JFK executive order helped lead to weaponizing IRS, federal agencies

JFK signing EO 10988

JFK signed Executive Order 10988 empowering federal employees to unionize. (Photo: Federal Labor Relations Authority)

How did the federal bureaucracy become so powerful an agency can penalize tax you if you choose not to buy or can’t afford to buy a health insurance policy?

It started with JFK, but to be honest, presidents from both parties took actions that led to overreach. 

President John F. Kennedy’s Executive Order 10988 bestowed federal employees the right to engage in collective bargaining. JFK’s EO was pure payback to unions seeking to expand their membership rosters. Taxpayer representation was left out in the cold.

Presidents from both parties expanded bargaining rights even more, ultimately permitting the remarkable practice of paying some union workers who held fulltime offices in labor groups to keep their federal jobs at the same time.

Presidents Richard Nixon, Lyndon B. Johnson, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter all took actions that expanded powers for bureaucrats. According to Carter’s EO, broadening federal union power safeguarded the public interest.

A new story at The Washington Times disclosed employees in the Dallas IRS office openly advocated for the Democrat Party, badmouthing Republicans.

Only one president since JFK attempted to slow down the bureaucratic power trip—George W. Bush.

Post-Bush, President Barack Obama reversed course. His EO 13522 declared:

Federal employees and their union representatives are an essential source of front-line ideas and information about the realities of delivering Government services to the American people. A nonadversarial forum for managers, employees, and employees’ union representatives to discuss Government operations will promote satisfactory labor relations and improve the productivity and effectiveness of the Federal Government.”

Note the absence of a representative for the taxpayer in Obama’s forum. Federal unions negotiate in a unilateral universe—there is no good faith taxpayer advocate.

At present the left holds the lion’s share of power over a bureaucracy whose actions have led to skyrocketing utility bills, increased food costs, increased costs for health insurance for those who work and aren’t poor enough to receive subsidies, and increased transportation costs.

Taxes continue to take a major bite out of every worker’s paycheck. As Zero Hedge noted, “Taxes as a percentage of real disposable income have more than doubled since 1980. This trend has not been kind to the bottom 90%.”

We now  have more than 3 million federal civilian workers whose salaries, benefits, and perks are paid for by the taxpayer who has no voice in negotiations.

Now Americans have seen IRS target people because of their politics, and officials brazenly refusing to tell us the truth about it.

We witness the Environmental Protection Agency hammering a homeowner who simply wanted to build a pond in his yard (he had the requisite state permits).

We watched as federal wildlife officials stormtrooped into Gibson Guitars.

We have created a dangerous complex, the very complex President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned about in his often misconstrued famous farewell address. Eisenhower, by the way, didn’t just warn about the iconic “military-industrial complex.”

Eisenhower was a visionary. The lesser known parts of his famous address are as vital as the phrase often uttered by anti-defense leftists [underscore added]:

“Crises there will continue to be. In meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great or small, there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties. A huge increase in newer elements of our defense; development of unrealistic programs to cure every ill in agriculture; a dramatic expansion in basic and applied research—these and many other possibilities, each possibly promising in itself, may be suggested as the only way to the road we wish to travel.

But each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: The need to maintain balance in and among national programs—balance between the private and the public economy, balance between cost and hoped for advantage—balance between the clearly necessary and the comfortably desirable; balance between our essential requirements as a nation and the duties imposed by the nation upon the individual; balance between actions of the moment and the national welfare of the future. Good judgment seeks balance and progress; lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration.”

Could there be a sharper contrast between this Republican president’s advice and the actions we see our government officials and leaders take daily? Is there a sharp contrast between Republicans of today and the ideology of Eisenhower?

Is there a leader brave enough to take this on and restore balance to a government bureaucracy whose employees have transformed taxpayer property into a de facto arm of the Democrat Party?

(Commentary by Kay B. Day/April 9, 2014)

About Kay Day

Kay B. Day is a freelance writer who has published in national and international magazines and websites. The author of 3 books, her work is anthologized in textbooks and collections. She has won awards for poetry, nonfiction and fiction. Day is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Authors Guild.
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