Trump’s Assault On The Administrative State Will Benefit America

Fox News cited Competitive Enterprise Institute’s “Ten Thousand Commandments – An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State” as proof of gross overspending by the federal government as a result of overregulation. 

Occurring largely behind the scenes, President Trump’s most significant contribution to a more prosperous America is also his least understood: his assault on the administrative state.

The administrative state is the manifestation of a form of government that invests power in an unelected bureaucracy that can write the rules, enforce the rules and sit in judgment on the rules – essentially combining the power of three branches of constitutional government into one.

The administrative state and danger it poses to self-rule were evident 180 years ago. After studying America’s character and system of government in the 1830s, Alexis de Tocqueville, the French author of “Democracy in America,” issued a prescient warning about soft tyranny.

De Tocqueville wrote that excessive regulation by government “compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.”

When de Tocqueville wrote these words in 1835, the Federal Register – the federal government’s official journal of rules – was still 100 years off.

A little more than 40 years after the Federal Register’s creation, former U.S. Sen. Eugene McCarthy, D- Minn., quipped that “the only thing that saves us from the bureaucracy is inefficiency. An efficient bureaucracy is the greatest threat to liberty.”

In the last full year of President Obama’s term, the Federal Register contained more than 185,000 pages of regulations. Many of these regulations can, if not followed to the letter, lead to imprisonment and financial ruin. Moreover, bureaucrats lacking accountability to the voting public wrote these rules.

According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s annual publication “Ten Thousand Commandments – An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State,” we spent some $63 billion in 2016 to pay for regulations and regulators.

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