If you've followed my writings for very long, you know I'm no fan of big government. Perhaps 10 years ago, I started writing about Uncle Sam being out of control. But back then we hadn't seen anything compared to what's happening today.
Okay, some of you may think I'm the one that's gone crazy wild. Maybe the following will help you believe otherwise – along with our fast-rising federal debt and unfunded obligations passed down for states to cover.
WHAT'S HAPPENING DOWN THERE?! If the Statue of Freedom perched atop the U.S. Capitol dome could talk, it likely would shame those walking the halls below.
"Uncle Sam gone wild" is one of the hottest topics of the Republican presidential debate. The candidates unanimously agreed that the Obama Administration has gone hog-wild with efforts to expand and justify federal jobs – not necessarily to safeguard and protect America or improve the common good. The agencies have been politicized and populated with zealots with biased agendas.
The primary goal of our federal government was supposed to be "provide for the common defense" as the preamble of the U.S. Constitution states – not provide for a common offense against its people. Today, defense is a distant No. 3 federal priority at $609 billion, compared to Medicare and health at $1.05 trillion and Social Security, unemployment and food assistance topping priorities at $1.28 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Remember, most of us employed outside of government create real tangible income-producing products – crops, foods, fuels, even magazines. Bureaucrats produce only rules and regulations requiring more taxes.
The biggest bone currently chewed on may be the infamous "pass it, then read it" Affordable Care Act. It's in the process of passing along costs to individuals and businesses, impacting the middle class most severely. In fact, ACA's most expensive provisions have yet to kick in. They include:
* Mandatory employer participation for businesses with 50 or more employees starts in 2016. The 50% tax credit for ACA participation also expires for small businesses having fewer than 10 employees and average wages less than $25,000.
* Itemized medical expense deduction thresholds increase from 7.5% to 10% of AGI for all taxpayers in 2017. That means you'll be taxed on 2.5% more of your income already lost to medical expenses.
* All health insurance plans must cover approved preventive care and checkups without co-payment in 2018. That's not all, but you get the drift.
Think I've gone "over the cliff"?
Agriculture is chewing on plenty of its own bones of contention. Farm groups spend mind-boggling amounts of time and money just defending against needless invasion of privacy and business management by government and professional litigators – lawyers with alligator-like traits. Let's see, where do we begin:
* You remember WOTUS, the Waters of the United States final rule controversy. U.S. EPA patiently waded through more than 1 million public comments. Then it pretty much went ahead with its original plan to give itself loophole authority to define WOTUS any way regulators want. Now, 30 states plus industry groups are seeking a federal injunction to block implementing the rule on August 28. See Whoa the WOTUS rule!
* After agriculture was assured by Uncle Sam (including EPA and USDA) that identifying personal data from thousands of livestock farms wouldn't be shared, EPA did just that with environmental groups. After lower courts ruled that American Farm Bureau Federation, National Pork Producers Association and other groups "lacked standing" to challenge the action, the U.S. Court of Appeals in St. Louis is considering the case – after the fact.
* Then there's the Interior Department's rising regulatory burdens being imposed on livestock grazing in the American West. And the Labor Department's proposals concerning the H-2A sheepherder's program would, in effect, leave sheep to the wolves and coyotes – to stave off still more litigious attacks by grazing opponents. Meanwhile, the U.S. Forest Service is attempting to reduce grazing allotments due to perceived bighorn sheep health issues for the same reason.
* Agriculture and the food processing and marketing system are still trying to adapt to regulations forced by the Food and Drug Administration's Food Safety Modernization Act. Somehow, food safety for animals and transportation for animal foods also got thrown into the regulatory bunk. And now, the President's FSMA 2016 budget request tops $1.4 billion.
* In one of the more recent agency actions, FDA's latest set of drug regulations included animal drugs under the Veterinary Feed Directive's guidance for the industry document #120. No, I'm not kidding.
* Of course, we can't leave out the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Necessary or not, USDA's dietary guidelines "morph" every five years. The latest change mashed the food pyramid into a plate, and squeezed whole milk out of the school cafeteria food line. See USDA conspires with fakers against school milk-drinking.
All these actions were perpetrated in this growing age of intolerance by tunnel-visioned experts aplus litigation-minded individuals and organizations with well-fed "alligators". These are the creatures ruling the halls of our nation's capitol.