Government is an umbrella word, of course. The government is made up of branches, departments and agencies etc. Each little part adding up to the edifice we know as The Government. And each of these separate entities is made up of its own departments etc. And each of those are made up of …human beings. One of the great myths of American politics is that the government is some sort of impartial monolith. It’s not, it is in essence a bunch of yahoos just like me and you who go to work every day and play office politics and career politics and plot and scheme and make alliances and enemies for one real purpose behind it all….keeping that paycheck coming in every two weeks. Keeping the lights on, so to speak.
Then we go back up the chain…of purely human action and reaction! Each office in each department of each agency of each branch is made up of humans who have been successful at keeping their paycheck…and who have ‘won’ their office politics. Usually, to some extent, by kissing their immediate superiors ass, who kisses his superiors ass…ad infinitum. A pack system, in essence. With an ascending order of Alpha Dogs. Each of these ‘superiors’ has his or her pack, each has a territory to defend. Each entity or dept. spends a certain portion of its time and energy engaging in defensive or offensive pack behavior to gain power to be used in both self defense or increasing its power and influence. This behavior, which we are all familiar with to some extent, is exacerbated (from what I hear and can very easily believe) in a government setting because of a lack of accountability to The Bottom Line. The government is not going to go out of business if it doesn’t get enough widgets produced in the final quarter.
And so one way to look at our government is as a series of packs, each trying to help its own Alpha Dog survive in the Game of Power….lest they perish themselves.
Which brings us to my point, since having a point seems to be a fashionable thing to do in blogging…
The budget for the NSA’s data-sifting effort is classified, but one official estimated it surpasses $1 billion. The FBI is requesting to nearly double the budget for the Digital Collection System in 2009, compared with last year, requesting $42 million. “Not only do demands for information continue to increase, but also the requirement to facilitate information sharing does,” says a budget justification document, noting an “expansion of electronic surveillance activity in frequency, sophistication, and linguistic needs.”
Please read, if you are so inclined!
You can also relate this dynamic to this story, to a certain extent… Iraq War To Cost Iraq War To Cost $12B A Month In 20082B A Month In 2008
Beyond 2008, working with “best-case” and “realistic-moderate” scenarios, they project the Iraq and Afghan wars, including long-term U.S. military occupations of those countries, will cost the U.S. budget between $1.7 trillion and $2.7 trillion — or more — by 2017.
Interest on money borrowed to pay those costs could alone add $816 billion to that bottom line, they said.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has done its own projections and comes in lower, forecasting a cumulative cost by 2017 of $1.2 trillion to $1.7 trillion for the two wars, with Iraq generally accounting for three-quarters of the costs.
…….as the pack at the Pentagon….or if you prefer a different analogy, the bureaucratic organism that is the Pentagon (which of course includes the Military/Congressional Industrial complex) seeks to increase its power…
And who does this expansion take place against? The People
Of course this phenomenon exists under Democratic Administrations too. The main difference seems to be that under Dems, the depts. etc. that are successful at this sort of unchecked expansion are things like HUD, or SCHIP, or regulatory agencies like the FDA and the EPA….that sort of thing. Whereas under the Warmonger Repubs…it is entities like the NSA, FBI and of course The Pentagon. The entities that have the ear of those in power tend to expand. Just one of the differences between the two parties. I would be remiss in not pointing out that it was forty years of expansion of government that led to The Republican Revolution in the nineties ending that 40 year reign of democrats in Congress. They were able to point to these expansions in horror…and The People bought it…and voted out the Dems and voted in the Repubs….so that they could expand the government in their horrifying way.
One of the basic functions of government is supposed to be limiting government expansion. Government oversight. This is in many ways, the government truly representing The People. “The Government” knows this, the goverment knows The People want to limit it….and so we end up, after a long circumnavigation….back at our title. Our reality has become on a very very deep level, The Government vs, The People. And right now….the Government is winning.