Joe Biden’s Pen and Phone | Yosef Stein

A couple of weeks into Joe Biden’s presidency, not much has changed. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to ravage the country, the government continues to borrow unsustainably and spend artificial money at an unprecedented clip, the Federal Reserve continues to mint inflation and manipulate securities markets at will, federal entitlement programs continue to inch towards insolvency, and average Americans continue to experience historic levels of dissatisfaction with the system as a whole. President Biden has inherited a government facing a number of immediate crises, a raft of long-term threats, and the specter of economic and political decline on the world stage. So far, Biden has inspired little confidence from anyone – on either side of the aisle – that he is up to the task of meeting this precarious moment in American history.

Thus far, Biden’s presidency has consisted of little more than vague platitudes about unity, working together, and “restoring America’s place in the world.” At the same time, his administration has been peddling a leftist wish list of policy proposals, including a $15 federal minimum wage and bailouts of state and local governments that were already on the path to insolvency long before Covid threw a wrench into their finances. These proposals seem intended to foster anything but political unity.

More than anything, however, the hallmark of Biden’s early presidency has been his unconstitutional abuses of executive power, which have rivaled the worst excesses of other recent presidents. Indeed, the 37 executive orders issued in the first week of Biden’s presidency compare unfavorably to Trump’s 4, Obama’s 5, and GWB’s zero during the comparable time periods of their respective presidencies. They also stand in stark contrast to Biden’s October comments that “I have this strange notion we are a democracy. Some of my Republican friends, and some of my Democratic friends even, occasionally say, ‘Well, if you can’t get the votes, by executive order you’re going to do something.’ Things you can’t do by executive order unless you’re a dictator. We’re a democracy. We need consensus.” Well, welcome to the Biden dictatorship.

To be clear, executive orders are not and never can be a substitute for the legislative process. The Constitution tasks the Congress, and only the Congress, with making laws. The president’s job is to faithfully execute the laws passed by Congress – no more and no less. While executive orders can have the effect of law, they are not a law-making tool. Rather, when used within their lawful scope, they set forth the president’s policies for administering and enforcing the laws already passed by Congress. For this reason, even blatantly unconstitutional executive orders often include stipulations such as “to the extent permitted by law” or “consistent with applicable law.” Of course most presidents are not actually concerned with complying with the law, but even they (and their attorneys) recognize the importance of maintaining the façade that executive orders are not used as a cheap substitute for the legislative process.

Among the borderline to blatantly illegal actions undertaken by Biden in recent days are arbitrarily revoking permits for the construction and operation of the Keystone XL pipeline, legislating new laws about workplace discrimination, extending the Trump administration’s illegal suspension of federal student loan payments (even though the suspension authorized by Congress in the CARES Act expired in September 2020), and the reinstatement of DACA protections for Dreamers (which President Obama essentially admitted were unconstitutional before he originally instituted them, yet were upheld by the Supreme Court – the same Supreme Court which later illogically denied Trump the ability to rescind DACA with an executive order of his own). Now, some or all of these policies may be beneficial – but that’s beside the point. In the US Constitutional system, the outcome does not trump the process. The ends don’t justify the means if the means are illegal.

It must be noted that Biden’s recourse to abusing the power of the executive order is not unusual; since the turn of the 20th century, presidents have often resorted to legislating by executive order as partisanship and Congressional gridlock have made legitimate legislation increasingly unattainable under most circumstances. President Biden is following in the footsteps of his predecessors, including his old partner-in-crime Barack Obama, whose common refrain when stymied by Republicans in Congress was “I’ve got a pen and a phone.” But even when viewed in this context, Biden’s executive order binge has been truly historic – and frightening. Americans are left to wonder what, if anything, Biden does not believe he can use executive orders to accomplish.

America is a nation in crisis – simultaneously staring down the barrel of an ongoing health crisis, a rising debt crisis, a looming monetary crisis, a snowballing government spending crisis, a crisis of global leadership, disenchanted retail traders attempting to instigate a financial crisis, and – perhaps worst of all – a crisis of public faith in the American system. (Yes, I know I’m using the word “crisis” a lot.) These converging crises could end in catastrophe – but as Albert Einstein famously posited, “in the midst of every crisis lies great opportunity” – and in the midst of extraordinary crisis lies extraordinary opportunity. President Biden’s legacy will hinge on whether he can forge opportunity out of crisis, whether he can rein in the government’s ongoing abuse of American citizens and institutions.

President Biden has been gifted a unique opportunity to help set America on a sustainable future path of liberty and prosperity, built upon the ideals of free markets, individual rights, and adherence to our Constitutional processes and norms – the characteristics that made America the global “shining city on a hill” in the first place. All indications thus far are that he will blow this opportunity. Biden seems to neither understand nor care about the cannibalization of America’s future occurring in its present, aided and abetted by leaders of both parties. Biden claims to want unity, but he appears to lack the willpower or wherewithal to actually make things better – or even to try. Instead of using his platform to highlight and tackle systemic issues like the soaring federal debt, the Federal Reserve’s forgery of the entire monetary system and economy, Social Security and Medicare rapidly running out of money, a financial system stacked in favor of the mega-rich by the government itself, and a Constitution on life support, Biden seems determined to perpetuate the worst qualities of past administrations – especially their reckless disregard for the laws of the land.

Biden’s first two weeks in office have not augured well for America’s future. It seems inevitable that America’s position on the world stage will continue to deteriorate, that our Constitution will be increasingly disregarded moving forward, and that America’s future will in some ways be bleaker than its present. Yet hope springs eternal, and it is not too late for Biden – or a successor – to make the radical changes that are needed to curb government power and interference in Americans’ affairs. That said, we are running out of time – and it would be nice if the president would demonstrate some cognizance of the issues at play and some inclination to help fix them.

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18 COMMENTS

  1. Laughable “unconstitutional abuse of executive orders” He is over turning Trump’s executive orders. please provide a link to the editorial opinion about Trump’s abuse of Executive orders. Biden won the popular vote, Approval rating above 50, he has a mandate and is executing it. Granted it is not a mandate from Lakewood.

    • First of all, this writer has proven over the last four years that he is very happy to go after Republicans – and Trump in particular – for unconstitutional and/or unwise policy; so the implication that this analysis is politically biased doesn’t wash.

      Secondly, there is no “mandate” for unconstitutional actions on the part of any president or government official. (So much for his oath of office to defend the Constitution. Strange that he forgot it already the same afternoon.)

  2. No doubt there will be great outrage when Biden’s covid bill gets passed by reconciliation. There will be mass amnesia that Trump’s tax cuts were passed by reconciliation. I never read any outrage by Lakewood scoop about the millions of dollars that were given to millionaire farmers because of Trump’s unsuccessful tariffs.

  3. You would benefit by reading Bob Bauer and Jack Goldsmith book.

    Don’t blame Biden for hiring Competent and experienced professionals. You may also benefit by reading Axios’ narrative about Trump’s last days.

  4. an executive order to get enough vaccines out across america would not be a bad step at all in fact it is for exactly such situations that there is a legal provision for executive orders in the first place

  5. Wow – First few posters are heavy pro-Biden guys, coming through loud & clear.
    How’s his approval rating among the 11,000 people who lost their job when he canceled the pipeline project ??
    How you gonna feel when Kim Jung Un starts test firing those Nukes again ??
    I know I’m not gonna change anyone’s mind, which is sad.
    I know fyi is very young but understand this: The employment numbers are EXTREMELY important. People out of work are not in a good place and can potentially do bad things. Just try to agree to tjhat.
    Then you’ll see that Trump’s economic policies, which resulted in under 3% unemployment, pre covid, are absolutely amazing.

    • How many people lost there jobs because Trump ignored covid? 11,000 people not so many. Trump did not bring bac steel he actually cost more jobs. He is the only president that will leave office with more jobs lost then when he came into office, unemployment was going down prio to Trump.. Trump is the one who defeated TRUMP. HOW MANY PEOPLE LOST THERE LIVES? Trump supporters accuse all the anti Trumpers of hate, not true, I don’t hate him. I find his behavior repugnant like many patriotic Americans.

    • TC ENERGY company involved in the pipeline has only hired one thousand people. 11,000 number is incorrect and it is also minuscule to the number of jobs that will be created by alternative energy. However the number of people that died as a result of Trump’s super spreader events is greater than 11,000.

  6. The governement debt is getting terrible to worse. This is not really Trump or Bidens fault but these stimulus plans are costing over 3 Trilliion Dollars. And the debt was over 27 Trillion before this all started.
    Meaning the governement is just gonna print money. Lots of it.
    The fear, of course, is inflation.
    Time to start hoarding Gold & Silver. Or Crypto.

    • Janet Yellen and IMF say now is not time to worry about inflation. Trump always wanted interest rates low because of all of his debt. Bitcoin will probably go up, not so much gold…Bitcoin is real gambling be careful…when unemployment rate low Trump still never broke 50%. Not because people hated him but because people have standards in what a President should be… calling Biden old and decrepit is not what I was taught in Yeshiva about how we should treat the elderly….

  7. All of you Biden lovers and Trump haters are ignorant of history. In the final analysis, Trump will go down as one of the best presidents this country has ever had (for his myriad landmark accomplishments), while Biden will go down as THE WORST. PERIOD. From all indication, this old, corrupt chap who is not all there and who needs a wheelchair and warm blanket will merit the infamous distinction of being even worse than LBJ, Carter and Obama combined

  8. If people haven’t already done so, they should pick up a copy of R’ Sorotzkin’s new book: “The End Illuminated: Current Events Within the Process of the Geula Through the Lens of Chazal” (and it’s short paperback “Sequel”). Understand folks, that Jewish life in chutz l’Aretz America is coming to an awful end. The “goldene medinah” is imploding; similar to 1917 revolutionary Russia and 1933 Nazi Germany, we are again living in a society spinning towards totalitarianism. The Dems are openly declaring the opposition to be “domestic terrorists” and “enemies of the state”; cancel culture and talk of “re-education camps” are threatening life and liberty; mainstream media organizations have become propaganda spouters for a one-party fascist state; Islamist extremists have infiltrated the Congress and spout their anti-Semitic hate; Antifa and BLM riot, loot and burn down neighborhoods with impunity; the White House is inhabited by a cognitively-challenged puppet of the left; and finally, we have to come to the tragic understanding that modern-day Misyavnim Jews (with names like Schumer, Nadler, Schiff, Cohen, Rosenstein, Blumenthal, Feinstein, Beyer, Kagan…ad nauseum) are frightful enemies within our own machaneh. (Perhaps these are the true descendants of the eiruv rav that R’ Sorotzkin refers to in his sefer).

    Rachmana Litzlan: one can go on and on listing the frightful signs that, indeed, the U.S. is disintegrating in our generation. The only question facing Klal Yisrael living in the American golus is: will we be naively complacent, trapped in a state of cognitive dissonance (like the self-deluded Jews of 1930s Germany)? Or will we (painfully?) accept that frum life in America is coming to “The End”? and that we best prepare ourselves (both physically and psychologically) to LEAVE!

    • Mrs. Cohen,

      Your analysis is very incisive—you are not a prophet but you are the closest to one that I’ve read ever.

      It may well come to past when Jews in the USA find themselves in the same environment as German Jews during the Nazi’s rule.

      I cannot predict the future but your words to the frum community are a warning not to be taken lightly.

      B’vah’kah’shah, suggest all Jews do More Talmud Torah, More Davvening and More Chessed.

      A goy,
      Gerry Mullen

  9. Quinnipiac poll
    61% optimistic about next 4 years.
    68% of Americans support relief bill. 8/10 Americans.
    Independents 62% approve of te bill. 56 to 35 Biden is doing more to unite the country.
    8/10 Americans support 1,400 check.
    Also may want to read what an independent commission had to say about Trump’s Whitehorse response to Covid.
    Republicans is a shrinking party with Antisemites like Marjorie Taylor Greene becoming the face. Republicans were successful in making ilhan omar the face of Democrats. Now its the Democrats turn to make the Republicans the party that thinks its ok to have a member say bullet should be put in Pelosi head and the. There are always the videos of the insurrection.
    Also the energy sector and automotive sector sees the future in renewables that is not good for the Republicans. The spigot of money is stopping just like the Trump hotel has no more visitors.

    • Jimmy Carter was very popular at the beginning of his (one) term in office – likely as a reflection of whom he was replacing just like for Biden; Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush not. Check the subsequent history on those.

      It’s easy to get 80% to support being given money. The question is how much Biden will be seen as a unifier – even by supporters – when he uses his skin-of-the-teeth majority in the Senate to ram through this and other liberal priorities (e.g. their $15 minimum wage which any rational person will tell you that, even if justified for other reasons, will destroy small businesses and cost jobs – totally contradicting stated aims of their aid bill).

      The Republican party is growing, as these elections bear out. Until they lost the two Georgia Senate run-offs due to Trump’s post-election derangement (for both seats the Republicans got more votes in the original election and most objective observers assumed they would hold them in the run-off) this had been a very successful cycle for the Republicans. In a “blue wave” year, they picked up an impressive number of seats in the House and extended their relative control of state governments (which means the decennial re-districting process will favor them). Even Trump out-performed all polls and objective expectations, and lost only because of (his mishandling of) COVID, despite all of his other detriments.

      Marjorie Taylor Greene was unknown outside of her state (and probably largely unknown even there) three months ago and will almost certainly return to anonymity shortly – despite the best attempts of the liberal media to try to perpetuate her short-lived exposure. She will fade for the simple reason that she does not represent a significant amount of Republicans and because she represents an attitude, not a set of policies. As opposed to the real face of the Democratic Party – Omar, AOC, and other uber-liberal anti-semites – who have shown tremendous staying power because they really do represent the beliefs and aspirations of the party and truly represent their future. This should only lead to more political gains in the future for the Republicans, building on this election which, as I stated above, was really a victory for Republican values.

  10. Liz Cheney gets to keep her job. Gets 145 votes in secret ballot. When te vote is secret not many elected Republicans support him. One brave person secretly voted present. If the impeachment vote was in secret Trump would be convicted, white Nationalism grew and was given free reign under Trump. FBI powers were weakened. Mrs. Cohen that will not happen under Biden and Merrick Garland. One should always put their faith and prayers in the almighty, regardless who is in the oval office,

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