Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Press mission: save the bureaucracy

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.

For an autographed copy, email me at

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