The Bush and Obama Administrations shredded the U.S. Constitution. They have the worst record in history. Granted, there were some pretty bad presidents. Presidents Woodrow Wilson, F.D.R., and Jimmy Carter make my list. But Bush and Obama are getting there. Obama’s three year record alone qualifies him for this title.

Let’s look at President George W. Bush. A man who ran on a humble foreign policy and who entered office with a $236 billion surplus, Bush left government in terrible shape. He left a $454.8 billion federal budget deficit. He also increased the U.S. debt from $5,943,438,563,436 to $10,699,804,864,612 or roughly an 89 percent change in debt. His fiscal irresponsibility occurred because of his unconstitutional policies.

Bush approved several fiscally irrational ideas. Bush accepted the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 which had a cost estimate of $1.2 trillion. This law expanded Medicare which is perceived by fiscal conservatives as a mortal sin. It expanded the scope of the Commerce Clause which allows Congress “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes.” In no way does the Commerce Clause allow government to syphon more than a trillion dollars to increase healthcare coverage.

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were also fiscally mismanaged and started by unconstitutional means. From 2001 to 2011, the war in Afghanistan totaled to $2.7 trillion while Iraq was $704.6 billion. It’s fair to say that President Bush mishandled most finances for both wars as Commander in Chief. It’s not just the mere price of war but the lack of Congressional Declaration of War. Article I Section 8 demands Congress “to declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water.” The last constitutionally approved war was World War II. Bush acted unconstitutionally as did his predecessors. Bush even violated the War Powers Act of 1973 which requires the President to ask for Congressional authorization of any military conflict after a two month timespan.

In addition, Bush created the biggest U.S. bureaucracy in history. The Department of Homeland Security is gigantic because it encompasses the Border and Transportation Security (BTS), Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR), Science and Technology (S&T), Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection (IAIP), and Management. Many other agencies report to the DHS such as the Coast Guard, U.S. Citizenship Service and Immigration Service, the Secret Service, and the Office of State and Local Coordination.

This federal power grab is far from constitutional. Even though the U.S. was under national security threat, this does not permit government enlargement. It’s not “Necessary and Proper.” Granted, the U.S. Congress is guaranteed “to make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or any Department or Officer thereof.” A homeland security threat is not an excuse for a gargantuan bureaucracy.

The Patriot Act is also hard to swallow for many conservatives. As Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul believes, the U.S. has to “guarantee our intelligence community’s efforts are directed toward legitimate threats and not spying on innocent Americans through unconstitutional power grabs like the Patriot Act.” He opposes the Patriot Act because of unconstitutional provisions that allow wiretapping American citizens without a warrant. As a result, the Patriot Act infringes the Fourth Amendment which protects “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Furthermore, Bush’s education policy was also unconstitutional. The enlargement of the Department of Education with No Child Left Behind violates the Tenth Amendment by taking sovereignty away from state and local municipalities. The Tenth is clear by stating that “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” Bush’s increase of the education budget by 64 percent denied the right of states to manage their education.

Last but not least, President Bush introduced the idea of bailing out bankrupt industries. He signed the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 which provided $700 billion to bail out the financial industry. President Obama is known for bailing out car companies, Bush started the government overreach of the private sector which over extended the powers of the Commerce Clause.

Bush was too careless with the Constitution. He tripled the deficit, doubled the debt, increased the size of government with No Child Left Behind and the Department of Homeland Security, and engaged in unconstitutional wars. Who could do worse than Bush? President Barack Obama. He took Bush’s ideas and pretty much doubled down.

Starting with the automobile bailout, Obama granted $24.9 billion to GM, and Chrysler. The Constitution does not allow government to buy out a failed industry be it cars or financial mortgage lenders. The Commerce Clause was never meant to permit nationalizing industries. Obama went further with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Worth $787 billion, the Act enlarged the scope of the federal government and promised that the unemployment rate would not go above 8 percent. In fact, the CBO estimates that the unemployment rate will remain above 8 percent until 2014. Not only are these policies unconstitutional, but inefficient. Bush was bad, but Obama is Bush gone wild. He approved much more unneeded spending than Bush.

Then came Obamacare. This healthcare reform guaranteed more spending and more shredding of the Constitution. There is an individual mandate provision that forces Americans to buy healthcare or they are fined by the IRS. Like the new decision for mandated contraceptives to faith-based institutions like the Catholic Church, the Obama Administration violates the Commerce Clause and the First Amendment when limiting the religious practice of Catholic institutions. As the First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The government is forcing the Catholic Church to accept contraception, therefore, violating this part of the Constitution.

Obama also tripled down the number of troops in Afghanistan. Bush started the war in Afghanistan, but now it’s Obama’s war to deal with. Yes, troops withdrew from Iraq, but Afghanistan is still a major priority for the military. What makes government think Afghanistan is winnable? It’s not. If the Soviets couldn’t win, then the U.S. can’t. This is not to say that the Soviets were much more powerful than the current U.S. military, but the Soviets had an obvious geographic advantage. This was a war started through unconstitutional means, and the Obama Administration massively deployed more troops to support it. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

What happened to government under the law? There are no laws that keep government in check. Today’s government couldn’t care less about the founding document. James Madison would be disgusted.

The U.S. needs a constitutional administration; one that is prudent and that governs by the law that our founding fathers gave us.

Alex Uzarowicz :: Knox College :: Galesburg, Illinois :: @AUzarowicz