President Donald Trump’s 62-page budget outline sent much of the mainstream media into another tirade of he is a madman and out of control.
What I gleaned from this latest burst of Trump Disarrangement Syndrome from these still smarting Hillary Clinton supporters is their objection to the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
No doubt there are a few upset over the purging of such critical service providers as the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Denali Commission, the Delta Regional Authority, the Essential Air Service, Job Corps centers, and some long-distance Amtrak routes.
The question that seemed most relevant to me is how many more agencies in the federal government could President Trump abolish?
To figure out that I went looking for a complete list of all the federal governmental agencies.
The problem is that I couldn’t find one.
An article from the Competitive Enterprise Institute confirmed my discovery.
Referring to the Sourcebook of United States Executive Agencies, it said, “As bureaucracy sprawls, nobody can say with complete authority exactly how many federal agencies exist.”
The Sourcebook is produced by the Administrative Conference of the United States which is referred to as an independent federal agency “dedicated to improving the fairness, efficiency, and effectiveness of the federal agency processes and practices through consensus-driven applied research.”
I guess that categorizing a federal agency as independent must be some sort of inside joke by bureaucrats.
It’s supposed to make recommendations for best practices to agencies, Congress, and the Judicial Conference.
I defy anybody to name one best practice consistently applied by any federal agency in the Executive Branch, Congress, or the Judiciary.
Given that Trump was elected to “drain the swamp”, one could reasonably say that the Administrative Conference ought to be next on the list of failed agencies to be eliminated.
Even if we could figure out how many departments, agencies, commissions, councils, offices, groups, services, administrations, boards, centers, organization, programs, divisions, conferences and untold numbers of specifically named operations, there is another added complexity.
Most of them likely are doing the same job. As a USA Today article pointed out, “A new [GAO] government report on duplication and fragmentation on federal programs can read like a book of ‘screw-in-a-light-bulb’ jokes. “
“It takes 10 different offices at the Department of Health and Human Services to run programs addressing AIDS in minority communities. Autism research is spread out over 11 different agencies. Eight agencies at the Defense Department are looking for prisoners of war and missing in action. And Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado has eight different satellite control centers to control 10 satellite programs.”
And then there is the problem of figuring out how much money is involved.
As the then House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif, said, “One of the most troubling things in the GAO’s report is the number of agencies that have no idea just how much taxpayer money they are spending on their programs.”
And never forget, that behind every single federal spending program there is a politician getting both votes and campaign contributions out of it.
President Trump has his work cut out for him. But his taking the lead in eliminating useless federal agencies proves he may be the sanest man in Washington, D.C.
Denis Kleinfeld is known as a strategic tax and wealth protection lawyer, widely published author and creative teacher.
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