The Reagan Initiative

The guys on the Task Force told me calling the supply side BBA the Reagan Amendment was confusing people.  So it’s now the Reagan Initiative. They told me to lay low, and I agreed to that as well.

I’m a reasonable guy.  I have a good attitude.  Bill Fruth told me I’m the nicest, most congenial, affable person he’s ever met.  He must hang around some real assholes.

The part of the Reagan Initiative I haven’t really thought through is regulatory reform.  We’ve got to do it so we don’t scare the horses.  But real regulatory reform would be its abolition.  When Congress creates an agency, like the EPA, it gives it a regulatory agenda.  The agency implements that agenda by rule making, adjudication, and enforcement.  It’s almost as though they’ve set up a separate branch of the government, with legislative, judicial, and executive functions.

It’s all thoroughly unconstitutional.  Philip Hamburger of the Columbia School of Law gets credit for making that case in his important book, “Is Administrative Law Unconstitutional?”  Hamburger is no whack job.  He’s a very well respected legal scholar, and his work is taken seriously.  I have to read his book, and see what his solution is, if he has one.  Whatever it is, I’ll see if it can be worked into the Reagan Initiative.

Fruth says our economy is so over regulated that we’ll probably never see 4% annual GDP growth again.  We need 4%, or better, to get out of the mess we’re in.  You want to balance the budget?  Long haul, you do it with growth.  And the modern American regulatory state won’t allow that growth to happen.

A lot of people in business, and government, understand this.   They just don’t know what to do about it.  The Reagan Initiative may be the answer.

The Federal Land Commission would set off an economic expansion.  Cutting the regulatory state down to size would do even more.  We’d have an economic boom, bigger than the 80’s even.

We just have to figure out a way to do it that the gal who works down at the 7-11 will support.  She’s the key.  A lot of deep thinkers come up with brilliant ideas to save the world.  But you’ve got to find a way to get her behind it, or you’ve got nothing.  That’s politics.  That’s what I’ve spent my life watching, studying, and practicing.

First I’ve got to find out how it would work, in practice.  Can you just declare administrative law is unconstitutional in one fell swoop, and end it?  Would that prove too disruptive to the economy, to society?  How, exactly, are we going to do this?

This is an important question that I’m not qualified to answer.  I’ve asked Dave Guldenschuh to think about it.  Monday I’ll call Rob Natelson and see what he thinks.  He may know Hamburger, who I would love to talk to.  Mike Stern might have some ideas, or know someone who would.  I’m definitely going to look in to this.  I haven’t been this jacked up since I came up with the Federal Land Commission.

To tell you the truth I’m not much of a lawyer, just like I wasn’t much of a law student.  I figured out after about a month that it was all bullshit.  Law is just a form of politics. But I was about to get married, and needed a way to make a living.  My degree in political science wasn’t exactly a ticket into the fast lane.  I figured if I became a lawyer I’d find a way to make some money at it.

After my encounter with my Speech Professor when I was a freshman, I pulled in my horns a bit, and never really had any more problems in college.  My grades were mediocre because I wasn’t particularly interested in a lot of these classes.  And I was a little lazy.

I didn’t know what to expect in law school.  I don’t think I ever personally met a lawyer, or even a law student.  In my first quarter we all had to take “Law, Lawyers and Social Change”.  Complete, total, 100% bullshit.  The teacher was Henry McGee, a former assistant U. S. Attorney from Chicago.  He was a black guy who supposedly had a fair amount of trial experience.  Nixon appointed Harold Carswell to the Supreme Court, and this guy comes into class and has a meltdown.  He goes berserk, stomping around and waving his arms. Finally he said “Nixon has no right to do this!”  I’d had enough, and I yelled out at him, “What do you mean he has no right?  He’s the President of the  United States, he can appoint anyone he wants!”  That slowed him up a bit, and he started calming down.

I got a “D” in that one too.

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