At what point do we acknowledge that America has devolved into a post-constitutional society, led by an Imperial President?
The examples that support this notion are piling up quickly, with the most recent being the President’s announcement that the Federal Government is giving $36 billion to the mismanaged Teamsters’ Union Central States Pension Fund.
This unconstitutional action raises a long list of troubling concerns.
How is it that the President can take $36 billion from 340 million Americans, and divert it to the pension fund serving only 350,000 retired Teamsters? My reading of the U.S. Constitution reveals no such authority for the Executive. He blatantly raided the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which was supposed to be a Coronavirus relief package but has become a partisan slush fund. For those of you keeping score, the $36 billion equates to $103,000 for each retired teamster. Are we to believe that retired Teamsters were inordinately affected by Covid, so much so that the President had to take upon himself a new power to help them?
How is it that the General Welfare clause of the Constitution can be so wholly ignored? Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 requires the Congress, when it spends our money, to do so only according to the limits of the Constitution, one of which is that the spending must be for the general welfare. This means that the spending of the Federal Government should be intended to benefit citizens in general, not certain special interest groups. This clause was inserted purposefully into the constitution as a countermeasure to the historical practice of British royalty using the machinery of British government to benefit the elites and the landed gentry in their monarchical society.
It appears that the Federal Government is doing exactly what the General Welfare clause was meant to prevent. Special interest groups now come on bended knee before our Imperial President, pleading for special consideration. Our Imperial President then exercises his royal prerogative to dispense funds from the Royal Treasury to his favored subjects, and to impose the burden for the expense on the commoners he does not favor. Is that the kind of government we want for our country? It wasn’t the kind of government we wanted when we decided to revolt against the British monarchy in the 18th Century.
Let’s dig deeper into the special interest group that the Imperial President chose to favor with money that belonged to the rest of us. What made the Teamster’s Union worthy of such royal generosity?
The most obvious answer is that the Teamster’s Union is a reliable voting bloc for the President’s political party. This craven vote-buying by the Imperial President is almost identical to his recent (and equally unconstitutional) forgiveness of student loans. Not only is the special treatment of the Teamsters a slap in the face to everyone who is not a Teamster, it is an insult to everyone who thinks the Federal Treasury should not be raided to buy votes. Prediction: A significant portion of the $36 billion the Imperial President grifted to the Teamsters will make its way back to the coffers of the President’s political party in the form of campaign contributions.
Digging deeper, what makes the private pension fund of the Teamsters so special? Is it more special the pension funds of everyone else? Is it more special than the 401(k) accounts that many people rely on for retirement? Are the Teamster retirees more special than all the people who have no retirement plan whatsoever? Does it seem fair for people who don’t even have a pension plan to pay for the pension plans of those who do? Does it seem fair for those who suffered declines in their 401(k) accounts during the Covid crisis to pay for making the Teamsters’ fund whole? These questions all point back to the very purpose of the General Welfare clause.
To make matters worse, the Teamster’s Fund has a long history of mismanagement and plundering by corrupt union leadership, along with shadowy relationships with underworld kingpins. There’s a reason no one knows where Jimmy Hoffa’s body is. So why are the rest of the American people on the hook to make the Teamsters’ pension fund whole again? Doesn’t the union itself, along with its membership, have the obligation to monitor and police the integrity of their fund? Why is their failure to do so the problem of some farmer in Iowa? Isn’t the function of a union to protect the interests of their workers rather than to plunder their retirement savings?
There is only one path forward for fighting against an Imperial Presidency and for preventing the complete demise of the U.S. Constitution. It is up to the states to reclaim their authority from a hyperactive Federal Government under the banner of the 10th Amendment, and for common people to reassert their inalienable rights under the banner of the 9th Amendment.
These two amendments are all we have left. If we don’t rally around them, our Constitutional Republic will evaporate.