We have now experienced the first one hundred days of the Trump administration and there is some good there. Gorsuch and the move to deregulate and the move to review past Federal actions for overreach and unacknowledged failure, that is all good.
There’s another reason Trump might lean heavily on executive orders. Following eight years of Obama and decades of unchecked growth, overreach, and power grabs, the federal bureaucracy is a hard beast to tame. It is notoriously aggressive, unaccountable, and hostile to the intentions of Trump or any president that would attempt to rein it in. Issuing orders regarding specific reforms highlights the issues, gives purpose and presidential approval to cabinet secretaries implementing the policy, and may add to grounds to dismiss resistant bureaucrats for insubordination.
Given the stakes and the magnitude of the task, it is likely the stream of orders will continue. And if properly directed, that is a good thing. People who equate executive order with abuse of power are misunderstanding.
Just this morning this was posted by a newspaper publisher friend whom I personally like – though we may disagree on a wide range of issues:
“It is our solemn responsibility to show that government can have both a head and a heart; that it can be both progressive and solvent; and that it can serve the people without becoming their master.”
I appreciate the sentiment expressed. As much as I appreciate the sentiment and wish it was true or could be true – I do not believe it to be true and I do not believe that there are a set of circumstances under which it could become true.
The foundational cause for why this is not true and can never be true – human nature.
We have given those in government great power – and year over year for many decades the power we have given to government has grown and grown. Here is the caveat on what I am about to say: not everyone in government is a bad person or corrupt or a psychopath. However not everyone, or even most, or even more than a few need to be for the entire enterprise to go bad and here is why: it is not human nature to wake up in the morning and think, “What can I do today to make my life as difficult as possible so that the life of everyone else will become easier?”
Those with great power inevitably make decisions that will make their life and job easier. That is human nature – by and large we are not even conscious that this is what we are doing. We are egocentric beings. People who wake up in the morning and think, “What can I do today to make the life if everyone else easier and mine more difficult?” are exceedingly rare and to assume that these rare people are the same people who populate legislatures and councils and bureaucracies is incorrect.
In a free market the check and balance on this behavior is that if you make your customers life more difficult they will take their business elsewhere. Government demands a monopoly and government has no hesitation in using force if you attempt to evade this monopoly – hence you cannot ‘take your business elsewhere.’ Example A: the DMV and the consequences of driving without a drivers license or without your car being registered. No matter how difficult they may make your life and no matter how illogical or arbitrary or unyielding their decisions are – you have little choice but to comply.
This is the essence of the argument for small government and for government with the least amount of power over your life. The essence of the argument for small government is not Auschwitz but it is the DMV. The essence of the argument is tens of thousands of government entities passing millions of laws and tens of millions of regulations – of which no person can possibly keep track or keep up with. The argument for small government is a 72,000 page Federal tax code. The argument for small government is that this country has 92,000 gun laws when totaled up at all government levels.
Heh. Faucahontas Warren has concerns about Wall Street Barack. Sen. Elizabeth Warren says she’s concerned about former president Barack Obama raking in a $400,000 fee for an upcoming speech at a Wall Street Conference:
“I was troubled by that,” the Massachusetts Democrat said Thursday on SiriusXM’s “Alter Family Politics.” “One of the things I talk about in the book (“This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class”) is the influence of money. I describe it as a snake that slithers through Washington and that it shows up in so many different ways here in Washington.”
While it’s reasonable to wonder what Obama delivers that justifies his lavish payday, there are several odd things about Warren’s outburst of scruples. First, it’s a private organization and Barack Obama is now a private citizen. He does not wield the levers of government, oversee lucrative public contracts, or steer large government grants.
Second, where was the good senator’s Wall Street phobia when the president peopled the highest ranks of his administration with bankers from the empire? When he refused for two terms to prosecute a single scoundrel with dirty hands in the 2008 financial crisis? Was she sounding the alarm about the potential for money influencing the president then, when he was the most powerful man on earth?
For that matter, how was the “troubled” senator able to rouse herself to be Hillary Clinton’s biggest champion and surrogate during the 2016 campaign? Hillary gave $2 and $3,00,000 speeches to rich and powerful interests with regularity. And this at a time she was expected to be the next president of the United States. Clearly there was a lot more for potential sale in her tawdry transactions than there is now in the former president’s portfolio.
And lastly, while Warren fashions herself, with enthusiastic media complicity, as the scourge of the wealthy and the champion of the little guy, the facts are pungent with a different aroma. Warren is no stranger to the perks of privilege and ways to work the system. The fair haired Oklahoman’s career has benefited greatly from her undocumented claim of Indian heritage. She made a small fortune in distressed real estate, employing the buy-low-sell-high tactics that any good operator would, but that seem to gratingly clash with her pronouncements against profiteering and taking advantage of the poor and vulnerable.
Most recently she used creative accounting to avoid disclosing a $1.3 million line of credit on her $2 million Cambridge home. Rhetoric aside, Warren is no slacker in the ways of the shyster. Watching so many rich operator politicians criticize rich operator business people in a play for the support and votes of working Americans, one can’t help but think it’s all a cynical charade. Maybe that’s why they’re losing their audience to Trump and they’re in a panic.
Two statements on South and North Korea from Donald Trump in a single evening:
“It’s a horrible deal. It was a Hillary Clinton disaster, a deal that should’ve never been made. It’s a one-way street. We’ve told them that we’ll either terminate or negotiate. We may terminate. I will do that unless we make a fair deal. We’re getting destroyed in Korea.”
“There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely. We’d love to solve things diplomatically but it’s very difficult,” followed by a reference to Kim Jong Un, “He’s 27 years old. His father dies, took over a regime. So say what you want but that is not easy, especially at that age. I’m not giving him credit or not giving him credit, I’m just saying that’s a very hard thing to do. As to whether or not he’s rational, I have no opinion on it. I hope he’s rational.”
Make of these what you will but this is not your fathers Oldsmobile.
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the Democrat whip, has allegedly sent an email to his caucus stating “If Republicans announce their intention to bring their harmful TrumpCare bill to the House Floor tomorrow or Saturday, I will oppose a one-week Continuing Resolution and will advise House Democrats to oppose it as well. Republicans continue to struggle to find the votes to pass a bill that will kick 24 million Americans off their health coverage, allow discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions, and impose an age tax on older Americans. That’s why they are trying to jam it through the House before their Members can hear from the American people this weekend about their opposition to this horrible legislation. If Republicans pursue this partisan path of forcing Americans to pay more for less and destabilizing our county’s health care system — without even knowing how much their bill will cost — Republicans should be prepared to pass a one-week Continuing Resolution on their own.”