The real power in America lies with the permanent, Democrat- and union-controlled, and very unconstitutional administrative state. Vivek Ramaswamy spoke about this problem with Philip Howard, who has been writing for decades about the problems with America’s overwhelming bureaucracy. If we are to change America’s destiny, a conservative president must break the Deep State.
1. The Deep State is unconstitutional. The Constitution does not authorize a permanent bureaucracy as a fourth branch of government. It says only that the Article II executive is responsible for certain tasks and implies that he may hire the people he needs to execute them. Congress has a say in the matter depending on its willingness to fund the people hired. This means that, under the Constitution, the president of the United States is the big boss.
Today, America has an all-powerful bureaucracy that exists separate from the president and acts as a legislature to create binding rules and as the police, judge, jury, and executioner to enforce the rules. This is patently extra-constitutional and, therefore, unconstitutional.
Image: Vivek and Philip Howard. YouTube screen grab.
2. Government unions are a huge part of the problem. When private sector unions began, there were no government protections for workers, and those workers on the lowest end of the economic scale had no negotiating power, making them vulnerable to abuse. Unions gave them the representation they needed to make demands about wages and humane working conditions.
Importantly, private sector unions mean both parties to the negotiation have skin in the game. The corporation’s highest and best functionality serves workers and owners because it generates money. They can still make stupid decisions (witness Detroit pricing itself out of the car market), but the tension of competing interests between the two parties at the negotiating table helps keep things honest.
It’s different with public sector unions. Franklin Roosevelt, who, along with Woodrow Wilson, got the Deep State started, refused to unionize because he understood the difference. In 1937, he explained,
All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak using laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws that establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.
Put simply, the government administrators and union bosses at the negotiating table have no skin in the game. The money comes from the taxpayers. The negotiators are playing with a perpetually replenishable fund of other people’s money.
This reality did not stop John F. Kennedy from issuing Executive Order 10988, unionizing federal workers, in January 1962. Once in place, it permanently allied government workers with the Democrats.
For 60-plus years, Democrat-allied bureaucrats have sat across the table from public sector union bosses, arguing over how to divide taxpayer money. The understanding is that the bureaucrats will generously fund the unions while the unions, in turn, will generously fund the Democrats. It was and is completely corrupt. And as the video below explains, it’s even more corrupt than most people realize.
Politicians don’t want to change the system. I had the opportunity to ask a Republican presidential candidate if, as president, he would use his executive power to revoke EO 10988. His eyes bulged, and he frantically side-stepped the question. (I’m sorry I cannot name him because it was an off-the-record affair.)
3. Understanding just how bad the bureaucracy is. We’ve all had our run-ins with the government, usually at the local level, whether trying to get a permit to remodel our home or simply trying to get a driver’s license. While there are perfectly lovely and competent government employees, too many are unaccountable, petty tyrants or, just as bad, terrified mice who will not deviate one iota from the regulations that are their shields and swords. A school I worked with had to replace a $160,000 wheelchair ramp because it was a half-inch too narrow, a problem that made no difference to its functionality but that missed the rigid bureaucrat’s regulatory obsession.
4. Philip Howard. Howard has been writing about overregulation for decades now. He’s gone from wryly exasperated (The Death of Common Sense: How Law Is Suffocating America) to full-out warrior mode (Not Accountable: Rethinking the Constitutionality of Public Employee Unions).
5. Vivek Ramaswamy. Because he’s not a politician, Vivek has the courage to tread where politicians dare not go. Therefore, he’s not just talking about “shrinking” the Deep State, he’s talking about obliterating it. That’s why, when he and Howard get together, it’s mind-blowing. The interview is short and starts a bit slowly, but it picks up and, when it ends, you’ll understand why I think everyone should watch/listen to it: