A thousand little tyrants
Obama’s problems are a chance to rein in the bureaucracy

Shutterstock.com

Article Highlights

  • If there has been a unifying theme of Barack Obama’s presidency, it is the inexorable growth of the administrative state.

    Tweet This

  • First, expand federal powers beyond their enumerated constitutional limits.

    Tweet This

  • Second, delegate those powers to agencies and away from elected politicians in Congress.

    Tweet This

  • Third, insulate civil servants from politics so they can wield their discretion without accountability.

    Tweet This

If there has been a unifying theme of Barack Obama’s presidency, it is the inexorable growth of the administrative state. Its growth, across diverse areas, has followed a pattern: First, expand federal powers beyond their enumerated constitutional limits. Second, delegate those powers to agencies and away from elected politicians in Congress. Third, insulate civil servants from politics so they can wield their discretion without accountability. Finally, force the courts to defer unthinkingly to Congress’s acts of delegation and agency regulation.

Obamacare represents the apotheosis of this administrative state. Congress claimed authority to take over one-sixth of the American economy. But instead of passing the rules for this massive new government program, the large Democratic majorities in Congress vested the power to regulate health care in the Department of Health and Human Services. Even the Supreme Court, with a majority of Republican-appointed justices, did not stand in the way.

This piece appears in the September 16 edition of National Review.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

John
Yoo

What's new on AEI

image Recovering from tax time blues
image 10 welfare reform lessons
image Let HHS nominee Sylvia Burwell explain Obamacare lie
image Why bold ideas backfire in politics
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 14
    MON
  • 15
    TUE
  • 16
    WED
  • 17
    THU
  • 18
    FRI
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 | 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Calling treason by its name: A conversation with Liam Fox

Join us at AEI as the Right Honorable Liam Fox sits down with Marc Thiessen to discuss and debate whether America’s intelligence agencies have infringed on the personal privacy of US citizens.

Thursday, April 17, 2014 | 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
The curmudgeon's guide to getting ahead

How can young people succeed in workplaces dominated by curmudgeons who are judging their every move? At this AEI book event, bestselling author and social scientist Charles Murray will offer indispensable advice for navigating the workplace, getting ahead, and living a fulfilling life.

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.