Saturday, June 10, 2017

Trump Flips Environmental Binders

By Douglas V. Gibbs
AuthorSpeakerInstructorRadio Host

In pursuit of his infrastructure promise, Trump dug deep into the obstacles that sometimes stops the government from initiating new projects.  In a show of action, and so as to send a message out to those who pay attention, during a press briefing, Trump flipped through thick binders of what he said were unnecessary and burdensome environmental reviews holding up a highway project. He flopped them around the table until microphones picked up an audible "thunk" and then dropped them to the ground.

Trump, with the wisdom of a businessman who knows the horrors of wading through government red tape, pledged to cut through the "dense thicket of rules, regulation and red tape" he said were causing "terrible delays" for infrastructure permits.

With cutting and slashing, he also added his own potential burden to the system disguised as help, announcing that his administration will be setting up a new council to assist project managers navigate bureaucracy, and an "online dashboard" to track projects through the approval process and impose "tough penalties" on federal agencies that delay projects.

President Trump added that another burden is on its way, a new office in the Council of Environmental Quality, "to root out inefficiency, clarify lines of authority, and streamline federal, state and local procedures."

Two notes.  While I understand his desire to get the infrastructure back in gear, technically, that is up to the States.  Federal involvement in basic infrastructure projects is not an enumerated power granted to the federal government by the Constitution.  Second, while I understand the perceived need to create a new office in the Council of Environmental Quality and associated systems, I must ask, "Do we really want to expand the size of bureaucracy?"  Remember, Democrats love more bureaucracy because when they get back into power they will be able to fill it with all kinds of socialist horrors.

"We have studied numerous countries, one in particular, they have a very, very good system; ours is going to top it by a lot," he said in a speech after the ceremony in the East Room.

Like the signing of a major piece of legislation, he handed out pens to lawmakers and took in applause. Then it was quickly denounced by Democrats.

Trump is calling for a $200 billion boost in federal spending that is supposed to trigger $800 billion in private financing through public-private partnerships.  I say, tread lightly.  More government, even for the best of reasons, can be misused, abused, and contribute to the bubble that believes progress is more government, not more private sector production.

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