Democracy vs. Bureaucracy: The Most Important Battle in Washington Over the Next Four Years

By on July 26, 2021 in Featured News, News

Latest Ripon Forum looks at the need for government reform, with essays by Philip K. Howard, U.S. Sen. James Lankford, and others

WASHINGTON, DC — With government spending near an all-time high and trust in government near an all time low, the latest edition of The Ripon Forum looks at the importance of making government work better for the American people and getting the federal bureaucracy under control.

Leading the Forum’s coverage of this issue is Philip K. Howard, the Founder & Chairman of the Board of Common Good and one of the leading experts on government and legal reform in America today.  “Democracy isn’t working because bureaucracy is in charge, not the leaders elected by voters,” Howard writes in the cover essay for this latest edition.  “Government is like a runaway train, beyond democratic control. 

“The steady accretion of regulatory dictates — at this point, 150 million words of federal law and regulation — has preempted human leadership. This is not mainly a problem of the scope of government — say, providing health insurance — but of regulatory rigidity. While there’s plenty of government overreach to complain about, the reason nothing much works sensibly is a different flaw — no one has the authority to use common sense at the point of implementation.” 

Howard goes on to propose a series of recommendations to “reboot the bureaucracy,” as he puts it, from simplifying federal codes to reforming the civil service to establishing boundaries on legal claims. 

One important part of the battle between democracy and bureaucracy is shining a light on waste and inefficiencies within the federal government itself.  To examine that issue in greater depth, this edition of the Forum also features an essay by Oklahoma Senator James Lankford about the effort he is leading to not only expose “federal fumbles,” as he calls them, but create an inventory of federal programs so the American people can find out for themselves how their tax dollars are being spent. 

With Congress and the President trying to reach agreement on a plan to modernize America’s infrastructure, Jay Cost of the American Enterprise Institute looks at the state of negotiations and why the push by progressives to “redefine ‘infrastructure’ as a catchall term for their entire agenda” will make it more difficult for Republicans and Democrats to find common ground. 

In other topics in this edition, veteran Congressman Fred Upton of Michigan looks at the legislation he authored in 2016, the 21st Century Cures Act, and how the landmark measure helped pave the way for the COVID-19 vaccines that are saving countless lives today.   

And in the latest Ripon Profile, another Michigan lawmaker, first-term Congressman Peter Meijer, discusses his service in the military, his service in the House, and why the oaths he took for both are so sacred. 

Other essays and authors in this edition of the Forum include:

– “Do Deficits Matter?  Yes, and Republicans should Use Process Reform to Tackle Them” — by Marc Joffe of the Reason Foundation.

– “Do Deficits Matter?  It’s Complicated” — by Professor Farrokh Langdana of the business school at Rutgers University.

– “Say No to the Biden Broadband Plan for Government Subsidies and Price Controls” — by Seth Cooper of the Free State Foundation.

– “The Path Toward Commonsense Election Reform” — by Matthew Weil of the Bipartisan Policy Center.

– “When It Comes to Leading on Infrastructure, Biden should be Like Ike” — by U.S. Army Lt. Col. (Ret.), Lee Lacy, a teacher and historian in Kansas City, Mo. 

The Ripon Forum is published six times a year by The Ripon Society, a public policy organization that was founded in 1962 and takes its name from the town where the Republican Party was born in 1854 – Ripon, Wisconsin. One of the main goals of The Ripon Society is to promote the ideas and principles that have made America great and contributed to the GOP’s success. These ideas include keeping our nation secure, keeping taxes low and having a federal government that is smaller, smarter and more accountable to the people.

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