Richard Griffin

Yesterday’s Senate deal to avoid the nuclear option was a short term win for President Obama. After a long delay he will finally get seven people he wanted confirmed to seven executive branch position, which should make it easier to govern. Long term though it is another loss for effective and non-corrupt government.

Part of the deal was that Richard Griffin and Sharon Block, who received recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, would have their names withdrawn and replaced by two individuals with similar ideological positions. There was nothing wrong with Griffin or Block. There was no argument that they lacked the necessary qualifications. The only reason these two lost their job is because the Republicans were upset about how they received recess appointments and wanted a face saving pound of flesh out of the deal.

This incident gives good people yet another reason not to take top level government jobs. In addition to facing a grueling vetting process and needlessly long delays in getting a confirmation vote, qualified candidates also face the possibility of being used as a bargaining chip even if they have done nothing wrong.

I can’t blame any good but sane person for turning down a possible government position when faced with these hurdles. If this trend continues only the incredibly ideological driven, or more likely, those who plan to exploit their position for substantial financial gain will be willing to take part. Having a bunch of bureaucrats who only took their job because it is the ticket to later financial gains in the industry they are supposed to be regulating is bad news for the republic.

Photo released under Public Domain