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Repealing Without Representation

During the American Revolution, a frequent charge against British overreach was “no taxation without representation.” That same structured argument may now be used with regard to the Obama Administration’s usurpation of the legislative function by stating “no repealing without representation.” Recently, the Administration issued new Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) guidelines that would, in effect, unilaterally repeal the 1996 Welfare Reform Act. This is the third time in recent memory that the President, using executive orders as opposed to going through the proper Congressional channels, has unilaterally changed US law. Last year, the President directed Attorney General Eric Holder to no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which he unilaterally deemed unconstitutional, in direct defiance of the law’s wording that mandates the Justice Department defend it in court. It’s interesting that the President has grave concerns over the unconstitutionality of DOMA, but not his unconstitutional usurpation of congressional power used to overturn it. That’s not surprising, however, as it is the modus operandi of the authoritarian ruler to hold such double standards. On top of that, the President recently did an end-run around Congress to implement an administrative version of the DREAM Act, for purely political purposes, and threatened to raise the nation’s debt ceiling on his own.

Thus, this latest move by the President and his administration is just another item in a long train of abuses and usurpations designed to centralize power in the presidency. The President is attempting to solidify his far left base of union members, homosexual activists and, now, welfare abusers to ensure his reelection amid abysmal jobs numbers and polling figures. This sort of power grab, however, has consequences far beyond the next election cycle, as it undermines the very structure of the Federal government and the system of checks and balances that’s intended to keep it under control. The consistent undermining by the President of such principles will have disastrous consequences in this and future presidential administrations; as such actions are positioning the presidency to become de facto imperial.

In 1996, the United States Congress addressed the rampant abuse taking place in America’s social safety net, by requiring that those applying for financial aid either have a job or be actively applying for jobs while obtaining skills training. Prior to this critical reform, welfare programs held no applicant to account, and millions were merely living off of the system with no intentions of finding work. In the event that they did find work, they were penalized for having done so (in the form of reduced benefits proportional to income earned), which undermined the incentive to seek full employment and become self-sufficient. The 1996 provisions that assistance be provided while someone is actively seeking to become self-sustaining ensured that the social safety net didn’t become a cradle-to-the-grave welfare program that trapped millions of Americans in poverty. These reforms were so common sense that Democrats in the House and Senate crossed over to vote for them and President Bill Clinton signed them into law.

Nevertheless, in a matter of minutes, President Obama’s DHHS issued new directives that provide waivers to states on welfare reform requirements. This means that liberal states that want to expand their Federal welfare program participation, on the dime of taxpayers in all other states, no longer have to require folks to have a job or actively look for a job while obtaining skills to qualify for financial assistance. This means that the same old problems of systematic abuse and systemic poverty will come back to the forefront. So much for the “war on poverty,” I suppose? But, when you’re a Democratic President that’s piddled away your first term pursuing an agenda of turning America into a European-style social welfare state, I guess winning the war on poverty won’t help you win an election by playing to peoples’ fears of being victims.

If Americans want to recognize America by 2016, we must make sure that Barack Obama is a one term president. Otherwise, the presidency may look more like an emperorship by the time his Administration is finished with its constant usurpations of Congressional authority.

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