From Regs to Riches
September 20, 2012 - Thursday
About that "not raising taxes on the middle class" thing--the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is setting the record straight. (Or at least President Obama's.) Not only did the Supreme Court agree that the ObamaCare mandate is a tax, but it's a tax that will affect millions more people! By the CBO's latest estimates, six million Americans will be staring down tax penalties for not carrying medical insurance in 2014--"most of them," the AP explains, "in the middle class." Those projections don't exactly square with the President's pledge--which is to not raise taxes one dime on families earning less than $250,000.
On the Hill, the response was swift and severe. "The bad news and broken promises from ObamaCare just keep piling up," said Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.). On the other side of the Capitol, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was equally frustrated. "For years, the President and his Democrat allies in Congress have sworn up and down that failing to comply with the individual mandate did not result in a tax on individuals or families. And the reason was obvious: if Americans knew that failure to comply resulted in a tax hike, it never would have passed!" Initial reports had put the number of penalized people somewhere in the four million range, but the CBO said it had to adjust the projections to the worsening economy and high unemployment. Either way, it's a 50% jump in the number of Americans that the government will punish for refusing to be bullied into buying health care coverage.
And today, the news on the President's signature legislation only got worse. The Competitive Enterprise Institute released its "Tip of the Costberg" report with a jaw-dropping estimate on the cost of implementing ObamaCare regulations nationwide. By its calculations, ObamaCare requirements will cost U.S. taxpayers and businesses at least $1.8 trillion a year--more than 20 times the $88 billion the administration forecasted. Let me guess. The middle class won't be paying for that either.
The Palm before the Storm
It was exactly one year ago today that the Defense Department lifted its ban on open homosexuality in the military--and liberal groups are tripping over themselves to insist that nothing has changed. One commentator said it played out like Y2K--all of the hype, none of the consequences. The Palm Center at the University of California Los Angeles went so far as to argue that the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) has only "enhanced" the military's effectiveness. (Of course, since the Palm Center 's mission is to serve the needs of the homosexual movement, their conclusion was somewhat inevitable.)
In the last few days, I've fielded plenty of calls from reporters asking, "Where's all the fallout that FRC predicted?" And I'll tell you what I told them. It's impossible to gauge the full effect of sexualizing the military in one year. But make no mistake--the repercussions have begun. We've witnessed it in the decline of religious freedom, the censoring of chaplains, the embrace of same-sex "marriage," and the special treatment for homosexual soldiers. "While many will ignore the negative impacts, or pretend that they don't exist, threats to our troops' freedom are mounting," said retired Chaplain Ron Crews, whose organization, Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, is cataloguing consequence after consequence of repeal.
Even the Palm Center, whose rosy picture of an "open" military is dominating headlines, couldn't bury all of its findings. In a Military Times survey from January 2012, it noted: "Of 792 active-duty service members and mobilized reservists who completed the survey, 150 (18.9%) indicated that since DADT was repealed, someone in their units disclosed being gay or bisexual. Of those, 32 (21.3%) said that the disclosure had a negative impact on their units. In addition, 36 (4.5%) reported that since DADT was repealed, an openly gay or bisexual person joined their units. Of those, 12 (33.3%) said that the newcomer had a negative impact on their units."
Has America's military completely collapsed in the first year after repeal? Of course not--our service members are too professional to let that to happen. But these challenges are only a non-story because the media won't tell the story. We need only look at no-fault divorce in the 1970s to recognize that radical shifts in public policy take decades to fully manifest. No one can honestly deny the impact that no-fault divorce has had on children and the institution of the family. Within 20 years of the introduction of no-fault divorce, we saw the acceleration of cohabitation, single-parent homes, and unintended pregnancies. By the time Americans recognized their mistake, it was too late. Let's hope the same isn't true for our brave men and women in uniform.
Israel and America: The Missing Peace
The President may have time to party with Jay-Z, but if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to talk to the candidate, he'd better buy a $40,000 ticket. While the entire world is in turmoil over what is happening in the Middle East, President Obama is too busy banking campaign checks to meet with America's only remaining Middle Eastern ally. "You're fed up with him," President Obama was caught telling Nicolas Sarkozy last November, "but I have to deal with him even more often than you." The policy now seems to be not to deal with Netanyahu at all.
While the President jet-sets to Hollywood and Philadelphia for campaign refills, his National Security Council spokesman insists he cannot be "in the city at the same time" as the Israeli leader for a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly later this month. It all risks sending a "disastrously wrong message," writes the New York Post's Benny Avni. "Obama believes that America 's scariest Mideast problem is Israel, not the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran."
Unfortunately, the routine snubbing--beginning with the President's refusal to visit Israel and ending with the Democrats' decision to drop Jerusalem from its platform--is a deeply flawed strategy. Things in the Middle East have changed--and it's no longer just Israel that needs help. The U.S. has benefited a lot from the relationship too, not the least of which is our heavy reliance on Israeli intelligence. As Avni rightly points out, the only one who benefits from a U.S.-Israeli rift is the Iranian regime. It's time for this administration to put aside its policy of appeasement and political correctness and embrace the 8,000 friendly square miles we still have in the Middle East--before it's too late.
** What part, if any, is the Obama administration playing in the "hate" debate? Find out what FRC's Ken Blackwell thinks on a new interview with Radio America.