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I'm Just Sayin': Have we crossed the Rubicon?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines Rubicon as: a bounding or limiting line; especially one that when crossed commits a person irrevocably. The term originated when Julius Caesar crossed the river Rubicon in northern Italy in 49 B.C. and it was considered an act of war while marching his way to Rome. Since then, it has commonly been used as defining a “point of no return.”

I often think about our federal and state governments as having crossed the Rubicon. How often have you heard others (or maybe yourself) complain about the intrusiveness of government, the overwhelming size of government and the cost of government, and then shrug their shoulders and wonder what can be done about it. You might hear, “It’s too big; or politicians are in it for their own greed and not our welfare; or it can never be changed because they are the ones that have to change it and that would take their power and money away from their greedy little hands.” They (and we) have gone to the “point of no return.” Or have we?

Think about how our lives are affected by government regulations and taxes. Both businesses and individuals spend far too much time complying with regulations and figuring out what taxes they owe (or in some cases, how to avoid those taxes). That time and resource can be much better used by inventing and building things – the stuff Americans are really good at. Instead, we chase our own tails trying to stay ahead of regulators, inspectors, and the IRS (hmm! – the IRS – if you combine those two words, it spells THEIRS).

Any time the federal or state governments get involved in trying to control markets or the lives of the people, things generally go badly for us in the long run. What usually starts out as well intentioned laws and regulations ends up being a burden. Here is an example:

The EPA started out as an intent to clean up our air and water and has made great strides toward that goal. But, the unintended consequences have led to burdensome regulations and inspections that often are not necessary. If you don’t think so, just go talk to a farmer, a manufacturer, or a construction company.

Another example is the Department of Education. Again, this was started with good intentions of standardizing education throughout all the states. What has happened has been taking much of the control of education out of the hands of teachers and parents and putting it in the control of unelected bureaucrats that usually know nothing of local circumstances or local needs.

And then there is the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). At last count in October of 2013, there are 10,535 pages of regulations on the health care industry, which translates to approximately 11,600,000 words. Good grief! The U.S. Constitution is only 4,543 words and it has worked well for more than 200 years.

Have we crossed the Rubicon, leaving behind individual liberty in exchange for so-called benefits and suppression of liberties? We the people need to push back. The only way to take the power and money away from St. Paul and Washington, D.C. is to pass term limits and a constitutional amendment requiring government to balance its budget every year. The people have to demand it.

How do we demand it? By using that unique American tradition called elections. Be informed. Be an intelligent voter. Don’t vote on what they say, or how they look, or how they smile. Vote on what they have done and what their qualifications are. I’m just sayin’.

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“Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.” - Thomas Paine

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DuWayne Paul of Alexandria is a regular contributing columnist for the Echo Press.