Conservative Socialism: “Executive Office” and “White House Office” (Pt. II of II)

Back in Part I, the Jeffersonian approach to the US Presidency, as it was introduced by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was discussed in great detail. Aside from the President, Vice President, and the Cabinet, the Executive Branch is further divided into an “Executive Office” and a “White House Office.” The two names, as this Author discovered, can be a little misleading at times. The members of the Executive Office are actual civil servants, whereas those found in the White House Office are all political appointees selected by the President. Obviously, the Presidency since FDR was going to be different from how it resembled under Thomas Jefferson. The establishment of a professional technocratic bureaucracy came as a result of trying to reorganize the then-prevalent practices of the State of Natural Rights, the metaphysical state which governs the practices of Liberal Capitalism, in order to compete against the then-emerging State of Total Mobilization that governs Pure Socialism. The State of Total Mobilization introduced a variety of challenges coming from a multitude of different fields, each one demanding the attention and efforts of the President of the United States.

Having since made that deduction, I was able to find some official documentation from the Federal government that supports it. Yes, the rise of the Executive Office and the White House Office were both in fact creations made possible under the two Jeffersonian Presidents of both World Wars. Just as FDR was the one who realized the Executive and White House Offices, the antecedents were sown back in World War I under Woodrow Wilson. This demonstrates that these two Offices, like Income Taxation, were part of the attempts to establish the Empire of Liberty.

Thanks to the supporting evidence, the argument that the Executive and White House Offices were attempts to coordinate Total Mobilization from within the framework of the State of Natural Rights is a valid one. To reference that one Entry from the SMP Compendium, we are looking at two of the three Modes of Production:  

“A Mode of Production is an umbrella term referring to the methodology behind the execution of any nation’s fiscal and monetary policies vis-à-vis its national economy and financial system. This methodology, all of which will be covered here in Section Five, are related to familiar concepts like employment and property rights, financial institutions and financial instruments, taxation and banking practices, economic planning and wartime preparations. There are three known Modes of Production in the SMP Compendium: Production for Profit, Production for Utility, and Production for Dasein.

Unlike Production for Dasein, mainstream Neoclassical Economics has shoehorned most forms of political-economic governance into either Production for Profit or Production for Utility. Conventional perceptions of Liberal Capitalism and Socialism are still framed this way. Market/Mixed Economies emphasize Production for Profit vis-à-vis the Profit Motive and Kapital Accumulation. Historical and existing Planned/Command Economies emphasize Production for Utility for two reasons. The first factor is the attempt to avoid Kapital being the overriding purpose of economic life. The other–and this is where the pressures of market reforms appear–is the tendency to perceive everything based on their Use-Value with a skewed Exchange-Value.”

Basically, the point that I am trying to make is that the Mode of Production chosen by any nation has the potential to affect how their governmental activities operate in legal theory and actual practice. Production for Profit involves having the governmental practices of Total Mobilization be beholden to Kapital Accumulation under the Incentives of Supply and Demand. Any long-term plans or preparations have to be taken into consideration with regard to the greatest Quantity of Kapital for the least Quantity of Schuld. Moreover, Production for Profit can also be differentiated from Production for Utility, in which the governmental conduct of Total Mobilization is done on the basis of its perceived “Marginal Utility” in promoting some perceived equilibrium between Supply and Demand, between Kapital and Schuld. And if it does not result in too much Meaningless Work, both Modes of Production will lead to a bloated bureaucracy full of governmental bodies with overlapping priorities and an apparent lack of coordination.

What happened under the FDR administration, again, was an attempt at harnessing Total Mobilization, and it can be argued that US had found itself fluctuating between Production for Profit and Production for Utility in the 1940s. The only time when the US operated under Production for Utility were those exceptional years between 1941 and 1945, when the FDR administration was turning the US into a Mixed Economy to finally realize the Empire of Liberty in Eurasia. After 1945, the US began a gradual shift away from Production for Utility and back to Production for Profit, which coincided with demobilization of the US armed forces, the curtailing of various New Deal programs, and the prevention of others from existing. This transition was also precisely where the issue of healthcare in America became so persistent in the decades since, not to mention the concurring trend of further expansions to the Executive and White House Offices.  

Moreover, the Federal government under the Democratic-Republican Party, in the decades since FDR, has seen the Congress and the Presidency tolerating a hybridization between Parliamentary Democracy and Council Democracy, and all the institutional problems that come with that hybridization. To cite one notable example from Congress, the election of Senators is no longer the concern of State governments, as the passing of Amendment XVII has made it customary for Senators to be elected just like their counterparts inside the House of Representatives. Another is the Electoral College, whose Electors choose the next President of the United States at the State level instead of the Federal level. The Presidency, on the other hand, saw its hybridization between Parliamentarian and Councilor models of governance in the establishments of the Executive Office and White House Office. The significance is best made apparent in how the two Offices have been organized over the decades.

I also alluded in The Work-Standard (2nd Ed.) that the Federal government was never given the benefit of having its own Federal Department devoted to matters related to Science and Technology. Research and development projects are scattered across different areas of the Federal government, conducted by commercial firms and non-profit foundations, and funded with Kapital from independent organizations such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). A lot of the research and development, if it is not being done as a Kapital investment, is treated as a philanthropic endeavor.

Since the Cabinet does not have a Federal Department, whose purpose is scientific and technological, the President has had to rely on two Offices within the Executive Office, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC). The OSTP, when it is not focusing on the Space Program, is also responsible for informing the President on the latest developments in Science and Technology. The Director of OSTP is also responsible for submitting reports to Congress about the government’s investments into the Sciences and Technology. The NSTC, meanwhile, is tasked with ensuring that the President’s policies on Science and Technology are put into practice throughout the Federal government. It coordinates the efforts of different Federal organizations in order to realize the national priorities of the US within the technical fields.  

A question which must be asked is whether the OSTP and NSTC deserve to be “Offices” within the Executive Office. Would they be more suitable for a Federal Department, seeing how their goals go farther than the immediate task of advising the President on technical matters? Could they be the ones forming the spearhead for government-funded research and development of technologies which cannot otherwise be conducted by the Department of Energy, which is particularly concerned with technologies related to nuclear energy and nuclear weapons?

Apart from the OSTP and NSTC, there are a number of groups within the Executive and White House Offices that could benefit immensely from having a “Presidium-like” structure, a centralized political assembly of high-ranking officials and policy advisors who collectively administer the affairs of the Executive Branch alongside the President. The reason why is because, when looking at the Presidency from the outset, the current organizational structure lacks a formal hierarchy. The Offices of important positions carry few distinctions between those whose roles are more mundane and have less to do with actual policy or decision-making.

There are other Offices within the Executive Office of the President, ones not listed in Part I, which have more to do with the affairs of running the White House as an institution. And then there are Offices within the White House Office, such as the Offices of Legislative Affairs and Intergovernmental Affairs, whose priorities are focused on interactions with Congress and the Federal-State System. As one could surmise while researching the Executive Branch, there are not too many distinctions over which Offices are more important to running the Union than those which are responsible for overseeing the White House’s daily operations. A Presidium could create those necessary distinctions and ensure a chain of command favorable to the Intents of Command and Obedience as well as Arbeit and Geld if the US decides to adopt the Work-Standard.

This particular matter serves as a proper explanation for why, in my own writings about the Federalist American Union in The Work-Standard (2nd Ed.), I specifically addressed the need to reorganize the hierarchical and organizational structure of the Federal-State System. It also addresses why none of the major Pure Socialisms in the world, both Scientific and Artistic, have never been able to properly meet the ongoing needs of American Federalism and its reciprocal interactions between the Federal and State governments. And while the proposals therein address the Federal-State System and everything outside the Presidency, I still remain confident in the fact that just as the Executive and White House Offices were the creation of Jeffersonian Presidents, a Hamiltonian President can see to it that these Offices are replaced by a Presidium.  

Categories: Philosophy

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