Thursday

October 18th, 2018

Insight

Trump the Turnaround Manager

Bruce Bialosky

By Bruce Bialosky

Published March 19,2018

This guy is growing on me.  While The Left is running around with their hair on fire under their pointy little hats, President Trump is beginning to get it done.  And I like it.  He is an outsider that has gone into Washington and rejected the status quo. God knows our government was on a straight line to either hell or bankruptcy or both. He has started to shake that up, and he is just getting started.

This really hit me in the face when I read that the Trump administration is looking to break up the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). If you think about it, what do Alcohol and Tobacco enforcement have to do with Firearms?  Alcohol and Tobacco would go under the Treasury Department where they should be because this is mainly about enforcement of tax collection.  The new entity called Bureau of Arson, Explosives and Firearms would remain under the Justice Department.  There a newly-defined law enforcement agency could deal with 21st century challenges.  

I cannot say Trump himself generated this idea, but it is being proposed during his presidency.  Someone felt free to say “This agency as currently operated makes no sense.”  We just need a couple hundred more of these kinds of actions and we might be getting somewhere. 

This is not a new idea.  If you refer to one of my previous columns, there are plenty of ideas in just the departments I looked at for agencies and bureaus to be killed, combined, reorganized or sunseted. The fact that someone is actually beginning to do this warms me greatly.  


President Trump has gotten flack for not filling a significant number of political appointee positions in his first year.  His answer to that is “You don’t need them.”  He has cut positions across departments by eliminating people who probably don’t like the guy anyway.  In his first six months, the federal employee count went down 10,700. It is not just what he cut, but likewise what he has not added.  In their first six months, President Bush (the younger) added 36,000 and President Obama added 60,000. While 10,700 may be a small dent in the total number of federal workers (2.8 million), it is still headed in the right direction.  

More evidence of the advances the Trump administration has made include the proposed termination of 22 programs as part of their 2019 budget proposal.  A few of you may have heard of the Legal Services Corp., but most I have never heard of and I am supposing that they will not be missed except for their minor constituency. Maybe next year he can aim to put 32 or 42 agencies on the chopping block.   

You are likely aware of the significant regulation reduction that has occurred since Mr. Trump took office.  The pro-government forces want more regulations and more personnel to enforce those regulations to allow faceless bureaucrats to dictate how we operate our businesses and our lives.  For these types, business at any level is questionable as citizens need to be protected against the evils of their neighborhood businesspeople.  Other presidents have talked about less-invasive government, but Mr. Trump is making it happen.  His administration has just touched on clearing the brush of unneeded, contradictory, outdated and harmful rules.  

Politicians by definition feel a need to be loved and admired. Businessmen don’t think that way. They may want to be loved, but they become fixated on the bottom line.  It is a different mentality.  Discount the continuing storyline of Mr. Trump needing his ego to be stroked.  Certainly, some of that may be true.  But he is a businessman first and that means he often offends others to accomplish his goals.  

President Trump’s biggest challenge will be tackling the budget imbalance.  Our country cannot continue to deficit finance our operations.  As of now, Trump has shown no interest in doing that.  He stated there appears to be no appetite for this in the Congress, but he needs to create that appetite.  That means going after the so-called entitlement programs.

The negative outflow for Medicare and Social Security have to be confronted.  George W. Bush tried to alter the arc of social security in the beginning of his second term, but backed off.  Trump will not melt under the pressure quite as quickly.  Dealing with our arcane tax code, the immigration policies, and infrastructure of the country pales in comparison to the difficulties of getting movement toward negotiating changes to Social Security.  

To focus on how far we have to change the mentality of the country on the magnitude of the problem, the Wall Street Journal recently had an opinion piece suggesting that the solution to the parental leave funding problem is to tap the Social Security Trust Fund.  Someone needs to alert the authors that the fund has a less-than-zero balance.  They were thinking of another way to drain the inflow even faster.

His latest gambit is meeting with the current member of the Kim family starving millions while developing a nuclear arsenal.  The establishment says he cannot meet until experienced legions from Foggy Bottom set the scenario properly sometime in the next decade. Trump will meet with Kim and tell him he either joins the civilized world or the civilized world will obliterate the Hermit kingdom ending three decades of the U.S. being whipsawed by the Kim family.  

Trump has a lot to do. For him to complete his turnaround may require a second term.  That will drive the Democrats crazy since they seem to be focused on hobbling him until the mid-terms with some perverse idea they will impeach him after that, which is a pipedream.

Instead of focusing on whether Mr. Trump communicates in a manner perceived as “presidential,” some of us look at the bottom line.  Our federal government was a train wreck which needed to downsize and refocus its efforts on accomplishable goals. President Trump may be the first person since Calvin Coolidge who has been able to accomplish any movement toward doing that.  

Please do more.  We need the turnaround.  

Bruce Bialosky is the founder of the Republican Jewish Coalition of California and a former Presidential appointee.

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