Election 2020

'A Republic, If You Can Keep It'

It’s over:

Want to work in a field that has more than quadrupled in size since 1960? Consider being a regulator for the federal government. Even during the last recession, the regulatory agencies were hiring. In 2015, the U.S. government employed more than 277,000 regulators. To put that number in perspective, it’s 50,000 more workers than General Motors Co. employs throughout the entire world.

We’ve all heard of the regulatory agencies that constitute the “fourth branch” of government. It has cost our economy over $100 billion during the Obama administration. But it wasn’t always like this. We haven’t always lived in a world where unelected bureaucrats could fine a man $55,000 for taking photos of his friend’s art project.

We do know, thanks to the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party’s insatiable gigantism and the allegedly “conservative” GOP’s enthusiastic participation in the racket it claims to oppose.

Thankfully, Susan Dudley from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and Melinda Warren from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, have tracked the growth of federal regulatory agencies, allowing us to see how we got into the predicament we’re in now.

Using data from the annual federal budget, Dudley and Warren have recorded the number of federal regulators and the amount of taxpayer money given to them for each year since 1960. All monetary figures that they report are in inflation-adjusted 2009 dollars.

While their data show federal regulation has exploded since 1960, it’s important to realize that they included only regulatory agencies that explicitly restrict business transactions in the private sector. That means the 277,000 regulators they recorded in 2015 didn’t include anyone from the Internal Revenue Service, Social Security Administration, Defense Department, or the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services—even though these agencies account for roughly one-third of all final rulemaking actions in a typical year.

However, even without these agencies, it’s apparent that the size of federal regulation is massive compared to what it once was. From 1960 to 2015, the amount of taxpayer money allocated to federal regulators increased by more than 1,800 percent, from $3.06 billion to $57.05 billion.

It’s over, folks. This metastasizing will never stop, the deficit will continue to soar, the money-suck will continue to kneecap what used to be called the “private sector” (there really is no such thing any more) and the United States of America will collapse. And all in the name of “compassion” and “good intentions.”

Think about that when — or should I say “if” — you go to the polls in the fall.