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Forum Post: "Getting Things Done" Through Regulation

Posted 1 year ago on Jan. 11, 2013, 8:06 p.m. EST by Choonie (0)
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Getting Things Done Through Regulation

By Craig Metcalf Thursday, January 10, 2013

Americans constantly complain that their government in Washington is gridlocked and "can't get anything done." Those same Americans have nothing to worry about. America's 2.65+ million civilian government workers are laboring intensely every day "getting things done." It's just that things "get done" in a different way from what most people would expect and that the things that get done are often not what we may like.

As we know, Congress passes laws. The President then signs them into law. Then what happens? Let's say Congress decides that it is time to clean up the environment, clean up the financial system, or reorganize our national health care system. They pass a law and the President signs it. If there is a requirement that the government accomplish some objective, like clean up the environment or the financial system, there must be a mechanism to make that happen. Congress does not have the staff, expertise, or money to take action, neither does the President. As a result, government administrative agencies are created and funded to implement the objectives of the legislation. These agencies are mostly housed within the federal executive branch under the ultimate control of the President.

We are all familiar with these agencies and we may encounter them on an all too regular basis. Some of these agencies include the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and many others. It is estimated that there are about 1300 individual federal government agencies, all working daily to "get things done." The Obamacare law alone creates dozens of new agencies. A brief sampling of these include such agencies as the Elder Justice Coordinating Council, Office of Women's Health and Gender Based Research , Office of Minority Health, and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, just to name a few.

Occasionally, the government ends up with so many agencies all "getting things done" that there are conflicts between those agencies. Alternatively, there are times when there is actually some facet of life that is unregulated because of some unintentional gap in agency authority. In these situations Congress may pass laws which create some sort of "super agency" to coordinate all of the agencies and/or fill the gaps.

One example of a government "super agency" is the "Financial Stability Oversight Council" created in the Dodd-Frank Act. Someone noticed/decided that there were gaps in financial regulation, even though we have numerous financial regulatory agencies. As a result, the Council was created to coordinate efforts and fill gaps. It is chaired by the Secretary of Treasury and voting members include heads of Treasury, Federal Reserve, OCC, SEC, CFTC, FDIC, FHFA, NCUA, and Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, as well as several others, and a whole list of non-voting members. By this complex mechanism the financial systems are to receive complete oversight.

Government theoreticians, such as Obama administration Regulatory Czar Cass Sunstein believe that we all have to be "nudged" to do the right thing. And they know just the right person to do the nudging: federal bureaucrats. Others worry that we are losing our Constitutional rights and liberties to this ever exploding cadre of agencies. Many worry that our society and economy are being choked by 1300+ agencies and 2.65+ million government bureaucrats.

In 1986 Ezra Taft Benson, who served as Secretary of Agriculture in the Eisenhower administration and then as President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon Church) said:

In recent years, we have allowed Congress to fund numerous federal agencies. While these agencies may provide some needed services and protection of rights, they also encroach significantly on our constitutional rights. The number of agencies seems to grow continually to regulate and control the lives of millions of citizens.

What many fail to realize is that most of these federal agencies are unconstitutional. Why are they unconstitutional? They are unconstitutional because they concentrate the functions of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches under one head. They have, in other words, power to make rulings, enforce rulings, and adjudicate penalties when rulings are violated. They are unconstitutional because they represent an assumption of power not delegated to the executive branch by the people. They are also unconstitutional because the people have no power to recall administrative agency personnel by their vote.

In the current environment, Benson's ideas may seem outdated. However, if the country is to return to its Constitutional roots, those ideas are worth considering.

In the foreseeable future with a divided and deadlocked Congress, watch for the Federal Government to push forward on the regulatory front. The Government is certainly capable of "getting things done" during this period. The only question is are the things the government will do desirable or even within the bounds of the Constitution.

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4 Comments


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[-] 2 points by geo (2638) from Concord, NC 1 year ago

Left to itself, industry does the least expensive thing possible to produce an item with the greatest potential profit. No thought is given to the products safety, or affect on the environment. There are only a very few times where this has not been true.

Which is why we have regulatory agencies. Congress acts way to slow with legislation to work with industry on a detailed level.

In the financial sector, the agencies are supposed to keep the playing field fair... with regulatory capture this often fails..... as the agencies are staffed with ex-industry people, the revolving door. All industries are prone to this, but none like the financial sector with Goldman Sachs employess ruling the Treasury and Fed Reserve.

[-] 0 points by Choonie (0) 1 year ago

Not true. Most of the time, industry does the right thing. There's very few times when regulation is necessary. If fact, we have so much regulation by disperate agencies today, that the regulations challenge each other and leave a cloud of confusion.

Try manufacturing paper clips and exporting them to another country. Try exporting anything for that matter. By the time the Department of Commerce "reviews" everything, you've lost the sale because China jumped in and fulfilled the order six months ago and sold it to whatever third country wanted it. EVERYTHING has to be reviewed and processed by a gubment bureaucrat. It's unbelievable. We're shooting ourselves in the foot in a global economy. It makes us uncompetitive. It's ridiculous.

Agencies work against making the playing field fair. Especially in a global economy. GET IT?

Look at farming. Massive concerns like Monsanto and ADM go up to the hill. They lobby for a specific rule that applies to the whole farm industry, but one that only they can follow because they're so big and have the economies of scale to adhere to it. Then all the small family farms get forced out of business because such a law or rule is too much for them to bear. Not every family farm can accept some new ruling because they don't have much of a profit margin to begin with. You instantly turn businesses from viable to bankrupt by stupid regulation and there are MILLIONS of rules. Who the hell can keep up?

Regulation is used like a weapon today to drive your competitor out of business. GET IT?

They're just bureaucrats who collect a paycheck every day by creating policy and paper and bureaucracy. They're there to hinder, not help. They make no product. They've never worked in the industry that they're trying to regulate themselves. All they know is something sounds good on paper and they push it forward with all of it's unintended consequences. Agencies are like human wrecking balls today.

Wake up. You've been brainwashed, and quite well I might add.

[-] 1 points by shooz (26729) 1 year ago

Craig?

"Constitutional roots"???

WTF!

[-] 1 points by peacehurricane (293) 1 year ago

Well they are not a government should they step over constitutional bounds simple enough. Getting done what and for whom We are the government and the bible tells us the cost of all this getting done costs 10% of our earnings and within bounds of constitution actually living by constitution that says mind your own f'ing business and leave others the same. Making Justice so. Same crime-same time thee scale used to determine how well balanced and to what level not upheld. I for one continue to pursue the living definition of Liberty I am WE the People of these United States...