Buddy, gonna shut you down

By now, no one takes the threat of a “government shutdown” seriously, and it’s not hard to see why:

[W]hat “services” does the federal government provide that a majority of Americans would agree to classify as “essential?”

National defense? Well, yes, I think we could get majority concurrence on that one. But what others? The Postal Service is autonomous today. The interstate highway system pretty much “serves” us without need for human supervision, despite the occasional pothole. Would anyone much care whether the alphabet agencies were furloughed in their entirety? How about the staffs of our elected federal legislators? Surely the 535 elected nostrum-spouters in the Capitol could go without their regularly scheduled tongue baths for a few days without soiling their diapers, no?

Not according to Washington’s definition of “essential.” In Washingtonese, it appears to mean “whatever we choose to do, regardless of whether it benefits anyone but ourselves.”

I suspect that extra Necessity Points are scored by The New York Times:

President Trump has filled far fewer top jobs in cabinet or cabinet-level agencies than President Barack Obama had at this point in his presidency.

An infographic follows, and then:

This is largely because Mr. Trump has been exceptionally slow in nominating people to serve in leadership positions below the secretary level, according to a New York Times analysis. Mr. Trump has announced 38 percent of these positions, compared with 78 percent for Mr. Obama over the same period.

The implication is that Mr. Trump is, at best, inattentive to this particular duty.

Now: what government functions are failing for lack of high-level personnel?

Send me a postcard if you can think of one. Our autonomous Postal System will get it to me.


  1. McG »

    31 July 2017 · 10:48 am

    Trump may be savvy enough to grasp that any political appointee will be dependent on, and therefore somewhat limited by, the permanent managerial bureaucracy.

    Official Washington nevertheless values these jobs because they’re profitable payoffs to the ruling class, and because they help to insulate the PMB from scrutiny and accountability. “Why couldn’t he and his people change anything?” “They’re useless! Vote ’em all out!” “But it’s those entrenched bureaucrats that are responsible!” “Go peddle your papers!”

  2. Roger O Green »

    1 August 2017 · 8:48 am

    I get the impression that the positions not filled in the State Dept fall in the category of What we don’t know CAN hurt us.

  3. Holly H »

    1 August 2017 · 8:48 am

    “Savvy” could be used to describe someone like Mitch McConnell (with whom I disagree 100%, but yeah, he’s smart). “Savvy” for Trump? Not so much.

    ha ha. I looked up McConnell’s spelling, just to be sure, and one of the top auto-fills was “mitch mcconnell turtle”. Poor Mitch.

  4. CGHill »

    1 August 2017 · 10:01 am

    I await the day when there’s 99 senators, and Mitch ain’t one.

  5. ETat »

    2 August 2017 · 6:24 am

    I truly hope this is intentional, as in “it’s a feature, not a bug”.

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