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Our Lost Constitution

Overview#

Our Lost Constitution: "The Willful Subversion of America's Founding Document" by Mike Lee is a book about the United States Congressional Delegation of Power

The following exert sums up the title: "I KEEP TWO TOWERS OF DOCUMENTS IN MY SENATE OFFICE. THE first is only a few inches tall. A collection of all the legislation passed by Congress in 2013, it contains about eight hundred pages.

The second tower, which is eleven feet tall, is a collection of regulations proposed and adopted by federal agencies in 2013. It contains about eighty thousand pages. These extraordinarily unequal towers illustrate a startling reality: The U.S. Congress no longer passes most of the federal laws, rules, and regulations that are imposed on the American people.

While a mountain of those rules are decreed by an army of unelected federal bureaucrats, only about 1 percent of the rules we must live by are enacted by the most accountable branch of government-Congress.

Using a classic duck-and-dodge strategy, Congress routinely enacts legislation that purports to solve a genuine problem but provides no specific solutions. Congress then delegates to executive branch bureaucrats the power to make legally binding rules or "regulations," which will themselves determine the law's real-world impact. It's a brilliant plan; Congress gets all the credit for the popular goal and none of the blame for the controversial particulars of regulation.

One prominent example of this kind of lawmaking can be found in the Clean Air Act. The act essentially declares that "we shall have clean air" and then outlines a broad vision for limiting air pollution from both mobile sources (like cars) and stationary sources (like factories). The act contains relatively few details as to how its laudable objectives will be achieved. Instead, it authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to make and enforce legally binding regulations that, far more than the act itself, restrict air pollution. "

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