Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Republicrats v. Depublicans

With apologies to JFK, I ask not why the federal government is so jacked up, I ask why it works as well as it does. I'm not an anarchist, only a sorta/kinda libertarian. I believe we need rules on the playground as well as an intelligently designed safety net. I would like the rules to be as few in number as possible and rationally conceived so as to maximize our fun and minimize our stepping on each other's toes. 

In light of our national debt, 57,000 bucks each as this is being written and steadily increasing as you read this, cutting spending is always on the agenda. Both parties define "cuts" as spending a little less on planned increases over a ten year period, to make the numbers bigger.

Think about that. Senator Stumblebum looks into the camera and with steely resolve states that if re-elected she'll battle to get government spending under control. How? Simple, increase spending by slightly less than already planned, over the next decade, and call it a spending cut. She won't put it like that though. She'll tell you that under her plan spending at the Department of Bonkercockie will be reduced by a billion dollars a year. With a little luck, Senator Stumblebum will be a lobbyist long before the decade is up and she'll no longer have to dirty her hands running for office in order to get her dirty hands on other people's money.

She, and most likely the media source that provides you with this information, won't bother to mention that we don't have ten-year budgets. We have one-year budgets, at least in theory, we haven't actually operated under one since 2010. The one currently proposed is a product of the Republicrats, Depublicans don't support it and if it passed in its present form, Mr. Obama has made it clear he will veto it.   

President Obama created the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles Commission in 2010 to study and make recommendations for fixing our financial problems. You may have noticed the federal government has maxed out its credit cards, but the issuer (themselves) keeps sending out new ones (to themselves).

The commission was originally a provision of a bipartisan law that would require Congress to vote up or down on the commission's recommendations since apparently Congress long ago lost its ability to compromise on virtually anything. The law didn't pass because some of the original Republicrat co-sponsors voted against it.

Mr. Obama decided to set up the commission by executive order. The commission came to the conclusion that if we were to plug enough loopholes and eliminate enough special favors and social engineering from the tax code we could lower everyone's taxes. Toss in some real spending cuts and entitlement reform and now we're getting somewhere. Mr. Obama, and Congress, stuck the report in a drawer and returned to job one, getting re-elected. 

Mismanaging our money is not the only task the federal government excels in. No private entity can hope to match the government when it comes to creating rules and regulations. The Federal Register is the official record of all the rules and regulations you're supposed to follow if you have the good fortune to live in the USA.

If there was a board game called, "Life In a Free Country," in addition to the instructions on how to play the game there would be a multi-volume set of books containing all the Rules & Regs you need to follow in order to remain on the straight and narrow as prescribed by Congress and the 2,711,000 (more or less) non-military employees of the federal government.

I won't mention the roughly 800,000 (more or less) civilian employees of the defense department because I'm hoping, though I must admit I don't actually know (and how could I be sure), that they have more restrictions and are better watched, at least on paper, than the 2,711,000 (more or less) other Gubmint civilian employees, so I won't bring it up.

In reality, all the Rules & Regs would probably be contained on however many DVDs it takes to contain the 80,000 pages (definitely more, never less, new rules spawn faster than bunnies) of the Federal Register as the EPA would probably rule that they have the authority, under an obscure provision of the So Sue Us If You Don't Like It Act to prevent the use of so much paper in order to protect us from ourselves.

How on Earth did Congress find the time to write so many Rules & Regs? That's where the 2,711,000 (more or less) bureaucrats come in. Realizing that writing all those Rules & Regs themselves would be inefficient and detract from time on job one (see above), Congress passes legislation that authorizes the bureaucrats to create the Rules & Regs needed to put the brilliant ideas of their overlords into effect.

This practice helps to stimulate the economy by creating work for professional lobbyists who not only have to influence Congress but also the 2,711,000 (more or less) potential rule writers. Never let it be said that our fearless leaders can't hold their own when matched up against the folks that ran the Roman empire into the dirt.

Have an OK day.

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©2015 Mark Mehlmauer   (The Flyoverland Crank)

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