Dr. Allan H. Meltzer is an American Economist and the Allan H. Meltzer professor of Political Economy at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business. He is the author of a large number of academic papers and books on monetary policy and the Federal Resrve Bank. Dr. Meltzer’s two volume books, “A History of the Federal Reserve”, are considered the most comprehensive history of the central bank. He is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on the development and application of monetary policy. Currently he is also President of the Mont Pelerin Society. Dr. Meltzer originated the aphorism “Capitalism without failure is like religion without sin. It doesn’t work.”
This is a monthly column written by Professor Meltzer for Defining Ideas of the Hoover Institution.
It is posted in http://www.hoover.org/research/
Our Constitution is explicit about who makes laws. Article 1 says: “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress.” One might think that the clause could not be misinterpreted or ignored, but it has been. An overwhelming number of federal laws are now made by administrative agencies under the executive branch. Our Constitution provides a government of checks and balances to protect citizens against tyranny, but these agencies are not subject to those checks and balances and they run roughshod over our liberty.
They pass their own rules and enforce the rules they make. In the event of challenge, they adjudicate the matter and issue judgments. Complaints can be heard in the regular court system, but that is a slow process. An outrageous example was a decision that closed a major accounting firm—Arthur Andersen—in 2003. By the time, the courts decided that the administrative decision was wrong, the Arthur Andersen personnel had scattered and the offices had closed. That is one well-known example but there are many others.