Jerry is a retired high-school Government teacher residing in San Diego County, California.
Our current struggle with the burgeoning covid19 pandemic serves to illustrate the vital significance of our “deep state” infrastructure. Notwithstanding Trump’s gutting of Obama’s team of pandemic planning experts, our national health organizations have responded with vigor. It has been our state and local leaders who have stepped up and accepted the responsibility of making tough political decisions designed to contain, mitigate and thwart this deadly new virus.
Trump’s failure to fill hundreds of vacant positions within our governmental agencies has served not to destroy them, but instead to simply enervate their capacities. It is not exactly up to Norquistian standards, but sure enough to give clear indication of what might be the consequence of the retrenchment of our government. The ultimate consequence of such an effort—whether by design or inattention—will not be a slim, trim and efficient government, but rather a feckless one.
We still have the most skilled and dedicated institutional assembly of Federal civil servants readily to be seen in the world. Large size brings with it both inevitable losses as well as gains. The private sector has long been cognizant of this fact. But there are also great “economies of size” that are gained.
It is not the lack of ability or awareness that has hindered our national response; rather, it has been the lack of will. If it is still not clear, let it be argued that whoever eats his, or her, breakfast at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue needs not only a rumpus bag full of new legislative ideas, but that person needs a readily discernible, and rechargeable, capacity for sound judgment and decision making. That person needs to bring a working blend of ideas and experience to what is likely the most challenging executive job in the world!
As for Grover, let us hope that he is healthy and safe. For that, he may thank his government.
*A French lawyer and statesman who played an active role in the French Revolution