The autocracy is most pronounced on matters that favor the big-money interests who call the tune for Mr. Obama and his liberal allies, namely the jackpot-justice plaintiffs’ attorneys and the union bosses who add thuggish muscle to their funds. Witness the news that emerged last week that the Treasury Department is considering administrative action that would provide trial lawyers with a tax break up to $1.6 billion. This move would be despite the fact that not even the Democratic Congress could find enough support for the proposal to implement it by traditional, elective republic means.
Witness, too, the news from July 2 that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) already had closed the comment period for a likely new rule to allow electronic voting, rather than traditional on-location secret ballots, for union organizing elections. Again, this would be an end run around Congress. For several years, labor unions desperately pushed “card check” legislation that would allow unions to be organized by public petitions rather than secret ballots, but the proposal failed miserably in the court of public opinion. Congress never came close to advancing the legislation. But now, again by mere Obama administrative action, the NLRB is on the verge of implementing this electronic mini-version of card check.
This administrative fiat is being accomplished owing to backing from new NLRB member Craig Becker, who himself was appointed without congressional approval through a “recess appointment.” That’s another end run around Congress, in this case the Senate’s right to “advise and consent” on presidential appointments. Mr. Becker is a former lead lawyer for two mega-unions, the AFL-CIO and the SEIU. Result: The president ignored democratic processes to appoint a man who threatens to ignore democratic processes in order to implement a rule whereby unions can trample democratic protections within their own ranks.
In this case and with the trial-lawyer tax subsidy, the Obama administration is running roughshod over representative government. In turn, the trial lawyers give well over 90 percent of their campaign cash to Democrats. The AFL-CIO alone spent more than $200 million in the 2008 elections, almost exclusively for Democrats. Clearly, the Democrats’ dedication to campaign funding overwhelms their weak commitment to democratic government. That’s how autocracy takes hold.