Obama's New Policy to Crush Small Businesses
President Obama and his team of economic advisors are continuing their crusade against entrepreneurs and small companies that are the traditional engine to economic growth. The latest anti-business Obama policies appear in a just-released Executive Order 13495, a new rule to be enforced by the Department of Labor. This particular regulation is aimed directly at small business owners and attacks small businesses' most valuable asset--their employees.
Executive Order 13495, which will be both complicated and costly to enforce, represents just another example of Team Obama’s complete lack of understanding of the concerns of small business owners. After 15 years as a small business owner, and as the former Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration, I've been to the circus a few times and seen all the strings connected the federal government and its indifference to the plight of small business owners. For small businesses, Executive Order 13495 is perhaps the most damaging action yet to come out of the Obama Administration.
First, in our country, a business has the freedom to hire the workers it thinks are best suited to ensure the company's success. The new Team Obama contracting rule tramples over that basic, capitalist principle by requiring any company which wins a federal contract to hire the employees that the government identifies.
This means that the government has new and expanded powers to direct the hiring, firing and promotion of employees at private companies.
Second, government contracting is challenging and intensely competitive. Profit margins are wire thin. Companies need to have the freedom to hire those whom they best believe can provide the best value to the government at the lowest cost. This new rule will make that kind of entrepreneurial freedom almost impossible as the federal government forces the company into employment and salary negotiations with persons of the government’s choice, with the government participating in the negotiation process.
Third, this new rule shows that Team Obama has no understanding of the challenges facing small businesses. Small businesses create 3 out of every 4 jobs in the United States. Small businesses are the source of much of the innovation in the United States. They are more agile because of their size and more willing to take risks.
A small business' employees are its life's blood. Successful small business leaders all understand the need to hire, retain and build a dedicated base of employees and provide them with whatever additional training is needed to give the business an edge and ability to compete. But now, in this new regulation, Obama seeks to undermine small business owners with a too-heavy, government hand that will give the government broad new powers to poach and strip a successful small business owner of its most valuable employees whenever it wishes. Raiding the employee rolls of small companies robs them of their most important asset.
Lastly, this rule shows a profound disrespect for the employee, and treats them as a kind of indentured servant or slave, chattel to be passed from one company to another without consideration of the employee's desires.
Obama's colossal ignorance of the challenges facing small businesses seems a clear sign that once again, the President just doesn’t get it. Time and again, new, burdensome regulations are heaped upon small businesses and the nation’s job creators. And yet, Obama seems simultaneously unaware of the damage he has done and continues to do, even as he issues platitudes and half-baked thoughts about the need to create jobs.
Unless I miss my guess, Obama’s big Jobs Speech is likely to be "a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." The fact is, the president lacks even a basic understanding of how difficult it is to start a small business and see it grow. This disturbing anti-business trend is quickly becoming the primary Obama legacy.
Small business owners understand that creating jobs requires a system that encourages risk-taking because it makes it possible for risk takers to reap rewards. What government should do is provide regulatory relief for many of the arcane and obsolete requirements that hinder job creators.
Unfortunately, this latest executive order tells us that Obama is moving his Administration in the opposite direction and has decided to add to the regulatory thicket by making it hard for entrepreneurs and small business owners to succeed.
Creating jobs is fairly straightforward. Getting the White House to abandon union-generated ideas that stifle innovation, crush competitiveness, and condescend to small businesses—well, that's a lot harder.
Heaven Help the Aged
They say there are only two sure things in life: death and taxes. Thanks to unbelievable gains in medical technology in recent years however, most Americans are now able to delay the former inevitability for decades longer than their ancestors. Because of this, at a time when America’s real estate industry is struggling, there’s one market sector that’s proving to be recession proof: senior housing.
According to a recent article in the New York Times, “[d]emand for nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and retirement communities is expected to balloon in the next two decades as baby boomers retire and the incidence of progressive illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease increases. The number of Americans over the age of 65 is expected to double to 71 million by 2030, and 7.7 million of them will suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, a 50 percent increase from today, according to the Alzheimer's Association.”
In the words of one industry insider, “it’s a great time to develop senior housing.”
Why the commodification of aging? Well, as the article points out, America is undergoing a remarkable demographic shift that is changing the face of our nation. Because people are generally having fewer children, there are fewer young people to take care of their aging parents. There are more elderly men and women requiring long-term care and fewer young people to provide it. Thus, the only resource available to meet this need – aside from our crumbling entitlement infrastructure, of course – is the profit-driven real-estate industry. This is how denigrated the aged have become in our culture’s eyes. Because we have failed to enact responsible entitlement reform, and because we have increasingly eschewed traditional family arrangements in favor of a uni-generational, “me, myself, and I” mentality, the fate of our parents and grandparents now rests in the hands of an industry that time and again has chosen the bottom line over the health and welfare of its elderly wards.
Indeed, many today speak of the elderly as if they are merely parasites draining our time and money. Older men and women are often treated with little respect. I see it every day in my law practice, where I frequently represent men and women who are victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. Weak and helpless elders are at the mercy of caregivers who are often underqualified and overworked. The result is an epidemic of preventable pressure sores, malnutrition, dehydration, and falls among the institutionalized elderly.
There is no doubt that the Roe v. Wade ethic has had a striking effect on how we view the aged. Other than the unborn, no single age group in the United States suffers from a diminished view of the value of human life more than the elderly. Rather than viewing our aging relatives as persons worthy of our utmost reverence and care, Roe has taught us to look at other people in terms perceived convenience. If someone is wanted – if we feel that they contribute to our overall quality of life – then their life has worth; if not, it is permissible to store them away somewhere for others to care for until they die. Out of sight, out of mind.
Now that we are facing a future where elderly men and women will be seen as economically inconvenient, where some will be unwanted and unloved, and where many will lack the mental or physical capacity to defend themselves, it is clear that the elderly are in danger of abuse, neglect, or perhaps even worse… unless of course they are lucky enough to afford a unit in one of the new, ultra-luxurious assisted living facilities currently under construction in some of the nation’s wealthier enclaves.
Will we allow ourselves to see our mothers and fathers, our grandparents as inconveniences to be managed, or as people who are to be nurtured, cared for, and cherished? Will we see the dignity in their lives even when they are no longer “useful” to us? Will we love them regardless of their abilities, recalling the intergenerational debts that bind us all?
In the increasingly utilitarian age in which we live – an age where moral absolutes are mocked and the notion of transcendent truths is ridiculed – the answer to these questions can be terrifying. Heaven help the aged when even money ceases to be an effective bargaining chip and society forgets them completely.
Obama's tricky language
He rivals Goebbels in his ability to call things what they are not
This week, as President Obama prepares for a big jobs speech (yet again!), even his partisans have begun to lose hope that he’s going to have any new or effective ideas about how to create jobs in America’s stalled economy. But one thing is certain: Whatever he says, it will be cloaked in euphemism.
There’s an old cliché insisting that fuzzy speaking means fuzzy thinking. Somehow, however, the Obama Administration has managed to turn the aphorism on its head. The President and his supporters resort to the use of euphemisms not because their thinking is fuzzy, but because they believe that ours is.
Take, as an example, the host of euphemisms that’s been trotted out as part of the Obama Administration’s approach to the war on terror. Since 2009, “rogue states” have become “outliers”; vague phrases like “overseas contingency operations,” “man-caused disasters,” “countering violent extremism” and – most recently – “kinetic military action” have entered the national lexicon.
It’s not an accident, and it’s not because the administration is unaware of the ugly facts about the war on terror; in fact, President Obama has retained most of the Bush-era policies. It’s because members of the administration hope that watered-down language will help Americans forget the existential threat our country still faces from Islamic jihadists – and thus more willingly accede to a less powerful, less exceptional America, content to “lead from behind.”
Similarly, when the President addresses the nation on Thursday night, be prepared to hear a lot about “investment” rather than “government spending.” The term “stimulus” – discredited by his earlier, failed almost-trillion-dollar boondoggle – will be replaced with the innocuous-sounding “targeted measures.” Realize that when he advocates higher taxes on “millionaires and billionaires,” he’s really talking about individuals earning more than $200,000 per year, or couples earning more than $250,000. And just know that when the President invokes “revenue enhancement” and “shared sacrifices” and “a balanced approach” and “making spending reductions in the tax code,” he’s trying to make his single-minded obsession with tax increases more palatable to a government-weary, overtaxed electorate. Put simply, however novel (or creative) the words, the song will be the same: More taxing, more government spending, and more efforts to “spread the wealth around.”
Certainly, per the old cliché, it would be dispiriting to believe that President Obama’s constant resort to euphemism is a result of fuzzy thinking. But it’s even more unpleasant to know that it’s part of an effort to obscure a far-left agenda to which Americans are deeply (and increasingly) hostile. And most of all, it’s profoundly insulting to realize that the President thinks that we are “intellectually challenged” (read: stupid) enough to fall for it.
Lies from the Congressional Black Caucus
Last week, Indiana Congressman Andre Carson [above] told a CBC gathering in Florida that members of Congress who are members of the tea party want to see blacks "hanging from trees." Because he is both a Democrat and a black congressman, the liberal news media, which means essentially all of our news media, has barely reported what is an almost uniquely vicious libel in American political history.
Given this uniqueness, it demands an explanation.
First, it is meant to create racial tension. Without racial tension -- specifically, black Americans resenting white Americans, especially conservatives -- the Democratic Party fears that it cannot survive as a national force. And it is right.
The day the majority of black Americans adopt the attitude that Washington Post correspondent Keith Richburg has written of in "Out of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa," the Democratic Party will be rendered irrelevant. As a black American, Richberg considers himself a member of the most fortunate group of blacks living anywhere in the world. No Democrat can win a presidential election without more than 90 percent of the black vote. And the only way to ensure that vote is to label whites in general and conservatives in particular as racists.
Second, the CBC is happy to race-bait for the Democrats. The CBC's power emanates from its party's power, so its leaders need to tell fellow blacks regularly how despicable the American majority is -- and therefore how only Democrats and the left can save them from everything ... even lynching.
Third, it is the CBC -- not the tea party -- that should be described as racist. While race plays no role in tea party membership, race is the only criterion for membership in the CBC. One must be black. Nothing else matters.
A black member of Congress whose district is largely non-black can be a member of the CBC, but a non-black Congressman whose district is largely black cannot be a member. Democratic Congressman Steven Cohen, whose Tennessee district is largely black, applied for membership in the CBC and was turned down for one reason: He is white.
What we have here is a racist group hurling false accusations of racism at a group that is on no way racist. But since it is an axiom of the left that blacks cannot be racist -- because whites are the authors of racism and because racism is only possible when practiced by the racial group in power -- few call the CBC what it is.
Fourth, when you are used to getting away with taking immoral positions, you feel free to continue doing so.
In 2009, seven members of the CBC visited Fidel Castro. Not only were they full of praise for the tyrant -- in that regard, they were hardly alone on the left -- but they also refused to meet with any democratic dissidents, including Cuba's leading black dissenter.
As a Washington Post editorial noted at the time, "In five days on the island, the (CBC) Congress members found no time for dialogue with Afro-Cuban dissident Jorge Luis Garcia Perez ... Mr. Garcia, better known as 'Antunez,' is a renowned advocate of human rights who has often been singled out for harsh treatment because of his color. "'The authorities in my country,' he has said, 'have never tolerated that a black person (could dare to) oppose the regime.'
"His wife, Iris, is a founder of the Rosa Parks Women's Civil Rights Movement, named after an American hero whom Afro-Cubans try to emulate."
As the snub of Cuba's leading black freedom fighters demonstrated, in a conflict between helping the left and helping blacks, the CBC chooses the left. On its website, the CBC calls itself "the conscience of the Congress since 1971." Its members probably believe it. But it has about as much truth as Congressman's Carson's accusation.
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)