The Campaign Spot

Exemptions: One of the Real Currencies of the Obama Administration

The Morning Jolt begins the week with some ominous news from London about the Olympics, a lengthy contemplation of parenthood and modern society, and then this bit of economic news that could greatly impact the campaign in the fall . . .

Hey, Can We All Get Exemptions from All of Obama’s Policies?

The Wall Street Journal looks ahead . . . to autumn:

For all the focus on the unemployment rate heading into the November elections, the layoffs that could most complicate President Barack Obama’s re-election prospects wouldn’t take effect until early next year.

Unless Congress and the White House reach a compromise by year-end, the Pentagon would have to slash roughly $50 billion more from the current fiscal-year budget in January. That prospect of wide layoffs could undercut Mr. Obama in battleground states heavily dependent on military spending, particularly Virginia.

Federal law requires companies to warn their employees of potential layoffs 60 days before they take effect, meaning thousands of workers could receive the warning notices on the Friday before the election.

I wonder if anyone on Team Obama will contemplate trying to grant some sort of exemption to that federal law. You think I kid, but exemptions are the one of the real currencies of this administration:

On Obamacare the Obama Health Care Tax . . .

Of the 204 new Obamacare waivers President Barack Obama’s administration approved in April, 38 are for fancy eateries, hip nightclubs and decadent hotels in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Northern California district.

On No Child Left Behind . . .

President Barack Obama said on Thursday he was granting 10 U.S. states exemptions from parts of the “No Child Left Behind” education law, a move that could prove popular in an election year with parents and teachers who have criticized the law.

On Iran sanctions . . .

Even as it huffs and puffs, the United States last week took steps to undermine the very sanctions it cites as pressure against Iran. Using a loophole in the law, the administration simply exempted China, Singapore and other countries from heavy financial penalties that might be levied against nations that buy Iranian oil. On June 28, Hillary Clinton announced that the U.S. had “made the determination that two additional countries, China and Singapore, have significantly reduced their volume of crude oil purchases from Iran” and so the law “will not apply to their financial institutions for a potentially renewable period of 180 days.”

That, of course, was a polite fiction. As a July 2 editorial in the Wall Street Journal succinctly summarized the toothless nature of the sanctions law: “It’s so weak, in fact, that all 20 of Iran’s major trading partners are now exempt from them. We’ve arrived at a kind of voodoo version of sanctions. They look real, insofar as Congress forced them into a bill President Obama had to sign in December. The Administration has spoken incantations about their powers. But if you’re a big oil importer in China, India or 18 other major economies, the sanctions are mostly smoke.”

Think of all of these exemptions as after-the-fact admissions that the policies are unworkable and disasters-in-the-making, or a sign that the administration was never that determined to enforce the law in the first place . . .


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