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Big government I

A chart making the rounds at conservative blogs compares by presidential administration the private-sector experience of Cabinet-level officers. Guess who finished last …

Nick Schulz of the American Enterprise Institute said the chart came “from a J.P. Morgan research report” covering officials “that one might expect a president to turn to in seeking advice about helping the economy.” This criteria “includes secretaries of State, Commerce, Treasury, Agriculture, Interior, Labor, Transportation, Energy, and Housing & Urban Development, and excludes Postmaster General, Navy, War, Health, Education & Welfare, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security,” Mr. Schulz wrote at the American Enterprise Institute blog, the American.

The immediate at-a-glance reaction is less than 10 percent of the Obama administration’s pre-Cabinet experience in the private sector; the next-smallest amount, during the administration of President John F. Kennedy, was just under 30 percent. No administration topped 60 percent.

“When one considers that public sector employment has ranged since the 1950s at between 15 percent and 19 percent of the population, the makeup of the current cabinet — over 90 percent of its prior experience was in the public sector — is remarkable,” Mr. Schulz wrote.

Others were less restrained. Red State blogger “bs,” the nom de blog for a St. Louis man named “Bill,” said “we knew that Barack Obama was turning DC into a mecca for sucking at the public teat, but it perhaps was not as obvious until recently as to what extent this is occurring.”

“Bill” concluded his post by saying “It shouldn’t be a ‘wow’ moment, though. The Obama administration is promoting exactly what we have suspected it would — elimination of private sector industry in favor of government control. From banking to automotive to health care to ‘net neutrality’ — the government takeover is already well under way. And we shouldn’t be surprised — they’re just doin’ what comes naturally.”

Big government II

Matthew Vadum reports on a Justice Department memo that he says indicates that the funding cutoff for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now might not be as total as some thought.

“Holder’s Justice Department released a legal opinion last week that allows the Obama administration to ignore the will of Congress which has voted overwhelmingly to suspend federal funding of ACORN until at least Dec. 18,” he wrote at the Andrew Breitbart site Big Government.

Congress cut off all federal funds to ACORN and its affiliates under Public Law 111-68, an emergency measure to keep the government operational until all budget and appropriations bills are passed. But Justice ruled that the provision, referred to as “section 163,” does not apply to pre-existing contracts with ACORN or funding secured under other laws.

“We conclude, in agreement with the views we solicited and received, that the language of section 163 is not clear with respect to whether its prohibition applies in cases where pre-existing law apart from section 163, including the contract itself, compels such a payment and where, accordingly, failure to make such a payment would subject the federal Government to contractual liability. In accord with established interpretive principles for resolving such lack of clarity, we conclude that section 163 does not direct or authorize HUD to refuse payment on binding contractual obligations that predate the Continuing Appropriations Resolution,” reads the somewhat-lawyerly Justice Department letter.

Mr. Vadum calls the memo unsurprising, saying Mr. Holder “supports ACORN’s goals.”

“Holder has made it abundantly clear he has absolutely no interest in investigating his radical friends at ACORN … He’s also ignored the 88-page report on ACORN’s systemic corruption and flagrant racketeering activities that was issued this summer by Republican investigators on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee,” he wrote.

Foreign pressure I

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