There are many across the country today that genuinely feel that the federal government is too large and in many ways is either unresponsive or intrusive. A recent survey by Gallop reveals that 60 percent of all Americans believe this to be true. It should be noted that this feeling is expressed by not only Republicans, but also by Democrats and Independents as well. To illustrate this fact, let us examine the results and the way these thoughts have increased.

In the period from 2012 to 2015 the following shifts took place

1. Democrats changed from 24 percent to 37 percent in their opinion

2. Republicans changed modestly from 81 percent to 80 percent

3. Independents also changed from 59 percent to 64 percent in their opinion on the size of government being too large.

This is also illustrated by political philosophy, as noted below.

1. Conservatives moved slightly from 79 percent to 77 percent

2. Moderates moved significantly from 44 percent to 57 percent

3. Liberals also shifted in a significant manner for 24 to 37 percent

Consider this thought from one of our founding fathers. Thomas Jefferson believed that government was the greatest threat to individual liberty.

There are many reasons that lead people to believe that the government is too large. Let us take a look at some of these as listed below:

1. The intrusiveness of the National Security Administration by collecting extremely large amounts of data from individual phone records.

2. The manner by which the IRS targeted conservative organizations that were seeking tax exempt status or information in regards to donor information.

3. Congress considering a bill, The Marketplace Fairness Act, which would permit sales tax to be collected on online purchases.

4. Government utilization of drones which could become an intrusion on the privacy of all individuals or families.

5. The EPA has burdened many businesses and industries with regulations so excessive that some are on the verge of being forced out of business. This is particularly true of the coal industry that as a whole is on the verge of bankruptcy.

These are just a few of the concerns, but also examine these other areas also.

1. Federal workers on average receive 78 percent more wages and benefits than those in the private sector.

2. From 2004 through 2012 the number of federal employees has grown by 14 percent, while the population grew by only 7.2 percent

By utilizing the data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Small Area and Poverty Estimates for 2012 six of the ten wealthiest counties in the country by median household income were all very close to the federal government beltway in Washington D.C. All six of these counties have median family income of at least $95,000 annually. It is obvious that a significant number are employed by the federal government or by government contractors.

Please thoughtfully consider this quotation also from Thomas Jefferson, who said: a government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have.

I ask each of you to ask yourself: Do you believe there is far too much government, or not? Do you believe there should be significant genuine cuts made in the size and scope of the federal government? Perhaps some may believe the federal government has become a special interest group that looks primarily after its own interest. What do you think?

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Another View, a Maine Press Association award-winning column, is written on a rotating basis by a member of a group of Midcoast citizens that meet to discuss issues they think are of public interest.



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