Draining the Swamp Update

The WSJ has a report by James Freeman (behind firewall) on the progress the Trump Administration is making reducing the power of Washington’s permanent bureaucracy, aka the Swamp.

At the State Department:

the State Department is one federal agency that was actually contemplated by America’s founders. Conducting foreign policy is an important and necessary task for our central government. But like so much of the Beltway bureaucracy State has been overfunded and undermanaged for years. Now, despite what you may have read about untouchable bureaucrats unaccountable to the public they are supposed to serve, Mr. Tillerson has found ways to clean house. . .

Furniture from now-closed offices crowded the hallways. Dropping in on one of my old offices, I expected to see a former colleague—a career senior foreign service officer—but was stunned to find out she had been abruptly forced into retirement and had departed the previous week. This office, once bustling, had just one person present, keeping on the lights. . . .

[Sec. of State] Tillerson is not reorganizing, he’s downsizing.

Yes, even constitutionally approved functions need reorganizing, and reorganizing can involve downsizing people and functionality. If ever there were monopolies, government is it. And government monopolies are susceptible to the same abuses as other monopolies. The people there become arrogant, careless, insular, lazy, corrupt. Absent competition, its inevitable no matter how well-intentioned.

There’s movement at the EPA:

Meanwhile over at the Environmental Protection Agency, new boss Scott Pruitt is not just draining the bureaucratic swamp in Washington, he’s taking away the agency’s power to oversee swamps nationwide. . . .

to dismantle another piece of the Obama administration’s environmental legacy, the rule that sought to protect clean drinking water by expanding Washington’s power to regulate major rivers and lakes as well as smaller streams and wetlands. . . .

In a speech at the Energy Department, the president promised to expand the country’s nuclear-energy sector and open up more federal lands and offshore sites to oil and natural-gas drilling.

. . . rescindment this week of the Obama administration’s clean-water rules that farmers and business groups found onerous.

. . . issued a special permit authorizing the construction of a new pipeline between the U.S. and Mexico that would carry fuels across the border in Texas

Its not all positive, though. Healthcare reform could fill the swamp rather than drain it. More military activity in the Middle East and Korea could fill the swamp.

 

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