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Opening Arguments

President His Way

With all the uproar over Netanyahu's speech to Congress and the flap over Hillary Clinton's peculiar use of a personal phone account to conduct State Department business, this little gem is in danger of getting lost:

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest confirmed Monday that President Obama is "very interested" in the idea of raising taxes through unilateral executive action.

"The president certainly has not indicated any reticence in using his executive authority to try and advance an agenda that benefits middle class Americans," Earnest said in response to a question about Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) calling on Obama to raise more than $100 billion in taxes through IRS executive action.

For those of you who have been wondering just what limits Obama sees on his authority to issue executive orders, now you know: None. And please, no whining about how many executive orders previous presidents have issued. It's the sheer audacity of his actions, not their number, that staggers the imagination. Hell, maybe he should spend the money, too, since he would be raising it. Just cut out Congress altogether.

Oh, well. Maybe there's a bright side:

It’ll be nice, though, to have a Democratic-endorsed precedent like this authorizing executive power grabs for taxes on the books for when President Walker takes office in 2017. Now that we’ve entered an era of soft autocracy, we might as well start making a Christmas list of presidential orders to override Congress of our own. Top of mine: De facto flat income tax rate of 15 percent. If the legislature doesn’t like it, good luck passing a bill and then overriding a White House veto.


Tue, 03/03/2015 - 5:18pm

Closing loopholes for corporate taxpayers may increase revenue, but it is not the same as raising taxes (i.e., raising tax rates). 


Wed, 03/04/2015 - 9:26am

President Walker?  LMAO

Leo Morris
Wed, 03/04/2015 - 9:37am

I dunno, Tim. If a loophole is closed that I'm using to not pay a tax and then I have to start paying the tax, it sure would seem like a tax increase to me. Besides, a loophole is in the law, which is supposed to be the responsibility of legislators, not the chief executive.

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 2:37pm

If all the IRS regulations are spelled out in laws passed by Congress then, of course, no president can change them on his own. But I suspect many regs, including those for corporate loopholes, are part of the administrative code and don't have to be approved by Congress. And I do not believe Obama is a power-mad tyrant.