President Donald John Trump may be able to do it – certainly no one else could – and he’ll have to fight Congress tooth and nail to get it done, but at least it’s within the realm of possibility.
The “what” is reducing the size of the federal government. Through the years the Democrats have been in favor of rapid growth of the federal government and the Republicans, even Ronald Reagan, have favored a slower growth rate. What no one has attempted is actually reducing the size of government. The fierce political battle in Washington has always been about the rate of growth, not growth versus shrinkage.
The Great Recession would have been an obvious time to reduce the size of the government. Americans were making far less money than they had been, industries – the ones that remained in business – were struggling and tax revenues were down. It would have made sense for the federal government to also reduce its footprint on the economy so that more money could go into the private sector.
But the opposite happened. Instead of reducing the size of the government, President Barack Obama in 2009 spent $1 trillion in borrowed money in a failed attempt to stimulate the economy. The national debt didn’t double under Obama by accident.
If you believe government is the answer, then it makes perfect sense to have more government. The philosophy of the Obama administration was: If the government can do good work with a $2 trillion budget, imagine how much more good work it can to do with $3 trillion.
Trump is suggesting that a whole bunch of federal departments get cut, with the biggest hit being the Environmental Protection Administration with a 31 percent reduction in spending.
In my opinion, Trump doesn’t cut these agencies enough. This is his first budget, and if he continues cutting the department budgets then in four years he may get a good start on getting the federal government headed in the right direction.
But in his first year, Trump should put together a task force of constitutional conservatives who would start looking at government programs and asking the question: Should the government be doing this? If the answer is no, the program should be cut. If the answer is yes, then the next question is: Is the federal government the best level of government to handle this type of program.
Why is the federal government in the housing business? The federal housing programs have taken city blocks and created wastelands of crime and poverty. The federal housing projects in many cities were so bad that the decision was made that they couldn’t be saved and needed to be demolished.
Why does the federal government even have block grants to states and cities? Federal taxes should be cut, allowing cities and states to raise and spend their own dollars.
Countless times across the country local governments vote to spend money on projects that would never be approved if local dollars were being used, but which are approved because they are federally funded. Cities are allowed to provide their federal match with land or in-kind services so the projects don’t cost the city a dime out of pocket.
Even conservatives vote for outrageous projects because it’s federal money being spent and their votes bring that money into the local community.
One reason the federal government can be so generous with local communities is that, while cities and states have to balance their budgets, the federal government has gotten in the habit of borrowing up to about one-third of the money it spends. It’s not a model that is sensible or sustainable.
I’ll have to say, the whole brouhaha about Trump being wiretapped by Obama is pretty funny.
So the congressional investigators are going to the spies and asking, “Did President Obama order you to put a wiretap on Donald Trump’s phone?” The spie say no and the news report is there was no wiretap of Trump’s phone.
Spies are paid to lie. If they weren’t professional liars then they couldn’t be spies. It’s what they do to get information, and they provide an extremely valuable function.
James Clapper, who was the director of national intelligence, lied to a congressional committee when he said that the intelligence community was not listening in on phone calls made by American citizens. He stood by that lie until Edward Snowden, with his release of confidential information, blasted it sky high. Clapper isn’t in jail because everyone expected him to lie. It was his job.
Does anyone really think that Congress can bring someone from one of the spy agencies in, ask them questions and get honest answers? I hope not.
Besides, of course, Obama did not order anyone to wiretap Trump. Even as narcissistic as Obama is, he isn’t stupid. If Obama wanted Trump wiretapped, something in passing was said to someone, who mentioned something to someone else, who then talked to someone else, who then discussed the possibility of doing something like that in completely hypothetical terms with someone else, and so forth and so on down the line. Even an idiot in local government knows that you have to have a high level of deniability to get anything done.
Trump so far hasn’t produced any evidence that he was under surveillance while he was a presidential candidate. But we do know that Trump’s first national security advisor, Michael Flynn, was. His calls were listened to and the information was leaked to the media – which is a crime.
If Flynn’s phone calls were recorded and leaked, it doesn’t seem like a huge leap to assume that other Trump supporters were also listened to.
Trump has not backed down from his tweets about being “wiretapped,” but soon he is going to have to provide some evidence that what he tweeted is true.
The Washington Post on March 16 ran an article about how immigrants were dropping out of the SNAP program, which is what food stamps are now called.
According to the article, a woman who signed up 200 new families in the past six months lost five families due to the fear of being deported.
Five families is 2.5 percent of the families that she has signed up in the past six months. The Post, as one might expect, didn’t give any indication of how many families were in her program, but if she signs up 200 in six months – about 33 a month – you have to figure it’s a lot more than a total of 200. So a tiny percentage of her clients have dropped out of the SNAP program and The Post expanded this into some kind of national disaster.
One complaint was that some of these people had dropped SNAP and were now getting their free food from private food pantries, presumably run by churches and nonprofit organizations. Why is it a good thing for the federal government to provide food for people but a bad thing for private entities to do the same thing?
I don’t see why illegal aliens should qualify for SNAP. They aren’t supposed to, and as far as legal immigrants go – unless they are refugees – why are we welcoming people into our country who come here for free stuff? There are a lot of people all over the world who want to come to the US to work hard and make a better life for themselves and their families. The US doesn’t need to and shouldn’t allow people to legally immigrate to the US whose goal is to get government handouts. It’s an insane policy.
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Jane Chu used the NEA webpage to proclaim her opposition to the president’s budget. Usually doing things like publicly opposing your boss’s budget gets you fired in the private or public sector. We’ll see how long Chu lasts. It shouldn’t be long.
Trump has a lot on his plate, but really he needs to go ahead and fire everyone in government appointed by Obama. These folks are generally doing whatever they can to undermine his presidency. It’s pretty inconceivable that anyone appointed by Obama voted for Trump or supports Trump’s policies.
There is no time like the present to clean house, whether the Senate has approved Trump’s appointees or not.
Is the federal government going to shut down because there is no chairman of the NEA? Not hardly. The only people who would notice are the people who work directly for her, close friends and family.
But the chairman of the NEA is pretty far down the list in importance, which is probably why she still has a job but also a good reason to get rid of her today.
Trump wants to cut the federal budget; he could start saving money now by eliminating the Obama appointees.
He would get a few minutes of bad press, but what day since he started running for president has Trump not had bad press?
I’m confused about the Trump travel ban and some federal District Court judge in Hawaii overruling it.
Trump has said that this travel ban doesn’t apply to people who already have visas. Why does Trump need an executive order? Why can’t Trump tell his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, not to issue visas to anyone who applies from the six countries that he has ordered a travel ban from. No judge has the authority to issue a visa. No judge can force the secretary of state to issue a visa. So why is an executive order needed? It seems like this could all be handled administratively.
Let the judges appointed by Obama make any ruling they want. Let them examine each visa application if they so desire, and let federal judges make rulings on who should receive visas. Then Trump could take those opinions under advisement and do what he wanted.
It’s time for Congress to put the federal judiciary in its place. The Constitution clearly gives Congress the power to create the federal court system – other than the Supreme Court – and to revise it as Congress sees fit.
Perhaps what Congress should decide is to abolish the federal District Court system. All the current judges would lose their jobs because their jobs would no longer exist. Then a few hours or weeks later Congress could decide that it was a mistake to abolish the courts and create a new District Court system that would require Trump to appoint all new judges.
The left would go nuts, but it appears well within the power of Congress to do something like that. And simply considering it might cause the radical leftist judges that Obama appointed to the bench to think twice about deciding to overrule duly elected officials.
If Congress doesn’t take action, it appears our representative republic form of government is over and the country will be run by judges appointed for life who answer to no one.
Of course, Congress could choose to go a different route and impeach judges who in the view of Congress have overstepped their legal authority.
Another choice is to ignore the rulings of the court. The court has no enforcement mechanism. The enforcement is all under the executive branch. If the enforcement arm of the government were ordered by the president to ignore the court rulings, what course does the court have except to complain?
Trump has a lot on his to-do list, but if I were Trump I would move up near the top taking the Secret Service apart and putting it back together with different pieces.
It was bad enough during the Obama administration that a man jumped the fence and got into the White House. But having a guy jump the fence and hide on the grounds for 17 minutes may be worse.
What if instead of being armed only with mace he had been armed with a gun or, even worse, a suicide bomb vest? Does the Secret Service not understand why they have dogs? I think my dog, who isn’t trained, could have found the guy in five minutes. I would hope the Secret Service dogs could do it in a minute.
The guy was actually never found by the Secret Service. He walked up to the Secret Service officer guarding the back door and said he had an appointment to see the president.
But wouldn’t you think when alarms start going off that there is an intruder on the grounds that the Secret Service would go into full alert and there would be guys dressed in full combat gear at every door and window?
It’s fortunate that this guy turned out to be a nutcase, but what if instead of a regular old nut he had been a nutty terrorist with an illegal but readily available AK-47. It doesn’t sound like the Secret Service was taking the alerts it was receiving about an intruder on the premises very seriously.
If a nutcase can get on the grounds and wander around for 17 minutes, what could a trained group of terrorists do? The idea is pretty frightening.
Then there is the agent in charge of the Denver region, Kerry O’Grady, who couldn’t stop herself from posting messages on Facebook that she wouldn’t take a bullet for Trump and was part of the “resistance.”
She is no longer head of the Denver region but is on paid leave, which is extremely similar to a vacation. The rumor is that her superiors are trying to place her in another job in Homeland Security so that she can finish up her time and retire.
She should be fired and be forced to kiss her pension goodbye. Her job was not to protect presidents and presidential candidates if she agreed with their politics, but to protect whoever she was ordered to protect. She repeatedly said publicly on Facebook that she wasn’t going to do her job. That is her choice, but the consequences of that choice should be to lose her job.
13th District Congressman Ted Budd is opposing the current Obamacare repeal bill before Congress. Budd has only been in Congress for a few months but that should be long enough to learn that there are only two teams in Washington. In the House, one team is headed by Speaker Paul Ryan and the other by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. If you’re not on one team then you’re on the other.
The Republicans are trying to get this Obamacare repeal and replace law passed. The Democrats, so far with Budd’s support, are trying to stop them.
Bills generally involve a lot of compromises and none of them are perfect. This healthcare reform bill has to be viewed as the first step toward bringing some sanity back to the healthcare industry in this country. But if you don’t take that first step you can’t take the second or third.
In fact, if Budd gets on the wrong side of the Republican leadership with his vote on this bill, the first major bill to come up during his term, it’s going to be difficult for him to get much done.
When it comes time to vote, I hope that Budd will realize that the people elected him to play on the Republican team, not on the Democratic team.
If you pause for a moment and think about it, even the climate changers arguments don’t make much sense. Earth is warming and has been for over 10,000 years. New York is not covered with a glacier, which is one way we can be certain that the planet is warmer than it used to be.
And at the time the warming began, it was a good thing. So we all should be able to agree that when global warming first got started we liked it and it wasn’t caused by man.
So the glaciers retreated, humans moved to areas previously covered by ice – which was good – and with some notable ups and downs the steady trend is still toward warming, which up until recently has been accepted.
Then former Vice President Al Gore had to find a topic for a school paper and he decided that industry was causing the constant global warming to accelerate.
Let’s not argue about the fact that he was a government major and didn’t do very well in his science classes or that it’s probably not a good idea to create world policy based on some spoiled rich kid’s Harvard term paper.
But if you accept that Gore was right and the extra carbon dioxide being produced by man is increasing the rate of global warming – so what?
Even if man stopped burning anything – which is, of course, not possible if man is to survive – and produced no more carbon dioxide, it wouldn’t make all the carbon dioxide in the air disappear.
But let’s say man is causing global warming to increase its rate of warming by 10 percent, which all things considered is pretty high. Then if we cut out all of man’s activities and go back to the era of humanity before fire was discovered, we can only slow the rate by 10 percent. So if there are indeed ill effects of global warming then we can delay them slightly but there is no way to make them go away.
Here’s a fun fact. Some scientists say that they can detect man-made global warming 200 years ago to the industrial revolution. Which means, according to these guys, man was causing global warming before planes, trains and automobiles back when the carbon being produced was men burning wood and coal to stay warm, not burning massive amounts of hydrocarbons to produce electricity, operate automobiles and everything else.
It means that if humans really want to stop increasing the rate of global warming, we all need to go back to subsistence farming. But there are so many more people in the world now even that might not stop warming. The warming started thousands of years before the Industrial Revolution, and even returning to subsistence farming wouldn’t remove the carbon from the air that was caused by human activity.