Cap-and-Trade Stifles New Manufacturing Jobs + More – Daily Digest

Posted on Tue 01/06/2015 by

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THE FOUNDATION

“The people can never willfully betray their own interests: But they may possibly be betrayed by the representatives of the people; and the danger will be evidently greater where the whole legislative trust is lodged in the hands of one body of men, than where the concurrence of separate and dissimilar bodies is required in every public act.” –James Madison, Federalist No. 63, 1788

TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS

Harvard Professors Angry ObamaCare Made Their Premiums Rise

Liberal academics at Harvard are as incensed as anybody else that their health care costs for 2015 have headed for the ceiling because of the “Affordable” Care Act. Harvard professor Richard Thomas said the changes were “deplorable, deeply regressive, a sign of the corporatization of the university.” But – get this – these same professors advised the Obama administration as it crafted this policy. The New York Times reports, “In Harvard’s health care enrollment guide for 2015, the university said it ‘must respond to the national trend of rising health care costs, including some driven by health care reform,’ in the form of the Affordable Care Act. The guide said that Harvard faced ‘added costs’ because of provisions in the health care law that extend coverage for children up to age 26, offer free preventive services like mammograms and colonoscopies and, starting in 2018, add a tax on high-cost insurance, known as the Cadillac tax.” National Review’s Patrick Brennan notes the Leftmedia can’t quite explain away this argument for free market health care. Maybe Harvard professors should advise the White House in a new health care policy given their new real-world experience. More…

Cap-and-Trade Stifles New Manufacturing Jobs

The envirofascist group Environmental Defense Fund says the proposed cap-and-trade program is “the most environmentally and economically sensible approach to controlling greenhouse gas emissions.” It’s a statist’s dream to strangle American energy and save polar bears and Al Gore’s reputation. But a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research finds the EPA’s cap-and-trade program in 20 eastern states implemented from 2003 to 2007 shaved the number of manufacturing jobs by 1.3%. “There are several possible causes for the manufacturing job losses caused by cap-and-trade,” The Washington Examiner writes. “Many firms were affected by higher energy costs. But large manufacturing plants that produce their own energy were directly regulated under the cap-and-trade program. ‘Direct regulation may have led existing firms to decrease employment and discouraged new firms from locating in the regulated region,’ the study speculated.” Cap-and-trade contributed to lower wages for new employees and fewer new hires – something that should give the collegiate environmentalists crusading for the cause of global warming pause, as they soon will enter the job market. More…

Housing Market Crash Bells Are Ringing

Is another housing market crash in the works? That’s a question some are pondering as the new director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) implements some of the same policies that rocked the economy shortly after Democrats took control of Congress in 2006. The Washington Examiner writes, “Mel Watt has been the government’s manager of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for only a year, but his efforts to boost access to home loans over the past 12 months have the incoming Republican majorities in Congress concerned. Even as credit remains historically tight, Watt’s actions have provoked fears that he is leading the mortgage giants down the same path that led them to fail in 2008 and receive massive taxpayer bailouts.” Among the regurgitated policies? “[P]utting off a fee increase on the insurance that Fannie and Freddie provide on mortgage-backed securities, planning to back loans with down payments as low as 3 percent, and, most recently, directing money toward an affordable housing trust fund decried by conservatives as a ‘slush fund.’” Recall that the so-called fix for the housing market implosion was to centralize more control. Now that the feds have more leeway, the question is: Why are they recycling failed policies? Well, wasn’t this their plan all along – to facilitate bigger government regardless of the consequences? More…

California Gives Illegal Immigrants Driver’s Licenses

The Department of Motor Vehicles in California has gotten even more fun. And when we mean fun, we mean the department is going to have even longer lines because the state just implemented its law allowing illegal immigrants to procure driving licenses. That’s why you go to the DMV, right? “The DMV has hired more than 1,000 workers and opened four new centers to handle the rush,” reports CBS Los Angeles. “The new law allows undocumented immigrants to apply without the fear of being deported, which has long been a concern in the community. The DMV expects nearly 1.5 million undocumented immigrants to apply over the next few years.” As Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw points out, driving is a privilege and “that privilege can be taken away for any of a number of offenses which include driving while impaired, failing to obtain proper registration, inspection and insurance documents or just running too many stop signs.” But yet those who skirt the nation’s immigration laws now have a right to drive. More…

Gingrich: Obama a ‘Tragic Failure of Leadership’

As Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder begin their ride into the sunset, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said this administration has been a “tragic failure of leadership.” Instead of bringing the country together racially, Obama’s White House has divided the nation. “I’m saying the president spends a lot of his time saying things that are divisive, automatically jumps to conclusions about things he doesn’t know,” Gingrich said. “I’m saying the attorney general clearly has given speeches that are divisive. And I’m just suggesting to you, just as a tragic lost opportunity, you would think that six years into the first African-American presidency, there would be a sense of us coming closer together. That hasn’t happened.” But what would be good for the nation isn’t good for the Left, which profits from playing one demographic against the other. More…

For more, visit Right Hooks.

RIGHT ANALYSIS

GOP Sets Agenda, but Infighting Threatens Delay

Today, the newly elected 114th Congress convenes, and with it, lots of hype, ambitions, agendas and political drama. Congress will be tasked with passing legislation the president will no doubt oppose, and Republicans will have to keep the infighting to a minimum if they ever hope to stop this administration’s assault on Liberty.

The GOP appears to be ready to go to work, having put forth an agenda that seeks to accomplish what the 113th Congress – derailed by then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid – could not. The first order of business for the House is to pass legislation expediting the Keystone XL Pipeline. The Senate is expected to follow suit, with the GOP leadership making it clear that creating jobs and increasing energy production in the United States is a must.

Next on the agenda is ObamaCare. In the GOP weekly address, Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL) said that the House plans to rework ObamaCare’s definition of a full-time employee. The law sets the bar at 30 hours per week, but Republicans seek a return to the traditional understanding of a 40-hour workweek. Obviously, we would prefer Congress repeal the entire law, but it would be foolish to expect the president to sign legislation undoing his crowning “achievement.” And some reform is going to be necessary given the possibility of the Supreme Court striking down federal subsidies.

A third item on the Republican agenda is to rewrite the unpopular No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Rep. John Kline (R-MN) are leading the way on pushing for legislation that seeks to reduce the federal government’s involvement with education. NCLB is what might be considered low-hanging fruit. Few people like it, and reform would demonstrate Republicans’ seriousness in governing.

With an established GOP agenda, the next hurdle should be getting a few Democrats on board and having the president sign the legislation that arrives on his desk. But before any agenda is put to motion, Republicans must settle their own infighting.

According to Fox News, at least nine conservative Republicans have declared their intent to vote against John Boehner as speaker of the House. Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) says, “[A]s many as 18 conservatives will look to vote against Boehner.” And so the party begins.

Two representatives, Ted Yoho (R-FL) and Louie Gohmert (R-TX), announced that they will challenge Boehner for his post. They claim Boehner has not taken a hard enough stance against the president, and specifically criticized him for forcing the CRomnibus through without giving members time to read it. They say voters want a change in leadership – something no doubt true among Tea Party conservatives.

The frustration is certainly both understood and well founded. Boehner is not the best man for the job of leading the House, and he has tweaked and angered conservatives along the way.

But his opponents don’t seem to have a viable alternative, and the showy display of disunity will accomplish little except provide fodder for the Leftmedia to report on GOP dysfunction.

Ronald Reagan once offered what he called his 11th Commandment: “Republicans shall not ever speak ill of their fellow Republicans.” Scorched-earth Republican infighting is unwise. Republicans should resolve their disputes quickly and move on to combatting the bigger threat to American Liberty – the Obama agenda.

This new Congress under GOP leadership has two years to do everything within its constitutional power to stop this president’s policies that are, in Obama’s words, “fundamentally transforming” our nation. But they can’t win if they don’t band together. The GOP momentum needs to carry all the way to 2016, when Republicans have the opportunity to gain more seats and even the presidency. So rather than putting on a political sideshow, the GOP needs to get to work.

Tax Filers to Experience ‘Joys’ of ObamaCare

This year, the IRS will be fully involved in policing health insurance coverage under ObamaCare, with federal tax forms requiring for the first time that taxpayers report their health insurance status to the IRS. Filers will have to state whether they had employer-paid health insurance coverage in 2014 or received subsidies to help pay for their coverage. Those who did not have coverage face fines of $325 or 2% of taxable income.

Citizens will basically be on the honor system, however, as the IRS says reduced staffing and budgets won’t allow it to check up on every tax return. The IRS operating budget has shrunk by $1 billion since 2010, and it has 13,000 fewer employees – a direct result of Republican attempts to stymie ObamaCare’s implementation. The IRS says it won’t reject tax returns that don’t address the health insurance question, but the agency plans to exercise its audit power. Some filers may be required to file additional forms to prove their health insurance coverage or request one of the 30 different exemptions that currently exist. Open enrollment ends on Feb. 15, though, so the window for filing hardship exemptions is rapidly closing.

An estimated 3.4 million people who cashed in on subsidies may learn the hard way that they received too much money to help cover their insurance, resulting in smaller-than-expected refunds or even larger tax bills. “People will file their tax returns and learn they are subject to a much larger penalty for 2015,” Stan Dorn of the Urban Institute told the Associated Press. “And they can do absolutely nothing to avoid that.”

The problem of people being nailed for back taxes due to ObamaCare is not considered to be a transitional one that will go away after a couple of years. In order to determine whether a subsidy is needed or how much it should be, people will have to be able to predict their medical requirements in advance. Coupled with continual and arbitrary rule changes and a fundamentally flawed method for calculating subsidies, this means millions of taxpayers will be subjected to an IRS drubbing every year.

Companies with 100 or more employees will also be compelled to follow the employer mandate in 2015. Human Resource departments will be churning through a bureaucratic nightmare of paperwork to prove adequate coverage for at least 70% of their employees or companies face a $2,000-per-employee fine. Employers with 50 to 100 workers will face the employer mandate in 2016. Smaller companies remain exempt from the mandate.

The employer mandate has forced companies to deliberately avoid hiring more full-time workers in order to escape the mandate. This behavior is considered to be one of the reasons for the meager jobs recovery as companies look for ways to shave costs in a draconian regulatory environment.

The GOP leadership plans to hold votes to change the ObamaCare definition of a full-time employee from 30 to 40 hours, although the move could raise deficits by $73 billion over 10 years because the government would collect fewer penalties.

Republican tweaks and a Supreme Court ruling notwithstanding, ObamaCare remains a horrible and unconstitutional law that costs our economy and our Liberty big time. Its prescription over the next few months is more pain.

For more, visit Right Analysis.

TOP 5 RIGHT OPINION COLUMNS

For more, visit Right Opinion.

OPINION IN BRIEF

English Poet John Dryden (1631-1700): “We find few historians who have been diligent enough in their search for truth; it is their common method to take on trust what they help distribute to the public; by which means a falsehood once received from a famed writer becomes traditional to posterity.”

Columnist Ed Feulner: “In 2014, federal spending reached $3.5 trillion, and the one-year deficit was $486 billion. These huge numbers represent ‘a small and temporary improvement in the nation’s fiscal situation,’ a recent report by the Heritage Foundation notes. But as the authors point out, that doesn’t mean we’re on the right track. Far from it. A serious effort to cut spending – not just trim a bit here and there – is needed. … To put the problem of overspending in perspective, consider what is perhaps the most striking chart in the Heritage report. It’s titled ‘What if a typical family spent money like the federal government?’ It notes that the median family income is $52,000: ‘If they spent money like the federal government, they’d spend $60,400 a year, which would mean they’d put $8,400 on the credit card each year, despite already being $308,800 in debt.’ This is unsustainable. Does the new Congress realize this? More importantly, do they care?”

Columnist Michael Barone: “How big a problem is family fragmentation? ‘Immense,’ says Mitch Pearlstein, head of the Minnesota think tank Center of the American Experiment. ‘The biggest domestic problem facing this country.’ So big he went out and interviewed 40 experts of varying ideology across the nation and relayed their answers in his book ‘Broken Bonds: What Family Fragmentation Means for America’s Future.’ That’s the good news. The bad news is that none of the experts is confident he has an answer, and neither is Pearlstein. … Some of Pearlstein’s experts call for raising taxes, and some call for lowering them. Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah calls for legislative remedies to reverse ‘implicit marriage penalties in our tax code and welfare programs.’ Such policy changes might be useful ‘nudges,’ to use Harvard law professor (and Obama appointee) Cass Sunstein’s term. But perhaps well-off Americans should, as Charles Murray suggests, preach what they practice. Few Americans want to stigmatize single parents. But should we be afraid to tell people there’s a better way?”

Climate blogger Steve Goddard

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