Morale among federal bureaucrats is low, and getting lower, because President Donald Trump is putting an end to their free ride on the dime of taxpayers.
As any good businessman would, the president has been laser focused on cutting waste by getting rid of jobs that are not needed, the Daily Wire reported.
“Morale has never been lower. Government is making itself a lot less attractive as an employer,” Tony Reardon, who serves as the president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said.
The Environmental Protection Agency is on track to slash 47% of its total staff by the end of President Trump’s first term, according to a report in the Washington Examiner. After just one year, EPA chief Scott Pruitt has reduced his staff to levels unseen since the Reagan administration. If just those federal employees set to retire by 2021 do indeed leave, Pruitt will have cut more than 7,000 bureaucrats.
“We’re proud to report that we’re reducing the size of government, protecting taxpayer dollars, and staying true to our core mission of protecting the environment,” Pruitt boasted. Meanwhile, other federal agencies have followed suit after President Trump’s January 2017 hiring freeze hit large swaths of the executive branch. Trump’s order stated, “No vacant positions existing at noon on January 22, 2017, may be filled, and no new positions may be created, except in limited circumstances,” including those pertaining to national security. Although the freeze technically lifted in the spring, most agencies have continued to abide by its guidelines. The last president to enact a major federal hiring freeze was Ronald Reagan.
With the exception of Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs, and Interior, all Cabinet departments by September had fewer permanent staff than the day Trump took office. In addition, Trump’s proposed spending cuts triggered a spending slowdown across agencies despite the absence of a 2017 budget from Congress.
Morale is not low among all federal workers. Education Department program analyst Stephanie Valentine explained that some federal employees do comprehend the reasons for the cuts.
“Oftentimes we run on autopilot and continue to fund programs that don’t produce the results that were intended. You can’t keep blindly spending because that’s what we’ve always done,” she said.
Grover Norquist, the founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform, thinks that the president is on the right track.
“This is going very well,” he said, according to the Independent.
“Slow and steady – for all the bluster, this is how you downsize government without engendering blowback,” he said.
Trump already has begun to reverse the growth of the Obama era, when the government added a total of 188,000 permanent employees, according to Office of Personnel Management data.
By the end of September, the federal government had 1.94 million permanent workers, down nearly 16,000 overall since the beginning of the year, according to the most recent OPM data. In the first nine months of 2009, Obama’s first year in office, the government added 68,000 permanent employees, growing to 1.84 million.
The last time federal employment dropped during a president’s first year, Bill Clinton was in the White House.
The relatively small net decrease under Trump so far masks what has been a substantial drop-off in staffing at certain agencies.
One of the biggest reductions has been at the Bureau of Prisons, which lost 2,320 permanent workers at a time when the Justice Department plans to return to using private prisons to house some federal inmates. (A spokesman said the staffing decline was largely due to attrition and hiring delays.) The Census Bureau, which has not received its full budget request from Congress for multiple years, fell by more than 1,000 employees. The Environmental Protection Agency, where Administrator Scott Pruitt has moved quickly to reverse a generation of environmental protections and rules, was down 508 employees.
Sounds like winning.