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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Press mission: save the bureaucracy

A story from John Fritze of the Baltimore Sun shows a new goal in the Press War Against President Trump.
Eyeing the new boss warily, federal workers prepare for deep cuts under Trump
Reporters are going to protect those poor, hard-working, federal bureaucrats from the budget ax of President Trump and his Cabinet -- even as news organizations kick thousands of people off their own payrolls.

I think we can all agree that federal employees by and large are patriotic, loyal, competent and upstanding members of the community.

Furthermore, we can stipulate that every program and agency in the federal government does a public good.

That said, there are too many of both of them.

We cannot afford all of them. We must pick and choose which services we want from government, and fund them.

We have 17 spy agencies? Really? Couldn't we get by with 16? 15? 12? Five?

But do not expect the press to approach the issue in an intelligent and objective manner.

Emotions sell.

From Fritze's story:
Federal workers nationwide are bracing for reductions in head counts, civil service protections and salaries when President-elect Donald Trump and Congress turn their attention to government spending later this year.
Trump, who ran on a promise to "drain the swamp," has identified hiring freezes at most federal agencies as a top priority for his early days in office. Republican lawmakers, many of whom have long advocated for reducing Washington's workforce, are looking to cut benefits and make it easier to fire poor performers.
The threats and preliminary steps taken by Congress have created anxiety for many of the government's 2.1 million employees.
"People don't know what to believe, and they're in a state of uneasiness," said Witold Skwierczynski, a Catonsville, Md., who heads the American Federation of Government Employees council that oversees Social Security Administration field offices. "That's the feeling I hear. People are unsettled."
Social Security is a trip. I signed up for it online in five minutes after trying to work with the St. Albans field office. I had to schedule an appointment for when to call to schedule an appointment.

Customer service is a foreign notion in many government agencies.

How about we eliminate these Social Security offices and save rent and personnel?

Do it online and contract out to a call center in India customer service. Direct deposit already eliminated the need for tellers to handle Social Security checks.

Civil Service negates the incentive to please the customer.

From the story:
"It's unfortunate. These are our front-line public servants, and they're clearly going to be under assault," said Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., who has thwarted similar cuts in the past but now will have less leverage.
"I haven't heard too many people say we're doing too much at NIH," he said, referring to the National Institutes of Health. "I haven't heard too many people say that we should reduce the number of people who protect our food supply at the FDA."
Every federal agency is vital.

But many of these jobs should be done on the state level.

Every state has a board of health. Let them protect the food supply.

And while the Census Bureau does a lot of free work for industry, can we afford it? Scaling it back to counting noses every decade would not bother me.

Across-the-board cuts should be made. Eliminate all agency offices dealing with climate change, and diversity. Man does not cause climate change, and the law provides diversity.

Cutting the federal government in half would be my goal. Besides money, you would reduce the number of new regulations added each day.

@@@

Please read "Trump the Press," in which I skewer media experts who wrongly predicted Trump would lose the Republican nomination. "Trump the Press" is available as a paperback, and on Kindle.

It covers the nomination process only. The general election will be covered in a sequel.

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43 comments:

  1. Many of the Federal Mandarin class think that Civil Service jobs are a civil right.

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    Replies
    1. They THINK they are Mandarins, but they are nothing more than coolies.

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  2. We could save a bunch of money by telling the DEA to stop going after pot smokers and dealers. Let the states handle it. The feds locked up Tommy Chong for selling bongs!

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  3. Welcome to the Real World of Working. Scared for their positions? HA! Go work in a corporation. I worked for High Tech company for 13 yrs, through one BK and 12 annual layoffs.

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  4. After federal employment is a person able to revert back to doing meaningful work? I'm sure a tiny percentage still have a work ethic, but the remainder would have to run for public office as democrats.

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    Replies
    1. I'd "like" this for sure, if there was a like button.

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  5. "Cutting the federal government in half would be my goal."

    This is what I'm looking for from the new administration, right out the gate. An actual number. A relatively specific goal and a benchmark to measure achievement. (Numbers for $$$ would be good too, but they're good at hiding those.) Without something specific, it's all rubbish, like Obama saying he's improved race relations. That's nice, Bammie, what do the numbers say?

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  6. "I haven't heard too many people say that we should reduce the number of people who protect our food supply at the FDA."

    FDA - isn't that the outfit that holds up certification od drugs the rest of the world is using, for years?

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    Replies
    1. You need to get out more. FDA should be at the top of the list. They're morons who've done more harm to our national health than any mosquito, virus or bacteria.

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  7. "I haven't heard too many people say that we should reduce the number of people who protect our food supply at the FDA."

    FDA - isn't that the outfit that holds up certification od drugs the rest of the world is using, for years?

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    Replies
    1. Why, I do believe you are 100% correct!

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  8. Did the Baltimore Sun run any stories about hardships facing military members due to the sequester budget cut backs?

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  9. Too many government employees are more loyal to their government employees union than to The Union (The United States of America). Abolish all government employee unions immediately. Many of the deadbeat workers will hopefully leave voluntarily. It will enable a quick reduction in the government work force without arguments and court challenges. The remaining government employees will be on short notice that if they screw up or fail to deliver top quality service for their pay they will be replaced immediately. Pay, pensions, and benefits should also be reduced to remove the incentive for government employment. If you want a productive garden you have to weed it and prune it regularly. - Elric

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    1. Public service union should all be abolished ASAP.

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    2. Should be the second thing to go, right after obamacare.

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  10. DOJ, CRS
    Department of Justice, Civil Right Service. Eliminate all the bad actors that fomented riots, looting, and racism against whites.
    Black people, for example, thankfully, have achieved roles in every branch and at every level of government, up the the supreme court justices, congress and senate and even the top of the food chain in the executive branch.
    Qhat little racism that is left is either a figment of people's imaginatIon (fake news), created or fomented by government itself, or inconsequential (not preventing anyone from doing anything, possibly hruting someone's feelings, but neccessarily illegal).
    libby
    And all the pearl clutching of the last few weeks plus all the fake news is more understandable in light of so many incompetent or malicious people in government that won't be employable by any organization other than a bloated beaurocracy

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    Replies
    1. As in, the EPA and that orange river they caused.

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  11. In the story above, the 3rd and 4th paras need the word "not" or the phrase "not necessarily."

    E.g. the 3rd para: "I think we can all agree that federal employees by and large are [not necessarily] patriotic, loyal, competent and upstanding members of the community."

    And the 4th: "Furthermore, we can stipulate that every program and agency in the federal government does [not necessarily do] a public good."

    That's the way I see it anyway! I have no use whatsoever for entire agencies (BATFE for one) and would like to see them eliminated root, branch, and all!

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  12. The fact we're even reading this makes me happy.

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  13. Lots of manufacturing jobs coming to America, retrain the bureaucrats to work for a living. On second thought, maybe that is setting the bar too high for them.

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  14. Every federal agency is vital? We're being sarcastic, right? But it is understandable that the federal workers are concerned. After years in the government employment bubble most are all but unemployable in the private sector. Not to mention that they would suddenly have to live by the rules they create for others.

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  15. @DC: "Many of the Federal Mandarin class think that Civil Service jobs are a civil right."

    In D.C., isn't the government the largest employer of blacks? So what you wrote makes perfect sense. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that government jobs are hereditary: if your pappy or mammy worked for the government, when they retired or left, the union made sure you got their jobs.

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  16. Spy agencies: CIA calls dibs on the Cone of Silence.

    Social Security: You've never dealt with Indian bureaucrats, have you, Don?

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    Replies
    1. You mean bureaucrats at the U.S. Department of Indian Affairs, not those from the Asian country?

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  17. "Furthermore, we can stipulate that every program and agency in the federal government does a public good."

    Nope, won't stipulate any such thing.

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  18. My dream is to see a former federal employee sitting on a corner with a sign saying, "Will push people around for food."

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  19. I am a federal employee, and Don is right. Notice the story only quotes a union official who represents... something. The *senator* from a state that has lots of federal employees in it mentions the food inspectors. Nowhere are they talking to people who actually do the actual work these stories talk about. Why? Because they are busy doing the work. You could *easily* cut the federal workforce by getting rid of the "assistant administrative analysts", and "deputy general counsel for writing really long emails", and "training department program managers" and the like, and the core missions would go on just fine. There is a -to borrow a term- YUGE amount of busy-work piled on top of the core missions any agency.

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    1. I always thought a good way to cut the Department of Agriculture would be to walk into the building and tell everyone who had never been to a farm to pack up their desks and LEAVE.

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  20. Who is causing climate change is irrelevant to remediation efforts.

    The best thing we can do about climate change is strengthen our economy so that we have the resources to cope with it. Impoverishing ourselves in order to make climate change conform to natural variation instead of to human variation (this argument is unconcerned with whether or not there is human-caused variation) will have no practical effect other than reduce our ability to survive and thrive in a changing climate.

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    1. If our "climate is changing", why is this Montana winter so reminiscent of the horrible ones of 1978-79 and 1972-73? We were told a few years back by leftists that "our children won't even know what snow looks like", etc. This year we have had real temperatures of -32 F., -25 F. twice, below zero every night for weeks, 2 blizzards, and roads so bad we call the state snow plows "Zambonis". Last week I totaled my pickup when a gal slid on the ice avoiding an elk herd and creamed us. I want my climate change, and I want it now. This seems too much like the climate I grew up in.

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  21. Why quibble? Dismantle all the agencies and programs created in the last 50 years and replace any that might be missed. They should few and far between.

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  22. We have 17 spy agencies?

    It's cute that an article about budgets, the number of spy agencies is the first thing mentioned. First and foremost, what difference does it matter how many there are from a budget perspective. ALL that matters is their cost; it could be 100 spy agencies, total intelligence spending is still only $75B (non military intelligence is roughly $50B), i.e., 1.9% of federal spending. Which compared to other things, is a drop in the bucket, i.e., meaningless in terms of the federal budget. Even if we stipulate that spy agency budgets should be cut.

    How about we eliminate these Social Security offices and save rent and personnel?

    How about we eliminate the unconstitutional social security all together. This one program eats up about a quarter of the budget. If you're talking about cutting the federal budget and bring up social security to whine about the cost of the employees of the SSA, then I can only conclude that you're not serious about cutting the budget.

    the Census Bureau does a lot of free work for industry

    FREE?!?!?!

    None of what you're talking about is going to make dent in the federal budget. The budget has not ballooned out of control because of increased government employment. It has ballooned out of control because of "benefits" voters have decided to vote themselves. If you're not willing to cut "benefits", you're not serious about cutting the federal budget, even if there are federal employees that are not needed. The federal bureaucracy can be irksome and annoying, but the root problem is American voters who vote themselves other people's money.

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    1. The federal bureaucracy is more than just "irksome and annoying". It is now actively crippling American industry and gleefully destroying American jobs.

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  23. Of course. That goes without saying.

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  24. A good start would be to establish a hiring freeze on any civil service job and allow attrition to cull the herd. Secondly, eliminate bonuses for all federal employees. These two actions wouldn't even require Congressional approval. A third step would be to cut all federal agencies' budgets by 2-3%/year for the next four years (due to all those empty desks created by the hiring freeze). By cuts, I mean real cuts from the previous year's budget, not those fake Washington DC cuts which are really only smaller increases due to inflation. I would love to see the federal employee unions jettisoned, but one can only do so much. Save that for Trump's second term.

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  25. Why? Kennedy created the public service unions with an Executive Order and Trump can undo that surely unconstitutional act in the same manner. Merely correcting a mistake.

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  26. I think you hit on something really worthwhile at the end. It isn't so much a matter of cutting the number of federal workers across the board but of selecting what the government should do and cutting there. You specifically cited climate change and diversity. Climate change, of course (and if some jobs can't be cut immediately, take away their desks/phones/computers and give them a metal folding chair facing the wall and tell them they will be written up if they leave their work space except on breaks) -- but letting the laws we have handle diversity issues is a way to make the American government truly treat all people as equal under the law (which does not preclude enforcing civil rights violations).

    Where I think government must not make automatic cuts is in, such, determining that because the author signed up for social security online that now everyone must do it as he did. I don't mean that in the long run that won't happen (because each generation is more computer literate than the last), but I'm not sure eliminating "human beings" from the federal bureaucracy is a net gain. It is supposed to be a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

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  27. Move the nation's capital and most federal agencies to somewhere in flyover country - perhaps a new city a la an American Brasilia. Offer measily relocation benefits! Of course all the hanger-ons (e.g. lobbyists, high-priced consultants, media elites, etc.)would move on their own nickle and maybe have to live in doublewides for a few years while the new capital city was being constructed.

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    1. Grand Forks, North Dakota is lovely this time of year. Put all the "global warming" bureaucracy there to test out their theories. Remind them to bring their coats.

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    2. ... and an added feature is Grand Forks is so close to the Canadian border, they can get there quickly if they can't stand the heat. :-)

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