Matt Bai has a column in the New York Times linking together ObamaCare's Independent Payment Advisory Board for Medicare, which Obama budget director Peter Orszag called the "single-biggest yielding of power to an independent entity since the creation of the Federal Reserve," and the 18-member debt commission aimed at helping to balance the budget.
Mr. Bai writes, "Taken together, all of these proposals would seem to represent a clear exertion of executive power over the legislative branch from an administration that was supposed to have been more deferential to Congressional prerogatives."
Actually, what these proposals represent, like the Federal Reserve, is not an exertion of executive power but a delegation of it, or, to put it more strongly, an abdication of it. It's buck-passing. Neither Congress nor the White House wants to take the political heat for rationing health care (or cutting doctors' pay), for raising taxes (or cutting entitlements), or for raising interest rates (or destroying the value of the dollar). So they punt and let someone else — an Independent Payment Advisory Board, a debt commission, the Federal Reserve — do it. Never mind that the "someone else" may not be in in the Constitution and may be insulated from the voters or democratic accountability; that's the point, actually.