The Big Think

February 11, 2014

500 Billion Here, 500 Billion There

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 6:43 am

Congressional Investigation: Treasury, IRS, HHS Conspired To Create An Unauthorized, Half-Trillion Dollar Entitlement:

“Last week, two congressional committees issued a little-noticed report detailing how Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service, and Health and Human Services officials conspired to create a massive new entitlement not authorized anywhere in federal law.

In the summer of 2012, the House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight & Government Reform and Committee on Ways & Means launched an investigation to determine ‘whether IRS and Treasury conducted an adequate review of the statute and legislative history prior to coming to [the] conclusion that [the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s] premium subsidies would be allowed in federal exchanges.’ Over the next 18 months, the committees held numerous hearings with senior Treasury and IRS officials, while investigative staff conducted interviews with key agency attorneys responsible for developing the regulations in question. Investigators also reviewed what few documents Treasury and IRS officials allowed them to see…..

The proposed rule met instant condemnation in the media, from members of Congress, and from individual citizens during the rule’s public-comment period. Critics noted the IRS was planning to do the exact opposite of what the statute permits the agency to do.”

Read the whole sordid story at the link.

Ho Hum, nothing to see here.


“Earlier Monday, Obama’s team announced “that it would give midsized employers until 2016 to provide health insurance for their workers, delaying another key provision of the Affordable Care Act,” per Washington Examiner reporter Brian Hughes.

Holder struggled to identify the basis for President Obama’s authority to flout Obamacare’s implementation schedule when Lee pressed him on the subject during a recent Senate hearing.

“I’ve not had a chance to look at, you know, for some time, exactly what the analysis was there, so I’m not sure that I would be able to put it in what category,” Holder told Lee on Jan. 29 when asked to ground the original delay of the employer law in a standard three-part test for such unilateral actions by the executive branch.

Lee asked Holder to write him an explanation of the legal analysis that the Justice Department used to justify delaying the employer mandate, which was originally supposed to take effect on Jan. 1, 2014. The attorney general has not yet done so.

The Utah Republican said Obama is acting on the weakest of constitutional grounds. “The law says x, and he is trying to do not x, but y,” Lee told the Examiner.

As of today there is no party line on this, simply a refusal by the Attorney General- The Attorney General of the United States– to justify or explain the legal basis for this move.

Taken as a single instance this should disturb everyone. Taken in context with other Executive actions, this should be more than disturbing. Hello? Voice in the wilderness here? What happened to the people who were upset about the abuse of power during Bush?

Look, I realize that I’ve gone all political of late (okay, “late” being a generous term), and I do keep in mind the admonition of friends to not go off the deep end, but these posts are there to illustrate, and build an ongoing body of evidence, that our system isn’t working. And it’s broken in a very dangerous and unprecedented way.

To everyone who says but the last guy did it! I’ll answer yes, and it was wrong then too… that doesn’t excuse the current administration and it’s a dangerous precedent that we need to stop. Our republic was not designed to operate under these conditions.

To my friends on the other side of the political aisle, a simple question: would you be supportive of a Republican president that did everything the current one has done? If not, why would you be in opposition to those actions?

Why aren’t you now?

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