Assessing the new president’s Cabinet choices – Grand Island Independent

Posted: Friday, January 6, 2017 9:46 am

Assessing the new president’s Cabinet choices

Donald Trump’s picks for Cabinet positions have been described as marvelous by his Republican supporters and disastrous by many Democrats. At the very least, they are not the usual group of career politicians or party regulars.

In fact, many appointees are unfamiliar to most Americans. So far, the candidates have abstained from public interviews prior to their confirmation hearings, and even senators who must vote on their nominations have much to learn about each candidate’s views.

At the onset, we should welcome new and innovative approaches to national problems that Cabinet departments are supposed to address. For example, for more than 50 years our country has devoted billions of dollars and hundreds of programs toward eliminating poverty. Today, statistics show we have made only modest progress. We cannot abandon our efforts, for poor people need (and deserve) our help. But instead of plodding along with methods that have proven ineffective, we should welcome fresh thinking.

Department after department could use new, creative ideas. Our urban inner cities are disaster zones for many young black people. High school graduation rates are discouragingly low and jobs for unskilled people are scarce. The result is high unemployment rates for African-American youths who fail to graduate. And when you have thousands of young people without educations, skills, jobs or money, trouble will follow. But instead of new ideas, government resists major changes to programs and systems that have been proven unsuccessful year after year.

Agriculture has been forced to deal with burdensome EPA regulations, Labor Department regulations make it hard for businesses to expand employment, and the State Department seems to produce little besides miles and miles of air travel. Decades of unmet promises have taken their toll. No wonder people have such a low opinion of government.

We can do better than this. The federal government should be taking the lead in solving problems, not creating them. So along with the rest of the nation, we are anxious to know the views of prospective Cabinet heads.

For those who cannot spare the hours to watch TV hearings, we recommend some time with your newspaper.

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Friday, January 6, 2017 9:46 am.


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