Treasury Department

Obama, Corporate Inversions, and Grotesque Hypocrisy

Last month, I put together a list of six jaw-dropping examples of left-wing hypocrisy, one of which featured Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew.

He made the list for having the chutzpah to criticize corporate inversions on the basis of supposed economic patriotism, even though he invested lots of money via the Cayman Islands when he was a crony capitalist at Citigroup.

But it turns out that Lew’s hypocrisy is just the tip of the iceberg.

It seems the entire Obama Administration was in favor of inversions just a couple of years ago. Check out these excerpts from a Bloomberg story.

Obamacare’s Employer Mandate Delays Head-to-Head

“[The President] shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed…” — Article II, Section 3 (The Faithful Execution Clause)

Yesterday’s announcement of additional Obamacare employer mandate delays offers us yet another occasion to turn to actual the law passed by Congress.  When the four statutory Obamacare provisions below are viewed head-to-head against the new Obama Administration/IRS regulatory guidance, it’s clear that one of these things is not like the other.

EXHIBIT I: EFFECTIVE DATE

Statutory Authority - PPACA Section 1513(d):

(d) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendments made by this section shall apply to months beginning after December 31, 2013.

Obama Administration/IRS - Preamble to the February 10, 2014 Final Regulations (Page 106):

Section 1513(d) of the Affordable Care Act provides that section 4980H applies to months after December 31, 2013; however, Notice 2013-45, issued on July 9, 2013, provides as transition relief that no assessable payments under section 4980H will apply for 2014…Notice 2013-45 provides that the employer shared responsibility provisions under section 4980H (and the information reporting provisions) will become effective for 2015.

Obama administration delays employer mandate until 2016

The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced this afternoon that it will delay enforcement of Obamacare’s employer mandate until 2016 for businesses with less than 100 employees.

The employer mandate is a provision of Obamacare that requires businesses with 50 or more full-time employees, defined as someone who works at least 30 hours a week, to offer health insurance benefits or face a punitive, $2,000 per worker tax.

The provision was supposed to take effect at the beginning of 2014, as required by statue. Businesses expressed concern about the mandate, and many responded by cutting hours or dropping health benefits. The Treasury Department unilaterally delayed enforcement of the provision last summer, making the announcement in a blog post.

The Treasury Department announced today that it is delaying enforcement of the provision for businesses with 50 to 99 full-time employees until the beginning of 2016.

“While about 96 percent of employers are not subject to the employer responsibility provision, for those employers that are, we will continue to make the compliance process simpler and easier to navigate,” said Mark Mazur, Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy.

Senate Republicans should oppose Jack Lew

Jack Lew

At the end of last week, President Barack Obama nominated Jack Lew, who currently serves as White House Chief of State, to replace Timothy Geithner as the next Treasury Secretary. While he may eventually win confirmation, the White House and Lew may have a fight on their hands in the Senate:

Republicans say Jack Lew will have to answer for what they view as the president’s bare-knuckle tactics when Lew undergoes the Senate confirmation process for Treasury secretary. 
[…]
Republicans are frustrated that Obama has not put forth what they would consider a credible plan to reform entitlement programs. And they were angered when after the election he traveled to Pennsylvania and Virginia for campaign-style events to pressure Republicans to extend the middle-class tax cuts.

Senate GOP aides say Lew will be called to account for the White House’s tactics when he comes before the Senate Finance Committee.

“He’s coming to the Senate from the chief of staff’s role in the White House and this White House just points the finger at everyone else. It refuses to take the blame for the bad things that are happening. This is a White House that is overly political and not really interested in alternate points of view,” said a senior Senate GOP aide.

“He’s going to be facing a lot of questions related to his involvement in the White House. He’s the top dog over there. He’s responsible for the direction,” the aide said. “It’s a shame the president would send along such a divisive figure.”

Rejecting False Choices and Exposing Lies

As August 2nd approaches, stipulated by Treasury Secretary and tax cheat Timothy Geithner as the date when the U.S. will reach its statutory debt limit, our illustrious president, Barack Obama, becomes more and more unhinged. From highly partisan, contemptuous and fact-challenged press conferences, to his angry and petulant exit from a meeting with Republicans on the issue, it is clear that Obama is feeling the pressure. This is compounded by the fact that the historically weak-willed Republicans seem shockingly willing to be proven vertebrates, and actually refuse to back down on principle (Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s recent suggestion to completely abdicate constitutional duty and give all power to the president notwithstanding).

From class warfare rhetoric about tax breaks for corporate jet owners (signed into law by Obama in the 2009 stimulus bill, and less than a rounding error on the federal budget) to fear mongering the elderly to think Social Security checks will not go out, nothing is beneath this integrity-challenged president in his quest for power. He tirelessly repeats his Marxist mantra of needing to get “millionaires and billionaires” to “pay their fair share” and be a part of the “shared sacrifice”, despite the fact that the top 1% of all income earners (a group starting at $380,354/year and including millions of small businesses that file taxes under personal returns…hardly millionaires and billionaires) paid 38% of total tax revenue, while the bottom 50% paid only 2.7%. The top 5% starts at $159,619 and accounts for 58.7% of taxes paid.

Federal Government Lacks Courage to Hold Businesses Accountable

The Treasury Department has allocated $250 billion to buy senior preferred shares of dozens of the nation’s largest banks as part of the “Troubled Asset Relief Program,” (TARP). Our government however, has haphazardly invested these relief funds in banks that have shown a propensity for making irresponsible and imprudent business decisions. On top of a lack of disclosure of the criteria for approved banks the government has displayed no consideration for the American public. By printing new money and diluting existing shareholder positions our leaders have proven they care more about saving poorly run businesses than their constituents.

Watchdog group sues the “most transparent administration in history” for allowing the White House to obstruct document release

President Barack Obama’s White House has interfered with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests over the release of communications with a dozen federal agencies, according to a lawsuit filed on Monday by Cause of Action, a government watchdog organization.

Cause of Action has sued ten cabinet agencies — including the Departments of Justice, Treasury, and Health and Human Services — the Internal Revenue Service, and the White House Office of Management and Budget for allowing the White House to influence the FOIA process and delay response to document requests.

“Accountable and transparent government does not involve instructing agencies to send politically sensitive records to the White House for review,” said Dan Epstein, executive director of Cause of Action, in a press release announcing the lawsuit. “The bureaucracy has violated the law by stonewalling the public’s access to documents for political reasons.”

“Cause of Action’s own investigation reveals that the White House is actually demanding access from agencies to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and Congressional document requests, as well as the documents subject to those requests, in a manner that may obstruct congressional oversight and violate the spirit of FOIA,” he added.

Today in Liberty: Treasury Department halts Ex-Im deals with Russia, federal court grants D.C. a stay on gun rights ruling

“I am a libertarian with a small ‘l’ and a Republican with a capital ‘R’. And I am a Republican with a capital ‘R’ on grounds of expediency, not on principle.” — Milton Friedman

— Boehner dismisses Democrats’ impeachment “scam”: Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) says that the talk of impeachment is a “scam” being pushed by Democrats to boost their fundraising numbers and motivate their base. “This whole talk about impeachment is coming from the president’s own staff — and coming from Democrats on Capitol Hill. Why? Because they’re trying to rally their people to give money and show up in this year’s election,” said Boehner, according to the Washington Examiner. “We have no plans to impeach the president; we have no future plans. Listen, it’s all a scam started by Democrats at the White House.” Between Friday and Monday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) sent out at least 19 fundraising emails (see them here and here) referencing either the lawsuit that Boehner plans to file against the White House or impeachment. The DCCC sent four more on Tuesday, including one with “ⓘⓜⓟⓔⓐⓒⓗⓜⓔⓝⓣ” in the subject line. The White House, however, says that it won’t discourage Democrats from fundraising off the completely unserious threat of impeachment.

NY Times backs IRS’s anti-political speech rules

The New York Times’ editorial board — packed with purported journalists who make their living under the protections of the First Amendment — is strongly backing the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service’s proposed rules that would limit nonprofit groups from engaging in debates over public policy:

The problem of secret money began in 2010, with the loosening of rules that was prompted in part by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Political operatives like Karl Rove realized that “social welfare” groups were allowed by the tax code to accept unlimited donations that did not have to be disclosed. They could then use that money to run political attack ads. Though the tax code says the groups, known as 501(c)(4)s, could not be engaged primarily in political activity and still keep their tax exemption, that was easy enough to get around by claiming the ads had some kind of civic purpose.

By the 2012 election, these groups were spending $300 million and were often the dominant voice in major races. The Koch brothers, in particular, got around the tax code provision by moving tens of millions among a huge number of nonprofits so that it was almost impossible to determine the purpose of each group, let alone who the donors were.

There’s a big catch in the latest employer mandate delay

Medium-sized businesses owners hoping to qualify for the latest employer mandate enforcement delay will have to certify in filings with IRS that they have not laid off workers or reduced full-timers’ hours to avoid tax penalties (emphasis added):

Companies that have 100 or more full-time workers, defined as employees who work more than 30 hours per week, still will have to begin complying with the mandate to offer such coverage in 2015 or face financial penalties of at least $2,000 and up to $3,000 per worker.

Officials said that any business claiming they are eligible for the new one-year delay because they have fewer than 100 workers must certify, under penalty of perjury, that it had not reduced its workforce merely to qualify for that exemption.

Consider that some small businesses had been laying off workers or cutting hours specifically because of the employer mandate provision. These business owners couldn’t afford to offer health insurance coverage to their workers, so they made decisions necessary to avoid added costs.

This is what these delays have brought. The law clearly states that the employer mandate was to take effect at the beginning of 2014. The administration delayed it for a year because of the negative headlines. Now, with Democrats’ control of the Senate on the line, the administration delayed it again.


The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.