There’s another furor over another “unilateral” ObamaCare mandate delay. This just shows what a dictator Obama is. He rewrites the law at his own whim. Shameful. Unprecedented.
Problem is, G. W. Bush did exactly the same thing. No one said a word.
Problem is, the authority to make such changes has been written into IRS code for several decades, and has been exercised on multiple occasions—including by Republican presidents like Bush. No one said a word.
Problem is, the first time Obama “unilaterally” delayed the mandate, the Treasury secretary pointed this out in a detailed letter. The letter may have some propagandistic aura about it, but the law is right there in IRS Code (USC section 7805(a)):
[T]he Secretary shall prescribe all needful rules and regulations for the enforcement of this title, including all rules and regulations as may be necessary by reason of any alteration of law in relation to internal revenue.
In other words, whenever a law is passed that alters IRS Code, like ObamaCare, the Executive has the authority to prescribe interim rules and regulations during the transition. As the letter puts it, the mandate delays are “an exercise of the Treasury Department’s longstanding authority to grant transition relief.”
If that’s dictatorial, then every president since at least 1954 (the earliest date I found for this code) has been dictatorial.
If it’s dictatorial for Obama to wield his “pen and phone” then every president since-and-including George Washington has been dictatorial. Executive Orders have been around since the beginning, and they are bi-partisan (multi-partisan, actually).
I address all of this in Restoring America. The Constitution created this power. Every president has used it, some extensively. FDR promised to do so extensively to a cheering nation in his first inaugural address:
It is to be hoped that the normal balance of executive and legislative authority may be wholly adequate to meet the unprecedented task before us. But it may be that an unprecedented demand and need for undelayed action may call for temporary departure from that normal balance of public procedure.
I am prepared under my constitutional duty to recommend the measures that a stricken nation in the midst of a stricken world may require. These measures, or such other measures as the Congress may build out of its experience and wisdom, I shall seek, within my constitutional authority, to bring to speedy adoption.
But in the event that the Congress shall fail to take one of these two courses, and in the event that the national emergency is still critical, I shall not evade the clear course of duty that will then confront me. I shall ask the Congress for the one remaining instrument to meet the crisis–broad Executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.
Under “national emergency,” FDR transformed the nation. He said it was within his “constitutional authority.” He was right. We have not been out from under national emergency since then. In fact, we have added a score of them on top of the ones he imposed.
It is not unprecedented. It was the new normal in 1789, another new normal in 1865, another in 1918, another in 1933, another in 1965, and plenty more in between and since. It is, today, not a new normal, but just normal. Obama is normal—just as normal as all the rest. Our problem is that we accept normal when our guys do it. We call it unprecedented when our opponents do it. Together we make the world go round.
And round. And round.
The letter here in question was written to satisfy an inquiry from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and addressed to the chairman, a Republican. Copies were sent to several Republican members of the committee.
No one said a word about it.
So with knowledge to the contrary, and knowledge that Republican presidents have exercised this power, too, Republicans hit the media blasting Obama for acting with allegedly unprecedented dictatorial power. Nonsense. They’re misleading the public—lying, that is. They know better, but are using public perception hoping to advance their party—you know, the exact same thing Obama did to advance ObamaCare. Like executive orders, hypocrisy is a bipartisan pastime.
As the cynic once said, politics is “a strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles.” The happily misled public continues the contest to prove whose liars are more virtuous.
Republicans are crying foul over ObamaCare delays, pointing out at every opportunity its every weakness and flaw—and indeed it is a disaster. Meanwhile, the same Republicans just passed a $1.1 Trillion spending bill, another $ Trillion farm spending bill, and are set totally to cave to liberals on raising the debt ceiling. Boehner fought against the few voices of fiscal sanity in his own party in order to give Obama the totality of what he wanted: a no-strings-attached hike in the debt ceiling. Boehner literally said, “we’ll let the Democrats put the votes up.” This means he’s prepared to offer a bill that gives Democrats what they like, and to which enough Republicans will agree and pass. It’s only going to be something like $17.3 Trillion to match the national debt.
And you think Obama’s the threat?
I think we’ve come to love our hypocrisy. We nurture it with every election.
And I guess that’s the point I’m trying to make. Until we’re willing to admit the real nature of the problem, freedom is decades away—perhaps wars, calamities, collapses, tyrannies, and much, much pain away. The America we know—or at least we imagine we know—will have to pass away and transform into something entirely new before we can restore the freedoms we claim to want. It’s the passing away part that bothers me. I am not sure what it may look like.
Until we realize our liars are liars just the same as theirs, our hypocrites are hypocrites just the same, our spending habits just as bad as theirs, our socialism is just the same, our tyrants as bad as theirs, our president’s “pen and phone” just the same as Obama’s—in short, until we’re really willing to face the truth, don’t expect anything to change.