President Obama will not use the word "stimulus" in apparent recognition that his previous policies have failed. Instead, he will use the word "investment," which is a complete misnomer. An expenditure can only be called an investment if there exists the possibility of a profit.
Infrastructure spending by the federal government promotes corruption because the work goes to the most politically well-connected contractors. At the state level where the money is spent, it is often "pay to play."
Advocates of racial/ethnic affirmative action quotas typically travel under the benign-sounding banner of "diversity," so long as it doesn't involve a diversity of opinion. President Obama's executive order last Thursday, August 18 requiring federal departments and agencies to increase hiring and promotion of nonwhite minorities is yet another example. The mandate, Executive Order 13583, is titled, "A Coordinated Government-Wide Initiative to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Federal Workforce." One notices words such as "efficiency" and "accountability" didn't make the cut. That's because over its four decades, "diversity" from the start has been about the allocation of economic rewards through force and guilt. The result most likely will be a federal bureaucracy committed more fully to racial payback.
As a tactic for generating federal subsidies, "bait and switch" works. Case in point: The now-defunct Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN. The blogosphere has been alive during the past week over the release this past March by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) of a grant of nearly $80,000 to Affordable Housing Centers of America, which until 18 months ago operated as ACORN Housing Corporation. Though the grant was a carryover from fiscal year 2010, the revelation notwithstanding raises the possibility that the Obama administration is ignoring a 2009 congressional ban on federal support to ACORN and its affiliates, a ban overturned by a lower court but restored by a federal appeals court.
Last August, things looked sunny for former Illinois Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich. He and his lawyers had just obtained a hung jury on 23 of 24 corruption charges. But Justice Department prosecutors, confident they had their man, continued to pursue the case - and this time with different results. Last Monday, June 27, a Chicago federal jury, after nine days of deliberation, found the man known as "Blago" guilty on 17 of 20 charges, nearly a dozen of them related to his attempts during the fall of 2008 to fill the pending Senate vacancy left by President-Elect Barack Obama in return for campaign cash.
The consultants who advise employers on how to avert union organizing or collective bargaining demands soon may have to reveal a good deal more about themselves and their operations. This past Tuesday, June 21, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), to the delight of labor officials, published a proposal in the Federal Register to expand the circumstances forcing companies to disclose information about their advisers. Because the rule change would not apply to union consultants, it appears to be motivated heavily by politics.
When President Obama in March 2010 signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148), the nation's most expensive social legislation in decades, he announced, "The bill I'm signing will set in motion reforms that generations of Americans have fought for and marched for and hungered to see." Yet what the law seems to have set in motion is a rush to obtain exemptions from group coverage requirements.
As the Department of Labor's top cop, Paul Tiao would have been uncomfortably close to the unions he would investigate. That's why he didn't get the job. Last Monday on May 9 President Obama withdrew Tiao's name from consideration as DOL Inspector General (IG) rather than subject him to a Senate Judiciary Committee grilling or install him via one-year recess appointment.
Elizabeth Warren (see photo) is an anomaly: a Harvard law professor and an outspoken populist. But as a ranking member of the Obama administration, she and her office are fast becoming unpopular - at least among many congressional Republicans. Since last September, Warren has served as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a powerful watchdog agency created by last year's financial reform overhaul.