The Spectacle Blog

Too Many Bureaucrats in the Kitchen

By on 7.10.14 | 3:04PM

Government is obese. In the 1980s the number of pages in the federal tax code was 26,300, according to the CCH Standard Federal Tax Reporter. Now that number is over 73,954 pages. Add to that the cost of planning, time, and paperwork, and the cost of tax complexity is an estimated 6.6 billion hours per year.

The Federal Register, dubbed the “Ten Thousand Commandments” by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, results in a total federal regulatory burden of $1.8 trillion a year, over half the size of the federal budget. If the pages of the Federal Register were stacked, the pile would exceed Washington, D.C.’s height limit for buildings.

Government debt has skyrocketed from 30 percent of GDP in the 1980s to over 100 percent of GDP in 2013, topping $17,587,325,000,000. That number has more digits than you have fingers.

The Federal Reserve’s inflationary practices, caused by injecting more money into the system in an inflationary spiral, have resulted in higher prices for food and gas. The price of a barrel of oil has increased from $26 in 2002 to $110 today. This is government crowding out your purchasing power.

According to the Office of Personnel Management, the total number of federal employees has declined from 5 million in 1984 to 4.3 million in 2012. However, this is not the complete story. The federal workforce includes over 10.5 million government contractors

President Obama doesn’t appear able to keep up with his burgeoning administration. He seems overwhelmed and constantly surprised by the news, as Brit Hume acknowledged: “The border, he's surprised at, surprised at the VA, surprised at Putin, surprised on Iraq. It's just—it's amazing.”

Maybe it’s time to cut down on the size of government and take Obama off of benzo.

Cato has recorded that special interest spending in the federal budget is on the rise. The number of federal subsidy programs has grown 44 percent since 1990. There are currently 1,696 of these programs, with the most recent growth occurring in agriculture, health care, and homeland security. Total federal spending has increased 47 percent since 2001.

Predictably, the total lobbying spending aimed at garnering special exemptions, subsidies, and favors from the growing government has increased from $1.46 billion in 1998 to $3.23 billion in 2013—a dangerous doubling of cronyism.

The evidence is overwhelming. Government is bloated. If we continue on this path, we can expect a slow death by debt and bureaucratic diabetes.

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