Posts Tagged ‘separation of powers’

Much ado about nothing

February 13, 2013

The mainstream US media has sustained a high level of rhetoric, since the November 2012 elections, to the effect that the progressive agenda is triumphant and that any vision of smaller government is dead. Such rhetoric allowed President Obama to enter the US Capitol yesterday, strutting like a victorious Roman general returning from war to receive a triumph from the gathered multitude.

Reality is very different from rhetoric, however, as the nature of yesterday’s ‘triumph’ quickly indicated. The President talked bigger government, for the benefit of his left-wing base. However, his proposals were scatter-shot and small scale, must of them recognizably unattainable at least during the first two years of his second term. And those typically are the only years when a second-term president realistically can lead the nation.

The explanation of this gap between rhetoric and reality lies in the wisdom of the Founding Fathers. A victorious ‘general’ under the 1787 constitution cannot declare himself dictator, as so often occurred during the Roman Republic. The separation of powers requires the president to work with the Congress on all issues where money is involved. And the wisdom of the American people, in November 2012, placed the House of Representatives – the engine of the Congress – in the hands of representatives who surely do not support bigger government.

In consequence, on matters domestic – which constituted 90 per cent of the State of the Union address – the words of the president represented much ado about nothing. Only items approved of by the GOP majority, together with items that the president can achieve by logrolling to sell out compensatory progressive nostrums, will reach the statute book between now and January 2015.

‘Spend, spend, spend and tax, tax, tax, the wealthy’ may be Barack Obama’s renewed Harry Hopkins’ rhetoric. But the reality is that Barack Obama is no 1936 FDR and Americans have learned well since the over-extended Great Depression that followed Harry Hopkins words, that they are unwise to ask what government can do for them. Every one loves a free lunch. But wary Americans now know full well that there are no free lunches out of a progressive White House.

The State of the Union address was dead on arrival, as most such addresses are. President Obama has missed yet another opportunity to tap into the entrepreneurial instincts of small business designed to allow the private sector to pull America out of its stagnation.

Barack Obama seeks second-term dictatorship

January 15, 2013

In these columns, I have long suggested that Barack Obama is intellectually-challenged. When low intelligence combines with personal vanity in the head of state of a nation, it becomes a blend toxic to the maintenance of liberty. James Mason and the Founding Fathers recognized this threat and wrote a constitution designed to limit the role of the President through the separation of powers.

Specifically, with respect to fiscal matters, the House of Representatives is the engine of legislation, the Senate is the brake, and the President exerts influence through the power of the veto. That was the Constitution in 1787, and for the most part, that is the Constitution in 2013. However, on fiscal matters, Obama does not view the Constitution through this lens. Instead, he views it through the lens of an imperial presidency.

Barack Obama has long displayed the characteristics of the narcissist, wallowing in the adulation of the campaign trail, telling his Chicago law students what he good looking guy he is, and reacting emotionally and badly to any challenge to his personal image. A good example of the latter is available on the web when he was exposed on factual errors by Paul Ryan during the 2009 Obamacare debates. The 2012 election victory, slim though it was for an incumbent president, has tipped Barack Obama right over the edge. Megalomania now controls his approach to politics.

“America cannot afford another debate with this Congress about whether or not they should pay the bills they’ve already racked up. Markets could go haywire. Republicans in Congress have two choices here. They can act responsibly and pay America’s bills or they can act irresponsibly and put America through another economic crisis, but they will not collect a ransom for not crashing the American economy” Barack Obama January 14, 2013″

Senator Obama voted against increasing the debt limit during the administration of President George W Bush. The White House at that time did not issue any threats of retaliation, but negotiated an acceptable outcome.President Bush acknowledged the respective roles of the Congress and the Presidency with respect to budgetary decision-making.

Note how would-be dictators typically associate the nation with themselves (L’etat,c’est moi‘). Barack Obama now identifies himself with America, despite the fact that 49 per cent of the electorate voted in favor of Mitt Romney.

Obama’s dictatorial tendencies are evident even before he has been sworn in to a second term. Lovers of liberty will do well to watch the words and actions of this president very carefully as his second term begins. They are well-advised to challenge constitutional over-reach wherever it manifests itself. Constitutional over-reach assuredly will occur, as long as the democratically-elected House of Representatives stands in the way of Obama’s vainglory. For the president is now assembling a junta of faceless yes-men in his cabinet, with the clear intent of making a lunge for an imperial presidency.

This Republic now confronts a major test of Madison’s ingenuity in Philadelphia. It does so without any Cato the Younger to plead an articulate case for the freedom of all Americans.

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty

2012 Obama electoral majority leans to democratic socialism

November 25, 2012

Democratic socialism is a flexible concept, embracing a range of institutional alternatives. However the concept surely encompasses the right to free elections, a major  role for the state as producer and distributor of goods and services, and  a major role for the state in redistributing income and wealth through progressive taxation and extensive transfer programs.

Democratic socialism requires a larger role for the state in these areas than would be required for a social market economy. In other words, democratic socialism requires a more expansive role for the state than is currently provided by any member of the EU.

A recent New York Times column drawing on the exit data from the November 6, 2012 elections reports that Barack Obama achieved a mandate for democratic socialism in his re-election to the presidency.  Here is the basis for that assessment:

If the same electorate that turned out to vote in 2010 had turned out to vote in November 2012, President Romney would now be planning his Inauguration.  However, the 2012 turnout was markedly different.  It was much younger, much more diverse, and significantly less well educated.

Only 12 per cent of the participating electorate were aged 18-29 in 2010, but they made up 19 per cent of the electorate in 2012.  Whites made up 77 per cent of the electorate in 2010, but they only made up on 72 per cent in 2012.  The percentage of college-educated voters also fell, from 52 to 47 per cent.  If blacks and voters aged between 18 and 29 (admittedly an overlapping population) had stayed home in 2012 in the way they did in 2010, Obama would have lost the election.  Obama’s mandate in 2012 comes largely from those voters, together with liberal Democrats.

What did those voters want?

Exit poll data show that these voters support much more strongly than any others Obama’s call for higher taxes on the rich and for a government that should do more to solve problems.  Both groups, however, are much more supportive of democratic socialism than is the general population.

According to a December 2011 Pew Foundation study, while 60 per cent of Americans view socialism negatively, a plurality of Americans aged between 18 and 29 (49 per cent to 42 per cent) view socialism positively.  A majority of blacks  (55 per cent to 36 per cent) view socialism positively.

The groups that view socialism positively constitute Obama’s vote base – not surprisingly since Obama is a socialist himself.  Only one other demographic in America views socialism as positively as these sub-groups: liberal Democrats.  While 90 per cent of liberal Republicans and 51 per cent of moderate Democrats oppose socialism, 59  per cent of liberal Democrats view socialism positively.

So the pro-socialists constitute Obama’s base and provide him with a mandate to attempt to move the United States to the left of all of continental Europe.Fortunately for those of us who have experienced democratic socialism (the UK between 1945 and 1979 was more than I could stomach), James Madison arranged for a separation of powers that will hold Obama on something of a House of Representatives’  leash.

For the future who knows. My advice for anyone who loves free markets and individual liberty is to keep your passport up to date!

Hat Tip: Conn Carroll, ‘A mandate for socialism’, Sunday Examiner, November 25, 2012



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