Can Obama Dictate An Increase In Taxes Without Congress?

by | Mar 10, 2015

Don’t think that “hard” dictators (of the right-wing or left-wing variety) don’t lie in wait to exploit the next economic or military crisis, now that Obama has set the stage for going way outside the boundaries of the Constitutional separation of powers.

Barack Obama is progressively imposing a soft dictatorship on the United States.

On 3/2/15, reports, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said President Barack Obama is “very interested” in the possibility of using executive action to hike taxes on corporations.

“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 on whether Obama would consider executive actions on taxes.

In a letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Friday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called for the Obama administration to close $100 billion in tax loopholes through executive action with the Internal Revenue Service. Sanders, who caucuses with the Democrats, pointed to areas he said the IRS could act without Congress regarding corporate tax loopholes.

Earnest said Obama is “very interested” in looking into the possibility of executive authority, but was noncommittal on the issue.

If it’s Constitutionally acceptable for the President to unilaterally impose tax increases, then will it be Constitutionally acceptable for a future President to unilaterally impose tax reductions — or even eliminate income or corporate taxes altogether?

When President Ronald Reagan and President George W. Bush cut taxes in 1981 and 2001, they had to make their case and go through Congress. When President Bill Clinton and President George H.W. Bush increased taxes, they likewise had to go through Congress.

Why is Obama different? Why is there silence at his attempts — entirely successful so far– to ignore his Constitutional limits?

Obama has major boundary issues. But the stakes are incredibly high. If Congress (a Republican majority, no less), the media-intellectual elite and the population at a whole continue not to object, then what will it mean when Obama — or the next president — takes even further steps? What reason has anyone given him to stop?

The U.S. Constitution could not make it clearer:

“The president sees that the laws are faithfully executed.”

The president does not alter, initiate or suspend laws as he sees fit. Unless it’s this president.


All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

The Constitution does not state, “All legislative Powers are vested in Congress, except when the president sees fit to amend, suspend or initiate new ones.”

The source for the lack of “reticence” that Obama feels for taking executive action outside of laws made by Congress are the “alphabet soup” agencies of the federal government. At the time agencies such as the IRS, the FCC and the EPA were first formed, one major objection — aside from the fact no provision for these agencies’ stated purpose was even in the Constitution — was the possibility that a future president would exploit the vagueness of these additional powers and use them to undermine the Constitution itself. Those who expressed such concerns at the time were dismissed as “reactionary.”

By what stretch can anyone claim that this isn’t what Obama is now doing?

The sad thing is that most people don’t take the time to read, much less try to understand, the Constitution. Most people no longer appear to view government as an entity designed to protect rights. Many Americans seem to take it for granted that rights will always somehow exist, and that the real purpose of government is to provide various things for them.

There’s a world of difference between providing and protecting. When you replace one with the other, you end up with a soft dictatorship.

Obama and his supporters have no problem with what he’s doing, because the first priority of a president or a Congress, as they see it, is to make sure citizens have their needs met by the government, particularly the needs of the constituents who elected and keep him in office.

Of course, the government does not actually provide anything. The people who provide it are the half of the population who pay the most taxes (particularly the hated rich). Also providing it are future generations of Americans who will be saddled with paying off our inconceivably high debt, or else dealing with the consequences of not doing so.

Government does not provide a thing. It merely mandates and orders, taking all the credit for the seeming “good” it delivers; and none of the blame or responsibility for the havoc, bankruptcy, economic stagnation and recession it chronically and inevitably creates.

Obama isn’t particularly brave or gutsy. As dictators go, he doesn’t necessarily have the chops of a Stalin, a Hitler nor even Franklin D. Roosevelt. He’s simply the beneficiary of an intellectually and politically/philosophically lethargic population. Public schools have done their job, via replacing independent thinking and conceptual learning with mental consensus, conformity and submission to authority.

The mental mindset dominant throughout the country, and even throughout Congress, seems to be, “Well, Obama’s doing all this stuff and the sky hasn’t fallen; and nobody else seems that upset, so it must be OK.”

Very few people think or question any longer, at least not in the areas where Obama is reigning with a remarkably free hand. As a result, they place little or no value on the life-or-death significance of living under freedom. Like all errors and evasions human beings make, it will eventually come time to pay the bill.

It’s not Obama’s actions so much as the widespread indifference to them that does the most damage; and don’t think that “hard” dictators (of the right-wing or left-wing variety) don’t lie in wait to exploit the next economic or military crisis, now that Obama has set the stage for going way outside the boundaries of the Constitutional separation of powers.

I recently ran across a wonderful quote attributed to Winston Churchill: “Americans will always do the right thing —after exhausting all the alternatives.”

The “right thing” implies a principle, or a standard of what’s right or wrong. If the standard is the kind of freedom based on individual rights stated in the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence, then it’s time for a total course reversal, and soon.

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at:

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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