Obama administration

One-Year Individual Mandate Delay Wouldn’t Cripple ObamaCare

individual mandate

There’s no question that the individual mandate is the center of the ObamaCare universe.  Many other provisions are crucial to the law, but none to the extent of the individual mandate.  This is what made John Roberts’ decision last June to abandon originalism by constitutionally validating the individual mandate tax-penalty so painful.  Regardless of where the court came down on severability, the law could not have effectively functioned without the mandate intact.

Which brings us to the most recent episode of the ObamaCare delay game, this time focused on a one-year individual mandate delay.  At the height of the CR/debt-ceiling showdown, I wrote a post titled “Don’t Settle for One-Year Individual Mandate Delay,” arguing that any acceptable compromise would need to at least delay the exchange subsidies to be an effective barrier toward full implementation.

Those were the good ol’ days where there was hope that the Republicans would stand together and fight for real ObamaCare concessions.  Like defunding it or a one-year delay of the entire law.  In retrospect, I suppose I should have written a post titled “Don’t Settle for…Nothing.”

So here’s my point again: The first year of the individual mandate isn’t that big of a deal.  It’s an existential issue as a matter of constitutional law and individual liberty generally, but don’t believe the hype that the individual mandate is absolutely essential to ObamaCare in the first year.

There are two major reasons why:

PATRIOT Act author introduces measure to end NSA bulk data collection

James Sensenbrenner

Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), the author and primary sponsor of the USA PATRIOT Act, announced on Wednesday that he would introduce legislation, the USA FREEDOM Act, to end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone and Internet metadata.

“My view of the PATRIOT Act hasn’t changed,” said Sensenbrenner at a Cato Institute conference on NSA surveillance.

“What has changed is what two administrations, Bush 43 and the Obama Administration, have done after I left office as chairman of the [House] Judiciary Committee and did not have my tart oversight pen to send oversight letters that usually were cosigned by Congressman [John] Conyers, then-the ranking member, to the Justice Department, and specifically acting like a crabby, old professors when they were non-responsive in their answers,” he explained.

Sensenbrenner has become a fierce critic of the NSA’s surveillance techniques, referring to them as “excessive and un-American” in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder. The NSA has justified the bulk data collection through a controversial provision of the PATRIOT Act. He contends that the NSA is defying congressional intent as the provision, Section 215, allows intelligence agencies to seize records related to an actual investigation into terrorist activity.

Shutdown illustrates how government views the nation

If you’re a federal employee impacted by the shutdown, then I’m sure you know how much things like this suck.  After all, you were hired to do a job, and right now, you can’t.  I understand that completely.  However, as bad as the shutdown is for you, the shutdown has done one important thing.  It’s shown us just how much power Uncle Sam believes it has.

In an effort to make the shutdown hurt as much as possible, we’ve seen barricades at the World War II Memorial, an open air memorial that maintains no staff.  The same is true of the Lincoln Memorial and other statues and memorials throughout the nation.  Mt. Rushmore is not only closed, but also closed viewing areas so that you can’t even look at the memorial.

They’ve spent money they don’t have to close down things that wouldn’t have cost them a dime to keep open.  This apparently includes parts of the Atlantic Ocean (for the record though, you can boat through it.  You just can’t fish or drop anchor).

“So what,” you might ask.  It is federal territory, after all, and they are shut down.  It may be ridiculous, but why is this an example of how government looks down on us all.  Well, probably because the federal government is also trying to shut down state parks that receive just a bit of federal funding.

House Republican proposes spending bill that would delay ObamaCare

Editor’s note: This post has been updated to reflect the Club for Growth and FreedomWorks’ endorsements of Graves’ plan.

Amid growing concerns that House Republicans will be unable to find the votes to pass a Continuing Resolution to before the end of the month, Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) has proposed a measure that would keep the government open while also delaying implementation of ObamaCare until 2015.

House Republicans leaders tried some legislative trickery by proposing a Continuing Resolution that wouldn’t defund ObamaCare. Division in the party’s ranks caused the leaders to delay a vote on the measure and threaten the cancelation of the September recess.

“After weeks of working with and listening to members on how to approach the government funding deadline, it’s clear that House Republicans are united around two goals: keeping the government open and protecting our constituents from the harmful effects of Obamacare,” said Graves, a member of the House Appropriations Committee. “Today, my 42 cosponsors and I are putting forward a plan that achieves both goals.”

Graves says the plan is “straightforward.” The measure funds the government a post-sequester levels, with the exception of defense and national security, while keeping true to House Republicans’ desire to delay and defund ObamaCare.

Obama Administration’s embarrassing foreign policy fumble

Facepalm

Just days after an U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power claimed that the United States had “exhausted the alternatives” to a military strike against Syria, the Obama Administration is seriously considering a deal brokered by Russia that may prevent a war.

The details are still in the works, but the deal, which Bashar al-Assad’s regime has accepted, would require that the Syrian government to relinquish its supply of chemical weapons to international intermediaries. Syria also says that it will ratify the chemical weapons ban treaty.

The Obama Administration remains skeptical, though the President has called the proposed deal a “positive development,” and wants the United Nations Security Council to pass a resolution that would make the deal enforceable. Meanwhile, members of the United States Senate are working on a new resolution that would authorize force against Syria in the event that Assad’s government doesn’t turnover its chemical weapons arsenal.

Americans still oppose Syria intervention despite Obama’s push for war

Syria

In a last ditch effort to gain public support for military strikes against Syria, President Barack Obama will take his case for intervention directly to the American people in a televised address tomorrow evening.

While the White House insists that its confident that Congress will sign off on the strikes, the political reality is that there isn’t much support for involvement in another country’s internal conflict after more than a decade of war in the Middle East. Members of Congress have heard from constituents, many of whom have called or written their representatives to speak against the proposed military strikes.

Public opinion, which is driving the opposition to intervention in Syria, remains a high hurdle for President Obama to clear, according to three polls released on Monday.

CNN finds that Americans overwhelmingly believe that Bashar al-Assad’s government used chemical weapons against its own people. Despite that, however, 59% said that they don’t want Congress to authorize force against Syria and 55% said that they would oppose intervention even if Congress does approve military strikes. Only 39% support President Obama’s push for war.

While the White House has reserved the option to attack without support from Congress, the CNN poll also found that 71% of Americans oppose military strikes against Syria without congressional approval.

ObamaCare will cost Delta Air Lines $100 million

 ronpaulproblems.tumblr.com

Delta Air Lines sent a letter to the Obama Administration in June warning them that the mandates and taxes in ObamaCare will cost the company $100 million.

The letter, which was made available via Erick Erickson at RedState, followed a meeting between Robert Knight, a Delta executive, and an Obama Administration official at Grady Hospital in Atlanta, where the airline is based. In the letter, Knight breaks down the various provisions of the law and associated costs that ObamaCare will impose on the airline and what it could mean for employees.

“The [Affordable Care Act] requires large employers to pay an annual fee of $63 per covered participant in 2014,” wrote Knight to the unnamed Obama Administration official with whom he met. “For Delta’s roughly 160,000 enrolled active and retired employees and their family members, this represents more than $10 million added to the cost of providing health care next year.”

Knight noted that the fee, which is essentially a tax, provides no benefit to Delta’s workers and is “a direct subsidy” from the company and its employees “to those who participate in [ObamaCare’s state] exchanges.” He also explained that the requirement to cover children until they’re 26 years-old and the individual mandate will cost the company a total of $28 million.

ObamaCare Employer Mandate Penalties Delayed Until 2015

Barack Obama and Jack Lew

In April, the soon-to-be-retired and chief ObamaCare author Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) warned that the looming 2014 full implementation of ObamaCare was on track to be a train wreck.  The Administration finally conceded as much on Tuesday when it announced that it will be delaying enforcement of ObamaCare’s employer mandate until 2015.

The Treasury Department confirmed the delay in a blog post ironically titled “Continuing to Implement the ACA in a Careful, Thoughtful Manner.”

Over the past several months, the Administration has been engaging in a dialogue with businesses - many of which already provide health coverage for their workers - about the new employer and insurer reporting requirements under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). We have heard concerns about the complexity of the requirements and the need for more time to implement them effectively.  We recognize that the vast majority of businesses that will need to do this reporting already provide health insurance to their workers, and we want to make sure it is easy for others to do so.  We have listened to your feedback.  And we are taking action.
[…]
Accordingly, we are extending this transition relief to the employer shared responsibility payments.  These payments will not apply for 2014.  Any employer shared responsibility payments will not apply until 2015.

Punk rock is still politically dead

Back in November, Mark Judge wrote an interesting piece at Acculturated entitled, “Punk Rock’s Moment,” that explained how the punk rock genre and cultural has an opportunity to “become relevant once again” after President Barack Obama’s re-election.

“Punk is often considered an anarchic or at least liberal art form, but politically it has been all over the map. Most famously there was Johnny Ramone, the right-wing guitarist for the Ramones,” noted Judge. “And while the famous Washington, D.C., harDCore scene, once lead by Fugazi, was–is?–full of left-wing activism, the ‘straight edge’ philosophy of some of the band–no booze no drugs–could almost be considered monastic. The Replacements was always more about parties and poetry than elections.”

Judge explained that the Dead Kennedy was one of the “great satirical punk bands of all time,” pointing to the band’s ability to question their own beliefs, which is something he says is sorely missing in today’s punk scene. Instead, he explains, punk bands of today are “afraid to touch [their] messiah,” President Obama.

“Satirical art has collapsed under Obama. The left is afraid to touch its messiah, and the right is reduced to silly gestures like doing ‘freedom raps’ and other ham-fisted foolishness,” wrote Judge. “When I was coming up in the 1980s, punk groups like Fugazi, Husker Du, the Replacements and the Dead Kennedys meant energy, passion, and, sometimes, political activism. But they also meant self-reflection and aiming the lance at even your own sacred cows.”

NSA Scandal Not about Republican vs. Democrat — It’s about Liberty vs. the State

Liberty and the NSA

It’s been a week since Glenn Greenwald broke the story on the National Security Agency’s broad surveillance of calls made on the Verizon network. There have been a lot of arguments made for and against this program over the last week, and the battlelines have been clearly drawn.

First, let’s recap. This sort of surveillance has been around for at least seven years, perhaps even longer. The difference between what was going on with the NSA under the Bush Administration and what is currently going in the Obama Administration is that the former didn’t bother with court orders or warrants to conduct this sort of blanket surveillance.

So when the apologists for the program say it’s “legal,” like Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) did yesterday, they’re referring to the the statutory authority granted via Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, a controversial provision of the law that allows intelligence agencies to obtain a court order to collect this information from businesses. More on this in a moment.

Using this section of the law, the NSA obtained authority from a secret court, known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), to force Verizon to turn over the phone records of millions of customers, even if they are not suspected of terrorist activity.

 


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