Jimmy Carter And Bureaucracy

Wow, I never thought I would write something about Jimmy Carter. I remember his campaign as a born again Christian running for President. I remember his brother Billy Bob and his sister the evangelist. It was an interesting time to say the least. But why raise the name Jimmy Carter at this point in time?

In 1977 Carter appointed Alfred E. Kahn to the Civil Aeronautics Board. This appointment was a part of Carter’s push for deregulation of the airlines. The Airline Deregulation Act was signed into law in 1978. “The main purpose of this act was to remove government control over fares, routes, and market entry from commercial aviation.” In 1979 Carter also deregulated the beer industry which led to an increase in home brewing, just an interesting side light.

What Carter attempted to do was reduce government regulation of industry. He saw regulation as an increase of bureaucracy, which as Mancur Olson (the late economist and social thinker) described “as a one-way process that robs societies of their dynamism.” Some look back at the era as a broken government, Nixon and Watergate, and others view Carter as an ineffective President. Holman Jenkins described this time positively, “Yet, the country accomplished a revolution that seems almost impossible in Mancurian terms, deregulating large swaths of its transportation and energy industries while putting decades-old federal agencies to extinction.”

This still doesn’t answer the question why are we looking back at Jimmy Carter? Because our current government is attempting to turn the regulation clock back, as Holman states, “The government we have is an accretion, and encrustation. New rules pile up decade after decade and seldom are reviewed for efficacy. Bureaucracies become eternal for the reason the merger-review circus has become eternal. With each passing year, an expanding tribe of lobbyists, lawyers, and public interest advocates make their living at it: A circus of the clowns, by the clowns and for the clowns.”

Holman’s WSJ article began with discussing the Comcast- Time Warner merger. He described how Discovery Communications and Netflix both went to Comcast trying to extort benefits from Comcast or they would not support the merger. Each of these very larger companies support lobbyists, who in turn have access to our politicians. They can influence the outcomes.

Our modern age of government is becoming more cronyistic than ever. Once again the Democrats are pointing at the Republicans, but it was a Democrat who presided over a very large attempt to deregulate many of our industries. Republicans have taken of the free market charge, but they are just as guilty in creating the large bureaucratic nightmare we are in. “Washington has become a Washington of tired agencies and self-regarding bureaucrats who enjoy exercising aimless power.”

These tired agencies, and aging professional politicians, know what needs to be done, but the power of special interests keep it from happening. All this is occurring while our vital middle class erodes away. Help, we need somebody, help, not just anybody, help, we need someone, helpppppp.

And that is my thought for the day!


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