The regulatory state has sometimes been called
the fourth branch. Which of course, wasn’t conceived by um, our
founders and the constitution and therefore, which of the other three branches should be
exercising some oversight over that branch? If you look at regulatory activity there was
a dramatic increase in regulatory activity in about the early 1970’s. And that dramatic increase in activity concerned
people. It was, it seemed to be increasing inflation and perhaps
limiting economic growth. And so, presidents starting with President
Carter asked agencies, “When you’re issuing regulations, pause before you issue them,
and make sure that they’re providing benefits that exceed the costs.” And every president since Reagan has required
agencies to look at the benefits and the cost of regulations and only issue new regulations
on evaluation that the benefits will exceed the costs. President Trump has come in and added a different
or, maybe not a different, but he’s put an overlay on that. He’s asked agencies to make sure they don’t
increase the regulatory burden. So, essentially he’s put a budget on regulatory
agencies. The administrative state is part of the executive
branch of the government. And I feel strongly that the president has
the authority and, in fact, the duty to exercise some control over the executive branch. After all, the president is the one person
who’s elected by everyone in the country and the agencies are part of the branch over which
the president presides. Now, that doesn’t mean that Congress shouldn’t
also exercise responsibility and I think Congress could do a lot more to oversee and constrain
the growth in regulatory activity.

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One thought on “Susan Dudley: The Executive Branch and the Regulatory State [NLC 2017]”

  1. Congress approves the budgets for each branch of the government which includes the regulatory agencies within the Executive branch. That is one constraint upon Presidential actions.

    Ambiguous is how benefits are to be monetized to compare it with the costs of new or changing regulations. What's the price of human lives and better health —- the benefits, compared to the burden companies and the economy must bear to mitigate environmental damages? I'm not saying it shouldn't be done, I'm only recognizing the political battles that will occur with any regulation. But that's politics.

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