My friend Dr. Donald Devine makes a good point about the workings of the Administrative State in a review of a book by former Secretary of the Interior Avid Bernhardt.
Don writes ” Open cabinet access to the president had been the norm since George Washington, but it violates most modern Washington insiders’ presumed knowledge that the White House Office and the Office of Management and Budget expert staffs should and actually do run the modern presidency. The fundamental administrative fact is that, if the traditional direct presidential relationship fails, it is replaced by irresponsible bureaucracy, both careerist and political.”
Bernhardt explains how the government today does not generally work as the Constitution expected. Congress now leaves most of the policy-making to the bureaucracy, the real Article III courts leave legal-policy interpretations mostly to bureaucratic bodies in the executive branch, and the careerist bureaucracy actually performs the major executive functions of the national government — leaving the bureaucracy pretty much unaccountable to anyone.”
“Having spent a great deal of my career in the executive branch, I am gravely concerned that many people who work there believe that they have little need to comply with the written words of the law or the regulations of their agency, or with the policies of the elected president. The leaders of executive agencies, for their part, too often view themselves as little more than figureheads, allowing their agencies to run on autopilot rather than fulfilling their responsibility to supervise employees and hold them accountable to the American people.”
The author, a Kirby resident, is founder and vice-president of the Ethan Allen Institute. To read all EAI news and commentary, go to www.ethanallen.org.