Another Awful Bush Precedent for President Obama - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Another Awful Bush Precedent for President Obama

It has become commonplace for presidents to ignore the Constitution and the law.  Unfortunately, supposedly conservative presidents don’t behave much differently.

Terence Jeffrey reviews President George W. Bush’s bail-out of the auto industry.  His action violates the bail-out bill approved by Congress, which limited funds for financial institutions.  Explains Jeffrey:

President Bush, of course, failed to get Congress to enact legislation to provide money to auto companies.

That brings us back to the Constitution. Article 1, Section 9 reads, “No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law.”

In his commentaries on the Constitution, Justice Joseph Story explained why the Framers gave Congress this power. “If it were otherwise,” he said, “the executive would possess an unbounded power over the public purse of the nation; and might apply all its monied resources at his pleasure.”

President Bush may think his auto bailout spared his legacy a bad mark. In fact, it leaves America to be haunted by the precedent of an executive who unilaterally spends the people’s money without the legal authority required by our Constitution.

Unfortunately, when President Barack Obama follows suit on one issue or another, there won’t be much for Republicans to say.  And conservatives will need to expunge the ghost of George W. Bush to reclaim any credibility on fiscal issues or the rule of law.

Doug Bandow
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Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute.
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