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Unemployed by ObamaCare

ObamaCare Sink HoleThree new Fed surveys highlight damage to the labor market.

Wall Street Journal Editorial

Most of the political class seems to have decided that ObamaCare is working well enough, the opposition is fading, and the subsidies and regulation are settling in as the latest wing of the entitlement state. This flight from reality can’t last forever, especially as the evidence continues to pile up that the law is harming the labor market.

On Thursday the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia reported the results of a special business survey on the Affordable Care Act and its influence on employment, compensation and benefits. Liberals claim ObamaCare is of little consequence to jobs, but the Philly Fed went to the source and asked employers qualitative questions about how they are responding in practice. [Read more...]

Free Speech Needs No Amending

Senate Democrats would restrict fundamental First Amendment rights in an election-year stunt

FreeSpeech_first amendmentAs election season enters full swing, Senate Democrats are taking the opportunity to garner votes by attempting to rewrite the Bill of Rights, something that hasn’t been done since those rights were enshrined. They want to ask the nation to change the First Amendment so that it protects political speech only up to a point.

The timing is right. Nationally eight Senate races have already received more than $10 million each in outside spending, according to the Federal Election Commission. In Michigan, huge amounts of outside money have flooded into the race between Rep. Gary Peters and former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land. [Read more...]

Covering for the IRS

New details on the Administration’s spin and stall strategy.

Wall Street Journal

IRS scandal_lost emails_lois lernerThe IRS targeting of conservative groups has now become a story about the cover-up. More than a year after the scandal became public, the most transparent Administration in history has done everything in its power to spin the story, stymie Congressional investigators and run out the clock.

Take the latest moment of hilarity, er, clarity from the Justice Department, in which a communications aide to Attorney General Eric Holder mistakenly called Republicans on the HouseOversight and Government Reform Committee when he meant to call Democrats. The aide, Brian Fallon, told staffers he was calling to see if they could leak information to friendly reporters and give the Justice Department a chance to comment before the majority got their hands on it. [Read more...]

How to Transition from Obamacare to Real Health Care Reform

 by James C. Capretta and Yuval Levin     •     Weekly Standard

Obamacare-DelayObamacare—or at least the version of it that the president and his advisers currently think they can get away with putting into place—has been upending arrangements and reshuffling the deck in the health system since the beginning of the year. That’s when the new insurance rules, subsidies, and optional state Medicaid expansions went into effect. The law’s defenders say the changes that have been set in motion are irreversible, in large part because several million people are now covered by insurance plans sold through the exchanges, and a few million more are enrolled in Medicaid as a result of Obamacare. President Obama has stated repeatedly that these developments should effectively shut the door on further debate over the matter. [Read more...]

Large Government out of Place in a Society based on Small Technology

by Michael Barone    •    Washington Examiner

big government 1“Twentieth-century technology,” writes economic historian Joel Mokyr in the Manhattan Institute’s excellent City Journal, “was primarily about ‘large’ things.”

Large in physical size, that is. Mokyr’s examples include the diesel engine and the gas turbine, shipping containers, communications satellites launched by giant rockets, oil-drilling platforms, massive power stations, giant steel mills and huge airplanes.

Most are familiar sights today, but if we try to see them with the eyes of someone in 1914, they are awe-inspiring. This summer, I drove past the ruins of Henry Ford’s Highland Park plant, the largest manufacturing plant in the world when it opened in 1910. There, Ford set up the first auto assembly line and in 1914, the same year Europe went to war, started paying his workers $5 a day. [Read more...]

DOJ Working with Rep. Elijah Cummings to Protect the IRS

by Editorial Board   •   Investor’s Business Daily

Eye of Sauron IRSAn aide to the attorney general accidentally calls the office of the House Oversight Committee chairman, asking for help in spinning the defense of the agency whose head just said they obey the law when they can.

We have commented many times of the all-too-cozy relationship between the IRS and Democratic members of the House and Senate, with members writing to the agency demanding that specific conservative groups and political action committees they find particularly irritating be subject to the “special scrutiny” that the Tea Party and other conservative and religious groups were subjected to in the ongoing scandal.

Of particular interest to us has been Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., ranking member on Rep. Darrell Issa’s House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, who has made every effort to keep the committee from finding out the true extent of IRS corruption and abuse of power in its targeting of conservatives.

As we’ve noted, emails released by Issa, a California Republican, show that Cummings’ Democratic staff had requested information from the IRS’ tax-exempt division, the one headed by Lois Lerner, on True the Vote, a conservative group that monitors polling places for voter fraud and supports the use of voter IDs, something that Cummings opposes. [Read more...]

Harry Reid’s Peculiar Priorities

by Mark Pfeifle     •     RealClearPolitics

harry-reidThe United States Senate should have a busy schedule when it comes back into session this week. Atrocities in the Middle East and the Ukraine, a stagnant economy, a 2015 budget bill and potential government shutdown—there’s no shortage of pressing topics for the world’s greatest deliberative body to debate and discuss.

But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has a different to-do list. His first order of business is a constitutional amendment that would all but repeal the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech.

The Senate will vote this week on Senator Tom Udall’s (D-NM) constitutional amendment that would give Congress unlimited power to regulate—and control—how individual Americans spend money while speaking out about politicians and government. [Read more...]

The Myth of ObamaCare’s Affordability

The law’s perverse incentives will have the nation working fewer hours, and working those hours less productively.

By Casey B. Mulligan     •     Wall Street Journal

obamacare costsWhether the Affordable Care Act lives up to its name depends on how, or whether, you consider its consequences for the wider economy.

Millions of people pay a significant portion of their income for health insurance so they and their families can get good health care when they need it. The magnitude of their sacrifices demonstrates the importance that people ascribe to health care.

The Affordable Care Act attempts to help low- and middle-income families avoid some of the tough sacrifices that would be necessary to purchase health insurance without assistance. But no program can change the fundamental reality that society itself has to make sacrifices in order to deliver health care to more people. [Read more...]

America’s New Class System

“Clerisy” class does the bidding of tech oligarchs to detriment of the middle class.

by Glenn Harlan Reynolds     •     USAToday

Obama-Class-WarfareWe’ve heard a lot of election-year class warfare talk, from makers vs. takers to the 1% vs. the 99%. But Joel Kotkin’s important new book, The New Class Conflict, suggests that America’s real class problems are deeper, and more damaging, than election rhetoric.

Traditionally, America has been thought of as a place of great mobility — one where anyone can conceivably grow up to be president, regardless of background. This has never been entirely true, of course. Most of our presidents have come from reasonably well-off backgrounds, and even Barack Obama, a barrier-breaker in some ways, came from an affluent background and enjoyed an expensive private-school upbringing. But the problem Kotkin describes goes beyond shots at the White House. [Read more...]

Frontiers of Freedom Supports H.R. 3522 the “Employee Health Care Protection Act”

obamacare doctor medicineOn Wednesday, September 10th, the House of Representatives is expected to take up the Employee Health Care Protection Act (H.R. 3522). If enacted, the legislation would allow American workers to keep their health plans, even if it does not meet the minimum requirements artificially imposed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Regarding the proposed legislation, Frontiers of Freedom President George Landrith remarked:

“The Employee Health Care Protection Act would allow American workers to keep their health care plan if they like it, a promise that President Obama made himself when selling Obamacare. Unfortunately he has broken that promise. I encourage representatives from both parties to support this commonsense piece of legislation which will lower costs, expand access to healthcare and increase wages for American workers.”

Why was Lois Lerner’s Blackberry was wiped clean?

by  T. Becket Adams    •   Washington Examiner

IRS scandal_lost emails_lois lernerAs lawmakers return to Washington to continue the search for thousands of missing subpoenaed emails related to the Internal Revenue Service’s alleged targeting of conservative groups, questions abound.

Among the most pressing is the fact that a Blackberry belonging to Lois Lerner, a former official at the center of the scandal, was wiped clean shortly after investigators started asking questions about her alleged role in the targeting of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.

Despite the fact that this revelation first came to light in August, the IRS has yet explain why this was done. [Read more...]

ObamaCare Will Still Come Back to Haunt Liberals

by Jonathan S. Tobin     •     Commentary Magazine

obamacare costsAfter a summer of discontent and failure for the Obama administration that is leading into a fall campaign that may cost the Democrats control of the Senate, liberal pundits still have one thing to celebrate. In contrast to predictions from many conservatives last winter, it appears that ObamaCare isn’t an issue that is dominating the midterm elections. But while Democrats are trying to tell themselves that this means the debate about it is over, as even the New York Times conceded in an article today, the controversy over its impact will return with a vengeance next year.

As the Times reports, the administration is bracing for the fact that the next open enrollment period may be even more traumatic than the first one. Huge price increases in premiums are expected. As Kevin Counihan, the man recently named to head the federal exchanges, told the newspaper, “Part of me thinks that this year is going to make last year look like the good old days.” [Read more...]

Harry Reid’s anti-Koch crusade eats up precious Senate time

by Byron York     •     Washington Examiner

Harry ReidIf you’re sick of cynicism in politics, you might want to avert your eyes from the Senate for the next few weeks.

There’s a lot lawmakers need to do when the Senate returns from its August recess Sept. 9. To take just one example, the government is set to run out of money by the end of the month, and senators must pass a measure to keep funding going and avoid a shutdown.

But the Senate will have almost no time to do anything. “Following the August recess, we’re going to be here for two weeks and two days,” Majority Leader Harry Reid told colleagues before the break, according to an account in The Hill. “That’s not a lot of time for the workload we have to do.” [Read more...]

The President Who Is Uninterested in Other People

by Michael Barone     •     RealClearPolitics

Obama SmirkSome time ago I contrasted the reaction a conservative would get if he were in the same room with the two most consequential politicians of the 1990s, Bill Clinton and Rudy Giuliani.

If you were in a room with Bill Clinton, he would discover the one issue out of 100 on which you agreed; he would probe you with questions, comments, suggestions; and he would tell you that you enabled him to understand it far better than he ever had before.

If you were in a room with Rudy Giuliani, he would discover the one issue out of 100 on which you disagreed; he would ask pointed questions and pepper you with objections; he would tell you that you are wrong on the facts and wrong on the law, and that you needed to admit you were utterly mistaken. [Read more...]

Coverup: More IRS & Administration Lies

New York Post Editorial Board

IRS scandal_lost emails_lois lernerSome 15 months after Americans learned about the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups, we still have no clue how such an abuse was allowed to happen. And every day, the story only gets murkier.

This week, for instance, a government watchdog group, Judicial Watch, said administration officials admitted that all the “missing” e-mails belonging to Lois Lerner (the woman at the heart of the scandal) had been backed up after all — as part of a practice to back up all the government’s e-mails.

No government official had said anything like that before.

As House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., describes it, these reports are another part of “what’s emerging to be just an amazing sequence of cover-up, delay, denial. ” [Read more...]