Hopeless legislative stalemate happens when lawmakers don’t do their jobs. When they are too indebted to their big money backers or too obsessed with personal agendas and vendettas to perform their task of managing government, government fails. That’s when the courts step in.
Failed government means orders and outrage
Frustration from failed government causes the kind of outrage that Obama committed last November when he decided to throw the gates open wide for illegal immigrants. It can also lead to responsible efforts like the order from Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, who tried to end union “fair share” payments. Whether a decision to legislate with an order is made to hurt or help taxpayers, it deprives us of our right to be represented. When an order goes bad, it takes decision making away from government altogether.
Both Obama and Rauner were stopped by the courts. We lost our right to be represented and they lost their bids to legislate on their own, so the courts ended up doing the legislating. Is this how government is supposed to work?
Texas decision: Hanen strikes a blow for taxpayers
There weren’t a lot of negatives left out of Judge Andrew Hanen’s remarks on what the Obama administration tried to do to taxpayers by expanding amnesty. Anything he forgot in his first opinion in February was included in last week’s scathing rebuke. Hanen wrote of the necessity of preventing harm to the states, of the administration’s complete non-enforcement of the law, and of plans to grant federal benefits to DAPA beneficiaries. His denial of the government’s motion may be the best description yet of what’s wrong with how the Obama White House views the American taxpayer.
Congressional breakdown over immigration was inevitable. It is very difficult to pass a law when too many involved in the legislative process know that what they are proposing is fundamentally wrong. The failure of government to do its job and protect the country from unwanted foreign intrusions doesn’t justify passing an expensive bill that dumps the cost of that failure on taxpayers. It doesn’t justify Obama’s executive action, either. His personal agenda not only asked that we pay for the federal refusal to protect the country, but insisted we pay to benefit those who took advantage of Washington’s shortcomings. The court took over for our useless Republican majority and said no (see: Broken GOP Leaders Take Their Last Stand). Score one for taxpayers nationwide just before a big loss to unions in Illinois.
Illinois: your fair share is fair. Pay it.
Ironically, Governor Rauner can probably sympathize with the president. Like Obama, he also found out last week that a court was going to stand in his way. The difference is that unlike the president, Rauner is trying to do the right thing by taxpayers.
The dispute over collecting mandatory fair share payments from non-union workers is not a new one. It is not restricted to Illinois. Fair share dues don’t wreak havoc on state budgets like public pensions, but they are symbolic of what state governments allow unions to do to taxpayers. Abusive pro-union laws don’t write themselves.
Rauner took the executive order route. The legislature left him little choice. Like Obama he was slapped down, not a surprise in a state where crossing public employee unions is heresy. This is likely just a prelude to the Illinois Supreme Court issuing a decision on the state’s outrageously abusive pension obligations later this spring. If that decision goes badly for taxpayers, no executive order is going to save the state. The high court will do the legislating because government failed in its duty to prevent financial ruin.
Taxpayer fairness: are courts more reliable?
When state and federal legislatures fail us they force the hands of officials at the top. Sometimes they try to pass orders for the better. Sometimes they do things because they are determined to impose their ideals on taxpayers and see an opportunity to do just that. When they exceed their authority or run afoul of opposing interests, the courts get involved.
DAPA and DACA amnesty, fair share payments, and public pensions are all part of the same big picture. Who ultimately decides how much of our money we get to keep and how much we have to hand over for others? When a judge like Andrew Hanen steps in and does the right thing, taxpayers win. Illinois is a different matter, but taxpayers here know that winning is never an option.