President Obama has spent the last month on a PR tour across the country, crusading against the evil Republicans who will allow middle class taxes to go up on January 1. But here’s the little-acknowledged truth – Obama has the power to stop middle class tax increases singlehandedly… but he won’t.
It’s no secret that Obama is a staunch proponent of abusing presidential power. His chief means of doing so is the executive order. But the executive order, while rooted in the Constitution, does not grant the president the power to overturn laws of Congress simply because he happens to disagree with them.
In typical unconstitutional fashion, the president has done just this on several occasions.
In February of 2011, Obama ordered his Justice Department to no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act, a law that passed both Houses by a large majority and was signed into law by President Clinton. In June, the president chose not to enforce part of federal immigration law when he ordered that young illegal immigrants be permitted to remain in the United States, and he basically repealed the No Child Left Behind Act by granting at least 34 state waivers.
In short, the president has a proven track record of acting like a king rather than a president as he disregards the system of checks and balances American government was founded upon.
All of this leads me to ask a very important question – if the president is so fond of overturning laws he disagrees with via executive order, why then has he made no effort to overturn the middle class tax increases set to take into effect on January 1?
You see, the president could, in fact, do this as he’s done before with other laws he found unpalatable. In a National Review article about the dangers of executive overreach, John Yoo, a former official in the United States Justice Department, astutely observed this key point: “President Romney could lower tax rates simply by saying he will not use enforcement resources to prosecute anyone who refuses to pay capital-gains tax.”
Obama, too, could do this to avert the “fiscal cliff,” which is set to increase middle class taxes anywhere from $500 to $3,000.
If the president’s true priority was stopping middle class tax increases, right or wrong, he would do so via executive order as he did with the Defense of Marriage Act, immigration, and the No Child Left Behind Act. He has abused executive authority in all of these cases, so why not do so for the middle class?
The answer is simple. For the president, this is all a political game. He wants taxes to go up on the middle class. He wants to go over the fiscal cliff. He wants all of this to transpire so he can blame Republicans next year.
Meanwhile, the reality is that the blame lies squarely with the president. Republicans have already tried to compromise by putting revenues on the table. Obama has made no similar attempt to come to the middle. In the end, it’s the president who is holding the middle class hostage.
Oh the irony when Obama said to Barbara Walters on Tuesday, “I’m pretty confident that Republicans would not hold middle class taxes hostage to trying to protect tax cuts for high-income individuals.”
So if the president could technically lower tax rates via executive order, the next logical question is this—if he refuses to enforce laws because of policy disagreements, and he evidently plans to enforce higher tax rates on the middle class, does that mean he agrees with that new policy? Or is the president playing politics on the backs of the middle class? Neither alternative is acceptable.
On Obama’s PR tour he asked this question to a crowd of workers in Detroit: “How many of you can afford to pay another $2,200?” The answer, Mr. President, is none of us. The ball is in your court.