JLF Triangle Blog

“The rule of law gave way to the rule of rulers.”

Today’s Wall Street Journal carries a must-read piece by Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn. The conservative Republican puts 2013 Washington into sharp — and alarming — focus.

Taking unilateral, extralegal action—like delaying the employer mandate for a year when Mr. Obama realized the trouble it would cause for businesses—is part of a pattern for this administration. Immigration and border-security laws that might displease certain constituencies if enforced? Ignore the laws. Unhappy that a deep-water drilling moratorium was struck down in court? Reimpose it anyway. Internal Revenue Service agents using the power of the state to harass political enemies? Deny and then stonewall. Unhappy with the pace of Senate confirmations for nominees? Ignore the Constitution and appoint people anyway and claim that the Senate is not in session.

Lest you think Sen. Coburn is simply making an end-of-year political statement, he is not. Republicans do not escape his scrutiny.

On the budget, Democrats and Republicans alike are celebrating the avoidance of another nihilistic government shutdown as a great victory. The choice to not commit mass political suicide may be a step toward sanity, but it isn’t reform. Solving the problem—fixing entitlements, reforming the tax code and consolidating the government’s $200 billion in duplicative spending—would be reform. Yet as my annual Wastebook report showed, even in this year of budget-sequestration anguish, the federal government still managed to fund the study of romance novels, provide military benefits to the Fort Hood shooter and even help the State Department buy itself Facebook FB -3.12% fans.

Sadly, we are in a deep, deep hole.

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