The progressive chattering classes are all in a tizzy because many of Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees are long-time opponents of the departments they’ve been chosen to lead:

  • Rick Perry at Energy – who has advocated disbanding the entire department and reducing a cabinet seat
  • Ben Carson at HUD, who has criticized federal housing
  • Betsy DeVos at Education – a major proponent of school choice and degrading the government monopoly on education
  • Scott Pruitt at the EPA, an agency against whom he’s spent years litigating
  • Andy Puzder at Labor, who would oppose most “progressive” labor regulations
  • Tom Price at HHS, who advocates rolling back Obamacare.

The chattering classes are all aflutter.  Perhaps because most of these departments are nothing but make-work programs for worthless Ivy Leaguer poli sci grads like, well, themselves.

Or perhaps because the American people might just support it:

And that leads us to the really burning question: Will anyone miss those departments if they go away?

We could try to answer that question by diving into the bitterly partisan political and economic debate over the size of government that’s been dividing people in this country since the days of Jefferson and Hamilton. Or we could wisely dump that academic argument and realize that the answer lies in how well the Trump team manages to make sure the changes get noticed by normal voters in a positive way. In politics, perception truly is reality.

And Trump, for all his faults, gets that better than most other Republicans.  For worse or, when it comes to slashing the size and power of the Federal Government ,much much better.

21 thoughts on “Faster!

  1. I would be totally on board with paying these guys a big bonus to eliminate their jobs by getting rid of their departments. It would be worth a couple of million bucks to each of them for saving taxpayers billions.

  2. I don’t know that you could completely get rid of Energy, because they handle nuclear power plant inspections and the like. Probably about 80% of it could go, though, and you could roll it in with Commerce or something. I’d guess you could do that with Education as well–with 60% of kids receiving Pell grants failing to graduate, it would seem that we’ve got about double the federal spending on postsecondary education that we need.

    You could drop spending by a quick hundred billion dollars, I think. One interesting thing is that most of HUD’s funding goes for rent help. I have to wonder if this is, just as education spending drives college prices up, another case of government driving the poor into homes way bigger than they need. And there’s another few tens of billions of dollars off the budget.

  3. Millionaires who become billionaires didn’t get there by being stupid.

    Trump, for all his faults, is not stupid. He has a plan, and an effective businessperson can be really good at making sure their plan moves forward. That’s what effective and successful business people DO. I’d say he’s entirely designing a cabinet whose primary motivation is to reduce the size and scope of government.

    Looks to me like he’s laying the foundation to make his plan move forward. Much to the chagrin of half the country, and 99% of the government.

  4. More proof that it’s not just billionaire minorities in Trump’s cabinet. Trump is just doing a reverse swamp drainage procedure.

  5. I watched the Trump rally from West Allis Wisconsin last night. He mentioned Hillary’s fireworks.

    I am happy Trump won if for no other reason than that. The Queen thought her election was such a big deal, that they can’t even wait until the coronation to launch fireworks.

  6. I read an article this AM about the distress the lawyers in the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights are feeling. Their words were appalling.
    They honestly believe that the first and the last word on whether a child is being treated properly in the education system does not lie with the child’s parents, the child’s teachers, the child’s friends and peers, or the community in which the child lives. Nope, the first and last word lies with them, lawyers in DC.
    You can use different words to describe the various interests parents, teachers, peer, and community might have in seeing that a child is well raised. The only word that describes the interests federal government lawyers have in a child’s upbringing is “legal.” They do not love that child, and they are under no more ethical or social obligation to feel anything more for that child than they do for a lab rat. And they don’t.
    You have cheapened the American conception of civil rights beyond recognition when you say that a teenage boy has a civil right to wear black lipstick to public school without risking the shame of his peers.

  7. Check out what Powerline reported about the # of layers in the federal government now vs. in 1961.

    If we have anything approaching a uniform distribution of the # of direct reports per supervisor there, what we have is a case where we could reduce federal employment by half to three quarters by cleaning up the org charts without reducing federal services one iota. I’m estimating that civilian “individual contributors” probably amount to only 20-40% of the 2.7 million people working for the executive today. We could save hundreds of billions of dollars annually simply by eliminating needless managers, directors, and the like.

  8. Give nuclear inspections to the military. eliminate energy.

    eliminate education, let the several states decide.

    student loans would make sense if they bought an educated populace, but not if they create a generation of indentured servants working as baristas. eliminate student loans, let colleges figure out how to get paid.

    use the savings to build the wall. require every employee to pass a social security number check. those who fail get investigated. those who fail get deported. if management was sloppy hiring them, they go to jail. dry up illegal jobs and illegal immigrants will self-deport.

  9. Bikebubba-
    There was a time when the energy department had the mandate of promoting cheap, plentiful energy for industry, commerce, and consumers. We need to get back to that.
    There was an abrupt change to the culture in the 1960s. It affected virtually all of our institutions. Before about 1965, a college textbook on, say, geology, was all about exploiting the land to create wealth. After 1965, geology textbooks were about conservation and environmentalism. The intellectual leadership of the boomers is self-hating and death loving. It wants you to be an animal. It has to go.

  10. bike;

    In late 2008, I read that the Blamer in Chief and his yapping lap dogs, had added over 25,000 government jobs at an average of $60k per year, for entry level positions. The spoiled little libidiots that didn’t get on that gravy train were upset and had their feelings hurt. God knows what the final tally ended up being, but none of those worthless little snowflakes did anything to make things more efficient.

  11. Pingback: In The Mailbox: 12.14.2016 : The Other McCain

  12. It’s kind of funny. The people who preferred Hillary over Trump are aghast at the thought that Trump could use his public to enrich himself and his friends, lol.

  13. It’s not a populist revolution until the CEO of the biggest bank is named secretary of the Treasury.

    I wonder if the dollar index is rising because of Republican future deficits. They’ll need to be financed. Whats funny is that Trump supporters think those tax cuts will have offsets. A real Laffer!

  14. “It’s not a populist revolution until the CEO of the biggest bank is named secretary of the Treasury.”
    Trump is a billionaire, Emery. Did you expect him to hire Dog the Bounty Hunter? Do you sneer when you say “populist”? ‘Cuz I think you are supposed to.
    The great thing about political prognostications and finance is that it is so easy to put your money where your mouth is. Short Trump! You’ll make millions and be able to say “I told you so.”

  15. Jethrene–points well taken, but my central point is that one could not touch the actual function of govenrment, but still manage to cut hundreds of billions from payroll simply by cutting needless layers of management. It is as if no one in government knows how to evaluate an org chart or something.

    That said, again, you are 100% correct that there are a lot of places we could save hundreds of billions of dollars more–really any “corporate welfare” provision like funding Teslas and such comes to mind.

  16. I’m hoping the picks to lead BATFE, IRS, LRB, and any number of the alphabet soup agencies will work to shut them down altogether. I’m hoping that Puzder as labor sec will put a hard squeeze on government employee unions.

  17. Serious question, what exactly do the 2 DoE’s (Education and Energy) do? And why do they need to be centralized in DC?

  18. DoE is supposed to handle some of the basic regulation for energy production. It’s gotten mostly into funding alternative energies.

    DoEd is all over. Founded during the Carter administration as a sop to the NEA, it mostly pushes failed educational policies in primary and secondary schools while putting failed students into college via Pell grants and the like. Sorry, that’s facts–Pell Grant recipients have something like a 40% graduation rate, 35% below that for those who do not receive them. They also had at least one program for sending engineers through grad school to learn military-style microwave theory. (which I personally benefited from)

    My take is that you could cut both hugely, and probably get rid of DoEd completely, without adverse consequences, except in the “corrupt solar power” sector and such.

  19. You might have heard that the Trump transition team sent a questionnaire to the Department of Energy that many in the media have characterized as a “witch hunt.” Naturally of course the media outlets which characterize it as such aren’t sharing the actual questions with their readers and viewers. I just read a fascinating analysis of all of the 74 questions Trump’s transition team sent to the DOE and it looks like it was written by someone who may be laying the groundwork for a major housecleaning of the department. Read the whole thing here:

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