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A Prosperous Society Requires a Predictable and Stable Legal Order


Personal Freedom and Prosperity 110: The Rule of Law

A Predictable and Stable Legal Order:

A government with moral and legal authority promulgates written rules and universally, impartially and uniformly enforces the rules, which provides a predictable and stable legal order on which to base economic and personal decisions. The law prevails, not the proclamation or arbitrary decision of a ruler, government bureaucrat, the enforcer (e.g., policeman) or judge.

A Prosperous Society Requires a Predictable and Stable Legal Order

President Obama has traded five, Taliban jihadists for one captured American soldier. Congress was not notified of the jihadists being transferred, which, by the way, is required by law. National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, claimed there was an acute opportunity and President Obama did not have time to notify Congress. A much more plausible scenario is the President did not want Congress to know of the prisoner exchange. Thus, the President disregarded the law. (Haven't we heard this before?) Harmfully, the President has repeatedly violated the Rule of Law. John Fund of the National Review lists a few examples:

The Obama administration’s consistently cavalier attitude toward the rule of law — whether regarding the IRS scandal, Fast and Furious, Obamacare, immigration, or the repeated refusal to answer congressional subpoenas — is profoundly disturbing.

Fund correctly states that the Obama administration's abrogation of the Rule of Law is one of the biggest obstacles it faces in securing the support and confidence not only of Congress but of the American people.

Regrettably, it is much more devastating than a lack of confidence. A free and prosperous society excels when written rules are universally, impartially and uniformly enforced. Without fixed and enforced rules of governance, people are reluctant to invest time, energy and money in their individual economic and social transactions. As Nobel Laureate F.A. Hayek explained:

Nothing distinguishes more clearly conditions in a free country from those in a country under arbitrary government than the observance in the former of the great principle know as the Rule of Law. Stripped of all technicalities, this means that government in all its actions is bound by rules fixed and announced beforehand — rules which make it possible to foresee with fair certainty how the authority will use its coercive powers in given circumstances and to plan one’s individual affairs on the basis of this knowledge.

President Obama's distain for the Rule of Law has had enormous consequences to our life in America. Not easily seen or quantified, the devastating personal and economic consequences we are experiencing are detrimental to our society.

ObamaCare alone has disrupted the lives of millions of Americans. Intentionally promulgated, ObamaCare has disrupted medical insurance and doctor care for millions of Americans. Plus, the law has reduced employment and working hours for millions of Americans. How many Americans are out of work? How much has the economy been impacted? It is difficult to quantify, but we all know people seeking work and living on reduced incomes.

Unemployment and reduced income resulting from ObamaCare has been made worse by the Health and Human Services's (HHS) arbitrary rules and delays. Remember Sebelius? HHS has dictated what insurance policies must be bought – Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. HHS has delayed implementations. These arbitrary and inconsistent decisions cause businesses not to expand and hire more employees. For example, the 40% tax on cadillac health plans scheduled to be enforced in 2018 is already causing major disruptions with big unions and major employers as they bargain for contracts going beyond the start date. Worse, knowing of the corruptions and illegal decisions, will our government unilaterally extend the start date or totally repeal the cadillac law as our big unions are demanding? Who knows? Of course, it is the essence of what is retarding economic expansion.

As Hayek explained, the Rule of Law is essential for a free society to prosper and excel. Exchanging a captured American for five jihadists in violation of our law is wrong, but miniscule. What is harmful is the continuous and persistent violations of our Rule of Law. President Obama’s distain for our Rule of Law has been profoundly devastating to our life, our liberty and the pursuit of our happiness.