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Hello.  We’re from the government. You think we’re here to help you?  Ha-ha, very funny.

We’re here to take lots of your money — about twice as much as we took in 1985 — and to boss you around.  We say you can’t build on your own property without our permission.  You must buy health insurance if we tell you to.

Federal spending has risen 23 percent since the recession began, median household income has fallen.  We’re richer.  You’re poorer.  But to pamper ourselves at lavish conferences, give bonuses to IRS executives who harass conservatives, and pay for the president’s vacations, we must have more. More – always more.

Government programs rarely deliver what we promised, cost more than we said, you whine?

So what?  When a major study in Oregon published in May indicated the $450 billion spent annually on Medicaid "generated no significant improvement in measured physical health outcomes," hardly anyone in Washington got upset.  Or even noticed.

We measure success not by whether a program works, but by how many administer it, and how much we are paid.  Compared to you, we’re paid a lot.  Our compensation packages are roughly double those of workers in the private sector.

By the end of the first grade, there was essentially no difference between children who attended the Head Start program and kids who didn’t, the Department of Health and Human Services concluded after a major study.  So some of you said Head Start is a failure.  For us it is a success, because after the report came out, the president raised funding for Head Start from $6.8 billion to $9.2 billion. 

The federal government spent about $670 billion last year on 126 programs to help the poor — nearly $15,000 for each officially poor man, woman and child.  That should have been enough to wipe out poverty more than twice over, because the poverty line for a family of three was $18,530. But the poverty rate is now the highest it’s been since 1965

This is mostly because people who aren’t poor are eligible for many programs.  But it isn’t for the poor’s benefit we have 126 different programs.  Much of what is spent goes to us, the middlemen.

We’ve spent more than twice as much on the "War on Poverty" as on all of America’s real wars combined, but the poverty rate isn’t much below what it was when we started in 1965, and it’s rising. Hardly anybody in Washington frets about that. When we double down on failure, our jobs are secure.

Think carefully before you complain about how we do things.  Each day we collect 1.7 billion electronic records on you and other Americans.  We could be reading your emails, monitoring your telephone calls and tracking your credit card purchases.

We didn’t want you to find out about this.  But since that little jerk Snowden has let the cat out of the bag, we want you to know we do it only for your protection.

However, if you’re thinking of saying or doing something we wouldn’t like, remember Catherine Englebrecht.  She’s the Houston businesswoman who had the nerve to start a group to fight vote fraud.  We’ve audited her personal income tax returns twice, the tax returns of her business twice.  The little machine shop she and her husband own has had visits from OSHA and ATF.

And the FBI has made six anti-terrorism inquiries.  Since the FBI doesn’t surveil radical mosques like the one attended by the Boston Marathon bombers, this scrutiny of a suburban mom might seem excessive.  But little is more terrifying to our friends in Congress than an honest vote count.

If you think you have nothing to hide, think again.  There are now at least 9,000 different federal crimes, and so many regulations publishing them all takes up nearly 40 feet of shelf space.

John Baker, a retired LSU law professor, tried to count the number of new federal crimes created just in the last decade or so. 

"There is no one in the United States over the age of 18 who cannot be indicted for some federal crime," he concluded.

If you harbor quaint 19th Century notions such as "innocent until proven guilty," "equal justice under law," or "government of the people, by the people, for the people," our little chat may be upsetting.  So we’ll conclude it with some humor.

How’s this for a joke?  We’re called "public servants."  Isn’t that hilarious?  But no more laughing now – it’s time for you to shut up and get back to work for us.  Never forget who’s the boss around here.

Jack Kelly is a former Marine and Green Beret and a former deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration. He is national security writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.