Big Government

Since Obama came to office, we have heard so much rhetoric about “big government” and how we shouldn’t like “big government”. It is spoken of everyday on websites, television and in blogs across the spectrum of “conservative” media. I am certainly not in favor of unenforceable regulation, wasted resources in terms of labor and salaries or a law for every season and occasion, but here are several things of interest to me regarding the use of the phrase “big government”.

Big government to me is a government run by wealthy people and corporations who stand to make millions and even billions on the laws that they get through congress by bribing congressional representatives and senators with BIG money. They are an extension of our government in every sense of the word. The many causes taken up by congress are brought to the legislators by the very rich insiders and many of those causes are more laws that help them, not less laws. It seems to me the more laws we have to confuse issues, the more a good lawyer can get away with and so the very people in power that harangue about “big government” make those same big government laws themselves.

For instance, there are laws made by the insurance companies to require flame retardant on all our clothes, couches, flooring and drapes even though they are proven cancer causing chemicals that only poison us in a fire. The commerce department will not allow chemical free couches or beds to come into this country for retail sale. Why would they do that knowing they were going to hurt people? In short, they continue to require it because the chemical companies make money on the law and constant revisions of it to enable them the sales of their chemicals. To boot, they have insiders implementing the rules inside the agencies that oversee this kind of thing. As well insurance companies and pro football are the only businesses in this nation that do NOT have to comply with anti-trust laws…they can band together and price fix all they want so we have zero competition going on. We wonder why our insurance rates are so high…everyone has a piece of that pie.

The USDA has all kinds of laws and most of them put in place by big industry. For instance in my home area there are many people who want local beef, pork and other home grown or homemade foods. The USDA was both infiltrated and bought off over the years by big farm companies, (think Kroger and Tyson) and big feedlots to require that a packaging plant have equipment that costs thousands and thousands of dollars, effectively pushing out the small packing plants where we all got packaged beef when I was a kid. They had laws made that required testing that cost thousands of dollars unless you happen to have a huge plant where a testing unit can pay for it. The USDA has regulated things through lobbying to the point that I cannot by a jar of jam commercially from someone unless they have bought all the proper machinery to put up that jam. I ask you to think about this a minute. Where do those laws come from and why? On the surface it appears that the laws were done as a burden and by our government…well they are and were, but big corporations made sure of it to cull the small competition. It certainly isn’t because the water boils at higher temperatures at corporate jelly making facilities. It is done to get ahead by squashing the competition.

Chlorine is in our water for one reason and that is to keep the algae from forming in the pipes, but the idea was sold to all of us as a safety measure for our health so the laws are on the books to require the use of it for most developed areas. So, who likes those laws? The chemical companies who lobbied for more and more use of the extremely dangerous chemical. The same thing can be accomplished with an old-fashioned cistern to settle out bacteria and aerate the water so algae does not form, but we have been talked into chlorine instead.

Think about it…who benefits from the laws we have? Follow the money in your mind. You only have to look as far as the food industry as a whole where laws are on the books that make no sense at all and I would bet there are very few of us who would have supported those laws in the first place. Insurance regulators allow laws that only benefit insurance companies. The health care industry is another where we are charged so much for drugs and only because there are laws on the books put there by the pharmaceutical companies that require testing that still doesn’t get us anywhere safety wise, but it allows them to charge more. They have rules in place that shuts out the generic market for drugs until such time as the drug companies make their millions. Think about it…laws come mostly from the folks who stand to gain. So really, what is “big government”? A government that is purchased by big corporations that are headed up by boards compiled from industry, lobbyists and ex-politicians is more what I see from where I sit. Sure, there are a few of us ordinary schmos as stockholders, but we do not have the clout to control these companies.

OK, now there are laws that indeed came to be that seem ridiculous to some of us, but here again let’s think about the whole picture…

Where I am from was a big mining area from the 1880’s through the 1970’s and when the ore petered out or the price for it fell, they left. They left the pipes, cables, piles of tailings and the tailings ponds that go with them. Old trucks, engines, buildings and gaping holes in the mountains and the flats where uranium might be found as well. There were no rules, no one worried about what they left until contaminated water started showing up in folks wells and in their croplands downstream. Eventually, slowly laws were written to force these big companies to clean up after themselves, something I was certainly raised to do. These laws cut into the profits of those companies so over time they came to push back on those rules and decried we had a “big government” trying to control us all. Well yea, my Mother did the same thing, she had rules and I thought of her thus myself. However, those were simply the rules and I had to live by them because I was in her house.

Corporate boards write the laws for us that help them make money and they can’t control themselves or clean up after themselves, so we are forced to put restrictions on them later and it cuts into their incomes. The uranium holes around our house we taxpayers paid to have filled back in. Now why didn’t the companies mining for the stuff fill them in…they had the dozer right there? Instead we are always stuck with the cleanup because big corporations can’t control themselves when it comes to earning money…they have money eating boards who demand to be profitable. The really sad part of it is the small companies who do try to do a good job cannot afford to fight things in court end up taking the brunt of the penalties that eventually blanket the industries.

After thinking on this for some time, and really looking at where the money comes from and goes to, I am pretty convinced that many of the laws are written to benefit someone’s pocket book and have nothing to do with you or me or even the inner desires of our congressmen, they are part of doing business. Part of it is satisfying the board members and their incomes. It all amounts to big government, but things did not get the way they are by government itself, it got that way so someone could make money, or many someone’s from the politicians to the board members. The term of big government would not bother me so much if the very people who created it would not use it so freely. Isn’t it amazing how “big government” is no longer big when another party is in office; like overnight?

Sure there are things that are or seem ridiculous when it comes to laws and they have always been there like, “You shall not ride your horse into the bar”. Well, that seems silly to us because most of us do not know what a horse is for starters, and seriously we think it is a stupid law now. I bet it wasn’t in 1889 however, and maybe mining laws will be looked at in 2050 as being obsolete too, but as of right now there are still gaping holes, contaminated water and whole mountains being leveled. The pharmaceutical companies are still lobbying for rules to charge us more and the USDA is manned by chemical companies. Now THAT is big government.

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