I recall growing up in the 1970s and hearing stories about the old Soviet Union, and other totalitarian societies. The characteristics of those cultures that made the biggest impression on me, I guess because they were so far removed from the operations of my own country, were lack of supply and lack of work ethic. In the Soviet Union, it could take a person months to receive a part for their car, and then weeks after that for the mechanic to install it. The old saying in the Soviet Union was, "They pretend to pay us, and we pretend to work."
I never thought that ethos would take hold of my free country and transform it into a society that exhibits the same behaviors as ones ruled by totalitarians. But it is happening right in front of our eyes. Many of the vendors I deal with in my job do not return phone calls because they are swamped, and can not hire more people because of the cost of ObamaCare and other federal regulations. And even when they call back, the part I need must be ordered because no one keeps much inventory anymore.
The hallmark of an authoritarian society is government control of the means of production. In the old Soviet Union and other authoritarian regimes, that meant owning the businesses outright. Our Leftist government figured out that they can control the means of production through mountains of regulations. Just last year alone the Obama administration added 75,000 pages of new regulations to the Federal Registry. And even that gargantuan pile of regulations was less than the over 80,000 pages added in the administration's busiest year, 2010.
The effect in dollars of all those regulations is enormous. Each new government regulation costs the economy in some way, and of course costs taxpayers in added expense for the government bureaucracy to administer them. Growth is stifled and smothered by the burden businesses have to bear in complying with government edicts. In some industries, the time spent in compliance activities matches or exceeds time spent on the actual business functions. The superfluity of regulations imposed by the Obama administration in the last 5 years, has been responsible for the longest sustained stagnation in the U.S. economy since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
But the more sublime effect of America's regulatory nightmare is the crushing of the human spirit. There is a growing lack of prowess and concern in the minds of many workers with the way in which they perform their jobs. This behavior is easily witnessed with the all too regular lack of customer service received in more and more businesses throughout this country. Much of it is a result of a younger generation that has had no instruction in the traditional American work ethic. But even among older workers, the hopelessness of an over burdensome government has zapped the hope for a brighter tomorrow.
The creation of government regulations for the sake of giving control of corporate America to politicians who know nothing about those businesses, is like the build up of sludge in a car's engine, Over time it inhibits the performance, and eventually will lead to that engine grinding to a halt. We must eliminate the sludge of federal regulations from the economic engine of the United States before a majority of us just "pretend to work" for an authoritarian regime that "pretends to pay us."