An Anonymous Article

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an anonymous article written by someone they know to be a senior official in the Trump administration. I am posting the full text of the article because I believe all of it is very important. I have no additional comments.

As one of the senior officials working without a paycheck, a few words of advice for the president’s next move at shuttered government agencies: lock the doors, sell the furniture, and cut them down.

Federal employees are starting to feel the strain of the shutdown. I am one of them. But for the sake of our nation, I hope it lasts a very long time, till the government is changed and can never return to its previous form.

The lapse in appropriations is more than a battle over a wall. It is an opportunity to strip wasteful government agencies for good.

On an average day, roughly 15 percent of the employees around me are exceptional patriots serving their country. I wish I could give competitive salaries to them and no one else. But 80 percent feel no pressure to produce results. If they don’t feel like doing what they are told, they don’t.

Why would they? We can’t fire them. They avoid attention, plan their weekend, schedule vacation, their second job, their next position — some do this in the same position for more than a decade.

They do nothing that warrants punishment and nothing of external value. That is their workday: errands for the sake of errands — administering, refining, following and collaborating on process. “Process is your friend” is what delusional civil servants tell themselves. Even senior officials must gain approval from every rank across their department, other agencies and work units for basic administrative chores.

Process is what we serve, process keeps us safe, process is our core value. It takes a lot of people to maintain the process. Process provides jobs. In fact, there are process experts and certified process managers who protect the process. Then there are the 5 percent with moxie (career managers). At any given time they can change, clarify or add to the process — even to distort or block policy counsel for the president.

Saboteurs peddling opinion as research, tasking their staff on pet projects or pitching wasteful grants to their friends. Most of my career colleagues actively work against the president’s agenda. This means I typically spend about 15 percent of my time on the president’s agenda and 85 percent of my time trying to stop sabotage, and we have no power to get rid of them. Until the shutdown.

Due to the lack of funding, many federal agencies are now operating more effectively from the top down on a fraction of their workforce, with only select essential personnel serving national security tasks. One might think this is how government should function, but bureaucracies operate from the bottom up — a collective of self-generated ideas. Ideas become initiatives, formalize into offices, they seek funds from Congress and become bureaus or sub-agencies, and maybe one day grow to be their own independent agency, like ours. The nature of a big administrative bureaucracy is to grow to serve itself. I watch it and fight it daily.

When the agency is full, employees held liable for poor performance respond with threats, lawsuits, complaints and process in at least a dozen offices, taking years of mounting paperwork with no fear of accountability, extending their careers, while no real work is done. Do we succumb to such extortion? Yes. We pay them settlements, we waive bad reviews, and we promote them.

Many government agencies have adopted the position that more complaints are good because it shows inclusion in, you guessed it, the process. When complaints come, it is cheaper to pay them off than to hold public servants accountable. The result: People accused of serious offenses are not charged, and self-proclaimed victims are paid by you, the American taxpayer.

The message to federal supervisors is clear. Maintain the status quo, or face allegations. Many federal employees truly believe that doing tasks more efficiently and cutting out waste, by closing troubled programs instead of expanding them, “is morally wrong,” as one cried to me.

I get it. These are their pets. It is tough to put them down and let go, and many resist. This phenomenon was best summed up by a colleague who said, “The goal in government is to do nothing. If you try to get things done, that’s when you will run into trouble.”

But President Trump can end this abuse. Senior officials can reprioritize during an extended shutdown, focus on valuable results and weed out the saboteurs. We do not want most employees to return, because we are working better without them. Sure, we empathize with families making tough financial decisions, like mine, and just like private citizens who have to find other work and bring competitive value every day, while paying more than a third of their salary in federal taxes.

President Trump has created more jobs in the private sector than the furloughed federal workforce. Now that we are shut down, not only are we identifying and eliminating much of the sabotage and waste, but we are finally working on the president’s agenda.

President Trump does not need Congress to address the border emergency, and yes, it is an emergency. Billions upon billions of hard-earned tax dollars are still being dumped into foreign aid programs every year that do nothing for America’s interest or national security. The president does not need congressional funding to deconstruct abusive agencies who work against his agenda. This is a chance to effect real change, and his leverage grows stronger every day the shutdown lasts.

The president should add to his demands, including a vote on all of his political nominees in the Senate. Send the career appointees back. Many are in the 5 percent of saboteurs and resistance leaders.

A word of caution: To be a victory, this shutdown must be different than those of the past and should achieve lasting disruption with two major changes, or it will hurt the president.

The first thing we need out of this is better security, particularly at the southern border. Our founders envisioned a free market night watchman state, not the bungled bloated bureaucracy our government has become. But we have to keep the uniformed officers paid, which is an emergency. Ideally, continue a resolution to pay the essential employees only, if they are truly working on national security. Furloughed employees should find other work, never return and not be paid.

Secondly, we need savings for taxpayers. If this fight is merely rhetorical bickering with Nancy Pelosi, we all lose, especially the president. But if it proves that government is better when smaller, focusing only on essential functions that serve Americans, then President Trump will achieve something great that Reagan was only bold enough to dream.

The president’s instincts are right. Most Americans will not miss non-essential government functions. A referendum to end government plunder must happen. Wasteful government agencies are fighting for relevance but they will lose. Now is the time to deliver historic change by cutting them down forever.

The author is a senior official in the Trump administration.

Good Economic News

CNS News is reporting today that not only is the economy booming, the federal government has cut 16,000 jobs during the Trump administration–1,000 in September alone. This is wonderful news when you consider that every dollar spent by the federal government is a dollar taken out of the private sector. How many dollars does the lower federal payroll put back into the private sector?

Unfortunately state and local governments have not cut their employment numbers. The article reports:

Since President Donald Trump took office, federal employment has declined by 16,000.

In December 2016, the month before Trump’s inauguration, there were 2,810,000 people employed by the federal government, according to the BLS data. By August 2018, that had declined by 15,000 to 2,795,000. In September, it declined another 1,000 to 2,794,000.

At the same time, overall government employment (including those employed by state and local governments) increased 13,000 in September and has climbed by 100,000 since December 2016.

In December, 2016, there were 22,306,000 people employed in state, local and federal government combined. By August 2018, that had climbed to 22,393,000. In September, it jumped again to 22,406,000.

It’s time to cut all government employment and get people back to work in the private sector. I realize that we need a certain number of people to run all levels of government, but I am totally convinced that the number of people could be greatly decreased without harm to government services at all levels.

Moving In The Right Direction

It is often overlooked that every dollar spent by the federal government is a dollar that is not spent in the private sector. Therefore, when you shrink government, it often will result in growth in the private sector.

CNS News posted an article today about the impact of the Trump Administration on both the government sector and the private sector of the economy.

The article includes the following graphs:

Federal and state governments have decreased, but at the same time, local governments have grown.

The Trump Economy

CNBC is reporting today that more private-sector jobs were created in October than economists expected.

The article reports:

The ADP National Employment showed private-sector businesses added 235,000 jobs in the month. ADP was expected to show private employers added 200,000 jobs in October, up from 135,000 in September.

Goods-producing companies benefited strongly with 85,000 new jobs, 62,000 of which came from construction. Manufacturing also saw 22,000 positions added.

…Overall, the service sector accounted for the bulk of the job creation, adding 150,000 jobs. Professional and business services added the most positions, up 109,000. Job losses were seen in the trade, transportation, and information sectors, as well as education.

“The job market rebounded strongly from the hit it took from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma,” Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, said in a statement. “Resurgence in construction jobs shows the rebuilding is already in full swing. Looking through the hurricane-created volatility, job growth is robust.”

Leisure and hospitality contributed 45,000 to the total while health care and social assistance grew by 44,000.

In terms of business size, job gains were spread evenly, with companies that have more than 500 employees hiring 90,000 while those with fewer than 50 added 79,000.

Part of this growth is the result of deregulation, and part of this growth is in anticipation of tax cuts that will be favorable to the middle class and to business growth. It will be interesting to see how the increase in the number of people re-entering the job market looking for jobs impacts the unemployment numbers that will come out this week.

Slowly But Surely Things Are Changing

On Friday, CNS News reported that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of people working for the federal government declined by 13,000 in 2017.

The article reports:

At the same time, overall government employment in the United States increased by 7,000 as the number of people working at the state government level and the local government level both increased.

The following chart is from the article:

I realize the chart is difficult to read, but basically, the intersect of manufacturing and government jobs took place about 1989. That is when government jobs began to outpace manufacturing jobs in America. It should be noted that every dollar spent by the government on employment or anything else is a dollar taken away from the private sector. Since the private sector is responsible for growing the economy and increasing employment, increased spending by the government is not a wise long-term strategy.

The article concludes:

Despite losing 1,000 jobs in September, the manufacturing sector has still gained 104,000 jobs in this year. In December, there were 12,343,000 employed in manufacturing in the United States. In September, there were 12,447,000.

Despite the gain in manufacturing jobs since the start of this year, government jobs continue to massively outnumber manufacturing jobs in the United States. As of September, the 22,337,000 employed by governemt in the United States outnumbrered the 12,447,000 employed in manufacturing by 9,890,000.

The first time government jobs outnumbered manufacturing jobs in this country was August 1989, prior to that–going back to 1939 (the earliest year for BLS’s sector-by-sector employment numbers)–manufacturing jobs had always outnumbered government jobs in this country.

Slowly, but surely, things may be getting back under control.

 

The Personal Impact Of The Budget Deal–One Person’s Story

Somehow because of the size of our government and the amount of money taken from taxpayers to run it, we sometimes forget what some of the spending represents. Every now and then it’s a good idea to look at a story that illustrates where the money goes and why. Here is a story that explains one aspect of government spending.

Stacy Huisman posted an article at Militaryspouse.com recently. The article explains how the recent budget deal will impact her husband’s retirement pay and her family. The money cut from his retirement pay was the money they had planned to use to pay for their children’s’ college education. Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It illustrates beautifully the price our military families pay when one of their family members serves in the military.

There are a few aspects to the cut to retirement pay. First of all, that retirement pay was promised to our military when they signed up–they earned it. It was assumed that the cost of living increases in that pay were included in that promise. There is also the aspect of the price military families pay for having a family member in the military for twenty or more years. One on my own granddaughters is in fifth grade. She started attending her third elementary school in six years in September. Another granddaughter is in third grade. She is attending her second elementary school in three years. That is a high price to pay. She is living near her grandparents (my husband and I) because we chose to move to be close to her family–not because her family had a choice as to where they would live.

The thing that really bothers me about the budget deal is that military retirement was cut, but civil service retirement was not cut. Public sector workers make more than private sector workers to begin with. The public sector workers are now required to contribute a small amount to their pensions–something private sector workers have been doing for years, but they are still better compensated than the private sector.

The chart below is taken from a 2010 post by the Congressional Budget Office. As you can see, unless you have an advanced degree, it pays to work for the government.

 

The budget did not need to be cut at the expense of our military–there was enough pork in the public sector to avoid breaking a promise to those military families who serve our country.

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