One of the great conservative disappointments of my lifetime is how the federal government continues to overrun the landscape like kudzu no matter who occupies the White House. Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, didn’t matter: the size and scope of the federal government always seemed to expand, never contract.
Which is why it’s thrilling to find out that the incoming Trump Administration is asking questions about the staffing levels (not to mention details like funding levels and statutory authority) at the Department of Energy.
The Trump Energy Department transition team sent the 74 question memo on Dec. 6. One question asked for a list of all department employees or contractors who have attended meetings on the social cost of carbon, a measurement federal agencies use to weigh the costs and benefits of new energy and environment regulations. Another asked for all publications employees at the DOE’s 17 national laboratories have written in the past three years.
And the DOE is apparently alarmed at actually having to answer to elected officials. Poor babies.
There’s been lots of talk about zeroing in on global warming advocates, but Borepatch noticed that many of the questions are all about the Benjamins:
1. Can you provide a list of all boards, councils, commissions, working groups, and FACAs [Federal Advisory Committees] currently active at the Department? For each, can you please provide members, meeting schedules, and authority (statutory or otherwise) under which they were created?
If I were at DOE, this first question would indeed set MY hair on fire. The easiest way to get rid of something is to show that it was not properly established … boom, it’s gone. As a businessman myself, this question shows me that the incoming people know their business, and that the first order of business is to jettison the useless lumber.
6 The Department recently announced the issuance of $4.5 billion in loan guarantees for electric vehicles (and perhaps associated infrastructure). Can you provide a status on this effort?
Oh, man, they are going for the jugular. Loan Program Office? If there is any place that the flies would gather, it’s around the honey … it’s good to see that they are looking at loan guarantees for electric vehicles, a $4.5 billion dollar boondoggle that the government should NOT be in. I call that program the “Elon Musk Retirement Fund”.
Could a Trump Administration actually downsize the federal government? I don’t want to place too much weight on this strange emotion I tentatively identify as “hope,” especially since Trump isn’t a movement conservative and didn’t exactly make cutting Leviathan the centerpiece of his campaign. But maybe, just maybe, a man famous for firing people, backed up by full Republican control of congress, just might be able to take on the behemoth of ever-expanding bureaucracy…
Update: It looks like Borepatch was quoting Watt’s Up With That and somehow fumbled the linkback for it. The Watt’s Up With That post has a lot more information and a rundown of all the DoE questions.