The Spectacle Blog

President Out of Control

By on 10.24.12 | 4:40AM

The reported end-run around the RESTORE Act (BP spill damages fund law) is just the latest in a string of presidential power grabs. I write about it at CFIF here.

I start by citing an article by, of all outlets, the Daily Beast, which provides:

copious examples of these extra-constitutional power grabs: extensive military action in Libya with no congressional authorization; “recess appointments” to regulatory boards even when the Senate wasn’t in recess; amnesty for young illegal immigrants without congressional approval; multiple Environmental Protection Agency power seizures (some of which already have been halted by the courts) contrary to congressional intent; waivers from the requirements of No Child Left behind, and manifestly illegal waivers of welfare work requirements, to name just a few.

Now comes perhaps an even worse abuse. In those other cases, Obama did things Congress had refused to pass laws to do. In the new BP issue, in contrast, Obama reportedly is close to directly contradicting the manifest intentions of a law he himself signed.

I describe how Obama's reported dodge of Congress' intent with regard to the BP money will shortchange not just Mississippi and Alabama but also the Florida Panhandle, and then note an element of hypocrisy in the president's negotiations as well:

In what some might consider a supreme irony, funds sent through NRDA are partly tax-deductible, while those controlled by the RESTORE Act would not be. Therefore, this administration which so often has blasted “tax breaks for oil companies” would itself be responsible for giving an entirely unearned tax break to the oil company that created the biggest man-made environmental disaster the U.S. Gulf Coast has ever seen.

Finally, it is worth noting that what these negotiations seem to be aimed at is to favor environmental causes at the expense of small businesses. It is the tourism and fisheries industries, among others, on the central Gulf Coast, that would be shortchanged. Yet again, the Obama administration seems hell-bent on giving short shrift to the people, the entrepreneurs and sole proprietors and mom-and-pop shops, who are the backbone of our economy and our culture.

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