Our Obese Government
The Wall Street Journal recently wrote: "the federal government employs just under 2.9 million civilian employees."
Other media, such as the Washington Post, report a similar figure. But 2.086 million civilian employees refers only to the Executive Branch.
The number of federal government employees actually totals over 8 million.
Adding the number of Executive Branch employees to the 64,000 of combined Judiciary and Legislative employees, gives us 2,150,000 federal employees. It is unclear whether this sum includes the 535 congressional members and the 18 to 20 staff members each Representative and each Senator is allowed. Whatever the case, 2,150,000 federal employees is not the total of government fat.
A 2004 report shows that the number of federal government employees for 77 out of a total of 582 agencies and departments is 5,133,286. Of the remaining 505 agencies, 19 employ a combined total of 5,279. The remainder employs an estimated 9,720 individuals and 582 "directors" and "coordinators."
Total agency employees is 5,148,867.
Branch plus agency sums to 7.298,867 employees. The current Administration added 900,000 employees. The total is 8,198,867.
These are the elected and appointed officials and the multitude of bureaucrats to which taxpayers pay annual salaries in order to be regulated, monitored, harassed, billed, yelled at, lied to, ridiculed, insulted, and looted.
The number of agencies and federal government employees are the two most obvious factors of an out-of-control and out-of-touch, unlimited government. The cause of government's obesity is its continual, unrestrained violation of individual rights.
Government agencies are created to regulate or allegedly help some area of the economy. For instance, the National Endowment of the Arts is meant to help the arts, including so-called "modern" art, which is neither modern nor art. It is financed by forcing taxpayers to support that which it rejects, does not like and will not buy. The NEA violates taxpayer's life and property
OSHA is an agency that "oversees" the safety of small business operations. Its 4,190 employees are paid with tax dollars. Like the EPA, OSHA exists for the sole purpose of hindering and obstructing business, violating Americans' right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Such violations are in addition to and apart from the violations that congressional members are guilty of in almost every bill they introduce. Had individual rights been recognized and protected, for instance, Obama's Health Care Tax law could never have been written, let alone passed.
The Founding Fathers feared the tyranny of government that results from centralized power. They were vividly aware of the need to protect the rights of the individual against the oppressiveness of government that continually seeks to expand its power over the population.
Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have . . . The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases. -- Thomas Jefferson
It was their concern for individual rights that drove them to place three important restraints on government. Those restraints were meant to limit government.
1. A balance of powers among the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary branches of government stipulate what each may do. Articles I, II, and III lists the powers of the Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary Branches respectively.
2. The Tenth Amendment -- often referred to as the people's amendment or State's Rights -- specifies that the states or the people retain those powers not delegated to the federal government.
3. A clause known as the "General Welfare Clause" first mentioned in the Declaration of Independence and repeated in the preamble of the Constitution was meant to underscore the importance of individual liberty. It was not meant to allow monetary assistance of any kind to any special group of any particular income.
If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one. -- James Madison
This mention of "the general Welfare" in the Preamble was intended, therefore, to serve in effect as a limit on the use of those delegated powers. The Preamble does not constitute a grant of any power whatever to the government. . . . The clause does not empower Congress to spend tax monies for any and every purpose it might select merely on the pretense, or even in the belief, that it is for the "general welfare. -- Alexander Hamilton in The Federalist number 83. Hamilton's Opinion
Over time, politicians chipped away at all three of these safeguards, destroying each to differing degrees. Their overreach catapulted government to greater and greater size and more and more invasiveness into our lives. More agencies meant more employees. More employees meant more taxes taken from productive citizens. More taxes meant less savings, less investment, less spending, less certainty. The result: creeping Statism and a continually lowering of the standard of living.
Through the proliferation of agencies and employees Retrogrades (AKA "Progressives") changed a limited government and prospering economy into a bloated behemoth.
Government must be put on a strict diet to reduce its weight and power over our lives. The number of federal employees must be radically reduced, the vast number of agencies must be closed, the countless regulations must be ended. This is the only way to restore individual rights and thereby limit government.