TheDC Morning: Democrats: Democracy is only fun if we’re in charge
1.) Senate Dems will likely agree to cut a whopping $4 billion from CR — The House GOP has sorta kinda won its round of chicken against Senate Democrats, reports the Wall Street Journal. “House Republicans plan to begin debate Tuesday on a bill that would keep the government open for two additional weeks while cutting $4 billion in spending. Senate Democrats are signaling they will accept the GOP proposal, or something similar, by week’s end.” But let’s not call it a more, er, muscular GOP just yet: “In crafting the plan to fund government operations for two additional weeks, GOP leaders are calling only for cuts that many Democrats find palatable. This will make it more difficult to reach a bipartisan agreement on additional cuts when the two sides begin negotiations on a spending measure to fund the government until Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.” As for the tens of billions in serious cuts that GOP freshmen are lobbying for: “Comments by both sides Sunday suggested they were no closer to an agreement on that measure.”
2.) Six out of six federal judges agree: Obamacare penalty isn’t a tax — The distinction between a penalty and a tax isn’t semantic, writes The Hill. “The Constitution grants the federal government wide latitude to impose taxes — but not penalties — for the population’s general welfare.” This is why the nature of Obamacare’s individual mandate, and the accompanying fine for people who refuse to buy things that they do not want, is such a hot topic. Here’s the rub: Calling the penalty a tax was politically unpalatable for Pres. Obama, considering that he promised no new taxes on Americans who make less than $250,000 a year and that the eventual “fine for an individual without health insurance will be…$695, or 2.5 percent of taxable income, whichever is greater”; but the last minute decision to call the penalty a tax is what gives the government the authority to enforce the mandate at all. Even Obamacare endorsee Judge Gladys Kessler saw through the ruse, writing in her decision that “the findings demonstrate that the goal…is not to raise revenue, but to achieve near-universal health care coverage by giving individuals the incentive to maintain their health.” Regardless of what it’s called, Americans don’t want it: “A Kaiser Family Foundation poll this week found that two-thirds of Americans support repealing the individual mandate.”
3.) Dick Trumka refuses to condemn comparisons of Gov. Scott Walker to a man who oversaw the genocide of 6 million Jews — The pro-union protestors who are currently occupying the Wisconsin Capitol building haven’t been shy about expressing their disdain for Gov. Scott Walker. A select few have gone so far as to compare the governor to Hitler, transposing the furor’s tiny black mustache on images of Walker’s upper lip, and also just yelling things like, “Gov. Walker is Hitler/a Nazi!” Yesterday on Meet the Press, host David Gregory asked the AFL-CIO’s Dick Trumka what he thought of such rhetoric. “We want to — I — look, we ought to — pro, anti- union , it doesn’t matter,” Trumka responded. He then added, “We should be sitting down trying to create jobs. When — and look, if you think that the argument that you’re doing in Wisconsin is winning, as you said, Kim , the polls show that every – Wisconsin , vast majority of the people think this governor has overreached. His popularity has gone down. They’re saying to him, ‘Sit down and negotiate. Don’t do what you’ve been doing.’ So he’s losing. If that’s the argument you’re going to do this year or next year, it’s a loser for, for anybody who advocates it.” FYI: Nowhere in that trough of spoilt word salad is the statement, “Comparisons to Hitler are inappropriate and unhelpful.”
4.) State legislators blow the dust off their pocket Constitutions — “In Kentucky, the State Senate is expected to take up a bill this week declaring the state a ‘sanctuary’ from meddling by the Environmental Protection Agency,” reports the New York Times. “In Arizona, the State Senate approved a measure this month that would exempt all products made and consumed within its boundaries from federal interstate commerce laws.” This is happening in other states, too: “The Montana Legislature is considering a bill that would allow the state to nullify federal laws that protect endangered species. And in Georgia, a bill that would override federal monetary regulations by requiring banks to accept payment in gold or silver has survived two readings in the State House of Representatives.” Though they might not realize it, liberals paved the way for these laws with medical marijuana bills and illegal immigration sanctuaries.
5.) Why do Rust Belt Democrats hate Democracy? — “American-style democracy holds together because no matter how nasty the political game gets, the players honor a few inviolable rules,” writes Nolan Finley of the Detroit News. “We obey the laws, even the ones we disagree with. We respect the ballot box. And after even the most bitterly contested election, the loser accepts the results, works within the system and awaits another chance to prevail with voters.” Well, except in Wisconsin and Indiana, where liberal politicians are but fairweather fans of Democracy. Finley calls it a trend: “We saw it during passage of Obamacare, when the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate blew up the rules to block a filibuster. In Massachusetts, Democrats used after-the-fact law changes in a failed attempt to keep a Republican from succeeding Ted Kennedy. Obama trashed bankruptcy law to move the United Auto Workers ahead of General Motors’ and Chrysler’s secured creditors.” It’s almost as if Democrats think they’re the only people in the world entitled to pass partisan laws.
6.) Tobacco addicts are the gift that keeps on giving — “In Fiscal Year 2010, the federal excise tax on cigarettes (currently $1.01 per pack) brought in $15.5 billion in revenue,” reports The Daily Caller’s Caroline May. “In 2009, states raked in more than $24 billion by taxing cigarettes and $8.8 billion in settlementpayments from tobacco companies.” Smokers give in other ways as well. According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, “Smokers actually save the government money, both by dying earlier and thus reduce social security payments, and, to a lesser extent, by dying of relatively cheap ailments like lung cancer, a fairly quick killer, rather than more expensive, lingering ailments.” Smokers, in other words, are like the ashtray at the end of the rainbow. Shouldn’t we be treating them better?