mises.org / Gary Galles / November 26, 2016
Who creates federal laws? Civics books say it is Congress, but the real answer today may be the executive branch. Earlier this year, James Gattuso and Diane Katz reported that just the 229 major regulations issued since 2009 added over $100 billion in annual costs (according to the regulatory agencies), $22 billion coming in 2015. With estimates of the total regulatory costs now exceeding income tax burdens at over $2 trillion annually, regulations were far more burdensome for many Americans than legislation.
Unfortunately, missing from this process is accountability to citizens. In response, some members of Congress have turned to supporting the “Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny” (REINS) Act, which would require Congress to approve major regulations before they could take effect.
Why is this necessary when the US Constitution specifically assigns all legislative powers to Congress? Because Congress has increasingly abdicated its lawmaking responsibility, delegating its power through vague laws and mandates to executive agencies, which then impose and enforce the actual regulations that legally bind Americans.