Budgets And Culture

I have spent considerable time revealing many of President Trump’s early actions for the empty words they are. That is not to say that he can’t have a dramatic effect on how America’s federal government functions. Today I’d like to explore that a bit with you.

Aided by the arithmetically challenged Paul Ryan in the House, the sinister Mitch McConnell in the Senate and a host of “destroyers” heading various Departments; Trump can change the culture and the allocation of resources in Washington. Trump is not and never has been a big policy guy. The only all-encompassing principle by which he has led his life is: What’s best for Donald Trump. Trump will be willing to sign almost any legislation the Republican Congress passes as long as it benefits him in some way. Think of Don Trump, (as in Mafia Don).

Many federal regulations that Republican financiers want abolished will be difficult to enact legislation against because many in Congress will be afraid to be on record as voting for their repeal. That is easily remedied with total control. Department Secretaries can simply ask for less money which Congress will only be too happy to cut from the budget.

If Cabinet Secretaries also seek cover then they can simply choose not to enforce selected regulations. This was the genius of the Mitch McConnell-Elaine Chao scam when Mrs. McConnell was George W. Bush’s Labor Secretary. If Mitch couldn’t get legislation passed, Elaine simply didn’t enforce the regulation in question. If there are no police patrolling the street there is effectively no speed limit. Just as a reminder, Elaine Chao is Trump’s Secretary of Transportation and Trump is planning a huge infrastructure project where much of the money and contracts will flow through the Department of Transportation.

Let’s take this discussion down to the “street level”. Let’s look at the front line workers and their immediate supervisors who are career civil servants, actually know their job, interact with the public and often care deeply about the mission of their agency. Suddenly their bosses (in most cases political appointees) put out the word that overlooking some violations will not be punished. In fact actually doing your job by enforcing those regulations is not only discouraged, it may lead to termination. You need your paycheck. There is the car payment, mortgage, kid in college and that bad habit you learned from your parents called eating. What are you to do? The answer in most cases will be the practical look the other way. If you do your job and enforce the regulations some superior will only overrule you and in the long run you will join the unemployed along with being blacklisted in government until there is a Party change in the White House and possibly Congress. How many civil servants can afford that consequence?

This regime has already taken steps to allow the dumping of life threatening coal generated pollutants into the nation’s rivers. What could possibly go wrong with that? Look up the coal ash spill into the Dan River in Eden, North Carolina on February 2, 2014. Ironically I’m writing this article on Super Bowl Sunday 2017. The spill occurred on Super Bowl Sunday 2014.

Culture and cash still mean a lot. Trump and the Republicans hold massive sway over both at the moment.

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