One of the greatest threats to American democracy is an increasingly powerful bureaucracy. I have often written that the bureaucracy has become the fourth branch of the American government – and arguably the strongest branch.
There was a time when bureaucrats were seen as low-paid government drones who take care of the business created by the three official branches – the Executive, the Legislative and the Judicial. But over the years the bureaucracy has taken over the duties of all three branches. It issues more orders than any President. Its regulatory powers create more laws than Congress ever could. And it adjudicates more issues than the local and federal courts combined. The bureaucracy is the backbone of what is commonly referred to as “the establishment.” They set the standards and policies which elected officials are expected to follow.
The vast majority of bureaucrats have lifelong job security. They are not elected by the people, cannot be removed by the people and are unaccountable to the people.
Perhaps the best example of the dangers of bureaucratic rule is the highest paid bureaucrat in America – Dr. Anthony Fauci. Behind that grandfatherly appearance is a person who has been corrupted by power. He rules over the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases with an iron fist – and is Medical Advisor to the President. When he proposes a policy, however, he expects it to be obeyed by both elected leaders and we the people.
In a recent statement, Fauci revealed the true bureaucrat in him. It had to do with the fact that a federal court judge determined that the Center of Disease Control (CDC) had failed to follow the required legal procedures in mandating mask-wearing on public transportation. Most Americans cheered the decision.
The initial question was whether President Biden would order the Justice Department to appeal the decision. But what really happened should disturb every freedom-loving American. Biden said that would be up to the CDC to decide. Huh? The CDC works for Biden – as does the Justice Department. But the decision would be made by bureaucrats, according to Biden. Obviously, the buck does NOT stop on Biden’s desk.
And that is where Fauci comes in.
During an interview on CBS, Fauci was asked, “Do you personally agree or disagree with [the judge’s] interpretation of public health law?” To which the good doctor said, “I clearly disagree, I mean those types of things should be decided as a public health issue by the public health organizations, in this case the CDC. This is a public health matter, not a judicial matter.”
Fauci added that “one of the problems that we have there is that the principle of a court overruling … a qualified organization like the CDC is disturbing in the precedent in might send.”
Now consider what Fauci was saying. He is “disturbed” that a court (one of the three constitutional branches) would overrule a bureaucratic decision. In that one interview, Fauci revealed the danger of an arrogant self-empowering bureaucracy.
Fauci went on to say that it was not a legal issue. He was at best, mistaken, and at worst, lying. The ruling was based on the CDC not following the law that originated in Congress (the second branch) and signed by the President (the first branch).
In other words, Fauci believes that bureaucrats should not be constrained by the Constitution and the branches of government that are empowered directly by the people. We elect the President and the Congress – and empower them to appoint the judges. In lower courts, we often elect the judges.
But for Fauci, none of that matters. All the constitutional stuff is to be ignored at the whim or will of bureaucrats. His is just the latest example of the dangers of bureaucratic arrogance.
Democrats accuse Republicans of being power hungry. Republicans accuse Democrats of being power hungry. Perhaps they should stop the squabbling and address the unofficial branch of government that has been seizing more and more power for generations. Both sides should come together and tell Fauci that he and his bureaucrat colleagues are NOT the folks empowered to control government – and it is time to put the emphasis on “servant” in “public servant.”
So, there ‘tis.