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The Bloated Federal Government

Updated on March 2, 2017


Our federal government is a bloated entity which needs to be reduced to the philosophy as envisioned by our founding fathers when the Constitution was first written. The federal government was meant to be a support function for the states not one to get into the lives of every American. They have taken the philosophy that government knows best and has been bent on making decisions for us that we should be making ourselves.

The present size of cabinet positions in the federal government is four times what it was when George Washington was President. The cabinet as it was intended was considered to be the chief executive’s private trusted advisors. The cabinet positions in place during Washington’s administration were: Secretary of State, Secretary of War, Secretary of the Treasury and Attorney General. Compare this to the present volume of 16 cabinet positions now in existence.

There is no doubt that as our country expanded that more cabinet positions were needed to be created to address issues facing the country as we grew.

In addition to the cabinet positions the involvement of the federal government in our daily lives has overreached the intended authority and responsibility of the federal government. It was a more simple life during the beginning of our country but over the years we faced problems that were not envisioned by our founding fathers. As a country we became stronger as we faced the problems we encountered but the expansion of our country should not have resulted in the expansion of the federal government.

Looking at each of the cabinet positions now in existence there is a large amount of various positions within each of them. In addition many programs are part of the structure of the executive departments along with the agencies that they oversee. The sheer number of agencies and positions within each of the executive departments and agencies would surprise the average individual. We all know the federal government has grown in size and in power over the decisions we must or should make for ourselves not the federal government.

Looking at a list of federal agencies or positions in the federal government the quantity exceeds 700. Some of the positions make sense but in other cases there does not appear to be any justification for their existence. We as citizens and voters have a right to expect that the government operates in an efficient manner but we all know this is not the case. One thing which appears to not exist is a connection by each of the departments and agencies to the authority given to the federal government in the Constitution. Granted there will be exceptions given the world situation as it is but the key is that justification for the existence of agencies or positions should the exception not the rule.

Today the quantities of regulations that currently exist are choking our economy and in some cases some regulations have no clear connection to the laws for which they were created. One thing which must be examined in evaluating what needs to be done to reduce the size of government is that regulations should be individually reviewed. Regulations should be evaluated based on their justification for existence and whether they are helping or hurting our economy. Another aspect involves the fact that what would be the impact if a regulation was eliminated. In addition the number of agencies and/or positions within each government entity appears to be so detailed that it smacks of inefficiency and wasteful spending. Executive departments and agencies should not have an overlap of responsibilities. There should be a clear line drawn on which department or agencies have the final say on any given issue. It is great to have input from other departments but one agency should be identified for making the final decision on issues of the day.

Our bloated federal government along with programs which never seem to go away once they are created are costing the taxpayers and adds to our national debt. Appropriations must be budgeted for each government entity and with government currently spending more than it is taking in our national debt gets larger. Politicians for years never want to get rid of programs which benefit their individual constituents but the time has come to address our national debt and reduce the size of the federal government. There are programs which are good for our country but there are some for which their justification to continue in existence has passed. With some exceptions departments and agencies which are addressing issues that clearly fall under the authority and responsibility of state governments should be eliminated or at least have their authority and responsibilities greatly reduced. If these entities are connected to laws on the books the laws themselves should be repealed.

Congress should not be passing legislation which is not directly tied to the Constitution. There will be exceptions about issues which must be addressed to some extent by a central government but it should be a partnership between the federal government and state governments. Government does not have all the answers and never will. It is time for state governments and the federal government to work together on many issues. This would potentially reduce the size of government and the cost to operate it.


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    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 2 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      When we talk about the size of government, we often only think about the federal government. But having covered local government for years as a newspaper reporter, I'm convinced counties could dispense with city governments altogether. They are too often a duplication of effort. County governing bodies are plenty. Can you imagine how much expense could be saved?

      On the federal level, the education department was begun by President Carter for the best of reasons, but what a waste it turned out to be. My biggest concern with making government smaller is too often people simply mean deregulation. In the past 40 years, we've seen what deregulation hath wrought. You'd think we'd have learned better by now. Unfortunately, the same forces are at work today, and we'll again pay the price for allowing the worst in us to have free reign.

    • Dennis AuBuchon profile image
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      Dennis AuBuchon 2 months ago

      Thanks for stopping by and providing your input. You make some good points.

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