Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Regulators, Mount Up Red Tape

The United States is being pushed off course.  The creation of a myriad of regulating agencies has stifled innovation, competition and nearly usurped the power of we the people.  Some of  these agencies have the power to be legislator, enforcer and judge of the regulations they create.  They have tipped the balance of power to the executive branch. The potential for corruption is alarming.  It is much easier for a corporate lobby to influence or even get appointed to a regulatory agency and pass regulations to crush competitors out of business then it is to influence a majority of congressmen to do the same.

Since the first agencies creation in 1887, to regulate railroad fares, corporations have been attacked by this awesome power.  They would learn to use the iron fist of regulation to form cartels in nearly every industry.  In fact the early 1900's was ruled by large corporations headed by robber barons.  We are told that Teddy Roosevelt beat back the corporate takeover of America but he was really just an agent  of corporations.  His trust busting was more of a political attack on competitors than a true attempt at reigning in the power of corporations.  

For over 120 years America has been divided up by those with political clout.  Corporations have benefited from expanded power and given oversight over their industries.  This has lead to record profits, diminished quality and lack of competition.  Cartels such as the Federal Reserve, a group of private banks,  have gained the power to print money, a power constitutionally reserved to the Congress.  The USDA has practically regulated small farmers and butchers out of existence while ensuring a food recall almost every week.  The EPA, with good intentions in mind, just passed stringent lead cleanup regulations, which will most likely lead to joblessness and further deterioration of inner cities.

Some agencies pass regulation that the congress has voted down.  If this continues to happen then what is the point of having a congress?  We can just elect a dictator and he can appoint more czars.  There would be no need for courts either. That is anarchy.  

If the agencies were eliminated private businesses would form guilds and police themselves. The court system would regulate fraud and keep business honest. At least that's how its supposed to work. There are several ways to insert fraud and corruption but to legislate it into law is ridiculous. If the agencies are not eliminated their power should be stripped and returned to congress. If the congress is overwhelmed with creating new legislation the agencies could assist in an advisory way and enforce congressional law. If that's to big a reform then we should  make sure that all regulations expire after six months unless the congress passes them into law. 
The unelected bureaucracies power represents the biggest threat to American democracy and freedom today.  We need bold reform to reign in that awesome power.  The congress needs to reassert itself as the sole lawmaker of this nation.  A return to the constitutional balance of power can save the republic from crumbling under the weight of a bloated executive branch.

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