Sometime this summer, my colleague Chris Bedford had to be dragged kicking and screaming to discuss the “infrastructure” negotiations on Federalist Radio Hour. His instinct, we ultimately agreed, was correct.
Why, wondered Chris, should we spend a second worrying about deficits while the culture is crumbling around us? Why should we waste precious time fretting over the growth of the state when children are being mutilated in the name of social justice, with the full support of our institutions?
Chris came around. President Biden’s new federal vaccine requirements show the dangers of treating these issues as mutually exclusive. Indeed, many on the right are increasingly tempted to treat them as such, exhausted by the useless Republican establishment and animated by the swift radicalization of our institutions.
It’s boring and sounds tired, I know, but ballooning state power is not a silly fear of “Zombie Reaganites” and insufferable libertarians. It’s a vehicle of cultural tyranny as much as economic. It’s a tool for the political establishment to bulldoze our culture from their sad office buildings here in Washington.
As the chattering class debates Biden’s sweeping vaccine policy, the vast scope of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) power is coming into focus. Biden invoked the Labor Department agency’s authority in announcing the policy, tasking them with overseeing its implementation under the scope of their powers.
See this reference to Cass Sunstein’s explanation of that scope for a harrowing reminder on the federal bureaucracy’s growth. Whether Biden’s policy should fail in court is a different question than whether it will.
We’re instead dealing with OSHA, a regulatory entity created by act of Congress that Congress has granted really super-duper broad regulatory authority over private businesses. How broad? I’ll let @CassSunstein explain /5: https://t.co/FQpSVsg8mq pic.twitter.com/rqJzyEdWlz
— David French (@DavidAFrench) September 10, 2021
Here’s how the New York Times described the agency’s authority to carry out Biden’s rule:
OSHA has the authority to quickly issue a rule, known as an emergency temporary standard, if it can show that workers are exposed to a grave danger and that the rule is necessary to address
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