Gruber and the Obamacare Mandate, henceforth to be known as a ‘Sin Tax’

Jonathan Gruber

Back in 2012, when the Supreme Court took up the issue of whether or not the Affordable Care Act — or Obamacare — was constitutional, there was much gnashing of teeth from conservatives when Chief Justice John Roberts came back with the deciding opinion that, rather than throwing the law out the window, the individual mandate would be considered a tax, thereby diminishing its violation of the commerce clause (which essentially says you can’t be forced to purchase something).

Cut to the past few weeks when one Jonathan Gruber, architect of Obamacare at large, is caught on tape — over and over and over — talking about how he and the Obama administration designed the law so that your average (stupid) voter would never know what they were doing behind the scenes (insert evil laugh). Amid his many, almost cartoonish, statements about the dummies (that’s you and me kids) he’s forced to share air with, he makes a comment about how the designers were determined to keep the CBO from scoring the mandate a tax. He speaks as if that was a killer to the law, hence all the liar liar stuff to avoid that scenario. And yet, that is exactly what SCOTUS and Roberts ended up doing.

Conservatives hoping for a different ruling were pretty miffed at old Roberts. But, as this American Thinker piece points out, Roberts got it right. And very likely made the forthcoming challenges to the law — like King v. Burwell, and definitely read this SCOTUSblog piece on the hypocrisy of the more liberal judges regarding the Obama administration’s signature law — easier to decide. From American Thinker:

President Obama’s Cohorts Working to Censor the Internet

Net Neutrality

Earlier this month, President Obama called for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to unilaterally declare “net neutrality.” It would ensure a “free and open Internet,” he stated. “There should be no gatekeepers between you and your favorite online sites and services.”

Ironically, there has never been anything other than a free and open Internet. No one has ever proposed anything less –outside of President Obama’s own staff and Democratic academics who cover the telecommunications industry.

One example is Cass Sunstein, who President Obama appointed as the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs – or “regulatory czar.” Sunstein, who worked with the President as a law professor at the University of Chicago’s Law School, has written copiously about the need to regulate the Internet.

“Citizens are often aware that their private choices, under a system of limitless options, may lead in unfortunate directions, both for them as individuals and for society at large,” Sunstein wrote of the Internet in his book, Republic 2.0. One solution he proposed was forcing Websites to link to other Websites with which they disagreed.

Wait, what? On Election night, West Virginia shocked the political world

West Virginia Legislature

West Virginia has had the oddest political culture for decades.

At the Presidential level, it has trended reliably Republican since 2000. Prior to the election of Congresswoman (now Senator-elect) Shelley Moore Capito in 2000, voters rarely sent a Republican to Congress for longer than a single term. Moore Capito’s father, Arch Moore, was the only Republican Congressman to serve more than one consecutive term between 1950 and 2000. And the last time a Republican Senator served a full term was in the 1940s.

West Virginia’s political culture is heavily influenced by labor unions — traditionally a fundraising and organizing arm of the Democrats — but their reliance on coal as in industry (it generates more than $3 billion annually) has strained the relationship between average West Virginians the increasingly anti-fossil fuel Democratic Party.

As in many Southern communities, the mentality really seems to be this (as a Southerner, I understand it):

My grandaddy was a Democrat. My daddy was a Democrat. I’m a Democrat.

But Election Night 2014 brought big changes to West Virginia’s state-level political landscape; changes the Washington Post called “unexpected.”

Senator-elect Moore Capito won every single county with a whopping 62.1% of the vote state-wide, and her coattails were pretty long. For the first time since the 1920s, Republicans will hold every seat in the House of Representatives, leaving just one Senate seat (Joe Manchin, a popular former governor) left for Democrats.

Exposing #GruberGate matters… but it won’t repeal Obamacare

Jonathan Gruber

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last week, you are familiar with the new archnemesis of conservatives everywhere, MIT economist and Obamacare legislative consultant, Jonathan Gruber. Hell, even country singers and reality show judges are expressing outrage. For our subterranean readers, here’s a summary:

Democrats: Not just the ‘Party of No,’ but of ‘Hell No’

Warren Caucus

Gridlock and obstructionism will have a new face in Washington come January: liberal Senate Democrats. The incoming Democrat minority created a special leadership position for liberal populist Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), signaling a hard-left turn within the new minority.

“The best news about a Republican majority in the Senate is that the Republican minority is now gone. They were just a god-awful minority,” said Rhode Island Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse.

Moderate Democrats sided with Republicans on a failed attempt to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, an intiative that embodies the fight between the environmentalist Left and the pro-energy Right. And Americans should gear up for more fights along those ideological lines in the Senate. The liberal ‘hell no’ caucus is going to be a vocal and persistent minority over the next two years.

From one account:

Liberal Senate Democrats united to block the controversial [Keystone XL] project, even though their imperiled Democratic colleague Mary Landrieu of Louisiana begged them not to at a Democratic Caucus lunch on Tuesday afternoon.

It was a remarkable move for a group that has stood behind Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) over the years, as he sought to protect vulnerable moderates, like Landrieu and some of her now-ousted colleagues, from taking tough votes on divisive environmental, health care and social issues.

Dems to Obama: You broke our Party; now fix it — or else!

Sad Obama

American voters punished Barack Obama and the Democrats on Election Day 2014. POLITICO tells it like this:

Democrats are in worse shape than when President Barack Obama came into office — the number of seats they have in Congress, the number of governors, a party approval rating that’s fallen behind Republicans for the first time in recent history, enthusiasm, energy.

President Obama was swept into office two years after Democrats re-took the House and Senate, paving the way for one-party rule in Washingotn until Republicans took back the House in 2010. Democrats even had a majority of governorships after the 2008 elections; 28 to the Republican’s 22.

Democratic strategist James Carville even wrote a book about how Democrats would be the party in power for 40 years after Obama’s election.

But now, two midterm elections later, Republicans have a majority of governorships, a majority control of state legislatures (control in 68 state houses and senates, compared to the Democrats’ 30), and have the largest House majority in Congress in 60 years — not to mention control of the Senate for the first time since 2006.

House Republican Leadership may have “twisted arms” to defeat conservative Mulvaney for Republican Study Committee Chair

House Republican Leadership

A top conservative Republican in the House alleges House Republican Leadership “twisted arms” to edge out conservative favorite Mick Mulvaney for the Chairmanship of the Republican Study Committee. Two-term Texas Congressman Bill Flores will lead the RSC, which serves as the conservative conscience of the House Republican Caucus.

As he left the closed-door meeting where Flores was elected, Idaho Republican Raul Labrador signaled “someone” in House Republican Leadership mounted a whipping operation for Flores, who beat Mulvaney 84 votes to 57 votes.

From The Hill’s account:

Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho) said GOP leaders mounted a whipping operation that included phone calls to help Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas) upset Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), a Tea Party favorite, on the second ballot in the race for RSC chairman.

Rep. Louie Gohmert, another Texas Republican, was eliminated on the first ballot.

Asked what put Flores over the top, Labrador told reporters as he exited the closed-door elections: “It’s always leadership. When leadership gets involved in elections. [They] twisted arms.”

Labrador conceded he wasn’t exactly sure whether it was Boehner or someone else carrying water for Flores. “I don’t know who was leading it,” Labrador said.

Michael Bloomberg’s gun-grabbing agenda is this Election’s Biggest Loser

Come and Take It

At the ballot box and in the courtroom, it has been a good year for the Second Amendment. In some states, citizens took to the polls to make it known that their Second Amendment rights were not to be undermined. In others, it was the courts that solidified our right to bear arms.

Take a look at some of the highlights from this past year, and check out who really lost big in November:


In this past election, the voters of Alabama went to the polls and overwhelmingly supported a constitutional amendment that further secured their Second Amendment rights. Amendment 3, as it was called on the ballot, made firearm ownership a fundamental right and added extra security against any international treaties that might seek to undermine the Second Amendment.

The language of the Bill reads as follows:

(a) Every citizen has a fundamental right to bear arms in defense of himself or herself and the state. Any restriction on this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.

Licking their wounds, House Democrats lash out at Nancy Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi

The 2014 elections were not kind to House Democrats. Republicans now have their largest majority in over 60 years, and some in the Democrats’ dwindling minority are looking for someone to blame.

Barack Obama is the obvious first choice. He said a little more than a month before Election Day that, though he wasn’t on the ballot, ‘[his] policies [were] on the ballot. Every single one of them.” How’d that pan out? Earlier this year, Nancy Pelosi said Obamacare would be a “winner” for Democrats on Election Day, but polling shows Obamacare’s popularity is still on the decline as premiums continue to rise.

And now that the dust has mostly settled on the 2014, House Democrats are taking out their frustrations on Pelosi, who has held a firm grip on the Democratic caucus since 2003 when she was first elected to lead her party in the House.

POLITICO reports:

The discontent with Nancy Pelosi is breaking out in the open.

Democrats in the House have quietly grumbled about Pelosi since suffering devastating losses on Election Day, but there is a growing number of members willing to go public on their party leaders.

Republicans must not surrender to Obama’s blackmail

Notwithstanding the landslide rejection of Obama and his policies in the mid-term election, I don’t think this will produce big changes in policy over the next two years.

Simply stated, the GOP does not have the votes to override presidential vetoes, so there’s no plausible strategy for achieving meaningful tax reform or genuine entitlement reform.

Sequester Cuts

But that doesn’t mean that there won’t be important fiscal policy battles. I’m especially worried about whether we can hold on to the modest fiscal restraint(and sequester enforcement) we achieved as part of the 2011 debt limit fight.

Part of that victory was already negotiated away as part of the Ryan-Murray budget deal, to be sure, but there are still remaining budget caps that limit how fast politicians can increase so-called discretionary spending.

According to the Congressional Research Service, budget authority for defense is allowed to rise from $552 billion in 2014 to $644 billion in 2021. And budget authority for domestic programs is allowed to climb from $506 billion to $590 billion over the same period.


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