Rodents of unusual size: Draining the DC swamp

One of candidate Donald J. Trump’s more popular-with-his-base campaign promises was that he would drain-the-swamp along the Potomac River! As in get rid of the critters (that would be many of you) who create too many regulations, thrive on red tape and who’ve lived inside-the-beltway bubble so long you’ve lost touch with the real world. As in where most taxpayers live and do an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay!

So how do you dismantle, or at least cut the DC bureaucracy down to size?

To that end the House will, soon (maybe) consider the so-called SWAMP Act. Seriously, that’s its name!

S.W.A.M.P. stands for Strategic Withdrawal of Agencies for Meaningful Placement. Now that is creative. And catchy, after you say it a few thousand times.


The SWAMP Act would provide for the “orderly” withdrawal of federal agencies and/or their headquarters’ operations to other parts of the nation. The bill by Rep. Luke Messer (R-Ind.) would have GSA setup a process to allow states and communities to bid to become the new headquarters of different federal agencies.

The economic impact of moving something—like most or all Interior Department operations here to somewhere west of the Mississippi—would be tremendous. Then the Interior Department would actually be in the Interior, rather than within walking distance of OPM, GSA and the White House as it is now. Great if you are sick of the Washington area’s horrible traffic. Also great if you own a moving company. Or stock in one. But an economic body blow to us. Imagine a new Pentagon arising somewhere in Oklahoma. Or the EPA going to San Francisco. And the Interior Department actually in the interior. Think of all those people and salary dollars. If it comes to pass (and this is a very, very long shot) the competition between cities and states would make bidding for the new Amazon East headquarters seem tame.

The SWAMP Act prompted some people (like me) to think immediately of The Princess Bride movie. It was a 1987 comedy that is still a favorite on cable.

The cast is great. Comic Billy Crystal plays an over-the-hill wizard. The plot is funny—beautiful princess forced to marry evil king but rescued by handsome poor boy. It features a scene in a fire-swamp where the hero and heroine face death or dismemberment from flames, explosions and R.O.U.S. Like those of us in the real DC (and in Congress too) , citizens of the mythical movie kingdom like alphabet-soup abbreviations. Like FICA, or RIF, or OMB. In the movie, R.O.U.S., stands, naturally, for Rodents Of Unusual Size. In other words really big rats. Swamp rats. Like a lot of us. In the movie the heroic couple slays a R.O.U.S. or two and gets away. Ironically it was on cable (IFC) in the DC area the same day the bill was introduced. Could this be coincidence, or a sign of things to come?

Stay tuned and, if you work for the government in the DC area you may want to hold off any expensive home repairs until you get a sense how this is going to turn out.

Nearly Useless Factoid

By David Thornton

One billion chicken wings will be consumed on Super Bowl Sunday.

Source: USDA