Get Busy Writing Those Regulations
“If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy.” –Thomas Jefferson
Get Busy Writing Those Regulations
In 2010, the Democrat-controlled Congress rammed through a gargantuan regulatory package known as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Ostensibly, the law was a response to the 2008 financial panic – a way for Washington to regulate the economy into financial security. As the White House put it this week, its purpose is to “prevent the type of financial harm that led to the Great Recession from ever happening again.” They neglected to mention the role federal regulations had in creating the panic in the first place.
Now, Barack Obama’s regulatory commissars aren’t moving fast enough to finalize those regulations, and the president is insisting they pick up the pace. To date, less than 40% of the law’s regulations have been finalized while 61% of the law’s deadlines have been missed. So businesses face not only the crushing regulations themselves but also the uncertainty of not yet knowing what they are.
As free-market advocates, we understand that there is often an inverse correlation between unemployment and regulation. Indeed, the Obama Labor Department reports that July unemployment rates increased in 28 states, all while Obama oversees a dramatic expansion of the regulatory state. As The Hill reports, “Data collected by researchers at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center shows that the Code of Federal Regulations, where all rules and regulations are detailed, has ballooned from 71,224 pages in 1975 to 174,545 pages last year.” That, of course, doesn’t include new Dodd-Frank regulations that are yet to be written, but it also means the long-time problem transcends party lines.
Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) estimates that the total cost of regulation to the U.S. economy is an eye-popping $2 trillion, equal to the amount confiscated in income taxes. That cost of compliance has to be paid somehow. It’s almost enough to make one wish for the “good” old days of Jimmy Carter and his Executive Order 12174 – Federal Paperwork Reduction.
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
On the Backs of the Young, Married
In order to make the math work on ObamaCare’s guaranteed insurance mandate for the old and the sick, the young must bear a disproportionate burden, paying much, much more for insurance they don’t need so as to balance the books. A new study from the National Center for Public Policy Research explains why the young won’t take the bait: “[I]n 2014 many single people aged 18-34 who do not have children will have a substantial financial incentive to forego insurance on the exchanges and instead pay the individual mandate penalty of $95 or one percent of income. About 3.7 million of those ages 18-34 will be at least $500 better off if they forgo insurance and pay the penalty. More than 3 million will be $1,000 better off if they go the same route.”
Even though subsidies are available on the honor system for those with incomes up to 400% of poverty level, and the penalty for not buying insurance will increase (perhaps sooner than expected with an administration that enforces and changes what it pleases), the young are likely to forego buying insurance in significant numbers. After all, in Obama’s economy, not many of them can find work, much less full-time work with benefits. And why buy it now when they could wait until they’re sick to sign up?
Married people are also penalized when applying for subsidies. Columnist Terence Jeffrey points out, “Married couples seeking the subsidy are required to file joint tax returns and whether their premiums are capped or not is determined by the couple’s combined income. The law thus imposes a steep penalty on Americans who live in traditional families.” Jeffrey calculates the penalty in a hypothetical situation at $8,173. That’s not exactly how Democrats advertised the law.
Taking Sides in Egypt
Unrest in Egypt continues as that nation’s military solidifies control after deposing Islamist president Mohamed Morsi on July 3. An estimated 900 people were killed in the last week alone. Unfortunately, the Obama administration’s policy response is a muddled mess. The White House refuses to label the military takeover a coup, which would trigger the legal requirement to suspend U.S. aid, but the administration delayed $585 million in aid because it’s acting like the military staged a coup. U.S. aid guarantees preferential use of the Suez Canal, as well as flyover rights for U.S. military jets. Aid provides 25% of Egypt’s defense spending, and the nation is an ally, however tenuous at present.
Despite leftist daydreaming about the “Arab Spring” bringing about democratic revolution throughout the Middle East, reality is far from it. Before the military stepped in, the radical Islamist Muslim Brotherhood controlled Egypt, just as Libya fell to radical Islamists and Syria fends them off. Without U.S. assistance, Iraq may be next. Under extremist rule, Egyptian Christians experienced intense persecution, and only the military can or will stop it.
Given all that, realistic U.S. policy can be essentially this: Make further aid contingent upon the Egyptian military defeating the Muslim Brotherhood, protecting Christians and restoring order to the nation. As the Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens put it, “Politics in Egypt today is a zero-sum game: Either the military wins, or the Brotherhood does. If the U.S. wants influence, it needs to hold its nose and take a side.”
Climate Change This Week: UN Certainty Goes Up
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change seems to have done the impossible: reach a near consensus on the cause of climate change. Despite a wealth of research to the contrary, the IPCC is now 95% certain that climate change is manmade, an assertion it will officially announce in a new report next month. While a variety of human activities are suspect, the primary culprit is – wait for it – burning fossil fuels. The report also claims that this has been the main source of global warming since the 1950s.
This scientific “certainty” steadily increased over the years, from 50% in 1995 to 66% in 2001. By 2007, the IPCC claimed 90% certainty – enough to win a Nobel Prize – but when that still wasn’t sufficient to pressure us into economy-busting legislation, the UN decided to up the ante once again. Basically, all this report shows is that the IPCC has become more adept at skewing the numbers.
Interestingly enough, while the UN’s “certainty” has risen, the temperature has not. For the past decade the planet’s average temperature has essentially flatlined. The report will struggle to explain this, even going so far as to admit that natural variations – including the current 11-year solar cycle – may be the cause. Many of us have long argued that natural variations are a primary cause of any climate change that may or may not be happening, but, more important, massive government regulations are the wrong course.
Re: The Left
Columnist Arnold Ahlert: “In a move that reeks of political motivations, Judge Col. Tara Osborn ruled against the admission of evidence that prosecutors say would show Maj. Nidal Hasan’s jihadist motivations for attacking the Fort Hood military base in 2009. … What makes Osborn’s refusal to allow what would appear to be a substantial piece of evidence regarding Hasan’s motives even more bizarre is the reality that Hasan himself explained his motive and admitted his guilt in his opening statement. … Lead prosecutor Col. Steve Henricks' opening statements made it clear where their side was going. ‘He didn’t want to deploy and he came to believe he had a jihad duty to murder soldiers,’ said Henricks, who further contended Hasan wanted to ‘kill as many soldiers as he could.’ Those ideas are completely antithetical to the Obama administration’s determination to remove all references to Islamist jihad from the Fort Hood slaughter. … Moreover that label, in conjunction with Osborn’s rulings, would sharply limit damages in the civil suit brought by the victims' families, compared to what they might receive if the shootings were an act of terror, including Purple Hearts, combat medals and superior health benefits.”
For the Record
Columnist David Limbaugh: “The Cato Institute has released a report documenting that in Obama’s America, ‘welfare pays better than work.’ … In the state of New York, for example, ‘a family receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Medicaid, food stamps, WIC, public housing, utility assistance and free commodities (like milk and cheese) would have a package of benefits worth $38,004, the seventh-highest in the nation.’ Because welfare benefits aren’t taxable, a New York wage earner would have to earn in excess of $21 per hour to do better than his welfare recipient counterpart, which is more than a beginning teacher makes. Though benefits vary among the states, for many recipients, especially long-term dependents, welfare pays substantially more than an entry-level job. Ponder the powerful disincentive this constitutes to work…. How can a society that embraces the work ethic not shudder in horror at this development?”
Faith and Family
Columnist Star Parker: “The purging of Grammy Award winner Donnie McClurkin from performing at a concert commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1963 civil rights March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech should serve as yet another wakeup call to Christian black Americans. McClurkin, a black pastor and gospel music superstar, was asked to step down from his featured performance by Washington Mayor Vincent Gray as a result of pressure from homosexual activists. McClurkin preaches against the homosexual lifestyle from his pulpit and says he himself departed and was saved from this lifestyle through God’s mercy. … Let’s be aware of the concerted effort on the left to purge from memory that Dr. King was a Christian pastor, inspired by the truth of the gospel, who led an organization called the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. No reference is made at all to King’s Christianity at the new memorial to him on the national mall. … The civil rights movement was a Christian movement. It is high time that the black pastor, rather than the black politician, return to leadership in black American life.”
For more, visit The Right Opinion.
Economist Walter E. Williams: “During President Barack Obama’s years in office, the number of people receiving food stamps has skyrocketed by 39 percent. … Government handouts probably go a long way toward explaining the unprecedented number of Americans, close to 90 million, who are no longer looking for work. This is all a part of the progressive agenda to hook Americans, particularly black Americans, on government handouts. In future elections, they will be able to claim that anyone who campaigns on cutting taxing and spending is a racist. … When black Americans finally recognize the harm of the progressive agenda, I’m betting they will be the nation’s most conservative people, for who else has been harmed by progressivism as much?”
Minister Jonathan Mayhew (1720-1766): “Civil tyranny is usually small in its beginning, like ‘the drop in a bucket,’ till at length, like a mighty torrent of raging waves of the sea, it bears down all before it and deluges whole countries and empires.”
NBC’s David Gregory: “Do Americans, specifically Democratic voters, do they want to see a third Obama term or would they like to see the restoration of the Bill Clinton era?”
The BIG Lie
New York Times columnist Edward Wyatt: “The Obama administration has poured billions of dollars into expanding the reach of the Internet, and nearly 98 percent of American homes now have access to some form of high-speed broadband. But tens of millions of people are still on the sidelines of the digital revolution.”
Newsbusters' Seton Motley replied, “Yes, the private sector had NOTHING to do with that. It was all due to President Barack Obama’s beneficence – and the glorious power of big government. Like all good Leftists, the Times is not allowing the facts to get in the way of a good beating.”
This Week’s ‘Braying Jenny’ Award
DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano: “Because of the action we have undertaken through the DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] process, thousands of hardworking young people who are American in every way but a piece of paper now have the ability to continue their educations and contribute to their communities.”
The Obama administration has flouted Rule of Law by offering amnesty to some illegal aliens without the consent of Congress.
Comedian Argus Hamilton: “Egypt spiraled out of control as Muslim Brotherhood rioters sacked Coptic Christian churches and looted stores. This time the White House didn’t blame it on an ant-Muslim video. This uprising has Muslim outrage over a rodeo clown written all over it.”
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team