Saturday, March 21, 2009

Obama Ethics Rules: Bug or Feature?

by Smitty

Newsweak, by way of the Puffington Host, is aflutter because the Obama Administration has
hundreds of top government posts stand empty. One reason: over-the-top ethics rules are disqualifying or driving away some of the best and the brightest
Are we allowed to float the question of whether setting over-the-top ethics rules might, itself, be unethical because it leaves positions unstaffed, and could lead to impropriety?
It's the old law of unintended consequences: in order to satisfy a public desire for squeaky-clean government, elected officials have put at risk a more critical goal: dealing expeditiously with the financial crisis.
Couple of questions for the poor, victimized Administration:
  1. Does anyone, anyone, think that government is, was or will ever be "squeaky clean"?
  2. Does the person in the vegetative state you found in the previous question think that the 111th Congress or the Treasury has been dealing ethically with any of this?
Towards the end of the article we get another taste of "That Darn Technology Done Me Wrong Blues":
Times have changed, of course. There was no cable TV in the 1930s, and government is much more transparent today—not a bad thing. The Obama team has become more than a little sensitive to criticism. "The idea that government is at a total standstill is just ridiculous," says a White House aid speaking under the usual rules of anonymity. "We deserve some credit for what we've gotten done in the little time we've been here, especially considering the environment we're in."
Deserve? Only the Almighty knows what you or the Administration's members deserve, buddy. That the scope of my judgement is limited to the ballot box is surely a feature.

1 comment:

  1. A few weeks ago, Byrd complained about the number of non-senate confirmed czars. The old coot actually had a point. A good reason not to have Senate confirmed executive branch operators is the amount of control out of public view.

    Also, according to NYT, the CEO compensation is to be set by regulations not statutes. Again, though not completely out of the public eye, still under control of executive.

    The non-staffing could be a strategy. If my goal was to exercise as much unimpeded executive authority, that's the way I'd do it.