Sunday, June 3, 2012

Growing Out of Control

Well, the next thing she found was a little cake: and it had the words "EAT ME" marked on it. So of course she set to work and ate it up. And THEN what do you think happened to her? No, you'll never guess! I shall have to tell you again.

She grew and she grew, and she grew. Taller than she was before! Taller than ANY child! Taller than any grown-up person! Taller, and taller, and taller! Just look at the picture, and you'll SEE how tall she got!

—Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

In the beginning, in 1788, George Washington's cabinet consisted of 4 departments: State, Treasury, War, and Attorney General. Can you history buffs name the first heads of these 4 departments? Jefferson, Hamilton, Knox, Randolph. Easy. Sadly, Jay Leno received 3 answers starting with, "Barack Obama?...??....???" Yet, while American's knowledge of their government has plummeted over the years, the size of their government has grown much faster than Alice and her cake or mushrooms or whatever it was.

In addition to the above named Executive Branch of our early government, we also had a congress, consisting of 26 Senators and 65 Representatives. I was not there, but it is a pretty good bet that their first order of business was probably to start dividing themselves up into committees. Or perhaps that only came after the issue of fringe benefits was debated.

Even with this, I am pretty sure there was yet not a House Foreign Affairs Committe, Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversite. Most of you will be relieved to hear that there is one today.

Now, that is no longer quite true. You see, the House Foreign Affairs Committe, Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Righs, and Oversite was apparently not able to cope with all its business, so, recently, it was broken up into two separate subcomittees: the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations; and the Human Rights folks became the Subcommitte on Africa, Global Heath, and Human Rights. I'm assuming the House thought there was no longer any U.S. domestic heath or human rights problems, and that those things belonged under the heading of "Africa." On the other hand, there is already an entire Executive Branch Cabinet-level Department of Health and Human Services, or used to be, unless it has been broken up and subcommitteed out. Now, I should hasten to add, that our Department of Health and Human Services used to be a subcabinet subdepartment under the old HEW (Health, Education, and Welfare) - what folly it was back in the 1960s to ask one department to do all of that under one roof! Or under one "big tent" as the politicians are fond of saying.

Yes, our government is too big and out of control. Sadly, it seems to be the main model for the United Nations internal organization, which is what I really wanted to talk about here today before my preface again outgrew (get it? "outgrew"?) my main thesis. Talk about grossly obese, bloated, and top-heavy bureaucracies. Oh, my, god. OMG OMG. Please tune in next time. This would be funny if it weren't actually YOUR money I am talking about here. If only we could pattern (patten?) ourselves after the clean and efficient, lean and mean, government of the U.K.

My thoughts keep returning to Alice's Cake. Dear U.S. government: EAT ME!


  1. There again if you lot had not stolen Mexico from the Mexican and the Indians land from the indians then your government would not need to be so big, would it......?

    1. Adullamite, you've hit it right on the head this time with your incisive analysis, and I don't know why it hadn't occurred to us before: No United States means no need for a U.S. Government. Brilliant! I almost feel the need to pay you something for this observation. :)

  2. Middle management, especially to the extent our government has, is a monster that eats nothing. Beaucracies survive by being useless and too bloated to be rid of. Government isn't the only place you find them, of course, but they live longer there than elsewhere because companies that get that bloated with too many petty chiefs tend to fail.

    People are more uncomfortable starting a gov't from scratch. Technically, of course, we did it back then, but then again there are quite a few aspects of our government (some of the best, actually) lifted directly from England.

  3. (No, wait, did you think I'd argue with you? Sorry, bloated and pointless bureaucracy serves no master or interest but itself.

    Ironically, that's one reason I'm so against private insurance.)



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