Front Page
NMJ Search
Editorials
Commentary
Archive
NMJ Radio
Constitutional Literacy
Islamofascism
Progressivism
Books
NMJ Shop
Links, Etc...
Facebook
Twitter
Site Information
About Us
Contact Us
  US Senate
  US House
  Anti-Google






Social Bookmarking
Print this page.
Government Gone Wild
Daniel Henninger
May 25, 2013
Of all the excuses, explanations and alibis pouring forth in the saga of the IRS kneecapping of conservative groups during the victorious Obama 2012 campaign, the one that deserves attention is this from David Axelrod:

"Part of being president is that there's so much beneath you that you can't know, because the government is so vast."

This makes the federal government sound like the endless void in "Star Trek"--a place "where no man has gone before."

Under Mr. Axelrod's Spock-like logic, the federal government has become a Milky Way of incomprehensibility, and so it follows that the IRS scandal could have originated with a few federal Klingons in faraway Cincinnati.

The Cincinnati-did-it defense degraded this week when the IRS's Washington-based Lois Lerner lawyered up and invoked the Fifth Amendment before Rep. Darrell Issa's House committee. Any veteran of the Washington scandal wars--Watergate, Iran-Contra, Whitewater--will tell you there's one unimpeachable sign that a presidency has trouble on its hands: That's when the Washington defense bar joins the cast of characters. Public officials don't hire lawyers to protect their jobs. They hire lawyers to stay out of the slammer.

But back to David Axelrod. It behooves us to focus on the implication in his assertion that the government has become too vast for a mere US president to bear responsibility. This may be the most significant Freudian slip in 50 years.

Barack Obama was the president who on entering the White House promised an era of "smart government." It was Barack Obama who told graduates at Ohio State that the government is good. In that light, the Axelrod admission is historic. Historic because it was during Franklin Roosevelt's presidency that liberal policy makers and intellectuals promised good government forever via something called the administrative state--in which dedicated bureaucrats would carry out benevolent public policies designed by smart social scientists.

This belief is in a state of collapse, largely for the reason Mr. Axelrod described. In the first Obama term, the Obama Democrats enacted the Affordable Care Act and Dodd-Frank. Both were supposed to represent the promise of a benign administrative state. Both these new laws are--in an awful but apt word--un-implementable. After decades of nonstop legislating, we've arrived at laws so "vast" and so complex that the bureaucracies cannot figure out how to implement them.

A few months ago at a health-care conference, the chief information officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said of the Affordable Care Act's coming insurance exchanges, "Let's just make sure it's not a third-world experience." The Volcker rule, at the center of 2010's Dodd-Frank, still doesn't exist because the bureaucracies can't decipher how to write it.

In an article this week in the Hill newspaper, a reporter put to an official in the Obama administration the argument that the IRS scandal and the Justice Department's penetrations of the Associated Press and Fox News suggest the federal government has too much power. "I don't buy that," the official replied. "These things are totally newsworthy and valid points for conversation. But they don't string together to make a compelling philosophical argument."

Yes they do.

It isn't just these scandals. Rather than delivering good, smart or transparent government, the Obama policy squads are doing what happens after they realize the "good" model isn't working as they planned. Then we get what's coming to light now--government that coerces people or pushes past the law's limits. This is government gone wild.

Here are two examples of the coercion default. The first is the administration's use of "disparate impact," a statistical divining rod deployed in a widening array of federal antidiscrimination lawsuits. Its leading proponent is Thomas Perez, the Justice Department official Mr. Obama nominated to be secretary of labor, a department whose enforcement powers blanket the workplace. A Senate vote for Mr. Perez is to confirm disparate impact to the outer federal galaxy.

Then there is ObamaCare's Independent Payment Advisory Board. This 15-member panel will order change in the health-care industry. Both of these represent a level of coercion--call it command-and-obey--that is alien to the American experience. Years hence, federal Dilberts toiling in some IRS outpost in Omaha will be blamed for abusive ObamaCare prosecutions. How is a busy president to know about beatings in the provinces?

The IRS audit scandal is this government's most famous break through the boundaries of the law. But arguably the greater grab for extralegal power was the president's 2012 "recess" appointments--overturned by an appellate court--to the National Labor Relations Board and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Mr. Obama's goal was to get two potent bureaucracies in motion producing command-and-obey rules. The recess appointments and Cincinnati audits spring from the same well.

The idea that banks can grow too big to fail is seen by many as a danger to the system. The proposition forcing itself into public discussion in the second Obama term is that the government in Washington can become too big to be good.

This article was originally published in The Wall Street Journal. Refer to original article for related links and important documentation.








The BasicsProject.org informational and educational pamphlet series is now available for Kindle and iPad. Click here to find out more...

The New Media Journal and BasicsProject.org are not funded by outside sources. We exist exclusively on tax deductible donations from our readers and contributors.
Please make a sustaining donation today.







Opinions expressed by contributing writers are expressly their own and may or may not represent the opinions of NewMediaJournal.us, its editorial staff, board or organization.  Reprint inquiries should be directed to the author of the article. Contact the editor for a link request to NewMediaJournal.us.  NewMediaJournal.us is not affiliated with any mainstream media organizations.  NewMediaJournal.us is not supported by any political organization.  Responsibility for the accuracy of cited content is expressly that of the contributing author. All original content offered by NewMediaJournal.us is copyrighted. NewMediaJournal.us supports BasicsProject.org and its goal: the liberation of the American voter from partisan politics and special interests in government through the primary-source, fact-based education of the American people.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance a more in-depth understanding of critical issues facing the world. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 USC Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The Media Journal.us © 1998-2014    Content Copyright © Individual authors
Powered by ExpressionEngine 1.70 and M3Server