Archive for the ‘Editorial’ Category

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Can the House of Representatives Sue Obama for Not Executing the Law?

Elizabeth Slattery

Portrait of Elizabeth Slattery

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, believes he has the key to reining in the executive branch: suing President Barack Obama for not faithfully executing the law. But while Obama has repeatedly waived requirements of laws, or chosen not to enforce them against whole categories of offenders, there’s a legal requirement known as “standing” that may stop Boehner in his tracks.

As John Malcolm and I detail in this Heritage paper, standing is a constitutional requirement for all lawsuits, including suits filed against the executive branch by private citizens, individual members of Congress, or an entire chamber of Congress. In essence, the standing requirement means that Boehner must be able to show that Obama’s failure to faithfully execute the law actually harms the House of Representatives, leaving it little recourse without court intervention.

Courts are generally reluctant to become referees in disputes between members of Congress and the executive branch when it would force them to police the limits of coequal branches’ powers. In such a case, it’s better for the political branches to work out their differences on their own—and Congress has tools such as appropriations and impeachment to deal with an obstinate president.

For this reason, most successful lawsuits challenging an administration’s abusive unilateral actions have been filed by private parties that suffered a demonstrable economic injury. A steel company challenged President Harry Truman’s attempt to nationalize American steel mills. After members of Congress failed in their lawsuit challenging the Line Item Veto Act, New York City and a group of businesses got the Act overturned. And recently, a bottling company brought down Obama’s “recess” appointments to the National Labor Relations Board.

Boehner has laid out a plan for suing Obama and other executive branch officials for their failure to fully implement Obamacare. You may be wondering why the party that has tried to defund and repeal Obamacare would sue to get the administration to fully implement that same law. The answer is pretty simple: the president’s failure to implement the law “squelches any opportunity to have a robust, political debate about [its] workability,” as law professor Elizabeth Price Foley pointed out.

Boehner argues that the House can sue (as an institution) if there are no private parties who can sue, there is harm being done to the general welfare and faithful execution of the laws, and no legislative remedies exist. Late last week the House Rules Committee approved a resolution that would authorize such a lawsuit.

Boehner will face an uphill battle in this lawsuit. But critics should not be so quick to dismiss this case. The administration and many others claimed suits challenging Obamacare’s “individual mandate” under the Commerce Clause were laughable and lacked any merit. (Recall then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded, “Are you serious?” to someone asking about Congress’s power to enact the individual mandate.)

But ultimately, the Supreme Court agreed that the individual mandate could not be justified under the Commerce Clause, and instead turned the mandate into a tax to uphold it. Boehner’s lawsuit may also surprise its critics.

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We’re Losing Companies to Europe. Here’s Why.

Photo: Francis Dean/Newscom

I hate to say I told you so, but . . .

A few months ago I warned that if Congress didn’t lower corporate taxes, U.S. businesses would start moving their headquarters abroad.

Lo and behold, two major U.S. businesses now are looking to pack their bags for Europe.

Pfizer is trying to acquire AstraZeneca, a U.K.-based pharmaceutical company. If it does, the newly merged company will be based in the U.K.

Walgreens, the pharmacy and convenience-store chain, bought a similar company in Switzerland, and now its shareholders are putting intense pressure on it to move its headquarters there.

These well-known U.S. businesses are looking to pull up stakes because the U.S. taxes their foreign earnings at the highest rate in the industrialized world. Indeed, we are the only country that taxes the foreign earnings of our businesses.

By moving abroad, Pfizer and Walgreens could shed billions in taxes on foreign earnings – earnings that never would’ve been taxed to begin with if we had a territorial tax system like the rest of the developed world.

Last year, in a paper detailing the huge economic benefits of switching to a territorial system, I noted the following:

The worldwide system only applies to businesses headquartered in the U.S. If a U.S. business moves its headquarters abroad, it would still owe tax on income earned in the U.S., but moving its headquarters to another country would avoid the extra tax on foreign income. The U.S. has strong anti-inversion rules that make it difficult for a business headquartered in the U.S. to move its headquarters to another country, but little prevents U.S. businesses from selling themselves to foreign-owned businesses.

Pfizer and Walgreens didn’t sell themselves to foreign businesses, but buying foreign businesses and re-domiciling the new merged business is effectively the same thing.

In the same paper, I explained what’s at stake:

When a business moves its headquarters to another country, it takes high-quality jobs with it and leaves a palpable absence in the communities it once inhabited. Businesses often become synonymous with the cities in which they are founded and grow…

New York City (Pfizer’s headquarters) and Springfield, Ill., (Walgreens’ headquarters) are about to feel these losses. Congress needs to act soon to fix the corporate tax code, or other cities will join the list.

Originally published in National Review Online.

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The Intolerance Of The Tolerance Crowd

THINKSTOCK

Those who preach tolerance do not tolerate preaching. – Unknown

The shrieks and caterwauling of the politically correct crowd over alleged “racist” comments by a rancher and a NBA owner/slum lord reveal their utter hypocrisy and disdain for liberty.

The tolerance crowd tells us everyone must be tolerant of “alternate lifestyles” and gay “marriage” and non-Christian religious practices. They create out of whole cloth hate crimes and thought crimes in order to enforce their “tolerance.”

Yet the tolerance crowd does not tolerate contrarian opinions.

Brendan Eich was drummed out of his position at Mozilla by the tolerance crowd after it was revealed he contributed to Prop 8 in 2008. Cliven Bundy pointed out the slavery inherent in government entitlements and was figuratively tarred and feathered and abandoned by his spaghetti-spined opportunistic pseudo-friends. Donald Sterling has been banned for life from attending games played by and operating a team he owns, and he may have his property forcibly removed by the tolerance crowd over private comments recorded and released illegally — comments like those likely uttered by NBA players at one another during the course of every game and certainly no more offensive than those off which President Barack Obama’s favorite rapper, Jay Z, makes millions of dollars annually.

The tolerance crowd works daily to remove any mention of the Christian God from the public square and even public life, but insist Christians be tolerant of Islam and the religion of Atheism. The tolerance crowd insists Christians must tolerate – and support monetarily – the murder of innocents in the womb, and they won’t tolerate anyone who speaks out against abortion. The tolerance crowd has no tolerance whatsoever for guns and gun owners or kids with toy guns or even food shaped like guns.

Political correctness is the opposite of tolerance. PC is about conformity to government- and elite-approved thought, speech and deed. The government, its politicians and its idiot PC-preaching pawns do all they can to force political conformity.

Political conformity and compliance is what PC is all about. It is fascism. It is anathema to liberty.

More Good News for Michigan

State climbs to 12th place in economic outlook rankings

Over the past decade, Mackinac Center for Public Policy analysts have pointed out that the Great Lake State ranked at the bottom of a number of economicmeasures and indicators.

In the last couple of years though, there has been far more good news to report than there used to be.

Last week, the American Legislative Exchange Council released the 7th edition of its “Rich States, Poor States” review. We have cited their findings before. According to ALEC, Michigan’s “Economic Outlook” rank leapt from 20th to 12th in the space of a year. The authors point to passage of the state’s right-to-work law as the driving force for that dramatic change.

Mackinac Center research shows that from 1947 through 2011 states with right-to-work laws experienced a 0.8 percentage point annual average increase in personal income, adjusted for inflation, compared to what those states would have experienced without such laws. That may sound small but consider: If the growth rate would have otherwise been 2 percent, and adding a right-to-work law made it 2.8 percent, then the rate of personal income growth leapt a whopping 40 percent.

In 2009, Michigan’s rank on this index hit an all-time low of 34th before steadily climbing to 20th last year. The Economic Outlook rank is based on 15 variables including tax, labor and welfare policies.

This is not the only index in which Michigan has seen improvements. As one example the Tax Foundation has long ranked the business tax climates of each state. In 2014, Michigan was 14th best, up from 36th in just 2004. Our corporate tax ranking alone went from dead last to 9th best.

After a lost decade of good economic news, it is worth pointing to reasons for a Michigan comeback. Let’s hope the momentum continues.

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Will Hollywood Covet More Heavenly Box Office of Faith-Centered Films?

Detail from a poster for the film "Heaven Is for Real." Photo: Sony Pictures/Unimedia Images/Sony Pictures/Newscom

“Heaven Is for Real” rose to the nation’s No. 3 movie over Easter weekend, adding to the success this year of films with religious themes in competing with standard Hollywood blockbusters.

“Son of God,” “God’s Not Dead,” “Noah,” and now “Heaven Is for Real” all had exceptional debuts that placed them in the top five movies of their respective opening weekends.

“Easter weekend provided further evidence that 2014 is indeed the year of the Bible movies,” Hollywood Reporter concluded.

But why the onset of so many news-making films about faith in the Hollywood playground?

Bishop T.D. Jakes, a popular preacher and bestselling author who has done film projects, put it this way in an interview with Hollywood Reporter: “Film is a vehicle to communicate to a broader audience something important, and to use it to say nothing is an injustice.”

Many predicted a flood of Hollywood movies with biblical themes 10 Easters ago, though, when director Mel Gibson shattered records and preconceptions with his R-rated “The Passion of the Christ,” which grossed more than $600 million in its initial 2004 release. That wave didn’t really materialize.

Now, though, film producer Mark Joseph tells FoxNews.com that Hollywood hopes to attract Americans “who have been disengaged from movies and are now willing to give Hollywood a chance.” Joseph adds:

There’s a new generation of Hollywood executives coming up who aren’t as ideological and political as their older counterparts. They’re about the bottom line and aren’t as knee-jerk against religious material as previous generations.”

Heaven Is for Real,” which boasts popular actor Greg Kinnear, came in No. 3 at the box office over Easter weekend, grossing $22.5 million, for a total domestic take so far of $29.6 million.

The controversial “Noah” starring Russell Crowe sailed into the No. 1 spot on its opening weekend March 28, grossing a whopping $43.7 million.  Its domestic gross so far totals $93.3 million.

God’s Not Dead” took the No.  4 spot among all movies premiering March 21, though it opened in fewer than 800 theaters. The Christian drama grossed $9.2 million opening weekend and has collected $48.2 million domestically.

Not to be forgotten, “Son of God” came in No. 2 at the box office the weekend of Feb. 28 for a $25.6 million opening.  With a storyline about Jesus Christ repurposed from “The Bible” TV series on the History Channel, the movie’s domestic gross totals $59.4 million.

The year of faith-based films will continue with “Persecuted,” out in July; a remake of “Left Behind” starring Nicolas Cage opening in October; and “Exodus: God and Kings,” another movie based on Old Testament history set to premiere in December.

In a variation on the trend, the Christian organization Focus on the Family plans a one-night showing May 6 of its pro-family film “Irreplaceable” in theaters across the country.

Ken McIntyre contributed to this story, which  was produced by The Foundry’s news team. Nothing here should be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of The Heritage Foundation.

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