Donald Trump

Trump's First Week

Four federal departments and one agency that could be shut down first.


Donald Trump will be busy Friday.

He and Mike Pence have promised, Mother Jones magazine points out, that on Trump's first day in office he will repeal Obamacare, end the "war on coal," expel illegal immigrants, begin construction of a "beautiful Southern border wall," fix the Department of Veterans Affairs, come up with a plan to stop ISIS, get rid of "gun-free zones," "start taking care of our … military," withdraw from the TPP trade agreement, cut regulations and designate China a currency manipulator.

OK, much of that was probably just campaign talk. I'm grateful for that. I hope some of it never happens.

But there's a lot of good Trump and Pence could do their first day, or, let's be generous, their first week. How about this?

Monday: Abolish the Department of Commerce.

Trump is a businessman, so he knows that business works best when government stays out of it. Why does America need something called a Commerce Department?

Commerce just happens; it doesn't need a department.

Today the Department of Commerce spends $9 billion a year subsidizing companies with political connections, gathering economic data, setting industry standards and doing a bunch of things companies ought to do for themselves.

Get rid of it.

Tuesday: Abolish the Department of Labor.

The Department inserts itself into almost every protracted argument between workers and management. Why should we let government referee every argument? Let workers, bosses, unions and their lawyers fight it out.

Then people can make contracts as individuals so they can get deals tailored to their individual needs. That's fairer than letting government bureaucrats and labor union bosses pretend to speak for them.

The Labor Department also spends about $9 billion gathering information on workers. Top labor-union bosses make six-figure salaries. I'm sure their organizations could spend a little on statistics and workplace studies. Leave the poor, oppressed taxpayer out of it.

Wednesday: Abolish the Small Business Administration.

I love small businesses and the entrepreneurs who create them.

That's exactly why I don't want them chosen or coddled by the state, just as big corporations shouldn't be. Entrepreneurs should devote their energy to inventing things, not sucking up to bureaucrats who give loans to businesses they favor.

Businesses should sink or swim in accordance with the wishes of customers on the open market.

Thursday: Abolish the Department of Education.

Every time government pokes its nose into some activity, it pretends that activity could never have happened without government. Left-wing activists agree and pretend the sky will fall if anyone got rid of a department.

But we've only had a federal Department of Education since 1980, and it's done nothing useful.

The department doesn't teach kids or pay teachers. It comes up with studies, test requirements, and one-size-fits-all rules that limit what schools can do if they want federal money. That money gets taken from states and shipped to Washington, D.C., which then ships it back to states if they do something the department likes. On that long journey, plenty of the money disappears into the hands of bureaucrats.

Turn education back over to local governments, the way it was not so long ago. Let entrepreneurs and local governments compete to improve schools.

Friday: Abolish the Department of Energy.

Politicians say that America needs "an energy policy." But we have one—the free market. If someone invents a better or cheaper form of energy, the rewards will be huge.

Investors will eagerly fund it. We don't need federal bureaucrats funneling your tax money to their vision of what's best.

When government does that, we get nice-sounding but expensive boondoggles, such as the Solyndra solar company and giant windmills that don't budge on windless days.

Your taxes go to the politically connected, like Al Gore and his friends.

The department's nuclear supervision responsibilities belong in the Department of Defense

Of course, Defense and other parts of government deserve to be cut, too—but I'm patient. That can wait for week two.


NEXT: Chelsea Manning Gets Obama's Mercy, Will Be Freed in May

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  1. Heh. Only problem is getting Congress to pass the bills to abolish those agencies. When push comes to shove, Congress scuttles sideways and puts their hands over their eyes like children pretending the boogie monster under the bed can’t see them if they can’t see it.

    1. Plus congress would have to fulfill their designated role and take responsibility for their actions. Not gonna happen.

    2. “boogie monster”

      John Travolta?

      1. John Wick.

    3. What?? I thought we were living in the pen/phone age?? Don’t we have a system of government where one elected guy does whatever he wants and there’s a room full of old guys somewhere who pretend to have a say in what happens??

      I was pretty sure that was our system of government now.

      1. Dictators gonna dick.

      2. Maybe you haven’t been paying attention but that group of old guys (and a hag or two) will also stamp their feet and gather together to mumble things generally negative about what that one elected guy said or did. And they actually do have a say in what goes on but would never risk being seen as going against the grain ya know. I mean, ya know… if they showed that they did have the authority to do something concrete then whatever the outcome was couldn’t be 100% the fault of that one guy… and where would we be then?

    4. ” Only problem is getting Congress to pass the bills to abolish those agencies.”

      There is little in the universe more permanent than a government program.
      Abolish a Federal Agency? >Not.Going.To.Happen.< due to the nature of elective politics. What is achievable is effectively abolishing the agency via what Scott Adams calls "The way of the weasel". Meaning "eliminate" the agency by slowly defunding it, slowly unwinding its responsibilities and reducing the workforce via non replacement and transfers. Not as much fun as the legal equivalent of taking your TV into your backyard and shooting it with your 12 gauge, but in the end, the same result.

  2. All worthy suggestions, but I would get rid of the EPA before anything else.
    After John’s list I would also abolish NASA, ATF, and the FED.

    1. Those should all be privatized. Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, for instance, should be a retail chain.

      1. Environmental Protection should be a distributor for pesticides and herbicides.

    2. I am increasinly of the opinion that the EPA is to the U.S. what the Department for the Promotion of Virtue and the Supression of Vice is to the Saudis.

      The EPA are the religious police, that impose the diktats of the green religion on an increasingly restive populace.

  3. Monday: Abolish the Department of Commerce.

    Then we wouldn’t have any more commerce! What a terrible idea.


    1. /narrows gaze.

      /unnarrows gaze.

      ‘Tis not. ‘Tis not.

      /angrily rips off top of muffin and flings it to the ground.

      1. I imagined that being said in Art Bell’s voice.

  5. Will Trump abolish the AM links since Reason seems to hold little reverence for it?

    Or will he do like the trains and get them in on time?

    1. Reason is going to have the best links, believe me. You’re going to love them.

      1. The most transparent links in history.

      2. And Mexico is going to pay for them, if you catch my drift.

        1. Something about buttsex and pot?

      3. You’ll be sick of the greatness.

    2. He’s literally Hitler, not literally Mussolini!!

      1. I’m surprised no one has thought to merge the two great dictators into one as a metaphor for Trump.


        Or Hitssolini!

        1. Mussohitler: Where’s my Hoffenfeffer!?
          Hitssolini: Where’s my Zanzarelli!?

      2. The DU/DNC borg collective is furiously working to arrive at a consensus on what they’ll be calling Trump for the next 4 to 8 years. Trumpler? Trumpolini? Nothing seems to roll of the tongue so easily the way it did with the previous non-Democrat.

        1. Drumpf seems to be the ‘choice of The People’, because regurgitating an unfunny John Oliver bit a billion times is seen as witty in those circles.

          1. Isn’t that the actual German spelling his ancestors used? I think that says more about his detractors’ bigotry and limited intelligence than anything else.

            1. I’m pretty sure it’s more “DURHUR Trump’s ancestors are immigrants, so he’s sooo stoopid for hating immigrants.” Also possibly a German=Hitler thing, so maybe bigotry.

              1. I think it’s simpler that that. It sounds like “dumb” and so he is dumb, huh huh huh.

                He should call them out on it. “Yeah, that’s my name, punk. Got a problem with it?”

                1. As vocal as he his, Trump certainly isn’t dumb!

    3. Lizzie and Robbie are probably shedding so many tears into each others’ hair over Obama’s imminent departure that they short circuited their own computers.

      1. Nailed it! When you’re right, you’re right.

      2. Don’t you mean E-lez-b-eth Nomen Brown and Snobby Not-Soave? Step up your game, bro.

        1. That’s way too smart for DD. You need to make them, like, 80% stupider and slightly racist before he’ll incorporate them into his lexicon.

          1. Mikey probably believes that ENB is Weigel and Robby is Weigel in a wig.

            1. You don’t get it Citizen X. We are all Tulpa, and we are all Weigel. Weigel is the element that binds us together, it defines us, personifies us. I have seen the Face of God at the edge of the universe, and it is Dave Weigel, starring at us with his piggy little eyes.

              1. My God, it’s full of stars.

                1. My God, it’s full of stars adult acne.

  6. It’s fun to imagine sometimes.

  7. ugh – I have to go to a meeting. Enjoy the AM links – if they ever come.

  8. I saw the links, and they’re great!

    They have a new kind of links visible only to ultra manly men.

  9. Anyone want to lay odds on Trump getting rid of even one of these departments?

    I understand Stossel doesn’t expect that Trump will really do any of this but he’s not going to start depowering himself just as he comes into power.

    1. No stupid, he will go out of his way to weaken the executive branch because he is a benevolent man.

    2. absolute best case scenario is nothing happens for four years as he gets sued for trying to fire gov. employees and for enforcing and refusing to enforce some of the dumber laws.

      1. It’s pretty much impossible to get rid of an agency.

        1. Fine. Don’t hire anyone new or don’t give it any money. Starve them out.

          1. Cut them down to the Secretary and his secretary. They can issue press releases.

    3. I guess you might, with extreme prodding, get Congress to enact a repeal and replace. Like, dissolve the agency and fire everyone, and replace it with a fresh new agency.

  10. Trump’s gonna come up with a plan to defeat ISIS? He’s already got a plan, ya moron – bomb the shit out of them and take their oil. Plus waterboard, and a lot worse, anybody they catch and order the military to kill their families because the military will do what Trump tells them to do. Believe me, Trump knows more about ISIS than the generals do. Probably knows more about ISIS than that Al Bigdaddy guy does, too. Have you really not been paying attention? Trump’s got a plan for everything. Big beautiful classy plans, you’re gonna love ’em.

    1. I guarantee it /Trump men’s Warehouse

  11. 5/17/16

    Never Forget

    1. If the list gets any longer we will have failed.

  12. Of course there’s no links: January 18th is The Feast of Maximum Occupancy.

      1. Anything from The Simpsons must eventually come to pass. This is known.

  13. No links, booo.
    Stossel, yeah.

  14. So I guess I shall retire for the evening linklessly.

    Either that or I continue waiting and drinking scotch… and unfortunately I have things to do tomorrow.


  15. I would include the EPA ,as said up thread, ‘Homeland’ security,the DEA and draw back US forces to this country from the middle east,Europe,Japan, South Korea and the little bases all over the world. Also,the dept, Transportation .Let the states set the gas tax and over see the roads.

    1. ‘Homeland’ security,the DEA and draw back US forces to this country from the middle east,Europe,Japan, South Korea and the little bases all over the world.

      Yeah, that’ll happen under a Republican Congress & Executive.

    2. I’m old enough to remember driving home and seeing mountains of colored suds floating down a nearby river. You never knew what color they’d be. They were spewing forth from the local printing press abutting the river. So there has been a need for pollution cleanup. I remember too, the polluted ocean fronts and rivers. For those who grew up never having seen this stuff, you can go now to S American countries and see the black soot on the curbs from the cars and barely breathe from the pollution. The problem was creating the EPA as a permanent agency instead of having temporary task forces that get temporarily enlisted to deal with particular problems then dissolved when mission accomplished. We see the trickle down to local government that likes to abuse their environmental authority in preventing private land owners from doing things like building in certain areas, draining swamps etc, a clear case of government overreach.

  16. Day One: Get rid of DHS. John will have to get a useful job.
    Day Two: Get rid of DEA.
    Day Three: Get rid of TSA.
    Day Four: NOW you can start in on Labor, Commerce, Education, Energy.

    1. Damn,I forgot TSA. In my defense,there are so many useless departments it’s hard to name them all. And the DOD is riddled with useless stuff,golf courses and unused property that could be sold off.

      1. That’s why I’d love to see a gov audit with the findings published in all the major papers and available for download. Some have thought we should sell off gov lands to settle the debt. Good idea, but first you have to do pruning and make some changes such as pruning the government of excess, duplication, waste, fraud, balancing the budget to make selling off those lands worthwhile. Otherwise you just have the same old fatcats writing the same old messy bills that put us deep in debt in the first place. I’m wondering if getting congress to only be able to write single issue bills would be helpful because that’s where a lot of needless spending gets added in. Exposing financial relationships between industries and reps in both houses would be another way to hold them accountable. The press should be doing that and doing it loudly.

    2. NSA should be on the list as well.

  17. I was told when Trump was elected the Links would run on time!

    This is why you people should have elected Mussolini.

    1. Wait until Rico and ENB are put into re-education camps on January 20.

      1. “It’s not so bad Elizabeth, they go in through your nose, and they let you keep the piece of brain they take out.”

        *Holds up jar with small piece of brain covered in gently waving hair*

  18. Don’t forget the DEA. It’s been waging a war against America for decades. Abolish it and hang all of its current and former employees for treason.

  19. Stossel for President in 2020. Of course, he will say something stupid about gay nazi cakes or not know where Djibouti is and the “Real Libertarians” will refuse to support him.

    1. I’m hoping G. Johnson will run again. I liked his some of his fiscal policies, but found him to be woefully ignorant of understanding the middle eastern immigration issue and aspects of foreign policy. I do think he had a strong sense of national purpose as defined in our founding documents, and that has been sorely lacking the past 8 years on both sides of the fence. I’m pleased to see politicians who are genuinely interested in protecting those documents and principles.

      1. “Look, 73 percent of what Bernie says I agree with.”

        He digs deeper by trying to explain that “And look, libertarians agree with socialism as long as it’s voluntary…”

        Really? How can you have voluntary socialism? You can choose to live on a commune, and I’m pretty sure libertarians would support your right to do that. But that’s not socialism. Socialism is force.

        And then he picked Bill Weld as his running mate. Supports a ban on semi-automatic firearms, notably the AR-15 and the “no fly no buy” concept. Depriving citizens of Constitutional rights without due process is not something I see as libertarian.

  20. This is operating under the assumption that Trump (in particular) is actually interested in free markets. All evidence thus far is that he’s not.

    Why on Earth would he get rid of the commerce dept? It’s the perfect vehicle for him to reward companies that do things he likes, and punish the ones that don’t. Same with labor, and small business, and dept of energy…In fact, the only dept listed that doesn’t directly aid him in his preferred brand of crony capitalism is the dept of education.

    Honestly, it’s laughable to me that anyone is even slightly entertaining the idea of Trump as someone who wants to reduce the size of the government. He outright said he’s not reducing entitlement spending, he’s backtracked on repelling Obamacare, he ran on tariffs and ending trade deals, and has already set the groundwork for a very slimy, crony-based business environment.

    1. and this is different from the status quo how?

    2. He’s already showing his liberal colors with wanting to install his own brand of nationalized insurance/medicine. If he were to get rid of national “healthcare” altogether, he’d be more credible.

  21. The department of indoctrination definitely needs to be abolished as a priority. Education should fit regional needs, and monies sent to Washington under the guise of “education”, retained by the states to be used as applicable to community needs.Sending a dollar to D.C. to get back 90 cents with restrictions on what can be taught is idiocy.

    1. I think 90 cents is overly optimistic.

    2. Whose money was it? Let them keep it. Let educational enterprises compete for parents’ education dollars.

  22. Friday: Gut the EPA back to the ONLY problems Nixon created it to solve — to clean up the air and water, which it accomplished years ago. Now all it needs to do is monitor the situation and that shouldn’t require more than a couple of full-time clean air and water experts and a few secretaries.

    1. Auction off the air and water, abolish the EPA, and let the owners sue anyone who pollutes them.

  23. John, you have certainly named some of my wish list. Here’s hoping we have some heroes in Congress who do some deep cutting. I’d love to see someone do a very deep audit of the whole government and put every bit of spending before the public. Years ago, when Bob Dole wanted to have a massive tax increase, the national Chamber of Commerce did a quick study of government waste and fraud and found more than enough to cover the proposed tax increase. Maybe they’d feel moved to do that again, at a deep level, and publish their findings for all to see. Or have a few Teapartiers do it, as they’d have the motivation and wouldn’t be looking to protect their buddies.

  24. I believe those are Congressionally created departments, so it’d take Congress to eliminate them.

    He could choose not to appoint people to fill the Cabinet positions and all leadership positions commonly appointed. Or he could appoint people with directives to grind the operation of the agencies to a halt.

    One thing I’d really like to see vis-a-vis Labor: Federal employees who are members of unions will no longer have their union dues withheld from their paychecks and remitted to their respective unions. Unions will have to get their members to directly write a check, or conversely employees will have to write their unions a check to retain their membership.

    1. I can’t believe gov employees are even allowed to have a union. Unions exist for the sake of the union bosses and to promote their political agenda, which of course supports their pocketbooks. Of course, if businesses would stop making the same old mistakes that brought forth unions, you might have a good relationship between labor and business. Some are doing just that, but it really needs to be across the board. Perhaps when businesses that do have a good balance between good business and labor practices succeed, others will be moved to follow suit. Nothing succeeds like success.

    2. How about permanent unpaid furloughs for any federal employees designated as “non-essential” in the previous government shut down?

  25. It is important to be sure these institutions are abolished completely. If the are just cut back, a little or a lot, they will grow again like kudzu.

  26. Saturday: Abolish the ONDCP and DEA.
    Sunday: Abolish the Ag. Department.

  27. I Leave my office job and now I am getting paid 96 Dollars hourly. How? I work-over internet! My old work was making me miserable, so I was to try-something different. 2 years after…I can say my life is changed completely for the better! Check it out what i do…


    1. Someday we will have AI that can detect tricky spam posts like this.

  28. One more:
    Get rid of the ATF. It’s useless, corrupt, and works against the American people (see Waco and Fast and Furious). The FBI and DOJ can handle the chores the ATF currently are responsible for.

    Then defund the DEA.

  29. before I saw the check saying $8075 , I did not believe …that…my mother in law woz like they say actualie receiving money in their spare time at there labtop. . there sisters roommate has been doing this less than 14 months and as of now repayed the mortgage on there villa and bourt a gorgeous Subaru Impreza .

  30. How many otherwise unemployables are we talking about releasing to the unemployment rolls by abolishing these departments?

  31. How about eliminating the Secret Service? They obviously have no essential role.

  32. Dear Mr. Stossel,

    The single largest category in the DOE’s budget is “Nuclear Security”, which includes the activities of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). These guys do stuff like manage our nuclear stockpile, design, build and maintain nuclear reactors for the navy, prevent fissile material from falling into the wrong hands, and so on. Since you want to get rid of the DOE, would you suggest we just stop doing these things, or is this something that the “market” will magically handle for us?

    I can sympathize with the general sentiment that the federal government suffers from obesity, but I suggest you do a little more research before offering up prescriptions to fix it.

    1. Sounds like DoD.

  33. up to I saw the paycheck which had said $8845 , I have faith that my friends brother woz like actualy erning money part-time on their apple labtop. . there aunt had bean doing this 4 only 7 months and resently took care of the morgage on there mini mansion and bought themselves a Lancia . view it now….


  34. up to I saw the paycheck which had said $8845 , I have faith that my friends brother woz like actualy erning money part-time on their apple labtop. . there aunt had bean doing this 4 only 7 months and resently took care of the morgage on there mini mansion and bought themselves a Lancia . view it now….


  35. Great article, but Harry Browne had the best plan for his first day in office:

    The President’s First Day in Office

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  37. This is also a pretty interesting wrap up of the first week.

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