Government programs prove scoundrels rule us

Wednesday, April 2, 2003 at 1:00am

The March 10 issue of Human Events carried a special report on the 10 most outrageous government programs. Their 18 judges included conservative/libertarians such as former Rep. Dick Armey (R-Texas), former Delaware Gov. Pete Dupont, Mark Levin, president of the Landmark Legal Foundation, and David Boaz, Cato Institute's vice president.

The Legal Services Corp. headed the list, followed closely by the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act and the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931. Rounding out the list were: Americorps, Endangered Species Act, No Child Left Behind Act, Amtrak, Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards, Title X Family Planning Act, and the provision of welfare payments to non-citizens and illegal aliens.

Human Events, a conservative, Republican-leaning publication, unlike Democrats who protect scoundrels in their party, wasn't reluctant to list the presidents who sponsored or supported these outrageous government programs. Most of the programs were born during Republican administrations. Herbert Hoover was in office when the Davis-Bacon Act was written in 1931. Richard Nixon presided over the births of the Legal Services Corp. (1974), the Endangered Species Act (1973), Amtrak (1971) and the Title X Family Planning Act (1970). Gerald Ford sponsored CAFE standards (1975), and George W. Bush signed off on the No Child Left Behind Act (2002).

These laws interfere with and federalize our lives in harmful ways. The more federal control over education, the worse it becomes. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) has attacked and trivialized private property rights. CAFE standards, by forcing auto companies to produce lighter, and hence less safe cars, have cost thousands of highway fatalities, and it goes on and on.

One of the most disgusting revelations of the Human Events report came when a simple question was put to high-level bureaucrats in charge of running these outrageous programs. Human Events asked them to state the constitutional authority for the programs. Chris Tollefson, of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, answered that it was his understanding that authority for ESA "is based on the commerce clause." Former Rep. John Erlenborn (R.-Ill.), now president of the Legal Services Corp., answered: "Probably the same one that lets the federal government build highways. I don't know

Filed under: City Voices