Administrative state

What is to be done?

Featured image Steve Hayward’s current Weekly Standard article “Crisis of the conservative house divided” provides an anatomy of splits in the conservative movement exposed in the course of the 2016 presidential contest. It’s an important and illuminating essay. Steve’s essay turns on “the insidious political character of the ‘administrative state,’ a phrase once confined chiefly to the ranks of conservative political scientists, but which has broken out into common parlance. It refers »

Reminder: Washington Hates America

Featured image One of the strongest arguments in favor of Trump is that if he won it would represent a stunning rebuke to the governing class in Washington—of both parties. That is one reason why Trump is essentially running as an independent, attacking both parties after having effected a hostile takeover of the Republican Party. I’ll have more to say about this starting Friday, but for now it is important to take »

Midnight Regs, Part 2

Featured image No sooner are the pixels posted on my note yesterday regarding “midnight regulations” than The Hill reports this: GOP Mostly Powerless in Stopping Obama ‘Midnight’ Regulations . . . Republican lawmakers and independent experts expect more [regulations] to come. But Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas told Roll Call that his party cannot do much because “the framers of the Constitution didn’t give us a lot of tools that didn’t »

Forget the 3 am Phone Call: Watch Midnight Regs Instead

Featured image There’s a phenomenon going back to the Carter-Reagan transition or before that is well known among K Street lawyers and what is called the “regulated community” (a perfectly Orwellian term for private sector business under the visible foot of government): outgoing Democratic administrations enact a number of new rule-makings on the last day of the administration, often very controversial and costly rules that the outgoing administration has sat on for »

NY Times Blasts Obama’s Executive Tyranny

Featured image I’m sure the New York Times didn’t think it was doing what I claim in the headline here with its remarkable story yesterday on Obama’s use of executive power, but what else would you conclude from taking in the direct and cleared-eyed prose of Binyamin Appelbaum and Michael D. Shear: WASHINGTON — In nearly eight years in office, President Obama has sought to reshape the nation with a sweeping assertion »

Our enemy, the state

Featured image This past April the Claremont Institute and the Federalist Society co-sponsored a panel discussion of the weaponization of the bureaucracy against the Democrats’ political opponents. They called the program “Our Partisan Bureaucracy? The IRS, the DOJ, and the Future of Political Activism” (video below and at the link). The Claremont Institute has posted the video with this description: When the first Civil Service Reform Act passed in 1883, “good government” »

First They Came for My Commode . . .

Featured image If you want to understand why Brexit passed and why more revolts from us peasants are likely ahead, take in this story from The Telegraph today: EU to launch kettle and toaster crackdown after Brexit vote The EU is poised to ban high-powered appliances such as kettles, toasters, hair-dryers within months of Britain’s referendum vote, despite senior officials admitting the plan has brought them “ridicule”. The European Commission plans to unveil long-delayed »

Power Line University (3): Brexit and the “Eurosausage”

Featured image One reason the “Yes, Prime Minister” series is so effective as a teaching tool about the nature of contemporary politics is that many of its story lines were taken from the real political controversies of the 1980s. One involved “bangers,” i.e., what passes for “sausage” in British pubs. The European Union, in its attempt to “harmonize” food standards, wanted Britain to rename “bangers” as something other than “sausage.” They were »

This Is How All Bureaucrats Should Be Answered

Featured image Making the rounds right now is an exchange that I certainly hope is authentic, between the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife and ranchers Larry and Amanda Anderson. It seems the Oregon bureaucrats want permission to survey the Andersons’ ranch land for purposes of tracking species decline. Here’s the letter from the state, which I think you can make out: And here is the Andersons’ splendid reply (full text below »

Power Line University (1)

Featured image A number of readers have asked periodically whether any of my courses are online, or available by videotape. Unfortunately not, though I may try to change this next year depending on whether I make a move to a more conventional lecture format. Right now, most of my classes are long, and seminar style, which means lots of classroom discussion and a sometimes chaotic direction that would make for awful viewing. »

This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things, Part 3

Featured image In this 2:37 long video from two years ago, Patrick McLaughlin of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University does a terrific job of dramatizing just how immense federal regulation has grown over the last two generations. Actually this visualization understates the number of regulatory programs, as it only identifies major regulatory agencies, not not individual regulatory initiatives per se. Still, this is a highly useful piece of work: »

This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

Featured image I’ve been meaning for a while to knock out an article on the theme, “there’s nothing wrong with America that 4 percent growth won’t solve.” That’s an exaggeration, of course, but not much of one. Faster economic growth will alleviate a number of our leading problems, especially stagnant wages, a sinking labor force participation rate, badly unbalanced budgets, adult children living in basements, ESPN’s sinking ratings, etc. One difficulty is »

Congresswomen attacks Gail Heriot, refuses to let her respond

Featured image Gail Heriot is a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and a law professor at the University of San Diego. Some of her work may be familiar to Power Line readers. For example, although Stuart Taylor and Richard Sander popularized “mismatch theory” with their 2012 book, Heriot had been writing about the problem for many years (as had Sander). Earlier this week, Heriot testified in her capacity as »

(DHS) Magical Mystery Tour: Too much of nothing

Featured image In “Prosecutors say member of alleged ISIL recruit’s defense team preached jihad,” Star Tribune reporter Stephen Montemayor noted in passing that local imams and Muslim “community leaders” had received a “behind-the-scenes security tour” in February at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Montemayor mentioned the tour when he noted that Hassan Mohamud — “Sheikh Hassan” — had been “uninvited” from the tour. What??? What tour? That’s where Montemayor left matters, so »

The Case of the Spotted Cow [Updated]

Featured image It’s not Sherlock Holmes, but rather an actual crime story. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports: A border-crossing beer run has landed two Maple Grove bar managers in a heap of legal trouble. In an unusual bust, undercover state investigators caught Maple Tavern illegally selling a beloved Wisconsin beer in April. The bar had tapped kegs of New Glarus Spotted Cow, a farmhouse ale that can only be sold in Wisconsin »

A new old regime revisited

Featured image I reviewed Philip Hamburger’s book Is Administrative Law Unlawful? for National Review last year in “A new old regime” and wrote about it a lot on Power Line, including an interview with Professor Hamburger that is posted here. The book bowled me over. I think it is the most important book I have read in a long time. Not the most pleasurable, but the most important. I have been interested »

Our Drone Government

Featured image Having just taken possession of my fourth drone (the Power Line Air Force has specialized needs you know), with a Lily on order when they finally come out, I’ve been preparing to comply with the new requirement that drone operators register them with the FAA. But then I say this news today: FAA Finally Admits Names And Home Addresses In Drone Registry Will Be Publicly Available The FAA finally confirmed this »