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The Administrative State in One Photo

The then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (and may she remain forever a former Speaker) took a lot of ridicule during the debate over the passage of Obamacare when she said that we’d have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it.  I thought the critics had this all wrong.  It was, in fact, the most intelligent thing she ever said, albeit unintentionally.  What counts is, as Machiavelli put it, the “effectual truth” of the matter.  And the effectual truth of modern American government is that Congress no longer enacts laws in the meaningful sense of the word.  Instead, they pass wish lists, and delegate the actual lawmaking to unelected administrators.

Obamacare regs--and the original bill

Simple test: if Congress passes a statute–even one that is 1,600 pages long like Obamacare, but the law can’t go into effect as written, it is not really a law at all.  The simple proof is the photo here that Sen. Mitch McConnell’s office has released, showing the 20,000-plus pages of regulations issued so far for the implementation of Obamacare.  ”Regulation” is just a multi-syllabic word for “law,” after all.  The point is, administrators–the slightly nicer term for “bureaucrats”–now govern us much more than our elected lawmakers do.  One almost wonders why we have elections at all.  (Actually, many bureaucrats actually do wonder this.)

Of course, it remains to be seen whether Obamacare can survive the incomprehensible deadweight this tower of paperwork represents.  And this is only for one recent “law.”  A similar tower of regulations is being produced right now for the other legislative monstrosity from Obamaland, Dodd-Frank.

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