Erik Larson

Feb 5, 2010

Bureaucracy Eats its Own

Leave it up to Philip K. Howard, irrepressible lawyer who wrote the book “Life Without Lawyers”, to cut to the chase on the problem with too much bureacracy. Here’s his response, in WSJ today, to Obama’s “We can put America to work today building the infrastructure of tomorrow” claim in the State of Union speech:

“But America can’t build new infrastructure because no one has the authority to say “go.” Nearly endless environmental review, followed by years of litigation by anyone who doesn’t want the project, will make it impossible to put a shovel in the ground for a new project for years.

Too much law always causes paralysis. Environmentalists wanted legal power to stop bad projects, and now find themselves unable to build good projects. Real people must have responsibility to make these decisions—that’s what government is for. Cut the environmental review process to a year or two at most.”

Right on Phil.

Check out his Common Good project at www.commongood.org. The full WSJ editorial is here .