The non-profit Competitive Enterprise Institute is all about shrinking government. In a newly released report the group lays out a blueprint for reorganizing – i.e. dramatically reducing – the federal branch.
Shrinking Government Bureaucracy argues for “major, overdue reforms to the federal government’s sprawling regulatory bureaucracy.”
The scope of projected reductions encompasses, but is hardly limited to, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Communications Commission, Department of Commerce, Securities and Exchange Commission and the National Labor Relations Board.
“With respect to regulatory agencies, we have reached the point at which nearly any effort to streamline is an improvement,” the authors argue. “Given the scope of economic regulation in American life, even incremental improvements to the structure of government offer outsized benefits for liberty and growth.”
To call this an incremental plan is a little like calling Dunkirk a minor skirmish. The proposals, if enacted, would have a sweeping impact on the federal jobs landscape.
Calling EPA “the most impenetrable of all federal department and agency budgets,” the report calls for greater visibility in spending. In addition to transparency, “many of the EPA’s functions could be abolished, pared back, or transferred to other agencies” in this vision. The group would abolish the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, shut down the EPA’s 10 regional offices, eliminate a host of grant programs and similarly streamline the agency.
The Department of Commerce would be dismantled, under a plan that calls for the breakup of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the eventual privatization of the National Weather. It would turn the National Hurricane Center and the National Environmental Satellite Service into charitable trusts and hand the National Ocean Service to the United States Coast Guard and the U.S. Geological Survey.
Commerce takes a further beating in this plan, with the Census Bureau on the block to be merged with other statistics agencies such as the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the Bureau of Labor Statistics to create a National Statistical Agency. The Patent and Trademark Office would become “a performance-based organization under the Office of Management and Budget.”
The FDIC would simply be abolished, along with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The SEC would be shuttered, its policing duties transferred to the Federal Trade Commission The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) would see its rulemaking authority folded into the Department of Labor and its adjudicatory authority handed to federal district courts. Most of the FCC’s duties would be eliminated.
If all this seems excessive to some, it is only the beginning. “There is much more work left to do, but it is a good start,” the authors write.