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April 23, 2012

Obama: The State, It Is I

Moral weaklings and cowards are always tempted by tyranny.

[I]ncreasingly in recent months, the administration has been seeking ways to act without Congress. Branding its unilateral efforts “We Can’t Wait,” a slogan that aides said Mr. Obama coined at that strategy meeting, the White House has rolled out dozens of new policies — on creating jobs for veterans, preventing drug shortages, raising fuel economy standards, curbing domestic violence and more.

Each time, Mr. Obama has emphasized the fact that he is bypassing lawmakers. When he announced a cut in refinancing fees for federally insured mortgages last month, for example, he said: “If Congress refuses to act, I’ve said that I’ll continue to do everything in my power to act without them.”

Aides say many more such moves are coming. Not just a short-term shift in governing style and a re-election strategy, Mr. Obama’s increasingly assertive use of executive action could foreshadow pitched battles over the separation of powers in his second term, should he win and Republicans consolidate their power in Congress.

The Sun President.

Even The Bureaucracy Is Squealing, But The Times Utters Not a Squeak: Obama created, per his own unlimited executive power, an $8.3 slush fund to mitigate the effect of his passed-by-law cuts to Medicare Advantage. These cuts would be unpopular, and Obama wants to delay the pain -- and thus the electoral hit -- until after the election.

But now the General Accounting Office says this slush fund needs to be canceled.

In a rebuke to the Obama administration, government auditors are calling for the cancellation of an $8 billion Medicare program that congressional Republicans have criticized as a political ploy.

...

GAO, the investigative agency of Congress, did not address GOP allegations that the bonuses are politically motivated. But, its report found the program highly unusual. It “dwarfs” all other Medicare pilots undertaken in nearly 20 years, the GAO said.

...

Available through 2014, the bonuses will soften much of the initial impact of the Medicare Advantage cuts, acting like a temporary reprieve.

This year, for example, the bonus program offset more than two-thirds of the cuts in the health care law. Indeed, Medicare Advantage enrollment is up by 10 percent and premiums have gone down on average.

But GAO questioned whether the bonus program will achieve its goal of finding better incentives to promote quality. “The design of the demonstration precludes a credible evaluation of its effectiveness in achieving (the administration’s) stated research goal.”

...

“The Obama administration seems to be using a technicality to sidestep Congress and write itself a blank check to spend more money for political purposes leading into this year’s elections,” Hatch said in a statement.

“The White House does not have the authority to green-light spending on whatever program it wants,” he added. “This report is just the beginning — I will be demanding answers.”

So, although Obama cast this unconstitutionally-commanded slush fund as for purposes of research, the GAO determined it had no research potential, and furthermore "dwarfed" all previous research pilot programs.

So it wasn't for research -- it was for votes.

And Obama claimed the power to order it on his own authority.



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posted by Ace at 10:29 AM

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