The media trumpet a new proposal from Barack Obama to “streamline” the U.S. government to “save money” and “make America more competitive.” Since nothing in his history suggests Obama is interested in nor competent to deal with the business world, it begs the question what he’s really up to. Conservative analysts have found the answer: pumping up corporate welfare.
Obama’s request for Congressional authorization to replace the Commerce Department with a new agency gave an uncertain odor from the beginning. Former Republican presidential candidate Gary Johnson pointed out, “President Obama wants to close the Commerce Department. Sounds good, but check the math: His plan will ‘save $3 billion’ — over TEN YEARS. (That is 1/400th of the debt limit increase he asked for yesterday.) The Commerce Department budget for this year alone is about $8 billion. So….we’re closing an $8 billion per year department, but only saving $3 billion over ten years.” Tad DeHaven of the Cato Institute finally explained this “small government” maneuver:
Contrary to what various news outlets are reporting, President Obama is NOT proposing to cut government. The administration is proposing to take four independent federal agencies that specialize in corporate welfare – along with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative – and combine them with corporate welfare programs at the Department of Commerce to form what would I would argue should be called the Department of Corporate Welfare…
That portends bigger government, not smaller. The president is trying to sell the American taxpayer a false bill of goods.
As is his wont, Obama is promising, “With or without Congress, I’m going to keep at it.”
So far, the most outspoken opposition has come from Obama’s own party. Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus, a Democrat, said, “Taking USTR, one of the most efficient agencies that is a model of how government can and should work, and making it just another corner of a new bureaucratic behemoth would hurt American exports and hinder American job creation.”
Unfortunately, corporate welfare is one of the many perks that enjoys a broad, bipartisan consensus in the one-party Congress.
The Republican Party is offering its usually confusing response. It is highlighting comments Obama has made about streamlining government dating back to his first month in office. It is attempting to oppose the measure without asking the most important question of all: “Do we want Obama to ‘reorganize the federal government’?” As Morton Blackwell always says, “Personnel is policy.” As long as the Oval Office is staffed by Barack H. Obama, the policy should be to deny him the ability to sign any bill dealing with anything more substantial than paving roads, staffing the post office, and honoring the birthdays of regional figures.