There were 26 states challenging Obamacare in this case. As expected, the Court struck down the law. I have argued that the individual mandate isn't severable from the whole law and therefore the whole law must be struck down. Judge Vinson, the federal district court judge in this case, agreed on this point.
I always thought that the Supreme Court wouldn't take this case up until next fall--while that likely is still the case, this may be a unique situation where the court would move more quickly.
No wonder Democrats think taxpayer funding of political campaigns is important. Their elected officials threaten folks they regulate. Wayne Goodwin for example wrote a funding appeal stating, "I have an impact on billions of dollars in the commercial marketplace, millions of jobs, and millions of families." That Goodwin did not add "THIS MEANS YOU!" in no way detracts from the sliminess of his appeal by ultimatum. If you subscribe to the Health Care Update newsletter, this news is in your email inbox. If you don't subscribe, you can sign up here.
And who does Goodwin regulate, insurance companies who want more regulation to keep out the competition, like this guy in Colorado.
Reports on Twitter from Jamie Dupree of Cox Radio are that Federal Judge Roger Vinson has declared, "Congress exceeded the bounds of its authority in passing the Act with the individual mandate" and "Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void." Dupree's summary: "BOTTOM LINE: Federal judge declares entire Obama health reform act unconstitutional, not just individual mandate."
As a new General Assembly takes office, longtime legislative watchers might look at new Republican leaders and ask, "Who are those guys?"
Becki Gray offered some answers during her presentation today to the John Locke Foundation's Shaftesbury Society. Gray discussed the new GOP power brokers and discussed some of the top issues they'll face this year.
In the video clip below, she discusses priority No. 1: the state budget.
2:40 p.m. update: Click play below to watch the full 56:46 presentation.
You'll find other John Locke Foundation video presentations here.
Civil libertarian Gary Reed reports here on the arrest of a man on the grounds that he was distributing literature without a permit, an offense under a Department of Homeland Security regulation.
Since when does the DHS have the power to erase part of the First Amendment?
Wait -- I get it now. The paper or ink might have moved in interstate commerce and under the Obama "living Constitution" theory, that makes the distribution of literature a matter of interstate commerce and thus subject to federal control.
I have long argued for a requirement to show a valid photo ID at the polls. The United States Supreme Court (led by liberal Justice Stevens) has completely rejected arguments made by opponents to such a requirement.
You can see my arguments here regarding the issue.
Recent articles are reporting that Republicans are considering an idea to accept a voter registration card in lieu of a valid photo ID. This would be a mistake.
The purpose of requiring a valid photo ID is for the government to know that individuals who are voting really are who they say they are and are properly authorized to vote. The benefit of a photo ID isn't just that a photo exists on the card. If it were, a Blockbuster card would be a great form of ID. The difference between the two is that there is confidence in the authenticity of the ID (the physical ID itself) and the information contained on the ID.
To secure a driver's license, for instance, you have to document proof of identity through two reliable documents such as a social security card and passport.
There is no true proof of identity requirement with a voter registration card--the requirements that have to be met are just as easy to meet as the proof of residency requirements for a driver's license.
A person can register to vote without ever having to show a photo ID and/or a social security card. In fact, the system is designed so people can register without a photo ID.
If someone wants to register by mail and doesn't have a valid photo ID, they can just provide a copy of a utility bill or bank statement (easy stuff to forge). If they don't provide the utility bill when applying for the voter registration form, they would need to show it at the polls for the time time they vote--after that, they don't have to show it. Imagine a poll worker taking the necessary time to verify the authenticity of a utility bill--that isn't going to happen, nor should it be expected of a poll worker.
The difference between a valid photo ID and a voter registration form is night and day. The former is likely to be an authentic document whereas the latter is far more prone to fraud. Put it this way, when someone registers to vote, the government has no way to know that the person is really who he says he is--there's no identity requirement. As a result, it also would be easy to come up with multiple fake identities to register. The same can't be said about a DMV-issued photo ID.
If North Carolina developed a system identical to Indiana, there would be no legal problems (since the Supreme Court held such a system to be constitutional).
There would be a minor cost for providing free IDs to those who can't afford an ID (like the Indiana law), but the cost doesn't justify not moving forward with this important reform.
Suppose that a terribly obese man waddles into his doctor's office. The doctor looks at his chart for a moment, then says, "Since I saw you last, you've put on an enormous amount of weight. You were far too heavy for your own good in 2009 and you've added 200 pounds since then."
Man: "Maybe I have overdone it a little...."
Doctor: "A little?! You have been consuming way more calories than you need and all that fat is slowing you down. It could even be fatal."
Man: "I hear you and have a plan. I'm going to cut down from two dozen jelly doughnuts per day to only 22 jelly doughnuts. But there is a new sort of cupcake being sold by one of my favorite bakeries, and I'm going to have to get one of them daily. Two doughnuts down and one cupcake up -- that's good, right?"
The obese man, of course, is Obama's federal government. The cupcake he wants to add to his diet is high speed rail, a proven black hole for government spending, as Wendell Cox shows here.
Any spending by the government on projects that private sector entrepreneurs, using their own money and absorbing all the risks, refuse to invest in because they find them to be unprofitable and unsustainable.
After attempting to link the current president to his most popular 20th-century Republican predecessor, TIME focuses more exclusively on Ronald Reagan’s lasting legacy. An article from Richard Norton Smith includes a graphic naming Reagan one of six “Transformers,” along with Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, and the Roosevelts.
Most politicians are incrementalists. Reagan, like Jackson, was anything but. A more conventional President than Reagan would have accepted the basic assumption governing American politics since 1933, that Washington's growing authority over public expenditures and personal decisionmaking was irreversible. Reagan did not merely dispute this notion; he likely demolished it. A more conventional President would take for granted the existing superpower relationship, precariously balanced on the equilibrium of nuclear standoff. Reagan insisted that the Soviet Union was a historical aberration and that the Cold War could be won by the West in his lifetime. Finally, a more conventional President would have contented himself with slowing the rate of increase in the world's nuclear stockpiles. Reagan believed that the arms race could be ended and the stockpiles eliminated.
This refusal to be bound by the status quo, this capacity for seeing what eludes the more literal-minded, is the hallmark of transformational leadership.
If all of this discussion of Reagan’s legacy has piqued your interest, you might enjoy the books discussed here, here, and here.
Though the idea isn’t new, TIME magazine goes out of its way in the latest issue to link Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan. A photoshopped cover shows Reagan wrapping his arm around a smiling Obama, while another doctored interior photo links the two presidents’ faces. The cover story even features matching photos of Reagan and Obama pretending to throw footballs in the Oval Office. (At least no one placed a cowboy hat on our current president's head and asked him to ride a horse.)
But while the same story labels the 40th president “The Role Model” for the 44th, it’s clear that Obama hopes to emulate Reagan’s style rather than his substance.
No one was unclear about Reagan's guiding philosophy: "Government is the problem," he declared on his Inauguration Day, and by then he had been saying it for nearly 20 years. Obama's is more complex. He wants to reset the public's attitude toward government, reverse 30 years of skepticism and mistrust and usher in a new era in which government solutions are again seen as part of the answer to the nation's ills. But the yearlong health care debate only reminded Americans of government's tendency to slow things down, muddle the choices and perhaps make them more expensive. A September Gallup poll found that 7 in 10 Americans had a negative impression of the federal government; they used words like too big, confused and corrupt to describe it. Obama's signature initiative, a vast expansion of the federal role in health care, has mostly polled under 50% since mid-2009.
The latest Bloomberg Businessweektells us that the interests of President Obama and General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt “increasingly overlap.”
[T]he GE chief certainly shares Obama's focus on job growth through green technology, infrastructure spending, and increased efficiencies in health care. "People want to see business and government work together, both in the U.S. and globally, to drive innovation, employment, and growth," Immelt wrote in a 2009 letter to shareholders.
Fred Barnes has explained recently why the overlapping interests are bad for consumers and taxpayers.
Immelt is a classic example of a rent-seeking CEO who may know what’s good for his own company but not what produces economic growth and private sector job creation. He supported Obama on the economic stimulus, Obamacare, and cap-and-trade – policies either unlikely to stir growth and jobs or likely to impede faster growth and hiring.
The latest Bloomberg Businessweekdocuments President Obama’s efforts to woo big business leaders, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The move has baffled some of the president’s base supporters:
[S]ome of Obama's liberal supporters, who won't forgive [Chamber president Thomas] Donohue for helping to thwart Obama's agenda, have been quick to react. "It's weirdly counterproductive or terribly craven," says Cenk Uygur, an MSNBC contributor and host of The Young Turks, a liberal Web talk show. "I don't know whether the President understands this is his political opponent. Donohue is doing everything he can to destroy his Presidency and his party."
One person who is not surprised at all? Roy Cordato, who reminds us that Obama “is anti-free market, anti-personal liberty, and anti-entrepreneurship, but not anti-business..”