Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bureaucratic Tipping Point

Like many things throughout history, government bureaucracies may have reached a tipping point in this country. Once considered essential to protection, most (like their union counterparts) have long since become little more than self-perpetuating parasites whose major, if not only concern is in increasing their own size and budget. 

These leeches have grown in number and flourished under oversight responsibilities long ignored by a Congress more concerned with re-election, bring home pork projects, and protecting their own favored status than they are about doing their jobs. But some of these agencies are beginning to reach new levels of arrogance in their continuing efforts at control of every aspect of society, while ignoring any attempts at restraint. 

Two particularly egregious examples of this occurred just this week. Janet Napolitano, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), announced the formation of a task force charged with "identifying and assessing the impact that climate change could have on the missions and operations of the Department of Homeland Security"

The idea proposed here is that the concept man caused global climate change is now a matter of national security. The claim that follows is that since the DHS is in charge of FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), that it needs to extend its mandate into the areas of global climate in order to deal with flooding, wildfires, and hurricane activity caused by such climate change. 

Setting aside that most if not all of the claims tying global climate change to every recent disaster happening in the world are anecdotal, that the model changes on an almost weekly basis, and that there is little or no evidence to back them up; it nevertheless remains that the expansion of her responsibilities is not up to her. Congress in fact created the DHS after the events of 9/11, and set up its mandate under the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to attempt to deal with protection from further attacks. 

In addition to creating this cabinet level department and post in the first place, Congress is further responsible for funding the department for its mandated activities. Since this funding level was set up before the current expansion, one cannot help but wonder therefore what part of their existing responsibilities they will choose to de-fund in order to take on these new ones. Considering that DHS (also in charge of the TSA) failed to recently prevent a man from accidentally bringing a loaded gun on an airplane in Houston, is facing increasing derision for the body scan and pat down policy that has proved all but useless and treats all this country's citizens as potential terrorists, and has failed almost entirely in securing the southern border of this country from the incursion of potential terrorists, continued violation of this border by illegal aliens, and the expansion of Mexican drug cartels; one would think it a tad over-reaching for this department to attempt to expand its responsibilities rather than to properly fulfill its original mandate. 

 DHS is not alone however, and the Federal Communications Commission has likewise moved this week to extend (or perhaps overextend) its regulating responsibilities. 

Yesterday the FCC adopted regulatory control of the internet in the form of "Net Neutrality". The FCC proposes to protect service providers from blocking or slowing access to certain websites, in spite of the fact that such a problem currently doesn't exist. What it will do however, is create a foothold for the FCC in controlling the internet and the beginnings of a regulatory morass that service providers and website hosts alike will have to negotiate in the future. Worse still, is the fact that doing this, the FCC is ignoring the authority of other government branches in its attempt at expansion of its mandate. Congress has already warned the FCC that it has no legal standing for interference where the internet is concerned, and will undoubtedly consider striking down this new expansion by joint resolution. Such a resolution already has wide bi-partisan support, and having the FCC ignore a letter sent to it by 30 Republican Senators last week will undoubtedly add to cry to follow through on doing so. 

Additionally, the FCC makes this move despite a ruling by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals (the court which holds authority in such matters), which told them specifically that they have no authority in the area of traffic management on the internet. 

These two agencies are not alone in writing their own rules, and this is a problem that we often see when dealing with unelected officials. The IRS and SEC can both run their hearings using a rule of 'guilty until proven innocent' regardless of the fact that this goes against existing legal principle in this country. The EPA can decide on its own to assume regulation of carbon dioxide in spite of the fact that it is a naturally produced substance. The USDA can determine the number of bake sales held as school fund raisers and the type of food that can be sold at them, whether this has anything to do with 'Agriculture' or not. 

These unelected sycophants largely ignore common sense, the rule of law, and their elected and judicial counterparts as irrelevant and temporary obstacles to the assumption of increasing power and control they deem necessary to protect us from ourselves. They deem themselves far wiser than the rest of us and above the law ... because for the most part, they are allowed to. While ostensibly operating for our protection, the only ones truly protected in all of this massive regulatory process are the increasing number of government functionaries seeking an ever greater control over every aspect of our lives. 

The increasing pace of this expansion and encroachment may now well have reached a tipping point where such continued growth becomes almost unstoppable however, and the increasing number of regulations (over 78,000 pages of them according to the Federal Register) almost insure that at some point soon every aspect of our lives will fall under the auspices of bureaucratic control and everyone will be in violation of something.

No comments: