January 15, 2019

"The shutdown has in some ways underscored [some conservatives'] view that government can function with fewer employees."

"'There’s a moment when people say, "Did you notice what percentage of this agency was viewed as nonessential?"' said anti-tax activist Grover Norquist. Former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon called shutdowns 'blunt-force measures that certainly show what’s essential and what’s not.'...  The shutdown follows two years of contraction of the federal workforce under Trump. During his first 18 months in office, the government shrank by 17,000 employees...."

From "The shutdown is giving some Trump advisers what they’ve long wanted: A smaller government" (WaPo).

39 comments:

Big Mike said...

It would totally stun people out on the real world (i.e., est of the Washington Beltway but east of the Sierra Nevada) how many federal workers it takes to get so little done that is of value.

Darrell said...

Only senior officials are at work in many departments, which means #TheResistance of do-nothing bureaucrats -- who are actually doing something under Trump, to wit, subverting and sabotaging his orders -- aren't present.

The official submitted this article to the Daily Caller anonymously.

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.

Mark said...

Pretty clear that we could do an across-the-board ten percent spending cut with no adverse effect.

Oso Negro said...

I have precisely the amount of sympathy for the furloughed Democrats who work for the Federal government as they have for me - absolutely none! Fuck them! Let's have a smaller government.

Bay Area Guy said...

Shut it down, and keep it shut for a while.

FIDO said...

I do not believe that Trump is playing some 'three dimensional chess' vs the Democrats. I don't think that he is stupid. He clearly isn't. Just that he has more of a 'scatter gun' tactic toward governance like FDR: just throw out a lot of crap and see what works.

So the benefit of seeing how little impact a forestalled, smaller government is...it's unsurprising to the likes of me, but more of a happy bonus.

But then again, MOST government shut downs, in fact all in my memory, were done by DEMOCRAT presidents who, like the Brexit deal, tried to make the Shutdown as expensive and painful as possible.

It is interesting to see on full display what a sensible and sympathetic to the American people shut down looks like. And I wonder how edifying it will be for that electorate.

dreams said...

I like this.

"Has President Trump suckered Democrats and the Deep State into a trap that will enable a radical downsizing of the federal bureaucracy? In only five more days of the already "longest government shutdown in history" (25 days and counting, as of today), a heretofore obscure threshold will be reached, enabling permanent layoffs of bureaucrats furloughed 30 days or more."

https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2019/01/trumps_shutdown_trap.html#ixzz5ciAOPD7n

And this.

"I’M A SENIOR TRUMP OFFICIAL, AND I HOPE A LONG SHUTDOWN SMOKES OUT THE RESISTANCE"

https://dailycaller.com/2019/01/14/smoke-out-resistance/?fbclid=IwAR1-jlTvUE-hzV_m_528Xr7cp-ZjbuO7UTOlhZX6-Q5JRdUPkoqSzkiiEBk

FIDO said...

One place that the Administration can do some trimming is the FBI. And if Mueller doesn't get another check, well, he thinks he is doing Gods Work anyway, so he can do it for free.

I agree that there should be some trimming of Clinton lackeys from the bureaucracy. Wash out the entire State Department in my opinion.

Tommy Duncan said...

There are many salesmen and contract workers who have an uncertain flow of income. When a salesman has a bad month he doesn't get paid. For many, if a contract does not get renewed they are out of a job. In those sorts of jobs you learn to plan ahead.

My son teaches at a technical college. His employment is contingent on the school's budget funding. No budget money, no job.

I don't feel at all sorry for the non-essential federal workers. They knew what they signed up for: No funding, no job. Learn to plan ahead.

MikeR said...

"The quick fixes in the past week to patch programs with money from fees rather than salary budgets have provoked cries from Democrats that the White House is carving out exceptions for political reasons to minimize the pain of the closures." Heh. Horrors. Mr. Trump should say that in the meantime - to minimize the effect of the closure - he is asking Congress for a bill to pay the essential workers in the interim, and to fund the following important areas: FDA inspections,... The rest, he should say, can wait, and he is considering whether he would suggest that Congress include in their eventual budget that the non-essential workers should not be paid for the furloughed time at all.
I really don't see the political downside to this. If the Democrats in Congress refuse to pass the bridge bill, Trump can quite honestly say that he was comfortable with the shutdown, but any additional troubles in areas they refused to fund are on them.

dreams said...

These crooked democrats wish they were dealing Theresa May instead of Trump. Trump wins.

Susan said...

Maybe they should take job training and learn to code.

That's what the Powers That Be told our factory workers when the plant shut down.

dreams said...

"Maybe they should take job training and learn to code."

And maybe they should worry about competing with illegal immigrants for jobs.

Jay Elink said...

Funny, innit, how federal workers, who receive an average $65,833 annually, apparently have no savings, no spouse income, no credit cards, no relatives to hit up for short-term loans, no nuthin' to tide themselves over.

baloney

Mike said...

Yeah, just wait until the federal checks top flowing to their businesses. All of the sudden, they'll discover the shutdown is bad.

dreams said...

"Funny, innit, how federal workers, who receive an average $65,833 annually, apparently have no savings, no spouse income, no credit cards, no relatives to hit up for short-term loans, no nuthin' to tide themselves over."

And restaurants have been giving them free food too.

MikeR said...

"And restaurants have been giving them free food too." Well, they hope to get paid once the shutdown is over...

dreams said...

""And restaurants have been giving them free food too." Well, they hope to get paid once the shutdown is over..."

Restaurants go out of business all the time and with less government workers...

Michael The Magnificent said...

Which side is vacationing in Puerto Rico? Which side is refusing to take a seat at the negotiating table? Which side isn't producing legislation for the President to sign, or veto?

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Navy Federal and USAA are giving them zero interest loans.

I have no patience at all with the whining. Adults plan for rainy days.

I asked someone at church to make a salad for an event. She “can’t afford it, what with the shutdown.” If you’re living so close to the grain that you can’t afford five bucks for a salad you need to re-evaluate your ability to adult.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Here's a thought. Any non-working, non-essential employee doesn't get paid for work not done.

Take that savings and pay for the wall. Easy!

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

What do you call reducing the federal workforce by 17,000?

A good start.

Jersey Fled said...

We had a friend who was an engineer for the National Park Serice. He was involved in restoring historic buildings. He went on and on one night over dinner about how he had just wrapped up a big project lasting 18 months to determine the most environmentally friendly glue to use in restoring old wooden windows.

Eighteen months.

I asked him what his conclusion was. He said there wasn't any clear advantage to any of the glues he researched. Each had its pluses and minuses.

He said his project was being considered for some kind of award.

I was working as a project engineer for a big chemical company at the time designing and constructing major chemical process plants. We would have spent 5 minutes on a task like that and moved on to something important.

GDI said...

My sympathy for the furloughed non-essential federal workers is equivalent to Hillary's sympathy for WV coal miners.

Seeing Red said...

We are living The Hunger Games.

dwick said...

A reduction of 17000 out of ~2800000... OMG! Trump is SLASHING federal employment! (With unemployment running 3 to 4%, how many left voluntarily for better jobs in the private sector?)

And BTW, there are still 50000 to 75000 more federal employees today than there were during most of Obama's 2nd term.

MountainMan said...

Jersey Fled said:... "We had a friend who was an engineer for the National Park Serice. He was involved in restoring historic buildings. He went on and on one night over dinner about how he had just wrapped up a big project lasting 18 months to determine the most environmentally friendly glue to use in restoring old wooden windows.

Eighteen months...

..I was working as a project engineer for a big chemical company at the time designing and constructing major chemical process plants. We would have spent 5 minutes on a task like that and moved on to something important."

Yep. I spent 41 years working for a big chemical company which makes adhesive resins and components for all the major adhesive manufacturers. I am sure we - or one of our customers - have people in our tech service that could have given him a pretty good answer in short order. It's not like building restoration is something that just suddenly appeared recently. One of our biggest markets was in building construction and has been for years.

Guildofcannonballs said...

"Funny, innit, how federal workers, who receive an average $65,833 annually, apparently have no savings, no spouse income, no credit cards, no relatives to hit up for short-term loans, no nuthin' to tide themselves over.

baloney"

Interesting. Watching Judge Judy, the $147MM per year woman, she mentioned "a crock of baloney" and it made me want to write, here at the Althouse blog, "baloney crocks."

Rick said...

He went on and on one night over dinner about how he had just wrapped up a big project lasting 18 months to determine the most environmentally friendly glue to use in restoring old wooden windows.

One of my friends is a grant manager for a federal agency. He's not managing any right now because they haven't had grant money for years - pushing a decade now. He travels around the country to conferences so he will know what to fund whenever grant money makes it back into the budget.

narciso said...

I guess only a forced rif which takes place after 30 days can do the job, it's a blunt instrument like the sequester,

rcocean said...

As usual the Democrats - the party of the bleeding hearts - doesn't give a damn how people are hurt either by an unsecured border OR an unnecessary shutdown.

With the Democrats its ALWAYS about Power.

Fortunately for them, their grass-roots followers/voters are dumbest dumbshits on planet earth.

Gk1 said...

This explanation is too much "4D Chess" Scott Adams talk for me. I do not think Trump is Machiavellian enough to pull this off. I do, however, think he just enjoys screwing with democrats and the press too and this is just a side benefit starving the beast.

cronus titan said...

The article is interesting because it paints a portrait of small government types seizing the opportunity to shrink government. The stakes are much higher than a border wall -- the theory of an elite bureaucracy making decisions for the people, which has been in place since Woodrow Wilson, is at stake. The longer this goes on without major consequences, the more evidence there is that we can live with a much smaller government. Obama made shutdowns as flamboyant and injurious as possible to show why we needed Big Government; Trump wants to minimize the damage. So far, other than the hot rhetoric, the shutdown has been transparent to the public.

JAORE said...

Lots of Fed offices are half filled by contractor employees. Virtually indistinguishable from the actual Fed. How many of them are going home?

Michael The Magnificent said...

Starve the beast. Drain the swamp. Cull the dead wood.

The bureaucrats are not missed. Keep the pressure on.

Robert Cook said...

"As usual the Democrats - the party of the bleeding hearts - doesn't give a damn how people are hurt either by an unsecured border OR an unnecessary shutdown."

Who says we have an unsecured border? Given the steady two decade drop in illegal immigrants crossing our borders, it seems unlikely our border is unsecured.

And...how many people are hurt by illegal immigrants? Anecdotal accounts, even if true, reveal only the individual situation. How many crimes are committed nationwide each year by illegal immigrants? How many violent crimes? What percentage of violent and non-violent crimes overall are committed by illegal immigrants nationwide? In each locality?

The harm that has or will be caused by the shutdown is entirely the President's responsibility, as he proudly proclaimed himself...before he started blaming everyone but himself, (typical M.O. of the Donald).

Robert Cook said...

It is stirring to see so many cavalier citizens here braying over the loss of income (or jobs) for so many other citizens. "Stirring" as in sick-making.

Mountain Maven said...

The real spending problem is entitlements. Even Trump can't fix that.

William Chadwick said...

Robert Cook writes:" It is stirring to see so many cavalier citizens here braying over the loss of income (or jobs) for so many other citizens. "Stirring" as in sick-making."

It is also stirring to see Robert Cook always showing such generosity with other people's money. Stirring, again, as in sick-making.

(Comrade Cookie: "But it isn't other people's money! It's the State's! All your money belongs to us." Blah blah party-line party line blah blah.)