American Elephants

What Do You Believe And When Did You First Believe It? by The Elephant's Child

All of the scandals, with their talking points and lack of answers to questions — all of it, which apparently the President was completely unaware of until he found out right when the rest of us did — the purpose of every bit of it,  was to cover up unpleasant facts that might have been detrimental to the President’s reelection. Mull that one over.

We are expected to believe that the President of the United States whom everyone on both sides of the aisle agrees is a skilled politician, and who never seems to forget politics for a moment, who has been widely accused of conducting a permanent campaign, and seems to enjoy making campaign speeches above anything else  — that political person was unaware that there was a disruption in Benghazi with a dead Ambassador and three more dead Americans that might reflect badly on his campaign if the facts were known.

Although he had made his contempt for the Tea Party and Republicans in general widely known, he was completely unaware that some “low-level” folks in a back room in Cincinnati were working hard to keep any possibility of donations to the Romney campaign put off till after the election. This is the same man who was inadvertently caught on a live mike telling  President Medvedev to let Vladimir know that he would have more options after the election. This was also the same president who ordered defense contractors not to issue pink slips or make any announcement of coming unemployment until after the election (in direct conflict with the law that required them to announce) and he promised to pay their fine or waive the fines.

But being entirely aware that these actions might be seized on by the other side to make him look bad, went to great effort to put anything unpleasant off “till after the election” — but he was entirely unaware of the activities of the IRS that were directly related to his reelection effort.  Here’s the president’s statement:

I’ve reviewed the Treasury Department watchdog’s report, and the misconduct that it uncovered is inexcusable.  It’s inexcusable, and Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it.  I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency, but especially in the IRS, given the power that it has and the reach that it has into all of our lives.  And as I said earlier, it should not matter what political stripe you’re from — the fact of the matter is, is that the IRS has to operate with absolute integrity.  The government generally has to conduct itself in a way that is true to the public trust. That’s especially true for the IRS.

First, we’re going to hold the responsible parties accountable.  Yesterday, I directed Secretary Lew to follow up on the IG audit to see how this happened and who is responsible, and to make sure that we understand all the facts.  Today, Secretary Lew took the first step by requesting and accepting the resignation of the acting commissioner of the IRS, because given the controversy surrounding this audit, it’s important to institute new leadership that can help restore confidence going forward.

Second, we’re going to put in place new safeguards to make sure this kind of behavior cannot happen again.  And I’ve directed Secretary Lew to ensure the IRS begins implementing the IG’s recommendations right away.

Third, we will work with Congress as it performs its oversight role.  And our administration has to make sure that we are working hand in hand with Congress to get this thing fixed.  Congress, Democrats and Republicans, owe it to the American people to treat that authority with the responsibility it deserves and in a way that doesn’t smack of politics or partisan agendas.  Because I think one thing that you’ve seen is, across the board, everybody believes what happened in — as reported in the IG report is an outrage.  The good news is it’s fixable, and it’s in everyone’s best interest to work together to fix it.

All very impressive, except that the Commissioner of the IRS was due to leave in June anyway, so requesting and accepting his resignation is just another cover-up. And we have a long history of this president never, ever being responsible for anything.  Was it Jay Carney who tried to blame the IRS scandal on Bush, because the commissioner was a Bush appointee?


Unnecessary Regulation May Devastate the Economy and Your Budget. by The Elephant's Child

Republicans complain about “Big Government” all the time, but I’m not sure that the threat is well understood. We need a government because anarchy is not good. In this country we have assigned certain tasks to government. Making and enforcing a basic framework of laws is necessary to make the country function and become livable. We are a nation of laws.

It is not enough for government to do those certain assigned tasks, they always want to do more. Way more. You might think they would proudly do their assigned functions extremely efficiently, and so well that the citizens would rise up and applaud. Well, no.

Some governments have constitutions that explain what the people are allowed to do but the government can do whatever they darn please, and they do. The government of the European Union isn’t exactly elected as we understand the word, and they don’t really have to report to anyone. So they have gotten all silly about the shape that bananas must have, and requiring farmers to write the hen’s name and address on the eggs they sell, and not paid very much attention to what should be their primary function — efficiently managing the government’s money, and the relations between the states.

Perhaps those folks we elect, and we really have to start looking closely at their qualifications, don’t really understand the process of making laws. The two houses of Congress are inclined to make a big general law of thousands of pages that nobody reads, but here’s the troublesome part. They assign the particulars, figuring out the nasty details and how much it will cost and  how much it will interfere in the lives of the citizens who elected them, to an agency. The government is swarming with agencies, offices, bureaus and whatnot, and the first thing you know there are ten different agencies all doing the same thing, and nobody knows if any of them are doing a good job. And we pay for all the duplication.

Congress does not want to be blamed for regulations. So that’s the part they pass on. But regulation costs — big time. Wayne Crews who investigates regulation for CEI estimates the cost of regulation to the American economy is around $1.8 trillion a year. But the costs come right down to us all at the level of our household budget.

During the first three years of the Obama Administration, 106 new major federal regulations added more than $46 billion a year in new costs for Americans, That is almost four times the number and five times the cost of the major regulations issued by the Bush administration during their first three years. President Obama announced, with the usual fanfare, in January 2011 a new get-tough policy on overregulation. He acknowledged that “rules have gotten out of balance” and “have had a chilling effect on growth and jobs.” He promised a comprehensive review. Thirty-two new major regulations appeared that year, increasing the costs by $10 billion annually along with $6.6 billion in one-time implementation cost.

The White House put a whole slew of regulations on hold during the campaign. There were quite a significant number of things that had to wait until the election was over. No sense letting the public know about things they wouldn’t like. How many new regulations will business have to deal with? Nobody knows. The administration has failed to issue a report, required by law, that would set out Obama’s regulatory agenda — due every April and every October.  Spring and Fall 2012 are still missing.  The reason? There are as many as 4,100 rules in the pipeline, and the administration kept them bottled up for “review” until the president was safely re-elected, because many of them will cost jobs. Couldn’t have that right before the election.

Here’s one example, courtesy of ObamaCare, governing vending machines and restaurants, requiring them to display nutritional information. The regulations were expanded to include grocery stores and virtually all food service chains.  The estimated cost: $1.1 billion with 1.4 million additional paperwork burden hours.

The National Association of Manufacturers has pointed out that new EPA regulations in the pipeline could total up to $1111 billion by govt. estimates and $138 billion by industry estimates. Construction costs could total another $500 billion. Jay Timmons, CEO of the manufacturing group warned of a” devastating ripple effect” that could be felt throughout the economy if federal rules are not relaxed or delayed. Some manufacturers are likely to close their doors for good. Can’t have those Ohio voters finding out about that until after the election.

The Federal Register, published every week day and containing all proposed rules and regulations, most of which govern business activities — the left is very suspicious of business — was 81,000 pages in 2011 alone. Few of these regulations meet the “necessary”criteria, but they can surely have a devastating effect on the economy, and they will raise the cost of everything. Regulations are not free, and not necessarily needed.

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