05.30.2013 0

Axelrod is right: ‘Government is so vast’

By Willie Deutsch

With the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) targeting, AP wiretapping and the tracking of other reporters, and more, it is hard not to conclude departments of the executive branch may be politicizing their positions.  That is why the White House is working overtime to distance the wave of scandals from Obama himself.

This is a difficult task because, in the least, when more and more people working for Obama are involved in scandals, it sure doesn’t look good for the President.

Recently David Axelrod was working hard to defend the president on MSNBC’s Morning Joe with Joe Scarborough.  He had some pretty incredible arguments to deny the scandals were connected to anyone political, saying that the proof no one political was involved was that it is absurd that anyone political would be involved.

Said Axelrod, “One prima facia evidence that nobody political was involved in this was that if anyone political was involved in this, they would say are you kidding me? Are you nuts? What are you doing?”

However, in defending the president, he stated what conservatives have been saying for years. Namely, that the government is too large: “Part of being president is there’s so much underneath you because the government is so vast,” Axelrod declared. “You go through these [controversies] all because of this stuff that is impossible to know if you’re the president or working in the White House, and yet you’re responsible for it and it’s a difficult situation.”

Axelrod has a point. While simply a rhetorical admission on his part, his statement confirms the larger principle that a large, unelected bureaucracy cannot by design be accountable to the people.

Nor to elected officials, apparently. But if the politicians can’t control the “vast” bureaucracy, or even know what is going on inside it, then we have a problem.

Americans elect people to run the government.  We expect those we elect to make the decisions, and to keep the bureaucracy they create in check.  If elected officials aren’t responsible for the decisions of bureaucracy, then what voice do the American people have?

Ironically, Axelrod’s statement is an indictment of the very system he and Barack Obama have been working hard to create.  How can Axelrod keep a straight face as he blames the government for being too “vast” and simultaneously champion legislation that adds hundreds of new workers to the IRS?

David, we agree with you.  The government is too vast.  It has been growing by leaps and bounds and it is time for that to be reversed. But growing the agency will not rein in these abuses.

Instead, it is time the country use Axelrod’s criterium to rein in government.  Let’s make the government small enough that the elected officials and political appointees can actually know what is going on inside the bureaucracy.

There are three very simple things we can do that will make this happen overnight. 1) Congress should take apart the IRS from top to bottom to remove such unbridled discretion on the part of the agency; 2) the Internal Revenue Manual and all revenue procedures adopted should be subjected to the Administrative Procedures Act, resulting in all agency policies that directly affect tax filers to be subjected to public comment; and 3) the Administrative Procedures Act and any other laws governing the federal rulemaking process should be amended to require an up or down vote by both houses of Congress for a federal rule to take effect.

These three changes would stop the growth of the administrative state overnight.  If Congress really believes that it is the legislative branch of government, then it needs to rein in the incredible rulemaking powers of the federal government.  The time required and prudence that would be used by elected representatives who could be held accountable would slow down and hopefully temper the growth of government.

If David Axelrod really believes that the problem with the government is that it is too big for elected officials to control, then I am sure he will support these three important changes.

Willie Deutsch is the social media director for Americans for Limited Government and Editor-in-Chief of NetRight Daily.  You can follow him online @williedeutsch.

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