By Inez Feltscher Stepman • The Federalist
Most Americans are still under the illusion that when they elect a president, he takes control over the executive branch and proceeds to implement his agenda by working with Congress. Sadly, “School House Rock” is out of date.
An enormous amount of policymaking these days goes through the administrative state – the alphabet soup of agencies that have been proliferating like weeds since Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. The outsourcing of legislative and adjudicatory powers to agencies is bad enough, and cannot square with the separation of powers between legislation, judiciary, and executive that is delineated in the Constitution. To make matters worse, these agencies and the employees who staff them are also politically unaccountable to the elected representatives of the people, violating not just the wise guardrails of our Constitution, but also the very idea of self-government.
Today, it is nearly impossible to fire the 2.8 million federal bureaucrats who staff the executive agencies, from which they issue regulations and policy guidance that directly affect the lives of Americans every day. Continue reading
By Terry Jones • Investor’s Business Daily
Cutting Rules: Baseball season is winding down and, as it does, so is another grueling annual event: The U.S. government’s fiscal year. But this year, with just two months to go, something remarkable is happening: Regulations are being slashed at a record rate.
A new report by the American Action Forum (AAF) says that not only is President Trump meeting his deregulation goals, he’s exceeding them — in some cases, by a large amount.
“Collectively, executive agencies subject to regulatory budget remain on pace to double the administration’s overall saving goal,” wrote the AAF’s Dan Bosch. “On an individual basis, 12 of 22 agencies have already met or surpassed their savings target.”
“The Department of Labor enjoys the largest total savings of covered agencies with $417.2 million,” Bosch wrote. “The Department of Health and Human Services comes in second in savings … at Continue reading
By Betsy McCaughey • Real Clear Politics
Rank and file government workers won big over union bosses Wednesday, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of Mark Janus, an Illinois state worker who refused to join the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. The court struck down an Illinois law that allowed the union to deduct fees from Janus’s paycheck despite his refusal to join.
The Janus ruling smashes laws in 22 states — including New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and California — that compel nonmembers to support unions. Until now, if you wanted a government job in these states, you had to pay up. But now firefighters, teachers and other public employees won’t have to fork over a penny to a union if they choose not to join. For the average worker who opts out, it will mean hundreds of dollars more in take-home pay a year.
More in workers’ pockets, less in union coffers. Nationwide, unions are expected to forfeit Continue reading
By Joy Pullmann • The Federalist
In 2015, President Obama told America he only learned that his secretary of state Hillary Clinton was illegally using a private email server to conduct public business after The New York Times published a story saying so. Today’s release of a Department of Justice inspector general report shows that was a lie.
“FBI analysts and Prosecutor 2 told us that former President Barack Obama was one of the 13 individuals with whom Clinton had direct contact using her clintonemail.com account,” the report says in a footnote on page 89. “Obama, like other high level government officials, used a pseudonym for his username on his official government email account.”
The report also says Obama Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey knew that Obama had lied. It was in 2015 that Obama had disclaimed knowledge that Clinton used a private, rather than government, email address. In 2016 Continue reading
One of Barack Obama’s proudest boasts was his claim he’d “saved” the American auto industry during the first year of his presidency. Maybe. He certainly did a lot, some of which might have actually been helpful, to keep the doors open at General Motors and to bridge the sale of Chrysler to Fiat, but it’s not clear he did much to help Ford or any of the foreign manufacturers who build so many vehicles here in the U.S.
What he and his cohort didn’t want to talk about, then or now, is all the policies they advocated that had helped put U.S.-owned manufacturers in the fix they found themselves in. This is particularly true in the environmental arena, where rules governing the corporate average fuel economy standards did so much to compel the production of cars people didn’t want.
Requiring the auto companies to build more cars that got more miles to the gallon may seem like a good idea. In fact, it may Continue reading
By Chuck DeVore • The Federalist
A California lawmaker recently came up with the bright idea that waiters who serve unrequested straws should go to jail for six months because … the environment. Another duo of lawmakers have proposed more than doubling California’s business tax under the theory that employers wouldn’t miss the cash, because the tax increase would only take about half of President Trump’s recent tax cut.
Lawmakers all over the nation introduce weird or controversial legislation. Most of these bills are harmless, as they’d never make it out of the legislature, much less be signed into law by a governor. In California, however, many such legislative proposals are taken seriously and often do get signed into law.
Why is this? Sure, California is a liberal state. But, one key governmental structural factor likely contributes to Golden State lawmakers’ seeming isolation from common sense: California lawmakers often make a career of full-time politics. Continue reading
There appears to be a dark money campaign seeking to influence public comment on the FCC's Restoring Internet Freedom order.
By US News•
Despite the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of the doctrine known as “Net Neutrality,” the fight over control of the internet continues. Chairman Ajit Pai’s courageous leadership has been met with sustained resistance from those who would rather see the world’s most ambitious electronic commercial and communications platform regulated like it were Ma Bell.
Pai has been subjected to continuous abuse. Pickets have been mounted outside his home. The safety of his wife and children have been implicitly threatened. He’s been subjected to a campaign of constant harassment and yet he has persisted because of his firm belief he is in the right. That campaign of harassment is now headed to Capitol Hill, which unsurprisingly has been flooded with letters in anticipation of the FCC’s publication of its order Restoring Internet Freedom which finally appeared Thursday in the Federal Register.
The letters claim the Congressional Review Act would protect net neutrality – generally understood as the principle that internet service providers should not be allowed to block, throttle or censor lawful web traffic on their networks.
For reasons that therefore should be obvious, the Restoring Internet Freedom order isn’t popular among the coalition of Silicon Valley tech giants and far-left pressure groups that lobbied the Obama administration to regulate the Continue reading
By Elizabeth Harrington • Washington Free Beacon
The Treasury Department plans to eliminate nearly 300 outdated tax regulations, getting tax rules off the books that in some cases have not applied since the 1940s.
The department announced its proposal to eliminate unnecessary tax regulations this week, in compliance with two executive orders signed by President Donald Trump last year to reduce regulatory burdens and simplify the tax code.
“We continue our work to ensure that our tax regulatory system promotes economic growth,” said Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “These 298 regulations serve no useful purpose to taxpayers and we have proposed eliminating them.”
“I look forward to continuing to build on our efforts to make the regulatory system more efficient and effective,” he said. Continue reading
By Tammy Bruce • Fox News
A new audit about a Pentagon agency losing hundreds of millions of dollars is reported by Politico as an “exclusive.” While that’s technically correct, a government agency losing or wasting or misplacing millions, billions and even trillions of dollars (this is not hyperbole, folks) is nothing new.
Politico’s report is a reminder of what bloated, unaccountable government gets you.
“Ernst & Young found that the Defense Logistics Agency failed to properly document more than $800 million in construction projects, just one of a series of examples where it lacks a paper trail for millions of dollars in property and equipment,” Politico reported. “Across the board, its financial management is so weak that its leaders and oversight bodies have no reliable way to track the huge sums it’s responsible for, the firm warned in its initial audit of the massive Pentagon purchasing agent.”
The report describes the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) as the “Walmart” of the military, an entity with 25,000 employees who provide “everything from poultry to pharmaceuticals, precious metals and aircraft parts.”
By James L. Buckley • National Review
The following speech was delivered on January 27 in Old Saybrook, Conn., as an address to the William F. Buckley Jr. Program at Yale upon the inauguration of the James L. Buckley Award for Public Service.
Until the summer of 1965, I had lived a totally contented, interesting, and highly private life. Although I have always been interested in questions of public policy, I had never, ever given any thought to public service. Then something wholly unexpected occurred. I received a telephone call from brother Bill in which he informed me that he had decided to run for the office of mayor of New York City and, furthermore, that I was to serve as his campaign manager.
I told Bill that that last was preposterous: I was far too busy with my own work and, furthermore, I knew absolutely nothing about politics or the conduct of political campaigns. Bill, though, could be very persuasive. He explained, among other things, that as he could not possibly win, he didn’t expect the race to take very much of his time. Therefore, it would take even less of mine.
And that is how the leaders of New York’s Conservative party came to learn of my existence; and three years later, when hunting around to fill a gap, they persuaded me to run as a pro forma candidate for the U.S. Senate. As it would be an unwinnable race against a popular liberal incumbent, they assured me it would require little effort on my part. As it happens, it took a great deal of it, but I did surprisingly well. So, two years later, yielding to a Continue reading
By Michael Tanner • National Review
The Western world can breathe easy. British prime minister Theresa May has solved one of the great crises of our time: She has appointed a Minister of Loneliness. Tracey Crouch, who is currently the Tory undersecretary for Sports and Civil Society, will be charged with leading a government-wide effort to “develop a strategy” for ending “loneliness and social isolation” among adults.
It is easy to have a laugh at the expense of the Brits, of course, although just last year President Obama’s surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review arguing that the societal problem of loneliness needs more attention from business and government. But there is something bigger at work here. There is now a general belief, one increasingly shared by politicians and voters of both parties, that every problem, large or small, can only be solved by the government.
The Declaration of Independence says that governments are instituted among men to secure our unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Today, too many people see government as the solution to whatever ails us.
Obesity a problem? We need the government to regulate what we eat. Wages too low? The government should set them. Are people doing things that you think are immoral? Continue reading
By Mattie Duppler • National Review
There is now discussion of reviving earmarks: the practice, banned in the House of Representatives since 2010, of inserting funding for lawmakers’ pet projects into bills to secure their support. Earmarks epitomize the obsequious logrolling that makes Washington the most hated place in the nation (on earth?) — and their absence has proved crucial to the Republican effort to restrain government spending, one of the great untold success stories of the past eight years. That Republicans would even suggest earmarks should be restored reveals at best an unsophisticated grasp of spending mechanisms, and at worst a complete abandonment of the victories the party has scored in restraining Washington’s spendthrift instincts.
It is often forgotten what two years of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid triumvirate augured for the size of government. Federal spending, which had generally held steady around 20 percent of GDP in the modern era, was projected to rise to more than 26 percent of GDP by 2020 after just two years of Democratic control.
House Republicans, driven to power by Americans who recoiled at this looming threat of unstable government growth, promised to turn this around. And they did: Through dogged spending cuts in bimonthly continuing resolutions, and then with the imposition of budget caps in the Budget Control Act in August of 2011, Republicans erased the spending legacy of the Pelosi- and Reid-led Congress, which only a few years earlier had been eyed wearily as the new normal. Today federal spending stands at about 21 percent of GDP.
By Victor Davis Hanson • National Review
Rarely has such a naturally rich and scenic region become so mismanaged by so many creative and well-intentioned people.
In California, Yuletide rush hours are apparently the perfect time for state workers to shut down major freeways to make long-overdue repairs to the ancient pavement. Last week, I saw thousands of cars stuck in a road-construction zone that was juxtaposed with a huge concrete (but only quarter-built) high-speed-rail overpass nearby.
The multibillion-dollar high-speed-rail project, stalled and way over budget, eventually may be completed in a decade or two. But for now, California needs good old-fashioned roads that don’t disrupt holiday shopping — before it starts futuristic projects it cannot fully fund.
California’s steep new gasoline tax — one of the highest in the nation — has not even fully kicked in, and yet the cash- Continue reading
When I heard that Sen. Elizabeth Warren had introduced the “Over the Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017” claiming that she wanted to create an all new over-the-counter (OTC) category for personal sound amplification products (PSAPs), I knew something disingenuous was afoot.
Sen. Warren has not been a champion of deregulation or of making government less intrusive. So I dug a little deeper, and found that Warren’s bill expands the power of federal bureaucrats, eliminates state authority, and reduces consumer access to amplification devices by making them more expensive and highly regulated. That’s not how she advertises the bill, but that’s how it would be described if truth in labeling laws applied to Congress.
Today, without her proposed law, there are PSAPs legally available at Best Buy, Walmart, and thousands of other stores and outlets for very reasonable prices. Anyone can buy these devices. They simply amplify sound — some use them for bird watching, others to snoop on conversations that are ordinarily out of ear shot. Continue reading
By Ned Ryun • The Federalist
If there is to be real change in our form of government, the Trump administration needs to avoid the fatal flaw of previous Republican administrations: choosing to play the game by the Left’s rules.
Nearly every Republican administration makes some changes, but mostly lightly exfoliates the elephant of the State. These are temporary gains at best, small pauses in the seemingly inevitable march of government dominance. Most Republicans don’t seem to understand what we are up against, that the game is rigged against smaller government.
We have to view our government through system dynamics, the study of understanding nonlinear behavior in complex systems. Such systems, like vast government bureaucracy, include loops that reinforce certain actions and results. These loops act similarly to compounding interest, starting slowly, over time accelerating, then finally exploding in size, all the while strengthening themselves. Continue reading