Where Ignorance is Bliss—If FDR had the same advisors that Barack Obama has, he wouldn’t have known that Pearl Harbor had been bombed until media reports filtered back to the mainland. The Obama administration has attempted to perfect a system in which the president and cabinet secretaries–particularly Attorney General Eric Holder–are quarantined from information. The IRS scandal is the most recent example, but the Fast and Furious gun walking debacle, Benghazi, and surreptitiously getting warrants for reporters’ phone logs and private emails are all examples of an ever-intrusive federal government. When the president, Holder, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the White House staff use the quarantine to say “I have no knowledge” of what caused and who was responsible for transgressions in the executive branch, the public is played for a fool.
The Union Factor in the Federal Bureaucracies—The IRS scandal brings another huge problem into focus: the power of public sector unions in the federal executive branch and the potential for corruption and conflict within that powerful branch. The IRS scandal is, again, a prime example of this danger. The head of the union that represents IRS employees meets often at the White House. In fact, she met there shortly before the non-profit auditing section of the agency began its harassment of conservative groups that apply for tax-exempt status. This union gave huge sums to President Obama and candidates for Congress, and 97 percent of those contributions went to Democrats. FDR opposed the unionization of federal employees as strongly as he supported unionization in the private sector. He clearly foresaw the problems that are unfolding today due to the partisan actions of employees who are supposed to be non-political.
Dog Whistles—I would be shocked if any allegations that President Obama actually directed or approved the harassment of the conservative groups by the IRS could be substantiated–due to the “quarantine” practice mentioned above. He didn’t have to give a direct order to make it happen. Instead, he had a compliant union in place within the agency. He campaigned in the media and in the 2010 elections about, in his view, the corruption inherent in the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision which allowed non-profit groups the right to tax-exempt status for educating the public about issues. Obama was so irate about the decision that, in his first State of the Union address after it, he scowled at the Supreme Court members sitting below him and chided them. That was a clear “dog whistle” to let his union supporters in the IRS know how he felt about giving conservative groups tax-exempt status to raise money and advocate on issues under their rights reaffirmed by the court’s decision. He blew the whistle. Apparently his pet poodles in the IRS heard it and pounced.
Waiting for the Senate—Here in Louisiana, with fewer than two weeks left in Louisiana’s legislative session, all eyes are on the state Senate to see what that chamber will do with the House-approved budget now under review in the Senate Finance Committee. The executive budget submitted by the governor back in March was ugly. The budget enacted by the House was no work of art. The task before the upper chamber is to lessen dependency on questionable revenues for funding health care and higher education and to do it in a fashion that won’t lead to a revolt in the House or a veto by Governor Jindal. The budgets submitted by both the governor and the House relied on revenues that were suspect. Neither would have produced any guarantee that another round of large mid-year budget cuts weren’t going to fall yet again. Now the Senate gets a chance to put lipstick on the pig.