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Friday, November 25, 2016

Trump's first task: get rid of useless government agencies

President Trump should think bigly.

A s we all know, President-elect Donald Trump has very very big hair. You might say tremendous big-league hair. Will Trump-style hair become the next fad? I doubt it. But if anything, it's optimistic and ambitious. Those are the qualities that got him elected, and optimism has come roaring back bigly. Conservatives are hoping he'll carry out a small government agenda, since he's talking about getting rid of some of our more useless government organizations, or at least restricting their missions to things that make sense.

The world awash with dollars Proposed US Geological Survey map

As wonderful as that would be, we need to keep in mind that it could all be just another negotiating ploy. As I wrote way back in February 2016:

A master negotiator will start out with the most extreme, outrageous position he can. If the opposition sees it as a legitimate point of view, it is a success. The negotiator is halfway to his goal. He can then bargain his way to a much better agreement than if he simply stated up front what he wanted.

For example, when Trump says he'll put a 45% tariff on China, that is his bargaining position. And it's a good one. You couldn't very well negotiate from zero up to 45%, but going from 45 to zero is easy, and if the opposition thinks he's serious they'll have to make concessions to get there. Almost everything Donald Trump has said so far is in this mold.

If you are confused about the negotiator's position, it works in his favor.

But suppose for the sake of argument he's on the level. What departments should he abolish? Just counting them quickly turns into a research project: according to the Daily Caller even the government has no idea how many there are. Wikipedia has a huge list with 723* agencies, departments and offices that includes things like the Central Liquidity Facility (which, surprisingly, is not a facility and has nothing to do with liquids), the ominously named Office of Compliance, and quasi-official agencies like Brand USA and In-Q-Tel. Even liberals know there's a problem. In the presidential debates Hillary mentioned that we have 17 different intelligence agencies, not including the secret ones we don't even know about. Consolidating them all will be no easy task: they know things.

In my opinion we need only four, based on Aristotelian-style logic:

  1. Department of Internal Affairs (Commerce, FBI, Treasury)
  2. Department of External Affairs (State, NASA)
  3. Department of Fixing Things (HHS)
  4. Department of Breaking Things (Defense)

Under my plan (and I admit it's a bargaining position, subject to revision) there'd be only four guys who report to the White House about how things are going. It'd be a monumental task: we'd need a Department of Getting Rid of Useless Agencies or a Department of Eliminating Redundant Departments Department.

So okay, we're already up to six:

  1. Department of Figuring Out How Many Departments We Have
  2. Department of Eliminating Redundant Departments Department

Leftism crashed and burned when they tried to legislate reality (see under ‘Number of Sexes’ and the War on Climate). That's reflected in agencies whose goals have little or no contact with reality. Now we might have a leader who can clean up the mess. The term Augean Stables comes to mind.

  1. Department of Augean Stable Cleanification (U.S. Department of Agriculture, United States Army Corps of Engineers)

The damn things are like Tribbles, only much bigger.

* This could be an overestimate, as the list has a bunch of duplicates.

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