February 26, 2014

Let's stop abusing government this week!

By James S. Burling Vice President for Litigation

The House of Representatives has officially designated this week as “Stop Government Abuse Week.”  Well, it’s about time!  For too long the government has been abused by its citizens who resist its edicts, are not enthusiastic about the government’s tax code, and would like to shove Obamacare down the throats of the legislators who passed it.  Yes, it’s about time we cut the government some slack.  To paraphrase Daniel Webster, it is after all a very big government, even by big government terms, and yet there are some who love it.  It’s just unrealistic to expect it to be well-managed, or at least as well-managed as other behemoths like GM or Microsoft or Amazon or the Sochi Olympic Committee.  After all, we have millions of dedicated public servants who must juggle their life-work balances, protect their pension benefits from the grasp of fiscal conservatives, avoid losing their medical benefits to the surly masses who think government employees should suffer under the same rules as the rest of us, and still find the time between 9 and 4:30 (minus mandatory breaks) to serve the public! If government edicts can stop other kinds of abuse, it’s only right and just that government acts swiftly and decisively to stop the abuse of government.

So, if the government wants to threaten a couple in Idaho with over $100 million in fines for the temerity of asking for a judicial hearing before acceding to a wetlands edict on dry lands, who are we to argue?  If the government wants to declare private property to be critical habitat for a frog that hasn’t been seen on property for a half-century, and that couldn’t survive on the property if the critters plopped down on the middle of it, who are we to criticize?  If the government wants to force the citizens of rural Utah to suffer an infestation of “endangered” prairie dogs, what right does anyone have to question?  If the government destroys millions of dollars in timber when it floods property, but really didn’t mean to kill the trees, why should it have to make the owners (in this case the State of Arkansas) whole?  And if the government wants to take over one-third of the nation’s economy through a Frankenstein experiment called the Affordable Care Act and conscript us all into what is destined to become single-payer national health care, why should we doubt the wisdom of  Congress – a Congress that surely would have read the bill before passing it only if it weren’t so busy trying to fix so many other societal ills while simultaneously raising funds for the next election cycle?

Trying to hold the government accountable for abusing its citizens is a reprehensible form of government abuse – an abuse to which Pacific Legal Foundation must plead guilty.

Of course, the members of the House who designated this to be “Stop Government Abuse Week” may have had something other than my grammatical take in mind.  But so long as the mind of the typical bureaucrat embraces my take, we’re going to have our work cut out for us.

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