Government is too damn big.
How many times have we said that to ourselves or to others? Dozens? Scores? Hundreds?
For conservatives, the freedom-crushing size and liberty-lessening scope of the federal government is an ironclad fact, as true as water being wet or Lady Gaga being a first order publicity whore. Liberals have a ready retort when right-wingers complain about the growth of the DC leviathan. “What would you cut?”
Well, how’s about…damn near everything?
I think it’s time for all Americans to step-up to the plate and help take some pressure off the President, the Senators, the Congressmen, all the Czars and Agency Heads, and etc. I think that We The People have just plain been asking too much from our leaders and the strain is beginning to tell on them.
Here’s the problem. Our leaders in Washington just have too much on their plate and it’s all our fault for demanding so much from them.
…So here is what I think we should do. Let’s institute what I call Government Light. I think We The People need to dramatically reduce the work load on our poor public servants. I’ve got some ideas on how we could do that. Instead of al these zillions of things we’ve been asking government to do for us I have a much shorter lists of what we should be willing to settle for:
- Provide for the common defense. You know. A military to protect us from our enemies and to protect our borders from invasion.
- To create a body of objective laws to protect the God-given rights of all citizens.
- Develop a judicial system to capture those that break the laws and try them and to punish the guilty.
- Establish a stable monetary system.
- Develop and maintain a national infrastructure in order that commerce can freely occur between state and with other nations.
I think if our government only had to focus on these five things, the mental health of our public servants would improve dramatically and We The People could take care of the rest of our needs instead of burdening government for everything.
Jim from the always-interesting Conservatives On Fire has come up with a nice working framework.
There’s just one problem with it. It’s not the drastic withdrawl of the central government from citizens’ lives. It’s not the austerity measures that would result from these new directives. In fact, none of those things are terrible in and of themselves.
No, the issue is that CoF’s plan assumes that liberals have created the mega-state in order to actually solve problems. In fact, that’s only a very small part of the left’s reasoning vis-a-vis the ever-growing federal gubmint beast. The major snag with Jim’s program is that it won’t allow hacks to rob from the taxpayers.
Ponder the omnibus spending bill that just took a dump in Harry Reid’s mattress. The thing was designed to be massive and impenetrable. The Senate Democrats tried to get it passed in December, after the Donkey-Punchers got their heads handed to them in the midterm elections. It was also brought to the Senate during a time when the American voter is most inattentive. The bill was loaded with pork in the hopes that Senators and those constituents who were paying attantion could be bought off.
Limited government is great. But if you’re really looking to redistribute wealth and pad you’re own fiefdom, there’s nothing like the crazy unlimited variety of government to do the trick.
Further thoughts: I realize that the latest omnibus spending toothache was smashed. But over the years, this type of gargantuan budget bill–packed to the rafters with ridiculous earmarks, porktastic programs and barely concealed graft–has passed through Republican and Democrat congresses with relative ease. Conservatives won a victory of sorts by killing Senator Reid’s fantasy budget, but it’s one win in a sea of defeats.
Let’s look at a random year…2003…and see what fiscal idiocy we can find.
$44,239,000 for projects in the state of Senate Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee member Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and House Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee member Tom Latham (R-Iowa), including: $33,000,000 for the National Animal Disease Center in Ames; $700,000 for the Midwest Poultry Consortium; $280,000 for the Iowa Vitality Center; $235,000 for dairy education; $210,000 for hoop barns; and $100,000 for the Trees Forever Program.
We can draw a few conclusions from this wee nugget of fail. Maybe there was a need for a National Animal Disease Center in Iowa. The Hawkeye State, like many parts of the Midwest, is deeply invested in agriculture. Perhaps there such an institution had to be started by federal dollars.
This begs the question: What about the private sector? Did nobody ever think to create a company to deal with animal diseases before Tom Harkin…one of the dimmer bulbs in a dimbulb-centric US Senate…came along? Furthermore, what about state governments? Had nobody without DC cash been able to study or treat ailments that afflict our four-legged friends before 2003?
Beyond the dubious need for the National Animal Disease Center comes another realization: We’re still paying for it. The NADC is part of the United States Department of Agriculture, thus federal dollars are used to hireand retain workers. What about building maintenance or cafeteria staffing? That’s on us as well. Much like the Corporation For Public Broadcasting or Ben Affleck, the NADC is the government-friendly hole that keeps on sucking.
Bear in mind that this is just one relatively small portion of the 2003 federal budget turd sandwich. Buried within that bill was an army of ridiculous spending. Taken individually, these more or less tiny chunks of pork look like the cheesy punchline to a lame joke. Put together, they amount to nothing less than the biggest heist in history, making the most lucrative bank robberies, Ponzi schemes or Soros currency shenanigans seem minute in comparison.
More depressing than that? The 2003 appropriations bill represents just one year’s worth of porky goodness. This spending is not an abberation. It was, and pretty much still is, business as usual.
And that’s the problem. People do not want to be bothered paging through a gazillion pages of legalese and congress-talk to separate the worthy wheat from the wasteful chaff. More, folks have heard so many stories about $50 hammers and $100 toilet seats that they’ve become numb to it. Inertia and inattention have conspired to make the federal budget very hard to shrink. The budget creation process was designed to keep people in the dark about just how much they’ve been getting robbed.
The last omnibus bill was defeated, which is a good thing. With any luck, it’s the start of a movement to reign in federal spending and–more importantly–scale back the influence Washington DC has in our daily lives.
Cross-Posted at Baldilocks. As always, a warm thank you goes out to the great Juliette Akinyi Ochieng.