Progressives are wrong about the essence of the Constitution

Constitution Parchmentby George F. Will

In a 2006 interview, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer said the Constitution is “basically about” one word — “democracy” — that appears in neither that document nor the Declaration of Independence. Democracy is America’s way of allocating political power. The Constitution, however, was adopted to confine that power in order to “secure the blessings of” that which simultaneously justifies and limits democratic government — natural liberty.

The fundamental division in U.S. politics is between those who take their bearings from the individual’s right to a capacious, indeed indefinite, realm of freedom, and those whose fundamental value is the right of the majority to have its way in making rules about which specified liberties shall be respected. [Read more...]

Those ‘rogue’ agents

IRS SCANDALRemember when Lois Lerner, in answering a planted question at an American Bar Association conference, admitted the IRS had targeted conservative groups but tried to pass it off as the work of rogue agents — “our line people in Cincinnati”?

Today we know there were indeed federal agents involved. But they weren’t rogue, and they weren’t confined to IRS workers in Cincinnati. Thanks to a Freedom of Information request by Judicial Watch, we now have an e-mail Lerner sent to colleagues noting the Department of Justice was looking into criminal prosecutions of these tax-exempt groups.

We know something else, too. These investigations into conservative organizations were frequently instigated by politicians. [Read more...]

IRS Partisan Activity – Workers Accused of Soliciting Obama Votes

obamagear_obama_IRS_campaign_partisanIRS workers in several offices have been openly supporting President Obama, including by donning pro-Obama paraphernalia and urging callers to reelect the president in 2012, according to allegations contained in a new government watchdog report.

A report by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, released Wednesday, cited accusations that workers at a Dallas IRS office may have violated federal law by wearing pro-Obama items like shirts, stickers and buttons. The Hatch Act forbids Executive Branch workers from engaging in partisan political activity. [Read more...]

The IRS Scandal’s Smoking Gun

obama-lois-lerner-fifth-amendment-IRSA suspicious email could confirm Lois Lerner’s culpability in recent IRS abuses.

by Peter Roff

The so-called “smoking gun” proving the Internal Revenue Service played politics with conservative groups seeking official non-profit, social welfare status over the last several years may finally have been found.

In a rash of documents provided under the Freedom of Information Act to Judicial Watch, a non-partisan public interest law group, is an April 2013 email written by David Fish, acting manager of IRS Exempt Organizations Technical Guidance and Quality Assurance and sent to, among others, former IRS Director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner. It was part of a thread discussing a recent U.S. Senate hearing on the potential for the abuse of the 501(c)(4) tax status by organizations intervening inappropriately or improperly in candidate elections. [Read more...]

Donald Rumsfeld’s Annual Letter to the IRS

taxes_irs_tax code_

“That I and most Americans have no idea whether our tax returns are accurate ought to tell us something.” – Donald Rumsfeld

The Case Against Higher Taxes

 

While the 2000s may have been a lost decade for the American dream, a revival of our model’s advantages is still a real, worth-desiring possibility.

Reagan-tax-cuts2by Ross Douthat

Because it was tax day recently, because he mentions me and because I’m easily provoked, below the quote you’ll find three rejoinders to Jonathan Cohn’s admirably forthright argument that American society would be much better off if most of us were writing larger considerably larger checks to Uncle Sam:

Maybe you don’t like tax day … [because] it reminds you of how high taxes are—and you think that, because of those high taxes, the economy grows more slowly. That would mean fewer jobs and less pay for you—and the country as a whole. It’s not a crazy argument … But the evidence for this point of view turns out to be thinner than you’ve probably heard. Relative to other countries, tax rates in the U.S. are relatively low, even when you throw in local and state taxes and add them to federal levies. Overall, according to the Tax Policy Center and Center on Budget and Policy Priorities … taxes in the U.S. are among the lowest in the developed world. The average for countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, an organization of rich countries, is higher. And in countries like Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands countries, the average is much higher. In those nations, taxes account for more than half of total national income. [Read more...]

A Sadder and Poorer Tax Day

obama_taxesObama’s tax increases have diminished America’s spirit and prosperity.

by Grover Norquist

With the arrival and passing of yet another April 15th Tax Day, the federal government will consume 20.5 percent of America’s total income this year. It’s not as bad as in France or Greece, but somewhat worse than when we formed these United States. When we were Colonies under the British, the average tax burden on American colonists was 2 percent. That was considered unbearable, and the revolution was on.

There has been some slippage over the years. The 16th Amendment allowing the income tax opened the door to truly European, supersized government. [Read more...]

IRS Ringleader Lerner Mentioned Working for Obama Campaign Offshoot

Lois Lerner IRSby Bernie Becker

Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of the agency’s Tea Party controversy, mentioned potentially getting a job at an offshoot of President Obama’s campaign, according to newly released documents.

Lerner, discussing Organizing for Action with colleagues on email in 2013, said “Oh–maybe I can get the DC office job!” [Read more...]

IRS Secretly Passed Info about Targeted Group to House Democrats

obama-irsDemocratic Rep. Cummings previously denied IRS contact. But emails now show his denials were false. Why all the false and misleading statements, if there is not a smidgen of corruption here? 

by CJ Ciaramella

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sent tax documents on a targeted conservative group to Democratic staff on the House Oversight Committee, newly released emails show, despite previous denials by ranking Oversight Democrat Elijah Cummings (D., Md.) that such contact had occurred.

Emails released by the GOP-led Oversight Committee show Democratic staff requested information from the IRS’ tax-exempt division on True The Vote, a conservative group that monitors polling places for voter fraud. [Read more...]

The Liberal Gulag

Anger 2Liberal fascism on display

By Kevin D. Williamson

The word “liberal” has taken a beating over the last few days: A Mozilla executive was hounded out of his position at the firm he co-founded by left-wing campaigners resolved to punish him for having made a donation to a successful California ballot initiative that defined marriage in traditional terms; Adam Weinstein, whose downwardly mobile credibility has taken him from ABC to Gawker, called for literally imprisoning people with the wrong views about global warming, writing, “Those malcontents must be punished and stopped”; Mr. Weinstein himself was simply forwarding a dumbed-down-enough-for-Gawker version of the arguments of philosophy professor Lawrence Torcello; Katherine Timpf, a reporter for Campus Reform, faced a human barricade to keep her from asking questions of those attending a feminist leadership conference, whose organizers informed her that the group was “inclusive” and therefore she was “not welcome here”; Charles Murray, one of the most important social scientists of his generation, was denounced as a “known white supremacist” by Texas Democrats for holding heterodox views about education policy; national Democrats spent the week arguing for the anti-free-speech side of a landmark First Amendment case and the anti-religious-freedom side of a case involving the Religious Freedom Restoration Act; Lois Lerner, the Left’s best friend at the IRS, faces contempt charges related to her role in the Democrats’ coopting the IRS as a weapon against their political enemies; Harry Reid, a liberal champion of campaign-finance reform, was caught channeling tens of thousands of dollars to his granddaughter while conspicuously omitting her surname, which is also his surname, from official documents, cloaking the transaction, while one of his California colleagues, a liberal champion of gun control, was indicted on charges of running guns to an organized-crime syndicate.  [Read more...]

Fast-Tracking the Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger

Obama SolyndraHow far will the Obama Administration push Crony Capitalism?

by Kerri Toloczko

For several years, a large, modern and expensive building stood abandoned on Kato Road in Fremont, California; the quintessential monument to the deleterious effect crony capitalism has on local environments and taxpayers’ wallets.

In March of 2009, the Department of Energy announced it was providing Solyndra, a failing California solar panel firm, with a $536 million “loan” funded through the White House stimulus plan.  By September of 2011, Solyndra was bankrupt, its high-tech corporate office abandoned, and a toxic mess left behind in one of its manufacturing facilities for the people of California to clean up.1 [Read more...]

Obama looks to close wage gap while paying female staffers less than men

money income inequalityby Caroline May

President Barack Obama is planning to sign two new executive actions aimed at narrowing the wage gap between men and women Tuesday, even as the Obama White House pays its female staffers less than men.

The first executive action will be an order banning federal contractors from retaliation against employees who disclose or ask about their wages, according to reports. His other executive action will require federal contractors to submit data to the government about their employees compensation by sex and race. [Read more...]

A Republican Plan for Healthcare Reform

bobby jindalPresident Obama has repeated claimed that the Republicans have only voted to repeal ObamaCare, but have no ideas or proposals of their own. This was, and is, entirely false – just like when Obama said, “If you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan.”  You may ask why does he so consistently say demonstrably false things? Because the media won’t hold him accountable.  He does it because he can. Here’s just one of the many Republican plans for healthcare reform. 

by Philip Klein

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal came to Washington on Wednesday with a message to those arguing that conservatives would have to operate within the policy framework created by President Obama’s health care law: “I absolutely do not think we can give up the fight to repeal Obamacare.”

The potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate was in town to promote a new health care plan developed by his America Next policy group that would not only repeal Obamacare in its entirety, but also make sweeping changes to the system that existed prior to the law’s implementation.

Under Jindal’s proposal, Obamacare would be replaced with a system that equalizes the tax treatment of health insurance. Instead of merely giving tax advantages to those who obtain insurance through their employers, the Jindal plan would create a standard deduction for health insurance for all taxpayers. [Read more...]

Obama boasts 7.1 Million have signed up for Obamacare – but independent study shows just 858,000 newly insured Americans have purchased insurance

Obamacare Hurt• President took a major victory lap and took political shots at Republicans, but ignored shortcomings in his administration’s official numbers.

• Press secretary Jay Carney will only say ‘we’re aggregating a lot of data’ when asked how many enrollees have paid for coverage.

• Carney dodged questions about damning study that showed very few Obamacare customers were uninsured before the law took effect.

• Percentages from a RAND Corporation study suggest barely 858,000 previously uninsured Americans have enrolled and paid premiums.

 

by David Martosko

A triumphant President Barack Obama declared Tuesday his signature medical insurance overhaul a success, saying it has made America’s health care system ‘a lot better’ in a Rose Garden press conference.

But buried in the 7.1 million enrollments he announced in a heavily staged appearance is a more unsettling reality.

Numbers from a RAND Corporation study that has been kept under wraps suggest that barely 858,000 previously uninsured Americans – nowhere near 7.1 million – have paid for new policies and joined the ranks of the insured by Monday night.

Others were already insured, including millions who lost coverage when their existing policies were suddenly cancelled because they didn’t meet Obamacare’s strict minimum requirements. [Read more...]

ObamaCare: Rhetoric Aside, It Is Still Falling Well Short

ObamaCare Cancelled Policiesby James C. Capretta

The Obamacare open-enrollment season (supposedly) closed yesterday, so it is good time to step back and assess where things stand with the law and its first-year implementation.

Interestingly, Obamacare remains something of a Rorschach test for journalists and health-policy analysts. Looking at the same set of facts, two observers can reach very different conclusions.

For instance, Noam Levey of the Los Angeles Times writes that Obamacare “has spurred the largest expansion in health coverage in America in half a century.”

Meanwhile, health consultant Howard J. Peterson, writing at the Philadelphia Inquirer news site, says “the first four years of Obamacare has led to solving about 10 percent of the problem of uninsured citizens.” He expects no further improvement in the coming years.

So which is it? Is Obamacare on track to be an historic achievement? Or is it falling well short of the lofty goals set for it by the administration? [Read more...]

Making up good news about Obamacare

ObamaCare Costs Pork

ObamaCare Costs Pork

by Marc A. Thiessen

The Obama administration is celebrating that it has achieved its (downwardly revised) goal of signing up more than 6 million Americans for Obamacare by 11:59 p.m. March 31. Mission accomplished!

Not quite. The administration has not revealed how many of those 6 million people have paid their premiums. If you have not paid, you have not actually “enrolled.” It’s like putting merchandise in your Amazon cart but never clicking “buy.”

Besides, the number that matters is not how many Americans signed up for Obamacare but rather how many previously uninsuredAmericans signed up for Obamacare. By that standard, Obamacare may be headed for an epic failure.

Recall that between 5 million and 6 million Americans lost their health plans because of Obamacare last fall. If the administration now succeeds in signing up 5 million to 6 million previously insured Americans, it will have achieved . . . nothing. Breaking even is no great accomplishment. [Read more...]

They Blew Up the Healthcare System for This?

obamacare tire mudby Byron York

The Los Angeles Times, citing studies and information the Obama administration most certainly knows about but won’t release, reports that 9.5 million previously uninsured people now have health coverage because of Obamacare. Look for that 9.5 million, or perhaps a rounded-up 10 million, to be come the talking point for Obamacare supporters in coming days.

The Times says the numbers break down like this: 4.5 million previously uninsured people are now on Medicaid; 3 million previously uninsured young people are now covered because of a provision that allows them to stay on their parents’ policies until age 26; and 2 million previously uninsured people have purchased coverage on the Obamacare exchanges. In all, it is “the largest expansion in health coverage in America in half a century,” according to the Times. [Read more...]

Coalition Letter Opposing Giving Control of the Internet to UN-like Group

Coalition Ltr 032014 [Read more...]

Statement of George Landrith on Senate Finance Committee’s Tax Increase Negotiations

tax-cut-7-16-10Statement of Frontiers of Freedom President, George Landrith, on Senate Finance Committee’s work on tax code “extenders”:

Our corporate tax rates are far too high. The rate kills investment and job creation and it makes us less competitive with other nations who have had the good sense to lower their tax rates. Germany has cut its rates almost in half in the last 25 years. Socialist Sweden has cut its by more than one half. And Ireland has cut its rates by almost 75%. We, on the other hand, have raised our corporate tax rates over that time period — leaving us with the highest rates in the industrialized world.

It is no coincidence that our unemployment rate is historically high and our labor participation rate is historically low. It is also no coincidence that our economic growth rate is painfully slow and far too low.

We realize that there will not be any meaningful tax reform or lowering of the tax rates this year.  But the idea that the Senate Finance Committee might consider extending some legitimate tax deductions for manufacturing that actually make profits and employ people, but killing others means that the Senate plans to raise taxes on some american corporations at a time when the economy is weak, employment numbers are bad and taxes are already too high. This is bad policy! [Read more...]

Why Can’t the Left Govern?

Leadership AuthoritarianThe Left can win elections. Why can’t it run a government?

by Daniel Henninger

Surveying the fall in support for the governments of Barack Obama, New York City’s progressive Mayor Bill de Blasio and France’s Socialist President François Hollande, a diagnosis of the current crisis begins to emerge: The political left can win elections but it’s unable to govern.

Once in office, the left stumbles from fiasco to fiasco. ObamaCare, enacted without a single vote from the opposition party, is an impossible labyrinth of endless complexity. Bill de Blasio’s war on charter schools degenerated into an unseemly attack on poor New York minority children. François Hollande’s first act in 2012, like a character in a medieval fable, was to order that more tax revenue be squeezed from the French turnips.

Mr. Obama’s approval rating is about 43%, Mr. de Blasio’s has sunk to 45% after just two months in office, and Mr. Hollande hit the lowest approvals ever recorded in the modern French presidency. The left inevitably says their leaders failed them. The failure looks self-inflicted. [Read more...]