Letter: Selective Obama

July 13, 2013


To the editor:

Under what provision of the Constitution does the president have the authority to suspend the employer mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act? Like it or not, workable or not, the Supreme Court has held that the president does not have the authority to enact, amend or repeal laws. Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution clearly states that the president shall faithfully execute the laws of this country. 

Yet this administration has overstepped its authority in refusing to enforce immigration laws and changing the requirements set down in law under No Child Left Behind. Furthermore, HHS now says that while required by law to verify eligibility requirements for individual waivers under Obamacare, it won’t be doing that because it’s too hard, and the logistics are too difficult. Mind you, the GAO points out that some 20 to 25 percent of those receiving the “earned income credit” on their tax forms do so fraudulently. What does this mean for the taxpayer picking up the tab for the Affordable Care Act? What will be the next politically inconvenient or unworkable law that the administration decides to change, suspend or ignore?

Why even have a Congress?  Let’s just have the imperious Leader and his loyal advisers decide what laws are useful and ignore the rest.


ChuckFInster 4 years, 10 months ago

But Ken, we're talking about Barack Obama. Barack can do as he wishes because we're all going to get lots of free stuff like health care, cars and don't forget the "Obama phone" ! Or it could be congress is still reading the bill to see what's in it.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 10 months ago

Funny, I was going to mention that people getting EIC might be telling little white lies on their applications, things like forgetting to mention that job that was done for cash, etc. I said to myself, naw, I'm going to let that comment go. Then I clicked on another thread, the one about the new rec. center development and sure enough, there was a comment speculating about possible cash payments made under the table.

So, how do people file for EIC fraudulently? The same way developers skirt around the rules, and to the same extent. We're all human, after all.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 10 months ago

The wealthy so I read is the largest group of tax $$$$$$ violators in the world. Yet by keeping the IRS understaffed allows this crime to prevail. It called deregulation by default.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 10 months ago

I've read that 50% of those who file cheat on their taxes. Imagine the size of the bureaucracy if a legitimate attempt was made to catch them all.

John Hamm 4 years, 10 months ago

I'd like to see some data on this comment.

jhwk2008 4 years, 10 months ago

Do people enjoy being ignorant? The law (specifically, IRC Section 6055) states that the employer reports are due “at such time as the Secretary may prescribe.” This letter should have instead been titled "Selective Truth".

deec 4 years, 10 months ago

Executive orders are nothing new. Pretty much every president has issued some. Bush issued 291 and Clinton 364 So far, Obama has issued 157. Why are executive orders scarier now that less of them are being issued?



Alyosha 4 years, 10 months ago

It would likely help the writer find answers to his question were he to actually think about and research the topic.

Here's a good Bloomberg piece on this very topic: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-03/does-obama-have-the-power-to-delay-his-mandate-.html -- Not so hard to find. One has, though, not to be operating from one's emotions, but rather using one's head, to look for and find the article.

Some salient points:

"Section 1513 of the law, which lays out the employer mandate, states unambiguously that it is set to begin Dec. 31, 2013. However, that isn't technically the part of the law that Mark J. Mazur, an assistant secretary in the Department of the Treasury, said was being deferred."

"One way to read this -- and the way it was probably intended -- was that the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, would determine when in 2014 employers would file their insurance reports. That's consistent with her discretion under other parts of the law to determine how employers file. Under this interpretation, employers would still be required to insure their employees for all of 2014 even if Sebelius had them file on New Year's Eve.

"Another way to read the passage is as a blank check to postpone the mandate by as long as a year. That comes from the key part: "during a calendar year, shall, at such time as the Secretary may provide."

Yet, a third way to read it: If "during a calendar year" is read to modify "employees" and not "at such time" then the Secretary could have the power to defer the mandate indefinitely."

Try actually thinking and researching before penning a letter. This letter writer clearly has no interest in finding out the facts; otherwise they would have done so, quite easily.

This letter writer — and most commenters here — is interested simply and unhelpfully with venting their unexamined emotions.

Which is a very bad way for a citizen to act when trying to enact public policy.

Richard07 4 years, 10 months ago

If you think about it it's really a moot point. For decades if a particular facet of enforcement of some governmental function was found to be "unpopular" with the new administration the White House could by proxy simply if not outright ignore the function/legislation choose to simply direct the appropriate people to under emphasize or "back burner" that activity. If during the budget talks, let's say, the IRS budget is trimmed, Treasury could cuts resources for auditing sharply which of course, would lead to far less audits. No law is broken in that case. Kind of shows you how unpopular Obamacare is. If this were an obvious constitutional or impeachable issue, don't you think the Republicans would jump on it? Most Republicans are hoping this bill will implode before being fully operation. Just sayin.

In_God_we_trust 4 years, 10 months ago

I think it shows that Pres. Obama thinks it will be damaging to democrat's re-elections in 2014. He wants to try to prevent any negative press, or people turning against democrats that voted for this monstrosity until later, after the elections.

In_God_we_trust 4 years, 10 months ago

"Kind of shows you how unpopular Obamacare is."

It also shows that President Obama wants to delay negative press and people's negative opinions about Obamacare, turning against Democrats who voted for the Obamacare monstrosity. The President knows that negative opinions on Obamacare will impact the ability of Democrats to be re-elected in 2014. So he would like to delay the negative election impact till after the election, as much as possible.

skull 4 years, 10 months ago

FOX news Obama scandal hour...is this impeachable? We ask our expert Michelle Bachman next...

Trumbull 4 years, 10 months ago

GAO points out that some 20 to 25 percent of those receiving the “earned income credit”

I'd say this is pretty low compared to the people who "cheat" on their taxes. So before we get self righteous about what is cheating....here a few things that are taxable income: Cash received for things like yard-work, garage sale if sold at a gain, ebay sales if sold at gain, fantasy sports winnings, gambling, etc.

We collectively dismiss these things as not taxable, not to bother with, but technically, they very well could be taxable.

funkdog1 4 years, 10 months ago

"Refusing to enforce immigration laws?" Obama has deported more illegal immigrants than any other president ever! Turn off the FOX news! http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/23/us/advocates-push-obama-to-halt-aggressive-deportation-efforts.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

jhawkinsf 4 years, 10 months ago

Suppose Bush, Sr. deported 1% of all illegal immigrants. Suppose Clinton upped it to 2% while Bush the junior deported 3%. Now suppose Obama deports 4%.

Are you saying that Obama is enforcing immigration laws while the others did not? Or isn't the truth that none of them enforced immigration laws?

Your statement seems misleading while you claim statements by others are misleading. Thank you for that clarification.

jafs 4 years, 10 months ago

The truth would be that Obama is enforcing them more aggressively than any of the other presidents.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 10 months ago

The truth is that Obama has made a decision to selectively enforce them. He has decided to go after illegal immigrants who have violent convictions while ignoring the overwhelming number of illegal immigrants who are not violent, yet are still here illegally.

It's difficult to say that you're on the one hand ignoring the overwhelming majority while also saying you're enforcing the laws.

jafs 4 years, 10 months ago

It's still more aggressive than the other presidents, based simply on the numbers.

So, those who would crucify Obama for not enforcing immigration laws, while ignoring the fact that he's more aggressively enforcing them than 3 other presidents, two of whom were R, betray a rather obvious partisan bias.

I'm taking your numbers as fact, while I have actually no real knowledge that's true. Do you have any real numbers on this?

jhawkinsf 4 years, 10 months ago

No, I made up those 1%, 2%, etc., just to make a point. I've seen numbers in the past, but don't recall them off hand. Your point in taken when you take note of the partisan nature of some comments. Then again, my original comment was critical of someone whose post was somewhat misleading, a type of partisanship in itself.

jafs 4 years, 10 months ago

Is the claim true?

If so, where's the partisan nature of the comment?

According to the NYT article linked, Obama has deported as many illegal immigrants in one term as George Bush did in two. If that continues, then he will have deported twice as many as Bush did by the end of his presidency.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 10 months ago

It's fun to play with numbers. The article referenced said that Obama is on track to deport as many illegal immigrants as all administrations combined from 1842-1997. Sounds great, unless you know that for many of those years, there was no effort at all to deport any illegal immigrants. So what's the point of saying it?

If one knows that Obama has made a decision to not go after the overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants, and then says that Obama is making great strides in deporting illegal immigrants, then all you're doing is playing fast and loose with the truth.

Again, Jafs, if you set the bar exceedingly low, and then raise it ever so slightly, you can't then claim to have set the bar very high. The truth is that you've raised the bar ever so slightly.

BTW - It's been claimed in this forum, oh so many times, that Obama inherited a mess. In this case, Bush inherited a Clinton policy that deported an incredibly low number. (See the chart in the article referenced above). The numbers deported by Bush are so far above those of Clinton, that they pale in comparison. Obama has added to that. So if you're looking to give credit for the increased numbers of deportations, look at Bush's numbers first, keeping in mind what he inherited.

jafs 4 years, 10 months ago

I disagree.

The facts are the facts - if Obama's deporting twice as many as Bush, then he's more aggressively enforcing our immigration laws than Bush did.

We might think that neither one is doing enough, or as much as we'd like, but the comparison is still true and valid.

If we were comparing Bush and Clinton, it might be a different story.

You have to understand that pointing out that Obama has more aggressively pursued enforcement than Bush is a response to the charge made by some on the right that Obama has a lax policy towards illegal immigration.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 10 months ago

Did you read my comment yesterday in the thread about the need for democracy in the mideast? I'd say the comment was pretty neutral, neither hostile towards one religion, nor any political movement in the mideast. Yet despite that neutral position, some in this forum might consider my position in that region as being somewhat slanted towards one particular country, even to the point of being an apologist for that country. Imagine that. :-)

You disagree, you say. Of course you do, Jafs. You're an apologist for Obama. :-)

jafs 4 years, 10 months ago


And, from lengthy discussions with you on the subject, you are very pro-Israel and even acknowledge that.

I'll take the rest as jokes that aren't necessary to respond to.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 10 months ago

I did mean for my comments to be taken lightheartedly. But despite your denial, if it looks like a duck, if it quacks like a duck, if it waddles like a duck ... Remember, denial ain't a river in Egypt.

jafs 4 years, 10 months ago

Can you define "apologist for Obama", so that I understand what you mean?

I'm quite certain that I'm not one, but an actual definition would be helpful.

Well, actually according to my dictionary, it means one who speaks in defense of another. I do defend Obama against fallacious claims and attacks, so I have no problem with that term.

However, it doesn't mean that I think he's perfect, or that there aren't any valid criticisms of him, which is what I thought you were saying.

So, sure, if somebody attacks him, and I feel that the attack has no legitimate basis, I will point that out. Somebody ought to, given the incredible prevalence of those sorts of attacks in politics these days.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 10 months ago

Jafs, you want me to define an apologist for Obama. Well, for starters, a lot of it has to with the sum of your comments. You have 19,000 and I'm nearing 7,000. After a while, we get to know what positions people will likely take. In my 7,000 comments, I could point out several dozen where I was critical of Israel. I could point out another few dozen that could be interpreted in no other way as than being neutral. Yet, you, others, rightly see a pro-Israel bias. Why? Because when taken as a whole, that's exactly what exists. The same is true with you and your pro-Obama bias. Sure you occasionally are critical of him. Sometimes neutral. But taken as a whole, no other conclusion can be reached than your very strong pro-Obama bias. And yes, bias is the correct word for both your stand and mine.

You will claim that you come to his defense when he is wrongly attacked. Maybe. Just the other day, Brownback was being criticized for events that happened prior to him being governor. When I noted that, the thread went strangely silent. Your response? None. Bush has been harshly criticized, mostly for good cause. But not always. And when that happens your response is ... silence.

Let me break out my crystal ball for a second. To the best of my memory, you've not stated how you've voted in specific elections. But I'd be shocked if you voted for Brownback, Jenkins, Roberts, Moran. I'd be shocked if you voted for Romney, McCain, Bush in either 2000 or 2004. Are these really just good guesses? Or are they correct based on your comment history? Earlier in this thread, you were simply unable to give credit to Bush for sharply increasing deportations while you were quick to give credit to Obama for doing the same. You've said Obama inherited a mess when it comes to the economy. No recognition that Bush inherited a mess when it comes to immigration.

You remind me of something that happened while I was in SF. The most progressive city in America where a Republican couldn't get elected dogcatcher, yet when some progressive policy fails, they blame Sacramento if there are Republicans in charge of either chamber of the legislature. If both are Dem. controlled, then blame the Gov. If he's Dem., blame Washington. If they're Dem., blame past Republicans. Never, Never, Never, look in the mirror and examine the possibility that it's the policy itself that is a failure. Never do that.

jafs 4 years, 10 months ago

I don't know what you mean by bias, then. Of course I think that Obama was a better candidate than the others - that's why I voted for him.

I see a pro-Israel bias, partly from that, and also from the fact that you acknowledge it yourself. When I say "bias" I mean that your feeling about Israel colors the way you think about the middle east, and your proposals for how to fix the problems there, so that your ideas give Israel what it wants, but not Palestinians. You tend to see Israel as the "good guy" and Palestinians as the "bad guys". Etc.

I have no such bias about Obama - I just think he was the better choice available at the time. There are people with such a bias, who tend to not notice his flaws, and justify things he does that they would criticize in others - my father in law may be one of those. He's a staunch liberal D, and I often challenge his bias in that direction.

I vote D, because I tend to find their philosophy and policies generally more to my liking than R, but am not completely satisfied with those either. For example, when I get those questionnaires that ask whether I think we should "protect" SS/Medicare, or privatize/eliminate them, I find it very frustrating. I think we should re-structure them, which doesn't fit in either category, or either political philosophy, apparently.

We were talking about Obama, not Bush. If Bush increased deportations, then he more strongly enforced immigration laws than Clinton - I have no problem saying that at all. But that doesn't change the fact that Obama is even more so.

I challenge that sort of partisan thinking whenever I find it, regardless of which "side" it occurs on.

You seem to think that any view is the same thing as "bias", and that the only "unbiased" stance would be neutral. I'm not at all sure that's true - it would mean that if some guy beats his wife, that the only unbiased stance would be that they're both equally at fault, or something like that.

jafs 4 years, 10 months ago

I'm going to stop here.

You're looking for something that doesn't exist - no matter how sure you are that it does.

parrothead8 4 years, 10 months ago

The House also voted to delay the employer mandate, Ken, so your point is moot. The President did not act unilaterally once that House vote became complete.

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