Lobbyist Job Creation Act

By Chidem Kurdas

Happy Fourth of July! Don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, but  the state of the Republic requires serious thought. Our government has managed to create endless opportunities, but not for ordinary people—only for political operators and influence peddlers, with the Obama Administration pushing some 4,500 pages of medical and financial regulation just in its first 18 months.

What is more, those reams of regulation are an epitome of vagueness, of “unfathomable murk” in the fine phrase Daniel Henninger used in the WSJ to describe the problem.  In the murk and the wide-open discretion given to public bureaucrats lie gems for lobbyists. The White House and Congressional Democrats – even as they chided business lobbies – maximized the bills’ scope and vagueness, laying the groundwork for massive growth in the crony system that intermingles government with private interests.

What we see is something James Madison predicted.  

“Every new regulation concerning commerce or revenue, or in any manner affecting the value of the different species of property, presents a new harvest to those who watch the change, and can trace its consequences,” wrote Madison in the Federalist Papers. He pointed out that this gives “unreasonable advantage” to the enterprising and the moneyed few over the mass of the people. 

His point: laws should be stable and transparent. The US Constitution, of course, was designed to foster limited government with a small but effective and widely understood set of tools.

Instead, Mr. Obama and his associates have created the most bountiful “harvest”  for the politically connected. A harvest, Madison wrote, “reared not by themselves, but by the toils and cares of the great body of their fellow-citizens.”

Laws should be no longer than the Constitution – as I think a Tea Partier suggested – and of comparable clarity. What’s needed is a Constitutional amendment to that effect.

12 thoughts on “Lobbyist Job Creation Act

  1. Right, let’s look to a failed politico-legal doctrine (constitutionalism/Constitutionalism) for salvation from said failed politico-legal doctrine.

    I see a lot of minarchists who are quick to note that, in terms of the economic problems, debt can’t be the solution to debt. Yet very few of them can let go of their cherished political ideals to realize that constitutional government can not be the solution to constitutional government.

  2. Re “…constitutional government can not be the solution to constitutional government.”
    I don’t understand that. Constitutional government is the foundation of this country. It worked pretty well for a long time–as it clear when you compare to other countries. So now some people want to forget about about the Constitution and instead embrace–What? Cronyism perhaps?

  3. How come I never see original source documents quoted on national press? I feel likethese issues are so clear cut when presented properly (as done above) so why not present this to the masses? Glenn Beck ?

  4. Great question, Eric. I also wonder how well original documents like the Federalist Papers are taught in the schools. Certainly one does not get the impression that young people are encouraged to carefully read and think about the founding principles of the country. If they did, maybe we would not be in the situation we are in.

  5. I learned vague things about the Federalist Papers in high school. Although it was mostly generalizations about how horrible the Articles of Confederation were and the importance of a strong central government with an independent, standing army. Inconvenient details were certainly not mentioned.

    We NEVER studied or even mentioned the anti-federalist writing like Henry Lee’s letters

    http://www.constitution.org/afp/fedfar00.htm

    I guess that’s what happens when you’re on the losing side of history!

  6. Jerry,
    I thought I knew the Constitution well, but that particular provision had not registered with me. It shows that we all need to read the Constitution again periodically.

  7. Article 1, Section 8 gives Congress the Power “To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a Longer Term than two Years”;

    but it has the power “To provide and maintain a Navy”;

  8. […] Professor Epstein points out that “intrigue always arises when the government is in a position to dole out or deny benefits”  and this corrodes the rule of law and the legitimacy of the regulatory state. James Madison made a similar point—inevitable corruption accompanies the political giving out of goodies and indulgences.   […]

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