Washington’s despotic lawlessness

Washington is out of control. Legislators, judges and unelected bureaucrats want to control our lives, livelihoods and living standards, with no accountability even for major errors, calculated deception, or deliberate, often illegal assaults on our liberties and on citizens who resist the advancing Leviathan.

These themes animate Republican and conservative politics because they are happening – regularly.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute is renowned for its annual Ten Thousand Commandments reports on federal rules. A scary but mesmerizing new analysis now maps how the Washington bureaucracy lawlessly imposes agendas that all too frequently contravene or disregard what We the People support, what is best for the nation, and even what Congress has enacted or refused to encode in legislation.

The studies’ author, CEI policy vice president Clyde Wayne Crews, analogizes the situation to the “dark matter and dark energy” that astrophysicists say makes up some 95% of the universe: the portion that we cannot observe directly, as opposed to the sun, moon, planets, stars, galaxies and gas clouds we can see.

“Regulatory dark matter,” he concludes, forms an equal proportion of all the rules and edicts that govern our lives. But it is “hard to detect, much less measure.” Indeed, his “map” is akin to early explorers’ depictions of North America – incomplete, but the best cartography possible with information currently available.

No one even knows how many Executive Branch agencies there are – estimates range from 60 to 438 – much less how many new rules they implement and impose each year. Officially, Crews says, they issued a staggering 3,554 new rules in 2014, while President Obama signed “only” 226 new laws enacted by Congress. Worse, of the 53,838 (!) formal final regulations included in the Federal Register from 2001 through 2014, only 160 (0.3%) received a “cost-benefit” analysis; we have no idea how the rest affect us.

Infinitely worse, this tip of the iceberg does not include tens of thousands of decrees issued in the form of:

* notices, bulletins, proclamations, circulars, guidance memos, and new or revised interpretations, policy statements and procedures;

* investigations, inquiries, warning letters, negotiated settlements to legal actions (often involving collusion between agencies and activist groups), explicit or veiled threats of legal action, armed agents raiding homes and businesses, or adverse publicity, coordinated with activists and the media; as well as

* blog posts, news releases, and emails or telephone calls to citizens or company employees.

All these actions have the force and effect of law. But few or none are covered by Administrative Procedures Act “public notice and comment” requirements, so they often escape scrutiny by courts, watchdogs and Congress. Many are supported only by “homogenized,” manipulated data; elaborate, imaginative or imaginary regulatory benefits; cavalier dismissal of costs; and no mention of benefits from the activity, chemical, energy source, industry or jobs being regulated, sometimes into oblivion.

EPA’s Clean Power Plan assumes that shutting down America’s coal-fired power plants – a tiny fraction of such facilities worldwide – can somehow stop climate change that is actually governed by numerous powerful natural forces over which humans have absolutely no control. The plan also assumes any global warming will be dangerous and ignores the many thousands who will be rendered jobless.

A “social cost of carbon” scheme concocted by a multitude of federal agencies makes the same faulty assumptions. It then hypothesizes every imaginable and illusory “cost” of carbon dioxide emissions – to forests, agriculture, water resources, “forced migration” of people and wildlife, human health and disease, coastal cities, ecosystems and wetlands. But it completely ignores every one of the obvious and enormous benefits of using fossil fuels … and of CO2’s immense fertilizing effects on forest and crop growth.

President Obama imposed both of these programs because Congress refused to enact almost 700 different cap-tax-and-trade and other climate bills. Rather than working with Congress to achieve at least some of what he wanted, Mr. Obama simply had his agencies issue decrees, as another way to “skin a cat.”

Where Congress has enacted legislation that the president dislikes – on illegal immigration or the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate, for example – he simply tells his agencies not to enforce the “offensive” provisions. Meanwhile, Endangered Species Act rules are enforced with an iron fist against ranching, oil and mining operations, but ignored in the case of wind turbines and solar installations.

Under collusive sue-and-settle lawsuits, parties impacted by decisions never have an opportunity to speak or present evidence, or even be notified that a suit has been filed or adjudicated, until it is too late.

The entire system allows unelected, unaccountable government officials to decide winners and losers, and reward cronies and allies with taxpayer-funded grants and subsidies, while punishing critics and enemies. “Progressive” judges defer to “agency discretion” and give bureaucrats free rein to do as they please, even when the rules, decisions and decrees do not comply with legal, constitutional or scientific requirements.

No citizen, small business or even large corporation can possibly even know all these edicts exist, much less understand or comply with them. Moreover, at least 4,500 carry criminal penalties, many regardless of any intent to violate a rule or commit a crime – and “ignorance of the law is no excuse.”

Astrophysics explains the consequences. A black hole in the cosmos has squeezed so much matter into a small space that the unfathomable pull of gravity prevents even light from getting out.

The Washington, DC regulatory black hole exerts such centralized gravitational force that federalism, states’ rights, state and local laws and customs, and personal liberties increasingly cease to matter.

The federal Goliath now costs US families, businesses, hospitals and organizations over $1.9 trillion a year! That is twice the entire federal budget in 1981. It’s equal to the entire budget in 1986, nearly half the incomprehensible Obama budget for FY-2017, more than the budgets of all other countries except China.

“The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they [resist] every kind of improvement,” economist and political analyst Ludwig von Mises observed 72 years ago. “They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent.”

America’s “soft despotism” is light years from the atrocities and gulags of its infamous predecessors. But it is highly effective nonetheless. The same agencies write, impose, enforce and adjudicate the rules, and impose punishment for infractions. They work tirelessly and imperiously to “fundamentally transform” our nation’s legal, energy, economic and social systems – and keep our fossil fuels “in the ground.”

They impose edicts that would never be supported by the People or enacted by Congress, and that they rarely if ever apply to themselves. They lavish billions on allies, while denying funding and legitimacy to critics, siccing IRS dogs on opposition groups, and threatening civil and criminal “racketeering” actions against anyone who “denies” the alleged “reality” of dangerous manmade climate change.

They seek to ban fossil fuels, biotech crops and insecticides – even from Third World families suffering from abject poverty, rampant malnutrition and disease, and a near total absence of electricity. They do all they can to silence and punish alternative views, and even the notion that there can be alternative views.

For seven years, our “Try and stop me” president and administration have used and abused their powers to impose their agenda. What we need now is a “Try and make me” president, who will refuse to enforce their edicts. Who will use his pen, phone and power to review them, root out any fraud and abuse behind them, and defund and bury them. Who will work with Congress to restore the rule of law and our Constitution, economic growth, and the role of personal liberties, opportunities and responsibilities.

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About the Author: Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for CFACT and author of Cracking Big Green and Eco-Imperialism: Green Power - Black Death.

  • Frederick Colbourne

    The EPA has become a threat to the US economy.

    When questioned by Congressman McKinley if EPA’s climate regulations will have any measurable impact on the Earth’s climate, Administrator Gina McCarthy did not say but responded, “[W]e see it as having enormous benefit in showing sort of domestic leadership as well as garnering support around the country for the agreement we reached in Paris.”

    Read more: http://www.climatedepot.com/2016/03/23/no-climate-impact-epa-chief-says-the-benefit-of-climate-regs-is-to-show-domestic-leadership/#ixzz43nEom5UG

    Congress clearly specified that the intent of Section 117(d) of the Clean Air Act is to promote public health and welfare through direct connection between reduction of pollutants and specific benefits to the public.

    The Administrator is bound by the entire Clean Air Act including the intent of Congress that definitions and regulations be justified by reference to public health and welfare. In this the Administrator has failed.

    Demonstration of leadership does not conform to the purpose of the Act or the intent of Congress. In defining CO2 as a pollutant the Administrator has done so for a purpose that places the definition and the regulations outside the powers conferred by Congress.

    The Clean Air Act does not authorize the Administrator to define a substance as a pollutant and to regulate its emission for the purpose of demonstrating leadership.

  • wally12

    Paul Driessen has written many great articles. However, this one is the best. He clearly shows the disconnect of ALL federal agencies and not just environmental agencies with the permission of congress and the democratic party that allow these agencies to do what ever they please without constraints. It is past the time to take our country back. I believe this article would open many eyes of citizens and congress if the article was printed in all the major news media in the country. A TV documentary would also be a suggestion. Who would subsidize such an undertaking? Maybe having a republican candidate use this information in their presentations to voters.

    • Cliff

      Me Driessen your a True Patriot.Keep those bandits in the run! Semper Fi!!

      • wally12

        @Cliff: Amen!

  • Alastair Macdonald

    Obama is a Muslim. He is at war against the USA. It will take an act of God to get hiw out of office. He must be either improved or removed. Obama is a true conspiratorial with Islamic ancestry, and Islam in his veins. He must be stopped and removed by prayer; as only the one who makes thunder and lightning can stop him from ruining america.

    • Cliff

      I’m a God fearing man! I believe that slicker will be here until Jan21,2017! In the interim headed for the finish line he is on a dead run too do all he can for his idiologhy!!

  • Paul

    If you did deep into all of this mess, it boils down to one simple fact – more money from the working people into the government’s hand. Control over us and our money is all they care about. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it, again – our true enemy is not Iran, Russia, ISIS or otherwise. Our own government is our true enemy regardless of party affiliation.

  • fredh

    We could turn this big government around by stopping congress from
    using the Commerce Clause ( Article 1), congress has been using this
    clause to take over the states. ( wrong interpretation of the clause).

    Pass the Reins
    Act,http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/economy-budget/250178-the-reins-act-will-keep-regulations-and-their-costs-in

    Also put controls on the Chevron doctrine.

    http://www.libertylawsite.org/2014/08/01/time-to-rethink-the-chevron-doctrine/

  • Patick

    This is why I applaud every time the government shuts down due to gridlock.

  • Cliff

    Congress should shutter the EPA and dump all those useles legal hacks in the steer!! The Agency is a threat to America!!!

  • Mervyn

    About what you said … Legislators, judges and unelected bureaucrats want to control our lives, livelihoods and living standards, with no accountability even for major errors, calculated deception, or deliberate, often illegal assaults on our liberties and on citizens who resist the advancing Leviathan.

    The reality is that it is the powerful elite in the Council on Foreign Relations (CIR) who are the people in total control of America. They control the Fed Reserve … they control the politicians in Washington … they dictate the State Department’s foreign policies …. and they dictate the White House agenda.

    The CIR is under the influence of David Rockefeller. He has been undermining democracy in America and across the world through numerous “global organisations” using democracy to undermine it in the pursuit of his “new world order” and “one world government” secret agenda.

    In the UK, the Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA) is in control of what happens in the UK … the Rothschild influenced body on which the CIR was modelled.

    The CIR and the RIIA are what people describe as the illuminati. They have been pushing for globalisation, European unification, open borders, freedom of movement of peoples, free trade, etc etc etc. They are the elite who decide when to have wars or when not to have wars. These two bodies have hijacked the concept of democratic governments by having become secret governments that set the agendas of nations through all the formal agencies like elected governments, the UN, the IMF, etc etc etc.