Eight executive orders no more preposterous than Obama’s action on immigration

Barack Obama, Joe Biden

1. There is widespread agreement that our corporate-income tax structure is broken, but there’s less agreement about how to fix it. Accordingly, a future president could issue an executive order barring the IRS from prosecuting any company whose tax payment amounted to only 25 percent of its taxable income.

2. Republicans dislike the individual mandate in Obamacare on the grounds it is an intrusion on personal liberty; Democrats claim it is necessary to prevent a flood of people signing up for insurance only after they have become sick, creating a crisis for insurers. A future president could also issue an executive order directing the IRS not to audit anyone’s claim that they have purchased insurance.

3. See No. 2, but substitute the employer mandate.

4. No one thinks our campaign-finance laws are effective, but there is great debate about how to fix them. A future president could issue an executive order that only political donations that exceed the current limit by a factor of at least 10 — so, for the current limit of $2,600 per candidate per cycle, that would be $26,000 — would be prosecuted.

5. There are those who believe exports of U.S. natural gas to Western Europe countries could help counter the economic leverage Russia holds over them, and those who disagree. Currently, the law restricts exports to countries with which the U.S. doesn’t have a free trade agreement. A future president could tell Congress to “pass a bill” if it doesn’t like his executive order immediately allowing any and all exports of natural gas without subjecting exporters to the current permitting process that applies to non-FTA countries.

6. The Renewable Fuel Standard, created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, requires a rising volume of gasoline to include a blend of ethanol. Although this was done in the name of environmentalism, many people believe it is actually counter-productive; however, Congress has not repealed the RFS. A future president’s executive order could reset the required volume to zero gallons of gasoline beginning in 2017.

7. Insider trading is a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $5 million for an individual. Yet, some people argue that allowing insider trading would actually be a good thing because, among other reasons, it would lead to more accurate pricing for equities. A future president could defer indefinitely the prosecution of most inside traders via an executive order.

8. The Davis-Bacon Act requires contractors on federal projects, including federally funded highway projects, to pay the “locally prevailing wages” to workers if the contract is worth at least $2,000. In practice, this means they pay union wages; and this, critics say, raises the cost of federal projects at a time when budget constraints suggest we should be doing otherwise. But Congress has not acted, so a future president could issue an executive order saying the act would only be enforced on contracts of at least $2 billion — until and unless Congress passes a bill to the contrary.

I could go on, but you get the idea. If you applauded President Obama’s executive order deferring prosecution of some 5 million illegal immigrants but find yourself rabidly opposed to the above alternatives, you just might be guilty of adhering to your own biases more faithfully than to our system of representative government.

(Me? I don’t think immigration or any of these other issues should be resolved by executive order.)

Reader Comments 0

87 comments
JFMcNamara
JFMcNamara

If you win, you deserve to get your way.  If the Democrats refuse to do their job, then I'm all for the Republicans using Executive orders so long as their is broad public support.  I get that Congress is an equal party, but these issues have broad public support(73%) and the Republicans all but said that they wouldn't even bring a bill to the floor.


That's what you are missing in your analysis.  It was a no lose situation because support was so broad. Enacting controversial executive orders without broad public support would just get your party put out of office.  That's why no on is afraid of what Republicans might do.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

I like the proposal with one addition:  Once Everify is in order and actually matches name with the person, start hitting employers very very hard with fines and jail times for employing people ineligible for employment.  There is no fairness in only holding the immigrant responsible.  The "Americans" who profit from this labor (and pass the costs on to the rest of us) must be held responsible.


And if the Rs are serious about ending the flood of immigrants, they need to repeal or clarify legislatively the amendment that grants birthright to babies who are "dropped " here.  They should turn their efforts to that.

Dusty2
Dusty2

The president is acting like a king more and more.  He thinks he is one.  Citizens say no. We elected a president and we want him to act like one. 


,Let him be king of Mexico.  He already has five thousand supporters. Besides, Mexicans don't have a national debt.  The drug cartels have more money than the government.  Oley!!

PudHead
PudHead

When I hear that word "comprehensive" I want to scream, that word means “do nothing”. Let’s start with a baby step CLOSE THE BORDER, then take another step. Why is that so hard for these politicians on both sides?

EdUktr
EdUktr

18 million unemployed and underemployed Americans and their families will now be forced to compete with illegals for scarce jobs: Obama’s revenge for voters’ repudiation of his policies on November 4th.

JKLtwo
JKLtwo

As long as he is giving people rights, just declare life begins at conception so all abortions become illegal.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

If the President is waiting on a "comprehensive" bill he is probably going to be waiting for awhile.  Comprehensive is short for Gruberish deception, pork barrel projects, hidden clauses with nefarious intent, and inane complicated wordage which the administration can twist and interpret to their own benefit.  The House has passed simple immigration bills, that are waiting for action in the Senate, but he is obviously not interested in having those voted on. 


If we don't develop a strategy to limit future illegal immigration, such as employer sanctions and inspections and find ways to close the border, this is all just a big prelude to another amnesty.  If the amnesties are going to be endless, we need to just close down the charade of border enforcement and save the money.



StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@RafeHollister I do believe that the United States government passed the Chinese Immigration and Chinese Exclusion Act in 1850 based on American objection to Chinese immigration which stemmed from economic, cultural tensions, and ethnic discrimination.  It was repealed in 1943 in the interest of aiding an ally in WWII.  My point is the United States has and always will address immigration on two occasions.  1) when there is an outrage from its citizens, 2) when it serves the best interest of the United States (in this case accessing a tax base which is not paying taxes now and to win votes for a political party).  Based on this country's history nothing is every done outside of those two parameters on immigration.   Your chicken Georgia ideology is not the first in this country, it won't be the last, and it is the farthest thing from either Washington politicians mind (both party's).  Washington already has a play book on immigration passed down from generation to generation and it does not involve you, your ideology, and at this time your outrage.  

HistoryofMatt
HistoryofMatt

@HeadleyLamar @RafeHollister This is a falsity.


Why didn't the Democrats do anything when they controlled Congress and didn't need one Republican vote to pass immigration reform.


The President didn't do what he "had to do," liar. He did what he wanted to do.


If this was something W had done, you, your ilk, and the hypocrite Jay Bookman would be castigating him like it was no tomorrow.


Instead, you rationalize.


You're all pathetic ideologues.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@RafeHollister If the President is waiting on a "comprehensive" bill he is probably going to be waiting for awhile.


No kidding...That is why we are in this mess.


A bill passed the Senate that put a BIG emphasis on border security.


And it WOULD pass the house and the President WOULD sign it.


But the Tea Party crowd will accept nothing short of 100 ft high walls and all 10 million illegals rounded up and bused South...All while they stand roadside and cheer. Its disgusting.


The President did what he had to do...If the Republicans choose to do nothing the EO will remain in effect. 

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

I get your point, Kyle, but it's kind of depressing to watch someone reach so very far, and make insider trading and massive corporate tax avoidance somehow equivalent to the non-compliance the President dealt with last night.

stogiefogey
stogiefogey

The biggest problem with this kind of overreach is the precedent it provides for future presidents of either party.

If they're allowed to get away with issuing ever expansive executive edicts then at some point the Constitution becomes meaningless and we have a monarchy.  

MarkVV
MarkVV

@stogiefogey  After thousands of executive orders by presidents of both parties, isn't it kind of late and self-serving to make this argument?

Tiberius-Constitutionus
Tiberius-Constitutionus

@stogiefogey

1. If you're concerned about presidential overreach, lay the blame at GWB's feet.  His was the administration which set that ball in motion.

2. If you're concerned about legislative overreach (in the form of obstructionism), lay the blame at the TPs / Boehner's feet.  They're the reason you're going to be seeing the Dems "just saying no."

3. If you want to see the cycle end, hope that the new GOP majority grows up real quick, learns to govern, and to compromise with the occupant of the White House for the next 2 years.

Jefferson1776
Jefferson1776

Write to your Congressmen and ask them to PASS A BILL.  President Bush tried in 2006 and nothing has been done since,  the GOP hung him out to dry.  Get on the right side of this issue,  which is a reform bill.

Jefferson1776
Jefferson1776

Childish to say the least,  nothing productive at all in this rant of yours. Solutions not stones would suit you better.

Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

I give this new web site format 6 more months. This is horrible.

AvailableName
AvailableName

Kyle, I think the President agrees with you that immigration should be addressed by legislation.  I think he decided having waited for six years, with the probability of nothing happening for the next two years, was not acceptable.


Republican ire with President Obama is interesting.


They hate the ACA, the President delays implementation of part of it and they sue him this morning. 


Meanwhile, he acts "on his own" in Syria and Iraq and they studiously look the other way, ignoring their constitutional obligation to declare war.


The President had it exactly right last night: "Pass a bill!"

Stan_Dup
Stan_Dup

Kyle there seems to be a word in the description of President Obama's executive order that is missing from each of your taken-to-the-absurd hypotheticals. That word is deferred, as in deferred action where people have to work to change their condition or ultimately face prosecution.

Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

Since he no longer has to worry about hurting Congressional Democrats, Obama can spend the next two years exploring the boundaries of executive power. Should be fun.

King_of_Kolob
King_of_Kolob

He already waited six years for Republicans to do nothing so what difference would it make to wait six more days, or six weeks or six fortnights, or six months and let the Republicans pass a bill. Confrontation is not governing. The definition of insanity is....waiting for the Republicans to agree among themselves and pass anything.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@King_of_Kolob A certain segment of the GOP will accept nothing other than deporting every single illegal immigrant.


This is their unrealistic approach. Until that changes the Republicans will be unable to do anything.


So the President Will. 

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

I posted the following comments on Jim Galloway's blog last evening. I would like to post my thoughts here, also:


"Wasn't President Obama outstanding tonight in his comments about immigration, in how he framed what this nation is all about?  I am always proud and uplifted when he speaks about what our nation is about, and I am, more often than not, ashamed and embarrassed by the consciousness and words of Republicans in power in our nation today."

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@LHardingDawg 


You have been sold a bill of goods, imho, probably by Rush Limbaugh. 


The Democrats do not disdain working Americans. They have tried to develop programs, such as the ACA, Social Security, and Medicare, which actually help middle and working class Americans to survive.  Democrats support family, liberty, and equality, the "values that the USA has always stood for."

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@LHardingDawg @MaryElizabethSings Americans that vote for family , liberty, and the values that the USA have always stood for. 


What the president did last night WAS pro family. Is it pro family to deport the parents of children who are citizens here ?


Obama stood up for Americans values....By your emperor comment i think you ( and many of your fellow Republicans ) hatred of all things Obama blinds you to this fact. 

LHardingDawg
LHardingDawg

@MaryElizabethSings 


As "proud and uplifted" you are when the emperor speaks, I'm "embarrassed and down lifted" . I am also embarrassed by the democrats that have nothing but distain for working Americans that vote for family , liberty, and the values that the USA have always stood for. 

LHardingDawg
LHardingDawg

@HeadleyLamar


"What the president did last night WAS pro family" . A very correct assessment if you are speaking about illegal family's that are in America. What about the American family's that jobs are taken by the illegals? What about the 30% black unemployment that the illegals are taking their jobs? What about American family's not Mexican family's or Central American family's?


I think by your hatred of all things American binds you and the losers called Democrats to this fact.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@LHardingDawg 


Too often Republicans divide rather than include.  You are doing the same thing here.  Why not frame your thoughts in the awareness that all are human beings who all deserve to protect their families and who desire liberty and the pursuit of happiness through having meaningful work.  Why not think in term s of "us" instead of in terms of "we" vs. "thee."

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@LHardingDawg


You think too much in terms of "me" vs. "thee," instead of thinking in terms of the human value of "us" and how we all on Earth have the need to protect our families, have meaningful work, have liberty, and the right to pursue happiness.  These rights should not be the privileges only of Americans, but the rights of people throughout our planet.  We can at least, at the present time, give a hand up to the illegal immigrants in our nation who seek these goals, as we do.

MarkVV
MarkVV

Let’ make also clear what Kyle means in this case by adhering to our system of representative government, as opposed to the President’s action – agreeing with the right of the leadership of the House of Representatives to refuse to put to a vote a bill approved by the Senate.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@MarkVV What about the 300+ bills the Senate refused to vote on after they were approved in the House?


Many immigration bills were included, but yet Obama says the House has done nothing on immigration!

Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

Completely legal and within the bounds of authority of the office. Elections have consequences.

Nordlaw
Nordlaw

Democrats are not going to be able to keep a Republican out of the White House forever.  How about day one of a President Walker term where he issues an executive order dissolving all public sector unions.  Or an order opening all Federal lands to oil drilling.  Implementing 'loser pays' tort reform.  Declaring any gun control measure, no matter how minor, to be invalid. Liberals should be careful what you wish for...   

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

Republicans will always choose cray cray over effective leadership so don't expect anything to change in Washington.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

"should be solved by executive order". 


congress has been dragging its feet for YEARS.  They had many chances to do something.  They didn't.  Something needs to be done, so Obama provides guidance. 


Really, all that needs to be done is congress to DO ITS JOB.  That's. It. 

Instead, all we get is whining about how Obama is pushing his executive authority.  Well, of course he is!  If congress is going to do nothing and be powerless, then they are handing all that power to the president. 

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@LogicalDude "They had many chances to do something.  They didn't.  Something needs to be done"

Sorry, but that's not the way our government works. One person doesn't get to decide what "needs to be done" because it hasn't been done yet. See my eight examples of other things that "need to be done" in at least some people's minds. Are you on board with all of those?

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@Kyle_Wingfield @LogicalDude  You have the right to think and believe what you want but please don't mistake GOP tactics with outrage, Bush passed 291 Executive Orders from 2001 - 2009 and there were crickets from the Washington established GOP party, some of them are still in office.   What the President did is give immigrants a path to citizenship while they pay their way in this country instead of reaping the benefits of being here while paying nothing.  

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

@LogicalDude  WHY didn't something happen when Democrats controlled the House and Senate? Huh? Maybe that's why all those Democrats got voted out.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@DawgDadII @LogicalDude  Why did George Bush invade Iraq ? I dont know


What I do know is the President wasn't going to wait any longer and decided to act. 

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@LogicalDude That is reality in your world.  The House has passed immigration bills and sent them to the Senate.  They have never been brought to a vote.  So, who is doing their job?  Unless you do something to stop the influx, we are going to be right back here in five years.  The immigrants are coming as we speak, in a mistaken belief they can get in on this amnesty or get in line for the next one.  Should we just make them automatic, every five years a new dictatorial decree legalizing all who made it here?  No one with any sense of responsibility trusts this man to enforce any border tightening or employer sanctions, why, because he never has, so why should he start now.


Obama talks about passing a bill, but he means, a bill he supports.  Double talk, deception, and half truths is what his case is made of.

n8diggidy
n8diggidy

Well... he didn't change anything in Chicago you know?  


Perhaps enough republicans in the NEW CONGRESS could've been persuaded to meet enough democrats half way and produce a bill.  I guess we will never know because our President chose to vote present with his idea and use his adjunct media to force the other sides hand.  


You know he didn't change anything in Chicago, right?  You know he really hasn't worked with rebublicans on much of anything.  Sure he's done some things for show, but that is exactly what it was for, show. 

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

Me? I don’t think immigration or any of these other issues should be resolved by executive order


Me either...But when the Tea Party keeps a bill that would pass from being voted on and real people are hurting the President must take action.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@HeadleyLamar How are they hurting?  They keep coming and enjoying the fruits of being in America.  No one is seriously threatening to deport them, so how are these trespassers being hurt?

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@RafeHollister @HeadleyLamar How are they hurting?


To ask the question is to admit you are ignorant of their situation.


 so how are these trespassers being hurt?


You took the veil off their for a second.