But of course it is only a start. Another prime candidate is the Department of Education. Like so much Washington bureaucracy, this behemoth is essentially one of Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” (i.e., statist) institutions, a shill for the teachers’ unions and enforcement agency for politically correct ideology. It officially presides over a budget of nearly $67 billion and another $96.8 billion in “discretionary funding provided under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.” (Did the person who wrote that smile as he set it down in black and white? “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,” forsooth! “Anti-American Rapine and Redistribution Act” is more like it.)
I’ve been thinking of making this public service announcement recommending the closure of various governmental agencies for some time. What prompts me into action today is the news that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan sent around a email urging government employees to attend the rally that “Rev.” Al Sharpton organized to compete with Glenn Beck’s “restoring honor” tea-party rally last weekend. As an article in the Washington Examiner notes, the email does not violate the Hatch Act, which restricts partisan political activity of federal employees. But it does not look good. As David Boaz of the Cato Institute put it, “It sends a signal that activity on behalf of one side of a political debate is expected within a department. It’s highly inappropriate . . . even in the absence of a direct threat.” Just imagine, Boaz continued, if a cabinet official in George W. Bush’s administration had sent an “e-mail to civil servants asking them to attend a Glenn Beck rally.” Hell to pay, what?
I would say that Secretary Duncan should resign, but the more honorable and pragmatic course would be for him to stick around for a month or so while dismantling that counter-productive agency over which he presides.
Next up: the Department of Housing and Urban Development, another legacy from the Lyndon Johnson spend-a-thon. Check out its website here. More governmental boondoggles than you can shake a stick at: it takes a while to spend $43,718,000,000. One of my favorite pages is “Making Home Affordable.” What it means is “how to get your neighbor to help pay for your house.” Nice work if you can get!
Well, it’s well before lunch time on a Tuesday morning and I have just saved you a few hundred billion dollars. I know, I know: it’s chump change for this profligate administration, but you have to start somewhere. I hope some enterprising souls will lend a hand and help me scrutinize other parts of the federal budget for superfluous expenditures, redistributionist follies, and other example of practical socialism.