Since our current president seems to be spending most of the balance of his second term playing golf, hopscotching around the country on Air Force One to raise funds for the Democrats, and hanging out with celebrities, the rest of can only look forward to the 2016 presidential election. And thank goodness for term limits. Really, most people can only handle two terms in the White House.
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Everyone assumes Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee. It is only vaguely known who will actually be vying for the nomination on the Republican side.
Whoever becomes our 45th president will have his or her work cut out for him or her.
On the domestic front the biggest challenge is big government. Consider these fascinating facts we found in an Aug. 2 Wall Street Journal interview with the late William Buckley’s little brother. James Buckley, 91, served in the U.S. Senate, was undersecretary of state, president of Radio Free Europe and won appointment to the D. C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Besides all that he served in the Navy during World War II, then practiced law and was an executive in his family’s international oil financing business.
Here are the facts that should serve as a challenge to the next president. Despite all the laws and government experimentations of President Franklin Roosevelt, there were only three volumes of federal statutes. That was triple the number of volumes before the New Deal. Justice Buckley noted that the government is still printing the 2012 version of the federal statutes and it will total up to “about 33 or 34 volumes.”
President Barack Obama complains about the so-called “do-nothing” Republican Congress — without mentioning how Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry “The Weasel” Reid blocks 99 percent of what the House passes and prevents Republican senators from offering amendments. National TV commentators have complained how little Congress has accomplished. That is not one of our complaints. There is no rule of government that Congress has to keep adding to the federal statutes.
Our preference would be for Congress to start eliminating statutes. If the voters in various states manage to elect enough Republicans to dethrone the weasel king, then Congress could start by eliminating Obamacare and that crazy Dodd-Frank legislation that is filling up banks with government regulators the banks must pay for and swelling the ranks of banking paperwork compliance officers. Banks are supposed to make money and lend it out, not support thousands and thousands of government officials.
The next president and the next Congress need to figure out how to reduce the number of federal bureaucrats. During President John F. Kennedy’s administration, there were 5.26 million federal employees in 1963, a slight reduction from 1962. It peaked out at 6.575 in 1969. It actually began declining to the 4 million range in the last year of President George H.W. Bush’s administration and declined some more during President Bill Clinton’s eight years. Clinton got it down to 4.1 million employees. It has been rising again under Obama.
The job of the next Congress will be to put the federal government on a restricted financial diet. The next president should get federal employment down to around 3 million. Start by reducing the size of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Education Department.
Here is another eye opener from Buckley. Grants-in-aid programs “started blossoming with Lyndon Johnson. There may have been 100, 120 of them at that time. By 1970 there were about 300, with an annual expenditure of $24 billion. There are now 1,100 of them, with a federal expenditures this current fiscal year of $647 billion. So it is now the third-largest category of spending.”
These grants-in-aid usurp the independence and the fiscal prudence of local and state government. It is just another way for Congress to waste our money and use it to tell local government how to spend its money.
We need a president and a Congress that will reduce spending, reduce the federal payroll starting with especially bloated and overbearing departments and who will start paring back the thicket of laws.