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We should worry about growth in government

Letter by Jim Ludwig

Growth – February 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

Geezers have long been troubled by continued growth in government

To the Editors;

Re: Government and Democracy, January 1999 Colorado Central.

I am intrigued by Martha’s realization that Government is continuing to expand just for the sake of expanding. This is something we old geezers have been complaining about for years, usually to the amusement of a younger and more liberal population. Either Martha’s awakening is due to astute reasoning or that horribly uncontrollable factor called aging, but whatever reason, it is good to see.

As with many other factors over which I have absolutely no control, I rationalize and explain Government growth this way:

Government employees are no different than any other employee or citizen anywhere. They are not acting as some great, coordinated conspiracy, but simply as an individual trying to preserve and improve his personal lot. Once he (not gender specific), gets a government job, with its benefits, lack of hard work, power without risk, and authority without responsibility, each will do everything possible to preserve and enhance that position.

UNLIKE A JOB in the private sector, which must produce a salable product or service in order to exist, job growth in government can best be enhanced by being negative to those factors which are production oriented. Hence the proliferation of rules aimed at controlling construction, operation and sales of private business, and the frequent exemption of government from the same rules.

What good is a building inspector if he only inspects and advises the builder?

He must have POWER! Then when his power is recognized by all, he must change the rules to get more power, and with all that power, surely his job must be upgraded and his salary increased. An assistant on the payroll would surely prove how valuable he is.

Bit by bit, rule by rule, employee by employee it grows.

Then government offices establish office operating rules to insure work. This happened recently in Salida: Cannot mail out a form without supervisors permission, cannot make same day appointments, and cannot see you without an appointment, and no appointments after lunch. How about Dec. 29 at nine-thirty?

That’s on a local level, the State and Federal Governments are worse because the individual’s power is based on multi-million dollar budgets. Budgets which must be spent in the year indicated.

Witness right now the reissuing of safety rules that give OSHA more power to fine and punish and that rescind the cooperative safety enforcement procedures which have hitherto been successful. It’s strictly about power, with little about the safety of the workers.

Or consider the proposed HMO regulation of a government sponsored type of organization that was somewhat successful in controlling health care costs. Insurance costs are already reflecting the anticipated changes. The EPA, the Tobacco wars, the education proposals, more cops on the streets, all ways to enhance and expand our friendly government.

No great conspiracy, just a pick here, a pick there, win a vote here, win a vote there.

WHY? Because it does not cost the individual government employee or politician, but tends to improve his pay, power, and position. And by the way, it reduces the citizens’ power and position by a like amount, while the government employee or politician gets to hide behind the anonymity of the group, the government, the city, the school board, social services, or the EPA.

Martha, let’s not help him hide by our acceptance of this group conspiracy theory. Vote him out if we can. Express our opinion to elected officials about the bureaucrats under his jurisdiction, if we can’t.

The only way I have seen to be of any success at all to curb this government growth is to cut off their source of funds, our taxes. That success is doubtful. Douglas Bruce is criticized and vilified from all sides, even though his rules have helped propel one of the state’s great economic booms. The vigor with which governments attempt De-Brucing is a good indicator of its value.

It is my opinion that we lose our democratic rights in inverse proportion to the square of the growth of government.

I believe you may be right, Martha. Maybe if our governments become so onerous as to discourage further local immigration and expansion, we present citizens will be better off.

Less democratically governed drones, tightly controlled, poorer, but better off.

Jim Ludwig, Buena Vista