by Chris Gacek
February 16, 2010
A deeply worrisome article appeared in the New York Times on Saturday (2/13/10). It has received much attention on Mondays radio programs. The article by Peter Baker is entitled Obama is Making Plans to Use Executive Power for Action on Several Fronts. Baker tells us that the President is preparing an array of actions using his executive power to advance energy, environmental, fiscal, and other domestic policy priorities. And Baker continues with this observation, Any president has vast authority to influence policy even without legislation, through executive orders, agency rule-making and administrative fiat.
Translation: now that various Obama legislative (i.e., democratic) efforts have failed, it is time to force his policies on the nation through the diktat available to the head of the American federal administrative state. Of all the items mentioned in the article, the most destructive is probably the Administrations plan to begin regulating carbon emissions via the Environmental Protection Agency. This will be enormously costly for the American economy, and it comes at a time when the science supporting man-made climate change is collapsing. (See these articles as evidence: here, here, here, here and here (listed on Mark Levins website.) The collapse of scientific support may provide some minimal chance that the federal courts might block or alter EPAs rulemaking efforts, but EPA clearly has the upper hand in any litigation. Congress needs to eliminate EPAs authority to regulate carbon emissions until some scientific clarity emerges.
In a slightly differently category is the Administrations apparent decision to stop enforcing the militarys Dont Ask, Dont Tell which is statutorily mandated and has been in effect for approximately 16 years. It seems axiomatic that if the administration wants to change the policy, Congress needs to change the law.
The article deals at length with presidential recess appointments, and President Obamas threat to make use of them. The use of holds by members of the Senate seems to have gotten out of hand. All that said, the appointment power is far different from unilateral executive branch lawmaking which was never remotely considered by our Founding Fathers. And, here, we see plans for this constitutional abuse to be taken to new levels.
America is rapidly becoming a judicial and bureaucratic oligarchy. This institutional development is a threat conservatives and libertarians need to focus on much more seriously. This development is even more dangerous when coupled with the crony capitalism (corporatism) that is emerging from government ownership or subsidization of American industries. The United States is beginning to resemble the corrupt England of George IIIs era where commercial monopolies were sold by the Crown drawing the ire of the American colonists and men like Adam Smith.