American Elephants


The House Finds Eric Holder in Contempt of Congress. by The Elephant's Child

In a 255-67 vote, the House placed Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a Congressional subpoena, in the Fast and Furious inquiry.

Seventeen Democrats ignored party lines and voted with Republicans to find the Attorney General in contempt of Congress. 108 Democrats didn’t cast votes to protest the fact that the House GOP was holding the vote.The Department of Justice is not expected to enforce the criminal contempt measure. But less than an hour later, the House passed a separate resolution allowing Issa’s Congressional Oversight Committee  to pursue civil court action against Holder.

The Congressional Black Caucus and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) staged a walkout during the vote as Democrats charged the GOP with staging a witch hunt against Holder that demeans the lower chamber.The Congressional Oversight Committee is concerned with uncovering just who is responsible for an operation that unlawfully sent nearly 2000 guns across the border to Mexican drug cartels where they were responsible for killing Border agent Brian Terry and ICE agent Jaime Zapata and something over 300 murdered Mexican nationals. That is an awful lot of dead bodies, for which the United States is apparently responsible, and the Democrats want to call attempting to find out who authorized it a “witch hunt?’

If the drug wars just across the border weren’t killing so many people, it might well have been called an “international incident.” It is against the law to invoke “executive privilege” to cover up wrongdoing, but the President has invoked executive privilege which is usually used to protect conversations between a president and advisers.



The ObamaCare Battle Has Just Begun. by The Elephant's Child

On this one, I’m with Justice Kennedy. I cannot see the difference  between overthrowing the mandate, and then  doing the same thing and calling it a “tax.” Roberts rejected the mandate, then wrote a new law himself. A big mistake.

I am far more concerned, however, with what a remarkably bad law the Affordable Care Act, (with the Orwellian name) is. It is not affordable, and is going to be a huge tax increase on the middle class. Justice Kennedy writing the dissent said:

What is absolutely clear, affirmed by the text of the 1789 Constitution, by the Tenth Amendment ratified in 1791, and by innumerable cases of ours in the 220 years since, is that there are structural limits upon federal power — upon what it can prescribe with respect to private conduct, and upon what it can impose upon the sovereign States.  Whatever may be the conceptual limits upon the Commerce Clause and upon the power to tax and spend, the cannot be such as will enable the Federal Government to regulate all private conduct and to compel the States to function as administrators of federal programs.

The Supreme Court is upholding as a tax something that the Congress and the President swore was not a tax —allowing them to enact as a tax something that if it had been presented as a tax would never have passed Congress.

I don’t know if people are assuming that they are going to get free health care. I think some are. All those formerly uninsured people are supposed to be funneled into Medicaid, but we are already short over 50,000 physicians, with more doctors leaving  daily. I know four who have departed recently. One went to Africa, one to Montana, one simply vanished and one went to work for the Diabetes Foundation, and I know a couple who do not accept insurance at all. Our Medical Schools are unprepared to turn out significantly more doctors, which means that emergency room use will go up significantly, increasing costs.

The tax on medical devices (everything from stents and catheters to wheelchairs and diagnostic machines) is sending some companies out of the country, some are forced into massive layoffs, and some are just cutting back.  There will be significantly less innovation. Drug companies are already moving their labs abroad because of excessive regulation and long timeline for drug approvals.

The ruling was a real surprise. Opinion was very much expecting the law to be overturned. Intrade bets were over 70% that the law would be struck down. As the ruling was announced, the stock market dropped, and Mitt Romney raised $300,000 in the first hour, and is up over a million on the day.

The new law will insure more Americans, it will still fall far short of universal coverage. It is estimated that by 2019 there will still be 21 million uninsured.  The legislation will cost far more than advertised, more than $2.7 trillion over 10 years with full implementation, and will add more than $823 billion to the national debt in the first ten years. Taxes will increase by more than $569 billion between now and 2019, and the burden it places on business will significantly reduce economic growth and employment. Care will undoubtedly be rationed, for there won’t be enough doctors. As expenses grow, through the system rationing will be general.

Under the guise of implementing the law, the IRS has announced it will impose a tax of up to $3000 per worker on employers whom Congress has not authorized a tax. Yet if the IRS doesn’t impose the tax, the whole law could collapse.

Credits are available only in states that create insurance exchanges themselves. The federal government might create exchanges in states that decline, but the government cannot offer credits through its own exchanges. If there are no credits, there is nothing to trigger that $3,000 tax.

The way to ge rid of this deeply troubling piece of legislation is to get rid of Obama, and elect a Republican Senate. ObamaCare is very unpopular, and as people learn ‘what is in it’ it is sure to become even more unpopular. The fight will not be easy. Have courage.



ObamaCare is Narrowly Upheld 5—4. by The Elephant's Child

The very idea that we sit on the edge of our seats, eyes toward Washington DC, waiting on the deliberations and dispositions of nine mortals to tell us how much of our liberty we get to retain is preposterous.  —Dave Carter, Ricochet  
                                         

—The Supreme Court ruled that ObamaCare’s individual mandate is not constitutional under the Commerce Power, which was how Congress framed the mandate to avoid a political backlash from calling it a tax. Congress and the president swore up and down that the mandate was not a tax. Yet the Court upheld the mandate as a valid use of that disavowed taxing power. What Congress said the individual mandate is, the Court said is not constitutional. What Congress said the mandate is not, the Court ruled is constitutional. Everybody got that?

Where does that leave us?

  1. The Supreme Court just enacted a law that Congress never would have passed.
  2. The Court just told Congress it is okay to lie to the people to avoid political accountability.
         —Michael F.Cannon, CATO                 

                                 
—  We  do not consider whether the Act embodies sound policies. That judgment is entrusted to the Nation’s elected leaders. We ask only whether Congress has the power under the Constitution to enact the challenged provisions.”
—Chief Justice Roberts from the decision, for the majority

—Today’s decision validates our claim that a Congressional power to compel that all Americans engage in commerce was a constitutional bridge too far.  By rewriting the law to make it a ‘tax,’ the Court has now thrown ObamaCare into the political process where the People will decide whether this so-called ‘tax’ will stand.  And the People will also decide whether future Supreme Court nominees will pledge to enforce the Constitution’s restrictions on the power of Congress.
              — Senator Mitch McConnell

 —Salvaging the idea that Congress did have the power to try to expand health care to virtually all Americans, the Supreme Court on Monday upheld the constitutionality of the crucial – and most controversial — feature of the Affordable Care Act. By a vote of 5-4, however, the Court did not sustain it as a command for Americans to buy insurance, but as a tax if they don’t. That is the way Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., was willing to vote for it, and his view prevailed. The other Justices split 4-4, with four wanting to uphold it as a mandate, and four opposed to it in any form.
—Randy Barnett, Georgetown Law




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