Monday, January 16, 2012

Obama Offers Republicans Key To The Future!

By now you may have heard that Obama is proposing to “eliminate,” “shrink” or “trim” some agencies. Well, no. In reality, this is just an attempt to look like someone who is concerned about making the government smaller. Nevertheless, the Republicans have a key opportunity here and they should seize it. Here’s the dealio:

The What: Obama proposes to consolidate agencies that focus on trade and commerce. Basically, Obama wants to merge the Department of Commerce’s core business-related functions with five smaller agencies: the Small Business Administration, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the Trade and Development Agency.

However, what he’s really proposing is that Congress give him broad power to reshape the federal government. This power was initially granted to FDR during the Great Depression and was something every President had until the Democrats let it expire in 1984 to stop Reagan from using it. That is what Obama is asking Congress to give him, with the idea being he will use it to perform the consolidation mentioned above.

The Why: Obama’s stated reason for doing this is that consolidation saves money:

“No business or nonprofit leader would allow this kind of duplication or unnecessary complexity in their operations. So why is it okay in our government? It’s not. It has to change.”
It’s too bad Obama doesn’t really believe that. In any event, to give you a sense of how laughable his proposal is, by Obama’s own count, this would result in the elimination of only 1,000 jobs along with a supposed savings of only $3 billion over the next decade. That works out to $300 million per year, or 0.008% of the federal budget, about 8 cents out of every thousand dollars spent. Aim high my Kenyan Overlord! Of course, this comes at a time when his A-holiness is asking for an increase in the debt ceiling of $1.2 trillion and an additional $447 billion jobs bill.

His real reason for doing this, of course, is political. He knows the public is outraged at the government binge on his watch and he needs to show he can actually cut the government. But at the same time, he has to do it without offending any of the leaches who live off the government, i.e. his supporters. By shuffling the chairs around at Club Fed, he can tell the gullible part of the public that he’s so conservative he did something Reagan couldn’t -- he cut an agency. But at the same time, his backers can laugh at the rest of us because nothing will actually change.

Of course, giving him broad power to reshape the federal government could allow him to do more, but that seems unlikely because he can’t ADD to the government using the reorganization power. Thus, I wouldn’t expect him to do much.

The Why Not: Believe it or not, some people are upset about this. Specifically, Big Business is concerned that their favorite vending machines would be moved to more responsible agencies. They are particularly concerned about the loss of prestige/influence of having their favorite programs jammed into other agencies rather than remaining standing alone as separate agencies. The Chamber of Commerce has expressed this concern, as have their spokesmen Max Baucus (D-Mont) and Dave Camp (R-Mich), who claim this will hamper the government’s ability “to aggressively open new markets to American-made goods and services and create US jobs.”

Yeah, sure.

The Reason We Should Do This: The Republicans absolutely should support this proposal and give Obama broad powers to reshape the federal government and to trim/eliminate programs. Here’s why:
1. Obama won’t be President in 2013. A Republican will. And the Democrats will never give this power to a Republican. But they will give it to Obama. Thus, the Republicans should pass this now, while they can, so President GenericRepublican can use it to slash the federal government in 2013.

For those concerned that Obama might misuse this power, consider this. First, Obama can’t “grow” the government using this power, he can only shrink it. Secondly, by the time it passes, there will only be maybe eight months left in his administration. That’s not enough time to do anything in Fed-land. That means whatever he does can be undone by President GenericRepublican before it ever takes effect.

2. Republicans claim to be reformers, but that claim sounds hollow if they won’t create the tools that will allow reform.

3. This is the sort of thing Republicans can do to show moderates that they aren’t just opposed to Obama. Being seen as positive reformers could be worth 1-2% in the general election and could mean a couple critical seats.

4. The Republicans need to show they are willing to make changes which upset corporate welfare types. If they keep protecting everything Big Business wants, even when the only complaint is a loss of prestige, then the Republicans might as well quit pretending they represent anyone who isn’t incorporated.

5. Finally, the Republicans should pass this with some additional reforms attached. In other words, they should call Obama’s bluff. Give him what he wants, but cut deeper: eliminate programs, consolidate administrative staff, and genuinely wipe out redundancies. If Obama wants to pretend to be a real reformer, then offer him real cuts and put him on the spot with his own people. Challenge him to put up or shut up.
This is one of those bill that could be a game changer in the future if the Republicans have the vision to see it.
* * *
Update: For those who recall the SOPA issue from last week, Obama has signaled that he’s opposed to this Stalinist bill. Amazingly, Obama is on the right side for once. Naturally, the usual suspects are now freaking out, including Hollywood, the Record Companies, the Chamber of Commerce, etc. Also, Lamar Smith is beside himself at the public’s outrage and can’t understand how the country is suddenly full of dirty communists. Up yours, Lamar!

P.S. There’s a debate tonight, so join us and tell us how much you miss Jon Huntsman!


Tennessee Jed said...

superb, Andrew- particularly the following 2 items you mentioned 1) do it for the next president since Dems won't permit it. Even if we control Senate, we won't have a super majority. Attach some real additional reforms. Do I think Republican leadership is smart enough to get this. Probably not.

Joel Farnham said...


Obama has been advised that all SOPA does is give more power to hackers and takes it away from Microsoft and Apple as well as some of his constituents and democrats like Pelosi and Company.

Indeed if SOPA is enacted, Alcohol prohibition speakeasies will seem like small parties in comparison. It also induces people to actively cheat with computers. People who actually run the banks won't be safe. Hackers will be the new gangster bosses.

The only people who actually believe that Obama is going to shrink government are the koolaid drinkers in the Media.

I am doing a series at my blog which explains some of the computer terms and translates Geekese into understandable English. I hope. I also will chronicle my computer build.

BevfromNYC said...

Please send this to all the Republicans and Romney too! You are absolutely right. And if Boehner and McConnell are smart, they will run with this.

As for SOPA, I have a sneaking suspicion that this bill was a set up so ODL could look "in charge".

T-Rav said...

Given the intelligence with which some of our leading Republicans have conducted themselves in the past few months, I expect them to immediately take advantage of this issue and exploit it to the fullest.

Also, Lamar Smith needs to be primaried.

AndrewPrice said...

Thank Jed! I think that's a KEY point. We will win the Senate, but we can't stop filibusters. So we need to think about the future now and getting this power would be a huge winfall for the forces of genuine reform. The next president would literally have the power to remake the government as if he were a CEO.

I don't know if the leadership gets this or not -- or even if they truly want a President to be able to do that.

tryanmax said...

Obama can’t “grow” the government using this power, he can only shrink it.

Andrew, You are singing a very different tune from the radio talkers, especially regarding that particular point. Their claim is that this puts too much power in Obama's hands to create more massive government and so is a terrible idea. You offer the more cogent and therefore persuasive argument, however. If I had no other information, I would find the fact the Dems denied Reagan this authority telling enough.

If the Republicans decide to act in partisan fashion on this matter, it will bite them so many ways. In addition to what is listed here, they will also be unable to argue in favor of this authority for a generation or more.

Assuming the GOP doesn't go partisan (big assumption, I know) I don't know this would be a good time to call such a bluff. The reason being that Obama has demonstrated in the past a willingness to give up his political aims for a chance to vilify Republicans. Calling his bluff would likely just result in another round of "I tried, but these Republicans are so unreasonable!"

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, Whatever his reasoning, I'm glad he's opposing SOPA. As far as I'm concerned, he can be right for the wrong reasons.

On shrinking the government, I don't believe for a minute that he'll shrink the government. But giving him the power to do it could be used by the next Republican, which is why I think the Republicans really should run with this while they can.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Feel free to send this to anyone you want! :) Let's hope they listen.

I wonder about SOPA myself. In particular, I wonder if SOPA wasn't meant to be so extreme that they could back off to something nearly as heinous and then claim they "moderated" it?

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Am I detecting sarcasm? I think the problem will be that too many conservatives are knee-jerking the idea of giving Obama any power. This is like the tax thing: "you want to cut a deduction? You're raising taxes! You're no conservative!" We are our own worst enemy.

On SOPA, even worse, don't you think it should bother Lamar that his friends on this issue are people who hate Republicans, i.e. Hollywood and the record industry? Somehow, he's blind to all of that.

I agree about him being primaried.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, The radio talkers are giving the typical knee jerk reaction for which they've become infamous. There is no thought here other than: "If Obama wants it, then it's bad."

None of them are thinking what that power really does or what the long term benefits are.

This would be an incredibly useful (essential) power for a Republican president to clean up the government and eliminate jobs, programs and agencies. And this is not something the Democrats will pass when there is a Republican president. But they would give it to Obama now. Thus, now is the only chance to get this.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, To clarify why Obama could not use this to grow the government, consider this.

1. Obama would be getting the power to move organizations around, combine their functions and eliminate unneeded functions. As a practical matter, you can't make an organization grow by combining its functions and eliminating duplication.

2. This power would not give the President any power to create new programs, expand existing programs, or hand out new benefits. Anything he tries to create would be struck down by the courts as beyond his authority.

3. Even if Obama tried to create new programs and the courts somehow let him, Congress authorizes funding. Thus, Congress can stop anything he does by simply not funding it. They wouldn't even need to vote on it, they could just keep it out of the budget and it would die.

The radio talkers are in the business of providing outrage and this is just the latest thing to let them scream that the world is ending. They have no idea what they are talking about and probably don't care. They just think, "if Obama wants it and it sounds like giving Obama power then I need to scream at the top of my lungs to stop this." And in the process, they are screwing the future.

DUQ said...

Excellent analysis Andrew! Our local radio guy is whining about this, but it's clear he has no idea why this is actually bad. I wish conservatives thought these things through before they reacted.

DUQ said...

Also, did you see that Hunstman finally quit?

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks DUQ. I don't expect too many radio guys to understand this.

As an aside, a lot of these guys remind me of air raid sirens. It doesn't matter what the issue is, but once they hear about it, they immediately start:

"Obama did what? whiiiiiiiiirrrrrrr this is an outrage! Obama is evil, the Republicans are stupid, this is the end of America, I'm the only true American left, this is horrible, buy my book.... click."

Then comes the next one:

"Obama did what? whiiiiiiiiirrrrrrr this is an outrage! Obama is evil, the Republicans are stupid, this is the end of America, I'm the only true American left, this is horrible, buy my book.... click."

No issue is too small to blow up into a "this is the end of America" scenario. No amount of hypocrisy is too much. It's knee-jerk stupidity. It's no better than Bush derangement syndrome. And worse of all, I suspect much of it is cynical... buy my book.

AndrewPrice said...

Yeah, I did hear that Huntsman has quit. In fact, I mention that at the opening of T-Rav's theater tonight. Make sure you join us for the fun.

T-Rav said...

I wonder if Huntsman's supporter is kind of disappointed this morning.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav... LOL!

Also, get this!

Yesterday, South Carolina's biggest newspaper "The State" endorsed Huntsman! Talk about horrible timing! LOL!

P.S. Tonight I'm using the Newt image I promised. It's a little offensive, but so if Newt, so I decided to use it.

Unknown said...

Andrew: I can't argue with any proposal that trims government and cuts costs. Particularly if the phony gesture can later be used by a responsible Republican president who will use the power for its real purpose. I just hope that the Republicans in Congress don't blow this with another one of their "principled stands" that bear no relationship to political reality and only play into Obama's hands.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, Same here, but I suspect they will hear the outrage of "you're giving Obama more power!! You're all RINOs!!!" We'll see.

This could be a real triumph for Republicans if they are willing to see that.

Joel Farnham said...


The idea of giving Obama more power to reshape government is frightening. Yes, I can see that if we had a Republican President interested in cutting down the size of government and had that power, I wouldn't be worried. The problem is the crop of candidates we have and Obama don't really see that Government is the problem. Oh, some of them talk that way, but from your own research, they don't think that way nor govern that way.

Not yet at least. Wait until the Senate has a filibuster proof majority and a President really interested in getting government out of our lives.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, should I make sure I have completely swallowed all liquids before seeing it? :-)

Incidentally, there's an interesting story about Huntsman's campaign and who many think drove it into the ground. Here's the link: LINK This alone should have told us everything we needed to know about the Huntsman campaign, such as it was.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, It should only be frightening in the abstract. Tell me what he could do with this that you think would be a problem? Remember that he can't add programs.

Also, keep in mind, this was a power that every President from FDR to Reagan had and none of them found a way to abuse it.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Thanks for the link! I read about Weaver a couple weeks back and I almost wrote about him, except that it didn't seem like Huntsman really mattered. The guy is a HUGE turd and the fact that any Republican would listen to him is just stunning. It really shows that Huntsman is not just a moderate, but is instead a true RINO -- as if his own words hadn't already told us.

On the liquids, I guess we'll see. I doubt it because it's not that kind of picture. I just think it's the perfect picture to capture "the essence of Newt" as he's behaved throughout this process.

Doc Whoa said...

Excellent analysis Andrew. I think you're right that this is an excellent opportunity for the Republicans. Let's hope they seize it.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Doc! Let's hope so. Sometimes, this is how you have to do it with Democrats -- they are blind to the future and you have to look at how the future will play out.

This has limited risk except as a campaign issue so they should seize it.

Joel Farnham said...

Interesting article T-Rav.


Maybe you should start a series on the people who help get our presidents elected. People like Karl Rove and John Weaver. It seems that they are the ones we should investigate. They are the ones who think that the majority of Americans just are not conservative. They are the ones who think the middle muddle is where the votes are at.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, That would send my blood pressure through the roof! Grrrr.

That said, it might be an interesting series and I would love to expose some of these guys so people would know who their candidates are relying on. The problem is that most of what they do is in the shadows and you never really find out who recommended what so they manage to avoid responsibility for most of their worst deeds.

Kelly said...

This is really good thinking. Thanks!

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Kelly.

rlaWTX said...

I have a feeling that R's can screw this up somehow... to paraphrase good ole Garth "I'm much too young to feel this damn cynical"

John McCain said...

My friends, Mr. Weaver is a wonderful man who taught me the need to unite the country by not worrying about these silly distinctions between left and right and instead reaching across the aisle. "RINOs" are the best hope for the future.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, Sadly, you are not alone in your cynicism. I think the Republican have earned our suspicion through years of failure and betrayal. They are also the masters of missing opportunities and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

AndrewPrice said...

Dear Senator "my friends" McCain, I'm sure Mr. Weaver taught you much. But you can't blame his evil teachings, there's always been something wrong with you.


rlaWTX said...

Dear Management: Right on!!!

AndrewPrice said...

LOL! Thanks rlaWTX! Somebody had to say it! :)

Ed said...

Andrew, You make some really good points. I too think this is a good idea because I don't think the democrats will ever give this power while a Republican is in office and I would love to see our next Republican president really trim and reshape the government.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Ed. I think that's right. The Democrats do this a lot where they will grant a power to the President so long as the President is a Republican but won't do it if the President is a Democrat. This is a power that every modern President until Reagan had and I think it would prove vital to reining in the bloated Federal government.

Ed said...

Good riddance to Huntmans too. He didn't add anything to the debates.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, He gave us smugness... RINO-grade, high quality smugness.

AndrewPrice said...

UPDATE: Apparently, they've canceled the vote on SOPA indefinitely. That's good. But PIPA (aka SOPA-lite) is still out there and it sounds like they are trying to sell PIPA as "not as bad as SOPA". SOPA opponents are apparently planning to black out websites in protest of the attempts to shift to PIPA.

Here's a statement from Darrell Issa -- a big SOPA opponent:

“While I remain concerned about Senate action on the Protect IP Act, I am confident that flawed legislation will not be taken up by this House. Majority Leader Cantor has assured me that we will continue to work to address outstanding concerns and work to build consensus prior to any anti-piracy legislation coming before the House for a vote.”

rlaWTX said...

totally OT: NRO's poll is "Between Gingrich and Santorum, you favor:"
< shudder >

I think that I am glad that Santorum is up 71% to 29%...

Lamar Smith said...

Darrell Issa is a communist!

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, Talk about a choice between the evil of two lessors!

AndrewPrice said...

Yeah Lamar, that's Darrell all right. Has it occurred you that when the people you should have faith in are on the other side and you find yourself doing the bidding of people who hate you. . . you just might be on the wrong side?

tryanmax said...

The purely oppositional nature of right-wing radio only serves to underscore the thesis that conservatism is the center in this country. The wishy-washy moderate segment that the political parties are so eager to curry favor with seem just to represent the liberals that got left behind as the left kept going leftward. (I have my own personal distinction between “center” “moderate” and “independent”.)

Still, the radio talkers remain more relevant than the legacy media only in that they continue to report stories that the other does not. Insofar as the right is developing its own echo chamber, I find myself listening to fewer and fewer hosts.

Sadly, the “end of America” rhetoric is effective. I see more of that regurgitated on message boards than anything else (e.g. facts). I’ve been accused of being everything from a bent-necked pacifist to a clock-tower-perched militant just for saying “don’t be so pessimistic” which is what all the end of America talk amounts to. It amazes me that those who claim to love the Constitution most have the least faith in it.

tryanmax said...

I would object to PIPA even if it had nothing to do with the internet because I object to any acronyms that contain further acronyms. Protect actually stands for "Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft," and IP stands for "of Intellectual Property," rather than "Internet Protocol" as I had originally supposed.

T-Rav said...

Wait, I thought Bev was the Management?

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I've found that too -- many of the people who claim the most love for the Constitution really don't trust it. (Or understand it.)

I've also found a lot of idiocy, especially on the net. You see this all the time where people just assume the worst case, usually without a clue what they are talking about. They never stop to ask what is really going on and they jump right into inflammatory rhetoric.

These same people are also obsessed with Obama and his people. They always assume evil motives. They hypocritically whine like children about things they thought were great when Bush did them and pretend these are somehow some amazing new outrage. They repeat rumor as fact and then even stretch the rumor to make it sound more evil. And they are constantly wrong, but when you point out to them that they are wrong, they respond with a ridiculous evasion like: "Sure, but try explaining that to an Obamaist." (The irony in that kind of idiocy is so rich you could deposit it in a Swiss bank.) This is obsessive behavior and it's identical to Bush Derangement Syndrome.

Sadly, much of talk radio and the net caters to this.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I share your concerns about the doubling down of acronyms. Once we have two layers, what's next? Three layers? Where will it end? Think of the children!!

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, She was out of the office so I stole some letterhead. ;)

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Let me add, I think there is a lot more cynicism in all of this than people realize. One thing talk radio hosts and many bloggers have learned is that outrage sells. People who are upset tune in more often, listen longer and (on the web) comment more than other people. Radio talkers and bloggers know this.

So they very cynically set out to upset people and to stir up the crazies because they know it means ratings/readers. They don't actually care about the things they talk about, nor do they care about being accurate -- all they want is to be upsetting.

Hence, the obsessions with various Democrats/Republicans and the blowing them up into near-mythical figures of evil, the promotion of rumor as fact, the "it's the end of America" tone, the broad-broad "they all believe this!" attacks. This is all cynically by design to stir up the people who are mostly like to respond emotionally.

And I'll bet you that if you could actually hear these people in their day to day lives, you would discover that they don't believe the garbage they spew, but they do it solely because it gets them attention.

I personally have no desire to engage in that. I would much rather have a rational discussion with people who are interesting in discussing the truth rather than obsessing about comment counts and hits. And I'm glad that you've all responded to that. I think we've had some great discussions.

Ed said...

Andrew, That is something I really do appreciate in your articles. You always look at things fairly. I know you get funny and tongue in cheek sometimes, but you've been very fair about pointing out that people can have different opinions without being evil and you've been more than fair in pointing out when Obama and his people actually have a point. That's why I like reading your stuff because I don't find that elsewhere on the net. It seems like everyone else is spewing talking points.

The closest I find to you is Thomas Sowell or Walter Williams, who also are very fair in their assessments. I don't always agree with them as I don't always agree with your opinions, but I can't argue with any of your on your analysis.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Ed! That's high praise!

What do you mean you don't always agree? Don't you know that if you don't agree, it will be the end of America and the end of the constitution as we know it?! What are you, a commie? Just kidding. ;)

Much of what we talk about does eventually come down to opinion -- do you prefer one candidate or another, do you think one possibility is more likely to happen or another, etc. There's nothing wrong with genuine disagreement.

And you're right about Obama. The truth is that he doesn't hate America and doesn't "not understand America." He just has a different take on it -- a take shared by about 40% of the public. I vehemently disagree with his take and his methods, but much of the criticism of him is just overblown and becomes counter-productive. Too often it's so blind that it misses opportunities and it makes it impossible to discuss finding a better way when all you have to offer is "Obama is a jerk." Indeed, why trust anyone who can't see the forest because they're obsessed with a bush they think is a tree?

ScyFyterry said...

Andrew, I agree with Ed. I found you through the films and I'm glad I did. I think your articles are great.

Individualist said...

I agree I think

I think we should do it but take a month or two to finalize it and make sure the Senate will accept it. Maybe even put a start date six months or so. This way the law is passed Obama can't complain about not having it but he can't actually implement it until after the election and hopefully as a lame duck.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Terry! I'm glad you enjoy my articles. :)

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, If they started acting right now I doubt they could get this thing passed until June or so and that would leave Obama 6 months to act, which just isn't enough time for him to do anything.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Excellent post Andrew!

If all a President can do with this power is merge agencies and/or cut them down to smaller size then I'm all for it. :^)

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Ben! He really can't use this power to increase the size of government or give it more powers. The problem is when you say "we're going to give Obama POWER to..." people freak out.

Ed said...

Andrew, Excellent point, but some people are just too obsessed with "Obamists" to stop.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Andrew: Well, given Obamas track record and his willingness to ignore our laws and our Constitution to get what he wants, I can't really blame folks for being worried.

It would be nice to hear more from conservatives like you who can see the bigger picture though, and perhaps that would help to stem knee jerk reactions (again, I understand why, but we hafta move past that sometimes and now is one of those times).

More conservatives need to learn not only to think tactically, but strategically as well.

And, of course strategy doesn't forgo tactics, we need them both working harmoniously.
And we need to quit parrotting leftist talking points (that are virtually always wrong) like Beaker and Paul did at that last debate.

Oh, I can't believe this didn't cross my mind earlier:

Dirty Harry for President.
I would also take The Outlaw Josey Wales, Big Jake (or any John Wayne character, including John Wayne Himself and Jimmy Stewart as well).

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Ben, I do try to look at the big picture because I view my role as providing as much thought as possible in the articles rather than just repeating what everyone else is saying.

Also, I grew up reading guys like Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell who use their minds and think long and far before they speak. I find that impressive and their results show the value of that kind of discourse.

Unfortunately, too many of our public figures/talking heads just aren't that bright or that interested in being that bright -- it pays more to be loud than right, and they have decided to be as loud as they can be no matter what the effect is on conservatism because it helps them personally.

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