Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Obamacare: A death panel for the rule of law

Barack Obama is in a box: He repeatedly promised “if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan,” but his socialized medicine monstrosity has cost millions of people their coverage. It’s also become painfully clear Obama knew this was going to happen as early as March 2010 — yet kept regurgitating his false promise.

Obamacare also has a bigger problem: As written, the law’s key mechanism for issuing subsidies to state exchanges is legally enforceable in only one third of the country — meaning the only way to pay for its nationwide dependency expansion is new deficit spending. This would clearly violate another oft-repeated Obama promise: That his law would not “add one dime” to the federal deficit (well, beyond the $6.2 trillion identified in this 2013 GAO report).

What’s an administration to do, right?

That’s easy: Change the law.  “As we implement this law, we have and will continue to make changes as needed,” senior administration official Valerie Jarrett wrote this summer.

And so Obama has shredded the Constitution in favor of the “Easy Button,” arbitrarily remaking entire sections of the health care law that deal with its employer mandate, its deductible and co-payment limits, its coverage requirements and — more disturbingly — its power to subsidize health insurance in more than thirty states.

Consider this: Obamacare itself contains 906 pages and approximately 380,000 words. But the regulations promulgated in support of the law total 10,535 pages and approximately 11,588,500 words.

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) hit the nail on the head earlier this year in responding to this systematic obliteration of our nation’s constitutionally prescribed separation of powers.  “The president doesn’t get to write legislation, and its illegal and unconstitutional for him to try and change legislation by himself,” Paul told Fox News.

He’s right. Yet sadly this sort of crass usurpation is nothing new for Obama – whose contempt for the rule of law is unprecedented in American history. For example, after multiple Congresses (including a Democratically controlled Congress) refused to enact his proposed energy tax Obama went over their heads.

“If Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will,” he said in his 2013 State of the Union address. “I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take.”

Last month he made good on that threat — forming a new Democratic-controlled environmental panel designed to “skirt legislative oversight” and “push a federal agenda on states” as part of a “sweeping overhaul” of American environmental policy, according to one report.

After Congress refused to pass Obama’s DREAM Act in 2011 Obama unilaterally imposed the measure himself — effectively granting legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants.

Without Congressional approval Obama’s administration pledged last month to indefinitely extend America’s failed military intervention in Afghanistan — one of several foreign lands where Central Intelligence Agency operators have conducted extralegal killings (the evidence of which has been kept hidden from taxpayers).

Just as egregiously, Obama’s Internal Revenue Service unfairly discriminated against his political opponents in the years leading up to his reelection — illegally targeting them for “added scrutiny” and then covering up the scandal until after the election.

Last month Obama applauded Sen. Harry Reid’s decision to undo two centuries of democratic tradition in the U.S. Senate — part of a crass effort to further radicalize the federal government by eliminating a critical check on executive overreach (one Obama previously embraced as a member of the U.S. Senate).

And in perhaps the most dangerous example of them all, Obama has empowered his National Security Agency to intercept, store and access billions of phone records, emails, text messages, website histories and online interactions of American citizens in direct contravention of their constitutional protections against warrantless search and seizure.

In each of these actions Obama’s modus operandi is clear: Centralized power, by any means necessary.

America was built on the rule of law — indispensable liberties articulated by the Magna Carta and Anglo-Saxon common law and expanded upon during the American Revolution, the U.S. Civil War and the civil rights movement. Obama’s arrogant disregard for the rule of law is destroying this shared heritage. It is breaking the bonds of civil society — fueling the very distrust and contempt for government Obama professes to abhor.

This alien ideology — which will take generations to erase from our national identity – is the true legacy of the Obama regime. And Obamacare represents its shining “achievement.”



The moral superiority of capitalism

The American Right has yet to fully make the moral case for capitalism.  Too many conservative writers and politicians focus on its practical aspects, but details of order and efficiency do not sway the hearts of voters, compassion does.  Not surprisingly, the party most hostile to our founding economic principles has won the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections, in large part, by claiming the moral high ground for wealth redistribution and more centralized power.

Columnist Leonard Pitts recently excoriated Rush Limbaugh for calling out the Pope in the wake of his pronouncements condemning the free market.  Pitts cites the Apostle Paul who writes in 2 Corinthians 8:13-15 that it is wrong for some to live lives of ease while others struggle.  Limbaugh and others, according to Pitts, “are fine with faith as long as it speaks in platitudinous generalities… but scream bloody murder when it imposes specific demands on their personal conscience — or wallet.”

A complete theological rebuttal to Pitts’ twaddle would require space not permitted here.  Certainly God does require His followers to care for the needy.  Rush Limbaugh annually hosts a Leukemia and Lymphoma Cure-a-thon on his radio show and he proudly supports the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation, which offers scholarships to the children of fallen heroes.  The dreaded robber barons of the 19th Century gave millions to establish hospitals, universities and charitable foundations.

Still, the point is not that conservatives and capitalists do good things.  The point is that capitalism makes such giving possible.  Furthermore, the moral case for capitalism lies in the fact that it makes life better for everyone every day.  The wonders of capitalism are why people from all over the world flock to our shores by the millions.

The Reagan years, known as the decade of greed, saw average incomes for all Americans increase, according to the Census Bureau, more than 15 percent.  Unemployment was reduced considerably during the Reagan era from Carter Administration levels of more than 10 percent, and, according to surveys, charitable contributions reached an all-time high of over $120 billion.  These are the fruits of a system that should be hailed and not demeaned.

One could remind us that the Pope was merely assailing the excesses of the free market.  Pitts, in fact, began his column by stating that “I like capitalism.”  But the American left has been reining in the supposed extremes of capitalism for much of the last 100 years, and with no real successor to Reagan in over a generation, one has to wonder how many excesses could be left!

Neither Pitts nor the Pope mention that charity has no meaning if not freely given.  What they seem to advocate is wealth redistribution, the results of which, as history has shown, have been mostly disastrous.  Visit most any Democrat-controlled inner city. Statists invest faith in their own bloated vision of the benevolence of the state.  They show little faith in a free people.  Capitalism flourishes on the highest ideals of the average person.  Capitalism thrives on achievements of which the achiever never thought him or herself capable!  Socialism can’t say that.  Now tell us which system best speaks to the innate goodness and potential of the human spirit.

Unfortunately, the face of American capitalism far too often resembles Mr. Potter of It’s a Wonderful Life fame, as opposed to a true hero in the Atlas Shrugged mold.  The business world often has only itself to blame.  And conservatives and Republicans who should be hailing capitalism tend to adopt a defensive posture or promote it solely on pragmatic grounds.

Finally, the Pope above all should hail the moral superiority of a free system that allows the most humble to worship the God of his conscience and not the idol of the omnipotent state.  Statists will cite the Bible for their own purposes but they mask their own messianic worldview.  No doubt, this is not about competing economic theories, this is a moral war.  Let’s not be afraid to call it that.


Obama Agenda Promotes Unfairness


The things that increase the likelihood of improving one's life are the very things the President and his liberal friends fight

When presidents give speeches, the affair is choreographed like a Broadway production. The message is not just the words of the speech, but where it is given and who happens to be the chosen audience.

So it was not by accident that President Barack Obama chose a theater in a poor black neighborhood in Washington, D.C., where the average income is barely half the national average, to speak this week about economic opportunity and fairness.

What exactly was the President trying to achieve by sharing with a low-income black audience that "today's CEO now makes 273 times more" than the average worker?

Did he want to inspire hope that one day they can earn money like this? I don't think so. The point was to create despair and convey that America is not fair.

Even though the president doesn't deny there are many American success stories (he knows -- he raises lots of money from them), he implies that somehow they are the exceptions to the rule. His core message is that average Americans are not getting ahead, and the reason is that America is not fair.

I can't find a word in the President's remarks that would do anything but reinforce the sense of helplessness, meaninglessness, and disenfranchisement that already exists in generous doses in low-income neighborhoods.

Is this leadership?  Is this the message those trying to get their lives together really need to hear?

Maybe they do need to hear it if it is true. But it's not. There are indeed unhealthy trends in America today that undermine opportunity and the chances of many to get ahead.

But they are not the things the president talked about. In fact, the trends that are reducing opportunity are the things that President Obama and his liberal friends love to promote. And the things that increase the likelihood of improving one's life are the very things the President and his liberal friends fight.

There is today reams of data, piles of studies that show that more economically free nations grow faster and create more wealth.

What is economic freedom? It means citizens can run their lives and do their business with minimal government interference. It means keeping taxes, government spending and regulation low. It means more-powerful citizens and less-powerful politicians.
In 2000, the United States was number 2 in the world as measured by the Economic Freedom of the World Index. By 2011 it dropped to number 19.

This dramatic drop in economic freedom in America helps explain today's sluggish economy and slow job creation.

But liberals, like our president, insist that government is the solution rather than the problem. We need more of it, according to them, not less. Then when jobs disappear, they say it's not fair.

What about individual realities?

According to Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution, "Kids in single-parent families are about five times more likely to be poor as children in married-couple families. Yet the share of children in single-parent homes families has been rising for decades."

And liberal government policies have been contributing for decades to marriage breakdown.

Now Obamacare gives Americans a new reason not to get married.
Kaiser Health News reports that two low-income earners -- say one earning $30,000 and one earning $40,000 -- would each qualify for health insurance subsidies. But if they married, their combined $70,000 would disqualify them.

The president told his black audience in Southeast Washington, D.C., that "we need to set aside the belief that government cannot do anything about reducing inequality."

You're right, Mr. President, it can.  Government can start protecting rather than violating our freedoms.

And our leaders can start promoting policies consistent with, rather than in violation of, traditional biblical values like marriage and personal responsibility, so that our citizens will be in good shape to take advantage of their freedom, if we can ever get it back from our government.



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