04/18/2017

The Only Way Trump's Washington Can Be Smaller In Four Years

Clyde Wayne Crews Jr., Forbes.com

There are now several moving and overlapping parts to President Donald Trump's streamlining, swamp-draining, "deconstruction of the administrative state” agenda.

Last week brought Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney's memorandum for agency bosses on a "Comprehensive Plan for Reforming the Federal Government and Reducing the Federal Civilian Workforce." They'll have to report back in 180 days on streamlining, with public input.

Overlapping programs were highlighted, such as dozens of federal job programs but no one running the show. Mulvaney calls much agency activity, “costly solutions in search pf a problem”:

The result has been too many overlapping and outdated programs, rules, and processes, and too many Federal employees stuck in a system that is not working for the American people.

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney takes questions from reporters during a briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House March 16, 2017 (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images).

Overlap isn’t the real issue. It’s the existence of most programs and agencies, period. What is it exactly that agencies are doing? What are they there for? The premises of the supervisory state are the issue.

If we were starting with a blank sheet of paper, we may not keep most federal agencies.

Of course we did start with a blank sheet of paper at the Founding, and they didn’t create all these programs.

Larry Arnn of Hillsdale College noted the 12 Cabinet departments added to the original Secretaries of State and War. Somehow, we had houses before HUD, and we learned before the Education Department appeared on the scene.

Yet here we are. Are such agencies to be merely "lean, accountable, more efficient" rather than gone?

The founders didn't seek to control us back then, yet our complex society is even harder, not easier, to supervise centrally.

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For [early immigrants] America was truly the land of opportunity. For the first time in their lives, many were truly free to pursue their own objectives. That freedom released the human energies which created the United States. There were few government programs to turn to and nobody expected them. But also there were few rules and regulations. There were no licenses, no permits, no red tape to restrict them. They found, in fact, a free market, and most of them thrived on it. 

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