And So I Go: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Archive for the ‘Social Security, Medicare, taxes’ Category

The huge Farm Bill was defeated.  80% of the Farm Bill was for Food Stamp spending and only 20% related to farms and farming.  The  Republican led House is now proposing to split the Food Stamp program or SNAPS from the Agriculture Department so that a closer watch can be kept on this outrageous spending.  Of course they were put together in the first place in order for both farm and rural congressmen and Food Stamps which are primarily urban Congressman would vote together to pass these outrageous bills.  This is a favorite  Washington ploy: buying the votes!  Just look at the Immigration Bill and how the Senators loaded it down with pork ( or pay offs) for everyone before it got passed.  Remember the Republican House refusing to pass the first version of the  Hurricane Sandy Bill to help the hurricane victims in the northeast to rebuild because on 30% of the funds allotted were to go to the hurricane victims while the 70% of pork funding in it was for things as unrelated as a new roof for a building in D.C.  Many, including Gov. Christie of New Jersey blamed the Republicans for stopping this outrage and believed that anything  the greedy big spending Democrats wanted was okay as long as something went to the right people.  It is this kind of thinking and this kind of voting that has gotten our country to the brink of bankruptcy!  This is the name of the game in the Farm Bill which the Republican House members voted down and it is the same game being played with the Democrats Senate version of an Immigration Bill.

The following newsletter from heritage has some very good information from various writers on these topics.  Also more information on Obama’s plans for raising all of our energy prices which will not only affect our  electric and gasoline bills but our food and clothi8ng bills as well because all industry requires the use of energy and if energgy costs go up the cost of all goods and services must aslo go up.  Check them out>  BB

Heritage Hotsheet

Experts on the Day’s Hottest News

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Items for Friday, June 28th, 2013


Immigration Bill Riddled With Pork
Breitbart.com

Jim Carafano
Derrick Morgan
Genevieve Wood
Jessica Zuckerman

Family Fact of the Week: What the Record-Low Marriage Rate Means for Americans’ Well-Being
Heritage.org

Jennifer Marshall
Ryan Anderson
John Malcolm

Gay rights clash: Obama, African host are at odds 
AP

Jennifer Marshall
Ryan Anderson 
Charlotte Florance

Abortion tables may turn in Texas on Monday
Politico

Jennifer Marshall
Ryan Anderson
Andrew Walker

House Leaders Consider Splitting Food Stamps From Farm Bill
Bloomberg

Diane Katz
Daren Bakst
Rachel Scheffield

Obama refuses to barter for Edward Snowden
BBC.com

Steven Bucci
Paul Rosenzweig
Ariel Cohen
Peter Brookes
Jim Carafano

 

Latest Heritage Research:


Issue Brief
History Suggests Social Security Insolvency Is Coming Sooner Than Projected

Issue Brief
Energy Production on Federal Lands: Handing Keys Over to the States

Issue Brief
Cost of a Climate Policy: The Economic Impact of Obama’s Climate Action Plan

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Heritage Newsletter offer us experts opinions on the news of the day and how it will affect you.   This was really a big day since the Supreme Court came down with two big rulings: one gave a victory to gay marriage by ruling against the Congressional Bill passed under Clinton called the Defense of marriage Act (DOMA)  which ruled marriage as being between a man and a woman.  I have been against this changing of our marriage laws on the grounds off finances.   This act by the court throws the problem back to the states but then after ruling that the California law *(voted for by the people) against gay marriage as unconstitutional it seems no state and certainly the majority of the voters have no say in this matter.   As stated I have been and am against the legalizing of s  gay marriage  because it  fives rights for financial support that have been the rights of wives and husbands only.   For instance social security support for widows and orphans.  the “orphans” part may be easy top figure out but who is the “widow”?   Are Both  parties in a lesbian marriage widows?   Do homosexual couples need to designate a “widow”?  And this is just the tip of a huge financial ice berg that We the Taxpayers will be responsible for that we were not before today.

The second ruling by the Supreme Court was one I feel is long overdue in being corrected.  States should and do have the right to determine what their voting laws are but until todays ruling 14 states had to get permission from some clerk in Washington before they could so much as change the location of a voting location.  In fact  one district in one of these states could not vote in the 2000 election due to a water pipe breaking and  flooding the polling place.  But since they had to get permission from Washington to move the site they simply had to disenfranchise the voters ion that district!   Now that was an extreme and surely rare happening but it really does point out the nonsense of following a law that was very necessary when passed by 50 years later attitudes and laws and mostly people’s views have changed and no Black can or will be kept from voting.  After all we do now have a Black as President!

And be sure to take note of how our President plans to go around your elected officials in Congress and use the EPA Environmental Protection Agency to force  his climate change agenda and war on coal and oil on us.   People there is no such thing as climate change.  the Earth is not getting hotter.  Obama lied again and again in his speech yesterday at Georgetown University.  Don’t believe me but do your own research and go to the records kept by the government itself  and see that we are experiencing right now the cycle that is normal and active in the 1950’s.  Then the hotter seasons was followed by a cooling off and so-called “cooling of the Earth due to the use of fossil fuels ” that occurred in the 1970’s.  these damned fools lead by Hollywood idiots and our President  are helping a cool group of men led by Al Gore and Barrack Obama to make a pile of money.   But while they are manipulating and  lining their pockets with all the money it will cost to go from fossil fuels to their so-called clean and not at all reliable wind and solar We the People are going to see the cost of energy to us going out of  sight.  And since energy is needed for every aspect of our lives including the food on our tables that means everything in our lives will cost more.  Well, anyhow  please do read the article and go to the references.   Sincerely, BB

Heritage Hotsheet

Experts on the Day’s Hottest News

Contact An Expert
MEDIA INFORMATION LINE:
Phone: (202) 675-1761 | Email: Broadcast Services

Items for Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Divided Supreme Court strikes down key voting rights provision
The Washington Times

John Malcolm

Obama planning to sidestep Congress for next phase in climate change agenda
Fox News

Nicolas Loris

David Kreutzer

Jack Spencer


Snowden flap bares hapless U.S.

Boston Herald

Peter Brookes

James Carafano

Ariel Cohen
INFOGRAPHIC: What You Should Know About Marriage
The Foundry Blog

Ryan Anderson

Jennifer Marshall

Andrew Walker

Sarah Torre


Immigration and the Crisis of Opportunity

National Review Online

Genevieve Wood

Mike Gonzalez

Stuart Butler


Latest Heritage Research
:

ISSUE BRIEF
How to Slash Billions from the Agriculture Appropriations Bill

Gang of Eight Giveaways
National Review

Jessica Zuckerman

Mike Needham

Dan Holler

Obama energy push could loom large in 2014
Politico

Nick Loris

David Kreutzer

Jack Spencer

Snowden mystery deepens, took job to gather NSA evidence
USA Today

Steven Bucci

Peter Brookes

James Carafano

Snowden Case Has Cold War Aftertaste
The New York Times

Ariel Cohen

5 Things You Need to Know About the Supreme Court’s Marriage Cases
The Foundry Blog

Ryan Anderson

Andrew Walker

Jennifer Marshall

 

Latest Heritage Research:

ISSUE BRIEF
Helping Southeast Asia Come to Grips with the Reality of Taiwan

ISSUE BRIEF
Obama’s Trip to Africa: Make It More Than a Photo-Op

ISSUE BRIEF
Schumer–Corker–Hoeven Amendment Fails on Securing the Border and Halting Illegal Immigration

BACKGROUNDER
Ratifying the Disabilities Convention Will Not Help Americans with Disabilities at Home or Abroad

ISSUE BRIEF
Kerry in India: Setting the Tone on Security Issues

Yesterday I* posted on just where each of your tax dollars go.  The largest outlays were for our Senior Citizens in the form of Medicare and Social Security.    And yes dear reader I went into my usual rant about the reason for Social Security and is oldsters living much longer than we should and therefore getting  years and years more than we put into the Social Security program thru our payroll deductions while we were working.  In fact, we each get back every cent we put into our account within two and one half years after retirement!!  After that People we are on WELFARE and living off the backs of the young!!   Social security needs to be means tested and should go only to those who need it to live a decent life.  That does not mean paying for Grandma and Grandpa to spend lovely warm winters in Florida in their fancy RV’s.   And yes, I spent eleven years as a full time RVer so I know well what I am talking about.  I also lived for 19 years in Florida before retirement and know how populations in some towns in Florida go from 7000 in the summer to 70,000  in the winter.  People who can afford to own RVs do not need Social Security.  They should not be living on the backs of the young or getting money that is becoming a national debt that their great grandchildren will have to pay back.

Of course next on the Greedy Geezer list are those who are well able to buy their own health insurance but who take Medicare.   At the grand old age of 24 in 1965 i was so much against this Medicare scam that President Johnson and the Congress (both Democrats and Republicans)  were in on with the insurance companies.    At that time only an estimated 40% of seniors needed some help paying for their health insurance.  And instead of putting these people on Medicaid or some type of stipend to help them purchase their own health insurance the ENTIRE elderly population 65 and over no matter their income was put on Medicare.  It was a disaster in the making just as Obamacare is going to be the devastation of our country as we know it.   ALL the estimates of costs of the Medicare program in 1965 were 2000%  (that is two THOUSAND percent) under the actual costs of Medicare in 2010.  Again we Seniors are being kept healthy and alive on the backs of our current working young and by putting our great grandchildren in debt for life.  Our great grandchildren in effect will have no life because they will be slaves to paying for the lives we are living now.

How can Americans bear to live with what we are allowing to happen?  I grieve for my country and for my great grandchildren yet to be born.

Anyhow, no more ranting from me.  The following article from Cato Institute  explains better than I can why we must stop the madness of our entitlement programs and put them on a course that will  help those who truly need help but take those who can do for themselves  off the programs.  It really grates me when wealthy Americans are using Medicare.

Be sure to go to the referred sites for additional information.  Sincerely, Brenda Bowers (BB)

APRIL 16, 2013 8:40AM

Entitlement Spending Is America’s Biggest Fiscal Challenge, but Discretionary Spending Is Still Far too High

If America descends into Greek-style fiscal chaos, there’s no doubt that entitlement programs will be the main factor. Social SecurityMedicareMedicaid, and Disability are all fiscal train wrecks today, and the long-run outlook for these programs is frightful.

Just look at these numbers from the Bank for International Settlements and OECD to see how our fiscal future is bleaker than many of Europe’s welfare states.

Simply stated, if we don’t implement the right kind of entitlement reform, our children and grandchildren at some point will curse our memory.

But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t worry about other parts of the budget, including the so-called discretionary programs that also have been getting bigger and bigger budgets over time.

That’s why I want to add some additional analysis to Veronique de Rugy’s recent piece inNational Review Online, which might lead some to mistakenly conclude that these programs are “shrinking” and being subject to a “Big Squeeze.”

…there is another number to look at in that budget. It’s the shrinking share of the budget consumed by discretionary spending (spending on things like defense and infrastructure) to make space for mandatory spending and interest. This is the Big Squeeze. …in FY 2014 mandatory spending plus interest will eat up 67 percent of the budget, leaving discretionary spending with 33 percent of the budget (down from 36 percent in FY 2012). Now by FY 2023, mandatory and interest spending will consume 77 percent of the total budget. Discretionary spending will be left with 23 percent of the budget.

She’s right that discretionary spending is becoming a smaller share of the budget, but it’s important to realize that this is solely because entitlement outlays are growing faster than discretionary spending.

Here’s some data from the Historical Tables of the Budget, showing what is happening to spending for both defense discretionary and domestic discretionary. And these are inflation-adjusted numbers, so the we’re looking at genuine increases in spending.

Discretionary Spending FY62-14

As you can see, defense outlays have climbed by about $100 billion over the past 50 years, while outlays for domestic discretionary programs have more than tripled.

If that’s a “Big Squeeze,” I’m hoping that my household budget experiences a similar degree of “shrinking”!

Veronique obviously understands these numbers, of course, and is simply making the point that politicians presumably should have an incentive to restrain entitlement programs so they have more leeway to also buy votes with discretionary spending.

But I’d hate to think that an uninformed reader would jump to the wrong conclusion and decide we need more discretionary spending.

Particularly since the federal government shouldn’t be spending even one penny for many of the programs and department that are part of the domestic discretionary category. Should there be a federal Department of Transportation? A federal Department of Housing and Urban Development? A federal Department of Agriculture?

No, NO, and Hell NO. I could continue, but you get the idea.

The burden of federal government spending in the United States is far too high and it should be reduced. That includes discretionary spending and entitlement spending.

P.S. For those who don’t have the misfortune of following the federal budget, “entitlements” are programs that are “permanently appropriated,” which simply means that spending automatically changes in response to factors such as eligibility rules, demographic shifts, inflation, and program expansions. Sometimes these programs (such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc) are referred to as “mandatory spending.”

The other big part of the budget is “discretionary spending” or “appropriations.” These are programs funded by annual spending bills from the Appropriations Committees, often divided into the two big categories of “defense discretionary” and “nondefense discretionary.”

You are required by law to pay taxes on your income today.  This income tax became law  when the states ratified the 16th. Amendment to the Constitution of the United States in 1913.  Our forefathers when writing the Constitution specifically denied the government from taxing the people or what was called a “direct tax”.  The states however were to be taxed  to support the costs of the federal government in direct proportion to the number of people living in the state.    Our forefathers saw the power an individual income tax would give governments over the people and the power to  hand out favors and manipulate the system to favor those who could bribe the Congress to write the laws in their favor.     This is why and how our own President paid only 18.5% taxes on his income.  How much did you pay?

Anyhow, just for your information this is what your tax dollars are paying for.  You will notice I sincerely hope that the largest part of your tax dollar is being paid out to senior citizens thru Medicare and Social Security!   Time and again I have explained on this site how we Seniors are getting from Social Security and Medicare so much more than we ever paid into these programs.  It is beyond me that we as a people insist on paying for millionaires medical expenses and paying them a pension  simply because they got old.    In fact, even the fact that we are paying these government handouts to anyone whose income is such that they can afford their own health insurance is beyond me.  It is long past time that Social Security and Medicare be means tested an only for the poor.   And with Medicare and Medicaid taking up 19% of your tax dollar now you can bet that Obamacare will triple that amount.  The Congressional Budget Office estimated that Obamacare would cost 1.9 trillion dollars over ten years but have since readjusted this estimate to 5.4 trillion dollars over the next ten years.  You might also remember that the government has always vastly underestimated the costs of  its programs.  But have been on this soap box before Dear Reader so will jump off now and get back to the point of the expenses paid by your tax dollar.

Defense takes a large portion also.  BUT, defense of our country was the one duty given to the federal government. We have the finest military in the world and  have been fortunate enough to have been free of a war on our shores by an invasion of a foreign power since 1812.  Somehow during the 20th. century the United States became the police force of the entire world which was not envisioned by our founders and certainly should not be our role now in my opinion.

 

Another  large portion of your tax dollar is the 6% that is going for interest payments.  THAT IS THE PAYMENT OF INTEREST ON OUR NATIONAL DEBT!   A national debt that took two hundred years to amount to 9 trillion dollars but on 4 more years to amount to 16 trillion dollars!!  So at this rate in just 5 years the percentage of your tax dollar that goes to just the interest on the national debt will  be more  than any other expense!  Keep that in mind when you go to the polls and elect a person who believes the federal government should put more and more people on medicaid or on food stamps or on disability.  All of these give away programs have doubled under our current president in just 4 years!

So read this article carefully and understand.   An plesase do go to the sites referred in the article . BB

 

Where Did Your Tax Dollar Go?

Americans are waking up today to the worst “case of the Mondays” they’ll have all year: It’s Tax Day.

Most Americans dread Tax Day, and for good reasons. Beyond the huge tab Americans pay to the government, the tax code is so complex that it’s difficult to figure out what we owe to the IRS. This is a pain for taxpayers and a huge drain on the economy.

According to the federal Taxpayer Advocate in its 2012 report, Americans’ cost of complying with today’s complex tax code totaled $168 billion in 2010. That’s almost as large as the impact of the Obama tax hikes in fiscal year 2013, and twice the size of sequestration this year [see chart].

It takes taxpayers 6.1 billion hours—or 51 hours per household—to complete all the required filings. That’s more than six full eight-hour working days per household!

The compliance burden comes on top of the direct financial cost of $3.5 trillion in federal spending. In 2012, Washington collected $20,000 in taxes for every household in America. But Washington spent nearly $30,000 per household.

TaxDay_403

Americans pay high taxes as it is, and with the 13 tax increases that hit this year, tax revenue is growing beyond its historical average as a share of the economy. But Washington’s deficits continue, because spending keeps going up.

Future Tax Days promise to be even worse because of the tax increases from the fiscal cliff deal and from Obamacare. Taxpayers will start seeing these costs when they do their tax returns next April and in future years.

Too much taxing and spending is bad for the nation. Americans are right to be concerned about how the President and Congress allocate their hard-earned money. As the above infographic shows, 45 percent or almost half of all spending went toward paying for Social Security and health care entitlements. Without reforming these massive and growing programs, Washington will have to borrow increasing amounts of money, piling debt onto younger generations and putting the nation on a dangerous economic course.

Growing government spending threatens current and future taxpayers with higher taxes. Congress should reduce spending and prevent any more tax increases. Congress also needs toreform the tax code so it is less of a burden on the American people.

Tax day is a real drag, but it doesn’t have to be this bad. Learn more at savingthedream.org.

Read the Morning Bell and more en español every day atHeritage Libertad.

 

It’s only 65 days late and President Obama is out pushing the “stuff” about how obliging and cooperative he is being with the Republicans but those nasty Republicans just won’t give him a chance to help the poor and middle class, ans so on and so on.  Bottom line is that no one has ever voted for an Obama budget, neither a Republican or a Democrat, so this is just one more.  But just for the Hell of it I will pass on the Heritage Foundations comments because they seem to say it best in a nut shell.  BB By the way in case you missed the story about my dear little rabbit Cinnabun and what he has in common with the President of the United States:  Cinnabun likes to play and one of his best games is to push his little litter box up and down his cage.  Watching him one day it dawned on me that he was very much like President Obama in that they both seem to enjoy pushing crap around.  🙂  BB   Now for Obama’s latest load of crap:

5 Things to Know About the Obama Budget President Obama finally released his budget yesterday—more than two months late. Heritage experts immediately went to work analyzing the mounds of new spending on education, manufacturing, “clean energy,” infrastructure, and small business. But the President didn’t stop at more of the same failed stimulus and Solyndra-type policies. He also piled on the tax increases—including on seniors, the poor, and the middle class. Five key things to know about President Obama’s budget: 1. It hikes taxes by $1.1 trillion. Heritage’s Curtis Dubay says: “There was little doubt that President Obama would propose a huge tax hike in his budget. It is a bit surprising, however, that the total tax increase he proposes is almost double what he claims it to be.” Dubay explains where all the tax increases come from—including the “Buffett Rule,” capping tax deductions, and hiking the cigarette tax and the death tax. BudgetGuide_Snippet_V2 Tweet this >>> See and share an extended version of this infographic 2. It underfunds defense. Heritage’s Patrick Louis Knudsen explains that “While boosting domestic spending, the President remains indifferent to national security needs. His proposed defense spending, though somewhat higher than sequestration levels, remains inadequate.” Baker Spring says, “The result is going to be a defense posture that is too small in terms of both personnel and force structure, does not include modern weapons and equipment, and does not provide adequate levels of training and maintenance.” 3. It doubles down on Obamacare. The Obama budget actually expands parts of Obamacare and even includes new changes to Medicare that create two sneakynew “taxes” on seniors. Obamacare’s “malignant new entitlements—its health insurance subsidies and Medicaid expansions—start in this 2014 budget,” Knudsen reminds us.

With their implementation, the misnamed Affordable Care Act will add a distinctlyunaffordable $1.8 trillion in federal spendingthrough 2023. Equally important, Obamacare commandeers the health care sector with a massive program that further distorts the market, intrudes on the doctor-patient relationship, and dismisses personal and religious liberty.

4. It doesn’t balance and never will.  As Knudsen says, “Because the budget never balances—it doesn’t even try—debt remains at dangerously elevated levels.” See how Obama’s non-balancing budget compares to the plans in the House and Senate, as well as Heritage’s Saving the American Dream plan. 5. It’s irrelevant. The President’s budget is more than two months late. The House and Senate have already passed their own budgets, and the next step is for the two chambers to come together to see if they can hash out a budget that both chambers can pass. At this point, why is the President bothering? LEARN MORE: The Obama Budget in One Infographic Damaging Policies Add Up to $1 Trillion Tax Increase in Obama Budget Heritage Experts’ Analysis of the Obama Budget

As many of you know I am, and have always been, against the government welfare for the elderly programs.  I am NOT, repeat NOT, against helping those who need help.  I am against forcing those who do not need it the government welfare programs.  At age 24 with an insurance covered by her children grandmother I very much opposed Medicare.  60%, that is 6 out of 10 elderly people at that time DID NOT need government welfare, but the insurance companies insisted that in order to take on those who did need this help with their medical bills the government must FORCE all elderly to participate.  This is why at age 71 I am on Medicare instead of the WORK EARNED TriCare medical insurance that I was most pleased with.  I will grant you that Medicare has paid for every thing I have needed it for.  And I still resent it because if the government had not gotten into competition with me on health insurance then the escalation of medical costs would have remained fairly even with inflation, and even gone down in costs as technology increased and medical practice and health car as other things that the government did not get into remained reasonably priced as have hundreds of other commodities and services that the government did not get their bumbling fingers into.  I hate every medical bill I cause and do at times refuse treatment  because it is the young workers who are footing the bills!  Bills by the way that only inflated by triple digits every year since Medicare went into effect!  EVERYTHING, yes EVERYTHING, the government gets into goes sky high in price and is POORLY RUN.  There is not one government program that is not poorly administered and wasteful and extremely high priced.  Even the very best of them, the military, is poorly administered and wasteful.  The military by the way is one of  the very few  government programs the Constitution demands that the federal government does undertake for it’s citizens!  Everything else our government, both city,state and federal,  just usurped from us the People.  Or, worse yet, we demanded that they take from our shoulders!

So my rant today is about Federal Government Welfare Programs for the elderly and the sad fact that an individual can not get  out of one of them even if they want to.  Read on for another great folly and how the Supreme Court helped in this folly. BB

JANUARY 25, 2013 2:22PM

Supreme Court Snubs Citizens Whose Social Security Will Be Confiscated If They Refuse Government Health Care

Some of the U.S. Supreme Court’s most significant decisions are those declining to hear a case. Two weeks ago, the Court made such a momentous non-ruling in refusing to hear a lawsuit, Hall v. Sebelius, challenging government policies that deny otherwise eligible retirees their Social Security benefits if they choose not to enroll in Medicare. (I previously wrote about the case, and Cato filed a brief supporting the retirees’ petition for Supreme Court review.)

Despite having paid thousands of dollars each in Social Security and Medicare taxes during their working lives—for which they never sought reimbursement—the five plaintiffs were told by officials at the Social Security Administration and Department of Health and Human Services that they had to forfeit all of their Social Security benefits if they wished to withdraw from (or not enroll in) Medicare. This determination resulted from internal policies that were put in place during the Clinton administration and strengthened by the Bush administration. The plaintiffs sought a judicial ruling that would prohibit SSA and HHS from enforcing these policies, which they believed conflicted with the Social Security and Medicare statutes. A sharply divided U.S Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit eventually upheld them. By its decision not to hear the case, the Supreme Court let that controversial ruling stand.

At this point, one might ask why someone would want to give up Medicare. The answer is that some people would prefer to keep their existing (private) health insurance, but that for various regulatory and economic reasons insurance companies are wary of insuring people already covered by Medicare. Talk about the prototypical case of government programs crowding out the private sector!  (THINK OBAMACARE!! How long do you think it will be before everyone is on the government  so-called Public Option? BB)

In any event, the troubling reality of the Supreme Court’s non-ruling is twofold: First, the government now has full authority to force citizens to participate in a financially troubled program (Medicare) that was originally intended to be—and operated for almost three decades as—a wholly voluntary program. If they refuse, SSA and HHS can deny them their Social Security benefits. If they seek to withdraw from Medicare, SSA and HHS can not only deny them future benefits, but force them to repay all benefits received from both programs. Second, the Supreme Court’s unwillingness to address the issue raised here allows federal agencies to bypass Congress with impunity when drafting and implementing their own rules.  (The President is doing this almost weekly with his Presidential Decrees and appointments.  Recently, the US District Court in Washington DC  did rule against the Presidential appointments of three extremely liberal and union representatives he appointed to the National Labor Relations Board when Congress was still in session.  Democrat Harry Reid set up this scheme whereby the Senate was considered in session if someone came in and called the senate to order regardless of how many people were in attendance or even if the Senators were in town.  He did this to block the Senate Republicans from an action they wanted to take.  Now this action of Democrat Harry Reid and the President’s Man in the Senate has played right into the hands of Conservatives!  Sometimes there is Pay Back!   At any rate, the US Court of Appeals in DC ruled that the Senate was indeed in session even tho the Senators were out of town and therefore the Presidents appoints were illegal and void.  This of course makes all of their ruling against the People and Business and for the union thugs illegal and void.  (I have copy the Cato Institute report on this at the bottom of this post)

The Supreme Court however by refusing to hear this case does open up the case for the department, and President to continue to by pass Congress and make their own laws!  Think long and hard about this People.  BB)

The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Kent Masterson Brown, had this to say in a press release following the Supreme Court’s order:

Not only have the Courts allowed these agencies to grant themselves permission to seize a retiree’s Social Security benefits should they opt out of Medicare, but they have allowed those agencies to turn voluntary programs into compulsory ones, giving Seniors no choice whatsoever but to accept the ever more limited health care offered by Medicare. The plaintiffs cannot pay for their own health care—and save the Government and taxpayers money—without forfeiting all of their Social Security benefits.  There is nothing in the Social Security statutes that says a retired individual who chooses not to apply for Medicare coverage will be stripped of his or her Social Security benefits.

Martha de Forest, executive director of a group that supported the lawsuit, the Fund for Personal Liberty, also had a response:

Why would the government tie two programs together when they have different payment mechanisms and different start dates? It is about control, nothing more.  That is why the government forces retirees to participate in Medicare as a condition of receiving Social Security Retirement benefits.

At base, it’s axiomatic that administrative agencies have no powers not granted to them by Congress and that regulations must be anchored in their operative statute. The rules challenged here failed this standard. Combined with the fiscal irresponsibility of forcing citizens to accept costly benefits during hard economic times, the SSA and HHS rules are an arbitrary power grab. Agency overreach imperils the separation of powers and therefore liberty.

Now that the Supreme Court has failed to counter this unauthorized expansion of federal power, it’s time for Congress to do so by legislation—as Quin Hillyer suggests in his commentary on the case. Richard Epstein has further thoughts on how Hall v. Sebelius illustrates the untrammeled growth of the administrative state.

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This work by Cato Institute is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

 

JANUARY 25, 2013 3:38PM

DC Circuit Overturns President Obama’s Power Grab

Today, in an important decision with far-reaching implications, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unconstitutional President Obama’s appointment of three members to the National Labor Relations Board.

Slightly over a year ago, on January 4, 2012, President Obama appointed four people to high-level offices without the constitutionally required “advice and consent” of the Senate. Three of those appointees were placed on the NLRB, and the other was Richard Cordray, chosen to direct the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, the “consumer watchdog” agency created by Dodd-Frank.

The appointments were one of the most significant power grabs by a president in recent memory. The Constitution requires that certain “officers of the United States,” a category which indisputably includes NLRB board members and the director of the CFPB, be appointed by the president with the “advice and consent of the Senate.” Like many constitutional provisions, this is a “checks and balances” requirement that helps ensure the president does not unilaterally control the executive branch for his own purposes.

As a precaution against crucial offices staying vacant while the Senate is not in session, the Framers included a clause that allows the president to temporarily circumvent the “advice and consent” requirement in order “to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.” At the time of the framing, as well as for many decades afterward, senators would usually spend six to nine months out of Washington. In those absences, it was left to the president to keep the government going, and the Recess Appointment Clause gives the president the power to make temporary appointments during those long periods when the Senate was simply unavailable.

Unfortunately, like so many constitutional provisions, the last 80 years have seen a gradual, bipartisan effort to whittle away the Recess Appointment Clause’s function and to concentrate more power in the president. Initially, presidents began redefining what a “recess” is by asserting the power to appoint officers during “intrasession recesses”—that is, breaks within a formal session (e.g., holiday breaks)—rather than just during intersession recesses. After this precedent had been established by President Warren Harding, successive presidents began appointing officials during shorter and shorter intrasession recesses. President Clinton made a controversial appointment during a 10-day intrasession recess, and President George W. Bush followed suit.

In 2007, after Bush’s controversial appointments, the Senate, led by Harry Reid, began holding “pro forma” sessions in order to block future appointments. Usually held every three days during intrasession recesses, pro forma sessions are often less than a minute long and held in a largely empty Senate chamber. Yet the sessions satisfy the constitutional definition of being “in session” and are often used by the Senate and House to satisfy the constitutional requirement that either chamber cannot adjourn for more than three days without the consent of the other.

Whereas previous presidents only had the gall to assert the power to determine what a recess was, President Obama’s innovation in executive power grabs was to assert the power to determine whether or not a pro forma session is actually a session for the purposes of the Recess Appointment Clause. According to the Office of Legal Council, the president has the “discretion to conclude that the Senate is unavailable to perform its advise-and-consent function and to exercise his power to make recess Appointments.”

The OLC’s argument “will not do,” wrote Chief Judge David Sentelle in a stirring and chiding opinion rooted in constitutional originalism. He continued:

An interpretation of “the Recess” that permits the President to decide when the Senate is in recess would demolish the checks and balances inherent in the advice-and-consent requirement, giving the President free rein to appoint his desired nominees at any time he pleases, whether that time be a weekend, lunch, or even when the Senate is in session and he is merely displeased with its inaction. This cannot be the law.

As for whether or not the Senate’s intentions for holding pro forma sessions permit the president to determine whether the Senate is actually in session, Judge Sentelle writes:

The Senate’s desires do not determine the Constitution’s meaning. The Constitution’s separation of powers features, of which the Appointments Clause is one, do not simply protect one branch from another. These structural provisions serve to protect the people, for it is ultimately the people’s rights that suffer when one branch encroaches on another. As Madison explained in Federalist No. 51, the division of power between the branches forms part of the “security [that] arises to the rights of the people.”

After appointing Cordray and the NLRB board members, President Obama said he “refused to take no for an answer,” and that he would “not stand by while a minority in the Senate puts party ideology ahead of the people they were elected to serve.” The President’s attorneys made a similar argument, claiming that the Senate was standing in the way of his duties as president. Sentelle’s response:

It bears emphasis that “[c]onvenience and efficiency are not the primary objectives—or the hallmarks—of democratic government.” … The power of a written constitution lies in its words. It is those words that were adopted by the people. When those words speak clearly, it is not up to us to depart from their meaning in favor of our own concept of efficiency, convenience, or facilitation of the functions of government.

The decision is an important step to reining in a long line of presidential abuses. If the court had upheld the appointments, Obama unquestionably would not have been the last to use this power. Moreover, the reasoning of the decision should directly apply to Richard Cordray of the constitutionally problematic CFPB. His days are numbered if the Supreme Court either upholds the decision or does not take the case.

In case you missed these during the year I am posting Heritage top 10 2012 research papers here in one place.  They are all as relevant now as when they were published; in fact some even more so.  The United States is well on its way to total destruction as a free nation.  Our one chance at salvation was to elect Mitt Romney for President and we didn’t.  Obama won by a slim margin, but he  and the Democrats take that as a mandate to do as they please and because they still control the Senate and Harry Reid is at the helm there is nothing in the federal government to stop them.   The only forces now fighting Obama and Obamanation are the states and some very brave companies and individuals  who are trying thru the courts to hold off or hold back the onslaught of our demise.    I think you need to know what all of these reports say in order to perhaps  minimize the  personal damage the federal government will do to individuals in the coming years.  Sincerely and Happy New Year my Friends, BB

Top 10 Heritage Research Papers of 2012

Todd Thurman

December 27, 2012 at 8:02 am

federal spending 2008 – 2012As the year comes to a close, we reflect on 2012 by offering highlights of the top 10 most-read research papers by Heritage scholars.

1) The 2012 Index of Dependence on Government
By William Beach and Patrick Tyrrell
February 8, 2012
The great and calamitous fiscal trends of our time—dependence on government by an increasing portion of the American population, and soaring debt that threatens the financial integrity of the economy—worsened yet again in 2010 and 2011.

2) Taxmageddon: Massive Tax Increase Coming in 2013
By Curtis Dubay
April 4, 2012
If President Obama and Congress fail to act this year, an enormous, unprecedented tax increase will fall on American taxpayers starting on January 1, 2013.

3) High Gas Prices: Obama’s Half-Truths vs. Reality
By Nicolas Loris
February 23, 2012
Higher gas prices drive up production costs for goods reliant on transportation, and more money spent at the pump means less money spent at restaurants and movie theaters.

4) Federal Spending by the Numbers
By Alison Acosta Fraser
October 16, 2012
The federal government has closed out its fourth straight year of trillion-dollar-plus deficits, and the imperative to rein in spending has never been greater.

5) Red Tape Rising: Obama-Era Regulation at the Three-Year Mark
By James L. Gattuso and Diane Katz
March 13, 2012
During the first three years of the Obama Administration, 106 new major federal regulations added more than $46 billion per year in new costs for Americans.

6) The Ryan Budget: Confronting the Nation’s Spending Crisis
By Alison Acosta Fraser and Patrick Louis Knudsen
March 21, 2012
In the few months since Washington’s dramatic debt ceiling confrontation, America’s fiscal situation has only worsened. Federal spending is set to soar past previous record-shattering levels, endangering the economic future of the nation.

7) Auto Bailout or UAW Bailout? Taxpayer Losses Came from Subsidizing Union Compensation
By James Sherk and Todd Zywicki
June 13, 2012
The U.S. government will lose about $23 billion on the 2008-2009 bailout of General Motors and Chrysler. President Obama emphatically defends his decision to subsidize the automakers, arguing it was necessary to prevent massive job losses.

8) Government Employees Work Less than Private-Sector Employees
By Jason Richwine, Ph.D.
September 11, 2012
The stereotype of the under-worked government employee is frequently invoked in criticisms of public-sector employment. But does the average public employee really work less than the average private employee?

9) Tax Policy Center’s Skewed Analysis of Governor Romney’s Tax Plan
By Curtis Dubay
September 23, 2012
Their conclusion is the result of a series of carefully made choices. These choices, not the underlying nature of the Romney plan, cause them to arrive at their selected result. This finding is harming the debate on tax reform.

10) Welfare Reform’s Work Requirements Cannot be Waived
By Andrew M. Grossman
August 8, 2012
Under the guise of providing states greater “flexibility” in operating their welfare programs, the Obama Administration now claims the authority to weaken or waive the work requirements that are at the heart of welfare reform.


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