Saturday, February 18, 2012

Bloat 2/2

Take for example the FDA which is unable to investigate olive oil fraud. There’s a whole book on olive oil and how many vendors are dishonest and charge premium prices for oil that isn’t extra virgin. This is a growing and soon to be booming business. The industry represents billions of dollars and consumers are getting cheated. It de-legitimizes honest vendors and has the potential to severely hurt the entire industry.

Oil impostors may not be life-threatening or deadly but they represent the difficulty of the big versus little government argument. It is indisputable that without the FDA to regulate, test, and punish violators of an industry standard then the industry itself is liable to collapse.

Yet no one seems to like the bureaucracy that entails. And why should they? An FDA that is all paperwork could drown an industry just as easily. Again, the argument comes down to nuance.

Proselytizing from the bully pulpit gains nothing in a substantive argument on government. In fact, it seems like a Pyrrhic victory for many politicians these days. For every politician that wishes to gain or maintain their positions on capitol hill there is a fundamental disconnect in the rhetoric of broken government and the desire to be part of the supposedly dysfunctional system. As an elected official, the only tool for change is the government; if no one trusts government then it will never work.

It’s a little like being mad at the popular kids in high school, forcing your way in through a combination of put-downs and rumors, and--once accepted into the group--announcing that they have to listen to you because you are morally superior. And they have to give up half of their possessions. Good luck with that.

Even if the politicians make it to a position of significant leverage--one where they can affect change--they have to face the consequences of their rhetoric that have stewed distrust of government and the tools at their disposal.

People do not trust the many headed beast more when it shifts one head from left to right or right to left.

There is an old Chinese proverb, “if two people agree on everything then one is unnecessary” or something like that. For everyone in government right now that toes the party line it is a clear case of government bloat. Many congressmen and senators spend much of their time lobbying for pet projects in their home state while simultaneously denouncing the very government that they help run. And they do this in unison. They do this as if democracy were a marching tune instead of a complex symphony that requires practice and hard work with different harmonies.

Big government and little government remain phrases that will never advance the discussion and stand to tear the country down imaginary and asinine lines.