January 19th, 2015 at 11:02 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Just Say It! Radical Islam!
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.


January 18th, 2015 at 10:00 pm
Key ObamaCare Implementer Resigning
Posted by Ashton Ellis Print

Marilyn Tavenner, the chief administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), announced in an email last Friday to staff that she is stepping down at the end of February.

The move comes as something of a surprise, but the timing is similar to that of Tavenner’s former boss, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Last year, Sebelius said she was leaving her post after ObamaCare’s initial enrollment period ended. Tavenner’s resignation is effective when the controversial health law’s second enrollment period concludes.

Tavenner’s time in office was marred by a glitch-ridden rollout of Healthcare.gov, the federal ObamaCare website that earned the ire of millions of Americans. She also came under fire for overstating ObamaCare’s enrollment figures by inaccurately including 400,000 dental plans that have never been counted toward health insurance numbers.

With Republicans in control of the Senate that will confirm Tavenner’s replacement, it will be interesting to see who President Barack Obama taps to fill her shoes.


January 16th, 2015 at 1:16 pm
Podcast: The Keystone XL Fight
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In an interview with CFIF, Phil Kerpen, President of American Commitment, discusses oil prices, the status of the Keystone Pipeline vote in Congress, the history of presidential veto power, and whether the House and Senate will have enough votes to override a threatened presidential veto.

Listen to the interview here.


January 16th, 2015 at 12:10 pm
Liberty Update
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

January 15th, 2015 at 8:07 pm
Paul Ryan Says No to Raising Gas Tax
Posted by Ashton Ellis Print

With oil prices at record lows some Members of Congress have floated the idea of raising the federal gas tax to make up for lost revenue.

Today, Paul Ryan put the kibosh on the proposal.

“We won’t pass the gas tax,” Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, said to members of the media outside a GOP policy retreat in Hershey, PA.

Ryan’s pronouncement likely quashes the idea that Congress will pass legislation during his tenure as chairman of the tax-writing Ways & Means Committee.

This won’t make the social engineering crowd happy.

According to a piece at Newsweek in support of imposing a higher gas tax, “Whenever you impose a new and unanticipated tax, some part of the existing capital stock becomes less valuable than it was before.” “Adding, say, 50 cents to a gallon of gasoline makes preexisting gas guzzlers, homes in the suburbs and oil-based home heating systems worth less than before.”

“Conversely, when oil prices fall, fuel-efficient cars, homes in city centers and public transit investments all drop in value. This can lead to economic waste: under-used automobiles, unrented homes and empty subways,” complains the author.

Note that the compacted urban lifestyle preferred by liberal social planners is the vision that suffers from low gas prices, while the middle class lifestyle experienced by millions of Americans benefits.

Raising taxes to force people to become public transit-riding renters instead of car-driving homeowners isn’t very popular when put in these terms.

Kudos to Chairman Ryan for putting this idea to rest.


January 15th, 2015 at 2:45 pm
CFIF Launches CFIF Tweet Post: New Website Feature
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

For conservatives and libertarians who want their news and commentary fast (really fast), comprehensive and unfiltered, the Center for Individual Freedom (“CFIF”) has launched a timely new feature:  CFIF Tweet Post.

CFIF Tweet Post combines in one direct, real-time forum the twitter feeds and accompanying feature links of more than 100 of the nation’s top commentators and journalists, live and unedited, as they are tweeted.

Readers do not have to register, or use up a precious password.  Readers do not have to join Twitter.  Readers do not have to “follow” writers (although most would be honored if you do).

Simply access CFIF Tweet Post by clicking here.  Or, go to www.cfif.org, click the CFIF Tweet Post Button on our Homepage and you will be automatically transported to an up-to-the-minute, easy-to-read page with user-friendly type, which seamlessly and automatically refreshes with each new feed.

Scan for breaking news, biting commentary, topical humor, occasional verbal fisticuffs and immediate access to every day’s most important stories, as they develop.

Please note that CFIF has carefully chosen, for their relevance and popularity, the numerous writers and thinkers who are featured. The work is solely that of the named Tweeters, unedited and unvarnished, and should not be attributed to CFIF.

Through weeks of exhaustive internal beta testing, CFIF Tweet Post has worked flawlessly.  We simply don’t know what critical volume will mean, but be assured that we are constantly monitoring, and glitches will be corrected AS SOON AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE.

We love this new thing just as much as we know our readers will. Try It Now!


January 14th, 2015 at 2:16 pm
Freshman Bill Cassidy Off to Fast Start in U.S. Senate
Posted by Ashton Ellis Print

Fresh from beating Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu in a run-off last December, Republican Bill Cassidy is off to a fast start as a freshman in the U.S. Senate.

Making good on his campaign promise to get rid of ObamaCare, Cassidy, a physician, has introduced two bills within just weeks of taking office.

The “No ObamaCare Mandate Act” would repeal the medical device tax, the employer mandate and the individual mandate, according to a report in The Hill.

In addition, “The Employee Health Care Protection Act” would reduce benefit requirements in health insurance plans regulated by ObamaCare, giving providers more flexibility and consumers more options.

And apparently, Cassidy knows how to give a good speech. In defending the Keystone XL pipeline from ideologically motivated attacks by environmentalists, Cassidy said, “We are not to be guided by our prejudice. We’re not to be guided by what we want to be the case. We are to be guided by the facts.”

Usually, it’s liberals who claim the mantle of science and scold conservatives for being fearful of the truth. It’s good to see a conservative U.S. senator return the favor.


January 14th, 2015 at 1:54 pm
Study: Best Time to Repeal ObamaCare Might be Year 2020
Posted by Ashton Ellis Print

How important is the upcoming 2016 presidential election?

According to research by political scientist Jordan Ragusa, the most favorable time to repeal landmark legislation like ObamaCare occurs about ten years after its passage.

Since ObamaCare was passed in 2010, that means 2020 is the year repeal activity could be at its height.

Ragusa’s ten-year window is an average calculated over a fifty-year study of repeal efforts of major laws. In the context of ObamaCare, Ragusa’s timeline makes perfect sense. Republicans don’t have the supermajority in either chamber of Congress to override a certain veto from President Barack Obama. But if a Republican wins the presidency in 2016, all the GOP would need is a simple congressional majority to repeal any or all of ObamaCare.

Yes, it’s important for Republicans in Congress to get whatever wins they can muster now to weaken ObamaCare before it does more damage. But changes in partisan control take time. When ObamaCare was passed Democrats were in complete control of the political branches. The earliest Republicans could be in such a position is January of 2017.

It will also take time for the GOP to coalesce around a comprehensive alternative to ObamaCare, which, according to Ragusa’s data, shouldn’t be too much of a concern as long as a repeal-and-replace bill is signed into law before the Republican president’s first term expires.

There are a lot of considerations to keep in mind when it comes to securing a free market alternative to ObamaCare. Lack of time to do it right isn’t one of them.


January 13th, 2015 at 9:18 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Where’s Obama?
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.


January 12th, 2015 at 2:13 pm
This Week’s “Your Turn” Radio Show Lineup
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Join CFIF Corporate Counsel and Senior Vice President Renee Giachino today from 4:00 p.m. CDT to 6:00 p.m. CDT (that’s 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. EDT) on Northwest Florida’s 1330 AM WEBY, as she hosts her radio show, “Your Turn: Meeting Nonsense with Commonsense.”  Today’s guest lineup includes:

4:00 CDT/5:00 pm EDT: Phil Kerpen, President of American Commitment: Keystone XL Pipeline;

4:30 CDT/5:30 pm EDT: Scott Blackburn, Research Fellow at the Center for Competitive Politics: Campaign-Finance Laws and Regulations;

5:00 CST/6:00 pm EDT:  Tzvi Khan, Senior Policy Analyst for the Foreign Policy Initiative: Terror in France; and

5:30 CDT/6:30 pm EDT: Patrick Hedger, Policy Director at American Encore: President Obama’s Idea of Free Community College and ObamaCare .

Listen live on the Internet here.   Call in to share your comments or ask questions of today’s guests at (850) 623-1330.


January 9th, 2015 at 4:05 pm
Video: A 2015 Wish List
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

With the newly elected Congress now convened, CFIF’s Renee Giachino presents a wish list for the New Year.

 

Tags:

January 9th, 2015 at 12:11 pm
Liberty Update
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

January 9th, 2015 at 10:00 am
Bittersweet Jobs Report: Wages Decline and Labor Force Participation Rate Falls to 37-Year Low
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Today’s Labor Department unemployment report contains a fresh round of ominous news beyond the headline numbers.

Specifically, the labor participation rate fell to a new 37-year low, which is particularly negative news because women hadn’t yet fully entered the U.S. workforce during that previous 1970s low.  Additionally, wages continued their decline:

Businesses had been creating jobs at a monthly pace of 224,000, though wage growth remained modest and the drop in the headline rate had come in large part due to a decline in the labor force participation rate.  Indeed, the participation rate continued to plummet, falling to a fresh 37-year low of 62.7 percent.  Job quality did not fare well either, with wages actually declining for the month by 5 cents an hour, pulling the annualized gain down to 1.7 percent.”

That annualized gain doesn’t substantively exceed inflation, and since the last recession ended almost six years ago in 2009, median U.S. income has actually declined.  That is unprecedented for a supposed post-recession “recovery,” and Americans continue to simply drop out of the workforce.  Something to keep prominently in mind when Barack Obama trumpets his supposed economic success.


January 8th, 2015 at 2:10 pm
Rep. Roby Files Bill to Defund Obama’s Amnesty
Posted by Ashton Ellis Print

If you want to know how Congress can stop President Barack Obama’s unilateral amnesty plan, take a look at Rep. Martha Roby’s (R-AL) new proposal – H.R. 31, the “Prevention of Executive Amnesty Act of 2015.”

Filed as a standalone bill, the measure could easily be rolled into the upcoming appropriations package for the Department of Homeland Security, the federal agency that is tasked with implementing Obama’s decision to halt deportations for up to 5 million illegal immigrants and grant many of them work permits.

As Byron York explains, “Roby’s bill is essentially a ‘none of the funds’ clause, that is, it forbids the executive branch from spending money for a particular purpose.” In the so-called ‘crominbus’ bill passed in December to fund every other federal agency except DHS, Congress used the ‘none of the funds’ clause more than 450 times. Applying it to the directives that implement Obama’s amnesty is a simple, straightforward way for Congress to use its power of the purse to block the move.

Of course, Obama can veto any bill with Roby’s language. But since the president doesn’t have a line-item veto, refusing to sign the law would defund DHS.

For once, let this president get the blame for shutting down the government.


January 7th, 2015 at 11:58 am
Gun Control Lobby Takes Aim at the States
Posted by Ashton Ellis Print

After misfiring in Congress, the gun control lobby is taking aim at states that allow voter-initiated ballot measures to enact tougher restrictions.

In the process, those in charge are also changing their name to the “gun safety” movement.

The policy preferences, however, remain the same.

“After a victory in November on a Washington State ballot measure that will require broader background checks on gun buyers, groups that promote gun regulations have turned away from Washington and the political races that have been largely futile,” reports the New York Times. “Instead, they are turning their attention – and their growing wallets – to other states that allow ballot measures.”

States in the crosshairs include Nevada, Arizona, Maine and Oregon. Others are sure to follow.

Conservatives should be cautiously optimistic about this move. While the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed that the Second Amendment’s guarantee of a citizen’s right to “keep and bear arms” applies to the states (McDonald v. Chicago), the extent of that right is up to states and localities to decide. This is federalism. Local communities are in the best position to determine which regulations best serve the interests of residents.

But federalism as the Founders understood it assumes deliberation in the republican sense – i.e. policy choices are made by the people’s elected representatives, not by direct democracy via a statewide ballot initiative. The point of sifting public opinion through elected representation is to strip away passions and get down to first principles. Busy citizens don’t have the time or the staff carefully to review proposals that set the standards for civic life. Better to resource an elected representative with time and personnel, and then hold him accountable for the votes he casts.

Herein lies the reason to be cautious. Being thoughtful about big policy changes isn’t usually achieved in the context of a media-heavy campaign blitz dominated by 30-second ads. But this limitation is no reason for constitutional conservatives to sit on the sidelines. Removing social policy issues like gun control to the state level reduces the expense of advocacy while at the same time making the appeals more personal. If this trend continues, conservatives will need to build on their successes in other issue domains to defend traditional American values in the arenas that are available.

Though it would be better to locate policy debates within the institutions that are best equipped to handle them, if liberals want to make a direct appeal to the public, conservatives will be ready and waiting to respond.


January 7th, 2015 at 11:02 am
IRS Tax Refunds Could be Much Smaller Under ObamaCare This Year
Posted by Ashton Ellis Print

Anyone still looking for a fundamental change to the federal tax code need look no further than ObamaCare.

H&R Block, one of the nation’s largest tax preparation companies, is promoting its free “ACA Tax Impact Analysis” on January 8, 2015, in order help taxpayers understand the true cost of ObamaCare.

Reporting by The Hill quotes an H&R Block executive as saying that the controversial health law is “the biggest tax code change” in two decades. Its passage “has made health care a tax issue and is going to make filing taxes more complicated this year.”

Perhaps the biggest surprise coming to millions of taxpayers is the penalty amount to be assessed for not complying with the law’s individual mandate. Most people know that the IRS can levy a $95 fine for being uninsured this year (which rises every subsequent year). But many do not realize that’s only one option. ObamaCare authorizes fines up to 1% of annual income (which also rises every year), if that amount is greater than $95.

Simply put, a lot of people who passed on ObamaCare’s costly version of “affordable” insurance thinking they would only have to write a $95 check may be missing a much bigger chunk of their IRS refund this year.


January 6th, 2015 at 4:23 pm
Senate GOP Eyes Keystone XL Approval
Posted by Ashton Ellis Print

Now in the majority, GOP Senators are moving quickly to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, a transcontinental project that would link Canadian oil to refineries in American Gulf states.

“The president is going to see the Keystone XL pipeline on his desk and it’s going to be a bellwether decision by the president whether to go with jobs and the economy,” Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), said on Sunday.

President Barack Obama has played games with the approval process over the past few years. Initially, his State Department supported the project and was ready to go forward until environmental activists successfully lobbied for delaying tactics, such as additional feasibility studies.

Without a Democratic Senate running interference, Obama will now have to govern. Though it prefers to partner with the United States, Canada has said it will export its oil to China if the Obama administration remains beholden to the environmental lobby.

The truth of the matter is that the oil is being pumped and its $3.4 billion economic contribution will have to go somewhere. Ultimately, Obama’s decision boils down to whether he wants Canadian oil to boost the American economy or China’s.


January 5th, 2015 at 10:17 am
2015: New GOP Congress Pledges to Fight Obama FCC Internet Regulation
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

The bad news as 2015 begins is that the Obama Administration’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) appears set to vote next month to reclassify broadband service as some sort of public utility.  You read that correctly.  After twice having its so-called “Net Neutrality” efforts rejected by federal courts, Obama has called on the FCC to double down on that destructive campaign, hoping to subject one of the few sectors of our economy that has continued to thrive in recent years to more regulation.

The good news, however, is that the incoming Republican Congress appears committed to fight that effort:

Newly fortified Republicans in Congress are considering a number of ways to stymie the Obama Administration’s planned regulations on broadband Internet providers in 2015, making Capitol Hill a new front in the fight over ‘net neutrality.’  Concern about the rules is playing into Republican efforts to rein in what they say is regulatory overreach by the Federal Communications Commission.”

Senator John Thune (R – South Dakota), the new Senate Commerce Committee chairman, struck the right chord in announcing, “The regulatory tools at the FCC’s disposal are outdated, and its previous efforts to create rules to regulate the Internet were struck down by the courts.  It’s hard to imagine that its new attempt will escape legal challenges and avoid the kind of regulatory uncertainty that harms Internet innovation and investment.”  Meanwhile, opposition to Obama’s scheme continues on the House side, with one House Energy and Commerce Committee staffer saying that “all options are on the table.”  That includes legislation to block reclassification as a public utility, cutting FCC budgetary funding and invoking the seldom-used Congressional Review Act to void federal administrative regulations of significant impact.

Word must obviously be met with substantive deed, but it’s nice to at least see 2015 begin with a commitment from both houses of the incoming GOP Congress to fight this ill-advised, illegal and stubborn effort from Obama’s FCC.


December 30th, 2014 at 4:17 pm
Gruber in 2009: ObamaCare Has No Cost Controls
Posted by Ashton Ellis Print

Hat tip to the Daily Caller for unearthing yet another damning admission from ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber.

At roughly the same time in 2009 when President Barack Obama was telling the American people that passing his version of health care reform would lower costs, Gruber was telling an audience in Syracuse, New York it was all a lie.

“Why are we closer than we’ve ever been before? Because there are no cost controls in these proposals. Because this bill’s about coverage. Which is good! Why should we hold 48 million uninsured people hostage to the fact that we don’t yet know how to control costs in a politically acceptable way? Let’s get the people covered and then let’s do cost control,” Gruber told his listeners.

Thanks for the honesty, Professor Gruber, but it only counts if you say it before the damage is done.


December 29th, 2014 at 12:03 pm
Liberal Harvard Law Prof Calls Obama’s EPA “Lawless”
Posted by Ashton Ellis Print

It’s not every day that the leading liberal law professor in America calls out the actions of the Obama Environmental Protection Agency as “lawless” and “unconstitutional.”

“After studying the only legal basis offered for the EPA’s proposed rule, I concluded that the agency is asserting executive power far beyond its lawful authority,” writes Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe.

The EPA is launching a “Clean Power Plan” that will require state governments to enact restrictions on local electrical power plants in an effort to fight global climate change. As Tribe sees it, the EPA “would effectively dictate the energy mix used in each state and leave the state with essentially no choice in implementing its plan.” Such an arrangement would violate numerous Supreme Court decisions that prohibit “federal commandeering of state governments” because it “defeats political accountability and violates principles of federalism that are basic to our constitutional order.”

Of course, this isn’t the first time President Obama has exceeded his constitutional authority to implement a controversial policy. It fits a pattern of executive action unrestrained by seemingly any qualms over violating clear statutory limitations.

And even though Tribe doesn’t make the obvious analogy to ObamaCare’s politically corrupt origin, he doesn’t pass up the opportunity to highlight what’s really motivating the EPA’s new regulatory scheme: “The brute fact is that the Obama administration failed to get climate change legislation through Congress. Yet the EPA is acting as though it has the legislative authority anyway to re-engineer the nation’s electric generating system and power grid. It does not.”

Change the author’s byline and this article easily could be written by any constitutional conservative. Realizing that it comes instead from one of the leading proponents of the “living constitution” school, and it’s obvious that Obama & Co. are far beyond the boundaries of what even the most celebrated liberal academic scholar considers lawful executive action.