A new gov’t regulation every 2.5 hours

According to a report obtained by the National Review, government regulatory agencies produce another regulation, on average, every two hours – which, if the pace is kept through the end of 2013, puts the number of new regulations at more than 3,600.

“They have no incentives to even make sure that these regulations are needed, appropriately addressing a problem, or not causing more harm than good. The result is more and more regulations,” wrote the National Review.

According to the report obtained by the National Review:

  • Last week, 66 new final regulations were published in theFederal Register. There were 78 new final rules the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 33 minutes.
  • All in all, 3,186 final rules have been published in the Federal Register this year.
  • If this keeps up, the total tally for 2013 will be 3,604 new final rules.
  • Last week, 1,689 new pages were added to the 2013 Federal Register, for a total of 68,313 pages.
  • At its current pace, the 2013 Federal Register will run 77,278 pages, which would be good for fifth all time. The current record is 81,405 pages, set in 2010.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year.  No such rules were published last week, keeping the total at 35 so far in 2013.
  • The total estimated compliance costs of this year’s economically significant regulations ranges from $6.42 billion to $11.82 billion.
  • So far, 289 final rules that meet the broader definition of “significant” have been published in 2013.
  • So far this year, 629 final rules affect small business; 86 of them are significant rules

Read the entire report.

Gun control proponent admits “Constitution is not the gospel”

AR-15In an opinion piece published by the Christian Science Monitor, a Republican and veteran of the War in Iraq and proponent of gun control regulations on “assault rifles” wrote that the Constitution is “not the gospel” and is instead a “living document”.

The piece, published today, details the author’s disappointment that Diane Feinstein’s unpopular assault weapons ban – which would have banned 157 different weapons, not all of them “assault rifles”, will not be included in the Senate’s soon-to-be-released gun control proposal.  What is particularly disturbing is what the man, a veteran of Iraq, believes our Constitution to be.

He wrote (emphasis mine), “I also like to inform my gun-advocating colleagues and friends that the Constitution is not the gospel and has been amended 27 times since its signing in 1787, including for the provisions of universal suffrage and the abolition of slavery. As demonstrated throughout the course of American history, the Constitution has proved to be a living document, which has reflected the state of affairs and needs of its citizenry.”

The implication is clear – to him, the Constitution doesn’t really represent a document that limits the powers of the federal government – as written.  Apparently because the Constitution contains 27 amendments, it no longer constrains the powers of the federal government.  It’s a “living document”, so as a result, it is effectively meaningless.

His larger point was to argue that the use of assault rifles, such as the AR-15 (pictured to the right), are not necessary for self defense, and therefore should be banned.  His argument is simple, but unfortunately, that simplicity fails the smell test of how effective these bans actually are, not to mention how often these guns are used in crime.

“As a former Army officer with extensive experience with military assault rifles, such as the M16 and M4 (variants of the AR-15), both used for the offensive purpose of neutralizing or killing as many combatants as possible in the shortest duration possible, I can attest that these types of weapons cross the commonsense threshold of a weapon of self-defense,” he argued.

In all due respect to the former Army officer, he is using his experience in a combat zone to argue in favor of laws for everybody at home.  Not only is this nonsensical on its face, but it needlessly confuses the real issue of personal defense and the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.  A trained military officer should know this.

The rights of the people to keep and bear arms “for self defense” is not the constitutional right afforded to Americans – but I suppose, when you do not recognize the Constitution to be “the gospel” of government power and the guarantee of people’s rights in the United States anyway, those little tidbits become less important, don’t they?  But more than that – who gives this man the right to determine what is necessary for self defense?  This man is entitled to his own opinion, but enforcing that opinion on the larger population is where problems come into play.

In fact, the former Army officer considers the ownership and use of AR-15s to be selfish and, ironically, “inconsistent with the Constitution that I swore to support and defend while I was deployed to Iraq.”  Inconsistent, you mean, with the document that you appear to be throwing by the wayside?  The document you consider to be a “living document” and not the be-all-end-all of our nation’s founding principles?  Surely you see the irony.

In the same editorial, the author first disregarded the importance of the Constitution, then later uses the Constitution to support his point of view.  This is flat disgraceful.

I deeply respect your service to our nation, sir, but your insistence that the use of AR-15s is selfish and that our Constitution – which you do not appear to respect – does not protect the right of the people to own those weapons, is absurd.  I expect more from someone brave enough to fight in combat zones for their nation.

The Constitution that you took an oath to uphold protects the right to keep and bear arms, and the 27 amendments to the Constitution proves how important the document is.

If the Constitution wasn’t gospel, there would be no need to amend it, would there?

2012 brings big debt and fewer liberties to Americans

rules_1668_1668The year 2012 saw tremendous encroachments into the freedoms and liberties of the American people, and few of our Congressional representatives stood in the way of such abuses of power.  From taxing internet purchases to allowing the government to throw people in jail based on “secret” evidence of terrorism, this year marks another elimination of freedoms and liberties in the United States.

A couple things did increase, though: our national debt and the number of well-paid federal government workers.

The NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) not only gave the government the authority to continue expensive and never-ending wars overseas, but it also gives Washington far reaching powers to imprison American citizens for the mere suspicion of terrorism.

“This bill takes away [the right to a trial] and says that if someone thinks you’re dangerous, we will hold you without a trial. It’s an abomination,” remarked Kentucky Senator Rand Paul who argued fiercely against the inclusion of the indefinite detention provision within the NDAA.  Paul cited Japanese internment camps as historical evidence that government cannot be trusted with powers that rely on behind-closed-doors “secret” evidence against the American people.

The United States’ punitive system of taxation is forcing companies to funnel millions of dollars to overseas bank accounts.  Facebook, in fact, has funneled nearly a half billion to Cayman Island banks.  The U.S. government’s continued insistence to punish success in the United States has once again prompted companies in 2012 to take their financial business elsewhere.

At the state level, an estimated 225,000 wealthy residents have fled California to escape its tax structure.  This year, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown successfully pushed through tax increases that make Californians the highest taxed citizens in the country as the state’s deficits skyrocket to nearly $30 billion.  Taxing the rich never works, and as reported on the Small Government Times before, ends up sending your wealthier taxpayers running for the hills.

How about that U.S. Postal Service?  This year marked the first year that the government distribution service defaulted as the organization continues to leak money.  Daily, the Postal Service is losing about $25 million.  The financial hemorrhaging is preventing the service from paying current and future retiree benefits, roughly $5.5 billion in 2011 and 2012.

The number of federal workers, along with their salaries, have seen dramatic increases in the last several years.  According to public record, over 500,000 federal government workers earn more than $100,000 a year (an increase of 10% since 2006) and average nearly twice the private sector in annual salaries.  In fact, 77,000 federal workers make more than state governors.  Despite economic uncertainty for the majority of the American people, more than half of those in Congress are millionaires.  Several calculate their wealth easily in the hundreds of millions.

More than 40,000 state laws took effect this year, ranging from a higher minimum wage for several states, fining bus and truck drivers for talking on their cell phones while driving and a variety of regulations on concussions suffered while playing sports.  Some states made it a requirement that larger businesses use the E-Verify system to confirm the legality of its workers.  California gave illegals brought to the United States as infants access to the same statewide scholarships that legal students enjoy.  Other states are requiring school and city coaches to bench younger players when they are believed to have suffered a concussion.  Seat belts laws, inclusion of gay and lesbian studies in school curriculum and requiring state licensing to perform abortions all helped to increase the number of laws and regulations offered in this country.

The U.S.’s national debt has skyrocketed passed $16 trillion, an increase of a whopping $5 trillion since Barack Obama took office.

Elections have consequences, ladies and gentlemen.  Stay vigilant.

High Court strikes down state law to prevent videotaping police

Although Illinois has some of the toughest laws against monitoring the police, TSA and other authority figures, the Supreme Court this week struck down an eavesdropping law that allowed for the imprisonment of up to 15 years for the “crime” of videotaping police while on duty.   The Supreme Court ruled the law violates the right to free speech.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit against the law in 2010 in response to legal trouble regarding the group’s video recording of officers while on duty.  The high court left in place a lower court’s decision that the anti-eavesdropping law in Illinois violates the Constitution.  The law had been in place in the state for 50 years.

Outrageously, Illinois prosecutors pleaded with the Supremes that the lower court’s decision provides “a novel and unprecedented First Amendment protection to ubiquitous recording devices”.  First amendment protection is unprecedented?  Who knew.  Apparently, state prosecutors believe that the protection of first amendment rights of the American people is somehow strange.

Civil libertarians and lovers of freedom and liberty, of course, believe the monitoring of enforcement officers in this country is not only a protected constitutional right (apparently, the court agrees), but also a critical monitoring tactic to ensure against the abuse of powers given to police and government.  Americans should, and do, have every right and obligation to “watch the watchers”.

After victory, the ACLU said of the incident, “Empowering individuals and organizations in this fashion will ensure additional transparency and oversight of public officials across the state.”

The case now goes to an Illinois district court in Chicago where the ACLU will ask a judge to make the temporary injunction of the enforcement of the law permanent.

This comes just months after a similar case in the District of Columbia, where a bystander to a traffic stop on a public street in our nation’s capital was detained and questioned for 30-minutes after snapping pictures of the incident.  The ACLU filed suit on behalf of the man, and the court ruled “a bystander has the right under the First Amendment to observe and record members in the public discharge of their duties.”  Videotaping officers while on duty is perfectly legal and constitutional provided the photographer is not interfering with enforcement officers.