Over the past 100 years, our government has been transformed from a limited, constitutional, federal republic to a centralized administrative state…
that which for the most part exists outside the structure of the Constitution and wields nearly unlimited power. This administrative state has been constructed as a result of a massive expansion of the national government’s power.
When the Founders created our Constitution, they entrusted only limited powers to the national government and specifically enumerated those powers in the Constitution itself. A government that only had to carry out a limited number of functions could do so through the institutions and procedures established by the Constitution.
But as the national government expanded and began to focus more and more on every aspect of citizens’ lives, the need for a new kind of government—one focused on regulating the numerous activities of citizens rather than on protecting their individual rights—became apparent. In the United States, this new form of government is the administrative state.
As the modern administrative state has grown and metastasized over the past decades, it has taken many forms, to the point of becoming the primary method of politics and policymaking. The myriad agencies and departments that make up this administrative state operate as a“fourth branch” of government that typically combines the powers of the other three and makes policy with little regard for the rights and views of citizens. In terms of actual policy, most of the action is located in administrative agencies and departments, not in the Congress and the President as is commonly thought. Unelected bureaucrats—not elected representatives—are running the show.
Joseph Postrell, The Heritage Foundation, Special Report,
December 7, 2012