However, Obamacare makes federal subsidies for insurance available only through exchanges that the states set up themselves. The federal government has the power to create exchanges in states that refuse to do so, but it cannot offer subsidies through those federally run exchanges. That means that states could effectively block the subsidies by refusing to establish an exchange.
But the president says, never mind the clear language of the statute or the unambiguous statements of intent by the bill’s drafters, including Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D., Mont.). Obama simply had the IRS write a rule allowing the government to offer subsidies on federal exchanges.
This is particularly scary because it is those subsidies that trigger the penalty — or tax — on employers that do not provide their workers with health insurance. That is, an employer is hit with the tax only if one of its employees receives a subsidy through the exchange.Therefore, the Obama administration is effectively giving itself the authority to impose a tax without congressional approval. That is a truly frightening precedent.
The president’s unilateralism has extended to foreign policy as well. For instance, President Obama blatantly violated the War Powers Act with his intervention in Libya, failing to receive congressional authorization after 60 days of operations. In fact, the president claimed that he didn’t need congressional approval because he had received authorization from the United Nations. One would think that critics of President Bush’s assertion of presidential war powers would be equally concerned about President Obama’s actions. After all, President Bush did seek, and receive, congressional resolutions backing his uses of military force, if not declarations of war.
On issue after issue, from immigration to housing to presidential appointments, the president has claimed the power to make law unilaterally without congressional action or approval. This is not a question of policy — I actually agree with the president on some of these issues — but of the usurpation of legislative authority. President Obama is dangerously weakening the separation of powers that is at the core of our system of government.
We are, after all, a government of laws and not of men. That should be true even when the president can’t wait.