Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Republicans’ fret over spending is misplaced

The Republicans in Congress are hell bent on cutting spending.  And with federal expenditures approaching $3.6 trillion, they have good reason to be concerned.  However, by focusing solely on spending, they are eschewing the real problem: federal encroachment.

Currently, we have fifteen executive cabinets.  They are (in no particular order):

Dept. of State
Dept. of Treasury
Dept. of Defense
Dept. of Justice
Dept. of Interior
Dept. of Agriculture
Dept. of Commerce
Dept. of Labor
Dept. of Health and Human Services
Dept. of Housing and Urban Development
Dept. of Transportation
Dept. of Energy
Dept. of Education
Dept. of Veterans Affairs
Dept. of Homeland Security

Whew.  That’s a lot of departments.  Many have argued for the elimination, or at least the combining of several departments.  Do we really need a cabinet-level department of Interior, Commerce, and Energy?  I would argue that the cost/benefit of most departments don’t justify their existence.  Factor in the regulatory burden and any benefit derived from correcting market failures evaporates rather quickly.

The number, size, and scope of departments are only the beginning, though.  Nestled within each of these cabinet-level department lie several other, often obscure, federal agencies.  

For example, the Commerce Department has over 20 “key” agencies.  They are:

Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)
Bureau of Industry and Security
Bureau of the Census
Economic Development Administration
Economics & Statistics Administration
Export Enforcement
Import Administration
International Trade Administration (ITA)
Manufacturing and Services
Marine and Aviation Operations
Market Access and Compliance
Minority Business Development Agency
National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service
National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST)
National Marine Fisheries Service
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
National Ocean Service
National Technical Information Service
National Telecommunications & Information Administration
National Weather Service (NOAA)
Oceanic and Atmospheric Research
Patent & Trademark Office
Trade Promotion and U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service
 *source: USA.gov

It would take several pages to list the entire federal bureaucracy, and I’m not sure the exact number is known to any one group or person.  

While the Republicans are right to go after spending, what’s really needed is the elimination of federal agencies that have outlived their original purpose.  Reducing federal spending protects the few (and decreasing) number of taxpayers, but reducing the size and scope of the leviathan state protects every American’s liberties.  

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Case for College

Signalling is alive and well in America.

Go to college!

A Voting Disconnect

During the 2012 presidential election, Obama garnered 93% of the black vote.

I wonder why?

America's Military-Industrial Complex

This is a documentary on the power, might, and influence of America’s military-industrial complex. 

Why We Fight

It seems even our first president was keenly aware of the dangers of a large garrison state:

“Hence, likewise, they will avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments, which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to Republican Liberty.” ~ George Washington, Presidential Farewell Address, 1976

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Washington or Bust

I don’t always consider it a good sign when more people are moving to our nation’s capital than anywhere else.  Yet, that is what’s happening, and has been for seven years, according to Atlas Van’s annual U.S. and Canada moving trends map.  See here for more interesting info on the matter. 

atlas map

The two states leading the exodus are (not surprisingly) New York and New Jersey.

Why are so many folks moving to DC?  Rent-seeking.  Earning money by lobbying the federal legislature and administrative state has supplanted the production of goods and services.  As Washington spends more and more money (it spent about $3.6 trillion in 2012), people are abandoning traditional production and service jobs, and are instead seeking careers as lobbyists.  While it’s understandable for the individual, this is not good for the country.
And the answer is not new restrictions on lobbying.  One has a right to lobby his representative.  The solution is to constrain the growth of government and curb federal spending such that it becomes unprofitable to a great many to lobby.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Water, dangerous pollutant, EPA says

We always take time out to bask in the moment whenever a court rules against the EPA.  Last year saw a few good moments for liberty lovers, not the least of which was Sackettv. EPA.  In this case, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that property owners can have their day in court during a compliance order spat with the EPA.  That was very good news.  

However, one must always be on guard against a hyperkinetic EPA.  Fairfax County, Virginia, recently got a taste of victory this year against the rogue agency.  Bestowing upon itself new powers, the EPA recently declared that storm water runoff, yes H2O, was a dangerous pollutant that needing regulating.  Under this rule, municipalities across the country would have been exposed to potentially millions (even billions!) of dollars to mitigate the effects of storm water runoff.  Virginia, seeing millions of its tax dollars flow down the storm drain, sued.

A federal court agreed with Fairfax county officials.  It’s heartening to know that common sense sometimes still prevails.