Obama's Bargain Debasement
After 24 hours, the President's "grand bargain" sounds more like a grand failure. Not long after the President delivered his big speech in Tennessee, even his reliable friends in the Washington Post and New York Times didn't hesitate to pan the proposal -- which promised more middle class jobs in exchange for funding the Left's pet projects. Most experts (including liberals) accused the President of re-gifting failed ideas. "Only the packaging was new," said the Times. The reporters on the Post's political beat said flat out that the "bargain" was "not going anywhere."
In exchange for lowering the corporate tax rate (from 35% to 28%), the President is essentially asking for another stimulus project -- chock full of infrastructure and education waste. Of course the irony, blasts Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), is that liberals accuse the GOP of catering to big business, when in reality, the tax cuts can be seen as nothing but payoffs for the President's most generous supporters.
"The President is playing favorites," said Ryan. And it isn't the first time. "He wants to give some businesses relief from ObamaCare. But he refuses to give the same relief to families. The President claims his economic agenda is for the middle class. But it's actually for the well-connected. There's no doubt that it works well for them. But for the rest of us, it's not working at all. Today we have record poverty and high unemployment... So he might call his plan a grand bargain. But I call it a raw deal."
While both parties agree that Congress needs to reform corporate tax rates, they're only part of the problem. Small businesses, which make up almost half (49.2%) of private sector jobs, are still paying an individual tax rate as high as 39.6%, are just as desperate for relief as the President's corporate donors. Even Roll Call, which rarely takes sides in the political debate, was blunt in its assessment. "It's not particularly grand. Nor is it necessarily a bargain. Or even new. It's mostly a repackaged offer of proposals the President has offered before."
Over at the Wall Street Journal, where for years editors and columnists have pleaded for a tax code overhaul, the reaction was abject frustration. "This isn't a serious proposal, and he knows it... [T]he President's speeches aren't really about tax reform or the economy. They're about preparing the political ground for 2014. On that score, he adopted once again his charming habit of casting those who disagree with him as motivated purely by political spite. No wonder even Democrats want the President out of the room when they try to negotiate on immigration. He's a deal killer."
The media likes to talk about the GOP as "the party of big business," but let's face it: big business is supporting President Obama -- and this is just another attempt to reward them for it, while every day Americans suffer. If President Obama's looking for a grand bargain for middle class jobs, try repealing ObamaCare. According to the CBO, that would save 800,000 jobs instantly!
On Marriage, Pitts and Corbett Raze Kane
Either the President's lawlessness is rubbing off -- or some state officials have forgotten how to read. Nothing else seems to explain the decision by Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who is refusing to defend the laws she swore to protect. The controversy started after the U.S. Supreme Court's marriage ruling, which (although it had no bearing on Pennsylvania's marriage law) led a rogue Montgomery County clerk to issue Pennsylvania "marriage" licenses to same-sex couples in spite of Pennsylvania's ban on homosexual "marriage."
County official Bruce Hanes, who's issued 34 counterfeit licenses so far, is acting in complete defiance of the law -- and now, Governor Tom Corbett (R). At the Governor's request, the Pennsylvania Health Department filed a "cease and desist" order against Hanes. In another letter, the Governor strongly rebuked Kane for abrogating her duty as Attorney General. "The clerk's actions are in direct defiance of the express policy of the commonwealth that 'marriage shall be between one man and one woman.'"
Kane, who not only inspired Hanes -- but supported him -- has openly called Pennsylvania's marriage law "unconstitutional." Now, like the President, she refuses to defend it -- despite the Supreme Court's very clear directive that "definition and regulation of marriage" remains "within the authority and realm of the separate states." We applaud Gov. Corbett (and you can too) for standing up for the people in Pennsylvania -- and the democratic process, which the state's own attorney general tried to circumvent.
In a letter to Corbett, Congressman Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) expressed his outrage that Kane was trying to impose her own personal political agenda on the state. "The Court did not strike down Section 2 of DOMA, which protects states from being forced to recognize relationships between persons of the same sex that are treated as marriage under the laws of other states... [A]s the Supreme Court has expressed, Pennsylvania has the right to defend its marriage policy, which it has done by defining marriage between one man and one woman... The Supreme Court's recent decision in no way impacted the constitutionality of state laws defining marriage; on the contrary, the Court emphasized the state's prerogative to define marriage."
Hopefully, other states will actually read the Court's ruling before making the same mistake. For now, our hats go off to these two leaders, who upheld the will of Pennsylvanians when others refused.
IRS Ignores Congress before Our Very Issa
What else is the IRS hiding? Congressman Darrel Issa (R-Calif.) is trying to find out -- a task made more difficult without the agency's cooperation. Yesterday, Issa, chairman of the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, lashed out at acting IRS chief Daniel Werfel for trying to block Congress's investigation. If "the IRS continues to hinder the committee's investigation in any matter," he said bluntly, "the committee will be forced to consider use of compulsory process." In a letter co-signed by our good friend Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Issa blames the IRS for trying to "delay, frustrate, impede, and obstruct" the probe, raising serious concerns about what else the committee might uncover about the agency's targeting of specific conservative and religious groups.
The IRS's obstruction is causing even greater heartburn among Americans, who recognize that Werfel's agency is the one tapped to enforce ObamaCare. Who knows what kind of harassment conservatives will face when the government is in charge of their medical decisions? That's why Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) introduced his "Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act," which would block the agency from enforcing any part of the ObamaCare law. Until the IRS starts complying with the House's investigation, Price's policy is sounding better by the day.
** FRC Action's Executive Director, Josh Duggar, is "the new face of faith and politics." So says CNSNews.com, which just published an extensive profile on FRC's new (but familiar) face. Check out the piece on Josh here!
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.