Order More Stop Signs

Bill Neinast


There is a severe shortage in this country.  Stop signs are in short supply.

One stop sign is needed for every ten square feet in congressional facilities and one is needed for every five square feet in the White House and other federal bureaucracies.

Every time a member of Congress, the President, or any of his minions considers a new law, regulation, or procedure there should be a sign telling him or her to stop and think. Their thoughts should follow a standard script.  Is this a federal problem?  Is federal action on the problem permissible under the Constitution?  Would federal action be better than state action?  Who will pay for this action?  Where will the money come from?

If questions like these had been asked and answered honestly before every federal program was begun, the federal government would be much smaller and there would be no deficit today.

These questions came to mind with the arrival of the current issue of Time magazine.  The cover of the magazine features a college banner heralding RAPE.  The headline story is a seven page account of what the author calls “The Crisis in Higher Education.”  The dialogue is about the federal government becoming involved in rape cases on college campuses.

Rape is a heinous crime, regardless of when, where, or how it occurs.  Why, though, is this a federal concern if the rape did not occur on federal property?

“The Crisis in Higher Education” discusses, for example a U.S. Attorney’s investigation into why the state’s attorney in Missoula, Montana, was not more aggressive in handling cases of rape at the University of Montana located in Missoula.  Even if the state’s attorney was not as aggressive as Attorney General Holder and his minions desired, there is no federal crime here.

The feds justify their actions under the Clery Act, passed in 1990, and Title IX of 1972.  

The Clery Act requires colleges to publish annual reports on security policies and campus crime statistics, including sex offenses.  Again, why this is a federal concern is not explained.  

Title IX is the authority most often cited for federal intervention.  This is the law that combats gender discrimination in college sports.  So, in federal eyes, is rape now a college sport?

In education below college level, the federal government is even more involved than its interference in college rapes.  The feds are now in the cat bird seat for this vital step in maturation.  They rose to this dominant position in education under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA), a legacy of President George W. Bush, a Republican who is supposed to believe in limited, small governments.

Some of the latest indications of the federal government taking over education are the ongoing hearings before various Texas legislative committees.  One of the issues is to determine whether the law has to be changed to authorize teacher evaluations that comply with NCLBA.

This was discussed here last week.  The subject then was how the NCLBA’s mandated national standardized tests have been a contributor to the dumbing down of America.

The foregoing are just two of many areas where the country would be better off if the folks in Washington had just stopped and pondered whether they were considering a federal problem.  There are many reasons why it is important that they do so.

One of the most cogent concerns is that the only thing more permanent than the pyramids of Egypt is a federal program.  Once a federal program or agency is created, there is only one path to follow.  It has to grow.

The only way the agency can prosper is to keep turning out new regulations.  More regulations equal larger headquarters’ staff and facilities.  More personnel equals more regulations.  So it is impossible to break the cycle. 

Why, for example, is there a need today for Departments of Commerce, Labor, Energy, Education, Housing and Urban Development, and Health and Human Services?

The recent housing bubble that led to the financial crash and continuing economic woes can be laid, in part, at the feet of Housing and Urban Development.  That agency was created, in part, because of Washington’s belief that every American is entitled to either own a home or to be furnished “adequate” housing.

Nothing more needs to be said about Health and Human Services than Obamacare.

So here’s the perspective.

A blanket must be thrown over the feverish growth of the federal government.  One of the best ways, but least likely, is to have the rule makers STOP and study whether they are really addressing a federal problem or are they just looking for a way to grow the bureaucracy.

Let’s order more stop signs.


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