A few days ago I indulged in a dose of intellectual masochism by engaging in a Facebook debate with a liberal. The main gist of his argument was that he applauded Obama’s use of executive orders, his selective enforcement of the law, and his use of the federal regulatory apparatus as a bludgeon to enforce his will when Congress “would not act”. In short, he approves of Obama’s petulant tantrums when Republicans don’t give him his way. These tantrums and abuses of power will be Obama’s legacy.
One can’t help but wonder if they’d have such a favorable view had George Bush engaged in such lawlessness as president. For example, what if Bush had issued an Executive Order directing the IRS not to pursue collection of capital gains taxes, or to cease auditing wage earners who fall in the Top 1%? What if he had directed the Border Patrol to focus on deporting Mexicans, but to ignore those trying to get into the U.S. from Cuba (Cubans tend to vote Republican)? What if he issued an EO directing the IRS to set up an mechanism whereby the Social Security taxes of American workers were directed into a private investment account of their choosing (you know, since Congress had “failed to act” on Bush’s efforts at partial privatization of that bloated, bankrupt program)?
Yet because Obama shares their progressive, statist, totalitarian worldview, they embrace a powerful executive who implements his agenda by sheer force of will, regardless of the Constitution, our traditions, or the will of the people. Yet if they were intelligent they would fear such a precedent, realizing that “their guy” will not always hold the reins of power, and precedents, once set, are hard to reverse.
One of many areas in which Obama has shown contempt for his constitutional duty to enforce the law as written is with the issue of immigration, both legal and illegal. We are all too aware of Obama’s de facto implementation of the DREAM Act, or variations of it, which failed to pass through Congress even when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. Obama has also initiated by executive fiat his DACA and DAPA programs, which not only exempt millions of illegals from deportation, but has attempted to give them a quasi-legal status, including work permits. Obama has continually attempted to do this even when facing an injunction by a federal judge.
In true Obama fashion, while most Americans were celebrating the holidays with friends and family, and attempting to take a much needed break from politics, Obama snuck in a 200-page proposed federal rule on New Year’s Eve which would destroy the immigration caps set into established law and, in doing so, open the floodgates to importation of foreign workers at a time when tens of millions of Americans are struggling with unemployment or underemployment.
As Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions explains, the new rule “…bypasses federal immigration caps, increasing significantly the number of foreign nationals authorized to work in the country above the limits set by Congress. These lower-paid foreign workers will be able to take jobs in technology firms, neighborhood pharmacies, energy companies, local schools, public administration, civil engineering, and innumerable other professions both sought and filled by millions of Americans. Whether young American graduates seeking that first job or longtime workers seeking that well-earned promotion, countless Americans will now find their chosen careers in jeopardy.”
Doubt that? Just ask the hundreds of American employees at Disney that were fired from their jobs, but not before being forced to train their foreign replacements or forgo their severance pay. Ask the thousands and thousands of highly qualified American computer programmers and tech workers who struggle to find work even as Microsoft and other IT sector giants seek to import more low-wage foreigners. Median family income in the U.S. has dropped by nearly $5000 under Obama, and bringing in tens or hundreds of thousands of low-wage, skilled workers will only further depress wages.
The Founding Fathers of our nation were arguably the greatest assemblage of political minds in all of human history. Well versed in world history and in the successes and failures of other types of government, they brilliantly devised a form of government which did not naively assume benevolence and wisdom in powerful leaders, but rather acknowledged the flaws in human nature – the tendency towards self-interest, the tendency of those in power to consolidate and expand that power and use it to reward friends and punish enemies – and used those flaws, like political jujitsu, used those tendencies against themselves.
They created a system of horizontal and vertical separations of power, dividing government into three branches (legislative, executive, judicial) and two levels (federal, state), and dividing the powers such that an encroachment by one level or branch of government by another would trigger a resistance by the one encroached upon. In doing so it allowed for a complex but surprisingly enduring balance of power which protected the rights of individuals, while also providing sufficient power to government to accomplish the tasks delegated to it by the governed in which the rights and powers naturally reside.
So, while a fool may cheer such an abuse of power simply because he or she is a beneficiary of fruits of that abuse, a wise man looks to the future and realizes that toleration of such abuses will undoubtedly come back to haunt him.
Whether Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, prudence and wisdom dictates that the time is long overdue that we rein in government, reacting with immediate and forceful resistance to any efforts by government to act outside of the sphere we’ve established for it. To do otherwise is to abdicate our role as masters of government, and prostrate ourselves as slaves.