Democrats declare needless emergencies to grab power

An emergency is a dangerous situation requiring action. Someone tell our elected officials — they clearly don’t know the meaning of the term.

Last week, President Joe Biden considered declaring climate change an “emergency.” Pressured by his party’s leftist flank, which can’t enact climate-change legislation and wants a work-around where it doesn’t have to persuade people to accept its ideas, the president ultimately decided to hold off.

But something either is an emergency or isn’t. The president being able to control the timing of that emergency announcement means it isn’t.

Putting aside that there’s no evidence that any climate proposals, even the radical Green New Deal, would have any effect on global climate change, declaring something an emergency when it’s not is simply a naked power grab.

I understand the president’s confusion over what constitutes an emergency. We’ve been living under just this kind of anti-democratic diktat for more than two years.

When COVID hit in early 2020, it was easy to understand why governments declared emergencies across the country. A new virus was spreading, and we had no idea what it was. We allowed our elected officials extra powers to deal with it. That was a mistake.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul speaks during a news conference in New York, Thursday, July 21, 2022.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul has continued to extend her COVID-19 emergency powers.
AP/Seth Wenig

Those elected officials continue to abusively extend their powers. Gov. Kathy Hochul has been extending her “emergency” powers monthly since she declared a state of emergency in November in response to the Omicron variant. (That was after declaring a “statewide disaster emergency due to health-care staffing shortages” in September.)

The governor’s office downplays her extensions by saying they give “the state the flexibility to troubleshoot hospital capacity issues.”

But that’s not all. As Albany’s Times Union reported last week, “The order suspended competitive bidding for certain contracts as well as the normal contract review and approval process conducted by [Comptroller Tom] DiNapoli’s office, which oversees state government spending.”

This is a big deal. The state spends our money recklessly at the best of times — but with this “emergency” in place, it doesn’t have to answer to us or even pretend to give expensive contracts to anyone but friends.

The family of Charlie Tebele, owner of Digital Gadgets LLC, has donated almost $300,000 to Hochul’s gubernatorial campaign. By great coincidence, surely, the state has paid Digital Gadgets $637 million for at-home COVID-19 test kits. No bidding, no problem. It’s an emergency, you see.

When they’re not grifting, Democrats nationally have been blatantly using these emergency powers for their own policy goals. There’s been a pause on student-loan payments since March 2020. It’s set to expire in late August — though creditors shouldn’t start counting their money just yet. The pause has been set to expire six times before.

Why are student loans paused? The COVID emergency, silly. If it doesn’t make sense, that’s because it doesn’t make sense. The Biden administration tells us unemployment is remarkably low, yet the demographic Democrats need to keep happy for their electoral chances get this carve-out to pause their loans. What a convenient emergency!

People visit the White House in Washington, U.S., July 24, 2022.
A June Pew poll found “public trust in government near historic lows.”
REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz

Politicians grabbing power isn’t anything new, but keeping Americans in a heightened state of panic to do it is unwise. The pandemic wreaked a lot of havoc on our country, but the virus was secondary to the terrible political decisions we were forced to endure.

A June Pew poll found “public trust in government near historic lows.” Who’s surprised by that? Continuing the state of emergency for COVID, and potentially adding new ones such as for climate, is not the way to rebuild it.

When he was President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” Democrats have internalized that as “Get all your political proposals through by keeping the emergency going as long as possible.”

Twitter: @Karol

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