Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

Feds Gave Low-Income Housing to Millionaires

original article: Feds Gave Low-Income Housing to Millionaires
July 27, 2015 by Elizabeth Harrington

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) gave low-income housing to millionaires, according to a recent audit.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) found over 25,000 families who earned too much to qualify for subsidized apartments, which will cost taxpayers $104.4 million this year.

“Public housing authorities provided public housing assistance to as many as 25,226 families whose annual household income exceeded HUD’s 2014 program eligibility income limits,” according to the audit. “Most of these families had earned more than the qualifying amount for more than 1 year, were not participating in programs that would allow them to reside in public housing, and occupied units while many families were waiting for public housing assistance.”

“This condition occurred because HUD regulations require families to meet eligibility income limits only when they are admitted to the public housing program,” it said. “The regulations do not limit the length of time that families may reside in public housing.”

Of the 25,226 overincome families identified, 47 percent earned at least $10,000 more than the income limit, and 70 percent lived in subsidized housing for more than a year.

A millionaire in Oxford, Neb., has been able live in low-income housing since 2010. The monthly rent is $300.

“As of April 2014, the single-member household’s annual income was $65,007, while the low-income threshold was $33,500,” the OIG explained. “Also, this tenant had total assets valued at nearly $1.6 million, which included stock valued at $623,685, real estate valued at $470,600, a checking account with a balance of $334,637, and an individual retirement account with a balance of $123,445.”

HUD did not evict the millionaire because “the tenant was income eligible at admission and has not violated the lease agreement.”

The OIG identified a sample of 25 overincome families who either had more than $1 million in assets, or had income that was significantly greater than the income limits.

Another ineligible family paid only $1,091 a month to live in Los Angeles, even though their annual income was $204,784.

A family in New York City was also able to stay in housing that limited income at $67,100, event though they earned $497,911 annually, plus $790,534 in rental income between 2009 and 2013.

Many housing authorities cited by the OIG said they do not evict wealthy individuals and families from low-income housing because “its policy does not require it to terminate the tenancy or evict families solely because they are overincome.”

budget, bureaucracy, corruption, criminal, entitlements, ethics, fraud, funding, government, nanny state, oversight, public policy, scandal, wealthy, welfare

Filed under: budget, bureaucracy, corruption, criminal, entitlements, ethics, fraud, funding, government, nanny state, oversight, public policy, scandal, wealthy, welfare

Seattle sees fallout from $15 minimum wage, as other cities follow suit

original article: Seattle sees fallout from $15 minimum wage, as other cities follow suit
July 22, 2015 by Dan Springer

Seattle’s $15 minimum wage law is supposed to lift workers out of poverty and move them off public assistance. But there may be a hitch in the plan.

Evidence is surfacing that some workers are asking their bosses for fewer hours as their wages rise – in a bid to keep overall income down so they don’t lose public subsidies for things like food, child care and rent.

Full Life Care, a home nursing nonprofit, told KIRO-TV in Seattle that several workers want to work less.

“If they cut down their hours to stay on those subsidies because the $15 per hour minimum wage didn’t actually help get them out of poverty, all you’ve done is put a burden on the business and given false hope to a lot of people,” said Jason Rantz, host of the Jason Rantz show on 97.3 KIRO-FM.

The twist is just one apparent side effect of the controversial — yet trendsetting — minimum wage law in Seattle, which is being copied in several other cities despite concerns over prices rising and businesses struggling to keep up.

The notion that employees are intentionally working less to preserve their welfare has been a hot topic on talk radio. While the claims are difficult to track, state stats indeed suggest few are moving off welfare programs under the new wage.

Despite a booming economy throughout western Washington, the state’s welfare caseload has dropped very little since the higher wage phase began in Seattle in April. In March 130,851 people were enrolled in the Basic Food program. In April, the caseload dropped to 130,376.

At the same time, prices appear to be going up on just about everything.

Some restaurants have tacked on a 15 percent surcharge to cover the higher wages. And some managers are no longer encouraging customers to tip, leading to a redistribution of income. Workers in the back of the kitchen, such as dishwashers and cooks, are getting paid more, but servers who rely on tips are seeing a pay cut.

Some long-time Seattle restaurants have closed altogether, though none of the owners publicly blamed the minimum wage law.

“It’s what happens when the government imposes a restriction on the labor market that normally wouldn’t be there, and marginal businesses get hit the hardest, and usually those are small, neighborhood businesses,” said Paul Guppy, of the Washington Policy Center.

Seattle was followed by San Francisco and Los Angeles in passing a $15 minimum wage law. The wage is being phased in over several years to give businesses time to adjust. The current minimum wage in Seattle is $11. In San Francisco, it’s $12.25.

And it is spreading. Beyond the city of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors this week also approved a $15 minimum wage.

New York state could be next, with the state Wage Board on Wednesday backing a $15 wage for fast-food workers, something Gov. Andrew Cuomo has supported.

Already, though, there are unintended consequences in other cities.

Comix Experience, a small book store in downtown San Francisco, has begun selling graphic novel club subscriptions in order to meet payroll. The owner, Brian Hibbs, admits members are not getting all that much for their $25 per month dues, but their “donation” is keeping him in business.

“I was looking at potentially having to close the store down and then how would I make my living?” Hibbs asked.

To date, he’s sold 228 subscriptions. He says he needs 334 to reach his goal of the $80,000 income required to cover higher labor costs. He doesn’t blame San Francisco voters for approving the $15 minimum wage, but he doesn’t think they had all the information needed to make a good decision.

corruption, culture, economics, economy, entitlements, funding, government, nanny state, politics, poverty, progressive, public policy, reform, regulation, socialism, unintended consequences

Filed under: corruption, culture, economics, economy, entitlements, funding, government, nanny state, politics, poverty, progressive, public policy, reform, regulation, socialism, unintended consequences

Are we being double-taxed? Why ObamaCare may render Planned Parenthood obsolete

original article: Are we being double-taxed? Why ObamaCare may render Planned Parenthood obsolete
July 22, 2015 by Dr. Manny Alvarez

With the inception of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2014, President Obama created a new system of health care that aimed to allow all Americans to carry health insurance, and in many cases, that insurance is subsidized by the federal government with our tax dollars.

His sales pitch to America was that by expanding access to health insurance, he would help create better patient-doctor relationships that would be effective in prineventing several of the chronic health conditions and concerns that affect the U.S. population— many of which affect women.

Now, no matter your stance on universal health care, a concern that every tax-paying American, man or woman, should take issue with centers on waste. This is especially true given the recent events surrounding the claims that Planned Parenthood seems to be in the business of selling aborted fetal body parts.

Now, if my tax dollars are being used to subsidize our national health care program, then why are my tax dollars also being allocated for Planned Parenthood? This isn’t a matter of ethics, but rather, of practicality.

Many of the clinical services Planned Parenthood offers— including Pap smears, breast exams, tests for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and abortions— can be performed by gynecologists, family practitioners and pediatricians. The ACA guarantees coverage for the vast majority of women’s reproductive needs.

According to Planned Parenthood’s 2013-2014 annual report, the latest data available, the organization received nearly $1.15 billion in revenue— $528.4 million of which came from the federal government.

During that period, it spent about $769 million on medical services, $45 million on sexuality education, $34 million on public policy and $12 million to engage communities. In all, the organization spent over $859 million in the fiscal year of 2014.

Planned Parenthood heralds its efforts to promote education among young women and expectant mothers, and certainly it should be applauded for those campaigns. But according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, under the ACA, women are now covered for annual counseling in STIs, HIV, contraceptive methods, breastfeeding support and interpersonal and domestic violence.

All things considered, if American tax dollars are being allocated for the ACA and Planned Parenthood, it seems like we are getting double-taxed. And I don’t want my tax dollars involved in promoting all the other programs that Planned Parenthood peddles outside the scope of medical care. In 2014, they spent $34 million in public policy. The average American does not control the political agenda of Planned Parenthood, and yet we are all paying for it.

Planned Parenthood accepts patients under Medicaid, private insurance and all state plans subsidized by Obama’s health care law. And again, this is the similar coverage that is offered by many other types of clinics. The only difference is they don’t receive added federal dollars.

Of course, for uninsured patients, Planned Parenthood services may prove cheaper than services offered at a regular doctor’s office. According to the organization’s website, many of its fees are based on a sliding fee scale, which depends on the patient’s income. Services like family planning, birth control, gynecological exams, pregnancy testing, STI testing and other reproductive health care services are on that sliding scale. But all of that should be irrelevant if the ACA, plus expanded Medicaid, is meant to guarantee health coverage for all.

The bottom line is this: There was a time in our country when Planned Parenthood played a role in providing women with medical services that otherwise were not available to people who had no insurance. However, to have, at present, an organization that continues to be subsidized by the taxpayer is not necessary. We now have the same services covered by ObamaCare, and millions of taxpayer dollars are helping to keep that system in check. And that system includes community hospitals, physician practices and community clinics that don’t receive any extra support from the federal government and only rely on the fees they receive from patient care.

abortion, bureaucracy, economy, entitlements, funding, government, health care, nanny state, public policy, spending, taxes, unintended consequences

Filed under: abortion, bureaucracy, economy, entitlements, funding, government, health care, nanny state, public policy, spending, taxes, unintended consequences

Democrats want to force everyone to pay for abortions. So much for having a choice.

Abortion opponents used to be told things like “if you don’t like abortion, don’t have one”. But Democrats want them to pay for abortions anyway. Because that’s not oppression, killing babies is health care!”

original article: Dems Propose ‘Historic’ Abortion Rights Legislation
July 8, 2015 by Laura Bassett

House Democrats proposed bold pro-abortion rights legislation on Wednesday that has no chance of passing in the GOP-controlled chamber, but highlights the massive gulf between the two parties on the hot-button issue.

The Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance Act, or the EACH Woman Act, would guarantee abortion coverage for all Medicaid recipients and women who receive health insurance through the federal government. The bill, authored by Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) and Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) and co-sponsored by more than 60 House Democrats, would repeal the decades-long ban on abortion insurance coverage for U.S. federal employees, military servicewomen, Peace Corps volunteers and those who are insured through the Indian Health Service. It would also prevent state legislatures from interfering with the private insurance market and banning insurers from covering abortion.

Specifically, the bill would overturn the Hyde Amendment, a policy rider that bars the use of federal funds to pay for abortions, except if a pregnancy arises from incest or rape. Anti-abortion politicians have been attaching the rider to important pieces of legislation each year since 1976, and it disproportionately affects minority and low-income women.

“Make no mistake– these lawmakers really do want to ban abortions altogether,” Lee said at a press conference on Wednesday. “Since they can’t, they employ these very devious and underhanded tactics to push abortion care out of reach for women who are really just struggling to just make ends meet, and that’s just wrong. Politicians have no business interfering with a woman’s private reproductive health decisions.”

When the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, 86 percent of private insurance companies covered abortion. This meant that most women who purchased private insurance plans or received health coverage through their private sector jobs had abortion coverage, while Medicaid recipients and federal employees did not. But the passage of Obamacare seemed to alert Republican lawmakers to the fact that abortion was being covered in insurance plans, and more than 20 GOP-led state legislatures have since passed laws banning private insurance companies from covering abortion.

Republicans have tried to restrict abortion in the past few years by mandating ultrasounds, placing gestational limits on abortions and imposing harsh clinic regulations. While Democrats have pushed back hard, the Hyde Amendment and other efforts to restrict the funding and coverage of abortion have slipped into law relatively easily. Republicans have successfully branded federal insurance coverage of abortion as “taxpayer-funded abortions,” and President Barack Obama has accepted the Hyde anti-abortion language in Obamacare and year after year in unrelated bills.

This year, as Republicans in Congress push to ban abortions at earlier stages of pregnancy than the limit established by the Supreme Court in 1973, House Democrats are playing offense, too, by pushing for an unprecedented expansion of abortion coverage. Planned Parenthood, one of 39 national organizations working with the All Above All coalition in support of the effort, lauded the new legislation as “historic.”

“For 40 years, the majority of Americans have been saying that abortion should be safe and legal,” said Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “And that means it should be safe and legal for everyone – not only for those who can afford it.”

abortion, babies, bullies, cronyism, culture, Democrats, entitlements, extortion, funding, government, health care, ideology, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, oppression, pandering, political correctness, politics, progressive, propaganda, public policy, reform, relativism, spending, taxes

Filed under: abortion, babies, bullies, cronyism, culture, Democrats, entitlements, extortion, funding, government, health care, ideology, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, oppression, pandering, political correctness, politics, progressive, propaganda, public policy, reform, relativism, spending, taxes

The Class of 2015: Book Burners Afraid of Matches – Bill Whittle

The Leftism of today’s college campuses will lead to the Fascism and Socialism of a Hitler or a Stalin. These Occupy-ers are essentially book burners.

communism, culture, discrimination, diversity, education, entitlements, extremism, foreign affairs, government, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, pandering, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, relativism, terrorism, video

Filed under: communism, culture, discrimination, diversity, education, entitlements, extremism, foreign affairs, government, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, pandering, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, relativism, terrorism, video

When a law is revised eight times, it’s worth asking whether or not it should ever have been enacted in the first place

August 22, 2014 by BARRETT DUKE AND ANDREW T. WALKER

Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a new ruleregarding its requirement for certain faith-based non-profit organizations and closely held for-profits to provide abortion-causing drugs and devices to their employees through their health plans. This is the eighth revision to the Health and Human Services Mandate. And regrettably, the government still falls short of understanding the concerns surrounding religious liberty. We are pleased that HHS recognizes that they cannot force some of our nation’s faith community to violate their consciences on a matter as significant as life, but we are deeply disappointed that they still believe they should be the arbiters of the line between what constitutes protected religious activity and what does not.

This new regulation was drawn up partly in response to the Supreme Court’s decision protecting Hobby Lobby and other faith-based businesses from the HHS mandate to provide these items to their employees. The Administration also felt the new regulation was necessary because many faith-based organizations complained that they were being treated differently from other faith-based organizations in the application of the original regulation. These groups rightly complained that the administration had taken on itself the task of determining which faith-based groups qualified for exemption from the mandate, mostly “houses of worship.” All others were required to submit a form justifying their claim for exemption and authorizing the government to contact their insurer to arrange for the provision of these drugs and devices.

The new rule does little to change that dichotomy. All it does is move the line. Non-exempt faith-based organizations, i.e., just about everyone except “houses of worship,” will still be required to submit paperwork to the government declaring their religious claim of exemption. The government has resorted to shuffling paperwork, not ceasing its conscience-paving ways. The new rule no longer puts these organizations in the position of authorizing the government to contact their insurer to require the provision of these abortion and contraceptive items. But the result is the same. Upon notification by the organization, the government will take it on itself to notify the organization’s insurer and require provision of these items. In other words, if you do not meet the government’s classification as an “exempt” organization, your insurer will still be providing abortion and contraceptive services to your employees, regardless of your objection.

Essentially, the administration has set itself up as the grand inquisitor, determining who is religious enough to merit the government’s benevolence and who is not. The religious liberty violations that led to countless court cases, remains. Some of the non-favored organizations still affected by this rule have been providing faith-based ministry for more than 100 years. Their claims of faith-informed conscience objections are well established and deserve unqualified, unquestioned accommodation in the same way “houses of worship” receive them. If “houses of worship” and similar groups are exempted from having these items provided to their employees, these other groups should receive the same exemption. A second proposed rule stipulates the regulations for defining what constitutes a closely-held for-profit company, a move in response to the government’s loss in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., case earlier this summer.

The Administration’s new rule for the HHS Mandate has not alleviated our concerns about its disregard for religious freedom. The rule reveals the administration remains committed to advancing sexual liberty over First Amendment protected religious liberty. The rule still runs afoul of faith and conscience in the following ways:

● It empowers the government to decide whose faith-driven activity is religious enough to merit its exemption.

● It requires taxpayers to cover the cost of abortion-causing drugs and devices.

● It violates the administration’s commitment in the original passage of the ACA not to include abortion in its approved plans.

● It forces some faith-based organizations with clear conscience objections to choose between violating their consciences regarding abortion or contraception and government prosecution.

As Christians, we can respond in the following ways:

● Remember that God is aware. He has not abandoned His people.

● Pray that God will give understanding to those continuing to try to force people of faith to violate their consciences.

● Pray that God will help Congress respond in a way that will assure conscience protections.

● Call your congressman and senators and ask them to act on behalf of people of faith. You can get their contact information here.

● Write a letter to the editor of your local paper explaining why you oppose the new regulation.

● Contact the White House and express your opposition in a courteous but firm manner.

●Contact any ministries or businesses that you know are affected by the mandate and let them know you are praying for them.

● Pray that God will raise up the leaders our nation needs to restore legal protections for the unborn at any stage of life.

original article: New HHS Rules Still Problematic for Religious Liberty

abortion, anti-religion, bias, bigotry, bureaucracy, civil rights, entitlements, free speech, government, health care, ideology, justice, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, oppression, philosophy, political correctness, politics, pro-life, prolife, public policy, reform, regulation, scandal

Filed under: abortion, anti-religion, bias, bigotry, bureaucracy, civil rights, entitlements, free speech, government, health care, ideology, justice, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, oppression, philosophy, political correctness, politics, pro-life, prolife, public policy, reform, regulation, scandal

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION: UNACCOMPANIED ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT MINORS ‘ENTITLED TO’ PUBLIC EDUCATION

August 11, 2014 by CAROLINE MAY

The Department of Education released a fact sheet Monday about the availability of public school education for undocumented immigrant children — specifically the tens of thousands unaccompanied minors who have recently entered the U.S. illegally.

“We have begun to receive inquiries regarding educational services for a specific group of immigrant children who have been in the news – children from Central America who have recently crossed the U.S. – Mexico border,” the Department of Education explains.

“This new fact sheet provides information to help education leaders better understand the responsibilities of States and local educational agencies (LEAs) in connection with such students, and the existing resources available to help educate all immigrant students – including children who recently arrived in the United States,” it adds.

The fact sheet lays out the basics about the undocumented immigrant children’s rights and what communities can do to help with enrollment.

“All children in the United States are entitled to equal access to a public elementary and secondary education, regardless of their or their parents’ actual or perceived national origin, citizenship, or immigration status,” the fact sheet explains. “This includes recently arrived unaccompanied children, who are in immigration proceedings while residing in local communities with a parent, family member, or other appropriate adult sponsor.”

Since October more than 62,900 unaccompanied minors have been detained illegally entering the U.S., the vast majority of who have been from Central America. As the fact sheet explains, the unaccompanied, undocumented minors are placed in the care of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) where HHS offers “educational services.”

HHS then releases the children into the United States into the custody of a family member or other “sponsor,” while in their care the undocumented immigrant children “have a right” to attend public school.

“While residing with a sponsor, these children have a right under federal law to enroll in public elementary and secondary schools in their local communities and to benefit from educational services, as do all children in the U.S.,” the sheet explains.

Read the full fact sheet from the Department of Education:

full article: DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION: UNACCOMPANIED ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT MINORS ‘ENTITLED TO’ PUBLIC EDUCATION

bureaucracy, children, constitution, crisis, education, entitlements, government, ideology, immigration, nanny state, political correctness, public policy, regulation, socialism

Filed under: bureaucracy, children, constitution, crisis, education, entitlements, government, ideology, immigration, nanny state, political correctness, public policy, regulation, socialism

Political stunt rigged for publicity

July 31, 2014 by Maggie Thurber

In an effort to gain sympathy for raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour,numerous politicians accepted a challenge to “Live the Wage.” To no one’s surprise, they couldn’t do it.

They were going to live for a week on $77 because that’s all that the challenge sponsors say a full-time worker earning minimum wage makes, after average taxes and housing expenses are deducted, of course.

But then, they weren’t supposed to be able to get by on that amount. That was the point, as the challenge is designed with failure as the goal.

Most people on minimum wage don’t waste money like that.

So I wondered if I could do better?

I took the food stamp challenge when it was all the rage and realized that I could feed myself and my husband on the $23 a week that organizers said was all we had to spend. I also realized how ridiculous other politicians could be when it came to such stunts.

I showed how to do it rather than succumb to the hysteria and myths about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — SNAP for short. Apparently, everyone ignored the fact that it is supposed to be a “supplement” to the weekly food budget.

That’s true of this “Live the Wage” challenge, too. You’re not supposed to be able to support a family on a minimum wage job. It’s designed to be a starting wage for unskilled workers until they gain experience and merit a raise.

In fact, only 1.7 percent of Ohioans are single parents earning minimum wage, while less than 5 percent nationally are heads of households earning minimum wage. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 4.3 percent of those in the workforce earn at or below the federal minimum wage.

And those individuals are eligible for several other government benefits like SNAP, Aid to Dependent Children, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, utility vouchers and transportation vouchers. They’re not really getting by on just $77 a week.

Perhaps what this challenge really proves is that too many politicians have no clue how to plan and live within a budget. But then, one look at the federal deficit tells us that — and without all the publicity and hype of them failing to “Live the Wage.”

read full article: Politicians can’t make it on minimum wage, but we did

budget, Democrats, economics, economy, entitlements, fraud, funding, government, ideology, indoctrination, nanny state, pandering, philosophy, politics, poverty, propaganda, spending, victimization

Filed under: budget, Democrats, economics, economy, entitlements, fraud, funding, government, ideology, indoctrination, nanny state, pandering, philosophy, politics, poverty, propaganda, spending, victimization

This Government Program Leads to Rising College Costs

July 13, 2014 by Lindsey Burke

Federal lawmakers have been trying for decades to reduce the burden of paying for college. Congress has significantly expanded lending, lifted caps on borrowing, and cut interest rates on federal student loans. Parents even became eligible to take out loans to pay for children’s college in the 1980s through the Parent PLUS program.

The Obama administration recently used executive action to make federal loan terms even more-generous for students. The executive action extended something known as Pay As You Earn to students who took out loans prior to 2007, extending this taxpayer-financed subsidy to some 5 million additional borrowers.

PAYE is an income-based repayment option, created in 2012. Income-based repayment existed prior to 2012, but was less generous than the new PAYE plan. The PAYE plan caps the amount a student must pay monthly on his loans at 10 percent of discretionary income, with complete loan forgiveness kicking in after 20 years. If a student goes into “public service” — i.e., government or non-profit work — upon graduation, loan forgiveness kicks in after just 10 years.

Capping loan repayments, forgiving balances — none of these options are free. Taxpayers, many of whom don’t hold bachelor’s degrees themselves, must pick up the tab for this federal largesse.

Moreover, generous income-based repayment options and loan forgiveness — and federal student loans and grants generally — do nothing to mitigate ever-increasing college costs. In fact, college costs over the past few decades have risen in tandem with increases in aid, suggesting such aid might actually exacerbate the problem. Why should a university work to keep tuition and fees in check when there is a virtually open spigot of federal aid, readily available to students, with little concern about the student’s credit-worthiness or ability to pay back the loan later?

Equally problematic are issues of equity: Federal higher education subsidies shift the responsibility of paying for college from the student, who directlybenefits from attending college, to the taxpayer. College graduates will earn $650,000 more on average over the course of a lifetime than those with just a high-school diploma.

read full article: This Government Program Leads to Rising College Costs

budget, bureaucracy, entitlements, government, nanny state, politics, public policy, spending, taxes, unintended consequences

Filed under: budget, bureaucracy, entitlements, government, nanny state, politics, public policy, spending, taxes, unintended consequences

The Last Article on the Hobby Lobby Case You’ll Ever Need to Read

July 10, 2014 by 

Are you sick to death of hearing about the recent Hobby Lobby contraceptive mandate kerfuffle? Me too. Yes, it’s one of the most important religious liberty cases in decades. But the constant debates about the case on blogs, newspapers, TV, radio, and social media, has left even those of us concerned about freedom beaten and exhausted. Besides, what is left to discuss? Is there really anything new that can be said?

Surprisingly, the answer seems to be “yes, there is.”

Earlier this week Megan McArdle wrote one of the most insightful articles I’ve read on the issue (and I’ve read enough about it to make my eyes bleed). McArdle outlines three points that frame the debate and lead us into bitter disagreements:

1. The Left considers religion to be both a private activity and a hobby, akin to an enthusiasm for model trains.

2. The focus on negative rights has been overtaken and superseded by positive rights.

3. There has been a shift between what constitutes the private and the public spheres, and a reductive tendency in modern political discourse to view public versus private as the state versus the individual.

Before I quote and comment on each point, I recommend reading McArdle’s article in full. If you never read anything else about the Hobby Lobby case, you should end the discussion with her column (and, of course, my comments on her article).

The key to understanding what the religious liberty debate has become so contentious is because almost all conservative believers (and many liberal religious folks) consider religious beliefs to be an integral part of our identity, if not our very existence. The secular left, on the other hand, views it quite differently. As McArdle says,

read full article: The Last Article on the Hobby Lobby Case You’ll Ever Need to Read

abortion, anti-religion, bias, bigotry, culture, entitlements, government, health care, ideology, judiciary, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, oppression, philosophy, political correctness, politics, public policy, regulation, religion, socialism, victimization

Filed under: abortion, anti-religion, bias, bigotry, culture, entitlements, government, health care, ideology, judiciary, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, oppression, philosophy, political correctness, politics, public policy, regulation, religion, socialism, victimization

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