Shutdown Surprise

My current understanding of the current US government shutdown is that it’s the result of a stand-off between Donald Trump and the newly-Democrat-controlled US Congress. Trump wants $6 billion for his wall, and the Congress won’t let him have it. The current shutdown began on 22 December 2018, and is now the longest in US history.

But yesterday I read something in the Daily Caller that put a completely different perspective on it all:


As one of the senior officials working without a paycheck, a few words of advice for the president’s next move at shuttered government agencies: lock the doors, sell the furniture, and cut them down.

Federal employees are starting to feel the strain of the shutdown. I am one of them. But for the sake of our nation, I hope it lasts a very long time, till the government is changed and can never return to its previous form.

The lapse in appropriations is more than a battle over a wall. It is an opportunity to strip wasteful government agencies for good.

On an average day, roughly 15 percent of the employees around me are exceptional patriots serving their country. I wish I could give competitive salaries to them and no one else. But 80 percent feel no pressure to produce results. If they don’t feel like doing what they are told, they don’t.

Why would they? We can’t fire them. They avoid attention, plan their weekend, schedule vacation, their second job, their next position — some do this in the same position for more than a decade.

They do nothing that warrants punishment and nothing of external value. That is their workday: errands for the sake of errands — administering, refining, following and collaborating on process….

The anonymous author of this piece goes on to say that with the 80% non-functional employees (some of them saboteurs) having been sent home, the US government functions a lot better.

Due to the lack of funding, many federal agencies are now operating more effectively from the top down on a fraction of their workforce, with only select essential personnel serving national security tasks. One might think this is how government should function, but bureaucracies operate from the bottom up…

The author offers advice:

…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.

After reading this, I wondered if the current longest ever shutdown might actually be being  used to reprioritize in the manner suggested. Such a process might be carried out by senior officials over a month or two.

And then, when the useless 80% of the employees return, they’ll maybe find that everything has changed. They can’t be fired, but they at least be given “jobs” where they can do no harm, perhaps in separate offices in Montana. They come back to work to find that they’d been re-assigned to a new “Department of Administrative Affairs” where they’d all have new job titles, and new desks, but there would be very little (in fact, nothing) that they would have to do. The real work of government would then continue to be done by the remaining 15 – 20% of effective, efficient employees.

The redundant 80% would keep their “jobs”, but would be allowed to retire or die or move on to jobs outside government. After a decade or two, they would nearly all have gone. And the US government would have been slimmed down to 20% of its former size.

I have no idea whether anything like this is actually happening. But it’s the sort of thing that someone like Trump would be perfectly capable of doing. And Donald Trump Junior has drawn attention to the piece, so Trump knows about it.

I’m intrigued to find out whether anything like this is actually happening. If things just go back to the way they were after the shutdown ends, then obviously it won’t have. But maybe, just maybe, a lot is happening behind the scenes.

We’ll see.

About Frank Davis

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19 Responses to Shutdown Surprise

  1. Dirk says:

    How can you be a fan of the mentally ill narcissist Trump? He lies all the time, even about the hamburgers he served to some sportsmen in the White House. 300 hamburgers, he said on TV, and later he tweeted that he had paid for one thousand hamburgers. He didn’t even spell hamburgers right. He wrote “hamberders”

    The tweet prompted Burger King to mock the president for the glaring typo.

    “Due to a large order placed yesterday, we’re all out of hamberders. Just serving hamburgers today,” the Home of the Whopper said.

    Trum is mentally ill, look here

    • Frank Davis says:

      I don’t think Trump is in the least bit “mentally ill.”

      As for “hamberders/hamburgers”, let’s deccode it. There are 17 letters connecting e and u, and 4 letters connecting d and g. The 17th letter of the alphabet is Q. So erd/urg translates as 4RQ, or in plain English “For our QAnon.” Or “For our ham QAnon-ers.”

      So it’s clearly another presidential shout out to QAnon supporters, and is yet another “Q proof”. It’s pretty obvious really.

    • Uncle Nick says:

      Also if you’re going to call people out on spelling, you should triple check your own writing. Twice.

    • petesquiz says:

      Who is this “Trum” that is mentally ill?

      Dirk, if you’re going to criticize someone for a typo/misspelling, you really ought not to make the same mistake yourself!

    • DP says:

      Dear Dirk

      When I were a lad, some decades ago, it was said if a painter put up the sign ‘whet paint’, people took more notice of it than if it were correctly spelt. Incorrect spelling attracts much more attention than would otherwise be the case – as Burger King demonstrated by further promoting the President.


  2. Timbotoo says:

    Dirk, and Bill Maher and “Tingles” are you sources for your affirmation? Ooookay.

  3. garyk30 says:

    Let’s see;
    Pres.Trump is a multi-billionaire businessman and has become President of the US.

    I doubt that Dirk has a billion dollar business empire and I know that he is not my President.

    If Trump is crazy and mentally ill, then Dirk must have an IQ of zero and the mentality of a slug.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Typical leftist rhetoric – Trump is “mentally ill” – a label for anyone who won’t conform. He’s also “racist”, “homophobic”, “sexist” and a “white man” I’ve heard. These are words like “fuck” – once precious, spoken by lovers, but now degraded to commonplace and powerless.

    Trump “mentally Ill”? I doubt it. Don’t bother saying it. It’s as meaningless as fuck!

  5. smokingscot says:

    We’ve all had experience of civil servants and I with front line hospital staff. I’d say the Daily Caller person is close to the truth. Few seem to want to do any more than essential, they’re in it only for the money,. Maybe 20% do take their work seriously – and will almost certainly progress, or will manage their careers to switch employers to get more money or challenge, while between 10 and 20% are just dead wood.

    One problem facing public service workers, say in a museum or library is they’re stand alone, so it’s difficult to see career progression – and that is an issue for anyone who’s ambitious. The result is many public sector jobs are filled by the less ambitious, aka drones.

    I don’t think it’s a uniquely American thing, but I know our NHS harbours a huge number of useless parasites, with smoking cessation a constant drain on resources. And bed blocking caused by social workers who are rule bound and fearful of making decisions.

    I see the US MSM are making out that Trump is losing popular support for his stance on the wall. I don’t agree with their assessments, in truth I take anything derogatory said about Trump by CNN or the BBC as a measure of his success.

    If they think that filming a small group of placard wavers whining they have no money for food or their child’s education will evoke sympathy or compassion, they’re dead wrong. Crikey it took the public in England next to no time to voice their (highly critical) opinions when the junior doctors tried that a couple of years back.

    Several times in the past on this blog I’ve said that Trump is in it for the full 8 years permitted by their constitution. I believe he will be re-elected and if he does as all previous office holders have during his 2nd term, then that’ll be when the gloves come off and the guy gets medieval.

    Oh and I believe he’ll do his level best to ensure his successor carries on, so he’ll soon be grooming someone who he can endorse when the time comes.

  6. waltc says:

    Here’s a laugh. Nancy Pelosi, the long-ago and current leader of the House of Representatives, had the gobsmacking gall to refuse to let Trump make the traditional State of the Union Address, which traditionally has to be made in the House. Her lame (and instantly disproven) excuse was that because of the shutdown, there wouldn’t be sufficient security. So this morning, just moments before she and her congressional cohorts were to take off on a 6-day PR junket to exotic foreign ports for no known reason (instead of even pretending to stay and negotiate the end of the shutdown) , he wrote her a hilarious, though serious, note denying her the use of the government plane, saying that because of the shutdown, the government couldn’t spare it. He also suggested that though her time might be better spent trying to put the govt workers back to work, she was of course welcome to fly commercial at her own expense. Those balls are exactly why he won’t lose his base, while I expect the pearl-clutchers to actually strangle themselves with their pearls.

    And to Dirk I say–crazy like a fox.

    Speaking of America’s perpetually aghast, they foodies are up in arms about the nutritional nightmare of serving “young people” burgers and fries.

  7. Attacker of KIlljoys says:

    Don’t smoke myself but saw this and thought of you:

    Private life of course, but good luck to her.

  8. Lepercolonist says:

    Most of the Democrats were for more border security when Obama was president. Now they call Trump insane for wanting the same. Friggin hypocrites. The Democrats blame Trump for the shutdown but if they would just appropriate the 6 billion everyone would be back to work.

  9. Doonhamer says:

    Cyril Northcote Parkinson had a Law for it and his wee book can be found in every bureaucrat’s desk drawer. Used as a manual, or bible.
    Read it. It’s funny, but sadly true.

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