Repairing The American Automobile Market

Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial today about President Trump’s visit to Detroit to talk to auto manufacturers. The editorial reminds us of some of the policies initiated by the American government that have created problems for the auto industry. The editorial also suggests some solutions for these problems.

First, the editorial examines the history of CAFE Standards:

For those who don’t know, the federal government first imposed the “Corporate Average Fuel Economy” standard in 1975, in response to the government-caused energy crisis. The standard requires automakers to meet annual fuel economy targets based on the fleet of cars they sell in a year, or pay stiff penalties.

By the time the standards started to bite in the early 1980s — which forced a radical (and deadly) downsizing of the domestic fleet of cars — President Reagan had deregulated the oil industry, thus ending the energy crisis. And now, with fracking, the country is awash in domestic oil supplies.

But the CAFE standards persisted, and President Obama hiked them in 2009 and again in 2011. If left in place, cars will have to get an average 54.5 mpg starting in 2025 — less than eight years from now.

This was a thinly disguised effort by the Obama administration to force electric cars onto the market, since not a single conventional vehicle comes close to that mileage standard today.

This is just another example of the government interfering with the free market to the detriment of the American consumer.

The Standards were supposed to be reviewed in 2017, but the government, under President Obama, reneged on its promise:

Detroit signed on to this idiocy in 2011 in part because it reformed the existing CAFE regulations, but mainly on the promise that they’d have the chance to review and amend the standards in 2017. But just before leaving office, Obama’s EPA regulators reneged on their end of the bargain, locking the 54.5 mpg mandate in place without even a cursory review.

In a recent letter to Pruitt, the Auto Alliance — which represents Ford (F), GM (GM), Fiat Chrysler (FCAU), Toyota, Volvo and other carmakers — pushed him to allow the 2017 review to go on as promised, so they at least can make their case on why the 2025 standard should be eased. Trump announced his plans to do so on Wednesday at an event in Detroit.

The Standards did encourage auto companies to design cars that got better gas mileage. However, now it is time to let consumers make their choices as to what cars and what efficiency they want. The CAFE Standards have raised the price of cars for everyone and not really accomplished much. It is time to encourage auto makers to make cars that get reasonable gas mileage, but not hold them to unreasonable standards. The CAFE Standards need to go.

The Legal Double Standard

Yesterday The Wall Street Journal posted an article about Kim Davis, the county clerk for Kentucky’s Rowan Country.Ms. Davis is now in jail because she refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples because it was against her religious beliefs. There are some people who believe that because she is an elected official, her religious beliefs are not allowed to influence the way she does her job, but there is a bit of inconsistency here.

The article reports:

We don’t recall President Obama insisting on “the rule of law” when his then Attorney General, Eric Holder, announced in 2011 that he wouldn’t defend challenges to what was then the law—the Defense of Marriage Act signed by President Bill Clinton—in the courts. Nor did we hear about upholding the law when mayors such as Gavin Newsom in San Francisco issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of state laws.

Officials such as Messrs. Holder and Newsom were as guilty as Ms. Davis of elevating personal preferences over the law. Yet they were lionized by those now holding up an obscure Kentucky clerk as a national villain. Meanwhile, five of Rowan County’s six deputy clerks say they will start processing licenses for same-sex couples Friday, but Miss Davis says she will not authorize them.

I don’t have the answer to this dilemma. I do believe religious beliefs should be protected, but I am not sure how that would play out in this situation. I suspect our Founding Fathers would come down on the side of Ms. Davis. However, the past behavior of the Obama Administration seems to indicate that if you disagree with a law, you don’t have to enforce (or follow) it. Obviously you can’t have it both ways.

When The Timeline Tells A Different Story

On Tuesday, Investors.com posted an article about the timeline involved in the prisoner swap that freed Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from the Taliban.

The article reports:

“This was about bringing home an individual that had served his country,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said last week about the 2014 swap.

But IBD has uncovered a series of credible reports from 2012 — as well as a transcript of a candid press conference by then-Afghan President Hamid Karzai — that show the White House originally wanted to give up the Taliban commanders under just one condition: that the Taliban open a political office in Qatar “to conduct peace negotiations.” It was Qatar that ended up taking the prisoners.

It seems that successful negotiations are not a strong point of the current White House.

This is the timeline as listed in the article:

January 2009: Obama signs executive order calling for Gitmo to be shuttered within a year, while his national security team considers if the five Taliban leaders are safe for release.

2011: White House and State Department officials open secret talks with the Taliban in Germany and the Persian Gulf to discuss their release from Gitmo as part of “peace talks.”

Jan. 3, 2012: The Taliban announce they are prepared to open a political office in Qatar to conduct peace negotiations in exchange for the release of the Taliban commanders. (“The releases would be to reciprocate for Tuesday’s announcement,” according to “The Guardian.”)

April 2012: Working with the White House, Karzai sends delegation of Afghan government officials to Gitmo to interview the Taliban prisoners and secure their oath to cut ties with al-Qaida.

(“On the issue of the release of the Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo, we are fully in support of that,” Karzai says during a July 9, 2012, visit to Japan. “If they wish to go to Qatar, we want them rejoined with their families.”)

Karzai signed on to the deal because he thought it would buy peace and goodwill with the Taliban, which threatened to retake Afghanistan.

You would think by now we would have learned that any peace and goodwill from the Taliban is highly unlikely. Now that the five prisoners formerly classified as “indefinite detainees” have been released, the defense lawyers for the remaining prisoners can easily argue that their clients are less dangerous.

The goal was always to close the prison at Guantanamo–not to return Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to America.

 

 

 

Observing The Double Standard

It’s always interesting to see how the press covers the occasional misdeeds of our political leaders. Recently, however, it has reached the point of absurdity. Jonah Goldberg posted an article at National Review Online today which showed some concrete examples of the double standard at work.

One of the recent examples is the attack on GOP House whip Steve Scalise because he spoke to a group of racists twelve years ago. No one seems to care what he said–so far I have seen no record of his comments–the uproar is because he addressed the group. Representative Scalise claims that he had no idea what the view of the group were (there was no ‘google’ then). But let’s look on the other side. The article points out:

Barack Obama was friends with a domestic terrorist, Bill Ayers. His spiritual mentor was a vitriolic racist, Jeremiah Wright. One of his administration’s closest advisers and allies is Al Sharpton, a man who has inspired enough racial violence to make a grand dragon’s white sheets turn green with envy.

Meanwhile, the Democratic party venerated the late senator Robert Byrd, a former Klansmen himself. He was one of 19 senators (all Democrats) to sign the Southern Manifesto opposing integration. One of his co-signers was William Fulbright, Bill Clinton’s mentor.

People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

There are other examples in the article:

Peaceful, law-abiding tea-party groups who cleaned up after their protests — and got legal permits for them — were signs of nascent fascism lurking in the American soul. Violent, anarchic, and illegal protests by Occupy Wall Street a few years ago or, more recently, in Ferguson, Mo., were proof that a new idealistic generation was renewing its commitment to idealism.

When rich conservatives give money to Republicans, it is a sign that the whole system has been corrupted by fat cats. When it is revealed that liberal billionaires and left-wing super PACs outspent conservative groups in 2014: crickets.

That is just the way the mainstream media sees and reports it. Remember this as we go into the 2016 election season. Don’t believe everything you hear.

When Lawlessness Becomes A Pattern

Today’s Washington Examiner posted a story about the number of emails missing or destroyed in various agencies of the Obama Administration. Federal regulations require that emails of federal agencies be retained for certain periods of time. It is becoming very obvious that the federal agencies in the executive branch of the Obama Administration have chosen to ignore that regulation.

The article reports:

The latest example comes from the Department of Health and Human Services, which admitted Wednesday that hundreds of Obamacare emails subpoenaed in 2013 by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform were destroyed months ago.

Subpoena, what subpoena??!!

The article concludes:

And it’s not just emails. As Christopher Horner wrote earlier this week in the Washington Examiner, Environmental Protection Agency officials routinely destroy official text messages, contrary to law. And let’s not forget those fake EPA email names like “Richard Windsor.”

And there’s this: 47 inspectors-general told Congress in a letter this week that their investigations are often obstructed, delayed or otherwise impeded by top agency officials.

It became abundantly clear several years ago that the Obama administration was waging a campaign of massive resistance to legitimate congressional oversight.

That campaign — and a parallel one against aggressive journalism — has made an utter mockery of Obama’s opening-day promise of the “most transparent administration in history.”

So what is it these people are so desperate to cover up?

Richard Nixon and Rosemary Woods would be green with envy.

The Obama Administration’s Guide To Handling A Scandal

On Sunday, Real Clear Politics quoted a transcript of some comments made on Fox News Sunday by Kimberley Strassel describing how the Obama Administration handles scandals.

Ms. Strassel totally understands exactly what is going on. The article reports:

CHRIS WALLACE: Kim, why do you think that the White House keeps playing this card?

KIMBERLEY STRASSEL, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Well, because they can’t say that they did know or else the next question is going to be, why didn’t you do anything about it or why were you allowing this to go on? You almost — you have to wonder if there is a scandal manual in the top drawer of the president’s desk. It isn’t just the I heard about it from the media. There is five steps that this administration keeps repeating every time the scandal comes up. Step one is, well, I didn’t know about it, step two is to express great outrage. When that doesn’t work, step three is to fire some low level bureaucrat.

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: The study — The study is going …

STRASSEL: The study comes next. Then, you know, we’re going to wait and see what the I.G. says or the FBI investigation or whatever it is. And then when that doesn’t stop, six months later, you say it’s either A, done or B, all the results are the partisan pushed by Republicans. And it just goes on and on. You could take — this is not just the clips of him repeating again and again I didn’t know about this, when you listen to some of his press conferences, they’re eerie. It’s the exact same language every time.

At what point do American voters realize what is going on here?

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Cutting Medicare Home Health Benefits To Fund ObamaCare

On Friday the Washington Times posted an article about cuts to home health care for senior citizens. These cuts of 14 percent, or an estimated $22 billion, were part of ObamaCare.

The article reports:

How did home health care save money for taxpayers? Using 2009 as a reference year, Medicare’s average Part A and Part B payment for a home health care visit was $145, compared to $373 per day in a skilled nursing facility or a whopping $1,805 per day in a hospital. In addition, according to one leading expert, skilled home health care services saved the Medicare program $2.8 billion during the most recent three-year period. Approximately $670 million of that savings is attributable to 20,000 fewer hospital readmissions.

This is either extremely short-sightedness, or another attempt by the Obama Administration to cut the amount of healthcare available to senior citizens. It doesn’t save money–it just takes healthcare away from our most vulnerable citizens.

The article details the impact this will have on businesses that provide home health care:

It will hit the small businesses that provide home health care nationwide, and is already doing so. More than 90 percent of those providing home health care are small businesses. According to the U.S. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 40 percent of these companies will be operating “at a loss” — that is, they will likely fold or end up in bankruptcy — by 2017 as a result of the cut. What does that mean? It means nearly 5,000 more Medicare home health care providers may go out of business, and nearly 500,000 more jobs within this flogged industry may be wiped out to fund Obamacare. Those who care about such things should put that into their future unemployment calculations — and then thank Mr. Obama and his congressional friends, who all got a waiver and probably do not worry about home health care anyway.

We will elect a new House of Representatives this year, and we will also get to vote for one-third of the Senate. We need to consider carefully who we vote for. The survival of the elderly in our country depends on our vote. ObamaCare will probably not be repealed as long as President Obama is in the White House and as long as the establishment Republicans have a strong voice, but it can be significantly changed.

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Crony Capitalism At Work

It is not news that the Obama Administration practices Crony Capitalism, but sometimes it is news to see how far the Administration will go to destroy a business or industry they have decided they do not like.

Breitbart.com posted a story today about the Obama Administration’s war on the private lending industry: third party payment processors (“TPPPs”), payday lenders, and online lenders. The war, referred to in the Administration as ‘Operation Choke Point,’ is designed to destroy these three industries.

The article at Breitbart.com explains:

According to the Wall Street Journal, the federal initiative now known as ‘Operation Choke Point’ is an outgrowth of the President’s Financial Fraud Task Force, established by President Obama by Executive Order in 2009. It also appears to have been kicked off in secret by the Department of Justice, FDIC, and the CFPB in early 2013 without the requisite statutory authority. Officials at the Department of Justice have withheld information about the program from Congress, though they have eagerly shared details with federal financial institution examiners authorized to supervise and discipline the nation’s banks and related financial institutions.

…The members of Congress warned Holder and Gruenberg that these actions were undertaken by their respective agencies without statutory authority. “Your actions to ‘choke off’ short-term lenders by changing the structure of the financial system are outside your congressional mandate,” they wrote. “With the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act, Congress acknowledged the need for short-term credit products and did not try to limit online lender’s or storefront operators’ ability to offer such products.”

The article goes on to explain some of the efforts by Congress to obtain information on the program and to fulfill their constitutional responsibility of oversight. Generally speaking, they have been blocked at every turn.

The article concludes:

The Obama administration, by treating Congress with disdain and failing to provide evidence of the statutory authority for its actions, is signaling that it has no intention of stopping. Up next for the administration is the expansion of the tactics used in ‘Operation Choke Point’ to a whole host of industries the Obama administration does not like and has identified for targeting, including manufacturers of guns and ammunition.

When will we get our real constitutional government back?

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Using Scare Tactics To Discourage Whistleblowers

I will admit that I have only followed current events for the last twenty years or so, but I can’t remember ever hearing anything like the story I am about to report.

Yesterday Breitbart.com reported that two ABC News reporters who entered the Peck Federal Building in Cincinnati were escorted through the building by an armed uniformed police officer with the Federal Protective Service. The Peck Building is a public building, it is also the home of the Internal Revenue Service office in Cincinnati.

The article at Breitbart reports:

At the [Cincinnati] IRS office on the fourth floor, a woman who answered the buzzer referred reporters to officials in Washington, though they were not returning very many calls. That staffer also said she was not allowed to speak to anyone – a line that was repeated by agency personnel during the week.

IRS headquarters in Washington denied that a no-talk rule was official policy because, after all, agency staffers still have a constitutional right to talk to whomever they want. …

Not so, said IRS folks in Ohio.

One of them, who asked not be named, told ABC News that security guards did remind employees of the official policy not to talk with the press – a warning cemented by the punch line “or risk losing our jobs.”

All we need is one honest, brave employee to come forward and explain exactly what happened. Unfortunately, that would be the Obama Administration’s worst nightmare and they will do everything they can to keep that from happening.

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Avoiding Even The Obvious Budget Cuts

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article today about the proposed Democrat budget plan and its relationship to welfare spending. The Obama Administration has already cut the work requirement in order to collect welfare, now they refusing to support another very obvious cost-cutting measure.

The article reports:

Jeff Sessions offered an amendment that addressed the Obama administration’s outrageous policy of advertising the easy availability of food stamps in foreign countries. This is how Sessions described the amendment:

Contrary to sound policy, the United States is spending money advertising food stamp benefits in foreign consulates. This amendment would prohibit any funds from being spent on this controversial promotion campaign.

Federal law has long prohibited immigration to the U.S. by anyone who is likely to become a public charge. Instead of enforcing this law, the Obama administration has willfully violated it by encouraging immigration to the U.S. by Mexicans and others, precisely because they will become public charges and thereby contribute to the expansion of the welfare system. The administration’s promotion of the food stamp program to foreign nationals is part of this effort.

Why in the world are we advertising American food stamp programs in foreign countries? It seems to me that if we wanted to control immigration (legal or illegal) offering free food or money would not be the way to do it. America needs immigrants, but we need legal immigrants who will contribute to society rather than expect to be supported by hard-working taxpayers.

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Washington’s New Math

Ed Morrissey posted an article at Hot Air about the additional $111 billion in Obamacare costs requested in the President’s budget for next year. Keep in mind that Obamacare is not even fully implemented yet and it’s cost to taxpayers have increased by 33%. Wow. That is amazing math!

The article reports:

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., wants to know by Monday why the estimated ten-year cost of helping millions of middle-class Americans buy health insurance has jumped by about 30 percent. …

At issue are subsidies that will be provided under the health care law to help middle class people buy private coverage in new state insurance markets that will open for business in 2014.

The response of the Obama Administration:

Administration officials say the big increase from last year’s estimates is no cause for alarm and that the administration is not forecasting an erosion of employer coverage or higher insurance costs.

About two-thirds of the increase is due to effects of newly signed legislation that raises costs for one part of the health care law, but still saves the government money overall. The rest is due to technical changes in Treasury assumptions about such matters as the distribution of income in America.

Does anyone actually believe that after Obamacare is fully implemented, it’s costs will go down. We need to repeal Obamacare as soon as possible!

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A Backlash From The Catholic Church

The Catholic Church has come out strongly in protest of the recent ruling announced by Heath and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on January 20.

As I previously reported (rightwinggranny.com):

The Health and Human Services Department recently announced it will require all employers (with few exceptions) to provide health insurance to their employees which includes subsidized contraception, sterilization and coverage for abortion-inducing drugs.

This meant that religious institutions, like Catholic colleges and hospitals, or other Christian institutions would  be compelled to violate their conscience by cooperating with that which they believe to be wrong. Currently many of these institutions purchase health-insurance plans which do not provide free coverage of these services. 

This ruling matters to you even if you are not Catholic–everyone’s freedom to practice (or not practice) the religion of their choice is now under attack.

CNS News reported today that Representative Nancy Pelosi has stated:

Pelosi: “First of all, I am going to stick with my fellow Catholics in supporting the administration on this. I think it was a very courageous decision that they made, and I support it.”

The Catholic Church has released a statement stating:

“In so ruling, the Administration has cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying to Catholics our Nation’s first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty. And as a result, unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled either to violate our consciences, or to drop health coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing do). The Administration’s sole concession was to give our institutions one year to comply.

“We cannot—we will not—comply with this unjust law.”

Nothing this political happens by accident. I can’t help but wonder what the motive of the Obama Administration is in starting this fight at this time. I know that many Catholics do not agree with their Church on the subject of birth control, but many Catholics share the Church’s believe on abortion. This needs to be watched–there may be more coming that will impact other people of faith.

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