Federal regulation gone wild!

We have all read about how extensive, costly, and unconstitutional federal regulations affect our freedom and the economy. After reviewing a proposed regulation as part of my work, I thought it would be interesting to share with you a small sample of the material that is entered into the Federal Register every day. In the interest of job security, the regulation I am highlighting is not the one on which I am working.

The case in point is found in the Federal Register, Vol. 76, No. 211 (Tuesday, November 1, 2011), beginning on page 67317. Introduced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service, it modifies existing regulations on the handling of onions grown in certain counties in Idaho and Oregon that are part of the Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee.

The verbiage of the rule itself is only about 20% of the content, and is located at the very end. The entry begins with header information and a one-paragraph summary, effective date, and a list of pertinent contacts in the regulatory agency. About half of the entry is “supplementary information” – essentially a justification for making the rule. The remainder explains how the proposed rule complies with such Congressional mandates as the Regulatory Flexibility Act and the Paperwork Reduction Act. It also references a “small business guide” on complying with various fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop “marketing agreements.”

Conspicuous by its absence is any justification for the rule based on the Constitution of the United States. I suppose it would technically fall under the power to regulate interstate commerce, since the Onion Committee serves parts of two states and its members undoubtedly export their onions elsewhere; but I cannot imagine that the Framers, even nationalists like Alexander Hamilton or William Patterson, could have envisioned such micromanagement at the federal level.

And this is only one regulation by one division of one agency in one day. Multiply this by all the regulations imposed since the Federal Register began in 1937, and it is easy to see why we are in the mess we are in.

No Presidential candidate and no Congress can make a serious dent in this Leviathan without an extremely broad-based mandate for radical decentralization. Frankly, it would be much easier to break up the union.

Or as I often say at work, “… and people wonder why I am a secessionist!”


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