By L&T Publisher Earl Watt
While many may applaud the president’s recent decision to delay for a year the employer mandate on the Affordable Health Care Act, the growing misunderstanding of the role of the presidency could not be more disturbing.
As controversial as the passage of Obamacare was, it did pass.
The unfair issuing of waivers to labor groups is also a black eye for the administration, but it is at least written into the law.
Arbitrarily suspending a portion of the law, however, does not fall within the duties of the president.
There is absolutely no question why the White House wants to delay unrolling the mandate on small and medium sized businesses — the Democrats would get crushed in the mid-term elections if the policy occurs on schedule in 2014.
The most current polling data by Real Clear Politics has 53 percent of the American people opposing the law and only 40.6 percent in favor.
When the law kicks in fully, which was supposed to be 2014, Nancy Pelosi will get her wish that we will all finally find out what was in the bill they passed, and it won’t be good.
When the mandate takes effect, the promise that nothing will change on current plans will be proven false. Employers will be dropping health plans like sponsors dropped Paula Deen. They will opt to pay the fine rather than provide the benefit, forcing employees on to the public exchanges.
The problem is many states have opted out of the exchanges, and due to the universality of the coverage, it will be very expensive.
Just like automotive insurance, the more you cover, the higher the risk for the insurance company, the higher the premium.
When everyone is covered for everything, the price is going to be steep.
The exchanges are way behind schedule according to the non-partisan General Accounting Office.
Due to roll out in three months, and after having three years to prepare, the GAO stated in June that more than 85 percent of the work necessary for implementation has yet to be done.
The White House will claim they need more time to prepare for the massive health care takeover, but it is simply to minimize the damage the Democrats will suffer when the reality of this train wreck legislation takes effect.
Now that the purpose for the delay is clear, what gives the president the authority to arbitrarily change a date established by law?
The president does not have the authority to change the prescribed date.
Whether the president likes the timing or not, it is the law. As a Constitutional scholar, Barack Obama should know that according to Article 2, Section 3, the president “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”
It doesn’t say he can execute the laws he likes and ignore the ones he does not, or to change the law to meet his timeframe.
The only influence the president has on legislation is to propose it or to veto it.
Once he signs the bill, it becomes law, and as the chief executive he has to faithfully execute them.
This president has taken a completely different approach to the separation of powers. If he doesn’t like the power of Congress, he separates them from it.
And Congress is just as much to blame.
Obama should be held accountable, but only the Congress can claim a breach of the separation of powers.
Instead of defending the Constitution, those who agree with the president look the other way, and those in opposition make nice speeches to the television cameras, but they do not take the matter to court.
This is a pattern of the president becoming the chief legislator as well. When the Dream Act failed to pass Congress, Obama simply made it so by executive decree, basically, stating he would enforce the law as if the bill had passed, claiming “prosecutorial discretion.”
In 2012, Obama rewrote the state’s requirement for complying with No Child Left Behind.
And Congress sat silent.
These are severe Constitutional breaches, and yet Congress is perfectly willing to acquiesce. The courts cannot rule without a case being presented, and Congress will not make a case of the overreaching power grabs of the executive branch.
Government expansion has ballooned in the past five years. From the partisan charges of the IRS to Obama sidestepping Congress at every major turn, it seems the House and Senate have opted to become advisory only to presidential action.
Trying to hold the last president-who-would-be-dictator in check in 1938, the Supreme Court said that if a president refused to enact the laws “would be clothing the president with a power to control the legislation of Congress, and paralyze the administration of justice.”
Why have a Congress?
Like it or not, agree with it or not, the mandate was due to be implemented in 2014, and it should be. Let the public decide if those who passed the law should be rewarded or punished.
But pushing the date back to avoid being held to account at the polls is not only partisan politics, it is unconstitutional.
Most Americans oppose the law, but they respect the system.
If the government is no longer playing by the rules We the People agreed to in 1789, then we no longer have a Constitutional form of government.