Routing errors can cause real problems when traveling. Heading to your destination can be easy or complex depending on the route chosen. Getting off course, or making an error while in route creates delays, lost time, frustration, and increased expenses. Anyone who has done even a small amount of travelling has experienced problems derived from a routing error. What may look like a good route on a map quickly proves to be longer with less services and fewer ways to get help if needed.
The 16th Amendment’s approval for a federal income tax gave federal government a direct route to the people’s earnings providing access to a lot of money. Money is the fuel for building a bureaucratic state. The 1929 stock market crash helped government sell the notion it needed to create federal agencies to help people, the problems are too big to fix locally after all. Citizens were given a New Deal in the 1930s and the routing of tax dollars accelerated. Despite this bureaucratic growth spurt, as recently as the 1950s many of the programs designed to help people were local with funding routed from the local people through a private charity or local government office.
The Great Society and bureaucratic expansion in the 1960s and 1970s would change that as transformational bureaucracy began to take control of the route more tax and charitable dollars travelled. Central government ‘experts’ were slowly put in charge of more and more rules and regulations impacting everyday living beyond federal authority, today accounting for over 96% of new rules and laws governing people.
Agencies were started or expanded to combat poverty and crime, centralize education, tackle environmental issues, control water ways, oversee food supplies, determine nutrition standards, and much more. Additional federal tax dollars are needed for operating these growing federal services so more is collected locally, routed through bureaucrats and representatives in D.C. and doled back to the states and local communities depending on the decisions of the experts in charge. To further fund the growing central government fees are added to provide additional revenue streams, helping people is expensive after all.
One agency serves as a good example of the complexities this route for taxes and fees can lead to. The Department of Education is a warm and fuzzy agency that was not officially created until 1979, beginning operations in May of 1980 (just over 36 years ago). With over $75 billion tax dollars and thousands of bureaucrats deciding what education programs and places will receive some of those dollars, many already believe it is a vital agency we cannot educate our children without.
States have become agents for the department in an effort to maintain funding sent from D.C. to the states while local schools adhere to department demands or risk losing precious financial aid granted to them by D.C. bureaucrats, secured for them by their elected representatives. Finances that originated with the people, were sent to D.C., filtered through the DOE, and a portion returned to the people’s local schools IF those schools adhere to the DOE rules and regulations.
Is education better because of the last 36 years of routing dollars through the central government agency? Most citizens would say no, locally our schools are not better under central planning. Politicians will tell those same citizens it is unthinkable to eliminate this federal department, after all it would send us back to the era of one room school houses and we need to reach for the future, not get stuck in the past. Besides, we’re told, giving the tax dollars back to state and local control may lead to fraud, waste, and abuse while risking our children’s ability to learn. After all, nobody cares for your children more than the bureaucrats, politicians, and unions dedicated to expanding their programs for your sake. Opposing this agency brands you as someone uncaring for children or education.
Oppose the EPA and you want to return to polluted water and air. Dept. of Health and Human Services opposition means you want to return to child labor and sweat shops. If you don’t like the Dept. of Energy you must want to live by candlelight. BLM opposition means you want to destroy public lands. Any thought of operating through a clearer route than the D.C. tax and fee route means you are delusional, archaic, some kind of originalist, and must just hate government. You’re likely an anarchist, rebel, or even perhaps a terrorist according to some bureaucrats, special interest groups, and politicians.
Transformational bureaucracy is pitched to be an excellent route for the people. State, local, and self-governing routes of the past are outdated and far less travelled. It is better, we are sold, to stick to the toll road of federal control to arrive safely at your destination, living a democratic equal life. Forget any other routes, ignore big government failures, and simply send more dollars to make travel better. Better economics, less poverty, better crime rates, less drugs, better streets, less danger, better send in the money, less need to care for self, better believe in transformation through rules and regulation, trust the road most travelled, stay with centralized planning, fund the federal bureaucracy. There’s a legacy to build for our country, our children, and our future so forget the self-governing localized past, toll gate up ahead.
Government problems result from a simple routing error. We send our tax dollars to the federal government for daily life needs, give up local authority, beg them to send some back, and wonder why there is so much waste, so little success, and so much frustration. We then spend billions to elect people to play the beggars’ game for us, spend billions more to lobby those we just elected, spend billions more to repeat this cycle year after year while the central bureaucracy expands and poverty, crime, education, and the welfare state suffer locally. We route the dollars through transformational bureaucracy and end up racing down the highway to hell. Is this really the best route?
“The escalation of ‘entitlements’ in the 1960s and 1970s has led to the devastation of American cities, the decline of American education, and the deterioration of self-reliance….The larger government gets, the more power it has to forbid any change in the systems-and the more its waste of our resources reduces the chance of getting out of this without national bankruptcy.” Harry Browne, Why Government Doesn’t Work