Tentative Thoughts on Trump's Four Executive Actions

The Trump Administration tries to employ the Regents strategy before the election.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Earlier today, I linked to President Trump's four new executive actions. Here are my tentative thoughts.

The Trump Administration is carrying into execution what I've dubbed the Regents strategy. First, confer benefits through the under-enforcement of the law. Second, hope that the Supreme Court allows the executive action to go into effect. Third, allow people to rely on those policies. Fourth, there are now reliance interests. Therefore, pursuant to Regents, it will be tougher for the court to unwind the policy in the future.

The play is at Step #2. I assume that some district court, somewhere, will enjoin these polices. (D.D.C. clerks, please report to your chambers, ASAP). And, I'll assume that the Circuit Courts will decline to stay the injunction. At that point, it all falls to–who else–Chief Justice Roberts. If he declines to stay the injunction, then the Regents strategy fails. These plans failed to launch. If Roberts stays the injunction, then the Regents strategy goes into motion.

What will Roberts do here? Jon Adler explained that Roberts Roberts is skeptical of lower-court injunctions. That is, he likes to maintain the status quo. What exactly is the status quo?  As it stands now, people are receiving certain benefits. Congress failed to act. Therefore, those benefits stand to disappear. I can see Roberts saying, "Well, we should preserve the status quo, and ensure there is no massive disruption, so I'll stay the injunction." Then Roberts will say, "You know, these leaks really are a big deal. Maybe Josh is right. I should step down." Scratch that last part. But I think I'm right about the status quo analysis. Roberts's preference is for things to stay the way they are, and a stay of an injunction would keep things the way they are.

Furthermore, the question of congressional standing looms large. Yesterday, the D.C. Circuit punted in Mnuchin. This case considered whether the House has standing to challenge a violation of the Appropriations Clause. (Jon Adler wrote about this issue yesterday). I could see the Chief staying an injunction solely because the congressional standing issue is unresolved. (After Virginia House of Delegates, I think this issue is a basically settled.) And once again, Trump gets past stage #2.

Now, a few comments about policy. Trump took specific actions that will be very popular. Sure, law professors can fight over the separation of powers issues. But the people who benefit from these policies will gladly, or perhaps begrudgingly, accept the money. The optics for legal challenges are bad. Will the House of Representatives go to court to ensure that people have to pay taxes? Will states go to court to block people from receiving unemployment benefits? Will landlords go to court to make it easier to evict people? Will lenders go to courts to ensure that student loans are paid? Trump's strategy is diabolical.

Trump also put Vice President Biden in a tough spot. All of these orders expire in December 2020. Trump said if he is re-elected, he would continue the policies, and forgive some of the loans. What is Biden going to do? He favors the policy, opposes the executive actions, and prefers legislation? Again, law professors love those sorts of arguments. I have been repeating that line for years with respect to DACA. But average people will not be happy with it. Biden is stuck between a rock and a hard basement.

One final note. The biggest losers today are employers. Will corporations actually stop withholding payroll taxes? Sure, Trump approved that action. But federal law remains in place. Will any compliance department actually stop withholding payroll taxes on the promise of an executive action? A Biden administration could prosecute these companies. Thus, employers will now be at odds with their employees who demand their full salary. Perhaps an employer would be a good litigant to challenge this executive action, as there is no regulatory uncertainty.

I will dig into the orders soon. But the optics on this case are not obvious. So much of the Trump Administration's actions have been flubbed. These actions look, at first glance at least, more careful.

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  1. Trump is flailing now…I don’t think analysis needs to be any deeper than that. The problem is Trump was on a losing course in February and his advisers should have told him to pull a Chris Christie in order to change his trajectory. So Christie made Sandy out to be the apocalypse and worked with Obama and ended up getting re-elected. Trump made the mistake that voters believed his bs about the economy and he was on a course to win in November.

  2. The payroll tax deferral is a double whammy: If it does go into effect, it doesn’t relieve the tax payer of an obligation to pay the taxes, just ends withholding of them.

    So, come next April, a lot of people who have been enjoying getting all the money they worked for suddenly face a huge bill that reminds them of just how freaking high their taxes really are.

    That’s bound to have political effects, and might force Congress to roll back payroll taxes.

    1. At which point millions of white men all over America will have miraculously forgotten whose idea that was in the first place.

      1. I’m not sure why you think that not being forced to give the government an interest-free loan is a bad thing. Sure, there will be some sticker-shock in April but everyone knows that the actual tax rates are set by Congress. No one over the age of 10 expects anything different.

    2. Great, so then the deficit will soar even higher. At some point our credit will be maxed out. Do anti tax Republicans have a plan in place for when that happens?

      1. Force Democrats to raise taxes on everyone, see people all vote Republican in the next election?

        1. That doesn’t fix the problem of what to do when our credit is maxed out and people still expect service.

          1. Sure it does. Once Democrats hike taxes to obscene rates to pay for all their spending, the GOP will be able to slightly lower taxes (from the obscene rates) and trim services.

            1. But more realistically, we’ve seen this scenario happen on local and state-like levels repeatedly

              Democrats hike up services to unsustainable rates, while not raising taxes enough, and maximizing out credit. Then when the bill comes due, bankruptcy-like proceedings take place, and services are sharply curtailed, and a more GOP-like administration comes in and is needed to fix the problems.

              1. When has a GOP administration fixed a deficit? That’s Dems you’re thinking of.

              2. You know, Obama was within striking distance of a balanced budget when he left office. It’s Republicans who both spend like drunken sailors and won’t raise the revenue to cover it. If fiscal responsibility is your issue, vote Democrat.

                1. “It was Obama…” “Striking distance”…

                  Right…Because more than a $400 Billion dollar deficit is “striking distance”

                  Have you actually looked at the math? Or the history?

                2. You think Congressional Republicans were passing Obama’s budgets?

                  lol get real

                  1. AL and Sam:

                    If you compare what the economy and budget looked like when Obama took office, and when he left office, he did a fantastic job. And when you’re talking about a multi-trillion dollar budget, yes, he was “within striking distance” of a balanced budget. But that’s all a side issue; here’s the main event:

                    Sam, *of course* Republicans weren’t going to pass Obama’s budget, or anything else he sent them, hence DACA. Both parties are big spenders, but the Democrats recognize that somebody has to pay for all this spending. You can’t just keep throwing it on a credit card because eventually you max out and the bills come due. And they can’t cut spending to levels that would fix the problem because the voters really do want all these services. The voters, who also don’t want to pay taxes, apparently think the money fairy just goes poof and a big pile of cash magically appears out of nowhere. So, how do you cut taxes, increase spending, and not increase the deficit, all at the same time? It’s magic, I tell you.

                    The Democrats are basically the grown ups in the room. They know that’s all hocus pocus. They know that taxes are going to have to go up because the current approach is unsustainable. They know it’s all going to come crashing down at some point, and as with any other problem, the longer you wait to fix it, the harder it is to fix. The Republican Party base, on the other hand, is the party of magical economic thinking and “you can’t make me” petulant teenagers who won’t even wear masks to help control a pandemic. Unfortunately, due to our bizarre system of electing leaders, in 2016 those petulant teenagers and voodoo economists swept the table and were put in charge of the country.

                    So I’ll go with my original statement: If fiscal responsibility is your issue, vote Democrat.

                    1. Well… A little history at past bankruptcies and bankruptcy-like situations in the US for governments may change your mind.

                      The “big 4” are:
                      1. Puerto Rico
                      2. Detroit
                      3. Jefferson County, Alabama
                      4. Stockton, CA.

                      What they all share is a government run by Democrats (Yes, JC Alabama was run by Democrats), which ran up government spending, while trying also to finance with high taxes and debt spending, which ultimately failed as they couldn’t raise enough tax revenue to cover all their additional spending and obligations. In many of the situations, there were elements of corruption as well (big government spending leads itself to that, in a way low taxes really can’t) .

                      That’s what we start to see at the higher levels of federal government as well. Slightly shady “deals” made by lead Democrats for themselves or their families, promising excess spending or benefits or favors…. Plus a lot more spending for “favored” groups, and some more taxes….

                      So you can see the concern. You know, simply based on past examples.

                    2. You can always find individual counter examples, but they don’t alter my primary point that the voters want lots of spending, and the real difference between the Dems and the Rs is do you want to raise revenue to pay for it, or just keep throwing it on a credit card which will eventually max out.

                      And if you look at most cities and counties run by Democrats, they’re not Detroit. They’re success stories like Seattle and Boston and Orlando that are highly desirable places to live. Detroit was a one industry town that lost its shirt when the auto industry went belly up. Puerto Rico’s biggest problem is corruption but that would be a problem if it were run by corrupt Republicans too. Not familiar enough with Stockton and JCA to comment. But none of that responds to the political reality that people want social programs and someone has to pay for them.

                      And if we do actually default at some point you’ll be looking at massive tax hikes coupled with massive service reductions. And a permanent loss of our credit and reputation.

                    3. “you can always find individual counter examples”

                      These were literally the 4 largest public government bankrupticies in US history, and they all shared the Democratic mind-set. If you can “always find counter examples” perhaps you can find a large GOP run example?

                      The “Political Reality” is not that people “want services”. It’s that Democrats won by promising things that were entirely unrealistic, and putting it on the government credit card or promise card to be paid for decades in the future. But when the bill comes due, suddenly, everything goes down the crapper. It’s a sign of bad management. Works fine in the short term, horrible in the long term. And it’s repeating itself.

                      The biggest problem here at the state/local level are massively inflated salary and benefits package for state/local employees, typically due to Democratic cronyism. When the bill comes due, and taxes can’t be increased anymore, and the people all flee, it’s going to crush cities and states.

                    4. Most major urban areas are run by Democrats so it’s hardly surprising that urban areas with financial problems are mostly run by Democrats. So are urban areas that are doing dandy run by Democrats. A quick google search revealed that Republican Omaha and Boise have each filed for bankruptcy as well.

                      But you’re just changing the subject from my primary point, which has nothing to do with municipal bankruptcies. When Democrats began passing entitlement programs, like social security and medicare, they made sure those programs were funded and did not take on additional debt. It wasn’t until Reagan that debt began to skyrocket; Lyndon Johnson managed to balance the budget even with the Great Society. Reagan was the one who championed big government programs without the taxes to pay for them. And people are now accustomed to entitlement programs and won’t give them up. So, do we put them on a credit card or fund them?

                      I agree with you that municipal salaries are too high.

    3. It’s quite a bit worse than that. Remember, people have to pay taxes on unemployment, but that isn’t withheld.

      Come 2021, a lot of normal Americans are going to be hit with MASSIVE tax bills that they weren’t expecting. Couple that with withholding issues…

      1. Yeah, and as much as I despise Trump, part of me hopes he’s re-elected so it’s his mess when these fiscal chickens come home to roost. He made this mess, with the complicity of his congressional enablers; let him be there when the bills come due.

        1. Well, really it’s the people who don’t realize that you need to pay taxes on UE who have the fiscal chickens…

    4. Congress will forgive the payroll taxes retroactively. They will have no choice.

  3. Biden as an easy out. He will simply say that he will enact legislation to continue the polices, but in a legal manner. But it is my prediction that these actions will enshrined into law by Congress soon anyhow.

    1. Because social security doesn’t really need funding after all? Have you suddenly been converted to the MMT magic money tree?

      1. I said “say”, not “do”.

  4. Notice the lack of condemnation by conservatives here. Is there any action that Trump can take that would cause his so-called conservative supporters to put principle over policy? Is there any action Trump would take that would result in abandonment on principle by so-called conservatives, including the author of this post?

    Anybody want to speculate on the fury from the right if Obama had done this? Nobody, didn’t think so.

    We now know the answer to those questions. Pure bllind following the Trumper, intellectual integrity be damned.

    1. I don’t see this as a problem for Biden and Congress can legislate appropriately when the Senate is prepared to do so. I’m happy for those who need support given the lack of action on the virus.

    2. Replace Trump with Obama and you get the same result. Ask someone for a stepladder to help you get off your horse.

    3. It’s because its the rule set by Roberts and the Dems (but I repeat myself).

      Nominally we oppose it. But that is not the would we live in any more.

      If Obama can do DACA, Trump can do Payroll Hold.

  5. This would be the same Donald Trump who spent most of 2016 complaining about Obama’s use of executive orders?

    1. “Oh no, the Republicans are weaponizing our tactics against us!”, shocking entry #413

      1. The point isn’t that he’s using the tactic; the point is the hypocrisy of him using it after he made it a campaign issue. If you’re going to complain about it, then don’t do it yourself

        1. The right has tried that. It gets us nowhere.

          It’s now time to use their rules. If they don’t like it, we are willing to change them. But that’s on them, not us.

          1. So just to be clear, if Biden is elected, you’ll be ok with him governing by executive decree? Because Trump ratified that method of governance by using it himself.

            1. You think Biden will be asking random blog commenters?

              I think Biden would actually do fewer Executive Orders after the first couple weeks. Why bother when he doesn’t really care?

              The real worry will be the VP. None of the VP candidates have a record of supporting American values. Communist, careerist jailor, vengeance-minded schoolmarm, and lying anti-American conspirator are the four front runners.

              1. You, uh, didn’t answer the question.

    2. Yes, same Donald Trump.

      Let’s make my viewpoint clear here for you. These types of executive actions which make vast changes like DACA are very undesirable. These large changes to the legal code should be made through the standard lawmaking process (IE, through Congress). It undercuts the stability of the republic as a whole when large changes to the legal code are made by executive action alone. DACA should not have been allowed by the courts, and should have been struck down as an executive action which infringed upon the prerogative of the legislative branch.

      Further compounding that, are changes to the legal code by executive action that cannot be summarily reversed by future executive action. This is a massive mistake, that further undercuts the constitutional backbone of our society, and has all sorts of unpleasant games.

      Once these “rules” were set however, where a President could issue an executive order (that should be a law), one that couldn’t be summarily overturned by a successor, it is now extremely unreasonable to expect “only” one party to use the new rules and not the other party. The new “rules” are too advantageous, to powerful, and too easy to use to gain political advantage. If one party DIDN’T use these new rules, while the other did, the party would essentially be committing suicide.

      The answer here is for a bipartisan force in Congress to strike down these new “rules”, and retake Congressional power for itself, from the executive branch. And there’s no way a bipartisan force would be formed if only one party was gaining advantage from the new “rules”.

      1. I should live so long as to see Congressional Republicans unite with Democrats to stand against Donald Trump. If he crapped on his desk in front of TV cameras, Mitch McConnell and Lindsay Graham couldn’t wait to tell the nearest TV camera what a great job it was. I bet they’d even wipe his bum.

        1. It’s not about “Donald Trump”

          It’s about the executive branch, and it’s overreach in EOs.

          Any such deal would likey have to revoke DACA in its entirely as an example of such EO overreach, as well as Trump’s orders. That would garner bipartisan consensus.

          An action which JUST targeted Trump’s executive orders wouldn’t garner bipartisan consensus.

          1. Oh, Republicans will be more than happy to rein in executive overreach once there’s a Democrat in the White House, but not one minute before. As are Democrats now that there’s a Republican in the White House. I don’t think you’ll find either side willing to do it when their guy is wielding the pen. So maybe both sides should just stop complaining.

            Though I do think Democrats were more willing to say no to Obama than Republicans are to Trump. He had a devil of a time getting Obamacare passed even with big majorities in each house.

            1. So, you think the Democrats would be onboard with revoking DACA completely to also revoke these EOs by Trump?

              1. DACA had a gnat’s-breadth compared to these EO’s.

                1. If DACA’s a “gnat’s breadth” then it should be easy for Democrats to be on board with such an action. They get four “big” EOs revoked for one “gnat’s breadth” EO.

                  But DACA and the legalistic battles around it are the reason why such a strategy exists.

                  1. My principles are not transnational.

                    It is not the right thing to do to to trade the well-being of a bunch of kids to stop Trump’s rampage of authoritarianism.

                    I also don’t think DACA’s breadth was illegal overreach. I think Trump’s EO’s are. I think it’s bad and wrong for you to insist I kowtow to your hostility to Obama and illegals in order to get you to agree that Trump’s doing bad stuff here, and should be stopped.

                    1. Uh huh…..

                      “It’s OK for Democrats to do it, but Trump bad”.

                      Typical.

                    2. Yeah – Obama cares about legal niceties and doing stuff by the book because he believes in our system.

                      Trump does not.

                      I get that you don’t like DACA, but using Trump’s actions – which you admit are bad – as a lever to end that policy shows how little you actually care about stopping things you know are bad if your side is doing them.

                    3. You’ve got the cast iron gall to say that of Mr. “Stroke of the pen, law of the land”? Of course you do.

                    4. Brett, using your interpretation of a thing Obama said to defend things Trump is doing? That’s not going to convince anyone.

                    5. “Obama cares about legal niceties and doing stuff by the book because he believes in our system.”

                      LOL do you actually believe that? Despite the evidence of DACA which is completely the opposite?

                      What cognitive dissonance you have.

                    6. Yeah, I think DACA was legal. And I’m not sure about these Trump orders.

                      Trying to analogize different orders about different areas of the law is bad analysis.

              2. I think Dems would be on board with revoking Obama’s executive order on DACA so long as Congress passes DACA and the EO is therefore unnecessary. Remember, DACA had broad bipartisan support in Congress, which is why the leadership refused to allow a vote. McConnell wasn’t willing to give Obama a legislative victory in an election year.

                1. No. No “deals” like this. No “I’m OK with it, as long as I get everything I want anyway and you don’t get anything”. It doesn’t work.

                  See, that’s the problem. The “I get everything I want and you don’t get anything you want” mentality. That’s why we’re in this mess in the first place.

                  DACA would need to be passed later, likely as part of a large immigration deal, ala 2007.

              3. Dems could work out a compromise immigration bill that completely protects and legalizes DACA recipients any time they want.

                They don’t want to. They want the political issue and they want to stick it to Americans. They think they can import replacement voters and be permanently in power with zero accountability.

                1. They can? I must have missed Mitch McConnell stepping down.

        2. The Democrats had a chance to unite with the associates across the aisle against Obama’s executive overreaches. I didn’t hold my breath waiting for that.

          1. Indeed.

            But the reason for that was that Democrats saw themselves getting something they wanted (DACA) without having to make any compromises or deals with the GOP for something the GOP wanted, in order to get the law passed (Which is how legislation is supposed to work). In addition, none of their members needed to make “hard votes”. Which worked great in the short term.

            In the long term, like abolishing the fillibuster, it had severe consequences.

            1. Tu quoque is all well and good if you are trying to prove Dems are hypocrites.

              But what’s good or bad policy isn’t something set by precedent. You say these are undesirable – do you think Trump is a bad President for doing an undesirable thing like these orders?

              1. I mentioned this in the original response to Krychek.

                1. Yeah, that’s why I used the word undesirable – it comes from that post!

                  But you didn’t really discuss Trump at all.

                  1. We’ve been through this dance before. I made my views clear in that post.

                    1. You did not make your views clear when it comes to Trump.

                      But you want to avoid the question.

                      Which is all the answer I need.

                    2. You made your views clear when it comes to Obama:

                      It’s okay for Obama to do it, but not Trump, because Orange Man Bad.

                    3. Obama broke the law regarding his action in Syria. He broke it in targeting an American citizen to be droned. He broke an important norm by refusing to defend DOMA.

                      I’m not the partisan strawman you and AL appear to be.

        3. Were you not alive during the first two years of his presidency?

      2. “The answer here is for a bipartisan force in Congress to strike down these new “rules”, and retake Congressional power for itself, from the executive branch. And there’s no way a bipartisan force would be formed if only one party was gaining advantage from the new “rules”.”

        I wrote nearly the same thing elsewhere this morning. Obama opened the floodgates for this sort of thing, Trump is merely taking advantage of the opening. Given that the House won’t allow any sort of legislative GOP ‘win’ during election season, Trump’s offering relief. I’m not naive enough to think that he’s doing this entirely out of the kindness of his heart either…..This is clearly a ploy for votes.

        But from a policy standpoint, given the fact that we’re going to continue to hobble the economy for the foreseeable future, it’s the right set of solutions. At the same time, it’s the wrong way to implement them, and I’m extremely uncomfortable with the way that Separation of Powers is being dismantled in the name of partisan politics.

        But given the DACA precedent, Trump would have been foolish not to take action.

      3. Really get summarization.

        The Dems have no problem following these rules. We shouldn’t either.

  6. Will most recipients of unemployment benefits be satisfied with $300, when they were getting $600 (especially when the opposing party was insisting upon continuing the $600 benefit)?

    The popularity of the unemployment benefits will depend upon how many recipients can get by on $300, when they have the fresh memory of what it was like to get by on $600. And they’ll know exactly which lone individual cut it by 50%. Maybe some will be thrilled with $300, together with the knowledge that they are saving “the government” a lot of money by not getting $600 anymore.

    And the chances of any red states bumping the $300 to $400 are pretty low. So, it is a definite 50% cut in trumplandia.

    If Trump really wanted to be diabolical, as the blackman kid so credits him, he would have kept the benefit at the same level. Then the democrats would have nothing (at least about unemployment benefits). But he cut it by half, when he had the discretion to do any amount. So he owns all of the cut.

    1. The big problem with $600 benefits was that, including the state benefits, many people were making more on unemployment than they were working.

      And that was making it very difficult to get people to go back to work.

      1. that was making it very difficult to get people to go back to work.

        This sounds good, but it really isn’t supported by the data, anecdotes notwithstanding. It’s cartoon economics.

        We have way more unemployed than job openings, and you are presuming that people are idiots who can’t understand that taking a job now, even if the pay is less than $600, will have considerable benefits in the not too distant future.

          1. 1) That’s a libertarian link.
            2) That’s not data; it’s an anecdote from an NPR story.
            3) There does not appear to be a labor shortage at the moment, so you’re fixing a problem that isn’t there.

            1. 1) Ad hominem.
              2) Plenty of linked studies in the review.
              3) You failed to show that there doesn’t appear to be a labor shortage. Show your work.

          2. the extra $600 made it enormously easy for management to cut costs and furlough basically everyone who 1) made less than $50,000 per year, and 2) was not directly part of the revenue production for our medical center.
            Short term gain for management bean counters, but short sighted too. Returning to scheduled patient care, rather than dealing with covid patients so much, has proven to be difficult when the people who schedule surgery, obtain insurance precertifications, run clinics, staff those facilities, and arrange pre-surgical covid testing, have not been around. So when we were ramping up staffing again to address a backlog of patient care, we discovered that the bottleneck was getting surgery and clinic ready patients back into the queue.
            Now calling people back to work has proven difficulty as much it seems for the lack of child care as for the comfortable leisure of pay without the hassle of work.

            1. Yep

        1. Also this.

          https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/09/it-pays-to-stay-unemployed-that-might-be-a-good-thing.html

          The truth here is, for some jobs, jobs that are needed (IE delivery drivers, warehouse workers, grocery store clerks, etc), it makes sense to stay home. They literally make far more from unemployment. $50,000 to $60,000 a year, or more. Which they don’t have to pay FICA on, that acts as another $4,000 to $5,000.

          I continually see signs in grocery stores asking for employees. Because grocery stores can’t afford to hire clerks at the rates they would need to, in order to compensate for their UE benefits. It’s more than $25 an hour….

          1. FFS read the title in the link you just posted!

            1. If all you can do is read the title, and not the entire article and the implications of it 4 months later when we’re trying to get people back to work, well…

  7. Zero analysis of the question of legality here, or even the question of the wisdom of using EOs to do all of the things.

    Mostly just talking about how this is another Trump masterstroke.

    Oy.

    1. Agreed.

      And what about a federal EO requiring states to pay a $100 per week unemployment insurance benefit? Of course when it is something that Dems come up with like requiring Medicaid expansion with the Feds initially paying for all of it the courts and the Republicans say hell no, no authority.

      The legal morass here is massive, exceded only by the hypocrisy.

    2. And of course another opportunity to complain about C.J. Roberts (why can’t he be more like that dreamy Kavanaugh!?).

      Given that the EO for the unemployment benefits mandates that states fund 25% of the cost in order to receive the 75% federal grant, it seems uncertain whether every state will be in a position to use the offered funds. There is a provision specifying that a pool of money in a relief fund can be used by states to cover their costs, but once that runs out they are on their own.

      I’ll be looking to see how the various governors respond over the week once their staff has read the actual language of the EOs. I’ll of course continue to come back here for the partisan commentary and hodge-podge of predictions.

    3. When the blackman kid’s boy (trump) does this sort of stuff, the blackman kid’s analysis is like an episode of sportscenter; “Trump’s strategy is diabolical”.

      He brushes off the legal questions to law professors when it comes to his boy, but jumps right to them when the socialist party is in power.

      So, don’t expect any legal analysis from the blackman kid unless his boy loses the election. He’ll be too busy admiring the diabolical strategy. Like trump himself not only read or understood any of this stuff, but like he actually came up with it.

  8. Trump took specific actions that will be very popular. Sure, law professors can fight over the separation of powers issues. But the people who benefit from these policies will gladly, or perhaps begrudgingly, accept the money. The optics for legal challenges are bad.

    This assumes that the states actually pay out the amounts that the executive order would require. But this seems a very large assumption to me, given the massive legal uncertainty about the legality of the EO. Why would the states take the risk of paying out money they wouldn’t be able to recover from anyone should the EO be ruled illegal? And is staying a hypothetical injunction only Roberts’ call? Isn’t normal practice to let the entire Court decide? And how would that go?

    I think all this creates is a massive cluster*ck. Which would be typical of this Administration, of course.

    1. Roberts has shown he will defer to the executive branch as long as Trump is in office. No question he will do so in this case.

      Question: Who even has standing to challenge this?
      Second Question: Who even has the political courage to challenge this?

      Inquiring minds want to know!

  9. I can’t wait to see what the Republican senators who opposed even McConnell’s bill on the grounds of cost will say about this.

    My bet: they will stand and cheer. Assholes.

    1. Amount of sympathy shown toward suffering Americans: zero.

      1. Nice reasoning Ben. Mind if I use it to rationalize implementing socialism via EO?

        1. If you want. It’s easy to express sympathy and say I/we oppose some totalitarian socialist seizure of health care or whatever other industry you covet.

          People who are completely without sympathy and are only interested in leveraging people’s lives and suffering as a political tool probably won’t be expressing any sympathy.

          1. Ah. So your reasoning that allows one to rationalize anything should only be used for the good policies, and not the bad ones.

            Or maybe its crap reasoning.

            1. You’re reading a lot into my observation of zero sympathy expressed toward suffering.

              It’s not hard to at least pretend to care about Americans.

              1. You made an argument that proves way too much.

                And now you’re backpedaling but have fallen into it being just an insult against bernard.

                Uh, way to go?

                1. How is observing something an insult?

                  If you don’t want people noticing a lack of humanity, it’s always an option to show some humanity. Life isn’t about petty political finger-pointing.

                  1. You said bernard11 doesn’t care about Americans suffering, because he opposes this action.

                    I noted that preventing American suffering can be used to rationalize a whole bunch of things.

                    You countered that you weren’t defending Trump’s policies, just calling bernard11 basically a sociopath.

                    Name-calling is the best case scenario for you.

                  2. I said no such thing about bernard11. I merely observed no sympathy or humanity in one comment. His comment was all name-calling and negativity. It’s sad to see so such petty political score-settling.

                    You need to stop imagining things and making up stories. The inability to tell reality from your imagination may be a sign of poor mental health.

                    1. Continuing to backpedal. Impressive.

                    2. Continuing to repeat the same thing in the face of increasingly dumb, dishonest fantasizing. The words are all right there.

  10. So ten years of hating on Obamacare was just hating on Obama. All that broccoli tyranny rhetoric was just political.

    1. Because a few months of relief payments during a crisis is exactly like permanently forcing every American into an unwanted healthcare arrangement.

      Because offering a lifeline to some people for 4 months is the same thing as threatening people and taxing people and coercing them to buy very expensive high deductible insurance they’d be better off without.

      1. The GOP screwed this up. Don’t pretend this is Trump the hero; this is Trump screwing up separation of powers because the Senate does not care enough about suffering Americans to pass a bill.

        This is a mess, and it’s all on the GOP coming and going.

        1. Keep beating that drum and pointing that finger

        2. So in short, cowardly congress lies supine as usual, more afraid of making a mistake than of hurting by inaction, and lets a president take the risks, even if of questionable legality?

          Sounds like just another year in the US.

          1. It’s not cowardice. Everything Pelosi does is a grift, either to get money for the Dem power structure or to fix the rules in her favor. The representatives of the rest of America try to prevent it as best they can.

            1. You are going to have a lot of trouble pinning this one on the Dems.

              I do like your declaring everything the other side does is automatically in bad faith. Always the sign of a healthy mind.

              1. Why do victims of fraud blame the people who defraud them? Must be mental health problems. Why did America blame Japan for attacking a Pearl Harbor? Mental health problems again.

                Do you have an alternate explanation for how ballot rules are related to economic suffering from Covid (over)reaction? The most obvious explanation is an attempt to alter the rules to favor her side. What is the explanation where it somehow helps Americans experiencing economic dislocation?

      2. an unwanted healthcare arrangement

        Yes, isn’t having health insurance horrible? O, how cruel of Pelosi and Obama to insist that people should have it!

        1. Not worth what some people were forced to pay — when before Obamacare they had much less burdensome options.

          But you’d have to actually sympathize with people to understand that. I imagine it doesn’t make sense when you view people’s lives as a living canvas to use to paint a form of twisted ideological self-portrait.

  11. Pelosi tried to hold the suffering people of the US hostage and Trump broke them out. Now she’s going to have to make a deal.

    1. Pelosi passed a relief bill, Ben.

      This is on McConnell.

      1. Pelosi declined to negotiate anything that could pass and become law. Hostage takers lost.

        1. What Trump is doing was in the Pelosi bill.

          McConnell didn’t even pass a competing bill.
          He couldn’t control his crazy caucus.

          Another way you can tell there was no hostage taking, and that this was the Senate playing themselves – the Dems said they could come down from 600.

          1. Steny Hoyer: “”Look, it’s not $600 or bust. … (House Speaker Nancy) Pelosi said the other day, which I thought was a great line: ‘We don’t have red lines, we have values.’ We’re going into these negotiations with values,”

            1. Posturing blindly accepted as fact.

              1. If Pelosi wasn’t willing to cut a deal, this would be some pretty boneheaded messaging.

  12. Regents is potentially a monster. Regents permits a President to give people benefits completely unauthorized by any legislation, and then ties the hands of subsequent administrations who try to undo it.

    Under Regents’ most extreme reach, a President can simply give his personal friends and family government money, property, tax breaks, whatever in the complete absence of either authorizing legislation or regulatory action, or unilaterally simply give himself and his friends a million or a billion or a trillion dollars whenever he feels like it, and undoing it will require at a minimum complex and time-consuming rule-making and years of litigation tied up in courts.

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