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Monday, May 2, 2016

Even bigger government

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ah the joys of ever bigger government. Several years ago when the Omaha World Herald quit delivering newspapers to outstate Nebraska I subscribed to the North Platte Telegraph in addition to the McCook Daily Gazette. It is my judgment that in contrast to the Gazette, the Telegraph tends to favor a more liberal bent to its stable of writers and choice of national news articles. I tend to argue with some of those opinions.

Recently the Telegraph printed a release from the National Wildlife Service, a federal government agency. The gist of the news release was to warn farmers in drought stricken areas that cutting and baling their drought failed corn crop was not a "normal" means of harvest and therefore migratory bird hunting nearby would be prohibited.

Wonderful! I can just see a landowner who leases his land for hunting, and needing the income especially this year, having to shut down his hunters due to clearing the failed crop acres in hopes of planting winter wheat meanwhile praying for an eventual rain. Or a hunt club that leases duck hunting acres for its members along some barely flowing river or shrunken lake, having to close up shop because neighboring farmers harvested their failed crops in an "unapproved" manner. Who makes up ridiculous rules like that in the first place? Why do we have to have to comply with stupid rules concerning our private property anyway?

This summer, we traveled through southern Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas and those farmers are hurting. Mile after mile we observed corn standing in the fields that had turned brown and died even before shooting tassels. Soybeans were about six inches high and exhibited the dull gray color of severe drought. Pastures were covered with short grass that was obviously dormant and provided little fodder for the few thin cows that we could see. Mile after mile of the interstate highway road ditches had been hayed. Agriculture is in tough shape and some faceless bureaucrat pushes a rule that prevents the farmer from even grasping a little alternative income.

Anyone driving Highway 83 recently has noticed a large number of flat bed semi-trailer loads of hay headed south. Independent truckers, "hay haulers" have been busy moving livestock feed from areas of abundance to the drought stricken areas on south. Reportedly they are also back-hauling oil field equipment back north. Note there is no governmental agency coordinating, just private enterprise answering a need. May it ever be so.

Even pivot irrigators here in much wetter Southwestern Nebraska catch grief from our friendly Farm Credit Agency. A friend who farms near Madrid told me of the hassle that he was being given due to a useless pond, in governmental parlance "wetland," in one of his fields. It was a quarter section that he had purchased the previous winter. The former owner had created a berm across the "wetland" for a pivot tower to track over rather that get stuck in the mud each rotation. The berm was obvious in the aerial photograph of the field and for the FSA clerk it was an "unacceptable practice." I don't know how the matter was resolved but the new landowner was extremely frustrated by the hassle he was receiving.

Our President is currently pushing to create more jobs in this country and the quest is obviously necessary. Unfortunately President Obama seems to think that growing government and creating more taxpayer funded government employees is a good answer. Good jobs with benefits they are too but unfortunately they don't produce anything but hassle for the real producers. Conservatives in Congress are crying for relaxation of governmental regulations that hamper real job growth but those efforts meet with all sorts of resistance from those who want to grow government.

I fear that our own Senator E. Benjamin Nelson will not be lining up on the side of those intent on cutting government growth. Memory serves to remind that Governor Nelson oversaw the largest increase in Nebraska State employees during his terms in office.

Incidentally I've heard nothing of my call for Senator Nelson to pick up McCook's $25,000 portion of the needless fence planned for the "McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport." I see Senator Ben's name in aviation related publications that are distributed throughout the United States. Obviously the name recognition should allow him to pay for the fence from Campaign Funds rather than having to write a personal check for the amount. Haven't heard a thing.

When President Obama took office one of his first executive orders was to require that only union labor be hired to work on federal construction projects. A large portion of his campaign funds come from union dues so Chicago-style payback would only be expected. Now it is understandable why President Obama currently stresses the need for infrastructure improvements, federal projects--union labor. Yes our infrastructure is crying for improvement but more could be done for the same dollar by using the 85 percent of non-union labor that originally build our roads and bridges. The list goes on.

That is how I saw it.

Dick Trail

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Mr. Trails;

As usual, I find your articles interesting.

I would like to provide some additional information concerning some of your statements and conclusions contained in the article. With this in mind, I respectfully submit the following for your consideration.

1. Migratory Bird Regulations

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 sets the criteria for Migratory Bird Regulations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service implement regulations to comply with the Treaty.

The following link is to a summation of the Treaty which highlights the amendments, etc. which would be of interest to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


Of particular interest is Public Law 105-312, The Migratory Bird Treaty Reform Act of 1998. This amendment made it unlawful to take migratory game birds by the aid of bait if the person knows or reasonably should know that the area is baited. The following U.S. Fish and Wildlife Regulations spell out what constitutes baiting in regards to Agriculture Crops.

Manipulation of Agriculture Crops:

You cannot legally hunt waterfowl over manipulated agricultural crops except after the field has been subject to a normal harvest and removal of grain (i.e., post-harvest manipulation).

Manipulation includes, but is not limited to, such activities as mowing, shredding, discing, rolling, chopping, trampling, flattening, burning, or herbicide treatments. Grain or seed which is present as a result of a manipulation that took place prior to a normal harvest is bait. For example, no hunting could legally occur on or over a field where a corn crop has been knocked down by a motorized vehicle. Kernels of corn would be exposed and/or scattered.

If, for whatever reason, an agricultural crop or a portion of an agricultural crop has not been harvested (i.e., equipment failure, weather, insect infestation, disease, etc.) and the crop or remaining portion of the crop has been manipulated, then the area is a baited area and cannot be legally hunted for waterfowl. For example, no waterfowl hunting could legally occur on or over a field of sweet corn that has been partially harvested and the remainder mowed.


2. Growing Big Government and creating more Federal Employees.

Historical Federal Workforce Tables for the years 1962 -- 2010 can be found at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management website.


A review of these tables can provide a comparison of the growth of Non Military Federal Employees during each Presidential Term within the specified time frame. Here is what I came up with for various Presidents.

President Carter (1977-1980) Beginning 2,833,000 Ending 2,821,000 Resulting decrease of 12,000 Federal Employees

President Reagan (1981-1988) Beginning 2,821,000 Ending 3,054,000 Resulting increase of 233,000 Federal Employees

President George H.W. Bush (1989-1992) Beginning 3,054,000 Ending 3,017,000 Resulting decrease of 37,000 Federal Employees

President Bill Clinton (1993-2000) Beginning 3,017,000 Ending 2,639,000 Resulting decrease of 378,000 Federal Employees

President George W. Bush (2001-2008) Beginning 2,639,000 Ending 2,692,000 Resulting increase of 53,000 Federal Employees

President Barack Obama (2008-2010) Beginning 2,692,000 Ending 2,776,000 Resulting increase of 84,000 Federal Employees

It appears that in the 33 years since President Carter, the Democratic Administrations were responsible for a net decrease of 306,000 Federal Employees. During the same time span Republican Administrations were responsible for a net increase of 249,000 Federal Employees.

Another aspect to consider is that at the end of 2010 there were 2,776,000 Federal Employees compared to the high of 3,054,000 in 1980. This results in a net loss of 278,000 Federal Employees while at the same time the population grew from 226,546,000 to approximately 330,000,000 in 2010. So essentially we are serving an additional 103,454,000 citizens with less Federal Employees than in 1980.

3. President Obamas Executive Order that only union labor is hired to work on Federal Construction Projects.

First of all, the Executive Order does not contain any mention of Labor Unions.


It simply refers to Labor Organizations as defined in 29 USC 152(5) which provides the following definition:

The term "labor organization" means any organization of any kind, or any agency or employee representation committee or plan, in which employees participate and which exists for the purpose, in whole or in part, of dealing with employers concerning grievances, labor disputes, wages, rates of pay, hours of employment, or conditions of work.


I am sure that Labor Unions would fall into this classification along with other various forms of employee committees, etc.

I should also note that Labor Organization representation is only applicable to large scale projects of $25 million or greater. In section 5 of the Executive Order it also states that this order does not require an Executive Agency to use a Project Labor Agreement on any Construction Project:

This order does not require an executive agency to use a project labor agreement on any construction project, nor does it preclude the use of a project labor agreement in circumstances not covered by this order, including leasehold arrangements and projects receiving Federal financial assistance. This order also does not require contractors or subcontractors to enter into a project labor agreement with any particular labor organization.

-- Posted by Geezer on Thu, Sep 15, 2011, at 12:26 PM

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Dick Trail
The Way I Saw It