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The very real worry is that America’s great engine of productivity and free enterprise could be nearing a tipping point where so many people depend on government for so many things that the incentive to produce and create and work could rapidly evaporate. Once fully implemented, ObamaCare will accelerate this, which is why it has to be reversed.
Reset the constitutional separation of powers
It’s difficult to keep track of the many times and many ways President Obama has overstepped his constitutional bounds or ignored centuries of precedent and probity. But here are a few of the worst examples.
He assailed a Supreme Court decision during a State of the Union address. He issued veiled threats toward the Court while it deliberated constitutional matters related to the healthcare law, dismissing it as “an unelected group of people” and thus implying its decisions were somehow less legitimate than congressional action or his own fiats. And as the Cato Institute’s Ilya Shapiro observes, the Obama administration has made “increasingly extreme claims on behalf of unlimited federal power”—claims that the Court has repeatedly swatted aside.
In unprecedented fashion, he unilaterally determined that the Senate was not in recess—something only the Senate can do—in order to make illegal appointments to the Executive branch. He packed the Executive branch with dozens of unelected, unaccountable czars, thereby flouting the letter and spirit of Congress’ advise-and-consent role. And he launched a war in Libya without consulting Congress, directing or allowing his staff to describe six months of airstrikes, bombing runs and naval engagements as “a time-limited, scope-limited military action.” Worse, when a Senate committee asked Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to explain the president’s use of military force, Panetta said the administration’s primary goal before engaging U.S. forces in military operations “would be to seek international permission” and then “we would come to the Congress and inform you.” That is, at best, backwards—and at worst unconstitutional.
This imperious approach to the Congress and the Court must be reset, reversed and rebalanced.
Reset America’s global image
Although the president deserves credit for sustaining the Bush administration’s war against al Qaeda and taking down bin Laden—which is no small matter—the hasty withdrawal from Iraq, haphazard, zigzagging approach to Afghanistan, shoddy treatment of longtime allies in Europe and general retreat from global leadership have not helped America’s image. In fact, the United States has regressed from leading coalitions of the willing under previous administrations to leading from behind (the Obama administration’s shorthand for Libya) to following from behind (see Syria).
To reset America’s image abroad, the next administration needs to revive permanent missile defense sites in Eastern Europe, which were abandoned by President Obama in pursuit of some mirage partnership with Moscow; return the United States to its historical leadership role within NATO by leading from the front; remind Russia that if it wants to return to the bad old days of Cold War animosity, America is prepared to meet Putin and his model of autarky on the field of ideas; revitalize the U.S. space program; revisit agreements with Iraq and Afghanistan to ensure that our friends trust us, our enemies fear us and the world respects us; and reacquaint China with the U.S. military’s deterrent strength by reversing efforts to slash defense spending. That would translate into stopping the slide toward sequestration’s $500-billion guillotine, recapitalizing the Navy, reopening the F-22 production line, speeding up development of the Long Range Strike Bomber, and scrapping plans to cut Army and Marine Corps end-strength.
The Pentagon is not to blame for the debt-and-deficit crisis. It has already cut the fat and is cutting into its muscle and bone. Recall that the $487 billion the president recently slashed from projected DoD spending comes on top of $400 billion in cuts which the president ordered in 2010-11. As then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates cautioned in one of his last addresses, “The defense budget, however large it may be, is not the cause of this country’s fiscal woes.” He noted that in 1961 defense consumed half the federal budget, while it accounted for 9 percent of U.S. GDP. Today, defense spending “represents less than 15 percent of all federal spending and equates to roughly three and a half percent of GDP.”
This American Reset won’t solve everything, but it’s a good start.
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