By law, this January the Obama administration must cut defense spending by at least $50 billion. Defense contractors have warned that if these cuts occur on schedule, they will have to lay off more than one million employees, many of whom live in the swing state of Virginia. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act requires large employers to notify employees 60 days in advance of layoffs caused by a foreseeable event. That means defense contractors would have to tell many of their employees they are about to be unemployed on the Friday before President Obama is scheduled to appear on the ballot for reelection.
For some reason, Obama does not want this to happen. So, this past Monday, Obama’s Labor Department issued a guideline instructing defense contractors to ignore the law and not send layoff notices to their employees. Most defense contractors are expected to ignore Obama’s request. “The Labor Department doesn’t determine whether a company has failed to give the warn notices,” Kirkland and Ellis lawyer John Irving told The Hill. “Even the Labor Department has said, in advisory interpretations of the WARN Act, that when in doubt you are supposed to give notice.”
Since Obama can’t force private companies to break the law, his administration is trying to shift blame for the defense cuts to Republicans. “The root cause of the problem here is the Republican refusal to acknowledge that the top 2 percent have to pay their fair share,” White House Office of Management and Budget acting director Jeffrey Zients testified yesterday
But while Republicans did agree to the sequester as part of last year’s debt limit deal, it was Democrats who insisted on including the defense cuts in the package. The one million defense industry employees at risk of losing their jobs are Democrat hostages, not Republican. And, more importantly, House Republicans have already moved to reverse the defense sequester. If Democrats really wanted to stop those layoffs from happening, the Democratic Senate could easily agree to the House bill.
But Democrats will never do that. As Zients’ testimony yesterday proved, the Democrats’ highest political priority is to punish the rich with higher taxes, even if it means layoffs and a double-dip recession. Voters will judge them on their choices.
Obama: Campaigning in Mansfield, Ohio today, President Obama touted a new study purporting to show that Mitt Romney’s tax plan will raise taxes on millions of Americans. Obama claimed “This wasn’t my staff. This wasn’t something we did,” but in fact his former Senior Economist on his Council of Economic Advisers did author the study. And the Obama Super PAC, Priorities USA has reserved $30 million in television as time in six swing states.
Romney: Buzzfeed reports Michele Davis, a current Fannie Mae lobbyist and former top aide to Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, has told colleagues that she will join the Romney campaign to lead a vigorous effort to defend his career in the private sector.
In Other News
The Wall Street Journal, Factories Lose Steam as Global Fears Rise: The U.S. factory sector shrank in July for the second straight month, and gauges of future activity suggest weakness will continue into the fall.
The Wall Street Journal, Wary Fed Is Poised to Act: The Federal Reserve is heading toward launching a new round of stimulus to buck up the weak economy, but stopped short of doing so right away.
Gallup, U.S. Job Creation Slips in July: Gallup’s U.S. Job Creation Index slipped in July, after rising from April through June.
CNN, House conservatives determined to slash spending relent on compromise deal: A congressional deal announced this week by House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid would extend current government spending levels for six months, putting off threats of a government shutdown until after the November election decides the makeup of a new House and Senate.
The Washington Post, Aging power grid on overload as U.S. demands more electricity: The United States doesn’t yet face the critical shortage of power that has left more than 600 million people in India without electricity this week. But the U.S. grid is aging and stretched to capacity.
The New York Times, U.S. and Israel Intensify Talks on Iran Options: A series of public statements and private communications from the Israeli leadership in recent weeks set off renewed concerns in the Obama administration that Israel might be preparing a unilateral military strike on Iran, perhaps as early as this fall.
Hot Air reports that Chick-fil-A set a new world record for sales yesterday as conservatives honored the fast-food chain for their stance on the First Amendment.
The Foundry notes that the latest CBO report shows that Obamacare is now expected to steal $716 billion from Medicare by 2022.
Sean Trende says the new CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac Swing State Polls showing Obama up big in Ohio and Florida are legit.
Think Progress lists Five Things Everyone Should Know About GOP Senate Candidate Ted Cruz, including, “Ted Cruz Wants To Party Like It’s 1829.”
Talking Points Memo‘s Josh Marshall suggests states adopt the inked finger system used in other countries to combat voter fraud instead of voter ID.
Recent polling data has made Daily Kos very confident that Obama will win in November.