Robert Samuelson’s March 5 commentary, “Who’s afraid of the ‘administrative state’?’’ was disturbing. It refers to our government agencies as “the bureaucracy” and casts it as a tool set to be used at the whim of whoever is the president.
Mr. Samuelson’s take on this is just another view from the top looking down. Anyone who dares to tinker with these agencies should be intimate with their workings at the bottom and their histories. I spent almost 50 years in manufacturing, going back so far that I remember 1970 when OSHA started. Going forward, moving through different industries, my work consisted of achieving and sustaining compliance with the ever-changing and expanding laws enacted by most of these agencies. I never worked on one that did not make sense and sometimes the benefits of the regulations were almost palpable.
The worst thing that can be said about these agencies is that they are underpowered and overstaffed with political gamers who know nothing about the importance of these regulations — or worse, cronies who are simply into reversing the laws so that the powerful can return to raping the land and poisoning its inhabitants.
Mr. Samuelson submits that regulation is a paradox, that while we love the protections it affords, we often believe it is too cumbersome — and actually slows economic growth by 0.8 percent. That’s it? Too much paperwork and slowing economic growth? That’s the argument?
According to this writing, the 2015 Code of Federal Regulations totals 178,277 pages. You know what? So what? Every rule on every page is written because some polluter or other larcenous individual did something deceptive to endanger us.
Donald Trump’s latest broken campaign promise provides for Chinese steel to be used on the Keystone pipeline. Go ahead, ask a metallurgist about the performance risks of that steel over ours. You know, China does not have a pesky administrative state.