Future of Fracking In N.C. Decided By Legislator’s Error

Jul 3, 2012, 5:32 pm EST

In North Carolina politics, there are no do-overs. That’s what one unfortunate state representative discovered Monday, when a voting mistake decided the future of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the state.

State Rep. Becky Carney, D-Charlotte, meant to vote against a bill legalizing fracking in North Carolina. Instead, she pressed a button indicating she supported the bill, and was unable to change her vote once she realized her error. Her vote allowed the measure to pass with enough votes to override a veto by North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue.

Under North Carolina House rules, a vote cannot be changed if it would alter the overall voting outcome, and the House Speaker, Republican Thom Tillis, refused to waive the rules so that she could change her vote, despite her protests. Read 

How Much White House Staffers Get Paid

Jul 3, 2012, 12:45 pm EST
How Much White House Staffers Get Paid

Working at the president’s humble abode is definitely something to write home about, but does it pay as great as it sounds? Sometimes.

Every year, The White House gives a report to Congress listing the title and salary of every White House Office employee, a requirement that began in 1995. With the recent release of the 2012 report, now you can see which White House workers are bringing home the most dough (salaries rounded to the nearest thousand). 5. $40,000-$70,000

    Countless researchers, assistants and analysts ($40,000 or so) Scheduler ($58,000) Speechwriter ($60,000)
4. $70,000-$100,000
    Director of White House Operations ($85,000) Special Assistant / Personal Aide to the President ($95,000) Head calligrapher ($96,000)
3. $100,000-$130,000
    Special Assistant to the President and Director of Research ($100,000) Chief of Staff of the National Economic Council ($120,000) Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Scheduling ($130,000)
2. $130,000-$160,000
    Clearance Advisory ($132,000) Ethics Advisor ($140,000) Deputy Assistant and Counsel to the President ($158,000)
1. $160,000+
    Senior Policy Advisor ($165,000) Assistant to the President and Press Secretary ($172,000) Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to the First Lady ($172,000)

— Alyssa Oursler, InvestorPlace Editorial Assistant Read 

Romney Adviser Says Obamacare Is Not A Tax

Jul 2, 2012, 11:54 am EST
Romney Adviser Says Obamacare Is Not A Tax

For those who thought Thursday’s Supreme Court decision would be the last we heard of Obamacare for some time, the days following the decision have been disappointing. In the aftermath of a surprising 5-4 vote to uphold the bill, supporters and detractors have been speaking out.

House Republicans have planned a vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act on July 11, a mostly symbolic and futile gesture given the Democrats’ control of the White House and Senate (for now, anyways). Romney has also expressed support for repealing Obamacare.

In the wake of this windmill tilting, both sides have seized upon an important part of Chief Justice John Roberts’ opinion: the law was constitutional because the fee for not having insurance was a tax, which Congress has the right to levy. Not surprisingly, Democrats have hit back on this. Surprisingly, a Romney adviser agrees with them. Read 

SCOTUS Affirms Obamacare: 4 Consequences for the Presidential Election

Jun 29, 2012, 8:43 am EST
SCOTUS Affirms Obamacare: 4 Consequences for the Presidential Election

The Supreme Court surprised almost everyone Thursday by upholding President Obama’s signature piece of domestic legislation, the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. “Obamacare.” While the political fallout will be felt for the next five months, at least four things are immediately clear. 1.) The Tea Party Rises Again

During all of the GOP hand-wringing over whether Mitt Romney was acceptably conservative to the base, the Republican leadership fretted over their potentially unenthused voters in November. Primary voters that strongly identified with the Tea Party were particularly unhappy with Romney’s candidacy and tried hard to select anyone else. In fact, it was the passage of Obamacare that gave birth to the Tea Party movement two years ago.

Thursday’s decision ensures that these voters who chased after the non-Romneys from January through March are lukewarm no more. The fact that the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare immediately created a new sense of urgency to this election. If the court had struck down the controversial law, the GOP would not have been able to run on the notion that they alone could deliver us from the tyranny of “socialized medicine.” Read 

Here’s the Effect of Obamacare on Your Investments in Just 1 Sentence

Jun 28, 2012, 4:39 pm EST
Here’s the Effect of Obamacare on Your Investments in Just 1 Sentence

By now you know the health care law — known colloquially as “Obamacare” and formally as the “Affordable Care Act” — has been upheld by the Supreme Court.

What you might not know, however, is how the decision affects your portfolio. So here’s the score in one sentence:

In the short term, the market will continue to suffer due to uncertainties, and in the long term, the health care sector will be your best investment opportunity. Read 

Who Benefits From America’s Path to Single-Payer Health Care

Jun 28, 2012, 3:43 pm EST

Get ready for a single-payer system akin to United Kingdom’s national health care service, because the Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act is the latest step on that path.

Polls show that most Americans believe that everyone should have access to health care, and that people with chronic conditions should not be shunned by medical providers or bankrupted.

Yet the question of who should pay for those unfortunate people — who could be any one of us or our family at some point in our life — is the big, open question. Most healthy young people who are not sick believe they should not be forced to buy insurance, and yet if they were to become sick later and were given a cold shoulder by the system, they would be quick to complain. Read 

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