Small Business

Obama Wants to Merge Some Agencies, Steal Power from Congress

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There's been some anxious vomiting on the Internet recently about a speech last Friday, in which President Barack Obama announced his intention to seek the power from Congress to merge separate federal agencies.

[The government] has often grown more complicated and sometimes more confusing. I'll give you a few examples. There are five different entities dealing with housing. There more than a dozen dealing with food safety…as it turns out, the Interior Department is in charge of salmon in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them in salt water.

(Watch the video of Obama's speech to small business owners.)

Despite mentioning the above redundancies, the initial proposal addressed only departments having to do with trade and commerce. Soon afterward Management and Budget Director for Management Jeff Zients gurgled hints about merging the food agencies as well. Obama acknowledged that Presidents Hoover through Reagan (PBUH) had this power as well and promised to "only use this authority for reforms that result in more efficiency, better service, and a leaner government," but something's still, well, fishy.

The trade and commerce agency merger isn't actually likely to reduce inefficiency, debt, or confusion. Some circus-types have even made crystal ball predictions about the administration's secret intention to dismantle the Small Business Administration (SBA) altogether and thereby destroy the economy, lead to the extinction of freshwater salmon, split the moon, and maybe even let the terrorists win. So why would Obama want to possess this terrible power? A handy rule of thumb: Any time a government official does something that appears to be totally asinine and unnecessary on the surface, there's probably a behind-the-scenes deal that explains the whole thing.

A clue lies in plans to move the head of the SBA to the Cabinet, where she'll be personally accountable to the president alone. According to the proposal, Congress will give an up-or-down vote on the mergers, but the power to actually do the merging will now be executive. If the executive gets this power back, it sets a precedent by which he or she could make more bids for yet more powers over yet more agencies.

Read more about the U.S. business environment, downsizing the government, and mergers.

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  1. Are we sure the Obama Administration isn’t proposing to consolidate all the various states’ agencies into one federal agency?

    1. Let’s merge all of the government into one guy. Streamlined, efficient, and a major cost-cutting measure to boot.

      1. You all did see that on the Lupercal
        I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
        Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?

        1. Dude, ambition should be made of sterner stuff than some guy riding a unicorn.

          1. He made it to President of the US. I think his ambition is made of whatever it takes to get to the top.

            1. President? Ha! If he were any good, he’s be emperor already. Loooosssser.

  2. Any time a government official does something that appears to be totally asinine and unnecessary on the surface, there’s probably a behind-the-scenes deal that explains the whole thing.

    Transparency, biotches.

  3. Devolving Congressional powers to the executive branch? Where’s that permitted in the Constitution?

    1. Creating/merging Cabinet agencies isn’t in the Constitution.

      1. Well, if the power is anywhere, it is in Article I, Section 8, which is clearly the domain of the legislative branch.

        1. Cabinet agencies are in the executive branch and would be covered under Article II Section 2

  4. Authorization for Useless Merging of Fiefdoms

  5. The trade and commerce agency merger isn’t actually likely to reduce inefficiency, debt, or confusion.

    It should make for some interesting turf wars within this newly mergered agency.

    But what am I saying? Our bureaucrats would never be so petty as to squabble over money and power and titles. They only have the public’s best interests at heart.

  6. I certainly don’t disagree with the premise of eliminating redundancies and inefficiencies. But if it’s so obvious, why not submit a bill proposing the changes he wants? Surely that would have widespread bipartisan support to organize the Federal govt’s house better. Even if the cost savings isn’t that significant, the ease of complying with regulations across multiple departments would be with clearer assignment of duties.

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