Jan. 29, 2015
“[A] bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.” –Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, 1787
TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
After Undermining Cuts, Obama Plans More Spending1
Despite Republican budget cuts helping the nation boost its Index of Economic Freedom score2, Barack Obama worked to make sequestration as painful as possible – even though it was his idea in the first place. For example, he blamed the Republican budget for his drawdown of military strength to anemic levels. Not only that, an analysis of federal grants3 by Reuters and the Brookings Institution shows Obama funneling more money to states he won in 2012 than to states he didn’t. On average, blue states saw their federal dole decline 25% while red states saw the payout slashed 40%. As Congress banned the practice of earmarking funds, the executive branch picked up that power. It’s all been a strategy to further Obama’s “middle-crush economics4,” as he’s about to introduce a budget to Congress that lifts sequestration entirely. It’s for the middle class, leftists like Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) argue: “Arbitrary cuts through sequestration never made sense, and House Democrats have consistently supported replacing them with a smarter, more balanced approach to long-term deficit reduction. What our country needs is a growing economy that works for all Americans, not just the wealthy few.” But waging class warfare and then redistributing the loot on vote-buying schemes won’t accomplish economic growth.
CBO Says ObamaCare to Cost Less? Yeah, Right5
Two projections about ObamaCare in the Congressional Budget Office’s latest report6 will probably contradict each other. First came the breathless news that the government will spend 20% less7 than what the CBO first divined back in April. Now, the government is expected to spend $1.35 trillion from 2016 to 2025 – $2 trillion in expenses8 offset by income from penalty payments and other tax revenue. Here’s what CBS News has to say about it: “Consequently, the CBO reduced its 10-year cost estimate for Obamacare by $101 billion by making the following changes: It’s predicting the government will spend $68 billion less on Obamacare subsidies, spend $59 billion more on Medicaid, and bring in $97 billion more in revenues from projected changes in employer-based coverage. Additionally, the CBO is projecting the government will spend $5 billion more due to changes in estimated penalty payments and certain taxes collected.” In short, they are expecting businesses to pick up a larger portion of the nation’s health care tab. But the CBO also says 10 million Americans will lose employer-provided insurance9 during that same period. With the track record the federal government has on ObamaCare promises, expect to see a revision soon.
White House: Taliban ‘Insurgents,’ Not Terrorists10
ABC News’ Jonathan Karl wanted to know: What was the difference between the Bowe Bergdahl exchange11 with the Taliban and Jordan’s attempted swap12 of prisoners with ISIL? When Karl brought the question up at a White House press conference, Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz responded that prisoner exchange is a “traditional end of conflict transaction.” But then Schultz said, “I would also point out that the Taliban is an armed insurgency. ISIL is a terrorist group. So we don’t make concessions to terrorist groups.” So if the full brunt of the U.S. military is thrown against a terrorist organization, it legitimizes the organization in the eyes of the Obama administration? This is just another example of Obama playing verbal gymnastics, obfuscating his foreign policy. As political analyst Charles Krauthammer observed, the Taliban “slits throats, it attacks busses, it drives car bombs into markets, and it’s not a terrorist group? Look, you can’t parody this administration.” Sad, but true. More…13
Narcissist in Chief Praises Himself 118 Times in Single Speech14
Can you ever get tired of hearing yourself talk, much less making it all about you? Not if you’re Barack Obama. The president made a stop in New Delhi this week to deliver a speech that was once again replete with personal pronouns. After analyzing the yawn-inducing remarks, Grabien reported, “Somehow in the span of just 33 minutes, Obama referenced himself 118 times.” They added, “For those keeping score at home, that’s 3.5 Obama references per minute.” Whether he’s demogugeing here at home, or proselytizing abroad, it’s never about “We the People,” as the beginning words of the U.S. Constitution make clear. It’s about “I, Barack Obama.” As if that weren’t embarrassing enough, the man actually believes he’s accomplished something.
Virginia Senate Defends Right to Bear Arms15
The proposal to restrict the Second Amendment rights of Virginians backfired on Governor Terry McAuliffe when he watched his bills die in committee while measures granting greater gun freedom moved forward. McAuliffe announced16 in December gun control would be a cornerstone of his administration, such as renewing Virginia’s expired law limiting handgun purchases to once a month. In what Philip Van Cleave, president of Virginia Citizens Defense League, called “an awesome day,” the commonwealth’s Senate Courts of Justice Committee rejected the governor’s bills and instead approved bills that would allow Virginians to get a lifetime gun permit and carry on school grounds if school is not in session. While Charles Cooke17 says McAuliffe signing these bills has about as much chance as a donut before Michael Moore, Virginia’s senate couldn’t have sent a stronger message. More…18
For more, visit Right Hooks19.
Support the NRA! This week, NRA Life members or those who have been members for five or more years, will receive National Board ballots in your NRA publication. I ask your support for a seasoned member of that board, my colleague Joe DeBergalis, an NRA Benefactor Life Member. Joe’s a career law enforcement officer in New York, but he has dedicated untold hours in support of the Second Amendment20 and the NRA, serving as Chairman of the NRA’s Education and Training Committee – there are now more than 117,000 certified Instructor and Coach members. He also serves as Vice Chair of Action Shooting and on the Executive, Finance, Law Enforcement, Legislative Affairs and Sport Shooting Committees. In addition to the NRA, Joe has promoted Essential Liberty21 nationwide. He is the founder of the very popular AR15.com Pro-AM 3 Gun Championship and works with numerous other 2A training and advocacy groups. Joe is an active opponent of the so-called NY SAFE Act and Leftist Michael Bloomberg’s gun control schemes22 in Colorado, California and across the nation. Check for your ballot in your magazine, or if you receive the magazine electronically, a ballot will be mailed to you via USPS. Support our friend Joe DeBergalis and make plans to attend the NRA Convention23 in Nashville, April 10-12, 2015.
Don’t Miss Alexander’s Column
Read Obama’s ‘Middle-Crush Economics’4, on the platform for his final years.
If you’d like to receive Alexander’s Column by email, update your subscription here24.
Lynch Will Take Up Holder’s Torch of Injustice25
Attorney General Eric Holder announced his resignation last September, effective when a replacement is confirmed. On Wednesday, Congress conducted the first day of hearings with that nominee, U.S. attorney Loretta Lynch. And it appears she’ll pick up right where Holder left off.
Early in the hearing, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) explained, “[T]he Attorney General is the premier law enforcement officer … in America. He or she sets the tone for law in America, the commitment to law, and must resist politicizing law and do the right thing on a daily basis.”
And Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) lamented, “Public confidence in the department’s ability to do its job without regard to politics has been shaken, with good reason.”
Indeed, what a tone Holder set. To name but a few egregious activities from the last six years in which he served as Barack Obama’s criminal co-conspirator26, the AG trafficked illegal guns to Mexican drug cartels via Operation Fast and Furious27, tossed an airtight voter-intimidation case28 against the New Black Panther Party in Philadelphia and sued Southern states over voter ID laws29. So he’s leaving big shoes to fill.
Enter Lynch, the current U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York. Grilled by Senate Republicans hoping to find that she’s “not Eric Holder,” Lynch gave every reason to believe that she’d endeavor to be his heir.
That isn’t to say she didn’t strike some euphonious political notes. Regarding law enforcement, she said it would be a priority to strengthen “the vital relationships between our courageous law enforcement personnel and all the communities we serve.” In fact, she added, “In my career, I have seen this relationship flourish – I have seen law enforcement forge unbreakable bonds with community residents and have seen violence-ravaged communities come together to honor officers who risked all to protect them. As attorney general, I will draw all voices into this important discussion.”
All well and good, but the relationship between communities and law enforcement has absolutely not flourished in the wake of Holder’s noxious race-baiting30 after police shootings in Ferguson and New York City. Notwithstanding Lynch’s conciliatory rhetoric, we find it hard to believe she’ll do much better. Obama wouldn’t choose her if she would.
So what about immigration? If the AG “sets the tone” for the nation, as Sessions accurately noted, what can we expect from the Justice Department after Obama’s lawless amnesty?
First, Lynch claims it was only a “temporary deferral” of enforcement and therefore not “a legal amnesty” – by which she means Obama didn’t grant amnesty. While she wasn’t part of crafting the policy, she doesn’t “see any reason to doubt the reasonableness” of the action.
Second, in a convoluted line of testimony, she seemed to contend that illegals have the right to work in the U.S. “I believe that the right and the obligation to work is one that’s shared by everyone in this country regardless of how they came here,” she said. “And certainly, if someone is here, regardless of status, I would prefer that they be participating in the workplace than not participating in the workplace.”
Lynch did later clarify that there is currently a “legal framework” requiring proof of citizenship or eligibility for employment, but that hardly eases the concern we have over her “right to work” answer. The issue of “rights” for illegals is at the root of Obama’s lawlessness, and Lynch’s answer signifies that she’s in lockstep with the president. Shocking, we know.
And don’t think for a minute that any leftist actually believes a poverty plantation31 welfare recipient has an “obligation to work.”
Lynch cannot possibly restore trust between American communities and law enforcement when the law is based on nothing more than the political whim of the White House. Her answer regarding Holder’s decision not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court is illustrative: There are, she said, “rare instances” when the Justice Department may find “constitutional issues” with a law. This is Left-speak for selective law enforcement.
Unfortunately, though Sessions and a few other Republicans will oppose32 Lynch’s confirmation, it seems she will win enough votes to become the next attorney general. Worse, her quiet demeanor, diminutive stature (she’s all of five feet tall) and the fact she will be the first black woman to serve as AG (with the last name of Lynch, no less) add up to mean she could be both worse than Holder and harder to oppose.
Dropping Out of (Taxing) College (Savings)33
In less time than it takes to fill out a college application, Barack Obama dropped his plan to tax 529 college savings accounts in order to offer two “free” (ahem) years of community college. Just seven days after floating the idea in the State of the Union address34, the White House deduced that it had become such a “distraction” as to warrant abandonment.
Given this administration’s penchant for coming up with, and then bitterly clinging to, economically disastrous ideas (ObamaCare, anyone?), political resistance was quick and universal enough that even Obama couldn’t ignore reality.
You see, 529s are education savings plans that help families set aside money for college. While contributions are not tax-deductible on federal tax returns, distributions from the funds to pay for college are tax-free, making 529 plans highly attractive for families wanting to save for their children’s education. The problem – well, one among many – is that the president seemed to assume those who take advantage of these accounts are “rich,” defined in his parallel universe as those who make $250,000 per year. So taxing these accounts would be the obvious choice in Obama’s class-warfare utopia. Shared responsibility and all.
He grossly underestimated the backlash given how many middle-class people actually have college savings. As of last year, there were more than 12 million accounts, and the average balance was $19,774 – far less than the $240,000 the Obamas put into college savings for their private-school-educated daughters in one year alone.
Furthermore, according to the College Savings Foundation35, some 70% of 529 accounts are held by households earning less than $150,000 per year – hardly “rich.” Almost 10% are held by households making less than $50,000 per year, and nearly 95% of 529 plans are owned by households making less than $250,000 annually. The president can’t pass this one off as trying to tax the One Percent.
Still, demonstrating his ever-present disconnect from reality, he actually pitched his proposal as part of his “middle-class economics” plan. He defines this campaign theme as36 “the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.”
In reality, Obamanomics means government calls the shots, fair share is forcibly relinquishing what you earn fair and square to those who do squat, and the rules are whatever the latest executive order says they are. It would be better known as middle-crush economics4.
Far from helping the middle class, Obama’s plan took direct aim at average Americans, as the truly “rich” often pay out of pocket for college and the poor are eligible for financial aid, something middle-class families are often deemed too well-off to receive.
The idea that anyone would propose such a middle-class-crushing tax seems ludicrous, but it’s par for the course when you’re trying to fund exponentially bigger government and running out of revenue sources.
The president must have realized things were bad when two of his top cheerleaders, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), pleaded with him to drop the idea. They realized that nothing says “don’t re-elect me” quite like “I want to scalp your college savings.”
While some may call the plan a political blunder, at the end of the day it was simply a case of Obama exposing his true economic philosophy. As Robert Tracinski notes37, “The truly committed leftist looks upon our private savings as a vast reserve of capital unfairly withheld from its proper function of servicing the needs of the state.”
So don’t think the president’s money grab is over. Instead, be on the lookout for what he’ll try to commandeer next.
OPINION IN BRIEF
British novelist C. S. Lewis (1898-1963): “Again, the new oligarchy must more and more base its claim to plan us on its claim to knowledge. If we are to be mothered, mother must know best. This means they must increasingly rely on the advice of scientists, till in the end the politicians proper become merely the scientists’ puppets. Technocracy is the form to which a planned society must tend.”
Economist Stephen Moore: “The big news from [last] week’s State of the Union address is that the economic ‘crisis is over.’ Apparently, we’ve been rescued from a second Great Depression and everything this president has done to fix the economy has worked. All that was missing from Mr. Obama’s celebration was the old ‘Icky Shuffle’ end zone dance. This no doubt came as a bit of a shock to voters since the economy has been sickly for a long, long time. As recently as this fall, half of Americans were saying that the country is still in recession. Conditions have improved in the last six months for sure, with growth accelerating, inflation low and stable, hiring picking up and gas prices tumbling. Still, if things are as good as the White House says they are, why do we feel so bad? … Americans aren’t breaking out the champagne because they instinctively realize that an economic recovery built on trillions of dollars of debt, overspending, and trillions more in easy money is a house of sand. Mr. Obama’s only economic idea is to redistribute wealth via ever-rising taxes from the productive class and the job creators to everyone else. If Republicans let him, things will get worse for everyone before they get better.”
Columnist Ann Coulter: “The Republican leadership in Congress still hasn’t held hearings on why college is so expensive, although I proposed the idea two weeks ago. Of course, it’s been a month since the GOP took control of Congress, and they also haven’t voided Obama’s unconstitutional executive amnesty, passed e-Verify, a fence bill or the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Act. Democrats are on offense all the time, even when they’ve just had their legs cut off. They announce absurd agenda items and then indignantly demand to know why Republicans are refusing to deal with the free unicorn-rides proposal. Obama is a lame-duck president and, three months ago, his party was slaughtered in midterm elections. And yet, I gather that his State of the Union address consisted of a litany of insanely expensive, utterly pointless ideas. And Republicans fall for it every time. They consider it a major victory to come back with a free-market approach to surrender. In response to Obama’s ‘free’ community college idea, Republicans should say: We’re not giving you anything, and, in fact, we’re demanding answers from the entire ‘higher ed’ establishment. You’ll be surprised how liberating and fun it is to go on offense, Republicans.”
PJTV’s Scott Ott: “Meteorologists: If anyone gives you a hard time about your blizzard prediction, hold your head high. At least you’re not an economist.”
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
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