The steady growth of an unaccountable executive

The Washington Post has a very interesting article detailing how the executive (President) has steadily grown over the last few decades, how it makes more and more laws by fiat, and applies laws generally without accountability or transparency.  Congress is supposed to be the branch of government which makes laws, but today the executive actually makes more laws.  Here is an excerpt.

The fourth branch now has a larger practical impact on the lives of citizens than all the other branches combined.

The rise of the fourth branch has been at the expense of Congress’s lawmaking authority. In fact, the vast majority of “laws” governing the United States are not passed by Congress but are issued as regulations, crafted largely by thousands of unnamed, unreachable bureaucrats. One study found that in 2007, Congress enacted 138 public laws, while federal agencies finalized 2,926 rules, including 61 major regulations.

This rulemaking comes with little accountability. It’s often impossible to know, absent a major scandal, whom to blame for rules that are abusive or nonsensical. Of course, agencies owe their creation and underlying legal authority to Congress, and Congress holds the purse strings. But Capitol Hill’s relatively small staff is incapable of exerting oversight on more than a small percentage of agency actions. And the threat of cutting funds is a blunt instrument to control a massive administrative state — like running a locomotive with an on/off switch.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-rise-of-the-fourth-branch-of-government/2013/05/24/c7faaad0-c2ed-11e2-9fe2-6ee52d0eb7c1_story.html

The Federal government has already metastasized into a worryingly large and intrusive force disrupting our lives.  On top of that, the executive taking over the powers of the legislature is even more worrying, due to power being concentrated into the hands ultimately of one person (the president).  Congress is bad enough, but at least power is distributed among many people and a few parties.  With power concentrated in the hands of the president, the possibility of partisan abuse is bigger than ever.

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