If I Were President…
I’m not, but if I were running—Part one of a series that could span (several) dozens of years and number several hundreds of items at final count.
“If I am elected President, I will…”
Every four years we hear these words and the various promises that follow them from any and all of the sundry candidates running for the highest political office in the land. When spoken by a candidate we favor, our response is one of acceptance, encouragement, a “go Team” reaction. But, when spoken by the other guy (or gal)… derision, condemnation, even anger at their proposed changes to the status quo are all common.
Talk to 5 or 10 or 200 Americans about what the role of government should be and you will quickly discover that the “correct” answer is a sliding scale based wholly on the number of respondents. The more people you talk to, the more measurement points you will have to add to your scale. I for one, like my government—as far away from me as possible. You can probably guess where that places me on that sliding scale of government’s role.
Now, in order to promise anything, I believe it is necessary to be armed with some facts about the topic of discussion and a basic, overall understanding of the situation. For instance, I cannot promise that I will make it to work on time every day. I can only promise to make every effort to do so. The actual results depend upon several factors outside of my control: vehicle breakdown, weather/road conditions, my health and that of my family, and most of all other drivers. (See derision, condemnation, anger reference above…)
I have frequently railed against the ever-burgeoning size of the federal government and the scope of its reach, yet seldom offered specifics as to what I would do to restrict that growth and countermand the intrusiveness. It is easy to say “I’m a small government enthusiast” but impossible to define that term without some in-depth research and in-private cogitating.
Because the US Constitution is the document that establishes and charters the US Federal Government, we must start there with the constitutionally declared obligations for said government in our “If I Were President…” segments. Otherwise, these discussions would be nothing more than a search for Shangra-la with neither a map nor reference points to work from. Questions will be raised. Is the federal government meeting its assigned obligations? Do those assigned obligations imply relevance or involvement or control in other non-specified areas? Where do States’ rights end and federal jurisdiction begin? What can the President actually do?
My conclusions and “campaign promises” may be different than yours; hopefully different enough to spark a conversation. Reasoned, thoughtful discussion is welcome here; keywords in that phrase being conversation, reasoned, etc. The Unofficial View reserves final right of censorship on any post or comment deemed not conducive to the discussion.
For this first post and before I put my research hat on, let me leave you with this food for thought: The federal government, in 2013, employed 2,744,931 (2.7M+) people with a payroll of $16,502,987,788 ($16.5B) according to the US Census Bureau website.
Addendum: Thanks to Dictionary.com, Merriam-Webster, and Grammar Party for the grammar refresher.
Good start, Mr. Michael.
Need to look at what the President actually can do – not much Constitutionally – and then identify what essential priorities should be. Then outline what needs to be done by statute to correct the problems created by past actions that created the mess we are in. This will be the biggest hurdle because members of Congress are their to represent their constituencies … which means those who supported their election, either by vote or funding. Getting that herd of cats to do anything is an enormous challenge, much less doing what a president wants to do. Reforming the bureaucracy will be next to impossible because they ARE the institutional memory and they know the system better than anyone else. And there is no one out there who is going to tell their appointed or elected boss: “Hey, I am non-essential and my job should be eliminated.” Ain’t gonna happen … yes, there are all sorts of good ideas out there, but remember they have to be executed by civl servants who have a vested interest in maintain the status quo, or adding to their fiefdoms to make them more invulnerable to reductions in force.