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Obama’s answer to a GOP Congress.
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Net neutrality: After a federal court ruled that the Federal Communications Commission overreached in applying net neutrality principles to Comcast without proper statutory authority, the FCC announced yet another plan to reclassify broadband services to accomplish the same ends. Again, this is an end-run around Congress, which repeatedly has declined to pass net neutrality legislation.
Farm rules for rich trial lawyers: Former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA) wrote an October 27 piece about how a former trial lawyer named J. Dudley Butler who specialized in suing the poultry industry now is an Obama appointee at the Agriculture Department, where he “is actively pushing to expand the scope of the decades-old Packers and Stockyards Act — which will make it easier for trial lawyers (such as Mr. Butler) to successfully sue meat and poultry companies. This [is a] heavy-handed attempt to push through new federal regulations without seeking congressional approval.…”
Tax breaks for rich trial lawyers: The Treasury Department has acknowledged it is considering a rule reinterpretation, again after Congress repeatedly refused to act, that would provide a $1.2 billion (cumulative) tax break to plaintiffs’ attorneys by allowing them to deduct client expenses up front rather than waiting for the outcome of their lawsuits.
New fuel-economy standards for heavy trucks: Never mind that trucking companies already are constantly trying, due to market forces, to improve their fuel economy. The EPA and the NHTSA jointly are proposing to force a 20 percent reduction in carbon emissions by the 2018 model year. Like the ethanol mandate, this is counterproductive: technology likely can’t achieve that stupendously aggressive goal by 2018. “The only way to increase fuel efficiency as quickly as EPA’s proposal requires will be to move less freight [per individual payload],” said Myron Ebell of CEI. Result: More big trucks on the road to carry the same amount of cargo, thus driving up prices and causing, at least in the short run, more emissions (because, say, 10 trucks each carrying x-minus-20 percent pounds emits more carbon than 9 trucks each carrying x pounds).
ON AND ON the regulatory monster grows. On education, for-profit colleges will likely be hamstrung, many put out of the business of serving lower-income students, by new rules completely denying the use of student loans for programs whose prior students have defaulted at high rates. (So current students and the schools that serve them will suffer because previous students weren’t responsible. What sense does that make?) All private colleges will be subject to accreditation — and therefore bullied — through a government panel, rather than being answerable by the existing, independent accrediting agencies.
And health regulation moves from the ridiculous to the malign. For the former, consider that the Food and Drug Administration threatened General Mills with regulating Cheerios as a drug if the cereal box makes claims about health benefits. And, of course, for the malign, there is the ObamaCare law, which according to Donohue of the Chamber of Commerce, “creates 183 new agencies, commissions, panels, and other bodies.” Yikes.
Obama’s promised “hand-to-hand combat” will increasingly pit executive overreach versus constitutional legislative authority. Republican congressmen understand this, and the Pledge to America includes support for a bill that would block any new “major rule” promulgated by federal agencies until the rule is approved by both chambers of Congress and signed by the president. Of course, President Obama would kill that bill with one of the quickest vetoes imaginable.
Former House Appropriations Committee chairman Bob Livingston of Louisiana suggested another solution in a recent Wall Street Journal column. Just insert language in necessary spending bills that specifies that “none of the funds appropriated in this Act shall be used for… [whatever Congress wants to block].”
Obama can’t regulate if he can’t pay the regulators. But unless newly empowered congressional Republicans challenge him, he’ll regulate all of us half to death.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?