Yet another outrage: government agencies under attack

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Thomas Veil, Apr 24, 2005.

  1. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    #1
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    I think the article speaks for itself: another effort to undermine the government while pretending to "streamline" it.

    It's yet one more attack on the government's power to regulate business. Bush's tax cuts have not only made his rich friends richer, their secondary purpose has been to starve the government of resources with which to fund federal agencies. And now this.

    If anything, of course, we need more regulation and supervision, not less. Just ask any customer or investor in Enron.

    And it's beautiful how they're trying to slip it in via the budget bill. I can already see another potential Capitol Hill showdown over this provision.

    Every time I think I've seen just how low Bush and the Republicans can go, they get lower. Incredible.
     
  2. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    I suppose, but I don't think this is a terrible idea in general concept. Obviously, the membership of this commission would change with the makeup of Congress, so while it would give Republicans more power now, it wouldn't necessarily stay that way. Forcing Congress to reconsider laws they've passed every so often... no, I don't find that inherently objectionable.
     
  3. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #3
    We've had the Sunset Commission deal in Texas for what, thirty years or so? A long time, anyway. From what I've seen, it keeps down the level of bureaucratic arrogance.

    I believe the interval is every three years, but the agency honchos gotta show up and justify their existence. That's a danged good thing, since they don't have anybody else to answer to, generally.

    There's nothing sacrosanct about any bureaucratic entity, whether a government agency or a giant corporation...

    'Rat
     
  4. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    the worrying thing is the subjective aspect of an entity being "effective" or "good."

    edit: also wanted to mention, we do in effect have this already through the budgetary process, which brings both the executive branch and legislative branch (a whole lot of congressmen) into the decision-making process. there is a purpose to bureaucracy, which is to ensure decisions aren't made by a few, with an agenda, rashly.
     
  5. Thomas Veil thread starter macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    I thought so at first, but the more I examined the article and the basic concept, the more I saw the potential for abuse.

    This might be a good idea if not for the current extremist behavior on the Hill, which sees things being done out of political/religious motivation instead of practicality and need. Combine that with the fact that lobbyists and corporate officers would be making the decisions based on their own agendas and not what's best for the country, and you have a recipe for disaster.

    True, things might turn around during a Democratic administration, but Democrats have been in the corporations' back pocket for a while now, and besides, who knows when they'll get back in power again?
     
  6. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #6
    "the worrying thing is the subjective aspect of an entity being "effective" or "good.""

    "Subjective" depends on the wording of the law. Again, all I can say is that it seems to work well in Texas. But, writing of such law is not my forte.

    From what little I do know about Sunset Commission review, the agency bosses have to provide the numbers as to money spent for what purposes, with details of administrative costs vs. actual project expenditures outside their offices. The Commission compares spending on all manner of items, much as does the Inspector General group. If there's stuff like the TSA's spending on frou-frou decorations, this is made public and provides grounds for changes in the agency's enabling legislation and penalties of various sorts. It adds to the public knowledge of the workings of the agencies--if folks show up at the hearings.

    And if it's a Sunset law for ALL agencies, that would include the Feebies as well as TSA, CIA et al...

    'Rat
     
  7. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    I've got similar qualms, but I can't think of any good reasons to oppose the concept. It cuts both ways, you know. Congress recently approved $8 billion in "tax incentives" for the oil industry. I'd like to see that one sunset some day, rather than become permanently ensconced in federal law.
     
  8. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    The problem here, as I see it, lies with who is picked to determine whether a program is good or not. Idealogues who want to cut for the sake of cutting would be bad, an honest evaluation of whether or not the agency/program is producing the intended results would be a good thing. Industry execs and lobbyists would be poor choices, unless they are balanced with some citizens-interest group members.

    The problem is that the outcome can be pre-determined by selection of voting members.

    But hey, like the nu-cu-lar option, this will come around to bite the GOP in the ass once they aren't in power anymore.
     
  9. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    mac, why would it bite either party more than the other? Democrats ran the legislature in Texas when the Sunset law was passed. Now, the Republicans are running the joint, but I've not heard any screams of anguish.

    In and of itself, a Sunset law is neither good nor bad. It all depends on the wording, just like any other law...

    'Rat
     
  10. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    I never said it would bite one more than the other. I know you're fond of putting words in my mouth, but I never said such a thing.

    I think it will bite the party out of power. With time that party will change, and each will seek to use it to gut key portions of the other's agenda.

    Somehow I'm not seeing it being used to actually curtail useless or underperforming government programs. I see the GOP wanting to use it to gut environmental protection and regulatory laws in general, and the Dems wanting to use it to gut tax cuts for the rich, NCLB, and corporate giveaways (at least to the rights corps).

    I'll be surprised if, in this highly charged political atmosphere, the law is used to make government better for the people. Call me a cynic but that's how I see it.
     
  11. Thomas Veil thread starter macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    Another point is, Congress has the power to do away with any agency, at any time. Do we really need this law? Are we really gonna review Social Security and Medicaid every ten years to see if those programs are still needed? Unless old age, poverty and sickness magically go away, I'd say those programs are here to stay.

    It would also be bizarre to see agencies like (just for example) the National Weather Service winking in and out of existence, depending on the whims of whoever's in power. This year we need it, ten years from now we don't, but 20 years from now we do again. Helluva way to run a government.

    I think a better issue to pay attention to would be looking at agencies which may be duplicating each others' efforts, agencies which should be under the same roof but aren't, better communications, etc. A little of this is being done with our intelligence services, but I think the rest of our government needs it as well.
     

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