Conservatives are caught in a pickle. Whenever we run on the pitcher to steal second base (implementing actual conservative principles), we get cut off by the ball, then scoot right back to first. Then we find out that the catcher is a Democrat, the second baseman is a RINO, and the first base coach that sent us is a self-interested consultant. Nobody is playing on our team.
Our players get traded, cut, benched, and injured on purpose. The game just goes on and on, but the only team that scores is bigger government. It’s so discouraging that most of the fans left the park long ago.
And then Donald Trump walks on to the mound, never throws a pitch and holds us on the base with merely a look–we’re too scared to even try.
I’m not so sure the country even wants conservative values anymore. We’re too hooked on what the government does for us. We know Jefferson said, “A government big enough to give you everything you want, is a government big enough to take away everything that you have.”
But it just feels so good.
It could, in fact, be too late to turn this game around.
There are 456 “official” federal agencies, and many of these have bureaucracies within them. According to The Center for Small Government, just the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has 47 separate bureaucracies! Let’s say the average, for the sake of time, is 40. That’s 18,240 bureaucracies, and 2.6 million (give or take) federal employees.
There are 535 federal legislators in Congress who are elected to oversee, fund, and pass laws to regulate this morass. If we divided it up equally, that’s 42 bureaucracies per Congressman/woman, and 182 bureaucracies per Senator. Congress has roughly 200 committees to discuss all of these, and other, items they deal with.
Congress needs a huge staff just to keep up with the alphabet soup. Bonus question: Off the top of any Representative or Senator’s head, what’s the budget for Climate Change Adaptation technical assistance program grants for the Office of Insular Affairs of the U.S. Department of the Interior? Don’t know? Me neither, but President Obama signed Executive Order 13653 to make these grants happen. It’s buried somewhere under 20 line items.
How do you roll back 80,000 pages of federal regulations? How do you undo the Gordian knot? How do you stop the avalanche?
Do we really think that a new president, even Rand Paul, who wants a government “so small you can barely see it,” can do such a thing? It brings to mind Nietzsche’s parable “The Madman,” except instead of killing God, we would have killed the Government.
I mean to tell you! We have killed him you and I! We are all his murderers! But how have we done it? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the whole horizon? What did we do when we loosened this earth from its sun? Whither does it now move? Whither do we move? Away from all suns? Do we not dash on unceasingly? Backwards, sideways, forwards, in all directions? Is there still an above and below? Do we not stray, as through infinite nothingness? Does not empty space breathe upon us? Has it not become colder? Does not night come on continually, darker and darker? Shall we not have to light lanterns in the morning?
The federal government has infested every aspect of our lives. Turn on a light switch, and no less than three cabinet-level agencies have regulated it. Get in your car, and only God knows how many you encounter. Go to work–if you live where I live, the major employer in town is the Department of Defense. What would we do if the Air Force base closed? The town would blow away like dust.
For every veteran Donald Trump said he wants to take care of, there is a whole chain of federal employees who work for the VA, their contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, down to the guy who paints lines in the parking lots. Whither would they go? When NASA shut down the Space Shuttle program, United Space Alliance laid off 1,200 employees (KSC ultimately let go or transferred up to 9,000 NASA employees).
[In 2010, Boeing aerospace engineer Juan Vazquez] opened two laundromats that he runs in his spare time. To ensure that he would succeed as a small-business owner, Vazquez completed the transitional program’s entrepreneur training class.
On the space coast of Florida, you literally have rocket scientists cutting grass. There goes the importance of a STEM education right there, but there just isn’t demand. Back in the late 1980’s, cuts in nuclear weapons research put a bunch of physicists at places like Livermore Labs on the street. Many of them ended up at companies like Goldman Sachs writing hedge automated trading programs and such.
But not everyone has a Ph.D. in mathematics.
Our 2.6 million federal employees carry a lot of clout with Congress. They always cut off the runner before conservatives (many of whom are the same people who work in these jobs) get ten steps toward second base.
We say we want conservative changes, but we also want our Sugar Daddy Uncle Sam to foot the bill, so we keep running back to first base. Every conservative candidate wants to focus on securing our borders, keeping us safe from terrorists, restoring religious liberty, and dealing with taxes.
Ted Cruz wants to abolish the IRS, but then who will collect federal revenue? When President George W. Bush set up the Department of Homeland Security, there was great fanfare–it’s easy to create new agencies. The EPA, Department of Education, Department of Energy, DHS–none of them existed before 1973, and the government was still big even then.
It will take a generation to kick the habit of agency addiction, and no president can do more than cut some fat and slow the growth. Even that will hurt someone who depends on their fix of federal services. They will have to learn to do without, and when babies lose their pacifiers, they cry. Congress hates crying babies (who vote them into office).
I don’t think the country has the stomach for the kind of change it will take to actually be conservative. I think this is the reason Trump is so popular. He talks about all these things, but he doesn’t really mean it. He makes everyone feel better, but everyone really knows–wink, wink, nod, nod–it’s all just talk.