Monday, July 24, 2017

TrumpBrand - America For Sale

The tweeted idiocies, outright lies, and deceptions gurgling up out of the TrumpBrand Government might appear entertaining, but the real, daily, and constant work to dismantle America is growing by leaps and bounds. Six months into this wrecking ball approach to government and the damage is already immeasurable. What a horrifying mess the TrumpBrand Government is making.

The Big Lie (aka the Blame Them Game)  which many Republicans and most Conservatives cling to, demands all problems or issues are merely the fault of any and every one except themselves - the reason those who hold office can't affect change is you, bucko, you and your crowd are bad hombres. It's the media, it's the previous administration, it's students, it's China, It's Germany (but it's isn't Russia), it's the immigrants, it's refugees, it's lazy poor people who make the problems that won't go away.

Oh and it is also the governed and those who govern. They - they - they - it's a mantra of blame throwing.

Meanwhile the real work to transform and elevate the control of business over government and the governed is on a stampede, noted in this report from Washington Monthly:

"The Trump/GOP effort to shrink the civil service plays on a narrative the American people have been hearing for decades: the federal workforce is bloated. As Mulvaney’s guidance put it, there are “too many Federal employees stuck in a system that is not working for the American people.” Press secretary Sean Spicer, announcing Trump’s executive order in January, explained that the hiring freeze “counters the dramatic expansion of the federal workforce in recent years.”

"The only problem with this narrative is that it is the exact opposite of the truth. As a share of the U.S. workforce, the federal civil service is actually smaller than at any time since before World War II. In absolute terms, it has been about the same size for half a century. In 1966, there were about 2.1 million executive branch civil servants (not including Postal Service employees). Since then, the country’s population has increased from 196 million to 323 million. The annual gross domestic product, along with annual government spending, more than quadrupled. And the workforce? In 2016, there were still only 2.1 million federal employees.

"There’s no rule that says the number of civil servants has to rise in lockstep with the population or the economy. Many federal jobs in the 1960s were clerical positions that computers have made obsolete. But still. In 1966, there was no Environmental Protection Agency, no Department of Homeland Security, no Federal Emergency Management Agency. Medicare and Medicaid had been signed into law just a year earlier. It’s hard to believe that the same number of people we had in 1966 can run such a radically larger government enterprise.

"And, in fact, they don’t.

"While the number of federal employees has basically flatlined for a half century, the government has ballooned if you include another group in your tally: private contractors. As the size and scope of federal programs grew, but the number of civil servants stayed fixed, that labor had to get done by someone. Congress’s answer has increasingly been to contract with the private sector. So when Trump and the Republicans say they’re going to shrink government by cutting federal workers, do a mental autocorrect. What they’re really saying is, we’re going to be shoveling a lot more money out the door to federal contractors."

For the record, anyone who says government should run like a business does not know what government is actually for or what it does. 

" ... there are between 600,000 and 800,000 service contractors; the government spends more on them than it does on the salaries of the entire civil service, which has three times the number of people. Contracting accounted for 40 percent of all discretionary spending in 2015, and service contracts accounted for 60 percent of that (even more at nondefense agencies). And it’s rising. Even the Defense Department spends twice as much on contracts for services as it spends on aircraft, ships, and land vehicles. According to a 2015 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report, spending on contractors nearly doubled from 2000 to 2012, and the subset “that grew the most in dollar terms was contracts for professional, administrative, and management services”—that is, service contracts."