As I was spending Friday immersed in an in-depth investigation of alcohol’s effects on the body (results: positive), the Obama administration quietly mentioned that they will be rewriting 1996 Welfare-laws in order to make it easier to obtain Welfare. Imagine both my and my spit-take coffee covered computer’s shock when I discovered that I had awoken into a Post-Republic America.
How has Welfare-for-Work been changed? Like this: now it is Welfare-
F or-Work. See how the hyphens just keep going? Ingenius. By the President’s fiat, the rules that determine what the definition of work is have been expanded to include the following: massages, exercise, journaling, bed rest, helping a friend or relative with household tasks and errands.
I think my time spent recovering from my earlier investigation would now be considered work. Welfare please.
And it is interesting that the president is gutting a landmark accomplishment by a democratic president. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, represented a Bipartisan accomplishment of the highest order in the Clinton Administration. They were tasked of reworking Aid to Families with Dependent Children, AFDC. President Clinton, knowing the difference between the Legislative and Executive Branch, and having a commendable respect for the Constitution, knew that he’d have to pursue changes through Congress.
Politicians on both sides of the aisle, (start taking notes, future candidates) were forced to work together, conceding some points on each side to bring together a hotch-potched monster so hideous it would bring a tear to Dr. Frankenstein’s eye. But the moral of the story is that on both sides, while neither party was completely satisfied, both went to bed knowing at least the other was not, either. And they came out with something that was not awful, which merits a gold-star on Congress’s forehead.
How immensely terrible will the effects of this fiat be? So catastrophic that we’re all already dead.
Not really. In fact, we will not really have a clue for at least a few years if this new leniency allows states to better implement Welfare programs or if, as I think is more likely, the new leniency will open more doors to welfare abuse.
But the real damage lies in the means, not the ends.
Again we have borne witness to the acts of a president who feels at ease circumventing constitutional writ in order to more immediately put his schemes into actions (and more immediately see the effects on his constantly falling approval numbers). Earlier this month, President Obama announced that immigration will not be pursuing illegal immigrants who were brought to the country in their youth. This is another great example of an incredibly gordian problem being hacked at by Obama the Great; we all want a solution, but no American should want that at the cost of the Constitution.
Had our previous president so openly ignored the Constitution (as many in the media accused him of doing), he would be decried a tyrant, calls for his impeachment hounding him, whereas President Obama’s goon-squad in the press throw it back in people’s face, with snide articles titled like “Republicans Attack Obama for Giving States Flexibility On Welfare Reform.”
Welfare reform is not the issue and those writers know it. The issue is the infringement on one branch of Congress by another. ‘Checks and Balances’ are written in to keep everyone honest, but this is much more a blind-side nut-tap which leaves everyone wheeling, panting, and asking “Can he really do that?”
Constitutionally, no, but you’re watching it live, folks. It’s no longer a Republic. Republics rely on groups of elected officials adhering to Constitutional procedure. What we are seeing, unfortunately, is the outgrowth of our culture propagated by our expectation for immediate satisfaction. Who has the time nowadays to wait for a bunch of tired old men to agree? Why doesn’t the president just do it?
Those who take note of historical precedent should keep in mind Julius Caesar’s ascent to power. A tactic of his was to demonstrate the ineptitude of the Senate to solve an issue only to deal with it on his own, like soldiers’ retirement packages. In doing so, Caesar made it painfully clear that the Roman Constitution had become irrelevant, and the power of the Government shift to one man.
I am not saying that Barack Obama is the next Julius Caesar, but I instead exhort you, gentle reader, to keep an eye on the Constitution. The Constitution only has power when we invest that power into it. Every unchallenged infringement against the guiding document weakens it and encourages those who would do away with it to stop believing it will ever bite them back. Even if today you agree with what President Obama has done for welfare, consider what might happen when someone against your beliefs acts in the same manner with Obama’s precedent as guide.