Letter to the editor

To fix government, reform its agencies

January 14, 2013 

It looks as if our government is going to avoid facing our financial problems and continue on with “crisis governing.” Both parties are responsible and it has become harder and harder for the government to be responsive to solving our real budget and debt problems because of a growing federal government and hard lines taken by both parties. One of the reasons is that Congress has delegated much of its power to the agencies and departments in the executive branch.

Its very important that people who actually make the laws be accountable to the people they make the laws for. Congress is accountable to the people by being elected, executive agency bureaucrats are not. Since these executive agency bureaucracies are not elected they are not accountable to anyone except their agencies’ heads and the president of the U.S. This puts some of the actual law making power (legislative) in the hands of presidency and the executive bureaucracy as opposed to “all legislative powers granted shall be vested in a Congress …” This is why one sees congressmen with their hair on fire complaining about the EPA, HHS, etc. doing things they think these agencies have no authority to do when Congress, over the years, has delegated them these powers.

These executive agencies that are insulated from the people have to be made accountable for the powers Congress has granted them. One way would be to enact legislation that would force these agencies to submit back to Congress any laws/rules they enact that would cost over an agreed upon sum. Congress would have the last say as to whether the appropriation is allowed or not.

Another way would be legislation to have all laws/rules of executive agencies be subject to economic impact studies which would show the dollar amount and the cost in jobs to the U.S. economy. For example the Environmental Protection Agency cost the U.S. economy $353 billion annually according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute. It didn’t say how many jobs it cost the economy but I’m sure it is many.

The legislation would be written in a way that the $353 billion EPA laws/regulation or percentage thereof would be the amount the federal budget/debt would be reduced. The number of jobs the private sector would lose because of the EPA laws/regulations would also reduce the federal work force in the same way as above.

The positive effects of this legislation would be to reduce the budget/debt and size of the federal government, make the federal agencies more accountable and responsive to the people, keep congressmen from the their collective hand wringing because cuts in the cost and size of the government would be almost automatic, and it limits the effects of lobbying government agencies.

This legislation conforms to President Obama’s “fairness” and “skin in the game” doctrines. The legislation would be fair because federal agency budgets and jobs would be subject to the same rules/regulations they make that affect the private sector economy. Government workers and private workers would all have skin in the game because if government rules/regulations cost private sector job loss then it will also cost government sector jobs.

The writer lives in Murrells Inlet.

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