Author Howard: Outdated Regulations Choke Nation

Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 08:04 PM

By Joe Battaglia

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The author of a new book says U.S. government has become bogged down by a legislature that does not bother to check itself or its work.

Philip K. Howard, author of the book "The Rule of Nobody: Saving America from Dead Laws and Broken Government," told J.D. Hayworth and John Bachman on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV that the country is being hurt by outdated regulations and a government that does not function properly.

"Congress not only delegates too much and never goes and sees how they work," Howard said Wednesday, "but it also never sees how its own statutory language works."

The end result, according to Howard, is a government that has brought itself to a screeching halt.

"We've created a democracy now where no one has authority to make any important choice," Howard said. "All the choices are kind of embedded in legal concrete and it's kind of piled up decade after decade so that the budgets are basically preset, including huge deficits.

"No one has authority, say, to approve new power lines or new infrastructure, so processes go on for a decade or longer. Society is paralyzed because no one can make a decision."

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To that end, Howard said he proposes in his book a bill of responsibilities, five constitutional amendments that would modernize the abilities of government.

His first one is that every piece of new legislation needs to carry a sunset provision that requires congressional review after a period of time. If the review finds that the legislation is no longer effective, funding for it is stopped and it becomes extinct.

Other amendments include giving the president the power to hire and fire civil servants so "he can actually manage the executive branch"; granting Congress the "authority, without presidential signature, to undo any regulation by the executive branch, by majority vote"; obliging the courts to "actually act as gatekeepers and say, 'No we're not going to allow abusive lawsuits'; and to create a new . . . watchdog branch of government to "comment on how the other branches are doing."

"At this point democracy is really run by dead people," Howard said. "It's all the people who wrote all of these programs and laws and regulations that are long gone and yet they dictate how everything works, including day-to-day choices.

"Today the civil service system, as you know, is completely unmanageable. I mean it's called the merit system, it's really the anti-merit system. We are at a point now where you can't actually just come in and kind of tweak this. We're in one of these periods like the 1960s where we need to kind of fundamentally rethink how we're running our society and do a radical spring cleaning."

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