COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Dec. 27, 2015 — While much in the news is bad, here are three December gifts to liberty. And it didn’t even take three Wise Men to deliver them.
Republicans passed a bill Dec. 3 to repeal significant portions of Obamacare, despite a certain veto by the president. The bill guts Obamacare’s employer and individual mandates and lessens the fines for failing to comply with each to $0. It also repeals the Cadillac and medical device taxes and Medicaid expansion and tax credits and removes the federal government’s authority to run the exchanges (which it never really had in the first place).
While it is unlikely to become law anytime soon, on Dec. 11 a little-noticed report released by the Congressional Budget Office said that the Senate bill would cut the deficit by as much as $474 billion, while boosting GDP, investment and capital stock.
The findings stand in sharp contrast to promises by Democrats that Obamacare would accelerate economic growth and reduce federal deficits.
According to the CBO, repealing Obamacare’s subsidies and Medicaid expansion would cut federal spending by almost $1.4 trillion over the next 10 years. Getting rid of its myriad tax hikes would reduce tax revenues by $1.1 trillion, resulting in $281 billion decrease in projected deficits over the next decade.
The report also says that repealing Obamacare would “boost the economy’s output” by nearly 1 percent starting in 2021, because it would eliminate Obamacare’s negative effects on the labor market and on saving and investment.
When these positive economic effects of Obamacare’s repeal are included, the deficit reduction climbs to $474 billion, mainly because the faster economic growth would produce more revenues. Read more at Investor’s Business Daily.
It’s not an unqualified victory, but as of July, the Senate couldn’t pass any bill. This is a huge step in the right direction for individual liberty.
Kim Davis and freedom of conscience
Remember the Kentucky clerk who went to jail for her religious convictions? (It was voted the top story in Kentucky for 2015.)
Liberty Counsel reports that on Dec. 22, newly elected Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin issued an executive order that removes the names of all county clerks from marriage licenses and protects the religious rights and conscience protection of Kim Davis and all other clerks in Kentucky. This action is a fulfillment of a campaign promise by Bevin and is what Kim Davis has been requesting for months. This will enable her and other clerks to do their jobs without compromising their religious values and beliefs.
The governor’s statement reads in part:
To ensure that the sincerely held religious beliefs of all Kentuckians are honored, Executive Order 2015-048 directs the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives to issue a revised marriage license form to the offices of all Kentucky County Clerks. The name of the County Clerk is no longer required to appear on the form.
Former Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, could have done this but refused to. What else would you expect from a party that excised God from their party platform in 2012?
Trademarks and free speech
On the same day, the American Freedom Defense Initiative reported a victory in copyright law.
The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting en banc (the entire court), reversed more than 30 years of jurisprudence by holding that trademark registration deserves First Amendment protection. The import of this holding is that trademarks may no longer be rejected by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) just because the USPTO believes the mark to be disparaging.
This ruling defeated a years-long effort by the U.S. Trademark Office to refuse AFDI a trademark for their “Stop Islamization of America” (SIOA) program. The Trademark Office claimed the trademark was “disparaging” to Muslims–as if all Muslims favor jihad violence and Sharia oppression.
Remember the USPTO revoking the Washington Redskin’s trademark? This ruling is precedent to overturn that decision, too.
The Obama administration has sought to weaponized the entire federal government with its radical leftist agenda—and Americans are standing up and fighting back.