Wednesday, October 05, 2011


Government is Expanding Beyond Comprehension

Our Current Government Versus the Constitution

It might be rather difficult to measure the distance we have crept from the fresh new Constitution and its original intent and compromises to the current position our laws and practices are in today. The first push/pull was undoubtedly centralized versus distributed power, and centralization has won out in practice. It continues to do so, with the office of the president leading the way. From a purist point of view, we have expanded the scope of our laws well beyond the Constitution and civil laws envisioned in the beginning, most often due to pressures to meet a stream of new needs discovered that the Constitution neither covered nor thought to cover, and with the willing collusion of all three branches of the federal government to cater to these needs, ostensibly of the people, and, of course, for the good of the nation.

Books have been written about the role of the Supreme Court in deviating, in interpreting, and in legislating from the bench to achieve some functional goal not possible to achieve in any other manner. Seizing the decision powers of an autocratic leader by the Presidents has also been a continuing drumbeat pushing us ever further away from a strict adherence to the Constitution. Whole governmental departments, with their missions, functions, budgets, and staffing have been invented through legislation to meet these new needs and functions, and this process is even accelerating today. Earmarks fit into this creep also! I have often pointed out that currently there are over 1,177 separate organizational entities in the government with budget lines, staffing and all the trappings of bureaucracy. In fact they tend to stumble over each other in their zeal to approve or disapprove actions brought before them. Try to obtain approval for a new nuclear power plant and you will be dealing with an entrenched bureaucracy of 23 or so different organizations at last report.

The maze grows yearly, and even Reagan could only kill or rework some hundred of these entities, and it seems that he was about the last to try. We have grown many monster bureaucracies since his time, and Obama has created hundreds more yet to fully surface. To say that this gaggle has become unmanageable and unaffordable is to bring the wrath of entrenched congressmen, lobbyists, and advocacy groups down on your head, as well as the party or parties that stood behind the legislation in the first place.

Why don't we commission an independent group to take on the decade-long task of streamlining this governmental gaggle, much as BRAC did for military bases? It would be a many-year task, and it would spawn quite a few Constitutional amendments as it went along, I suppose, but the commission would end up paying for itself ten, twenty or more times over I'd guess, to the benefit of our bottom line. (Avoiding a Constitutional convention would be a prime objective here, since the scope of such a convention cannot be controlled, and we just might end up worse that we began!)

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