Politico's Jack Shaffer  has a modest proposal for the job of First Lady: abolish it.

I have a better idea: fund it more modestly. Very much more modestly.

Shaffer writes:

Melania Trump has done the nation a great service by deciding to maintain Trump Tower as her full-time residence and not to move to the White House any time soon. But her resistance shouldn’t stop there. Now is as good a time as any to eliminate the ceremonial office of the “first lady,” that abhorrent honorific we apply to the president’s wife, and encourage the first spouse to live like an ordinary citizen. All we need is for Melania to agree.

Yes, defund the ridiculously large staff that currently earns upward of $1.5 million a year serving Michelle Obama; abolish the federally funded bully pulpit from which the presidential spouses have historically advocated for healthy eating, literacy, child welfare, anti-drug programs, mental health issues and beautification of highways.

The president’s spouse isn’t a specimen of American royalty. By giving her a federal budget and nonstop press coverage, we endorse a pernicious kind of neo-nepotism that says, pay special attention to the person not because she’s earned it or is inherently worthy of our notice but because of who she’s related to by marriage.

The hairstyles, fashion choices, vacation destinations and pet projects of the president’s spouse are newsworthy only to the mentally vacant. Other democracies, such as the United Kingdom, bestow no such honors upon the spouses of their leaders and are better for it. To use an au courant phrase, the office of the first spouse is a swamp in need of draining. Won’t somebody please dispatch a dredger to the East Wing?

Shaffer protests that his "beef" isn't with Mrs. Trump and that he actually started toying with the idea for the column when Hillary Clinton "seemed inevitable." Why, it didn't occur to him during Michelle Obama's well-staffed tenure? The timing of the column is in-te-resting.

I started thinking about some changes in the "office" of First Lady, as Jack dubs it, during the current administration. But, since I am not ideologically simpatico with the outgoing administration, a blog on the subject might have looked like sour grapes. Now it won't.

We should not abolish the job of First Lady, but we should stipulate that it cost us taxpayers a lot less than it does. How on earth did it get so expensive? I am actually surprised to learn that Mrs. Obama's staff costs us only "upwards of $1.5 million" a year.

Jack's column is a twist on the standard First Lady column that appears when a Democratic candidate wins the White House.Then there is much agonizing over how a modern woman can fit into this job that originated in the pre-feminist era.

But every First Lady (or First Gentleman, as we one day will have) has the ability to define the job, carving out a role to benefit the country. First Ladies always play an mportant part in setting standards for our country. And why shouldn't they showcase American designers? It's true that I might prefer literacy (Barbara Bush) to taking over the nation's school cafeterias (You Know Who), but First Ladies use the position to make a statement about values.

Jack acknowledges the good work done by First Ladies, and then he asks:

 But does any of this work require a staff of 15 or more? The spouses of senators and corporate chiefs provide advice and speechwriting help for their husbands and we don’t give them a budget or lavish them with attention. What’s so special about the first spouse that we should give them $1.5 million in mad money to serve as hostess and confidante, White House remodeling consultant, supervisor of china?

Well, Jack, it is a special role and First Ladies (and the eventual First Gentlemen) can serve the country and set a tone.  

But Jack is right about one thing: We do need to give them a smaller public purse.

But that is true of so many positions in D.C.

Now that a president with whose policies I am more attuned than I was with President Obama's, let me urge: We should not treat public servants in a democracy like royalty. Too many people in this town have Secret Service protection, drivers, motorcades, and other accoutrements of power than are largely for show–and that don't come cheap.