Ordered to reduce red tape, federal bureaucrats increased it


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Government in action: In response to two executive orders by President Obama ordering federal agencies to review their regulations to eliminate red tape and streamline government operations, federal bureaucrats added 6.5 million paperwork hours to their workload and increased regulatory costs by $16 billion even as they wrote these reviews.

The American Action Forum has found the reviews consist mostly of recycled regulations by federal agencies that have actually increased regulatory costs. “The recent ‘retrospective reports’ from the administration reveal that executive agencies have added more than $16 billion in regulatory costs, up from $14.7 billion in the previous update, and 6.5 million paperwork hours,” the report said.

The agency reviews are a result of President Barack Obama’s initiative for a “government-wide review of rules on the books,” which the White House claims to have led to $28 billion in net five-year savings since 2011. However, the American Action Forum has found retrospective reviews often add additional costs to the economy. A review in 2014 added $23 billion in costs and 8.9 million paperwork burden hours.

No one should be surprised by this. Asking agencies to review their regulations will instead be seen by them as a glorious opportunity to justify their existence with more work. The way to eliminate these regulations is for the elected officials in charge to, surprise!, eliminate these regulations. Don’t ask the bureaucrats to do it. Tell them to do it.

And when these bureaucrats go to the press to complain and say how the elimination of this or that regulation will cause the sky to fall, the politicians have to have the courage to not back down, even when the press teams up with the bureaucrats to slander them for trying to bring the federal government under control.

2 comments

  • Wayne

    Mr. Z. commented:
    “Asking agencies to review their regulations will instead be seen by them as a glorious opportunity to justify their existence with more work.”
    ———————-
    I was peripherally involved in watching such an exercise in the mid 90’s–our community mental-health organization embarked on a 2 year study of itself, in preparation for a “glorious” 4-year Plan they wanted to implement.

    All this “planning” costs time & money, and we qualified for a hefty but limited “demonstration-grant,” which ended up funding 2 FT Grant Writer’s & 2 FT “Project Administrators,” to oversee all this “streamlining, fraud-busting, & efficiency-finding.”
    Needless to say, 3 years into all this, the State & Federal government had completely reorganized their funding-streams, & a large chunk of our senior workforce, including the Director & long-serving Board Members, all decided to retire en-mass.
    New people were elected & new officers appointed, all of which had competing objectives but all of which had to spend considerable time & money cleaning up the Past before they could even work on the Present or Future.
    We conservatively blew 5-10% of our $40 million budget every year for 6-7 years before the bleeding stopped. (Grant-writing department has since expanded even more, by virtue of consistently finding money to fund themselves, above all else.)

  • Edward

    Robert wrote: “The way to eliminate these regulations is for the elected officials in charge to, surprise!, eliminate these regulations. Don’t ask the bureaucrats to do it. Tell them to do it.”

    I see a different solution.

    Corporations will occasionally destroy empires embedded in their bureaucracies by centralizing or decentralizing functions. I see this as an opportunity to decentralize a large number of functions that the federal government is performing but is not authorized to perform.

    Functions such as OSHA, the EPA, and education could easily be moved to the states, where more local authority can move more quickly to solve local problems.

    “Welfare” programs are not federal purview, nor are they even a proper function of government — local charities did a good job, before LBJ’s “War on Poverty” institutionalized poverty into a generational trap.

    Most of what the federal government spends money on is not authorized by the constitution, despite what the Supreme Court (a member of the fascist* federal oligarchy) ruled.

    * http://www.dictionary.com/browse/fascism
    Notice that our laws and regulations already heavily regiment our industry and commerce through the very regulations that Obama asked to be reduced. Notice that Obama rules as a dictator, ignoring the checks and balances set up by the Constitution and voted upon by We the People. Notice that opposition to Obama is often suppressed, even to the point where state attorneys general team up to prosecute global warming skeptics.
    http://behindtheblack.com/behind-the-black/points-of-information/democratic-ags-team-up-to-prosecute-global-warming-skeptics/#comment-872073

    If the control is moved closer to the people, the people have a better chance of gaining the control and eliminating any fascism that builds.

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