Waivers worth mil­lions for po­lit­i­cal cronies

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Thomas Sow­ell

Among the ob­jec­tions to Oba­macare, one that has not got­ten as much at­ten­tion as it should is the pres­i­dent’s power to waive the law for any com­pany, union or other en­ter­prise he chooses.

The 14th Amend­ment to the Con­sti­tu­tion pro­vides for “equal pro­tec­tion of the laws” for all Amer­i­cans. To have a law that can cost an or­ga­ni­za­tion mil­lions of dol­lars a year ei­ther ap­ply or not ap­ply, de­pend­ing on the whim or po­lit­i­cal in­ter­est of the Pres­i­dent of the United States, is to make a mock­ery of the rule of law.

How se­cure is any free­dom when there is this kind of ar­bi­trary power in the hands of one man?

What does your right of free­dom of speech mean if say­ing some­thing that ir­ri­tates the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion means that you or your busi­ness has to pay huge amounts of money and get hit with all sorts of red tape un­der Oba­macare that your com­peti­tor is ex­empted from, be­cause your com­peti­tor ei­ther kept quiet or praised the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion or do­nated to its re-elec­tion cam­paign?

Ar­bi­trary Oba­macare waivers are bad enough by them­selves.

They are truly omi­nous as part of a more gen­eral prac­tice of this ad­min­is­tra­tion to cre­ate ar­bi­trary pow­ers that per­mit them to walk roughshod over the ba­sic rights of the Amer­i­can peo­ple.

The checks and balances of the Con­sti­tu­tion have been evaded time and time again by the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, un­der­min­ing the fun­da­men­tal right of the peo­ple to de­ter­mine the laws that gov­ern them, through their elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

You do not have a self­gov­ern­ing peo­ple when huge laws are passed too fast for the pub­lic to even know what is in them.

You do not have a self-gov­ern­ing peo­ple when “czars” are cre­ated by Ex­ec­u­tive Or­ders, so that in­di­vid­u­als wield­ing vast pow­ers equal to, or greater than, the pow­ers of Cab­i­net mem­bers do not have to be vet­ted and con­firmed by the peo­ple’s elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives in the Se­nate, as Cab­i­net mem­bers must be.

You do not have a self-gov­ern­ing peo­ple when de­ci­sions to take mil­i­tary ac­tion are re­ferred to the United Nations and the Arab League, but not to the Congress of the United States, elected by the Amer­i­can peo­ple, whose blood and trea­sure are squan­dered.

You do not have a self-gov­ern­ing peo­ple when a so-called “con­sumer pro­tec­tion” agency is cre­ated to be fi­nanced by the un­elected of­fi­cials of the Fed­eral Re­serve Sys­tem, which can cre­ate its own money out of thin air, in­stead of be­ing fi­nanced by ap­pro­pri­a­tions voted by elected mem­bers of Congress who have to jus­tify their pri­or­i­ties and trade-offs to the tax­pay­ing pub­lic.

You do not have a self­gov­ern­ing peo­ple when laws passed by the Congress, signed by pre­vi­ous Pres­i­dents, and ap­proved by the fed­eral courts, can have the cur­rent Pres­i­dent waive what­ever sec­tions he does not like, and refuse to en­force those sec­tions, de­spite his oath to see that the laws are faith­fully ex­e­cuted.

Barack Obama, for ex­am­ple, has re­fused to carry out sec­tions of the im­mi­gra­tion laws that he does not like, uni­lat­er­ally cre­at­ing de facto amnesty for those il­le­gal im­mi­grants he has cho­sen to be ex­empt from the law. The is­sue is not — re­peat, NOT — the wis­dom or jus­tice of this Pres­i­dent’s im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy, but the seiz­ing of ar­bi­trary pow­ers not granted to any Pres­i­dent by the Con­sti­tu­tion of the United States.

You do not have a self­gov­ern­ing peo­ple if Pres­i­dent Obama suc­ceeds in hav­ing in­ter­na­tional treaties un­der United Nations aus­pices gov­ern the way Amer­i­cans live their lives, whether with gun con­trol laws or other laws.

Obama’s “ci­ti­zen of the world” mind­set was re­vealed back in 2008, when he said “We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 de­grees at all times ... and then just ex­pect that ev­ery other coun­try is go­ing to say okay.”

The de­sire to cir­cum­vent the will of the Amer­i­can peo­ple was re­vealed even more omi­nously when Barack Obama said to Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Medvedev — when he thought the mi­cro­phone was off — that, af­ter he is re-elected and need never face the vot­ers again, he can be more “flex­i­ble” with the Rus­sians about mis­sile de­fense.

There are other signs of Obama’s con­tempt for Amer­i­can Con­sti­tu­tional democ­racy, but these should be more than enough. Dare we risk how far he will go when he never has to face the vot­ers again, and can ap­point Supreme Court jus­tices who can rub­ber stamp his power grabs? Will this still be Amer­ica in 2016? Thomas Sow­ell is a se­nior fel­low at the Hoover In­sti­tu­tion, Stan­ford Univer­sity.

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