Did the EPA ever get put to a vote?
These are legitimate questions. But rarely asked – and forget about answered.
The Constitution lists – enumerates – the specific powers the government is supposed to have. The Constitution also clearly states that the specific powers not enumerated are “reserved” to the people and the states.
Well, where does it say in the Constitution that the federal government shall have the power to lay down bumper impact standards? Or require that cars be fitted with air bags and back-up cameras?
VW – and all the rest of them – have to bend knee to this “agency” (NHTSA) which no one that I am aware of ever elected. Isn’t the process supposed to be that we elect representatives who then write laws – which we have some degree of veto power over via removing from office representatives whom we decide no longer represent us?
How do we get rid of apparatchiks within an “agency” who never submit to an election – who are effectively tenured for life – but who have assumed the power to write laws? How did they get this power? And – better question – why do we defer to it, accept it as legitimate?
It’s palpably not.
We’re told as kids that we live in a country run by the consent of the governed. Really? Did any of you consent to any of this? Were you even asked?
Or did it just kind of happen – and now you’re required to accept it? Just because?
It is very odd. Or rather, at odds with what we’ve been told.
Remember the line about “no taxation without representation”? Well, uhm … what else is it when the government adds a cost to a new car that you’re forced to pay, but never asked you – never asked anyone – whether they thought it was a good idea, but rather simply decreed that it will be so?
The “safety” stuff is particularly obnoxious because the “safety” of an adult human being is clearly no business of anyone’s except that adult human being and perhaps his immediate family, who may exert emotional pressure on him to do – or not do – this or that. But there is no issue of the commons. A man not wearing his seat belt may get hurt as a result of this choice, but he hurts no one else as a result of his choice. A man who drives a 1,600 pound pre-air bag/crumple zone Beetle may regret it if he drives it into a tree – but that is his business, is it not? His driving the old Beetle doesn’t hurt anyone else, at any rate. And is therefore his business – assuming we are free adults and not livestock owned by others who have an interest in safeguarding their property.
Think about it.
No one elected the neighbor, either.
As a practical consequence of these illegal (because, hey, it is not in the Constitution and therefore proscribed by the Constitution) and ever-escalating fatwas for “safer” and “safer” cars, we have heavier and heavier cars… steel being the primary practical way to achieve this. These government-mandated overweight cars then have a tough time passing muster with another nowhere-authorized-in-the-Constitution federal fatwa insisting that they deliver “x” miles-per-gallon.
Where did that come from?
Well, they will say they have authority via various evasions, euphemisms and legerdemain. But in plain English the fact is that Congress – which has the legal authority under the Constitution to write and pass laws – illegally transferred its legislative authority to these created-by-fiat “agencies” (Nixon simply decreed the EPA into existence) and the unelected apparatchiks within them. A general authority to (effectively) legislate as they please.
This is what EPA and NHTSA do every year – several times a year. They issue regulatory fatwas that have the same force and effect as any law passed by Congress. And yet, they are not legislators, never required to submit to a popular vote of yea or nay regarding what they do in our name but never once with even the slimmest pretext of our consent.
This is the argument car companies ought to present to the people. Not whether air bags and back-up cameras and so on are cost-effective or “work.” That is neither here nor there as regards the fundamental constitutional legitimacy of “agencies” arrogating unto themselves a legislative power nowhere authorized by the Constitution.
We’d almost certainly have fewer in the way of fatwas if Congress were tasked with doing its job – the job specified by the Constitution – the writing and passing of laws. Proposed laws might be debated, for one thing. And – ye gods – they’d be put to a vote.
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