Steve G.

My Cabinet

In Libertarian on November 15, 2008 at 5:06 pm

With all the speculation about Barack Obama’s Cabinet, I thought I’d put together one of my own…

  • State: Ted Galen Carpenter
  • Treasury: Ron Paul
  • Defense: Karen Kwiatkowski
  • Attorney General: Floyd Abrams
  • Interior: Randal O’Toole
  • Agriculture: Norman Borlaug
  • Commerce: Calvin Coolidge
  • Labor: Stan Greer
  • Health and Human Services: Mary Ruwart
  • Housing and Urban Development: Sean Christopher Colon
  • Transportation: Wendell Cox
  • Energy: Rowan Sage
  • Education: John Taylor Gatto
  • Veterans Affairs: Adam Kokesh
  • Homeland Security: Bob Barr
  • Environmental Protection Agency: Fred Smith
  • Drug Control Policy: Keith Stroup

    I do know Calvin Coolidge is dead, but since the sole function of the Commerce Department is to impede commerce, I want my secretary to be as inactive as possible.

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    1. Chief of counter-terrorism: Dr. Kevin Barrett!

    2. One addition and one disagreement:

      The addition:
      Attorney General: Judge Jim Gray

      The disagreement:
      DHS: Sheriff Bill Masters

    3. Sorry, make that two disagreements, missed AG the first time. 🙂

    4. My picks:

      State: Tom Palmer
      Treasury: Larry White
      Defense: Justin Raimondo
      Attorney General: Richard Epstein
      (Solicitor General: Randy Barnett)
      Interior: Gale Norton
      Agriculture: Jeff Flake
      Commerce: Walter Williams
      Labor: Doug Bandow
      Health and Human Services: Michael Cannon
      Housing and Urban Development: Randal O’Toole
      Transportation: Robert Poole
      Energy: T.J. Rogers
      Education: Andrew Coulson*
      Veterans Affairs: Karen Kwiatkowski
      Homeland Security: Eric Garris
      Environmental Protection Agency: Fred Smith
      Drug Control Policy: Tim Lynch
      Technology**: David Friedman

      * I’d’ve said Marshall Fritz if he were still alive.
      ** Obama is creating this new post apparently.

    5. I tried to organize a shadow cabinet with the thought of the progressive alliance winning the election. went nowhere as all were losers.

    6. For Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy, Education, Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, Environmental Protection Agency, and Drug Control Policy, I would appoint no one and I would close these agencies for the duration of my term by Executive Order. These agencies are non-essential.

      For State, Treasury, Defense, and Attorney General, I would appoint Justin Raimondo, Lew Rockwell, Karen Kwiatkowski and Butler Shaffer, respectively. I would appoint Sheldon Richman as Chief of Staff and put Robert Higgs in charge of dismantling all agencies designated by Three Letters. I’d get Jim Bovard to be Press Secretary.

      I would outsource the management of the Interior Dept to a real estate management company and direct them to sell or lease government land at fair market value.

      Then, I would wake up and vow to quit smoking too much weed right before bedtime.

    7. I’d be inclined to only appoint to the original Cabinet posts…State, Treasury, Defense (War), and Attorney General. No names are coming up for me.

      I’d task the OMB Director to design a plan to develop specific plans to roll back all the other departments as quickly as possible.

    8. Of course I would eliminate those departments. I assumed the premise was to select people who would do the least damage if the departments still existed.

    9. Glad to have you back, Peter. Interesting idea for a post. 🙂

      What made you choose Bob Barr to head up Homeland Security?

    10. This is kind of a fun thought experiment. Whether a President can unilaterally abolish most departments and functions…not sure. He or she can submit $0 budgets, but methinks Congress is unlikely to pass that budget. Reagan played that game of chicken, and I recall that didn’t work out to well for him.

      So, I was suggesting simply not appointing Cabinet secretary’s, and using OMB to skillfully cut as many functions as could pass each cycle. There is probably a way to use Executive Orders to accomplish positive rollbacks as well. Hiring freezes seem possible. Exiting military bases on foreign soil seems a possibility. Cessation of NASA launches — doable.

      Now, of course, if the make-up of the Congress were such that real and large cuts could be enacted, we’re off to the races. This one? Not so much.

    11. Try to wrap your thought experiment around this. The Executive refuses to operate an extraconstitutional executive branch agency leaving Congress to go to the Supreme Court seeking some sort of Writ of Mandamus to require the Executive to engage in some activity that is not enumerated in the holy Constitution.

      So, what do youthinks we got here? An extraconstitutional crisis?

      Merely requesting a zero budget is fairly meaningless as spending bills are supposed to originate in the House anyway. Far better to force Congress to act affirmatively to prove that the Supreme Court must force the Executive to perform tasks that have no constitutional basis.

      But, I doubt if we’ll ever get to see such a sideshow. Perhaps a better thought experiment would be to imagine yourself drowning in a cesspool while Senators wearing clown shoes poke at you with sticks.

    12. I would outsource the management of the Interior Dept to a real estate management company and direct them to sell or lease government land at fair market value.
      Tom Blanton

      What do you want to do with the Bureau of Reclamation? (DOI)

      An’ how ’bout thems dams they gots. An’ that ‘lectr’city an’ stuff that comes outta thems dams?

    13. Tom B.,

      Not sure when the practice began, but the way its been working for at least several decades is that the President makes budget recommendations, then Congress does its magic, and sends it back to the President for signature.

      Are you SURE about spending bills originating in the House? Art. I, Sect. 7, specifies revenue, not spending.

      Sounds like your experiment is a straightforward constitutional crisis.

      Your cesspool nightmare is what we’re all facing, metaphorically speaking.

    14. My info wasn’t preloaded, so I’m dropping the handle from now on.

      If the electors show up and cast their votes for me, here’s who I’d appoint.

      State: Mary Ruwart
      Treasury: Peter Schiff
      War (Changing it back to original name): Justin Raimondo
      Attorney General: Bill Hall (Jim Gray is an energy socialist)

      All others: Abolished. George Washington didn’t need them.

      I’d choose Ron Paul as my VP and then resign.

    15. I’d accept Secretary of Technology, President Orvetti. Seeing as I am the least technical man in existence, I will make sure that the Department of Technology will be the most inactive department in the history of these United States.

    16. Gotta go Steve Kubby for drug control policy. I imagine he’d actually help to shepherd the country towards implementing non-governmental, free market solutions to help people with genuine drug abuse problems, in addition to fixing the issues of criminalization. Mike Grey might be another good choice for that post, his book “Drug Crazy” was very good and full of facts and statistics from around the world.

      I don’t know if Paul would want the treasury post, I’d be more inclined to have him as secretary of state. He’s so gentle and soft-spoken, but carries a big stick, so I could certainly see him ushering in an era of peaceful diplomacy.

    17. George Washington didn’t need them.

      Normally, I’d give a remark like this a pass, but consdiering the source, I can’t really resist needling a bit (in all affection, Jason, so don’t bristle at me, please!):

      GW was a statist!

    18. All others: Abolished. George Washington didn’t need them. ….J.D. Seagraves

      George Washington
      didn’t need no Department of Interior, nor did he need no Bureau of Indian Affairs (DOI/BIA)
      George Washington got his main-claim-to-fame in the French and Indian War (Seven Years War) and it wasn’t cool then for colonists to make treaties with the Indians.

      Before we get rid of the DOI, it might be worthwhile to think about all the treaties the US gob’ment has signed with the ‘Indians’.

      I worked a number of times (indirectly through private-sector companies) with the BIA. They’re sure corrupt-as-hell, and I’m sure there would be thousands of very happy native-americans if we got RID of the BIA, but the intent of BIA is to honor atleast some tiny, tiny portions of the treaties we (the US) signed.

    19. Susan,

      Can you name an elected official throughout history who is not a statist?

    20. Susan may not, but I sure can. Me. As first Libertarian elected, co-founder of our first state LP, and more, I was and am certainly no coercive statist. I suspect other elected or appointed Libertarians would make similar claims of non-coercive statism, or at least ‘good enough for government work’ with their hearts in the right place.

      I would also modestly propose myself as sole cabinet member, perhaps nominally the AG, and in charge of further Libertarianization. I presume this is a trick question. A Libertarian elected to the US Presidency would be President of a substantially Libertarian-direction country, and would have an effective mandate to do what remained to be done, and enpugh public support, people in office and academia, and Libs in the military to block any counter-moves.

      Then send me on a roving ambassodorship to spread the good word and let things settle down. Worked for Solon.

    21. Susan – I know. In fact, I just assessed him as the 7th worst president ever, worse than G.W. Bush even, in an article I wrote for Citizen Economists.

      7. George Washington: The first truly sacred cow on the list, George Washington is typically above criticism. But it was he who appointed the initial federal judiciary, and he stocked it with Federalists to the exclusion of his political adversaries. This meant that anyone who was skeptical of the new Constitution — which increased central power over the states from the original Articles of Confederation — was automatically disqualified. In practice, this led to a judicial monopoly of monarchists and nationalists that lasted well into the long Jeffersonian reign of 1800-1860. Also, Washington signed the (unconstitutional) first Bank of the United States into law, and led an army against his own citizens to crush the Whiskey Rebellion. Imagine George W. Bush doing that!

      Washington was a statist and he only needed four cabinet departments — so how the hell can supposed non-statists want to keep all of these unconstitutional and unlibertarian departments going?

    22. I know

      I know you know 🙂 But nice work demolishing his ‘legacy’.

      Washington was a statist and he only needed four cabinet departments — so how the hell can supposed non-statists want to keep all of these unconstitutional and unlibertarian departments going?

      Point taken. I do agree that any ‘shadow cabinet’ Libertarians dream up could consist of mostly:

      Secretary of X: X abolished
      Secretary of Y: Y abolished
      Secretary of Z: Z abolished

    23. I’m crushed! No one, not even Mike, voted for me for Sec. Ag.?

    24. Lid, you’d never get confirmed. You’re pro-family farm, pro-sustainable agriculture, pro-organic, anti-corporate farm, anti-conventional and anti-petrochemical, anti-GMO, anti-Monsanto and anti-ConAgra.

      That’s everything that DC can’t stand: for the little guy and against corporations, for quality food instead of cheap junk.

      That’s why you’d be the best for the job, but the PTB would never stand for it.

      OTOH, there’s plenty of manure in DC to compost from those morons…

    25. I wouldn’t want Lidia corrputed by the power elite…or even exposed to them. I wouldn’t wish that on my enemies!

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