Thursday, January 19, 2017
Revised January 20, 21, 2017
Peggy Noonan's column dated January 20, is very apropos to some things that have been running through my mind, and I had intended as the focus for my Sunday column.
Her column can be found at the upper right.
There is a lot happening these days, apparently. Democrats are trying to steal the show from Donald Trump and are co-opting the news cycle pretty successfully.
The trouble is that it it is all non-news (some of it fake), and partisan lime-light hogging by Democrats who are trying to get the focus onto themselves. That is because Trump is a natural showman, and Democrats have a hard time keeping up.
In this effort, they are abetted, of course by the subservient media.
Even Fox News is a participant in this. Excuses could be made, but the result is the same: Democrats are controlling the news coverage, even if they cannot control events.
One example: Wednesday, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders had the Republican nominee for head of FDA, Dr. Robert Califf, in the spotlight asking him leading, contentious questions which answers they would interrupt with points of their own. It was all for show by two experts at making points in favor of socialism. In the war between socialism and the US system the socialist solution has been tried many times, and has always been found wanting, but still they try.
This questioning became a partisan affair, which the coverage used as a sounding board for two people who think that they ought to be president. The simple truth that neither of them ever will be made no difference in the discomfiture that Dr. Califf experienced in this pointless 'hearing.' We'll know more when the hearing results are decided. Suffice it to say, though, that Democrats probably cannot stop the nomination.
The camera angles, and the cutting of the questions and responses, even on Fox News, were clearly intended to show Dr. Califf in a defensive position under the relentless pounding by two brave questioners. Disgusting. It's possible that Fox got the story I saw from another service, but the coverage I saw was subtly one-sided.
This silliness is typical of Democrat involvement in these hearings where they are bomb-throwers who are heaving chestnuts* instead of grenades. And every hour's newscast featured the hostile questioning of the worthy Republican nominees.
*Old chestnuts: Stories which have been told over and over.
Sunday, January 15, 2017
Note to Democrats: You LOST. Get over it.
Note to Media: Democrats LOST. Get over it.
Draining the swamp is a real challenge.
The big things like Obamacare and Dodd-Frank legislation are high on everyone's list to get rid of or at least modify. The considerable damage that Obama has done with legislation must be erased.
However, Barack Obama has spent his eight years in office crafting a network of interlocking provisions of regulations and agency rules which will be very difficult to undo.
Mr. Obama is a very intelligent man, and it is certain that he took intellectual delight in cobbling up defenses against future revocation of the rules and regulations that he put in place.
We know of thousands of these. But many of them reside in the deep recesses of bureaucratic fiefdoms, jealously guarded by career Democrat functionaries who will defend them against any modification.
Beating the politicians is only part of the victory that must be won. The other part is by far more difficult. It is the battle against the functionaries of the big government that Democrats have foisted upon us for decades.
This big government is populated by bureaucrats who have learned hard lessons in keeping their jobs. That is the core skill that government employees possess.
Some bureaucrats serve a useful function and are needed to perform vital services which are the reason for government. Much of the way our government has grown under decades of bureaucracy, however, is as a welfare agency for its employees.
These government employees are the ones who are jealously protected against having to do their job, or having to work a full work day.
The government employees at the DMV and other public service locations are not the ones in question, although they are frequently visible slackers. Behind the scenes there are millions of them with questionable work habits who obtain their considerable compensation with a minimum of work output.
It is these employees, easily replaced but well-paid, who are our concern. A look at a school system reveals the problem. Many school systems, for instance have administrative employees whose number roughly equates to the number of teachers.
The teachers are the reason for the school system, all other personnel are to allow the teachers to teach. Some, like principles, are necessary, but how many of the others are? The list of questionable jobs and services is very long and expensive. As an example, many (most) schools have a full-time (!) nurse, who is probably well attended when a lollipop is at stake, but who has few emergencies that can justify the job.
Government is bloated. A large part of the government hierarchy is involved in the management of unnecessary services with superfluous personnel. Duplication of services is rampant.
There have been attempts to cut whole departments from the bureaucracy, but these efforts have been successfully thwarted; one recent example is rather humorous: Rick Perry has been selected to head HUD, an agency he proposed to close.
Closing agencies is the kind of action that is required if we're serious about draining the swamp, though. That is a difficult task because all of the bureaucracies are deeply entrenched and the bureaucrats will cling desperately to their fiefdoms.
All levels of government need to undergo the process of justifying their existence. Most governments have guarantees of continued employment for their personnel, and deadwood is hard to remove. But it must be. Government is expensive in lots of ways: direct costs of salaries and overhead are high cost but over-regulated business is the real expense.
Will it be worth the effort? Business needs the freedom to perform.
This task of slimming government must be done if we don't wish to live as thralls of regulation.
I don't want to live that way.
The whole purpose of Democrats is to keep the focus on themselves and not let Donald Trump use his considerable attention grabbing talents to run the show.