(National Sentinel) Less is More: During his campaign, then-GOP candidate Donald J. Trump pledged to dramatically reduce the size, scope, and reach of the federal bureaucracy. A year into his first term, and by any standard, the president has begun to deliver on his pledge.
As reported by The Washington Post, the shift to a leaner, less expensive, less powerful and more efficient federal workforce has long been sought by conservatives. At Trump’s current pace, the paper said, the federal workforce could eventually shrink to levels not seen in decades.
“By the end of September, all Cabinet departments except Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs and Interior had fewer permanent staff than when Trump took office in January — with most shedding many hundreds of employees, according to an analysis of federal personnel data by The Washington Post,” the paper reported.
“The diminishing federal footprint comes after Trump promised in last year’s campaign to ‘cut so much your head will spin,’ and it reverses a boost in hiring under President Barack Obama. The falloff has been driven by an exodus of civil servants, a diminished corps of political appointees and an effective hiring freeze,” the Post continued.
Though Congress failed again to pass a budget during Trump’s first year, the dramatic spending cuts that the president introduced in the spring, which would reduce outlays for some agencies by as much as 30 percent, has led to a spending slowdown, officials as several agencies said.
Additional cuts are on the horizon.
The White House has warned federal agencies to expect more of the same budget reduction efforts in the 2019 budget, which the administration plans to announced in early next year.
The cuts are part of the White House’s effort to pay for the tax cut by lowering the federal deficit, another Trump pledge.
The climate among federal workers has also changed, the Post noted. For instance, hundreds who were fearful that their jobs could be slashed have already voluntarily departed for employment elsewhere.
Others were miffed by new rules laid out by supervisors aimed at holding poorly performing workers and problem employees to account.
A hiring freeze that Trump implemented via executive order but was technically lifted in the spring remains in effect at many agencies, the paper noted.
Meanwhile, Democrats have held up presidential appointments, leading to leadership vacuums at some agencies.
Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents 150,000 federal workers at more than 30 agencies, told the Post that “morale has never been lower” among the federal workforce.
But the administration refuted that, citing an employee survey taken earlier this year that showed an uptick in morale across most federal agencies.
In a statement, White House spokesman Raj Shah said Trump “is committed to streamlining government for the 21st century, reducing bloat, duplication and waste, and focusing resources on key priorities like public safety and protecting our nation’s homeland.”
Conservatives are elated at the Trump administration’s progress.
“This is going very well,” said tax reform activist Grover Norquist. “Slow and steady — for all the bluster, this is how you downsize government without engendering blowback.”
For his part, Trump on Sunday tweeted that there was “more to come” in 2018.
“Jobs are kicking in and companies are coming back to the U.S. Unnecessary regulations and high taxes are being dramatically Cut, and it will only get better. MUCH MORE TO COME!” he said.
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