Posts Tagged ‘Socialism’
Another day, another Obama scandal.
The Internal Revenue Service is now facing a class action lawsuit over allegations that it improperly accessed and stole the health records of some 10 million Americans, including medical records of all California state judges.
According to a report by Courthousenews.com, an unnamed HIPAA-covered entity in California is suing the IRS, alleging that some 60 million medical records from 10 million patients were stolen by 15 IRS agents. The personal health information seized on March 11, 2011, included psychological counseling, gynecological counseling, sexual/drug treatment and other medical treatment data.“This is an action involving the corruption and abuse of power by several Internal Revenue Service agents,” the complaint reads. “No search warrant authorized the seizure of these records; no subpoena authorized the seizure of these records; none of the 10,000,000 Americans were under any kind of known criminal or civil investigation and their medical records had no relevance whatsoever to the IRS search. IT personnel at the scene, a HIPPA facility warning on the building and the IT portion of the searched premises, and the company executives each warned the IRS agents of these privileged records,” it continued.
How much money is on the line in this suit? Oh, a mere $25,000 in compensatory damages. Per violation. Which adds up to “a minimum of $250 billion.”Has Congress begun those emergency sessions to shut down ObamaCare yet? What else do they need to hear?
Nice health care company you’ve got there…would be a pity if anything happened to it.
Welcome to pay-to-play health care. It’s the Chicago way.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has gone, hat in hand, to health industry officials, asking them to make large financial donations to help with the effort to implement President Obama’s landmark health-care law, two people familiar with the outreach said.
Her unusual fundraising push comes after Congress repeatedly rejected the Obama administration’s requests for additional funds to set up the Affordable Care Act, leaving HHS to implement the president’s signature legislative accomplishment on what officials have described as a shoestring budget.
Over the past three months, Sebelius has made multiple phone calls to health industry executives, community organizations and church groups and asked that they contribute whatever they can to nonprofit groups that are working to enroll uninsured Americans and increase awareness of the law, according to an HHS official and an industry person familiar with the secretary’s activities. Both spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk openly about private discussions.
[...] Federal regulations do not allow department officials to fundraise in their professional capacity. They do, however, allow Cabinet members to solicit donations as private citizens “if you do not solicit funds from a subordinate or from someone who has or seeks business with the Department, and you do not use your official title,” according to Justice Department regulations.
This has all the hallmarks of a shakedown. DrewM at Ace of Spades snarkily summarizes: “Hi I’m HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. You may recall I have tremendous discretionary power over your company and entire industry. Would you like to donate to my favorite cause? You would? Thank you so much.” Obamacare vests Sebelius with an enormous amount of regulatory power; she has the ability to make life exceedingly difficult for any company that crosses her (recall her “zero tolerance” quote). “Friendly” requests for “voluntary” donations may not seem optional for companies who sense the HHS Sword of Damocles hanging over their heads. [...]
Harry Reid recently grumbled about Republicans’ refusal to pump more taxpayer money into Obamacare’s implementation phase. The GOP has stood firm against committing even one more penny to the extravagantly expensive, enduringly unpopular and logistically shambolic program. The administration’s apparent solution to this problem of their own making is to coerce private businesses into financing a bailout.
“That’s absolutely improper if not illegal. This administration will stop at nothing to get its way. It will do anything it can to silence its critics.”
Now begins the investigation into yet another Obama administration scandal:
House Republicans are starting a probe into Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius soliciting donations from companies her agency might regulate, to help sign up uninsured Americans for ObamaCare.
[T]he solicitations, through speeches and phone calls, have raised questions about whether a federal official can ask for money from groups he or she oversees.
The Republican-led House Energy and Commerce Committee began a probe by sending a letter Monday to Sebelius and groups that she might have contacted.
The letter to Sebelius asks her to provide several pieces of information by May 27 related to the solicitations, including names of those contacted “in this unusual fundraising pitch” as well as phone logs and whether other agency officials were involved.
Translation: Don’t think. Don’t Question. Just go along with whatever the ruling class tells you to do.
A year to the day after kicking off his re-election campaign at Ohio State University, President Barack Obama returned to the college campus and told graduates that only through vigorous participation in their “democracy” can they right an ill-functioning government and break through relentless cynicism about the nation’s future.
Obama also urged the students to “reject these voices” that warn of the evils of government, saying:
Still, you’ll hear voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s the root of all our problems, even as they do their best to gum up the works; or that tyranny always lurks just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave, creative, unique experiment in self-rule is just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.
We have never been a people who place all our faith in government to solve our problems, nor do we want it to. But we don’t think the government is the source of all our problems, either. Because we understand that this democracy is ours. As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but absolutely necessary work of self-government.
The cynics may be the loudest voices—but they accomplish the least. It’s the silent disruptors—those who do the long, hard, committed work of change—that gradually push this country in the right direction, and make the most lasting difference. [Emphasis added]
Doug Powers makes a powerful observation:
Interesting. Obama said that those who warn others to be on the lookout for government tyranny run counter to the reason this “brave, and creative, and unique experiment in self-rule” called the United States of America was formed, when in fact a stand against government tyranny is precisely why this country came into existence. Can somebody please flick the paradox switch on the teleprompter to the “off” position?
Thomas Paine wrote about the “government and society should be a single entity” approach in Common Sense, and concluded the two should never be indistinguishable:
“Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher. Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one;”
1. We need no further proof to justify a chorus of horse-laughter over his claim to being a Constitutional scholar. Because a Constitutional scholar would have read a book or two. Specifically, say, the Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist Papers. He would’ve seen that the nation was extremely concerned about tyranny in America in the run-up to the ratification of the federal Constitution. Indeed, those on the Anti-Federalist side seem more like prophets with each passing day, as they were convinced that the new Constitution would not, in fact, keep tyranny from happening here. Warning about government tyranny is practically the sine qua non of the American experiment.
President Reagan spoke as an American in this honorable tradition when he quipped that the scariest words in our language were, “We’re from the government and we’re here to help.” Mr. Obama speaks those words in earnest, like he really means them, and wonders why anyone would be nervous about it.
2. I really have no idea who he’s talking about, these mysterious voices warning of tyranny lurking around the corner. Everyone I know who is paying any attention is aware that tyranny is here right now, out in the open! I wish we lived in a time when tyrants were still afraid to show themselves!
I especially like Trifecta’s take on this:
View on YouTube
Earlier today, 7 anti-gun bills were defeated in the senate (2 more remain to be voted on Thursday).
Never one to take defeat graciously, Obama threw a full-blown tantrum in the bully pulpit, using Gabby Giffords and the Newtown families as political props as he declared the Senate vote “shameful” and slammed 2nd Amendment advocates as “liars.”
With the failure of the Democrats’ attempt to exploit the Newtown school shooting to press forward gun control measures, President Obama took to the microphones along with the relatives of Sandy Hook victims to demonize his opposition. This, of course, was his strategy all along: knowing that he did not have 60 votes in the Democrat-controlled Senate to pass his gun control legislation, he pressed forward anyway, hoping to paint Republicans as intransigent, immoral tools of the gun lobby who don’t care about dead children. After demonizing Republicans, Obama hopes, he can press Americans into voting Democrats back into power in the House of Representatives.
On Wednesday afternoon, Obama played his part to perfection. Mark Barden, father of a first-grader murdered in Newtown, introduced him. Flanking Obama were other Newtown victims; Vice President Joe Biden, face creased in supposed emotional agony, his arm around the mother of a Sandy Hook victim; and former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who has been one of the lead advocate for gun control on behalf of the administration.
“On behalf of the Sandy Hook parents, I would like to thank President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden,” said Mark Barden, father of a first-grader murdered in Newtown. “We will not be defeated. We are not defeated and we will not be defeated ….. I’d like to end by repeating the words by which the Sandy Hook promise begins: Our hearts are broken. Our spirit is not.”
He then introduced President Obama, who blasted away in a carefully calculated and calibrated assault on gunowners, Republicans, and all those with the temerity to disagree on his gun control proposals. Lashing out with more emotion than he has on any issue of his presidency, Obama played up to the cameras, all the while using gun violence victims as a backdrop.
Obama said that he had acted in response to the shooting of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and Sandy Hook. “Families that had known unspeakable grief,” Obama said, reached out “to protect the lives of all children …. A few minutes ago, a minority in the Senate decided it wasn’t worth it.” Standing on the graves of the children of Sandy Hook has become rote for this president.
[...] All of this was setup for the coup de grace: a request for more power. Because, after all, Obama was never going to win this debate. He didn’t have the votes, he didn’t have the evidence, and he didn’t have a decent piece of legislation to propose. What he did have was unbridled faux moral indignation and a compliant press.
But he needs more. He needs a majority in the House. And he asked for it. “So all in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington. But this effort is not over,” said Obama. “If this Congress refuses to listen … the real impact is going to have to come from the voters.”
“The memories of these children demand [gun control],” Obama concluded.
What he meant was obvious: the memories of dead children in Sandy Hook demands that voters give Obama more Senators and more Congresspeople. How convenient for him.
Neither Obama nor the media are interested in hearing from family members of gun violence victims who opposed his gun control scheme, such as this father from Newtown, and the father of 9-year-old Christina Green, who was shot and killed in the Tuscon attack.
They’re only interested in exploiting those grieving families they can use to forward their own political agenda.
Obama sent an envoy to Venezuela dictator Hugo Chavez’s funeral, but refuses to send anyone from his administration to honor Thatcher.
Why? Because a Socialist dictator like Chavez is an ideological ally, while a liberty-loving conservative like Thatcher is political enemy. That should tell you all you need to know about dark and dangerous Obama’s personal ideology truly is.
This is a deliberate, public slap in the face in front of the entire international community. Obama is a small, petty, dangerous man.
President Obama declined to send a high-level delegation to Wednesday’s funeral of Britain’s Margaret Thatcher. It’s a measure of how little he values the special relationship — and a sign of his own smallness.
Back in more gracious times, vice presidents routinely attended funerals of foreign dignitaries. As such, the presence of Vice President Joe Biden — if not Obama himself — would seem fitting for as significant a U.S. ally as the late Prime Minister Thatcher, if not out of warmth of feeling, then simply to represent the U.S.’ gratitude. Thatcher’s uncompromising friendship with the U.S. helped to set off a free-market revolution, end the Cold War, and left the U.S. and U.K. the standard-bearers for freedom in the world — the very basis of the power Obama now enjoys.
But appallingly, not even Biden could be spared for the funeral of the most consequential British prime minister since Winston Churchill.
[...] This snub shows Obama places partisan politics above leadership or statecraft.
Obama isn’t the only one deliberately insulting the memory of this great woman. The media is taking this opportunity to verbally burn her memory in effigy:
In the days leading up to Margaret Thatcher’s funeral on Wednesday, the three networks repeatedly hyped hateful, ugly attacks on the former Prime Minister of Britain, describing her as a “polarizing,” “divisive” figure. On Rock Center, his low-rated Friday night show, Brian Williams explained that it was “sad, but necessary to report” that, while Americans may like Thatcher, “It’s been a harsh couple of days …Tonight, the number one song on iTunes in Great Britain is the Wizard of Oz classic [Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead], in this case celebrating the death of the Iron Lady.”
On Sunday’s Today, Lester Holt began by insisting, “Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is proving to be as polarizing in death as she was in life.” He, too, highlighted angry liberals in Britain gleefully playing the mocking song. Leftist journalist Martin Bashir appeared on the program to bemoan the “controversial” Thatcher. He touted, “An online campaign has pushed the song Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead up towards the top of the British music charts.”
Bashir made sure to play a clip of a protester complaining, “I’m here to remember the victims, the victims of Margaret Thatcher and her society– her type of government.”
On Wednesday, CBS This Morning reporter Mark Phillips lectured, ”Well, this funeral was going to be a tense and controversial affair even before [the Boston bombing.]“ It was going to be “controversial’ to bury Thatcher, the woman elected three times in massive landslides?
On the April 17 Today, Keir Simmons reported live from the funeral route and deemed Thatcher a “divisive figure for many people in Britain.” He did allow that there were “many people here in the streets to pay their last respects.”
This last point, the massive outpouring of people who actually admired Thatcher, hasn’t received as much attention from the network reports.
Public School Indoctrination: Teaching Kids To Give Up Constitutional Rights, Hate Conservatives and Jews
Earlier this week, an irate mom tweeted a photo her child had taken in class, in which the teacher openly mocked Fox News as an example of “media bias”:
The teacher was trying to explain what media bias looks like. Fox News was the only media example she used (because no other media outlets are biased, dontcha know?). FYI, snarky Wonka memes are an example of TEACHER bias, not media bias.
This is so typical. I remember from my “Critical Thinking” class in college, I could tell you exactly how the textbook authors and teachers voted by the end of the class. Their bias was that obvious. Of course, you expect that now in universities, but it’s already seeped down to grades K-12.
In Wisconsin, a crossword puzzle assigned to 8th graders told students that “conservative” meant “restricting personal freedoms“:
A mother at a Wisconsin public school said her daughter’s eighth grade class was assigned a worksheet with some eyebrow-raising definitions for “conservatism” and “liberalism.”
Conservatism, it stated in part, believes in “preserving traditional moral values by restricting personal freedoms” while liberalism is for “equality and personal freedom for everyone.”
“This is indoctrination,” Tamra Varebrook, a Republican activist in Racine, Wis., told TheBlaze on Thursday after her 13-year-old daughter showed her the crossword-style vocabulary sheet from Union Grove Elementary School earlier this week.
In New York, students were asked to write an essay from the Nazi perspective of “Why Jews Are Evil”:
An unnamed English teacher at Albany High School who wanted to “challenge” his/her students to “formulate a persuasive argument” tasked them with writing an essay about why “Jews are evil,” as if they were trying to convince a Nazi official of their loyalty. One third of the class refused, and the principal has apologized while insisting that there wasn’t any “malice or intent to cause any insensitivities to our families of Jewish faith.”
Only one-third of the class refused. That means, even with the example of principled resistance before them, two-thirds of the class went along with it!
In Florida, a father was stunned to discover this note written in crayon in his son’s handwriting:
The words are written in crayon, in the haphazard bumpiness of a child’s scrawl.
“I am willing to give up some of my constitutional rights in order to be safer or more secure.”
They’re the words that Florida father Aaron Harvey was stunned to find his fourth-grade son had written, after a lesson in school about the Constitution.
Harvey’s son attends Cedar Hills Elementary in Jacksonville, Fla. Back in January, a local attorney came in to teach the students about the Bill of Rights. But after the attorney left, fourth-grade teacher Cheryl Sabb dictated the sentence to part of the class and had them copy it down, he said.
If you think these are isolated incidents that would never happen at your child’s school, think again. These are just the more blatantly obvious ones that happened to get caught. The real indoctrination happens far more subtly, through half-truths and omissions, false assumptions, stories that manipulate the emotions and pressure to agree with the teacher and follow the crowd. Day after day, year after year, they slowly break down the child’s resistance to their view of the world.
Funny how Marxists don’t recognize your unalienable right to keep the fruits of your labor (especially if you happen to be more successful than they think you should be), but they claim that they have a “right” to demand free goodies at the expense of others.
Speaking outside on a sunny day, Harris-Perry says in an ad that aired Wednesday morning:
Americans will always want some level of inequality, because it’s a representation of meritocracy. People who work hard and sacrifice and save their money and make major contributions — we think that they should earn a little more. They should have more resources, and that’s fine. But we also, however, have to have a floor under which nobody falls. And if you’re below that — especially if you’re a child and you’re below that — we are not going to accept that. You do have the the right to health care, and to education, and to decent housing and to quality food at all times. [Emphasis added]
When something is a “right” (your life or conscience, for instance), it means you don’t have to do anything to earn it. You get to have it just for existing. It’s a gift from your Creator.
When you describe goods and services like food and housing as “rights,” you are saying that the people who produce these goods and services are obligated to provide them for you, whether you pay for them or not. There’s a word for this: slavery. Only slaves are forced to produce for others without compensation. TRUE rights come from God, and are unalienable. They cannot be provided by others, who could just as easily take them away.
You have an unalienable right to work and trade for goods and services. You do NOT have a “right” to demand them free of charge from others.
The Real Legacy of Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s Iron Lady
View on YouTube
So long, Maggie! Say “Hi” to Ronnie for us! You’ll be missed!
Mrs. Thatcher’s predecessor as prime minister, the amiable but forgotten Sunny Jim Callaghan, once confided to a friend of mine that he thought Britain’s decline was irreversible and that the government’s job was to manage it as gracefully as possible. By 1979, even this modest aim seemed beyond the capabilities of the British establishment, and the nation turned to a woman who was one of the few even in a supposedly “conservative” party not to subscribe to the Callaghan thesis. She reversed the decline, at home and overseas.
[S]he understood that the biggest threat to any viable future for Britain was a unionized public sector that had awarded itself a lifestyle it wasn’t willing to earn. So she picked a fight with it, and made sure she won. In the pre-Thatcher era, union leaders were household names, mainly because they were responsible for everything your household lacked. Britain’s system of government was summed up in the unlovely phrase “beer and sandwiches at Number Ten” — which meant union grandees showing up at Downing Street to discuss what it would take to persuade them not to go on strike, and being plied with the aforementioned refreshments by a prime minister reduced to the proprietor of a seedy pub, with the Cabinet as his barmaids.
In 1990, when Mrs. Thatcher was evicted from office by her ingrate party’s act of matricide, the difference she’d made was such that in all the political panel discussions on TV that evening no producer thought to invite any union leaders. No one knew their names anymore.
What Reagan and Thatcher showed–and it is a lesson that may seem at odds with the conservative impulse that the private sector is the most significant–is what a difference political leadership can make. (Later Rudolph Giuliani showed the same thing–he was for urban policy what Reagan and Thatcher were for national policy.) They both inherited a mess: In Thatcher’s case she took over in 1979 following the “Winter of Discontent” when Britain was paralyzed by multiple strikes and high unemployment. As the Conservative advertising slogan had it, “Labour isn’t working.” Reagan, of course, took over from Jimmy Carter in the wake of the failed hostage-rescue mission and in the midst of a severe recession characterized by “stagflation.” Worst of all was a widespread loss of confidence in the future–both in Britain and America it was fashionable back then to imagine that the “the West” was finished and that the Soviet Union was ascendant.
Reagan and Thatcher would have none of it. Both were firmly outside the political and intellectual mainstream, and both were derided as simpletons for imagining that they could reverse the course of history. But that is precisely what they did–Reagan with his tax cuts (helped by Fed chairman Paul Volcker’s anti-inflationary policy) and defense spending increases which, respectively, revived the economy and restored our military power; Thatcher with her income-tax cuts, budget cuts, interest-rate hikes and her willingness to stand up to the unions, all of which revived the British economy, and her willingness to fight Argentina for the Falkland Islands, which restored British confidence.
[...] Thatcher’s challenge was all the greater given that so much of the Conservative Party remained “wet”–i.e., skeptical of her conservative principles. Eventually it was not the political opposition but her own party which toppled her, leading to a long period of Conservative wandering in the wilderness, punctuated by uninspiring rule first by John Major and now by David Cameron, neither of whom will ever be mentioned in the same breath as the Iron Lady.
Like Reagan, Thatcher was vindicated by history–and just as Reagan was praised by Bill Clinton, so she was praised by Tony Blair. She will be remembered as the greatest female ruler since Queen Elizabeth I and the greatest British prime minister since Winston Churchill.
Common Core is a federal attempt to nationalize curriculum. We MUST oppose this, from every school board!
Critics of the Common Core State Standards had our fears confirmed on Monday when Education Week reported that the Department of Education will oversee the assessment test design for the new national standards. This is no April Fool’s joke: Washington will soon be directly regulating what America’s schoolchildren learn and on what they are tested. This massive expansion of federal power is concerning considering the federal government’s failed history of intervening in public education.
As I recently explained in AFP Foundation’s school choice policy report, the federal government has had its meddling hands in America’s public schools for decades. From the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to No Child Left Behind today, Congress has provided Title I federal funding to schools with low-income student bodies for the past half-century. But, this money is by no means free. As is often the case with federal funds, Title I comes with strings attached – which explains how Washington has been such a major player in American education despite the fact that public schools are function of the states.
[...] After decades of failed federal intervention in America’s public schools, Common Core’s similar approach of centrally planning public schools has worried education reformers since the initiative was launched in 2009. For years, proponents of the standards have tried to soothe these fears by emphasizing that they are not administered by the federal government. Common Core’s official website, for example, downplays the protests by claiming “[t]he federal government had no role in the development of the Common Core State Standards and will not have a role in their implementation.”
Perhaps this claim could hold water four years ago, but today it’s evident that Common Core is nothing more than a federal ruse to exert even greater control over America’s classrooms. [...]
[I]t looks like Common Core is poised to repeat and amplify the federal government’s failed educational interventions by giving the central government even greater control of what American schoolchildren are learning. If the success of school choice has taught us anything, it’s that education is most effective when controlled by actors on the local level, like teachers with freedom in how to teacher their students at charter schools, or parents with options of where to send their child to school through opportunity scholarships. Choice from the bottom, not force from the top, leads to effective learning.
My grandparents sacrificed and saved for years so they could have a comfortable retirement and still leave an inheritance for their children. They succeeded. They live comfortably independent well into their 80′s, and left a legacy to be proud of. We used to call this responsibility.
According to the Obama administration, however, people who make wise retirement choices need to be reigned in. The government should decide how much you can save, and how “comfortable” your retirement lifestyle is permitted to be (keep in mind that with today’s lifespan, an average person can live up to 20 or 30 years after they retire, which means they need to save MORE than previous generations, not less).
As far as the Left is concerned, there is no such thing as private property. There is only what the ruling class “allows” you to keep.
What President Barack Obama has planned in his upcoming budget, while not exactly a Cypriot-style, government-based raid on private savings accounts, comes too close for comfort. As widely reported Monday, the Obama budget document – which is already a month late – will include a new proposal to limit the total amount an individual can put aside in tax deferred retirement savings like 401Ks and IRAs to an amount sufficient to generate an annual income in the golden years of less than $250,000 per year.
Why do it? According to a senior administration official, The Hill reported, “wealthy taxpayers can currently ‘accumulate many millions of dollars in these accounts, substantially more than is needed to fund reasonable levels of retirement saving.’”
Who says? It is true that some people use retirement savings plans as a form of tax avoidance, but tax avoidance was, the last time anyone checked, still legal. Major corporations that have the imprimatur of approval from the Obama administration like General Electric and General Motors do it all the time.
What the White House may propose is not a matter of fairness, as the president and his allies are sure to cast it, but one that strikes at the heart of the right to keep for ourselves the product of our hard work.
To Obama, that idea that some may have saved more than others for their retirement is unfair, So is the idea, apparently, that some people make more than others. It’s class envy at its most ugly, designed to appeal to the more than 40 percent of Americans who pay no income tax and who voted for the president in 2012.
It is not a legitimate function of government to determine when a person has saved enough for retirement. “Enough” is a nebulous word just like “rich.” If a cap is in the offing in the near term, can confiscation, a la Cyprus, be far behind?
It’s theft. Pure and simple.
Welcome to the “new normal” under Obamanomics. In Europe, where Keynesian economics and Democratic Socialism has dominated for decades, unemployment rates are in the 20′s. For the younger generation, they’re even higher. Yet, instead of learning from their mistakes, Obama and the Democrats insist on repeating them. Millions of innocent people are being hurt in the process.
After a full year of fruitless job hunting, Natasha Baebler just gave up.
She’d already abandoned hope of getting work in her field, working with the disabled. But she couldn’t land anything else, either — not even a job interview at a telephone call center.
Until she feels confident enough to send out resumes again, she’ll get by on food stamps and disability checks from Social Security and live with her parents in St. Louis.
“I’m not proud of it,” says Baebler, who is in her mid-30s and is blind. “The only way I’m able to sustain any semblance of self-preservation is to rely on government programs that I have no desire to be on.”
Baebler’s frustrating experience has become all too common nearly four years after the Great Recession ended: Many Americans are still so discouraged that they’ve given up on the job market.
Older Americans have retired early. Younger ones have enrolled in school. Others have suspended their job hunt until the employment landscape brightens. Some, like Baebler, are collecting disability checks.
It isn’t supposed to be this way. After a recession, an improving economy is supposed to bring people back into the job market.
Sadly, until we get rid of Obamanomics, the jobs won’t be coming back. Business aren’t hiring because they never know when they’re going to be hit with a costly new regulation or tax. Entrepreneurs aren’t willing to take the risk to start a new business in such a hostile business climate.
Donald Lambro at Human Events predicts that we’re in for “Four More Years of Pain“:
President Obama heads into the third month of his second term, still unable to find a cure for a sluggish economy, weak employment numbers and his own slipping job approval scores.
Second terms are usually challenging for presidents who have won re-election without having the slightest idea about what they will do over the next four years. And that’s what we are witnessing now with Obama, whose biggest problem is the anemic, job-challenged economy.
[...] The depressing headlines of the past few days tell a sad tale of what the economy is like under his presidency:
– “Weekly Jobless Claims Get Weaker as Outlook Dims” was the gloomy headline over a Reuters news wire story Thursday morning on the CNBC website.
“The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose to its highest level in four months last week, suggesting the labor market recovery lost some steam in March,” Reuters reported.
– “Hiring Is Weaker at Private Companies,” a Washington Post headline blared Thursday.
“Companies hired at the weakest pace in five months in March as recent strong demand for construction jobs evaporated and growth in the vast services sector slowed, signs that the economic recovery could be hitting a soft patch,” the newspaper reported.
That’s the conclusion of the ADP National Employment Report Wednesday, which showed “that private employers added 158,000 jobs last month.” The ADP job survey said “the gain was the smallest since October.”
A separate report Wednesday on the services industry, the economy’s largest job sector, showed that employment growth “pulled back in March.”
You do not hear any of these reports on the nightly TV news because the networks cherry-pick reports that feed the White House line of a continuing economic recovery.
[...] Thankfully, there are economic reporters who resist touting the White House line that everything is rosier under Obama’s policies.
“We’re approaching the four-year anniversary of the economic recovery, and it still doesn’t feel like much of one, what with the unemployment rate at 7.7 percent and wages stagnant over the past five years,” Neil Irwin, the Post’s veteran economic analyst, recently reported.
Obama is so blinded by ideology that the tragic results of his policies on display all around him aren’t enough to convince him that his policies need to change.
Even as the Obama White House prepares for a star-studded White House concert featuring Queen Latifah, Cyndi Lauper, and Justin Timberlake, figures from the U.S. Census Bureau reveal that roughly 50 million Americans—one in six—now live below the poverty line.
Additionally, one in five American children have fallen below the poverty line; the last time poverty levels were this high, Lyndon Baines Johnson was president.
“In the last three years, there’s been a great change in the kinds of people we are serving,” said Director of Community Services at Catholic Charities of Baltimore Mary Anne O’Donnell. “There are increasing numbers of people who owned a home, lost their jobs, end up living in their car and are coming with children to our soup kitchen.”
The U.S. government defines a family of four earning under $23,021 as living in poverty. Income used to compute poverty status does not include non-cash benefits, such as food stamps and housing subsidies.
Welfare program enrollments have exploded under President Barack Obama. Americans on food stamps now outnumber the combined populations of 24 U.S. states, costing taxpayers more than double the amount spent on food stamps five years ago. In January 2009, 31.9 million Americans received food stamps. Today, that figure is 47.79 million.
Boomtown 2: The Business Of Food Stamps
View on YouTube
For the Left, this is all part of the Cloward-Piven strategy to overwhelm the system with impossible demands, bringing about an inevitable collapse that will set the stage for a Communist revolution.
For corporations vying for their turn at the taxpayer trough, this is a dance with the devil…and they don’t even realize it.
“Boomtown 1: Washington, The Imperial City” exposed the cronyism and luxurious lifestyle of Washington, DC’s power elite. On Friday “Boomtown 2: The Business of Food Stamps” Government Accountability Institute (GAI) President Peter Schweizer and Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon exposed how politicians and corporations have used the country’s food stamps program to profit on the backs of tax payers.
Though the food stamps program was always meant to be a “safety net” to provide temporary assistance, Schweizer pointed out that it has “become an insider game of power and profit” for corporations who are attempting to get a slice of the $75 billiion provided by the taxpayers.
[...] The GAI president points out that the food stamps program was intended to provide basic foods, but has grown to include all types of things including soft drinks and fast food. We have also pointed out that the food stamps program has been used to purchase guns, drugs and pay for strippers and massage parlors, not to mention that the USDA has targeted illegal aliens for the program.
The fraud of the food stamps program has grown since EBT cards were issued in 2002, which gave no reason for either government or corporations to look to reform the system or limit the fraud.
The Obama administration is proudly shattering welfare records with an astonishing number of people collecting public benefits long term, especially food stamps.
In fact, as I discussed in a special to be aired on Hannity tonight, Obama and his friends have actually found a way to meld corporate cronyism with food stamp abuse to line their pockets while undermining our election systems at the same time.
Under Obama, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, has exploded with a record number of people – 46 million and growing – getting free groceries from the American taxpayer. Adding insult to injury, a federal audit revealed last year that many who don’t qualify for food stamps now receive them under a new “broad-based” eligibility program that disregards income and asset requirements.
Obama says the food stamp extension is part of his intention to eradicate “food insecure households.” However, it’s really part of a massive redistribution of wealth. Last year, taxpayers were forced to pay more than $80 billion, including an estimated $750 million a year in outright fraud.
[...] According to the study, the current food stamp Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card industry is dominated by three main players: J.P. Morgan Electronic Financial Services, Affiliated Computer Services, and eFunds. Together they collect money from 49 states and three territories. In fact, since 2004, 18 of 24 states that contract with J.P. Morgan have paid more than $560 million to the financial monolith.
There is little wonder then that those three companies appear to be perfectly content with the exploding food stamp rolls – and wholly unconcerned about rampant fraud and abuse. As the GAI study observed, “The more persons enrolled in the program, the more money the EBT industry makes.” That may also help explain why, when the state of Florida initiated an eight-month program to detect and prevent fraud among its three million EBT card users, J.P. Morgan saw fit to assign just one employee to the program.
And then there is this: During the 2008 election, Barack Obama received more than $800,000 from J.P. Morgan alone. After his election, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, initiated by Obama and passed by a compliant Congress, made two major changes to existing food stamp policies. First, it increased benefits by 13.6 percent. Second, it actively encouraged states to add more recipients to their food stamp rolls.
And the corporate cronyism and political payoffs don’t end there. The House and Senate Agricultural Committees have jurisdiction over all food assistance and distribution programs, including the food stamp program. So, just as one might expect, analysis by the GAI uncovered a clear trend of increasing contributions to Agriculture Committee members of both the House and Senate on the part of J.P. Morgan that clearly coincides with their entry into the lucrative EBT card, food stamp market.
Between 1998 and 2002, JP Morgan’s total contributions per election cycle averaged $82,897. After the bank entered the EBT services market until the 2010 election cycle, their average donation per cycle more than doubled to $215,120. And the Agriculture Committees, in turn, have broadly expanded the number of food stamp recipients.
Of course, the more recipients that are added to the food stamp rolls, the more voters Obama can count on at election time. And the offshoots of Obama’s former client and campaign partner ACORN not only assure that those voters are registered but also that they know to whom they are beholden for their government handouts.
ObamaCare provides millions of dollars in grants to hire community activists and others as “navigators” to assist individuals enroll in health insurance provided by state or federal exchanges and, according to recent reports, register people to vote. In a new rule proposed Wednesday, HHS lays out numerous guidelines for these “navigators”, including paying them up to $48/hour for their work. The rule, guidelines and voter registration effort are a potential vehicle to resurrect ACORN or an ACORN-like entity.
[...] Requirements for “navigators” is that they have no existing insurance licenses or certifications, conflicting with several recently enacted state laws. They also must be attuned to racial, ethnic and cultural sensitivities, understand “underserved communities” and provide translation services for virtually every language. AARP, NAACP and SEIU are prominent members of Enroll America’s advisory board.
One health expert with close ties to HHS told Breitbart News, ”The navigator program, as evidenced by the leadership of Enroll America and yesterday’s rule from CMS, will be a jobs program for unemployable Obama For America campaign volunteers and ACORN remnants.”
[...] October 1st is the first day individuals can enroll for a program through the exchanges. The government, as a result, will have to hire and train tens of thousands of workers on the complex subject of health insurance over the next few months. Think of it as an enormous census program with less training for a more complex subject.
The rules allow navigators to come from the ranks of unions, health providers and community action groups such as ACORN and Planned Parenthood. They are required to provide unbiased advice.
Yeah, right. Good luck enforcing that!
The foundation for the housing crisis was laid with the Community Reinvestment Act in 1977, where the government took it upon itself to encourage home ownership by pressuring banks to lend to lower-income buyers, often to meet arbitrary racial quotas. Obviously they haven’t learned a thing from where that got us.
Would it surprise anyone to learn that as a lawyer, Obama sued banks to force them to issue subprime loans? He also worked for ACORN, which specialized in using the Community Reinvestment Act to shake down banks and pressure them to loan money to low-income minorities or face “discrimination” charges.
According to the Washington Post, the Obama administration is pushing big banks to make more home loans available to Americans with bad credit – the same kind of government guidance that helped blow up the housing market:
In response, administration officials say they are working to get banks to lend to a wider range of borrowers by taking advantage of taxpayer-backed programs — including those offered by the Federal Housing Administration — that insure home loans against default.
Housing officials are urging the Justice Department to provide assurances to banks, which have become increasingly cautious, that they will not face legal or financial recriminations if they make loans to riskier borrowers who meet government standards but later default.
Think about this statement. The administration is asking banks – banks that Washington bails out; banks that Washington crafts regulations for — to embrace risky policies that put the institution and its investors (not to mention, all of us) in a precarious position. So precarious, in fact, that banks have to ask government if they can be freed of any legal or financial consequences.
What could possibly go wrong?
These types of government policies initially emerged the mid-1970s, when “progressive” Democrats in Congress began a campaign to help low-income minorities become homeowners. This led to the passage, in 1977, of theCommunity Reinvestment Act (CRA), a mandate for banks to make special efforts to seek out and lend to borrowers of meager means. Founded on the premise that government intervention is necessary to counteract the fundamentally racist and inequitable nature of American society and the free market, the CRA was eventually transformed from an outreach effort into a strict quota system by the Clinton administration. Under the new arrangement, if a bank failed to meet its quota for loans to low-income minorities, it ran the risk of getting a low CRA rating from the FDIC. This, in turn, could derail the bank’s efforts to expand, relocate, merge, etc. From a practical standpoint, then, banks had no recourse but to drastically lower their standards on down-payments and underwriting, and to approve many loans even to borrowers with weak credit credentials. As Hoover Institution Fellow Thomas Sowell explains, this led to “skyrocketing rates of mortgage delinquencies and defaults,” and the rest is history.
The CRA was by no means the only mechanism designed by government to impose lending quotas on financial institutions. For instance, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) developed rules encouraging lenders to dramatically hike their loan-approval rates for minority applicants and began bringing legal actions against mortgage bankers who failed to do so, regardless of the reason. This, too, caused lenders to lower their down-payment and income requirements.
Moreover, HUD pressured the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two largest sources of housing finance in the United States, to earmark a steeply rising number of their own loans for low-income borrowers. Many of these were subprime mortgages—loans characterized by higher interest rates and less favorable terms in order to compensate lenders for the high credit risk they were incurring.
Additional pressure toward this end was applied by community organizations like the pro-socialist ACORN. By accusing banks—however frivolously or unjustly—of having engaged in racially discriminatory lending practices that violated the mandates of the CRA, these groups commonly sued banks toprevent them from expanding or merging as they wished. Barack Obama, ACORN’s staunch ally, was strongly in favor of this practice. Indeed, in a 1994 class-action lawsuit against Citibank, Obama represented ACORN in demanding more favorable terms for subprime homebuyer mortgages. After four years of being dragged through the mud, a beleaguered Citibank—anxious to put an end to the incessant smears (charging racism) that Obama and his fellow litigators were hurling in its direction (to say nothing of its mounting legal bills)—agreed to settle the case.
Forbes magazine puts it bluntly: “Obama has been a staunch supporter of the CRA throughout his public life.” In other words, he has long advocated the very policies that already have reduced the real-estate market to rubble. And now he is actively pushing those very same practices again.