Government, particularly at the federal level, is supposed to exist only to do the people’s business, the business that they cannot reasonably do for themselves: maintaining the military, conducting diplomacy with other nations. In the pursuit of government, it is sometimes necessary to establish various bureaus, which are populated by bureaucrats.
In a perfect world, a world envisioned by our Founders — though they harbored no delusions about the perfectibility of man — these bureaucrats would behave in a responsible, adult manner.
They would faithfully carry out their jobs with the aim of obeying not only the letter of the law but its spirit. As they are spending the hard-earned tax dollars of the public in the pursuit of their duties, they would take great care to ensure that those dollars were properly and wisely spent. They would understand the boundaries of their authority within the overall system, and would recoil in horror at the very thought of violating those boundaries.
Back to reality.
Perhaps the most egregious example of everything wrong with our federal bureaucracies resides with the Environmental Protection Agency. John Merline, writing in Investor’s Business Daily, tells a tale of EPA abuse of power and squandering of taxpayer monies that ought to cause the American public to demonstrate in righteous rage. I have never seen a more compelling argument for the immediate abolishment of a federal agency.
The EPA is using taxpayer money to encourage environmentalist groups to sue … the EPA. This has continued for decades.
The EPA has paid one of these groups to produce a do-it-yourself guide to suing the EPA.
The EPA frequently enters into consent decrees to settle the suits. Even when the EPA doesn’t hand out megadollar settlements — your money — to the litigious loons, it commonly pays their attorney’s fees.
Why would the EPA do something so obviously crazy?
High-level EPA bureaucrats commonly support the leftist environmentalist beliefs of these groups, as do a great many of the career employees of the agency. They look to serve the leftist groups, not their employers.
Generally speaking, Congress has not authorized the EPA to do most of the things such people live to do, things such as regulating and litigating energy producers, small businesses, and large corporations out of existence. But EPA bureaucrats tend not to like such small-minded, non-nuanced strictures, so they encourage their fellow travelers in the environmentalist movement to sue the EPA. The hope is that the courts can force the EPA to do what the EPA wanted to do in the first place. Rather than erecting a vigorous defense to frivolous environmentalist lawsuits, the EPA simply caves.