COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., December 22, 2013 — On June 28, 2012 — a day that will live in infamy — the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the individual mandate in Obamacare was constitutional. More than half the states had brought a lawsuit to have that portion of the law overturned. The administration fought to retain it — and won. Then last Thursday, the president unilaterally threw it out the window.
Liberals are unencumbered with a sense of history. They’re the go-with-the-flow crowd; if it feels good, do it. Conservatives, on the other hand, can be overly bound by tradition. A constitutional republic like ours charts a middle course. We are bound by laws, not by the whims of an autocrat, but those laws can be changed by a legal process.
According to John Fund writing in “National Review,” this change to the individual mandate marks “at least the 14th unilateral change to Obamacare that’s been made without consulting Congress.” That’s not the way it’s supposed to work.
Remember, if you will, the events of 2009. Already in the spring the Tea Party revolt began as a protest against out of control spending. Then in the summer, when the health care overhaul bill was unveiled, members of Congress were besieged in their town hall meetings by citizens protesting the proposed law.
Yet late on Christmas Eve 2009, Harry Reid forced a vote in the Senate. In March 2010, Nancy Pelosi did the same in the House. The law has never been opposed by less than a majority of the people, never supported by more than about 40 percent. The more features that get implemented, the less people like it. Today, 67 percent want it at least delayed; 53 percent seek outright repeal.
Here’s what Iowa Sen. Tom Harking wrote on December 30, 2009 about that Senate vote:
“Last week, when Senate Democrats passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the right wing’s quest to kill President Obama’s No. 1 domestic priority ended. Santa has delivered a lump of coal to Senator Jim DeMint, who gleefully predicted that defeat of health reform ‘will be [Obama’s] Waterloo; it will break him.’”
There’s an old saying: Be careful what you ask for, lest you get it.
In the weeks leading up to the Supreme Court decision, Democrats argued that the individual mandate was essential to the law. Without it, they said, far fewer people would have insurance. They got what they wanted.
Now, having gleefully told the country that Obamacare is the law of the land, they apparently do not feel the irony of ignoring that law — or of changing it to suit present purposes.
What is that present purpose? Again, Sen. Harkin in 2009:
“I like to think of this bill as like a starter home. It is not the mansion of our dreams. But it has a solid foundation, giving every American access to quality, affordable coverage.”
As it turns out, not so much. The foundations are crumbling and the entire house is coming down. These extra-legal unilateral decrees coming from the administration seek to prop it up. The starter home has become a money pit. Not only do these executive decisions and orders bypass Congress, but they also ignore the very ruling sought and won from the Supreme Court.
The president is acting more and more like a dictator than an elected leader of a democratic republic, ruling by decree rather than “tak[ing] Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” In its original Roman usage, a dictator was a person given sole power for a specific limited period in order to deal with an emergency. At the end of his term, the Dictator was supposed to hand power over to the normal rulers and give account of his actions.
The President of the United States is never given sole power for any period of time. He shares power with the Congress and the judiciary, all limited grants of power coming from the People through their Constitution.
It is time for the Congress and the People to demand an account of his actions.
At The Voice of Liberty, we seek to advance the principles of liberty, because tyranny never sleeps.
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