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Author Topic: Bureaucracy and Regulations in action: The Fourth Branch of the US Govt.  (Read 38343 times)
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #150 on: January 26, 2017, 01:08:28 PM »

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/josh-rogin/wp/2017/01/26/the-state-departments-entire-senior-management-team-just-resigned/?utm_term=.f5b77937289b&wpisrc=nl_most&wpmm=1
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ccp
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« Reply #151 on: January 26, 2017, 01:20:50 PM »

On the face of it this is a good thing.  They seemed politicized anyway.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #152 on: January 26, 2017, 05:55:21 PM »

Team Trump has-- surprise!-- a different version from WaPo:

http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2017/01/26/fake-news-media-reports-state-dept-mass-resignation-officials-actually-fired/
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #153 on: February 08, 2017, 11:10:55 PM »

If I remember correctly, the CFPB is funded by the fines it levies?!  Not sure how this passes Constitutional muster (i.e. it is beyond Congress's power of the purse) but apparently SCOTUS ruled it does.

===============================================

How We’ll Stop a Rogue Federal Agency
Congress can defund Elizabeth Warren’s unaccountable and unconstitutional CFPB.
President Obama, Elizabeth Warren and Richard Cordray, July 18, 2011.
President Obama, Elizabeth Warren and Richard Cordray, July 18, 2011. Photo: Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
By Jeb Hensarling
Feb. 8, 2017 6:43 p.m. ET
97 COMMENTS

The Obama presidency placed no greater burden on America’s growth potential than the avalanche of regulations that smother the U.S. economic system. The most destructive and dangerous of the new regulatory bureaucracies created by the Democrat-dominated 111th Congress is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The CFPB stands with ObamaCare as a crowning “achievement” of Mr. Obama’s transformation of America. With unprecedented automatic funding provided directly by the Federal Reserve, the agency is unanswerable to anyone. Democrats chose to insulate it from Congress, the president, voters and the democratic process. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia noted as much in its recent PHH v. CFPB decision, which ruled the bureau’s governing structure unconstitutional. The court said the unelected CFPB director “enjoys more unilateral authority than any other officer in any of the three branches of government of the U.S. Government, other than the President.”

The CFPB is arguably the most powerful, least accountable agency in U.S. history. CFPB zealots have the power to determine the “fairness” of virtually every financial transaction in America. The agency defines its own powers and can launch investigations without cause, imposing virtually any fine or remedy, devoid of due process. It requires lenders essentially to read their clients’ minds, know and weigh their clients’ comprehension levels, and forecast future risk. It can compel the production of reams of data and employ methodologies that “infer” harm without finding any specific instance of harm or knowing violation.

The regulatory web spun by the CFPB can make every provider of financial services guilty until proven innocent, inviting selective enforcement and financial shakedowns. The CFPB is the embodiment of James Madison’s warning in Federalist No. 47 that “the accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive and judiciary, in the same hands . . . may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”

This tyranny has harmed the very consumers it purports to help. Since the CFPB’s advent, the number of banks offering free checking has drastically declined, while many bank fees have increased. Mortgage originations and auto loans have become more expensive for many Americans.

No corner of American finance is beyond the CFPB’s grasp, even auto dealers—which are specifically excluded from its jurisdiction by the Dodd-Frank Act. To dodge this legal constraint, the CFPB regulates auto dealers through enforcement “bulletins” on auto lenders, employing statistical analysis rather than specific acts to charge lenders with discriminatory lending. The race of borrowers is inferred based on the borrowers’ names and home addresses. Through this ruse they smear and shake down lenders.

The House in 2015 voted 332-96—with 88 Democrats in support—to force the CFPB to rescind its auto-lending guidance. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the intellectual mother of the CFPB, led Senate Democrats’ opposition to the bipartisan bill. This is a sign the 52-member Senate Republican majority probably will be unable to overcome Democrat filibusters on legislation limiting the CFPB’s powers.

President Trump should immediately fire CFPB Director Richard Cordray, citing the president’s constitutional responsibility to take care that the laws are faithfully executed. A new director could first undo all harmful actions taken by the CFPB during the Obama era. He could then implement policies that actually benefit consumers, such as limits on class-action lawsuits wherein plaintiff law firms get fortunes but injured financial consumers get pennies.

The CFPB could also protect Americans from government abuses. A new director could penalize government bond issuers that fail to disclose unfunded pension liabilities. It could also put an end to government accounting and solvency standards that, if adopted by private companies, would result in fines or a firm’s closure.

Yet even with good policy, the CFPB would still be unconstitutional. For those who reject Sen. Warren’s view that the ends justify the means, the agency must be functionally terminated. Consumer protection can instead come through an accountable and constitutional process.

The Senate can achieve this with a simple majority vote. Dodd-Frank requires the Fed to fund all CFPB budget requests automatically—creating an estimated $6.6 billion funding stream over the next 10 years. Under a budget process known as reconciliation, the House Financial Services Committee, which I chair, and the Senate Banking Committee could be mandated to save $6.6 billion over 10 years of the budget. In the ensuing reconciliation bill the two committees could then direct the Fed to terminate CFPB funding. Senate Democrats could not filibuster the bill.

Congress could then transfer the CFPB’s consumer protection role to the Federal Trade Commission or back to traditional banking regulators, where it resided before the CFPB’s creation. A Senate point of order requiring 60 votes could be brought against these provisions, on the ground that they don’t belong in a reconciliation bill. The advantage of putting the restructuring language in the reconciliation bill is that if Democrats use the point of order to strike the language, they—not Republicans—would have elected to end all CFPB funding, leaving the new system of consumer financial protection to be decided in future legislation.

When Democrats sought to take consumer protection outside the democratic process, consumers were harmed by a reduction in competition. With fewer lenders serving fewer borrowers, fewer businesses employed fewer workers. A healthy economy is the first casualty of any war on credit, and a loan denied becomes a job lost. The CFPB has eroded freedom, trampled due process and killed jobs. It must go.

Mr. Hensarling, a Texas Republican, is chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #154 on: February 09, 2017, 10:35:23 AM »

Using this thread to chronicle bureaucratic resistance:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/state-department-dissent-believed-largest-ever-formally-lodged-1485908373?mod=social_content_eng
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #155 on: February 09, 2017, 10:41:16 AM »

second post of the day:

OF COURSE IT DOES: Gravy Train Flows Wide And Deep At Elizabeth Warren’s Consumer Agency.

The Senate majority and minority leaders are paid $193,000 annually. Two hundred and one CFPB employees outdo Sens. Mitch McConnell and Charles Schumer in pay.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan of Wisconsin receives $223,000 per year, but that’s less than what 54 CFPB employees are paid.

Another 170 CFPB employees earn more than the secretaries of defense and state, the attorney general and the director of national intelligence. All cabinet salaries are capped at $199,700, but not at the bureau. Thirty-nine CFPB employees earn more than the $230,000 paid to Vice President Mike Pence.

A total of 198 CFPB employees also earn more than their ultimate boss, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellin, who is paid $201,700.

Overall, 449 CFPB employees get at least $100,000 per year and 228 CFPB are paid more than $200,000, according to publicly available 2016 data.

These findings are part of a Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group salary analysis for the consumer agency that was founded by Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and then-President Barack Obama in 2011. The agency was created under the Dodd-Frank Act to serve as a consumer agency protecting the poor against financial fraud.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #156 on: February 12, 2017, 02:30:13 PM »

If I have it right, Trump is in the process of reversing the regs under Dodd-Franks that protect not-so-bright consumers from the predations of short term loan operations.  John Oliver did a segment on this that impressed me, so it looks like I am about to be unhappy with this development-- which plays right into the Dem playbook I might add.
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G M
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« Reply #157 on: February 12, 2017, 06:08:08 PM »

If I have it right, Trump is in the process of reversing the regs under Dodd-Franks that protect not-so-bright consumers from the predations of short term loan operations.  John Oliver did a segment on this that impressed me, so it looks like I am about to be unhappy with this development-- which plays right into the Dem playbook I might add.

Ah, we can't live without the nanny state, can we?

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ccp
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« Reply #158 on: February 12, 2017, 06:22:28 PM »

https://www.wired.com/2017/02/trumps-gifts-wall-street-threaten-retirees-robots/

Robot financial advisors working in the best interests of clients?

But who is running the robots

CD writes:
"John Oliver did a segment on this that impressed me, so it looks like I am about to be unhappy with this development-- which plays right into the Dem playbook I might add."

It sure sounds like we will have our first trillion dollar market cap companies.  And our first 100 billion net worth individuals during Trump.  Will this work for the pions like me?  We will see.
Many middle class people are not getting a dime in tax savings .
And we still have the what 40 something % who pay none.


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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #159 on: February 12, 2017, 11:51:06 PM »

GM:  See if you can find the John Oliver show on this, then tell me what you think.
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G M
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« Reply #160 on: February 13, 2017, 12:24:42 AM »

If I have it right, Trump is in the process of reversing the regs under Dodd-Franks that protect not-so-bright consumers from the predations of short term loan operations.  John Oliver did a segment on this that impressed me, so it looks like I am about to be unhappy with this development-- which plays right into the Dem playbook I might add.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4U2eDJnwz_s

Was this it?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #161 on: February 13, 2017, 11:41:10 AM »


Thank you, will watch it later today.

In the meantime, is this a fight we need to undertake now?

Retirement Advice in the Trump Era

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD NYT
FEB. 11, 2017


A federal judge in Texas did President Trump a favor last week. It came in a decision in a case filed by the financial industry against the Labor Department to overturn an Obama-era regulation called the “fiduciary rule,” which requires financial advisers to put their clients’ interests first when giving advice and selling investments for retirement accounts.

The judge, Barbara Lynn, called the plaintiffs’ objections “without merit,” “unpersuasive” and “at odds with market realities.”

If Mr. Trump were smart, he’d see the judge’s decision as a warning that he chose an ill-advised course on Feb. 3, when he sided with Wall Street, and against savers and retirees, by calling for a review and possible rollback of the rule, which is slated to take effect in April. As Judge Lynn’s decision makes clear, the rule is solid, and those behind the rollback effort, which was spearheaded by Gary Cohn, Mr. Trump’s top economic adviser and, until recently, president of Goldman Sachs, would have a difficult time asserting otherwise.
Photo
Gary Cohn at Trump Tower in January. Credit Kevin Hagen for The New York Times

The only rationale for a rollback would be to entrench a status quo in which retirement savers forfeit an estimated $17 billion each year to stockbrokers, insurance agents and other advisers who steer them into high-cost strategies and products when comparable lower-cost options are available.

The fiduciary rule, developed by the Obama Labor Department over years of painstaking analysis and open debate, is a common-sense safeguard with far-reaching consequences. By requiring that advice be prudent and transparent about fees and conflicts of interest, it helps to ensure that the billions of dollars currently siphoned off in overly expensive investments would instead remain with savers and retirees.

The financial industry has argued that the Labor Department has no authority to impose a fiduciary duty on retirement advisers. Citing federal pension law, the courts have found otherwise and have even indicated that the government waited too long to assert its authority. Judge Lynn quoted approvingly from Labor Department research that justified the need for a fiduciary rule by noting that the explosion of 401(k)’s and I.R.A.s in recent decades had shifted decision making responsibility onto individuals, but without updating the regulation of advisers. That mismatch has created a confusing system, in which some advisers adhere to a fiduciary standard and many others don’t, while clients generally assume they are getting advice when they are really getting sales pitches.

Industry foes of the fiduciary rule have also argued that the rule will limit consumer choice. That is true insofar as it will remove conflicted, self-serving advice from the menu of options presented to clients. But that is not a flaw in the rule; it is the rule’s purpose. The courts have found that in crafting the fiduciary rule, regulators reasonably weighed the harm to savers from biased advice against the harm to advisers from the obligation to deliver impartial advice. The result, they said, is a rule that deserves to stand.

The court’s findings will greatly complicate any review of the rule by the Trump administration, because regulators would have to rebut findings that have already withstood legal challenge. And not just any legal challenge. Financial industry groups bent over backward to ensure that their case would be heard in Texas, where courts are seen to be industry-friendly. But even there they lost. That’s because they were wrong, on all counts.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #162 on: February 13, 2017, 05:38:03 PM »

GM:

Maybe this was it:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxUAntt1z2c 
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #163 on: February 13, 2017, 05:44:31 PM »

Nope, this was it  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDylgzybWAw

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G M
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« Reply #164 on: February 14, 2017, 12:35:53 AM »


Yes, we need a nanny state to be sure we always make the right decision.
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ccp
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« Reply #165 on: February 14, 2017, 09:26:20 AM »

Feds control 2/3 of Utah?  Wow !:

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/444864/antiquities-act-outdated-progressive-law-bears-ears-national-monument
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #166 on: February 14, 2017, 09:35:59 AM »

"Nope, this was it  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDylgzybWAw"

"Yes, we need a nanny state to be sure we always make the right decision."

Is that really responsive?

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G M
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« Reply #167 on: February 14, 2017, 12:44:20 PM »

"Nope, this was it  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDylgzybWAw"

"Yes, we need a nanny state to be sure we always make the right decision."

Is that really responsive?



Are payday loans a bad idea? No doubt. Should government use it's power to interfere in a business transaction between adults? Casinos are a bad idea. Las Vegas is a city built on bad math and poor impulse control. Should gaming be allowed?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #168 on: February 14, 2017, 05:49:55 PM »

I get all that.

OTOH there is something about sophisticated loan shark operators fukking those teetering on the edge , , ,
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G M
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« Reply #169 on: February 14, 2017, 06:42:24 PM »

I get all that.

OTOH there is something about sophisticated loan shark operators fukking those teetering on the edge , , ,

There are all sorts of bad financial choices made by the underclass, out of wedlock births are much more profoundly negative. Should the power of the state perform shotgun marriages?
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DougMacG
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« Reply #170 on: February 14, 2017, 07:03:47 PM »

I get all that.

OTOH there is something about sophisticated loan shark operators fukking those teetering on the edge , , ,

Let's say there should be a legal limit on the financial rape of those  desperate with bad credit, what should the law be?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #171 on: February 14, 2017, 07:45:23 PM »

How about starting with super simple disclosure of the annualized rate?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #172 on: February 15, 2017, 01:08:31 AM »

http://www.dickmorris.com/trump-demand-fiduciary-duty-retirement-counseling-lunch-alert/?utm_source=dmreports&utm_medium=dmreports&utm_campaign=dmreports
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DougMacG
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« Reply #173 on: February 15, 2017, 06:01:16 AM »

How about starting with super simple disclosure of the annualized rate?

Agreed. Disclose the interest rate in font as big as your name, on the front page . I would be surprised to learn there isn't already a requirement, pre-feuxcahontas, for basic consumer loan disclosure as there is with mortgages.

Makes sense that to charge and collect interest you need to provide a reasonably clear contract.

And how about the other side of this? People with bad credit are doing what? Taking products and services from people and stores without paying by the agreed terms. Repo is the car dealers fault?? Taken as a group, this is RICO level organized crime and Bernie Madoff level fraud.  Does anybody care about that?

As a landlord might say to a normal person, have YOU ever made someone go to court to get you out of a place you aren't paying for? Have you ever moved out of a place and left all the doors and windows broken? Have you had eight or 10 car purchases in a row end in repo? If this kind of thing isn't illegal, maybe it ought to be.  Why does government protection have to be one-sided?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #174 on: February 15, 2017, 02:49:45 PM »

"As a landlord might say to a normal person, have YOU ever made someone go to court to get you out of a place you aren't paying for? Have you ever moved out of a place and left all the doors and windows broken? Have you had eight or 10 car purchases in a row end in repo? If this kind of thing isn't illegal, maybe it ought to be.  Why does government protection have to be one-sided?"

A fair point!

That said, isn't this sort of thing revealed in the credit check you run on prospective tenants?  Or filtered out in great part by requiring first and last month, etc.?

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DougMacG
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« Reply #175 on: February 15, 2017, 04:17:28 PM »

A fair point!

That said, isn't this sort of thing revealed in the credit check you run on prospective tenants?  Or filtered out in great part by requiring first and last month, etc.?

The Tesla dealership and the salesman of new construction in Palo Alto can weed out the riff raff but a good part of America has to deal with the people as they come in.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #176 on: March 10, 2017, 08:12:54 PM »

http://thefederalistpapers.org/us/irs-refuses-plea-to-take-fraud-recommendation?utm_source=FBLC&utm_medium=FB&utm_campaign=LC
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #177 on: April 03, 2017, 04:03:46 PM »

https://pjmedia.com/trending/2017/04/02/the-va-secretary-himself-is-now-calling-for-va-accountability/
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #178 on: April 13, 2017, 07:02:30 AM »

A New Slogan for Trump: ‘You’re Hired’
Leaving jobs vacant only empowers career bureaucrats, without saving much money.
Signing an executive order in the White House, March 13.
Signing an executive order in the White House, March 13. Photo: nicholas kamm/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
By Karl Rove
April 12, 2017 6:35 p.m. ET
11 COMMENTS

President Donald Trump bragged on Fox News in February that it was a good thing he was leaving vacant “hundreds and hundreds of jobs” in the government. “A lot of those jobs, I don’t want to appoint,” the president said, “because they’re unnecessary to have.”

The problem is the federal government had roughly 2,633,000 civilian employees in 2014, according to the Office of Personnel Management. There are so many federal workers that the OPM is still calculating the official number for the past two years. No president can run a government that vast with tweets and executive orders.

Mr. Trump needs allies in key positions if he wants to bend the bureaucracy in the direction of his policies. A president can fill about 4,000 posts in the federal bureaucracy, roughly a quarter of which require Senate approval. Leaving hundreds of offices vacant would save only negligible amounts on salaries, and it would squander billions on unneeded government programs.
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He needs his people in every nook and cranny to bring about change. Without their leadership, career civil servants will default to inaction. Even at the departments where careerists might be inclined to support Mr. Trump’s agenda—Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security and Treasury—they won’t move without specific direction from under, assistant and deputy secretaries.

The president’s agenda will face even tougher sledding if he leaves openings in hostile bureaucracies like the Environmental Protection Agency and Labor and Education departments. He needs to put his 4,000 appointees in place to lead the other 2.6 million federal workers in implementing his vision.

These appointees can help identify waste, fraud, abuse and ineffective programs in the bureaucracies where they work. They are critical to getting their departments’ regulatory functions executed properly. They are vital to selling Mr. Trump’s legislative initiatives to Congress and the public.

Leaving vacancies invites potentially embarrassing problems. If something goes wrong, the bureaucracy could blame the absence of leadership, leaving President Trump to take the heat. Cabinet secretaries could become overwhelmed trying to manage their massive departments with only a handful of personal aides. That leads to mistakes, burnout and unnecessary turnover.

It takes time for a new administration to get organized, and even more to get agencies going in the right direction. But this White House has been staffing the government at a snail’s pace. To make his term the most successful it can be, Mr. Trump should make filling key jobs a priority, built into his daily duties.

The White House chief of staff should triage the empty billets and identify the ones to fill immediately. To expedite the process, he should call regular personnel meetings with the major West Wing players. If they don’t show up for a meeting, they forfeit the right to comment on that day’s slots. Otherwise the appointments will be mired by internecine warfare.

The president should mark regular time on his schedule to discuss personnel and conduct interviews for high-profile positions. The president’s itinerary is already packed, but adding these tasks would send a clear message about their importance. These meetings can be canceled if necessary, but having something on his calendar tends to force action.

The president should also think about outsourcing part of some personnel decisions. He’s been reluctant to do that, and aides have reportedly spiked candidates who criticized him during the campaign. But outsourcing went extremely well with his Supreme Court pick. Perhaps he should grant his cabinet secretaries leeway to recommend several qualified possibilities for certain posts, leaving the president to decide if they’re acceptable.

Mr. Trump developed a company worth billions with a small cadre of longtime aides and family members, which is impressive. But negotiating branding agreements, purchasing buildings, developing hotels, building golf courses—even hosting a reality television show—is not comparable to the pressure and pace of overseeing the U.S. government.

The president sits atop a government with a $4 trillion budget, leading a country with an $18.6 trillion economy and 324 million people. Surely Mr. Trump can find 4,000 qualified stalwarts among them to help him before his first year in office ends. The fate of his presidency may depend upon it.

Mr. Rove helped organize the political-action committee American Crossroads and is the author of “The Triumph of William McKinley ” (Simon & Schuster, 2015).
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #179 on: April 13, 2017, 09:23:18 AM »

second post

April 12, 2017 7:07 p.m. ET
WSJ

Now we know one reason Democrats blocked President Trump’s first nominee to be secretary of Labor: The bureaucracy is in open rebellion against the new President’s directives. The casus belli is the fiduciary rule, the attempt by Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez to rewrite the rules for offering investment advice. The rule was supposed to go into effect Monday.

Proponents argued that the new rule would raise the standards for advice given to retirement investors. In reality, it would make that advice more expensive while opening up another lucrative vein for the plaintiffs bar. In anticipation of the rule, some financial firms have already announced they are dropping their business for these small investors.  (MARC:  IIRC the idea is that the advisors would need to have fiduciary obligations to the advised?  Is this a bad thing?)

That’s one reason President Trump last month directed the Labor Department to review the rule. Specifically, the President asked Labor to investigate whether the rule is likely to reduce access to retirement-savings vehicles or related financial advice, whether the rule has caused disruptions in the industry that may harm retirees and investors, and whether it will lead to more lawsuits. If a review determines any of these things had happened, the department is to propose revising or abolishing the rule.

So what was the Labor response? Last week the holdovers from the Obama Administration announced that “the Department has concluded it would be inappropriate to broadly delay application of the fiduciary definition and Impartial Conduct Standards.”

Translation: We don’t care what an elected President says.

The Perez loyalists know that Mr. Trump’s second nominee, Alex Acosta, hasn’t been confirmed and will take time to settle in once he is. The review of the fiduciary rule won’t be completed for months, and the rule is being challenged in court. By refusing to delay implementation of the rule in its entirety, the bureaucracy hopes to entrench its main features so it will be too late or too costly or too difficult to do anything about it, even if a review ultimately concludes it was a mistake.

The slow pace of Trump nominations has encouraged this kind of rebellion across the executive branch, as Obama holdover Sally Yates showed when she still ran the Justice Department. Mr. Trump’s deregulation project is one of the keys to faster economic growth, and he needs his people on the job as fast as possible.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #180 on: April 13, 2017, 10:07:59 AM »

(MARC:  IIRC the idea is that the advisers would need to have fiduciary obligations to the advised?  Is this a bad thing?)

There are two sides to that argument.  Whether or not it is a good thing is one question, but whether or not this is MAJOR federal government legislation that ought to be argued and decided through the legislative branch for executive signature, constitutional process rather central planning politburo, is another thing.

Fiduciary responsibility sounds good but what it changes is the nature of who can sue whom for what.   Let's say you are a middle income earner and among a range of investments available at the start of the year 2000 your investment adviser leads a little too heavily into the best performing sector of the last 3 years, like some nice tech stocks like Lucent, Cisco, Nortel and JDSU, and the market collapses as it did.  When the world's greatest R&D company stock went from 160 to 2 as you owned it, maybe you don't lose money because you can sue your adviser who should have known with such obvious hindsight that this was in a position to fall heavily, he or she should have known that, and it was far too great a risk to be offered to this client.  And the jury agreed.

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