David Rodeback's Blog

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Saturday, August 5, 2006
Little Rants

. . . about federal agencies and a piece of silliness local to American Fork.

I took a recorded call at the office this week from Representative Jim Matheson, who happens to be running for re-election this year. In fact, I'm starting to think that he's running essentially unopposed again, but I digress.

He -- the recorded he -- said that experts from his office would be in American Fork late this week to discuss with us American Forkers such things as difficulties we're having with federal agencies. That's not a bad thing. I spent enough time working on the Hill to be well aware of the prevalance and the virtues of Members and staff helping constituents with intransigent bureaucracies; I'm not criticizing this "case work" as an institution.

I wasn't on hand for the event, but in the spirit of that kind offer, Congressman Matheson, I do have some issues with federal agencies. Here are selected highlights:

  • The Department of Agriculture is the bureaucratically insane practitioner of economically insane policies.
  • The IRS and the bloated, labyrinthine IRS Code should be jettisoned in favor of a smaller, less autonomous office which handles the proceeds and postcard-sized returns connected with a flat tax, and which focuses on revenue instead of social engineering.
  • The only high-profile federal function that is more messed up than the IRS and its Code may be the agency formerly known as the INS. (It's part of Homeland Security now.) These folks make it nearly impossible for honest, law-abiding, hard-working, educated foreigners to come to the US legally, while at the same time being almost completely incompetent in the matter of fighting illegal immigration. The phrase "optimally perverse" threatens to come to mind.

Oh, one more:

  • The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has far fewer US nuclear power plants to regulate than it should. Dozens fewer. Maybe even hundreds fewer.

If the Honorable Mr. Matheson would make a serious effort to address these issues -- even if he failed -- I'd consider voting for him. More that that: I'd consider campaigning for him, not that he needs my help to beat the Republican also-ran du jour. He might get booted out of his party, but at least some congressional Republicans would welcome into their ranks an exile who actual tried to accomplish sensible things. That would raise that congressional demographic's population to -- what, four or five?


If I hear another American Forker get choked up, especially in public, while holding a microphone, about the fact that American Fork is the largest municipality in the US with "America" in its name, I'm going to kneel before the bowl and . . . blog. Please, folks! That's about as touching as the alleged fact that either Darwin, Minnesota, or Cawker City, Kansas, or someplace in Missouri or Wisconsin has the world's largest ball of twine -- or the fact that our local high school's mascot is a caveman.

If we want to feel patriotic, let's find a substantive basis for it. Let's talk about the volunteers who help things happen without fanfare or reward. Let's talk about the people we send to war and the families who wait for them. Let's honor especially the ones who come home in boxes or not at all. Let's talk about all the people who vote or attend town meetings. Let's talk about something that matters.

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