Happy New Decade

Bill Neinast


This is a big New Year.  Not only are we welcoming a new year, but a new decade is dawning.  The third decade of the 21st century is already here.

A double New Year should require more or larger New Year’s resolutions.  A great start should be with Congress.

Imagine members of Congress returning from Christmas and Hanukkah with their constituents ready to shake hands across the aisle.  Then hope for a miracle.  As they shake hands, they agree on a momentous resolution.  They agree to eliminate the federal deficits before the end of the decade.

Carrying out that resolution would require them to start concentrating on spending instead of taxing and who is not paying their fair share of taxes.

The first and easiest place to cut spending should be in the foreign aid arena. And the easiest place to start in that arena is right at the top—the United Nations.

The latest statistics publicly available for that organization are from 2017.  That year, the U.S. contributed more than $10 billion to the U.N.  That was  roughly one fifth of the body’s budget.

Why do we contribute anything to that basically worthless organization?  The driving force for its creation on October 24, 1945, was the prevention of war.  Now try to find one year in the intervening 75 years when there was not a war of some kind somewhere in the world.

Once those billions are cut out of the budget, focus the magnifying glass on all the other foreign aid.  

How long must we be the savior of the world?  How long must we ignore the needs of this country in order to aid the needs or wants of others?  Do we have to buy friendship and respect?  How much foreign aid is provided by other countries, and to whom?

Then look at what we are spending money on within our own borders.

A starting point should be the 10th Amendment of the Constitution.  Here we find, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

That opens a real can of worms.  What powers are being exercised by the overgrown government in Washington, D.C.?

Fortunately, there is an easy index to those powers.

The index is simply a list of the 15 federal departments.  Their title and dates of creation reflect the constantly growing assumption of power by the federal government.

As you read this list with the dates of establishment, think about whether the power inherent in the department is one reserved for the states under the 10th Amendment.

Estimate, if you can,  the number of employees, the reams of regulations, and the tax dollars required to run these federal departments:  State (1789), Treasury (1789), War or Defense (1789), Interior (1849), Justice ( 1870), Agriculture (1889), Commerce (1903) Labor (913), Housing and Urban Development (1965), Transportation (1966), Education (1976), Energy (1977), Health and Human Services (1980), Veterans Affairs (1988), Homeland Security (2001).

Note the gap of more than half a century between the creation of the first three departments and the fourth.  If the states could get along just fine without federal influence for almost 100 years, why is there a ballooning need for federal interference in our lives today?  Why do the school kids in Laredo, Texas, have to be on the same plane as those in New York city?  Why should the oil drillers in Texas be under the same regulators as the coal miners in Wyoming?

When the Department of Agriculture was created in 1889, this was still an agrarian country of small family farms and ranches.  Today. we are an industrial society with much of the agriculture in the hands of mega corporations.  

Where is the need for federal dollars and regulations in the cotton fields?  Would the local authority in Iowa do a better job of helping and regulating the corn fields in that state than the bureaucrats in Washington?

So here’s the perspective.

An honest joint New Decade Resolution in Congress to reduce the federal deficit and begin operating under a balanced budget would be more spectacular than dropping the ball in Times Square.

A good start would be resigning from the role of cop and benefactor of the world and putting the federal government back into its legitimate role under the 10th Amendment.

Withdrawing as world benefactor could be easily done in a few short years.  Abandoning the role of national godfather, however, would take several decades.  

Imagine, though, the effects of phasing out federal departments like Energy, Education, Agriculture, Commerce, and others that crept in during the 19th and 20th centuries.  Think what wiping out the bookshelves full of regulations from those agencies would do for private enterprise and loan control.

Well it is nice to have pleasant dreams every once in a while.

Happy New Decade to all.



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