Thursday, April 21, 2011

Obama, Turning the Rule of Law Upside Down

The Obama administration has a real affinity for Alice in Wonderland interpretations of the law. According to both Mr. Obama and Humpty Dumpty,  the law means what they say it means, the writings be damned.

We've seen this with their defense of Obamacare. Seeking a constitutional grounding for taking over the medical payments industry, Obama's lawyers are claiming authority under a power to regulate interstate commerce. Fair enough, but it stretches language to its limits, and turns it completely upside down to define my decision not to participate in the program, perhaps instead napping in the afternoon, doing nothing at all, as commerce.

Under this theory, Mr. Obama can order a seemingly endless number of improvements to our lives. A decision not to buy a car this year can be reversed by regulation. Presumably the Department of Commerce could decide that auto sales are a national priority and that we must purchase a car to support the country. Further, since the Obama administration retains a multi-billion dollar investment in General Motors, a person could be specifically ordered to buy a Chevy or a GMC. We could be required to buy broccoli and asparagus weekly, and be ordered to prove we actually ate them. Think the observation is extreme, not so. Obamacare would require of each of us similar actions in an area that has never before been subject to federal oversight. Under Mr. Obama's vision, there's no corner of our lives that would be immune from federal oversight.

Now comes news that according to the Obama mandarins running the National Labor Relations Board, to move a company from a heavily unionized state to a right to work state is illegal. In an amazing display of arrogance, Lafe Solomon, the NLRB's chief lawyer, has adopted the position pushed by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers that Boeing should be required to abandon its efforts to build its new 787 in North Carolina and instead manufacture the plane in Washington State. Boeing has already hired 2,500 North Carolinians to build the plane.

According to Mr. Solomon, a corporate decision to not manufacture in a location because of a history or work stoppages and delivery delays, high costs or unfriendly labor environment is against the law. Only if the purpose is political payback from Mr. Obama to his organized labor supporters, by far his largest contributors, can this decision be other than insane.

As unions have become ever more thuggish over the decades, employers and their employees have voted with their feet, fleeing the inhospitable for the welcoming. Here, with a h/t to Forbes, is a graphic illustration of the thousands of people who fled union-controlled Detroit for friendlier climates:

Each red line represents 200 residents leaving Detroit in 2008. In-migration, to the extent there is any, is shown by the black lines.

Notice the correlation with right-to-work states, as shown here:

The majority of population movement from the nation's most notorious union headquarters city outside of Washington, DC., is to states that offer a better labor environment.

Now, according to the Obama's NLRB, the employers of everyone of those migrants could face prosecution for actions that might be construed as "retaliation" against unions.

Last, but probably not the final example, Mr. Obama's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has been actively arranging to supply illegally purchased firearms to Mexico's drug cartels. This effort, aptly codenamed Gunrunner, allowed thousands of illegally-purchased guns to walk across the southern border with the knowledge and specific approval of the federal agency charged with keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. Two of the rifles the BATFE arranged to deliver to the crime cartels were later used to kill a federal agent.

As Humpty Dumpty recognized long ago, "The questions is, 'Which is to be master, that's all.'"

That question is with us still.

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