God save me from my friends. I can protect myself from my enemies.
The late, inordinately great United States President Ronald Reagan believed it – and applied it directly to the worst “friend” of all:
The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’
Anytime government does anything, it costs We the People money – in (at least) two directions.
At the front end – because before government can do anything it must take from us the coin to do it.
And at the back end – because anything the government makes us do costs us more coin. What wise man Mark Steyn calls complying with the Department of Compliance.
The cost of just the federal government “helping” We the “Friends”is gi-normous.
Costs for Americans to comply with federal regulations reached $1.863 trillion in 2013. That is more than the (Gross Domestic Product) GDPs of Canada or Australia.
Every good and service we purchase – or try to sell – is thus in the aggregate nearly $2 trillion more expensive. Thanks for the assistance, Uncle Sam.
Some economic sectors are more abused than others. This is most often due to regulatory attrition – and addition.
Government gets a little involved – and of course things get worse. So the government assails the damage its done – as a failing of the (now less) free market. Spinning it into justification for further government involvement. And of course things worsen further. Lather, rinse repeat.
As we should all know by now, the solution to government – isn’t more government.
One of the most abused parts of the economy is the Farm Sector. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) alone is way beyond control.
Using 105,000 total USDA employees and the BLS figure of 1.2 million farmers and farm workers —you get a ratio of 1 employee for every 11.4 farmers.
Except it’s 1 for every 11.4 members of the sector – anyone involved in any way in farming. Not just farmers. That bureaucrat-to-useful-person ratio is absurd.
The tens of thousands of pages of regulations the USDA has issued these past 152 years to lord over the Farm Sector are cumulatively crushing.
But the USDA is a lightweight compared to the meteoric, merely 45-year-old Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The EPA is ridiculously anti-free market – it’s its sole reason for being. And more and more, it is setting its sites on the Farm Sector.
You want to kneecap farmers? And make food exorbitantly more expensive? Turn farmers’ water into a weapon against them.
The issue is the EPA’s proposed changes to the Waters of the United States regulation. In March, the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed new rules that would expand the agency’s regulatory authority on streams and wetlands that feed into major rivers and lakes.
The EPA says 60 percent of the nation’s streams and wetlands are not protected from pollution.
That actually means 60% of the nation’s streams and wetlands are protected from government. The EPA won’t stand for that. Except:
(T)wo U.S. Supreme Court decisions that limited what waterways the government can regulate and the proposed rule is meant to clarify which smaller ones they include.
Why would that stop the EPA?
(T)he rules…(would) allow the government to dictate what farmers can and cannot do with their farmland, which often includes small streams, ponds and marshes.
How beyond-all-reason-and-reasonableness is this massive new EPA power grab?
On October 1, 2014, an unexpected ally from within the administration filed comments with EPA claiming that EPA and the Corps “have improperly certified the proposed rule [WOTUS] under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) because it (WOTUS) would have significant effects on small businesses.”
When another arm of the Leviathan thinks you’ve gone light years too far – just how far from the path have you strayed?
EPA, of course, said its rule would not have a significant effect on small businesses.
Of course it says that. And if you like your health care plan – you can keep it.
The RFA requires any federal agency to consider the impact of a proposed rule on a small business or small local government. Moreover if an agency determines there will be a significant economic impact, then less burdensome alternatives must be reviewed and in EPA’s case it is required to convene a Small Business Advocacy Review Panel.
As you might guess EPA ignored SBA requirements.
Of course it did.
SBA says that EPA and the Corps mislead the public by claiming that using a 1986 definition of the scope of the waters of the U.S. EPA is actually narrowing its jurisdiction.
SBA points out correctly, as does the Office of Management and Budget, that EPA should not be using the 1986 definition but use its current method for determining jurisdiction. SBA claims “Using an obsolete baseline improperly diminishes the effects of this rule.”
Again, it appears EPA is attempting to mislead citizens and farmers.
Really? The EPA – dishonest and devious?
The SBA is right. We’re right. The EPA needs to back off its Farm-Sector-abusing Waters of the U.S. uber-overreach – and a whole lot of others.
Our food – and everything else – would be a whole lot cheaper.
Editor’s Note: This first appeared in Red State.