Monday, April 16, 2012

Decimating the Executive Branch of the Federal Government

This post presumes the election of Mitt Romney as president on November 6, 2012.  Assuming he is genuinely intent on reducing the scope, size, and cost of government, he should adopt as his symbol the “ax,” not the “scalpel.”  Trimming agency personnel and budgets is not durable.  Only eliminating agencies can remove their cost and the harmful effects of their intervention in the private affairs of individuals and enterprises.

It is important not to announce in advance of taking office those agencies targeted for elimination.  Advance notice would give them time to mobilize supporters around the country to lobby against elimination or massive cuts in funding.

A minimum goal the day after inauguration should be decimation, defunding and eliminating ten percent of all executive agencies.  Any truly vital activity conducted within any of the decimated agencies can be transferred to another department, but survival should be the exception rather than the rule.  Thereafter, a carefully chosen team by the president should recommend another one or more a month for termination, or merger into another department, without input from the agencies.  This shock approach will have the salutary effect of agency heads volunteering to do with less money and personnel to avoid the ax.

Different persons will compile distinct lists, but consensus on which agencies to eliminate is less important than the need to cut right away.

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