WASHINGTON – “These are ungrateful ignoramuses. Never has the term ‘public servant’ been rendered more devoid of meaning.”
That was the succinct but scathing reaction of former Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., to the findings in a survey in a Washington Post article titled, “Washington’s ‘governing elite’ think Americans are morons.”
The survey found most of the bureaucrats and Capitol Hill staffers who run the federal government think public opinion should be largely ignored on policy decisions.
The Johns Hopkins University political scientists who did the survey found, “Many civil servants expressed utter contempt for the citizens they served.”
The Post called the results “eye-popping,” adding, “On a wide range of issues, bureaucrats believe that Americans are ignorant.”
Bachmann told WND, “Only people in secure, insulated, well-paid jobs with generous pensions and healthcare benefits can afford to look down their noses at the people who provide for them a lifestyle they could never acquire for themselves in the private marketplace.”
It’s not just contempt for the public. It’s contempt for Congress, too, according to someone who should know.
Former Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, had an eye-opening and in-person experience with that, telling WND, “In the ’90s, I was not recognized as a congressman a lot of the time. And I’d go out with staffers and socialize all the time.”
“I’d say, ‘How’s your boss?’ They’d say, ‘Oh man is he a jerk,’ never realizing I was a congressman.”
Stockman described a particular time he was socializing with a group of staffers for a prominent conservative congressman who is still in office.
“They sat there telling me how their congressman was an idiot about education, as he was trying to reform education. They were going to make sure the education budget was increased, which ran totally counter to the congressman’s philosophy. And yet, they prevailed, not the congressman.”
“This happens again and again and again. It’s unbelievable. I was shocked,” he marveled.
Sometimes the contempt wasn’t even hidden; it was out in the open.
“I had one staffer, now in a lobbying firm, actually come out and tell me, ‘You are not the congressman. I am.'”
“I fired him,” Stockman continued. “And when he left, I found all my constituents’ letters in boxes everywhere. He wasn’t even responding. He didn’t even understand the correlation between getting elected and making your constituents happy.”
“Meanwhile,” he added, “congressmen are focused on fundraising and getting re-elected while staff and a lot of people behind the scenes are busy making powerful decisions against the wishes of the constituents.”
And those staffers and bureaucrats have real power. In a way, much more power than the elected representatives of the people.
That was illustrated during an interview last year with Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who told WND, “For every one page of law we pass, they pass 100.”
He described how regulations are written by unelected bureaucrats with little, if any, input from the people’s elected representatives in Congress.
Lee offered an even more graphic illustration, on display in the reception area of his D.C. office.
A small stack of 800 pages, comprising the bills passed in 2013, was dwarfed by a cabinet full of the 80,000 pages of proposed regulations those bills generated.
The 800 pages of laws were only a few inches tall. The 80,000 pages of regulations, when stacked end to end, were about 10 feet tall.
Empowering unelected lawmakers is not the only problem. Not having to answer to voters, bureaucrats can spend freely.
Lee observed that to comply with the hundreds-of-thousands of pages of regulations in existence, it costs the American economy $2 trillion a year.
That’s another reason why, Stockman told WND, “We should sunset all administrative law.”
He was referring to “sunset” laws that would automatically terminate regulations by a certain date unless they were renewed.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has proposed an even more sweeping solution.
As WND reported in August, during a speech detailing how to “Make America Great Again,” Trump proposed drastic reductions in regulations, along with tax cuts, to revive the economy.
Trump said he would cut regulations “massively.” He also called for a temporary moratorium on new federal regulations. The candidate shared the belief of many conservatives that the enormous number of existing regulations are a crushing burden on small businesses and have stunted the country’s economic growth.
Trump vowed to “ask each and every federal agency to prepare a list of all of the regulations they impose on Americans which are not necessary, do not improve public safety, and which needlessly kill jobs. Those regulations will be eliminated.”
He also called for the removal of bureaucrats and their replacement by “experts who know how to create jobs.”
Stockman told WND that a suggestion in the Post article to put term limits on bureaucrats and Capitol Hill staffers was “brilliant and long overdue.”
The former congressman summed up what he saw as the bottom line.
“The bureaucrats have always thought, and always will think, that the public are idiots.”