Try to think like a scientist.
If you think like a citizen, the first 100 days of the Trump administration will reduce you to weeping and wailing.
But if you think like a scientist, you will see things differently. You’ll see that the United States of America has developed an excellent fourth grade science fair project.
This project is called “A Four-Year Experiment in Not Having a Government.”
Until recently, the United States has had a “government” with “policies.” That is: We have had an adult president, we have had other adults occupying senior government positions, and those adults have sought to develop reasonably coherent and consistent approaches to governing based on the assumption that the usual rules of physics, mathematics, and so on must be taken into account when developing policies, and the corollary assumption that “facts” and “evidence” can be said to exist.
The United States was reasonably successful when it had a government. It was by no means perfect but laws were passed, taxes were collected, revenues were used to fund public services, treaties and international negotiations were concluded, and so on.
But do we need an American government?
Perhaps not! Perhaps the United States and the world can chug along just fine without one. Thanks to the Republican Party, we’re in the middle of a once-in-a-lifetime experiment to find out.
The study began by placing a child in the White House. Child labor laws passed by previous U.S. governments (and the Constitution) preclude sending a fourth grader to the White House, but we have done the next best thing by electing Donald Trump, a 70-year-old who makes decisions based on TV shows, doesn’t read, and announces new policy positions via late night tweets IN ALL CAPS.
Next, we made sure there won’t be any other adults in the executive branch. A few were able to sneak in early, but for the most part, we have successfully created an adult-free executive branch. Of the more than 550 key jobs requiring Senate-confirmed political appointees, 530 remain vacant, and President Trump has refrained from nominating anyone to fill most positions.
As a result, we are as close right now as we will likely ever be able to get to not having a government at all. At the Defense Department, only one political appointee — Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis — has been nominated and confirmed; the other 52 top DoD positions are vacant. At the State Department, only three out of 119 key positions have been filled. The halls of other government agencies are similarly empty.
Meanwhile, President Trump froze most federal hiring, ensuring, for the experiment’s sake, that the executive branch is also short-staffed at middle and lower levels. Similarly, Trump has asked Congress to slash the budgets for most civilian agencies, in the hopes that those employees who remain will be unable to fund any programs. He has moved quickly to eliminate many of the regulations put into place by previous…