Guidance documents are statements of policy issued by your favorite alphabet soup agencies, which more often than not translate into law, despite rarely going through the notice-and-public comment period required of most regulations. Wayne Crews’ study “A Partial Eclipse of the Administrative State” puts the number of guidance documents—just one form of regulatory dark matter—at more than 13,000 over the period 2008-2017.
Looking at what our government has done in the past can give us a good idea of what they might be up to in the future, so here is a look at how granular such guidance documents can be. Each one might be small, but when there are 13,000 of them per decade, mostly without outside review or accountability, they add up. This week takes a look at the Social Security Administration and the Treasury Department.
- The Social Security Administration is creating educational policy for children with disabilities, including classroom placement.
- The Social Security Administration has a policy on how employees can give medical assessments to determine Fibromyalgia, and give medical assessments to determine chronic fatigue syndrome.
- The SSA is saying that they know better than the Supreme Court, and that they can reopen issues they feel they disagree with.
- The Surface Transportation Board’s policy to make the law clear because the current law is so unclear.
- The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) has issued several pages on how to determine if a business that sells marijuana is legitimate to do business with, and the regulations that surrounds it.
- Planes, trains, and automobiles have been defined by the Department of the Treasury.
- Start regulating them while they are young. The National Credit Union Administration and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency have eleven pages of guidance for financial institutions on getting children to save, with twenty more links to other guidance documents on investments for children.
- The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s mission creep is on display via guidance documents for classroom teachers on financial literacy.
- Finally, a one-stop shop for all of your government regulation and investment education needs: MyMoney.gov.