UPDATE 11.2.23: Washington, D.C. is currently filled with individuals who can’t see the damage they’re doing to the rest of America by grossly spending beyond the country’s means. This type of spending, suggests Veronique de Rugy in Reason, will lead to a disaster when bad times hit the economy. She concludes:
Finally, anyone looking at CBO budget forecasts could always see that the disconnect between government spending and revenue was growing. Even assuming no significant rises in interest rates, as well as no emergencies requiring more borrowing and no new congressional or presidential spending programs—all things that have come to pass—official debt projections never looked good. Why add more debt to that?
In the end, the risks associated with high levels of debt were never about what we could afford while rates were low. It was always about understanding that when change inevitably comes, we can better address the challenge if we are not in over our heads.
UPDATE 3.21.23: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has joined the chorus calling for moving federal agency headquarters out of Washington, D.C. to, in his words, counter the “accumulation of power,” in the capital. Salena Zito reports in the NY Post:
And he is thinking about a national agenda, especially the idea of moving federal government departments outside of Washington, DC, to help drain the swamp.
“Too much power has accumulated in DC and the result is a detached administrative state that rules over us and imposes its will on us,” De Santis said. “While there are a host of things that need to be done to re-constitutionalize government, parceling out federal agencies to other parts of the country could help reduce the negative effects of this accumulation of power.”
UPDATE 8.10.22: Are federal agencies accessing your personal data? In another piece of evidence displaying how out of touch federal bureaucrats are, Fox 23 News reports on federal agencies snooping into your whereabouts with your data. Kirstin Garriss writes:
Your digital footprint can be bought and sold by data brokers and now there are some concerns that includes the federal government.
“Investigative reporters have discovered that federal agencies have secretly been paying data brokers to gain access to vast troves of Americans’ personal data including cell phone location,” said Elizabeth Goitein, Senior Director of Liberty & National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice.
Goitein said some federal agencies are finding loopholes around a 2018 Supreme Court ruling that requires law enforcement officials to get a warrant to access your cell phone location history.
“The court reasoned that this information can reveal the most intimate details about someone’s life, associations, habits, even their beliefs.” Said Goitein. “Moreover there really nothing voluntary about sharing this information because cell phones aren’t optional in modern society.”
Moving these agencies and others out of D.C. and into communities would give them a better understanding of the people they regulate.
UPDATE 5.2.22: The Biden administration’s abysmal approval ratings are the results of its complete disregard for the will of the American people it purports to represent. Inside the Washington, D.C. bubble, Biden’s secretaries, aides, and advisers have little contact with real Americans. Perhaps they could benefit from a plan devised by Victor Davis Hanson back in 2018 that would put them on the front lines of America, so to speak.
Originally posted on May 21, 2018.
Back in February there was the predictable uproar over President Trump’s allegedly belittling some underdeveloped countries by calling them “sh**holes:” Shortly after the fuss, Victor Davis Hanson suggested ways to help counter the disparaging remark offensive to many elites. Starting with:
Relocate the United Nations to an underdeveloped nation.
Relocating the U.N. to a capital such as Port-au-Prince, Tripoli, or Kampala would prove that such places are unduly underappreciated and surprisingly wonderful cities from which to conduct international governance.
Liberals treasure the United Nations. Conservatives don’t trust its often anti-democratic and anti-American tenor. So why not split the difference by staying in the United Nations but, after 66 years of a New York headquarters, finally allowing another country a chance at hosting the U.N.?
Mr. Hanson has more suggestions for dispersing power amongst the hoi polloi. Washington elites, he notes, often wax eloquently in the abstract. “But rarely in the concrete do they live with those they purport to care about.”
Washington, D.C., is often considered out of touch, both politically and geographically, with the rest of America. Given Washington’s huge number of federal workers, why not disperse at least some of its agencies westward to ensure demographic diversity?
Transferring the Department of Agriculture to, say, Topeka or Fresno would allow bureaucrats far more intimacy with the farmers they regulate.
Putting the Department of the Interior in Salt Lake City would make practical sense, given that the federal government owns about half the land of eleven coterminous Western states, including Utah.
Either Houston or Bismarck would be a seemingly ideal spot for the Department of Energy. Texas and North Dakota will be at the cutting edge of new gas and oil development for generations.
Youngstown and Flint seem like perfect locales for the Department of Labor and the Department of Commerce. These Rust Belt cities played historic roles in America’s industrialization and are in dire need of outside investment and attention.
Moving some of these departments westward would help reduce Washington’s congestion as well as the soaring cost of living in the nation’s capital. Why not bring the administrative state closer to those it administers and expose bureaucratic fantasies to pragmatic realities?
Breaking up Washington’s monopoly on power would also diminish the leapfrogging careerism of professional Washington bureaucrats and politicians. Often, they spend their lives crisscrossing capital boulevards between jobs at bureaucracies and nearby lobbying firms. Government certainly needs fresh faces and diversity.
Read more from Victor Davis Hanson here.
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