Clearly, our federal government isn’t big enough. In a Monday morning interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”, President Obama suggested that a new Secretary of Business be created. Of course the new Secretary will need a whole new government department of bureaucrats to go with his or her position.
“We should have one Secretary of Business, instead of nine different departments that are dealing with things like giving loans to SBA or helping companies with exports” the President said in the interview. Oddly, the federal government already has a Commerce Department and Secretary to go with it. Perhaps instead of consolidating some of the tasks from department under a new one, the President should be considering re-focusing the existing departments at a time when the government must shrink to match revenues.
The Commerce department’s mission as stated on its own front page is “to help make American businesses more innovative at home and more competitive abroad.” The divisions of the Commerce Department don’t look as though they are all focused on those goals. The current offices within the department include:
- Office of Business Liaison
- Center for Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships
- Native American Affairs
- Office of the Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration
- Office of Acquisition Management
- Office of Administrative Services
- Office of Budget
- Office of Civil Rights
- Office of Financial Management
- Office of Human Resources Management
- Office of Privacy and Open Government
- Office of Program Evaluation and Risk Management
- Office of Security
- Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization
- Office of the Chief Information Officer
- Office of the Executive Secretariat
- Office of General Counsel
- Office of Inspector General
- Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs
- Office of Policy and Strategic Planning
- Office of Public Affairs
The Interior Department already handles Native American affairs making an office in Commerce unnecessary. If there are specific business concerns of Native American businesses, the office of Business Liaison should be tasked with understanding those details.
The Department of Justice and Health and Human Services both have civil rights divisions. Perhaps Commerce doesn’t need one too. It is curious that the Center for Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships is in Commerce – why not Health and Human Services?
It would appear that the government doesn’t need an additional highly-paid bureaucrat with many other taxpayer funded staff running around doing what the Commerce Department should be doing. Instead, an organizational leader would recognize the confusing set of offices in Commerce and re-focusing that department on the needs of American business here and abroad.
The President created a jobs council in his first term – a group he met with zero times in almost four years. Will the Secretary get the same treatment or will Obama use an unlikely second term to push his agenda of higher taxes while continuing to ignore the business community? In an interview after a campaign rally in New Hampshire, the President cleared up any confusion when he told the “Morning Joe” hosts that if voters elect him to a second term he will have a clear mandate for raising taxes as part of a deficit-reduction deal.
From a different perspective, if another department were created to focus on .. commerce, why would the Commerce Department need to continue to exist?
Some propose that the myriad offices within and without Commerce are necessary to help businesses navigate the whole of regulations that affect their businesses. Perhaps the real answer is to simplify those regulations to reduce the need for businesses to need such guidance.