Industrial Progress Policy Marches On


President Bush has nominated Kellogg CEO Carlos "Froot Loops" Gutierrez, a Cuban emigre, to head up the Department of Commerce.

Which brings to mind Reason's 1987 Q&A with the then-chairman of the guvmint's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a guy by the name of Clarence Thomas.

Why do you need a Department of Labor, why do you need a Department of Agriculture, why do you need a Department of Commerce? You can go down the whole list—you don't need any of them, really.

Such heretical ideas were common 10 years ago, when Republican revolutionaries first stormed the House of Representatives vowing to abolish Commerce and other federal agencies. But now, we're on our own to ponder the Great Questions, such as: "Um, what does the Dept. of Commerce do again?" Bloomberg News gamely points out that it's

a Cabinet agency of 40,000 people, which compiles economic data, monitors the weather, helps administer the airwaves and adjudicates trade complaints against products such as shrimp from Thailand, lumber from Canada and hand trucks from China.

Well, somebody's gotta monitor that damned weather. Godspeed, Carlos!