Banana republic stuff

I started this series of posts on the regulations promulgated under Obamacare as “Adventures in administrative law.” Today it continues as “Banana republic stuff,” courtesy of Charles Krauthammer.

Yesterday’s installment of banana republic stuff came courtesy of the Treasury/IRS statement announcing regulations that delayed the Obamacare requirement for some employers — those with between 50 and 99 full time workers — and modified it for larger employers. Here is the text of the press release; here is the Treasury fact sheet; here is the final regulation (227 pages). John Hinderaker’s take is here.

Once upon a time, not so long ago, administrative agencies were vested only with the authority to interpret the laws they enforced. To simplify just a little bit, unless the authority was delegated to them, agencies lacked the power to write the laws. They certainly lacked the power simply to rewrite them.

As the famous American whose birthday we are about to celebrate once said, “If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it.”

In the blizzard of Obamacare pronouncements and regulations issued to date, we are tending toward rule by decree (video below).

UPDATE: The New York Times quotes a Treasury official asserting Treasury’s “authority to grant transition relief” under a section of the Internal Revenue Code that directs the Treasury secretary to “prescribe all needful rules and regulations for the enforcement” of tax obligations. The quoted section of the Code belies the IRS’s position and makes my point, a point which unfortunately escapes Ron Fournier.


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