The government deploys 456 federal agencies to manage the federal regulatory beast. Thomas Jefferson never intended this intrusive, suffocating beast that is today’s federal government. And Jefferson certainly would not have lost much sleep over a partial shut down in Washington. Here the Cato Institutes Michael Tanner adds perspective.
According to calculations by Harvard economics professor Greg Mankiw based on data from the Office of Management and Budget, roughly 60 percent of Americans receive more in government benefits than they pay in federal taxes. A Tax Foundation study suggests that, after President Obama’s health-care law is implemented, as many as 70 percent of Americans are net recipients of government largesse. Nearly a third of Americans receive more than half their income from the government.
There are also more than 80,000 pages of federal regulations, overseen by some 456 federal agencies, and more than 4.3 million federal employees. We have become a nation of Julias, the Obama campaign’s fictional woman whose every life decision was subsidized, regulated, or directed by government. One can certainly see how a government shutdown would strike terror in her life.
To all this, the president would add Obamacare — 2,500 pages of legislation and more than 12,000 pages of regulations, giving government control over another one-sixth of the U.S. economy.
And it’s only going to get worse. According to the Congressional Budget Office, by 2050 the federal government “will continue to grow faster throughout the rest of the century, eventually reaching levels that are completely untenable/incompatible with economic growth and prosperity.”