Archive for the ‘The Constitution’ Category
Democrats have demagogued TEA Party forever, characterizing them as far-outside-the-mainstream. Thanks to the TEA Party movement, a new generation of potential conservative superstars is rising up that will change the face of the GOP. One of those potential conservative superstars is Erika Harold. Reading Ms. Harold’s Issues Page is a breath of fresh air. On taxes and regulation:
In an effort to stem the rise of burdensome regulations, I will support efforts to narrow the scope of the powers delegated to administrative agencies. Additionally, I will support tax reform policies aimed at simplifying the tax code.
On the Constitution:
One of the hallmarks of our democratic system of governance is the respect for individual liberties and the understanding that these enshrined freedoms serve as proper limits on governmental power. Accordingly, I will oppose efforts to abridge the rights enumerated in our Constitution. Drawing upon my experience as a lawyer advising faith-based institutions, I will champion the First Amendment rights to the free exercise of religion and the freedom of association. I also will support the law-abiding citizen’s Second Amendment right to bear arms and will oppose efforts to encroach upon that right.
Sign me up. I’m a fan. In addition to being a Constitution-loving lawyer who loves low taxes and sensible levels of regulation, Ms. Harold once was crowned Miss America in the fall of 2002. In June, Ms. Harold announced that she’s “mounting a Republican primary challenge to Rep. Rodney Davis in Illinois.”
Another potential rising star for the GOP is Mia Love. Conservatives are sure to love Ms. Love’s education agenda:
As a mother with three children enrolled in public schools, education is extremely important to me. We need a strong educational system that will allow America to continue in its role as the world’s premier leader in scientific research and technological development. American families want better quality education, lower education costs, and more local control over decisions related to education. In recent years the U.S. Department of Education has expanded the federal role in education to unprecedented levels to the detriment of our children and college students. Utah – not the federal government – knows what is best for Utah’s student. I trust Utah teachers and Utah parents over Washington bureaucrats.
These are my proposals to address the problems surrounding education:
- Return control of schools to local levels
- Support Utah’s teachers by opposing one-size-fits-all federal programs that take flexibility away from innovative teachers
- Eliminate the disparity between Department of Education bureaucrats’ salaries and local teachers’ salaries
- Bring down the cost of college tuition by allowing schools to compete for students and not allowing a federal government takeover of higher education
- Support the right of parents, local school districts, and the state of Utah to develop curriculum and set testing standards
Another potential rising conservative star is Katrina Pierson.
Ms. Pierson isn’t afraid to identify herself as a TEA Party conservative:
Katrina Pierson is a candidate for the United States Congress in the 32nd District in Texas.
She is best known across Texas and the nation as a passionate advocate for freedom. For five years, she has served as a Steering Committee member for the Dallas Tea Party. She is also the Founder of the Garland Tea Party and a member of the Texas Tea Party Caucus Advisory Committee. Her primary goal as an activist has been to provide citizens with the knowledge and skills they need to protect and advance liberty.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that Ms. Pierson is a passionate, articulate opponent of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare:
There is perhaps no single government program that poses a greater threat to our life, liberty and prosperity than the “Affordable Care Act,” generally referred to as “ObamaCare.” The more the American people learn about ObamaCare, the less they like it—and with good reason. According to the Director of the Congressional Budget Office, ObamaCare is expected to cost our economy upwards of 800,000 jobs. A recent survey of business executives revealed that 71 percent said that ObamaCare is making it harder to hire workers. Every day brings new stories about companies laying off workers or cutting back hours. ObamaCare is the very last thing our struggling economy needs.
If you’re noticing a theme here, it’s that these ladies are a) unapologetic conservatives, b) TEA Party activists and c) minorities. The last I looked at Republicans in Washington, DC, they needed more people who fit these characteristics. Hopefully, that’ll change next November. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if all three of these ladies are sworn in in January, 2015.
Perhaps, I’m a bit sensitive about the Senate Office Building lawsuit because Jim Knoblach is a friend of mine. Still, it’s puzzling to me as to why conservative activists and organizations haven’t jumped on the Stop the SOB bandwagon.
Jim’s lawsuit has something in it for all different stripes of conservatives. For the liberty movement, Jim’s lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of a Tax Bill that does more than address tax policy. In other words, the lawsuit accuses Sen. Tom Bakk of violating the Single-Subject Clause in Minnesota’s Constitution. (Building pork palaces for politicians doesn’t fit with setting tax rates and policies.)
For fiscal conservatives, Jim’s lawsuit highlights the DFL’s propensity for proposing pork projects. Simply put, the proposed Senate Office Building is pure pork. The notion that a new office building is needed is foolish. Taxpayers need to fund politicians’ palaces like Minnesota needs a $4/hr. increase in the minimum wage.
For political candidates, Jim’s lawsuit offers a great opportunity to highlight the fact that Democrats love pork projects, especially pork for pompous politicians. I’d be surprised if 80% of Minnesota’s taxpayers didn’t agree that politicians don’t need to spend $90,000,000 on a building that’s occupied 140 days during each biennium. Further, taxpayers don’t need a palace that includes “a reflecting pool, skylights and a fitness center.”
For GOP political strategists, it’s a fantastic opportunity to prove the DFL is the party of pompous politicians, not the party of the people. Think of the opportunity to paint Sen. Bakk and the DFL legislators who voted for the Tax Bill as pork-loving, tax-raising politicians who are out of touch with Main Street Minnesotans. Frankly, this is a gift that might keep giving, at least until judges rule that Sen. Bakk’s pork project is unconstitutional.
It’s a great opportunity for GOP legislators to push a defunding bill when the session re-opens in February, 2014. If Sen. Bakk bottles up the GOP repeal bill, they can use that against Democrats in their campaigns. If their legislation repeals funding for Sen. Bakk’s pork palace, it will be a stinging defeat for Sen. Bakk.
I understand why the GOP leadership in the Senate hasn’t expressed outrage thus far. Now that Gov. Dayton has criticized the bill he signed, he’s essentially given Senate GOP leadership ‘permission’ to criticize Sen. Bakk on this issue.
Finally, organizations like the Taxpayers League and Minnesota Majority should have a field day with this. It’s right in their wheel house. The great news is that there’s tons of potential political upside. The fantastic news is that there’s virtually no political downside to criticizing Sen. Bakk’s pork palace.
After all, how often do conservsatives get the opportunity to criticize a powerful Democrat for punishing taxpayers twice within a single bill? It’s important to remember that this year’s Tax Bill raised taxes on “the rich”, the middle class and working poor while spending money on palaces for politicians.
Technorati: Tom Bakk, Senate Office Building, Tax Increases, Mark Dayton, Pork Projects, Minimum Wage Increase, Tom Anzelc, Minnesota State Constitution, Single Subject Clause, DFL, Jim Knoblach, Stop the SOB, Taxpayers League, Minnesota Majority, MnGOP, Election 2014
According to this article, Gov. Dayton is criticizing the construction of the Senate Office Building, aka SOB. That’s rather strange considering the fact that Gov. Dayton signed the Tax Bill that included funding for the new SOB:
Plans for a controversial new Minnesota Senate building that would include a reflecting pool, skylights and a fitness center drew a cool response from Gov. Mark Dayton Wednesday.
“Any new building should be functional and modest,” Dayton told the Star Tribune. “And if it can be built for less than the amount allocated, it definitely should be.”
Apparently, Gov. Dayton is attempting to pull off a President Obama bystander-in-chief chief executive act. He signed the Tax Bill that included funding for the SOB. That appropriation was for $90,000,000. Did Gov. Dayton give it a second thought at the time he signed the tax bill?
Let’s remember that Gov. Dayton could’ve line-item vetoed the appropriation without vetoing the Tax Bill. It’s important that we remember that including funding for an office building in a tax bill is likely unconstitutional.
New details of the gleaming, five-story building emerged after a two-day workshop last week. According to a draft design obtained by the Star Tribune, it would have many of the standard features of a modern legislative structure: offices for senators and staffers, parking ramps and hearing rooms.
But according to a report from the workshop, architects, designers and key legislators also debated elements such as roof skylights, the location of the gymnasium and a glass-enclosed walkway at street level.
In other words, Sen. Bakk’s initiative spends money taxpayers can’t afford on a building that’s more opulent than politicians need. Sen. Bakk’s actions shout that he doesn’t care about the taxpayers who’d pay for this building with their taxes.
Former Rep. Jim Knoblach has filed a lawsuit claiming that the appropriation of money for the SOB is a violation of the single-subject clause of the Minnesota Constitution, found in Article IV, Section 17. It’s likely that the appropriation will get thrown out because funding the construction of a building has nothing to do with setting tax policy for the state.
Sen. Bakk insists that including the funding for the SOB is appropriate. Then again, he insisted that putting a prevailing wage provision in the 1997 Tax Bill was legitimate, too. The Minnesota Supreme Court disagreed with then-Rep. Bakk on that one. Sen. Bakk doesn’t have much credibility about whether something is constitutional because he’s shown contempt for Minnesota’s Constitution before.
As for Gov. Dayton, he’s shown a willingness to sign accountability provisions into law when Republicans ran the House and Senate, then sign the repeal of those provisions the minute Democrats control the legislature. In other words, he’s an unprincipled man who won’t do the right thing if the spotlight hasn’t been shined on him. He certainly didn’t mind signing the farm equipment repair sales tax increase into law. It wasn’t until he got to FarmFest that he reversed course. Then he reversed himself again.
The reality is that Gov. Dayton and the DFL are the defenders of the special interests, not Main Street. This year alone, Democrats voted to raise taxes on the middle class and the working poor. In the bill that included the sales tax increases, they tucked in the funding for the Senate Office Building.
How fitting is it that Gov. Dayton, Sen. Bakk and the DFL used the Tax Bill to fund a luxury office building for themselves, then use the same bill to tax hard-hit farmers, the middle class and working poor?
The new building itself will cost $63 million, with the remainder for parking structures.
Amos Briggs, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, a supporter of the project, said the plans are not yet final. “These drawings and models change day by day, based on cost limitations, tenant feedback and site restrictions,” Briggs said. A final design plan, he said, must be approved by House and Senate Rules committees.
Simply put, the SOB shouldn’t be built. These features shouldn’t be considered. They didn’t expand the number of senators, which means this office building is mostly about pampering the Senate. In this instance, that means pampering Sen. Bakk.
It’s clear that Sen. Bakk wanted to work in a taxpayer-funded Taj Mahal shrine. Those features didn’t just accidentally make their way into an architect’s proposals.
In the 1970′s, Democrats touted themselves as the greatest defenders of free speech. By contrast, the Democrats of today are the the greatest practitioners of censorship. This WSJ article is proof that Democrats are especially good at political free speech intimidation:
In recent weeks, special prosecutor Francis Schmitz has hit dozens of conservative groups with subpoenas demanding documents related to the 2011 and 2012 campaigns to recall Governor Walker and state legislative leaders.
Copies of two subpoenas we’ve seen demand “all memoranda, email…correspondence, and communications” both internally and between the subpoena target and some 29 conservative groups, including Wisconsin and national nonprofits, political vendors and party committees. The groups include the League of American Voters, Wisconsin Family Action, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, Americans for Prosperity—Wisconsin, American Crossroads, the Republican Governors Association, Friends of Scott Walker and the Republican Party of Wisconsin.
One subpoena also demands “all records of income received, including fundraising information and the identity of persons contributing to the corporation.” In other words, tell us who your donors are.
The term fishing expedition jumps to mind. So does the term censorship. Ditto with illegal searches. Here’s why those terms apply:
The subpoena demand for the names of donors to nonprofit groups that aren’t legally required to disclose them is especially troubling. Readers may recall that the Cincinnati office of the IRS sent the tax-exempt applications of several conservative groups to the ProPublica news website in 2012.
The censorship thugs weren’t gentle. They didn’t request anything. They demanded things that they didn’t have a legal basis to ask for. Asking for confidential tax filings is illegal because IRS filings are confidential under federal law.
Expect some IRS employees to to get convicted of federal crimes and doing some serious prison time for giving Pro Publica confidential IRS documents. As outrageous as that is, that’s just the tip of the iceberg:
The subpoenas don’t spell out a specific allegation, but the demands suggest the government may be pursuing a theory of illegal campaign coordination by independent groups during the recall elections. If prosecutors are pursuing a theory that independent conservative groups coordinated with candidate campaigns during the recall, their goal may be to transform the independent expenditures into candidate committees after the fact, requiring revision of campaign-finance disclosures and possible criminal charges.
That’s admitting that they’re doing this to intimidate people who want to participate in the political process. That isn’t just unacceptable. It’s unconstitutional because it violates the First and Fourth Amendments. That’s before talking about the US statutes these warrants violate.
It’s notable that the new batch of subpoenas began flying just days before Democrat Mary Burke announced her candidacy for Governor. District Attorneys are partisan elected officials in Wisconsin, and Mr. Landgraf works for Mr. Chisholm. Neither of them returned our call for comment.
This isn’t litigation. It’s attrition. It’s painfully obvious that Mr. Landgraf and Mr. Chisholm are unapologetic Democratic political hatchetmen. It’s apparent, too, that they’ve used their office to a) threaten citizens who want to participate in the political process, b) intimidate legitimate political organizations and c) chill political free speech to help Democratic candidates.
They should be prosecuted for using their official positions as a campaign outlet for Democratic gubernatorial candidates, which is a clear violation of using elected offices for campaign purposes. My hope is that the Wisconsin AG opens an investigation into these Democratic anti-free speech thugs’ censorship campaign. They’re disgusting, not to mention that they’re criminals who should be removed from office.
Technorati: Witch Hunt, Censorship, Francis Schmitz, Bruce Landgraf, John Chisholm, Mary Burke, In-Kind Campaign Contributions, Corruption, IRS Documents, Democrats, Eric O’Keefe” Club For Growth-Wisconsin, Scott Walker, GOP, Election 2014
“This lawsuit does not contain any legitimate concerns. The legislation authorizing construction of the new legislative building adjacent to the Capitol was included in the public finance section of the tax bill. Public finance provisions have been an established component of tax bills for decades. This legislation is consistent with authorizing legislation for similar construction projects that have been completed under the supervision of the Minnesota Department of Administration. Moreover, it was vetted by legislative counsel and public finance experts at Minnesota Management and Budget and passed by both bodies of the legislature before being signed into law by the Governor.
I fear the only result of this suit will be the waste of taxpayer resources on legal expenses and the potential costs associated with delaying the construction project.
Nevertheless, I remain encouraged by the bi-partisan effort taking place to design and deliver a modern legislative building that will enhance Minnesota’s tradition of public participation in government.”
Let’s remember that then-Rep. Bakk ignored the Single-Subject Provision of Minnesota’s Constitution in 1997:
Recent laws struck down under this single subject provision include:
1) a prevailing wage provision authored by then Rep. Tom Bakk in the 1997 Omnibus Tax Bill (Associated Builders and Contractors v. Ventura; Minnesota Supreme Court, 2000
Thats’ why Sen. Bakk’s legal opinion isn’t trustworthy. Sen. Bakk wanted a new office building. That’s shameful. The DFL, under the ‘leadership’ of Gov. Dayton, Sen. Bakk and Speaker Thissen, have spent taxpayers’ money foolishly. The proposed Senate Office Building isn’t needed. It’s a luxury.
In Sen. Bakk’s words, he thinks the lawsuit is a waste of taxpayers’ money. I totally disagree. Letting politicians know that taxpayers are watching is worthwhile. Letting Democrat politicians know that they can’t do whatever it takes to pass their pet pork projects is worthwhile, too. Spending $90,000,000 on a building we don’t need is a waste of taxpayers’ money. Sen. Bakk knows that.
There’s another facet to this proposed project. Sen. Bakk didn’t have the votes to pass a big bonding bill. After counting the votes, he shifted the project into the Tax Bill. That’s proof that Sen. Bakk wouldn’t hesitate in using his entire bag of tricks to get his pet pork project passed.
Bonding bills aren’t like other bills because they require at least 81 votes in the House and at least 41 votes in the Senate. There’s no way Republicans would’ve supported the Senate Office Building project, which meant Sen. Bakk’s pet pork project would’ve gotten defeated.
That’s a defeat Sen. Bakk couldn’t tolerate because he needed to be winning in order to get as much of his agenda included in the final budget as possible. A stinging defeat for Sen. Bakk would’ve greatly diminished his political capital heading into budget negotiations against Speaker Thissen. That’s why he didn’t hesitate in ignoring the Constitution’s Single Subject Provision.
BTW, yes, Sen. Bakk saw budget negotiations as a fight between himself and Speaker Thissen. At best, they tolerate each other. At worst, they’re at each other’s throats. This isn’t speculation. Capitol insiders have known this for years.
Technorati: Tom Bakk, Paul Thissen, Mark Dayton, Bonding Bill, Pork, Senate Office Building, DFL, Jim Knoblach, Single Subject Law, Minnesota Constitution, Lawsuit, MNGOP
A former Republican state representative sued Gov. Mark Dayton and the state of Minnesota on Thursday in an attempt to block the construction of a $90 million office building for the state Senate.
“To me, this is such a ridiculous case of a glaring waste of money,” said Jim Knoblach, a St. Cloud businessman who served in the state House from 1995 to 2006.
But Knoblach’s lawsuit does not address whether the new building is a worthwhile use of taxpayer dollars. Rather, it claims the Legislature’s Democratic majority violated the state Constitution by authorizing its construction in the tax bill, which isn’t a typical means of approving large building projects.
Lawsuits challenging a bill’s constitutionality aren’t supposed to address whether something is “a worthwhile use of taxpayer dollars.” Lawsuits are supposed to talk about whether the DFL’s decision to include a $90,000,000 bonding project in the Tax Bill violates Minnesota’s Constitution. Specifically, it’s supposed to address whether it violates Article IV, section 17 of the Minnesota Constitution, aka the Single Subject Provision.
In the past, courts have given the Legislature some latitude on things involving the Single Subject Provision. Recently, though, they’ve ruled that the legislature has taken some egregious liberties. Here are two examples cited by Representative Knoblach:
Recent laws struck down under this single subject provision include:
1) a prevailing wage provision authored by then Rep. Tom Bakk in the 1997 Omnibus Tax Bill (Associated Builders and Contractors v. Ventura; Minnesota Supreme Court, 2000);
2) the Minnesota Personal Protection Act when first included in a DNR technical correction bill (Unity Church v. State of Minnesota; Minnesota Court of Appeals, 2005). The bill was struck down even though the Personal Protection Act was mentioned in the title.
Apparently, Tom Bakk ignored his oath of office when he included a prevailing wage provision in the 1997 Tax Bill. We’ll come back to that in a minute. Rep. Bakk took an oath to protect and defend the US Constitution and the Minnesota State Constitution.
While there’s no doubt that Bakk is a neanderthal, there’s no doubt that he isn’t ignorant, either. He’s a big supporter of labor unions, which is likely why he included the prevailing wage provision in the 1997 Tax Bill. It’s likely that he knew the prevailing wage provision wouldn’t have passed on its own.
Fast forward to today:
Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, who championed the project, said previous state building projects were financed similarly and that legislative counsel vetted the financing for this project. “I fear the only result of this suit will be the waste of taxpayer resources on legal expenses and the potential costs associated with delaying” the project, Bakk said.
Sen. Bakk wanted to spend this money in the worst way because he wanted a shiny new office for himself. If it isn’t his biggest fear, Sen. Bakk’s biggest fear should be that the courts rule in Rep. Knoblach’s favor.
If that happens, that’ll be the second time the courts have slapped Sen. Bakk for ignoring the same provision of the Minnesota Constitution. That isn’t the only thing Sen. Bakk should be worried about. Rep. Knoblach said that he could’ve filed the lawsuit on the basis that this is a bonding project. Bonding projects require getting 60% of the House to approve a project, then get 60% of the Senate’s vote.
Sen. Bakk isn’t the only Democrat who should be worried about Rep. Knoblach’s lawsuit. Gov. Dayton should be worried, too. He could’ve line-item vetoed the new Senate Office Building’s appropriation. He didn’t, which means he a) didn’t care about the Single-Subject Provision and b) thought spending $90,000,000 on a shiny new Senate Office Building was a worthwhile expenditure of taxpayers’ money.
Knoblach said he only wants the office building stripped from the tax bill, but acknowledged a judge could decide to throw out the entire thing. That would undo this year’s income tax increases on upper income earners, and a state subsidy of up to $525 million to aid in a multibillion dollar Mayo Clinic plan to grow the city of Rochester.
I don’t know the likelihood of the Minnesota Supreme Court throwing out the entire Tax Bill. If they did that, though, it’d create an incredible mess. It would mean the legislature would have to pass the business-to-business sales tax increases during an election year. It’d mean they’d have to pass all of the major tax increases again just prior to an election.
Sen. Bakk and Gov. Dayton have their fingerprints all over this waste of money. While I hope the courts strike this down, this is a huge millstone around the DFL’s necks, especially Gov. Dayton and Sen. Bakk. If Gov. Dayton tries telling people he didn’t veto out the expenditure because he wanted to sign the Tax Bill, I’ll clobber him by saying he had the authority to veto the bonding money because it’s an appropriation. He could’ve kept the law intact.
It isn’t surprising that Sen. Schumer thinks the Constitution should be ignored when it inconveniences President Obama and Democrats. Thankfully, former NY Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey isn’t letting Sen. Schumer’s bad behavior off the hook. Here’s the opening sentence to her article:
Last Sunday on Meet the Press, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York announced he will propose legislation to permanently take control of the debt limit away from Congress and give it to the president.
After that, Ms. McCaughey took Sen. Schumer to the proverbial woodshed:
It’s a dictator’s dream come true. The framers of the U.S. Constitution gave Congress alone power to borrow, tax, and decide how public revenues are spent. They wanted to prevent a president from spending excessively and saddling the public with huge debts. That’s what the despotic kings of Europe had done.
Article 1 Sect. 8 states that “Congress shall have the Power To lay and collect Taxes…to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general welfare of the United States; To borrow Money on the credit of the United States.” Schumer’s proposal stuffs the Constitution in the waste basket.
Sen. Schumer’s legislation won’t even get a hearing in the House so it’ll never become law. Sen. Schumer knows that. Still, it’s stunning to hear that a senator is proposing a bill that he knows is unconstitutional. It’s stunning because this is the text of the oath senators take:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
It’s exceptionally clear that the Founding Fathers intended Congress to obey the Constitution they wrote. Sen. Schumer apparently thinks that obeying the Constitution is just a formality.
Even if Sen. Schumer’s legislation became law, which it won’t, it wouldn’t take long for it to get struck down. Here’s why it’s doomed:
Schumer’s proposal goes against 226 years of American history. Until 1917, the president had to ask Congress’s permission for each borrowing and frequently acquiesced to conditions. That year, Congress devised the debt ceiling, which allowed the president flexibility to borrow up to a certain amount in order to fund a world war. Ever since then, presidents have come to Congress once or twice a year for a debt ceiling hike, often making political concessions to get it. Until this year, Congress had never abdicated control over the nation’s indebtedness.
In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that Congress can’t surrender its powers to another branch of government or change how laws are made. (I.N.S. v. Chadha, 1983)
Sen. Schumer should be thrown out of the Senate for violating his oath of office this openly. That won’t happen but that’s what should happen. Sen. Schumer, like several other Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi, think that the Constitution’s principles are antiquated and should be ignored. That isn’t surprising. It’s just disgusting.
This article asks a ton of questions that the Obama administration doesn’t want to deal with. Thanks to this lawsuit, President Obama is put in the unenviable position of defending his signature accomplishment in an uphill fight:
The Affordable Care Act forbids the federal government from enforcing the law in any state that opted out of setting up its own health care exchange, according to a group of small businesses whose lawsuit got a key hearing Monday in federal court.
The Obama administration, according to their lawsuit, has ignored that language in the law, enforcing all of its provisions even in states where the federal government is operating the insurance marketplaces on the error-plagued Healthcare.gov website.
Thirty-six states chose not to set up their exchanges, a move that effectively froze Washington, D.C. out of the authority to pay subsidies and other pot-sweeteners to convince citizens in those states to buy medical insurance.
But the IRS overstepped its authority by paying subsidies in those states anyway, say the businesses and their lawyers.
The subsidies serve as a trigger that determines who has to comply with the now-famous individual and employer mandates. So, the lawsuit claims, the Obama administration illegally enforced the Affordable Care Act – suddenly making millions of taxpayers and small employers subject to paying fines if they don’t play ball.
The Affordable Care Act authorizes subsidies only for policies purchased ‘through an Exchange established by the State.’
The clearly written language of the bill says that the only people who are eligible for federal subsidies are people who purchase their health insurance through state-run health insurance exchanges.
This lawsuit won’t get the Affordable Care Act ruled unconstitutional. That isn’t what the Obama administration is worried about though. If the federal government isn’t able to force people in those 36 states to obey the individual or employer mandates, the financing of the bill will collapse.
If the Supreme Court rules in favor of these plaintiffs, there’s a bigger worry facing the administration:
Kazman is general counsel for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free-market think tank that is coordinating the case.
‘The IRS cannot rewrite the law that Congress passed,’ said Tom Miller, resident fellow at another think, the tank American Enterprise Institute. Its regulation expressly flouts the statutory text of the Affordable Care Act, the intent of Congress and the reasoned choices of  states.’
‘The fiscal impact’ of denying the Obamacare system millions of dollars in lost fines, ‘while sizable, wouldn’t be large enough to bring down the house,’ Kazman added. The poltical one, however, is. You’d have 34 “refusenik” states exempting their employers and many of their citizens from the employer mandate and portions of the individual mandate,’ he explained.
‘You’d have companies in participating states considering whether to move their operations’ to states where they don’t have to obey the Affordable Care Act. ‘And you might even have some of those states seeking to undo their choice to participate.’
The law is clearly written. Still, I’m unsure because John Roberts screwed things up pretty badly when he had the chance to kill an unconstitutional law. Make no mistake about this fact: this lawsuit will be dedided by the Supreme Court.
Forgive my cynicism but that’s what happens when the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court rules that it isn’t his place to undo a political catastrophe. HINT TO CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: The Affordable Care Act wasn’t just a political catastrophe. It was about whether the Constitution put a limit on the federal government’s authority and reach. Chief Justice Roberts punted on that.
Perhaps he’s ashamed of that ruling. I hope he is. He should be. This time around, the lawsuit is clear. It’s about whether the clearly written language of the Affordable Care Act means what it says. Chief Justice Roberts better not botch this one. That might be the only clearly written part of the Affordable Care Act.
Technorati: Employer Mandate, Individual Mandate, Premium Support, Health Insurance Exchanges, Federal Lawsuit, Treasury Department, Regulations, President Obama, Democrats, Chief Justice Roberts, Affordable Care Act, Constitution
This LTE in the St. Cloud Times insists that we aren’t a deadbeat nation:
There should never be any bargaining about raising the debt ceiling. We are not a deadbeat nation.
KrisAnne Hall has a different perspective:
On Friday, President Barack Obama told workers at a Ford plant in Liberty, Missouri, “if we don’t raise the debt ceiling, we’re deadbeats.” This is a prime example of “fundamentally transforming” America. This is part of the strategy that leftists use, change the definition of words, seize the vocabulary. Obama wants you to believe that racking up bills that you can’t pay for in the first place, and then borrowing money to pay those bills, and then passing on that debt to your children is the responsible thing. It used to be that people understood that if you robbed from your children you were, fundamentally, a deadbeat.
To Ms. Maizan’s point that we aren’t a deadbeat nation, I’d simply argue that a government that spends money it doesn’t have on things it doesn’t need is the quintessential deadbeat nation. Glenn Reynolds’ column provides a fantastic solution:
With these lessons learned, here’s my budget proposal: An across-the-board cut of 5% in every government department’s budget line. (You can’t convince me — and you’ll certainly have a hard time convincing voters — that there’s not 5% waste to be found in any government program.) Then a five-year freeze at that level. Likewise, a one-year moratorium on new regulations, followed by strict limits on new regulatory action: Perhaps a rule that all new business regulations won’t have the force of law until approved by Congress.
Earlier in his column, Professor Reynolds stated something elementary:
As economist Herbert Stein once observed, something that can’t go on forever, won’t. And this can’t go on forever.
Anyone that thinks federal spending can be sustained is foolish. By this definition, Ms. Maizan is foolish. Taxing the rich more to pay for irresponsible spending won’t fix anything. In fact, I’d argue that raising taxes without questioning what politicians are spending money on is the political equivalent of a junkie scoring a fix for his addiction.
Professor Reynolds makes a string of fantastic points on the shutdown. Here’s my favorite:
The big lesson of the shutdown is that, in a time when so-called “draconian cuts” usually refer to mere decreases in the rate of growth of spending on programs, America was able to do without all the “non-essential” government workers just fine. (The same AP poll cited above says that 80% have felt no impact from the shutdown; a majority also oppose increasing the debt limit.) Turns out that most of those nonessential workers really are non-essential. And it’s a safe bet that some of those who stayed on the job, like the National Park Service people who chased veterans away from an open-air memorial, could be done without, too, in a pinch. Under the shutdown, new regulations also slowed to a trickle, suggesting that we can do just fine without those, too.
Let’s not forget this point. If President Obama hadn’t implemented his World War II Memorial strategy, taxpayers wouldn’t have noticed that government is shut down.
I agree with Reynolds and KrisAnne Hall. It’s time to stop spending like a deadbeat. It’s time to say NO MORE!!! This administration’s reckless spending isn’t sustainable. If it can’t be sustained, it won’t continue. This nation can’t afford 3 more years of President Obama playing the role of deadbeat politician.
This article is frightening on multiple levels. First, here’s what happened that started this disaster:
Canyon High School, based in Anaheim Hills, issued an apology to 16-year-old Haley Bullwinkle, a student there, after first telling her that a T-shirt she wore to school violated its dress code policy on clothes depicting and promoting violence. The garment in question: a T-shirt with a photo of the American flag and a hunter, along with the words, “National Rifle Association of America, Protecting America’s Traditions Since 1871.”
It never occurred to the sophomore that the shirt she grabbed when she was running late for school a couple of weeks ago would land her in trouble with officials. But Bullwinkle was confronted by a security guard outside of class and told she had to change her shirt or face a suspension. She cooperated and wore a top the school provided for the duration of the day, but the incident frightened the teenager, and outraged her parents.
Simply put, Canyon High School tried to prevent Ms. Bullwinkle from exercising her First Amendment rights. At least the school apologized. Plenty of schools wouldn’t have done even that much.
This is the frightening part:
Calls from Yahoo Shine to principal Kimberly Fricker and superintendent Michael Christensen weren’t returned, but Fricker did apologize to the Bullwinkle family. Superintendent Christensen also released a statement saying, “Campus staff will be trained so that an incident like this does not occur again.”
Here’s a radical thought. Instead of putting the staff through training, perhaps schools should just teach the Constitution as part of each year’s history class. After teaching the Constitution, it’d be appropriate to then teach students, and apparently faculty, staff and administration, about the Bill of Rights. (Students could even earn extra credit for reading the Federalist Papers.)
The class could be taught by KrisAnne Hall through a Skype connection. I’d bet she’d be willing to teach students, faculty, staff and administration about the history of the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, the various state conventions and the documents that the Founding Fathers used to write the Constitution.
With that type of class being taught for an entire quarter, the chuckleheads who tried to silence Ms. Bullwinkle wouldn’t need additional training because they’d know censorship is one of the worst violations of the First Amendment.
Technorati: Haley Bullwinkle, First Amendment, Speech Codes, Canyon High School, Censorship, Constitution, Bill of Rights, Federalist Papers, Founding Fathers, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, History