12. The Root Of The Problem

I have been watching, as I suspect most of you have been doing, the various bits of wrangling over the impending debt crisis.  And as I have been thinking about it, I have been formulating a modest proposal to prevent any future recurrence of the posturing that we have been witnessing over the past few weeks.

First, I think I should state my basic premise for this proposal.  I believe that the problem is not that the United States is taking in far too little in taxes.  The problem is that there is far too much spending taking place.  And I think that the root of the problem is that the bureaucracy has become far too bloated, and needs to be brought under control.

I think part of this problem is that it is far too easy for any governmental agency, bureau, or department to expand its area of authority and/or responsibility.  There seems to be nothing in place to put limits on their authority.  And their ability to issue regulations is an usurping and an arrogation of the legislative power of Congress.

The solution, as I see it, is that there needs to be put into place some form of controlling and limiting the bureaucracy.  And these controls and limits need to be enacted in such a way that they cannot be easily overridden.  To enact these controls, then, would most likely require an amendment to the US Constitution.

My proposed amendment would have three sections.  The first section would deal with the creation of any future governmental agency, bureau, or department.  The second section would deal with controlling any agency after its creation, including any agency that currently exists.  The third section

SECTION 1 — The creation of any new governmental agency, bureau, or department would be treated like any amendment to the Constitution.  It would first have to pass each house of Congress by a two-thirds majority, then approved by three-fifths of the states.  Such approval by the states would also have to be done within one year of the proposal’s passing in Congress.  I might also give the states the option of giving the approval either by the state legislatures, or by a ballot referendum by the voters of each state.

My reasoning here is that as the Constitution was originally written, the several states had a much larger role in governing the country.  Giving the states a say in the creation of any new agency would return some of that role.  More importantly, it would (I hope) serve as a check on Congress creating an agency that the country as a whole would not want.

SECTION 2 — Dissolving or abolishing any governmental agency, bureau, or department, including those already in place, would require only a simple majority of Congress.  And if a simple majority of the states so direct, Congress would have to consider the matter of abolishing an agency.

Here, I want to make getting rid of an agency, especially one that has outlived its usefulness, much easier than creating one.  Again, I want to give the states more of a check on the power of Congress.  I might even consider the idea that it would take only a simple majority of the states to abolish an agency.  Give any agency notice that it not only has to worry about Congress, but also the several states.

SECTION 3 — This would mandate that any regulations created by any agency that have the force of law would have to be approved by Congress before taking effect.  The Senators and Representatives were elected to pass legislation; these bureaucrats were not.

I must admit, the last section needs a little more thought.  But I decided that I wanted to post this before the August 2 deadline.

As for why I feel this needs to be an amendment to the Constitution, I want it to be difficult for any agency to find ways around any restrictions placed upon them.  I also want it difficult for anyone to try removing those restrictions once they are in place.

Does this sound like it might be at least a step in the right direction?

***jn***

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