Were the Founding Fathers so thoughtful as to anticipate Dark Matter?
The process by which government could create laws and indeed the scope of where and how government can interfere with liberty was considered enough of a priority that the Constitution addressed the issue early and often. Article one section one defined the legislative Powers and delegated them to Congress. Additionally, Revenue bills were designated as exclusive to the House of Representatives with the Senate being authorized to “propose or concur on Amendments as on other bills.” Furthermore, if a bill was approved by the house and then debated and approved by the senate, it required the signature of the President before it could become a law which then and only then allowed the government to collect the Revenue.
By being so specific about how the government was to be permitted to raise Revenue, it is possible to argue the founding fathers may well have anticipated that as government grew there might be the possibility of the government generating Revenue by enforcing regulations created by unelected bureaucrats. These regulations – which never meet the Constitutional measure of a law – have become so pervasive in our everyday lives they are now commonly referred to as “Dark Matter” created by the “deep state.”
“The problem with regulatory dark matter is that it allows the executive branch of our government to rule sectors of our economy through mere announcements, rather than actual lawmaking or even proper rule-making,” states Clyde Wayne Crews Jr of the Competitive Enterprise Institute1. Crew attempts to explain the extent of what he calls “lawlessness” in his analysis.
The extent of Dark Matter became headlines recently when President Obama signed some 1500 pages of such regulations on his last day in office. And almost immediately following his inauguration, President Trump signed an executive order2 intended to eliminate thousands of existing executive orders as he took the first steps toward restoring the rule of constitutional law and reigning back the power and size of the federal government.
But Trump’s order that requires two existing regulations be revoked for each new one only scratches the surface. A major study by the Competitive Enterprise Institute revealed that not even congress understands the full scope of Dark Matter. The Federal Register list more than 440 federal regulatory agencies3, but a Daily Mail article posted March 14, 20174, says there is no finite number as to the number of agencies operating with so-called federal authority.
Not only is the number of agencies unknown, the total number of their rules and regulations can’t even be estimated to any degree of certainly. The federal government is estimated to issue approximately 3000 new regulations every year. The 2016 estimate of Obama administration regulations exceeds 2850: a ratio of 18 regs to each 1 law passed in accordance to the Constitution.