Framing the Dialogue

Executive Power

The framers wrote the Constitution to provide for a separation of powers, or three separate branches of government. Each has its own responsibilities and at the same time they work together to make the country run smoothly and to assure that the rights of citizens are not ignored or disallowed. This is done through checks and balances. A branch may use its powers to check the powers of the other two in order to maintain a balance of power among the three branches of government. The three branches of the U.S. Government are: Legislative, Executive, Judicial

For this system to work and in turn ensure that we all enjoy our freedoms each branch is expected to battle to maintain their power to balance the power of the other branches.  What will happen when one branch absorbs more and more power at the expense of another branch with little or no balance from the other branch?  Until recently the answer to that question has been one of theoretical discussion, but now we are seeing a seemingly concerted effort to increase executive power while most of Congress bickers seems oblivious to the usurping of power;

The passage of Obamacare had numerous reasons for us to dislike it and since it was passed we have gotten a good look at what’s in it (thanks Nancy Pelosi) including giving almost unlimited power to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.  Sebelius used that power to cut an Obamacare program to provide long-term health insurance coverage for Americans.  This followed on the heels of her WARNING to health insurance providers not to blame increased premiums on Obamacare or in other words forgo their constitutional right to free speech.  By the way the health insurance premiums for Americans rose 9 percent this year.  You’ll be able to keep your health insurance plan…if it still exists AND you can afford it.  Another unusual perk that Congress gave the executive branch in Obamacare is a pre-approval of billions of dollars in spending circumventing the constitutional provision of an annual budget passed by the House of Representatives.  Why would Congress give the executive branch such power?

One of most bizarre (and pathetic) pieces of legislation was the Dodd/Frank financial bill; a bill written by arguably the two most culpable actors in the 2008 economic meltdown.  Part of the legislation created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)which was described by opponents as,

“This is a regulatory agency with unparalleled powers, including consolidated and expanded regulatory authority over credit and debit cards, mortgages, student loans, savings and checking accounts, and most every other consumer financial product and service. Essentially, all consumers’ money falls under bureau purview unless it’s under a mattress…With a battalion of bureaucrats at the ready, and a budget of $500 million, the CFPB is busily gathering intelligence on most every type of financial firm and preparing regulatory sorties under existing laws.”

— Diane Katz —

The CFPB’s actions have ZERO Congressional oversight provisions, in other words Congress can take no action to reel in the agency.  In fact the budget for CFPB is not even controlled by Congress, but rather it is controlled by the Federal Reserve which you ought to know is not a government entity.  To paraphrase we now have an agency with unlimited powers over the banking agency without any responsibility to report to elected officials, oh and we pay for it.  Why would anyone give the executive branch this kind of power?

How about Obama’s extra-Constitutional use of “Czars” to push his agenda?  In October Judicial Watch released a report about Obama’s czars;

 “Many of these ‘czars’ are unconfirmed by the Senate and are largely unaccountable to Congress. Further, their activities are often outside the reach of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), creating a veil of secrecy about their precise role in the administration…Czars appointees have seized unprecedented control over major aspects of government policy and programs. In some instances, unconfirmed czars have authority, in seeming violation of the U.S. Constitution, over certain Senate-confirmed officers…A number of the czars have been linked to scandals, thefts and kickbacks, flagrant and offensive statements, conflicts of interest, and radical leftist political ideologies and policies…Barack Obama’s unconstitutional use of czars to help run his administration is at odds with republican, limited, and accountable government. Obama has simply installed his radical leftist allies in various positions of power while thumbing his nose at Congress and the American people. As we document in this report, too many of these czars have proven to be corrupt or radicals (or sometimes both). No wonder the Obama administration fights tooth and nail to allow these czars to operate in secret. Nevertheless, Judicial Watch managed to develop this comprehensive list of czars as part of efforts to ensure government accountability.”

The Obama administration seems to have taken the motto, “If at first you don’t succeed in Congress, legislate from the executive branch through the agencies.”  The most recent example is regarding his most recent stimulus program (which he misnames the Jobs Bill) and his failure to gather support for the plan.  Fox News reported Obama’s comments that he was,

“instructing his staff to move forward on job-creating initiatives without congressional approval where possible. The White House announced steps to speed environmental and other regulatory approvals for 14 public works projects across the country.  ‘We’re not going to wait for Congress,”

This follows actions by the House to reign in Obama’s EPA and their actions to implement Cap and Trade even though passage of the legislation was soundly defeated in Congress.  The House voted (Republicans and even 19 Democrats) to ban the EPA’s passage of greenhouse gas regulations.  There has not been any action in the Senate as Harry Reid seems to be willing to give the executive branch more power even though this legislation has broad bipartisan support.  Why would anyone give the executive branch this kind of power?

President Obama ran his 2008 campaign on ending the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan; not “winning” the wars, just ending them.  Here we are nearly three years into his term and the conflicts, if anything, are getting much worse as our enemies seem to be energized by Obama’s lack of commitment to winning.   The anti-war presidential candidate has turned into the war president with additional military action in Libya.  Admittedly he has some authority to take action when America is threatened, but must get Congressional approval after 90 day.  Even Obama’s PR network, MSNBC, seems perplexed by this stance,

“Obama’s stance is striking: not only hasn’t he addressed the question of congressional authorization, but acting without it appears to be at odds with what he stood for when he ran for president.  ‘The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation,’ Obama told the Boston Globe in 2007.  Obama has not argued that Gadhafi is “an actual or imminent threat” to the United States, only to the Libyans who oppose him.”

And more recently he is sending more troops to “advise” in Uganda…because our national interests are at stake there.  It turns out he is not against the use of force, just using force where we actually have national interests.  Yet Congress sits by and by virtue of their silence gives the executive branch more power.

The American Thinker listed a number of predictions regarding what Obama would do when he faced a Republican majority in the House and most of them agreed that he would work through the federal government’s bureaucracy,

 “John Fund believes that Obama 2.0 will rely on executive orders and rule-making to circumvent Congress. Fund sees signs of this approach in a new Labor Department plan to make life even more miserable for business through a variety of means not resorted to by previous administrations, Republican or Democrat. Conversely, monitoring of unions will be weakened by transferring the responsibility for whistle-blowing investigations from OSHA to a department charged with scrutinizing unions. Given the added workload from OSHA, union-monitoring (how union leaders spend workers’ dues, for example) will inevitably be weakened.

Charles Krauthammer foresees that Obama will also exercise his control over the fourth branch of government — the bureaucracy, the regulations, and the rules it lives to proliferate — to power his agenda for the next two years. Obama the poker player has already tipped his hand. He is using bureaucratic edict to advance card check, bypassing a Congress that resisted union demands to bring about card check via legislation.

That strategy is tailor-made for Obama. Rules accumulate stealthily under the radar screen. They are incomprehensible, and most people’s eyes glaze over them anyway. Even many of the politicians responsible for passing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) admitted that they did not bother to read the bill. Business groups might fish them out, but these will be portrayed as greedy people who want to exploit workers, despoil the environment, and plunder the nation to line their wallets.

The rules and regulations are going to come fast and furious.  We are laboring under a massively expanding regulatory regime that has extended its tentacles into numberless nooks and crannies across our nation (and the playing field has widened with the takeover of two car companies, ObamaCare, and the new rules-laden Federal Regulations Bill). Big Brother has become Big Bully.  Obama focuses his regulatory imperialism on labor and environmental issues, defying the will of the people. Last year, he warned Congress that if it did not pass cap and trade, his EPA would bring it about via rules and regulations — Congress be damned…”

Actually we’re damned…Vladimir Putin must be impressed.

WHERE IS JOHN GALT?

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