*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*
For many Americans, it was a damn dark day when Trump won the presidential election despite losing the popular vote by about 3 million votes. And although it was gloomy the day after the election, the real darkness begins today when a big-time wrestling celebrity and con man leads the carefully planned dismantling of the United States government. There is one thing Americans should be aware of as their government is taken apart; Trump may be “considered” the president, but nearly everything about to happen to Americans has been a dream of the Koch brothers for about thirty years and carefully planned by the Heritage Foundation.
There was obvious and appropriate consternation at the news the Republicans were privatizing the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to give the Koch brothers another outlet for libertarian propaganda. And, it likely depressed one or two Americans that the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities were going to be completely eliminated. But those deletions, albeit an abomination of epic proportion, fairly pale to the real damage to Americans the conservatives have planned in their long-lusted-after dismantling of the federal government.
It is noteworthy, and not a revelation to this column, that all of the proposed cuts, privatization, eliminations, and subsequent job losses “hew closely to a Heritage Foundation blueprint published earlier in the year.” In fact, it is safe to say that the teabagger-run (Jim DeMint) belief tank has not only furnished staff for Trump’s transition team, they selected his cabinet and agency heads and will be the de facto domestic budget and policy authority in Trump’s administration; Trump and even Pence are simply figureheads for the real power behind America’s dismantling.
That authority lies with the Kochs and their neo-con cohort running the Heritage Foundation. Remember, it was a portent of Trump’s intent as CEO of make America great that he had no interest in leading when he said back in March that he would authorize the religious conservatives at the Heritage Foundation to nominate the “right kind of” replacement for deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
Two of the agencies facing major ‘downsizing’ are those the Koch brothers called for abolishing thirty years ago. The departments of Commerce and Energy are going to see nothing less than “major cuts in funding” with most programs under their jurisdiction either being eliminated or “transferred” to other agencies” that are also in line for either drastic funding cuts or elimination. Obviously any department or program involved with enforcement or writing of regulations will be summarily eliminated.
Clinging closely to the many, many agencies and departments the libertarian Koch brothers have wanted abolished for over thirty years, the Heritage Foundation also plans very significant cuts and a significant number of programs completely eliminated at the departments of Transportation, Justice and State depending on how badly and quickly the Koch brothers want them deleted out of existence.
None of this impending dismantling is Trump’s idea; Republicans have yearned for the opportunity to “shrink government to a size that can be drowned in a bathtub” for decades. In fact, most of the program and department cuts were adopted last year by the libertarian Republican Study Committee (RSC) in its proposal to take the government apart. In fact, two members of Trump’s transition team who are advising, if not running the White House budget office, Russ Vought and John Gray not only worked for Mike Pence and Paul Ryan, they were employed by the Heritage Foundation. Now they are using a 175 to 200 page document that spells out the Trump administration’s main priorities in expediting the government deconstruction.
Just a few of the “for sure” agencies and programs that will be eliminated are the Commerce Department Minority Business Development Agency, the Economic Development Administration, the International Trade Administration and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership.
At the DOJ the Heritage Foundation will eliminate the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, Violence Against Women Grants and the Legal Services Corporation and drastically slash funding for the Civil Rights and the Environment and Natural Resources divisions.
For the Department of Energy the Kochs will get to slash funding for nuclear physics and advanced scientific computing research, eliminate the Office of Electricity, eliminate the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and abolish once and for all the Office of Fossil Energy solely because it “focuses on research and technologies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.” At the State Department the Paris Climate Change Agreement and the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are being readied for elimination.
It is important to note that all of the agency and program cuts and eliminations that are being “previewed” are those that protect Americans from corrupt corporate malfeasance and discriminatory religious conservatives and Republican racists. They are also programs, agencies, and departments that the Koch brothers, Heritage Foundation and Republicans had targeted for deletion long before Trump even dreamed of running for president. Now that they have their rubber stamp securely in a place of authority, the de facto leader of the Executive Branch, the Heritage Foundation, is moving quickly to dismantle the federal government or in Trump world – make America great.