image courtesy of Maggie’s Notebook
Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute testified before Congress yesterday about the dangerous territory into which the country is headed. Obama took an oath to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed” and Cannon spells out in clear detail how badly Obama is flouting his oath and the Constitution.
The law is a reciprocal pact between the government and the governed. Public order requires government to remain faithful to the law as much as it requires the citizenry to do so. If the actions of government officials lead citizens to conclude that those officials are no longer meaningfully bound by the law, then citizens will rightly conclude that neither are they.
Since he signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) into law on March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama has failed to execute that law faithfully.
The president has unilaterally taken taxpayer dollars made available by the PPACA and diverted them from their congressionally authorized purposes toward purposes for which no Congress has ever appropriated funds.
He has unilaterally and repeatedly rewritten the statute to dispense taxpayer dollars that no federal law authorizes him to spend and that the PPACA expressly forbids him to spend.
He has unilaterally issued blanket waivers to requirements that the PPACA does not authorize him to waive.
At the same time he has declined to collect taxes the PPACA orders him to collect, he has unilaterally rewritten the statute to impose billions of dollars in taxes that the PPACA expressly forbids him to impose, and to incur billions of dollars in debt that the statute expressly forbids him to incur.
He has unilaterally rewritten the PPACA to allow health insurance products that the statute expressly forbids. He has encouraged consumers, insurers, and state officials to violate a federal law he enacted.
And he has taken these steps for the purpose of forestalling democratic action by the people’s elected representatives in Congress.
President Obama’s unfaithfulness to the PPACA is so wanton, it is no longer accurate to say the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is “the law of the land.” Today, with respect to health care, the law of the land is whatever one man says it is – or whatever this divided Congress will let that one man get away with saying. What this one man says may flatly contradict federal statute. It may suddenly confer benefits on favored groups, or tax disfavored groups without representation. It may undermine the careful and costly planning done by millions of individuals and businesses. It may change from day to day. This method of lawmaking has more in common with monarchy than democracy or a constitutional republic.
Obama has run roughshod over the PPACA law. Cannon points out the worst abuse:
The president’s most egregious violation of his duty to execute faithfully the PPACA is his attempt – under the rubric of that law – to tax, borrow, and spend billions of dollars that statute expressly prohibits him to spend.
The relevant provisions of the Act are complex, but the law is abundantly clear. The PPACA authorizes the creation of state-specific health insurance “exchanges” that regulate health insurance within each state. It asserts that “Each State shall . . . establish” an Exchange. It directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish an Exchange in states that do not. It offers health insurance subsidies to certain taxpayers who enroll in a qualified health plan “through an Exchange established by the State under Section 1311.” Finally, the PPACA exempts employers from its “free-rider penalty,” and exempts millions of individual taxpayers from its individual-mandate penalties, if their states opt not to establish an Exchange. The language of the statute is clear, consistent, and unambiguous.
Nevertheless, shortly after legal scholars brought this feature of the law to the public’s attention in 2011, the Internal Revenue Service proposed a rule that would issue those subsidies – and impose the resulting taxes – through federal Exchanges as well as state-established Exchanges. Congressional Budget Office estimates indicate that issuing subsidies in the 34 states that have refused to establish Exchanges would cost taxpayers roughly $700 billion in the first 10 years. The president is literally threatening to tax, borrow, and spend hundreds of billions of dollars, without congressional authorization, and indeed in violation of the express language of his own health care law.
The IRS proposed this rule with no apparent regard for the clear language of the statute. Despite public criticism and objections during the notice-and-comment period, the agency finalized its proposed rule in May 2012 yet cited neither any provision of the PPACA nor any element of the legislative history in support of its “interpretation” of the law.
You will want to read the entire testimony. Cannon concludes with a strong warning:
The concerns I share with you today are not borne of partisanship. Though I have worked for Republicans, I am not a Republican, for reasons that Democrats on this committee can readily appreciate. I am acutely aware of the last Republican president’s failures to execute the laws faithfully. In 2008, though I did not support him, I preferred the Democratic presidential candidate to the Republican candidate in part because he promised to curb such abuses by the executive. I have praised President Obama for doing more than even many libertarians to celebrate the gains in equality and freedom our nation has secured for women, for African-Americans, for gays, and for lesbians.
This president’s failure – or any president’s failure – to honor his constitutional duty to execute the laws faithfully is not a partisan issue. The fact that presidents from both parties violate this duty is cause not for solace. It is cause for even greater alarm, because it guarantees that presidents from both parties will replicate and even surpass the abuses of their predecessors as payback for past injustices. The result is that democracy and freedom will suffer no matter who occupies the Oval Office.
The Obama regime is arguing that it is nonsensical to read literally the law as it is written.
That’s utterly absurd.
What do laws mean if they can be rewritten at will by the President? Why must we obey laws if the President does not? Since when are we to obey what democrats say they intended rather than what is codified in a law they wrote?
Why could Obama not suspend the 2nd Amendment if he wakes up one day and decides on it? What if Obama wakes up one day and claims the First Amendment means he can shut down the press because that’s how he interprets it?
Who’s going to stop him?
Obama does think he is king and this country is edging closer and closer to that becoming a reality.
During that hearing Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, ran roughshod over the English language on the idea of “faithfully,” by confusing it with having faith.
Faithfully literally means dependably and or reliably.
Lee claimed that if Obama and she ”had faith,” they should act on their faith!
Faith literally means a strong belief or trust in someone or something.
Two completely and often diametrically opposed ideas!
Wish that soundbite was on You Tube.
By Jackson’s ”logic,” Obama was doing the right thing to NOT follow laws as written!
These people are sick, but what’s worse is that enough people voted for these animals to get them into office. The whole country is now suffering with people that are border line insane.
In a just world, Obama would be impeached and put in jail for his criminal and unconstitutional behavior.
Obamacare is The most evil fraud since social security and the progressive income tax scams.
I think I’ll try the Obama argument about not literally enforcing the law the next time I rob a bank. But I’m betting the FBI won’t buy that argument.
This is no surprise to me at all, he has demonstrated his disdain for law and willingness to act lawlessly for a long time, before he took state office in Illinois. Warnings were all but shouted from the rooftops, but fell on deaf ears; this clear and present danger will be ignored too, by the likes of RW, Greg, The One and others that come in here, as well as a large number of voters who are still gullible enough to believe Obama has the best interests of our nation at heart. I’m not sure what it’s going to take to get people to see what road we’re on…
Why is that? The government’s position is ridiculous.
in the real world,when the Supreme court ruled the penalty for not buying a policy was actually is a TAX the entire law should be VOIDED because it was created in the senate and not the house of rep. Those of you here that know your laws know that ANY tax bills MUST originate in the house,so therefor this bill is kaput!
What WHAT WHAT!? A Democrat wants a President to violate the “Separation between Church and State” to re-interpret the law based on his faith!
What will Democrats do in the future when a Republican President continues the unconstitutional, unilateral scofflaw precedents of Obama? What will they say when that President blames Obama and these partisan Democrats for making it possible for him to rewrite laws?
@This one: I am continually amazed at your ability to operate a computer, all while your noggin is perpetually lodged in your posterior orifice.
Absolutely. The vote for the ACA legislation did not take place under the mandated Senate rules regarding taxation (revenue) bills.
What? are you advocating that we should actually abide by the Constitution? What a novel idea, wish we could get the libs to go for that.
This one, are you implying that ‘each’ president should be allowed to pick and choose which laws, or parts of laws, that he wishes to enforce or not enforce as it benefits him and his party, or do you think laws should be enforced as they are written?
No, Rep. Lee made it clear.
It was faith in terms of a belief in a liberal thought, not a ”religious,” faith, like in God.
She described she had her ”personal faith in how to solve a political problem,” (like sealing the border) then used that to screw up ”faithfully” into a pretzel whereby doing the opposite of what a law says is ”faithfully enforcing a law,” (like ignoring sealing the border.)
What is nonsensical is that we have any hopes that he will follow the laws at this point.