Democrats playing political chicken, want companies to break the law to cover for them

The ongoing game of political chicken the Democrats are playing by using the looming threat of the massive, mandated budget cuts (a.k.a. “sequestration”) revolves around the Dem’s insistence that taxes be raised on the top 2% of earners in the US. Yes, that’s the “fair share” argument that never seems to address how it’s fair to require more taxes to be levied on the segment of the population that’s already paying more than the bottom 60% or so. Never mind that, of course. While the Democrats in the Senate refuse to budge on extending the Bush-era tax cuts to everyone and insist on extending them only to the people they’re trying to whip into a class-warfare frenzy the deadline of January 2, 2013 marches ever closer. When it hits, assuming nothing is changed from today, there will be massive cuts to projects throughout the federal government, with the DoD, a.k.a. “the military,” getting hit especially hard. Estimates are a cut in the vicinity of $500 million or so. With cuts like that, the DoD will have no choice but to cut projects and personnel, immediately and in a huge fashion.

This isn’t theoretical and it’s completely foreseeable. Which brings into play the requirements of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notifcation (WARN) Act. Passed in 1988 by the Democrat-controlled Congress – and passed by a veto-proof majority, I might add – the WARN Act requires companies to send out notifications to employees ahead of any “plant closings” or “mass layoffs” 60 days in advance when those layoffs are reasonably foreseen. They’ve had over a year and some of lead time on this deadline; it’s extremely foreseeable. Consequently, major defense contractors are required under the WARN Act to send those notifications 60 days before the event. The deadline being January 2nd, that means the notifications must be given to employees by November 2, 2012.

The elections are November 6 this year. Which, of course, explains why the Obama Administration is trying to get defense contractors and anyone else so affected to hold off sending those notifications until after the election.

President Obama is trying to prevent thousands of layoff notices from going out a few days before the November election, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said on Tuesday.

Obama’s Labor Department on Monday issued “guidance” to the states, telling them that a federal law requiring advance notice of mass layoffs does not apply to the layoffs that may occur in January as a result of automatic budget cuts known as “sequestration.”

That the DoL is trying to tell companies they don’t have to comply with the law is both very telling and a very dicey proposition. By the DoL’s own admission, they have “no administrative or enforcement responsibility under WARN” and “cannot provide specific advice or guidance with respect to individual situations.” Odd, then, that the Administration is trying to make it sound like an official ruling that companies can just ignore the WARN Act and suffer no consequences.

Democrats in Congress are scrambling to provide the Administration all the cover they can, dismissing the matter of the January 2 deadline with statements that such notifications are unneccessary because there’s just no way of knowing how this is going to play out. To the contrary, in my view, that’s precisely why the notifications need to go out. It’s because there’s no way of knowing whether Congress will get it in gear and pass the tax cuts for all Americans rather than just their preferred groups that sequestration remains a very real probability. This is exactly the type of situation that calls for the notifications. The Democrats just don’t want them to go out on the Friday before election day. They’d prefer most Americans remain ignorant of the matter until it’s too late to hold them accountable for their inaction.

What’s just amazing to me is the continued hypocrisy of the Democrats and the Left in applauding this Administration’s ongoing deliberate violation of our nation’s laws and, now, their incitement of others to also violate the law. I heard it said after the 2004 elections that we Republicans and conservatives should take care and be respectful of the Democrats’ and the Left’s viewpoints and priorities because we’d just be whining when they were the ones in power. Well, the shoe’s on the other foot and they don’t seem to have the same issue with respect and concern. When there’s a Republican President and he’s the one who’s cheerfully ignoring his responsibilities under the law and instructing his departments to issue guidance suggesting companies do the same, will they be so supportive of that concept?

I doubt it. But when it happens, I’m going to be vocal about why it’s happening and I likely will have far less concern and compassion for their viewpoints when it does.

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