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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Fighting the fourth branch of government

Republicans control Congress, the presidency, and the courts.

Democrats control the fourth branch of government: the bureaucracy.

This is why Democrats get more done when they control the first three. They have their minions in place ready -- anxious -- to carry out their socialist policies.

President Trump is the first Republican president to tackle this head on. His hiring freeze and plans to lay of thousands of unnecessary federal employees take the battle to the enemy.

No more having to defend oneself from undemocratic attacks by Civil Service-protected Democrats like James Hansen -- who became a millionaire while peddling the junk science of climate change while on the federal clock.

Democrats are scared. Rightly so. President Trump has them on the run.

From the Washington Post:
Trump’s federal hiring freeze draws immediate fire from unions
Federal labor leaders were ready when President Trump froze government hiring Monday. It was a campaign promise they criticized before the election and did so again shortly after he made good on the pledge.
“President Trump’s action will disrupt government programs and services that benefit everyone and actually increase taxpayer costs by forcing agencies to hire more expensive contractors to do work that civilian government employees are already doing for far less,” said American Federation of Government Employees President J. David Cox Sr. “This hiring freeze will mean longer lines at Social Security offices, fewer workplace safety inspections, less oversight of environmental polluters, and greater risk to our nation’s food supply and clean water systems.”
Fact check: Our rivers may be safer without them.

The federal government is the biggest water polluter in this century, having destroyed the Animas River by dumping 3 million gallons of an orange toxic goo in 2015.

President Trump will make the EPA pay damages.

I would prosecute Gina McCarthy. Why not? The feds prosecuted the president of a company that spilled 10,000 gallons of an industrial alcohol into the Elk River in Charleston in 2014.

More from the Washington Post:
A hiring freeze was included in the Trump presidential campaign’s “Contract with the American Voter.” It was the second of six measures “to clean up the corruption and special interest collusion in Washington, D.C.” and part of his “100-day action plan to Make America Great Again.”
The contract excluded the “military, public safety, and public health,” but during a signing in the Oval Office Trump only mentioned the military.
“A hiring freeze will be harmful and counterproductive, increasing backlogs, decreasing service quality and causing more frustration for Americans seeking help from their government,” said Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union. “Our government depends upon highly-trained and experienced federal workers being able to carry on with their important work. This puts up a substantial roadblock for agencies.”
A substantial roadblock for agencies.


The Washington Post is a provincial newspaper that is a blind civic booster to the area's main employer: government.

President Trump has the Democrats on the run.

Do not let up.

Meanwhile, at the EPA, President Trump not only froze hiring, but he has frozen grants and contracts.

From ProPublica:
The Trump administration has imposed a freeze on grants and contracts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a move that could affect a significant part of the agency’s budget allocations and even threaten to disrupt core operations ranging from toxic cleanups to water quality testing, according to records and interviews.
In one email exchange obtained by ProPublica on Monday, an EPA contracting officer concluded a note to a storm water management employee this way:
“Right now we are in a holding pattern. The new EPA administration has asked that all contract and grant awards be temporarily suspended, effective immediately. Until we receive further clarification, this includes task orders and work assignments.”
Asked about any possible freeze and its implications, EPA officials did not provide an answer.
One EPA employee aware of the freeze said he had never seen anything like it in nearly a decade with the agency. Hiring freezes happened, he said, but freezes on grants and contracts seemed extraordinary. The employee said the freeze appeared to be nationwide, and as of Monday night it was not clear for how long it would be in place.
The substance of the email exchange was confirmed by one senior EPA employee with over 20 years at the agency. An EPA lawyer also said that earlier communications had described such a freeze.
As the Scorekeeper would say -- GOOD!


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, "Trump the Establishment."

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  1. Civil Service protections were a gift - a great gift. So rare anywhere in the world, all that needed to be done was (A) do your job, (II) stay out of partisan politics, and (3) don't impinge on other areas. To be a functionary, with job security so long as you showed diligence and favored no one, what a wonderful thing!

    So of course people with crusades of their own, agendas of their own, battering around in their heads had to go and spoil it. Oh well. If I was really mean I would suggest that members of the federal civil service make a lunch date with Lois Lerner, just to express their concerns on how her actions affected them; but I am not mean.

    -Mikey NTH

  2. I am not against unions per se. I was once a member of a (local) union. But when it comes to government workers and public employee unions, you can either be a civil service worker or a member of a labor union, but not both. Choose one or the other, or else the administration and Congress should choose one for you. Employees, even (or maybe even especially) government employees, deserve protection (and fairness) in dealing with their employers. However, it is absurd for employees to have both a lifetime job (virtually) guaranteed by civil service rules AND union protection. Employees in private industry with union contracts don't have dual job protection. (And, yes, I know the compromise is that government labor unions are not SUPPOSED to strike. But they can resort to work slowdowns, which are just as bad.) If I were a government employee instead of the retiree I am, I'd choose union membership over civil service, but then I would do my job as well as I could.

  3. MAGA. Less regulation = fewer bureaucrats = reduced cost of government = lower taxes = happy citizens.

  4. Sadly, the hiring freeze does nothing, since the way around hiring more employees is to hire more contract workers who simply are not counted in the official deparmental headcount reports.

    Everybody knows about this gimmick, but even new politicians want to make themselves look good for the next election. Government spending goes up and up when you count it all, but some of the spending not in official budgets, like military pay, just keep rising with the new volunteer military.

    Way back in the '60s, I made $222 a month in my pay grade as a 2nd Lt, US Army, received $93 and change for separate off-post housing and $47.88 for separate rations. but cigarettes were only $18 a carton at the PX.

    1. Contract workers don't get civil service benefits, and have no job protections other than those provided by their immediate employer. The savings to us is in not having someone who can't be fired in a permanent position of power. These people are usually more conservative than the civil service employees that they replace, as well.

    2. The Executive Order made it clear that the hiring freeze extended to subcontractors. No more rebadging former full-time employees. So Trump slammed the lid on the Agencies normal escape hatch.

    3. Yes, you are right, quite a number of private companies in the DC area provide contract services to the Federal government, oftentimes very essential ones. They are called, euphemistically, the "Beltway Bandits." Those companies provide expertise that government agencies may not have. They also offer flexibility in government budgeting and spending in that their services can be terminated by the hiring agency when they are no longer needed, or even sometimes at will. There are benefits to this cozy arrangement on both sides: the government avoids civil service and union issues, and on the other side the companies make a bit of profit, which I find okay as long as it's not a sweetheart deal and the profit is reasonable and not unconscionable.

  5. Tea Party Doc gets at the problem here: the current inability to fire federal employees. That stupid rule needs to be rescinded. All these fed agencies have way too many old geezers near or well beyond 70 that no longer are productive but they keep coming into the office and collecting a *huge* paycheck and padding their pensions, and they are untouchable. The newer folks coming into the gov't today are not getting nearly the scale of the pensions that were awarded in the older days. The gov't needs to be downscaled but it won't go away. So I think the problem is more at the back end and dropping dead weight vs. perhaps attracting some new blood and innovation. The system needs some outsiders to come in, right now it is pretty incestuous.

  6. They also control the fifth branch: The MSM

  7. Decertify all government employee unions and reform the Civil Service. Make all government employees "at will." Cut all government employee pay and benefits by 10 per cent over the first year. At the end of the first year evaluate the situation and make appropriate plans for the second year. - Elric

  8. "One EPA employee aware of the freeze said he had never seen anything like it in nearly a decade with the agency."

    So this "knowledgeable" employee has no experience beyond the Obama administration?

    Way to get some depth there, Mr. Reporter.

  9. The next time there is a big snowstorm and all "nonessential" employees are told to stay home take note of them as there will be a target rich environment for layoffs. After all, if they are "nonessential" why do they have jobs?

    Of course, expect government slowdowns by current union employees and they will be blamed on Trump.