>To hear the comments of some conservative opinion-makers, you would think that Federal Departments are an endangered species. In a recent Op-Ed Matt Kibbe and Dick Armey of FreedomWorks suggested eliminating the Departments of Commerce and Housing And Urban Development. Not to be outdone, former-Speaker of the House and presumptive presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has called for scrapping the Environmental Protection Agency and replacing it with … another agency.
And that’s the problem. While these calls may grab headlines and build a reputation as a cost-cutter they are not real solutions to reduce the scope of government. They are merely fiddling with an org chart.
Ending the Department of Education would not reduce the federal government’s role in education. The executive branch carries out actions which it is required to by law and the source of that law is Congress. Any real reform must begin with Congress taking actions to reduce the tangled web of diktats and mandates that the U.S. Code has grown into.
The only way to cut the size of government is for the government to pass fewer laws.For every law that is passed the executive branch must expand to interpret, define, and enforce it. Real reform would begin with requiring the legislative branch to exercise restraint on its own powers. A positive first step might be ceasing the knee-jerk rush to “solve” every perceived problem with a new bit of legislation. These laws are just added to the accumulated pile which has become increasingly impossible to understand, even for well-meaning Americans. The real test of seriousness for the 112th Congress will be if they understand that reform begins at home.
And commentators might be better served by flipping through their law books and finding ways to streamline and simplify the legal code rather than focusing on what the enforcing agencies are called.