The people who grow and raise our food – and produce energy that actually, you know, produces energy (coal and petroleum, for instance) – have for decades been under relentless governmental barrage. Laws and endlessly mounting regulations have rendered ever more difficult the lives of anyone who makes their livelihood from the land.
This actually way predates the Barack Obama Administration (though that particular administration dramatically amplified and accelerated the assault). The original sin in this nightmare mess – was most likely the Richard Nixon Administration’s unilateral creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Ever since, it has been the government’s chief weapon of war against private sector activity.
Our farmers, ranchers and energy producers have ever since been targeted by the ridiculous EPA – and abandoned by both political Parties. The Democrats have been doing the assaulting. The Republicans have been doing nothing to stop it – that is, when they’re not actively helping the Democrats in the assaulting.
Then along comes Donald Trump.
Trump consistently campaigned for President against the government outrages visited upon our food and energy producers – and promising to stop them. And after winning, he immediately went to work keeping those promises.
Nigh immediately after being sworn in, Trump froze the EPA’s budget. He ordered a government-wide hiring freeze – in the EPA, and everywhere else. He named longtime anti-EPA litigant Scott Pruitt – as head of the EPA. He approved the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines – necessary components in our petroleum delivery system that have for far too long been hung up by the government. He rescinded crippling regulations Obama emplaced upon the coal industry.
Next: Executive orders undoing EPA over-regulation of electricity generation facilities – and a rollback of the Agency’s unimaginably bad assault of farmers and ranchers known as Waters of the United States (WOTUS).
Let us not roll past WOTUS without some additional reflection. This is a quintessential example of government again and again drastically overreaching. Twice courts (once the Supreme Court) told the EPA they were well outside their legal WOTUS bounds. The EPA cared not – and issued a third overreach. That was substantially worse than the first two.
It was this third overreach that Trump targeted with his order. And farmers, ranchers and private property enthusiasts everywhere rejoiced.
Tonight Trump is addressing a joint session of Congress. In advance, he is announcing his budget priorities. One of them thankfully appears to be – slash the EPAs. And not just their coin – but their complement. Trump wants to cut the Agency’s 15,000+ staff – to about 12,000. About 12,000 too many – but a big step in the right direction. (Huge when one considers that nothing in Washington, D.C. ever does anything but grow.)
Because Trump understands personnel is policy. And that too much personnel – means too much policy. Idle bureaucrat hands being the Devil’s playground. If there are less people – there are less people looking for things to do.
As further evidence of this understanding, this morning on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” Trump said he has no plans to fill hundreds of vacant Administration-appointed positions: “‘(T)hey’re unnecessary to have….What do all these people do? You don’t need all those jobs.’ Trump also says that some are looking to criticize him for eliminating those positions, but he adds, ‘That’s not a bad thing. That’s a good thing. We’re running a very good, efficient government.’”
Indeed it is – a very good thing. Because the leaner the government – the fatter will be the private sector.
The Trump campaign has nigh seamlessly become the Trump Administration – with all of the former’s priorities becoming the latter’s agenda. No hedging, no wavering – full steam ahead. With no signs of diminishment or deviation.
And farmers, ranchers and energy producers everywhere rejoice.
Along with anyone else engaged in any sort of productive work.
This first appeared in Red State.