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WSJ: The Year of The Washington Power Grab

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by Rocketman1981, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. Rocketman1981

    Rocketman1981 Member

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    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304325004579295030954653514



    The Year of the Washington Power Grab
    In ObamaWorld, winners and losers are chosen by the federal government.



    By Kimberley A. Strassel


    Jan. 2, 2014 7:02 p.m. ET


    This past year will be remembered for many things, but let 2013 be hailed mainly for this: It was the year that the genius of George Orwell's "Animal Farm" became clear in America. Efforts to centralize control in the name of "fairness" have led to a society that is ever more at the mercy of a federal power—one that decides who does and does not succeed. The winners are favored special interests, political cronies and wealthy lobbyists. The losers are everyone else.

    Consider: Maryland authorities last week launched an investigation into the shootings of two bald eagles in Montgomery County. It isn't clear if the federally protected birds were shot on purpose, or if some poor soul mistook them for vultures. No matter. The Maryland Natural Resources Police (there is such a thing) has gone full vice squad—publicizing a hotline number, dangling a reward, and reminding folks that the federal penalty is a fine of $5,000 per eagle and up to a year in prison.

    This behavior contrasts with a very different headline, from a month ago. "U.S. to Allow Eagle Deaths—to Aid Wind Power," read a Dec. 6 Associated Press story about a new federal rule that allows wind companies favored by the Obama administration to avoid the law. These select companies can kill bald and golden eagles, free of prosecution, for 30 years.

    Within minutes of 2013's beginning, Congress had passed its huge new tax-cliff increase, which President Obama crowed would ensure that "millionaires and billionaires" will "pay their fair share." Yet included in that bill was $40 billion in exemptions for the politically powerful—Michigan Nascar-track owners, rum distillers, renewable energy firms, and so on.

    ObamaCare was passed in the name of equalizing health care. Yet it was Congress and its staffers who got special dispensation to keep a generous health subsidy—when no other Americans did. It was powerful corporate America, with its influential lobbyists, that got an additional year to meet the insurance mandate—when individuals did not. It was the unions that got a reprieve from a health-insurance tax—when individuals and small businesses were left to pick up the tab.

    In August, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a new ethanol mandate, though it exempted one lucky refinery in Louisiana, out of 143 nationwide. That refinery happens to be under the patronage of Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu, up for re-election this year.

    Congressional Democrats advanced measures in 2013 to pile new taxes on fossil fuel companies. This, as the Energy Department continued to absorb the losses of Solyndra, A123 Systems, and other taxpayer-funded green-energy firms, some of which are owned by political donors to Mr. Obama.

    The Justice Department in November settled with J.P. Morgan JPM +1.19% for $13 billion, for the sin of dealing in "toxic" mortgage-backed securities. Some of that payout will go to Fannie Mae FNMA -1.01% and Freddie Mac, FMCC -1.74% sources of the housing collapse that are nonetheless wards of the state—and thus, apparently, safe from Justice lawsuits. Citibank, so immersed in subprime as to require a bailout, also escaped Obama prosecutors. But Citibank is the producer of—and landing spot for—key Obama appointees, including Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

    In April, the IRS was outed for targeting conservative political groups. The Obama administration in December issued new rules that will institutionalize this silencing of conservative free speech under the guise of regulating 501(c)(4) organizations. Unions, which file under a different IRS nonprofit category, will continue unmolested.

    The EPA this summer conducted an armed raid of a mining facility in Alaska, over putative violations of the Clean Water Act. The Federal Trade Commission harassed a nonprofit representing piano teachers, over ginned up antitrust violations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration began cracking down on small, family farms, operations meant to be exempt from that agency's regulation. By contrast, the administration has yet to announce a single prosecution of a single individual at the IRS. Mr. Obama explained in December that IRS employees were simply victims of a "difficult law to interpret." Maybe like the Clean Water Act, or antitrust laws, or OSHA rules? Maybe not.

    There's plenty more, but you get the picture. In "Animal Farm" George Orwell set out to show how power inevitably corrupts, no matter how noble the intention. A group of animals initially centralize control over the farm to ensure that "All animals are equal." Yet the novel ends with the barnyard commandants—high on their righteousness—reducing the commandments to just one: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

    Indeed, in ObamaWorld, many millionaires, health-care buyers, energy companies, subprime dealers, political groups, and bird killers are more equal than others. Our new elite is ever more defined by who has the best pull with the administration. So long as government grows, so too will this government-created inequality.
     
  2. GladiatoRowdy

    GladiatoRowdy Contributing Member

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    There is so much fail in this article that it is hilariously amusing in its partisan bias...

    Wow, political cronies and favored special interests are now, under Obama and for the first time, getting special favors, largess, and benefits while the rest of us fend for ourselves? Say it ain't so.

    One is a case of someone breaking the law by intentionally shooting two eagles (not saying they knew they were eagles, but it would be rather difficult to accidentally shoot a bird). The other is the case of shielding a company from prosecution if a bird happens to be killed by a wind turbine.

    In one of those cases, a person loaded a gun, aimed, and shot a bird out of the sky. There was intention to kill the animal, even if we can't prove that the person knew that what they were shooting at was an eagle. Still in this case, someone broke the law and, since a law has been broken, there is a police investigation. This shouldn't be surprising.

    What IS surprising is that anyone would try to compare intentionally shooting a bird with putting up a wind turbine into which a bird flies and gets killed. Truly worthy of a :rolleyes:.

    If you are arguing that the various exemptions and deductions of which the rich avail themselves should be axed altogether, I would agree with you wholeheartedly. However, trying to pin blame for favored interests getting favors from politicians on one party or, worse yet, on the Obama administration specifically, is the height of stupidity. All politicians do it and they are all wrong for doing it.

    You will need to read up on the "special dispensation" claimed in this piece. The Republican amendment to the ACA which caused the problem in the first place required that congressional staffers participate in the healthcare exchanges, while prohibiting the federal government from paying for insurance purchased on the exchange. This amounted to an immediate pay cut for all congressional staffers, which was not intended in any way.

    http://mediamatters.org/blog/2013/08/11/sunday-shows-push-myth-that-congress-is-exempt/195344

    No details at all on any specific reasons for the exemption, but I would count one exemption out of over 140 as a pretty good ratio. I agree that, as a rule, all should be treated equally, but 1/143 does not equal a pattern of patronage.

    Wow, Democrats tried to pass higher taxes on energy companies after they won the 2012 elections in part because of their promises to try and pass higher taxes on energy companies? The sky is falling!!!

    Of course, they "payout" referred to would be repayment for "breaches of representation and warranties" committed by and admitted by Citi. Oh, and ying to blame Fannie and Freddie for the crisis is worth little more than a :rolleyes:.

    http://orangehousemedia.com/2013/10...95-million-payout-agreement-with-freddie-mac/

    Of course, when investigated more fully, it was found that the IRS targeted MORE liberal groups for the kind of special attention that conservative groups got so worked up about...

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/20/us-usa-tax-liberals-idUSBRE97J0V820130820

    Well, conflating EPA and OSHA regulations with IRS rules is silly, particularly in light of the fact that you are complaining that no IRS employees were prosecuted for doing the things that they were charge to do by their agency, actions which were applied to both liberal and conservative groups.

    Yes, and in the right wing echo chamber, anything Obama does is outrageous, unprecedented, and evil, much unlike the exact same activities engaged in by Bush, Clinon, Bush, Reagan, Carter...

    Indeed, in Fauxworld, people labeled "liberal" are held to impossibly high standards while the ones labeled "conservative" just don't have to live up to those standards.
     
  3. Mathloom

    Mathloom Contributing Member

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    When you witness two groups at each others' necks all the time, calling each other the problem, saying the nastiest **** to each other in total disregard towards maturity or even a sense of community...

    Then you go.. hey! these guys are right about what they say at a consistent rate. Both sides. Right sometimes. Wrong a few times. But generally the same topics, with the same tone, same topics, same idiocy as the other set of supporters.

    Makes more sense these days - it's still scary to think, though, that both of you are right a lot of the time. It's a very scary thought. That most of the time the right is correct about the left and the left correct about the right.

    But what does that make the groupies, the fans, the flag wavers?

    Makes them the same. You'd be hard pressed to find someone on this board who is willing to state what seems reasonable: Obama has been the best president out of a string of horrendous presidents since the 70's. But if you consider, alongside his achievements, the level of political deceit, disregard for human life/rights abroad, disregard for human rights at home.. It's a pretty grim situation on his watch. It's not going to get better because if anyone was going to make it better, we would have known about them by now. What he is leaving to the next guy is going to be what hurts Americans the most IMO. It's something to keep an eye out for, and since Bush deserves blame for the crap he left Obama with, let us keep a collective eye out for what Obama will leave his successor with when he's done.
     
  4. Dubious

    Dubious Contributing Member

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    The WSJ has become the Pravda of the 1%
     
  5. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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    WSJ was such a good paper. Did this happen after the acquisition by News Corp?
     
  6. Dubious

    Dubious Contributing Member

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  7. Dairy Ashford

    Dairy Ashford Member

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    The Journal is a completely fine paper, it's just that some point we started rating and picking our traditional media products based their political slant rather than on geographic or topical scope.
     
  8. Northside Storm

    Northside Storm Contributing Member

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    ...is the WSJ trying to at last, embrace the inequality narrative, but then spin it to, of all forces, the federal government? And what's this, nearly no whiff of Wall Street itself in this narrative, except as victim of "federal government inequality"?

    LOL

    you keep on writing for robo-foreclosure, power-rigging, LIBOR-rigging, crap product writing, Excel-error making JP Morgan, and Goldman "has more subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands then Japan and the UK" WSJ.

    no cred
     
  9. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Contributing Member

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    Their reporting is still decent, but their op/ed has been and will always be tabloid-like and stripped of substance.

    A title like this could've went for Obama's political manueverings such as secret court orders, using recess appointments or the overturn of certain filibuster provisions by Democrats, you know something meaty, but it falls into the same ****ing braindead partisan narrative simpletons are copying and pasting while possibly not reading the rest of the paper and getting a sense of what the rest of the world is going through.

    WSJ Op/Ed Internet Edition: So disconnected from reality, so you can be too.
     
  10. SamFisher

    SamFisher Contributing Member

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    The editorial page has been a clown show for decades - unless you're the type of idiot that believed the Clintons and Vince Foster were smuggling drugs via rural Arkansas airports
     
  11. CrazyDave

    CrazyDave Contributing Member

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    Op-Ed article with "in Obamaworld" in the sub-title that rails against how government corruption was invented last year under this administration.... seems legit. Almost made me want to read it.
     

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