NY Times thinks consolidating agencies is 'shrinking the government'

Rick Moran
You have to be determinedly stupid to believe that consolidating several federal agencies into one will shrink the size of government.

History tells a different story. Whether it be the Department of Education or Energy, or any other recent attempt to "shrink" government by pulling together agencies and programs from across the executive branch, the fact is, not only does the size of government grow but also the federal budget.

Does the New York Times really believe this:

President Obama on Friday announced an aggressive campaign to shrink the size of the federal government, a proposal less notable for its goal - the fight against bloat has been embraced by every modern-day president - than for the political challenge it poses to a hostile Congress.

Mr. Obama called on lawmakers to grant him broad new powers to propose mergers of agencies, which Congress would then have to approve or reject in an up-or-down vote. If granted the authority, he said, he would begin pruning by folding the Small Business Administration and five other trade and business agencies into a single agency that would replace the Commerce Department.

The White House estimated that the consolidation would save $3 billion over 10 years and result in reductions of 1,000 to 2,000 jobs. The savings is a mere rounding error in the $3.7 trillion annual budget, but the numbers may be less important than the message that Mr. Obama wants to cut wasteful spending.

"No business or nonprofit leader would allow this kind of duplication or unnecessary complexity in their operations," Mr. Obama said to an audience of small business owners at the White House. "You wouldn't do it when you're thinking about your businesses, so why is it O.K. for our government? It's not."

We've heard this song before. The problem is, when you consolidate agencies, you make the lobbyist's job easier by giving them one target instead of many. And when was the last time anyone was able to predict "savings" in federal spending 10 years out?

It's nonsense, of course. Excuses will always be found to increase spending in the new department and congress is always a willing partner in divvying up the pie - just as long as their cronies and important constituents get a good sized slice. Look at the Department of Education, for example. The department's first budget was $6 billion. Over the last 30 years, it has ballooned to more than $70 billion - despite promises at the time that the taxpayer would realize savings from the consolidation of programs into one department.

The Times must be aware of this history. Why they are pretending that this move by Obama is anything but another example of federal government overreach is a mystery.



You have to be determinedly stupid to believe that consolidating several federal agencies into one will shrink the size of government.

History tells a different story. Whether it be the Department of Education or Energy, or any other recent attempt to "shrink" government by pulling together agencies and programs from across the executive branch, the fact is, not only does the size of government grow but also the federal budget.

Does the New York Times really believe this:

President Obama on Friday announced an aggressive campaign to shrink the size of the federal government, a proposal less notable for its goal - the fight against bloat has been embraced by every modern-day president - than for the political challenge it poses to a hostile Congress.

Mr. Obama called on lawmakers to grant him broad new powers to propose mergers of agencies, which Congress would then have to approve or reject in an up-or-down vote. If granted the authority, he said, he would begin pruning by folding the Small Business Administration and five other trade and business agencies into a single agency that would replace the Commerce Department.

The White House estimated that the consolidation would save $3 billion over 10 years and result in reductions of 1,000 to 2,000 jobs. The savings is a mere rounding error in the $3.7 trillion annual budget, but the numbers may be less important than the message that Mr. Obama wants to cut wasteful spending.

"No business or nonprofit leader would allow this kind of duplication or unnecessary complexity in their operations," Mr. Obama said to an audience of small business owners at the White House. "You wouldn't do it when you're thinking about your businesses, so why is it O.K. for our government? It's not."

We've heard this song before. The problem is, when you consolidate agencies, you make the lobbyist's job easier by giving them one target instead of many. And when was the last time anyone was able to predict "savings" in federal spending 10 years out?

It's nonsense, of course. Excuses will always be found to increase spending in the new department and congress is always a willing partner in divvying up the pie - just as long as their cronies and important constituents get a good sized slice. Look at the Department of Education, for example. The department's first budget was $6 billion. Over the last 30 years, it has ballooned to more than $70 billion - despite promises at the time that the taxpayer would realize savings from the consolidation of programs into one department.

The Times must be aware of this history. Why they are pretending that this move by Obama is anything but another example of federal government overreach is a mystery.