sent to the laboratory in eastern Sierra Leone. The team will rotate on a monthly basis.[266]

Chad

The Prime Minister of Chad, Kalzeubet Pahimi Deubet, said it will follow in the footsteps of South Africa and impose travel restrictions to and from the countries currently affected by the Ebola outbreak. Chad will close all its borders to Nigeria to prevent the spread of the disease to the country. He added that this would have an economic impact to Chad and the region, but the restrictions are necessary.[267]

China

A Chinese plane carrying supplies worth 30 million yuan (4.9 million US dollars) arrived in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia on 11 August.[268][269] This is their second Ebola relief after the first batch delivered in May to Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea-Bissau. The supplies include medical protective clothes, disinfectants, thermo-detectors, and medicines. China also sent three expert teams composed of epidemiologists and specialists in disinfection and protection as well as medical supplies to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone despite high risk of infection.[270][271] Before their arrival, eight members of a Chinese medical team sent to assist patients in Sierra Leone’s hospitals were quarantined after treating Ebola patients.

Some Chinese companies in West Africa also joined the relief efforts. China Kingho Group, a leading exploration and mining company in Sierra Leone, donated 400 million Leones (about $90,000) to the Government and People of Sierra Leone on 15 August.[272]

On 16 August, Chinese President Xi Jinping and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday discussed several hot issues, including Ebola, in their fourth meeting this year. The meeting in Nanjing, capital of east China’s Jiangsu Province, was held before they attended the opening ceremony of the 2nd Summer Youth Olympic Games. Xi said China will continue to make joint efforts with the international community to prevent and control the Ebola virus outbreak that has hit West Africa. China has provided emergency medical assistance to Ebola-hit countries and sent expert groups. China’s medical teams in the countries are working with local staff, according to Xi. Xi also spoke highly of the measures taken by the United Nations and WHO and its professional institutions, and called for more assistance and input for medical and health services in African countries.[273]

Colombia

On 8 August, the Vice Minister of Health and Social Protection of Colombia, Fernando Ruiz, assured the public that the Government is preparing itself to face the virus even though Colombia’s given conditions don’t give Ebola the chance to natively spread since “the bat species in charge of transmitting the disease nor the practice of eating it aren’t present in Colombia.”[274] Ruiz also stated that Colombians travelling to the affected parts of West Africa are being warned to take appropriate precautions.[275] Previously, on 5 August, the Ministry of Health and Social Protection issued a press release stating that “since the month of April the National Government has been closely following and monitoring the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa and the State has decided to adopt word by word the contingency plan prepared by the WHO.”[276]

Cuba

On 10 September, Cuba announced its willingness to help curtail the spread of the disease. Cuba will be sending 165 doctors and nurses to Sierra Leone on a six month rotation starting early October. Infection control specialists will be among the group.[277]

Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea temporarily stopped issuing visas from neighbouring countries and cancelled regional flights by Ceiba Intercontinental Airlines.[278]

Germany

Germany’s Foreign Office issued travel warnings for all affected countries at the end of July,[279] Spain did so on 2 August[280] and the UK did on 20 August.[281]

Ghana

On 30 August, the Ghanaian Presidency released a press statement, announcing the country’s willingness to use Accra as a support base to help fight Ebola in the stricken countries. This agreement follows a telephonic meeting with the United Nations chief, Ban Ki-moonand John Dramani Mahama, the President of Ghana. Accra will serve as a base for air lifting medical and other supplies to countries affected by the Ebola outbreak, as well as personnel to curtail the disease.[282]

India

On 8 August, India placed all of its airports on high alert and stepped up surveillance of all travellers entering the country from Ebola-affected regions. The Union Health Minister, Harsh Vardhan, issued a statement, “There is no cause for panic. We have put in operation the most advanced surveillance and tracking systems.” From 9 August, passengers coming from Ebola-affected countries will have to complete a form before landing; the form has a check-list for symptoms and asks travellers from West Africa for information about places visited, length of stay and other important information.

“The form is ready and will be officially released by Saturday. We will request all airlines to direct their staff to distribute the form in-flight, like immigration forms are given before arrival,” said Jagdish Prasad, director general of health services, Union Ministry of Health. In New Delhi, Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in New Delhi has been designated as a treatment centre for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) cases. A 24-hour emergency helpline will also be functional from Saturday. Its numbers are (011)-23061469, 3205 and 1302. The estimated 47,000 Indians in the affected countries are being contacted by area diplomatic missions and supplied with educational material about the disease.[283]

Ivory Coast

The Ivory Coast, on 22 August, released a statement on state-owned television announcing the closure of its borders to the neighbouring countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. Attempting to prevent the Ebola outbreak of the virus from spreading to the Ivory Coast, the government announced the closure of all its land based borders to the country’s West African neighbours Guinea and Liberia.[284]

The Ivory Coast previously placed a ban on all flights to and from Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea.[285] Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) is allowing shipping commerce to enter the port of Abidjan from the affected countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Vessels coming from those countries are required to undergo a medical inspection by a boarding team prior to entry.[286]

Japan

In April, the Government of Japan gave $520,000 through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to support the Ebola outbreak response in Guinea.[287] In August, another $1.5 million in additional support was provided to be disbursed via the WHO, UNICEF andRed Cross, and will be used for measures to prevent Ebola infections and to provide medical supplies.[288]

On 25 August, Japanese authorities announced that they would be willing to provide access to an anti-influenza drug currently under development called favipiravir to try to treat EVD patients.[289] Fujifilm Holdings Corp and MediVector have reportedly approached the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to request approval for this experimental use of favipiravir. Up to 20,000 doses of favipiravir would currently be available.

Kenya

The Kenyan government banned people travelling from or through Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia for all ports of entry.[290]

Malaysia

Malaysia plans to send more than 20 million medical gloves to Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone to alleviate a shortage of medical supplies in the affected countries. Malaysia will also send medical gloves to the Democratic Republic of Congo which is also dealing with an Ebola outbreak unrelated to the one affecting West Africa.[291]

Morocco

Beginning in April, Morocco reinforced medical surveillance at the Casablanca airport, a regional hub for flights from and to West Africa.[292][293] In early August, Liberian interior minister Morris Dukuly announced the Ebola death of a Liberian man in the country,[294] but the Moroccan Ministry of Health announced that the person died of a heart attack, rather than Ebola.[295]

Philippines

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs has raised Alert Level 2 in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone and has temporarily halted the sending of Filipino workers to the affected countries since 30 June. Filipino seafarers are also cautioned about potentially contracting Ebola when their ships dock in affected countries.[296] The Department of Health expressed its willingness to send medical workers to Ebola-affected countries to help contain the outbreak.[297] On 23 August, the Philippines announced that it is pulling out its 115 UN peacekeepers stationed in Liberia due to the increasing health risk the troops face due to the outbreak.[298]

Qatar

Qatar has banned the import of live animals, food and meat products from Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria as a precaution against Ebola.[299]

Seychelles

Seychelles introduced a visa requirement for the citizens of Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Benin, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Congo, D.R. Congo, Gambia, Mauritania, and Senegal. Citizens of these countries will require a visa until the Ebola outbreak is declared over.[300] Members of the Sierra Leone national football team were refused visas over the outbreak.[301]

Saudi Arabia

On 1 April, Saudi Arabia stopped issuing visas for the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca to people from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.[302]

On 5 August, Saudi Arabia announced that it would block issuance of Hajj and Umrah visas to the citizens of Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia.[303]

On 6 August, the Saudi Ministry of Health advised citizens and residents of Saudi Arabia to avoid travelling to Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea until further notice.[304]

South Africa

On 21 August, South Africa announced a ban on all travelers from the three Ebola-hit West African nations. A government spokesman confirmed they are following other countries responses to the disease outbreak. The health ministry of South Africa confirmed that the country’s citizens would be asked to limit travel to absolutely essential needs, if going to the countries involved in the current outbreak. All South Africans returning from these countries would only be allowed back after undergoing extensive medical tests, and quarantine, if necessary.[305]

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka cancelled visa on-arrival facility on 21 August for citizens of Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.[306]

United Kingdom

The UK government has made £2 million available to partners including the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) and Médecins Sans Frontières that are operating in Sierra Leone and Liberia to tackle the outbreak.[307] Additionally a £6.5 million rapid response research initiative has been announced jointly by the Department for International Development and the Wellcome Trust to better inform the management of Ebola outbreaks. This includes research which could help tackle the current outbreak.[308]

On 26 August, British Airways extended its ban on flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone until 31 December due to the declining public health situation.[309][310]

The Foreign Office issued updated travel advice in the week ending 24 August urging Britons to evaluate the need to travel to Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.[155]

On 8 September Mark Francois, a spokesperson for the Minister of Armed Forces, announced that British troops, medics and equipment will be deployed to help assist Sierra Leone in the containing of the disease. An initial survey team consisting of military engineers will be sent to the country within the next couple of days. The troops will be building a 62 bed treatment facility near Freetown. The Armed Forces’ engineers and medics expect the facility to be completed and operational in two months. The treatment center will be staffed by Armed Forces’ medical personnel and handed over to one of the aid organization in the country.[311]

United States

On 8 September, the United States President, Barack Obama, announced that the U.S. will send US military personnel to the epidemic area. The military will be deployed to assist in the setting up of isolation units and provide additional safety to health workers in the area. The US military will also assist in proving and transportation of medical equipment. President Obama added that the steps are necessary to curtail the spread of the virus. This announcement comes amid fears that the virus might mutate and become more virulent and “represents a serious national security concern.”[312]

The Department of Defense has allocated $22 million to set up a 25-bed field hospital in Liberia to treat healthcare workers affected by the Ebola virus.[313] The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced that it will support the African Union’s deployment of approximately 100 health workers to West Africa to manage and run Ebola treatment units.[314]

In an unprecedented move, it is expected that US President Barack Obama will sent 3,000 additional military personnel to the area in an effort to expand the US involvement in combating the spread of the disease. The total cost of this operation is expected to be $500 million. The funding for this massive response will be allocated from the US Department of Defense’s existing budget, from other efforts including the war on Afghanistan. This announcement is likely to be issued on 16 September, according to a spokesperson for the US government.[315]

Economic Community of West African States

On 30 March, during the 44th Summit of the heads of state and government of West Africa, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) disbursed US$250,000 to deal with the outbreak.[316] At the event in July 2014, the Nigerian government donated US$500,000 to the Liberian government to aid the fight against the virus.[317]

In July, the WHO convened an emergency sub-regional meeting with health ministers from eleven countries in Accra, Ghana.[318] On 3 July, the West African states announced collaboration on a new strategy, and the creation of a WHO sub-regional centre in Guinea “to co-ordinate technical support”;[319] the centre was inaugurated in Conakry on 24 July.[320]

On 31 July, the WHO and West Africa nations announced $100 million in aid to help contain the disease.[321]

European Union

In March, the European Commission (EC) gave €500,000 to help contain the spread of the virus in Guinea and its neighbouring countries. The EC has also sent a health expert to Guinea to help assess the situation and liaise with the local authorities. EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva said: “We are deeply concerned about the spread of this virulent disease and our support will help ensure immediate health assistance to those affected by it. It’s vital that we act swiftly to prevent the outbreak from spreading, particularly to neighbouring countries.”[322]

In April, a mobile laboratory, capable of performing the molecular diagnosis of viral pathogens of risk groups 3 and 4, was deployed in Guinea by the European Mobile Laboratory project (EMLab) as part of the WHO/GOARN outbreak response. Prior samples were analyzed at the Jean Mérieux BSL-4 Laboratory in Lyon.[323]

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

On 10 September, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation released $50 million to the United Nations and other international aid agencies fighting the epidemic. The foundation also donated $2 million to the CDC to assist them with their burden. The funds were released with immediate effect. Previous donations consisted of $5 million to the WHO and $5 million to UNICEF to buy medical supplies and fund support efforts in the region. This brings the Seattle-based Foundation’s total contribution to date over $60 million. “We are working urgently with our partners to identify the most effective ways to help them save lives now and stop transmission of this deadly disease,” the Foundation CEO said in a statement.[324]

Paul G. Allen Family Foundation

On 11 September, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, following the footsteps of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, pledged $9 million to the CDC. The funds will be appropriated to build treatment co-ordination centers and assist in training programs. This follows their earlier donation of $2.8 million, in August, to the Red Cross.[325]

Private donations

Aliko Dangote

On 14 August, the Nigerian government said Aliko Dangote had donated 150 million naira to halt the spread of the Ebola virus outbreak.[326]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebola_virus_epidemic_in_West_Africa

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 328-330

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 194-201

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 158-164

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The Pronk Pops Show 312, August 13, 2014, Story 1: The Genocide In Iraq and A Suicide in Marin County — Videos

Posted on August 15, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Bombs, Books, Communications, Computers, Crime, Drugs, Economics, Education, Employment, Energy, European History, Federal Government, Food, Foreign Policy, Genocide, Government, Government Spending, History, Homicide, Law, Media, MIssiles, National Security Agency, Natural Gas, Nutrition, Oil, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Rifles, Scandals, Security, Success, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 312: August 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 311: August 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 310: August 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 309: August 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 308: August 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 307: August 1, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 306: July 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 305: July 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 304: July 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 303: July 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 302: July 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 301: July 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 300: July 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 299: July 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 298: July 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 297: July 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 296: July 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 295: July 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 294: July 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 293: July 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 292: July 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 291: July 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 290: July 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 289: July 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 288: June 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 287: June 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 286: June 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 285 June 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 284: June 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 283: June 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 282: June 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 281: June 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 280: June 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 279: June 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 278: June 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 277: June 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 276: June 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 275: June 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 274: June 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 273: June 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 272: June 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 271: June 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 270: May 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 269: May 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 268: May 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 267: May 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 266: May 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 265: May 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 264: May 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 263: May 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 262: May 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 261: May 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 260: May 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 259: May 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 258: May 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 257: May 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 256: May 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 255: May 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 254: May 1, 2014

Story 1: The Genocide In Iraq and A Suicide in Marin County — Videos

U.N.: ISIS committing war crimes in Iraq

ISIS attacks in Syria and Iraq may be emerging genocide

The world is silent on genocide, rape in Syria, Iraq

Persecution : Christian Genocide by Muslims spreading through the Middle East (Jul 31, 2014)

 

2014 – Iraq – Iraqi Yazidi MP’s Plea to Parliament to Stop Islamic State (IS) Genocide – 5/8/14

Robin Williams Dead At 63, Suicide Suspected

Robin Williams Last Interview Before Suicide

Robin Williams Tribute Video – Movie Montage – RIP 1951-2014

A look-back at Robin Williams with U.S. troops overseas

An Evening with Robin Williams

1986: Jonathan Winters and Robin Williams improvise

Jonathan Winters & Robin Williams in Funniest Moments on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show

Robin Williams on addiction and comedy

Robin Williams presents an award to Jonathan Winters

Day at Night: Jonathan Winters

Jonathan Winters “The Stick” Apr 1964 Jack Paar

JACK PAAR OPENING & JONATHAN WINTERS 1963

Bob Hope USO WWII Show ‘Somewhere In The South Pacific’

Bob Hope Through The Years With The Troops

BOB HOPE, SAMMY DAVIS, JR., & JONATHAN WINTERS APPEAR AS “THE ANDREWS SISTERS” {514}

Jonathan Winters discusses Robin Williams and “Mork & Mindy” – EMMYTVLEGENDS.ORG

Jonathan Winters discusses working with Bob Hope – EMMYTVLEGENDS.ORG

 

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 307-312

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 287-295

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or DownloadShow 202-210

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 194-201

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 79-83

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The Pronk Pops Show 243, April 14, 2014, Story 2: President Obama Proposed 442 Tax Hikes Since Taking Office — “You will not see your taxes go up by a single dime.” — Just Another Obama Big Lie –Videos

Posted on April 14, 2014. Filed under: American History, Banking System, Beef, Blogroll, Bread, Budgetary Policy, Cereal, Communications, Crime, Diets, Disasters, Economics, Education, Employment, Energy, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Food, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health Care Insurance, History, Media, Milk, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Nutrition, Oil, Oil, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Public Sector Unions, Radio, Regulation, Resources, Scandals, Security, Success, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Unemployment, Unions, United States Constitution, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 243: April 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 242: April 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 241: April 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 240: April 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 239: April 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 238: April 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 237: April 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 236: April 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 235: March 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 234: March 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 233: March 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 232: March 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 231: March 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 230: March 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 229: March 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 228: March 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 227: March 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 226: March 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 225: March 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 224: March 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 223: March 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 222: March 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 221: February 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 220: February 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 219: February 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 218: February 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 217: February 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 216: February 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 215: February 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 214: February 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 213: February 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 212: February 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 211: February 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 210: February 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 209: February 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 208: February 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 207: February 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 206: February 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 205: February 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 204: February 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 203: February 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 202: January 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 201: January 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 200: January 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 199: January 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 198: January 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 197: January 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 196: January 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 195: January 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 194: January 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 193: January 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 192: January 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 191: January 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 190: January 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 189: January 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 188: January 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 187: January 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 186: January 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 185: January 3, 2014

Story 2: President Obama Proposed 442 Tax Hikes Since Taking Office — “You will not see your taxes go up by a single dime.” — Just Another Obama Big Lie –Videos

 

Obama’s LIE to Never to Raise Taxes on Anyone Making Less Than $250,000 a Year

Obama’s lie about taxes

 

13 Obama Tax Hikes on the Middle Class in 2013

Obama Lies Compilation 

 

 

Obama has Proposed 442 Tax Hikes Since Taking Office


Posted by Max Velthoven, John Kartch, Ryan Ellis


Since taking office in 2009, President Barack Obama has formally proposed a total of 442 tax increases, according to an Americans for Tax Reform analysis of Obama administration budgets for fiscal years 2010 through 2015.

The 442 total proposed tax increases does not include the 20 tax increases Obama signed into law as part of Obamacare.

“History tells us what Obama was able to do. This list reminds us of what Obama wanted to do,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

The number of proposed tax increases per year is as follows:

-79 tax increases for FY 2010

-52 tax increases for FY 2011

-47 tax increases for FY 2012

-34 tax increases for FY 2013

-137 tax increases for FY 2014

-93 tax increases for FY 2015

Perhaps not coincidentally, the Obama budget with the lowest number of proposed tax increases was released during an election year: In February 2012, Obama released his FY 2013 budget, with “only” 34 proposed tax increases. Once safely re-elected, Obama came back with a vengeance, proposing 137 tax increases, a personal record high for the 44th President.

In addition to the 442 tax increases in his annual budget proposals, the 20 signed into law as part of Obamacare, and the massive tobacco tax hike signed into law on the sixteenth day of his presidency, Obama has made it clear he is open to other broad-based tax increases.

During an interview with Men’s Health in 2009, when asked about the idea of national tax on soda and sugary drinks, the President said, “I actually think it’s an idea that we should be exploring.”

During an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood in 2010, Obama said a European-style Value-Added-Tax was something that would be novel for the United States.”

Obama’s statement was consistent with a pattern of remarks made by Obama White House officials refusing to rule out a VAT.

“Presidents are judged by history based on what they did in power. But presidents can only enact laws when the Congress agrees,” said Norquist. “Thus a record forged by such compromise tells you what a president — limited by congress — did rather than what he wanted to do.”

The full list of proposed Obama tax increases can be found here.

 

Read more: http://www.atr.org/obama-has-proposed-442-tax-hikes-taking-office#ixzz2ytgu5HnM
Follow us: @taxreformer on Twitter

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 236-243

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 211-221

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 194-201

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 184-193

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 174-183

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 165-173

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 158-164

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 151-157

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 143-150

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 135-142

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 131-134

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 121-123

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 112

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 65-67

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The Pronk Pops Show 216, February 21, 2014, Story 1: Obama’s Era of Austerity is Over — Let The Big Spending Beginning — President Is Delusional Suffers From Spending Addiction Disorder (SAD) — Videos

Posted on February 21, 2014. Filed under: Addiction, American History, Blogroll, Budgetary Policy, Communications, Constitutional Law, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Food, Foreign Policy, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, History, Housing, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Labor Economics, Law, Media, Medicine, Monetary Policy, Nutrition, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Radio, Regulation, Tax Policy, Terror, Videos, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 216: February 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 215: February 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 214: February 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 213: February 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 212: February 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 211: February 14, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 210: February 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 209: February 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 208: February 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 207: February 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 206: February 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 205: February 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 204: February 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 203: February 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 202: January 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 201: January 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 200: January 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 199: January 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 198: January 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 197: January 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 196: January 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 195: January 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 194: January 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 193: January 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 192: January 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 191: January 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 190: January 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 189: January 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 188: January 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 187: January 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 186: January 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 185: January 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 184: December 19, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 183: December 17, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 182: December 16, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 181: December 13, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 180: December 12, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 179: December 11, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 178: December 5, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 177: December 2, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 176: November 27, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 175: November 26, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 174: November 25, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 173: November 22, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 172: November 21, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 171: November 20, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 170: November 19, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 169: November 18, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 168: November 15, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 167: November 14, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 166: November 13, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 165: November 12, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 164: November 11, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 163: November 8, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 162: November 7, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 161: November 4, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 160: November 1, 2013

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 211-216

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or DownloadShow 202-210

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 194-201

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 184-193

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 174-183

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 158-164

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 143-150

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 135-142

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 124-130

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Story 1: Obama’s Era of Austerity is Over — Let The Big Spending Beginning — President Is Delusional Suffers From Spending Addiction Disorder (SAD) — Videos

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 Congressional Budget Office’s newest reports

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In the past few years, debt held by the public has been significantly greater relative to GDP than at any time since just after World War II, and under current law it will continue to be quite high by historical standards during the next decade. With debt so large, federal spending on interest payments will increase substantially as interest rates rise to more typical levels. Moreover, because federal borrowing generally reduces national saving, the capital stock and wages will be smaller than if debt was lower. In addition, lawmakers would have less flexibility than they otherwise would to use tax and spending policies to respond to unanticipated challenges. Finally, such a large debt poses a greater risk of precipitating a fiscal crisis, during which investors would lose so much confidence in the government’s ability to manage its budget that the government would be unable to borrow at affordable rates.

http://cbo.gov/publication/45086

Federal Budget Deficits Are Projected to Decline Through 2015 but Rise Thereafter, Further Boosting Federal Debt

posted by Barry Blom & Leigh Angres on february 20, 2014

CBO recently released The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2014 to 2024. In that report, CBO projects that if current laws remain in place, the federal budget deficit will total $514 billion in fiscal year 2014. That deficit will be $166 billion smaller than the figure posted in 2013 and down sharply from the shortfalls recorded between 2009 and 2012, which exceeded $1 trillion annually. At 3.0 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), this year’s deficit would be near the average experienced over the past 40 years and about 7 percentage points lower than the figure recorded in 2009.

Today’s post summarizes CBO’s assessment of the budget outlook over the next decade. Three more posts—to appear over the next several days—will provide more detail about the outlook for spending, revenues, and the economy. One more post will expand upon CBO’s economic forecast, explaining the reasons behind the slow recovery of the labor market.

Under Current Law, Federal Debt Will Grow to 79 Percent of GDP at the End of 2024, CBO Estimates

CBO constructs it baseline projections of federal revenues and spending over the coming decade under the assumption that current laws generally remain unchanged. Under that assumption, revenues are projected to grow by about 1 percentage point of GDP over the next 10 years—from 17.5 percent in 2014 to 18.4 percent in 2024. But outlays are projected to rise twice as much, from 20.5 percent of GDP in 2014 to 22.4 percent in 2024. The increase in outlays reflects substantial growth in the cost of the largest benefit programs—Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—and in payments of interest on the government’s debt; those increases would more than offset a significant decline in discretionary spending relative to the size of the economy.

Although the deficit in CBO’s baseline projections continues to decline as a percentage of GDP in 2015, to 2.6 percent, it then starts to increase again in 2016, reaching 4.0 percent of GDP in 2024. That figure for the end of the 10-year projection period is roughly 1 percentage point above the average deficit over the past 40 years relative to the size of the economy.

That pattern of lower deficits initially, followed by higher deficits for the remainder of the projection period, would cause debt held by the public to follow a similar trajectory (see the figure below). Relative to the nation’s output, debt held by the public is projected to decline from 74 percent of GDP in 2014 to 72 percent of GDP in 2017, but to rise thereafter, to 79 percent of GDP at the end of 2024. (As recently as the end of 2007, debt held by the public was equal to 35 percent of GDP.)

Federal Debt Held by the Public

In the past few years, debt held by the public has been significantly greater relative to GDP than at any time since just after World War II, and under current law it will continue to be quite high by historical standards during the next decade. With debt so large, federal spending on interest payments will increase substantially as interest rates rise to more typical levels. Moreover, because federal borrowing generally reduces national saving, the capital stock and wages will be smaller than if debt was lower. In addition, lawmakers would have less flexibility than they otherwise would to use tax and spending policies to respond to unanticipated challenges. Finally, such a large debt poses a greater risk of precipitating a fiscal crisis, during which investors would lose so much confidence in the government’s ability to manage its budget that the government would be unable to borrow at affordable rates. (For a discussion of the consequences of elevated debt, see CBO’s December 2013 report Choices for Deficit Reduction: An Update.)

Projected Deficits Reflect Substantial Growth in the Cost of the Largest Benefit Programs

Projected deficits and debt for the coming decade reflect some of the long-term budgetary pressures facing the nation. The aging of the population, the rising costs of health care, and the expansion in federal subsidies for health insurance that is now under way will substantially boost federal spending on Social Security and the government’s major health care programs by 2 percentage points of GDP over the next 10 years (see the figure below). But the pressures of aging and the rising costs of health care will intensify during the next few decades. Unless the laws governing those programs are changed—or the increased spending is accompanied by corresponding reductions in other spending relative to GDP, by sufficiently higher tax revenues, or by a combination of those changes—debt will rise sharply relative to GDP after 2024. (For a more detailed discussion of the long-term budget situation, see CBO’s September 2013 report The 2013 Long-Term Budget Outlook.)

Spending and Revenues Projected in CBO's Baseline, Compared With Levels in 1974

Moreover, holding discretionary spending within the limits required under current law—an assumption that underlies these projections—may be quite difficult. The caps on discretionary budget authority established by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (Public Law 112-25) and subsequently amended will reduce such spending to an unusually small amount relative to the size of the economy. With those caps in place, CBO projects, discretionary spending will equal 5.2 percent of GDP in 2024; by comparison, the lowest share for discretionary spending in any year since 1962 (the earliest year for which such data have been reported) was 6.0 percent in 1999. (Nevertheless, total federal spending would be a larger share of GDP than its average during the past 40 years because of higher spending on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, other health insurance subsidies for low-income people, and interest payments on the debt.) Because the allocation of discretionary spending is determined by annual appropriation acts, lawmakers have not yet decided which specific government services and benefits will be reduced or constrained to meet the specified overall limits.

The Budget Outlook for the Coming Decade Has Worsened Since May 2013

The baseline budget outlook has worsened since May 2013, when CBO last published its 10-year projections. A description of the changes in CBO’s baseline since May 2013 can be found in Appendix A of the report. At that time, deficits projected under current law totaled $6.3 trillion for the 2014–2023 period, or about 3 percent of GDP. Deficits are now projected to be about $1 trillion larger. The bulk of that change occurred in CBO’s estimates of revenues: The agency has reduced its projection of total revenues by $1.6 trillion, mostly because of changes in the economic outlook. A decrease of $0.6 trillion in projected outlays through 2023 partially offset that change.

Barry Blom is an analyst in CBO’s Budget Analysis Division and Leigh Angres is special assistant to the CBO Director.

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Bar Chart Data Source: Monthly Treasury Statement (MTS) published by the U. S. Treasury Department. WE DON’T MAKE THIS UP! IT COMES FROM THE U. S. GOVERNMENT! NO ADJUSTMENTS.

The MTS published in October, reports the final actual expenditures for the previous FY. This chart shows FY2013 actual spending data. Here is the link to download your own copy from the Treasury Department web site.

The chart normally shows the proposed budget line for the next fiscal year (FY2014 started 1 October 2013), but the two-year deal for 2014-2015 signed in December 2013, has so few details that showing a “budget” for 2014 or 2015 is no possible. And now Congress has passed the Appropriations (spending) bill that funds the budget through end of FY2014. The details are in a 1500+ page bill that no one in Congress read. But you CAN read it. Here it is H.R.3547 – Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014. (it’s a large pdf document … give it time.)

But we may have an option; we will use the historical tables published by the OMB, about mid-FY2014, take the data from the “estimated” 2014 column. Look for it later.

The Congressional Budget Office reported on the Federal Debt and the Risk of a Financial Crisis in this report on the non-budget.

Look at the bar chart to find items that are growing and items that are being reduced. The largest growth is at the Department of Agriculture; it handles Food Stamps (SNAP). You pay taxes, your money is paying for food stamps.

– – – – – – –

Here is a MUST SEE … The Budget in Pictures!

NDAC studies the Budget Proposals submitted to the U.S. Senate each year by the President of the United States and the House of Representatives. One of the documents that goes along with the budget proposals, “Historical Tables“, is published by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Our analysis is discussed on the home page of this web site.

http://www.federalbudget.com/chartinfo.html

Out-of-Control Spending Is to Blame for America’s Deficit Problem

Federal spending is projected to grow at a rapid pace beyond the 10-year budget window. Without reforms, spending on interest on the debt, health care programs (Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, etc.), and Social Security will reach unsustainable levels. As a result, these spending levels will cause exploding deficits as tax revenues will be at their modern average level (1952-2008).

americas-deficit-federal-spending-680

Where Does All the Money Go?

In 2012, the major entitlement programs-Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other health care-consumed 45 percent of all federal spending. These programs, and interest on the debt, are on track to consume an even greater share of spending in future years, while the portion of federal spending dedicated to other national priorities will decline.

SHARE OF FEDERAL SPENDING IN 2012

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Entitlement Program Spending Is Massive

Annual spending on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other health programs is massive compared to other federal spending priorities. There is too much waste and inappropriate spending in the discretionary budget as well, but Congress will not be able to rein in spending and debt without reforming the entitlement programs.

ESTIMATED ANNUAL SPENDING IN 2014

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Publicly Held Debt Set to Skyrocket

Runaway spending on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will drive federal debt to unsustainable levels over the next few decades. Total national debt comprises publicly held debt (the most relevant to credit markets) and debt that one part of the government owes to another, such as the Social Security Trust Fund.

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All Tax Revenue Will Go Toward Entitlements and Net Interest by 2030

In less than two decades, all projected tax revenues would be consumed by three federal programs (Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid, which includes CHIP and Obamacare) and interest on the debt. Entitlement reform is a must.

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What if a Typical Family Spent and Borrowed Like the Federal Government?

Families understand that it is unwise to repeatedly spend much more than they take in. But Washington continues its shopping spree on the taxpayer credit card with seemingly no regard to the stack of bills the nation has already piled up.

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The Beatles – Taxman

How Obama could kill the Democratic Party

Limbaugh: ‘Santa Claus is not a cure for poverty’

The Price of a U.S. Credit Rating Downgrade

U.S. deficit to decline, then rise as labor market struggles: CBO

Top 10 MILITARY BUDGETS

America : DHS preparing for possible Riots / Martial Law on Nov 1st over Food Stamps

The Money Song

With 2015 budget request, Obama will call for an end to era of austerity

By Zachary A. Goldfarb

President Obama’s forthcoming budget request will seek tens of billions of dollars in fresh spending for domestic priorities while abandoning a compromise proposal to tame the national debt in part by trimming Social Security benefits.

With the 2015 budget request, Obama will call for an end to the era of austerity that has dogged much of his presidency and to his efforts to find common ground with Republicans. Instead, the president will focus on pumping new cash into job training, early-childhood education and other programs aimed at bolstering the middle class, providing Democrats with a policy blueprint heading into the midterm elections.

As part of that strategy, Obama will jettison the framework he unveiled last year for a so-called grand bargain that would have raised taxes on the rich and reined in skyrocketing retirement spending. A centerpiece of that framework was a proposal — demanded by GOP leaders — to use a less-generous measure of inflation to calculate Social Security benefits.

The idea infuriated Democrats and never gained much traction with rank-and-file Republicans, who also were unwilling to contemplate tax increases of any kind. On Thursday, administration officials said that the grand-bargain framework remains on the table but that it was time to move on.

“Over the course of last year, Republicans consistently showed a lack of willingness to negotiate on a deficit-reduction deal, refusing to identify even one unfair tax loophole they would be willing to close,” said a White House official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe the budget before its official release. “That is not going to stop the president from promoting new policies that should be part of our public debate.”

Republicans said emerging details of the president’s budget prove he was never serious about addressing the nation’s long-term debt problems.

“This reaffirms what has become all too apparent: the president has no interest in doing anything, even modest, to address our looming debt crisis,” Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), said in a statement. “The one and only idea the president has to offer is even more job-destroying tax hikes, and that non-starter won’t do anything to save the entitlement programs that are critical to so many Americans.”

The new budget request, due out March 4, comes during a relative lull in Washington’s lengthy budget wars. Late last year, Congress approved a two-year spending plan negotiated by the chairmen of the House and Senate Budget committees, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), that would ease automatic cuts, known as the sequester, that were eating away at agency spending. And this month, Congress agreed to forgo another battle over the federal debt limit, voting to suspend its enforcement until March 2015.

The lack of conflict is due in part to the collapse of the deficit as a political issue. While annual budget deficits remain high by historical standards, they have shrunken rapidly over the past few years as the economy recovered and Congress acted to cut spending.

The latest estimates from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office show the deficit falling to$514 billion this year and to $478 billion in fiscal 2015 — well below the trillion-dollar deficits the nation racked up during the recession and immediately afterward. But the CBO warned that deficits would start to grow again in a few years.

n recognition of that fact, Obama would retain some parts of his grand-bargain framework, including a proposal to require wealthy seniors to pay more for Medicare benefits than they do now. White House officials said the president continues to believe that entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security must be reformed to be sustainable.

Meanwhile, Obama would fully pay for proposed new spending in his budget request, administration officials said, including $56 billion for what they called “Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative.” The package, which would be split between domestic programs and defense, will include fresh cash for 45 new manufacturing institutes; a “Race to the Top” for states that promote energy efficiency; new job training programs and apprenticeships; and expanded educational programs for pre­schoolers.

White House officials declined to say Thursday how they would fund the initiative. But Obama has in the past proposed limiting the value of income-tax deductions for wealthy households and closing a variety of corporate tax breaks.

A senior administration official said the budget would also propose new corporate tax rules aimed at preventing companies from moving profits overseas to avoid U.S. taxes. For instance, the rules will seek to limit a company’s ability to borrow domestically — and take large tax deductions on the interest — and then invest the money overseas.

Prohibiting corporations from gaming the tax code has been a popular issue among Senate Democrats and would help emphasize bread-and-butter themes in a year when Democrats will also be focusing on raising the minimum wage and other populist measures.

“President Obama’s budget will be a powerful statement of Democratic principles,” Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said in a statement.

Senior administration officials said they decided to chart a more partisan, aspirational path after Republicans failed to respond to the olive branch offered last year. Then, after two years of near-misses on the budget in negotiations with Boehner, Obama still believed a deal was possible.

Now, they said, the president is not so optimistic. And he believes it is up to Republicans to make the next move.

At the same time, the nation’s debt problem has become markedly less urgent, they said, leading the president to back away from the most controversial part of his debt-reduction framework — the proposal to adopt a new measure of inflation known as the chained consumer price index, or chained CPI.

Although other cost-cutting proposals could yet cause tensions within his party, Obama’s decision not to include chained CPI in his budget request immediately won praise from Democrats.

“I applaud President Obama for his important decision to protect Social Security,” Sen. Bernard Sanders, the liberal independent from Vermont, said in a statement. “With the middle class struggling and more people living in poverty than ever before, we cannot afford to make life even more difficult for seniors and some of the most vulnerable people in America.”

Officials said Obama’s budget request will include other nuggets of note. For example, it assumes that an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws will pass Congress despite deep divisions in Republican ranks. It also assumes that a sharp, but somewhat mysterious slowdown in health-care spending will continue throughout the next decade.

As a result, the White House projects that annual budget deficits will fall below 2 percent of gross domestic product by the end of the decade. That outlook is much rosier than CBO projections, which show the deficit rising to 4 percent of GDP in 2024.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/with-2015-budget-request-obama-will-call-for-an-end-to-era-of-austerity/2014/02/20/332808c2-9a6e-11e3-b931-0204122c514b_story.html

Obama’s “End of Austerity” Budget Is Incoherent

Kevin Glass

President Obama’s legally-required but constantly-delayed official budget request to Congress will be on Capitol Hill soon. The Washington Post reportsthat “Obama will call for an end to the era of austerity that has dogged much of his presidency.” There is much wrong with this worldview.

The only coherent way in which “austerity” has defined much of President Obama’s presidency is one in which America faced a once-in-a-generation economic crisis that President Obama himself responded to by massively ramping up federal spending over the course of his first few years in office. That increase in federal spending was combined with below-average tax revenue to create massive budget deficits that everyone, including President Obama, agreed were a problem.

In accordance with the general principles of Keynesian economics, Barack Obama enacted policies that cut the deficit as we continue to climb back out of the 2008 recession. Now, though, President Obama thinks the deficit is no longer a problem – so it’s time to increase it.

If I were a self-absorbed “fact checker” I’d rate this claim half-true. We’ve largely tamed the medium-term deficit through a mixture of tax hikes and spending cuts. Taming the deficit doesn’t mean that it won’t be a problem in the future – and indeed, the Congressional Budget Office’s newest reports confirm that the deficit should still rate highly on the problems that policymakers should be looking to solve.

The CBO’s long-term budget report finds that the deficit will dip in 2014 and 2015 but then will start rising – and will never stop due to our increasing health and retirement obligations. The CBO reports on why that’s bad:

In the past few years, debt held by the public has been significantly greater relative to GDP than at any time since just after World War II, and under current law it will continue to be quite high by historical standards during the next decade. With debt so large, federal spending on interest payments will increase substantially as interest rates rise to more typical levels. Moreover, because federal borrowing generally reduces national saving, the capital stock and wages will be smaller than if debt was lower. In addition, lawmakers would have less flexibility than they otherwise would to use tax and spending policies to respond to unanticipated challenges. Finally, such a large debt poses a greater risk of precipitating a fiscal crisis, during which investors would lose so much confidence in the government’s ability to manage its budget that the government would be unable to borrow at affordable rates.

It’s absurd that anyone would need to have a refresher on this, but apparently it’s needed: more debt is worse than less debt!

The CBO also confirms what has become even more apparent in the wake of Obamacare: the federal government is becoming less of a traditional government and more of a social insurance state, as more and more spending will go toward health and retirement entitlements, as well as the mere cost of servicing debt:

As Jonathan Chait points out, as a practical political reality, fighting the rise of our retirement obligations has about a ten-year lag time. It’s impractical to change the structure of retirement benefits – both Social Security and Medicare – for current and near-future beneficiaries. We need to get started on reforms now.

President Obama may want to put an end to the “era of austerity,” but it’s an era that he explicitly pushed for through his rhetoric, his desire for tax hikes and his compromises on spending cuts. The medium-term deficit might be under control, but that doesn’t mean fighting future deficits should no longer be a priority for policymakers.

http://townhall.com/tipsheet/kevinglass/2014/02/21/obamas-end-of-austerity-budget-is-incoherent-n1798636

Obama budget declares end to … austerity?

Say, did you know that we are living in the age of austerity budgets in Washington? This year’s budget will spend more than last year’s $3.44 trillion, but not as much as Barack Obama requested for FY2014, which was an apparently austere $3.778 trillion. Nevertheless, the Washington Post reports that a newly-emboldened President will demandan end to an “era of austerity” that we haven’t seen in decades with his new FY2015 budget proposal:

President Obama’s forthcoming budget request will seek tens of billions of dollars in fresh spending for domestic priorities while abandoning a compromise proposal to tame the national debt in part by trimming Social Security benefits.

With the 2015 budget request, Obama will call for an end to the era of austerity that has dogged much of his presidency and to his efforts to find common ground with Republicans. Instead, the president will focus on pumping new cash into job training, early-childhood education and other programs aimed at bolstering the middle class, providing Democrats with a policy blueprint heading into the midterm elections. …

Republicans said emerging details of the president’s budget prove he was never serious about addressing the nation’s long-term debt problems.

“This reaffirms what has become all too apparent: the president has no interest in doing anything, even modest, to address our looming debt crisis,” Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), said in a statement. “The one and only idea the president has to offer is even more job-destroying tax hikes, and that non-starter won’t do anything to save the entitlement programs that are critical to so many Americans.”

The new budget request, due out March 4, comes during a relative lull in Washington’s lengthy budget wars. Late last year, Congress approved a two-year spending plan negotiated by the chairmen of the House and Senate Budget committees, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), that would ease automatic cuts, known as the sequester, that were eating away at agency spending. And this month, Congress agreed to forgo another battle over the federal debt limit, voting to suspend its enforcement until March 2015.

So what will be the top-line number for the FY2015 budget that will end this “era of austerity”? Actually, the Post doesn’t report the top-line outlay number, and the OMB doesn’t have the budget request available on the White House portal yet. One presumes that ending austerity means a demand north of the $3.498 trillion that House Republicans proposed in their budget plan from late last year. It may just be an additional $56 billion over the actual FY2014 levels, which would make it far below his FY2014 proposed budget.

Let’s take a look at all that austerity in the Obama presidency, shall we? Heritage produced this handy graphic in the middle of last year, but it’s very useful now:

heritage-fed-spending

Outlays for FY2014 authorized in the recent budget deal are still a bit ambiguous in the reams of data from both Congress and the White House, but CBO estimates it at $3.54 trillion. At that level, we are spending 9.3% more in FY2014 than in FY2008, the last budget signed by George W. Bush (Democrats stalled the FY2009 budget with continuing resolutions until Obama signed an omnibus bill in March 2009 to complete that budget).If the new budget ends “austerity” by returning to Obama’s original top-line outlay demand of last year’s budget request, that will mean an additional increase of federal spending of 6.7% in just one year. If it’s just $56 billion more than the actual FY2014 outlays, then the notion that this ends “austerity” is doubly laughable.

The notion that we’ve been laboring under an “era of austerity” is as ridiculous and out of touch as … well, as most of Obama’s budget requests during his presidency. This one has just as much chance of being enacted, too. The Post suggests that Democrats can use this to beat up Republicans on the campaign trail, but the GOP can easily parry that with this question: “Do you really believe Washington deserves a 6.7% raise after ObamaCare?” Good luck winning on this issue.

http://hotair.com/archives/2014/02/21/obama-budget-declares-end-to-austerity/

Obama budget could be costly to Dems

By Chris Stirewalt

OBAMA BUDGET COULD BE COSTLY TO DEMS
The White House is teasing the president’s soon-to-be released blueprint for the next federal fiscal year. In a nod to his core liberal supporters, the president has dropped a prior nod to entitlement fixes, so-called “chained CPI,” a change in how to calculate the size of future increases to Social Security and other programs. The president is sucking up to his political base, the members of which consider the current trajectory for future hikes to be sacrosanct. That’s pretty good politics, especially since Obama did not seem particularly enthused about the idea before and that there is zero chance that this budget or any budget will be passed this election year. Republicans may be harrumphing about the president’s “unserious” approach to the debt, but it’s not like they thought otherwise before. Nor will the House GOP budget be anything more than pipe dreams. Poof!

You call that austerity? – Many pixels are being slaughtered to discuss the president’s irrelevant budget. Why? Partly, it’s because reporters salivate over anything that looks exclusive or new in a city where governing goes to die. Here in the great gridlock desert, this stuff may pass for news. But also because liberals are excited to see their champion drop the smokescreen of deficit concern. The prevailing Democratic wisdom is that deficits don’t matter and that Republicans ought to shut up about them. The WaPo enthused: “With the 2015 budget request, Obama will call for an end to the era of austerity that has dogged much of his presidency and to his efforts to find common ground with Republicans.” Austerity? The federal government continues to spend way more than it takes in and outlays in the Obama era have increased. From 2009 through 2012, the administration spent about $3.5 trillion a year. The approximate federal spending for the fiscal year that ended in October was $3.62 trillion. The estimate for the current year: $3.78 trillion. The Greeks would love to get some austerity like that.

Unicorns, rainbows and midterms – The WaPo goes on to say that instead of worrying about deficits, “…the president will focus on pumping new cash into job training, early-childhood education and other programs aimed at bolstering the middle class, providing Democrats with a policy blueprint heading into the midterm elections… The lack of conflict is due in part to the collapse of the deficit as a political issue. While annual budget deficits remain high by historical standards, they have shrunken rapidly over the past few years as the economy recovered and Congress acted to cut spending.” Wait. What? A Fox News Poll at the end of January showed that more voters said the federal deficit and Social Security outranked terrorism, foreign policy, guns and immigration as the most important issues for the government. Only the economy and health care were higher on the list of voter concerns. Nothing come close to those two, but do Democrats really think that they are off the hook for being the party of more borrowing and spending? Just because Republicans scampered away from the last debt limit lift fight doesn’t mean this isn’t potent stuff. If Democrats believe that borrowing more than half-a-trillion dollars can be turned into a political plus, they must be back to smoking Hopium. And remember, we haven’t even heard about all of the new taxes that the president will propose. Democrats are marching forward with the banner of bigger government aloft at precisely the moment Americans are fed up with ObamaCare the last big government initiative the Obama Democrats bequeathed them.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/02/21/obama-budget-could-be-costly-to-dems/

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The Pronk Pops Show 196, January 22, 2014, Story 1: Government Dependency On The Rise — Food Stamp Nation — Wards of The State — Moochers vs. Producers — Videos

Posted on January 22, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, Communications, Culture, Diets, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Food, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, History, Media, Networking, Nutrition, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Radio, Regulation, Resources, Security, Taxes, Technology, Terrorism, Videos, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 196: January 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 195: January 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 194: January 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 193: January 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 192: January 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 191: January 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 190: January 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 189: January 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 188: January 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 187: January 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 186: January 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 185: January 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 184: December 19, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 183: December 17, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 182: December 16, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 181: December 13, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 180: December 12, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 179: December 11, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 178: December 5, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 177: December 2, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 176: November 27, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 175: November 26, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 174: November 25, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 173: November 22, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 172: November 21, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 171: November 20, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 170: November 19, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 169: November 18, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 168: November 15, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 167: November 14, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 166: November 13, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 165: November 12, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 164: November 11, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 163: November 8, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 162: November 7, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 161: November 4, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 160: November 1, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 159: October 31, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 158: October 30, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 157: October 28, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 156: October 25, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 155: October 24, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 154: October 23, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 153: October 21, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 152: October 18, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 151: October 17, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 150: October 16, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 149: October 14, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 148: October 11, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 147: October 10, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 146: October 9, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 145: October 8, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 144: October 7, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 143: October 4 2013

Pronk Pops Show 142: October 3, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 141: October 2, 2013

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 194-196

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Story 1: Government Dependency On The Rise — Food Stamp Nation — Wards of The State — Moochers vs. Producers — Videos

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Number Of U.S. Households Receiving Food Stamps Hits Another Record High

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Food Stamp Use Surges to New Record – Michelle Fields vs. Anahita Sedaghatfar – Bill O’Reilly

The Great Food Stamp Binge (COMPLETE)

Obama’s Approval Rating, Poverty Rate & Food Stamp – Hannity Panel

Record 20% of Households on Food Stamps in 2013

By Ali Meyer

A record 20% of American households, one in five, were on food stamps in 2013, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The numbers also show there was a record number of individuals on food stamps in 2013 and that the cost of the program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), was at an all-time high.

The USDA says that there were 23,052,388 households on food stamps in the average month of fiscal 2013, an increase of 722,675 from fiscal year 2012, when there were 22,329,713 households on food stamps in the average month.

Those numbers were compared with the Census Bureau’s estimates for the total number of U.S. households in the last month (September) of each fiscal year to determine the percentage of all U.S. households in that fiscal year that were on food stamps.

In 2013, according to the Census Bureau, there were 115,013,000 households, which means the that the households on food stamps–23,052,388 households–equaled 20.0% of all households.

In the past five years alone, the number of households on food stamps has greatly increased. In fiscal year 2009 – Oct. 1, 2008 through Sept. 30, 2009 — the number of households on food stamps was 15,232,115. Five years later, in 2013, that amount had increased by 51.3%  to reach 23,052,388 households.

Not only have households seen a major increase in food stamps’ participation, but so have individuals.

In 2013, the monthly average for individuals on food stamps hit an all-time-high of 47,636,084, according to the USDA, an increase of 1,027,012 over the  46,609,072 individuals who were participating in the program in 2012.

That number has dramatically increased from five years ago. In fiscal year 2009, the number of individuals participating in the food stamp program was 33,489,975. In 2013, the number was 47,636,084, an increase of 42.2%.

Furthermore, the cost of food stamps, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), has reached an all-time high.

For fiscal year 2013, the SNAP program cost $79,641,880,000, which is a 164% increase over the past decade. When adjusted for inflation, the cost of the SNAP program was $30,153,090,000 in fiscal year 2003.

During the last five years, the SNAP program grew by 36.8%, from $58,223,790,000 in 2009 to $79,641,880,000 in 2013.

The business and economic reporting of CNSNews.com is funded in part with a gift made in memory of Dr. Keith C. Wold.

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/ali-meyer/record-20-households-food-stamps-2013

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The Pronk Pops Show 185 January 3, 2014: Story 1: Lose 100 Pounds By Not Buying and Eating the Seven Deadly C Foods: Candy, Chocolate, Cookies, Crackers, Cake, Cheese and Cream (ICE) — Videos

Posted on January 7, 2014. Filed under: Blogroll, Communications, Diets, Drugs, Food, Health Care, Media, Nutrition, Photos, Regulation, Videos | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 185: January 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 184: December 19, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 183: December 17, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 182: December 16, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 181: December 13, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 180: December 12, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 179: December 11, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 178: December 5, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 177: December 2, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 176: November 27, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 175: November 26, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 174: November 25, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 173: November 22, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 172: November 21, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 171: November 20, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 170: November 19, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 169: November 18, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 168: November 15, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 167: November 14, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 166: November 13, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 165: November 12, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 164: November 11, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 163: November 8, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 162: November 7, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 161: November 4, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 160: November 1, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 159: October 31, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 158: October 30, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 157: October 28, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 156: October 25, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 155: October 24, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 154: October 23, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 153: October 21, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 152: October 18, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 151: October 17, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 150: October 16, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 149: October 14, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 148: October 11, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 147: October 10, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 146: October 9, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 145: October 8, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 144: October 7, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 143: October 4 2013

Pronk Pops Show 142: October 3, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 141: October 2, 2013

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 184-185

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 158-164

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 135-142

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 112

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Story 1: Lose 100 Pounds By Not Buying and Eating the Seven Deadly C Foods: Candy, Chocolate, Cookies, Crackers, Cake, Cheese and Cream (ICE) — Videos

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7 Steps to Permanent Weight Loss this New Year

How to Count Your Calories to Lose Weight Fast and See Results!

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Truth About Calories, Hunger & Food Cravings. Easy Weight Loss & Diet Psychetruth Nutrition

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