Shortly after he was elected president, Barack Obama promised substantial budget cuts. He said officials would “go through our federal budget–page by page, line by line–eliminating those programs we don’t need, and insisting that those we do operate in a sensible, cost-effective way.” But within two years the profligate spending of his administration and the Pelosi-Reid-led Congress had bloated federal departments and agencies to unprecedented levels.
Nowhere has this out-of-control spending been more marked than at federal regulatory agencies. The “gatekeeper” agencies, such as the EPA and the FDA, which must approve innovative products and technologies before they can enter commerce, have especially enjoyed increased budgets. But instead of spurring greater efficiency and improved performance, additional resources have caused “regulatory creep”–the arrogation of additional, extra-statutory responsibilities–and more aggressive assertion of their power.