Archive for Democrats

Fairy Tale

Once upon a time:

The Land of Lincoln [Illinois] has accrued a $111 billion unfunded liability for government workers’ pensions—up 75% from five years ago. There is an additional $56 billion of unfunded debt to cover health benefits for the state’s retirees. Illinois today is already spending more of its general fund on pensions than on K-12 education. One in four tax dollars pays for its retired workers’ benefits. Last year the state had to defer paying $7 billion owed to contractors. All this after Democrats in 2011 raised income taxes and corporate taxes by 67% and 30%, respectively.

The level of debt is staggering. According to a recent report by Statista Inc., Illinois residents owe $24,959 each as their share of the outstanding bonds, unfunded pension commitments and budget gaps the state has accumulated. Thank goodness this obligation doesn’t go on my credit report, or my credit rating would be in the tank along with the state’s A-minus bond rating, the worst of any state in the nation.

It is no wonder that 850,000 people have left Illinois for other states in the past 15 years, according to the Illinois Policy Institute. Or that Illinois has become one of the most business unfriendly states in the country (40th in a recent Forbes survey).

Crushing debt isn’t just Illinois’s problem. According to State Budget Solutions, America’s 50 state governments collectively owe $5.1 trillion, including outstanding bonds, unfunded pension commitments and budget gaps. California has by far the largest debt—$778 billion—more than twice that of No. 2, New York, with $387 billion in red ink.

It may be a coincidence, but the eight lowest debt-per-resident states have Republican governors.

The message of the midterm elections last month was that Americans want to put the era of fiscal irresponsibility and economic stagnation in the rearview mirror. I’m hoping that Bruce Rauner, the Republican elected governor of deep-blue Illinois, will show them how it can be done.

Talk about a non sequitur! Where did that happily ever after come from? I’m as hopeful as anyone that this country has changed course, but that’s not very hopeful. How do you fund the unfunded when the size of the unfunded dwarfs any source of funding? Scoot over, Detroit. There’ll be a lot more municipal defaults and reworked pension deals—all of them in Democrat strongholds—before this undigested mess passes.

PS: How does Illinois’ pension liability increase 75% in five years? I can’t even begin to comprehend.

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Hail to the Chief!

What will Elizabeth Warren say when she breaks her pledge not to run for prezzy?

So Sioux me:

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren becomes the officially anointed shadow candidate of the left today in an old-fashioned, Kremlin-style “vote” where she’s the only contender and there is really only one choice: Run, Elizabeth, Run.

The online “voting” run by the influential liberal organization, MoveOn.org, to launch a presidential-style campaign to draft Warren may have been slightly rigged, but could give the Massachusetts senator and her breathless backers a significant new push to test the waters against presumed front-runner Hillary Clinton.

“Our members want to see a contested Democratic primary,” said Ben Wikler, Washington director of MoveOn.org. “This moment was made for Elizabeth Warren. So we’re putting it to a full vote.”

Okay, ‘vote’ may not be the right word. The old communist leaders of Russia and China would have been envious of the percentage Warren will get when the results of the online coronation are announced late this morning. Joe Biden, Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich, sadly, were left off the MoveOn.org ballot.

The liberal group’s 8 million members did have a chance to say they oppose a draft Warren effort, and while they may not have been shipped off to Siberia like in the old communist days, they did risk getting kicked off MoveOn’s mailing list. But there’s no need for that kind of terrifying threat.

“We are pretty confident we are going to soar way above the 50 percent threshold,” a cheeky Wikler said.

Yuk-yuk!

Warren’s repeated denials that she “isn’t” running aren’t deterring progressive groups. They were only more emboldened by the former Harvard professor’s comments in the hard-hitting People magazine interview where she said “I don’t think so” to the presidential question.

To Warren enthusiasts, that means full-steam ahead.

I’m immune to her charms, but her supporters see Kate Upton in a tankini when they look at her.

She sure knows hot to whip them into a frenzy:

Senator Elizabeth Warren, in an increasingly public spat with the White House, on Tuesday issued her fiercest salvo yet about President Obama’s choice for a key Treasury Department post.

The Massachusetts Democrat — in a 4½-page speech with 34 footnotes — rebutted criticism about her opposition to Antonio Weiss, the nominee for undersecretary of domestic finance. She denounced his qualifications for the job, cast the relationship between Wall Street and the White House as dangerously unbalanced, and further dug a divide between the administration and her allies.

In a strikingly personal jab at Weiss and a broader knock at the White House, Warren noted Weiss’s employer, the investment bank and asset manager Lazard, would give Weiss a multimillion-dollar payment if he left for public service.

“Mr. Weiss’s friends at Lazard are giving him a golden parachute valued at about $20 million as he goes into government service,” Warren said at a Capitol Hill event. “For me, this is one spin of the revolving door too many. Enough is enough.”

“Hey there, liberal weenie. Is that a ballot in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?”

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Democrats Behaving Badly

Talk about a standing headline, you can think the Democrats were motivated to release their so-called terror report out of moral indignation.

Or you can face the truth:

JOSE RODRIGUEZ, FORMER CIA OFFICIAL: Yes. I mean, I think it’s a very dark day for the CIA. I think the CIA’s been thrown under the bus.

SEAN HANNITY: Let’s go to Dianne Feinstein back in 2002 when she said the following, this was quoted in New York Times, where she said, you know, it took that real attack, I think, to kind of shiver our timbers enough to let is know that the threat is profound and that we have to do some things that historically we have not wanted to do to protect ourselves.

You were there. You knew these senators, these lawmakers. Do you remember any specific meetings? Was Dianne Feinstein told specifically what the CIA was doing in terms of enhanced interrogation?

JOSE RODRIGUEZ: There are about 40 instances where we briefed the Senate and the House intelligence committees over the life of the program from 2002 to 2009. And we briefed Dianne Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi and Rockefeller and many others all the time. And we at the outset, at the beginning, back in 2001, I remember very clearly them telling me, you know, the problem that you guys have is that you are risk adverse. You need to use the authorities that we have given you to go out there and destroy this organization and to kill bin Laden. So we feel that we briefed them and briefed them thoroughly, and they are, you know, hypocritical.

We waterboarded three people during the life of the program. That’s it. Three persons. I don’t know where they get the other numbers.

SEAN HANNITY: Would we have gotten bin Laden without the intelligence that KSM during the waterboarding released to you guys? Didn’t he open the door to the courier which led us to bin Laden, is that true, sir?

JOSE RODRIGUEZ: Actually, the initial information came from a facilitator called Hassan Ghoul going back to 2002 and 2003, he actually told us about the courier. That’s when we first heard about the courier.

Abu Faraj Al-Libi told us that he knew about the appointment to become the chief of operations through the courier, and then KSM, of course, we intercepted a message that he sent to his fellow prisoners in which he says do not say a word about the courier. So we gained a lot of insight from our prisoners at the black sides about the importance of the courier, which eventually led to the takedown of bin Laden.

SEAN HANNITY: So in other words, you’re saying that the accusation that these enhanced interrogation techniques were used beyond what we had already been disclosed you’re saying is false, number one, and that, in spite of their suggestion that they were not successful, you’re saying that, in fact, that’s not true. You were there, it was successful?

JOSE RODRIGUEZ: It was a very successful, and for those of us who were there, it’s just amazing that they could have come to this conclusion. Those of us who read the intelligence coming out to the black sites every morning and acted on that intelligence know the value and basically it led to the destruction of the organization. In terms of whether we exceeded the authorities that we had, this program actually has been subjected to very intense investigations by Justice Department and, in fact, from 2009 to 2012, John Durham, the special investigator, conducted a thorough investigation and he basically found no prosecutable charges to be made for anyone.

Obama says “when we make mistakes, we admit them”. Like this:

SEAN HANNITY: You know, I talk a lot on this program about selective moral outrage, Jose. Let me give you an example. We have, under President Obama and his drone program, we have the estimated death toll at 2400. In Pakistan alone, the death toll is estimated between 450 — I’m sorry 400 and 950 civilians including 168 to 200 children. Can you explain to me how the drone program under Obama is not far more morally problematic that enhanced interrogation. What do you make of Dianne Feinstein’s silence on that issue in comparison?

JOSE RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, it’s very interesting because, you know, this administration actually does not take any prisoners. They prefer to kill them from afar using drones. And somehow they feel that because they kill from a distance somehow it’s more ethical. More ethical than the difficult and messy and unpleasant task and mission of actually interrogating a prisoners. I think it’s a distortion of what our values are. You know what our values are —

SEAN HANNITY: I’ll give you a choice, get waterboarded or get drilled with a drone strike. I think I’ll take the waterboarding.

JOSE RODRIGUEZ: I think I’ll take the waterboarding, too.

Make sure you read this report too:

The report, issued by the committee’s outgoing senior Republican, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, stands in stark contrast to Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) highly critical findings asserting that the CIA misled the public, Congress and the White House about its enhanced interrogation program.

“We have no doubt that the CIA’s detention program saved lives and played a vital role in weakening Al Qaeda while the program was in operation,” the Republican senators concluded.

The GOP report decried the Feinstein study, arguing that it contained “faulty analysis, serious inaccuracies, and misrepresentations of fact” to create a series of false conclusions about the counterterrorism program’s effectiveness and the CIA’s interactions with Congress and the White House.

The authors accused Democrats of failing to be objective when compiling their findings and for harboring “political motivations” in their review, criticisms they said some intelligence officials have also leveled. The Republicans also lamented that the report’s commission cost U.S. taxpayers $40 million.

The minority report largely serves as a point-by-point rebuttal to Feinstein’s, particularly the conclusion that enhanced interrogation techniques were not effective in collecting useful intelligence for threats against the U.S.

Most political of all, the Dems timed their report to swamp any mention of Gruber’s appearance before the House Oversight Committee yesterday. Mission Accomplished.

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Turn Out the Lights, the Democrat Party’s Over

We’ve already taken our victory lap for calling a net gain of nine seats for the GOP, leading to a 54-46 majority. Thirstradamus may be clairvoyant, but he’s also refined enough not to take a second victory lap (or a third). Where was that vaunted clairvoyance when I wrote demurely “They’ll certainly keep, probably widen, their lead in the House.”?

As of this morning, they have 246 seats, a gain of 14 seats. “Probably widen” hardly does justice to that sort of ass-whuppin’.

I would rather revisit the scene of my success with someone else’s take on the events and their meanings, Kevin D. Williamson’s:

The Democrats, being intellectually dishonest, cling to the myth that the two parties “switched places” on racial issues in the 1960s, that Senator Landrieu’s troubles are a consequence of that reversal, and that the general Southern realignment is evidence that the Republican party is a comfortable home for bigots, Confederate revanchists, and others with dodgy racial politics.

This is a strange line of argument, and an indefensible one once the evidence is considered. Democrats remained the favored party in the South for decades and decades after the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, controlling a majority of governorships, Senate seats, state legislative bodies, etc., well into the 21st century.

A few obvious questions: If white Southerners were really so enraged about the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and if they switched to the Republican party to express their displeasure, then why did they wait 30 years before making that preference felt in House elections? Why did Dwight D. Eisenhower — a supporter of civil-rights legislation who insisted on the actual desegregation of the armed forces (as opposed to President Truman’s hypothetical desegregation) and federal agencies under his control — win a larger share of the Southern vote in 1956 than Barry Goldwater, the most important Republican critic of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, did two cycles later? Why did Mississippi elect only one Republican governor in the entire 20th century, and that not until 1992? Why didn’t Alabama have a Republican governor until 1987? And why did Louisiana wait 60 years to eliminate its last Democratic senator in favor of a candidate from the party of Condoleezza Rice, Ben Carson, Allen West, Mia Love, Tim Scott, and that not-very-white guy who serves as governor of Louisiana? White supremacy should be made of sterner stuff: Did somebody forget to tell Louisiana state senator and newly confirmed Republican Elbert Guillory that he’s black?

Strange that redneck bigots would wait for so many decades to punish the Democrats for giving up cross-burning; my own experience with that particular demographic suggests that its members do not in general have that sort of attention span.

And then, my favorite point:

Similarly, the migration of white Southern voters to the GOP did not begin after the fight over the Civil Rights Act of 1964. And why would it have? Despite the principled opposition of Barry Goldwater, a lifelong NAACP member who nonetheless believed that the bill gave the federal government too much power over state and local matters, Republicans supported the Civil Rights Act of 1964 at significantly higher levels than the Democrats did, just as Republicans, Goldwater included, had fought for the Civil Rights Act of 1957, passed on Republican votes over Democratic obstruction and signed by a Republican president.

“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes,” said Mark Twain. A later version, attributed to Winston Churchill, has the truth still putting on its pants, but the point is the same. The evaporation of the Southern Democrat has everything to do with the Democrats and nothing to do with race.

Does this look like the showing of a rump Southern white people’s party to you?

Untitled

That the Democratic party has attempted to hijack for itself credit for the hard and often bloody work performed for a century almost exclusively by Republicans, from Lincoln to Eisenhower, is a reminder that the party of Lyndon Johnson and Bill Clinton is not a place for men with a very developed sense of decency.

And what happened in the 1960s wasn’t the parties’ “changing places” on racism and civil rights; it was the Democrats’ — some of them, at least — joining the ranks of civilized human beings for the first time.

It only took them a century.

Slavery wasn’t the unique sin of this country—almost every trading country was guilty of it two hundred years ago. And neither party was clean of the stain of slavery either, though Lincoln’s Republicans obviously deserve more credit for its abolition. But the century of Jim Crow that persisted like an open sore after slavery was abolished—that the Democrats own. Just ask Robert Byrd.

PS: We may say that Barry Goldwater was on the wrong side of history on the Civil Rights Act—and he was—but not how hard it was for states to get out from under the presumption of guilt of the Voting Rights Act:

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was unconstitutional. Section 4 lays out the formulas for how the Justice Department enforces Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Section 5 requires that the states identified with a history of discrimination obtain approval from the federal government before they can make changes to their election law. Section 4 formulas as of 2013 mandated that “Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia in their entirety; and parts of California, Florida, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, and South Dakota” ask for preclearance for electoral law changes. After Shelby County v. Holder, these states are free to make changes to election law or district maps without approval from the Justice Department.

The Supreme Court’s opinion notes: “voting discrimination still exists; no one doubts that. The question is whether the Act’s extraordinary measures, including its disparate treatment of the States, continue to satisfy constitutional requirements. As we put it a short time ago, ‘the Act imposes current burdens and must be justified by current needs.’”

Just so. As we’ve already demonstrated above, this ain’t your granddaddy’s South: no Democrats.

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Scorched Earth

Obama administration policy:

The White House worked closely with liberal House Democrats last week to torpedo a tax deal that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-­Nev.) was negotiating with Republicans.

The unusual move to kill a Reid­-backed proposal has raised suspicions among Senate negotiators about the White House’s motivations. They believe President Obama’s team is eyeing a broad corporate tax reform deal in 2015, when Republicans will control the Senate and the House.

“It might indicate less about the merits of the package and more about the White House using progressives to kill a deal now in order to pave the way for a deal with Republicans next Congress that progressives will absolutely loathe,” said a senior Senate Democratic aide.

The administration joined forces with the House Democrats with one thing in mind: making sure a possible veto wouldn’t be overturned.

“Clearly the White House calculated that the House Democrats could sustain a veto,” said another Democratic aide. “The White House had conversations with a slew of House Democrats on Tuesday. It was furiously trying to assess how much opposition there was in the House. They were very upset.”

I’ll admit to being confused. Why would Obama spike a deal with Democrats when Congress will turn even more Republican next year? The article descrbes the horse-trading, but this is the key take-away for me:

The deal fell apart amid lingering tension between Reid and the White House in the aftermath of last month’s devastating midterm losses, which many Senate Democrats blame on Obama.

They’ve been feuding openly for the past four weeks. I don’t think Obama ever got over Reid’s “light-skinned black” and “Negro dialect” comments. I don’t know about light-skinned, but he sure is thin-skinned.

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Ready for Hillary?

So you’re the one.

GOV. DEVAL PATRICK (D-Massachusetts): Well, I think first of all, Hillary Clinton, Secretary Clinton, excuse me, has been an extraordinary public servant and would be a terrific candidate for president. But I think that the narrative that it’s inevitable is off-putting to regular voters.

CHUCK TODD: So she should be challenged in the Democrat party?

GOV. DEVAL PATRICK: I don’t mean that as a criticism of her. I just think that people read inevitability as entitlement. And the American people want and ought to want their candidates to sweat for the job. You know, to actually make a case for why they’re the right person at the right time.

Boy, if the image of a sweaty Hillary Clinton, Secretary Clinton, excuse me, doesn’t torpedo her chances, Elizabeth Warren doesn’t stand a chance.

The 2014 winner of my annual award for “Member of Congress of the Year” goes to the politician who had such a good year she now defines her party’s future — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

The Massachusetts senator could become the Barack Obama of 2016, able to grab the Democrats’ presidential nomination from the favorite, Hillary Clinton, by coming at her from the left. The defining issue for Democrats in 2008 was Iraq. In 2016 it will be the economy. Warren is much more in step with the party on this issue than is Clinton.

My head is swimming. Warren had the best 2014? Robin Williams had a better 2014. In what sense does a scheming careerist and serial “spiritual genocidist” ever have a good year?

In the sense of Democrat politics:

Warren’s surprising power is evident in her ability to force Clinton, the former senator from Wall Street’s home state and a well-paid speaker for top brokerages, to go on the attack against income inequality.

“I love watching Elizabeth give it to those who deserve to get it,” she said at a late October rally in Boston. Clinton was referring to Warren’s calls for increased regulation of big banks and Wall Street brokers who have “tried to trick and trap and cheat our families.” Clinton also echoed Warren’s rhetoric when she said at the same rally: “Don’t let anybody tell you that, you know, it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs.”

In the current Real Clear Politics average of polls asking Democrats to select their top choice as the party’s 2016 presidential nominee, Warren is running second. And she trails Clinton by a huge margin, 51 percentage points.

But a poll taken this month by the progressive group Democracy for America found Warren to be the most popular choice for party activists asked whom they wanted to see run. Warren drew 42 percent support, overshadowing Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) 24 percent and Clinton’s 23 percent.

And who votes in primaries but zealots?

Hillary Clinton is old news, and she’s politically tone deaf. She was divisive as a First Lady, a complete fiasco as Secretary of State, but adequate as a Senator. (And a hell of an investor in cattle futures.) She will not be the nominee, much less the president.

I think Warren will be, and I can’t wait.

Cherokee people! Cherokee tribe!
So proud to live, so proud to die.

It’s your funeral, Crockagawea.

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Illinois, Have You Met Detroit?

You two have so much in common!

Republican Bruce Rauner has his work cut out rehabilitating Illinois from years of liberal-public union misrule, but now he may also have to cope with a willful state judiciary. Consider a lower court judge’s slipshod ruling last week striking down de minimis pension reforms.

The fiscally delinquent state has accrued a $111 billion unfunded pension liability—a 75% increase from five years ago—in addition to $56 billion in debt for retiree health benefits. Incredibly, the state is spending more of its general fund on pensions than on K-12 education. One in four tax dollars pays for retirement benefits. Last year the state had to defer $7 billion in bills to contractors. This is after Democrats in 2011 raised income and corporate taxes by 67% and 30%, respectively. Little wonder that Illinois has the nation’s worst credit rating.

They could be twins, couldn’t they? And Chicago has a hell of an art museum if they need to sell off a few Old Masters to pay for the golden decades of a few SEIU purple-shirted, pinkie-ringed thugs.

Give Illinois credit (albeit CCC- credit) for trying to trim a few microns of fat from its liabilities.

It’s the thought that counts:

Yet Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge John Belz last week rejected all pension trims as a violation of the state Constitution, which holds that “[m]embership in any pension or retirement system of the State, any unit of local government or school district, or any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.” According to Judge Belz, there is “no legally cognizable affirmative defense” for impairing pensions benefit.

Except, well, 80 years of U.S. Supreme Court precedent. Federal courts have established that states may invoke their police powers to impair contracts. In the 1934 case Home Building & Loan Association v. Blaisdell, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that emergencies “may justify the exercise of [the State’s] continuing and dominant protective power notwithstanding interference with contracts,” which the U.S. Constitution otherwise prohibits.

The Supreme Court has since developed a balancing test that allows states to impair contracts when it is reasonable and necessary to serve an important public purpose. The level of legal scrutiny increases with the severity of the impairment.

A contract cannot be binding if it promises something that was not the contract’s to promise. Generous retirement benefits are not generous to the fewer and fewer workers who are left to pay for them; not generous to the poor who are left with fewer services; not generous to outsiders who are tapped to pay for the contracted benefits when the local authority runs out of money, even though they had no say in how those benefits were granted, therefore no duty toward the recipients’ retirement condos in Boca.

If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts. If you have the law on your side, pound the law. If you have neither on your side, pound the table.

With the facts showing the practice unsustainable, and the law showing the practice unsupportable, what is left?

Table-pounding appeals to our fairness and humanity. Whenever I hear that, I always check to see that my wallet is still in my pocket. We the taxpaying public have met our obligations toward the social contract. What about the obligations of those on the receiving end who took too much? Isn’t their position motivated by greed? Why can’t they be shamed for taking from the poor and vulnerable?

And what in G-d’s name is sacrosanct in a contract between two conflicted parties, the unions and decades of corrupt one-party Democrat rule? One side lavishes excessive benefits on the other in exchange for kickbacks in the form of campaign contributions and votes.

It’s a win-win, except for everybody else.

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Shameless

Scoot down, would ya Jay Carney? Make room, David Axelrod. Chris Matthews, Laurence O’Donnell, where are your manners?

C’mon Stephanopoulos, give the lady a seat!

MSNBC announced Friday morning that it hired the White House’s associate communications director to head up the network’s press shop.

Starting December 8, Rachel Racusen will be the cable news outlet’s vice president of communications. “I’m thrilled to add Rachel to our senior team. She has great experience, she’s creative, strategic and passionate about our brand,” said network chief Phil Griffin. “She’ll be a tremendous asset to the network.”

Who are we kidding? She already was.

As an associate communications director at the White House, Racusen works long days and nights promoting the White House’s messaging. On a typical day, Racusen arrives at the office around 7 a.m. for a flurry of meetings, prep sessions and events related to amplifying presidential initiatives.

On any given day, Racusen may help staff an interview for senior presidential advisers or oversee the press coverage of a policy rollout event. After 12- or 13-hour clock-ins at the office, she’ll return home only to log online and continue answering emails into the night.

She’s perfect for the “brand”! Thanks at least for not insulting us by calling it a “news” organization.

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Come Out of the Shadows and Get Right With the Law

And pick up a check:

The illegals will get work-permits and Social Security cards, and will be required to pay taxes, according to Cecilia Munoz, the former immigration lobbyist who is now a top Obama aide.

That means they’re part of the tax system, she said, when she was asked if the illegals would get annual payments under the Earned Income Tax Credit program.

“They are subject to our tax law,” she said, carefully.

Carefully, so she didn’t burst into laughter.

[O]nce illegal immigrants are enrolled in the tax system, they’re would be entitled to EITC payments

The payments may be huge, and will rise each year.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, two parents with three or more children would receive up to $6,143 in 2014 if they earn less than $46,997.

A family with two kids, and an income of $20,000, would receive $14,590 in taxpayer funds this year alone.

Parents who earn less than the threshold would get $3,305 if they have one child, and $5,460 if they have two children.

The EITC program is already poorly monitored and may be subject to large amounts of fraud, according to critics.

Another study says that 47 percent of legal and illegal immigrants and their children are classified as living in poverty or in near-poverty…

Not anymore.

You can take the peasants out of Guatemala, but you can’t take the Guatemala out of the peasants. Even in the land of milk and honey, it’s rice and beans.

But that’s all changed. Like most things Obama has done, it’s just another voter registration drive. I was a loyal Democrat voter for 26 years. Where’s mine?

“Get right with the law.” He’s one to talk.

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Gruber: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Unless you prefer the title “Some Advisor Watch”

“We’ll work to lower your premiums by up to $2,500 per family per year,” Obama told an audience on Sept. 6, 2008. He made a similar claim at least 18 more times stump speeches during the campaign.

But that was news at the time to Gruber, who later advised the Obama administration on the creation of Obamacare and is now at the center of a firestorm for candid remarks he made about how the administration duped the American public in order to get the health law passed.

“I know zero credible evidence to support that conclusion,” Gruber told the non-partisan FactCheck.org in Feb. 2008….

Go ahead, Aidan, tell us what you think of that:

Yeah, we agree.

“At the end of the day, the only way to control health-care costs in America is to deny Americans health care they want,” Gruber said.

He was seemingly referring to what has been dubbed the Cadillac tax, which is a 40-percent excise tax on the most expensive health insurance plans. Some economists, including Gruber, believe that the Cadillac tax will shore up inefficiencies in the health-care system and “bend the cost curve,” which will save money in the long term.

“Basically, we just don’t know. We just have no clue what it’s going to do,” Gruber added.

But on the campaign trail, Obama adopted the easier-to-understand statement that the average family would save $2,500 per year on their insurance premiums.

In 2008, one of those advisers, Harvard University’s David Cutler, explained to The New York Times that “what we’re trying to do is find a way to talk to people in a way they understand.”

By lying to their faces. Repeatedly.

None of this is a surprise. We all knew this at the time. I would say that the American people were as dumb as Gruber and Obama took them for, but the polls don’t support that. ObamaCare has been unpopular for years. The dummies were the Democrats in Congress who passed it.

But even that’s not true. If we knew they were lying, how could they not know? The fix was in, and everyone was in on it. That’s how they operate. Now that Congress is not so amenable, Obama is just doing away with it altogether.

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Ripe for Impeachment

I’m not saying it’ll happen: impeachment is more a political act than a legal one.

But Andy McCarthy makes the case:

I drew on Faithless Execution in last weekend’s column and in a follow-up Corner post, positing that, short of credibly threatening impeachment, Congress and the courts can neither compel a president to enforce the laws nor stop him from using his plenary pardon authority to grant a sweeping amnesty. That gets Obama two-thirds of the prize he is pursuing — namely, several million aliens whose illegal status has been purged, put on the path to inevitable voting rights that will give Democrats an invincible electoral majority.

By calling on Congress to pass a bill to his liking, Obama has admitted he doesn’t have the authority to do this on his own. He has said exactly that several times over the years, as captured in a video we posted yesterday. By issuing this fiat, therefore, he will exceed his authority—by his own admission and reasoning. Either the proposed amnesty will have no validity; or, if he attempts to enforce it, he will be violating the Constitution. Again, he says so.

That may seem like a political impossibility—I am far from prepared to issue one of my Thirstradamus predictions—but it may become more possible over time:

Congress could, in theory, block the president from granting illegal immigrants legal status and other positive benefits (such as work permits) without impeaching him. To do this in reality, though, Congress would have to use its power of the purse. Translation: It would take the credible threat of a government shutdown to check the president’s lawless conferral of benefits.

Alas, that constitutional parry has already been disavowed by GOP congressional leadership.

Against this backdrop, I am gratified that Fox News’s Megyn Kelly and Charles Krauthammer have just given the topic of impeachment in the immigration context more of the serious consideration it deserves. Appearing on The Kelly File Thursday, Dr. Krauthammer asserted that the president’s anticipated amnesty decree for millions of illegal aliens “is an impeachable offense.”

He is plainly correct. As Faithless Execution elaborates, “high crimes and misdemeanors,” the Constitution’s trigger for impeachment, is a term of art for abuses of power that violate the president’s fiduciary obligations to the American people he serves, the constitutional system he takes an oath to preserve, and the laws whose faithful execution is his core duty. High crimes and misdemeanors are not — or at least, not necessarily — the same as “crimes” and “misdemeanors” prosecutable in the courts. Impeachment is a political remedy (i.e., the removal of political authority), not a legal one (i.e., the removal of liberty after criminal indictment and conviction).

A sweeping amnesty for millions of unrepentant lawbreakers that punishes American workers, imposes crushing burdens on the states, and betrays law-abiding aliens who comply with our immigration rules is not an indictable offense. Yet it is obviously an impeachable one. So is the failure to enforce the immigration laws. And the effort to award by executive decree benefits that only Congress has the power to grant is patently lawless and thus just as clearly impeachable.

Exactly. And, not to be tiresome, but Obama, the ex-Senior Lecturer in Constitutional Law, has said so himself, repeatedly.

The argument goes on, but let me peel off here to discuss the politics. Impeachment requires a majority vote in the House, one I believe would pass easily. The case then is handed over to the Senate for “trial”. To convict, two-thirds (67) of the Senators need to vote in favor. When the new Congress is seated, there will be 54 Republicans, all of whom (let’s say) will vote for impeachment. Can they convince 13 Democrats to go against the party (and the country) to join them? Almost certainly not.

Obama’s proposed decree is politically unpopular, as is he, and a few Dems will vote to impeach. But not enough. As McCarthy says, impeachment is a political act more than a legal one. And there are more than enough political hacks among the Democrats in the Senate to spare The Nation’s First African American President™ from the humiliation of impeachment.

So, is it worth it to proceed? Democrat pollster Pat Caddell described Obama as a “raging narcissist”. Such people do not slink away with their tails between their legs. He’s not bluffing. He doesn’t have to: he can do the math as well as I can (both of us having gone to the same university). I’m not sure I see the point in pursuing a strategy that has almost no chance of success at the end, will leave the offending act unchanged, and may be political overkill.

And I’d vote to impeach him faster than you can say “undocumented citizens”.

But I wonder if wielding the power of the purse might not be a better option, even if it does lead to a shutdown. The GOP feels it took the brunt of criticism for the last “shutdown” (slowdown, barely), yet it just won an historic election. Unlike impeachment, cutting off funds is, as this administration likes to say, a “time-limited, scope-limited” action. A specific remedy to an unpopular act.

I’d also take my chances in the Supreme Court, however this issue might come before them. Even there, the issue would be as much political as it would be legal. But I think a majority of Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy would rule that the Constitution is not the president’s napkin at a barbecue joint, to be soiled, wadded up, and thrown away whenever it suited him. On that, I would give my Thirstradamus guarantee.

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Off the Reservation and on the Warpath

I think this is racist, but I can never tell for sure:

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s opposition to President Obama’s Wall Street-backed pick for a top Treasury gig shows she isn’t veering from the populist path she’s ridden to political stardom, despite her new post in party leadership, observers say.

Warren’s office said yesterday she won’t support Obama’s nomination of banker Antonio Weiss as the Treasury’s undersecretary of domestic finance, a position that underscores the Cambridge Democrat’s long-held crusade against Washington’s cozy ties to Wall Street.

A former Treasury official herself, Warren is increasingly concerned about the number of appointees the Obama administration is plucking from Wall Street at the expense of different perspectives, according to her office. She also thinks Weiss’ past work on corporate inversions is a major red flag.

Weiss is a major Democrat donor. Don’t you think his financial support buys him a role in the Obama regime—or are you some kind of Indian giver?

Warren’s opposition, first reported by Politico yesterday, is noteworthy, given just a day earlier she was named to a new post as strategic policy adviser to the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee.

“That’s a fancy way of saying that I’ve been asked to join the Democratic leadership in helping decide how we can fight most effectively for the people who are counting on us,” Warren said in an email to supporters.

Admitting that they created an identity for her out of thin air is uncharacteristically honest for Exalted Cheekbones. Now, if she’d just confess to her equally fraudulent Cherokee heritage.

Why bother? I’m telling you here and now she’ll be the Democrat nominee in 2016. They nominated Obama in ’08 with even less of a resume than hers. If I had a farm, I’d bet it.

Some of them may be “ready for Hillary”, but I think we’ll all have to get ready for this:

Et tu, MV?

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