Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Executive Budget As A Tool Of Despotism

Budget Battles And The Growth Of The Administrative State

The following includes some excerpts from Imprimis. This article by John Marini quite accurately details how Obama and the Progressive bureaucratic regime have taken over by "Rule of the Administrative State". As Marini describes, this has been building since the days of LBJ's "Great Society" program and continued when Congress began to cede power to the Executive branch and to the Judiciary in the early '70's.

The FED and the unelected bureaucrats are the enablers of what may be the final dismantling of our Constitution.
"What we have seen in subsequent decades is the steady expansion of a modern administrative state that is distinctively American in that it coexists with a limited government Constitution."

* * *

"In America, the administrative state traces its origins to the Progressive movement. Inspired by the theories of the German political philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Progressives like Woodrow Wilson believed that the erection of the modern state marked an “end of History,” a point at which there is no longer any need for conflict over fundamental principles. Politics at this point would give way to administration, and administration becomes the domain not of partisans, but of neutral and highly trained experts...(snip)
Progressive leaders were openly hostile to the Constitution not only because it placed limits on government, but because it provided almost no role for the federal government in the area of administration. The separation of powers of government into three branches—the executive, the legislative, and the judicial—inhibited the creation of a unified will and made it impossible to establish a technical administrative apparatus to carry out that will.

Determined to overcome this separation, one of the chief reforms promoted by early Progressives was an executive budget system—a budget that would allow Progressive presidents to pursue the will of a national majority and establish a non-partisan bureaucracy to carry it out.
Congress was initially reluctant to give presidents the authority to formulate budgets, partly because it infringed on Congress’s constitutional prerogative—but also because it was still understood at the time that the separation of powers stood as a barrier to tyranny and as a protection of individual freedom. Eventually, however, Congress’s resistance weakened.

For several decades after a federal budget process was put in place, a consensus concerning the size and purposes of the federal government limited the conflict over control of public finances.

Administrative functions at the national level were few, in keeping with a system of decentralized administration, an autonomous civil society, and a constitutional system that underscored the limited character of government.
This would change in the 1970s, when Congress reorganized itself to become a major player in the administrative process that had arisen with the Great Society.
The public consensus in support of limited government and balanced
budgets began to break down. Moreover, Republican presidents representing national majorities and Democratic Congresses organized around private interests became rival forces to an extent incompatible with the pursuit of a longterm public interest.

Thus the federal budget, understood as an instrument for fueling or defueling the growth of the administrative state, became the point of control over which the political parties and the political branches fell to fighting...(snip)
Insofar as Congress is tempted to make general laws on behalf of a perceived public good, it does so primarily on behalf of the expansion of the administrative state. Congress passed what appeared to be a general law concerning health care reform, the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare—but this is clearly not a law in constitutional terms, and makes sense only within the context of an administrative state.
When passed it was more than 2,500 pages long, and all it did was provide the administrative apparatus with the right and power to formulate rules and regulations governing health care nationwide. This extension of governmental power, or more precisely the power of unelected bureaucrats, is compatible with the administrative state, but not with the letter or the spirit of constitutional government.

John Locke, the most important political theorist of the American Founding era, described laws as a community’s “standing rules, indifferent, and the same to all parties.” None of these elements are to be found in the Affordable Care Act.

As Charles Kesler noted in the Claremont
Review of Books, such laws...

...start not from equal rights but from equal (and often unequal) privileges, the favors or benefits that government may bestow on or withhold from its clients. The whole point is to empower government
officials, usually unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats, to bless or curse your petitions as they see fit, guided, of course, by their expertness in a law so vast, so intricate, and so capricious that it could justify a hundred different outcomes in the same case. When law ceases to be a common standard of right and wrong and a common measure to decide all controversies, then the rule of law ceases to be republican and becomes despotic. Freedom itself ceases to be a right and becomes a gift, or the fruit of a corrupt bargain, because in such degraded regimes those who are close to and connected with the ruling class have special privileges.

In summary, Congress has become a major player in the administrative state precisely by surrendering its constitutional purpose and ceasing to defend limited government. As a result, the administrative state has grown dramatically since 1965, and it only continues to defend and expand its turf.
Political opposition occasionally arises in the White House or in Congress, but thus far with little effect. Despite its expansion under both parties, however, the administrative state has not attained legitimacy.
The Constitution itself remains the source of authority for those in and out of government who oppose the administrative state, and a stumbling block to those who support it. Until either the administrative state or the Constitution is definitively delegitimized, the battle within both government and the electorate over the size and scope of the federal government— including government shutdowns and showdowns over the debt limit—will inevitably continue"
Read the entire article HERE

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