As President Donald Trumpâs Cabinet nominees go through the Senate approval process, we have been impressed by several of his choices. They have been extremely successful in their fields, are knowledgeable about their departments, and seem unafraid to voice their opinions even when they differ from those of the president.
It is also safe to say that their views differ dramatically from their predecessors. They are far more conservative, and in general they intend to rein in bureaucrats who want to impose regulations on the nation simply because they believe they know what is best for everyone.
Although the growth of government regulations has been going on for decades, the issuance of new regulations greatly accelerated during the Obama administration. Today, businesses, organizations, farmers and everyday citizens must contend with so many restrictions on their freedoms that they complain of their burdens. Indeed, a large part of President Trumpâs election can be attributed to a fear that Washingtonâs power to regulate is nearly out of control.
This power is the reason why the nominations of Cabinet members are so important. Their ability to control the eagerness of bureaucrats to issue rules is crucial to Trumpâs success. Their commitment to do so is also the reason their nominations are so vehemently opposed by those who believe in the superiority of central governments.
Our nationâs founders envisioned a very limited role for the federal government. They created a secretary of state, secretary of the treasury, secretary of war (now defense) and attorney general. That was the Cabinet.
Today, there are 15 executive departments with Cabinet status. Granted, life today is more complicated than it was in 1787. But the evolution of a large, powerful executive branch of our government has brought with it risks that concerned our founders of long ago.
The principal risk is that the consent of the governed, so central to our foundersâ values, can be diminished by the sheer power and size of a central government. Nobody should doubt that modern America requires rules and regulations. But when citizens fear that the rule-making process has been captured by unelected people, the nationâs founding principles are at risk.
The new Cabinet members, and those appointed to assist them, will play critical roles in the functioning of our government in the coming years. We wish them every success.