by Stucky, The Burning Platform:
We had such a small government when George Washington was President. There were just three Cabinet positions: the honestly named Secretary of War, who was responsible for both canons on the Hudson being aimed at England; the Secretary of Treasury, who carried the entire budget in his wallet; and the Secretary of Holding the President’s Horse. The Supreme Court only had one wig. And the Washington Monument was exactly the same height as George, and people said it looked exactly like him.
Q: So, how did government get so BIG???
A: By responding to the NEEDS of the PEOPLE!
Let’s look at the needs of farmers. In 1860, about 60% of America’s population lived/worked on farms. Farmers had many needs, and the nation needed a steady reliable source of food, so in 1862 president Lincoln created the Department of Agriculture. In his final message to Congress, Lincoln called the USDA “The People’s Department.” (That’s really true, and probably the funniest line in this essay.)
As time went by and the number of farmers increased, or at least their needs did, so did the Department of Agriculture. Even more time goes by and America becomes urban and industrialized. Farmers were soon able to produce more food than Americans could consume. Continual mechanical farm improvements kept decreasing the number of farmers until we have reached the point today whereby farm families constitute less than 2% of the population. This, in turn, resulted in the Department of Agriculture also getting smaller and smaller with each passing year, and today it is only a minor government agency with a really small budget.
If you are not rolling your eyes at that last sentence it’s because your brain is the size of a peach pit.
The Dept. of Agriculture is YUGE!! It employs about 105,000 people, 1t over 15,000 locations, in all 50 states, and even 80 foreign countries. They have a budget of about $150 Billion dollars. The BLS says there are 1.2 million farmers. Do the math; that’s 11.4 farmers per USDA employee! And all this time I thought farmers were strong sturdy independent types who don’t need no stinkin’ help from anybody. More math; we could eliminate the USDA by just giving the 50,000 poorest farmers $3,000,000 each, and they could all retire without ever having to stick their arms up a cow’s vagina again. Of course, I’ll grow 40DDD titties (I’m a male) before anyone allows a hundred thousand federal employees to be fired.
So, what do all these people DO – these workers who make, on average $68,000 per year?
Dept. of Agriculture Insiders View
Well, one group keeps a vigilant eye on the world’s oilseed (whatever that is) market. They fall under the Oilseeds and Products Group … along with the Cotton Group, the Tobacco Group, the Planting Seeds Group … which make up the Cotton, Oilseeds, Tobacco, and Seeds Division; which combined with AgExport Services Division, the Dairy, Livestock, and Poultry Division; the Forest and Fishery Products Division; the Horticultural and Tropical Products Division; and the Product Estimates and Crop Assessment Division … make up the Commodity and Market Programs of Foreign Agricultural Services; which when combined with the Farm Service Agency, the Risk Management Agency, and the Commodity Credit Corporation .. makes up the Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services …and combined with Rural Development; Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services; Food Safety; Natural Resources and Environment; Research Education, and Economics; Marketing and Regulatory Programs, blah blah blah, make up what is described in their publications as the “streamlined” Department of Agriculture.
Not counted in these figures are the 15,800 outside computer consultants which are needed because each and every one of these Groups, Departments, and Divisions, and about 75% of the employees therein are required to submit at least one Excel Worksheet and one Word Document in triplicate per week documenting how they helped the farmers of America, so that the BLS can lie about it in their monthly report.