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By Dr. Harold Pease

In President Barack Obama’s 5th State of the Union address he did not offer a single cut, but did ask Congress to do many things, most of which are very expensive. They include: raising the minimum wage to $9.00 per hour, finding a way to provided full-time employment for all who wish it, cutting red tap on new oil and gas permits, and working with Congress on “research and technology” in the energy area. He wants to “cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses.” He wants high-speed rail, high-tech schools and self-healing power grids. His “Fix-It-First program” puts people back to work on 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country.” We also need modern ports, modern pipelines, and modern schools. Most of these programs require vast funding from the taxpayer.

His program would allow homeowners to refinance at today’s rates. He would help finance manufacturing, energy, infrastructure, and housing. Make the preschool program “available to every child in America.” He invites a federal governmental roll in “boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime.” The government should “reward schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers, and create classes that focus on science, technology, engineering, and math.” Colleges, he said, “must do their part to keep costs down, and it is our job to make sure they do.” These imply vast subsidies and vastly more regulations. He would offer companies incentives to hire those who were difficult to hire. He spoke of “rebuilding vacant homes in run-down neighborhoods” and of partnering “with 20 of the hardest-hit towns in America,” presumably to rebuild them with tax-payer money. And he wanted more Internet control. To pay for these budget-busting programs he offered only closing tax loopholes and again taxing the rich.

Most pundits will note how expensive the above would be, especially when we are $16.5 trillion in debt (approximately $6 trillion from Barack Obama alone) and adding to this $4 billion each day. Someone has to ask the question, “Are we intentionally attempting to bankrupt this country?” Or, they might write about the vast expansion of federal control over our lives, that will never be returned, and the resultant loss of liberty.

Because few read the Constitution anymore, they may not notice that not a single one of these expensive power-grabbing and bankruptcy-leading measures meet the list requirement in Article I, Section 8. Nor have any of the power increases been presented to the states for the required 3/4th ratification to become federal powers, as required by Article V. All power areas not listed, nor added by way of amendment, belong to the states as per Amendment 10, otherwise, in time, we will not need state government, as all power will emanate from our “all-knowing” and “all-powerful” federal government.

But even more frightening is the expansion of presidential power and the ineptitude of Congress with respect to defending itself because of its worshipful allegiance to party rather than to the Constitution they swore to uphold. Obama announced the launch of three more “manufacturing hubs” to guarantee, “the next revolution in manufacturing is Made in America.” And requested Congress to create an additional 15 such hubs. What these are, and more precisely what they do, was not given. Nor was it given that while he created the first three, why he now needed Congress to create another 15. And, if Congress won’t will he then do so himself?

On climate change he “urged” movement from Congress then threatened them if it did not happen. “But if Congress won’t act soon… I will. I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future.” He then identified three areas where his, presumably executive orders, would follow: “to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.”

His threats are real. Unhappy that Congress had not already moved on gun control last month, as he wished, he created and signed 23 executive orders enlarging his power in this area. The Constitution gives the federal government no authority in this area and the words used in the 2nd Amendment are “shall not be infringed.” Congress alone has all law making powers outside the veto. The President has zero power to make law. Last summer he nullified existing law on immigration by executive order which violation of the Constitution is even more serious.

Internet control was also hinted at in the State of the Union Address. He said, “I signed a new executive order that will strengthen our cyber defenses by increasing information sharing, and developing standards to protect our national security, our jobs, and our privacy.” Three vastly enlarged areas of government control that have never been presented to the Congress or the States. How do executive orders differ from monarchical decrees?

As with Congress the president’s powers are also listed, Article II, Sections 2-3, and not a single one of the powers that he is bestowing upon himself exists in the Constitution. All powers not listed, or added by way of amendment, belong to the states and the people as per Amendment 10.

Obama is a great orator but is he good enough to talk us into bankruptcy and out of liberty? For many yes! In Star Wars III the people clapped when they lost their liberty. Are we doing the same?

Dr. Harold Pease is an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 25 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit