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December 31, 2010

The Downsize DC Agenda: Part 4 of our memo to our Congressional sponsors

We’ve been sharing a memo we’ve written to the members of Congress who will be sponsoring our Downsize DC Agenda bills.

* Part 1 contained an introduction and explanation of how our bills would be enforced
* Part 2 explained the Read the Bills Act
* Part 3 explained the One Subject at a Time Act

Here’s Part 4, dealing with the Write the Laws Act . . .

The Write the Laws Act of 2011 (WTLA)

(T)he accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” – James Madison, Federalist No. 47.

Citizens have complained for decades about the explosive growth of regulations promulgated by unelected bureaucrats. This cancer has a simple, Constitutional remedy – require Congress to do its job.

The Constitution is supposed to be a social contract. The sovereign people delegate limited powers to an elected government in return for guarantees that the government will protect their rights. This protective purpose is why the Framers created . . .

* A Separation of Powers between state and federal governments,
* A further Separation of Powers at the federal level between an executive branch, a judicial branch, and a bicameral legislative branch, combined with . . .
* Checks and balances that allow each part of the government to limit and control the other parts.

Sadly, politicians have conspired to render these protections null and void. Take, for example, the behavior of virtually any executive branch agency, like the IRS, the FTC, or OSHA. Frequently, unelected bureaucrats in these agencies…

1. Promulgate rules that citizens must obey, which means they legislate
2. Bring charges against citizens to enforce these regulations, thereby acting in an executive capacity
3. Adjudicate their own enforcement, long before a citizen has access to an independent court 

Activities 1 and 3 represent an unlawful assumption of power. And to the extent that Congress “authorizes” the Executive Branch bureaucracy to do these things then that is an unlawful Delegation of Power.

Under the Constitution . . .

* Only Congress can legislate, creating rules that citizens must obey
* Only the courts can adjudicate and impose penalties for the violation of those rules.

The Write the Laws Act deals with both forms of transgression, both the un-Constitutional assumption of powers, and the unlawful delegation of them. For this reason we could have also called this bill the Separation of Powers Act.  

Here are the specific provisions of WTLA . . .

* Congress must vote upon all rules before they become law. Bureaucrats can only advise Congress, not write their own rules.
* All allegations of wrong-doing must be tried in Judicial Branch courts, not by bureaucrats.
* All punishments must be rendered by judges, not bureaucrats.
* Executive Branch agencies must be limited to investigation and prosecution.
* Previous legislation granting legislative and judicial power to bureaucrats must be identified so that Congress, at its discretion, can more easily repeal past instances of un-Constitutional delegation.

Of course, like the Read the Bills Act and the One Subject at a Time Act, citizens must be held blameless against any government actions that violate these rules.

End of Part 4, and of the memo as a whole. We hope that . . .

* You like what you’ve read here
* You’re exicted that these bills are going to be introduced in Congress
* You look forward to seeing what additional progress we can achieve in 2011 

This is the final Dispatch for 2010. We wish you a Happy New Year! Please consider sending out 2010 by making a year-end contribution, are starting a monthly pledge to support our work in 2011.

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

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