My, how things have changed.

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

Employees: 69,000

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

Employees: 86,049

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

Employees: 113,543

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

Employees: 70,003

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

Employees: 105,778

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

Employees: 43,880

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

Employees: 17,450

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

Employees: 79,540

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

Employees: 8,416

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

Employees: 58,622

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

Employees: 12,944

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

Employees: 3,912

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

Employees: 383,040

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

Employees: 229,000

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.

If you’re not already “following” me and you liked my blog(s) today, please choose to “follow” me, which will keep you up to date on all of my latest posts, and/or leave me a comment.   I value your feedback and I’d love to hear from you!

Thank you, MrEricksonRules.

If we’re going to hand money out, let’s REALLY hand some money out!

Howard Gleckman, for Forbes Media, says, “Congress is about to pass [actually has already passed] another coronavirus relief bill, adding another $500 billion to the more than $2 trillion it already spent to support business and individuals in the midst of the pandemic. And it likely will approve trillions more in future stimulus in the coming months.”

atrillion 8

And spending money “to support business and individuals” is just a portion of the spending.  There is quite a bit of spending in these “relief” bills that goes to the states and to a whole collection of non-covid related entities just looking for a hand-out.

And what do WE get from all of this spending?  WE get like $1,200…, if we’re lucky.  Many of us will get ZERO because we’re so wealthy or don’t qualify somehow.  Ha!

So, WE may get a measly $1,200 while these other governmental charities get millions and billions of dollars thrown at them.

Our representatives in Washington are already starting to argue over where the next round of trillions of dollars in “relief” spending will go.

atrillion 7

Allow me to offer a suggestion.

JUST GIVE THE PEOPLE SOME RELIEF!

If you’re going to waste OUR money…, “waste it on us!

In your own words Pelosi, quit throwing all of us “crumbs!”

atrillion 5

I’m pretty sure we would do a better job of spending our money than the government does.

Let’s amend that to ABSOLUTELY SURE.

If we gave EVERY adult in the country (209 million people) $25,000, it would cost us 5.225 trillion dollars…, or about what we’ll end up spending anyway in total, anyway.

atrillion 9

If we wanted to get a little crazier, we could give every adult $50,000 at a cost of 10.45 trillion dollars.

And really, what’s another 5 trillion bucks between friends?

No one else seems to be worried about spending money we don’t have.

So, what does a trillion of something look like, anyway?

The United States national debt is currently over 20 trillion dollars. We hear these HUGE numbers thrown around all the time, but does anyone really have a grip on what a BILLION or a TRILLION of anything really looks like?

Just for a refresher on how you get to a Trillion and beyond, recall from grade school the implications of adding three zeros after a “one”.

1 = One

1,000 = One Thousand

1,000,000 = One Million

1,000,000,000 = One Billion

1,000,000,000,000 = One Trillion

1,000,000,000,000,000 = One Quadrillion

1,000,000,000,000,000,000 = One Quintillion

Quadrillions?

Quintillions?

Our national deficit is only in the lower trillions now.

We’ve got a lot of room to grow our debt!

In fact, we’ll never run out of bigger numbers!

That’s just a fact.

The Imagination Station website asks, “OK, so what does a trillion look like?”

The problem with most answers to questions like this is that they try to put it into perspective by relating it to things normal people have no perspective for. For instance, did you know that one trillion dollars would stretch nearly from the earth to the sun?

I don’t know when the last time you traveled from the earth to the sun, but for me this comparison is just as mind-boggling as the concept of a trillion of something.

One Million Pennies

atrillion 1

The Megapenny project uses something a lot more common to most of us, a penny. Most people have a few in their pockets or in a jar and it provides a much better sense of scale. Round up 16 of them, stack them on top of each other into a little pile and it’s one inch tall. Place them side by side in a line and they stretch out one foot.

So much for what’s in your pockets, now break open your piggy banks and gather up one million pennies. One million pennies creates a wall four feet wide, five feet tall and one foot thick.

One Billion Pennies

atrillion 2

Stepping up to a billion, things start to change as we start imagining stacks of pennies the size of a typical school bus. Five school buses to be exact.

Add another three zeros and we begin to enter into the realm of the national debt (in dollars – not pennies). One trillion pennies would create a mind boggling cube with edges nearly as long as a football field.

One Trillion Pennies

atrillion 3

Of course, the final step here is to image twenty (20) of these cubes of pennies. Each penny representing one dollar of the national debt. The physical representation of large numbers is an interesting way to wrap your head around what it means to say something is in the billions or trillions, and beyond.

atrillion 6

So, Congress…, if you’re going to throw all of this “funny money” around…, remember…, it’s not YOUR money, it’s OUR money, and we want some of it back without it having to filter down through your wasteful and misdirected bureaucracy.

 

I value your feedback and I’d love to hear from you!

If you’re not already “following” me and you liked my blog(s) today, please “click” on the comment icon just to the right of the date at the bottom of this article.  From there you can let me know if you “like” my blog, leave a comment or click the white “FOLLOW” button at the bottom of that page, which will keep you up to date on all of my latest posts.

Thank you, MrEricksonRules.

 

These are our “Public Servants?”

More like privileged and perverted “swamp” rats serving themselves!

Ah yes…, “the swamp” rears its ugly head yet again.

Judson Berger of Fox News reports of, “More GSA [General Service Administration] debauchery: Probe finds ex-official had sex on agency’s roof with White House staffer!”

Well isn’t that special?!

I like that word “debauchery!”

The perfect word in this case, meaning “excessive indulgences.”

But before we look into this exemplary behavior…, what is the GSA, and what exactly is it supposed to be doing?

According to on-line sources, “The General Services Administration (GSA), is an independent agency of the United States government that was established in 1949 to help manage and support the basic functioning of other federal agencies.”

Ok…, now I must ask, what is an “independent agency,” as opposed to regular old run-of-the-mill agency?

“Independent agencies of the United States federal government are agencies that exist outside the federal executive departments (those headed by a Cabinet secretary) and the Executive Office of the President.  [These] agencies, while constitutionally part of the executive branch, are independent of presidential control, usually because the president’s power to dismiss the agency head or a member is limited.”

In other words, the GSA answers to no one and has no accountability.

So what we have here is an unaccountable “agency” managing other “agencies,” thus making them unaccountable as well.

Brilliant!

Hmmm.  Nothing potentially wasteful or “sketchy” about this arrangement!

“Manage and support the basic functioning of federal agencies” how, exactly?

“The GSA supplies products and communications for U.S. government offices, provides transportation and office space to federal employees, and develops government-wide cost-minimizing policies and other management tasks.”

I’d like to see some examples of these “government-wide cost-minimizing policies.”

I have the feeling that the GSA doesn’t really understand the meaning of the word “minimize,” nor do they particularly care.

gsa 3

“The GSA employs about 12,000 federal workers and has an annual operating budget of roughly $20.9 billion. GSA oversees $66 billion of procurement annually. It contributes to the management of about $500 billion in U.S. federal property.”

12,000 employees?!

That’s a lot of “managing and supporting of the basic functioning of federal agencies!”

These federal agencies must all run with the utmost efficiency and effectiveness!

I hate being so skeptical all of the time, but really, how can you not be?

“The GSA’s business lines [Business lines?!] include the Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) and the Public Buildings Service (PBS), as well as the Office of Government-wide Policy, the Office of Small Business Utilization, and the Office of Mission Assurance. The GSA’s Technology Transformation Services (TTS) helps federal agencies improve delivery of information and services to the public.  Other initiatives include the USA.gov platform, the U.S. Web Design System, and IT Modernization.”

Were these guys involved with the “ObamaCare” website?

Just sayin’.

Judson Berger continues, “This same agency that sparked a firestorm during the Obama administration for lavish spending at a Vegas conference – complete with a widely mocked photo of a grinning fed lounging in a hot tub – is back in the headlines.”

gsa 1

In case you don’t recall, here is a little summary of their “all expenses paid” 2012 Las Vegas conference (Keep in mind that the meal and incidental expenses allowance was $71 per day at the time.  $71 X 300 attending employees would = $21,300 allowable in total.):

$31,000 on a “networking reception” that featured $19-per-person “American artisanal cheese display” and $7,000 in sushi.

$3,200 on a session with a mind reader.

$5,600 for in-room parties.

$100,405.37 in employee travel costs to scout the event–meaning, these people returned to the Las Vegas area multiple times to visit hotels before settling on the fancy M Resort and Casino.

$3,700 for T-shirts.

$2,800 in water bottles.

$1,500 each for a “Boursin scalloped potato with Barolo wine-braised short ribs” dinner, and a $525 bartender fee for a cash bar.

Three officials spent almost $400 for rented tuxedos.

$1,840 for vests for the 19 “regional ambassadors” and other employees.

$146,527.05 was spent on catered food during the entire conference.

$6,325 was spent on commemorative coins in velvet boxes to reward all participants for their work on stimulus projects.

$75,000 for a “team-building” exercise.

And no…, I’m not kidding.  All of this was on another Inspector General’s report and further reported by The Washington Post and the Associated Press.

Today’s headlines pertain to “an incident involving a former [GSA] official, vodka and … yada yada yada, and some sex on a roof.”

“The details from the 2017 liaison emerged in a newly released inspector general report. The watchdog’s investigation found multiple violations committed by Brennan Hart, a former associate administrator and acting chief of staff at the General Services Administration.”

gsa 2

How many “inspector general reports” are going on out there, and is anyone ever actually held accountable for what they uncover?

“According to the 2018-dated report, Hart admitted to investigators that he kept a bottle of vodka at his desk, while stating he only drank after business hours.”

Oh…, well, that’s alright then!

“In the same interview, he also admitted to having ‘sexual relations’ at GSA headquarters in July 2017 with a White House staffer, whom the report does not identify.”

“The visit began with Hart fixing a drink using the bottle of vodka after business hours, of course). The encounter developed from there.”

“He said, ‘their sexual activity began in the Administrator suite area and culminated with oral sex on the rooftop of the Central Office,’ the report said. ‘Hart stated this occurred on only one occasion.’”

Thank you, Mr. Hart.  I believe once is enough.

More questionable spending by GSA employees has also come to light recently.

gsa 5

Fox News reports that, “Nearly 100 high-ranking General Services Administration employees assigned to work from home reportedly still spent $750,000 on travel over nine months, according to records submitted to Capitol Hill committees, prompting the agency to respond Saturday to a request for more information.”

“The GSA said the agency has already begun ‘conducting an extensive review of our agency’s operations, which includes our travel policy. Our agency remains committed to eliminating any excessive spending and promoting government efficiency.’”

Bwahahahahahahahahah!

Please…, don’t insult our intelligence any more than you already have!

gsa 6

“An agency spokeswoman [further] said in a statement the GSA holds ‘all employees to the highest ethical standards and takes appropriate actions to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations.’”

Bwahahahahahahahahah!

These people are funny!

What we need is a GSA reality TV show!

Now that would be worth watching!

“In addition, GSA Administrator Emily Murphy told investigators she ‘often permits the consumption of alcohol in her office … by her immediate staff after business hours on Fridays,’ though she is ‘very careful about such approvals.’”

I’m sure you are Emily…, I’m sure you are.

gsa 4

 

NOTE:  If you’re not already “following” me and you liked my blog(s) today, please “click” on the comment icon just to the right of the date at the bottom of this article.  From there you can let me know you “like” my blog, leave a comment or click the “Follow” button which will keep you up to date on all of my latest posts.

Thank you, MrEricksonRules.

 

Americans are facing DEBT, DEBT, and more DEBT!

Did I mention that Americans are facing a lot of debt?

Thanks to incompetent politicians, on every level of government, and from both parties, the American people are facing a mountain of debt.

debt 1

Our current federal debt is around $22 billion, or about $63,000 for every man, woman and child.

That amount increases quite significantly if we only consider those of us who actually pay income taxes.

debt 3

State debt seems to be reserved for those “blue” states which lean to the left.

Here are the heavy hitters:

California – owes $158 billion or $3,980 per person.

New York – owes $144 billion or $7,385 per person.

New Jersey – owes $65.5 billion or $7,360 per person.

Illinois – owes $56.4 billion or $4,441 per person.

Then we go down to the city level of government, where Frank Miles for Fox News says, “America’s largest cities are drowning in debt, with Chicago leading the way, a study finds.”

“America’s 10 largest cities, largely [actually without exception] Democrat strongholds, are drowning in municipal debt, according to a new report from government watchdog Truth in Accounting.”

“The two cities with the highest burden: Chicago and New York City; Chicago’s combined taxpayer burden: $119,110; New York City’s combined taxpayer burden: $85,600.”

Chicago’s Taxpayer Burden per person: $119,110

New York City’s Taxpayer Burden per person: $85,600

Los Angeles’ Taxpayer Burden per person: $56,390

Philadelphia’s Taxpayer Burden per person: $50,120

San Jose’s Taxpayer Burden per person: $43,120

San Diego’s Taxpayer Burden per person: $35,410

The United States is the richest country in the world, and our government, by a huge margin, collects the most taxes from its citizens in the world.  So, what’s the problem?

“The problem is not that people are taxed too little, the problem is that government spends too much.” –  Ronald Reagan

Yes…, our government spends way too much.

debt 5

How can our government spend so much while so many of our people are homeless?

How can our government spend so much while so many of our schools are falling apart and many of our children go uneducated?

How can our government spend so much while much our infrastructure is crumbling around us?

The answer to these questions is we keep electing politicians whose priorities are irresponsible and politicians who are willing to keep kicking the “debt can” down the road.

Can you believe we owe all of this money, yet we still give money away to support other foreign countries?

We have to borrow money so we can give it away.

That should be illegal.

Our country should only be able to give money away if we have a surplus of money.

Duh…, just sayin’.

debt 4

debt 6

NOTE:  If you’re not already “following” me and you liked my blog(s) today, please “click” on the comment icon just to the right of the date at the bottom of this article.  From there you can let me know you “like” my blog, leave a comment or click the “Follow” button which will keep you up to date on all of my latest posts.

Thank you, MrEricksonRules.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑