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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Paul Krugman, "One Reform, Indivisible": Does the Rule of Law Exist Under the Obama Administration?

As we watch Egypt descend into chaos, Americans should feel grateful for the rule of law that exists in their country. This concern for the rule of law is echoed in Paul Krugman's latest New York Times op-ed entitled "One Reform, Indivisible" (, in which he declares:

"On the unstoppability of Obamacare: We have this system in which Congress passes laws, the president signs them, and then they go into effect. The Affordable Care Act went through this process, and there is no legitimate way for Republicans to stop it."

But as was pointed out by George Will in a Washington Post opinion piece entitled "Obama’s unconstitutional steps worse than Nixon’s" (

"President Obama’s increasingly grandiose claims for presidential power are inversely proportional to his shriveling presidency. Desperation fuels arrogance as, barely 200 days into the 1,462 days of his second term, his pantry of excuses for failure is bare, his domestic agenda is nonexistent and his foreign policy of empty rhetorical deadlines and red lines is floundering. And at last week’s news conference he offered inconvenience as a justification for illegality.

Explaining his decision to unilaterally rewrite the Affordable Care Act (ACA), he said: 'I didn’t simply choose to' ignore the statutory requirement for beginning in 2014 the employer mandate to provide employees with health care. No, 'this was in consultation with businesses.'

. . . .

Serving as props in the scripted charade of White House news conferences, journalists did not ask the pertinent question: 'Where does the Constitution confer upon presidents the ‘executive authority’ to ignore the separation of powers by revising laws?' The question could have elicited an Obama rarity: brevity. Because there is no such authority."

Krugman's response to Will's concern:

"But wait — hasn’t the administration delayed the employer mandate, which requires that large firms provide insurance to their employees? Yes, it has, and Republicans are trying to make it sound as if the employer mandate and the individual mandate are comparable. Some of them even seem to think that they can bully Mr. Obama into delaying the individual mandate too. But the individual mandate is an essential piece of the reform, which can’t and won’t be bargained away, while the employer mandate is a fairly minor add-on that arguably shouldn’t have been in the law to begin with."

Now I "get it": Obama can sign into law the Affordable Care Act and then pick and choose which of its provisions he wishes to go into effect. If a provision is "a fairly minor add-on that arguably shouldn’t have been in the law to begin with," he can take the initiative and at least temporarily (until after the 2014 midterm elections) suspend its implementation, particularly if it is apt to be unpopular among the electorate.

And all this coming from a would-be Constitutional lawyer . . .

1 comment:

  1. Is it not premature to believe Egypt will descend into chaos?

    As for ACA?
    It has been morphing past two years, usually through HHSSec Sibelius.

    In other news, one family removed their ancestors from a Gilded Age mausoleum on 9,200+ square foot plot at Woodlawn Cemetery, to sell for 4.4MILUSD.

    The new hot real estate market is in historic American cemeteries.