House proposes killing Commerce Department

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In a just released budget resolution, the House budget committee has proposed eliminating the Department of Commerce in an effort to cut costs.

The biggest potential shift from the status quo would be breaking up the $9 billion commerce department. DOC is one of the least-known, and most unloved, of all federal agencies. But it nonetheless oversees a huge scientific portfolio that includes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Census Bureau. Under the heading “options worthy of consideration,” the budget committee suggests moving NOAA to the Department of Interior, placing NIST within NSF, and assigning the Census Bureau, including the massive decennial census, to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Another commerce agency, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, would become an independent agency.

The obvious goal would be to eliminate the expensive upper management positions at Commerce and thus reduce cost. Such changes however are going to face opposition in the privileged science community. While that community has been unable to sustain the growth of its funding in the past decade, it has successfully prevented the elimination of any program or any significant reduction in the science budgets. We shall see if that record will hold in the coming years, with the electorate appearing to steadily shift more and more to the right.

The article, by Science reporter Jeffrey Mervis, also included this wonderful example of yellow journalism:

The proposed budget resolution talks repeatedly of the need to reduce spending and, in particular, curb the clichéd “waste, fraud, and abuse” that is allegedly rampant across the federal government by killing duplicative or unnecessary programs. [emphasis mine]

I’ve noted Mervis’s agenda-driven writing in the past. In the sentence above he illustrates his unreliability as a reporter. For any educated journalist to consider waste and fraud in the federal government to be “alleged” is to be a person either with his head in the sand or having so strong a bias that he is intentionally misreporting the facts. Sadly, in the case of Mervis and many in today’s so-called elite intellectual community, I think it is both.


  • Cotour

    But what the hell is the House doing about this?

    If Hillary becomes president, how far will the government go to further enforce their attack on religious belief and force these organizations to take actions that are as offensive to their religious beliefs as can be? Especially if she is the person to install the next Supreme Court Justice. I remember someone here once saying that they wished Hillary to be the candidate because she would be sooo easy to defeat. As this potential reality approaches it gets scarier and scarier, especially in light of how the Republican leadership is at odds with their foundation.

    And this brings me back around to the charity conundrum post of the other day and finding the line where charity can become dependency. Where that dependency becomes a support system / culture that serves to undermine the generous with those who have an entire counter belief system who would literally destroy them. Is it “moral” to insist that someone participate in birth control in exchange for sustenance in an attempt to limit the expansion of dependency if that person ‘s religion forbids it? Where is the line? Where is the Strategy, and where is the Morality?

    Humans constantly breach the laws of nature, how far and how long can it be pushed before “creative destruction” and collapse is implemented?

  • D. Messier

    There’s no chance of this happening this year, so why does the House waste its precious time on these things? Instead of passing budgets, it passes these resolutions.

    You can’t understand the rise of Trump without understanding that Congress can’t seem to get basic things done like passing budgets. It’s not all Congress’ fault by any means, but they deserve their share of the blame. They’ve voted dozens of times to repeal the health care law, without any hope the president would sign it.

  • Doug,

    I hope you realize how much you sound like a Democratic operative mouthing Democratic talking points on cable television.

    Anyway, passing budgets requires compromise. The Democrats will not give it. If in order to pass budgets the Republicans have to agree to the increasing deficits demanded by Obama and the Democrats, as they have done for the past four years (thus breaking their campaign promises and thereby fueling the rise of Donald Trump), then it is better no budget gets passed.

    Let the country find out how little it really needs this giant behemoth of a government in Washington. It would soon become obvious that we need very little of it, and can probably junk much of it. And if that means some of the government programs I like suffer so be it. We as a nation cannot survive with our present growing debt. We need to get it under control or else nothing will be possible.

  • Edward

    Cotour wrote: “Is it “moral” to insist that someone participate in birth control in exchange for sustenance in an attempt to limit the expansion of dependency if that person ‘s religion forbids it? Where is the line? Where is the Strategy, and where is the Morality?”

    The only reason to suggest birth control in exchange for sustenance is when the dependent has stopped using the safety net as temporary assistance and started using it as a permanent, comfortable hammock. The answer is not to insist upon long term changes that adversely affect religious beliefs, but to assure that able-bodied people do not “milk” the system and return to using the safety net as a temporary protection while they get back on their feet and become independent individuals and families again.

    That we have allowed the abuse of our national charity is one problem; some people have decided that the charity is an entitlement. The growth of government that is another problem. *That* is what leads to the question you ask, Cotour, not the charity itself. Solve the root cause, the hammock, and your concern vaporizes.

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