Morning Action: Tax Day
OBAMA TAX DAY. It would be futile for the Left to try to deny how central so-called class warfare is to being President Obama. That is what he ran on and won his presidential elections – pitting Americans against Americans.
For Obama, this spring’s fights over class represent both a political challenge and a definitional moment. His most consistent argument — that higher taxes on the well-to-do are the essential element in preserving popular government benefits to the middle-class and poor — is in tension with his most consistent promise, that his presidency will break Washington gridlock and elevate problem-solving over ideological purity.
However, President Obama’s policies have not helped the middle class, and it is untrue that only high income earners have seen their taxes increase during his time in office – the middle class has as well. His tax hikes are harmful to the economy and to all classes of Americans.
GUNS. The Schumer-Toomey-Manchin gun bill removes existing privacy protections for the mentally ill, which have been in place to encourage a more effective relationship between patients and psychotherapists:
The STM gun control legislation eliminates any HIPAA privacy protection for mental health records in connection with the NICS system, leaving only what privacy protection the Attorney General cares to provide. The STM legislation says that information collected under the law by Attorney General Eric Holder to help him enforce the prohibition on firearms possession by mental defectives or people committed to mental institutions “shall not be subject to the regulations promulgated under section 264(c) of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (42 U.S.C. 1320d-2 note).”
AMNESTY. The Senate is moving forward with an immigration deal, and though some Senators refuse to call their “pathway to citizenship” amnesty, there is not unanimous consent – even in the Senate that it’s not just that:
A bipartisan bill to revamp U.S. immigration laws, including giving millions of undocumented immigrants in the country a pathway to citizenship, is expected to be introduced in the Senate this week, Senator Charles Schumer said.
A group of eight senators has resolved “every significant disagreement” when it comes to immigration reform.
After being introduced, the bill will be subjected to hearings and negotiations as lawmakers and President Barack Obama’s administration attempt to craft a major overhaul of U.S. immigration laws for the first time in nearly three decades.
It “will give amnesty now, legalize everyone that’s here effectively today and then there’s a promise of enforcement in the future,” said Sessions, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee.
“Even if you pass laws today that appear to be effective, it doesn’t mean they’re going to be enforced,” Sessions said.
BIG LABOR. President Obama’s has appointed controversial people for positions of authority in his departments. They have been met with skepticism and criticism –for good reason – and that’s what’s happening with Obama appointee Thomas Perez right now:
In a blistering report, Republican lawmakers sharply criticized Labor secretary nominee Thomas Perez over what they said was a questionable deal he brokered while serving as head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
The GOP lawmakers accuse Perez of misusing his power last year to persuade the city of St. Paul, Minn., to withdraw a housing discrimination case before it could be heard by the Supreme Court. In exchange, the Justice Department agreed not to intervene in two whistleblower cases against St. Paul that could have won up to $200 million for taxpayers.
NORTH KOREA. Speaking of controversial nominees, one such nominee that became Secretary of State John Kerry has now said of the very aggressive North Korea:
“I think it is really unfortunate that there has been so much focus and attention in the media and elsewhere on the subject of war, when what we really ought to be talking about is the possibility of peace. And I think there are those possibilities.”
Kerry was on tour in Asia to get support for curbing North Korea’s nuclear program and to reassure our allies, and while there he stated:
Our choice is to negotiate, our choice is to move to the table and find a way for the region to have peace.
“Talking about the possibility of peace,” is Kerry’s main suggestion so far, but what Heritage suggests is that American strength will deter provocations by North Korea. They explain:
The challenge for the United States is to change that calculus without using means that escalate the immediate crisis. Here is one step that would be very meaningful. The United States should announce that it is substantially increasing its naval shipbuilding program. At the same time, the Obama administration should privately inform the Chinese government that if China cannot (or will not) control North Korea, the United States will have no choice but to maintain a permanently increased naval presence in the East and South China Seas.
In short, the Obama administration should put real power behind its “Asia pivot.”