Burst the bubble !

High time to decentralize the government … at least geographically

I’ve long been a proponent of moving some (or many) Federal government agencies out of Washington to other locales … e.g. cities & states that have been upended by globalization-induced deindustrialization.


The idea has often been floated, but rejected.

The usual arguments: (1) Gov’t employees — especially departmental honchos — need to be geographically co-located in order to coordinate services and activities across agencies (2) The gov’t has already amassed a formidable network of real estate holdings in DC (think: offices) (3) there is a massive organization of gov’t employees (note that I try to avoid the term “government workers”)  up and operating. 

But, the idea of decentralizing the Federal government seems to be gaining some momentum…


As reported by the WSJ

Senators Hawley (Missouri) and Blackburn of (Tennessee) have proposed the HIRE Act —  “Helping Infrastructure Restore the Economy.”

The core of the proposal is to move the Agriculture Department and nine other federal agencies outside D.C. and into the heart of America.

  • Agriculture to Missouri
  • Commerce to Pennsylvania,
  • Education to Tennessee,
  • Energy to Kentucky,
  • Health and Human Services to Indiana,
  • Housing and Urban Development to Ohio,
  • Interior to New Mexico
  • Labor to West Virginia,
  • Transportation to Michigan
  • Veterans Affairs to South Carolina.

Their basic argument: moving the Federal agencies closer to their specific — and often suffering — constituencies (e.g. Dept. of Agriculture closer to ever-threatened farmers) would deepen understanding issues and be more proximate to delivering services where need.

Said differently, it gets the bureaucrats out of the DC bubble and onto the front lines.

And, placing the agencies is economically threatened areas spreads the wealth from the coastal urban centers to the heartland.


That makes sense to me … along with many other benefits.

Security: Does it make sense to have so much of government activity clustered in one metro location?

Traffic & congestion: DC traffic has gotten insane.  Why not re-located to less congested area that potentially offer a higher quality of life (think: less time commuting).

Real estate: Office space is cheaper is many non-DC locales … as are homes.

Bloated bureaucracy: In business, I learned that it’s hard to re-size an organization.  One facilitating action is relocation.  Many employees are unwilling or unable to make the move. Yeah, you might lose talent, but that’s more than offset by the dead wood that stays behind.

All things considered, I think the time has come.


Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

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2 Responses to “Burst the bubble !”

  1. Sue Colletti Says:

    Yesterday’s WSJ said bad idea!

  2. Jack Clark Says:

    What a “capital” idea!🇺🇸

Leave a Reply to Jack Clark Cancel reply

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