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!