Editorials

Government above the law

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Should laws apply to the President? Should the Executive Branch be held to the same standards as the rest of America?

These are just a couple of questions that must be answered in the coming months as President Obama ventures into his second term. One such area of concern, which is being largely ignored by the mainstream media, is the illegality of Executive Branch’s failure to file congressionally required documentation regarding the Stimulus Package of 2009.

The law, which instated the stimulus states: “In consultation with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and the Secretary of the Treasury, the Chairperson of the Council of Economic Advisers shall submit quarterly reports to the Committees on Appropriations of the Senate and House of Representatives that detail the impact of programs funded through covered funds on employment, estimated economic growth, and other key economic indicators.”

The last one of the quarterly reports filed was in 2011. That last statement also showed that the Stimulus was going poorly for this Administration. So poorly, that the statement showed that for every job created or saved, it had cost $317,000. Perhaps the accounting just got out of hand?

In case you’re wondering of how long the filing was required, the bill states: “The first report…shall be submitted not later than 45 days after the end of the first full quarter following the date of enactment of this Act….The last report required to be submitted…shall apply to the quarter in which the [Recovery Accountability and Transparency] Board terminates under section 1530.” Section 1530 declares, “The Board shall terminate on September 30, 2013.”

By all measures, the Obama Administration is breaking the law, a law that they themselves pushed to enact. A bill that was assured to be the saving grace of the Bush financial catastrophe. After five straight Stimulus reports that showed the condition worsening, they stopped them all together, regardless of the laws in place.

If you combine this illegality with the fact that Obama’s “Jobs Council” hasn’t met in over a year, one must question the motives of this Administration. Is economic recovery really the goal? If so, why isn’t there accountability of government funding and a concerted effort by the jobs team?

Maybe the most ironic part of it all is that the Stimulus law was enacted on the premise of “Part of the unprecedented accountability and transparency provisions included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 [the ‘stimulus’], the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) was charged with providing to Congress quarterly reports on the effects of the Recovery Act on overall economic activity, and on employment in particular.”

Is this unprecedented transparency? Is this all in an effort to truly improve America’s lingering condition? More so, does this mean that laws passed can be nonchalantly ignored by this President? Where is the accountability? It doesn’t seem to be transparent.

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