The Heritage Foundation, considered to be one of Washington’s most influential think tanks, appears to have had a change of heart on government surveillance programs that it once supported.
Once a place where ignoring constitutionally protected civil liberties seemed to be a virtue, the conservative think tank, under the leadership of former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), recently declined to publish two papers that supported the National Security Agency’s snooping, according to Foreign Policy:
Heritage refused to publish two papers about the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs written by a prominent conservative attorney. Why? Because he concluded that the programs were legal and constitutional, according to sources familiar with the matter. It was a surprising move for a think tank that has supported extension of the Patriot Act — which authorizes some of NSA’s activities — and has long been associated with right-of-center positions on national security and foreign policy.
A Dairy Queen in Washington state had been making their own homemade sauces for customers. But because of ObamaCare’s menu-labeling requirements, a little publicized provision of the law, they’ve had to switch to a pre-packaged sauce or discontinue sauces.
“Due to the nutritional labeling requirements of ObamaCare, we have to serve pre-packaged, pre-made fry sauce,” said the franchisee in a letter, made available by The Quinton Report. “We can no longer make our own as we have done for many years. The additional cost to us is substantial, about $5,800 per year.”
“I regret to say, we are forced to pass the cost of pre-packaged fry sauce, for take-out, along to you the customer. We will serve pre-made bulk fry sauce in the lobby at no additional charge,” the letter continued. “It is for the same reason we have had to discontinue our Buffalo Sauce and Habanero Ketchup, which were made in-store.”
“Please be assured we are doing our very best to keep the cost to you, our customer, down while still maintaining the quality you have come to expect from us,” the letter added.
This provision of ObamaCare (Section 4205) requires restaurant chains with 20 or more locations to disclose the caloric content of menu items to their customers. It also applies to grocery and convenience store chains.
It looks like Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) will have to go back to the drawing board if they hope to pass a measure that funds the federal government.
Facing backlash from conservative members of their conference, The Hill reports that GOP leaders have temporarily delayed a vote on a Continuing Resolution for the upcoming fiscal year that would fund ObamaCare:
House GOP leaders have delayed a vote on a bill to avert a government shutdown until next week.
An aide to Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) confirmed the decision, which is designed to give GOP leaders more time to round up votes.
Leaders have been scrambling to gain 217 votes for their plan to fund the government through Dec. 15 while forcing the Senate to vote up or down on a measure to defund ObamaCare.
The plan has faced opposition from dissatisfied conservatives who argue it won’t actually lead to the defunding of the healthcare law. They are pushing to include language defunding ObamaCare in the resolution funding the government.
House Republican leadership has tried to push a cheap legislative gimmick in which they would pass a Continuing Resolution and a separate non-binding measure to defund ObamaCare. The thinking is that they this path would allow a vote to defund ObamaCare and avoid a government shutdown.
But if the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats, didn’t first pass the measure defunding ObamaCare, they could still pass a clean Continuing Resolution that funds the unpopular law.
Former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) on Monday night urged voters to replace any Republican lawmaker unwilling to vote to defund ObamaCare during next month’s budget showdown.
DeMint, the president of the Heritage Foundation, dismissed fears that Republicans would be blamed for a government shutdown, as they were in the 1990s.
“The risk of that is so much less than the risk to our country if we implement ObamaCare, and so I’m not as interested in the political futures of folks who think they might lose a showdown with the president,” DeMint said at a town-hall meeting hosted by Heritage Action, the think tank’s political arm, in Fayetteville, Ark., the first stop on a nine-city tour.
“I think [President Obama] knows that Republicans are afraid, and if they are, they need to be replaced,” DeMint told NPR in an interview after the event.
The Heritage Foundation and its political arm, Heritage Action for America, are part of a strong conservative grassroots effort to defund ObamaCare amid concerns from establishment Republicans that it would be a political loser because the inevitable result would be a government shutdown, which they fear could cost them in next year’s mid-term election.
Next month could bring a fight in Congress as some Republicans in both chambers and conservative organizations mount a push to defund ObamaCare. Talking heads and pundits are pushing back against the idea, listing off a number of various reasons why they believe the push is a bad idea.
But the Heritage Foundation contests some of these reasons. They conservative think tank released a new video that seeks to debunk what they call “myths” about defunding ObamaCare.
Some, including Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), have insisted that Congress can’t defund ObamaCare because most of the spending is mandatory — or “baked in the budgetary cake,” if you will.
“That’s just not true,” asserts Chris Jacobs, a senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation. “Congress defunds mandatory spending on appropriations bills every year. In fact, in 2011, Congress defunded [$2.2 billion] in mandatory spending from the ObamaCare co-op program.”
“That’s a good start. We just think Congress needs to finish the job,” he added.
Jacobs also disputes the notion that Republicans and conservative critics of ObamaCare want to shutdown the government. “The only person threatening to shutdown the federal government is President Obama,” he noted.
“President Obama has threatened to shutdown the government because he wants to replace the sequester spending cuts with more tax increases,” said Jacobs. “Conservatives want to keep the federal government open. We just want to shutdown ObamaCare.”
Catesby Jones is worried about his small business. The Internet has given his company, Peace Frogs, an outlet to offer goods and services to customers. But that will be put at risk if Congress passes the Internet sales tax.
By reaching out to a worldwide base of customers, companies in rural parts like ours can thrive and have a much bigger presence than they otherwise would through traditional sales.
This is why I’m incredibly concerned about the Internet sales tax that’s being debated in Washington.
It’s an attack on small businesses like mine. If you look at who’s lining up for and against the misnamed Marketplace Fairness Act, mostly large corporations are beating up on us small guys. They have the lobbyists, they have the muscle, and they have what it takes to impose burdensome regulations on online entrepreneurs.
The Internet offers the best opportunity for Gloucester natives to come home and operate a business. There aren’t many other enterprise vehicles that allow this type of flexible marketplace. But an Internet sales tax would threaten the well-being of my family and my employees’ families and result in higher costs for my customers.
The House of Representatives is taking its time with the Internet sales tax, which is a good thing. They’re allowing it to go through the proper process, unlike the Senate, and that’s giving more time for opponents to make their case against the proposal.
What we already know about the Internet sales tax, absurdly named the “Marketplace Fairness Act,” is troubling. Not only is the proposal constitutionally questionable, it would turn Internet retailers into a tax collecting agents for 45 states and the District of Columbia and more than 9,600 taxing jurisdictions.
“[T]hat’s 46 returns (45 states with sales taxes plus the District of Columbia), which have to be filed monthly or quarterly, and 46 potential audits every year,” wrote Jacob Sullum earlier this month at Reason, “not to mention all the misunderstandings, disputes, and hassles that fall short of an audit.”
That is a regulatory nightmare for business, and customers could feel the effects. The Heritage Foundation points to a recent interview by a small business owner who explained that compliances costs will lead to prices increases for consumers:
While the scandals that have emerged out of the IRS and the Justice Department have taken center stage over the last two weeks, the Obama Administraton’s refusal to come clean about Benghazi still remains very much an issue.
The Heritage Foundation offered a new video this week that highlighted how President Barack Obama, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and other administration officials tried to spin the incident at the American outpost in Benghazi as a protest against an anti-Muslim YouTube video gone awry.
After it was revealed that it was in fact a pre-planned terrorist attack by an al-Qaeda, during which four Americans were killed, the White House and Obama Administration tried to shift away from their initial talking points. Americans have since discovered that there was political influence within the administration to avoid discussion of terrorism. While President Obama has labeled questions on the early narrative as a “side show, Heritage notes that each new answer has brought new questions.
Check the video out below:
One of the great myths of the last decade is that the Bush Administration deregulated the economy. President Barack Obama has made this claim on multiple occasions as he and his supporters made their case that more regulation was needed after the Great Recession. But the truth of the matter was that George W. Bush was, as Veronique de Rugy wrote at Reason back in January 2009, the “biggest regulator since Nixon.”
“The Bush team has spent more taxpayer money on issuing and enforcing regulations than any previous administration in U.S. history,” wrote de Rugy. “Between fiscal year 2001 and fiscal year 2009, outlays on regulatory activities, adjusted for inflation, increased from $26.4 billion to an estimated $42.7 billion, or 62 percent.”
But since taking office in 2009, President Obama has ramped up regulation. In fact, he’s claimed the not-so-honorbale mantle of “biggest regulator since Nixon” from his predecessor.
According a new report by James Gattuso and Diane Katz from the Heritage Foundation, President Obama has imposed almost $70 billion in regulatory burdens on Americans, ranging from new financial rules via Dodd-Frank, ObamaCare, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
“Unlike federal taxation and spending, there is no official accounting of total regulatory costs,” noted Gattuso and Katz. “Estimates range from hundreds of billions of dollars to nearly $2 trillion each year. However, the number and cost of new regulations can be tracked, and both are growing substantially.”
The Obama Administration continues to insist that the Affordable Care Act will be good for Americans. With insurance subsidies and Medicaid expansion, they say that Americans will healthier. But is that true? According to a study out of Oregon, which expanded Medicaid in 2008, greater access to healthcare doesn’t mean that people will be healthier:
In 2008, the state of Oregon initiated an ambitious health care policy that allowed researchers to shed light on the effects of guaranteeing Medicaid coverage for low-income adults. The results have been closely followed in large part because insurance for the poor is a major component of the Affordable Care Act—aka Obamacare—that will soon be rolled out across the country.