One could almost call this a feature I used to do once upon a time that I allocated from an old Eastern Shore blog called Duvafiles. The late Bill Duvall used to do “Sunday Evening Reading,” and for the most part this post will have quite a bit of that element in it. But my e-mail box is brimming full of interesting items that I think at least deserve a mention, if not a couple paragraphs.
Saying it’s costing these funds $1.5 billion a year, the folks at the Center for Immigration Studies decry the shortfall they claim is being created in entitlement trust funds by foreign workers exempt from certain taxes. Obviously the Ocean City tourist economy is one fueled by those who take advantage of student visas to come to the United States and work for the summer. But employers also save by not having to pay the 8.45% payroll tax on these workers, pocketing the difference.
Next is a Friday the 13th horror story from the Heritage Foundation, which revealed that “welfare as we know it” isn’t going to be dead after all. While the actual language of the directive itself doesn’t seem so bad, there is one sentence which should give us pause:
As described below, however, HHS will only consider approving waivers relating to the work participation requirements that make changes intended to lead to more effective means of meeting the work goals of TANF.
And, while the states can posit any approach they wish, authority on implementation is left up to the HHS Secretary, not Congress:
The Secretary will not approve a waiver for an initiative that appears substantially likely to reduce access to assistance or employment for needy families.
In other words, let’s place more people on the dole!
You might also notice that this is an internal HHS directive because, unlike the 1996 law President Clinton reluctantly signed in the heat of a re-election campaign, Congress didn’t approve these new regulations. Perhaps because Friday afternoon document dumps of politically unpopular news and directives have become de rigueur these days, maybe Thursday is the new Friday around the Obama administration.
Executive abuse of regulatory authority isn’t just for the federal government, though. Senate Minority Leader E.J. Pipkin called out Governor O’Malley for making his own changes, stating, “The Governor, using the MDE regulatory authority as a front, has decided to circumvent legislation passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by his own hand.”
The changes have to do with legislation passed in 2009 to regulate septic systems, which was originally intended only for certain areas lying in the Coastal Bay and critical areas around waterways. But recent Maryland Department of the Environment regulatory changes expand the regulations statewide, according to Pipkin.
“Once again the Governor displays a breathtaking arrogance to change the law. He has an environmental agenda. And he is not about to let a mere 188 elected lawmakers get in his way,” Pipkin said.
It’s interesting to see as well that Pipkin has revamped his website. Perhaps it’s being primed for a statewide run?
In the national run, while Barack Obama has been whining about being outraised and outspent by Mitt Romney, the Republican is running a contest to meet him and his vice-presidential candidate (for a $3 donation, of course.)
But while Obama’s whining about a lack of funding, as blogger Bob McCarty notes the president’s seen over 400 banks fail under his watch, including the recent closure of the Bank of the Eastern Shore in Cambridge. Obviously most of these weren’t too big to fail, although most of the failed thrifts were acquired by other institutions.
And of course, there’s the people who claim they saw all this coming. Sometime this fall a documentary film will come out detailing the transgressions performed by the federal government in creating our hard economic times. The film will be called “The Bubble” and this is the trailer.
Now I don’t go in for grand conspiracy theories, but as long as the players stick to the basic issues and – more importantly – explain a little bit about the ideas they think can reverse the trend, they may have a winner on their hands just in time for the election. Not saying it will be a help to Mitt Romney or necessarily hurt Barack Obama, but it could make people think.
The film is based on the book Meltdown by Dr. Tom Woods, who contends that:
Americans have been fed a cartoon version of what has happened to the economy over the past several years. They believe the government was merely an innocent bystander, while the real culprits, egged on by so-called deregulation, are to be found in the private sector.
Guess what? He’s right. And his film will argue we may be blowing up yet another one, which will likely implode in 2013 or 2014.
The bubble on this edition of odds and ends bursts now, though. Yes, my e-mail inbox is nice and cleaned out once again.