Obama’s One-Man Empire

How bureaucracy turned into tyranny.

If you ever played computer solitaire at work, failed to put up a wheelchair accessible ramp or snipped the tag off a mattress, then you may already be on the wrong side of the law. There are thousands of Federal criminal statutes and hundreds of thousands of regulations that carry criminal penalties; so many that most people violate one or more of them every year without even knowing it. Under Obama, the number of violations has increased dramatically with omnibus 2,000- and 3,000-page bills, whose full contents no one knows, rushed into law, making every American into a potential criminal.

In just the first two years, the Obama Administration imposed 40 billion dollars worth of new regulations. Obama added over 100,000 federal employees, an increase of 6 percent, to pad out the byzantine bureaucracy of his regulatory empire. Under his 2012 budget the size of government will have doubled from when he took office to 2021. In 2001, federal outlays were below 2 trillion. In 2006, when the Democrats took Congress, they hit 2.66 trillion, and last year they approached 4 trillion dollars.

All that money and power is going into an empire of czars and commissars. While cabinet members have to be approved by the Senate, czars do not. Obama has 38 czars, compared to 8 for Bill Clinton, that cover everything from Asian carp (yes there’s an Asian carp czar) to the automobile industry to online security to ethics. Bypassing the cabinet also allows Obama to bypass the traditional limitations on executive power.

From massive bills to unregulated czars, the dominant theme of this administration is paranoid secrecy. The expansion of government that we know about is a fraction of the true expansion occurring below the radar, packed away in a subparagraph on the 1209th page of a 3000-page bill and in the functions of the bureaucracies that they create and the czars who oversee their empires.

As part of the 2011 budget deal a number of the more egregious czars were supposed to be eliminated, but Obama broke the budget deal and inserted a signing statement that claimed the deal violated the separation of powers between the branches of government. The appeal to the separation of powers was stunningly hypocritical as the entire purpose of his empire of czars was bypassing Senate confirmation.

Obama’s separation from the separation of powers only increased this month as he signed into law the “Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011” which widens the scope of the imperial presidency. Rosa Gumataotao Rios, Obama’s nominee for Treasurer of the United States, had to be confirmed by the United States Senate. Rosa however will be the last Treasurer to require Senate confirmation now that the Act has become law.

Among the other key positions that can now be filled without Senate approval is that of Chief Scientist of NOAA, a hub of Global Warming activism. The Obama Administration had been unable to get its pick for Chief Scientist through the Senate legally. That will no longer be an obstacle. Also exempted from Senate confirmation are the directors of the Office for Domestic Preparedness, the United States Mint, the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the National Institute of Justice. The Council of Economic Advisers will also no longer require Senate confirmation.

Most cabinet positions will still require confirmation, but many assistant secretary positions will not, which will make it possible for Obama to move more radical appointees into higher positions within the Department of Defense, the Department of Agriculture, the Treasury Department and the Justice Department. Additionally the leadership of the Commodity Credit Corporation, which has a great deal of influence on the life of the American farmer, will no longer require Senate confirmation.

But Obama has become expert at making unilateral appointments even without the benefit of the “Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011.” When Obama couldn’t get the appointments he wanted, he bypassed the Senate by making recess appointments even when the Senate was not in recess. And the purpose of all those appointments and czars was to build an infrastructure that would allow him to maintain complete control of the United States of America without the need for legislative action and even in defiance of legislative and judicial action.

Obama has used the National Labor Relations Board, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department to implement legislation that Congress refused to pass, by bureaucratic decree or by a refusal to enforce existing laws. From the DREAM Act to gay marriage to ending welfare reform, this is an administration that governs unilaterally without any regard for the law.

Faced with a Republican Congress, Obama turned his czars and directors into his own private legislature while defying the courts to do anything about it. And for the most part the courts, from the Supreme Court on down, have deferred to his will. With the proliferation of Federal agencies stocked with radical appointees, the legislative and judicial branches have been amputated.

When Obama wants something done, his appointees do it for him. Congress has become two houses sitting in protest of this misrule, whose input is no longer wanted or desired in the age of the imperial presidency.

Sitting down for an interview with a Colorado television station, Obama said, “Where Congress is not willing to act, we're going to go ahead and do it ourselves.” Then he added arrogantly, “But it would be nice if we could get a little bit of help from Capitol Hill.”

Obama and his empire of czars, experts, expert consultants, secretaries, directors and assistant secretaries of directors have been doing it themselves. While Obama warns that under Romney the United States will go back in time to the 1950s, under him we have already gone back to the 1750s. In an event completely without precedent in American history all forms of authority now derive from one man and answer to him without any restriction or limitation on his absolute power.

What began as Federalization is devolving into totalitarianism. And the devolution will pick up speed if Obama wins another term. As a lame-duck leader with a hostile legislature, he will no longer have any incentive to even pretend to pay attention to any branch of government that does not directly answer to him.

“The way to have good and safe government is not to trust it all to one, but to divide it among the many,” Thomas Jefferson wrote. We have departed from that “good and safe government” returning to the dark days of one-man rule.

In 2008, Americans exchanged a free nation for a monarchy of hope and change. This year, Americans will have a choice between setting themselves free or submitting to four more years of one-man rule.

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