Leef asks Forbes readers to consider Washington’s worst agency

George Leef’s latest column for Forbes seeks to identify the worst government agency in Washington, D.C.

Government agencies always consume wealth that was produced by taxpayers, often far in excess of any benefits the agencies create.

Many are worse than that – not only do they consume wealth, but they also get in the way of the efforts of productive people. Double whammy on society.

And some agencies that waste resources and inhibit production do still more reprehensible things, like terrorizing people or acting hypocritically.

It’s in the last group that, I submit, we have our contenders for the worst federal agency.

One of them is unquestionably the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, whose arrogance and hypocrisy recently led to a scalding rebuke from the Sixth Circuit in EEOC v. Kaplan.

But before going into that case, let’s take a look at this agency. It was established in 1965 to enforce the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s prohibition against discrimination in employment. That is the law that its famous sponsor, Senator Hubert Humphrey, denied would lead to employment quotas. Responding to criticism of the bill that it might require employers to hire by quotas to avoid running afoul of the law, Humphrey replied,

“If the Senator can find in Title VII any language which provides that an employer will have to hire on the basis of percentage or quota related to color, race, religion, or national origin, I will start eating the pages one after another, because it is not in there.”

Unfortunately, just as the words of the Constitution have been ignored by people intent upon promoting a big government agenda, so too with the words of the Civil Rights Act. It wasn’t long before the EEOC, filled with zealous people imbued with an egalitarian vision of the labor market and hyped up on the power to sue companies, began to enforce the law in ways that made quota hiring the only safe course.

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