by GRANT STARRETT
Yes, but we must choose to defend our way of life.
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE TENNESSEAN
President Donald Trump, in an extraordinary speech in Poland last week, identified the “fundamental question of our time” as “whether the West has the will to survive.”
The answer is not clear. Whether we even have a sense of our fragility is an open question to which the author Samuel Huntington drew attention in his 1996 classic Clash of Civilizations, a book continuously echoed in the President’s remarks. Anyone who thinks the West, and in particular the United States, will inevitably sit atop the global power arrangement should consult his history books. Citizens of the Roman and British Empires undoubtedly considered their reigns eternal.
by GRANT STARRETT
There shouldn’t be a permanent bureaucracy that can thwart the will of a president.
Before Donald Trump promised to “Make America Great Again,” he entertained millions of Americans through a weekly ritual of telling his least favorite employees, “You’re fired!” Yet despite his pledges to “drain the swamp,” Trump won’t be able to do the same thing with most of his new workforce: the federal bureaucracy. But he should. The American people are paying for employees they can’t even control. Federal bureaucrats enjoy ludicrous protections that far exceed what average Americans can expect in their own jobs and thus isolate the bureaucracy from the will of the American people. To correct this, Congress should pass a law to make all federal employees serve at will — just like Americans in the private sector. If a bureaucrat underperforms, undermines policy, or is no longer needed, he should be dismissed.
by GRANT STARRETT
They should follow the precedent Harry Reid set in 2013, and confirm Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch with 51 votes instead of 60.
The United States Senate is a post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland. Amidst the fallout, it’s time enough at last for us to get things done and confirm Judge Gorsuch and every other person we need to the bench—all with 51 votes. By dawn’s early light, our Senate Majority Leader needs to activate Mad Mitch: Fury Road.
Some believe that passing laws and confirming appointees in the U.S. Senate requires 60 votes, calling any attempt to do otherwise a “nuclear option.” Such a move is well within the Senate’s defined constitutional powers, but allegedly a newfangled innovation in an institution supposed to prize precedent and tradition.
The trouble is the Senate did not start out working this way, and even if we are inclined more toward recent practice, the sum of all fears has already been realized: Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) pushed the nuclear button. The only reason anything requires 60 votes anymore is because 51 votes say so. Does anyone doubt that, if Senate Democrats had a majority in 2016, Judge Merrick Garland would have replaced Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court? Relaxing on the beach and pretending that nothing has happened in the Senate wastes our precious majority without securing future minority rights.
Simple Majority Votes Used To Be The Norm
The AFL-CIO exists to launder union dues into the campaign war chests of the Democratic Party.
By GRANT STARRETT
Take a moment and picture the typical American union member. Who do you see?
If you think of a burly man working with his hands, perhaps on the factory line, then your conception may require updating. Today, half of American union members work for the government.
Timothy J. Minchin’s new book Labor Under Fire is a history of the AFL-CIO, the largest federation of unions in the United States. Minchin paints uneven and shallow portraits of its primary personalities while sloppily citing statistics that offer few apples-to-apples comparisons. Despite a sympathetic treatment, the bosses emerge as hopeless managers who have subsumed themselves into an ungrateful Democrat Party.