Category Archives: Organized Labor

ObamaCare and the Constitution – WSJ.com

The constitutional challenges to ObamaCare have come quickly, and the media are portraying them mostly as hopeless gestures—the political equivalent of Civil War re-enactors. Discussion over: You lost, deal with it.

The press corps never dismissed the legal challenges to the war on terror so easily, but then liberals have long treated property rights and any limits on federal power to regulate commerce as 18th-century anachronisms. In fact, the legal challenges to ObamaCare are serious and carry enormous implications for the future of American liberty.

The most important legal challenge turns on the “individual mandate”—the new requirement that almost every U.S. citizen must buy government-approved health insurance. Failure to comply will be punished by an annual tax penalty that by 2016 will rise to $750 or 2% of income, whichever is higher. President Obama opposed this kind of coercion as a candidate but has become a convert. He even argued in a September interview that “I absolutely reject that notion” that this tax is a tax, because it is supposedly for your own good.

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum and 13 other state AGs—including Louisiana Democrat Buddy Caldwell—claim this is an unprecedented exercise of state power. Never before has Congress required people to buy a private product to qualify as a law-abiding citizen.

As the Congressional Budget Office noted in 1994, “Federal mandates typically apply to people as parties to economic transactions, rather than as members of society.” The only law in the same league is conscription, though in that case the Constitution gives Congress the explicit power to raise a standing army.

Democrats claim the mandate is justified under the Commerce Clause, because health care and health insurance are a form of interstate commerce. They also claim the mandate is constitutional because it is structured as a tax, which is legal under the 16th Amendment. And it is true that the Supreme Court has ruled as recently as 2005, in the homegrown marijuana case Gonzales v. Raich, that Congress can regulate essentially economic activities that “taken in the aggregate, substantially affect interstate commerce.”

But even in Raich the High Court did not say that the Commerce Clause can justify any federal regulation, and in other modern cases the Court has rebuked Congress for overreaching. In U.S. v. Lopez(1995), the High Court ruled that carrying a gun near a school zone was not economically significant enough to qualify as interstate commerce, while in Morrison (2000) it overturned a law about violence against women on the same grounds.

All human activity arguably has some economic footprint. So if Congress can force Americans to buy a product, the question is what remains of the government of limited and enumerated powers, as provided in Article I. The only remaining restraint on federal power would be the Bill of Rights, though the Founders considered those 10 amendments to be an affirmation of the rights inherent in the rest of the Constitution, not the only restraint on government. If the insurance mandate stands, then why can’t Congress insist that Americans buy GM cars, or that obese Americans eat their vegetables or pay a fat tax penalty?

The mandate did not pose the same constitutional problems when Mitt Romney succeeded in passing one in Massachusetts, because state governments have police powers and often wider plenary authority under their constitutions than does the federal government. Florida’s constitution also has a privacy clause that underscores the strong state interest in opposing Congress’s health-care intrusion.

As for the assertion that the mandate is really a tax, this is an attempt at legal finesse. The mandate is the legal requirement to buy a certain product, while the tax is the means of enforcement. This is not a true income or even excise tax. Congress cannot, merely by invoking a tax, blow up the Framers’ attempt to restrain government under Article I.


READ THE REST HERE:  ObamaCare and the Constitution – WSJ.com.

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Obama: “I Can Go to My Right, but I Prefer My Left” – Political Hotsheet – CBS News

President Obama hit the basketball court and talked politics with CBS “Early Show” co-anchor Harry Smith this morning.Smith asked Mr. Obama, who is left-handed, if he can ever go to his right.”I can go to my right, but I prefer my left,” the president says.He doesnt always sink his famous jump shot.”You know, Ive got a few other things on my mind,” said Mr. Obama, who then makes the jump shot. “Its like health care, I always come from behind – I finish strong.” Watch the video at left.Watch for more of Smiths interview with Mr. Obama tonight on the “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric” and Friday morning on “The Early Show.”Smith also asked the president if he is aware of the extreme terms some use to describe him, such as “socialist” or “Nazi.”

Read the rest and watch the video here:  Obama: “I Can Go to My Right, but I Prefer My Left” – Political Hotsheet – CBS News.

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Moneynews – Professor: Huge Deficit Will Cause Dollar to Collapse

The federal deficit may soon cause a “collapse” of the dollar, Stanford University economics professor Scott S. Powell writes. In an opinion piece in The New York Post, Powell notes that the ratings agency Fitch just cut Portugals bond rating to AA negative — a clear sign that the insolvency crisis that began in Greece is far from over. “And dont think its merely a problem for the European Union. In fact, a debt-driven collapse of the dollar may be closer than most Americans realize,” he writes. Before the government bank bailouts, gross federal debt was 70 percent of gross domestic product GDP. “Its now estimated at about 90 percent of GDP. Add in the $1.6 trillion debt liability of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and were already at that 100 percent debt-to-GDP tipping point,” writes Powell. “No, the United States isnt Greece: For a host of reasons, we can probably get away with higher debt. But our problem is about to grow worse.”Right now, low interest rates make federal borrowing seem cheaper than it actually is — because those interest rates wont stay at zero forever.“And when rates head back to normal, Uncle Sams borrowing costs could easily double. We spend 11 percent of the current budget — $382 billion — on debt service; that could rise two- or three-fold to more than $800 billion, warns the CBO,” says Powell. Adding to the pressure on the dollar — inflation related to new job creation once the economy really starts to expand, reports CNNMoney.© Moneynews. All rights reserved.

via Moneynews – Professor: Huge Deficit Will Cause Dollar to Collapse.

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Boehner: Congress Should Heed Employers’ Warnings Rather Than Interrogating Them About Effects of Job-Killing Health Care Law

House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement on upcoming hearings called by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), chairman of the Energy & Commerce Committee, to intimidate employers who are warning that the job-killing new health care law will increase their costs and hamper job creation:

“Throughout the past year, American employers have warned that the health care policies being promoted by President Obama and his Democratic allies in Washington will hurt our economy and make it more difficult to create jobs.  Yet now that those policies have become law over the objections of the American people, Congressional Democrats such as Chairman Waxman profess shock and surprise at hearing American employers announce that they will have no choice but to make painful changes to comply with it.  The new health care law is a job-killer, and we are already seeing the negative impact it is having on our economy.

“Just as important, the law’s new cost increases and mandates are forcing employers to consider dropping health coverage for their employees and retirees altogether, which would force even more Americans into the unsustainable Medicare and Medicaid systems.  Instead of interrogating America’s private sector job creators, Congress should be listening to them, heeding their warnings about the effects of this deeply flawed new law, and replacing it with reforms that will help them get back to creating jobs.”

In a memo sent to House Republicans last Thursday, Leader Boehner urged Republicans to focus on the economy as they discuss the new health care law with their constituents during the congressional district work period.  In the memo, entitled “Where are the Jobs?  Not in President Obama’s Health Care Law,” Boehner echoed more than 100 economists who have warned that President Obama’s massive new law will hurt the economy and make job creation more difficult at a time of nearly double-digit unemployment.

NOTE: In the days after President Obama signed the new health care law, America’s employers began warning shareholders and employees about higher health care costs that would result.  AT&T announced it would bear $1 billion in higher costs, Deere & Co., $150 million; Caterpillar, $100 million; AK Steel, $31 million; 3M, $90 million; and Valero Energy, up to $20 million. Similar announcements are expected in the coming days and weeks.

via Boehner: Congress Should Heed Employers’ Warnings Rather Than Interrogating Them About Effects of Job-Killing Health Care Law | Republican Leader John Boehner.

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The Tax Foundation – Basic Facts on Redistribution and the Impact of Obama’s Policies

Introduction

The debate over taxing high-income families to fund the expansion of health care coverage in America has renewed the broader question of government’s role in redistributing income through tax and spending policies. What is missing from this debate is some hard numbers on how much current tax and spending policies redistribute income from some Americans to others and how much the policies advocated by the Obama Administration will change the overall amount of redistribution.

The Tax Foundation’s “Fiscal Incidence” project has filled this void by first calculating how much current tax and spending policies are redistributing, then estimating how much President Obama’s policies—from taxes to health care to climate change—will alter that redistribution. Simply put, the Fiscal Incidence Model[1] compares the total amount of federal taxes families pay (such as income taxes, excise taxes, payroll taxes, etc.) to the total amount of government spending they receive (such as entitlement benefits, defense spending, public works, etc.).

How the Money Comes and Goes

We divide American families into ten equal groups by income level, and at the top end of the spectrum, we are able to break that 10 percent down into smaller groups. In general, as anyone would expect, families who earn more pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits while families who earn less receive more in federal spending than they pay in federal taxes. These individual results are then summed up into a national picture of how much tax and spending policies redistribute income from some American families to others.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE:  The Tax Foundation – Basic Facts on Redistribution and the Impact of Obama’s Policies.

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Letter to Congressman Brad Ellsworth D-IN 8th District

Below is a letter that was written by a friend of mine to Congressman Brad Ellsworth, one of the faux life congressmen who, like Bart Stupak, abandoned his principles and voted for the healthcare monstrosity.

Mr. Ellsworth is now running for the Senate seat currently held by Evan Bayh.  It is rumored that in return for Mr. Ellsworth’s AYE vote, he will now be receiving $1 million dollars from the DNC for his senate bid.

Mr. Ellsworth

This past Sunday you chose to vote for a Health Care reform bill that the majority of people in America and Indiana did not want.  This bill brings the worst of the Federal Government by mandating that all Americans purchase healthcare insurance or face a penalty of fines or even worse JAIL time for those who fail to comply.  In order to police this policy it will be the Internal Revenue Service’s job to ensure compliance with the mandate.  All this violates the Article 1 Section 8 of the United States Constitution which gives the United States Congress its powers.  Nothing contained therein states anything about Congress having the power to mandate the people to buy health care coverage.  The commerce clause in Article 1 Section 8 only applies to government regulating trade between states not commerce between states.  The fact that you and those whom you agree with seems to twist and bend the constitution to fit your perverse thinking is not only against the constitution but it violates your oath as a public official to defend and support the constitution.  And all of this just so you can seek a senate seat left vacant by retiring Senator Evan Bayh who also violated the same oath of office.

Now according to your page on project vote smart you took a political courage test in which you state “I am pro-life. I believe life begins at conception, and we should value and protect it at every stage. I also support legislation that helps us reach the common goal of reducing the number of abortions through prevention of unintended pregnancies and by providing resources for pregnant women.”  This position differs greatly according to how you have voted on the health care legislation.  This bill allows funding of abortions even though the President signed an executive order trying to appease one of your colleagues Congressman Bart Stupak.  An Executive Order only has a force of law as it relates to the executive branch.  But you switched your vote to yes before that was even an option.  So not only did you lie on your political courage test but you once again proved that you are not a conservative democrat but a liberal democrat who lies about his moral standing on issues.

Also how could you support a bill that had special deals for other states such as Louisiana, Nebraska, and Florida?  All those deals do not benefit Hoosiers or America yet you expect the deals to be removed by the Senate using reconciliation.  It seems your trust that the Senate will do the “right thing” and fix this bill is your biggest blunder.  If the bill needed to be fixed why vote for it n the first place??? There seems to be no logical reasons for your actions to approve this bill.

Your office has told me that you would rather have this imperfect bill then to do nothing at all.  It seems to me that you are misguided blinded by the fact that you would like to serve in the Senate so you chose to vote along party lines to gain the support of the President who has only a 46 percent approval rating and Congressional Democrats how run congress now are looking at around 16 percent according to the Gallup poll.  It seems you might have left out a few people whom really matter when deciding to cast your vote.  The people of Indiana opposed the passage of this bill by a 65-35 margin according to Rasmussen.  So it seems you have become a lapdog for the politics as usual crowd in Washington DC.

As a veteran of the United States of America Army I am appalled that you would support this bill that will end up allowing people to get care at the Veteran Administration Clinics.  Those clinics are sacred ground, only people who served this country have the right to step foot in those clinics. This bill, although it does not state that people can be seen at VA clinics, will cause an overwhelming amount of people to have to go somewhere since there will be a complete lack of doctors available to the general public. Where else could someone go to get care from the government the VA clinics seems to be a logical choice?  Now if this is allowed to happen there will be uproar by the American public and veterans alike.  And it is also interesting that the Veterans of Foreign Wars was so opposed to this bill.  The VFW does not get involved in issues unless a real threat to Veterans’ rights.  So can you explain why the VFW was so opposed to your bill?? I can, the integrity of Tri-Care was not guaranteed in the bill, which is a slap in the face to all Veterans. So do you really respect all veterans or do you support them only when it is politically convenient for you??

I might not be an economics major but I cannot fathom how you think that covering 32 million more Americans, some of whom have expensive ailments, will bring down the deficit.  I honestly do not care what the Congressional Budget Office says;  it does not make any sense unless we conduct rationing of Health Care to seniors.  This bill will obviously ration care to Seniors by cutting 500 billion dollars in Medicare. You then go on to tax the very people who are responsible for creating jobs in America, what sense does that make? That was the whole goal of this Health Care bill anyways to have an excuse to get the “rich” in this country to pay higher taxes.  The whole goal of this Health Care bill was yet another excuse to get the ‘rich’ in this country to pay higher taxes.  However, it seems that the amount of deficit accumulated under the Democratically controlled Congress and President Obama, who are exponentially increasing the debt, believe that $250,000 is actually ‘rich’.  Each taxpayer will now owe almost $100,000 if we were to ever pay of the National Debt completely.

I also do not understand why you and your democratic colleagues think that you have any right to legislate morality to the American people.  All I kept hearing from you is how it is my moral responsibility to take care of my fellow Americans’.  Where in the Constitution does it state that I have a moral responsibility to pay for my fellow Americans Health Care?  If I am wrong, tell me which Philosopher states that I have a moral responsibility.  According to Philosopher John Locke I have a right to defend my “life, liberty, or possessions”,  all of which are going to be taken from me due to the passage of this bill.  We base a lot of how our government is supposed to run on Locke’s theories.  Locke, approved of the separation of governmental powers.  He is also credited with influencing our Founding Fathers to write the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.  The only people I have a moral responsibility to take care of is my two children and my family.  I also have a duty to my Country and my God, duties you have turned your back to and it is sad really congressman.

I am person who comes to you an independent voter who has a pre-existing condition and I DID NOT want this bill because of the burden it would place on the job creators of America.  You and your colleagues seem fit to tax the heck out of people like my dad who left Fort Wayne, IN when he was young with no more than 20 dollars in his pocket and moved to Flint, MI where he worked his way up and was a manager at General Motors.  He is the story of the American Dream a dream that no longer exists thanks to you and the Democratic Party.  You might be asking yourself why did I say the dream does not exists anymore?? You the Democratic Party has a world view that places the Government as the solution to every problem.  It wants people to depend on the Government for everything therefore making the American dream null in void.  And you have contributed to this philosophy and thinking.  I want people who work hard for a living to be rewarded for their work.  I do not want the rewards of their hard work to be given back to the Government as a penalty FOR their hard work, but that is where we differ Congressman.

Your time in congress has been mired by a total lack of leadership on your part and now it is recorded in history that you lack the political courage to vote on your principles.  Since you have casted this vote we all can see that you voted with Nancy Pelosi on this bill and not with the people you represent.  I hope that you sleep well tonight knowing that you screwed the American people.

Now knowing you feel the need to run for the Senate seat vacated by Senator Evan Bayh it is my duty to inform you that I will be using every tool in my arsenal to ensure you are defeated in 2010.  I know that I will have to work hard and this will not be the only letter I will write to you or about you.  Since you have betrayed the American people’s trust I will spend a lot of time and effort telling the people of the United States of America how you sold your vote for Democratic support in the November elections.

One more thing I plan on going through EVERY vote you have casted, EVERY donation you have accepted, EVERY earmark you have sought to obtain, and EVERY political speech you have made to write a more extensive paper on you.  Because in November you are coming back to Evansville a defeated politician.

God Bless America,

Patrick M. Blumer

Letter to Congressman Brad Ellsworth D-IN 8th District « Rantings of a former Arctic Paratrooper.

Please visit Patrick’s blog – “Rantings of a former Arctic Paratrooper”- at the link above

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Exempted From Obamacare: Senior Staff Who Wrote the Bill | The New Ledger

For as long as the political fight took over the past year, the abbreviated review process on the health care legislation currently pending on President Obama’s desk is unquestionably going to result in some surprises — as happens with any piece of mashed-up legislation — both for the congressmen who voted for it and for the American people.

One such surprise is found on page 158 of the legislation, which appears to create a carveout for senior staff members in the leadership offices and on congressional committees, essentially exempting those senior Democrat staffers who wrote the bill from being forced to purchase health care plans in the same way as other Americans.

A major story during the course of the health care debate was whether members of Congress would commit to placing themselves in the same health care exchanges as average citizens, or whether they would hang on to their government plans — that’s why leadership chose to add this portion to the bill, serving as a guarantee that members would participate in the same health plans as the people. Here’s the relevant text:

(D) MEMBERS OF CONGRESS IN THE EXCHANGE-

(i) REQUIREMENT- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, after the effective date of this subtitle, the only health plans that the Federal Government may make available to Members of Congress and congressional staff with respect to their service as a Member of Congress or congressional staff shall be health plans that are–

(I) created under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act); or

(II) offered through an Exchange established under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act).

Read the rest here:  Exempted From Obamacare: Senior Staff Who Wrote the Bill | The New Ledger.

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