When you get beyond the rhetoric of change, it is astonishing how close President Barack Obama is following his predecessor in economic policy. Just as George W. Bush attempted to jump-start the economy with a jolt of hundreds of billions of dollars, Obama is doubling down on the bailout bets. In the Troubled Assets Relief Program process, the legislative branch is authorizing nearly a trillion dollars in spending.But isn’t this backward? Doesn’t Congress have the sole power to authorize executive branch spending, and the president, the power to veto congressional spending authorizations?I opposed the $700 billion bailout legislation because, among other objections, I believed it to be an unconstitutional delegation of congressional authority to an unelected official in the executive branch. Both the short history of the legislation’s implementation and a new legal analysis published by FreedomWorks Foundation confirm my original fears. This dramatic role reversal, with the executive telling Congress what to do, is exactly why the bailout is unconstitutional and must be stopped.The bailout legislation violates the bedrock constitutional principle of nondelegation by investing the treasury secretary — an unelected member of the executive branch — with too much discretionary authority to exercise too much power. In a recent legal analysis prepared for FreedomWorks Foundation, attorneys note, “Rather than making the policy choices necessary to guide the secretary’s discretion, Congress has given the secretary far-reaching power to intervene in the nation’s economy and effectively to nationalize American businesses — upon the thinnest reed of statutory constraints. And in doing so, Congress has effectively chosen not to make law but, rather, to make the treasury secretary the lawmaker.”The debate over the second half of the bailout being authorized continues this backward approach to lawmaking. It has members of the Congress asking the Treasury Department to make promises that it will do better this time than it did before. But it is Congress’ constitutional duty to tell Treasury what to do, not ask.Critics may say government being bound by the Constitution is a quaint idea, and the current crisis allows no time for it. But the Constitution is as relevant as ever. Drawing on their firsthand experience with King George, the Constitution’s Framers made the exercise of power difficult by design to protect liberty, to force deliberation, and to ensure accountability — all of which are threatened by the continuation of the bailout.