Even people from Hollywood every once in a while have a moment of clarity. That came during the 1993 movie "Dave." In the movie we get exactly what Trump faces and what we hope he confronts.
Dave was played by the ever hysterical Kevin Kline. He happens to be a double for the sitting President who has a stroke. (You anti-Trumpers don’t even think about that being the point of the column.) Until the real president recovers the aides to him have Dave step in and start running the government hoping he will be a marionette for them. Dave has some other ideas.
Dave brought in his personal CPA, Murray Blum played by Charles Grodin, to take a look at the federal books. Dave asked Murray to help him cut the budget $650 million. Dave, as President, asks for two copies of the budget.
In what I would consider the penultimate scene in the movie, Murray is seen saying to his client “I’ll tell you Dave I’ve been over this stuff a bunch of times; it just doesn’t add up. Who does these books? If I ran my business this way I would be out of business.”
Let’s face it, our government is a mess. It tries to do too many things and doesn’t do very many of these competently. It has intervened in areas that we don’t want our government to be focused on and/or our state or municipal government should be providing those services. None of the current cast of characters in Washington have appeared interested in actually downsizing the federal government and making it more efficient.
Those who read this column regularly know that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) announced that in 2015 that $136.7 billion was made in improper payments. That was $30 billion more than in 2013. The report from the GAO did not cite what they were doing to remedy the problem. Instead the Obama administration actually touted the fact that 95.61% of the payments they made were correct.
Here is the simple question that has already popped into your mind – if they know these are improper payments why can’t they fix them? Why do they continue on and actually grow? Could it be no one cares? Could it be it is time for a fresh look by outsiders? Where are you Murray Blum?
Or remember in the third presidential debate when Ms. Clinton was deflecting from the various revelations from WikiLeaks and made the claim that 17 security agencies had found that the Russians were doing the hacking. Mr. Trump did not offer the correct response. The correct response would have been “Why on earth do we have 17 security agencies? What a dysfunctional operation we are running. We have 17 security agencies that seem to be able to figure out the Russians are doing this hacking and not one can stop them from doing it. That folks says it all.”
As I have stated before in the mid-‘90s Republicans disbanded 100 federal bureaus and commissions. For years I asked people if they missed any of them and the answer was no. I then suggested why don’t we try another hundred?
Here is one to start with – The Bureau of Indian Affairs. This organization gives every appearance that they have only one desire: destroy Native Americans lives. Read Naomi Schaefer Riley’s brilliant work The Trail of Tears and you can only come to the same conclusion.
Mr. Trump has a tall order in front of him, but I believe he is up to the task. He is different from any president we have ever had. What I have predicted is becoming clear. He is going to be running this like a business. He is going to be what he is – the CEO. Mr. Pence is going to be the COO. He is going to work with the Congress to make it done. They are going to pick personnel to run the various divisions, come to agreement onwhat needs to be done and then set agendas and goals to accomplish just that.
I can see Mr. Trump visiting his various store outlets starting with VA hospitals. He will tour these places and inadequate facilities will be ordered to be fixed. And it will get done. Not like in the past when people said they were working on it while they sat in Washington and told us how they cared for the Vets. And Vets don’t worry, you will be able to go to other hospitals and get service you cannot get timely at the VA.
My hope is that this election will provide us with an opportunity to clean out the deadwood. Get rid of what the Feds should not be doing and focus on what it is authorized to do and should be doing under our national Constitution. Get back to our national core competencies like any business may restructure every now and then.
Unfortunately, we have not been running our government more like a business and it is a confused dysfunctional mess that does a poor job of serving its customers - us. It does almost nothing well. Even Murray Blum figured that out and he was a fictional CPA.