Robert is a freelance writer/researcher in the Seattle, WA area. He covers current political, economic, and geopolitical news.
American economist Herbert Stein formulated the expression, “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.” And yet, many, especially those with power, still get caught up in the moment, thinking something is possible, when really, it’s not. Our politicians and bureaucrats in Washington DC continue to believe the current ever-expanding trajectory of our national government is somehow sustainable.
The United States government has grown enormously under both Republican and Democratic administrations. George W. Bush drastically altered the landscape of the federal government, adding trillions to the debt with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, while also creating the horrendous Department of Homeland Security (DHS), a bureaucracy containing the “reputable” Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Barack Obama has doubled the debt during his two terms, while bringing us the beginning of socialized medicine in America. By ramming Obamacare down America's throats, we are beginning to see just how “effective” government is at running things.
Neither major party is fighting for liberty or limited government. Politicians of both stripes do what they can to stay in power and that is why the federal government has grown to be the Leviathan that it is today. Americans need to understand that businesses and individuals, not governments and bureaucracies, are better instruments of effective governance.
The following are five reasons why the federal government cannot be trusted and why it must be cut in size.
1. The IRS: Attack Dog of the Obama Administration
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was used to target conservative nonprofit groups in the runup to the 2012 presidential election. Conservative groups with the terms “Tea Party” or “Patriot” or “liberty” anywhere, were put under extra scrutiny and not given tax-exempt status. Amazingly, the IRS claimed they did nothing wrong, blaming it all on bad training.
Judge David Sentelle of the US Court of Appeals for DC, noted that “The Court would have to be awfully ignorant not to recognize that there has likely been an egregious violation of the First Amendment rights of American citizens by the IRS, and the IRS to this day seems very resistant to acknowledgement of that.” The go-to tactic by Obama-era bureaucracies seems to be to delay-delay-delay until the next headline story takes over. If the press brings it up again, you can dismiss it as old news, because you stonewalled so long. The gravity of this gross use of government power to silence those of the opposite party cannot be overstated.
The tax agency recently filed the list of the targeted groups as part of a court case that forced them to release it after they refused for as long as they could. The list contained the names of 426 organizations. This number is much higher than the 298 originally reported by the IRS back in May 2013, when this scandal first came to light. Some liberal groups were added to the list at the very end of the time period pulled, so they could point to an “even-handed” approach to evaluating the nonprofits. 60 of the 426 had the word “tea” in their name, while 33 had “patriot,” and 8 refer to the Constitution.
If you think the order to target conservative groups did not come down from somewhere at or near the top, then you are naive. If this kind of targeting by the government does not scare you as an American, then you need to wake up and realize that this is serious business. The second article of impeachment for Richard Nixon was his use of the IRS to target his enemies.
2. The VA: An Immovable Bureacracy
Two years ago, Americans learned that over 1,000 of our nation’s veterans died while waiting for medical care while at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities. While this horrific realization would shake up any private organization, government is immune to change and bureaucracies exist to defend themselves.
VA Secretary Robert McDonald recently said that lines at VA hospitals were still quite appalling, comparing them to lines at Disneyland. Today, nearly half a million veterans wait to see a VA doctor and more than 480,000 of them have to wait for over 30 days to get an appointment.
OpenTheBooks.com recently released a study showing just how idiotic the VA’s practices are. The VA added 39,454 new positions to their payroll between 2012-2015. Fewer than 1 in 11 of these positions were doctors. Sick veterans can’t get an appointment, because there just aren’t enough doctors. During this same four year period, $99.1 billion in salaries and bonuses flowed to 354,960 VA employees and the VA also lawyered up, adding 175 more attorneys, totaling $454 million on salaries.
The VA has an ingrained culture of coverup, allowing them to check boxes on their forms as opposed to actually serving the veterans who have fought defending our country. Sharon Helman, former head of the Phoenix VA, who was fired in 2014, is now suing the government to get her old job back. Only in government can you do something so disgraceful, then sue your former employer for your job back. She hid 3,500 veterans in one city alone and will likely get her job back.
No restructuring has taken place at the VA. Officials have kept their jobs. Veterans continue to be treated like second-class citizens when they should be treated like kings. And whistleblowers are punished and squeezed out of the system. Today, health care wait times remain high and have actually gone up in many places. Most devastating, a recent inspector general report found that over half of VA facilities still use the “improper scheduling” to hide up actual wait times.
3. Obamacare: The Beginning of Socialized Medicine
After hearing about the joys of the VA, why not bring on more government-controlled healthcare?
Obama thought just that when he brought forth The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), a piece of legislation rammed through without a single Republican vote in Congress. Obamacare epitomizes big government gone wrong. Once a social program gets started, it is impossible to stop. People start getting those benefits and quickly come to rely on them.
Just last month, the Obama administration was forced to announce that enrollment for next year will be far below projections, just 10 million by the end of 2016. No amount of advertising or pleading by the president himself can convince people to purchase a poor product. Government takeover is never the way to go.
Recently, health care co-ops in Oregon, Colorado, Tennessee, and Kentucky all announced they would be winding down operations after low enrollment numbers and solvency concerns. These states join four other co-ops that have already announced they would be closing. As a result of these closures, hundreds of thousands of people will lose their insurance plans. Good thing Obama assured us, “If you like your plan, you can keep it.”
As government intervenes in the healthcare sector, insurance premiums are beginning to shoot up. According to some analysts, premiums for exchange-based plans are expected to rise 12 to 13 percent nationwide. The death spiral to end Obamacare may already be starting. UnitedHealth shook up the market in November when they said they were considering pulling out of Obamacare due to loss revenue. The possibilities of providers losing out on high cost patients is very high and is already becoming a reality. At the end of the day, not enough healthy young people are signing up to offset the sick and old who have already signed up.
Healthcare should be privatized not socialized.
4. The NSA: Always Watching
In June 2013, The Guardian and Washington Post published a series of articles with the help of whistleblower, Edward Snowden, who would flee to Russia. These articles, with full government documents included, confirmed how the federal government, through the National Security Agency (NSA), was spying on its own people and the leaders of other countries, all in the name of keeping us safe. The government later admitted to collecting metadata under the guise of the Patriot Act, passed in the aftermath of 9/11.
People’s privacies and liberties are being violated on a daily basis and no one seems to care. One would think the people of a country founded on freedom and liberty would take more of an issue with the incessant spying of the government on its people. This is a form of repression that many do not realize can be used against you.
After Obama’s election in 2008, intelligence officials gave him a list of priorities. Included on this was a box directing his agencies to focus on “leadership intentions,” or spying on other countries’ leaders. Needless to say, Obama did not have that box unchecked. For being a Constitutional law professor and supposed fighter for the people, Mr. Obama has done very little in terms of rolling back the surveillance state that has gotten well out of hand during both the current and former administrations.
5. The TSA: Long Lines Lead To More Funding
Dare I mention the dreaded TSA? This governmental agency did not even exist before 2001. Somehow, the government is better at keeping us safe than private companies are? That was Bush’s thinking. And now, we have the 15-year old TSA that loves to play politics with people just trying to get from gate to gate.
In order to secure more funding, the TSA went way overboard in allowing long lines to persist at major airports during the month of May. The TSA has an annual budget of almost $7.6 billion and employs a 60,000 strong workforce. Yet, last week, with airlines, airports, and customers throwing a fit, Congress was able to put together $34 million more for overtime pay and to hire more screeners to address the summer travel season.
All of the ridiculous things the TSA makes us do to get on a plane would be fine if they were doing their job. Unfortunately, TSA agents failed 67 out of 70 tests, 95%, run by undercover investigators with the DHS trying to smuggle in fake bombs and weapons. Think about that stat next time you’re taking your shoes off in front of a line of waiting travelers.
So, with all of these listed out for you in detail, how could you possibly want more government?
By not operating by profit motive, and spending, what they think, is a never-ending pile of cash, the federal government is destined to destroy itself eventually. It simply cannot keep growing at the alarming rate it has been. That is why people need to be alerted to these stories of government excess and abuse so they can see why big government does not work.
Governments exist to serve the people. Not the other way around.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
bradmasterOCcal on June 14, 2016:
I agree with all 5.
The NSA didn't help with stopping or even keeping tabs on the Orlando Terrorist.
The US didn't share information and it resulted in a successful attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, and then another successful attack in 2001, "911", and now in 2016 in Orlando.
The common thread in these three attacks is that Information existed but wasn't shared to other agencies. And the people in charge of the agencies either didn't get that information or disregarded it as not likely to be a threat.
In all three cases they were wrong.
We have spent billions of dollars on Homeland Security, but apparently after 15 years in existence they failed us.
Gun control is not the issue in Orlando, it was the lack of information sharing that would have flagged the terrorist's background check for purchasing weapons.
We have a NO FLY list, so why don't we have a NO PURCHASE FIREARMS list?
The buck should stop with president Obama for failing to spend time and energy on National Security. Instead he became the protector of the minorities and the PC czar. That focus left the door open for the terrorists, and terrorists sympathizers to hide in the open.
Apparently the agencies that exist to protect us haven't learned their lessons, and in the private sector they would be disciplined, demoted or fired.
On 911, all the three letter defense agencies failed us, as not a single defensive action was in play. When the US Capital is left unprotected that should have been a wakeup call. Both president Bush and president Obama failed on National Security.
Homeland Security is not doing much better as you mentioned in this hub.
As for Obamacare, we have the worst of both private, and nationalized healthcare. Other countries negotiate the price of prescription drugs.
The IRS and the Internal Revenue Code are used as you say to be the hammer for the president to get at people and groups he doesn't like.
The IRC allows the rich to pay less taxes, while in 1986 the tax deductions for the middle class were removed.
The IRS has not collect all the taxes that were due, and they don't seem to have any solutions for it.
It is said that no one seems to care about the issues mentioned in this hub.