WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Swamp has been overflowing its banks for decades, inundating the United States with the muck that is a bloated federal bureaucracy. It can not be overstated just how swollen this bureaucracy is and how much money it displaces from Americans’ pockets.
When candidate Trump was on the campaign trail, draining this Swamp was one of his most popular appeals. Slow and steady as she goes – President Trump is pulling the plug.
“Nearly a year into his takeover of Washington, President Trump has made a significant down payment on his campaign pledge to shrink the federal bureaucracy, a shift long sought by conservatives that could eventually bring the workforce down to levels not seen in decades.
By the end of September, all Cabinet departments except Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs and Interior had fewer permanent staff than when Trump took office in January — with most shedding many hundreds of employees, according to an analysis of federal personnel data by The Washington Post.
The diminishing federal footprint comes after Trump promised in last year’s campaign to “cut so much your head will spin,” and it reverses a boost in hiring under President Barack Obama. The falloff has been driven by an exodus of civil servants, a diminished corps of political appointees and an effective hiring freeze.”
From his perch in the Oval Office, Trump’s shrewd business background perhaps makes him best suited to cut costs at the federal agencies that reside under the Executive Branch’s authority. As federal workers leave, no one is assigned to replace them, and the attrition eventually adds up.
The administration’s effort so far to reshape the workforce of nearly 2 million civil servants that serves as the backbone of the government already has provoked a contentious culture shift.
Federal workers fret that their jobs could be zeroed out amid buyouts and early retirement offers that already have prompted hundreds of their colleagues to leave, according to interviews with three dozen employees across the government. Many chafed as supervisors laid down new rules they said are aimed at holding poor performers and problem workers to account.
A hiring freeze technically lifted in the spring has been kept in practice at most agencies, hollowing out many offices. And the slow pace of political appointments has left a number of departments with a leadership vacuum in their upper ranks.
“Morale has never been lower,” said Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents 150,000 federal workers at more than 30 agencies. “Government is making itself a lot less attractive as an employer.”
Holding ‘poor performers and problem workers to account’? Oh, the humanity!
Why should government workers not be subject to the same expectations that any other employer has for their employees? The problem with government (one of the many) is that workers do not have a concrete end game that is only achieved through hard work and achieving goals.
There is no bottom line. The revenue always increases, and the motivation to control citizens lives via government policy along with it.
Goal posts are constantly moved, and government workers face no consequences for failure to achieve stated goals. There is always a new strategic plan to draft, and it always looks curiously similar to last year’s plan…and the year’s before that…and before that.
Conservatives who have long pushed for smaller government are cheered by the developments.
“This is going very well,” said anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, who famously once quipped that he wanted to shrink government small enough so he could “drown it in the bathtub.”
“Slow and steady — for all the bluster, this is how you downsize government without engendering blowback,” Norquist added.
And some civil servants said they welcome the focus on rooting out waste and holding federal workers to high standards.
“Oftentimes we run on autopilot and continue to fund programs that don’t produce the results that were intended,” said Stephanie Valentine, a program analyst at the Education Department. “You can’t keep blindly spending because that’s what we’ve always done.”
Trump already has begun to reverse the growth of the Obama era, when the government added a total of 188,000 permanent employees, according to Office of Personnel Management data.
For those inside the bureaucracy, a new Trump-era focus on accountability has meant working under greater oversight — and in some cases, fear of reprisals.
Agencies have told employees that they should no longer count on getting glowing reviews in their performance appraisals, according to staff in multiple offices, as has been the case for years.
Housing and Urban Development managers, for example, are being evaluated for the first time on how effectively they address poor performers, according to Ashaki Robinson Johns, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 476, which represents HUD employees.
This exactly the kind of fire that needs to be lit under poor performing government employees, and a perfect approach to draining the Swamp of those resentful creatures that don’t appreciate oversight and accountability.
After all, they ostensibly work for the American people. Holding them accountable is the absolute least the administration can do. Thank goodness there is a real executive in the Executive Branch to enforce such a culture, while saving us all from an ever growing federal bureaucracy.
“You’re fired!” never had such a nice ring to it.