By Nathan Barton
US Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (X, XX) just introduced the “ATF Elimination Act” as a bill in the latest Congress, according to BearingArms.com. His stated purpose is to reduce government spending and duplication, but it would obviously change American society in truly unimaginable ways.
Just imagine, in one fell swoop, fired by the new order sweeping the nation and the world, the FedGov would eliminate all alcohol, every firearm, and every sort of tobacco. Not only would the FedGov save billions upon billions spent both to buy these things AND to fight to control or prevent the use of these things. No, private individuals would see their disposable income explode, not just as taxes were cut but because there would be none of these things to spend their money on, and because they would not need to pay to protect themselves from these things, as well. (Do you know how much people and businesses have to spend every year on “No Smoking” signs and ashtrays and cans alone? Fabulous wealth is consumed!) Politicians and bureaucrats would no longer need to whimper and whinge about needing to raise excise taxes on all these products to pay to treat people for their use. The cost of raw materials would drop precipitously (boosting the economy tremendously) as the vast quantities of metal and other materials is no longer consumed in building up the world’s (and the Fifty States’) arsenals, as farmland was freed up from growing tobacco and rye and hops …
Opps, wait – sorry… Wrong universe.
No, what Sensenbrenner wants to do is to ELIMINATE the BUREAU of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (often called ATF or BATF, rather than ATFE or BATFE, for reasons I do not pretend to understand). My oh my, but isn’t THAT a grand and worthy goal? Ending a national embarrassment, freeing up all that labor and money, ending one of the toughest tools of tyranny in the Fifty States?
Yes, indeed, what a wonderful idea to usher in the arrival of the Age of the Donald (AD).
Oh, yeah. Read the details. The details in the fine print. And the devil is in the detail.
The bill would not ELIMINATE the stuff, or the functions of the BATFE. Rather, it would split the functions now done by THIS bureau between OTHER government agencies. Specifically, the guns (firearms) and explosives would now be “controlled” by the Feebs, the Federal Bureau of Investigation. And tobacco and alcohol (not just liquor or beer) would go to the Drug Enforcement Agency. The two agencies would divvy up the people and the budget (minus the “peace dividend”), and the Feebs would get all the offices and buildings (and presumably, equipment and supplies). Well, except the evidence warehouses with the A and T stuff in it: DEA would get that, I figure, to add to what they already have. I think the economics term is “horizontal integration.”
So, we’d still have the “war on some drugs,” the hoplophobes and hoploclasts would still have someone to go to, the Revenooers would get an upgrade in arms and nastiness, and people trying to mine hardrock and take down big trees would continue to be harassed.
But, it would eliminate duplication and save money, right? And completely eliminate one whole government agency. Whoohoo!
Note that the Feebs get all the real estate and a lot of the hardware. Of course, DEA isn’t staffed or organized to take over the other stuff. So, emergency appropriations time! And also time to go out and rent more buildings, get more vehicles, and all that good stuff: bet you that together the FBI and DEA will increase their staffing by more than the BATFE cuts. And no bet on the funding and buildings and vehicles side of things: I would be taking candy from a baby.
In reality, we would be making both the FBI and DEA even MORE powerful, MORE present, and MORE threatening. And the former BATFE staffers would bring their arrogance, stupidity, cupidity, and other endearing traits and experience in torturing, giving criminal syndicates guns, burning out people, and wrecking human lives with them. Adding them to the quality and quantity of effort that both FBI and DEA already have. Lots and lots of fun, eh?
And it would improve the span of control of the Department of Justice and Attorney General, giving her or him MORE power and control over more and more of society and the economy.
So the suffering of the people would not just continue, it would increase. Such a deal!
But… take heart. First, it is one agency: just a couple tens of thousands more to go. And second, by getting rid of BATFE or ATF, it WOULD vacate both the name and the acronym. So there would be at least SOME chance of a convenience store chain being able to latch on to the acronym and name. Again, such a deal!