Archive for the ‘pro-union policies’ Category

DC Council sells its citizens down the river

July 11, 2013

Washington, DC minimum wage is $8.25 per hour, already higher than most states across America. District residents are poorly served by low-priced big retail stores. For several years, a sequence of mayors has tried to lure Walmart to the District. Three Walmart stores are currently under construction. Three more are planned.

Yesterday, the DC Council vented its hatred of Walmart by passing new legislation by an 8 to 5 vote. The Council Bill would raise the minimum wage on retailers with stores of at least 75,000 square feet, requiring that such retailers must pay a minimum of $12.50 per hour. Except that all existing big retailers and unionized retailers – like Safeway and Giant – are exempt from the hike. Only Mayor Vincent Gray’s veto stands in the way of this discriminatory legislation.

Walmart has responded immediately by cancelling the three newstores, should the bill become law. It is reviewing its contracts to determined whether to abort the three stores under construction. No wonder Congress is more than reluctant to grant DC statehood. What manner of corruption and ineptitude would follow when an electoral majority is completely devoid of forward-looking intelligence

President Obama in turbulent waters steers a boat without a compass

June 30, 2013

When a president is elected into office on the basis of affirmative action criteria, the nation would be fortunate indeed if the elected official were to be truly competent. The United States has enjoyed no such good fortune. President Obama’s first term clearly demonstrated an exceptional level of incompetence in matters economic and international, the two key functions of any modern presidency.

To achieve re-election, Barack Obama had to run an entirely negative campaign that vilified his Republican opponent, a man of evident success in economic affairs, though inexperienced in matters international. Because he could not run on his record, and would not run on a coherent future policy platform, President Obama returned to the White House bereft of almost any policy program capable of attaining majority support in both houses of Congress.

Six months into his second term, President Obama appears to be completely lost, aimlessly steering the vessel of state in increasingly turbulent waters, without any compass to define his direction. Domestically, his only viable policy is immigration reform and he has abandoned details of any such action to the Congress. His economic policy is in a shambles, unacceptable either to Democrats or Republicans, or any combination of both. His international policies are in ruins, as powers, both great and small, respond to his overtures with varying degrees of open contempt.

If the situation does not change – and effective change appears to be beyond the reach of this diminished administration – President Obama will be remembered only for Obamacare. And Obamacare promises to be the most disastrous program ever unfolded on the United States.

This is what predictably happens when criteria other than past performance and future potential are applied by a majority of an electorate in two successive presidential elections. Eight years of uninterrupted incompetence gives rise to a great deal of ruin in a nation.

Put your trust in Barack Obama and Erich Schmidt?

June 11, 2013

President Obama and Google CEO, Erich Schmidt, potentially can access almost every email message transmitted across the United States and well beyond. Barack Obama is a left-leaning Democrat. Erich Schmidt, in 2012, maxed out his political contributions in support of Barack Obama. So he also must be presumed to be a left-leaning Democrat (or a wealth-seeking hypocrite, take your pick).

So do you trust Obama/Schmidt to refrain from utilizing this available information for left-wing political purposes? Do you think that they might do so, if such data were likely to swing votes in favor of the Democratic Party? Do bears defecate in the woods?

We know for sure that President Obama did not come clean with respect to the data mining that his administration has established, under the guise of monitoring terrorism. In itself, this demonstrates utter contempt for the people, who have hired him as their lackey to represent their interests. We know that Erich Schmidt did not voluntarily disclose the extent of Google’s monitoring of internet activity, even though Google supposedly is in a contractual relationship with its clients.So basically, they already have reputations somewhat inferior to second-hand car salesmen.

How comfortable are you when dealing with a second-hand salesman at some backstreet big city garage? Would you leave your wallet or your handbag on the table when visiting the washroom in such an establishment?

Bravo, Edward Snowden for whistle-blowing on Obama! Bravo, Putin’s Russia, for offering Edward Snowden political asylum as he runs for his life, hotly pursued by vengeance-seeking U.S. snoops.

Remember Jason Bourne, anyone?

Obama to IRS: harass and audit my enemies

June 7, 2013

In late August 2010, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service issued its first ‘Be on the Lookout’ list, flagging applications containing key conservative words and issues. The criteria would expand in the months to come.

Here is an interesting timeline for you to think about:

August 9, 2010: In Texas,President Obama for the first time publicly names a group he is obsessed with – Americans for Prosperity, founded by the Koch Brothers, and warns about conservative groups: ‘Right nowall around this country there are groups with harmless-sounding names like Americans for Prosperity, who are running millions of dollars in ads…And they don’t have to sat who exactly Americans for prosperity are. You don’t know if it’s a foreign-controlled corporation.’

August 11, 2010: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sends out a fund-raising email warning about ‘Karl Rove-inspired shadow groups.’

August 21, 2010: President Obama devotes his weekly radio address to the threat of ‘attack ads run by shadowy groups with harmless-sounding names: ‘We don’t know who’s behind these ads and we don’t know who’s paying for them…You don’t know if its a foreign-controlled corporation…The only people who don’t want to disclose the truth are people with something to hide.’

August 27, 2010: White House economist, Austan Goolsbie, in a background briefing with reporters, accuses Koch industries of being a pass-through entity that does ‘not pay corporate income tax’. The Treasury inspector general investigates how it is that Mr. Goolsbie might have confidential tax information. The report has never been released. The same week, the Democratic Party files a complaint with the IRS claiming that the Americans for Prosperity Foundation is violating its tax-exempt status.

When messages like these are transmitted across the wires, from Obama and his cronies, how do you think they will be received by the low-grade, left-leaning protoplasm that overwhelmingly dominates the offices of the IRS?

Hat Tip: Kimberley A. Strassel, ‘An IRS Political Timeline’, The Wall Street Journal, June 7, 2013

Obama’s presidency in irretrievable decline

June 3, 2013

“Mr. Obama’s re-election stirred grand expectations.The vote heralded a new liberal era, or so it was claimed. His victory was said to reflect ideological, cultural and demographic trends that could keep Democrats in the majority for years to come…Now, six months later, the Obama administration is in an unexpected and sharp state of decline. Mr. Obama has little influence on Congress. His presidency has no theme. He pivots nervously from issue to issue…Congressional Republicans neither trust nor fear the president. And Democrats on Capitol Hill, to who Mr. Obama has never been close, have grown leery of him.” Fred Barnes, ‘The Decline of the Obama Presidency’, The Wall Street Journal, June 3, 2013

The collapse of the Obama presidency was not caused by the scandals that have recently engulfed the White House – serious though these are. Signs of decline preceded them. The cause of the collapse emanates from the character of the man himself.

President Obama is the damaged product of a dysfunctional childhood, abandoned as he was by both his father and his mother. He also carries an unfortunate ethnic chip on his shoulders, a chip that places him to the left of the electoral median and that pre-disposes him to believe in affirmative action. Together, these defects make it impossible for him to forge close personal relationships with Republican politicians whom he deems to be his implacable enemies, and they make it difficult for him to forge close relationships with non-black members of the Democratic Party.

Secure in the Democratic Party’s majority in Congress during the first two years of his presidency, these defects encouraged Obama to over-reach politically, ignoring the Republican Party entirely. This cost him the House in 2010, and his legislative initiatives petered out. Instead the President fueled his desire for adulation by spending two full years on the campaign trail.

Victory in 2012 fired his innate narcissism to the forefront of his personality, encouraging him to over-reach well to the left of the median voter in his policy pronouncements. After an initial success with the tax hike on the rich, Obama is now floored completely, impotent even to secure a majority in the Democrat-controlled Senate on gun control. If immigration reform succeeds during his second term it will have nothing to do with presidential initiative. The Democrats in Congress cringe every time he speaks out on the issue.

An emotionally insecure, narcissistic president cannot forge bi-partisan legislation across a divided Congress. His only hope is that the Democrats hold the Senate and win the House in the 2014 elections. Without any presidential coat-tails, that is a highly unlikely outcome:

“Mr. Obama’s top priority now is winning the House in 2014 while retaining control of the Senate. ‘I’m going to do everything I can to make sure we’ve got Nancy Pelosi back in the speakership,’ he said last week at a Democratic fundraiser in Chicago. In Mr. Obama’s case, ‘everything’ is unlikely to be enough.” Fred Barnes, ibid.

President Obama and Internal Revenue Service at war with the First Amendment

June 1, 2013

:”when a scandal is systemic, ideological and focused on political ends, it will not just magically end. Agencies such as the IRS are part of…a massive administrative state, one built with many protections and much autonomy. If it is not forced to change, it will not… What does it mean when half the country – literally half the country – understands that the revenue-gathering arm of its federal government is politically corrupt, sees them as targets, and will shoot at them if they try to raise their heads. That is the kind of thing that can kill a country, letting half its citizens believe that they no longer have political rights.” Peggy Noonan, ‘An Antidote to Cynicism Poisoning’, The Wall Street Journal, June 1, 2013

What Peggy Noonan is talking about is a unique event in American history. A Democratic President, a largely Democratic professional administrative class, and an IRS whose workers belong to a union whose political action committee gave approximately 95 per cent of its political contributions in 2012 to Democrats, have conspired to rig the 2012 elections by harassing donors who supported Republican Party causes and foundations that spoke out against the political positions of the President and his supporters. This does not reflect the Republic founded in 1787 as an institutional framework designed to create an exceptional nation.

Of course, the Founding Fathers were aware of the dangers potentially confronting their creation. They understood that ill-doers like Richard Nixon and Barack Obama might infiltrate their precious Constitution, and they devised checks and balances to restrain those with evil intent. Even so, Benjamin Franklin warned the People that they had been provided with a Republic ‘if they could keep it.’

With three and a half years of this arguably worst of all United States presidents still to go, it will be a damn close run thing whether the United States survives, in any sense, as the land of the free.

IRS targets Obama’s enemies in extraordinary scandal

May 18, 2013

“We are in the midst of the worst Washington scandal since Watergate. The reputation of the Obama White House has, among conservatives, gone from sketchy to sinister, and, among liberals, from unsatisfying to dangerous. No one likes what they’re seeing. The Justice Department’s assault on the associated Press and the ugly politicization of the Internal Revenue Service have left the administration’s credibility deeply, possibly irretrievably damaged….Something big has shifted. The standing of the administration has changed. As always it comes down to trust. Do you trust the president’s answers when he’s pressed on an uncomfortable story? Do you trust his people to be sober and fair-minded as they go about their work? Do you trust the IRS and the Justice Department? You do not.” Peggy Noonan, ‘This Is No Ordinary Scandal’, The Wall Street Journal, May 18, 2013

President Obama, albeit sheepishly, acts as though these scandals are unconnected to the White House.Like the chief of police in Casablanca he is shocked, shocked, to discover in the newspapers what has happened! President Obama, however, is deeply connected to these scandals. He is not a bystander, like you and I. This happens to be his administration. The Justice Department and the IRS are his executive agencies. He runs and oversees them.

In this column, I focus on the IRS scandal, once again. For it is much the more serious of the two. There are two parts to the IRS scandal. The first is the obviously deliberate and targeted abuse harassment and attempted suppression of conservative groups. The second is the auditing of taxes of conservative political activists.

In order to suppress conservative groups the IRS demanded donor rolls, membership lists, data on all contributions, names of volunteers, the contents of all speeches made by members, Facebook posts, minutes of all meetings, and copies of all materials handed out at gatherings. When asked what its members were reading, one group responded: The U.S. Constitution! Now I can assure you from first hand experience that these questions are not routinely requested by the IRS. When The Locke Institute applied for 501 (c) 3 status in 1994, it took about a year to secure that status. But the questions were always fair and politically unbiased. And that was during the administration of President Bill Clinton, who was not above a dirty trick or two to harass his supposed enemies.

The second part of the scandal is the auditing of political activists who have publicly opposed the administration. Such politically-oriented audits constitute the use of government power to intrude on the privacy and shackle the political freedom of American citizens. The purpose is to overwhelm and intimidate – to kill the opposition, audit by audit by audit. Such behavior is to be expected of such low-lives as Vladimir Putin, Tsar of All the Russias. Perhaps now it must be expected by such low-lives as President Obama, Tsar of the United States of America.

Shame on you Barack Obama! You disgrace the high office that you are privileged to hold.

Obama confronts a bleak second term

April 30, 2013

Barack Obama ran a carefully orchestrated 2012 re-election campaign. For any one who bothered to read or to listen carefully, however, Obama had remarkably little to say on what he would do during his second term, should he be re-elected.

So it comes as no surprise to discover that Obama has only one policy initiative – immigration reform – that stands even a remote chance of passing into law, unless the House of Representatives falls into Democratic Party hands in November 2014. The optimism about immigration reform stems not from any leadership from Obama, but from concern within the Republican Party about losing Hispanic voters, many of whom should find a natural position within the GOP.

After winning a marginal tax rate increase on individuals earning in excess of $400,000 per annum, Obama’s economic policies are in disarray. The sequester, that he had signed into law was allowed to take place, so far with minimal harm to the economy. His attempt to use his presidential powers to impose maximum harm on U.S.citizens – a strange presidential tactic do you not think – failed when a vote-conscious Congress moved to protect the flying public and Obama had to confirm their intervention. He has no chance whatsoever of imposing any additional taxes on Americans – rich or poor – unless he accepts major tax reforms designed to bring down rates while eliminating exemptions. And that he will not do.

His ineffectual attempt to tighten gun laws, even following the gift-horse of the Newtown massacre, has ended in ignominious defeat in no small part at the hands of Democratic members of the Senate. That policy will not be revived certainly prior to 2015.

His parody of a foreign policy is collapsing before his eyes as Bashar Al-Assad openly flaunts the use of chemical weapons jeering at Obama’s non-existent red-line. His shift of emphasis away from the Middle East to Asia is stymied as long as the Syrian civil war results in cataclysmic death rates and as al-Qaeda watches hopefully for chemical and biological weapons’ pickings from the disintegration of what once could be called a country.

Sadly for the United States, President Obama looks increasingly like a man in an empty suit, bereft of ideas, unwilling to take time out from fund-raising to do the heavy lifting of policy formation is a divided government. The President, in short, has decided to coast through his second term.

Bring on the clowns!

Hat Tip: Edward Luce, ‘All Obama’s manoeuvres lead back to impasse’, Financial Times, April 29, 2013

Francois Hollande and the French economy both down the drain

April 27, 2013

Francois Hollande is down and out in Paris, his popularity rating as President having fallen faster and further than that of any other president since the Fifth Republic began in 1958.

The reason for his decline and fall is the progressive socialist agenda that he touted during the election campaign and that he has attempted clumsily to pursue since gaining office. The French economy has seized up in response to his anti-business rhetoric, unemployment now stands at 11 per cent, and the targeted reduction in the budget deficit to 3 per cent of gross domestic product by the end of 2013 has already been abandoned. That target will not be achieved during a progressive’s presidency.

The 75 percent top marginal income tax rate that he imposed immediately upon accessing the Elysee Palace succeeded in driving a number of top companies and a number of top celebrities into exile in other grateful European Union countries. The increased tax rate failed to generate any net revenue as tax avoidance and tax exile escalated in response to what is widely considered to be government theft.

In December 2012, France’s constitutional council provided Francois Hollande with a second chance when it ruled that the 75 per cent tax rate was unconstitutional and noted that no individual tax should exceed 66.6 per cent. Alas! progressives are not to be deterred by such rulings. Caught between political betrayal and folly, Mr. Hollande naturally chose folly.

On March 28, 2013, Hollande announced that the 75 per cent tax rate would still be imposed on incomes in excess of E1 million, but that they would be paid for by firms rather than their employees. Clearly this stupid man has no understanding of the nature of tax incidence, in particular of the conditions required for an income tax increase imposed on an employer not to be passed on in a salary reduction to an employee.

Why are progressives always so ignorant of basic economics? My former colleague Gordon Tullock explained the lacuna by noting that no good economist could ever be a progressive.

Obama patronizes federal workforce

April 7, 2013

As a consequence of the spending cuts imposed on the federal workforce at the initiative of the Obama administration, many federal workers face unpaid furloughs. Obama willingly signed this bill into law in January 2013.

Supposedly to share the hardship about to be experienced by such workers and their families, Barack Obama has decided to return 5 per cent of his annual salary to the Treasury, a gesture that has been matched by several of his cabinet members. In Obama’s case, the gesture is insulting. A drop of $20,000 in an annual salary of $400,000 for a family that lives entirely on public welfare is patronizing in the extreme.

And his annual salary is only the tip of the Obama’s annual returns. During the first three years in office, Obama and his wife reported income of $8 million, largely from royalties on his memoirs which were best sellers because of his political fame.

And very soon, the Obama’s will progress from being rich to being filthy rich. Bill Clinton earned $89 million is speaking fees in his first 11 years out of the White House, averaging an indecent $189,000 per appearance. Obama is likely to exceed that sum, as the first half-black president of the United States.

The fact that Obama is remitting such a pittance back to the Treasury matters a lot because he won the 2012 presidential election largely in the ‘fair shakes’ empathy department. Even his pathetic gesture is better than that of some of his rich Democratic Party cronies. Nancy Pelosi, whose net worth last year was estimated to be at least $26 million, has stated that ‘taking a pay cut would not respect the work we do and is beneath the dignity of the job.’ Well everyone is entitled to their opinion!

‘During World Wars I and II, there were ‘dollar-a-year men’ who left lucrative private-sector careers to serve their country in Washington. If Obama really wants to share in the furloughed workers ‘sacrifice’, he should follow that honorable example and give back all but a dollar of his $400,000 salary. When he leaves office, he’ll be able to earn it back with a couple days’ work.’ Dana Milbank, ‘A 5% pay cut? That’s rich’, The Washington Post, April 7, 2013