On the 15th of May, I wrote a post titled The Bureaucratic Swamp That Is D.C. (District of Corruption). It that post, I quoted from an article in the Washington Post by George Will who, in turn, used this quote from Christopher DeMuth (a Fellow of the Hudson Institute) at George Mason University:
Government power is increasingly concentrated in Washington, Washington power is increasingly concentrated in the executive branch, and executive-branch power is increasingly concentrated in agencies that are unconstrained by legislative control. Debt and regulation are, DeMuth discerns, “political kin”: Both are legitimate government functions, but both are now perverted to evade democratic accountability, which is a nuisance, and transparent taxation, which is politically dangerous.
My good friend and favorite satirist, Manhattan Infidel, left a comment saying: “it’s now the government of the bureaucrats, by the bureaucrats, for the bureaucrats“. I agree with him and I think both George Will and Christopher DeMuth do, as well. Now it appears the Johnathan Turley, the Shapiro professor of public interest law at George Washington University, also agrees. Professor Turley wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Post the other day, in which he reflects on what he calls the fourth branch of government.
The good professor starts out his article by voicing the same frustration we all felt last week listening to senior government officials up to the President explaining how they knew nothing of what was going o in the government they are supposed to be managing for the general welfare of all Americans. His comment was:
Clearly, there was a degree of willful blindness in these claims. However, the suggestion that someone, even the president, is in control of today’s government may be an illusion.
He goes on to say:
The growing dominance of the federal government over the states has obscured more fundamental changes within the federal government itself: It is not just bigger, it is dangerously off kilter. Our carefully constructed system of checks and balances is being negated by the rise of a fourth branch, an administrative state of sprawling departments and agencies that govern with increasing autonomy and decreasing transparency. _ (Emphasis added)
Professor Turley cites that in 1790 the federal government had just 1000 non-military employees. Today it has 2,840,000 federal workers in 15 departments, 69 agencies and 383 non=military sub-agencies. Now please look at this excerpt:
This rulemaking comes with little accountability. It’s often impossible to know, absent a major scandal, whom to blame for rules that are abusive or nonsensical. Of course, agencies owe their creation and underlying legal authority to Congress, and Congress holds the purse strings. But Capitol Hill’s relatively small staff is incapable of exerting oversight on more than a small percentage of agency actions. And the threat of cutting funds is a blunt instrument to control a massive administrative state — like running a locomotive with an on/off switch.
The autonomy was magnified when the Supreme Court ruled in 1984 that agencies are entitled to heavy deference in their interpretations of laws. The court went even further this past week, ruling that agencies should get the same heavy deference in determining their own jurisdictions — a power that was previously believed to rest with Congress. In his dissent in Arlington v. FCC, Chief Justice John Roberts warned: “It would be a bit much to describe the result as ‘the very definition of tyranny,’ but the danger posed by the growing power of the administrative state cannot be dismissed.”
I’d say it is more like a locomotive without an off switch. I highly recommend that you read the rest of what Professor Turley has to say on the subject. This why, dear friends, I said in my earlier post that you can’t fix a rotten egg. This why I do not believe our government can be fixed. When people talk about the Leviathan, it is not a euphemism. We could fill all three branches of government with right-wing conservatives and they could not kill this monster. They would need to fire the whole lot of bureaucrats and roll-back years worth of regulations and you know that is not going to happen. It would take a right-wing dictator to fix what is wrong in Washington and you know that isn’t going to happen either. The best we can do, in my opinion, is elect the most conservative people we can and slow the rotting process down.
Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?