No, I did not get the headline wrong. Using independent boards to strip us of our freedom appears to be the modus operandi of the Obama administration.
Since my focus has been on health care reform for the past six years, I have not kept up with the broad range of constitutional concerns to which we all should pay attention. My sense, however, has been that the Obama administration is busily, and often quietly, carving out a series of administrative cabals that threaten to choke off liberty: You have heard of the czars?
Czars run this or that project, and many do not answer to Congress nor to voters – only to the person that appointed them: President Barack Obama.
Each czarist fiefdom seizes on one or another project “in the public interest” with the clear intent of controlling the organic behavior of private industry, or that of private individuals. Simply stated, your personal liberty is being eroded by a group of nearly-silent streams of incremental bureaucratic overreach. You know you feel uncomfortable, but not quite able to decide if it is something about which to fuss or fume.
Perhaps this will help bring some focus: Stories about two of new federal ruling boards intersected on my digital desk this week, causing me to finally put pen to paper (or keyboard to software).
· The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
· The Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB)
Taken by themselves, these two command structures are reason enough to recall the President – but darn it, the Founders never gave us that option, except at election time.
Elizabeth Warren runs the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau cabal right out of the White House. Despite Congress and the law, knowing the Senate would never approve of her appointment, Pres. Obama let her set up shop without bothering with the constitutional nuisance of actually getting the U.S. Senate to approve her appointment.
Warren and her Czarist Bureau, with a projected budget of more than $500 million, answers to no one, except on paper (written with disappearing ink). She is already badgering banks to shake them down to refinance home mortgages. Warren believes mortgage holders should cough up $20 billion, sometime before the 2012 election, to write off mortgage principle for thankful debtors – called voters.
“But,” you protest, “One of the primary obligations of government is to enforce legal contracts.” Czar Warren, however, threatens to use government police power to cajole unwilling contract-holders – mortgage lenders – into giving up their legal rights.
Next is the 15-member Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) created by the Democrats with the “Affordable Care Act of 2010.” We will someday come to call this the Absolute Coercion Act.
The IPAB will execute a financial stranglehold on how, how much, when, and what for doctors, hospitals, and health care providers are paid. Never mind the individual medical needs. Never mind the financial aspects of providing medical services. The 15 Czars in the new command-and-control health care system will decide what is good for us, and how much professionals should be paid to favor us with it. Is there anyone on the planet that can call this liberty? Yet, it gets worse.
Although the Absolute Coercion Act of 2010 (see above) requires the President to win Senate consent for the 15 IPAB Czars, that does not mean it will happen. The Congressional Research Service explains:
“There is no constitutional or statutory qualification on the President’s ‘Power to fill up all Vacancies ....’ Because the President’s recess appointment authority is unqualified, it appears that he could fill member positions on the IPAB by recess appointment during any period when he could otherwise make such appointments.”
Silly idea, apparently, requiring presidents to get the approval of elected U.S. Senators for the appointment of people that will hold the power of the federal purse in their hands.
Knit these two boards together (the IPAB and the CFPB). Political appointees of the current president, without the approval any single elected official or a single citizen vote, will hold power over lending, shelter, life, and death. But more worrisome: These are but two of the many federal fiefdoms fostered by this president.
The Declaration of Independence makes it clear: Government serves by the consent of the governed. Government is established for the singular purpose of protecting the unalienable rights of the governed. Among these unalienable rights are protecting human life, securing individual liberty, and providing maximum latitude for the individual decisions we make about pursuing our own happiness.
The Obama Czars are a direct assault on unalienable rights, a clear violation of the purpose of government, and war against government by consent of the governed.
The Declaration also states clearly that once government has thrown aside the rights of citizens to consent to their government, citizens have the right and duty to throw off that government, and create new forms that will protect rights. We still cling to the hope of correcting this at the next election. Pray that we will do so, because if we do not throw out the Czars in 2012, what follows after will make the American Civil War look like an afternoon skirmish.
 Staff. (2011). Independent Payment Advisory Board Membership: The President’s Recess Appointment and Removal Authorities. Memorandum. Congressional Research Service. March 18, 2011. Washington, D.C.