Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Bush's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Destroys Constitutional Separation of Powers

January 30, 2007

In another example of the Bush Administration's post modern approach; the brain trust is exploiting another seemingly progressive issue to propel it's reactionary agenda.

The plan is layed out in an article in the New York Times by Robert Pear on January 30, 2007.
(NYT's has changed the other end of the link since this was published.)

In an executive order the President has directed every agency of the federal government to form a regulatory policy office run by an Administration appointee.

While the NYT article high-lights the President's use of executive privilege to appoint the new agencies regulatory Czar; the issue goes beyond that, to the concept of Separation of Powers - one of the foundations of the republic.

The Whitehouse wants to apply a new statistical theory that studies the specific effect of policy on the economy - in real time.

The new theory, called Experimental Economics will be put to the test by economists working together with biologists, sociologists, and psychologists who will create a virtual model of the economy on a Super Computer. Using incredibly fast processors and gargantuan memory size
in conjunction with gaming and search engine industry software, they plan to model the economy in four dimensions. The model is then to be used to calculate the effect of policy in specific enterprise.

Susan E. Dudley an Experimental Economist, is Bush's pick to head up the "Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs" which will be added on to the "Office of Management and Budget".

The NYT again:

"President Bush first nominated Ms. Dudley last August. The nomination died in the Senate, under a barrage of criticism from environmental and consumer groups, which said she had been hostile to government regulation. Mr. Bush nominated her again on Jan. 9.

With Democrats in control, the Senate appears unlikely to confirm Ms. Dudley. But under the Constitution, the president could appoint her while the Senate is in recess, allowing her to serve through next year."

The new technology will have a direct impact on citizens; Robert Pear writes,

"..business executives and consumer advocates said the administration was particularly concerned about rules and guidance issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration."

The Bush executive order creates a lever by which an administration can express it's political vision. The computer program only spits out numbers; but the new regulatory offices will make political decisions based on the new and better information. In itself this is a good thing - the rule of law in the enlightened society is supposed to be rooted in empirical science.

The Congress must act however to counter the power grab by the Whitehouse. The intent of legislation will be interpreted, exclusively, by the executive branch through the administrative changes. Congress - the branch of government that votes the money and the law - would seem to have as much, if not more interest, in the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.


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