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About Those Hacks

Blog From
March 9th, 2017

Once upon a time, there was a very big political Party. After a long period in power, it came to believe that it would live happily ever after in control of just about everything.

But, as these things go, the Party’s arrogance precipitated a fall. It took a header in the 2016 Presidential election, suffering devastating losses. Caught completely off guard by the palpable discontent of just about everyone around it, the Party has lived in angry denial ever since.

The bad part of the story is that it doesn’t end there. Instead, the Party’s loss has spurred an almost unhinged drive to get even.

That drive has focused on delegitimizing President Trump through constant claims that his victory was the result of Russian collaboration. It is a factually preposterous claim. There is absolutely no evidence of collaboration after many months of investigations by the FBI, CIA, NSA, DNI and Justice. In fact, there is no evidence that Russia had any impact at all.

Yet the Party clamors for a special counsel investigation to keep the spotlight on the allegation of collaborative misconduct.

Ironically, the beneficiary of this retributive overreach is Russia and other countries that the U.S. should be working to contain. Constant allegations of collaboration with a traditional enemy make longtime U.S. allies nervous. They become hesitant at a time when unified, determined action is required to deter increasing global destabilization.

Political hacks are turning out to be worse than any other kind.

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The Incredible Shrinking President

Blog From
January 23rd, 2015

LFU_PantsonFire_AshPile_vFYesterday, the U.S. backed government in Yemen fell to the rebels it fought unsuccessfully for years. Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, one of America’s strongest allies in the region, died. The leanings of his successor are unclear. The Israelis provided aerial photos of a new Iranian long-range missile capable of reaching our shores. And President Obama was in the White House taking selfies with a comedian whose shtick is bathing in fruit loops and milk.

 

In the 1957 movie, The Incredible Shrinking Man, the main character shrinks in height after exposure to a combination of radiation and insecticide. By the end of the movie, he can walk between the wires in a window screen, which he does to escape from his own basement. As the credits roll, he bravely faces the world with the knowledge that he will eventually disappear entirely.

 

The movie won the first Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation by the World Science Fiction Convention. In 2009, the Library of Congress added it to the National Film Registry assuring the film’s preservation in perpetuity.

 

In the life imitates art category, the United States in 2015 finds itself saddled with the incredible shrinking President. Exposure to reality has left Obama a Lilliputian-sized man with a gigantic compulsion to deny a reality that his modest abilities cannot successfully address. The more he shrinks, the more he shouts, the less he’s heard and the more dangerous the planet becomes.

 

Everyone in the Country finally seems to know it as the groundswell of bipartisan criticism begins to build to a crescendo. It’s one thing to release Gitmo detainees while terrorism across the globe is increasing dramatically. Or pig-headedly call radical Islam “nihilism”.

 

Or foolishly declare that Afghanistan will never again be the source of terrorism. Or announce a symposium on terrorism while the rest of the world marches in unity in Paris against the bloody scourge.

 

It’s another to persistently misrepresent the state of world affairs in order to tout imaginary accomplishments. Just last September Obama identified Yemen as an example of the success of his foreign policy.

 

He was almost right. Yemen is an example of his foreign policy and it is a portent of things to come on the larger international stage. But, success is not associated with it. While Obama was busy talking about his achievement last fall, rebels were growing in strength and finally overthrew the government yesterday.

 

Like the Incredible Shrinking Man, Obama is now small enough to walk through the wires of a window screen on his way to oblivion. Unlike the movie, he’s unlikely to win any awards for it.

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Minimum Wage, Minimum Thought

Blog From
October 26th, 2014

LFU_PantsonFire_AshPile_vFOn Friday, Hillary Clinton made a campaign appearance on behalf of Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate, Martha Coakley. In a lackluster, disconnected performance, Clinton embarrassed herself by explaining her theories of minimum wage, job creation and trickle-down economics. Her thoughts were so whacky that they will surely come back to haunt her in two short years.

 

First, Clinton denied that raising the minimum wage was a job killer. As proof, she stated, “I been through this.” By that she meant the minimum wage hike while Bill was President and the hike that occurred during the Bush administration.

 

She praised her husband alleging that he “gave working families a raise in the 1990s.” She also praised herself for voting during the Bush Presidency to raise the wage. She claimed that, as a result of Clinton’s gift and her vote, millions of higher paying jobs were created.

 

Hillary then went on to say, “Don’t let anybody, don’t let anybody tell you that, uh, you know, it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs.” She explained by saying, “You know that old theory, trickle-down economics, that has been tried, that has failed. It has failed rather spectacularly.”

 

Sometimes, when people say stupid things, it is difficult to know where to begin in reply. But not this time. Her stumbling delivery aside, Hillary made two claims: (a) raising the minimum wage creates millions of jobs; (b) businesses and corporations do not create jobs because trickle-down economics is a failure.

 

The entire support for her first claim is Hillary’s declaration that “I been through this.” She then referred to two data blips in the 76-year history of the minimum wage, the hike in the 1990s and the later Bush hike. She’s right that those hikes did occur, although she’s wrong that President Clinton gave the first one to the masses. Like Bush, he merely signed the legislation passed by Congress.

 

Hillary is also wrong in her claim that millions of higher paying jobs were the result of those two actions. She has to know better than to make that claim because she was in the Senate when Bush signed the second increase into law.

 

The Bush hike was in three phases, beginning in 2007 and ending in mid-2009. Those were also the years of The Great Recession when unemployment in the U.S. doubled from 5% to 10%. By the end of the Recession in 2009, our unemployment rate was higher than most industrialized countries.

 

The number of jobs created since the Recession is still less than the number lost during the Recession. Worse, most observers attribute the recent drop in the unemployment rate to the fact that millions of people have stopped looking for work. (To the government, people are unemployed only if they have no job AND are seeking employment.) No economist credits the Bush minimum wage hike for creating a single job.

 

Hillary’s second claim that businesses and corporations do not create jobs is erroneous. First, corporations are businesses. Much more importantly, there is no serious debate over whether they create jobs. The debate is over which business segment creates the most jobs, start-ups, small businesses or large corporations.

 

Lastly, Clinton’s attempt to tie the alleged lack of job creation by businesses to trickle-down economics is both confused and foolish. Trickle-down economics is not a job creation theory. It is a wealth distribution pseudo-theory. The label was a spurious attempt to ridicule Reagan’s tax cuts by claiming that only the rich benefit directly. The rest of us are left to hope that the rich will spend enough of their gains to eventually trickle down into our wallets.

 

Hillary’s speech contained so many flawed chestnuts from the very far left that it should disqualify her from residing in the White House again. It also makes the listener wonder what has happened to her mental faculties. It appears that the new jerk in her knee has managed to jar the brain out of her head.

 

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Obama’s ISIS Solution: Slap Designer Labels On Ugly And Call It A Winner

Blog From
September 11th, 2014

LFU_PantsonFire_AshPile_vFLast night, President Obama presented his ISIS strategy to the Nation in a prime time broadcast from the White House. Taking a page from John Molloy’s Dress for Success tome, Mr. Obama dressed up demonstrably failed polices in garb dripping in designer labels. He called the new look “success”. He is wrong and the Country deserves much better, beginning with the fabric of truth.

 

In order to assess Obama’s solution properly, we have to travel back in time to August 21, a few days after James Foley was gruesomely beheaded. Obama made the announcement and was on the links hitting his first drive a mere 8 minutes later. He reaped a whirlwind of criticism for callousness and his poll numbers on foreign policy began a steep decline.

 

On September 4, two days after Steven Sotloff was beheaded, Obama admitted to the Nation, “we don’t have a strategy yet”. He was referring to ISIS in Syria but the statement was generally recognized as a broader policy lapse. Those poll numbers sank lower and lower.

 

Last night, seven days after confessing to no strategy in Syria, the President announced his strategy for dealing with everything ISIS. He presented a four-prong approach. Most of it is warmed over tactics. None of it, separately or in combination, has worked as Obama claimed.

 

First, American airstrikes in Iraq will become offensive rather than defensive. In other words, ISIS will be attacked because it is ISIS rather than only to protect American advisors or innocent civilians. Airstrikes against ISIS will also commence in Syria.

 

Second, American advisors will be sent to support local ground troops in both countries. The Syrian opposition, dismissed by Obama in June as farmers and dentists unworthy of our support, will now get munitions and other equipment. Either they quickly became battle-hardened or Obama’s excuse for inaction was so much empty rhetoric conveniently forgotten.

 

The third and fourth prongs are continuations of standard counterterrorist tactics to prevent ISIS attacks and humanitarian aid to civilians. Of course, American troops will not be the ground and the prongs will be executed by bunches of our allies, too.

 

In one speech, Obama managed to pin four mislabels on his policy donkey in an effort to dress it up as something else. First, he claimed that America is safer under his leadership. Second, he claimed that American leadership is solely responsible for giving the Ukrainian People the right to determine their own destiny despite Russian aggression. What a huge whopper that last one is. The U.S. has little direct trade with Russia and correspondingly little leverage. The EU, on the other hand, can and has, albeit reluctantly, put the bite of economic pain on Russia for Putin’s belligerence.

 

Worst of all in context, the President last night identified Yemen and Somalia as shining examples of the successful use of his new ISIS policy. Those claims are so undeniably false that he had to be kidding.

 

In truth, Yemen is, by all other accounts, an example of failed U.S. policy. One expert from Princeton University summarized actions taken by the Obama administration there as policy adrift. The acknowledged danger to U.S. interests is Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). To combat it, Obama dramatically increased drone, missile and other airstrikes. This is, at best, a delaying tactic until the Yemeni military can act.

 

In the meantime, American air-borne attacks have strengthened AQAP’s hand in the region. While drones may have worked against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the dynamic in Yemen is dramatically different. The Obama administration has not adapted to the difference. AQAP forces have more than tripled in number since 2009 because of our assaults.

 

Even the New York Times assesses U.S. policy in Yemen as confused and ineffective. Embarrassingly, it appears that the U.S. is launching airstrikes based on Saudi and Yemeni intelligence agencies. We have no idea whether U.S. actions are being directed to protect Arab-only concerns.

 

Chasing Al Qaeda in Somalia is a bigger fiasco from the U.S. perspective than the debacle in Yemen. Branding it as a success is less honest, if that’s even possible.

 

The question is not why the U.S. policies and actions Obama identifies as successes are really failures. The question is why he persists in labeling them as successes. Dressed up malarkey is still malarkey.

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The One And Only American Solution In Iraq

Blog From
August 10th, 2014

LFU_PantsonFire_AshPile_vFYesterday, on his way to Martha’s Vineyard for another family vacation, the President took time to lecture us on the current situation in Iraq. If I had fingers, I’d run out of them trying to count the number of times he repeated two statements. The first one laid the blame for the ISIL invasion entirely on the current Iraqi government. The second statement was an unqualified refusal to put U.S. boots on Iraqi ground ever again.

 

With his fingers crossed behind his back, the President cast the crisis in the Iraq-solving-Iraq-problems mold. If solutions are to be found, they will be found by an inclusive Iraqi government “getting formed and finalized.” Only then can Iraq address the ISIL threat and the U.S. and its allies can offer economic and other non-military support.

 

While that may be a solution for Iraq itself, it is not a solution for America. Our interests lay not in the creation of a particular type of Iraqi government. Our interests center on safeguarding our homeland. So, the concern is not what the Iraqi government becomes. It is what the Iraqi government may not be allowed to become. That difference defines our role in Iraq or any other country.

 

Whether the Iraqis ever unite under an inclusive government is not an American worry. Truth be told, it would be better for us if the intra-country squabbles kept Iraqi factions focused on internal issues in perpetuity. Trouble for the U.S. arises when militantly anti-American forces take advantage of those squabbles to gain a foothold, and then control, of Iraq.

 

When that happens, as in the case with ISIL, our response should be to use our military might to neutralize the threat. Then we’re gone. We don’t hang around to help sort out the aftermath. No occupying force role for us. Good luck to them in building a government that does not pose a danger to us. If they can’t pull it off, we, like the Terminator, will be back.

 

In casting the solution as an acceptable Iraqi government, Obama is focusing us in the wrong direction. He is also imposing a condition that Iraqis have not met in centuries. He is using it as an excuse to do nothing while Iraq is taken over by those who, in American interests, should not govern.

 

What should we do? Arm the Kurds who are already a unified fighting force. Step up the airstrikes and allow the military to manage that process with the goal of eradicating ISIL. Right now, the strikes are hamstrung by the political dictates of single targets that pose a ‘humanitarian’ threat. And yes, put our military boots on the ground. Go in, crush the threat and get out.

 

As Obama stated yesterday, the American military is very effective. It can “keep a lid on problems wherever we are, if we put enough personnel and resources into it.” Right, and the American military can also neutralize a threat given the personnel and resources.

 

Let’s get that job done now because the cost is rising on a daily basis.

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Hobby Lobby: The Real Problem With The Contraceptive Mandate

Blog From
July 3rd, 2014

LFU_PantsonFire_AshPile_vFThe overreaction to Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores is even worse than the HHS overreach that led to the decision. The blowback in the short aftermath of Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling is huge and far more distorted than most political hyperbole. As a result, some of our completely gullible citizens are threatening to burn down the retailer’s locations.

 

What is the big deal? The Court held that the exercise of religion may only be hampered by (1) a compelling government interest (2) that cannot be met in any other way. The specific basis for the decision was the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

 

The Hobby Lobby Court applied RFRA (pronounced like a dog’s cough) to a closely held corporation in its fight against certain Obamacare regulations. The regulations, referred to collectively as the contraceptive mandate, were promulgated by faceless bureaucrats in the Health and Human Services labyrinth.

 

The contraceptive mandate requires employers to provide, gratis, 20 types of “contraceptives” to female employees, including four that expel fertilized eggs. The expulsion of fertilized eggs violates the religious beliefs of the family who owns Hobby Lobby and it challenged the enforceability of the mandate.

 

In siding with Hobby Lobby, the majority of the Court found that the contraceptive mandate violated the owners’ religious beliefs. It also found that the government had reasonable alternatives in providing the four objectionable contraceptives to employees.

 

The overreaction to the decision began immediately and quickly escalated out of control. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) stated, incorrectly, that the case “jeopardizes women’s access to essential health care. Employers have no business intruding in the private health care decisions women make with their doctors.”

 

In fact, Hobby Lobby was decided precisely because it does not jeopardize access to health care. That is, the government can, and will, provide alternative sources of the four contraceptives that Hobby Lobby refused to fund.

 

In fact, the Administration is already talking about executive orders to provide alternative access to the contraceptives. The alternative may be the same one that already exists for religious non-profits that assign the obligation to insurance companies.

 

The most flagrantly dishonest mischaracterization of the Hobby Lobby ruling came from Hillary Clinton. She was desperate to get her personal wealth gaffes off the front page. Creating an ugly diversion out of Hobby Lobby was just the ticket. Among other things, Clinton likened the decision to the oppression suffered by women in countries that are “very unstable, anti-democratic, and frankly prone to extremism.” The extremism to which Clinton refers is actually her own.

 

Back on Planet Earth, Alan Dershowitz called Hobby Lobby “monumentally insignificant” for two reasons. It was based on a federal statute, not the constitution. And, not a single woman will be denied contraceptive care because of available alternatives. Dershowitz, Professor Emeritus at Harvard Law School, is a constitutional lawyer who has been described as one of the nation’s most distinguished defenders of individual liberties. And he’s not running for political office.

 

But, the worst thing about Hobby Lobby is not the gross misrepresentation by those who seek personal political advantage. The worst thing is that the contraceptive mandate was an HHS regulation. It was not contained in the thousands of pages of the Obamacare law passed by Congress. It was not even inserted by a presidential executive order.

 

It is a bureaucratic brainchild. That fact should have our gullible citizens threatening to burn down HHS facilities instead. The power of bureaucrats to impinge upon fundamental freedoms is something truly frightening. Those folks live far beyond the accountable reach of the electoral process and reality itself and, apparently, they can’t be fired. This is the “unstable, anti-democratic” process that Clinton should rail against.

 

Meanwhile, voters favor the Hobby Lobby decision by a 10-point margin.

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Benghazi: But Is There Anything Left To Investigate?

Blog From
May 4th, 2014

LFU_PantsonFire_AshPile_vFDid you hear the one about the Benghazi talking points that talked too much? It’s a fascinating story. Actually it’s more like a book, but a very interesting one. The problem is readers can’t agree that the book is finished. Is there more to the story than has been written so far?

 

Chapter 1: Al Qaeda “On The Run”

 

The book opens in the United States in 2012, a presidential election year. There’s always a lot of puffing going on in election campaigns and this one was no exception. The incumbent, Barak Obama, boasted a successful foreign policy that allegedly put Al Qaeda on the run.

 

Chapter 2: Attack on Benghazi

 

The President was doing well in the polls when, on September 11, the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya was attacked. The assault began at 2:30pm EDT and continued for eight hours. It took the lives of four Americans including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Stevens was the first American Ambassador killed in the line of duty since 1979.

 

Within minutes after the attack began, U.S. intelligence became aware that it was a coordinated terrorist operation. Reports were provided in real time to the State Department, the CIA and the Pentagon. Administration officials at the State Department and in the Situation Room at the White House watched the assault unfold through a live drone video feed.

 

The New York Times reported the next day that Islamist militants armed with antiaircraft weapons and rocket-propelled grenades assaulted the lightly defended compound.

 

Chapter 3: It’s the Internet Video, Stupid

 

On September 12, the Administration launched a two-week effort to blame the attack on spontaneous protests inspired by an anti-Islam YouTube video. President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Press Secretary Jay Carney and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice repeated this mantra in a variety of public forums.

 

What about the video? It had been on the Internet for months without a peep of protest. Eight days before the September 11 anniversary, it was translated into Arabic to whip up anti-American sentiment. It succeeded. But, to say that the protests, even in Cairo, were spontaneous is foolish. They were orchestrated. To say that protesters in Benghazi just happened to have antiaircraft weapons and rocket-propelled grenades is ridiculous.

 

To contend that the combined intelligence agencies of the United States and her State Department and White House were hoodwinked for weeks cannot be believed.

 

Chapter 4: Those Pesky Rice Talking Points

 

Congressional committees began investigating the attack in October 2012. Along the way, the committees were told of “talking points” prepared to shape Susan Rice’s statements in her Sunday performances.

 

Former Deputy CIA Director Mike Morell testified last month that he initially put the talking points together and submitted them up the chain. However, Morell’s version did not include any reference to the Internet video nor did any other intelligence report.

 

Chapter 5: The Inconvenient Email

 

Also in April 2014, the State Department turned over a collection of Benghazi documents sought by a civilian group under the Freedom of Information Act. The documents included an email from White House Strategic Communications Advisor Ben Rhodes coaching Susan Rice on her Sunday talk show spiels.

 

Rice was to state that the attack was rooted in the Internet video and “not a broader failure of policy.” Rice did exactly as she was told and directed attention away from the President’s floundering strategies.

 

Chapter 6: How About These Talking Points

 

Last week, the Administration made up another set of talking points to downplay the significance of the Rhodes email:

 

  • 1. It doesn’t say what it says.
  • 2. It says nothing new.
  • 3. A Republican conspiracy is trying to make something out of nothing.
  • 4. It’s a Fox News distortion.
  • 5. Dude, this was like two years ago.

 

Epilogue: What Now?

 

The Rhodes email nails Rice’s account of the Benghazi attack as warmed over political hooey to preserve the illusion that Obama’s policy was successful. It worked. Obama was re-elected less than two months after the Benghazi murders.

 

But, does the Rhodes email add anything to this sorry tale of deceit for political gain? Last week, Speaker of the House John Boehner announced his intention to instantiate a Benghazi Select Committee to formally investigate the attack. The Committee cannot be justified merely to verify that deceit helped Obama get re-elected. If that’s all there is, Clinton’s complaint of “what difference at this point does it make” is on target.

 

Of course, both Clinton and Obama knew as the attack unfolded that it was a coordinated terrorist onslaught. Setting everything else aside, the U.S. Ambassador was missing in action. His body would not be located for almost twelve hours. It was early on a Tuesday afternoon in Washington D.C. when the attack began. The President was in the White House. That no one bothered to inform either Clinton or Obama is simply unbelievable.

 

That neither Obama nor Clinton had enough interest in Stevens well-being to watch the drone feed or receive briefings in real time is incredible. That they were not concerned about the degree of danger Stevens was in is utterly fantastic. The New York Times knew of the antiaircraft weapons and rocket-propelled grenade launchers by the next day. Unless they had signs around their necks that read “Disturb Only With Good News”, Obama and Clinton had to know of them during the attack.

 

But, what difference does it make now to prove that point again? That politicians lie to get elected hardly needs Congressional verification.

 

The Committee’s strongest justification is to determine why no military rescue operation was even attempted. As the attack wore on hour after hour, the Pentagon waited for a signal to proceed to Benghazi that never came.

 

If a military rescue operation to save American lives was denied to keep the lid on what was really going on, Obama should be impeached. Lying to get re-elected is one thing. Walking away from lives in peril in order to stay in the White House is a deception of a different caliber.

 

The Committee should have been created in the fall of 2012 to investigate that possibility. Instead, for almost four years Boehner allowed a circus of Congressional committees to take largely ineffective pot shots at various witnesses and documents.

 

The Speaker’s deleteriousness is to blame for the nation’s Benghazi fatigue. It remains to be seen whether the Select Committee can re-energize the investigation so that the final chapter can be written.

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The State of the Union: Peeling Back the Layers

Blog From
January 26th, 2014

LFU_PantsonFire_AshPile_vFPresident Obama will deliver his State of the Union address on Tuesday. According to the previews, it will be a scaled down version of last year’s. The President will talk about his great record on the economy but that there is much more work to do.

He’ll attack income inequality with small things like increasing the minimum wage. He’ll promise larger efforts such as leveling the bank balances of voters – taking from some, giving it to others. He’ll also threaten solo action via executive orders if Congress doesn’t go along and it won’t.

While the representations of politicians should never be taken as truth, Obama’s reputation for honesty is currently at its lowest point thus far. The repeated lies he told about Obamacare, alone, are more than enough reason to turn a deaf ear to his sweeping platitudes.

At the very least, any accomplishments he professes, problems he decries or solutions he suggests require careful examination. Since he always boasts about his jobs record, that one can be taken care of right now.

The U.S. is currently experiencing the slowest economic recovery in its history. One of the President’s stock comebacks is his record on jobs creation. The Administration’s latest claim is that Obama’s policies have added eight million jobs. Another stock response is that, while conceding the slow pace, the economy is steadily improving.

Not so anyone notices. In a Fox News poll taken this month, 74% of Americans believe that the country is still in the recession. One of the reasons is that the median household income in the U.S. has continued to fall since the proclaimed recession’s end in 2009. It is now lower in 2012 dollars than it was in 1989.

What about the jobs numbers? The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an unemployment rate of 6.7% in December. But, that percentage, taken without context, paints a deceptively rosy picture. In fact, the current jobs recovery is the slowest since Harry Truman was in the White House. It is far slower than the recovery from the early 1980s recession.

One reason is the size of the labor force, which the government defines as the employed plus those unemployed who are actively looking for work. Today, it is a smaller percentage of the employment age population than at any time in the past thirty five years. There are also fewer people looking for jobs now than when the recession began.

Another bit of deflationary context is the government’s definition of unemployed used in the labor force equation. Those actively looking for work are people who are available and have searched for work within the four weeks preceding the BLS survey. It is the narrowest of the six definitions of ‘unemployed’ used by economists.

Excluded from the BLS calculation are two categories of people. First are those who neither have, nor want, a job. Second are those who want a job but have not looked in the past four weeks.

To put these omissions in context, the current size of the employment age population in the U.S. is 246,745,000. The number of employed is 144,586,000 or only 58.6% of those of employment age. The total number of unemployed is 102,159,000 or 41.4% of the employment age population. And those actively looking for work are a mere 10% of the total number of unemployed.

To add an international context, the BLS compares the U.S. jobs performance with those of nine other countries of its choosing. Of the ten total countries, only three are in worse shape than the U.S. Among the three are Italy and Sweden. Italy has an economy just a smidgen better than Greece. Sweden is now trying to recover from decades of socialism. The third is France, which speaks for itself.

Why is the jobs market so sluggish? In a December Gallup poll, a record 72% of Americans believe our big government is a greater threat than big business and big labor combined.

And for good reason. Big government casts a very long shadow over the economy in general and jobs in particular. For example, the added cost imposed on business operations by government regulations means that employees must be more productive to keep their jobs.

Obama’s minimum wage proposal is a case in point. Adding to the Obamacare employer penalty and current taxes, the proposal will increase the hourly cost of a full-time employee to $12.71.

Employers lose money if their employees generate less revenue. When that happens, some jobs are cut, others are reduced to part-time and hiring is frozen.

Not good news for the state of our jobs. Something to think about during Obama’s bromide-laden State of the Union speech.

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Obamacare: What Is It About, Really?

Blog From
December 24th, 2013

LFU_PantsonFire_AshPile_vFLast July, President Obama declared that his signature legislation “is doing what it’s designed to do”, which, back then, was providing “more choices, better benefits, check rising costs.” Six months later, with millions of cancelled policies, unwanted benefits and higher costs, it’s impossible to believe Obama’s design claims. Not even the Government’s objectives can be so thwarted so quickly. It would give face planting right out of the blocks a much deeper meaning. Surely, the preternaturally disengaged Obama is not that removed from reality.

So, what is Obamacare actually intended to do? On December 20, faced with a 55% disapproval rating over false promises, the President told us that “the basic structure of the law is working.” By that he meant that millions of people are able to get insurance. Of course, by everyone’s measure, more than 250 million people already have insurance so Obama was obviously referring to those who were previously uninsured.

But, insuring more people can’t be Obamacare’s purpose, either. Any dummy can figure out at least a couple of simpler, cheaper and actually effective ways of meeting that goal. And then there’s the Administration’s sleight-of-hand exaggeration of the number of uninsured in this Country. Significantly hyping the stated reason for an act is usually done to mask the real motivation. When all of the figures are sorted out, there are relatively few uninsured people who prefer to have insurance. Certainly, there aren’t enough to require 2,000 pages of a law so convoluted that people outside of D.C. had no clue what was about to hit them.

What part of the President’s numbers are phony? Pretty much every part. Supporters love to say that Obamacare, with all of its worts, is desperately needed because fifteen percent of the Country is uninsured. That percentage translates to about 48 million people, which is a pretty big number. But, to begin with, 48 million is inflated by twenty-five percent as it includes twelve million illegal immigrants. It’s not the best PR play to use those folks as justification for the chaos and unfairness raining down on millions after Obamacare cancelled their policies. Not if Obama really wants immigration reform during his presidency.

Beyond that, forty percent of the 48 million uninsured are between the ages of 18 and 35 years. That group is the most pursued demographic for Obamacare funding – the young enlisted to pay more than their fair share to cover total healthcare costs. So, why are they doing double-duty as those who need the law’s protection? The Administration can’t honestly protect them as uninsured while simultaneously funding Obamacare on their wallets. But, honesty doesn’t seem to have a lot to do with it.

Obamacare also claims to provide insurance to the uninsurable. So far, not so good. The law has its own risk-pool program which was supposed to be a stop gap for the uninsurable between 2010 and 2014. The Administration forecasted 375,000 enrollees in the first year. Last March, two and one-half years after its debut, the program was suspended with huge cost overruns and less than 125,000 enrollees. Next year, uninsurable people will be able to purchase policies through the exchanges. Supposedly.

What is the number of uninsurable people in this Country? In 2001, an HHS survey found that one percent of the population is uninsurable. There is no reliable data to indicate that the percentage has increased over time. Today, one percent is about 3 million people. While they, of course, deserve insurance at reasonable rates, no one deserves Obamacare which has yet to demonstrate any semblance of reason.

Then there’s the problem of Obamacare being barely a zero sum game. According to the Congressional Budget Office, by 2022 there will be 30 million uninsured in the Country in spite of the President’s signature law. This means that the net gain after eight years will be, at most, six million people. This is the same number as those who lost their policies to Obamacare’s rules in just the past few months.

So, what is Obamacare’s raison d’être? Why make false promises on top of phony numbers that are all discoverable once the gears of the law begin to grind? Why risk the wrath of voters? The answer surely is the takeover of 1/6th of the economy.

The real signature achievement of the Obama years is formidable government expansion. Obama’s oft-repeated, “If Congress won’t act, I will”, has created federal regulations concerning jobs proposals, the debt ceiling, all areas of the economy, climate change, drug regulation, public lands and anything else he desires. Obamacare is undeniably the apex of that pursuit. Measured again that goal, the law’s messed up mechanics are far less important than the control it exerts over people’s lives.

But, Obamacare’s control is a sword that cuts both ways. If enough people continue to bleed from one side, its control may be lopped off by the other.

Posted in Pants on Fire