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Obama seeks to consolidate Government Agencies
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OAW
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Jan 13, 2012, 06:13 PM
 
Seeking more power to shrink the government, President Barack Obama on Friday suggested smashing six economic agencies into one, an election-year idea intended to halt bureaucratic nightmares and force Republicans to back him on one of their own favorite issues.

"The government we have is not the government we need," Obama told business owners he'd gathered at the White House. Lawmakers seemed willing to at least consider his ideas.

Sounding like a manager of a disorganized company, and looking like one by pointing to slides as he spoke, Obama asked Congress to give him a kind of reorganization power no president has had since Ronald Reagan. It would guarantee Obama a vote, within 90 days, on any idea he offers to consolidate agencies, provided it saves money and cuts the government.

His first target: Merging six major trade and commerce agencies into a one-stop-shopping department for American businesses. The Commerce Department would be among those that would cease to exist.
Congress would keep the final say, but Obama would have a stronger hand to skip much of the outside lobbying and fighting and get right to a vote.

Attacking senseless duplication across the executive branch he runs, Obama said: "Why is it OK for our government? It's not. It has to change."

Politically, Obama is seeking advantage on the turf often owned by Republicans: Smaller government. He is attempting to directly counter Republican arguments that he has presided over the kind of regulation, spending and debt that can undermine the economy — a dominant theme of this year's debate and one often cited by his potential re-election rival, Republican Mitt Romney.

Obama put himself on the side of business people who deal with the government as part of their daily life and are exasperated by a maze of agencies, permits and websites.

"We can do this better," he told them. "So much of the argument out there all the time is up in 40,000 feet, these abstract arguments about who's conservative or who's liberal. ...You guys are just trying to figure out, how do we make things work? How do we apply common sense? And that's what this is about."
In making his case, the president sought to target the design of the bureaucracy as the problem, not the employees who serve it.

Congressional reaction seemed generally favorable, but cautious.

Republicans skeptically pointed to Obama's past promises as the size of the nation's debt keeps growing.
"It's not often that we see real proposals from this administration to make government smaller," said Rep. Fred Upton, the Michigan Republican who is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. "I look forward to reviewing the proposal and hope that it will be the first of many to unravel the red tape."
Indeed, Obama promised more plans to shrink things if given more power, citing inefficiencies all across the government.

Obama had an imperative to deliver. He made the promise to come up with a smart reorganization of the government in his State of the Union speech last January.

He made some waves at the time by pointing out the absurdity of government inefficiency, noting freshwater and saltwater salmon were regulated by different agencies.


The White House said the problem is serious for consumers who turn to their government for help and often do not know where to begin.

Not in decades has the government undergone a sustained reorganization of itself. Presidents have tried from time to time, but each part of the bureaucracy has its own defenders inside and outside the government, which can make merger ideas politically impossible. That's particularly true because "efficiency" is often another way of saying people will lose their jobs.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said she hoped Congress would quickly approve Obama's proposal, which she said tracked with worries Democrats have been hearing from small business owners. Many lawmakers of both parties expressed support in principle but wariness about how programs and the prerogatives of Congress may be affected.

Beyond the politics, the merger Obama offered would have big implications for trade and commerce in America.

Presidents held a fast-track reorganizational authority for about 50 years until it ran out during Reagan's presidency in 1984, the White House argued.

Obama wants to merge: the Commerce Department's core business and trade functions; the Small Business Administration; the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative; the Export-Import Bank; the Overseas Private Investment Corporation; and the Trade and Development Agency.

The White House says 1,000 to 2,000 jobs would be cut, but the administration would do so through attrition. The administration says the consolidation would save $3 billion over 10 years by getting rid of duplicative overhead and programs, although it has yet to spell out any plan in detail.


Obama's announcement treads on ground that Romney, the Republican front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination, frequently stakes out on the campaign trail. Romney often says he would try to shrink government by eliminating offices that duplicate functions performed somewhere else, citing as examples more than 80 different workforce training programs.

Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said streamlining government was always a potentially good idea but expressed suspicion about whether the plan by Obama would really help business. Don Stewart, spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, pledged Obama's plan would get a careful review.

But he added: "It's interesting to see the president finally acknowledge that Washington is out of control."
The Associated Press: Obama takes on big government: "It has to change"

Most definitely not a bad idea IMO. Million dollar question? Will the GOP Representatives and Senators in Congress take "yes" for an answer? Or will they continue their unprecedented obstruction?

OAW
( Last edited by OAW; Jan 13, 2012 at 06:28 PM. )
     
besson3c
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Jan 13, 2012, 10:15 PM
 
I'd vote on unprecedented obstruction... Perhaps this will be about how this "doesn't go far enough".
     
Mrjinglesusa
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Jan 14, 2012, 11:59 PM
 
They won't do anything that will make Obama look good, even if they agree with it.
2.3GHz i7 15" Retina Macbook Pro (Late 2013)
     
ironknee
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Jan 15, 2012, 01:36 AM
 
yup

agreed on both of you....let's see how they can mask hating a black man with not good enough
     
Shaddim
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Jan 15, 2012, 10:38 AM
 
So now it's some bullshit about him being black? Seriously, do you guys care to debate issues, or do you just want a Playboy and a moist towel?
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
- Thomas Paine
     
Dork.
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Jan 15, 2012, 02:18 PM
 
We don't need a Playboy, just a clip of Colbert talking about his SuperPAC....
     
besson3c
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Jan 15, 2012, 07:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by Dork. View Post
We don't need a Playboy, just a clip of Colbert talking about his SuperPAC....
Or the thought of Doofy telling us about his cat... Who's with me?
     
besson3c
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Jan 16, 2012, 07:20 AM
 
I think Obama must love throwing monkey wrenches into much of the Republican rhetoric targeted at the left that is repeated every other sentence.

Democrats love raising taxes? Okay, here are some huge ass middle class tax cut in the stimulus bill

Democrats are weak on terror? Okay, here are several military strikes and the death of Bin Laden

Democrats love big government? Here is some government agency reduction and a cutting of many government jobs


I'm not saying there isn't some kernel of truth in the rhetoric somewhere, but I just love it when stuff like this makes the hyperbole a little more difficult to pull off, cause we could all use a little more accuracy and less hyperbole - whomever benefits and doesn't.
     
stupendousman
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Jan 16, 2012, 07:45 AM
 
LIke everything else he does, it's a ploy to be able to spend more money elsewhere. Spending has skyrocketed, debt is out of control and the economy stinks. NOW right before an election he wants everyone to think he cares about the size of government?

Pull my other leg.
     
besson3c
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Jan 16, 2012, 08:26 AM
 
What proof do you have that spending has skyrocketed?

I'll give you the stimulus bill, but that was exactly the point of that. Given that we'll never agree on the theries behind that bill, can you provide any other examples that would justify your use of the word skyrocketted?
     
The Final Dakar
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Jan 16, 2012, 12:58 PM
 
My first (and pretty much only) thought was this is an election year type move. It has a type of humility (or inanity) that makes in peculiar.

It is, however, sound (both politically and governmentally). It's a shame that the skill and vigor Obama has as a campaigner doesn't translate into his Presidency.
     
BadKosh
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Jan 17, 2012, 09:03 AM
 
Shouldn't someone QUALIFIED be making decisions like that? Owe-bamas track record of understanding how business actually works is dismal.
     
Chongo
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Jan 17, 2012, 09:17 AM
 
Well this says it all


Then there's The People's Cube take on the same cover:

     
   
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