Donald Trump Has Trimmed Thousands of Government Workers, But So Far it is Tens of Thousands Too Few

An article in the Washington Post cries that President Donald Trump has trimmed thousands of federal workers and cut federal budgets by millions. But let’s hope that he will fire many tens of thousands more useless, expensive, unnecessary government workers before he is done.

So far, one year into his presidency, Donald Trump has trimmed some 16,000 federal workers, the Post says.

He has done this by telling workers that there is a freeze on their positions, he has done this by budget cuts and lay offs, he has done this by not hiring replacements for retiring workers or workers that quit, and he has done this by letting government workers know that their gravy train has skidded to a halt causing many to quit for the private sector (or retire).

The president has also inculcated in his department heads a new era of accountability for the duties government workers perform. Trump has let it be known that merely sliding on assuming that their job is permanent regardless of performance is over. This has caused thousands to quit their jobs because they know they cannot show that they are useful workers turning out a necessary product.

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Another way Trump has slowed the growth in government is that he hasn’t taken advantage of the power to appoint dozens of top positions within government agencies. This has put a complete halt to more hiring. What usually happens when a new president comes to office is that he puts a load of friends and donors in these positions and then those people go on a hiring spree to put their friends and buddies into open or soon to open federal jobs.

Further more, it is clear from the new culture Trump is instilling in the federal work force that these ideas of accountability, thrift, and cost cutting will continue for his entire four years. This has also dampened the ardor of wasteful bureaucrats who imagined the federal gravy train would never stop gaining speed.

This is all good, of course. But I would like to see many tens of thousands more government workers fired, their pensions cut, and their benefits eliminated.

In essence, if you work for the government, you deserve to be fired. I mean that literally. I really don’t care what you do for government I think you deserve to be fired.* In fact, I think that you need to be fired to save this republic. Not only do I want you fired, I want your pension negated. You don’t deserve one.

I’ll let that sink in a bit.

Granted, conservatives have the reputation of wanting to oust everyone from office and for wanting to “vote the scoundrels out.” But, I am not just wallowing in a trope, here. In fact, I’d like to add one more level to the throw-them-out-of-government concept. Let’s fire every government worker from the smallest village receptionist or sewer worker to the staffers of the highest Senator and every menial clerk and recalcitrant paper shuffler in between.

I am, here, indulging a little bombast, of course, but only a little. A very little.

It’s not just pique at the famous laziness of government workers I’m talking about. I’m also not only deploying that stereotype contending that the only reason government workers get their jobs is because they are pals with a politician — or another government worker, for that matter. It’s not just that they are better paid than just about any real American in the private sector — whether they deserve it or not — and it’s not because they are impossible to fire, nor is it because they get a better pension and health care than anyone who really contributes to society… well, OK, it is because of that stuff. All that stuff and more.

A big reason I’ve about had it with government workers is reflected in an editorial once published by Investor’s Business Daily titled “The New Beltway Babylon.” This piece reported that Washington D.C. had replaced Silicon Valley and even New York as the center of affluence in the U.S.A.

How can the seat of government in a capitalist society double as its seat of wealth? The late Milton Friedman, who warned about the growing mix of government in the U.S. economy, must be turning in his grave.

According to the Census Bureau, the nation’s three richest counties — and half the top 10 — are now all located near Washington, where they gorge on the tax dollars you send there.

This is no less than an affront to true American principles.

IBD pegs this rise in affluence in the are surrounding D.C. to government contracts created by defense and Homeland Security programs bringing in people to fulfill those needs. But, it is surely a larger problem than just the temporary need for Homeland security programs. The problem is more widespread than that.

Government workers make up the single biggest segment of unionized labor in the U.S. As the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, “The union membership rate for government workers (36.2 percent) was substantially higher than for private industry workers (7.4 percent). Within the public sector, local government workers had the highest union membership rate, 41.9 percent.” The Cato Institute finds those stats alarming. “The nation’s 16 million state and local government workers form a large, growing, and well-compensated class in society,” the report. “State and local workers earned $36 per hour in wages and benefits in 2005, on average, compared to $24 per hour for U.S. private-sector workers…”

It is disgusting that these government leeches make more on average than a private sector worker. It is also unsustainable.

Not only is it unsustainable, these workers are unaccountable. These people, regardless of how well or how badly they do their jobs — regardless of whether their jobs are even necessary — are too often unable to be fired due to their ironclad union contracts and tax payers are duped into paying for these people’s retirement at cushy levels that are far and away better than that of the private sector.

As USA Today reported in 2007, “Retired government workers are twice as likely to get a pension as their counterparts in the private sector, and the typical benefit is far more generous. The nation’s 6 million retired civil servants … received a median benefit of $17,640 in 2005… Eleven million private-sector retirees covered by traditional pensions got $7,692.”

Naturally, we can’t begrudge benefits to certain government workers worthy of receiving them. Teachers, Police, Firemen, and Military personnel deserve their benefits as they provide a professional, sometimes dangerous and necessary service — As with everything there are exceptions that prove the rule.

But, why should a perfunctory paper pusher at the Secretary of State’s office get a better pension than anyone in the private sector? Worse, how can we stand by and allow government workers to retire at much younger ages than those in the private sector do, forcing tax payers to pay their exorbitant health care benefits and cushy, undeserved pensions for many more years than private sector workers get theirs?

And how can we be so stupid as to allow government workers to become a larger force every year adding insult to injury?

Even when we vote out a member of Congress, for instance, we are not cleaning house. Staffers often stay on from one Senator or House member to another because of their so-called “expertise” in the inner workings of government. This adds to government inertia. After all, what staffer is going to do much that would annoy the go-along-to-get-along workings that might upset their apple cart. This also adds to the cost of government.

My last point is that this whole situation in which we find ourselves in this republic — where government workers have the best jobs, the safest jobs, the highest paying jobs, and the best retirement plans — is also thoroughly un-American. In fact, the founders worried about this very thing befalling their new nation.

During the Constitutional Convention, several of the founders talked* about what they then called “pensioners and placemen.” This was the way that secure government workers were described at that time. These “placemen” were hangers on, people that were leaching off the people’s taxes. These placemen were a feature of the British system, too, and they were inveighed against as evidence of the corruption of the British system. These placemen were something that the founders wanted to keep out of the United States of America.

This subject was a matter of worry by James Madison as he criticized Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton, you see, was keen to replicate the British system here in America (it should be remembered that the founders initially insisted that they were being more British than the British by more closely following Britishness). Madison, on the other hand, was just as keen to avoid the sort of ministerial corruption that heavily invested government workers could wreck on America. Madison thought that public pensioners, placemen, dealers in public funds, and influence peddlers would doom this country to rule by regulators and bureaucrats.

Madison was exactly right. It may have taken more than 200 years to prove his prescient warning correct but it has been proven, nonetheless.

So, let’s do something about this. No government worker should ever qualify for a pension or post employment health care. Their unions are unconstitutional anyway, so let’s get rid of those, too. I include all elected members of government under that umbrella, by the way.

We need to make government jobs less desirable than they now are, not the plum positions of the entire American work force. It is a crime that, in a supposedly capitalist society, working for the government is more lucrative than working for the private sector.

If it didn’t afford the opportunity for true incompetence and graft, I’d almost rather go back to the days of patronage. At least then we were able to rid ourselves of government workers as often as we did elected officials. But, Chester A. Arthur was correct at least in that we need some level of competence in government workers.

All this, though, is the result of creating the Frankenstein’s monster of a bloated, big government, nanny state. We have allowed it to grow beyond control and some efforts to curb it must be taken before it overwhelms us.

Lastly, before you get into your high dudgeon, Mr. government worker. Before you warm that computer up to write me to ask if I think it’s fair that you should have your benefits cut. Let me assure you of something. I am not just asking you to suffer a cut in your benefits… I want you to lose both your job AND your benefits. I want you out of government never to return. And I want your jobs entirely eliminated.

I am saying you are the problem, not a solution. So, please, for the sake of our country, go find a real job and get out of government, you lazy slob.

I hope that answers your question clearly?


*In general, I am excluding first responders and the military. However, I am NOT excluding most federal and state officials that are allowed to carry guns, such as treasury agents, state investigators, the BATF guys and the like — in other words, the many agencies with so-called police powers that shouldn’t have any such thing should also be fired.

** This discussion can be found in James Madison’s Journal of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in conversations between Oliver Ellsworth and Elbridge Gerry.

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