Friday, December 24, 2010

Rule By Decree

With the loss of the House, and a significant weakening in the Senate, the president is no longer able to get anything he wants the old-fashioned way, in enacted legislation. Fortunately for him, the legislature has voted itself largely irrelevant anyway.

Unelected bureaucrats in any of the myriad agencies the congress has created are empowered to make "rules" which carry the force of law, sparing the congress the embarrassment of having to argue and vote on them out in public.

The president gets to appoint a majority of the people sitting on these boards, thus we have a 3-2 split in favor of the D's at the FCC which just voted 3-2 to impose net neutrality on the internet. I had thought the net was doing fine with little or no control at all, but what do I know? The U.S. Congress, and at least one federal judge thought so as well, but so what?

The process of pulling a rogue agency back in line is difficult, especially if you don't have a veto-proof majority in both houses. Stroke of the pen, law of the land, at least until the next guy can get in and change it.

Same deal with the EPA which has decided that CO2 is a dangerous pollutant, and is planning to issue "rules" soon which should largely shut down both energy production and oil refining in the U.S. by late next year.

If it weren't for the swell parties and free jet airplanes, there would be no reason for the legislature to actually hang out in Washington at all. The President can simply have his appointee at the Just-us department find a friendly federal judge to order that something he wants be done, then have the 3-2 majority of the directors of the appropriate agency decree that it be done to his satisfaction.

Anybody see anything wrong with this?


Dan said...

The only thing that I can see is for the house to refuse to fund said agency and have the balls to stand firm. The purse strings are the only real weapon we have.

Brad K. said...


As I understand it, the 'budget' is more or less an estimate. The President is expected to enact the laws as passed, and is funded to do just that. But there is nothing in law or precedent that says money authorized for one purpose must be spent for that purpose. Just look at how all the revenue for income, and for social security, and for other collections, all get rolled into the general "money for the Government" big pot. (Otherwise the government would really look silly spending like they do, and Social Security never would have gone broke.)

That is - the House would have to withhold all funds to choke off the one miscreant, censure the President to shame him/her into good behavior, or impeach the bastard until they get someone in office that actually obeys the laws and the Constitution and ensures that everyone in government does as well.

'Most any citizen can sue the government for redress of grievance, and to require them to do their jobs as defined by law.

And I keep fantasizing about an outbreak of recall elections. Especially once Pelosi is out of the third chair in line.

Billll said...

I'll be the first to admit that I don't know all the inside details of how our money gets wasted in Washington, but I do know that the congress does not simply vote the president a big bag full of money and the use of the national credit card in case this proves insufficient.

A budget bill allocates specific amounts of funding to each of the major departments, and may also include statements as to where some of the monies allocated may or may not be spent. The DOD, for example, might be allocated $100B. Rep Pelosi may add an amendment to this stating that $10M be specifically allocated to hiring and promoting gay chaplains, and Rep Bachmann may add an amendment specifying that $10M be spent on development of death rays, and nothing be spent on anti-gravity.

If the amendments pass, then they become part of the law as to how the money may or may not be spent.

The president has a fund of his own that he can spend to suit him self, but it isn't a huge amount, and as long as Obie spends it on greens fees and vacations, the damage will be minimized.

The problem is that even though this congress decrees that no money be tossed down any specific black hole, the hole remains until repealed.