Wednesday, September 22, 2021
HomePatriot DispatchesBarbershop Blues

Barbershop Blues

[photo H/T charliehooper.blogspot.com]


My lovely bride says I’m not much of a planner and she’s right. But there’s a difference between planning and forward thinking, and sometimes I do think forward(ly).

Running with the assumption, if not the foregone conclusion, that the worm will turn mightily in 2013, I’m thinking ahead a bit here. Most all on our side agree the Enemy© has made a terrific botch of things in general, and a whole lot specifically. But the time for hand-wringing will soon be gone; Paul Ryan gave us a glimpse of the way forward on matters fiscal: spend less. But, where to begin with cuts? It’s great to say, dump this agency, close that department, feels good at first.

Those of us with a bit of mileage on our personal odometers know that the feel-good stuff bears no resemblance to reality. Once the scalpel comes out, so will the self-interest, even among our precious Conservative reps and Senators. Why? Kind of the flip side of those damnned earmarks, only worse. In this case, we’ll be taking away things that are already in place, to the detriment of certain local constituents and their subsequent dismay. Depends on who’s ox is being gored, or NIMBY. “Cut something else, someplace else, even though I acknowledge cuts have to be made, don’t cut MY STUFF!”

Remember the Base Realignment and Closure Act? The one where Congress and the Executive wussed out and created a commission to make cuts in Defense? We’ll need one of these on steroids, a GRAC, Government Realignment and Closure Act. As the current White House occupant says, it will indeed be time to eat your peas.*

What to do, what to do? Do we really need more Department of Agriculture employees than we have farmers?** Do we really need a federal Department of Education? Of Energy? And everyone’s favorite, courtesy of a Republican president, an EPA?

So where and how do we begin to downsize Leviathan? We can’t simply defund and wash our hands of it now, can we? Think of the headlines. All of these wonderful, hard-working and dedicated public servants, doing a yeoman’s job of inspecting meat or monitoring temperatures or pollutants, just fired, laid off, canned without mercy or recourse? Or those selfless wonders at HHS making sure we all exercise, get check-ups, buy insurance, don’t smoke and eat our peas, er veggies? Heartlessly consigned to the ranks of the unemployed, simply so we can save a few bucks? You cheap [redacted]ers!

I don’t have any good answers here; it’s above my pay-grade. But we do need to begin considering mechanisms to get the ball rolling on this roll-back. We have so many folks making so much money at the federal trough right now that it’s going to take some incredibly heavy lifting just to begin the process. And as my wife often tells me, it’s never too soon to begin planning. Or thinking ahead. Or something.

Please break into small groups and discuss among yourselves.


*Long story here. My late Father, bless his heart, had an awful method to get me to eat my peas, which I in fact hated to the point of gagging on. Also brussels sprouts. And asparagus. He’d just leave me at the table, staring at the lousy tablespoon or two of veggies, until I either ate them, or the cows came home. Since we lived in Chicago, the cows weren’t ever coming home. So I’d sit and nibble, and gag, and sit, until my poor Mother prevailed on him to dismiss me, many hours after dinner had ended. You know what? It didn’t work at all. I still hate peas and sprouts and asparagus, most green food. My kids however, since I didn’t force it, eat everything that’s not nailed down, animal, vegetable or mineral.

**One of my former military buds just advised me of his recent promotion at the Dept of Ag. As much as I like him and wish him well, it makes me a little ill knowing what he’s pulling down, on top of his mil pension, being a Technical & Innovations Manager, a ‘virtual’ position, an on-line entity. Sheesh!

You are absolutely right, mriggio, we have to start somewhere. (Lady Penguin)

7 COMMENTS

Leave a Reply

7 COMMENTS

  1. I agree with Obama completely – it’s all Congress’ fault….and has been for forty years, just that for most of the time it has been a Progressive Democrat Congress. If the Congress is not going to slap the Dept. of Education down for buying shotguns, they sure as h*** aren’t going to take up any consideration of abolishing it. Further, here is Congress’ idea of what it shoud be investigating :
    https://www.cnn.com/2011/POLITICS/07/14/us.hacking.fcpa/.

    That’s right -Rupert Murdoch.

  2. I’ve wondered the same thing, mriggio…where do we even start on cuts? Our economy is riding along a razor’s edge right now, so going too heavy-handed on cuts right off the bat could do more harm than good. That being the case, where do we even start?
    We’ve got an over-abundance of federal civilian employees (1.3 million), at approximately double the wages of median private sector employees ($119K vs. $60K. Obviously, it is going to be either decreased wages across the board or jobs eliminated.
    Plus, there’s so much “fat” incorporated into how governmental agencies operate. I’ve yet to see anything out of public sector employees at a management level that indicates these folks understand the meaning of the words “cost-efficiency”. That in itself is a huge “mental hurdle”, mriggio. How do we get past that mindset?
    When it comes to situations such as having 81 duplicate federal departments for “teacher quality”, I’d chunk those departments and let the states oversee teacher quality.
    BTW, what happens if we start bringing some of our military back home? Will they still be considered as active duty or will they be released from the military entirely? I’d rather get rid of DHS and have DOD take up the responsibilities, keeping our trained military intact. Hey, I’d even rather have our trained military act as airport security than to just lose what service people we do have. They can replace TSA!

    • lineholder, you raise great questions! Sadly, I’m short on answers. As I recall, the military folks who are ordinarily on active duty will remain so, even after they redeploy stateside or elsewhere. Unless of course our geniuses in DC declare another ‘peace dividend’ and pass a reduction-in-force (RIF). The Guard/Reseve folks who’ve been activated for deployment should be released from AD, back to their civilian jobs, which, under normal economic circumstances, should be held and waiting for them. Today, I’m not so sure about that one either.

      Our commenters with a legal bent are best suited to remark on the possibility of the military assuming DHS/TSA duties; from what I can remember, that presents some problems, lacking a national emergency.

      As to the rest, my memory of federal service is agencies husbanding dollars at the beginning of the fiscal year, then feverishly spending every last penny as 1 October approached. The mindset was if you didn’t spend everything you were allocated, you’d get less the next year. Always struck me as bass-ackwards, incentivizing spending like that. I’d prefer a system that rewarded frugalness, but that’s just me; don’t get me wrong, some things can’t be penny-pinched, but there’s an incredible amount of waste as well.

  3. The good news is that most of the new initiatives have not yet sunk down to the people-end user level yet. Most Dems agree that will require another 4 years. What will have to be done..and not surgically, but rather more like a meat market, is undo those 400K new hires Obama brought into government. I’ve already submitted my resume.

    But it proves an ancient law, It is always better not to give a person a thing than it is to have to take it away once given.

    Great observations, MrRiggio,.

    • Hi Mr B, and thanks! Didn’t realize you had meat-cutting experience!

      To paraphrase that Jimmy McMillan dude from the rent’s-too-damn-high party, the govt is just too damn big! Too many (high paid) people doing way too much that government shouldn’t even have it’s fingers in to begin with.

  4. We The People are a different lot & more engaged & educated then we have ever been! The old media does not control the message as it has in the past and I do believe for the first time in my life that WE can cut the government in half, it won’t happen overnight but it will happen, inch by inch, squeal by squeal until the all the squealing politico’s and their lobbyists are history!

  1. I agree with Obama completely – it’s all Congress’ fault….and has been for forty years, just that for most of the time it has been a Progressive Democrat Congress. If the Congress is not going to slap the Dept. of Education down for buying shotguns, they sure as h*** aren’t going to take up any consideration of abolishing it. Further, here is Congress’ idea of what it shoud be investigating :
    https://www.cnn.com/2011/POLITICS/07/14/us.hacking.fcpa/.

    That’s right -Rupert Murdoch.

  2. I’ve wondered the same thing, mriggio…where do we even start on cuts? Our economy is riding along a razor’s edge right now, so going too heavy-handed on cuts right off the bat could do more harm than good. That being the case, where do we even start?
    We’ve got an over-abundance of federal civilian employees (1.3 million), at approximately double the wages of median private sector employees ($119K vs. $60K. Obviously, it is going to be either decreased wages across the board or jobs eliminated.
    Plus, there’s so much “fat” incorporated into how governmental agencies operate. I’ve yet to see anything out of public sector employees at a management level that indicates these folks understand the meaning of the words “cost-efficiency”. That in itself is a huge “mental hurdle”, mriggio. How do we get past that mindset?
    When it comes to situations such as having 81 duplicate federal departments for “teacher quality”, I’d chunk those departments and let the states oversee teacher quality.
    BTW, what happens if we start bringing some of our military back home? Will they still be considered as active duty or will they be released from the military entirely? I’d rather get rid of DHS and have DOD take up the responsibilities, keeping our trained military intact. Hey, I’d even rather have our trained military act as airport security than to just lose what service people we do have. They can replace TSA!

    • lineholder, you raise great questions! Sadly, I’m short on answers. As I recall, the military folks who are ordinarily on active duty will remain so, even after they redeploy stateside or elsewhere. Unless of course our geniuses in DC declare another ‘peace dividend’ and pass a reduction-in-force (RIF). The Guard/Reseve folks who’ve been activated for deployment should be released from AD, back to their civilian jobs, which, under normal economic circumstances, should be held and waiting for them. Today, I’m not so sure about that one either.

      Our commenters with a legal bent are best suited to remark on the possibility of the military assuming DHS/TSA duties; from what I can remember, that presents some problems, lacking a national emergency.

      As to the rest, my memory of federal service is agencies husbanding dollars at the beginning of the fiscal year, then feverishly spending every last penny as 1 October approached. The mindset was if you didn’t spend everything you were allocated, you’d get less the next year. Always struck me as bass-ackwards, incentivizing spending like that. I’d prefer a system that rewarded frugalness, but that’s just me; don’t get me wrong, some things can’t be penny-pinched, but there’s an incredible amount of waste as well.

  3. The good news is that most of the new initiatives have not yet sunk down to the people-end user level yet. Most Dems agree that will require another 4 years. What will have to be done..and not surgically, but rather more like a meat market, is undo those 400K new hires Obama brought into government. I’ve already submitted my resume.

    But it proves an ancient law, It is always better not to give a person a thing than it is to have to take it away once given.

    Great observations, MrRiggio,.

    • Hi Mr B, and thanks! Didn’t realize you had meat-cutting experience!

      To paraphrase that Jimmy McMillan dude from the rent’s-too-damn-high party, the govt is just too damn big! Too many (high paid) people doing way too much that government shouldn’t even have it’s fingers in to begin with.

  4. We The People are a different lot & more engaged & educated then we have ever been! The old media does not control the message as it has in the past and I do believe for the first time in my life that WE can cut the government in half, it won’t happen overnight but it will happen, inch by inch, squeal by squeal until the all the squealing politico’s and their lobbyists are history!

Must Read