If the goal is to undermine the effectiveness of the federal government to such an extent that it justifies all claims that it is ineffective, there are two surefire ways to achieve this end. One is to underfund the agencies that comprise it to prevent those federal agencies from having enough staff to carry out their individual missions.
A primary example of this strategy is the underfunding of ATF. You will recall that Congress fought tooth and nail to prevent ATF from even having a Director. Congress likes to say that we do not need any new gun safety legislation; we should simply do a better job of enforcing existing gun safety laws such as those relating to background checks.
Yet, that very same Congress does not fund ATF to the extent that it can hire the requisite number of ATF agents needed to visit gun shows to ensure that gun sales for profit that do not meet the personal exemption standards are shut down if they do not ensure the legally required background checks.
The other surefire method for undermining the federal departments and agencies tasked with administering and enforcing the very laws enacted by Congress is to place as Department heads individuals who either are so inexperienced or so anti-government that placing these individuals to head a federal department or agency is akin to placing the fox in the henhouse.
Welcome to the Trump administration!
If you want to not only protect corporate interests but enhance corporate interests at the expense of the general population by trashing all government regulations designed to protect the general welfare then the Trump administration is the place for you.
Let’s start with Trump’s choice for EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt. Mr. Pruitt is literally one of the last people anyone would want as EPA Administrator based on his stance on climate change. He’s a radical climate-change denier, with deep ties to the fossil fuel industry, who has repeatedly sued the EPA to block the Obama administration’s life-saving clear air and climate rules.
In his role as Attorney General for Oklahoma, Pruitt repeatedly sued the Environmental Protection Agency to stop environmental regulations including rules to slash carbon pollution from power plants, protect children from toxic mercury pollution, reduce air pollution near our national parks and clean up America’s polluted waterways.
Scott Pruitt as EPA administrator would likely lead to the dismantling of more than four decades of environmental and public health protections.
How about Rick Perry as his choice for Secretary of Energy. As many of you may recall, former Governor Perry had three agencies on his list to close down: Education, Commerce and OOPS. Well the OOPS one was supposedly Energy. What better strategy to make the Department of Energy dysfunctional than to place Rick Perry, who is also a climate change denier, in charge of it. Many of the previous Secretaries of Energy were s scientists not science deniers.
Next up, Ryan Zinke, another climate change denier, as his choice for Secretary of the Interior. Representative Zinke’s environmental voting record in Congress earned him a score of three percent by the League of Conservation Voters. A winning score when it comes to the Trump administration.
Jefferson Beauregard Sessions is his Attorney General!
Is it possible that anyone could actually believe that someone who has fought as hard against voting rights could be entrusted as the top law enforcement official in the nation to enforce and protect the right to vote for all Americans? I think not!
Dr. Ben Carson will be heading Housing and Urban Affairs. Really? How absurd is this choice? This is a doctor who removed himself for consideration as Secretary of Health & Human Services because he claimed he didn’t have the experience to run that department. Agreed. Other than living in a housing project in Detroit as a child, what experience does he have to run HUD? Keep in mind, although he admittedly didn’t have enough experience to run HHS, he did seem to believe he had enough experience for the presidency.
I do have to admit, however, that the results of the election does demonstrate that experience is not required for the presidency.
Anyone concerned with Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson as our new Secretary of State? I guess if having close relations with Russia is a goal, who better than Rex who has a great deal of experience catering to Russia for drilling rights which will become a great deal easier to obtain with him as Secretary of State. He, too, is a climate change denier. Drill, baby, drill!
“Drain the swamp” you say. What better way to drain the swamp than by placing the swamp monsters in the president’s cabinet? Actually, I am fairly certain there is a much better way, but apparently this is the preferred method adopted by the new administration.
Steven Mnuchin as Secretary of the Treasury? Mr. Mnuchin. a former Godman Sachs partner, profited greatly off the financial crisis and became known as “the foreclosure king”as his company, OneWest, foreclosed on thousands of homeowners, including the elderly. Mr. Mnuchin bought IndyMac, a mortgage lender, changed the name to One West, and then made huge profits by targeting homeowners for foreclosures resulting from the risky mortgages sold.
Sounds like just the man to protect our economy! NOT!
Although there are plenty of other examples, let’s end with placing an individual in charge of the Department of Education, Betsy DeVos, who has no experience as an educator and, as another member of the “swamp”, has never attended or sent her children to a public school. That alone should have been dismissive of her nomination as is her record of advancing a voucher system that would result in public funds being used to support private education such as religious schools.
There is a Constitutional requirement for separating church and state no matter how religiously fanatic an individual may be. Further, she is a strong advocate for charter schools which clearly failed in her home state of Michigan as well as other states such as Pennsylvania.
Education is the cornerstone of a democracy. Without an educated electorate, regardless of income, our democracy is at risk as the results of the 2016 election demonstrates all too clearly!
With a Republican majority in both houses of Congress there will not be any doubt that all of Trump’s picks for his cabinet will be confirmed if they have not already been so.
As I have said on more than one occasion, elections have consequences and the American people have been witnessing those consequences on an almost daily basis and the administration is less than three weeks old.