No more GOP whin­ing about over­reg­u­la­tion

Repub­li­cans could be over­reach, but aren’t agency

The Washington Times Daily - - Opinion - By Richard W. Rahn

The Supreme Court last week ruled against the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency (EPA) in a unan­i­mous decision. The EPA had charged a cou­ple with vi­o­lat­ing the Clean Water Act. It claimed their prop­erty was a “wet­land” and said it would fine them up to $75,000 per day — but there was no water on the prop­erty and there had been no ju­di­cial re­view of the charge. Where are the mem­bers of Congress whose fund­ing en­ables the EPA to en­gage in this tyranny?

We are used to var­i­ous gov­ern­ment agen­cies over­reach­ing and then see­ing mem­bers of Congress go on TV and com­plain about what the gov­ern­ment agen­cies are do­ing. The fact is, Congress (both par­ties are guilty) has failed in its over­sight re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and con­tin­ues to fund agen­cies that ig­nore both the Con­sti­tu­tion and the law.

Repub­li­cans whine that they can­not con­trol spend­ing be­cause they only con­trol one half of Congress. But the plain fact is that the Con­sti­tu­tion is very spe­cific. Any spend­ing bill must be passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law by the pres­i­dent. Set­ting aside for the mo­ment the bud­get agree­ments that House Repub­li­cans, Se­nate Democrats and the pres­i­dent made about the over­all level of spend­ing and fund­ing of the en­ti­tle­ments, there is still much House Repub­li­cans can do through the ap­pro­pri­a­tions process to pre­vent many of the ex­cesses of gov­ern­ment.

For in­stance, there is noth­ing to pre­vent the House Repub­li­cans from re­fus­ing to fund the EPA’S de­sired bud­get un­til the agency puts pro­ce­dures in place to guar­an­tee the ba­sic con­sti­tu­tional rights of all Amer­i­cans, in­clud­ing in­de­pen­dent ju­di­cial re­view, be­fore any fines or crim­i­nal charges are levied. These same rules also should ap­ply to the Se­cu­ri­ties and Ex­change Com­mis­sion (well­known for its in­com­pe­tence and over­reach­ing), the In­ter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice (IRS) and other agen­cies that have a record of abus­ing cit­i­zens.

Most fed­eral agen­cies are re­quired to do a cost-ben­e­fit anal­y­sis be­fore is­su­ing any ma­jor rule or reg­u­la­tion, nor­mally de­fined as hav­ing an im­pact of $100 mil­lion. Many agen­cies only pay lip ser­vice to the re­quire­ment, rarely hav­ing truly in­de­pen­dent and com­pe­tent staff to do the re­quired anal­y­sis. An­other stunt used by bu­reau­crats to avoid do­ing cost­ben­e­fit stud­ies is al­ways to as­sume that the cost of the pro­posed reg­u­la­tion is un­der the $100 mil­lion thresh­old by ig­nor­ing many of the in­di­rect costs of the reg­u­la­tion.

Some agen­cies claim they are not re­quired to com­ply with the cost-ben­e­fit re­quire­ments — the IRS be­ing one ex­am­ple. The IRS is now writ­ing rules for the For­eign Ac­count Tax Com­pli­ance Act (FATCA). The rules could drive out much of the more than $10 tril­lion for­eign port­fo­lio in­vest­ment in the United States, which would cost mil­lions of jobs. Has the IRS done an in­de­pen­dent cost­ben­e­fit anal­y­sis of the reg­u­la­tion? No. Has the IRS looked at the im­pact of the reg­u­la­tion on Amer­i­cans liv­ing abroad? No. Has the IRS done an as­sess­ment of the im­pact of the reg­u­la­tion on our re­la­tions with friendly for­eign coun­tries? No. Has the Re­pub­li­can House banned the IRS from spend­ing funds on en­forc­ing what is likely to be a very de­struc­tive reg­u­la­tion un­til a thor­ough and in­de­pen­dent cost-ben­e­fit study on the reg­u­la­tion is done? No.

Wake up, con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans. When the for­eign in­vest­ments stop flow­ing freely next year and mil­lions of Amer­i­cans are los­ing jobs as a re­sult, you are go­ing to be blamed — and prop­erly so — be­cause you did noth­ing to stop it. You have the power to stop it and many other outrages. You don’t need Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Harry Reid and Se­nate Democrats or the pres­i­dent to give you per­mis­sion to stop this.

House Repub­li­cans, when are you go­ing to find the guts to stop fund­ing Na­tional Public Ra­dio (NPR)? Much of its tax­payer-funded but lib­er­ally bi­ased pro­gram­ming at­tacks only you and your base, but you sit there just wait­ing to be hit. The folks at NPR know that you are all talk and no ac­tion so they con­tinue to mis­use public funds to pro­mote a Demo­crat-only agenda.

Many Repub­li­cans con­tinue to vote for ap­pro­pri­a­tions for in­ter­na­tional out­fits such as the Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Eco­nomic Co-op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment, which has an anti-tax com­pe­ti­tion agenda and global min­i­mum-tax agenda, and the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund, which in­di­rectly helped fund the Greek bailout. Both or­ga­ni­za­tions dam­age Amer­i­can in­ter­ests. Mem­bers of Congress, please ex­plain why U.S. tax­pay­ers should have some of their hard-earned money spent to help the Greeks. The ad­min­is­tra­tion and mem­bers of Congress ar­gue that no U.S. tax­payer money was di­rectly used, but money is fun­gi­ble. Just be­cause it goes through sev­eral pock­ets does not mean that U.S. tax­pay­ers did not con­trib­ute.

Tea Par­ty­ers and oth­ers who are con­cerned about the growth of abu­sive gov­ern­ment need to pay at­ten­tion and make it clear they will op­pose those, in­clud­ing Repub­li­cans who call them­selves fis­cal con­ser­va­tives, who vote to fund these abu­sive agen­cies and ac­tiv­i­ties.

IL­LUS­TRA­TION BY NANCY OHA­NIAN

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