Transparency – the ability of the public to see what the government is doing, read the papers that are written, get minutes of the meetings that are held, and so on, is a goal long sought by activists of all political stripes plus news reporters.
The Obama administration’s Department of Justice has just taken a step backward in that respect, according to this WSJ story. But close reading of the text reveals that it is Congress’ fault for granting the agency too much power and discretion. Actually, Congress has done this all over the place, and when they haven’t the bureaucrats have taken the authority unto themselves anyway. This is called bureaucratic overreach.
When a government attempts to rule by fear, as seems to have been the case since 9/11, liberties melt away, often at the urging of those losing their liberties. They think, you see, that they are taking liberties away from the bad guys. “If you don’t have anything to hide, what’s the problem?”
In other news from the same source, we find that one government agency (FINRA – Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) changed documents they didn’t want another agency (the SEC) to see. As in: “”The SEC said in a 2008 inspection, Finra’s office in Kansas City altered three records of staff meetings just hours before the documents were turned over to the SEC. The alterations made the documents “inaccurate and incomplete,” the SEC said.”
In self-defense, FINRA replied: “Finra said it self-reported the incident in Kansas City to the SEC. “As a regulator, FINRA must always hold itself to the highest standards,” Finra CEO Richard Ketchum said in a statement.”
So, even agencies aren’t transparent to each other. We thought this issue was being dealt with since investigators of 9/11 identified failure of government agencies to talk to each other as a big problem. IOW they weren’t transparent to each other!
This would be hilarious if it weren’t so scary. And, yes, it does have economic ramifications. The more convoluted agencies are, the more difficult it is for regulated industries, companies, and farmers and ranchers figure out what they are supposed to be doing.
Also, it becomes possible for bureaucracies to pick favorites, throw the regulatory book at enemies, and otherwise go beyond what good some in Congress may have thought they were doing.
IFO has a headache now.