You are browsing the archive for 2013 May 29.

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The Obstacle Is That Americans Don't Want It

May 29, 2013 in Economics

By Michael F. Cannon

Michael F. Cannon

There is nothing simple about Obamacare. It runs more than 2,000 pages. It has spawned more than 10,000 pages of regulations. The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service reports the law will create so many new government agencies that the actual number is “unknowable.” Senator Jay Rockefeller, Democrat of West Virginia, called Obamacare “the most complex piece of legislation ever passed by the United States Congress” and “just beyond comprehension.”

Three years later, people are still trying to figure out what Obamacare says. Last week, newspapers reported that because the employer mandate fails to specify the “minimum essential coverage” employers must offer, firms can satisfy the mandate by offering “skinny” benefits that cover hardly anything. Thus a government guarantee of comprehensive coverage could instead encourage employers to offer less-comprehensive coverage. Since Obamacare’s provisions are all connected, this glitch could send premiums and government spending even higher.

But the main reason Obamacare is encountering obstacles is simple: the American people do not want it. Recent polls show 54 percent of Americans oppose the law, 53 percent want opponents to “continue trying to change or stop it,” and 56 percent want to return what we had before. This June will mark four solid years of public oppositionSome polls show a mere third of the public supports Obamacare. Unions thatsupported it are now “frustrated and angry” over its unintended consequences. One such union is calling for repeal.

When a minority encounters obstacles to imposing its will on the majority, we call that “democracy.”

Indeed, democratic accountability forced Obamacare’s authors to give states veto power over many of the law’s provisions, and is leading states to exercise those vetoes. Two-thirds of states have refused to implement Obamacare’s health insurance “exchanges,” a move that blocks some $800 billion of new entitlement spending. Thanks to last year’s Supreme Court rulingas many as half the states may likewise veto Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.

Yet the I.R.S. is preparing to tax, borrow and spend that $800 billion anyway, and the Department of Health and Human Services continues to coerce states into implementing portions of the Medicaid expansion that the Supreme Court rendered optional.

Obamacare may be the law of the land, but it lacks legitimacy. So does its implementation.

Michael F. Cannon is director of health-policy studies at the Cato Institute and co-editor of Replacing ObamaCare (2012).

…read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Obama's Boundless War

May 29, 2013 in Economics

By John Mueller

John Mueller

In a speech last week, President Obama expressed some distaste for what he called the “boundless” global war on terror. But in some important respects, his vision of the enterprise seems even more boundless than previous definitions of the terrorism fight.

The Obama administration has been at some pains to downplay the rhetoric of war as it deals with terrorism. Yet Obama’s desire to use the weapons and methods of war against terrorists now requires him to plunge into that rhetoric and in the process extravagantly to hype the threat that terrorism presents.

Maybe if we all start shouting at the president, he’ll declare boundless victory.”

He began by declaring that that we have been at war ever since 9/11. He deems that war to be going rather well, but he concludes it must necessarily continue because “our nation is still threatened by terrorists.”

Musing on the “future of terrorism,” he acknowledges that “the threat has shifted and evolved” somewhat. But he insists a war against it will be required as long as there are Al Qaeda affiliates out there, as long as there are threats to diplomatic facilities and businesses abroad, and as long as there are “homegrown extremists” willing to set off bombs or shoot at people.

Whether there will always be violent groups saying they are affiliated with Al Qaeda is uncertain. But it seems fair to suggest that there will always be people who threaten American diplomatic facilities or businesses abroad and that there will always be extremists at home—however trivial and pathetic—who will try from time to time to do violence to other people to advance a political cause.

Consequently, the war will continue forever.

But there is more. In one of the more arresting passages in the speech, Obama points out that the terrorism threat we have now is much like the one we faced in the 1980s and 1990s, listing off a number of terrorist outrages during those decades. Therefore he seems to suggest that we must have been at war with terrorism in those decades as well even if nobody exactly noticed. Moreover, a similar litany of terrorist excesses could be brought out for just about any decade in U.S. or world history.

Consequently, not only have we been at war with terrorism for “over a decade,” not only will we be at war with it for the rest of eternity, but we have previously been …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Bringing Civics Classes Back to Schools: Obama Impeachment?

May 29, 2013 in Economics

By Nat Hentoff

Nat Hentoff

In 1798, only seven years after the First Amendment was ratified as part of the Constitution, President John Adams undermined the First Amendment by pushing the Alien and Sedition Acts through Congress. This law subjected citizens to imprisonment for speech that brought the president or Congress into “contempt or disrepute” (my book, The First Freedom: The Tumultuous History of Free Speech in America, Delacorte Press, 1988).

That led enough angry Americans to deny Adams a second term, bringing Thomas Jefferson, a leading opponent of the Alien and Sedition Acts, to the presidency. In 1786, Jefferson wrote to a friend about one of the anchors of our freedom of speech: “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”

But President Barack Obama, since taking office, has continually limited the First Amendment, the most singular and powerful right that distinctly identifies Americans from residents in all other countries on Earth.

Political speech is our quintessential weapon against imperious presidents towering over the Constitution’s separation of powers.

In the past few weeks, more Americans have been awakened to the diminishment of theirs and the press’s rights of free speech. Alerted to revelations of the multiple “scandals” of the Obama administration, The Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan writes:

“In order to suppress conservative groups — at first, those with words like ‘Tea Party’ and ‘Patriot’ in their names, then including those that opposed ObamaCare or advanced the Second Amendment — the IRS demanded donor rolls, membership lists, data on all contributions, names of volunteers, the contents of all speeches made my members, Facebook posts, minutes of all meetings and copies of all materials handed out at gatherings.”

In this land of the free and home of the brave, the IRS asked such questions as: “What are you thinking about? Did you ever think of running for office? Do you ever contact political figures? What are you reading?” (“This Is No Ordinary Scandal,” Noonan, The Wall Street Journal, May 17).

Dig this: One respondent answered that last query simply: “The U.S. Constitution.”

For an administration that regards the word “Patriot” with suspicion, that must have been disquieting.

As for the Obama Justice Department, headed by Attorney General Eric Holder, it demonstrated its utter disrespect for the First Amendment’s freedom of the press by how it has investigated leaks of classified information to reporters:

“The Justice Department subpoenaed a sweeping two months of AP (Associated Press) …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Bringing Civics Classes Back to Schools: Obama Impeachment?

May 29, 2013 in Economics

By Nat Hentoff

Nat Hentoff

In 1798, only seven years after the First Amendment was ratified as part of the Constitution, President John Adams undermined the First Amendment by pushing the Alien and Sedition Acts through Congress. This law subjected citizens to imprisonment for speech that brought the president or Congress into “contempt or disrepute” (my book, The First Freedom: The Tumultuous History of Free Speech in America, Delacorte Press, 1988).

That led enough angry Americans to deny Adams a second term, bringing Thomas Jefferson, a leading opponent of the Alien and Sedition Acts, to the presidency. In 1786, Jefferson wrote to a friend about one of the anchors of our freedom of speech: “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”

But President Barack Obama, since taking office, has continually limited the First Amendment, the most singular and powerful right that distinctly identifies Americans from residents in all other countries on Earth.

Political speech is our quintessential weapon against imperious presidents towering over the Constitution’s separation of powers.

In the past few weeks, more Americans have been awakened to the diminishment of theirs and the press’s rights of free speech. Alerted to revelations of the multiple “scandals” of the Obama administration, The Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan writes:

“In order to suppress conservative groups — at first, those with words like ‘Tea Party’ and ‘Patriot’ in their names, then including those that opposed ObamaCare or advanced the Second Amendment — the IRS demanded donor rolls, membership lists, data on all contributions, names of volunteers, the contents of all speeches made my members, Facebook posts, minutes of all meetings and copies of all materials handed out at gatherings.”

In this land of the free and home of the brave, the IRS asked such questions as: “What are you thinking about? Did you ever think of running for office? Do you ever contact political figures? What are you reading?” (“This Is No Ordinary Scandal,” Noonan, The Wall Street Journal, May 17).

Dig this: One respondent answered that last query simply: “The U.S. Constitution.”

For an administration that regards the word “Patriot” with suspicion, that must have been disquieting.

As for the Obama Justice Department, headed by Attorney General Eric Holder, it demonstrated its utter disrespect for the First Amendment’s freedom of the press by how it has investigated leaks of classified information to reporters:

“The Justice Department subpoenaed a sweeping two months of AP (Associated Press) …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Farm Bill “Reform” Is in the Eye of the Beholder

May 29, 2013 in Economics

Earlier this month, the House and Senate agriculture committees passed their respective versions of the legislation they hope will govern U.S. agricultural policy for the next five years. Although both chambers have attempted to promote their bills as a cheaper, more sensible policy than what would occur if the current programs were simply extended, neither proposal is a good deal for American consumers or taxpayers. In a new paper, Cato scholar Sallie James argues that the bills are still far too costly, and they make little or no acknowledgment (much less practical moves) toward shrinking the role of the federal government in agricultural affairs.

…read more

Source: CATO HEADLINES

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Farm Bill “Reform” Is in the Eye of the Beholder

May 29, 2013 in Economics

Earlier this month, the House and Senate agriculture committees passed their respective versions of the legislation they hope will govern U.S. agricultural policy for the next five years. Although both chambers have attempted to promote their bills as a cheaper, more sensible policy than what would occur if the current programs were simply extended, neither proposal is a good deal for American consumers or taxpayers. In a new paper, Cato scholar Sallie James argues that the bills are still far too costly, and they make little or no acknowledgment (much less practical moves) toward shrinking the role of the federal government in agricultural affairs.

…read more

Source: CATO HEADLINES