In an excellent piece in today's IHT, the Bush administration is exposed, once again, as having no regard for the Constitution. While we hear over and over again that we need judges who will stick to the Constitution as the Founders intended it, apparently the Executive Branch is under no such restrictions. Vice Emperor Cheney sees his office outside the restrictions of government. GWB regularly and routinely paints himself and the Executive Branch as immune to the law.
And now, to handle our current economic crisis, the Secretary of the Treasury proposes:
"Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency," the original draft of the proposed bill says.
"The Secretary is authorized to take such actions as the Secretary deems necessary to carry out the authorities in this act," the proposed bill read when it was first presented to Congress, "without regard to any other provision of law regarding public contracts."
It goes on to say, "Any funds expended for actions authorized by this Act, including the payment of administrative expenses, shall be deemed appropriated at the time of such expenditure."
Indeed, as Sorkin offers, this is the financial equivalent of the Patriot Act. In fact, in my opinion, it makes the Patriot Act look like small potatoes in terms of subverting the Constitution. This is lunacy!
According to another IHT piece, Senator Chris Dodd had strong words for Paulson this morning:
He called the Treasury proposal "stunning and unprecedented in its scope and lack of detail."
Asserting that the plan would allow Paulson to act with "absolute impunity," Senator Dodd said, "After reading this proposal, I can only conclude that it is not only our economy that is at risk, Mr. Secretary, but our Constitution, as well."
But then, when has this administration really exhibited any concern for the Constitution?
I have to hand it to Paulson, however. Asleep at the switch since he came into office, he now proposes himself as the unitary figure to dole out a staggering sum of taxpayer money, demanding accountability to no one at all. Truly a Bush Republican.
Mercifully, it seems that players on both sides of the aisle have reservations with Paulson's creation of a totally autonomous new branch of government. Hopefully, saner heads will prevail and quickly put a workable solution in place before a total meltdown occurs.
Perhaps GWB & Co's next crisis management step should be to postpone the Nov election indefinitely. It would be in keeping with their track record so far.