Trump almost got to the heart of the matter before his Presidency was ended. By Jeffrey Tucker.
The administrative state for the better part of a century, and really dating back to the Pendleton Act of 1883, has designed policy, made policy, structured policy, implemented policy, and interpreted policy while operating outside the control of Congress, the president, and the judiciary.
The gradual rise of this 4th branch of government — which is very much the most powerful branch — has reduced the American political process to mere theater as compared with the real activity of government, which rests with the permanent bureaucracy.
Any new president can hire the heads of agencies and they can hire staff, which are known as political appointees. These 4,000 political appointees ostensibly rule 432 agencies (as listed by the Federal Register) as well as some 2.9 million employees (aside from the military and postal service) that effectively inhabit permanent jobs. This permanent state — sometimes called the deep state — knows the ropes and the processes of government far better than any temporary political appointee, thus reducing the appointed jobs to cosmetic positions for the press to hound while the real actions of government take place behind the scenes.
From 2020 and onward, the American people got to know this administrative state well. They ordered us to wear masks. They deployed their influence to close small businesses and churches. They limited how many people we could have in our homes. They festooned our businesses with plexiglass and told everyone to stay six-feet apart. They demanded two weeks of quarantine when crossing state borders. They decided which medical procedures were elective and non-elective. And they finally demanded compliance with vaccine mandates at the penalty of job loss.
None of this was ordered by legislation. It was all invented on the spot by the permanent staff of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We had no idea they had such power. But they do. And that same power which allowed those egregious attacks on rights and liberties also belongs to the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Labor, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Homeland Security, and all the rest.
Donald Trump eventually figured it out:
Donald Trump came into office with the promise of draining the swamp, without understanding entirely what that meant. He gradually came to realize that he had no control over most of the affairs of government, not because he had no patience for the legislative process but because he had no ability to terminate the employment of most of the civilian bureaucracy.
Nor could his political appointees control it. The media, he gradually came to realize, echoed the priorities and concerns of this administrative state due to long-established relationships that led to nonstop leaks that spread false information. …
Following the lockdowns of mid-March 2020, Trump became increasingly frustrated with the CDC and Anthony Fauci in particular. Trump was profoundly aware that he had no power to fire the man, despite his epicly terrible role in prolonging Covid lockdowns long after Trump wanted to open up to save the American economy and society.
Trump’s next step was radical and brilliant: the creation of a new category of federal employment. It was called Schedule F.
Employees of the federal government classified as Schedule F would have been subject to control by the elected president and other representatives. …
Schedule F employees would be fired. “You’re fired” was the slogan that made Trump TV famous. With this order, he would be in a position to do the same to the federal bureaucracy. …
The Washington Post in an editorial expressed absolute shock and alarm at the implications … comment[ing] ominously: “Mr. Trump will try to realize his sad vision in his second term, unless voters are wise enough to stop him.”
Biden was declared the winner due mostly to mail-in ballots.
On January 21, 2021, the day after inauguration, Biden reversed the order. It was one of his first actions as president. …
What any non-globalist government MUST do first thing it is elected — change the law so bureaucrats can all be sacked, immediately.
Fully 88% of employees would have been newly classified as Schedule F, thus allowing the president to terminate their employment.
This would have been a revolutionary change, a complete remake of Washington, DC, and all politics as usual.
Trump’s EO 13957 was a dagger aimed directly at the heart of the beast. It might have worked.
It would have gotten us closer to the restoration of a Constitutional system of government in which we have 3 – not 4 – branches of government that are wholly controlled by the people’s representatives. It would have gone a long way toward gutting the administrative state of its power and returning the affairs of state to the people’s control.
The action was stopped dead due to the election results.
Whatever one’s view of Trump, one has to admire the brilliance of this executive order. It shows that Trump had come to understand the problem and actually innovate a fundamental solution, or at least the beginnings of one. The “deep state” as we’ve come to know it would have been curbed …
Should a genuinely reformist president ever take office, this executive order must be issued on the very first day. Trump waited too long but that mistake need not be repeated.
Did the deep state rig the election, as an act of self preservation? Seems that way. Mortal combat.
hat-tip Scott of the Pacific