In the beginning, the states pretty much ruled themselves. They were like their own separate, little, “countries.”
But they were connected to each other, physically, economically, and ideologically.
They recognized the value of banding together for protection internationally and the value of being able to deal with other countries as a single, united, entity.
So, the states created The Constitution to spell out how this collection of states would function under a single federal government umbrella.
They had no idea how immense and all-encompassing and all-controlling that federal “umbrella” would become.
Lenore T. Adkins, for the “ShareAmerica” website, writes, ‘“We do need a State Department. We do need a Department of Defense,’ says Karla Jones, director of international relations and federalism at the American Legislative Exchange Council, referring to the federal entities responsible for implementing the country’s foreign and defense policies.”
“The U.S. relies on a system called ‘federalism:’ Powers not granted to the federal government are reserved for the states and the people. It’s an important concept to understand because citizens encounter different levels of government daily, but in several ways.”
It’s also important to recognize that the federal government seems to be expanding its “powers,” and encroaching on states’ rights more and more all the time.
So, what does the federal government do?
Better said, what does the federal government do that we and the states have allowed it to do?
“Only the federal government can regulate interstate and foreign commerce, declare war and set taxing, spending and other national policies.”
But the federal government has accumulated power exponentially over the years. Power that it was never intended to have.
Let’s take a look at our federal government and how grotesquely “obese” it has become.
Here is a list of the major departments that the federal government is broken into, along with their number of employees, their annual budgets, how many subsidiaries they have and some of the highlights of what they do:
Department of State
Budget: $52.404 billion
Includes 62 different offices and bureaus, including the Office of Global Intergovernmental Affairs, the Office of Civil Rights, the Office of Global Women’s Issues, and the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.
Department of the Treasury
Budget: $20 billion
Includes 17 different offices and bureaus, including the IRS and the federal mints.
Department of Defense
Employees: 2.86 million
Budget: $721.5 billion
Includes 23 different agencies and departments, including the Army, Navy and Air Force, and also the National Security Agency.
Department of Justice
Budget: $29.9 billion
Includes 47 different offices and bureaus, including the Office of the Attorney General, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the United States Marshals Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The department is also responsible for running the federal prison system.
Department of the Interior
Budget: $20.7 billion
Includes 62 different offices and bureaus, including the Office of Emergency Management (OEM), the National Parks Service, the Office of Indian Affairs, and the Bureau of Land Management. NASA (The National Aeronautics and Space Administration) technically falls under the Department of the Interior, although it is an independent agency of the U.S. Federal Government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and space research.
Department of Agriculture
Budget: $155 billion
Includes 20 different offices and agencies, including the Farm Service Agency, the Food Safety and Inspection Service, and the United States Forest Service.
Department of Commerce
Budget: $9.67 billion
Includes 16 different bureaus and services, including the International Trade Administration, the Bureau of the Census, the Patent and Trademark Office, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Weather Service.
Department of Labor
Budget: $12.1 billion
Includes 30 different offices and administrations, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, and Job Corps.
Department of Health and Human Services
Budget: $1.286 trillion
Includes 22 different centers, offices and agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Department of Housing and Urban Development
Budget: $32.6 billion
Includes 11 different offices, including the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity, the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, and the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (HUD).
Department of Transportation
Budget: $75.1 billion
Includes 11 different offices and administrations, including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Department of Energy
Budget: $27.9 billion
Includes 12 different offices, administrations and programs, including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the National Nuclear Security Administration, the Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response program, and the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Program.
Department of Education
Budget: $68 billion
Includes 19 different offices, boards and councils, including the President’s Advisory Board on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, the National Assessment Governing Board, the Office of Federal Student Aid, and the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Department of Veterans Affairs
Budget: $180 billion
Includes 5 different administrations and offices, including the Veterans Health Administration, the Veterans Benefits Administration, the National Cemetery Administration, and the Veteran Employment Services Office.
Department of Homeland Security
Budget: $51.672 billion
Includes 15 different agencies and offices, including the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Secret Service.
Then we spend over $8 billion dollars to fund and operate Congress and the Senate per year. This is for 535 members of Congress and staff members of over 13,000.
We also spend over $7 billion to fund the federal Judiciary per year. The federal judiciary has over 30,000 employees.
Lastly, we have expenses for The White House, The White House staff (377) and for The President and The Vice-President, which run around $100 million annually.
That’s a total of:
372 different agencies, offices, bureaus, programs and administrations…,
Representing 4,185,091 (that’s over 4 million) total employees and elected officials…,
At a total cost of $2.867 trillion (that $8,600 annually for every man, woman and child). Now think about how many people don’t pay federal income tax. That $8,600 goes up pretty quick for the rest of us.
Wow. Those are some staggering numbers!
And that’s just to support our federal government’s operations.
We’re not even talking about how much we pay to fund our state and local governments as well!
Remember, these are only the federal government’s costs of doing business.
This does not include the taxes collected and then redistributed back to the American people [and people here illegally] monetarily, or in some other form of value, like infrastructure, housing, etc.
Please note: In American public finance, discretionary spending is government spending implemented through an appropriations bill. This spending is an optional part of fiscal policy, in contrast to entitlement programs (non-discretionary) for which funding is mandatory and determined by the number of eligible recipients.
Please be aware that there were only three original departments created back in 1789, the State Department, the Treasury Department, and the War Department, which evolved into the Department of Defense.
All of the other departments were created at much later dates.
The Department of the Interior was created in 1849, followed by the Department of Agriculture in 1862.
Next was the Department of Justice in 1870, followed by the Department of Labor in 1913.
1913 was also the first year for federal income tax as we know it. We’ll talk more about taxes later.
In 1937 the Department of commerce was created, followed by the Department of Health and Human Services in 1953.
After this is when the federal government really started to balloon.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development was created in 1965.
The Department of Transportation was created in 1967.
Department of Energy in 1977.
Department of Education in 1979.
Department of Veteran’s Affairs in 1989.
And the Department of Homeland Security in 2002.
I mentioned earlier we’d get to talking about taxes…, well, here we are.
Here is the history of federal taxes:
In order to help pay for its war effort in the American Civil War, Congress imposed its first personal income tax in 1861. It was part of the Revenue Act of 1861 (3% of all incomes over $800, rescinded in 1872). Congress also enacted the Revenue Act of 1862, which levied a 3% tax on incomes above $600, rising to 5% for incomes above $10,000. Rates were raised in 1864. This income tax was then repealed in 1872.
So, at this point, we’re back to no federal income taxes.
Forty-one years later, the 16th Amendment was ratified in 1913, which states:
“The Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”
So, now the taxation gravy train was off and running!
Congress then enacted an income tax in October 1913 as part of the Revenue Act of 1913, levying a 1% tax on net personal incomes above $3,000, with a 6% surtax on incomes above $500,000.
By 1918, the top rate of the income tax was increased to 77% (on income over $1,000,000, equivalent of $16,717,815 in 2018 dollars to finance World War I. The average rate for the rich however, was 15%.
During World War II, Congress introduced payroll withholding and quarterly tax payments.
A comedic representation by Clifford K. Berryman of the debate to introduce a sales tax in the United States in 1933 and end the income tax.
I have personally argued my support of a a national sales tax (or a consumption tax) as opposed to a federal income tax. Please see my prior blogs on this subject.
At first, the income tax was incrementally expanded by Congress, and then inflation automatically raised most persons into tax brackets formerly reserved for the wealthy until income tax brackets were adjusted for inflation. Income tax now applies to almost two-thirds of the population. The lowest-earning workers, especially those with dependents, pay no income taxes as a group and actually get a small subsidy from the federal government because of child credits and the Earned Income Tax Credit.
While the government was originally funded via tariffs upon imported goods, tariffs now represent only a minor portion of federal revenues.
In the 1930s, the New Deal introduced Social Security to rectify the first three problems (retirement, injury-induced disability, or congenital disability). It introduced the FICA tax as the means to pay for Social Security.
In the 1960s, Medicare was introduced to rectify the fourth problem (health care for the elderly). The FICA tax was increased in order to pay for this expense.
The total federal budget for 2020 is $4.79 trillion, but we ALWAYS spend more than what we budget. That’s why our federal deficit is in the neighborhood of $26 trillion right now…, but that’s another blog for another day.
Remember I mentioned there are over 4 million total employees and elected officials employed by the federal government…, and more than half of these politicians and bureaucrats live in Washington DC and the surrounding areas of Maryland and northern Virginia.
These areas see a consistent voter registration rate of 90-95% democrat and only 5% republican.
When you hear the term “deep state,” this is what they’re referring to.
A bureaucratic workforce that is loyal to the democrat party, regardless of who the American people choose to run the country.
The “deep state” is into self-preservation and expanding itself (bigger government). That is why they have hitched their wagon to the democrat party, and why you can always expect the democrats to pretend to solve any issue by throwing more government, and more of our money, at it.
“Here endeth the lesson,” as Sean Connery said, when he played a Gman in “The Untouchables.”
That’s when being a Gman was still an honorable profession!
RIP Sean Connery.
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