The Consensus Of Dunces

If the United States were to enact a new minimum wage of $10.10 per hour, then the people would subsequently enjoy a higher standard of living. If you don’t believe me, then take it from President Barack Obama. During his State of the Union address last month, our beloved bringer of jobs, quality healthcare and a general sense of fulfillment said a 40 percent boost in the minimum wage is “… not going to depress the economy, it’ll boost the economy.”

And Obama would know. After all, in his five years at the national helm, the unemployment rate has declined from just north of 7 percent all the way down to… just south of 7 percent. I presume that represents the “hope” portion of Obama’s original campaign. As for “change,” the actual number of Americans not working for any wage — minimum or otherwise — opened Year Six of the Obama Era at an all-time high of 91.8 million. Lest you think that can be attributed to the growth in the American population as a whole, the Labor Participation Rate — the working portion of the population — has dipped to 62.8. That’s the worst performance since President Jimmy Carter’s “malaise.”

Having established the First Community Organizer’s impressive economic acumen, there’s no reason to doubt his claims. Of course, raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour would move the millions of Americans who can’t afford their own private Oregonian golf courses and/or Martha’s Vineyard beachfront manors into the penthouse next to Jay-Z and Beyonce. We know this because Obama says so — and Obama built an eight-figure fortune on a career as a professional politician, which is pretty remarkable.

But Obama is not alone in cheerleading for a minimum wage hike. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid joined Obama’s war on the private sector. Tuesday, the fabulously wealthy Reid tweeted:

And if Reid doesn’t convince you of the need for a minimum wage hike with his spirited indictment of private citizens who have violated no laws, even the ones about bid-rigging and nepotism-based conflicts of interest, you should take him at his word anyway. Because Reid’s own economic resume is unimpeachable. He’s been a professional politician since the day he graduated from law school. So there!

Not everyone seems sold on the idea that a minimum wage hike will make us all healthier, wealthier and wiser. According to the Congressional Budget Office, giving America’s minimum-wage workers a Federally mandated raise will send at least an extra 500,000 Americans to the already historically swollen unemployment lines. When the CBO noted the likely outcome of Obama’s wage-hike push, Obama surrogate Jason Furman decried their findings, claiming the CBO estimate “… goes outside the consensus view of economists when it comes to the impact of the minimum wage on employment.” The CBO is just a nonpartisan Federal agency that exists solely to track, record and predict economic data based on empirical evidence and actuarial analysis. What do the bean counters at the CBO know? They’re just professional bean counters. Obama has a “consensus.” Pay no attention to the fact that Obama also had a “consensus” on throwing taxpayer money at Solyndra, General Motors and Mexican drug gangs.

This is actually fairly simple supply and demand stuff, kids. Artificially jack up the cost, and people will find ways to work with less. Despite leftist claims to the contrary, applying basic economic principles to labor isn’t tantamount to the old “apples and oranges” rubric. Ultimately, there is no difference between labor and apples. Arbitrarily hike the price of an apple, and people will buy fewer apples. Arbitrarily hike the price of labor, and employers will hire fewer laborers. Actually, the law of supply and demand has a “necessity is the mother of invention” clause. Arbitrarily hike the price of apples, and people will buy fewer apples. Arbitrarily hike the price of labor, and someone will invent a robot to replace the laborer at 10 percent of the cost.

The proposed wage hike, which would actually join Obamacare and amnesty for illegal aliens in Obama’s arsenal of economy-killing super weapons, represents unsound economics backed by severely flawed understanding of the Constitutional separation of powers. Obama claims to have a “consensus.” I have a consensus, as well, Mr. President: The overwhelming majority of American voters can’t stand you. Try this artificial minimum wage hike, and my consensus will grow by at least a half million people.

–Ben Crystal

‘Gong Show’ Politics

I swear “The Gong Show” offered better talent. At the very least, it wasn’t anywhere near as deliberately insulting to the audience. And Chuck Barris’ claims of service in the CIA were far more believable than nearly anything President Barack Obama and/or his Democrat accomplices might offer. Also, no one on the Gong Show ever killed anyone and then pretended it didn’t happen; nor do I recall any of the “gong-ees” accusing the semi-celebrity “judges” of racism for ringing the gong.

Literally nothing Obama and his accomplices say can be taken on faith. You’d be better off trying to scare a confession out of an Afghan heroin mule. They’ve given up any pretense of honesty. And I’m not just describing their tendency toward the kind of “big lie” politics that would make Joseph Goebbels blush like a schoolgirl. To be sure, multitrillion-dollar frauds like Obamacare provide plenty of glitz. When the President of the United States balances his signature scheme on a bald-faced lie that the Democrats have ceased acknowledging, that’s a full term’s work in and of itself. The mere fact that Obama and his accomplices continue to push something that both the perpetrator and the victim know to be a con tells us everything we need to know about the type of people who have taken over the port-side political party.

But that doesn’t mean they’re not perfectly willing to provide more proof. And when I say “provide more proof,” I mean they actively make liars of themselves on a regular basis. Indeed, if you need someone to expose Obama as a liar, give him time and he’ll do it for you.

Obama recently pushed Congress into betraying the Nation by again raising the debt ceiling. I suppose we were expected to ignore the sage advice of a certain former “community organizer” turned Senator from Illinois turned Presidential debt pimp:

The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the US Government cannot pay its own bills… Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.

And Obama’s recent announcement that he intended to step up his habit of ruling by fiat seems particularly peculiar when compared to his Royal Highness’ own statement decrying such unseemly abuse of executive authority:

The biggest problems that we’re facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the Executive Branch and not go through Congress at all, and that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m president of the United States of America.

They called Benghazi a “phony scandal.” I feel comfortable saying that the families of the four victims of that disgraceful, and disgracefully mishandled, disaster were less than pleased to learn the President of the United States officially believes it didn’t happen. The idea that Obama would not only fail to act on his countrymen’s behalf, but then would lie about the causes and responses, continues to be one of the stains that will forever mar Obama’s legacy.

To the wandering liberal who happens upon today’s column, I suppose my words might seem like beating a dead jackass. To those benighted souls, I’ll let a more respected President than Obama will ever be do the talking:

(G)overnments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it.

And if that doesn’t convince anyone, consider the equally sage advice of Barris: “Gong. Get off the stage.”

–Ben Crystal

Obamacare: Because He Can

So President Barack Obama has delayed the implementation of his pride and joy. Why did Dear Leader decide to park another segment of his namesake in the bureaucratic garage? Why did Obama put his signature rabbit back in the hat? Why did Obama move unilaterally to hold off on the governmental takeover of healthcare provision that he and his accomplices guaranteed would make every one of us happier, healthier, younger, taller and/or more attractive to the hottie in accounting, for the second time?

According to the man himself, he did it because he can. During a tour of Monticello with French President François Hollande, Obama quipped to reporters, “I can do whatever I want.” That might have been a real howler if Obama had not, at that moment, actually been planning to do whatever he wanted regarding Obamacare. As of Monday, Obama plans to hold off on imposing the terms of servitude until 2015, the second time he has decreed such a delay.

Don’t get overheated, though. Like virtually every other delay, exemption and/or clarification beforehand, this latest amnesty doesn’t apply to common rubes like you, Marty Middle Class. Unless you’re somebody Obama considers important (like a union thug, “community organizer” or a member of Senator Harry Reid’s staff), you’re not getting out of the biggest scam in human history that easily.

This latest “delay” applies only to select employers. After passing a bill without letting anyone read it beforehand, Obama then handed out exemptions to his cronies like after-dinner mints. All the cool kids got them. The total roster of exempt groups reads like the AFL-CIO’s membership directory. Joining the union thugs on the invite list to Obama’s taxpayer-funded Obamacare-exemption hoedown:

  • Corporate mega-giants like PepsiCo, a fact at odds with the Democrats’ “champions of the middle class” routine.
  • StarTek, a company that cheerfully describes itself as “a global provider of business process outsourcing (BPO) services.” That’s a fancy way of saying: “When your call to customer service is answered by a Filipino who speaks English as well as you speak Tagalog, that’s us.” Should you score the double hammy of both losing the coverage Obama promised you could keep and losing your job as one of the 2.5 million Obamacare casualties, StarTek helped replace you with Manuel in Manila.
  • I can only assume the first lady’s professed affinity for burritos led to the exemption for Uncle Julio’s Fine Mexican Food restaurants.
  • And I would dearly love to hear the explanation behind the exemption of the tobacco wholesaler Alliance One. Perhaps it’s part of the supply chain leading to the cigarettes Obama still secretly smokes in between statements on the evils of smoking cigarettes.

There are hundreds more exemptees, including a number of law firms whose only qualification appears to be generous donations to Obama. Someone is going to have to foot the bill for Obama’s Obamacare exemption party. And that someone is definitely not a member of the Teamsters Local Union 72 Welfare Fund (also exempt).

But you’re not on that list. And you’re not going to be. When Obamacare debuted, the vast majority of you wanted nothing to do with it. As it became readily apparent that virtually every promise Obama made was literally empty, Obamacare’s already-wavering support caved like the Denver Broncos’ defense in the Super Bowl. The rollout was the biggest national embarrassment since Vice President Joe Biden’s last visit to a 7-Eleven. There were exemptions, and then more exemptions. You, I and the family down the street comprise the one group that has yet to receive so much as a sideways glance. Yet we are paying for them. Obama and his Democratic accomplices have no intention of letting John Q. Public off the hook. They can’t. And the only reason Obama has given is, “I can do what I want.”

Here’s the real kicker: It’s illegal. And I’m not referring simply to this latest get-out-of-Obamacare-free card. Obamacare was passed under fraudulent circumstances. Fraud is still illegal. And the President is Constitutionally barred from altering legislation — even bad legislation — on a whim. Deliberately violating Article 1, Section 1 of the Constitution is illegal. And the exemptions create legal inequalities, certainly violating the 14th Amendment. That’s an extra-illegal burger with lettuce and cheese. You’ll eat it, and you’ll like it. Why? Because Obama says so, and he can do whatever he wants.

–Ben Crystal

Dasvidanya, Obama!

As Olympic openings go, I suppose Sochi’s could have been weirder. Athletes and visitors discovered the Black Sea beach town lacked creature comforts like floors, windows and working doors. Others learned the tap water was almost dirty enough to warrant a commercial starring a tearful Sally Struthers, promising: “For the cost of your morning latte, you could protect thousands of elite athletes from confusing southern Russia for northern Mexico.” And of course, major elements of the production worked as well as a Ukrainian nuclear power plant. It is Russia, after all.

Not long after the Russian TV producers somehow managed to convince President Vladimir Putin that the mega-snowflake-to-Olympic-rings trick hadn’t bombed like an overweight ski jumper, the U.S. Olympians made their entrance. Given our less-than-cordial relationship with the Russians of late, I wouldn’t have been stunned if the well-below-capacity crowd booed our squad — or at least fired off that weird hissing thing they do at sports Americans don’t watch on television. But they really didn’t seem to care any more about our athletes than they did about the Lithuanians, who have demonstrated much more backbone in dealing with Vlad the President.

Of course, much of the rest of the world obviously doesn’t like us. And who can honestly blame them? We obviously don’t care about them. We’re embarrassing, and I don’t mean in the “ugly, arrogant American” sense with which we used to be viewed. I mean in the “these guys have lost their marbles” sense.

Under the regime of President Barack Obama, the United States has progressed from fighting against al-Qaida from Afghanistan to the Maghreb to sending al-Qaida care packages to Syria from the Maghreb. We’ve gone from interning foreign detainees at Gitmo to interning foreign detainees at Gitmo. When islamofascists murdered four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, we blamed the crime on a YouTube video almost no one had ever seen. Susan Rice lied to Congress and got promoted. Hillary Clinton lied to Congress about the same thing and will almost certainly be the Democrats’ Presidential nominee in 2016. And the Democratic Party, whose number includes our commander in chief, spends more time calling their fellow citizens “terrorists” than they do calling the actual terrorists “terrorists.”

We’re not even nice to our friends anymore. Obama’s choice to be Ambassador to Argentina, a deep-pockets political consultant named Noah Bryson Mamet, admitted during his Senate confirmation hearings that he’s never visited the country to which he will now represent American interests. At least he knows where Argentina is located. Obama recently sold the post of United States Ambassador to Norway to a campaign bundler named George Tsunis. During his confirmation hearing, Tsunis, who paid $500,000 for the posting, essentially revealed that he struggles to find Norway on a map of Scandinavia.

Last summer, Putin made Obama cower like a teenage girl in a slasher movie. The Chinese are pulling ahead of us on the world stage. The Iranians are now mocking Obama on Twitter with jokes about “Rouhanicare.” Even the North Koreans are laughing at us.

The Russians can’t successfully finish the plumbing in time for an Olympic Games despite a seven-year head start. In fact, Russia is downright Third World when it comes to almost any reasonable standards. Things don’t work right in Russia, with the exception of treachery and potato liquor. Yet the Sochi Games serve as a stern reminder: Russia might be Third World, but we’re definitely third place in the world these days.

Kelo Forever

In 2005, a property-rights case made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Entitled Kelo v. City of New London, the case represented the last-ditch attempt by a small group of middle-class Americans to save their middle-class homes from an eminent domain seizure. Led by a nurse and single mother named Suzette Kelo, none of the six plaintiffs was the sort to spend a lot of time in the highest court in the land. And their opponents made the case an almost blatant metaphor for David and Goliath. Standing opposite the everyman plaintiffs was the city of New London, Conn. And standing behind New London was the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. Thanks to a sweetheart deal proffered by a city nearly desperate for incoming capital, Pfizer was the incoming tenant of a tract of land just across the water from the Kelo homestead.

In the eternally infamous decision, the court’s liberal wing ruled in favor of the government-industrial complex. At the time, the decision sparked a brushfire of outrage amongst the politically active segment of the population; but the blaze was unable to breach the walls of American indifference. Of course, the Kelo decision hardly marked the first time our government stepped on our fellow citizens’ necks. But Kelo represented a new low. Kelo wasn’t a ruling extending freedom. Kelo was a ruling that specifically limited freedom. And it didn’t take place back in the days before 24-hour news channels and 24-second news cycles. Kelo happened against the backdrop of the Internet age. And we ignored it.

The court had not entertained an “eminent domain” case for more than 20 years. With Kelo, for the first time since the dawn of the digital age, the government blatantly abrogated the Bill of Rights — specifically the 5th Amendment’s Takings Clause — on behalf of the promise of corporate cash; and the people let them get away with it. Moreover, the government-industrial complex conclusively learned that outrage, even over the most egregious crimes the State might commit, has a definitive shelf life.

In the most recent edition of The Weekly Standard, writer Charlotte Allen presented ‘Kelo’ Revisited.” Allen reveals the postscript to the Kelo group’s heartbreaking saga is sadder than Justin Bieber in the county lockup’s general population. After years of legal warfare, crippling financial losses, endless hours of time and effort, the city of New London and its accomplices have turned Kelo, et al.’s homes into… nothing.

There’s nothing there. The land deemed so prime for a conference/condo/recreational/retail/riverwalk/tourist trap/airbrushed T-shirt mega-center remains little more than scrub pine and seagulls. Pfizer ended up canceling its expansion plans and left New London with nary a little blue pill as a parting gift. The construction company hired to develop the seized land failed to secure financing and hightailed it back to Boston. Government wanted Kelo’s land. Government got it. And then government left it sitting there. In the Kelo context, government is a spoiled baby — albeit a spoiled baby whose tantrums can involve drone strikes.

And we’re still paying for it in spades. Kelo was the go code for government to roll heavy across our Constitutional landscape. From Kelo came the unmitigated gall of every fraudulent, crony-capitalist, government abuse of power since. The bank and auto bailouts, the “green” energy scams, the gunrunning disasters, the terrorism cover-ups, the domestic spying, the Internal Revenue Service bullying and Obamacare all got their green lights from Kelo.

I might be overestimating Kelo’s import. Perhaps Allen caught me on a particularly impressionable day. But I can’t help but note the striking rise in unapologetic government intrusion into private life in just less than a decade since. Nine years after Kelo, a simple land-grab seems almost quaint.

–Ben Crystal

Scary Gunz R Scary!

Witness the sad decline of ABC News’ aging newsmagazine 20/20. While it never achieved the notability of 60 Minutes, it likewise never dove headfirst into the deep end of the crazed activism of its neighbors like Dateline NBC. But then last week, 20/20 served up “Young Guns.”

“Young Guns” included the usual worn-out pseudo-facts which turn up in every anti-Bill of Rights phlegm the left coughs up. Co-host Diane Sawyer put on her very best Emmy™-nominee voice to claim “7,391 children rushed to the hospital every year with those gun injuries.” Many of those “children” are 18-20 years of age; and nearly 4,600 of them are the victims of violent and gang-affiliated crime in “gun-free” paradises like Chicago and Washington, D.C. And the appearance of a hackneyed phrase like “gun injuries” betrays the already obvious intent of “Young Guns.” Much like “gun murders,” “gun crime” or the ubiquitous “gun violence,” “gun injuries” is literally designed solely to add a sinister tone to firearms; as if being shot represents a crueler fate than being thrown off a cliff, or bored to death by an endless loop of Attorney General Eric Holder trying to explain the Constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s rule-by-fiat.

“Young Guns” does make a passing mention of the NRA’s “Eddie the Eagle” gun safety program; although merely to dismiss its efficacy. In fact, the so-called experiments designed to expose Eddie’s limitations were as academically worthless as Al Gore teaching the Common Core syllabus. ABC producers left firearms in classrooms; where they stand out like Michael Moore at the salad bar. They even hid them among toys and candy.

In order to demonstrate the dangers of leaving firearms in weird places to which kids have access, ABC hid guns in some weird places to which kids had access; and HOLY CRAP! The kids noticed the guns! See! Proof! Guns ARE like, SUPER-BAD, OMG!” At least the NRA attempts to educate children about gun safety; a far sight better than ABC’ ignorant fear mongering. Ultimately, “Young Guns” sets out to prove “guns + kids = bad” (or whatever); but ends up proving unsupervised liberals + kids = potential disaster.

But 20/20’s self-debasement pales in comparison to the low-rent sideshow antics of State Senator Kevin DeLeon (D-Calif.). During a press conference to introduce Senate Bill 808, DeLeon held up a firearm and whined “This..’ghost gun’ has the ability with a .30 caliber clip to disperse, um, 30 bullets within half a second. 30 magazine clips in half a second.” If DeLeon thinks the “Ghost gun” is bad, wait until he gets a load of the “Phantasmo-Gun” with the optional IR-double-unicorn-magnetoscopic-sight-O-matic in Eleventy-four caliber with a the 17 Gajigaquillion clip-zine!

Time after time, the left attempts to subvert a God-given right deemed so important by the Framers that they listed it secondonly to the right to free expression. Time after time, their shocking ignorance shoots their own logic to pieces. Time after time, not only do their efforts rebound off the bulwarks of truth and liberty, their supposed gun-free utopias report murder and violent crime statistics comparable to one of those third world cities where they burn American flags while wearing Chicago Bulls jerseys.

“Young guns” might as well have been entitled “Scary Gunz R Scary.” ABC News might as well be retitled “TV time at Kevin DeLeon’s office.” And Diane Sawyer might as well retire.

-Ben Crystal