Government is necessary. That doesn’t make it good.

President Donald Trump speaks before signing an executive order on “Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch” Monday, March 13, 2017.  (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Listen To You Tell Me Texas Friday 3/31/17


An exchange has erupted in the comments area at surrounding my article of March 23 entitled, “Behold the Swamp.” The thrust of the piece is that the federal bureaucracy stands as the greatest single threat to the Trump presidency.

If the “swamp” is Washington, federal bureaucrats are the creatures that live in it.

I was taken to task by one commenter (and good for him, by the way – that’s why it’s called ‘You Tell Me’) who sent a link to a story comparing the president’s efforts to streamline the federal bureaucracy to McCarthyism.

That is completely preposterous and I said so. What the president has in effect done is to order the Director of the Office of Management & Budget to address two questions concerning the federal payroll. Those questions are, ‘What do all of these people do?,’ and, ‘Are we sure we need all of them?’

Those are reasonable questions. Any CEO or small business owner who fails to ask them from time to time isn’t doing his or her job.

When I said as much in my reply, the commenter changed tack and said, “Go ahead, lop-off some arbitrary number of Civil Servants. Fire enough to pay for The Wall. But don’t squawk if you land in voicemail when you need our government to serve at YOUR pleasure.”

To which I say, ‘Since when does the government serve at our pleasure?’ Have you gone to your local IRS office recently and asked them to explain something from our convoluted tax code? Are you a military veteran in need of medical care at a VA facility? Been to a post office lately?

Liberal idealism regarding the goodness of government notwithstanding, the federal bureaucracy has ballooned into a giant, pustulated, bloated, unaccountable mess that doesn’t do anything very well.

However, this commenter does raise a valid point. Some federal agencies are, in fact, under-resourced and under-staffed. I can’t prove it but I’d bet that the services of those agencies are disproportionately the very ones that people like you and me are most likely to need.

There are some things that only the government can do. Only government can enforce the law. Only government can defend the peace. Only government can issue and protect the currency. Only government can act as referee in the inevitable disputes arising from the conduct of commerce.

These are core government functions.

Money and resources spent on non-core functions such as funding the arts, setting rules for your local daycare center, micromanaging the health care industry, picking your light bulbs and managing your bathroom toilet robs the resources necessary for the things the federal government actually should be doing.

You libs need to give up on the idea of a benign, benevolent government. Government by its very nature is never benign or benevolent. Believing otherwise leads to fiscal ruin, the erosion of personal responsibility and the loss of freedom.

Which is why the president’s attempt to streamline the executive branch is good and long overdue.

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Paul Gleiser

Paul L. Gleiser is president of ATW Media, LLC, licensee of radio stations KTBB 97.5 FM/AM600, 92.1 The TEAM FM in Tyler-Longview, Texas.

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11 Responses

  1. Linda E Montrose says:

    LIMITED government is necessary. Not the far reaching, intrusive thing we have on our doorsteps now. This was not the framers intent, to have their hand in every part of our lives. The main function of government was to keep our country SAFE. That meant protect our borders from any threat…foreign or domestic! When and where government became everyones nanny, I don’t know. That is NOT the function of government. Most of the jobs that need cutting were “make-do” jobs anyway. These people were not needed in the first place. If the left really cared about this country as they say they do, they would be on board for anything that saved us money and get us OUT of the DEBT the left put us in to start with!!! We do not need a nanny to tell us what we need to do. Government needs to get out of our way so that WE, the PEOPLE can make it GREAT AGAIN!!!

  2. Jim Lee says:

    Another good blog Paul. Keep up the good work sir.

  3. So which Rick Perry had it right?
    Scrap the whole department?
    Or take the fat deal to run it?

  4. L Miles says:

    Your following statement is undeniable and is a true characterization of the Federal bureaucracy run amok: “Liberal idealism regarding the goodness of government notwithstanding, the federal bureaucracy has ballooned into a giant, pustulated, bloated, unaccountable mess that doesn’t do anything very well.” The Liberal excuse for ignoring inefficiency in Government where there are salaries with little or no productivity (in order to create prosperity by stimulating spending) is a belief in a fiscal perpetual motion machine.

    Unfortunately, the Liberal, Progressive, Marxist ideologues might even agree with your analysis but they believe that this is an acceptable casualty of war necessary for the Liberals to win their power struggle for the domination of our society in which Social Justice (debasement of the human spirit) is their goal. Their war is against individual freedom and the free enterprise system as we understand it and against the age of enlightenment and the Judeo-Christian Ethic that spawned our blessed Constitution. The fact that our rights descend from the Creator and not from Government is like showing Dracula the Cross to these totalitarians. There is no argument that can penetrate their fundamental Marxist belief: that mankind MUST be micromanaged to achieve their drunken, utopian power fantasy of total domination. Their apparent benevolence towards society is a deception, a house of cards.

    Of course, you are right to make your arguments based on impeccable logic and they also serve as warnings to the undecided (and uneducated) that this Federal leviathan is not our savior but is a $200 trillion Federal unfunded debt liability and an albatross about our neck and future generations. There is NO example in history of a nation that adopted radical Socialism that didn’t result in the effective slavery of the masses with rampant poverty.

    Today, Venezuela perfectly illustrates the failure of Socialism. This was once a culture formerly rich with a strong middle class that has descended into total poverty throughout the entire population due to Socialism and Government bureaucracies, run amok. The superiority of Freedom is a fact that brings prosperity. The inferiority of Socialism is a fact that brings poverty. When Liberals dismiss the factually imminent collapse of our society due to their fantastically faulty faith, we can only hope that enough of our fellow citizens will reject their irresponsible and diabolical schemes before they consume us to a point of no return.

  5. Regulation is a prime example of the Federal bureaucracy run amok. We need some regulations, and even now and then some new ones. The problem is that the cadre of government regulation writers keeps growing and none of them want to write themselves out of a job by writing the LAST truly necessary regulation. So we end up with regulations micromanaging the design of this as inconsequential as paper clips. Most things that are made are consumed from bicycles to bread. Bicycles wear out or are stolen so the owners buy replacements. Bakers bake more bread daily because we’ve eaten the bread they baked the day before. But those who bake regulations bake more every day and none go away. That’s great for the bureaucrats but bad for the rest of us. Roll back 99% of the regulations and fire 99% of the regulation writers and watch this nations economy spring forward by leaps and bounds!

  6. R. Eagleman says:

    It is truly amazing that in the discussion of a bloated and inefficient government the Civil Service Act is hardly mentioned. When it was passed, the very generous perks were included to help recruit into a government work force that was paid significantly less than the private sector. Over the years with the unionization and political power, these government workers have enjoyed salaries, job security, federal holidays, medical care and many other benefits that most private employers cannot afford. Of course with the ability to simply raise taxes, the government is not required to follow the economic realities that would send a private business into bankruptcy. Until someone has the courage to require the same amount of accountability in hiring practices and compensation from the government as in the private sector, do not expect any improvement in the size or efficiency. As it expands, the political clout will also become more and more formidable as a self-determining force, for which even the most courageous president is no match. We must demand that ALL citizens, including our elected representatives and government workers, be subject to the same laws and certainly be covered under the same health care plan. You can bet that with this incentive, our elected representatives will come up with a plan that is very acceptable!

  7. Jena Smith says:

    The purpose of our Federal Government, as found in the Preamble of the Constitution, is to “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity. If this was followed, there would be a lot of government agencies closed, and we would be a lot better off…not to mention money ahead.

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