A new constitution for a 21st century empire.
(Page 2 of 2)
THE PRINCIPLE that taxing and spending authority is vested in the legislature was one of Parliament’s hard-won victories in 17th-century English constitutional history. In recent years, however, the power of the purse has passed to the president, particularly under the 2009 stimulus package, which appropriated $787 billion and was the source for the ill-fated $500 million Solyndra loan guarantee. The Solyndra guarantee was not made out of the blue, but only after frequent meetings between Solyndra executives and White House officials, who touted the project as an example of the president’s support for green energy.
The 2009 GM-Chrysler bailout was an especially remarkable example of the presidential spending power. More than $80 billion in TARP funds was used to bail out the two car manufacturers, even though this unconstitutionally contravened the appropriation statute. Congress had authorized that the TARP monies be spent on “financial institutions” such as banks, savings and loan associations, credit unions, and insurance companies—not on car companies. Bush had sought approval for the automobile bailout from Congress but had failed to overcome a Senate filibuster
ONE MIGHT HAVE EXPECTED the media to take notice of the expansion of presidential power under Obama. With far less cause, they were quick to decry the “imperial presidency” of George W. Bush. Now, however, the earnest republicans in the media and the Democrats have discovered the joys of monarchism. They move seamlessly from the party to the media (George Stephanopoulos, Chris Matthews), from the White House to a lucrative consultancy job (David Axelrod), from the Justice Department to a $4-million-a-year job at Fannie Mae (Jamie Gorelick). They are the pampered fops at the feet of the king, presidential courtiers who will not have to wait for the next world to see their loyalty rewarded. Their motto is “We look after our own!”
For the monarch’s loyal subjects: power, preferment, privilege; for the misguided and disloyal subjects: the full force of the law. We have given you Chevy Volts, and you persist in driving Ford Explorers? Very well, our EPA will mandate fuel-efficiency standards to take away the keys to your gas guzzlers. Your every thought and word reveals deep-seated racism? Very well, we will audit you and sue you and subject you to all the scorn that the media can direct your way. Lèse-majesté has no place under the fourth American constitution, any more than it did under the first.
And what of Congress? Its inspectors general have been taught not to make waves, lest they be fired in the humiliating manner that Gerald Walpin was dismissed when he questioned payoffs to the president’s cronies. Congressmen still control the purse strings, but in a showdown with the president can be expected to blink. They do serve one purpose, however. Without them, how could we have a State of the Union Address?
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?