Archive for the ‘The Constitution’ Category
After reading this article, I’m wondering if I’m living the United States or in the former Soviet Union. Seriously, does anyone think that governments should be able to use eminent domain to take private property from a family to build biking hiking trails? That’s what Dakota County is attempting to do:
The county is seeking a “quick-take” condemnation, effectively a compelled sale, of four parcels of land in the park reserve, offering a total of about $2 million.
County commissioners voted in November to take the land, saying the properties are a key part of a planned trail and other features.
What’s more important: private property rights or giving government to take any piece of land to do with it whatever it wants to do? This is stealing. What’s especially appalling is the taking of the land to build biking and hiking trails. What’s worse is that Dakota County is attempting to steal this private property for a questionable project while offering the property owners settlements at far less than fair market value:
Aho said the county hasn’t shown enough progress on other planned improvements besides the trail to demonstrate a need for condemnation.
She also said the county’s offer for the land, $370,000, “drastically undervalued” assets like a marina and 1,000-plus feet of lakeshore.
After WWII, eminent domain was used to buy the land needed to build the interstate highway or other high priority pieces of infrastructure that led to great increases of wealth and prosperity to the masses. Since Kelo v. New London, eminent domain has been used to take property from private property owners and give it to government so it can create parks or bike trails.
What’s upsetting to me is that Dakota County thinks that the perceived wishes of the many are more important than the rights of the individual. They aren’t. First, the community’s wish list shouldn’t rate as a higher priority than a private property landowner’s rights. The thought that the landowner’s rights are getting set aside is disturbing enough. The thought that they’re getting set aside for something as frivolous as a community park is especially upsetting.
Next, it’s worth noting that special interest organizations are likely behind this taking. County commissioners don’t just wake up one morning and say to themselves ‘Hey, let’s create a new park.’ It isn’t a stretch to think that they’re approached by special interest organizations who have an agenda but who don’t live near the proposed takings.
Finally, check out the government’s arrogance:
“There’s a great need for this,” commissioner Kathleen Gaylord said at the meeting. “We do need to move forward. The board has come to the conclusion that it is time to move forward. This is a needed piece of property in order to complete our trail in the Spring Lake Park area and to provide the access to the park that our master plan has envisioned for decades. We’re just coming to the head now. It’s time to move forward.”
The board’s conclusion. The commissioners’ needs. The project’s vision. What’s appalling is that Kathy Gaylord and 5 other commissioners put the government’s wish list ahead of the private property owner’s rights. Apparently, Kathy Gaylord and the other slugs who voted to take this land don’t care about these families’ rights.
Anytime that government puts a higher priority on their projects than they put on individuals’ rights, our nation moves closer to authoritarian rule. That isn’t who we are as a nation.
We The People should reject this type of tyrannical government ASAP.
Technorati: Takings Clause, Fifth Amendment, Kelo v. New London, Constitution, Dakota County Commissioners, Kathleen Gaylord, Special Interests, Moscow on the Mississippi, Authoritarianism, Weaponized Government, We The People, Private Property, Private Property Rights, Life, Liberty and Property
This article should frighten Constitution-loving Americans across the political spectrum. Here’s why:
Schumer during remarks to the Center for American Progress argued that Tea Party groups have an unfair financial advantage over left-leaning groups because of the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, at one point even suggesting that President Barack Obama go around Congress to impose stricter campaign finance laws.
“It is clear that we will not pass anything legislatively as long as the House of Representatives is in Republican control, but there are many things that can be done administratively by the IRS and other government agencies — we must redouble those efforts immediately,” Schumer said.
“One of the great advantages the Tea Party has is the huge holes in our campaign finance laws created [by] the ill advised decision [Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission],” he added. “Obviously the Tea Party elites gained extraordinary influence by being able to funnel millions of dollars into campaigns with ads that distort the truth and attack government.”
First, it’s worth noting that Sen. Schumer’s speech is intellectually dishonest. Next, it calls into question whether he or the other signatories to his letter cherish the Constitution or whether they’re willing to sacrifice the Constitution for political expediency.
These questions are aimed specifically at Sen. Schumer and Sen. Franken:
- Do all political organizations have the right of free speech or do only some political organizations have First Amendment protections?
- If only some political organizations have First Amendment protection, who determines which political organizations have First Amendment protections and which political organizations don’t?
- Why do you think that the IRS is the right enforcer of who’s protected by the First Amendment?
- What part of the Constitution or the Bill of Rights can you cite that prohibits political speech for some organizations but protects poltiical speech for other organizations?
- Shouldn’t the Supreme Court be the final arbiter of what’s constitutional and what isn’t constitutional?
- Finally, why haven’t you demanded that the IRS be investigated for targeting citizens because of their political beliefs?
The reality is that Sen. Franken and Sen. Schumer don’t think in terms of what’s protected by the Bill of Rights or the Constitution. They think in terms of what will help them politically. With them, it’s never been about constitutionality. It’s always been about what’ll help them politically.
Technorati: Al Franken, Chuck Schumer, Bill of Rights, Constitution, First Amendment, Citizens United, IRS, Democrats, Election 2014
A loyal reader of LFR has sent me some hilarious fundraising emails from the Franken campaign. Here’s Sen. Franken’s latest fundraising appeal:
Can you hear that ominous buzzing sound? That’s Washington Republicans, planning their next attempt to hold our economic recovery hostage by playing political games with the debt ceiling.
In case you don’t remember the last manufactured crisis, Republicans threatened to refuse to raise the debt ceiling unless we agreed to their demands, meaning we could have defaulted on our national debt for the first time ever — causing a terrible economic crisis.
It was irresponsible. It was reckless. And now many seem willing to do it again.
Don’t let them. Click here to help me tell Republicans in Washington not to play games with the debt ceiling and threaten our economic recovery.
We don’t know what demands Republicans will come up with this time. And we only have one demand of our own: Do your job.
After all, Minnesotans are doing their part to bring our economy back from the recession. They’re working hard every day, opening small businesses, doing the things the middle class has always done to make our country stronger.
Now Washington has a job to do: make sure the full faith and credit of the United States remains strong. And refusing to do that job — playing political games with the debt ceiling — is downright dangerous.
We need to send a clear message to Washington Republicans: Don’t play games with the debt ceiling. Click here to sign my open letter.
Right now, Republicans in Washington are debating exactly which demands they want to make before they agree to do their job. And the buzz about another manufactured crisis is getting louder. That’s bad news for our economy.
So let’s drown out that buzz with a clear message of our own: Don’t play games. Do your job.
Click here to add your name!
Thanks for your help,
P.S.: Defaulting on our debt may sound like a boring bookkeeping term, but it would be an enormous economic disaster, one that economists say would cost us jobs and could put us into another recession. Don’t let Washington Republicans play games with this — it’s too important. Click here to sign my open letter!
This afternoon, the House passed a clean debt ceiling bill. Only 28 Republicans voted for it, including soon-to-be-former Speaker Boehner. It’s worth paying attention to the fact that Sen. Franken insists that the floundering economy is coming back.
That’s stunning because President Obama delayed the employer mandate a second time because he’s seen that it’s a job-killer that will cost lots of Democrats their jobs in the Senate next year.
Here’s another paranoid ranting from the Franken campaign:
In his recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Karl Rove called me out personally and pointed to Minnesota as a possible pickup for Republicans this fall.
Karl Rove’s the puppet master of a few of those Citizens United-spawned special interest groups. In the 2012 elections, his Crossroads groups spent more than $176 million — mostly attacking candidates.
So you might understand why this shout out isn’t really a good thing in an election year.
If Karl Rove has Minnesota on his radar, we don’t have time to waste. We’ve got to be geared up and ready to fight back. This month, we need to hit $200,000 to fuel our grassroots efforts. Can you contribute $5?
It’s not like Karl Rove would be praising me for my work for Minnesota — protecting net neutrality, reversing the effects of Citizens United, fighting for Minnesota families.
I don’t work for the Karl Rove, special interest agenda. They’d rather see someone in this seat that’s more friendly to them. So they will attack and smear, lie and spend, to get one of their friends to replace me.
And that’s why I have you — my fantastic grassroots supporters — fighting back to make sure that strategy doesn’t work.
Help us hit our $200,000 goal this month. Be one of the first to give $5 now.
Thank you for your support.
P.S.: We need to show Karl Rove and all of the special interests that if you target Minnesota, you have to face us. Give $5 or more right now toward our $200,000 February goal.
This part was especially hilarious:
It’s not like Karl Rove would be praising me for my work for Minnesota, protecting net neutrality, reversing the effects of Citizens United, fighting for Minnesota families.
How many Minnesotans will head into the voting booth next November and exclaim ‘I’m voting for Al Franken because he protected net neutrality’? How many people will say ‘I’m voting for Franken because he’s for reversing the effects of Citizens United’?
Here’s another line worth laughing at:
I don’t work for the Karl Rove special interest agenda. They’d rather see someone in this seat that’s more friendly to them. So they will attack and smear, lie and spend, to get one of their friends to replace me.
I can’t deny that Franken doesn’t work for Karl Rove. I can’t deny that Franken works for the DFL’s anti-jobs special interests either. Notice how Franken hasn’t said a word about the Keystone XL Pipeline project. He hasn’t said a thing about the proposed PolyMet precious metals mining project in northeastern Minnesota either.
That’s because Sen. Franken is doing everything possible to say he’s a friend of union rank-and-file (he isn’t) without alienating the hardline environmentalists. He’s trying to maintain his support amongst these groups that hate each other. If Sen. Franken truly cared about the union rank-and-file, he’d fight to make PolyMet a reality. He isn’t doing that.
People know that I’m Karl Rove’s biggest fan. However, if given the choice between trusting Rove or Franken, that isn’t a difficult choice. Franken hasn’t done a thing to strengthen Minnesota’s economy. Franken’s focus has been on silencing President Obama’s opposition by having the IRS target conservative organizations that applied for tax exempt status. That’s what he meant when he said he’d worked on reversing the effects of Citizens United:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A group of seven Senate Democrats urged the Internal Revenue Service on Monday to impose a strict cap on the amount of political spending by tax-exempt, nonprofit groups.
The senators said the lack of clarity in the IRS rules has allowed political groups to improperly claim 501(c)4 status and may even be allowing donors to these groups to wrongly claim tax deductions for their contributions. The senators promised legislation if the IRS failed to act to fix these problems.
“We urge the IRS to take these steps immediately to prevent abuse of the tax code by political groups focused on federal election activities. But if the IRS is unable to issue administrative guidance in this area then we plan to introduce legislation to accomplish these important changes,” the senators wrote.
The letter was signed by Senators Charles E. Schumer, Michael Bennet, Sheldon Whitehouse, Jeff Merkley, Tom Udall, Jeanne Shaheen and Al Franken. It follows an earlier letter, sent to the IRS by the same of group of senators last month, that also urged the IRS to better enforce rules pertaining to 501(c)4 organizations.
Sen. Franken teamed with Chuck Schumer, Michael Bennet, Sheldon Whitehouse, Jeff Merkley, Tom Udall and Jeanne Shaheen in encouraging the IRS to intimidate the Democrats’ opponents.
There’s little question that the IRS targeted TEA Party activists and other conservative organizations. There’s no question that these senators intended conservative organization to be singled out for additional scrutiny.
Sen. Schumer is one of the nastiest partisans to ever serve in DC. He certainly isn’t calling for the targeting of hardline progressive organizations. That means Sen. Franken willfully signed onto silencing political speech he didn’t like.
Rather than supporting Sen. Franken, thoughtful Democrats who still believe in the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights should help boot him from office. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights is more important than electing a partisan for the long-term health of this great nation.
This exchange between overmatched Ron Fournier and Charles Krauthammer is the stuff that President Obama’s nightmares are made of:
Here’s a partial transcript of the segment:
KRAUTHAMMER: But generally speaking you get past the next election by changing your policies, by announcing new initiatives, but not by wantonly changing the law lawlessly. This is stuff you do in a banana republic. It’s as if the law is simply a blackboard on which Obama writes any number he wants, any delay he wants, and any provision.
It’s now reached a point where it is so endemic that nobody even notices or complains. I think if the complaints had started with the first arbitrary changes, and these are are not adjustments or transitions. These are political decisions to minimize the impact leading up to an election. And it’s changing the law in a way that you are not allowed to do.
Fournier didn’t have a rejoinder when Charles said “It isn’t incompetence. It’s the willful breaking of the constitutional order. Where in the Constitution is the president allowed to alter the law 27 times after it has been passed?” Fournier did write something approaching intellectual honesty when he wrote this article. Unfortunately, he’s still bitterly clinging to the thought that the ACA might still work. Here’s is the opening of the article:
It’s getting difficult and slinking toward impossible to defend the Affordable Care Act. The latest blow to Democratic candidates, liberal activists, and naïve columnists like me came Monday from the White House, which announced yet another delay in the Obamacare implementation.
For the second time in a year, certain businesses were given more time before being forced to offer health insurance to most of their full-time workers. Employers with 50 to 99 workers were given until 2016 to comply, two years longer than required by law. During a yearlong grace period, larger companies will be required to insure fewer employees than spelled out in the law.
Not coincidentally, the delays punt implementation beyond congressional elections in November, which raises the first problem with defending Obamacare: The White House has politicized its signature policy.
The win-at-all-cost mentality helped create a culture in which a partisan-line vote was deemed sufficient for passing transcendent legislation. It spurred advisers to develop a dishonest talking point—”If you like your health plan, you’ll be able to keep your health plan.” And political expediency led Obama to repeat the line, over and over and over again, when he knew, or should have known, it was false.
Mr. Fournier and other journalists shouldn’t have been that intellectually incurious. They should’ve questioned the ACA while it was being written. Furthermore, he shouldn’t still cling to the notion that it’ll work. Unfortunately, that’s what he’s doing for all the wrong reasons:
Put me in the frustrated category. I want the ACA to work because I want health insurance provided to the millions without it, for both the moral and economic benefits. I want the ACA to work because, as Charles Lane wrote for The Washington Post, the link between work and insurance needs to be broken. I want the ACA to work because the GOP has not offered a serious alternative that can pass Congress.
Fournier’s anti-conservative blind spot still exists. Saying that “the GOP hasn’t offered a serious plan that can pass Congress” is giving Harry Reid a pass. The Patient CARE Act will do the things that the ACA was supposed to do without raising taxes. It isn’t the Republicans’ fault that Sen. Reid is so intransigent that he’ll do anything to sabotage plans that might help families. It isn’t the Republicans’ fault that Sen. Reid is willing to do anything to keep President Obama’s signature legislation from getting declared a total failure before he leaves office.
Why won’t Fournier take Sen. Reid to task for being intransigent? Why won’t he ask him tough questions about why he won’t consider legislation that’s a serious attempt to fix what’s broken in the ACA? When Mr. Fournier is willing to take off his ideological blinders, then I’ll pay attention to him.
At this point, he isn’t a serious man because he isn’t willing to take those blinders off.
Technorati: Obamacare, Affordable Care Act, President Obama, Ron Fournier, Agenda Media, Progressive Movement, Charles Krauthammer, Constitution, Patient CARE Act, Dr. Tom Coburn, Republicans, Election 2014
Hans Spakovsky’s post on the Heritage Foundation’s blog is a fantastic one-stop-shopping-center for what the IRS’s proposed rules mean:
On Wednesday, the House Ways and Means Committee questioned IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. The Committee released an email it had obtained from inside the Treasury Department showing that back in 2012 when it appears that the IRS was in the middle of trying to prevent conservative organizations from being granted tax exempt status, the administration was already planning to draft new regulations restricting the political activity of the same organizations. The email was sent by Ruth Madrigal of the Office of Tax Policy at Treasury to Lois Lerner, the IRS official who refused to answer questions from Congress about the scandal by asserting her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
That June 14, 2012, email indicated that Madrigal and Lerner would be devising the new rules “off-plan,” which is federal government-speak meaning that their plan would not be published on the public schedule of the IRS. What is significant about this email is that it flatly contradicts prior assertions by the Obama administration that the proposed new regulations defining “candidate-related political activity” were planned only after the IRS scandal was made public in order to “clarify” the regulations. Instead, it appears the administration not only tried to delay and prevent conservative organizations from receiving their tax-exempt status prior to the 2012 election, but was also already planning new regulations that would stifle their political speech and potential criticism of the administration.
In short, the Obama administration intended to silence its critics while violating Americans’ constitutional rights. The Obama administration didn’t hesitate in crushing TEA Party organizations’ First Amendment rights.
If we had an attorney general that was interested in justice, Lois Lerner would’ve been prosecuted and convicted already. That’s because she lied to Congress about the IRS scandal was restricted to a couple rogue IRS agents in their Cincinnati office. That’s before finding out that she knew about the proposed new rules that would intentionally trample TEA Party organizations’ First Amendment rights.
What’s most important is that Chuck Schumer and Al Franken think it’s a good idea for the IRS to redouble their efforts of improperly investigating and harassing these TEA Party organizations.
This is just the continuation of the Democrats’ assault against the Citizens United ruling. That’s the ruling which said that it’s better to have more political speech. Democrats disagree, insisting that less political speech, especially that which happens close to an election or primary, is desirable.
When the Citizens United ruling took away the FEC’s ability to limit speech in 2010, the administration switched to Plan B. That meant the IRS would replace the FEC as the federal government’s agency in charge of limiting political speech. John Hinderaker’s post highlights what the Obama administration thinks of political speech. Here’s part of a speech Lois Lerner gave on the subject:
What happened last year was the Supreme Court–the law kept getting chipped away, chipped away, in the federal election arena. The Supreme Court dealt a huge blow, overturning a 100-year-old precedent that basically corporations couldn’t give directly to political campaigns. And everyone is up in arms because they don’t like it. The Federal Election Commission can’t do anything about it.
They want the IRS to fix the problem. The IRS laws are not set up to fix the problem: (c)(4)s can do straight political activity. They can go out and pay for an ad that says “Vote for Joe Blow.” That’s something they can do as long as their primary activity is their (c)(4) activity, which is social welfare.
Q: When did political speech become a problem to be fixed? A: When this administration took over. It’s been their habit to eliminate political speech that doesn’t sing from their hymnal.
The telling line in Ms. Lerner’s speech is “The IRS Laws aren’t set up to fix the problem: c4s can do straight political activity.” Corporations still can’t contribute to candidates’ campaigns. That shouldn’t mean they can’t spend money campaigning on issues important to them. If unions have the right to campaign on issues important to them, then corporations have the right to do the same.
This article does an excellent job explaining the IRS’s proposed new rules:
But under the proposed rules, which would remove a 501(c)(4)’s tax exemption if it engages in virtually any political activity, if they choose to do so collectively, rather than individually, the organization will be subject to income tax on the amount it collects. If an individual spends $1,000 on posters, he will get $1,000 worth; but if he donates $1,000 to the organization, it will have to pay $350 to the IRS and will be left with only $650 to purchase posters.
That’s the Obama administration’s ‘fix’ to the free speech ‘problem’.
Technorati: Lois Lerner, President Obama, Censorship, First Amendment, Citizens United, IRS, FEC, Unions, Corporations, Poltical Campaigns, Democrats, Elections
Thursday, Cleta Mitchell testified that the IRS scandal is real and that the investigation is a sham:
I wholeheartedly agree. During her testimony, Ms. Mitchell delivered this devastating information:
When Lois Lerner and President Obama accused line agents in Cincinnati of being responsible, ladies and gentlemen, that is a lie and I knew when Lois Lerner said that in May of 2010, when she admitted it was happening, after we knew it was happening — we knew we were being targeted — it’s just that she admitted it. But I knew it hadn’t happened in Cincinnati because the first time I became aware of this, another group I represent filed for tax exempt status in 2009. And besides cashing our check for our filing fee, we did not hear from the IRS again until June of 2010. And we didn’t hear from Cincinnati. We heard from Washington.
Ms. Mitchell was a one-woman Cat-4 hurricane yesterday. Unfortunately for Democrats, she wasn’t done with that refutation of the Democrats’ chanting points:
This group did one thing, one thing only. For all of the fall of 2009 until the spring of 2010, it lobbied against Obamacare, something that it is allowed to do 100% of the time. We did not get the tax exempt status for that organization until July of 2013.
Ms. Mitchell’s law firm is one of the top law firms in the nation. They didn’t get that reputation by being sloppy. Their record-keeping is meticulous. For the Democrats to insist that this is a sideshow and that the scandal is phony is belied by these documents. It’s real. It’s chilling political speech. That’s the Chicago Machine’s way.
The IRS is picking up where the FEC was told it couldn’t go in Citizens United v. the FEC. The IRS is using the FEC’s definitions in its rulemaking to stifle political speech.
Watch the entire video. It’s riveting TV. In fact, I’d recommend watching Catherine Engelbrecht’s opening statement, too:
I’m thankful that citizens like Cleta Mitchell and Catherine Engelbrecht have stepped forward rather than being silenced. They’re the personification of American patriots.
Technorati: Cleta Mitchell, Catherine Engelbrecht, IRS Investigation, OSHA, FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Federal Elections Commission, Weaponized Government, Citizens United, TEA Party, Censorship, Obama Administration, Democrats, Elections
This Peggy Noonan article dovetails nicely with Glenn Reynolds’ excellent column about “Irish Democracy”, which I wrote about in this post. First, here’s Dr. Reynolds’ explanation of the foundation of Irish Democracy:
In his excellent book, Two Cheers For Anarchism, Professor James Scott writes:
One need not have an actual conspiracy to achieve the practical effects of a conspiracy. More regimes have been brought, piecemeal, to their knees by what was once called ‘Irish Democracy,’ the silent, dogged resistance, withdrawal, and truculence of millions of ordinary people, than by revolutionary vanguards or rioting mobs.
Simply put, people refusing to buy insurance through the Anything But Affordable Care Act’s exchanges are putting the ABACA in impossible financial straights. This was made necessary when Senate Democrats and this administration wouldn’t listen to the American people. In Ms. Noonan’s opinion, they still aren’t listening:
As the president made his jaunty claims and the senators and congressmen responded semirapturously I kept thinking of four words: Meanwhile, back in America…
Meanwhile, back in America, the Little Sisters of the Poor were preparing their legal briefs. The Roman Catholic order of nuns first came to America in 1868 and were welcomed in every city they entered. They now run about 30 homes for the needy across the country. They have, quite cruelly, been told they must comply with the ObamaCare mandate that all insurance coverage include contraceptives, sterilization procedures, morning-after pills. If they don’t—and of course they can’t, being Catholic, and nuns—they will face ruinous fines.
In this instance, it isn’t just that the Obama administration isn’t listening to the American people. It’s that they’re ignoring the Constitution, too. That’s before considering the fact that this administration made exceptions to the ABACA for its well-connected friends.
The message sent to the nation is exceptionally straightforward: Well-connected friends of Barack Obama get special privileges. People whom this President despises get the shaft. (That’s right. I didn’t forget about the bitter clingers.) President Obama’s disdain for blue collar people isn’t news. It’s just disgusting. That’s why people have turned their back on him.
Meanwhile, back in America…
Meanwhile, back in America, conservatives targeted and harassed by the Internal Revenue Service still await answers on their years-long requests for tax exempt status. When news of the IRS targeting broke last spring, agency officials lied about it, and one took the Fifth. The president said he was outraged, had no idea, read about it in the papers, boy was he going to get to the bottom of it. An investigation was announced but somehow never quite materialized.
If ever there was something that got the masses fuming, it should be the thought of a politically ruthless administration using the IRS as a weapon to eliminate its political enemies. And yes, this administration has used the IRS as a weapon against TEA Party activists and other conservative organizations.
In less than 3 years, we’ll have the opportunity to wipe the memories of this administration from our memory. It’s imperative that we accomplish that. It’s imperative that we elect someone that will listen to the American people. That means electing a pro-reform governor that respects the Constitution, preferably Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich or Mike Pence.
I didn’t include Jeb Bush or Christie in that bunch. They don’t respect the Constitution. People want politicians that don’t think of themselves as being above the Constitution or the rule of law. Bush supports Common Core, which wants to strip away local control of education. That’s certainly anti-constitutional. Christie supports gun control, something totally at odds with the Constitution.
It’s time we elected a president that’s run things and accomplished things that’ve helped families. Bobby Jindal fits that description. While campaigning, he listened to parents who hated the education options their children had. That’s why he pushed for school choice. Thanks to his listening, school choice legislation was signed into law in Louisiana.
John Kasich fits that description. He fought for the same union reforms that Scott Walker did. He also cut taxes while eliminating Ohio’s deficit. Thanks to Gov. Kasich’s popular pro-growth agenda, Ohio is headed in the right direction.
Scott Walker listened to Wisconsinites’ cries for lower property taxes. He pushed union reforms that stripped them of the right to hold school districts hostage by saying that they had to buy health insurance through the teachers union’s insurance company. As a direct result, health insurance costs to school districts dropped dramatically…until the ABACA was semi-implemented.
Whether you call it the TEA Party movement, Irish Democracy or whether it’s just doing what President Reagan believed in, it’s time for conservatives to elect someone that actually wants the people to decide what’s best for them. We don’t need another administration that thinks it’s supremely qualified to tell families what’s best for them.
George Will is right. It’s possible that 4 little words might doom the Anything But Affordable Care Act:
The four words that threaten disaster for the ACA say the subsidies shall be available to persons who purchase health insurance in an exchange “established by the state.” But 34 states have chosen not to establish exchanges.
From a plain language standpoint, this isn’t difficult to predict. If this lawsuit makes it to the Supreme Court and if the justices rule that the plain text of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which I’ll call the Anything But Affordable Care Act from this point forward, means what it says, then I’d expect a 9-0 ruling that the IRS doesn’t have the authority to change the plain text of the ABACA:
So the IRS, which is charged with enforcing the ACA, has ridden to the rescue of Barack Obama’s pride and joy. Taking time off from writing regulations to restrict the political speech of Obama’s critics, the IRS has said, with its breezy indifference to legality, that subsidies shall also be dispensed to those who purchase insurance through federal exchanges the government has established in those 34 states. Pruitt is challenging the IRS in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, and there are similar challenges in Indiana, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
The history of the bill matters:
Congress made subsidies available only through state exchanges as a means of coercing states into setting up exchanges. In Senate Finance Committee deliberations on the ACA, Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), one of the bill’s primary authors, suggested conditioning tax credits on state compliance because only by doing so could the federal government induce state cooperation with the ACA. Then the law’s insurance requirements could be imposed on states without running afoul of constitutional law precedents that prevent the federal government from commandeering state governments.
In other words, Sen. Baucus understood that the Supreme Court would likely rule the ABACA unconstitutional if the legislation required states to create health insurance exchanges. Without that coercion, only states with out-of-touch far left governors (like Minnesota, New York and Vermont) would’ve created state-run HIXs.
As big a deal as these things are, there’s an even bigger principle at stake here:
If courts allow the IRS’s demarche, they will validate this:
By dispensing subsidies through federal exchanges, the IRS will spend tax revenues without congressional authorization. And by enforcing the employer mandate in states that have only federal exchanges, it will collect taxes; remember, Chief Justice John Roberts saved the ACA by declaring that the penalty enforcing the mandate is really just a tax on the act of not purchasing insurance, without congressional authorization.
If the IRS can do neither, it cannot impose penalties on employers who fail to offer ACA-approved insurance to employees. If the IRS can do both, Congress can disband because it has become peripheral to American governance.
If the Supreme Court gets this one wrong, then it’s over. There are tons of constitutional principles at stake here. That’s before taking the plain language of the bill into consideration.
Let’s be clear, though. I don’t mean to sound pessimistic. I’m not. This is exceptionally straightforward. While it’s important from a constitutional standpoint, it also revolves around whether the justices will pretend that the plain text of the bill doesn’t mean what it means.
The original lawsuit was almost entirely about constitutional principles. This lawsuit is primarily, though not entirely, about the plain text of the ABACA. It’s difficult to think that Chief Justice Roberts will rule that the bill’s text doesn’t mean what it says.
It isn’t exactly rare to see leftists misunderstand what the Constitution permits or limits. Still, this LTE shows the Left’s lack of understanding of the Constitution:
The Supreme Court decision called “Citizens United” is a gross misnomer. The court ruled corporations have the same rights as people when it comes to voting rights.
This decision allows corporations to spend millions of dollars to influence elections. This makes it virtually legal to buy elections.
The editorialist is right in that the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. the FEC decision said that corporations have the same right of free speech as citizens. That’s because corporations aren’t buildings. They’re a collection of citizens. As such, they have just as much right to expressing their political opinions as your next door neighbor.
The editorialist is wrong, however, in saying that corporations “have the same rights” as it pertains to “voting rights.” Corporations can’t vote. They can buy ad time to talk about the things that matter most to them. That isn’t the same as casting a vote.
Is this leftist going to argue that corporations aren’t protected by the Fourth Amendment just like a private citizen is protected by it? Where in the text of the First Amendment or the Fourth Amendment does it say that only individuals are protected by these constitutional amendments? Here’s the text of the First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Here’s the text of the Fourth Amendment:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The Fourth Amendment at least mentions “people” being “secure in their persons.” The First Amendment doesn’t mention any limits to “people.” The fact that the text of the Fourth Amendment mentions “people” being “secure in their persons” hasn’t prevented the courts from rightly ruling that corporations and small businesses and nonprofits are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures. Apparently, this LTE writer doesn’t grasp the concept that the Bill of Rights applies to everyone, not just individual citizens.
Yesterday, I wrote this post highlighting Paul Thissen’s reaction to my post about how unions didn’t build the middle class. The activists in the MOB, aka the Minnesota Organization of Bloggers, aren’t unlike NATO in that, an attack against one is an attack against all of us. When they saw that Speaker Thissen had taken issue with my post, Mitch Berg and the Lady Logician jumped into the discussion. Here’s how the Lady Logician responded to Speaker Thissen’s tweets:
You misrepresent the smaller gov’t policy stance to mean no govt & that is simply NOT what small gov’t ppl want. No one is arguing against roads & education but when govt gets in2 the minutia of telling ppl what lightbulbs 2 buy or what HEALTHCARE to buy or whether or not they can own a specific type of dog, then we are going to argue.
Here’s Mitch’s response to one of Speaker Thissen’s tweets:
The evidence is, in fact, that gov’t research *follows* corp. innovation. Ditto education. Not other way around.
Mitch wasn’t done schooling Speaker Thissen. Here’s the rest of Mitch’s tweets to Speaker Thissen:
So did gov’t build roads out of pure goodwill? Or did biz pay for them? You’re saying government is the only body that can give us clean water? Record shows that’s untrue. Most municipal water systems in the US *started* as private enterprises. Nearly a quarter still are. The “gov’t brings us all riches” argument is the black/white one. Markets, not politics, deal well with nuance. Either is “private enterprise is lost without government”. Or rather it’s a fallacious place to start the conversation. At best, it’s “assisted” by gov’t. But the idea that prosperity follows infrastructure is utterly ahistorical.
That’s a typical Mitch-slap. Spoeaker Thissen probably didn’t realize conservatives were this principled about free markets and limited government. The reality is that Speaker Thissen didn’t address why he thinks government is equipped to run a complex online health insurance business for the entire state. That’s essentially what MNsure is. (That isn’t just my opinion. It’s what Jim Nobles said on Almanac last Friday.)
Was government responding to free markets when they passed legislation that specified what types of lightbulbs could be used? Why did government inject itself into the discussion as to what dogs were legal in Minnesota? Was there an outbreak of dog violence against people? Or were they just inserting themselves into an issue because they were reacting to one of their special interest allies? I’m pretty certain it’s the latter.
Speaker Thissen’s tweet that questioned whether people could get to their jobs or companies could move their goods without public roads dovetails with President Obama’s now-infamous statement that entrepreneurs didn’t build their companies, that government did. That’s BS. Mitch is right in saying that government might assist entrepreneurs but government isn’t what makes businesses thrive.
The Anything But Affordable Care Act is a perfect example of how twisted leftist thinking is. I wrote here about how MNsure made things worse for one Minnesota family:
This Minnesota family is a young married couple with three children. Until ObamaCare and Dayton’s MNsure came along they shared the cost of their Blue Cross-Blue Shield family health insurance policy 50/50 with the father’s employer. Thanks to ObamaCare, the cost of that policy sky rocketed and is no longer affordable to the family. After endless hours of working with MNsure, here is what resulted.
Without the parent’s consent, MNsure jammed their three children onto government insurance. The children are now covered by Medicaid at no cost to the family or employer, but 100 percent cost to the taxpayers. The father had to go with a single insurance plan from his employer and purchase a separate new policy for his wife. Because of the confusion and disarray at MNsure, neither he nor his wife currently has health insurance ID cards for the insurance they have already paid for.
That’s why limited government conservatives complain about government overstepping their constitutional authority. Additionally, this shows government isn’t capable of running a business.
In other words, government should get its claws out of the things it isn’t qualified to do and focus on the things that constitutions limits it to. Limited government conservatives don’t hate government, even though that’s the propaganda that ABM and other leftist propaganda organizations spread. It’s that we understand that the best decisions for families happen at a family’s kitchen table.
It’s time Speaker Thissen figured that out.
Technorati: Paul Thissen, Nanny State, Anything But Affordable Care Act, MNsure, Transportation, Water Treatment Facilities, DFL, Limited Government Conservatism, Free Markets, Entrepreneurship, Capitalism, MNGOP