Originally published by Politico here.
by Jeb Bush, Jr. and Justin Vélez-Hagan
Benghazi neglected, IRS targeting, DOJ press investigations, Job Corps overspending, secret White House emails, phone taps, etc. The number of mounting scandals in Washington is leaving America churning in uncertainty.
But there is one thing that is certain: None of these scandals would have occurred, or at least not reached the level of “scandal,” if our government wasn’t so overwhelmingly gigantic.
If the labyrinth of the State Department, Department of Defense, FBI, CIA, White House, National Security Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency and who knows how many other agencies and departments had more efficiently processed and disseminated the warning signs, we could have staved off an attack on American assets in Benghazi and saved American lives.
The Boston bombing should have been an even simpler discovery, considering we were already aware of the terrorists and it was in our own backyard (not to mention the NSA’s ability to track anyone at any time by nearly any means).
The administration is spread so thin that leaks are inevitable. When the predictable happened, Attorney General Eric Holder used that as an excuse to secretly investigate reporters, stifling our freedom of the press. Without anyone able to keep the DOJ in check, everyone’s freedoms are at risk.
The Internal Revenue Service scandal is another animal altogether. With nearly 100,000 employees and growing, the agency is on scale with the largest of U.S. employers. Because of its size, oversight is minimal, allowing for corrupt officials to drive a political agenda that restrained the First Amendment rights of groups who might oppose the administration.
And these scandals are just the tip of the iceberg of the real problems with our government bureaucracy’s unmitigated growth.
The arguments that substantiated Obamacare are coming apart at the seams. Yet the administration is as dead set on implementing it as they initially were to pass it, when some actually believed that it would pay for itself, insure more people, lower health care costs and not limit health care choices.
Think the IRS is scary today? Wait until it hires thousands, potentially tens of thousands, just to enforce Obamacare. As any business school graduate can tell you, an organization’s culture is very difficult to direct and even harder to change. Would it be a surprise if the IRS’s culture of corruption enters our health care system once Obamacare is initiated?
The Tax Code is so outrageously byzantine that it comprises more than 74,000 pages of words. How can any human, no less an average working one, possibly understand it all? They can’t. That’s why, on average, individuals spend nearly 30 percent of their total tax bill just to figure out how much to pay. Companies pay, on average, 75 percent of their total tax costs on compliance. This inefficient use of money limits our economic growth potential.
Our government is now so large that it doesn’t realize when one agency creates a program for economic growth, while another negates it with regulation. The Small Business Administration tries to expand small-business development, while the Environmental Protection Agency produces regulations that prevent business creation. The Treasury and the Federal Reserve keep lending rates low so finance will continue, while the president compels the IRS to raise taxes on and more heavily regulate those financing activities.
One of Uncle Sam’s hands is scratching his head, while the other is around his throat.
We limit our potential to succeed, our freedom to choose the means by which we earn a living and our ability to be individually responsible by cultivating such uninhibited growth. As our government grows, it becomes less possible to oversee and regulate it while more probable that individual freedom will be limited.
Instead of being frightened into inaction by our diminishing freedoms, we should remember that we still have a republic run by legislators who answer to us. We should impel them to focus on the three or four issues most important to our country and force them to do those few things, and do them well. That should be the simple function of government, as was envisioned by our founders.
Whereas our legislators deemed our largest banking institutions “too big to fail” once the recession hit, our government has the exact opposite problem today: It’s just too big to succeed.
Jeb Bush Jr. is a managing partner at Jeb Bush and Associates and is also the co-founder and chairman of National Hispanic Outreach Inc. Justin Vélez-Hagan is executive director of The National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce and an adjunct professor of economics at the University of Maryland-University College.