According to the Washington Post, one of the President-elect Trump’s targets when he gets into office will be government workers. According to Former CEO of Breitbart Stephen Bannon, government jobs now outnumber private sector jobs by a whopping 9,977,000, and Bannon himself is said to lead the quest in bringing that number down as chief strategist and senior counselor to Trump in his new administration.
One notable Republican, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) is more than on board with the plan to shrink the government workforce.
“It’s nearly impossible to fire somebody,” said Chaffetz. “When the overwhelming majority do a good job and the one bad apple is there viewing pornography, I want people to be held accountable.”
The chairman is already making plans, inspired by experience in his own state.
Chaffetz said he plans to push through wholesale changes to the generous retirement benefits that federal workers receive, by shifting to a market-driven, 401(k)-style plan for new employees.
He said the model would be his home state, which six years ago replaced the defined benefit pensions that have disappeared at most private companies with a defined contribution plan for new state and municipal workers.
“We have a Republican president who will help us drive this to the finish line,” Chaffetz said.
The idea, as Trump has reportedly expressed, is that within the first 100 days in office he will freeze hiring in various sectors of government, and not replace employees who leave. This can be done without Congress’s approval through an executive order. A few areas will be exempt, however, such as military personnel and public health and safety. He has also said he will grow the size of the immigration enforcement agency by thousands.
Democrats, such as Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), and Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D) are already readying themselves to fight these measures.
“What study are they citing saying there are too many federal employees?” asked Connolly. “Are you going to make a bunch of exceptions, in which case your plan looks like Swiss cheese?”
Despite objections from the left, it would appear that this overhaul is long overdue, as noted by the Washington Post.
Many inside and outside government agree that change to the way federal workers are hired, promoted and disciplined is long overdue. Employees under investigation for breaking the rules can sit at home for years — collecting paychecks and benefits — while their cases drag on. Performance rankings are widely panned as a joke, because the vast majority of workers are rated as exceeding expectations or doing outstanding work.
Federal workers are seldom fired for poor performance — and it can take years for managers to make a successful case for dismissal for misconduct. About 0.5 percent of the civil service gets fired every year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Shrinking government in this manner will be an uphill battle, and one that has already been undertaken before. Both Reagan and Clinton attempted to shrink government by enacting hiring freezes, but neither succeeded over long periods of time. Reagan himself, as Trump is planning to do, expanded the military to the point where his hiring freeze had little effect.