American Elephants

Eighty Thousand Pages of Over-Regulation In 2013! by The Elephant's Child


Senator Mike Lee ( R-UT) tweeted a picture of the 2013 Federal Register: 80,000 pages of new regulations.  That translates into nearly 158 million new paperwork hours for Americans and American business, time that could have been used productively instead of complying with bureaucratic busywork. Nearly $500 billion in new costs forced on businesses. Yet President Obama and the Democrats insist that over-regulation is not a problem.

In 1979, Senator Eugene McCarthy (D-MI) observed, “The only thing that saves us from bureaucracy is inefficiency. An efficient bureaucracy is the greatest threat to liberty.” That was when the Code of Federal Regulations contained about 30,000 rules. Today, the federal government has more than 180,000 rules. Yet when there are not many new jobs, when businesses don’t seem to be hiring much and when the economy still is not growing, it’s always “unexpectedly.”

Call it “Soft Tyranny.” Are Americans so increasingly unruly that we need so much more regulation?

Today, more than Tocqueville could have imagined, soft tyranny takes the form of a federal government that directs almost a quarter of the economy through its spending with 137,000 well-trained and highly educated regulators writing tens of thousands of pages of rules every year funded by a complex tax system that takes 14,000 pages to administer.

This regime of “small complicated rules” has been made possible by information technology. An efficient bureaucracy has arrived.

Since 1960 American productivity has increased 208%, meaning that each worker produces $3.08 in real goods and services today for every $1 produced then. Productivity has not bypassed the bureaucracy.

We don’t think much about regulation until we come directly up against it. Think lightbulb ban, ObamaCare, higher cost of energy, plastic grocery bag ban, without even venturing on the possibility of adding a room to your house, a bridge over a stream or — starting a small business. Bureaucrats prove their worth by churning out regulations. Congress is obsessed with the “do something disease.”

The 10 states with the least regulation, led by Texas and South Dakota generated an average of 22.4% growth in real private GDP from 2002 to 2012. The 10 states mired in the most soft tyranny, led by New  York and California, averaged only 13.7% growth in the same 10 years.

Congress must take back the enormous grants of power that they have allotted for convenience to the unelected professionals of the administrative state. They neeed to take direct responsibility for the regulation they impose on us, and all too often avoid applying it to themselves.


Executive Discretion? Altering and Illuminating Federal Law? by The Elephant's Child

The Progressive assault on the United States Constitution of limited government and divided powers, has succeeded in their creation of the administrative state. In the administrative state, Congressional law-making powers are handed off to executive branch agencies and departments who exercise judicial and legislative powers. This has been going on gradually for some time, as it is easier for Congress to draw the broad outlines of a new law, and rely on bureaucrats to finalize and regulate and dictate and control. That’s how we get these monstrous 20,000 page bills that “we have to pass it so we can find out what is in it.

That’s bad enough, but the President of the United States has accelerated the process and aggravated the phenomenon, by assuming royal or dictatorial powers. Powerline quoted Professor Jean Yarbrough:

We need an updated online primer in American government and political thought. We all learn about the separation of powers and federalism, but don’t understand that these restraints do not operate in the administrative universe. Indeed, the administrative state was designed to overcome these obstacles. Our mission should be to educate Americans on the real effects of this turn toward administrative regulations and rules.

Professor Yarbrough sees the arrival “not [of] soft despotism, but hidden and rather hard despotism for those who fall into the maw of the administrative state.”

We all have a bit of a temptation for totalitarianism— the urge to tell other people what to do, and what they cannot do, which gradually becomes how they must do things and what fines and penalties there will be, and that soon leaves the area of what the people want and becomes what the bureaucrats want, and gets into nitpicky things like telling  you what you should eat, and what kind of light bulbs you may buy, and how they want your appliances improved — there is no end to the improvements.

The foundational idea among progressives is that although people are imperfect and do the wrong things, they can be fixed and improved and forced to do the right things and society will “progress.” Doesn’t work. But progressives are quite sure that this time will be different.

Obama, as a senator, was outraged by President Bush’s executive orders. When he was inaugurated, the first thing he wanted to do was to end every single one of Bush’s executive orders. High on the list was the ban on embryonic stem cell treatment—which proved that the stupid Republicans were “anti-science,” except that Bush was right and embryonic stem cell treatment has gone nowhere. However, that seems to be where all the executive ordering started, and he thought it was fun and has continued even unto today.

Obama has decided that the hundreds of thousands of people whose health policies are being canceled because their coverage does not meet the ObamaCare rules will be exempt next year from the U.S. mandate that all Americans carry medical insurance. People who are losing their coverage will now be allowed to buy bare-bones “catastrophic” insurance that the law usually limits to those under age 30, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said yesterday. Others can opt out completely without the threat of the fines being imposed next year om the uninsured as part of the ‘Affordable Care Act.’

The Presidential Oath says that he will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of his ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. And over in section 3, it says “he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Raises some questions about a degree from Harvard Law School. Of course he was also a part-time lecturer in Civil Rights Law at the University of Chicago, which many elevated into a professorship in Constitutional Law, though that was inaccurate. Some said he mostly taught Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, which may be where he found all the executive orders and “the hidden and rather hard despotism.”

He said Nov. 14 that states could allow plans to extend current policies for a year, but 22 states have said they won’t allow insurers to extend expiring plans.  The insurers have been told to provide more leniency to people by allowing them to pay for plans later in January. And insurers were asked to cover care for any doctor or hospital in January and to cover prescription refills regardless of any network restrictions.

So laws are just made any old way and you can keep amending and revising them until — after the next election. Isn’t that the way it works now?

From George Will:

“To contend that the obligation imposed on the president to see the laws faithfully executed implies a power to forbid their execution is a novel construction of the Constitution, and is entirely inadmissible.”       —U.S. Supreme Court, 1838

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