Over at The Fiscal Times I tried to make a comment on the post, How Congress Could Make Steve Bannon’s Wildest Dream Come True, but either Disqus or The Fiscal Time had a problem that prevented me from completing the login. So here is what I wanted to say.
The idea that Senator Portman will make Steve Bannon’s wildest dream come is laughable. Both Senator Portman and Steve Bannon agree that the regulatory system is broken. How to fix it is where they differ. Mr. Bannon would like to start over with a smaller federal footprint while Senator Portman would like to reform the current system. Here are my reasons why powerful insiders, Senators Portman (R-Ohio) and Heitkamp (D-N.D.), are more likely to fix the regulatory system before Mr. Bannon or the Supreme Court can garner enough support for a more drastic reform.
Reason #1 – Senator Portman Is The Best Man For Regulatory Reform
Senator Portman is my senator so I am familiar with what he stands for and how he legislates. Senator Portman believes in the establishment class. No one has ever confused him with a libertarian. The bills he sponsors typically try to make the existing government agencies work better. The Regulatory Accountability Act is exactly the type of legislation I expect him to propose. As the ultimate insider and consensus builder, he probably solicited input from the affected agencies in crafting the bill. If anyone can write a bill that will make the regulatory system work more efficiently, he is the one.
Reason #2 – The U. S. Chamber Of Commerce Wants Regulatory Reform
The best explanation of the reason for the law comes from U. S. Chamber of Commerce. Once again they emphasize the importance of regulatory reform when they say:
While most federal agencies exercise regulatory self-restraint, there are at times agencies that use these delegated powers as if the agency was the elected legislature. And Congress can sometimes find itself unable to control the conduct of that agency. More troubling are those situations when the courts fail to scrutinize agency action by granting deference to agency overreach, causing the checks and balances in our system of government to fail.
Reason #3 – The Courts Want Regulatory Reform
A bigger threat to the Administrative State is that their incompetence and arrogance is irritating the court. When you look at the Supreme Court opinions in the Sisters of the Poor and Hobby Lobby cases you can see that the Court is getting frustrated with cases that should never have gone to court. I sense that the Court believes the regulatory system has gotten too political. Unless things change quickly, the Supreme Court will start looking for cases to roll back the Chevron Deference to encourage more consensus building and fewer lawsuits. It will be a small step to a more libertarian approach. If an agency cannot attain a consensus then the Court will go “old school” and ask Congress to pass legislation that provides adequate direction.
So the Congress, the Senate, the Supreme Court, and the U. S. Chamber of Commerce all want the regulatory system reformed. Unlike the author of the Fiscal Times article, I think the presence of folks like Mr. Bannon will convince these groups to do a meaningful reform. Kicking this regulatory reform down the road is not an option for the establishment class in this political environment.
Trivia Fact: The “cancer-causing dust” referred to in the article is sand. I am guessing that “cancer-causing dust” is a lot scarier than regulations on breathing sand. Silicosis is a greater medical threat than cancer. OSHA set standards to limit worker exposure in 1971 so updated standards are long overdue. The OSHA site says,
OSHA will delay enforcement of the respirable crystalline silica standard for construction until September 23, 2017, to conduct additional outreach and provide educational materials and guidance for employers.