prev next

Glen Meakem


Meakem on Supreme Court Rulings

by Glen Meakem
 

This past weekend, I talked about the Supreme Court's rulings on Obamacare and
Arizona's immigration law. I also talked about the lower court's decision to affirm the EPA's ability to regulate CO2 under the clean air act, and the U.S. House of Representative's decision to hold President Obama's Attorney General, Eric Holder, in contempt of Congress.

Tom Jones, an attorney and partner with the Jones Day Law Firm, returned to the
program with some insights on the Supreme Court's rulings. No one predicted that
Chief Justice John Roberts would rule against the much debated individual mandate under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, but then allow it to stand under Congress's authority to tax. That's right. The Court ruled that the mandate is a tax, and is therefore legal. During the political debate over Obamacare, President Obama argued repeatedly that the individual mandate was NOT a tax, but then his own lawyers argued the mandate WAS a tax in front of the Supreme Court this spring. For whatever reason, Roberts decided to accept the Obama Administration's argument that the mandate is legal because it is a tax, and now President Obama is presiding over a $500 billion tax increase that will be levied on all Americans including the 95% of families who earn under $250,000 per year. That's right, the Obama Administration's successful argument in front of the Supreme Court, makes President Obama a liar yet again. He lied about the mandate and he lied about never taxing any American family that earns below $250,000 per year. But does this surprise you? One thing I have learned in the forty years since I became politically conscious is that when a Democrat Party politician promises he or she will only tax the rich, they mean everyone!

While it may be politically brilliant and even just that the Court pushed the issue of Obamacare back to the American electorate and Congress, Tom Jones noted that Roberts' legal decision is muddled at best. According to the dissent written by the four conservative judges who did not agree with the decision, never in the history of the Republic has a statute been considered both a penalty and a tax at the same time. The Court treated the mandate as a penalty so the Court could have standing, and then the Court treated the mandate as a tax in order to rule it constitutional.

Roberts' ruling now raises another question. Is there any inaction on the part of individuals that Congress cannot tax? According to this ruling, you can now be taxed for NOT going to a health club and working out three times per week!

Although this new legal and constitutional question is very troubling, Roberts'
ruling makes two things abundantly clear. First, the President has now absolutely violated his pledge NOT to raise taxes on any family making less than $250,000 a year. And second, Roberts handed the GOP Presidential candidate, Governor Mitt Romney, a huge political issue for the fall Presidential election. The election is now no longer just about the economy (although that would probably have been enough). Now, the question of total government control of health care is a decision that will be made by the voters. If you want to be forced by government mandate to buy health insurance, vote for Barack Obama and the Congressional Democrats. If you want Churches to face the choice of either violating their moral consciences and
religious freedom or closing the doors of their schools and hospitals, then vote for Barack Obama and the Democrats. If you want decisions about your personal medical treatment to literally be made by bureaucrats in "the Capital," as opposed to by you and your doctor, then go ahead and vote for President Barack Hussein Obama II and his party.

Outrage over the President's healthcare bill is what first sent Tea Party activists into the streets in 2009 and 2010. It's what inspired liberal Massachusetts voters to elect Republican Scott Brown in a special election to fill the seat vacated by Senator Ted Kennedy (sending Brown to Washington to be the "41st vote" against Obamacare). And it's what invigorated independent, moderate, and conservative voters to turn out in droves in 2010 to vote Congressional supporters of Obamacare out of office. Voters now have only one more opportunity to get rid of Obamacare and its deficit busting, tax increasing, government takeover of our healthcare system. We must vote President Obama out of office in November, we must get a Republican
majority in the U.S. Senate, and we must retain and strengthen the Republican
majority in the U.S. House. Only then will President Romney be able to make good on his promise to do what the Supreme Court failed to do last week, and that is repeal Obamacare.

Matt Pitzarella (an executive with Range Resources) also joined me with some updates on the American natural gas industry. Matt talked about an important new study conducted at liberal Yale University. The study added up ALL of the costs of natural gas, including very generous estimates of indirect costs often referred to as "externalities" like air pollution, health problems, "global warming," etc. The study concluded that "not even inflated costs associated with unrealistically high incidences of pollution can come close to balancing the societal benefits of the shale gas boom." In other words, the benefits of American produced natural gas to America OVERWHELMINGLY outweigh any possible costs -- using the most liberal estimates of costs possible. Specifically, the study said that every year, "the consumer surplus from shale gas is in excess of $100 billion to the US economy."

This Yale study now joins other notable studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Texas in affirming the overwhelmingly positive outcomes of natural gas production in the U.S. -- even including all possible externalities. And of course, natural gas is by far the cleanest, most environmentally friendly fossil fuel. So clean that as recently as two years ago (before it became clear that we now have hundreds of years of supply) the Sierra Club supported domestic natural gas production.

And yet, in spite of the growing body of evidence that supports the economic and
environmental BENEFITS of natural gas production in the United States, the Obama
Administration continues to block construction of export terminals which would
enable American gas producers to export U.S. produced gas to markets around the
world. This is yet another example of how the Obama Administration is determined to
restrict economic growth in America. Barack Obama is standing in the way of new jobs
for U.S. workers, standing in the way of increased U.S. energy independence,
standing in the way of increased global energy price stability, standing in the way
of increased U.S. tax revenue (from increased sales of natural gas), and standing in
the way of increased U.S. national security. In fact, just this week, Obama's
Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, emphasized the Obama Administration's
determination to take the regulation of natural gas drilling -- which has resided
with the states
for over 100 years -- and place it in the hands of the federal government. And at
the same time the Obama Administration is announcing they intend to force a slow
down in natural gas production. Of course, they are also implementing EPA
regulations that are shutting down coal fired power plants in Pennsylvania and
around the country, which will take 20% of U.S. electric production offline over the
next few years. The Obama Administration is waging this war on coal fired
electricity plants despite the fact that experts have testified before Congress that
they are worried about the future stability of America's electricity grid. And while
President Obama continues his assault on U.S. produced energy, his massive tax payer
funded solar loan program continues to crumble. Just last week another solar company
-- Abound Solar -- declared bankruptcy in spite of a $430 million taxpayer backed
loan!

Honestly, I do not understand how anyone who understands economics or the physics of
energy production and delivery -- and wants America and Americans to succeed -- can
possibly vote for Barack Obama in 2012. And this is tragic because if Barack Obama
had assessed the real problems confronting America at this moment in history -- our
run away budget deficits and deep recession in the wake of a major financial crisis
-- and confronted them, he could have been a great President. Of course, to actually
address these problems with realistic solutions, he would have had to leave his
left-wing, socialist values and thinking behind, and reach across the aisle to find
bi-partisan solutions (like adhering to the recommendations of his own bi-partisan
Simpson-Bowles budget commission). Instead he ignored our real problems and all the
rational advice, and focused on (in the words of his chief political advisor, David
Axelrod) "not letting a good crisis go to waste." And so, Obama
attacked the private economy, ignored the ballooning annual deficits driven by
out-of-control spending on social programs and focused on his left-wing socialist
agenda -- implementing severe new regulations across the private economy, putting
all health care under government control, and restricting energy production and
infrastructure, among many others. And because of this poor judgment, poor
leadership and poor performance, Barack Obama deserves to be voted out of office by
the American people.

I also talked about the "walkout" demonstration organized by the Congressional Black
Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and the Congressional Progressive Caucus
(among other organizations) which took place during Attorney General Eric Holder's
contempt vote. This walkout was designed to suggest that the contempt vote against
Eric Holder was racially motivated. As Herman Cain said, this is nonsense. The Obama
Administration's "Fast and Furious" gun running program went badly wrong along the
U.S. - Mexico border back in 2009 and 2010. American Border Patrol Agent, Brian
Terry and hundreds of Mexican citizens were killed. And, after first testifying
about this debacle, Attorney General Eric Holder was forced to retract significant
elements of his testimony before Congress because his statements were false. Then
Holder refused to release to a Congressional investigating committee tens of
thousands of documents that might shed light on what exactly happened at the
Department of Justice in the days following the death of Border Patrol agent Brian
Terry. Finally, at the behest of Holder and the Justice Department, Barack Obama
declared that the documents were under "executive privilege" keeping the documents
confidential, just hours before a key deadline. The "walkout" by dozens of members
of Congress from the Democrat Party occurred even as 17 Democrats voted with
Republicans to find Attorney General Eric Holder criminally in contempt of Congress,
and 21 Democrats voted with Republicans to find Holder in contempt under civil law.
So the contempt votes were bi-partisan.

Now I ask you, does this fact pattern have anything to do with racial, ethnic or
cultural background? No. Unless it can prove otherwise, this sure seems like a
cover-up perpetrated by an Administration that promised us it would be the most open
in history. That commitment, of course, was a less than funny joke. But the fact
that members of Congress have now injected race into this is really disturbing and
disappointing. Herman Cain is right. The Congressional investigation is about
holding members of the Federal Government accountable, and to suggest otherwise is
offensive and destructive to both American governance and civil discourse.

All of this leads to the inevitable conclusion that President Obama and his
Administration are extremely dangerous. They have shown us over and over again that
they will stop at nothing to implement their left-wing agenda. They have run over
our Legislative and Judicial Branches of government. They have ignored precedent and
the rule of law. But the American people held them accountable in 2010 by delivering
a "shellacking" to Democrats. And we will do it again this November. We MUST vote
Barack Obama and his left-wing team out of office, and with your help, we will.


Share   Share

Featured Columnists
Featured Audio Links