By Bob Sanchez, JMI Policy Director
Posted February 28, 2012
In a resolution that the mainstream media have inaccurately portrayed as a reasonable “compromise” in the dispute about the federal government’s contraception mandates, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer got to the real issue. He notes that it’s not just a matter of “religious liberty” vs. what some of Mr. Obama’s political supporters euphemistically refer to as “a woman’s right to choose” – although trampling on the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty is certainly a grave concern.Yet as Mr. Krauthammer points out, there’s another issue of great importance: Mr. Obama’s high-handed actions go well beyond a U.S. president’s Constitutional authority. As the columnist explained:
“The president of the United States has just ordered private companies to give away for free a service that his own health and human services secretary has repeatedly called a major financial burden. On what authority? Where does it say that the president can unilaterally order a private company to provide an allegedly free-standing service at no cost to certain select beneficiaries? This is government by presidential fiat. In Venezuela, that’s done all the time. Perhaps we should call Obama’s ‘accommodation’ Presidential Decree No. 1….”To imagine what might happen if this healthcare fiat does turn out to be but the first in a series of presidential decrees, let’s apply the reductio ad absurdum analytical technique, which Webster’s defines as “showing a proposition’s consequences to be impossible or absurd when it is carried to its logical conclusion.” For instance, consider these D-R-A-F-T versions of memos that could soon be waiting in the West Wing if this trend were to continue:TO: All Grocers
FROM: President Barack H. Obama, Washington, D.C.
It has come to my attention that some food stamp recipients run out of them before they get more. Therefore, by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 2, you are hereby directed to allow any and all shoppers who complain about paying for their groceries to fill their carts and depart your premises without being charged. TO: General Motors, Chrysler, and Ford
FROM: Automobile Industry Commander in Chief, Washington, D.C.
It has come to my attention that some unfortunate Americans lack vehicles and do not live within walking distance of high-speed rail or other trendy forms of union-operated public transportation. Therefore, by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 3, you are hereby directed to provide electric or hybrid motor vehicles free of charge to anyone who requests one.TO: The Airline Industry
FROM: Sky Czar, Washington, D.C.
It has come to my attention that some travelers lack the wherewithal to pay your fares. Therefore, by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 4, you are hereby directed to allow all travelers — and their luggage! — to fly free of charge to the destinations of their choice, whether or not the aforesaid passenger-selected destinations are among your current routes.  TO:  All Doctors, Hospitals, Clinics, Pharmacies, and Florida Pill Mills
FROM: Medical Maestro, Washington, D.C.
It has come to my attention that many sick people have not yet experienced the benefits of the Obama health-care reforms. Therefore, by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 5, you are hereby directed to provide medical care and pharmaceuticals free of charge to anyone — except the rich — who shows up at your facilities.
P.S. Don’t bother to sue me on this; instead, be aware that the legal precedent for this practice was established in connection with the February 2012 Presidential Decree No. 1, wherein private insurers were ordered to provide contraceptive services and certain abortifacients free of charge.Farfetched? Let’s hope so. But if any of these scenarios actually played out the way Decree No. 1 did — to the applause of a mainstream media oblivious to presidential overreach — just imagine the kind of society the United States would then be: one in which various goods and services are “free,” but, unfortunately, the people are not.