Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns


The Trouble with Big Government

It makes it harder for the government to take care of those things that really are job of the federal government:

Under intense media scrutiny, at least a dozen federal agencies have taken part in the spill response, making decision-making slow, conflicted and confused, as they sought to apply numerous federal statutes.

In one stark example of government disputes, internal e-mail messages from the minerals agency obtained by The Times reveal a heated debate over whether to ignore some federal environmental laws about gas emissions in an effort to speed the drilling of relief wells.

One agency official, Michael Tolbert, warned colleagues on April 24 that emissions of nitrous oxide from the well were "pretty far over the exemption level," an issue that his colleague Tommy Broussard said could result in "BP wasting time" on environmental safeguards in a way that would be "completely stupid."

But a third colleague, Elizabeth Peuler, intervened to demand that the agency take "no shortcuts."

"Not even for this one," she said. "Perhaps even especially for this one."

Categories > Politics

Discussions - 2 Comments

Perhaps the dizzying circular motion of conservative arguments could create some sort of whirlpool in the Gulf which might suck all the oil into one area where it could be recaptured?

First, they want "Big Government" to keep their nose out of business and not bog it down with burdensome (gasp!) REGULATIONS. Then, after successfully lobbying to keep the (insert pretty much any major industry here) industry lightly regulated or effectively unregulated ("self-policing"), the government is - oddly - expected by these same people to swoop down with the expertise and equipment that supposedly were uniquely integral to the industry in the first place, and were predictably provided as the reason why the industry should be allowed to essentially write its own rules and regulations.

I was reminded of this

, when Steven Hayward repeated the falsehood about Wal-Mart doing more/better than FEMA to recover from the Katrina disaster, and revealed his anti-Gov fundamentalism, saying:

"What makes you think FEMA can actually work (under any president)?"

(I debunked that one, too, citing FEMA's successes under Clinton)

So, I guess it works like this - the various Big Government agencies OUGHT to be effective and competent and do their job only when a Dem is in the White House, and then only to clean up the messes made by private entities that have failed catastrophically. Their inability to do what they should and ought to be able to do reflects poorly, in that case, upon the Dem at the top. But if the agencies fail during a GOP presidency, then that is only indicative of their inherent inability to function properly anyway, since they are part of Big Government and not private, profit-making entities, and thus their failure is not an indictment of the people or their respective party in charge of the Big Government they hate so very much (yet another example of IOKIYAR).

Also, if you're just going to quote the NYTimes, why not just post a link to the article that an actual reporter had to write, rather than a link to the Corner blogger's lazy copy-and-paste of it??


In both New Orleans and in the BP spill, existing rules were not followed. No rules will ever be followed perfectly, but there's a good case to be made that part of the reason why that is the case is that the governmet is trying to do too many things. There's a difference between necessary and unnecessary regulation, and there are better and worse ways to regulate.

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