Arnold Kling  

Re-Org Proposal

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You may recall that I wrote an article proposing that the executive branch of the government be re-organized. Coincidentally, President Obama asked for the power to reorganize and made an initial suggestion related to commerce. It seems to me to be something that is worth a shot. People say that you cannot run government like a business. But there is no reason not to try to run it sensibly.

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COMMENTS (3 to date)
Jeremy, Alabama writes:

It boils down to - who do you trust to do the right thing with the power granted?

For example, Alabama has, supposedly, a racist state constitution. There have been many attempts to organize a constitutional convention to fix it. However, Alabama is also one of the very few states where any tax change is subject to a popular vote.

The issue, then, is that there is no established legal process to limit the reach of a constitutional convention. Depending on who you send down to Montgomery, you may get a lot different outcome than you were expecting.

I like the professor's proposals outlined in his article, but I would not trust a fox to reorganize the hen house.

Peter H writes:


The organization of the executive branch is a question of statute, not the constitution. A convention is not required to do this.

That said, why does Commerce get all of the vitriol heaped on it. Its largest components are agencies executing enumerated powers (Census and the Patent Office), or predicting hurricanes (the prediction of which I'd call a public good by most definitions of the term).

Chris Koresko writes:

I think I agree with Jeremy on this one. The ability to change the structure of the executive branch implies a great deal of arbitrary power, which if used badly could do a lot of lasting harm to the country. The kind of President who can be trusted with this is one with deep intellectual capacity, lots of organizational experience, the patience and wisdom to listen to critics and take constructive criticism to heart, and, especially, a willingness to compromise his personal and partisan interest in favor of the greater good.

Maybe we'll get someone like that in 2013. We don't have him now.

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