To hear the braying of the Stupid party from their dumber than Stupid presidential candidate to the last jackass attending one of the Stupid "rallies," POTUS 44 is the worst of them all. However presidential scholar Wikipedia tells that the Executime-Order-(EO)-issuance of POTUS 44 is modest compared to St. Dutch (POTUS 40), The Slickster (POTUS 42), and the Dubster (POTUS 43). Of course all of these Oval Office occupants over the last 30 years cannot hold a candle to FDR who issued 3,522 EOs between 1933 and 1945; POTUS 44 has issued only 235 EOs to date. The Stupid claim that POTUS 44 is mad with power with his obscene use of Executive Orders is dog that won't hunt. IF this is a (fair & balanced) exhortation to the Stupids to stick their abuse-of-power claims in a place in their bodies where the sun don't shine, so be it.
[x The New Yorker]
The Perils Of Executive Action
By James Surowiecki
TagCrowd cloud of the following piece of writing
In January of 2014, Barack Obama, speaking to the press before a Cabinet meeting, said something that has come to define his Presidency: “We are not just going to be waiting for legislation. I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone, and I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions.” In the thirty-one months since, in the face of congressional intransigence, he has used executive power to commit the US to the Paris Agreement on climate change, to institute the Clean Power Plan to reduce emissions, to restrict new energy exploration in the Arctic Ocean and new coal leases on government land, to cap many student-loan payments, and to tighten rules on gun sales. In just the past few months, the Administration has made it harder for corporations to use so-called inversions to lower their taxes, required retirement-investment advisers to eliminate conflicts of interest, and made more than four million workers eligible for overtime pay. While Obama may be a lame-duck President, he’s acted like anything but.
Not surprisingly, conservatives have decried Obama’s “despotic lawlessness,” arguing that his use of executive power is unprecedented. It would be more accurate to see his Administration as the latest stage of a long-term trend—what political scientists call the rise of the “administrative presidency.” Historically, Presidents have had more control over foreign and military policy than over domestic policy. But during the past eighty years the executive branch has come to exert far more control than it once did over areas like working conditions, the environment, and the financial sector, responsibility for which Congress has largely delegated to agencies and departments such as the EPA and the Department of Labor.
A President’s ability to make policies with the stroke of a pen is a good thing if you support those policies. But it means that a new President can change them overnight. When Obama took office, he immediately restored funding for overseas family-planning clinics that provided abortion services. The funding had been taken away by George W. Bush after it had been restored by Bill Clinton, who was reversing a previous action by Ronald Reagan.
Donald Trump has made it clear that he sees Obama as having “led the way” in using executive action aggressively and that, if elected, he intends to do the same. “I’m going to do a lot of right things,” he has said, and he’s pledged to reverse many of Obama’s executive orders and memorandums “within two minutes” of taking office. Most concretely, he has promised to use his power to restrict entry to the U.S. in order to curb immigration from any country “compromised by terrorism.” In Trump’s view, that includes Germany and France. He’s also likely to step up deportation of undocumented immigrants, resurrect the Keystone XL pipeline, declare China a currency manipulator, and reopen coal leases on federal land.
Not everything Obama has done with his executive power will be as easy for Trump to overturn. Regulations that have gone through a formal rulemaking process, such as the Clean Power Plan, typically can’t just be discarded by a new incumbent. That’s why Obama’s executive agencies, like those of his predecessors, spent the final year of the Administration hurriedly initiating a host of regulatory proposals—so that the proposals could make it through the rulemaking process before Obama leaves office.
Still, were Trump to win, many of Obama’s accomplishments would be under threat. Even rules that can’t be rescinded can be left unenforced. Trump, who says that global warming is “bullshit,” has vowed to cancel the Paris Agreement. Technically, he can’t, but the deal has no enforcement mechanism, so he’d be free to just ignore the Paris goals and do nothing about greenhouse-gas emissions. And what Trump can’t reverse with his pen he can mitigate with executive-branch appointments, as Ronald Reagan did when he named the rabid anti-environmentalist James Watt to head the Department of the Interior.
This is the downside of executive action: policies implemented via executive order are more vulnerable to reversal than ones that Congress writes into law. Some critics have argued that Obama should therefore have worked with Congress more, instead of relying on the power of the pen. But many such attempts failed. Given the obstructionism of congressional Republicans, and the inherent inertia of the legislative process, not using pen and phone would simply have meant fewer achievements. The choice was not between temporary actions and permanent ones but between potentially temporary actions and no action at all.
Executive power isn’t unlimited: the courts can often stop it (the Clean Power Plan has been suspended, pending judicial review), and in principle Congress can override most Presidential decisions on domestic policy. But the old idea that Presidents can’t do much on their own is outdated: as Obama has shown, they have plenty of unilateral control on domestic issues. As a result, a radical, authoritarian President could do a great deal to remake economic and regulatory policy before ever running into legal opposition (to say nothing of executive control of foreign policy). The power of the President is greater than ever. The choice of a President matters more than ever, too. Ω
[James Surowiecki is a staff writer at The New Yorker. Surowiecki came to The New Yorker from Slate, where he wrote the Moneybox column. He has also been a contributing editor at Fortune and a staff writer at Talk. He has written The Wisdom Of Crowds (2004) and he edited the anthology: Best Business Crime Writing of the Year (2002). Surowiecki received a BA (history) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead Scholar. Surowiecki pursued PhD studies in history as a Mellon Fellow at Yale University before leaving Yale to become a financial journalist.]
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