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BUREAUCRACY DEFENDED

The Mail

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

To the Editors of the CRIMSON:

In your editorial "Bureaucrats Beware" you hail with hope a proposed Congressional inquiry of the regulatory commissions "to find out whether commissions are actually carrying out the laws under their jurisdiction or are distoring legislative intent." I am afraid that you are in for another disappointment--there have already been many. This investigation is surely the reductio as absurdum of the investigatory device. The Communications Commission has been persistently investigated for the last ten years and the investigators find themselves weary and empty-handed. The Intertate Commerce Commission has been investigated in one way or another for the last decade and the prospects for an effective and comprehensible criticism are dim indeed. Should you hope for something better from an investigation of twenty-nine such agencies?

When these agencies were set up some of them at least had a well-defined mandate, despite the apparent breadth of discretion. This was true, for example, of the Commerce Commission. In the case of radio, Congress never faced the problems and perhaps didn't even suspect their existence. The areas are depressingly complex; the agency is buffeted about by contrary winds and currents without chart or charter. The crucial question is not whether it has exceeded its grant of power, but whether it can frame a coherent policy for current problems. Basically, the facult, if any fault there is, is not the agencies' but the legislature's; and the indecision of the legislature reflects ultimately the inability and unwillingness of the public to achieve a consensus. Perhaps this means simply that the problems are not sufficently acute to overcome American political intertia. It is childish to make a scapegoat of the agencies, and nothing could be more ludicrous--and characteristic--than the proposal in question. I propose that the Commitee meet once a week in silent self-contemplation and investigate itself. Louis L.Jaffe,   Byrne Professor of   Administrative Law.

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