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How Big is Big Government?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

I read this linked article today. I have family that lives up in Alaska. They have told me that government rangers keep people out of plenty of public places all over Alaska. They don’t allow people on public lands. But then, they either take friends and family there, or take payoffs to guide people to the places that they prohibit the public from in the name of the law.

If we are going to have public land, shouldn’t the public be allowed on it?

So it doesn’t surprise me when either big government, or companies try to stop photographers from snapping pictures of things they deem inappropriate.

Last January, remember this?

The next day, my wife and I put our boots on and marched over to the park to just see all the cars out on Lake Shore Drive. We hiked over to the beach, and then police stopped us from going on the beach.

We thought we might take a few photos. Guess again.

Chicago police were threatening to arrest people taking photos of the cars being towed off Lake Shore Drive. They also kicked pedestrians off the pedestrian bridge that goes over the drive.

The above photo is from that same bridge. Wonder if it was a favored photographer, or how early they got there to snap the picture. Or, did they grease somebody’s palm to get access?

Cops got on their loudspeakers and warned people not to take photos.

Rather than try and set a Constitutional example in what we know are mostly corrupt Chicago city courts, we left. But, it shows how big government limits your freedom. We weren’t doing anything wrong. We were not in the way. No one was engaging in an unsafe act.

The Constitution and Bill of Rights are misinterpreted by most people. They don’t delineate the limits of people. They delineate the limits of government to trample the right of freedom of the people that elected it.

Government is way too big in the US. The left wing just wants more of it. Many on the right and left wing like big government because of the crony capitalism that ensues from it. That’s why we need to end it.

It occurred to me after reading this short blurb in Pork Network that government reports cost a lot more than they are worth.

Rarely are government numbers actually correct. Think about it. Unemployment reports from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics are usually incorrect. Virtually every unemployment number’s previous month is revised up or down. Many times by a fair amount.

This year, the volatility in the grain market hasn’t been caused by the weather so much. It’s been caused by inaccurate government reports. So far this season the grains have bounced or broken hard based on government reports overstating or underestimating the amount of corn in the ground, in the silo, or the expected harvest.

I haven’t followed the oil market, but I assume the same is true for oil inventories. I know the Fed doesn’t have a handle on money supply anymore. Dan Basse’s reports were always better than government reports and he made a business out of it.

The only numbers we seemingly can really rely on are ones that come from private sources. For example, the unemployment report is so sketchy and since the early 1990's traders have felt like the number is manipulated so they look to things like the Challenger Report to see if the government report is honest.

Maybe one way to cut huge swaths out of the federal budget is too simply eliminate government collection of statistics and let private industry do it. Interested market participants and researchers can pay for the reports that are generated and the rest of us don’t have to.

Surely, lumber traders care about how many board feet of lumber are out there and how many acres are planted to different species of trees, but do the rest of us care. Does it matter to us? Or does it simply matter that your local lumberyard has enough in stock for your next project? Why are your tax dollars paying for that statistic?

We will save on the salary expenses and the pension expenses, but we will also save on the office expenses and office equipment expenses. It’s not as if every government employee would be out of a job. They could create private companies that charged for the data to interested participants. The better data that they spewed out, the more they could charge-and more importantly the more market participants would pay.

Markets might be more predictable, and less volatile.

Government could sell off the assets it wasn’t using, generating a profit for taxpayers.

Seems like a good idea to me.

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