This New Years Eve, while you’re chugging Four Loko and lobbing Happy Meal toys at one another, poised to inaugurate a new Congress and partying like it’s 2012, beware of that hog in the corner. He’s a big-government bureaucrat and he’s come to crash the bash. The newly elected Republican majority’s campaign promises of smaller government and less intrusion into Americans’ lives are reasons to celebrate, but the Obama administration’s unilateral, over-regulating agenda is barreling uninvited into the party.
Sure, the lame ducks failed to pass the pork-laden omnibus spending bill last week, but the 111th Congress was actually one of the most productive since the 1960’s and added more debt per capita than the first 100 Congresses combined. With its help, the fourth branch of government — our un-elected bureaucrats — continued to seize control. To fulfill its pledges, the 112th Congress must put the brakes on government encroachment into our hospitals, pockets, plates and bodies.
Obamacare continued its enormous power grab this year. HHS unveiled new price controls for the health insurance industry, meaning that insurers will need to beg for permission before setting their own prices. No matter how much health care suffers in this new reality, consumers will soon be under threat of civil penalty if they choose not to buy into the government’s plan. Anybody want to chip in on a “get well soon” card for the free market?
The EPA is another rapidly distending agency, trying to inflict new greenhouse regulations on industry by demanding costly measures to curb carbon dioxide emissions and regulating power plants and oil refineries. These measures are intended, of course, to slow global warming — global climate disruption — save polar bears, but will really only drive up electricity prices and increase our dependence on foreign oil.
The EPA is also trying to circumvent established rulemaking processes by issuing Chemical Action Plans that, without scientific analysis, would place market restrictions on chemicals that have been safely used for years. Bureaucrats are trying to unilaterally limit the use of compounds like silicones that are safely used in sunscreen, paper, insulation and more without consulting the research, considering the impact on jobs, or letting stakeholders appeal the new regulations.
Not content with the EPA protecting us from safe and established chemicals, and fresh from their successful war on Irish Whiskey, our powerful overlords in the FDA and liberal members of Congress are seeking to restrict or ban even more foods and chemicals that consumers use and desire. Next target: antimicrobial soaps. Apparently, environmentalists are against any chemicals, no matter how much good they do, and the ever-vigilant FDA is willing to ban safe soaps to conform to the progressive agenda. The only thing better than getting carrots with our Happy Meals instead of the latest action figure is having them served by a guy who hasn’t washed his hands with bacteria-killing soap.
All this massive expansion of government agencies continues despite the president’s deficit commission report, the enormous bi-partisan proposal for whittling away the debt and identifying waste, abuse and duplication. The panel recommended capping and cutting spending in almost all government programs, but the administration would rather swell the bureaucracy by raising taxes and increasing the debt ceiling.
When the champagne corks are swept up next week, the newly elected members of the 112th Congress are going to wake up with a massive hangover courtesy of an administration intent on increasing the size and scope of government and shoving its massive agenda down citizens’ throats. In 2011, they’ll need to follow through on their promises and begin the work of returning power to the American people by closing the door to the bureaucratic party crashers.
Natasha Mayer is a political consultant in Washington, D.C.