Eliadis, Hill, and Howlett (2005) edited a book, “Designing Government,” used in many different academic institutions to teach courses on government in the United States. The book and the authors are well known in academic circles, so when I discuss the findings in the book, I am not pulling information from an unknown, hardly read, obscure source. I wanted this made clear from the beginning, for recently, several media sources have tried to declare that the cost of government is inconsequential and does not hinder a country’s economic forecasts significantly. As I continuously state, draw your own conclusions.
From pages 60 and 61 for “Designing Government,” we find the following statistics; the authors put them in chart and graph form, I have placed them in bullet form; this is the only change to the statistics made. Reported for Canada’s government in Canadian Dollars (1995).
- 1973/74 – Economy-Wide cost of compliance costs $58 Billion
- 1987 – Economy-Wide cost of compliance costs $78.7 Billion
- 1993/94 – Economy-Wide cost of compliance costs $85.7 Billion
- 1995/96 – Economy-Wide cost of compliance costs $83.4 Billion
- From 1988 40% to a forecast of 47.2% in 1998, Regulatory costs of compliance increased.
According to the Canadian Federal Budget for Fiscal Year 1973-1974 as presented by Minister of Finance John Turner in the House of Commons on 19 February, 1973 Total Revenue was $22.997 Billion, Total Expenditures $25.208 Billion. With a deficit of $2.211 Billion. If the cost of compliance for federal regulation was $58 Billion, the entire Canadian Budget could have been funded twice without deficit spending, with funds left over. Tell me, what exactly is the number of “significant” for the cost of government?
Now, wait a minute, you say, this is just a single year. I could be gerrymandering and cherry-picking my data to make a point. I haven’t listed a point yet. But you’re correct. Let’s run another year just to see what else is out there.
According to the Canadian Federal Budget for Fiscal Year 1987-1988 as presented by Minister of Finance Michael Wilson in the House of Commons on 18 February, 1987 Total Revenue was $97.215 Billion, Total Expenditures $126.232 Billion. With a deficit of $29.017 Billion, the cost of regulation in that year alone was $78.7 Billion. Firstly, that is a lot of deficit spending in a little over a decade. Secondly, that is a lot of growth in government regulation costs in the same period. Thirdly, one is left to ask using historical records why both the cost of government and the deficit spending went up so significantly during the same period.
According to the academics, the answer is a little dry, “extreme forms of rhetorical hyperbole.” A simpler version of the answer is this, the politicians in power are staying in control by scaring the hell out of the electorate using extreme cases, fear-mongering, and the media to hype fear! But, don’t believe me, do not take my word for this at all. Watch the news, go backward using YouTube, watch the news, and look for the latest “Boogeyman.” In the 1980s, the boogeyman was the USSR. In the 1990s, the boogeyman changed, morphed, and all but disappeared, becoming local crime issues. 2000 began, and we had corporations become the boogeyman. Then 9/11 hit, and terrorism became the watchword. Then we had the southern border and wars, and then we had big tech, big pharma; fast forward to 2020, and we have COVID, the unvaccinated, and the list goes on. Rhetorical hyperbole in the extreme, drumming fear as the only constant 24/7/365 as the only reporting done by the “media.”
All the while, what is happening in government? What is the current cost of government regulation? Canada conveniently, like many other governments post-2000, hides their costs of regulation in hundred of pages of marketing materials and calls this a “plan,” a “budget,” and a “roadmap.” Finding simple facts like how much federal regulation costs my family and me into an arduous task. However, if you can decipher all the lines and arrive at an answer, feel free to leave it in the comments below.
The point is, the information is not accessible, transparent, or quickly locatable, even though you pay for the government to report this information to you. A perfect example of authoritarian audacity, and it is rampant in every single government across the globe. Hey United Kingdom, they say the Internal Revenue Service in the United States is bad at reporting financial data to taxpayers; you have the US beat! However, France and Italy have you beat! But China and Cuba have you guys beat except for Venezuela and Brazil. Canada and Australia are dark horses somewhere in this race; Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, and many more are on the list somewhere. The only easy place to find data is Switzerland and Iceland, and even there you still have to swim upstream against marketing and government bureaucratese!
Taxpayers, the point is simple, you are paying to be hoodwinked. You are paying to be lied to, manipulated, robbed, cheated, and left holding a bag full of blank checks and IOUs by the government officers elected, born into office, and who stole their way into power in your countries. The bills do not go away when governments fall; ask Russia how they are doing with the USSR’s bills and problems. Ask Venezuela how they are coping with the loss of their country and the accounts from their failed government.
Deficit spending countries, Canada, US, UK, Ireland, Spain, Greece, etc., you might want to pay a little attention here, cause when your economy finally fails, the bills come due, and who pays then? Not the politicians who wrote the blank checks. Not the special interests who benefited from the governments they sucked the money from. Certainly not the Hollywood stars and media elites who consider themselves above everyone else. The citizens pay, and they pay in blood, they pay in sweat equity, and they pay in treasury long after the principal and interest have compounded, and the debt creators have turned into worm fodder.
Regulatory costs are always significant and exorbitant in time and treasure long after the wage earner is paid for being the putz that hinders and represents the government your taxpaying dollars support. Regulatory costs are never free! Regulatory costs are always triple, if not more, in dollars and cents than what a legislator thinks they will be. For example, when Obamacare was priced as costing $10 Trillion, the smart taxpayer tripled the cost before considering anything else about the legislation. The same is true for every other piece of legislation from the school board and the mayor’s office through the governor’s office to the federal level. Every price tag should be tripled before consideration simply because the various accounting offices always downplay the numbers as a human failing.
But you have got to be joking. Government cannot possibly cost that much money. Let’s test that theory, using the United States, 1996 dollars, and Social Regulation for FY 1997 as reported by the OMB under Executive Order 12291 and 12866 from the following link.
Total social regulation costs for 1997 were $198 billion. Please note that this total does not include costs of regulations that totaled less than $100 million or regulations from independent agencies. There is a possibility that some agencies might have underestimated the costs of their rules. Thus, the $198 Billion is a guess, and the end total is probably much higher. Moreover, the estimate of $198 Billion is based upon educated guesswork performed and accepted by academics, legislation, and other banking regulations. Not included in the costs of regulation are the simple transfer costs of money inside the banking system itself, as these are not considered as costs of regulation.
Did you catch that; certain costs are not considered because Congress allows them to be not considered. Thus, Congress can lie about regulation costs, fees, taxes, and other monetary adjustments. The only person who ever is accountable is the taxpayer left holding the statement for deficit spending. Then the agencies have the audacity to need specially trained personnel to fill out paperwork to meet obscure fraud and deception laws and charge these costs back to the taxpayer as costs other than costs for regulation. Best of all, tax paperwork is not considered a cost to regulation; paying taxes is not a regulatory cost. Why not; taxes cost businesses to operate and cannot be changed into different categories?
The point is elementary; those who think they have power, bureaucrats in government employ, consider themselves authoritarians. These authoritarians have presumed to possess the audacity to control how they spend your money because their bosses have allowed them leniency through laziness and disinterest. Through a lack of scrutiny, the bureaucrat has become fat on power and must be placed upon a diet if a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” is to survive. Are you more aware of the problem? What will you do today and tomorrow to help fix the problem?
© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
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