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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dodd Doesn’t Know

“No one will know until this is actually in place how it works.”

That’s Sen. Chris Dodd commenting on the 2,319-page financial regulation bill that he helped construct and that is wending its way through Congress. Dodd’s words must be a relief to the 535 congressmen and President: no point in reading the gibberish-laden monstrosity if you can’t tell what it will mean in practice anyway.

Dodd added, “But we believe we’ve done something that has been needed for a long time.”

How can he know? I’m not comforted by his faith, are you?

Congress has long found it convenient to delegate its legislative power to regulatory agencies several steps removed from public accountability. A stickler might say this can’t be legally done under the Constitution, but that ship left the dock long ago.

You can see why Congress likes it that way. If our misrepresentatives actually had to take responsibility for the bills they pass, they might pass a lot fewer bills. What they have now is called “plausible deniability.”

  • Sheldon Richman is the former editor of The Freeman and a contributor to The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. He is the author of Separating School and State: How to Liberate America's Families and thousands of articles.