Government Regulations Far Outnumber Laws Passed by Congress
Radio broadcaster, author, and scholar Mark Levin has explained eloquently how the Executive branch of government has, in recent years, usurped the lawmaking authority that the Constitution reserves exclusively for Congress. Most notably, this usurpation has been achieved via executive orders by the president himself, and by the enactment of many thousands of government regulations (which in effect are laws) by unelected (and unaccountable) bureaucrats employed by various federal agencies. In Chapter 10 of his 2015 book Plunder and Deceit, Levin writes:
"The framers were also heavily influenced by English philosopher John Locke,… and especially by his book The Second Treatise of Government. Locke argued, among other things, for the overarching import of elected legislative bodies, for they directly represent the people. Therefore, he insisted, legislatures must not delegate the power of lawmaking to any other entity. Lock wrote: “The legislative cannot transfer the power of making laws to any other hands: for it being but a delegated power from the people, they who have it cannot pass it over to others.” Locke continued, “The power of the legislative, being derived from the people by a positive voluntary granted institutions, can be no other than what the positive grant conveyed, which being only to make laws, and not to make legislator words, the legislative can have no power to transfer their authority of making laws and place it in other hands.”...
"The unconstitutional transfer of lawmaking power from Congress to the executive branch and the seizure by the executive branch from Congress of additional lawmaking power have led to disastrous effects. To demonstrate the problem, consider that each year the executive branch is engaged in frenzied regulatory activity with virtually no oversight by Congress or input from the public. In 2014 alone, the executive branch issued 3,541 regulations, comprising 79,066 pages of the Federal Register, the yearly compilation of federal regulations. And these thousands of pages of regulations are piled on top of tens of thousands of pages of regulations from prior years. Federal Register page numbers for successive years starting in 2005 are as follows: 2005: 73,870; 2006: 74,937; 2007: 72,090; 2008: 79,435; 2009: 68,598; 2010: 81,405; 2011: 81,247; 2012: 78,961; 2013: 79,311; 2014: 79,066. That is a total of 768,920 pages of federal regulations in the past 10 years....
"In addition, the number of actual regulations issued by the executive branch during this period is astounding:… that is 36,877 regulations, many of which carry heavy fines and penalties, including prison terms upon conviction....
"By comparison, Congress, which is supposed to be the federal lawmaking body, has passed the following number of bills in the past 10 years: 2005: 161; 2006: 321; 2007: 188; 2008: 285; 2009: 125; 2010: 217; 2011: 81; 2012: 127; 2013: 72; 2014: 129."
Obama's Habit of Releasing Massive Numbers of Regulations Just Before a Holiday
On November 23, 2015, President Obama proposed 2,224 new regulations -- 144 of which were each expected to cost American taxpayers $100 million or more. Heritage Foundation senior research fellow James Gattuso reviewed the “economically significant” regulations and concluded: “The regulations span the full scope of American life, ranging from labeling requirements for pet food, new test procedures for battery chargers, mandated paid sick leave for contractors, and automatic speed limiters for trucks, to a dozen new rules limiting energy use [and increasing the price] of everything from furnaces and dishwashers to dehumidifiers.” Moreover, Gattuso noted that while the administration was required to release its proposed regulations twice per year, Obama had a habit of doing it around holidays when most Americans were focused on family matters:
Fall 2012 – December 21 (Friday before Christmas)
Spring 2013 – July 3 (day before Independence Day)
Fall 2013 – November 27 (day before Thanksgiving)
Spring 2014 – May 23 (Friday before Memorial Day weekend)
Fall 2014 – December 22 (three days before Christmas)
Spring 2015 – May 21 (Thursday before Memorial Day weekend)
Fall 2015 – November 23 (three days before Thanksgiving)
Obama Mandates Overtime Pay for Millions of Workers
"In his weekly address released today, President Barack Obama explained a new federal regulation finalized this week by the Department of Labor that will required employers to pay overtime to salaried workers who make less than $47,500 per year. The federal-regulation-mandated overtime will kick in once the salaried worker has worked more than 40 hours in a week. 'It’s a move that will boost wages for working Americans by $12 billion over the next 10 years,' Obama argued. 'We’re more than doubling the overtime salary threshold,' he said. 'And what that means is, most salaried workers who earn less than about $47,500 a year will qualify for overtime. Or, their employers can choose to give them a raise so that they earn more than $47,500. Or, if employers don’t want to raise wages, they can let them go home after 40 hours and see their families or train for new jobs.'"