Today in Liberty: White House wanted Geithner to lie on Sunday shows, Boehner won’t arrest Lerner

“Increasing the minimum wage is political pandering, pure and simple. It does nothing to increase economic growth, which would create millions of jobs and lead to higher wages for everybody. The government shouldn’t set the price of labor, the free market should. It’s sad that some would rather play politics instead of making the case for pro-growth policies like tax reform and passing new trade deals with other nations.”Club for Growth President Chris Chocola

— White House wanted Geithner to lie about Social Security: In his new book, Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises, former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner says that the White House wanted him to lie about Social Security’s impact on the federal deficit on Sunday talk shows. “I remember during one Roosevelt Room prep session before I appeared on the Sunday shows, I objected when Dan Pfeiffer wanted me to say Social Security didn’t contribute to the deficit. It wasn’t a main driver of our future deficits, but it did contribute,” Geithner writes. “Pfeiffer said the line was a ‘dog whistle’ to the left, a phrase I had never heard before. He had to explain that the phrase was code to the Democratic base, signaling that we intended to protect Social Security.” By the way, Social Security consumed 4.9 percent of the economy in 2013, slightly more than major government healthcare programs. Over the long-term, the Ponzi scheme will be outpaced by Medicare, but not by much.

— Maybe the House should grant Lerner immunity: With the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s investigation into the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups largely at an impasse, National Review’s Andrew McCarthy, a former assistant U.S. attorney and Justice Department official, makes the case for immunity for disgraced former IRS official Lois Lerner. “The IRS investigation, to the contrary, remains mired in Capitol Hill’s labyrinth of committees and subcommittees. To be sure, some important information has been uncovered. But the case is languishing,” McCarthy wrote over the weekend. “In a competent investigation, one designed to find out what actually happened, Lois Lerner would have been immunized months ago. That is, Congress would have voted to compel her testimony by assuring that her statements could not be used against her in any future prosecution — removing the obstacle of her Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.”

— Speaking of Lois Lerner: Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) dismissed the suggestion that the House would arrest Lois Lerner. “I’m not sure we want to go down that path,” Boehner told Fox News host Maria Bartiromo. “It’s never been used.” Actually, yeah, it has been used, it’s just been a long, long time since that particular power was put to use. Nevertheless, Boehner is right, the House shouldn’t arrest Lerner. At the same time, however, they need a backup plan in the event that a federal judge rejects the contempt charge levied against her last week.

— Obamacare off the GOP’s radar: At least for now it seems like House Republicans are staying away from Obamacare. “Not a single House committee has announced plans to attack the healthcare law in the coming weeks, and only one panel of jurisdiction commented to The Hill despite repeated inquiries,” Elise Viebeck reports. “GOP campaign committees also declined to say whether they will launch any new efforts on the law.” Viebeck surmises that the “lack of action highlights the GOP’s struggle to adjust its message now that enrollment in the exchanges beat projections and the uninsured rate is going down.” Well, there are other notable issues that have caused the House to shift focus, including a new Benghazi probe and IRS scandal-related issues. Obamacare is, obviously, still important to the base and polls are still very much on the GOP’s side.

— A lot of hype, but no real impact on climate change: Don’t expect President Obama’s latest climate change gimmicks to do much to help the environment. “The executive actions, the administration says, include commitments from more than 300 public- and private-sector partners to create new jobs in the energy-efficiency industry and reduce carbon pollution. These commitments, the administration says, would deploy 850 megawatts of solar electricity, reduce carbon pollution by more than 380 million metric tons and reduce energy costs for businesses by nearly $26 billion,” Ashe Schow writes. “Those seem like big numbers, but 850 megawatts will power 130,000 homes, which represents 0.11 percent of U.S. households, according to Census data from 2008-2012.” Schow notes that the executive actions made by President Obama are meant to lay the groundwork for EPA rules that will be introduced next month, almost a year after the White House relaunched its war on coal with regulations that, too, didn’t have an impact on climate change.

— Oppose Common Core? Extremist! Or something: Nevermind the fact that labor unions and teachers oppose the education standards, the Southern Poverty Law Center says that if you oppose Common Core, then you’re a right-wing extremist. “The disinformation campaign is being driven by the likes of Fox News, the John Birch Society, Tea Party factions, and the Christian Right. National think tanks and advocacy groups associated with the Koch brothers, whose father was a founding Birch member, have taken up the cause,” the SPLC says in a new report. “By raising the specter of “Obamacore,” activists on the radical right hope to gain leverage against their real target—public education itself.” Yep, opposing Common Core, a state-based initiative that President Obama has endorsed, means that you want to get rid of public education. It couldn’t possibly mean that you want community control over what your kids are taught and how frequently bureaucrats think they need to be tested.

— ACLU hails USA FREEDOM Act: Though she admits that “more work needs to be done,” the ACLU’s Laura Murphy says the USA FREEDOM Act, which cleared two key House committees last week, is “a significant moment in surveillance reform,” one that comes nearly a year after Americans learned of the NSA’s domestic surveillance programs. “The revised USA FREEDOM Act is not a miracle cure but it does present a legitimate chance to end the most gratuitous invasion of our privacy: the bulk collection of our intimate records. And for that reason, Americans should be happy that a 29-year-old systems administrator had the guts to stand up for the Constitution and risk everything. With every Edward Snowden revelation, the whistle grew louder,” Murphy wrote in a blog post on Friday. “This week, Congress responded.”

— Alaska GOP comes up with the worst idea ever: At a time when the Republican Party is looking for new blood and trying to reach out to young voters, the Alaska GOP has come up with a way to do the exact opposite. “In their continuing quest to  stop liberty movement and Tea Party activists from taking leadership roles in the party, the Alaskan GOP has a new rule banning anyone from holding a leadership role unless they have been a registered Republican for at least four years. Potential candidates must also be vetted by a special committee,” Norm Singleton of Campaign for Liberty explains. “Disenfranchising new and younger activists from leadership roles in the party seems a strange way to attract younger voters to the GOP.

— Regulators have propose $26.1 billion in new rules this year: Sam Batkins of the American Action Forum went through the Federal Register so you didn’t have to. “There were only five regulations that monetized costs or quantified paperwork burden hours this week,” writes Batkins. “Combined, annualized costs were $74 million, compared to $618,000 in benefits; regulators published more than 1.1 million paperwork burden hours.” In total, federal bureaucrats have proposed $26.1 billion in new federal regulations this year and finalized $31 billion in final rules.

Other items we’re reading this morning:

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