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Regulatory Insanity: How The Bureaucrats Rule
We know that we’re really dating ourselves, but back in the 50s and 60s, there was a weekly political news show called The Ev and Charlie Show. And yes, they had them in the ’50s. It was a bit like Crossfire, except that they understood the concept of good manners, and the two Senators, Everett Dirkson, and Charles Halleck were both Republicans.
Dirkson was a gravelly-voiced smooth-tongued Senator from Illinois who died in 1969. He made a statement that is still one of the most famous and much-quoted statements when it comes to government taxing and spending:
“A billion here and a billion there, pretty soon you’re talking about real money.”
Dirkson was considered a conservative when it came to fiscal matters, but socially liberal, and when it came to social matters he voted consistently to expand regulations. He also thought Nixon was one of the most influential men governing the country. Which was true, but more on that later.
It makes one wonder how anyone can be intellectually honest and think that expanding the size of government with increasing regulations will cost less money, or be spent more wisely by bureaucrats than the people of America.
Perhaps the statement he should have posed is this:
A few regulations here and a few regulations there and the first thing you know you have tyranny.
There actually are people, while noting the downside to regulations, who claim regulations create jobs, economic stability, and growth, at least that’s what they say. While it’s irrational to think any society can function effectively without some regulatory impact, I think it’s more than appropriate to ask… Just how many regulations does a society need? Is there a limit? How many regulations can be imposed on society before they become detrimental?
Dan Mitchell makes some worthwhile observations regarding growth and sane regulatory policy in his article, The Pro-Growth Impact of Deregulation. Then there’s the massiveness and complexity of all these regulations.
Take a look at the analysis of “The Regulatory Plan and Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations” Ten Thousand Commandments 2021 – Chapter 8, and you begin to see just how complex and convoluted all of this is. Completed Rules, Active Rules, Long Term Rules, Economically Significant Rules, etc.
According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, in 2019, regulations (in effect hidden taxes) were estimated to cost the American public $1.9 trillion. Higher than all the corporate and personal income taxes combined. The cost per household? $14,615 dollars annually. To make an interesting comparison… If the regulatory state was an independent country, that would make them the ninth-largest economy in the world.
Here’s a list of the number of laws and regulations passed between 2003 and 2020. Between 2002 and 1989 there were 63,284 rules imposed on the nation by the Administrative State. We’ll tell you what, we’ll come back to that.
> Here’s the table for federal regulations from 1936 to 2020 with additional “eyes rolling back into your head” charts.
In 2013 the United States Congress was criticized for not getting things done. Congress “only” passed 65 new laws. Of course, we have to understand that one year they passed over three hundred new laws.
What is really important to understand is when new laws are passed the baton of power is passed from the Congress to the permanent bureaucracies, whose function is to make even more laws called – “rules”! In 2013 there was an average of 56 new regulations resulting from each law passed totaling 3659 new laws called – “rules”! That multiplier has been as low as 12 per new law, but that was in 2006 when Congress passed 321 new laws. If you average out the multipliers over the last ten years the average multiplier is 25.36.
So, what’s the rest of the story?
In parts two and three we will prove to you that there is a “deep state,” but it really is not in the depth of government, it is right out front. We have known folks who have served in the highest realms of government hoping to make a difference. The power, however, lies in the huge number of unelected bureaucrats and the red tape they create stymying efforts by short-term appointees within cabinet sections of the government.
The current administration may be excused from this series of discussions as they do not battle any part of the so-called deep state. They are in fact the representatives of the deep state which seized power by hook or by crook. While our story is kind of depressing to the point of being comical in part three we will pose a solution… that’s if the nation has the guts to undertake it.
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