ObamaCare, Unions and Destruction of Constitutional Order

Personal Freedom and Prosperity 110: The Rule of Law

Atop the confederation of executive agencies sits the Chief Executive and his immediate staff, who have been the greatest beneficiaries of the new technologies of government. The president (or prime minister) monitors and directs the activities of hundreds of agencies in real-time from a single locus of authority.

Christopher DeMuth, Claremont Review of Books 

ObamaCare, Unions and Destruction of Constitutional Order

The unions are furious.  President Obama has refused to grant a dispensation
from ObamaCare.  In particular, the unions wanted a tax credit for their members that are receiving employer-provided health coverage.  Basically, our unions wanted a credit in addition to their non-taxed health care.

Last week, after very powerful union presidents met with President Obama, a letter from the Treasury squashed their request:   “An individual who is covered by an eligible employer-sponsored plan would not be eligible to receive a premium tax credit.”

Why did the unions seek relief from the President?  Because… ObamaCare intentionally ceded enormous powers to Federal agencies to make rules and regulations, which the President controls.  Remember all the waivers granted to hundreds of organizations, and disproportionately to the unions?  The unions simply wanted another favor.  After all, they completely supported ObamaCare and Obama’s re-election, aren’t they entitled to yet another waiver?

Of course, this is morally wrong and violates our Constitutional order.  Congress makes laws and the President enforces the law.  Tragically, since approximately 1970, Republican and Democrat presidents have ordered their agencies to make more and more rules with the force of law and bypassing Congress.  Thus, special-interest predators (unions, Wall Street and thousands more) go to the President to receive enormous benefits.  Christopher DeMuth explains in the Claremont Review of Books.

The hierarchical agency is superior to the legislature at gathering, analyzing, and deploying information; at managing specialized constituencies; and at making high-volume policy decisions and fine-tuning them over time.

Okay, the President and his bureaucrats have too much power.  So, why didn’t they interpret the law to benefit the unions?  Again, didn’t the bureaucrats just interpret the law in favor of the Congressional staffers?  Aren’t these incidents very similar?   Certainly, both requests were ultimately given a thumbs up (or down) by President Obama.  Weren’t they? Probably. 

Of course, we will never know the political reasons for these differing decisions.  One educated guess may be tax revenue.  Union demands will cause a substantial loss in revenue and President Obama reasoned a gigantic ObamaCare debt could scuttle his prized legacy. 

A couple of powerful insiders agree.  Two in agreement are Rep. Camp, Chair of the the House Ways and Means Committee, and  Senator Hatch, Minority Leader in the Senate Finance Committee.  Here’s what they have to say

There has been far too much special treatment for politically favored friends of Obamacare. When it comes to employers and taxpayers picking up the health care tab for labor unions — it appears that is a price that is simply too high. Perhaps even this administration recognizes that there are limits to them stretching the law to reward their friends.

Most likely, potential, public outrage and decreased tax review caused the President to quash the request.  Good.  However, this is a very, small victory – a tiny pin prick – in comparison to the destruction of our Constitutional order, which has caused enormous growth of government and debt.  Mr. DeMuth asserts:

The accumulation of wide policy discretion in the executive, and the accumulation of high levels of public debt, are the overarching phenomena of contemporary democracy.

Without Congress promulgating the law and exerting some restraint on spending, government has greatly expanded.  Invariably this expansion is accompanied by enlarged government debt, which must be paid by future generations.  This is the tragedy and issue of our time.  Constitutional restraints must be installed to save democracy from self-destructing.  

This latest tussle between President Obama and the unions illustrates one small example of executive power and bureaucratic rule making. 

Mr. DeMuth’s article explores and exposes the independent self-perpetuating powers of many federal agencies – the EPA and more – and their coercive power to tax and regulate. Every person concerned with governance should read Mr. DeMuth’s article.