Our system of government is supposed to make it difficult to make sweeping changes in law such as redesigning the delivery of health care and the insurance that pays for it. These changes affect millions of lives; enacting them should take a great deal of deliberation and consensus-building.
Obama told us Tuesday night he wants action on a number of issues: He wants immigration reform, an increase in the federal minimum wage, a new tax credit for low-income families without children and expanded access to early childhood education.
If Congress won’t give him what he wants, Obama says he will take it, with a stroke of his executive pen.
All of these issues deserve robust debate. If they truly have merit, let their supporters convince the doubters of their worth. It is important for these debates to take place, so that Americans see for themselves how their representatives act.
That’s the function of a legislature in a representative republic. If we had wanted to be ruled by an “imperial president,” we shouldn’t have bothered to throw out King George III.