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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

President Trump will end having taxpayers pay for union work

The Associated Press's Matthew Barakat wrote that federal workers fear Trump's "drain the swamp" will hurt the average government worker, most of whom do not live in Washington.

Barakat cited the plight of Melissa Baumann, whom he described as "a chemist with the Forest Service" in Madison, Wisconsin.

Well, actually she is more than that. In Paragraph Six, he adds that "she also serves as a union officer for the Forest Service."

Perhaps she is concerned with Trump's plan to stop having taxpayers pay union officials for union activities. If not, she should be. Taxpayers should not be forced to do that.

The second person he quoted in the 794-word piece was Greg Guthrie, an information specialist with the National Technical Information Service in Alexandria, Virginia. Guess what? He also just happens to be a union official.

Guthrie's co-workers are sympathetic to technology's disruption of the labor force, he said. The NTIS provides reports and research to a variety of customers. Internet search engines now fill some of that role, prompting senators to introduce the "Let Me Google That For You Act" in 2014 to kill the NTIS. But Guthrie said his agency has reinvented itself and now helps government agencies use big data.
Guthrie said federal workers can adapt when given the opportunity.
"I don't like some of the terms I'm hearing, like 'drain the swamp,'" said Guthrie, also an officer in his union. "Sometimes it's couched as we're these lazy, unnecessary relics. That's not true. We're people who work hard."
I agree. They are not relics. 

But neither were the thousands of miners who lost their jobs under President Obama, or the millions of people who lost their factory jobs after NAFTA. The New York Times had a beautiful piece by Sheryl Gay Stolberg on Williamson in the southern coalfields of, West Virginia.

From Sheryl Gay Stolberg
They used to have “Cadillac” health coverage; now they have Medicaid.
And there was this:
“We’re a forgotten people,” Ms. Taylor said, explaining why it did not take much for Mr. Trump to win coal country’s trust. “He mentions West Virginia, he mentions the coal workers, and that was pretty much all he had to do to seal this deal.”
While I am sympathetic to people losing their jobs for circumstances beyond their control, some federal workers do deserve the boot.

From the Washington Post on November 21:
President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress are drawing up plans to take on the government bureaucracy they have long railed against, by eroding job protections and grinding down benefits that federal workers have received for a generation.
Hiring freezes, an end to automatic raises, a green light to fire poor performers, a ban on union business on the government’s dime and less generous pensions — these are the contours of the blueprint emerging under Republican control of Washington in January.
These changes were once unthinkable to federal employees, their unions and their supporters in Congress. But Trump’s election as an outsider promising to shake up a system he told voters is awash in “waste, fraud and abuse” has conservatives optimistic that they could do now what Republicans have been unable to do in the 133 years since the modern Civil Service was created.
Republicans created Civil Service.

What we have is not working. The government is too big and too busy-bodied. While it is true that the number of government employees has not increased that reflects computerization. Instead of thousands of file clerks, we have thousands of more expensive lawyers, academics, and techs.

We need a smaller government. That means picking priorities. I am sure the National Technical Information Service is a nice thing to have, but in a time when we have trouble affording the essential things, the NTIS is non-essential.

And definitely, we should not be paying for union work.


"Trump the Press" skewers media experts who wrongly predicted Trump would lose the Republican nomination. I use my deadliest weapon: their own words. "Trump the Press" is available as a paperback, and on Kindle.


  1. One of my cousins is married to a retired government plutocrat who pushed papers around on a desk for six figures and loves to virtue signal about how happy he is about Obamacare while he gets government pension benefits. I'd love to see him in the same boat with the rest of us. The nonstop whining would be invigorating.

  2. The AP loooooooves the government workers...and lies to everyone in their articles. We've seen it. More than enough of it.

  3. AND no Bonuses for Fed workers. What a sham, getting a bonus for gov't work, on taxpayers dime. Has to stop!!!

  4. At 133 years of age the Civil Service definitely needs some reforms. Employment in the government at all levels should be based on ongoing individual merit. Last but not least, all government employee unions should be de-certified. - Elric

  5. The Republicans may have started it, but JFK is the one who authorized them to join unions.

  6. Picking political sides was a very poor idea.

    -Mikey NTH

  7. We knew a couple of mid-level gubmint workers. They thought the earth couldn't rotate unless they were "on the job". I think their real value was using their body heat to help heat the office, thus reducing energy consumption.