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456 Federal Agencies? The Eternal Push for Ever-Expanding, Redundant Over-Government

December 28, 2021

As government keeps expanding, redundancies among its agencies become more prevalent.

Here’s a Fun Number of the Day.  I just ran a Web search for “how many federal agencies are there” - and the Internet extruded the number FOUR HUNDED AND FIFTY-SIX (456).

Which may or may not be even close to enough.  Behold Wikipedia’s “list of federal agencies in the United States.”  Which offers the following hilarious explanation of government’s explanation:

“Legislative definitions of a federal agency are varied, and even contradictory. The official United States Government Manual offers no definition.

"While the Administrative Procedure Act definition of ‘agency’ applies to most executive branch agencies, Congress may define an agency however it chooses in enabling legislation, and subsequent litigation, often involving the Freedom of Information Act and the Government in the Sunshine Act.

“These further cloud attempts to enumerate a list of agencies.”

So government bureaucrats are incapable of defining what they’re building and expanding.  But they’re building and expanding all of it anyway.

To wit: The human species has engaged in agriculture for more than 10,000 years.  We did so for 9,900+ of those years without a US Department of Agriculture (USDA).  Which now appears to have THIRTY-THREE (33) “Offices” under its umbrella.

Which is pathetically unreflective of today’s agriculture sector.  The proportion of Americans engaged in agriculture has plummeted - while the Department of Agriculture has massively expanded:

“In 1900, there (were) 11 million Americans employed on farms - and 2,900 employed by the USDA. A century later there are 3 million employed on farms - and 105,000 employed by the USDA.”

As you would expect, with this many government agencies criss-crossing the country - there will be a lot of criss-crossing of the things they are doing.

Redundancy and Waste - Thy Name Is Government

Multiple agencies doing the exact same thing.  Almost always without comparing notes to minimize the massive redundancies in which they are engaged.  So you will have LOTS of redundancies - which means LOTS of waste.

The US Infrastructure Law Is Investing $65 Billion in Broadband. What Will It Mean for DC?

It will mean what it always means - LOTS of redundancies and waste:

“(S)everal different agencies already spend money on broadband - and have been doing so for years and years.”

And these agencies each have multiple programs that spend money on broadband.  It’s redundancies - within redundancies.  It’s meta-redundancy.

Here are some of just some of the programs at some of the agencies.

Department of Agriculture (USDA):

Rural Utilities Service

ReConnect Loan and Grant Program

Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee

Community Connect Grants

Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grants

Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantees

Telecommunications Infrastructure Loans and Guarantees

National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA):

Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program

Digital Equity Act Programs

Connecting Minority Communities

Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program

Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program

State Digital Equity Planning Grant Program

State Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program

Digital Equity Competitive Grant Program

Federal Communications Commission (FCC):

Universal Service Fund

Lifeline Support for Affordable Communications

Emergency Broadband Benefit

Consumer Broadband Device and Service Program

With all of these very many years of government’s redundant redundancies being redundant?  Guess what government didn’t even contemplate doing until the middle of this year?

NTIA, FCC and USDA Announce Interagency Agreement to Coordinate Broadband Funding Deployment:

“The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced an interagency agreement to share information about and coordinate the distribution of federal broadband deployment funds.

“In accordance with the Broadband Interagency Coordination Act, enacted as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, the respective Cabinet and agency leaders announced that their agencies will consult with one another and share information about the distribution of new funds from the FCC’s high-cost programs that support broadband buildout in rural areas, the USDA’s Rural Utilities Services grant and loan programs, and programs administered or coordinated by NTIA.”

So what they’re telling us is:

“(W)e’ve had three government agencies spending many years spending money on the exact same thing - with zero coordination whatsoever.  What the heck?

“And it’s not like these agencies volunteered at last to coordinate:

“‘It’s not all self-motivated. The agreement was required by Congress as a part of the December pandemic relief bill. Government officials and lawmakers have been worried about a lack of coordination.’

“So after YEARS of this redundant spending, government FINALLY got around to worrying about a lack of coordination.”

Correcting at least a little of this titanic redundancy and waste - ostensibly shouldn’t be a partisan thing.  Even for the left-est of Leftists.

If you’re a Leftist who wants these massive amounts of money spent on broadband connectivity - you should want it not spent quite so stupidly, right?

So you can have government spend the savings on…other government inanities.

But everyone absolutely should know that government broadband spending - is absolutely, exceedingly inane.

Broadband Boondoggles – Failed Taxpayer-Funded Networks:

“For decades, local governments have made promises of faster and cheaper broadband networks. Unfortunately, these municipal networks often don’t deliver or fail, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill. Explore the map to learn about the massive debt, waste and broken promises left behind by these failed government networks.”

Because government does nothing better - than redundancy and waste.

[FIRST PUBLISHED AT: Substack].

PHOTO: Capitol Building. PHOTO BY: Peter Schultz, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Article Tags
Government & Politics
Author
Seton Motley is the president of Less Government, a DC-based non-profit organization dedicated to reducing the power of government and protecting the First Amendment from governmental assault.
smotley@lessgovernment.org @SetonMotley

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