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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