Today is the federal holiday currently referred to as Presidents Day (it is actually still called Washington’s Birthday as a federal holiday). I find it odd that we provide a national holiday to celebrate the chief elected official of the federal executive branch. Actually I find it more than odd, I find it almost un-American to celebrate a position that has gone so far beyond its constitutional limits.
Ivan Eland (author of RECARVING RUSHMORE: Ranking the Presidents on Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty) posted a good summary of the shift away from constitutional controls of the executive branch:
Virtually ignored are the shifts in power that are transforming the executive branch into a governing branch:
- Two major functions of the Congress—in approving U.S. military action and determining the federal budget—have been eroded over time.
- Since the Korean War in the early 1950s, Congress has willingly abdicated its historical constitutional role of declaring war. As a result, the president now routinely takes the country to war without the constitutionally required congressional approval.
- With the rise of a unified yearly budget for the executive branch, beginning in the 1920s, Congress began merely altering the massive document only at the margins.
- Big government in the United States is really executive government.
It will be difficult to stuff such unconstitutional executive power back into the bottle; but for the sake of the continuation of governance under a republic, it is vital.
To this I would add the almost cult-like status the Presidency has attained. Here are just a few observations I’ve made of the current administration from the last month:
- Even though the President may entertain having a drink with members of Congress, he sees no reason to actually work with them.
- President Obama signed “executive actions” to bypass the legislative process because he feels his opinion of gun control should be the “law”.
- Back in January the White House asked citizens to pledge allegiance to them (and not the United States).
- Also back in January I noted that the President does not like balance of power with Congress.
Do we really want to keep a federal holiday for a position that continuously decides to ignore constitutional limits? Somehow there has been a shift from the President being an employee of the people to the President being an almost king-like figure to rule the people. This is not only Democrat Presidents that get this special treatment. All that changed when we went from Bush II to Obama was a different name and face; the mainstream media and party members for both Presidents have blindly followed unconstitutional acts.
If Congress does not start taking power back from the President we may soon find the United States losing any freedoms protected in the original Republic. Instead the United States will head the direction of another failed big government undertaking: the USSR.
During tonight’s State of the Union Address I heard President Obama say “It is not a bigger government we need”. If only he believed this. Of course right after saying that the President went on to say how the government is driving new jobs.
Other than that the State of the Union Address had very little to take interest in. Below is my ‘takeaways’ from the Presidents speech (obviously from a libertarian viewpoint):
- Obama wants to destroy the “1%”, but doesn’t want to scare investors. Really? Can he not see the problems inherent in his stance?
- Obama cannot understand why anyone wants to cut federal education spending. Never-mind the fact our public education system is broken and a large waste of taxpayer money. If the President really cared about educating our future generations he would back school choice initiatives. Instead he pushed to expand our current broken system into pre-school. I guess if your going to continue ruining the average child’s chance of a good education you have to start sooner. (I noticed he didn’t have the guts to mention the failed Head Start program).
- Keeping on education the President mentioned he only wants to subsidize higher education schools that have cheap tuition. Of course this approach ignores the fact that federal subsidies have actually been a large cause of increased tuition.
- Immigration – this is a hard one to sum up. Obama had a lot of a talking points with no actual substance.
- Obama thinks raising the minimal wage would help poor families. Again the President is ignoring how raising the minimal wage actually hurts poor families, especially those with high school age teenagers working.
- Just to be fair Obama kept up his war on women by backing the counter-productive ‘paycheck fairness’ initiative.
- The president promised (again) that we are withdrawing troops from Afghanistan.
- Apparently the leader of the Federal Executive Branch has not visited a police station in a long time. He actually believes police are outgunned? Some police stations are better equipped with arms than National Guard armories!
- Finally: President Obama is not beyond using people as props to promote his anti-2nd-Amendment crusade. His use of human props goes beyond anything I’ve seen from a President in years (including Bush II’s aircraft moment).
Overall I was not surprised by the SOTU speech. Most of the time was spent explaining why big government must be used to fix our problems. I didn’t sum up anything financial, tax, or budgetary in this summary on purpose: President Obama has made it clear he doesn’t care about fiscal responsibility; therefore anything he says about budgetary items cannot be trusted.
As a final thought there is the official Libertarian Party response to the 2013 SOTU:
It has been a very busy week. Due to that the planned School Choice Week posts were not created as planned. However since this is a very important topic I will highlight various aspects of school choice periodically throughout the year. I will also go deeper into the pros and cons of each school choice from a liberty standpoint. Thank-you for you patience.