By Rich Lowry
The Hendricks County Flyer
Fri Jun 07, 2013, 03:41 PM EDT
It is appropriate that the worst scandal of the Obama administration — the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservatives — is a scandal of administrators and bureaucrats, of otherwise faceless people endowed with immense power over their fellow citizens and running free of serious oversight from elected officials.
They are the shock troops of the vast bureaucratic apparatus of the federal government. President Barack Obama has greatly enhanced their influence and reach by augmenting the power of regulatory agencies that are an inherent offense against self-government, even when they aren’t enforcing the law in a biased way.
The administration’s corruption isn’t bags of cash or lies about interns; it is the distortion of our form of government by sidestepping democratic procedures and accountability and vesting authority in bureaucrats. The administrative state is, fundamentally, the Lois Lerner state.
In an excellent essay in the journal National Affairs, Chris DeMuth calls the regulatory agency “the most potent institutional innovation in American government since the Constitution.” He notes that the regulatory state has three hallmarks.
One, Congress delegates lawmaking to the agencies by giving them massive discretion in implementing the vaguest of mandates. Two, there are no constraints on their effective spending power, since the costs of their rules “are borne almost entirely by the private sector.” Third, they enjoy “relative insulation from public debate and criticism.”
Needless to say, this is not how American government is supposed to work.
“The Constitution was designed,” DeMuth writes, “to make lawmaking cumbersome, representative, and consensual; the regulatory agency was a workaround, designed to make lawmaking efficient, specialized, and purposeful. It was a way to accommodate growing demands for government intervention in the face of the constitutional bias for limited government.”
The administrative state is an open invitation to highhandedness. Bloomberg View columnist Ramesh Ponnuru wrote a piece on Obama’s lawlessness. Most of the examples have to do with the administration ignoring or distorting the laws via the bureaucracy.
March 3, 2014
February 27, 2014
February 26, 2014
There was a wide array of reactions to Seattle DB Richard Sherman’s post-game “interview” with Erin Andrews following the Seahawks’ NFC title win over San Francisco.
Mine? Laughter, as the shout-down was the most entertaining thing I saw all day.
January 28, 2014
Butler is still a long way from saving its 2013-14 men’s basketball season, but if the Bulldogs turn it around fully and reach the NCAA Tournament, it will have started this past Saturday at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
January 21, 2014
A fine season for the Indianapolis Colts ended with a whimper Saturday at New England, but in recent team history, it was far from the most disappointing postseason defeat.
January 14, 2014
The Indianapolis Colts’ miraculous 45-44 wild card victory over Kansas City on Saturday ended just after 8 p.m. After leaving Lucas Oil Stadium, it took until around midnight for the pounding in my head to subside.
January 7, 2014
December 31, 2013
An NPR broadcast examines the question of how communities can better prepare for tornadoes like the one that struck Moore, Okla. on Monday. The broadcast features commentary from Michael Fitzgerald, who reported a five-part disaster series for the CNHI News Service.
May 22, 2013
Part I: Are We Prepared? | Part II: Disaster Dollars Part III: Lessons Learned | Part IV: Warning Signs Part V: The Big One
In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.
April 15, 2014
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