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April 08, 2011

Rand Paul, Still Making Sense

From rdbrewer in the sidebar, he keeps on making the case that the Department of Energy must be eliminated.

“It interferes with and takes away our choices on what kind of showers we want, what kind of toilets we want. What kind of light bulbs we want. But most of the Department of Energy is an impediment to producing energy. Not one barrel of oil is produced by the Department of Energy. But the Department of Energy stops a lot of oil from being produced,” Paul said.

I agree. I didn't used to, not because I loved the DOE but because I thought it was outside the Overton Windown. I don't anymore. I think it's merely an uphill fight.

Paul's basic idea to eliminate the nonessential cabinet-level departments is a good one.

As a transitory step, we can and should combine Education, Energy, Housing and Urban Development (and another one I think I'm forgetting; Update: Oh, he Department of Health and Human Development, duh) into a much-diminished, much-smaller Department of [Whatever]. Human Development or whatever other euphemism for welfare you wish.

Turn the education functions into almost nothing but a pass-through for collecting some federal funds and then returning those funds directly to the states for spending on education, with a very small bureaucracy (like, 100 people) given some make-work for pilot programs or whatever. Do pretty much the same thing with the other departments, turning federal funding pretty much into a check returned with almost nothing taken out of it back to the states.

I think you need that transitory step, because people will scream and freak out if you suddenly aren't "investing" any money into education. But if it's all just returned to the states (minus some small amount for bureaucratic make-work), you can say, truthfully, you're actually "investing" more than ever; you're just not skimming any of it to support a useless bureaucracy.

Once that transitional step is in place, we can work every year to simply reduce the silly exchange of state citizens' money coming into the department and then simply being sent back to the states, until the states are doing almost all of this.

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posted by Ace at 01:30 PM

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