04/08/10 — Sneak attacks: It's not just the big things, watch out for small changes

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Sneak attacks: It's not just the big things, watch out for small changes

Most voters think they only have to watch out for the big decisions that come out of Washington -- that those are the most dangerous.

And, most of the time, they are. After all, they generally cost everyone the most money.

But it is the small stuff, the subtle policy shifts and add-on decision-making that can really point to a change in how this country is being run and what its priorities are going to be.

And in many cases, those smaller decisions and stupid moves by government bureaucrats are what run your tax bill up and make it tougher and tougher to earn an honest living.

And that's why you have to do more than simply get a summary of what's coming out of Washington from a 30-minute newscast. Let's face it -- the devil is really in the details, especially when it comes to politicians and their priorities.

So while there might be a need to be very worried about a nuclear arms treaty or a complete reshuffling of the nation's health care system, there is also reason to pay close attention to the fine print -- very close attention.

You read about them every day -- either in the newspaper or in some e-mail forwarded by a well-meaning, and equally astounded, friend. They are the shocking decisions that come out of the halls of government.

They can be anything from paying way too much for a toilet seat to coming up with yet another stupid regulation that restricts American jobs, not protect them. The best ones, however, are the ones when in order to meet a bureaucratic objective -- we spend money we don't have to and turn a process that should be simple into a complicated nightmare no one understands.

And where are those bursts of brilliance formulated? In the bowels of legislation that in many cases has absolutely no connection to the actual law that was passed -- in the fine print.

Add-ons are always more expensive -- that is true in every aspect of life.

Perhaps it is time for us to pay a little closer to what we agreed to pay for and what we end up paying for. And if there is too much difference, perhaps we get by with a few less bureaucrats.

Published in Editorials on April 8, 2010 10:01 AM