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  • Whoa There! Time to REIN in Runaway Bureaucrats

    America’s out-of-control administrative state can best be compared to a runaway stage coach—trampling American workers and careening away with their money. Next week, Congress will have an opportunity to bring much-needed oversight to America’s regulatory process by voting for the aptly named REINS Act (Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny), which would require any new regulations costing more than $100 million to be approved by Congress. If passed, the REINS Act will go a long way toward curbing the excesses of unaccountable bureaucrats and restoring the constitutional principle of self-government.

    But don’t bureaucrats decide only the minor details of regulations? Sadly, no. In 2010 alone, regulatory agencies issued a torrent of major new regulations costing a staggering (and likely underestimated) sum of $26.5 billion. That sticker shock has not slowed bureaucrats one bit; there are currently 144 major regulations pending that would each cost at least $100 million.

    Among the most egregious of these new regulations is a recently released 893-page plan by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to raise vehicle fuel-efficiency standards. These regulations will (by the agencies’ own estimates) cost the economy $8.5 billion per year and raise the price of cars by at least $2,000–$2,800, and yet they have not been authorized by any elected officials.

    Leftist commentators have predictably denounced the REINS Act as a radical Republican ploy to “cripple” the regulatory agencies responsible for public safety. Liberals are particularly quick to paint menacing images of “caring” experts being overruled by mean, partisan politicians. In the words of one environmental lobbying group, “Do you want Representatives to decide what level of mercury pollution endangers our health or you want medical experts to make this assessment?”

    These criticisms are highly misleading. The REINS Act in no way prevents agencies from enforcing existing laws and regulations. Nor would it result in politicians having to decide all the technical details of regulations. Rather, the REINS Act simply mandates that any new, very costly regulation must get a simple up-or-down vote in Congress.

    Furthermore, these criticisms forget that lawmaking is inherently a political not a technical matter. Experts and scientists can and should explain the technical details of different plans, but, in a self-governing nation, it is up to the people’s representatives to decide whether a plan is worth enacting. New laws (for that is what major regulations are) need to go through the legislature. This is hardly a radical idea.

    It is true that the REINS Act would make bureaucrats more accountable to Congress. They should be. America was not designed to be a government of technocrats. Rather, it is a republican government based on the consent of the people. The REINS Act is no silver-bullet solution to the problems of the administrative state, but it is a practical step toward restoring constitutional government.

    Posted in Featured, First Principles [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to Whoa There! Time to REIN in Runaway Bureaucrats

    1. Here is another way the Democrats have abandoned America's working class.

    2. Ron_Aldrich says:

      There are no conservatives running. If you want to know what a conservative is read Ian Michael Christian's trilogy, "The Patriot's Desk Set". The red book "The Downfall of America: The Baby Boomers", describes how America got to the shape it is in. The white book "The Saving of America: Politically" tells how government at both the state and federal levels have grown too large and too powerful, and how to restructure government and return it to what the Founding Fathers set up originally. The blue book "The Saving of America: Spiritually" gives a history of how the country was founded by Christians and how we need to return or schools, governments and society back to the Christian America that made us the most powerful nation state on Earth. His latest book, "The Little Black Book: How to Truly Fix Government" tells what bills and Constitutional Amendments need to be inacted to correct the out of control federal government and reign in the socialists that control governments at all levels.

      Ian Michael Christian is the most controversal conservative author in America today. He should be the next president.

    3. Bobbie says:

      you'd think if there was any sense of integrity in those connected with America's government they wouldn't overstep their boundary to the disrespect of people by making life costly and burdensome to the people for government gain of control to simply infringe upon people, "some" people, their childish regulations of nonsense! obviously they're conduct is someone's "special interest."

      the REIN act is very practical and desperately needed when it comes to our money going into the hands of government while we are helpless to defend the American people's constitution and forced to witness the raping of it by predominantly democratic government leadership! why forced to put money into the hands of cowards who work to refuse accountability? our expectations are much higher and deserve adult leadership with sincere respect for the country and people of America.
      ron paul and michelle bachmann are excellent candidates who are true to their convictions and their respect for this country and America's meaning. .. so was herman cain but a large number of low lifes of America had to destroy a man of strength, good will and courage! May God give low lifes by choice, the same respect!

    4. Kym says:

      "Rather, the REINS Act simply mandates that any new, very costly regulation must get a simple up-or-down vote in Congress.".

      I believe this is incorrect since past legislation will expire and require review by REINS act. Can you confirm?

    5. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      “Do you want Representatives to decide what level of mercury pollution endangers our health or [do] you want medical experts to make this assessment?”

      You would think medical experts only worked in the bureaucracy and only lawyers worked in Congress. There are 35 members of the legislature who work in the real world as either health care professionals, engineers or scientists. Is not Congress supposed to be a mix of people from all walks of life who bring their experience to bear on proposed legislation? Furthermore, are experts in any field not able to testify before Congress about the pros and cons of proposed legislation or even existing laws of questionable value?

      The answer is YES because I can vote them out if I don't like what they do. The statists however cannot withstand accountability so they pack the bureaucracies and the courts.

    6. Lee Burns says:

      Which all begs the questiion; if these administrative departments have no "authority" to enforce their edicts, why should the entities towards which these edicts are directed comply? I believe these regulatory changes must be published in the Federal Register and if so it follows that someone in authority must have approved them. Again, a question, who is responsible?

    7. Dr. Henry Sinopoli says:

      Until you have some type of term-limits for lifer politicians, you will never control the spending. Also, Heritage should stop 'sucking-up' to the Republican lifers. They are just as bad as the lifer Democrats. In fact, probably more so because they lie and every four years or two, in some positions, keep telling us they are going to make changes. Heritage, you can write all you want, sitting in the trash heap of Washington, D.C., your credibility is suspect. This is not a political problem, it is cultural destruction. The rotting of America…I hold no hope this comment will ever make it to the light of day.

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