Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Cruising the Web

Think of what the administration's postponement of the employer mandate for some small businesses reveals about what they must be realizing about their beloved law. They're implicitly acknowledging the deleterious effect that the mandate will have on the economy. They are acknowledging that, just as critics have always charged, fulfilling the mandate is placing a terrible burden on small businesses. And the mandate will increase unemployment, prolonging our slow recovery from the recession. When the Republicans had demanded last Fall in the budget debates to delay the employer mandate the White House had angrily refused. Now they're doing it all by themselves to try to get the blow of more cancelled policies reaching voters right before the 2014 election. Do they really think that voters are so oblivious and stupid that they'll discount all the bad news they've already heard about Obamacare just because it is postponed for political reasons?

And note that they're still imposing the individual mandate which is requiring people to have bought insurance by March 31. Is the administration really going to continue to relax mandates on corporations, while maintaining the tax on individuals? As the WSJ writes,
Changing an unambiguous statutory mandate requires the approval of Congress, but then this President has often decided the law is whatever he says it is. His Administration's cavalier notions about law enforcement are especially notable here for their bias for corporations over people. The White House has refused to suspend the individual insurance mandate, despite the harm caused to millions who are losing their previous coverage.

Liberals say the law isn't harming jobs or economic growth, but everything this White House does screams the opposite.

Allahpundit has a good summary of the political results of the administration's actions.
Three points. One: It’ll be a stump-speech staple for every Republican running in 2016 that he intends to delay ObamaCare indefinitely, root and branch, if elected. Obama’s now set the precedent that he can suspend parts of the law simply because he finds them politically inconvenient. That precedent will be built upon. Two: The GOP might sue to force him to enforce the mandate, although the politics of that are tricky. No one likes the mandate, especially Republicans’ benefactors in the business lobby. Successfully suing O over this, even if it’s for the noble constitutional purpose of compelling the president to faithfully execute the law, would mean making ObamaCare even more onerous than it is. Good for rolling back executive overreach, not so good for the economy.

Three: This should be it for immigration reform. If Obama’s answer to Boehner’s “we don’t trust you” charge is to double down on one of his most egregious executive power grabs, there’s no way Republicans will trust him on border security now.

Well, they can run, but they can't hide from all the consequences of their misbegotten law. As former CBO director Douglas Holtz-Eakin writes about the administration's habit of making unilateral changes in the law,
This law has never been popular, making concessions here and there for certain vocal stakeholders may buoy support or limit economic disruption in the short term, but it is unlikely to fix or create long-term support for this damaging health-care overhaul.
AP ends with a funny slap at one Obama cheerleader.
Ezra Klein should start working on the inevitable “Why Obama’s unilateral suspensions of the law were okay but this new president’s aren’t” post for 2017. He can always shelve it if Hillary wins.

And stories like this one from CBS about sick children who can't see their doctors because Obamacare excludes so many doctors and hospitals from their networks.

Ajit Pai, an FCC commissioner, writes today of how the FCC is proposing to have the commission investigate how media organizations choose to cover content.
The purpose of the CIN, according to the FCC, is to ferret out information from television and radio broadcasters about "the process by which stories are selected" and how often stations cover "critical information needs," along with "perceived station bias" and "perceived responsiveness to underserved populations."

How does the FCC plan to dig up all that information? First, the agency selected eight categories of "critical information" such as the "environment" and "economic opportunities," that it believes local newscasters should cover. It plans to ask station managers, news directors, journalists, television anchors and on-air reporters to tell the government about their "news philosophy" and how the station ensures that the community gets critical information.

The FCC also wants to wade into office politics. One question for reporters is: "Have you ever suggested coverage of what you consider a story with critical information for your customers that was rejected by management?" Follow-up questions ask for specifics about how editorial discretion is exercised, as well as the reasoning behind the decisions.
Why should the federal government be asking broadcasters cover what they do? That is not the job of the FCC. The government should never be involved in editorial decisions of broadcasters.

Here's a salutary lesson about what can happen when a terror suspect is tried in the American judicial system. A Somali pirate involved in a 2008 shipjacking near Yemen was partially acquitted by a jury and now the prosecutors are dropping the rest of the case against him. Now imagine that happening with some of the al Qaeda members being held in Gitmo that the Obama administration now wants to try in our regular criminal courts.

Clay Risen, writing in the New Republic says that Lyndon Johnson's role in passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has been greatly exaggerated.

For the NAACP assaulting a woman for refusing to have sex with him is equivalent to jaywalking...if the convicted state representative is a minority.

Does a politician's past conduct matter to present politics? Only if the politician is a Republican.

My, how the mighty have fallen. Barack Obama was a rock star in 2008 and regarded as some sort of quasi-religious figure who will save and transform our country. Now his own party-members don't want to be seen with him.