Monday, July 6, 2009

The tough job of bossing us around

White House officials are so busy wielding vast government power that they barely have time to see their kids! That's the gist of a New York Times human-interest piece, that portrays Obama administration apparatchiks as overburdened by the demands of their ambitious agenda, to the point that their home lives are somewhat neglected. Let me suggest that the bunch of them should punch out and let the policy wish-list gather a bit of dust. It's OK; we'll survive.

Says the Times:

White House advisers often work 60 to 70 hours a week and bear the scars of missed birthdays and bedtimes, canceled dinners and play dates, strained marriages and disgruntled children, all for prestigious posts that offer a chance to make an impact and unparalleled access to the president. At a time when the nation is in recession and at war, the public expects no less, many argue.

Color me unmoved. If access to the latest resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is more important to them than watching their children grow up, that's their choice. Plenty of people in this country work even longer hours out of necessity; when powerful people do so voluntarily, we get an insight into personal preferences, as opposed to hard realities.

And those preferences are clear. The article reveals that Christina Romer, the chair of the Councilof Economic Advisors, made "her first visit to her son’s school this year ... at 10 p.m. on a Friday." And "Peter R. Orszag, the White House budget chief who is a divorced father of two, works so many weekends that he often imports his parents to help care for his 9-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son." White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel apparently squeezed in a swim with his daughters -- at 5 a.m. I'll bet that was quality time.

The implication in the Times piece is that we're supposed to feel sorry for these hard-working public servants.

But what are the apparatchiks working so hard at? Remember, these people work at the highest levels of government. The very essence of their jobs is to wield coercive power against the rest of us, because that's really all that government does. If you want to do (supposedly) good deeds, you start a charity. If you want to force people to support your (supposedly) good deeds, you get the government to pass a law mandating funding for and cooperation with your charity.

Which is to say, government jobs are all about twisting arms.

And what arm-twisting we've seen from Romer, Orszag, Emanuel and company! They've put the previous administration's sailor-on-a-bender spending ways to shame with federal check-cutting that seems to tack on zeros on a dare. That doesn't just pick Americans' pockets now, but binds us to a policy of massive pocket-picking in the future (unless the peasants finally get smart and revolt).

In a move that looks like an attempt to turn the U.S. economy into an industrial museum, they've effectively nationalized a major part -- the least competitive part -- of the automobile industry.

And they're moving toward a policy that would let the federal government apply the efficiencies it brings to mail delivery and train service to the health care system -- whether we want it or not. (Of course, little mentioned is that there are a few revealing laboratory experiments along those lines already).

Oh yes, these public servants really are hard-working, damn them. But hard work can be good or bad, depending on the ends to which it's put. Ultimately, given that government officials work at making people do things they wouldn't otherwise do, and hard-working officials put in overtime at ordering people around, we could probably stand a little less midnight-oil burning in government offices.

Ms. Romer, Mr. Orszag, and the rest of you, your kids need you more than we do. Go home.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

our 'leaders' also don't want us to know the consequences of all this 'bossing'. the democrats just shot down congressman ron pauls bill which would've audited the fed to find out where the hundreds of billions of our tax dollars spent on 'bailouts' went.

in the meantime my postal carrier delivered some of my mail to god knows where or who (again). just got a notice from my credit union i 'missed' the last payment on one of my accounts and heres a bill for about $200 in late fees and interest...sigh...gonna be interesting seeing who gets my mri bill i guess.

July 7, 2009 7:21 AM  
Blogger David Taylor said...

Awesome post!

July 7, 2009 12:10 PM  

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