Governing Like a King, Biden Hurting Americans

Our Founding Fathers had the wisdom to establish three branches of government to prevent any one person or institution from wielding absolute power. Perennial favorite “Schoolhouse Rock!” put it perfectly: “Everybody’s act is part of the show, and no one’s job is more important.”

Judging by the past two years, President Joe Biden must have missed that episode.

The Biden administration has developed a dangerous habit of ignoring the legislative and judicial branches, and operating as a one-man show. The president has stretched the limits of executive power to govern unilaterally, and this trend carries serious consequences for our country.

A prime example came this past week when Biden announced he would “cancel” student loans for millions of borrowers. Debt can’t be erased with a magic wand. Every dollar will be paid for by someone. Biden has just shifted the burden from wealthy, college-educated individuals to taxpayers who never took out student loans and graduates who repaid what they borrowed. This decision will cost American taxpayers roughly half a trillion dollars — all to wipe away debt that millions willingly took on. Families are underwater because of inflation, and prominent Obama administration officials acknowledge this will drive prices higher.

Then there are Biden’s executive actions on energy. He campaigned on the promise of a “transition” from fossil fuels and made anti-oil and gas policies a Day One priority. On Inauguration Day, Biden canceled the Keystone XL pipeline permit, and halted oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters. These decisions imperil our future energy security. Oil and gas producers can’t magically increase output overnight.

Today, Texans are burdened by high gas prices — a product of Russia’s war on Ukraine, the post-pandemic travel boom and the administration’s policies. This is the time to take a hard look at our energy security and plan for our long-term needs. The Biden administration refuses to do so.

And let’s not forget the border crisis. In the past year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has logged more than 2.3 million illegal border crossings. Border Patrol agents are spread thin and overwhelmed by the magnitude of the work.

The Biden administration’s actions created this crisis, and if not for the federal courts, the problems would be worse. In April, the administration announced it would end Title 42 — one of the few tools preventing even more chaos at the border. Nearly half of the migrants who illegally crossed the southern border in the past year were returned under Title 42. Without this authority, law enforcement and our immigration system would buckle under the weight of this crisis. Fortunately, the federal courts blocked the administration’s disastrous plan.

The Biden administration has attempted to prevent states from reallocating COVID relief funds to provide tax cuts for working families. It even implemented a policy to discourage Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents from enforcing the law.

Executive overreach carries long-term consequences, and one of the best examples comes from former President Barack Obama. On many occasions, Obama acknowledged that he lacked the authority to implement immigration reforms unilaterally. In 2010, he said, “I am not king. I can’t do these things just by myself.”

Two years later, Obama tried anyway. Rather than work with Congress to build consensus and make law, he issued an executive order to establish the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which provided legal status for undocumented immigrant children. Though it gave the former president a short-term “win,” this action triggered a tidal wave of fear and uncertainty for these young people, who still — more than a decade later — wonder if they will have their work authorizations revoked or be deported from the only home they have ever known.

When a president governs as a king, instability follows. And there’s no question the Biden administration has put our country on shaky ground.

Biden’s overzealous use of executive authority is not the system our founders envisioned, and it certainly isn’t improving the lives of Texans. The problems facing our country require elected officials — including the president — to work together, negotiate and build consensus.

It’s a lot harder than signing an executive order, but it’s absolutely worth it.

Originally published in San Antonio Express-News.


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