Time to downsize Washington, DC

One of the underlying themes of Donald Trump's candidacy was that he would drain the swamp that is Washington, D.C.  This was one of the reasons he won the presidency.  And so far, Trump's cabinet picks demonstrate that he means to carry through on this long overdue reform.

Draining that swamp is music to America's ears.  But not to the denizens who have grown not only fat, dumb, and happy there, but in all too many cases, also rich.  So in the coming years, the Trump administration will be fighting not only the Democrats, the liberal media, and the loony left, but also the entrenched button-down bureaucrats in Washington.

Call me a cynic, but after observing how government operates for more years than I care to count, one thing is clear.  A defining characteristic of the bureaucracy and the bureaucrats within is that they invariably put themselves first and foremost.  Those in the civilian employ of the federal government like to think of themselves as “civil servants.”  But any objective observer can see that in reality, federal bureaucrats have evolved into a privileged class.

One measure of this is income.  Of the dozen counties with the highest median household income in the United States, the top three are in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, as are seven of the top twelve.

These are:

1. Loudoun, Va. ($117K)

2. Howard, Md. ($108)

3. Fairfax, Va. ($107K)

5. Arlington, Va. ($100K)

6. Stafford, Va. ($97K)

11. Montgomery, Md. ($95)

12. Prince William, Va. ($94K)

What accounts for such a concentration of income, given that these counties do not manufacture anything to speak of, nor are they at the forefront of medical or technical innovations?  Of course, you know the answer.  It's the federal government, which provides unbelievably bloated compensation packages to those in its employ and gives nectar to those servicing Big Government like consultants, lobbyists, and other such critters.

Is it any wonder that millions of Americans view the federal government as a money machine for bureaucrats and Washington insiders?  Our tax money flows into the Imperial City, and far too much of it sticks to the hands of those entrusted to handle it.

The taming of Washington will not be a cakewalk.  This is a situation that has grown in fits and starts over many years, and it will have to be dismantled the same way.  This will be a long-term project and will have to be done incrementally.  But like the old proverb notes, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.

Trump's election and his cabinet selections are initial steps albeit gigantic ones.  Here is another step that makes eminent sense once you think about it.  And as reasonable and commonsensical as this suggestion is, imagine the howls from the Washington crowd should it be implemented.

Paul Kupiec of the American Enterprise Institute writes:

One of the first steps the president-elect should take to restore balance is to move federal government agencies out of the Washington, D.C. area and distribute them throughout the country, targeting low-cost locations that need a catalyst for growth. Many towns and cities across America would welcome the economic development that would accompany the arrival of a stable, well-paid federal agency workforce.

With modern communications technology, there is no technical reason that requires federal agencies to be located in the Washington, D.C. area.  Why must the headquarters of Homeland Security be in Washington, D.C.? Why not in Texas or Mississippi? The FBI could just as easily be relocated to Utah or Vermont instead of to an expensive site in the nearby D.C. suburbs. Shouldn't the Department of Agriculture be situated in a state that grows something besides home-use marijuana?

And who but a Washington insider, snug and warm in his cocoon, could object with Kupiec's logic in what follows?

Perhaps the biggest benefit generated by federal agency relocation is an increased voter perception of equality and fairness. The expense of managing the federal government should be used to spread the wealth beyond the nation's capital. For many years, the D.C. region has prospered from its proximity to the federal government while many parts of the country have suffered. This longstanding imbalance has reinforced voters' beliefs that the system is rigged to benefit insiders. The technology is available and the national mood is ripe to embrace a plan to relocate the business of the federal government more equitably throughout the states.

The Republicans control the government, save the bureaucracies.  Now is the time to act, not tomorrow.  Trump talks about moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.  Fine.  Let him also move a number of government agencies out of the Washington area.  For example, the FBI is slated to get a new headquarters.  Let that be built in the heartland or in the South, but not in the Washington D.C. area, as the establishment expects.  Decentralizing the federal government is an idea whose time has come.

One of the underlying themes of Donald Trump's candidacy was that he would drain the swamp that is Washington, D.C.  This was one of the reasons he won the presidency.  And so far, Trump's cabinet picks demonstrate that he means to carry through on this long overdue reform.

Draining that swamp is music to America's ears.  But not to the denizens who have grown not only fat, dumb, and happy there, but in all too many cases, also rich.  So in the coming years, the Trump administration will be fighting not only the Democrats, the liberal media, and the loony left, but also the entrenched button-down bureaucrats in Washington.

Call me a cynic, but after observing how government operates for more years than I care to count, one thing is clear.  A defining characteristic of the bureaucracy and the bureaucrats within is that they invariably put themselves first and foremost.  Those in the civilian employ of the federal government like to think of themselves as “civil servants.”  But any objective observer can see that in reality, federal bureaucrats have evolved into a privileged class.

One measure of this is income.  Of the dozen counties with the highest median household income in the United States, the top three are in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, as are seven of the top twelve.

These are:

1. Loudoun, Va. ($117K)

2. Howard, Md. ($108)

3. Fairfax, Va. ($107K)

5. Arlington, Va. ($100K)

6. Stafford, Va. ($97K)

11. Montgomery, Md. ($95)

12. Prince William, Va. ($94K)

What accounts for such a concentration of income, given that these counties do not manufacture anything to speak of, nor are they at the forefront of medical or technical innovations?  Of course, you know the answer.  It's the federal government, which provides unbelievably bloated compensation packages to those in its employ and gives nectar to those servicing Big Government like consultants, lobbyists, and other such critters.

Is it any wonder that millions of Americans view the federal government as a money machine for bureaucrats and Washington insiders?  Our tax money flows into the Imperial City, and far too much of it sticks to the hands of those entrusted to handle it.

The taming of Washington will not be a cakewalk.  This is a situation that has grown in fits and starts over many years, and it will have to be dismantled the same way.  This will be a long-term project and will have to be done incrementally.  But like the old proverb notes, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.

Trump's election and his cabinet selections are initial steps albeit gigantic ones.  Here is another step that makes eminent sense once you think about it.  And as reasonable and commonsensical as this suggestion is, imagine the howls from the Washington crowd should it be implemented.

Paul Kupiec of the American Enterprise Institute writes:

One of the first steps the president-elect should take to restore balance is to move federal government agencies out of the Washington, D.C. area and distribute them throughout the country, targeting low-cost locations that need a catalyst for growth. Many towns and cities across America would welcome the economic development that would accompany the arrival of a stable, well-paid federal agency workforce.

With modern communications technology, there is no technical reason that requires federal agencies to be located in the Washington, D.C. area.  Why must the headquarters of Homeland Security be in Washington, D.C.? Why not in Texas or Mississippi? The FBI could just as easily be relocated to Utah or Vermont instead of to an expensive site in the nearby D.C. suburbs. Shouldn't the Department of Agriculture be situated in a state that grows something besides home-use marijuana?

And who but a Washington insider, snug and warm in his cocoon, could object with Kupiec's logic in what follows?

Perhaps the biggest benefit generated by federal agency relocation is an increased voter perception of equality and fairness. The expense of managing the federal government should be used to spread the wealth beyond the nation's capital. For many years, the D.C. region has prospered from its proximity to the federal government while many parts of the country have suffered. This longstanding imbalance has reinforced voters' beliefs that the system is rigged to benefit insiders. The technology is available and the national mood is ripe to embrace a plan to relocate the business of the federal government more equitably throughout the states.

The Republicans control the government, save the bureaucracies.  Now is the time to act, not tomorrow.  Trump talks about moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.  Fine.  Let him also move a number of government agencies out of the Washington area.  For example, the FBI is slated to get a new headquarters.  Let that be built in the heartland or in the South, but not in the Washington D.C. area, as the establishment expects.  Decentralizing the federal government is an idea whose time has come.

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