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Michelle Malkin - Adding up the cost of No Slacker Left Behind

News flash, kids: Things aren't free. Things cost money. And "free" things provided to you by the government cost other people's money.

Donald Trump gets it — somewhat. He vows to repeal Obamacare's most burdensome federal mandates that are jacking up the price of private health insurance. But he also plans to preserve the most politically popular provisions of the Orwellian-titled Affordable Care Act, including the so-called "slacker mandate." It's the requirement that employer-based health plans cover employees' children until they turn 26 years old.

That's right: Twenty-freaking-six.

Is it any wonder why we have a nation of dependent drool-stained crybabies on college campuses who are still bawling about the election results one week later?

Trump briefly mentioned during a "60 Minutes" interview on CBS this weekend that the slacker mandate "adds cost, but it's very much something we're going to try and keep." That's because most establishment Republicans in Washington, D.C., are resigned to keeping it. Once the feds hand out a sugary piece of cradle-to-grave entitlement candy, it's almost impossible to snatch it back.

Who pays for this unfunded government mandate? As usual, it's responsible working people who bear the burden.

Earlier this year, the National Bureau of Economic Research found that the No Slacker Left Behind provision resulted in wage reductions of about $1,200 a year for workers with employer-based insurance coverage — whether or not they had adult children on their plans. In effect, childless working people are subsidizing workers with adult children who would rather stay on their parents than get their own.

Moreover, according to company surveys and other economic analysis, the slacker mandate has resulted in overall increased health care costs of between 1 and 3 percent. The nonpartisan American Health Policy Institute reported one firm's estimate of millennial coverage mandate costs at a whopping $69 million over 10 years.

At the time the federal slacker mandate was adopted in 2010, some 20 states had already adopted legislation requiring insurers to cover Big Kids — some up to age 31!

Yes, thirty-freaking-one.

In Wisconsin, the slacker mandate covered not only adult children, but also the children of those "children" if they lived in single-parent homes. In New Jersey, champions of the provision claimed it would help cover 100,000 uninsured young adults. But health policy researcher Nathan Benefield of the Commonwealth Foundation reported that "only 6 percent of that estimate has been realized" in its first two years. "The primary reason — health insurance is still too expensive."

That has only gotten worse, of course, as Obamacare's other expensive mandates — especially guaranteed issue for those with pre-existing conditions — sabotage the private individual market for health insurance, leaving young and healthy people with fewer choices, higher premiums and crappier plans. The solution is not more mandates, but fewer; more competition, not less.

The Obama White House will brag that the slacker mandate has resulted in increased coverage for an estimated 3 million people. As usual with Obamacare numbers, it's Common Core, book-cooked math. Health care analyst Avik Roy took a closer look and found that the inflated figure came from counting "(1) young adults on Medicaid and other government programs, for whom the under-26 mandate doesn't apply; and (2) people who gained coverage due to the quasi-recovery from the Great Recession."

To add insult to injury, another NBER study found that roughly 5 percent of people younger than 26 dropped out of the workforce after the provision was implemented. They used their spare time to increase their socialization, sleeping, physical fitness and personal pursuit of "meaningfulness."

Then there are the hidden costs of the millennial mandate: the cultural consequences. All this "free" stuff, detached from those actually paying the bills, reduces the incentives for 20-somethings to grow up and seek independent lives and livelihoods. Why bother? The societal sanctions have been eroded.

Now, the nation is suffering the consequences of decades of that collective coddling. Precious snowflakes can't handle rejection at the ballot box or responsibilities in the marketplace. Appropriately enough, the new virtue signals of tantrum-throwing young leftists stirring up trouble are safety pins — to show "solidarity" with groups supposedly endangered by Donald Trump.

Safety pins are also handy — for holding up the government-manufactured diapers in which too many overgrown dependents are swaddled.

(Syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin is the daughter of Filipino Immigrants. She was born in Philadelphia, raised in southern New Jersey and now lives with her husband and daughter in Colorado. Her weekly column is carried by more than 100 newspapers.)

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How long will it take for 3 county government bodies to get it right?

To The Daily Sun,

Two Belknap County notices have been published. The first was on Nov. 18 regarding the Delegation, a public meeting notice for Nov. 22 "To consider cost items of a collective bargaining unit." Which union employment agreement is going to be discussed is unknown. The second notice is for a meeting of the Delegation's Executive Committee for that same day, one hour sooner. What is noticeably distinguishable is the absence of the county seal. The seal gets one's attention. The other looks like want ads.

The difference in these two county bodies is that one appropriates and the other approves transfer request from the administrative body, the county commissioners. Clearly, the day-to-day management of all the individual purposes estimated appropriation is not exceeded and rests with the Executive Committee, as recognized by the county, colored seal.

In addition to administering the county annual budget, per RSA 28:10, the commissioners shall employ such number of clerks and agents as said commissioners deem necessary. Accordingly, it is the commission which hires, fires and sets the wage and compensations.

County government is not ambiguous with regards to powers vested in the Delegation, the appropriating authority. It is the Delegation which establishes the county's annual budget, "the grand total of all the individual line item of purposes and appropriations thereof." It is the commission's function, traditionally to "administer" the annual budget, having the authority to transfer unencumbered funds, with the exception of, the contingency fund, which can only be expended upon approval by the Executive Committee. (RSA 24:13, II)

However, Belknap County differs from other counties in that Belknap's County Convention requires "the county commissioners to obtain written authority from the Executive Committee before transferring any appropriation or part thereof "above a fixed amount. ($500) (RSA 24:14, I).

Citing the above, there is no justification or need for the commission to seek an audience with the Delegation, other than for supplemental funds necessary to avoid exceeding the annual appropriations for the current fiscal year. The Delegation has no powers over any employee or appointed department head. The Delegation is not empowered with veto power over union or non-union employees. The Delegation has no power governing transfers of any amount for any purposes included in the annual budget in Fiscal Year 2016 or the ensuing FY 2017 annual budget. The Delegation noticed purpose is not for a supplemental appropriation for additional tax dollars.

The habit of Delegation involvement with the adoption of union bargaining agreements and the transferring of fund for cost items relating to agreements is simply unlawful.

The solution is for the Delegation to cancel its meeting for 6 p.m. regarding cost items. The commission should simply include collective bargaining unit related cost items with other transfer requests to the government body that has the power and authority regarding transfers, the Executive Committee at 5 p.m. on Nov. 22. How many times does the separation of powers that rests with the division of powers have to be litigated before these three bodies get it right?

Thomas A. Tardif

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