Federal regulations place an enormous burden on our economy. They are strangling every individual and business with red tape. Earlier this year the Competitive Enterprise Institute released this report detailing the exact size of this regulatory nightmare. Here are some highlights from that report.
- The total cost of regulatory compliance for 2015 alone was $1.885 trillion
- The cost per household that year was $15000
- 80000 pages of federal rules and regulations were added to the federal register that year
- There are about 60 different federal agencies writing regulations
The vast majority of these regulations violate several fundamental clauses of the United States Constitution.
All of these regulations are written by departments of the Executive Branch or by independent agencies. This violates Article I Section 1 which states:
All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
The legislative branch has been derelict in its constitutional obligations. For the past several decades both houses of congress have written laws which have delegated legislative power to these regulatory agencies. Congress does not have the authority to delegate legislative authority to anyone. They are not granted that power. John Locke, one of the primary influences of the framers of the Constitution, was quite clear on this when he wrote his Second Treatise on Government:
The Legislative cannot transfer the Power of Making Laws to any other hands. For it being but a delegated Power from the People, they, who have it, cannot pass it over to others. The People alone can appoint the Form of the Commonwealth, which is by Constituting the Legislative, and appointing in whose hands that shall be. And when the People have said, We will submit to rules, and be govern’d by Laws made by such Men, and in such Forms, no Body else can say other Men shall make Laws for them; nor can the people be bound by any Laws but such as are Enacted by those, whom they have Chosen, and Authorised to make Laws for them. The power of the Legislative being derived from the People by a positive voluntary Grant and Institution, can be no other, than what that positive Grant conveyed, which being only to make Laws, and not to make Legislators, the Legislative can have no power to transfer their Authority of making Laws, and place it in other hands.
Regulations written by these regulatory agencies are treated as the law of the land even though they are never passed by both houses and signed by the president. This is in violation of Article 1 Section 7 of the Constitution, which defines the formal legislative process.
The US Constitution created a limited federal government with only clearly defined powers, which are spelled out in Article 1 Section 8. All other powers are left to the individual States. This is declared in the Tenth Amendment:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
These regulations violate the Tenth Amendment because they grant the federal government the authority to regulate in areas not contained in the powers enumerated in Article 1 Section 8.
The federal government treats these regulations as if they are the law of the land, in violation of the Supremacy Clause, which is Article 6 Section 2:
This constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, any thing in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.
Because these regulations violate several provisions of the Constitution, they are not in pursuance of the Constitution; therefore they are not the law of the land.
Since all of these regulations already violate several articles of the Constitution, a constitutional amendment preventing the federal government from implementing this regulatory nightmare is not the solution to this constitutional crisis. Thomas Jefferson proposed the solution to this crisis when he wrote the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798. The States must refuse to implement these unconstitutional regulations and the States must refuse to help the federal government implement them.
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