Archive for category Jennifer Stefano

Grassroots Key to Stopping Obamacare


By Jennifer Stefano

Let me state, up front and for the record, I am a big fan of both Senator Mike Lee and Senator Ted Cruz.  But, they and their allies in the Senate pushing the “defund Obamacare or shut down the government” fight are wrong.  One hundred and ten percent wrong.  This is the exact approach Obama wants and needs Republicans to take and when they do it, they are playing right into the Administration’s hands.

Every time those of us on the Right start talking about shutting down the government we lose support for our cause, even when we are trying to stop the wildly unpopular Obamacare. This type of political posturing takes the debate away from the sheer awfulness of the President’s healthcare law and allows Obama to claim this is just Republican pettiness. We mustn’t look petty in this fight, we have lives to save.  We must go out and warn people of how bad Obamacare really is and how poorly we will fare under this law.

To that, my fellow conservatives, your government shutdown approach has got to stop. In theory, should we defund Obamacare?  Sure, but stop living in the theoretical! This is the real world and with a divided Congress there is no way legislatively to stop Obamacare unless the results of the 2014 election help Republicans keep the House and win the Senate. Therefore, Senate Lee’s approach, while principled, is bad politics that is giving cover to bad policy. Conservatives, don’t let that happen!  There is a way to win against Obamacare and it is happening right here in Pennsylvania, right outside your door.  The Left has already figured it out.  Now you must.
Have you ever heard of the group Enroll America?  If not, you soon will. This weekend they were out in full force in our Commonwealth knocking on your neighbors’ doors telling them what a great idea it is to enroll in Obamacare and helping them get started.  At the same time splashed on the front page of many Pennsylvania  newspapers was state Senator Vince Hughes, a Democrat; and the world’s worst Republican, State Representative Gene DiGirolamo, both pushing for the continued expansion of Medicaid at the state level.

In order to survive, Obamacare, the law, needs two things: an expanded Medicaid in every state and lots of young, uninsured people enrolling on the exchanges.  Denying the law those two components is like denying a plant sunlight and water – pretty soon it will shrivel up and fade away.  If you care about the health and wellbeing of your family, your neighbors and your fellow Americans, then stop talking about defunding Obamacare and start talking about how negatively it will impact people’s lives.
Medicaid is a bad deal for the poorest and sickest among us – with higher death rates and poor health outcomes.  Politicians like Hughes and DiGiralomo want to pat themselves on the back for their good intentions while obviously caring very little about the results for the people they condemn to Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.  Access to health insurance does not mean access to health care.  Here’s the funny thing: while Hughes and DiGiralomo cry fake tears about expanding Medicaid and pointing to polls showing a plurality of voters want it – what they are ignoring is that those same polls show when people realize Medicaid expansion is part of Obamacare – they hate it.

So where are the warriors on the Right door knocking and letting people know that Medicaid is just another scheme under Obamacare?  Guess who the biggest group of voters are that we can win over in this fight? People who identify themselves as moderate Democrats.  Polls show that demographic is increasingly opposed to Obamacare.  But rattle your saber on and on about defunding Obamacare and shutting down the government and we lose those moderate Democrats as allies almost immediately.
And let’s go back to this Enroll America group.  As mentioned, Enroll America received tax exempt charitable status from the IRS, even though the board of Enroll America is headed up by former Obama campaign staffers and CEO’s and high level officials from Big Insurance, Pharm and hospital groups.  Which means this so called charity is out pushing people to buy health insurance that directly benefits the people on its board.  That’s called inurement and it is illegal.  No wonder the citizen watchdog group Cause of Action filed a complaint with the IRS asking for Enroll America’s tax-exempt status to be revoked. Conservatives -get out there and talk about how unfair it is for big medical corporations to make money from a charitable front group!  This is our fight to win!
Even the NFL won’t get involved with Enroll America.  In 2012, the Obama Administration asked the National Football League to get players to make a pitch for Enroll America and encourage people to sign up for Obamacare.  The NFL said no way – Enroll America was too politically toxic.  Wouldn’t it be a good idea for conservatives to go out and continue to slam the corrupting relationship between this so-called charity and the big insurance companies?  Wouldn’t it be best for conservatives to start going door to door telling the truth about Medicaid and encouraging people to protect themselves and their families by NOT enrolling in Obamacare?

The Obama Administration is about to unleash its most potent weapon in the Obamacare fight: the First Lady.  You can love her or hate her, but when Michelle Obama hits the street advocating people sign up on the exchanges for health insurance, she is a formidable opposition.  But we have the winning formula in our corner – Obamacare itself.  All we need to do is take to the streets and tell the truth about this disaster law.

Conservatives, drop your defund saber and grab a plate of cookies and head to your neighbor’s house.  Talk from your heart – as a mother, a worker, an elderly American – and tell people why this law is bad for everyone.  Talk, like you’re human – and have a heart and want to help people – because anyone fighting Obamacare – does. In the battle over Obamacare, those of us warning of the dangers own the moral high ground. Continue to talk about the government shutdown and you have given the President his greatest opportunity to make the debate about something other then his policies and turn the tables on us once again. Instead, talk like you want to win.  And then go out there and do it.

Jennifer Stefano is a political activist and the host of The Stefano Show on WNTP 990 in Philadelphia on Saturday nights from 9pm – 11pm.  She is a regular commentator on Lincoln Radio Journal.  To find out more go to www.JenniferStefano.com or follow her twitter at @stefanospeaks.

 

Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.

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Conservatives Should Join Forces with ‘Big Labor’


By Jennifer Stefano

Right now, I really want to say “I told you so.” As a woman and a mother, I do feel it is my prerogative to, on occasion, wag my finger in the direction of a wayward soul and repeat that grating phrase with impunity.  But today I am going to harness my inner bossy pants and hope you will too. Instead, let us offer a hand of gracious solidarity to the Union Bosses.

Conservatives everywhere should unite and stand shoulder to shoulder with the stalwart champions of Barack Obama and the leftist Democratic machine. Those who not only gave millions to get Obama and the “D’s” elected and re-elected in 2008 and 2012 respectively, but parroted their every talking point when they were shoving Obamacare down the nation’s throat in 2010 – are now gagging on the not-so-affordable healthcare law and calling for a complete reform and full repeal of the disastrous law.

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, the Teamsters and the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers, the Hotel Workers Union, UNITE HERE as well as prominent Democrats like House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer and Montana Senator Max Baucus are all joining with us “crazy” Tea Party types to call for an end to Obamacare.

My obnoxious finger wagging aside, let’s take a moment to applaud these folks. The unions never break ranks – never. Not even during the 2012 election, when Barack Obama’s policies were and still are bankrupting the coal industry, would the miners union break from their endorsement of him as President. And yet, the unions are finally seeing what the rest of us saw all along – Obamacare is a bad deal for everyone.

There’s no question that Big Labor is often seen by freedom lovers everywhere as the mortal opposition of working families and taxpayers and often times of their own members. They are a big time special interest group who make backroom deals to benefit themselves and the politicians who bend to their will over the will of the taxpayers. And there is no doubt in my mind if the Big Labor bosses could fix Obamacare to help themselves and no one else, they would. However, that should not stop us liberty lovers from joining with the unions in total solidarity on Obamacare and welcoming them into our fold.

I understand the unions are not likely to be with us 98% of the time. But we must not lose this opportunity to join forces with them to get this law repealed. It is unlikely the unions will get a fix for themselves on Obamacare and leave the rest of us behind.

First, the 2700 page law is so expansive and so intrusive – remember it not only accounts for 1/6 of our economy but actually restructures the very relationship of the American Government and “we the people” there really is almost no way for any American to escape from it.

Second, the Democrats are on the ropes and under fire in a way that far outweighs Obamacare. The IRS, Benghazi, The AP scandals are all being tagged to Barack Obama and everything associated with him is turning toxic. Americans are fed up with special interests and cronies getting a leg up and with the new scandals and more outrageous abuses coming to light in each instance, Democrats can’t be seen helping one group of people, like Union Bosses, over the rest of America. Especially since unions compromise only about 10 percent of the electorate.

We need to come out swinging for the unions. They are absolutely right in their basic assessment: that Barack Obama’s promise that every American can “keep their healthcare” is not going to come true. One of the union bosses said the President’s statement is an “untruth.” In my world, we call that “a lie” but then again, I’m from Philadelphia and we generally believe subtly is for sissies.

So let’s stand in solidarity with the unions. They have an inside track to the Democrats and their leadership that conservative types do not. When conservatives say they want Obamacare repealed or there will be repercussions in 2014, the Democrats shrug. When the Union Bosses start saying it, publicly and loudly like they are now, the Democrats, shudder – and listen.

So tamp down your inner “told you so” and hold your nose if you must and hold your hand out in solidarity. The opposition of my opposition can be a very good friend.
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) – a 1.3 million-member labor group that twice endorsed Obama for president – is very worried about how the reform law will affect its members’ healthcare plans.

Last month, the president of the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers released a statement calling “for repeal or complete reform of the Affordable Care Act.”

UNITE HERE, a prominent hotel workers’ union, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters are also pushing for changes.

In a new op-ed published in The Hill, UFCW President Joe Hansen homed in on the president’s speech at the 2009 AFL-CIO convention. Obama at the time said union members could keep their insurance under the law, but Hansen writes “that the president’s statement to labor in 2009 is simply not true for millions of workers.”

Have you heard or read about the newest opponents to ObamaCare? If not, you might be surprised to learn that the latest folks to begin complaining about this massive, expensive and unnecessary take-over of our health care system is ….. drum roll please…BIG LABOR.

That’s right!

Persistent pals with the President and dutiful Democrat supporters like the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, UNITE HERE, the Teamsters and the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers are suddenly not big fans of ObamaCare.

Let’s take a moment to applaud these folks for having the thoughtfulness to read the law, realize how they and our entire country will be negatively impacted by it in the form of increased taxes, increased health care costs and increased government and speak out.

Now it appears the Union bosses are hurting and it’s nothing Obamacare can cure. In fact, Obamacare is the cause. In a stunning break in the monolithic solidarity Obama and the Democrats have enjoyed from the unions, the rank and file are breaking from their Dear Leader and calling for the full repeal of Obamacare.

The only unfortunate part of this is their comments come 3 years too late!

You can learn more by following Jennifer on twitter @stefanospeaks or check out my organization at americansforproperity.org. Hear Jennifer’s commentaries on

Lincoln Radio Journal at www.lincolnradiojournal.com.

Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.

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IRS’ Next Target: Health Insurance


By Jennifer Stefano

The mainstream media is rightly shocked and outraged to find the IRS has admitted to harassing and targeting the political opposition of President Obama just because they had “tea party” or “patriot” in their name, or an even graver sin, put on the IRS applications that they were a group dedicated to liberty, the Constitution or, as one report said, “seeking to make America a better place to live.”

I truly appreciate the mainstream media’s coverage and outrage – it is well placed but not quite well timed. Those of us who got our start in the Tea Party have only been saying it for about 4 years.

I’ve been out in the mainstream media quite a bit this past week talking about how I shut down my little Tea Party group because I was fearful the IRS was going to come after me the way they were going after so many groups.

That’s right, for a time, I shut down my political voice because I was fearful and quite frankly, I was intimidated by what the IRS would do to me because I was opposing President Obama’s policies.

As much as I like to think I am one tough cookie – the fact is when all this was unfolding I was a pregnant stay at home mom – living on one income and I was extremely worried the IRS could come after me and my family and ruin our lives.   It wouldn’t be the first time in American history the IRS has done that.

Rather than risk that exposure – I shut down my group and I’m just glad bigger organizations dedicated to liberty – like Americans for Prosperity – were there when I wanted to have a platform to exercise my political voice.

But you know – it’s not THIS IRS abuse that keeps me up at night with worry. It’s something else to do with the IRS – far more dangerous and far more insidious and in just one more year, the IRS is going to have more power and more ability to gather personal information on Americans and use it to punitively punish us more than they ever had had before.

Even without this recent scandal, it’s pretty safe to say most Americans fear the IRS because they are unelected and unaccountable – yet the have the ability, at any time, to swoop in and take our hard-earned money – in the form of taxes – as they see fit. If we pay late, they fine us. If we fail to pay, it gets much worse than a fine. If we pay too little, we owe them big time on April 15th. If we pay too much during the year, they return our money to us in the form of a refund and act like they are bestowing a gift upon us rather than admitting they screwed up and took too much of our money. Our money. Our families. It’s all very personal.

And while we sit here and shudder at what has happened, it’s important to know that the IRS – the organization that just spent four years targeting the political opposition of the sitting President has been empowered by the President, through the healthcare law, to police every, single American’s healthcare choices.

Do you want to know how bad this is going to get?   Starting in 2014, all Americans are being forced to pay for health insurance. But under Obamacare – the IRS and not you will determine whether the insurance you have chosen “qualifies.” You’ll be forced now to send that information via your tax return. And if the government doesn’t like it? The IRS can hit you with a tax penalty.

That’s right, the IRS can raise money for itself simply by deciding that you don’t have “qualifying” health insurance.   Now, supporters of Obamacare will argue that there are rules and laws to mandate the IRS don’t arbitrarily do that. Right….just like there are rules and laws mandating that the IRS can’t go after people because they have “patriot” or “tea party” in their name or happen to oppose the sitting President’s policies. Didn’t seem to stop the IRS from doing just that for the last four years, did it?
And here’s what’s worse: under Obamacare, the IRS was already given a billion dollars and hired 700 agents just to police our healthcare.   It is estimated the IRS will need another 13 billion dollars and 15,000 new agents just to police Americans’ healthcare over the next decade and keep up with their tax collection duties.

There are so many reasons to repeal the President’s healthcare law – but the recent admission by the IRS that they intentionally targeted the President’s political opposition has to jump to number one. After all, do you want the people who can’t be trusted with our tax laws to be involved in your health care?

I’m Jennifer Stefano. You can find out more at Americans for Prosperity.org/Pennsylvania or

follow me on Twitter at @stefanospeaks!

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The Tiger Mom Needs to Roar – Mothers and Common Core Standards


By Jennifer Stefano

I know it’s fashionable to criticize and mock the “helicopter mom” or the more modern “tiger moms” as women obsessed with making sure little Blake and baby Rand get into Harvard by 16. You know those women famed for waspishly confronting anyone who stands in the way of their child’s perceived path to success. Hell hath no fury like a mom who wants a national merit scholar – by the 8th birthday.

But I think these crazy broads are misunderstood and I kind of like them – mainly because I am one.

Look – what you’ve read about us “helio-tiger” moms is not all true. Do some of us – and by “some” I mean me – find themselves Googling the phrase “What are the Chinese teaching their four-year-olds about math” when I should be sleeping? Sure. But I like to think us “helio-tigers” just want to make sure we – and not some outside influence – are in charge of our child’s upbringing. Actually I think, in many instances, “helio-tiger” mommy-ing can be a good thing. And not to brag, but chicks like us get things done.

Which is why it so distressing that so many of us are woeful unaware and uninvolved in the actual laws, policies, and mandates that govern our child’s education, and in fact, in many, many instances now in America these laws actually thwart the development of an educated mind. It’s beyond distressing to hear Type A’s like me who were once doctors, lawyers and biz whizzes turned SAHM (that’s the twitter handle for we Stay at Home Moms) say they are “experts” now in their children, but then quickly turn around and say they don’t “understand” or “get into” politics! Please, visualize me right now giving a rather large and highly dramatic shudder.

My fellow helio-tigers moms: you need to wake up, sisters! If you are not engaging in education policy in America, from fighting outrageous mandates and pushing for school choice, you are short changing your children more than denying them violin lessons with Yo-Yo Ma (yes, I Googled that too).

Let me give you one example: Common Core Standards have been handed down by the federal government and been adopted in Pennsylvania. Heard of them? They are about to ruin your child’s hope for a brilliant mind and they are coming to a school near you.

In the wake of No Child Left Behind’s failure, there’s been an endless bellow for national academic standards. The argument being States should not have their own curricula; instead there should be one national standard and curriculum to keep up in a global economy.

In 2009, The Common Core State Standards Initiative was created to do just that. It was a bad policy created under President Bush (the second) that President Obama made worse by bribing states with up to $75 million dollars in grants and “relief” from the awful No Child Left Behind if they adopted Common Core.

Before I even get into the awfulness of Common Core – please know – while “national standards” and “keeping up in a globalized economy” sound great – it never works. Never.

Federal educational mandates are an epic fail for our children. Furthermore, the money and so-called “higher standards” supposedly in Common Core have been proven to have no correlation to student success. The Brookings Institution and National Center for Education Statistics both did studies that failed to find a correlation between high standards and high student achievement.

And isn’t it high achievers we’re looking to create? Don’t you know best about how your children will perform? Shouldn’t we in our town in Pennsylvania be able to have our schools adapt to the needs of our community and our children? Tiger moms, let me ask you, how many of you have taken time to explain your point of view (or, as some accuse us: “raise hell”) to your child’s teacher, the principal, the school board? And how many times have you walked away victorious? Ok. And how many of you have made your way down to Washington D.C., gone to the Department of Education, sat with the bureaucrat in charge of mandates for your child’s education and won? Exactly. And guess which group has more control of over your child’s future? (FYI – it’s not the school board).

Right now, unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats and wealthy “big education” lobbyists in D.C. are making educational decisions for your baby and you have zero control over it, ladies. That ought to get you moving.

As a true tiger/helicopter mom – you will be hearing a lot more from me on Common Core and education in general. But my fellow moms, you need to wake up! You might not be interested in politics, but the political world has stake and an interest in our children’s education and very little of it benefits our babies. It’s time to get engaged and involved.

You can learn more by following me, Jennifer Stefano — on twitter @stefanospeaks or go to my organization’s website: www.AmericansforProsperity.org/Pennsylvania.

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