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Friday, November 29, 2013

Corruption at Work

Corruption arises where respect for the rule of law falters. So I begin with Charles Krauthammer's scathing review of President Obama's attempts to suspend the law:

Barack Obama may be remembered for something similar. His violation of the proper limits of executive power has become breathtaking. It’s not just making recess appointments when the Senate is in session. It’s not just unilaterally imposing a law Congress had refused to pass — the Dream Act — by brazenly suspending large sections of the immigration laws.

We’ve now reached a point where a flailing president, desperate to deflect the opprobrium heaped upon him for the false promise that you could keep your health plan if you wanted to, calls a hasty news conference urging both insurers and the states to reinstate millions of such plans.

Except that he is asking them to break the law. His own law. Under Obamacare, no insurer may issue a policy after 2013 that does not meet the law’s minimum coverage requirements. These plans were canceled because they do not.

The law remains unchanged. The regulations governing that law remain unchanged. Nothing is changed except for a president proposing to unilaterally change his own law from the White House press room.

That’s banana republic stuff, except that there the dictator proclaims from the presidential balcony.
Whether or not Obama, himself, ordered or knew of the activities of his subordinates, it is clear that his subordinates have been busy being a law unto themselves as well.

The IRS targeting of conservatives before the 2012 election, of course, is one of the most corrosive things to happen to our political system. No representative and free government can exist without open and robust political speech. No matter how the media tries to ignore this (and that they do is evidence, itself, of partisanship in the media), there is 50% of the country that is aware of it. Worse, the lackadaisical coverage means that such political use of the IRS continues to fester. (There is the deeper issue that this type of behavior is only possible because of the too great discretion enjoyed by bureaucrats, but that is a topic for another day). Or, at the least, it casts doubt on any action taken by the government. For instance, Bill Eliot, a cancer patient that had come out publicly with the story of how he lost his health insurance because of ObamaCare is suddenly the subject of an IRS audit.  Is Eliot's audit an attempt to silence the most effective critics of ObamaCare? I don't know. But given the IRS's recent history, dare I think otherwise?

Then there is the newest election scandal: that census officials lied about employment figures in order to give a false narrative on how well the economy was doing in the lead-up to the 2012 elections. Peter Ferrara writes at Forbes:
Just one month before the 2012 election, the Obama campaign received a major illegal campaign contribution from the Commerce Department. The Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on October 5, 2012 that the nation’s unemployment rate suddenly dropped sharply over the prior month, from 8.1% to 7.8%. That supposedly ended the longest period in the nation’s history with unemployment over 8%, except for the Great Depression, which occurred under President Obama.

Just before the election. How convenient.

... The statistical decline in the unemployment rate for September, 2012, came out of a supposed highly implausible 873,000 new jobs for that month reported in the separate, Household Survey, which is conducted for the BLS by the Census Bureau. That is highly inconsistent with the results of that Survey for both before and after September, 2012. That same Household Survey reported a decline of 119,000 jobs in August, 2012, and a decline of 195,000 jobs in July, 2012, when the Obama Administration told us the Household Survey should be ignored because it was highly unreliable.

Moreover, if the Household Survey found 873,000 new jobs created in September, 2012, that should have been followed by similar increases for quite some time. The economy shows no record of suddenly creating nearly one million new jobs for a month, and then going back to the doldrums thereafter. But that is exactly what the Obama economy has done, once Obama squeaked through to reelection.
 The media is currently attempting to spin this away as another act of a few rogue employees who made up Survey reports to boost their income (they get paid for each survey they conduct). However, as Ferrara notes, it is an incredible coincidence that this only happened during a key month that boosted Obama's election prospects. So, now, like a banana-republic, we cannot trust government statistics.

(H/t Instapundit)

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