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Does Obama Believe What He Says Anymore?

State_of_Union

by Ron Fournier     *     NationalJournal

President Obama ended his State of the Union address where he started his political ascent—offering to be a leader who produces can-do bipartisanship in a divided, dysfunctional capital.

“Imagine if we broke out of these tired old patterns,” he told a joint session of Congress on Tuesday. “Imagine if we did something different.”

Yes, imagine if rather than empty promises, the president could report two-party progress on big issues like immigration, climate change, social mobility, and the debt and deficit. [Read more...]

Loretta Lynch Nomination Deserves Scrutiny

Lynch Coalition LogoDear Mr. Chairman:

We write to you today to express our concerns that Loretta Lynch, the President’s nominee for attorney general of the United States, and prosecutors in her employ in the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, may have violated the rights of crime victims while making plea deals with defendants in so-called “white collar” cases. We believe that this is emblematic of a larger problem – to wit, the failure of the executive branch to enforce laws as written, and indeed the deliberate circumvention of the laws as written.

The issue is of respect for the law. For example, under federal sentencing law, specifically the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act, restitution is “mandatory” as to defendants who are sentenced for certain designated crimes. The statute, 18 U.S.C. 3663A(a)(1) begins, “Notwithstanding any other provision of law….” a defendant who is convicted of certain crimes must have a sentence of restitution imposed. In Dolan v. United States, 560 U.S. 605, the Supreme Court held in 2010 that sentencing errors or omissions that result in a failure to award restitution may later be corrected, so holding because Congress made its intent clear when it used that language, “Notwithstanding any other provision of law.”  But it appears to be the pattern and practice in the Eastern District to allow cooperators to keep the money they’ve pled guilty to stealing, in exchange for “good” cooperation. [Read more...]

Obama Blows Smoke

by Fred Barnes     •     The Weekly Standard

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in WashingtonWe know that supply-side economics emphasizes serious cuts in tax rates and Keynesianism relies on massive amounts of government spending. But how in the world does “middle class economics” work? After President Obama cited it repeatedly in State of the Union speech, I waited and waited for him to explain how it works. He never did.

Instead, he confused a cause with a result. Middle class economics, he said, “is the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.” That’s a nice sentiment, but it’s not an economic policy. [Read more...]

Planning the Next Obamacare Offensive

Republicans recently mapped out possible moves in light of a Supreme Court case on deck this summer.

By John Fund     •     National Review Online

obamacare-2It’s a bit surprising that Jay Leno showed up last week as the entertainment at the first joint Senate–House Republican congressional retreat in decades. While Leno, the 64-year-old former host of NBC’s Tonight Show, was scrupulously non-partisan in his jibes and jabs, he added a touch of Hollywood flash to the serious discussions on budgets and bills. His favorite jokes involved Obamacare: “I’m telling you this Obamacare is getting serious and painful. I went in for a prostate exam the other day, and it was conducted by a government drone.”

If any topic dominated the three-day congressional retreat (held in America’s “Chocolate City” of Hershey, Pa.), it was indeed Obamacare — specifically, how both houses of Congress should handle a consistently unpopular program that President Obama nonetheless intends to preserve as a crowning legacy of his administration. [Read more...]

Shunning ObamaCare

Of my company’s 5,453 eligible employees, only 420 actually enrolled. The other 5,033 opted to pay a penalty.

by Andy Puzder     •     The Wall Street Journal

ObamaCare Side EffectsAmong the Affordable Care Act’s many economic and political disruptions, the law has unintentionally encouraged employers to convert full-time jobs into part-time jobs. ObamaCare mandates that employers offer health insurance to employees who work more than 30 hours a week, or pay a penalty up to $3,000 an employee. But employers have no such obligation for employees who work less than 30 hours a week, making part-time employment less costly.

It’s a simple fact: Make something more expensive and people will use less of it; make something less expensive and they will use more of it. So naturally employee hours have been reduced, particularly in the retail segment, which has lowered wages and reduced consumer spending. [Read more...]

4 Reasons We Shouldn’t Be Surprised Obama Snubbed Paris

by Mollie Hemingway     •     The Federalist

Smug-ObamaOn Sunday, millions of people rallied in France in a show of unity for Western political freedoms and against Islamist extremism. World leaders from dozens of other countries came to Paris, the site of the largest rally, in a show of solidarity and strength in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo slaughter and the murderous siege of a Kosher supermarket. The United States didn’t send a high-ranking delegation and the absence was noted by American media and concerned critics of the Obama administration.

Some simply wanted the United States to formally acknowledge the shock and horror France dealt with last week, as well as our shared efforts in the fight for liberty. Others hoped a strong U.S. presence would indicate our strong adherence to democratic values and, as Peggy Noonan put it, “to demonstrate the shared understanding that the massacre may amount to a tipping point, whereby those who protect and put forward Western political values will insist upon them in their sphere and ask their Muslim fellow citizens to walk side by side with them in shared public commitment.” [Read more...]

Liar’s Remorse and Obamacare

Democrats have second thoughts about Obamacare

by William Voegeli     •      The Weekly Standard

Obamacare fraud

In the Time magazine issue published after the 2008 election—whose cover depicted Barack Obama as Franklin Roosevelt—Peter Beinart anticipated a new “era of liberal hegemony” that would last until “Sasha and Malia have kids.”

President Obama is not yet a grandfather, but his era of liberal hegemony only appears to have lasted months, not decades. Photoshopping gave Obama the pince-nez and cigarette holder that were FDR’s trademarks but could not conjure the startling congressional majorities of the 1930s. The Depression and New Deal left Republicans discredited, irrelevant, and shattered. GOP House and Senate majorities of 62 percent and 58 percent, respectively, after the 1928 election shrank to caucuses of 20 percent and 17 percent after 1936. Under Obama the trajectory has been the opposite: Republicans have gone from 41 percent of the House seats after the 2008 election to 57 percent after 2014 and from 40 senators to 54. [Read more...]

Executive Dysfunction

President Obama has done next to nothing to build confidence in government.

by James Bennet     •     The Atlantic

Obama defeatedIt’s happened by this point in every modern two-term presidency: If we weren’t sick of the guy to start with, we certainly are by now. What once seemed like roguish charm, or bracing surety, or nuanced intelligence, has curdled into self-indulgence, or arrogance, or passivity. Voters punish the president in the midterms; congressmen investigate him; political journalists, eager to cultivate sources in the coming campaigns, save all their nice adjectives for the presidents-in-waiting, and their aides. [Read more...]

Harvard Faculty Crimson Over Obamacare-Influenced Health Plan Changes

Harvard profs helped design Obamacare—and now that the reform is hitting university health plans, their colleagues are furious.

John Allen Gay     •     The National Interest

Obamacare NeedleWilliam F. Buckley famously proclaimed that he’d “rather be governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than by the two thousand people on the faculty of Harvard University.” Buckley’s point was that the common man can be wiser, for he can’t stray far from common sense without suffering, while the intellectual is in danger of burying his common sense under abstract theories and well-footnoted daydreams.

But sometimes even the thickest clouds of pure reason can’t mask reality forever. Sometimes the elite cannot insulate themselves from the common man’s reality. They get a rude awakening, and suddenly the common man and his common sense sound a lot more sensible. The two thousand people on the faculty of Harvard, to adapt Buckley’s phrase, suddenly start to talk a lot like the first two thousand names in the Boston phone book. [Read more...]

Obamacare Architects Knew Affordable Care Act Wouldn’t Be Affordable

IBD Editorials     •     Investors.com

ObamaCare Gruber LiesObamaCare was sold as a means to making health care more affordable. It even makes that claim in its official name. But its creators knew it wouldn’t, and they forced the idea into law anyway.

Obama adviser Jonathan Gruber seems to be carving out a new career as the go-to guy for those of us who were and still are opposed to a government takeover of the health care sector.

Statements he made while the Democrats were crafting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act show to what depths they sank to deceive the public to get the bill passed. [Read more...]

Nylons for Nothing in Cuba

by Charles Krauthammer     •     Washington Post

cuba1There’s an old Cold War joke — pre-pantyhose — that to defeat communism we should empty our B-52 bombers of nuclear weapons and instead drop nylons over the Soviet Union. Flood the Russians with the soft consumer culture of capitalism, seduce them with Western contact and commerce, love-bomb them into freedom.

We did win the Cold War, but differently. We contained, constrained, squeezed and eventually exhausted the Soviets into giving up. The dissidents inside subsequently told us how much they were sustained by our support for them and our implacable pressure on their oppressors. [Read more...]

Obamacare’s Annus Horribilis

by Michelle Malkin     •     RealClearPolitics

 

obamacare-everyone-hatesThere’s no candy coating the truth: Obamacare has had a very terrible, horrible, crappy, none-too-happy year. What it really means is that the victims of Obamacare — taxpayers, health care consumers, health care providers, employers and employees — have had a hellish, nightmarish 2014.

Let’s start with premiums. President Candy Land promised that he’d “lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year.” But premiums for people in the individual market for health insurance have spiked over the last year. In fact, Forbes health policy journalist Avik Roy and the Manhattan Institute analyzed 3,137 counties and found that individual market [Read more...]

Obama’s Year In Review

ISIS, Ferguson, the Senate, Ukraine, Ebola, border kids. Really, this was a pretty awful sixth year for the president. Not that he’s acting like it.

by James Oliphant     •     National Journal

Smug-ObamaYou can make a compelling case that 2014 was the worst year for President Obama since, well, the year before. And, in fact, the president spent much of this year trying to recover from some body blows he took in the final months of 2013, when, in short order, Congress rebuffed him on Syria and the federal health care exchange imploded.

Those setbacks ate away at Obama’s public support. According to Gallup, the president began 2014 with a 41 percent approval rating, and he’s ending it a tick or two higher. He’s also ending the year as a certified lame duck, facing two final years with a hostile Congress and the political conversation centering around the likes of Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, and Rand Paul. [Read more...]

Obama’s Executive Memoranda Highlights Constitutional Crisis

by Jonathan S. Tobin     •     Commentary

obama-legislation executive orderWhen conservatives protested President Obama’s attempt to go around the Constitution and rule by executive orders rather than with the consent of Congress, his defenders had a ready answer. While they insisted that Obama’s fiat granting amnesty to five million illegal immigrants did not exceed his authority, they also countered by saying that the president had actually issued far fewer such executive orders than that of President Bush. But, as USA Today noted last week, focusing only on executive orders while ignoring the far more numerous executive memoranda issued by this administration that have the same effect as law, the press and the public have vastly underestimated the extent of how far he has stretched the boundaries of executive power. If anything, this president’s effort to create a one-man government may have gone farther than we thought. [Read more...]

At 40, the Laffer Curve Still Looks Good

by Stephen Moore     •     The Washington Post

800px-Laffer-Curve.svgIt was 40 years ago this month that two of President Gerald Ford’s top White House advisers, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld, gathered for a steak dinner at the Two Continents restaurant in Washington with Wall Street Journal editorial writer Jude Wanniski and Arthur Laffer, former chief economist at the Office of Management and Budget. The United States was in the grip of a gut-wrenching recession, and Laffer lectured to his dinner companions that the federal government’s 70 percent marginal tax rates were an economic toll booth slowing growth to a crawl.

To punctuate his point, he grabbed a pen and a cloth cocktail napkin and drew a chart showing that when tax rates get too high, they penalize work and investment and can actually lead to revenue losses for the government. Four years later, that napkin became immortalized as “the Laffer Curve” in an article Wanniski wrote for the Public Interest magazine. (Wanniski would later grouse only half-jokingly that he should have called it the Wanniski Curve.) [Read more...]