Obama administration

Business sitting on $1.8 trillion in cash

If you want a reason why the economic recovery is coming along so slowly, businesses are sitting on cash because of new regulations being imposed by Congress and the Obama Administration:

Nonfinancial companies are sitting on $1.8 trillion in cash, roughly one-quarter more than at the beginning of the recession. And as several major firms report impressive earnings this week, the money continues to flow into firms’ coffers.

Yet all the good news from big business hasn’t translated into much promise for jobless Americans, leading many to wonder: If corporations are sitting on so much money, why aren’t they hiring more workers?

The answer to that question has become a political flash point between the White House and big business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which held a jobs summit Wednesday and accused the Obama administration of dumping onerous regulations on businesses. That has created an environment of “uncertainty,” which is causing firms to hold back on hiring as the unemployment rate has hovered near 10 percent, the Chamber said.

Businesses, especially small businesses, are concerned deepy concerned about how ObamaCare is going to affect them and administration is going to do before the year is out. Remember, cap-and-trade is still out there.

Hear it from businesses yourself:

Obama Administration tries again on oil drilling ban

Despite an injunction issued last month against off-shore drilling moratorium, the Department of the Interior will issue an order to “suspend” deepwater drilling:

While describing the new step as a suspension, rather than a moratorium like the original ban issued in May in the wake of the Gulf oil disaster, the new order expands the drilling operations covered to include those off California in what is called the Pacific region. The original moratorium was limited to deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

A federal judge threw out the initial six-month ban, and last week, a federal appeals panel rejected the government’s request to overturn the lower court judge’s decision.

Obama administration officials have repeatedly indicated their intention to reinstate the moratorium since the initial ruling.

“The new suspensions are supported by an extensive record of existing and new information indicating that allowing the deepwater drilling operations that will be suspended would pose a threat of serious, irreparable, or immediate harm or damage to the marine, coastal, and human environment,” an Interior Department statement said.

The moratorium is much broader this time around, according to news reports, applying to any floating drilling platform, not rigs drilling at certain depths.

The Heritage Foundation lays out the economic consequences of such action, which the Obama Administration does not deny, as told by the brief filed by the State of Louisiana in the original injuction request:

First Amendment doesn’t apply in the Gulf of Mexico

The government has essentially suspended the First Amendment by enacting a rule that forbids any reporter or photographer from coming near booms, boats or wildlife affected by the spill.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper explains:

So much for transparency.

It’s taxation and regulation, stupid

Why isn’t the economy growing? One of the problems is that businesses fear the increased tax and regulatory burden that Obama Administration is promising:

Two overarching reasons explain the failure of Obamanomics. First, administration economists and their outside supporters neglected the longer-term costs and consequences of their actions. Second, the administration and Congress have through their deeds and words heightened uncertainty about the economic future. High uncertainty is the enemy of investment and growth.
The president asks for cap and trade. That’s more cost and more uncertainty. Who will be forced to pay? What will it do to costs here compared to foreign producers? We should not expect businesses to invest in new, export-led growth when uncertainty about future costs is so large.

Then there is Medicaid, the medical program for those with lower incomes. In the past, states paid about half of the cost, and they are responsible for 20% of the additional cost imposed by the program’s expansion. But almost all the states must balance their budgets, and the new Medicaid spending mandated by ObamaCare comes at a time when states face large deficits and even larger unfunded liabilities for pensions. All this only adds to uncertainty about taxes and spending.

Other aspects of the Obama economic program are equally problematic. The auto bailouts ran roughshod over the rule of law. Chrysler bondholders were given short shrift in order to benefit the auto workers union. By weakening the rule of law, the president opened the way to great mischief and increased investors’ and producers’ uncertainty. That’s not the way to get more investment and employment.

Kagan and First Amendment

During the oral arguments in Citizens United case (actually, a rearguing), Elena Kagan told the Court that a book could be banned if the authors purpose was “express advocacy” of a particular issue or candidate, but that there “has been no administrative practice of ever applying” campaign finance laws to that extent.

You can listen to Kagan’s exchange with Ginsburg, Scalia and Alito below. You can read it here (pages 64-68):

Over at Reason, Daniel Shuchman points out that the government’s argument had changed since the first oral argument:

In the first argument before the Court, on March 24, 2009, Kagan’s deputy, Malcolm L. Stewart, represented the government by arguing for the constitutionality of a statute prohibiting corporations and unions from spending funds from their general treasuries to advocate the election or defeat of political candidates. The justices subjected Stewart to a series of stark hypothetical situations testing the extent of the censorship power that the Obama Administration viewed as constitutionally permissible.

Why Hillary Clinton is wrong about the rich and taxes

While speaking at the Brookings Institute last week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the those in attendence that the evil and hated rich are not paying their fair share of taxes.

Nick Gillespie explains why she is wrong, noting, “The New York Times found that the richest 20 percent of households were paying 26 percent of their income to the federal government in the form of income, payroll, corporate, and excise taxes.”

ObamaCare was not fiscally responsible

Over at Reason, Peter Suderman breaks apart the claims of fiscal responsibility by the Obama Administration and Democrats that supported the health care “reform” legislation this spring:

[T]o hear the bill’s supporters explain it, ObamaCare constitutes a triumph of fiscal responsibility, lowering the deficit, extending the solvency of Medicare, and reining in the growth of health care costs. Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), a staunch pro-lifer who assured the bill’s passage by deciding to vote yes at the last minute despite misgivings about abortion funding, declared that the legislation would provide “health security and financial security” to Americans. “This is a good bill for the American people,” he told MSNBC. “We’re not adding to the deficit. Indeed, the CBO [Congressional Budget Office] says the bill will actually reduce the deficit over time.”

This argument was crucial to the bill’s success. In the preceding week, it became increasingly clear that several votes were contingent on the bill’s receiving certain scores from the CBO. And when the scores—a $940 billion price tag for the first 10 years, $138 billion worth of deficit reduction in the first decade, and $1.2 trillion worth of reduction in the following 10 years—came through, many wavering Democrats hopped on board.

NY Times: Obama Administration lying about GM loans

The New York Times has discovered that GM and the Obama Administration have lied to taxpayers about the the payback of loans used to bailout the automaker:

Truth seekers the nation over, therefore, are indebted to Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, who in recent days uncovered what he called a government-enabled “TARP money shuffle.” It relates to General Motors, which on April 21 paid the balance of its $6.7 billion loan under the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

G.M. trumpeted its escape from the program as evidence that it had turned the corner in its operations. “G.M. is able to repay the taxpayers in full, with interest, ahead of schedule, because more customers are buying vehicles like the Chevrolet Malibu and Buick LaCrosse,” boasted Edward E. Whitacre Jr., its chief executive.

G.M. also crowed about its loan repayment in a national television ad and the United States Treasury also marked the moment with a press release: “We are encouraged that G.M. has repaid its debt well ahead of schedule and confident that the company is on a strong path to viability,” said Timothy F. Geithner, the Treasury secretary.

Taxpayers are naturally eager for news about bailout repayments. But what neither G.M. nor the Treasury disclosed was that the company simply used other funds held by the Treasury to pay off its original loan.

And yet, the charade at taxpayers’ expense continues and it’s being aided and abetted by the media.

As noted yesterday, this is how GM and the Obama Administration has tried use this PR gimmick to fool the American public in hopes of winning some favor:

Obama Administration Asks Congress To Hold Off On DADT Repeal

Once again, the Obama Administration makes clear that repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is not a priority:

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is urging Congress to hold off on repealing the ban on gays in the military until the Defense Department wraps up its yearlong review of how to implement a change.

“I strongly oppose any legislation that seeks to change this policy prior to the completion of this vital assessment process,” Gates said in a letter sent Friday to Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. “I hope Congress will not do so, as it would send a very damaging message to our men and women in uniform that in essence their views, concerns and perspectives do not matter on an issue with such a direct impact and consequence for them and their families.”

Gates’s position is consistent with what he told Congress during hearings earlier this year, but he’s sending a strong message coming just before the House and Senate prepare their annual defense bills. Several Democrats in Congress are pushing for legislation that would repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

“We all look forward to the report on the review of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy by the Defense Department,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement responding to the Gates letter.” In the meantime, the Administration should immediately place a moratorium on dismissals under this policy until the review has been completed and Congress has acted.”

That last part, of course, is something that the Obama Administration, and the DoD, could do on their own without Congressional action.

GM still taking from taxpayers

Do you still buy the claim from the Obama Administration and General Motors that the loans to the financially struggling automaker have been paid back? Then check out this video from Nick Gillespie and Reason:

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