Thursday, October 25, 2012

My View

Random ruminations from your resident curmudgeon...

We often refer to the federal government as the "nanny state" because it is so intrusive into many areas of our lives. This is especially true when it comes to business in this country. According to government data compiled by the National Federation of Independent Business, there are over 4,000 regulations that are in the pipeline that will affect business of all sizes. Just the 13 largest or most impactful regulations that are set to be implemented will cost businesses $515 billion over 4 years. All of these regulations are on hold during the campaign, but one can be certain that if Obama is re-elected, they will be implemented. Among the regulations that are ready to implemented are new smog compliance rules that will put most electric utilities out of compliance. The estimated cost of those new regulations are $90 billion per year. The FDA has crafted new food safety rules, and while they are hesitant to put a price tag on the cost of implementation, they have said they will "be significant". And there are a multitude of pending regulations waiting to be instituted. Guess who will bear the cost of all those new regulations? That's right, it will be you and me. And the impact on business will be to continue to extend the hiring freeze that most companies have implemented in the face of regulatory and economic uncertainty. If we are going to get our economy going and companies hiring, a good first step would be to remove some of the unnecessary regulatory burden and uncertainty that businesses face.

Forget beauty sleep. I want skinny sleep.

We now have more people on welfare than we ever have in the history of the country. Part of that is due to the poor economy. Part of it is that is that under the Obama administration gutted the work requirement to receive welfare aid. During the Clinton presidency, welfare was reformed to require a work or education component. The old Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) was replaced with a program called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and one of the central tenets of TANF was that able bodied adults should be required to work or prepare to work by engaging in educational programs in order to receive aid. The program has been wildly successful, moving 2.8 million families off welfare and into jobs to provide for themselves. The Obama administration gutted those work requirements this summer, and you know what has happened. Welfare rolls have burgeoned. Welfare spending has grown over the past two decades more rapidly than spending on Social Security, education, Medicare, and defense. Removing work requirements to receive aid has rapidly increased the rate of growth for welfare spending. What is the logic of making more people dependent on the federal government. If you are cynical like me, you will say it is to buy votes and increase dependency. The fact is that we cannot continue to spend on social programs that have runaway growth and ever get our economy healthy. It doesn't matter who is in the White House or who controls Congress, the need to control spending on social programs is a pressing problem that must be addressed.

Intelligence is like underwear. It's important to have it, but there is no need to show it off.

This election is about direction. The direction that our country will move over the next four years and beyond. As the last two items point out, our government has grown to Brobdingnagian proportions, sucking more people into a vortex of dependency and onerous regulations. Make no mistake, turning around the direction of our country is like turning a battleship. It doesn't happen easily, and it takes time. But that is what we as a nation are deciding in this election. We can chose more of the same: more government regulation; more intrusiveness; and more of our tax dollars siphoned off in massive wealth transfer programs. Or we can begin to make a philosophical turn toward less regulation and more freedom, more independence, and a more responsive government. The choice is ours. The move to a more responsible government rests with us, and we have to be engaged long after this election and no matter who wins the White House. If we are going to return to a path of fiscal stability and limited government, we must hold our elected officials accountable. We must be involved long after the election. Our current path is unsustainable. Correcting it will be painful. And the responsibility rests with us.

I want my children to be independent and strong willed people. Just not while I am raising them.

And that, my friends, is my view.

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