Obama's Violating Oath, Constitution in Implementing ObamacareBy: Terry Jeffrey / Townhall Columnist
The Constitution requires the president to take an oath or affirmation that says: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Article II, Section 3 says, "He shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed."
In his unequal and discriminatory implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), President Barack Obama is now violating both his constitutional oath of office and his constitutional duty to faithfully execute the laws.
The Obamacare law mandates that individuals must maintain health-insurance coverage for themselves and their dependents or pay a penalty. Similarly, it requires employers with 50 or more full-time workers to provide those workers with health-insurance coverage or pay a penalty.
The separate sections of the law spelling out these two mandates conclude with identical language: "The amendments made by this section shall apply to periods beginning after December 31, 2013."
For Obama to fulfill his constitutional oath of office and faithfully execute the Obamacare law, he would need to take care that his administration enforced this statutory Dec. 31, 2013, health-insurance deadline on both individuals and employers.
But Obama is not going to do that.
On July 2 -- while Congress was out of town for the July 4 holiday -- a Treasury Department bureaucrat posted a blog on the department's website announcing that the administration was not going to enforce the legal deadline on employers. It said nothing about suspending the deadline for individuals.
In other words, the administration would not apply the law equally on individuals and businesses.
"The administration is announcing that it will provide an additional year before the ACA mandatory employer and insurer reporting requirements begin," wrote Assistant Treasury Secretary for Tax Policy Mark J. Mazur.
Again, the law says: "The amendments made by this section shall apply to periods beginning after December 31, 2013." But the bureaucrat declared: "The administration is announcing that it will provide an additional year ..."
Which trumps which: the law or the assistant secretary's blog posting? Clearly, the Obama administration believes its bureaucratic dictates can overrule the law.
It is not difficult to discern Obama's political rationale for declining to faithfully enforce his own health care plan. Enforcing the legally mandated Dec. 31 health-insurance deadline on businesses could be disastrous for the president's allies in the 2014 midterm elections. That, in turn, could set back Obama's efforts to keep Obamacare from being repealed.
To save his law, he must not fully enforce it -- now. He must only fully enforce it when the chance that the people could achieve its repeal through the processes of representative government has been attenuated as much as possible. That is why Obama and his allies originally wrote the deadlines of Dec. 31, 2013, directly into the black letters of the law. They thought that was safely after the 2012 elections.
But December 2013 turned out not to be as safe as they originally calculated.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the national unemployment rate was 7.6 percent in June -- the same as it was in May. That makes 54 straight months -- beginning in January 2009, when Obama first took his oath of office -- that unemployment has remained at 7.5 percent or higher.
That is by far the longest stretch of 7.5-percent-plus unemployment since the BLS started keeping unemployment statistics in 1948. The second-longest period was only 32 months. Obama has already beaten that by almost two years.
Indisputably, Obama has the worst unemployment record of any president in the post-World War II era -- and his signature legislative achievement was about to make his record even worse.
The mandate that businesses must provide health insurance or pay a penalty if they hire a 50th full-time workers is like a Berlin Wall keeping Americans from jobs.
The National Federation of Independent Business has calculated that the minimum fine a business would pay for hiring its 50th full-time employee would be $40,000 per year -- unless it was capable of paying far more than that for Obamacare-approved health insurance for all its full-time employees.
If a business did not insure its employees, it would pay an additional $2,000 fine, on top of the first $40,000 in fines, for each additional full-time worker it hired beyond 50.
The fine on individuals for not buying government-approved health insurance is a penalty on individual liberty. The fine on employers is a penalty on job creation.
Obama figured his allies in Congress could get away with imposing a penalty on individual liberty.
But, with unemployment still at 7.6 percent, he figured they could not get away with imposing a penalty on job creation.
So he violated his oath to preserve the Constitution, flouted his duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and decided not to provide equal protection of the law to individuals and businesses.
Obama's edict: Businesses do not have to comply with the Dec. 31 deadline he signed into law. You do.