Ending Independent Federal Agencies
The threat by President Trump to fire the Federal Reserve chairman is an example of how our entire federal system has grown into a monstrosity that is overwhelmingly unconstitutional – and almost everyone, not just President Trump, is to blame.
The Federal Reserve System is an independent regulatory agency, that murky and unaccountable fourth branch of government. As such, its members, once nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate, serve whatever term is provided for in the statute creating the independent agency.
Just as the Senate cannot undo its confirmation, the president cannot undo his nomination (or the nomination of his predecessor if the appointment was made before his term began). The purpose of these agencies is to provide a federal creature that makes laws (regulations) without congressional approval and that executes laws without presidential approval.
Most of these agencies are not only "quasi-legislative" and "quasi-executive," but also "quasi-judicial," which destroys the separation of powers in a system not anywhere provided for in the Constitution. There are some safeguards – the findings of an agency can be overturned by a federal court, although the findings of an independent agency have a presumption of being right.
Why were these agencies established? This is one of the most insidious parts of the whole system: independent regulatory agencies are intended to make laws without Congress, enforce laws without the president, and judge compliance with those laws without federal courts. Most Americans have no idea just how much power has been transferred to these agencies. Consider the number and type.
The purpose of independent federal regulatory agencies is to remove decisions on important federal actions from political control. The practical effect, because of the vast number of regulations promulgated by these agencies each year, is to remove law-making from Congress and to place this power in the hands of nameless, faceless bureaucrats, lawyers, and activists who use their position to do those things that the people, if they knew, would not want.
The Federal Reserve System, which largely controls the supply of money and interest rates in America, is one of the most nefarious of these agencies, but all, really, are equally unconstitutional, equally destructive of popular will, equally muddling public policy issues, and equally exasperating to those Americans who wish to constitutionally change the direction of American government.
President Trump, if he wished to propose a truly revolutionary change in Washington, could propose to Congress a single great reform: abolish all independent federal regulatory agencies and return the power these agencies wield back to Congress, the presidency, and the federal bench – respectively, the legislative, executive, and judicial powers these agencies have exercised.
All the rules that have been enacted would automatically remain in force – unless Congress explicitly repealed them – for two years, at the end of which time they would become void. All the staff and offices that had enforced these rules would come under the direct control of the president or his designee, and the supervisors and administrators could be fired by the president at will. No quasi-judicial power would remain with these agencies, and Congress could create new and special federal courts with exclusive jurisdiction over the rules and the enforcement of these agencies.
This would reduce greatly the federal regulatory oppression of business and industry, and it would do much to restore the federal government back to its independent constitutional delegation of powers. If Democrats in the House yelped and hollered – and they will yelp and holler at anything President Trump proposes – then he could counter their complaints with a simple proviso: this law would not go into effect until January 2021, when the winner of the 2020 presidential election takes office.
If House Democrats still blocked this reform, then President Trump could accuse them of trusting Washington bureaucrats more than the American people. If House Democrats went along with President Trump and he won re-election, then President Trump would have the power to really clean house and end the stranglehold of federal regulation on American business.
What about the worst-case scenario? What if House Democrats went along with the change, and a Democrat won the White House? There would be no real negative consequences. These bureaucrats already are leftist Democrats. The new president would have to take full responsibility for all the bad things these bureaucrats have done, and Congress would have to pass the highly unpopular regulations rather than shift the burden to unaccountable agencies.
Every sane person outside Washington knows that we are regulated to death. Here is a chance for President Trump to do something about it. He ought to seize the opportunity.