by W.A. Beatty
This is clearly a case of Obama placing himself above the law, then sending us taxpayers the bill.
Congress passed, in 2011, the Budget Control Act (BCA), which established the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (better known as the Super Committee), whose mission was to reduce the deficit. As an incentive to the committee, a "sequestration" process, or automatic funding cuts, will take effect in January 2013 if the committee fails to reach agreement. The committee did not reach agreement, so "sequestration" funding cuts will begin in January. The Defense Department is scheduled to have its budget reduced by 7.5 percent, or about $1 trillion, causing layoffs and plant closings.
So what? We've known about these coming cuts since the Super Committee failed back in November 2011.
"Sequestration" has now become a major problem. According to a memorandum from acting Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Jeffrey Zients, "the budget sequestration clause in the law 'was never meant to be implemented'."
Have you ever heard of the Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act? It was passed in 1988 but vetoed by Ronald Reagan -- but then the veto was overridden by the Democrat-controlled Congress. The act requires that companies expecting mass layoffs or plant closings inform their employees 60 days in advance of the layoffs or closings. The WARN act provides for the collection of back pay, attorney fees, and punitive damages of up to $500 per day.
Guess what "sequestrations" will do. And guess what act it will invoke. And guess whose presidential campaign will be hurt by all the layoff and plant closing notifications 60 days before layoffs occur. Hint: it's not Mitt Romney! Guess when the notifications are supposed to go out. November first, five days before the election.
What is President Barack Hussein "kill list" Obama doing about WARN? He has asked defense contract employers to ignore WARN -- that is, to break the law. Obama has asked defense contractors not to send out layoff notices to their employees in anticipation of "sequestration." This memorandum, dated September 28, 2012, explains Obama's position. The last sentence in the opening paragraph states, "... DOL explained that giving notice in these circumstances would waste States' resources in undertaking employment assistance activities where none are needed and create unnecessary anxiety and uncertainty for workers." So Obama is trying to cast his advocacy of law-breaking as "saving resources" and "preventing anxiety." Ain't he swell? The second paragraph of the memorandum also provides some very interesting reading.
This is the first time in history that the White House has asked companies (of any type) not to file layoff or plant closing notices as required by WARN.
Without even bothering to ask Congress for approval, Obama has committed to pay defense contractors' penalties and court costs from the Pentagon budget. Costs could be as high as $500 million. Let's see...first Defense gets hit with "sequestration," then Obama commits to pay fines and penalties if defense contractors don't follow the law. Obama has placed the Pentagon and defense contractors in a catch 22, "creating additional economic uncertainty. They can break the law and keep the White House happy, or follow the law and annoy their major customer."
Obama also will make Congress complicit in his law-breaking. He did not even have the courtesy to ask them how they felt about his lawlessness. But Obama may not have the authority to offer to pay the penalties. And even if he does, a new administration could simply refuse to pay them. So what this situation boils down to is that penalty payments will be made if Obama is somehow re-elected. Further, some senators, such as John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC), say that they will not allow government funds to be spent on penalties.
The House of Representatives has passed a bill that would avoid "sequestration." But Obama has chosen to ignore it and, most significantly, has not offered an alternative. I therefore must assume that he thinks his lawlessness will save his re-election chances.
So, the old saying that Shakespeare used in Hamlet, "Hoist With His Own Petard," is, ironically, quite appropriate here.
Dr. Beatty earned a Ph.D. in quantitative management and statistics from Florida State University. He was a (very conservative) professor of quantitative management specializing in using statistics to assist/support decision-making. He has been a consultant to many small businesses and is now retired. Dr. Beatty is a veteran who served in the U.S. Army for 22 years. He blogs at rwno.limewebs.com.
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