Editorial #116 Where do Federal Fines Go?
We have all heard of huge civil penalties, charged to large businesses, for doing something some federal agency doesn’t like. Who makes these rules, where does all that money go and who decides the amount of the fine?
Agencies like the Consumer Products Safety Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, National Highway Traffic Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Occupational Safety and Health and Federal Communication Commission are some of the bounty hunters, created by congress, looking for businesses to penalize for violating their rules and to justify their existence.
The Federal Trade Commission was the first of these “watch dog” agencies and used to enforce the Sherman Anti-Trust act of 1890. Some of the more recent cases include: Takata air bags, Wells Fargo unauthorized accounts, VW fuel standards, Facebook user privacy, Exxon oil spill and the list goes on. These fines amount to tens of billions annually.
The process is not conducted like a jury trial. These agencies make up the rules. They are the judge, jury and executioner in a kangaroo court. They consider themselves advocates of the taxpayers but fines rarely going to any individual victim. The fine is often negotiated with the corporation and usually done with some side agreements, giving corporations something for their money.
Corporations and businesses never pays taxes. They would go out of business if they did. All these fines becomes another cost of doing business, that is past directly to the consumer. We all pay more for everything we buy because of these fines. These fines are actually a tax that goes directly into the Treasury Department which funds all these agencies so the bureaucracy can continue.
The EPA is a particular problem for farmers. Bureaucrats, who have never been on a farm, target individual operators in agriculture by making up rules, after the fact, with fines that can put farmers out of business. Farmers can’t pay that fine by raising the price for which they sell their corn. We all know of horror stories of the EPA enforcing their water rules.
One must wonder about this system of government for protecting us from ourselves. Who does it really protect and does it really make anything better? These agencies are created by congress with influence from lobby and special interest groups. All these groups have a career to protect.
It is no wonder we see political contributions from large corporations. These businesses are not asking for favors, but instead, they are actually hoping they will not be targeted and subject to this “shakedown” for some violation a social justice warrior bureaucracy contrived. This sound more like “Big Brother” with mafia tactics, than a government of the people by the people for the people.
We the people need to stay vigilant and not be apathetic about our government. We the people, must run the country by hiring politicians who understand business. It is no wonder the lobbyists and diplomats are so upset with this administration. Their little “Robin Hood” ploy is being exposed. We must resist the temptation to elect sugar daddies that secretly promote wealth redistribution and says they will take care of us if we vote for them.
This is Keith Kube wishing you the best in making the world a better place.
Bumper: Keith has a regular commentary on WJAG 780 radio at 7:40 on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Check his website www.keithkube.com for past editorials.