‘We Don’t Have a Strategy Yet’ + More – Daily Digest

Posted on Fri 08/29/2014 by

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THE FOUNDATION

“A better system of education for the common people might preserve them long from such artificial inequalities as are prejudicial to society, by confounding the natural distinctions of right and wrong, virtue and vice.” –John Adams, letter to Count Sarsfield, 1786

TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS

‘We Don’t Have a Strategy Yet’

Barack Obama addressed the growing threat of ISIL in a press conference Thursday afternoon, but what he said caused more heartburn than we thought possible. “I am confident that, as commander in chief, I have the authority to engage in the acts that we are conducting currently. As our strategy develops, we will continue to consult with Congress, and I do think it will be important for Congress to weigh in, and that our consultations with Congress continue to develop so that the American people are part of the debate. But, I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. We don’t have a strategy yet” [emphasis added]. Such a statement is astounding, especially coming just days after the beheading of an American citizen and after months of military advances made by ISIL. Obama calls himself the commander in chief, and technically he does hold the position, but this is outrageous dereliction of duty.

ISIL, ISIS, IS – Who Are They?

We have received a few questions from our readers regarding the name of the Islamic terrorist group controlling much of Iraq and Syria. We use ISIL, short for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, because it is the designation used by the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence. Levant refers to a region in the Middle East stretching from Turkey to Egypt, including Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Israel. Others use ISIS for Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, sometimes contending that “al-Sham” does not encompass the same swath of territory as “Levant.” The group now calls itself simply the Islamic State, or IS, because they claim to have established a caliphate. Whatever it’s called, ISIL is an offshoot of al-Qaida (which in February 2014 cut ties with ISIL) and it presents a clear and present threat to the U.S. – arguably far worse than al-Qaida.

Obama Needs to Speak Quieter on Ukraine

In the game of foreign policy chicken, Russian President Vladimir Putin is willing to go further and take more risks than the West. As Russian tanks roll through the Ukrainian countryside and the Great Bear’s soldiers take up arms against the defenders of Ukraine, the Obama administration calls it an “escalation.” Never mind that if Canadian solders ever stripped the Stars and Stripes from Anchorage, Alaska, we’d be calling the action for what it is: an invasion. Vox asks, how do you cross an American red line? Answer: slowly. Inch across the line, wear out attention and emotions and when the headlines scream the line has been crossed, America will be too worn to lead. Obama and the West need to stop the rhetoric against a show of force. President Theodore Roosevelt’s guide in politics was, “Speak softly and carry a big stick” – something the Obama administration has ignored for years.

Come Tax Time, Some Will Be Slammed by ObamaCare

Seven million Americans currently receive health insurance tax credits because of ObamaCare, but if any of these folks pull themselves up to the next tax bracket – by earning a raise, making more commission or landing a new job – they could get hit when it comes time to file their next tax return. For example, they may not be able to file the simplified 1090EZ. The Associated Press reports, “If your income for 2014 is going to be higher than you estimated when you applied for health insurance, then complex connections between the health law and taxes can reduce or even eliminate your tax refund next year. … The danger is that as your income grows, you don’t qualify for as much of a tax credit. Any difference will come out of your tax refund, unless you have promptly reported the changes.” There it is, folks: When health care is treated as a tax, it will bite like a tax come April. More…

Look for Another Continuing Resolution in Congress

If anyone expects Congress to set forth its priorities in an honest-to-goodness budget, think again. “With a new fiscal year looming, Congress is poised to once again ignore one of its most essential responsibilities – passing its annual spending bills,” reports the Washington Examiner. “And in doing do, many say lawmakers are missing an opportunity to trim pork, waste and duplicative services from the budget.” The reason is simple: The election is looming. But it’s also more than that. Democrats substantially raised the baseline for federal spending with the so-called stimulus of 2009, meaning returning to any modicum of fiscal responsibility can be demo-gogued as a draconian cut that will leave women and children starving. And interestingly enough, the Examiner notes, “The last time Congress passed all 12 appropriations bills was for the 2006 fiscal year.” That would be the last time Republicans controlled Congress. It would seem Democrats are dead set on avoiding responsibility. More…

For more, visit Right Hooks.

RIGHT ANALYSIS

The Stage Is Set for Executive Amnesty

Just a few weeks ago, it appeared immigration would dominate the news headlines leading up to the November election. But war in the Middle East and Ukraine and riots in Ferguson have pushed the situation at the border down to a few sidebar stories.

Yet the political stakes are high, and the red line of Barack Obama’s promise to take steps on immigration reform by the end of summer – with or without Congress – means there could be an executive action on his part in the next few weeks. “[H]ave no doubt, um, in the absence of congressional action, uh, I’m going to do what I can to make sure the system works better,” he said Thursday. The president has nothing to lose and everything to gain politically.

Most likely his action will be an expansion of the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) order, which essentially served as a permission slip for more than 1.5 million illegal aliens who came as children with their parents. Administration insiders believe five or six million more illegals will benefit from any new Obama move. Proponents argue it’s a necessary step to take because resources are limited and Congress didn’t act. Meanwhile, Democrats believe the Republican reaction would be beneficial to their side. They’re just daring Republicans to say the “i-word” should Obama go through with this DACA-expansion amnesty.

But Obama himself made the case against executive action not all that long ago. In 2012, he argued he couldn’t go any further than deferring deportations for children: “If we start broadening that, then essentially I would be ignoring the law in a way that I think would be very difficult to defend legally. So that’s not an option.”

Much of this could have been avoided, claims “Gang of Eight” member Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). “I’ve been warning that [Obama] would do something unilaterally on immigration at some point, despite his denials of any intention to do that,” said Rubio. “My fundamental warning was that if [Republicans] didn’t like the legalization provisions in the bill, it was quite possible, if we didn’t act, that we would get the Gang of Eight-style legalization but without any of the bill’s enforcement mechanisms,” he added, defending his participation.

While Rubio was in favor of the Gang of Eight approach at the time, he now believes it was a mistake. If done again, he would secure the border first, then install broader E-verify requirements and reform the tracking of visa entries and exits. Of course, enforcement is all up to the will of the Executive Branch. And House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), for one, is of the opinion that Obama is “threatening to rewrite our immigration laws unilaterally” rather than provide enforcement.

Nor is enforcement on the mind of governors like California’s Jerry Brown, who introduced Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto by saying all immigrants were welcome in his state, legal or not.

In his speech, the Mexican president called the United States “the other Mexico” and gushed that California had “evolved” compared to other states which “skimp on recognition of … the rights of immigrants.” It’s estimated that 11.4 million immigrants who were born in Mexico reside in the United States, a sizable chunk of the roughly 120 million who populate Mexico. A recent Pew survey found just over one-third of Mexicans would move to the United States if they had the chance, and one-sixth would even do so illegally. That’s about 20 million more for the permanent underclass of likely Democrat voters.

Clearly, much of this immigration furor is political posturing for both the November midterm elections and the 2016 presidential race. But with either result, Obama has the chance to emerge victorious – either he gets a Democrat-controlled Senate to keep House Republicans at bay, or he gets a completely Republican-controlled Congress that will incentivize him to use his pen, if not his phone. Amnesty is just one place where he can whet his appetite for dictatorial power, with climate change being another.

The irony, of course, is that mass amnesty will hurt Obama’s own low-income constituents most by depressing wages and making it hard to find jobs. All net job gains since 2000 went to immigrants.

Thus, despite polls which for years have shown Americans would prefer no greater number of immigrants – if not a decrease in the rate – it’s likely that executive policy will take us in the other direction while ignoring the vital function of border security. The system isn’t actually broken, but the laws aren’t being enforced.

CBO Projections for the Fall (Season)

For most of America, the Labor Day weekend is the symbolic end of summer. For the federal government, it means one more month until the end of the fiscal year, which closes Sept. 30. While we soak up the last long weekend of vacation with our families, Washington politicians are preparing for the final weeks before the midterm election season, and economic analysts are crunching numbers to see just where Washington stands in terms of fiscal projections, fiscal reality, and just what it might take to bring the two worlds closer to parity.

$17.6 trillion and growing

The news isn’t good and, unfortunately, it won’t get better soon. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the U.S. economy has grown by only 1.5% this past fiscal year, which is much lower than the Obama administration’s rosy 2.6% estimate. On the bright side, the CBO predicts an economic rebound of 3.4% over the next two years based on an uptick of goods and services, new business ventures and new housing starts. Unless, of course, there’s another season of bad weather – the scapegoat for 2014’s low numbers. Al Gore, please call your office.

Weather aside, America’s fiscal house is not in order, and our debt has put us on a dangerous track. Yes, the $506 billion budget deficit for 2014 was $170 billion less than last year, and the CBO predicts next year’s might get as low as $459 billion, so we’re supposedly heading in the right direction. Yet the annual budget deficit still isn’t close to pre-recession levels. Trimming it down means far less after Democrats quadrupled it. And it’s still far too large a percentage of GDP. In fact, this year’s “low” budget deficit numbers could be just a blip on the economic radar.

CBO projections for the next decade assume a sharp rise in deficit numbers, reaching $960 billion by 2024 unless Congress makes concrete changes to the principle drivers of our debt – Social Security, health care spending (ObamaCare, anyone?) and interest on the $17.6 trillion debt itself.

Congress has had many chances to make fixes, though our elected representatives have chosen to avoid even half-hearted action. Democrats insist that cutting defense spending – which is down 5% – and levying heavier taxes on the country’s most profitable companies and entrepreneurs is the answer. It’s not. Even if domestic and discretionary spending were cut to zero, the remaining revenue the federal government collects still wouldn’t reach balance.

Entitlements of one sort or another already account for a larger slice of GDP than we’ve seen since World War II. That slice will only grow over the next decade, accounting for $7.2 billion in unfunded liabilities by 2024, assuming a 5.6% unemployment rate after 2018.

The latest news from the CBO about lower budget deficits in the near term offers little reason to rejoice. The CBO maintains that the annual deficit for fiscal 2014 is lower than its earlier projections, and that it will fall to pre-recession levels, though those deficits weren’t worth celebrating, either. During Obama’s first four years in office, deficits averaged more than $1 trillion. At what point does anyone in Washington get serious about this? America’s credit rating is lower and our economic power overseas is weaker than it’s been since WWII. Yet no one wants to address Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid for their own political self-preservation.

There have been numerous opportunities to address America’s unfunded liabilities in the entitlement sector over the years. Politicians always end up putting it off to another day. Well, that day is upon us. These entitlements, and the debt as a whole, currently account for 74% of GDP. That’s not going to improve without major changes. Who has the courage to do something about it?

For more, visit Right Analysis.

TOP 5 RIGHT OPINION COLUMNS

For more, visit Right Opinion.

OPINION IN BRIEF

Judge Learned Hand (1872-1961): “Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes.”

Columnist David Harsanyi: “[T]he majority of fast-food customers are probably less inclined than the petitioners of MoveOn.org to mistake high tax rates for patriotism. This kind of distorted understanding of national loyalty may work in populist politics, but not so much in markets. Few reasonable humans will meditate on Burger King’s corporate tax ‘inversion’ – or even its Brazilian owners – as they wait for the frozen french fries to be dropped into the deep-fryer. The four best-selling cars in America so far in 2014 are the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Honda Accord and Toyota Corolla. One of the best-selling cellphone brands is South Korean. And so on. Does a Whopper taste like a Whopper? That’s all that matters. And it’s all that should. Nothing really changes for the consumer. Even among those who do pay attention, there will very likely be many who don’t believe that the purpose of a business is to placate the Obama administration or generate more revenue for government. The executive’s charge is to grow and sustain a healthy business, which this deal almost unquestionably does.”

Columnist Charles Krauthammer: “Democrats used to wax indignant about having one’s patriotism questioned. Now they throw around the charge with abandon, tossing it at corporations that refuse to do the economically patriotic thing of paying the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world. Odder still because Democrats routinely ridicule the very notion of corporations as persons. When Mitt Romney suggested this in 2011, Democrats mocked him right through Election Day. In the Hobby Lobby case, they challenged the very idea that corporations can have religious convictions. Now, however, Democrats are demanding that corporations exercise a patriotic conscience. Which is it?”

Comedian Argus Hamilton: “The New York Times announced it will refuse to print the name Washington Redskins in its sports section. The editor says the name is associated with imperial conquest, cultural genocide and racism. From now on, the newspaper will simply refer to the team as the Redskins.”

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team

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