Seeing all those angry Americans cheering for Donald Trump’s empty shouting, Senator Mike Rounds is working on his impression of the billionaire Presidential candidate. South Dakota’s junior Senator whined to the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce yesterday about just how bad politicians (which he is) in Washington (where he works) are:
Rounds says politicians make the wrong calls for individuals and business leaders in states that are operating prudently.
“And I think we ought to be mad about it. It’s broken. It is dysfunctional. It is worse that I ever thought it was. But a lot of the folks that are there right now, as good as they are? They’ve never seen it working correctly. So, yeah. For me, it’s been kind of frustrating…” [Kealey Bultena, “Rounds: Washington Worse Than I Thought,” SDPB Radio, 2015.08.25].
And what harm do politicians (which Mike Rounds is) do in Washington (where he works)? They make lots of rules to govern a really complicated society:
“Here’s the problem: the founding fathers never expected that Congress would give up its ability to legislation to the executive branch in the rule-making process. Today right now we pass 16 federal rules for every single law that we pass,” Rounds says. “That’s 3,500 to 3,600 more rules written every single year. You live right now with one million You couldn’t comply with all of them even if you could read them” [Bultena, 2015.08.25].
Rounds implies that (1) we shouldn’t have so many rules and (2) what rules we do have should be made by politicians (which he is) in Congress (where he works).
But the South Dakota government that the former Legislator and Governor touts as an exemplar of the common sense to which Washington is impervious does the same thing. South Dakota has all sorts of administrative rules created by executive branch agencies. The Legislature authorizes them to make all those rules under the sensible premise that legislators have neither the time nor the expertise to create useful rules for all the different realms of South Dakota life that require governance.
We have rules that cover parking at the Capitol, charging citizens for public records, how to pack and label ice cream, how to control weeds, and what to wear when racing a horse. We have rules for chiropractors, cosmetologists, plumbers, podiatrists, morticians, and hearing aid dispensers. The latest Register of the Legislative Research Council shows 30 new rules filed while legislators were off doing other important things, and there have been 34 weekly registers thus far this year. Rounds’s own old executive branch is writing all sorts of rules for South Dakotans without direct legislative involvement, and that’s just the way he and his former colleagues in Pierre have designed the system to work. Rounds and our legislators don’t think South Dakota society will run without administrative rules; why should they pretend that the much more populous and complex national government and economy will operate any better by anarchy?
Senator Rounds could get rid of a bunch of rules if he followed through on his promise to get rid of the Department of Education. But we all knew Rounds was lying for the cameras when he mouthed that promise, just as he was pander-lying to the Chamber yesterday.
Right now in Washington, D.C., administrators of government agencies are drafting, discussing, and enforcing the rules that help keep America running smoothly and cleanly. Alas, their efforts allow Washington politicians like Senator Mike Rounds to spend the August recess making silly speeches… but hey, every process generates some inefficiency.