Obese Government Needs Bypass Surgery
Yes, the era of big government is over.
It's been supplanted by an era of obese government.
Ignoring its own Surgeon General's warnings that obesity is hazardous to your health, the federal government has grown to outlandish proportions. Paradoxically, sizable growth is occurring even in the form of government programs to warn us about the dangers of growing excessively fat. With several agencies already ingesting funds for "obesity awareness" and other such indispensable services, a subcommittee of the House Agriculture Committee is presently expending our resources in hearings to determine how much more government must consume to squash the problem of too much consumption.
Thus, the federal bureaucracy gorges itself on the fruit of our labor to protect us from, among many other things, growing too big in either our persons or our businesses. In reality, the administration seems to believe only government can’t be too big." Yet if obesity poses health hazards to an individual body, how greatly magnified the risks must be for a grotesquely overweight government body, which threatens to flatten the entire population under its immensity.
The good news is, obesity has a cure.
Medical experts confirm that a procedure known as gastric bypass surgery can lead to dramatic improvements to weight and overall health. According to the Mayo Clinic, a patient can expect to lose 50 percent to 60 percent of his excess weight.
The National Institute of Health, a corpulent agency in its own right, cautions, however, that the operation should be performed only on "carefully selected patients with clinically severe obesity when less invasive methods of weight loss have failed and the patient is at high risk for obesity-associated morbidity or mortality."
Does the government meet its own criteria? That its condition is "clinically severe" is beyond serious debate: new trillion-dollar spending proposals issue practically every week; earmarks fill the nose with such malodorous projects as the study of pig excreta; a federal budget approaches a full 20 percent of GDP; "cramdowns" and "clawbacks" cram and claw their way more and more into the private decision-making of every household and enterprise. In sum, denying the mortal danger to a nation conceived in liberty would be very much like denying an elephant in the living room.
The only question, then, is whether less invasive means have been exhausted. Among conservatives, this seems to be the coming debate. On one side, are moderate approaches like the three-year "spending freeze" proposed last week by Senator Charles Grassley. On the other side is the more drastic bypass operation, described below.
For years, countless less invasive methods have been tried without success. Welfare reform; pay-as-you-go rules; lobbying reform; half-hearted pledges to make government more efficient; the list goes on. Despite all such efforts, the government has only continued to swell, until the present age of obesity as spending magnifies exponentially, with a positively bacchanalian lack of restraint.
Even tax cuts have failed to shrink the government because, as any glutton can attest, reducing caloric intake during daylight hours is nullified by late-night visits to the refrigerator. Whenever taxes are reduced, legislative raiders of the public purse will be found furtively stuffing themselves with substitute forms of taxation, including taxation of future generations by borrowing and printing.
The by-pass operation, however, eliminates the need, and the capacity, for massive taxation. The Mayo Clinic explains:
"the surgeon creates a small pouch at the top of the stomach. The small intestine is then cut a short distance below the main stomach and connected to the new pouch. Food and liquid flow directly from the pouch into this part of the intestine, bypassing most of the stomach. . . . Weight loss is achieved by restricting the amount of food that the stomach can hold and . . . reducing the amount of calories that are absorbed."
Prognosis following surgery: The patient's health would be restored, with the limited government composed of lean muscle, and the economy invigorated in a new metabolic balance.
Roger Banks is a lawyer and writer in Washington, D.C.