Saturday, April 5, 2014

Our federal government is very good at moving money from place to place. In fact, some 70 percent of federal government spending consists of simply shipping money from one place to another -- after taking a cut off the top. "In effect the government has become primarily a massive money-transfer machine," notes John Merline at Investor’s Business Daily, "taking $2.6 trillion from some and handing it back out to others."

But who decided to spend that money?

If you disagree with government-as-ATM, you ought to be able to campaign against the politicians who are making the spending decisions. But you cannot. Last year, two-thirds of all federal spending was automatic. That means lawmakers had no control over it; it just happened. As payments for the "Big Four" (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and interest on the debt) increase, the amount of automatic spending will as well.

Even for the third or so of the federal government that isn’t on autopilot, it’s difficult to argue that elected lawmakers are actually calling the shots.

Most of the important decisions these days in Washington, D.C., about spending and policy in general, are made by unelected bureaucrats -- "experts," as Progressives like to call them. Think of the biggest laws passed during the Obama presidency: ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank. These laws cover thousands of pages and were legitimately passed by Congress. But they don’t spell out what people must, or must not, do.

Instead, they’re vague laws, filled with what the Heritage Foundation’s Bob Moffit calls "aspirational language." The bills require bureaucrats in executive branch departments to write much of the actual "law."

Months after Dodd-Frank passed, “The vast majority of regulations required by the law are yet to be written,” law professor Jeremy Siegel noted. “The devil of this law is not only in the details, but also in the regulators who enforce them.” For the same reason, ObamaCare refers to the Secretary of HHS some 2,500 times. Said secretary "may" or "shall" "determine" much of the actual law.

If you don’t like the secretary’s decision, you can’t vote her out of office. Perhaps you can convince your member of Congress to schedule a hearing and rail at her. But that won’t change anything. And even if there’s a hearing, the bureaucrats who made the actual decisions can always refuse to testify, as former IRS official Lois Lerner has done.

Even the president’s influence over the bureaucracy is sharply limited. It’s not simply that the president repeatedly insists he’s not involved in actions taken by the executive branch.

Recall that, when Hillary Clinton took over as Secretary of State, careerists there welcomed her with a rousing reception. It’s nice to like your boss, of course, but these bureaucrats were less than supportive of former President Bush’s foreign policy. Voters cannot force the bureaucracy to go along with our preferences if we vote the "wrong" way.

This isn’t the way our federalist system was designed to work. As recently as 1962, President John F. Kennedy said: "Our system and our freedom permit the legislative to be pitted against the executive, the State against the Federal Government, the city against the countryside, party against party, interest against interest, all in competition or in contention one with another."

A generation later, Americans were still being taught that they lived under representative government. See the famed Schoolhouse Rock "How a Bill Becomes a Law" segment in the 1970s.

Not today. Constitutional expert Joe Postell describes the current administrative state as a government "in which the authority to make public policy is unlimited, centralized, and delegated to unelected bureaucrats." And that form of government, unconstitutionally, often combines all three functions of government: legislative, executive and judicial power, rolled into one. The people have no effective recourse.

"To govern is to choose," President Kennedy said in that 1962 speech. Today, we’re certainly being governed. But our elected leaders seem to have little power to choose much at all. That’s not a tenable situation.
“Hooray, hooray”! they said in print.

192,000 jobs were created last month according to the Department of Labor’s somewhat flawed mathematics that the media is eager to ignore.

Because hidden inside that job gain is another disheartening sign for the workforce: the number of workers who could only find part-time jobs rose by 225,000.

Leading the field in job creation, not surprisingly, was education and health services with 34,000 jobs—thank you Obamacare-- the retail trade with about 22,000 jobs—thank you Obamacare-- and temporary workers with 28,500 jobs —thank you Obamacare.

So the good news is that if you’re independently wealthy and just want a job to keep you busy, Obama’s economy is for you. Which, by the way, is an apt description of President Obama’s own job situation.

And that just proves that we’re all either too stubborn or too stupid to: 1) become African-American; 2) write a book about it and become fabulously rich; and 3) work part time as president, so that others can only work part time too —thank you Obamacare.

It’s estimated today by Rand that only 850,000 Americans who previously didn’t have health insurance as Obamacare turns one week old—thank you Obamacare. That means that about 6.25 million Americans had policies canceled, premiums raised, and the their doctors told to hit the bricks.

It also is largely responsible for the wide disfigurement in the labor force, with the country becoming a nation of sub-worker.

This from the administration whose slogan is “less work, more cooking of dinner.”

With almost 7.5 million Americans who can only find part time work, the administration has undone, in one month, most of the work that the economy did it trying to make up for the Obamacare Effect.

The Obamacare Effect penalizes companies for hiring full time workers. In part that’s because Obamacare redefined full time work to 29 hours per week. In part it’s because low wage occupations like waiting tables, entry level health technicians and retail are in industries that typically would have a hard time providing benefits for employees while offering products at prices consumers demand.

Not only has it raised the number of part time workers to unnatural levels, it also means that those workers get about ten percent fewer hours than previous part time workers got historically.

In the business cycle following the recession in the early 90s, part time employment topped out at 3.38 percent of the civilian population. Every year afterward it made steady progress so that in six years later part time employment stood at 1.78 percent of the population. In the peak year of the cycle, part time jobs dropped 55 percent.

Contrast that to the time under Obama: Part time employment peaked at 3.78 percent in 2009. Since then it has made much slower progress downward, and there are some indications that the trend is enjoying one of the periodic upward reversals that we’ve seen under Obama. Right now the numbers of part time workers stands at 2.95 percent of the population, as decline of only about 21 percent since 2009.

But again, even this understates the problem.

Because those full-time workers are making 10 percent less than they previously made because they can’t work as many hours.

I’m guessing since Obama only has part time work, he figures everybody else can get along with part time work too.

We’ll have more time to cook dinner, but of course we’ll not have the groceries.

Americans are very picky, aren’t we?

We’ll yes we have to be: Since the media, the politicians and civil servants doesn’t seem to be very picky on our behalf, what choice do we really have?

We want to cook our cake and eat it too, while politicians say “Cake, cake, let them eat cake.”

From hostage taker to U.N. ambassador  
By: Diane Sori  
“Willfully, deliberately, insulting, and contemptuous..."  
- Senator Ted Cruz 
The Iran Hostage Crisis of the late 1970's was a page directly from the devil's playbook. On November 4, 1979, a crowd of about 500 students seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, and of the approximately 90 people inside the embassy at the time, 52 American diplomats and eight private citizens were taken hostage and tortured off and on for 444 days. Showing their support for anti-American cleric Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and the Iranian Revolution...a revolution to break with Iran’s past and end American interference in Iran's affairs...the hostage takers finally set their captives free on January 20, 1981, mere hours after Ronald Reagan delivered his inaugural address. And why now and NOT on Jimmy Carter's was simply because they feared retaliation from a Republican president if they did NOT. And our relations with Iran have gone downhill since then.

And now the ghosts of the hostage crisis have come back to haunt as Iranian career diplomat Hamid Aboutalebi, a member of the very muslim students group who took the hostages...a man with close ties to Iran's new president Hassan Rouhani and to Mohammad Khatami, a reformist former president....and a man who has held key postings in the past including serving as Iran's ambassador to Italy, Belgium, and Australia...has been tapped by Iran to be their next envoy to the United Nations...or what I call the U(seless) N(ations).

But there is a caveat...a big this appointment as Hamid Aboutalbi appears to have taken an active part in the hostage taking. Claiming he did NOT take part in the torture of the hostages, but just had been "summoned" when needed to serve as a translator, Aboutalebi’s even remote connection to the hostage crisis has elicited anger...and rightly so...from former U.S. hostages.

Even though Aboutalebi played down his role during the hostage crisis, former hostage John Limbert said he has questions about Aboutalebi's stated role as a 'supposed' translator. "I'm not sure exactly what he means by 'translator'"..."For whom and where?" he said.

"It's a disgrace if the USG (U.S. government) accepts Abutalebi's visa as Iranian Ambassador to the U.N.," said former hostage Barry Rosen. Adding, "It may be a precedent but if the President and the Congress don't condemn this act by the Islamic Republic, then our captivity and suffering for 444 days at the hands of Iran was for nothing."

"He can never set foot on American soil," Rosen continued and how right he is, and I believe it is both morally and inherently wrong for him to do so. This appointment makes a mockery out of what the hostages faced for 444 long days and nights...the fear they faced...the torture they faced...and the U.S. must NEVER allow anyone who took part in hostage taking to be welcomed into this country in any capacity whatsoever.

And while Marie Harf, a State Department deputy spokeswoman, called the appointment of Aboutalebi “extremely troubling,” and while the U.S. has a veto in the United Nations Security Council by virtue of being one of the council’s five permanent members, the Obama administration knows that it has NO legal right per se to intervene for we are bound by a 1947 protocol that grants almost total immunity to the diplomats of national missions serving at the U.N. So while we severed diplomatic ties with Iran in 1980, the U.S. is still required to allow U.N. diplomats to come to New York under its host country agreement with the U.N. However, we still have the right to refuse visas to those seeking to work as diplomats in the United States.

And even if Aboutalebi receives a visa to represent Iran at the U.N., thankfully he will NOT be free to come and go as he pleases. Iranian diplomats, like the envoys of North Korea and Syria, are confined to a radius of 25 miles from Columbus Circle in Midtown Manhattan. So while this case is quite different than most others, Harf still said,“...we do take our obligations as host nation for the United Nations very seriously.”

Translation: the Obama administration and Barack HUSSEIN Obama himself will most assuredly give Aboutalebi his needed visa...first because he's an islamic brethren, and second because Iran's U.N. mission...the only diplomatic operation in the U.S...has played a role of sorts for unofficial exchanges of messages between Washington and Tehran...messages concerning nuclear issues and the release of any U.S. citizens held in Iran.

Little good this has done our ally Israel or Iranian held American Pastor Saeed Abedini.

So now some members of Congress have stepped into the fray demanding that Aboutalebi be barred from living and working in the U.S. And Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) said, "This person is an acknowledged terrorist," and added that he will introduce legislation that would require Obama to deny a visa to any UN applicant... including Aboutalebi...determined to have engaged in terrorist activity.

“It is unconscionable that, in the name of international diplomatic protocol, the United States would be forced to host a foreign national who showed a brutal disregard for the status of our diplomats when they were stationed in his country,” Cruz said.

Bottom Iran remains an enemy NOT a negotiating partner with whom we have minor differences with...the Obama administration could simply deny giving Aboutalebi a visa on national security grounds. But like I said he shows NO signs of doing so. And yet another slap in the face to America has been done by this most miserable of presidents and has been done as well to the surviving hostages taken all those years ago.

And that is the saddest thing of all.