- - Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Having to “pass a bill to find out what’s in it” was bad enough. Now that Obamacare is law, it’s no easier to find out what’s in it.

Only a mind reader knows for sure what President Obama regards as binding provisions of the law, and which can be ignored. The law sways with the president’s mood and the flick of his pen.

Mr. Obama is not necessarily wrong about the need to delay until 2016 the employer mandate for medium-sized business firms. But when House and Senate Republicans offered the president and his allies a legal way to do that, the Republicans were bludgeoned with loud and barely coherent speeches that “Obamacare is the law of the land” and “Get over it.”

The president pushed away all Republican attempts to compromise. He insisted on going it alone. Without any authority from Congress, Mr. Obama has decreed that various inconvenient features of his health care law, including the employer mandate, shall be delayed.

He expressed his view of the Constitution and the separation of powers the other day outside Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home in Virginia. “That’s the good thing as a president,” he said, “I can do whatever I want.” Everyone thought he meant it in jest, but we subsequently learned that he meant it period. Jefferson would be appalled.

Under his new administration directive, the employer mandate for companies with 50 to 100 employees will be delayed until 2016 — no act of Congress needed. Republicans are angered, and so should everyone else be, that only “some people” will enjoy this respite from Obamacare.

“Once again,” says House Speaker John A. Boehner, “the president is giving a break to corporations while individuals and families are still stuck under the mandates of his health care law … . If the administration doesn’t believe employers can manage the burden of the law, how can struggling families be expected to?”

The president is obviously less concerned with the impact of the policy than with its political implications. Companies that are relatively small usually can’t afford the bells and whistles that Obamacare mandates.

Without the delay, about 7 million Americans would risk losing the health care that Mr. Obama and congressional Democrats promised they could keep. Fortunately for them, it’s an election year, and losing their vote was a risk Mr. Obama wasn’t willing to take.

The culture of lawlessness has spread throughout the administration. A joint investigation by the House Ways and Means Committee and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee uncovered IRS and Treasury officials eagerly ignoring the text of the Obamacare law in order to spend hundreds of billions of dollars that were not authorized by Congress.

These officials made premium subsidies available for those purchasing insurance on federal Obamacare exchanges, despite clear language in the Obamacare law that limits such subsidies to consumers in an “Exchange established by a State.”

They wanted to pump up enrollment numbers to make Mr. Obama look competent and credible, even if he isn’t.

The administration also applied the employer-mandate tax to states with a federal exchange. “IRS and Treasury merely asserted that they possessed such authority,” concluded the congressional investigators, “without providing the committees with evidence to indicate that they came to their conclusion through reasoned decision-making.”

They were shooting from the hip, as well as the lip.

Henry Ward Beecher, the great Congregationalist clergyman and abolitionist, observed, “The worst thing in this world, next to anarchy, is government.” President Obama is on his way to giving us both.

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