Career Bureaucrats Are Far Worse Than Our Elected Politicians

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?

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28 thoughts on “Career Bureaucrats Are Far Worse Than Our Elected Politicians

  1. I agree. Another significant factor is that although the Tenth Amendment attempts to preserve many elements of the rights of States, the Congress is all too often anxious to bribe them with Federal funds to relinquish those rights to the Federal bureaucracy. Unfortunately, many States need, think they need or want the money and comply. Then, the Federal bureaucracy takes charge of matters otherwise properly left to the States. It is quite common. ObamaCare is a recent example.

    Perhaps neither the President, the Congress, the Courts nor even the bureaucracy are in charge. It’s a big Government, getting bigger. Have you read Douglas Adams’ Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy five volume “trilogy?” One of the principal characters, Zaphod Beeblebrox from the fifth planet of Betelgeuse, is the President of the Galactic Confederation. He wanted the position principally so that he could steal the Heart of Gold spaceship under construction (which he did). However, he was not in charge of much of anything and did not know who was. We eventually learn that a few otherwise insignificant men on a small planet arranged for him to get the job after removing all knowledge of them from his brains (he had two heads) and implanting suitable thoughts so that he would obey their will without realizing that he was doing so. Perhaps there is a useful metaphor there. I don’t know.

  2. Thanks for the stats. I had no idea how bad it had gotten. Tomorrow I am going to post how Obama is setting up that the thousands of new IRS employees will be from la raza.

  3. A bureaucracy feeds on itself and plunders the “serfs” (those not bureaucrats). It is fewer than 100 years since the great federal bureaucracy gained traction under the FDR administration. And look what that damn bureaucracy is now! Tyranny in group form!

    I like your simile, Jim: like a locomotive without an off switch. It’s all about tapping into the human flaw of the quest for power.

    We live in times of despair — at least, it’s despair for the lovers of individual freedoms.

    Pardon the link whoring, but please see my post today at THE ASTUTE BLOGGERS. Danger, danger, danger! If the Democraps win the House and keep the Senate in 2014, we are done for as a free nation!

  4. At this point all we can do is to try to contain them but I don’t think that is possible at this point either, and furthermore I don’t think the Republicans want to take this on either.

  5. Looking at the monstrosity that is our government, I would tend to agree. There may very well be nothing we can to except slow the decay.

  6. Reblogged this on Gonna' Say It and commented:
    I rarely re-publish someone else’s articles, but in this case I felt it worthwhile.
    This article is a worthwhile read by an American citizen now living in Venezuela. The link to his blog is in my blog-roll, and is well worth adding to your list of favorites.

  7. My stomach acid increased a good bit while reading this blog. I haven’t read Turley or Will, yet, but expect that the acid level will only increase. Thanks for doing a good job.

    After reading about all this re-blogging, I did the same. Wow, if you could get everybody re-blogging your stuff, all us other lazy bloggers can just sit back and let you do all the work and become famous. Do I have to pay you for your stuff?

    Thanks for the good article.

  8. I hate to sound too simplistic and naive, but this leviathan can be dismantled and The House can do it by turning off the tap. I imagine it can’t be done in an instant, but it can happen. I’m not holding my breath that it will…..and there lies my utter frustration, Jim. I don’t understand why we can’t find a number — 300 or whatever the majority of the House would be, to do it. You can’t tell me there are not 300 people in this country who would not be able to do it. It took the progressives 100 yrs. to build this giant straight jacket. It might take twenty-five years to undo it, but I am not willing to believe that it can’t be done. It is a matter of will. Back to the asylum….

    Also, if the crimes we are witnessing in DC today don’t shake the rafters and rip the criminal element down to some degree, then we might as well give up.

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