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The Worst Use of Taxpayer Funds Ever?

I have never seen a better argument for abolishing a federal agency.

by
Mike McDaniel

Bio

September 7, 2011 - 12:00 am

Government, particularly at the federal level, is supposed to exist only to do the people’s business, the business that they cannot reasonably do for themselves: maintaining the military, conducting diplomacy with other nations. In the pursuit of government, it is sometimes necessary to establish various bureaus, which are populated by bureaucrats.

In a perfect world, a world envisioned by our Founders — though they harbored no delusions about the perfectibility of man — these bureaucrats would behave in a responsible, adult manner.

They would faithfully carry out their jobs with the aim of obeying not only the letter of the law but its spirit. As they are spending the hard-earned tax dollars of the public in the pursuit of their duties, they would take great care to ensure that those dollars were properly and wisely spent. They would understand the boundaries of their authority within the overall system, and would recoil in horror at the very thought of violating those boundaries.

Back to reality.

Perhaps the most egregious example of everything wrong with our federal bureaucracies resides with the Environmental Protection Agency. John Merline, writing in Investor’s Business Daily, tells a tale of EPA abuse of power and squandering of taxpayer monies that ought to cause the American public to demonstrate in righteous rage. I have never seen a more compelling argument for the immediate abolishment of a federal agency.

The EPA is using taxpayer money to encourage environmentalist groups to sue … the EPA. This has continued for decades.

The EPA has paid one of these groups to produce a do-it-yourself guide to suing the EPA.

The EPA frequently enters into consent decrees to settle the suits. Even when the EPA doesn’t hand out megadollar settlements — your money — to the litigious loons, it commonly pays their attorney’s fees.

Why would the EPA do something so obviously crazy?

High-level EPA bureaucrats commonly support the leftist environmentalist beliefs of these groups, as do a great many of the career employees of the agency. They look to serve the leftist groups, not their employers.

Generally speaking, Congress has not authorized the EPA to do most of the things such people live to do, things such as regulating and litigating energy producers, small businesses, and large corporations out of existence. But EPA bureaucrats tend not to like such small-minded, non-nuanced strictures, so they encourage their fellow travelers in the environmentalist movement to sue the EPA. The hope is that the courts can force the EPA to do what the EPA wanted to do in the first place. Rather than erecting a vigorous defense to frivolous environmentalist lawsuits, the EPA simply caves.

Here’s an example of how the process works:

When the Environmental Protection Agency said in late June that it would force Western coal-fired power plants to install haze-reducing pollution-control equipment at a cost of $1.5 billion a year, it said it had to in order to settle a lawsuit by environmental groups.

One organization involved in the suit, the Environmental Defense Fund, has a long history of taking the EPA to court. In fact, a cursory review finds almost half a dozen cases in the past 10 years.

The odd thing is that the EPA, in turn, has handed EDF $2.76 million in grants over that same period, according to an IBD review of the agency’s grant database.

From where does all this money come? From we, the people, so that the EPA can in essence sue itself to fund its real allies while getting what they wanted in the first place.

The EPA bureaucrats subvert the will of the people to impose their own desires through judicial mandates they engineered. Environmentalist groups and their fellow travelers not only achieve their anti-American, anti-progress goals but are actually paid by the very people they are suing. And leftist lawyers benefit handsomely from this arrangement.

The American people, whose tax dollars will be wasted, whose energy costs “necessarily skyrocket,” whose businesses close, whose jobs are lost, whose food prices stratospherically rise, end up in every way poorer and with less trust in the government that is supposed to exist only to serve them.

Federal bureaucrats should never exceed their legal authority, and they should never waste taxpayer dollars for any reason, particularly to pay special interests to assist them in exceeding their legal authority. The EPA deserves your scorn, and a dismantling.

Mike McDaniel is a former police officer, detective, and SWAT operator, and is now a high school English teacher. He blogs here.
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