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Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’
October 28th, 2013 at 7:11 pm
HHS: No, You Can’t Keep Your Insurance

President Barack Obama lied. NBC News says so.

In 2009, President Obama went around the country saying “if you like your health plan, you will be able to keep your health plan.” After Obamacare passed, he persisted: “If [you] already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance.”

But in between, the Health and Human Services department gutted that guarantee.

“The law states that policies in effect as of March 23, 2010 will be ‘grandfathered,’ meaning consumers can keep those policies even though they don’t meet requirements of the new health care law,” reports NBC.

“But the Department of Health and Human Services then wrote regulations that narrowed that provision, by saying that if any part of a policy was significantly changed since that date – the deductible, co-pay, or benefits, for example – the policy would not be grandfathered.”

See the game? Obama can claim that so long as insurance companies freeze a plan in time, the consumer won’t be bothered. But change any part of a product – including making it cheaper – and the grandfather clause no longer applies.

In other words, insurance companies can either ignore their market’s price signals and lose money, or respond and get blamed for forfeiting their clients’ health plan.

The worse part: “[T]he administration knew that more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them.”

That’s because HHS put that estimate in a federal regulation in July 2010.

Looks like President Obama has about as much respect for the American people as he does for the rule of law: Zilch.

October 10th, 2013 at 7:21 pm
Obama Can’t Get Out of His Own Way
Posted by Troy Senik Print

Watching President Obama blunder his way through the government shutdown and the debt ceiling fight has been jaw-dropping. The president can’t seem to score political points even when the other side is fumbling the ball in their own end zone.

Regardless of what you think of the GOP’s tactics going into the shutdown, the polling has been pretty clear that Republicans are shouldering more of the blame than Democrats. All Obama had to do to capitalize was get out of their way.

Instead, his OMB imposed a series of petty, penny ante shutdowns on locations like the open-air World War II Memorial. The resulting anger from the public has led to plans for a Million Vet March on the mall this weekend. To add insult to injury, police actually removed a man from the Lincoln Memorial grounds yesterday who was voluntarily mowing the grass so that it would look nice for America’s veterans. And this whole drama is playing out within a week or so of Harry Reid’s gaffe making it sound like Democrats weren’t interested in funding research to help children with cancer. When you’re offending World War II vets and terminally ill kids, you’re generally doing politics wrong.

The theatrics are little more than a sideshow, however — and that’s probably the reason they haven’t moved the polls any. We’re now coming to the point, though, when the two sides are negotiating over the real substance of these issues. Just a little while ago, the New York Times put up a story saying that the President had rejected a Republican offer to pass a six-week extension of the debt ceiling. In the time it’s taken me to draft this post, they’ve changed it to say only that they’ve “failed to reach agreement” and that both sides are still talking.

If Obama has any sense, he’ll take this deal. The Republican willingness to pass a short-term fix to the debt ceiling represents an acknowledgment that the consequences of not doing so are decidedly more dangerous that those attending a government shutdown (have you noticed that life hasn’t been much different while official Washington is on hiatus?). If the President shoots it down, he will begin to look like the absolutist and he will seem like the one who’s playing Russian roulette with the country in order to bolster his political standing. With any other president, it’d be unfathomable. Obama, however, has a special gift for unforced errors.

October 8th, 2013 at 1:26 pm
Startling Graph about the Debt Ceiling and the National Debt

In anticipation of the debt ceiling debate/crisis/hysteria, Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University tweeted a graph of all the times the debt ceiling has been raised since 1980.

It’s a simple but shocking illustration that tells the story of how America went from a national debt of $930 million to a national debt of $16.7 trillion in just over three decades.

The graph indicates that we clearly have two big government presidents to thank for putting Americans and the American economy in such a dire predicament: George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

October 4th, 2013 at 7:20 pm
Feds Mandate Non-Existent Solution for Non-Existent Problem
Posted by Troy Senik Print

In my column last week, I wrote about how rapidly predictions of catastrophic global warming are unraveling. Despite the fact that the case for skepticism is probably better than ever, the Obama Administration is still proceeding with new EPA regulations to cap carbon emissions, which will have the practical effect of crippling the coal industry.

What’s perhaps most remarkable about this crusade is that the EPA claims the problem can be handled through carbon sequestration — a technology that’s not commercially viable (though this should come as no surprise coming from the same people that think solar and wind power are the wave of the future). As Larry Bell notes at Forbes:

EPA’s latest climate battle plan is to prohibit construction of new coal-fired power plants that can’t achieve 1,100 pound per megawatt hour carbon emission limits. To accomplish this will require plant operators to capture and store (“sequester”) excess CO2, something that cannot be accomplished through affordable means, if at all. [The Institute for Energy Research estimates] that this “regulatory assault” will eliminate 35 gig watts of electrical generating capacity…10% of all U.S. power. As the Competitive Enterprise Institute observes, “If the carbon dioxide emissions standard for power plants proposed by the EPA today is enacted, the United States will have built its final coal-fired power plant.”

The liberal environmental establishment wants to bankrupt the coal industry. That’s their prerogative. But they should at least be honest about it instead of acting like they’re simply helping the industry transition to the next best thing. Perhaps they could take a page out of this fella’s book:

September 20th, 2013 at 5:36 pm
The Sting of Friendly Rebuke
Posted by Troy Senik Print

The Second City is far from the first place one would expect to produce a devastating satire of Barack Obama’s foreign policy. The Chicago improv troupe, which — along with the Groundlings in Los Angeles — is one of two major feeder programs for Saturday Night Live, is part of an artistic community whose political sensibilities overwhelmingly incline towards the president. Moreover, they’re located right in his back yard.

The video below, however, — produced back when it still looked like the president would pursue an inept war with Syria rather than the inept peace we have now — is a brilliantly pointed takedown of Obama and his apostles — and also of the entire political sensibility they represent. That it is clearly done through the clenched teeth of sympathists only makes it all the more enjoyable.

September 20th, 2013 at 12:06 pm
Pro-Amnesty Activists Besiege White House

How’s this for gratitude?

A group of pro-amnesty activists chained themselves to the White House fence this week demanding that President Barack Obama stop deporting an estimated 1,000 illegal immigrants a day, reports USA Today.

The chain gang members are affiliated with the National Day Labor Organizing Network. Their specific demand is pretty breathtaking, even by liberal standards.

From their radical perspective, President Obama “has the power to reduce deportations, the legal authority to expand deferred action, and the political obligation to lead the national debate through bold action.” “Unless the President alters course, he risks cementing his legacy as having presided over the most anti-immigrant administration in history,” NDLON’s executive director said in a statement to the Washington Post.

Remember, this is the same president who unilaterally implemented the DREAM Act last summer through executive order, even though the bill has never been passed by Congress. By presidential fiat, up to 1.6 million illegal immigrants will not be deported as required by law.

But NDLON wants more. They claim that despite any explicit statutory or constitutional authority the president has the power to expand deferred action to all illegal immigrants, effectively granting amnesty to 11 million people.

To his credit, President Obama says it can’t be done. Doing so “would be ignoring the law in a way that would be very difficult to defend legally,” Obama told an interviewer on Telemundo.

Much like the administration’s decision last week not to grant an ObamaCare waiver to certain unions, the president’s refusal to double-down on lawless amnesty is an encouraging sign that some measure of respect for the rule of law is emerging at the White House.

Let’s see if it lasts.

September 16th, 2013 at 7:04 pm
Remember Obama Phones?

Looking for a job? How about getting trained by a government contractor to “forge signatures and falsify data”?

National Review is reporting that a former employee at TerraCom, Inc., a cell phone provider under the federal government’s Lifeline program, was encouraged to use the tactics to help boost the company’s revenues from $32.6 million in 2011 to $52.3 million in 2012.

Though a drop in the bucket for a line-item that costs $2.189 billion, the revelation serves as a reminder for how bad the so-called “Obama Phone” program has been administered.

So does this: “Lifeline’s costs have increased by 166 percent in the past five years,” according to NR.

Hmm… that means the program, around since the 1980’s, dramatically spiked in 2009 and hasn’t stopped since. Any guess as to what – or who – is responsible?

September 12th, 2013 at 7:46 pm
Delay ObamaCare, Spend Savings on Sequester?

House Republican conservatives are considering an alternative to using the upcoming budget fight as an attempt to defund ObamaCare. In its place, the GOP would vote to delay all of ObamaCare for a year and use the money saved to restore budget cuts caused by the sequester, reports the Washington Examiner.

To entice Democrats, the proposal would also raise the government’s debt ceiling, which is estimated to be reached sometime in late October.

On the plus side, the one-year delay puts President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats on the defensive. After delaying the employer mandate and income eligibility requirements, it would be difficult to justify opposing the whole scale delay of a law that is turning into a “train wreck” to implement.

Shifting the money saved on ObamaCare implementation also lets Republicans take credit for restoring budget cuts, but here the plan starts to look less favorable. Conservatives want to restore funding to the military, but liberals are likely to demand restoration across the board – including budget items that Republicans would otherwise like to see shrink or eliminated.

Besides, if at the end of the year the sequester gets “paid for,” what was the point of going through all the downsizing? Angling for praise for restoring spending in a budget that doesn’t balance seems like an odd goal for fiscal conservatives.

Finally, there’s the debt ceiling issue. Between the White House, Senate Democrats and House Republican leadership there appears to be agreement that the debt ceiling should be raised. While that’s certainly the politically correct thing to do, it too seems contrary to the fiscal instincts of conservatives.

And yet, this trial balloon proposal might be attractive to House conservatives, also known as the best hope for imposing any kind of spending discipline in Washington. If this is the best they think they can do, then it means momentum inside Congress for defunding ObamaCare is dead.

If that’s true, let’s hope they can get a full and complete delay. Otherwise, capitulating on those terms will lead to more spending, more debt and more regulations. Not exactly a win for conservativsm.

September 9th, 2013 at 6:35 pm
Obama’s Syria ‘Message’ a Bay of Pigs Redux?

How bad has President Barack Obama mishandled his possible Syria bombing campaign?

“…President Obama finds himself in the biggest and ugliest public mess of his career, with a total policy meltdown playing out on the front pages and cable TV studios of the world,” writes Walter Russell Mead.

“It is like a slow motion Bay of Pigs, unrolling at an agonizing, prestige wrecking pace from day to day and week to week. It is almost impossible to defend whatever policy he actually has in mind at this point, yet the consequences of a congressional vote that opposes him are grave.”

Mead’s allusion to JFK’s Bay of Pigs fiasco is instructive. In 1961, the Kennedy administration armed and sent 1,400 Cuban exiles to topple Fidel Castro. However, they didn’t have air support or reinforcements from the U.S. military, and were quickly defeated.

Like Obama, Kennedy wanted to ‘send a message’ on the cheap, and got what he paid for.

The consequences to America were nearly disastrous. Not only did Castro and his Soviet Union patrons humiliate the United States in front of the world, they interpreted the defeat – and the resulting timidity – as a free pass to put ICBMs 90 miles from Florida. Without the Bay of Pigs fiasco as a precursor, it is almost impossible to imagine the following year’s Cuban Missile Crisis.

With this in mind, Members of Congress should be extremely skeptical about the Obama administration’s claim that those we attack won’t be “arrogant and foolish enough to retaliate.”

History indicates otherwise, and in ways we can’t easily predict.

September 6th, 2013 at 6:58 pm
Let’s Cool it with the “Chicken Hawk” Nonsense
Posted by Troy Senik Print

I sometimes find the best way to settle your views on an issue is not to read the opinion of those you admire, but rather those whom you despise. Even my favorite thinkers go astray sometimes. The hacks are slightly more consistent.

One of the kings of errancy is the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson, who spends today’s column trying to act as a moral backstop for President Obama in regard to Syria. It’s a throwaway remark early in the piece, however, that gets my hackles up:

At Wednesday’s hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I thought for a moment that [Secretary of State John] Kerry was going to blow. Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., launched into a self-righteous soliloquy about Benghazi, the IRS, the National Security Agency and what he portrayed as Kerry’s longtime aversion to using military force.

Kerry, you may recall, is a highly decorated Vietnam combat veteran. Duncan is an armchair warrior.

A few quick thoughts:

    – I’ll grant you that Duncan comes off as a blowhard in his questioning of Kerry. Hearings on the possibility of war are about as serious a task as a member of Congress faces and his insistence on turning it into a glorified campaign ad are both misplaced and unimpressive. He comes off like a guy trying to sell you insurance at a funeral. That being said, non sequitur droning constitutes about 90 percent of all congressional questioning. You know who used to be the king of that? John Kerry. So forgive me if I can’t muster sympathy when he’s on the receiving end of the same kind of firehose-intensity stream of inanity he spent over two and a half decades dispensing.

    – I’ve never understood why, in a nation that from its inception has insisted upon civilian control over the military, we try to settle policy arguments by determining who’s the closest approximation of Leonidas. You know who else was an “armchair warrior”? Franklin Roosevelt, who prosecuted World War II and never served in the military. Abraham Lincoln spent three months in the Illinois State Militia.

    And Mr. Robinson should be careful about tying credibility on foreign affairs to time in uniform. Barack Obama didn’t serve. Neither did Joe Biden. And neither did Eugene Robinson, who spends the rest of this column telling us how we should think about Syria.

    Liberals spent the last decade mocking conservative “chicken hawks” who had never served in the military but advocated for American intervention overseas. It was a bogus argument then and it’d be bogus (if not satisfying) to turn it back on them now. If we’re going to debate ideas, let’s do it on the merits, not according to the resumés of the people advancing them.

    September 6th, 2013 at 2:31 am
    Syrian Resolution Looks Doomed to Failure
    Posted by Troy Senik Print

    Earlier today, Rick Klein, Political Director for ABC News, tweeted out that 217 members of the House of Representatives have gone on record “as likely to oppose authorizing military force against Syria,” giving those opposed to the resolution a majority in the lower chamber (if we have any pedants in the audience shouting about the fact that it takes 218 to reach a majority, note that Alabama and Massachusetts both currently have one vacant seat).

    Now, “likely to oppose” isn’t the same thing as definitely voting no, but anyone who’s staking out territory this early in the process is disproportionately likely to to stick to his guns. And it’s clear that the momentum on this is all going in one direction — and it’s not the president’s.

    That’s remarkable, but not particularly surprising. Sometimes you can get a member to vote against his political interest for the sake of ideology. Sometimes you can get him to vote against his ideology for the sake of his political interest. But when both are imperiled simultaneously, the whipping gets much harder. That’s precisely the case with a potential military offensive that polls terribly and hits intellectual pressure points for liberals and conservatives alike.

    One dispiriting aspect of this debate is the chorus of conservative voices such as Jennifer Rubin, Hugh Hewitt, and Bret Stephens who’ve conflated opposition to feckless, limited airstrikes in Syria with “isolationism.” It may be fair to say that nearly all isolationists are opposed to taking action in Syria. It does not follow, however, that all who are opposed to taking action in Syria are isolationists. The scope of opposition is far too large to be constituted entirely (or even primarily) of those opposed to American action overseas in all but the most limited circumstances.

    I suspect that there are a fair number of conservatives like me — as far removed from the reflexive international reticence of Rand Paul as we are from John McCain’s “anytime, anywhere, for any reason” school of intervention — who just don’t see the strategic payoff here, especially given the manner in which the Obama Administration would be likely to conduct the fight.

    America has played too fast and loose with defining our national security interests in recent years. Doing so again — especially when it’s clear that the Obama Administration has no plan that will actually result in a change of circumstances on the ground in Syria — is an exercise in futility. The measure deserves defeat.

    September 4th, 2013 at 6:16 pm
    Senate Lying to Self with ‘Tailored’ Syria Resolution

    A highly regarded separation of powers expert says the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s oddly worded resolution to authorize military force in Syria might be more expansive than its drafters intend, according to the Washington Times.

    At issue is the resolution’s use of the words “limited and tailored” in the phrase giving President Barack Obama power “to use the armed forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in a limited and tailored manner against legitimate military targets in Syria…”

    Louis Fisher, a former long-time expert at the Congressional Research Service and author of a leading treatise on presidential war powers, says the word choice is unprecedented and could be so vague that it creates space for an escalation.

    “What could possibly be the meaning of ‘limited and tailored’? I doubt if I’ve ever seen the word ‘tailored’ in a bill,” Fisher told the paper. “Even if the ‘intent’ of Congress is a limited war, war has its own momentum.”

    In other words, use of the word ‘tailored’ in the resolution can mean anything to the clever lawyers who will twist it however they please, so in reality that word, and any limiting effect it is designed to have, is meaningless.

    It is impossible for me to imagine that the people drafting this resolution don’t know this. Therefore, it seems almost certain that the underlying intent here is to sound like they are limiting the President’s options while in fact not doing so at all.

    If we’re going to bomb Syria then we are going to war with Syria. If that’s in America’s national security interest, Congress should declare it in unambiguous language.

    To my mind it’s better to do nothing than to say something that means nothing.

    Otherwise, Congress is just lying to itself so that it can act outraged when the President uses the resolution to wage a war the Senate and House impliedly authorized.

    September 4th, 2013 at 1:09 pm
    Obama’s Syria Policy Incoherent at Home and Abroad

    McClatchy news ran a piece yesterday describing how President Barack Obama’s seeming indecision on striking Syria is being interpreted by Middle Easterners.

    “Obama’s abrupt decision on Saturday to delay the strikes that seemed just hours away is being seen in the region as the latest confirmation of an incoherent U.S. approach of mixed messages and unfulfilled threats that have driven America’s standing to a new low,” the paper said, citing numerous interviews with Syrian rebels and others.

    The confusion wasn’t helped during Secretary of State John Kerry’s remarks to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. There, the Vietnam veteran and anti-war hero did an about-face. Without a hint of irony he argued that in asking for congressional approval to fire missiles at Syria “President Obama is not asking America to go to war.”

    Instead, the President was “asking only for the power to make clear, to make certain, that the United States means what we say,” when the Commander-in-Chief threatens military force.

    But the fact remains that firing missiles into another country is an act of war, a fact that didn’t escape Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) before heading into the hearing.

    “This is the most serious policy decision any senator will make,” reports the Daily Caller. “Authorizing the use of military force is, let’s face it, is a declaration of war against another country, no matter how limited it is, that’s what it is.”

    Kudos to Senator Corker for saying the truth out loud. He understands the real world consequences of this decision, as do the Syrian rebels, Syrian President Bashar Assad and every other sentient being paying attention.

    So far, the Obama administration is doing itself no favors by pushing forward an ad hoc, incoherent rationale for bombing a government whose actions – while immoral and deplorable – don’t necessarily threaten America’s national security interests.

    August 30th, 2013 at 6:00 pm
    The Hollywood Slander of Ronald Reagan
    Posted by Troy Senik Print

    Ronald Reagan may have been the only American president to emerge from Tinseltown (excepting the fact that Barack Obama is clearly a character created by Aaron Sorkin), but that hasn’t inspired any loyalty. The new movie, The Butler, is rife with mischaracterizations of racial progress in America (as ably pointed out by Richard Epstein for the Hoover Institution) — and it’s especially unkind to the Gipper. As Steve Hayward, Paul Kengor, Craig Shirley, and Kiron Skinner — Reagan biographers all — note in today’s Washington Post, Reagan demonstrated a lifetime’s worth of tolerance and enlightenment on racial issues.

    One of the film’s larger errors is an implicit assertion that Reagan opposed economic sanctions against the apartheid regime in South Africa out of simple indifference to black suffering. But as his chroniclers note, the reality is much more complicated:

    The unfairness of this scene can be demonstrated by any number of historical facts. In June 1981, still recovering from an assassination attempt, Reagan sent his closest foreign policy aide, William Clark, on his first official trip; it was to South Africa to express America’s disapproval. An unsmiling Clark told Prime Minister Pieter W. Botha to his face that the new president and administration “abhorred apartheid.” Clark walked out on Botha.

    While accurate in depicting Reagan’s opposition to sanctions against South Africa, “The Butler” does not explain why he opposed them. Reagan saw sanctions as harmful to the poorest South Africans: millions of blacks living in dire poverty. He also feared that the apartheid regime could be replaced by a Marxist/totalitarian one allied with the Soviet Union and Cuba and that communism would spread throughout the continent. South Africa’s blacks were denied rights under apartheid, but communism would mean no freedom of speech, press, assembly, religion, conscience, emigration, travel or even property for anyone. Moreover, in communist nations such as Cambodia and Ethi­o­pia, people had been slaughtered and starved on mass scales. Nearly a dozen nations had become part of the Soviet orbit in the immediate years before Reagan became president. He didn’t want South Africa to undergo the same catastrophe.

    Reagan adopted a policy of “constructive engagement,” seeking to keep South Africa in the anti-Soviet faction while encouraging the country toward black-majority rule — no easy feat. In one of his finest speeches, he told the United Nations on Sept. 24, 1984, that it was “a moral imperative that South Africa’s racial policies evolve peacefully but decisively toward . . . justice, liberty and human dignity.” Among his administration’s successes was the Angola-Namibia agreement, which led to the withdrawal of the white South African regime from Namibia and paved the way for that nation’s independence.

    Moral preening is always easiest when one bears no responsibility for the consequences. Statesmen weigh trade-offs. Ronald Reagan knew that. Thanks to the current situation in Syria, Barack Obama is about to get a master’s class on the topic.

    August 28th, 2013 at 4:54 pm
    The ObamaCare Delay that Could be Fatal

    No, I don’t mean news of yet another delay in the controversial health law’s implementation – this time a Reuters report that the Health and Human Services department is pushing back by two weeks its timetable for finalizing deals with health insurance companies.

    I mean today’s announcement that former President Bill Clinton is being tasked with explaining what’s so great about ObamaCare to the country. Clinton’s speech next week is being billed as the first of several high-profile speeches designed to sell the law to the 54 percent of Americans who don’t like it.

    To be sure, if anybody in politics can make this train wreck look good, it’s Bill Clinton. But why would President Obama wait till now, after three-and-a-half years of public relations futility, to bring in his party’s best spokesman?

    Simple: With just over a month to go before ObamaCare’s enrollment begins the president and his administration are in full-blown panic mode. Nothing is on schedule. Their multi-million dollar ad campaign may not attract enough people to enroll. And, oh yeah, we’re about to intervene in Syria’s civil war.

    If Clinton gets any traction with his speeches it will be of limited value because so much of the public’s mind has been made up in the years since the law was passed. Prior to that, who knows? As a matter of Politics 101, failing to use such a successful political spokesman strikes me as a huge wasted opportunity. Of all the delays with ObamaCare, putting off Clinton’s rhetorical talents may be the most fatal to the law because – perhaps – they could have done so much to keep it alive.

    August 23rd, 2013 at 5:39 pm
    Why College Prices Keep Going Up
    Posted by Troy Senik Print

    A few weeks ago, I wrote here about the fact that Congress’ ‘fix’ to interest rates on college loans was small potatoes compared to the rapid inflation in the underlying principal. Moreover, I noted, most of President Obama’s proposals for making higher education more affordable have the economics precisely backwards. Today, AEI’s Richard Vedder sounds a similar note over at Bloomberg:

    The president’s proposal has one very bad idea: a forgiveness boon for those paying off loans right now. The proposal, limiting loan payments to 10 percent of income, potentially relieves millions of students from repaying part of their obligation. So why not major in fields the economy values least — anthropology or drama instead of engineering or math — if you don’t have to worry about earning enough to pay off your student loans over a certain period?

    The idea simply raises incentives for future students to borrow more money, if they know their obligation to pay it back is capped. That, in turn, allows colleges to keep raising costs.

    Obama proposes to ignore or worsen the root cause of much of the explosion in student costs: the federal financial assistance programs that encourage schools to raise costs and that haven’t achieved their goals of providing college access to low-income Americans.

    As Vedder notes, virtually all of our federal policy on higher education (and most of the policy proposals that have any traction at the moment) generate precisely these kind of perverse incentives. Recommended reading.

    August 22nd, 2013 at 5:14 pm
    Rubio to House GOP: ‘Obama Will Legalize Immigrants If Senate Bill Not Passed’

    Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) is using an interesting tactic to get House Republicans to pass his immigration reform bill – Scare them with threats of a lawless presidency.

    “I believe this president will be tempted, if nothing happens in Congress, he will be tempted to issue an executive order as he did for the DREAM Act kids a year ago, where he basically legalizes 11 million people by the sign of a pen,” the presumptive 2016 presidential candidate told a Florida radio station last week.

    In effect, Rubio is telling House Republicans – opponents of his pathway to citizenship plan for illegal immigrants – that unless they pass the Senate Gang of Eight’s bad bill President Barack Obama will enlarge his controversial Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

    Brought to life last year via executive order, Obama directed immigration agents to put illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children at the bottom of the deportation list. The policy also makes available temporary work visas to those covered.

    But Rubio, a University of Miami law school graduate and former Speaker of the Florida House, has his eyes on the wrong target.

    For one thing, not even the liberal academics that provided cover for the president’s unilateral and unprecedented action think Obama has the power to defer action on every illegal immigrant.

    “The justifications for DACA made clear that this is not a situation where the president can reduce overall enforcement of immigration laws. He can just redirect it in certain ways,” former principal deputy attorney general and current University of Virginia law professor David A. Martin told the Washington Post.

    And even if President Obama did decide not to enforce any immigration laws, why is his lawlessness an argument against Republicans? Wouldn’t the proper response to an expanded abuse of presidential power be to oppose the president?

    Yet it seems like Rubio is giving Obama a pass while preemptively blaming House Republicans for future bad acts the president may commit.

    Only in a place like Washington does that kind of logic make sense. If Rubio really believes that the President of the United States won’t be constrained by the separation of powers and the rule of law, then the object of his anger should be directed at the White House, not Republicans in the House of Representatives.

    August 21st, 2013 at 5:18 pm
    Spouses Losing Doctors & Insurance under ObamaCare

    News broke today that the United Parcel Service (UPS) is dropping an estimated 15,000 spouses of its non-union employees from the company’s health insurance plan – largely because of ObamaCare.

    Doing so will save UPS around $60 million a year.

    Under the health law, working spouses who have access to medical insurance from another employer don’t have to be covered.

    The UPS memo explaining the decision cites ObamaCare’s stepped-up coverage requirements as playing a big role, reports Kaiser Health News.

    Costly benefits such as the law’s “ban on annual and lifetime coverage limits and its requirement to cover dependent children up to age 26” will raise the cost of premiums for employers.

    Eliminating coverage for working spouses is one of the few ways companies can rein in costs while still complying with the law.

    But along with losing access to their current doctor networks and benefits, UPS’s soon-to-be-severed working spouses will also likely pay more for health insurance.

    “The $500 in-network family deductible for UPS’s basic plan, for example, is less than the nationwide average of $733,” says Kaiser.

    Remember that oft-repeated line from President Barack Obama in 2009 that if you like your current doctor and insurance plan you will be able to keep them after ObamaCare goes into effect in 2014?

    Fast forward to today, and reality is singing a very different tune.

    August 15th, 2013 at 8:34 pm
    The Lawless Presidency, Continued
    Posted by Troy Senik Print

    I’ve  written here several times before about the increasingly lawless shape that the Obama Administration has taken in recent years — whether it’s making recess appointments when Congress is still in session, exempting its friends from Obamacare, or trying to make the DREAM Act law via executive order, the reflexive contempt for the separation of powers is regularly apparent. Now, two more items on that front.

    First, our friend John Yoo, writing alongside John Bolton at National Review, notes Obama’s decision to bypass Congress’s authority over international treaties in pursuit of a nuclear arms reduction deal with Russia:

    The Constitution, however, still stands athwart Obama’s rush to a nuclear-free utopia. Article II, Section 2 declares that the president “shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties,” but only if “two thirds of the Senators present concur.” President Obama’s last nuclear-reduction pact, the 2011 New START Treaty with Russia, cut the U.S. nuclear arsenal to dangerously low levels, 750 strategic delivery systems and 1,550 warheads. It passed the Senate by a vote of 71–26, but only after breaking a filibuster with 67 votes, not one to spare.

    Uncertain it can persuade a dozen Republicans to err again, the administration is considering a Russian deal without Senate approval. According to his spokesman, Secretary of State Kerry told senators that they “would be consulted as we moved forward into discussions with the Russian Federation, but did not indicate that the administration had decided to codify any results in a treaty.” Unnamed administration officials say Washington and Moscow could engage in reciprocal weapons cuts without a written agreement.

    Those unnamed Administration officials are right, of course. There’d be nothing to prevent the two countries from coincidentally reducing stockpiles at the same time. At that point, however, it’s not a treaty, it’s a handshake promise, which sort of defeats the whole purpose. Given that international law is basically fictive, however, even a real treaty wouldn’t be particularly enforceable (especially with the roguish Putin), so we need not lose too much sleep over this one.

    Then, this tidbit from the Daily Caller:

    President Barack Obama is looking to unilaterally impose a $5-per-year tax on all cellphone users to avoid asking a recalcitrant Congress for funding.

    The Washington Post first reported the story Tuesday.

    The Federal Communications Commission, an independent agency headed by three Obama appointees, would collect the tax, tacking on an additional charge to devices already subject to local, state and federal fees, along with sales taxes…

    Deputy White House press secretary John Earnest denied that the move was an “end run” around Congress in a press briefing Wednesday, but added that Congress’s “dysfunctional” state could justify an executive override.

    “Unfortunately, we haven’t seen a lot of action in Congress, so the president has advocated an administrative, unilateral action to get this done,” Ernest said.

    In my column this week, I compared Obama to his progressive forebear, Woodrow Wilson. This only strengthens the case. Wilson, as you can read here, would have been an enthusiastic cheerleader for precisely this kind of executive chutzpah.

    August 5th, 2013 at 10:28 am
    Ramirez Cartoon: ‘But I Gave You My Flexibility…’
    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.