Yesterday President Donald Trump ordered the construction of his much ballyhooed wall along the U.S-Mexico border to begin. Obviously Trump doesn’t see any need to go to Congress to seek approval for his gigantic, socialist, public-works, multibillion-dollar edifice.
He’s the president. He can issue “executive orders.” He can do whatever he wants. Who needs congressional approval? Anyway, Congress might turn him down. Or they might delay construction by deliberating and debating the issue. Who needs all that when one can simply issue an executive order to get the wall built?
This is how dictators have always operated — simply by decree. They don’t need legislatures and, therefore, they either ignore them or they abolish them. And they expect the judiciaries to fall into line and support whatever they do.
One of the best examples of this phenomenon occurred during the dictatorial regime of Chilean military tyrant Gen. Augusto Pinochet, who the U.S. national-security establishment put into power, in the process destroying Chile’s democratic system, and then proceeded to support his reign of tyranny with cash and armaments for the next 17 years.
Like Trump, Pinochet ruled by decree. His executive orders were known as “decree laws.” Whatever executive orders Pinochet issued were automatically considered the law. That’s why his edicts were called “decree laws.” Whatever he decreed automatically became the law.
The Chilean congress had no say in the matter because Pinochet and his U.S.-supported military cohorts had abolished it. Equally important, the Chilean judiciary, scared to death, went along with whatever Pinochet decreed, holding that it was all consistent with the Chilean constitution.
The New York Times is reporting that Trump might be planning to justify his border wall decree under what was called the Secure Fence Act of 2006. But that would clearly just be a sham. That law was enacted more than a decade ago to provide for the building of a fence along the U.S-Mexico border, another gigantic socialist measure that obviously did not achieve its purported goal.
Trump’s Wall is obviously something completely different from the Berlin-type fence that was built with the approval of Congress back in 2006. Since that fence obviously didn’t work, it stands to reason that Congress might not be willing to enact a new law authorizing the construction of a multi-billion dollar wall.
That doesn’t matter to Trump. He’s the president. He’s in charge. Given that he is determined to build a wall, he’s not about to permit Congress or the federal judiciary to interfere with or interrupt his plans.
Another problem is funding. Trump’s wall is going to cost billions of dollars. He clearly is not going to use his own personal resources to build his wall. He says he’s going to make Mexico pay for it. Really? How? By ordering the Pentagon to invade the country and see whatever money it can find in its treasury, killing multitudes of people in the process? I don’t think so.
So that leaves even more debt to be added onto the ever-growing mountain of debt owed by the federal government — debt that the hard-pressed U.S. taxpayer is ultimately responsible for paying off.
The Times suggests that Congress could deny funding. Yeah, right! Does the Times really think that that is going to stop Trump from building his wall? If Trump doesn’t care whether Congress enacts a law authorizing his wall to be built, why is he going to care whether they authorize funding for it or not? He’s the president. He can issue executive decrees. After all, surely the Times noticed that Trump has already decreed that construction of his wall is to begin, notwithstanding the obvious fact that Congress has not authorized funding for it.
Many years ago, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev ordered construction of the Berlin Wall to begin. He didn’t get the approval of the Russian congress or East German congress either. He just ordered his wall to be built. Just like President Trump.
Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.
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