On Wednesday, the House Oversight Committee held a hearing on the IRS’ targeting of conservative non-profit applicants. The hearing, led by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), quickly devolved into chaos after former IRS official Lois Lerner repeatedly used the Fifth Amendment to avoid answering questions about her involvement in the targeting. When Issa rose for adjournment, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) went berserk: “I am tired of this. You cannot just have a one-sided investigation. There is absolutely something wrong with that, and it is absolutely un-American.” When Issa maintained that Cummings had asked no questions, Cummings said, “Chairman, what are you hiding?”
Afterward, Issa approached the media and explained, “He was talking into a mic in an adjourned meeting. The fact is Mr. Cummings came to make a point of his objections to the process we have been going through. He was actually slandering me at the moment that the mics did go off by claiming that this had not been a real investigation.”
But Cummings does not care about the truth. Nor does he care about the rise of an arbitrary and capricious executive branch willing to manipulate the law at will. For too many Democrats, America under President Obama has become a government of men, not of laws – and they’re just fine with that.
Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) revealed on Wednesday that the Obama administration lied when it said that Obama aides would cooperate with the investigation into the IRS scandal. Instead, the Obama administration has claimed that the IRS scandal is in fact a non-scandal – a “phony scandal,” in the words of White House press secretary Jay Carney. Camp pointed out that the committee still did not have Lerner’s full emails. “I still don’t have all for the documents that I’ve requested,” Camp stated. “The administration promised a quick action, and I’m still waiting for her emails. I need all of those, before I can conclude.”
Meanwhile, this week, the Obama administration announced that it would be shredding the Constitution in order to delay implementation of President Obama’s signature law, Obamacare. Rule changes announced on Wednesday stated that the Obama administration will allow them to keep their health plans until after the 2016 election cycle, even if those plans do not comply with the ten-point standard developed under Obamacare. This prevents fallout from President Obama’s broken promise that if you like your plan, you can keep your plan; it also allows prohibitive 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton from having to deal with that fallout.
Most of all, though, it underscores the fact that America is now run by a cadre of imperial regulators free from the constraints of due process of law. The constitutional limits placed on the executive branch have been utterly destroyed, leaving only a semblance of the predictable and equally-applied legal system our founders desired. Article XXX of the Massachusetts Constitution, written by John Adams, Samuel Adams, and James Bowdoin, states:
In the government of this commonwealth, the legislative department shall never exercise the executive and judicial powers, or either of them: the executive shall never exercise the legislative and judicial powers, or either of them: the judicial shall never exercise the legislative and executive powers, or either of them: to the end it may be a government of laws and not of men.
That principle is now dead. The IRS exercised both legislative and judicial power in denying rights to conservative non-profits; it created a “be on the lookout list” designed to discriminate against those who were guilty of nothing. And now the Obama administration has created a monstrous bulwark of legal sophistry designed to obscure the workings of the law from the American people.
There are two predictable effects springing from the Obama administration’s arbitrary devastation of the legal order: an economy in which businesses refuse to invest, and a political system in which the population refuses to invest. Today, nonfinancial companies in the United States have $1.8 trillion in cash sitting on the sidelines, according to the Federal Reserve. That’s because businesses simply don’t know what rules will be applied to them should they begin spending money on employees. Part of that arbitrariness stems from Obamacare itself, which has been revised more times than Wendy Davis’ autobiography. The American economy stagnates when businesses don’t know what to expect.
Faith in the American government, meanwhile, has reached all time lows. In late 2013, polling variously showed just 19 percent of Americans trusting the government to do the right thing; 49 percent saying they had either a great deal or a fair amount of confidence in government handling our problems; and 28 percent of Americans saying they had a favorable view of the federal government.
No wonder. Americans didn’t have great faith in King George III, either. As it turns out, absolute monarchy isn’t all that different from arbitrary federal government. And Elijah Cummings’ ranting against the process by which we hold the government accountable won’t raise Americans’ faith in the government one iota.
Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.