A recent letter writer hypothesized that we are headed for a "Soviet-style government," invoking the old bogeyman of the 1950s. Perhaps a few facts will set the reader's mind at ease.
Begin with our fundamental mechanism of separation of powers. This is a system designed to distribute authority away from the executive branch, and to place checks and balances on all branches. The executive branch enforces the law; it does not make law or interpret law.
This has worked for America for more than 200 years.
The letter writer claims the executive has power to withhold money from individuals and businesses. The reality is that only Congress has the power of appropriations and, in 1974, passed the Budget and Impoundment Control Act after abuses by Richard Nixon. It requires the president to seek approval from Congress when he wishes to impound funds, another check on executive power. Other abuses, such as Bush's diverting funds into the Iraq war, were similarly dealt with by Congress.
"Soviet-style" government is totalitarian, with one party, an economy entirely regulated by the state and Congress only a rubber stamp. If you've been paying attention, you know this president has not had a rubber-stamp Congress, that there are at least two parties, and the economy is far from controlled by the government.
Bringing up the old nemesis of the Soviets is fear-mongering, plain and simple. It is also ill-informed. Our "framework" is solid and democratic. Our Congress is safe.
Sun City Hilton Head