Friday, April 14, 2017
Government Has Grown Too Big And Must Be Cut Down To Size!
Federal employees who are members of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 704 protest at a rally on March 2 in Chicago. (Photo: John Grass/Reauters/Newscom)
In six months, the Trump administration plans to produce a
plan to shrink the size of government, eliminate programs,
and reduce the federal workforce—and is seeking public
input on how to proceed.
“What it really means is making government more accountable to you, more effective and more efficient,” @OMBPress45 says.
The memo from Office of Management and Budget Director
Mick Mulvaney directs federal agencies:
As part of their planning efforts, agencies should focus
on fundamental scoping questions (i.e. analyzing whether
activities should or should not be performed by the
agency), and on improvements to existing business
Requiring agencies to justify their functions is long overdue,
said Chris Edwards, director of tax policy studies at the
libertarian Cato Institute. He said the “scoping” should
include determining if activities are “nonessential, whether
they violate federalism, and whether they would flunk a
Still, he said the success of the plan could depend on the
will of both Congress and political appointees implementing
“This could be the best shot we have of eliminating
agencies,” Edwards told The Daily Signal. “A lot will
depend on the quality of political appointees, and are they
committed to smaller government. During the [George W.]
Bush administration, a lot of the political appointees were
just corporate climbers.”
“Also, will members of Congress be supportive? After
[President Donald] Trump’s skinny budget, we saw a lot
of Republicans in Congress, unfortunately, defend programs
in their region,” Edwards added.
Trump has moved at a very deliberative pace in filling political
positions thus far, noted Robert Rector, a senior research
fellow with The Heritage Foundation, who is skeptical of
“Policy changes can’t come from the bureaucracies
themselves,” Rector told The Daily Signal. “Policy change
needs to come through Congress and comes when you
bring outsiders in to impose reforms.”
Rector said neither the Department of Health and
Human Services nor the Department of Housing and
Urban Development were likely to come back with
viable plans for change.
“If they did, it’s the exact opposite of what reform you
would want,” he said.
In a White House video, Mulvaney said, “President
Trump calls it draining the swamp. What it really
means is making government more accountable to
you, more effective and more efficient.”
The Mulvaney memo doesn’t outline cuts, but with the
requirements, the video says, “Mulvaney is building a
case to cut government a year from now.”
Mulvaney released the 14-page memo Wednesday, titled
“Comprehensive Plan for Reforming the Federal
Government and Reducing the Federal Civilian Workforce,
” that aims to save tax dollars and require each government
agency to submit a proposal to modernize and streamline
operations in 180 days. The OMB is seeking input from
the public, and will incorporate the final plans into the
fiscal year 2019 budget proposal issues next March.
President Donald Trump’s signed an executive order on
March 13 directing the OMB to submit a comprehensive
plan to reorganize the federal government.
The Mulvaney memo proposes “crosscutting reforms” to
streamline all programs over the next four years,
including reducing the number of federal employees.
But the plan will have opponents. The leader of the
American Federation of Government Employees, the
largest union representing federal workers, said, “There
are some good ideas and some very dangerous ideas” in
One he didn’t like stresses more outsourcing, when the
government already spends twice as much on contractors
as employees, according to the union.
“Nobody knows precisely what these contractors do, how
well they do it, who they’re hiring, or where they’re
working,” American Federation of Government
Employees President J. David Cox said in a statement
. “In contrast, the data on federal employees’ jobs, pay,
productivity, demographics, and location are completely
transparent and widely scrutinized, as is appropriate.”
Cox also defended funding for the Environmental
Protection Agency workforce. But the union president
did find some common cause with the Trump
He said that it would be useful to evaluate layers of
management—or the problem of having too many
supervisors per worker.
“As representatives of front-line employees, AFGE
members can tell you that excessive ratios of managers
to workers on the front lines creates operational
inefficiency and takes resources away from the direct
provision of services to taxpayers,” Cox said in the
statement. “The government does have too many managers
and some of those positions should be converted to jobs
that serve the American people.”
Reducing the workforce is important, but eliminating
whole government programs is where the money is,
Edwards said. The report requires agencies to justify
why government should be involved in a specific function.
“There is no doubt the left has built a fortress to defend
programs,” Edwards said. “Federal money goes to the
states and then to city and local governments and every
level will defend that money. So will government
employees, contractors, and interest groups. It’s a fortress,
but it’s not insurmountable. When Republicans are
able to cut spending, it doesn’t hurt them politically.
It usually helps them.”