A Really Good Idea

On October 24, The Federal Times posted an article about relocating some of the Washington bureaucracy. What a great idea. We need to move some of the people in charge of government agencies closer to the people they are supposed to serve. We also need to break up the concentration of power that is the Washington swamp.

It is not a coincidence that many of the wealthiest counties in America are suburbs of Washington, D.C.

According to Wikipedia (a questionable source, but I suspect this is correct):

Presented below are the 25 highest-income counties (with populations of 65,000 or greater) in the United States by median household income according to the 2016 American Community Survey[4] prepared by the US Census Bureau. Five of the counties are located in the state of Maryland, five are in Virginia, four in California, three in New Jersey, two in New York, and one each in: Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas. (Disclaimer: This only includes counties that participated in this single survey)

The Federal Times reports:

The Trump administration’s decision to move three agency components outside the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area has spurred a sizeable amount of controversy, but Sens. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., want to keep going with that trend.

The two senators introduced a bill Oct. 23 that would move about 90 percent of the workforce at the headquarters for 10 federal agencies to other states around the country and pop the “bubble” of D.C. federal employment.

“Every year Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars fund federal agencies that are mainly located in the D.C. bubble. That’s a big part of the problem with Washington: they’re too removed from the rest of America,” said Hawley in a news release.

“The HIRE Act will move policymakers directly into the communities they serve, creating thousands of jobs for local communities and saving taxpayers billions of dollars along the way.”

Under the proposal, the Department of Agriculture would move to Missouri, Commerce to Pennsylvania, Education to Tennessee, Energy to Kentucky, Health and Human Services to Indiana, Housing and Urban Development to Ohio, Interior to New Mexico, Labor to West Virginia, Transportation to Michigan and Veterans Affairs to South Carolina.

Obviously there are objections to this idea. The swamp is not enthusiastic about being split up!

The article concludes:

About 20 percent of D.C. residents are employed directly by the federal government, according to OPM and population data, while each of the 10 states slated for agency relocation under the bill have about .3 to one percent of their populations working for the federal government.

But Washington has an incredibly small population when compared with these states, and even if the entire D.C. federal workforce were to be relocated equally across the 10 states, the state with the lowest percent of federal workforce, Michigan, would only move from .3 percent to .4 percent.

The bill is bound to get strong pushback not only from the Democratically controlled House, which has been opposed to many of the Trump administration’s smaller moves, but also from the Virginia and Maryland members of Congress, whose states and districts would be likely to lose a number of jobs due to a relocation.

Relocation might also clear up the incredible traffic jam that is Washington, D.C. I suspect that it also would be cheaper to run government agencies in places where renting or owning office space would be considerably lower.

This will probably never happen, but it is a great idea.

One Result Of A Strong Economy

On Monday, Breitbart reported that for the first time in eight years, the number of American households on food stamps has dropped below 20 million.

The article reports:

The latest data from the USDA reveals that the number of households on food stamps in February 2018 dropped to 19,992,124—the first time it fell below 20 million since September 2010, when 19,979,385 households were enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The USDA notes that not only is the number of households receiving food stamps at a record low level, but the number of people enrolled in food stamps has also gone down. From January to February of this year alone, overall food stamp enrollment dropped from 40,640,170 to 40,032,131.

The downward trend in enrollment has only continued over President Trump’s first year in office, keeping on pace with the stable decline in SNAP participation since 2013.

The food stamp program is included in the Farm Bill which is currently in Congress.

The article reports:

Although the Trump administration is making it a priority to require food stamp recipients to work to receive benefits, the Senate version of the 2018 Farm Bill released Friday does not include the work requirements sought out by the Trump administration and the House Agriculture Committee.

The House’s version of the bill includes a provision that would require most adults ages 18 to 59 who enroll in food stamps to work, receive job training, or look for work under a case manager’s supervision.

It is time for the people the government is feeding to go to work. The idea that working people should pay exorbitant taxes to allow other Americans to live well without working is just ridiculous. It is time for the gravy train to end.

Undermining The Family And The Work Ethic All At Once

A farm, Bethel, Vt. (LOC)

A farm, Bethel, Vt. (LOC) (Photo credit: The Library of Congress)

You have to hand it to the federal government–they sure know how to ruin things. Today’s Daily Caller posted an article about the farm regulations about to be put in effect by the Obama Administration’s Department of Labor. The new laws would apply child labor laws to children working on family farms.

The article reports:

Under the rules, children under 18 could no longer work “in the storing, marketing and transporting of farm product raw materials.”

“Prohibited places of employment,” a Department press release read, “would include country grain elevators, grain bins, silos, feed lots, stockyards, livestock exchanges and livestock auctions.”

The new regulations, first proposed August 31 by Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, would also revoke the government’s approval of safety training and certification taught by independent groups like 4-H and FFA, replacing them instead with a 90-hour federal government training course.

This is ridiculous.

One person related his experience of working on a relative’s farm during the summer and how it impacted him:

John Weber, 19, understands this. The Minneapolis native grew up in suburbia and learned the livestock business working summers on his relatives’ farm.

He’s now a college Agriculture major.

“I started working on my grandparent’s and uncle’s farms for a couple of weeks in the summer when I was 12,” Weber told TheDC. “I started spending full summers there when I was 13.”

“The work ethic is a huge part of it. It gave me a lot of direction and opportunity in my life. If they do this it will prevent a lot of interest in agriculture. It’s harder to get a 16 year-old interested in farming than a 12 year old.”

Weber is also a small businessman. In high school, he said, he took out a loan and bought a few steers to raise for income. “Under these regulations,” he explained, “I wouldn’t be allowed to do that.”

The federal government is interfering with a farm family’s right to teach their children a work ethic and the basics of farming. The government is also interfering with organizations like 4-H and FFA, which build a sense of community among the children who grow up on farms or are interested in farming.

This is simply the government getting involved where it does not need to get involved. The new laws will not accomplish anything except disrupt a system that works. The federal government needs to learn to heed the words ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.‘ That would probably solve a major percentage of the America’s problems–financial and otherwise. 

 

 

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