President Trump is taking charge of his administration’s effort to reform the federal government and workforce, the biggest demonstration yet that Washington is under new management.
Aides describe the president as personally invested in the 32-point plan (read here) to shake the bureaucracy out of a 1950s model based on secretarial pools.
“So much of the ability to drive change requires a fresh perspective,” said Margaret Weichert, an author of the recently announced reform blueprint and deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget.
“It’s frequently why I, as a management consultant, was brought into an organization to consult on issues like this because fresh eyes and people who don’t have a stake in the status quo very often can see things differently than the people who are of that organization or institution. And that was a major theme in the last election, that people were effectively hiring a businessman to try to change business as usual in Washington,” she said in an interview.
Trimming and reeducating the workforce, combining federal agencies and eliminating overlapping services won’t be easy and Trump’s team are bracing for a bruising fight with bureaucrats, federal employee unions and lawmakers.
But it is one that Trump is approaching like he did many of his business challenges, setting the overall goals and then promoting them.
“He gets involved in the high level conceptual framing of it and then when we pull together the proposals,” said Weichert.
One business practice used in drawing up the reform plan was keeping the proposals broad and welcoming outside ideas, she said.
“Very often good ideas literally die in committee because if you have a single proposal the people who are invested in the status quo start picking at it, and picking at it and picking at it and then what’s left isn’t even worth pursuing,” Weichert explained.
Another tactic is selling it, and that means describing how poorly the current federal structure works. She and OMB Director Mick Mulvaney, for example, are armed with silly stories of how Washington works, such as how chickens are regulated by the Agriculture Department, but eggs by the Food and Drug Administration, or how salmon are regulated differently if they are in the ocean or river.
“We are serious about top down change. It cannot all happen at once, it can’t certainly happen by fiat, but when you look at where we are at in 2018 two decades into the 21st century and you pair that with a bureaucratic infrastructure that was very well aligned to the needs of the post-World War II era, it’s so clear there’s a mismatch,” said Weichert, adding, “If now isn’t the time to get traction on this, I don’t know when is. We have to get serious about making change happen.”
Legislation has already been introduced to begin making Trump’s reforms, headlined by a plan to revamp the federal workforce, reform IT and add automation, and combine the Education and Labor departments so that schools can focus more on filling the nation’s skills gap like some European school systems do.
Like getting a skyscraper built in Manhattan, aides said that Trump is in it for the long haul.
“If we can prove that we can do this,” said Weichert, “that will give energy to work on more of these proposals in a consistent, ongoing way.”
Sadly, and as expected, as President Trump attempts to drain The Swamp, the swamp monsters are being increasingly backed into a corner, and fighting tooth and nail to keep their precious bloated government populated by friends, friends of friends, friends of those friends, employed in a job that is completely unnecessary for the governing of the Republic.
The Trump administration has proposed the most comprehensive plan to reorganize the federal government in 100 years, including a merger of the departments of Education and Labor, and a proposal to add work requirements for welfare programs.
“Businesses change all the time,” said White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney. “Government doesn’t, and one of the things you get when you hire a businessman to become president is you bring this attitude from the private sector.”
The sweeping reorganization plan stems from an order signed by Mr. Trump in March 2017 calling for a review of the federal government to streamline agencies and reduce waste.
The combined education and labor department would be called the Department of Education and the Workforce, or DEW, and would oversee programs for students and workers.
In a presentation to the Cabinet, Mr. Mulvaney cited examples of bringing all food-safety regulations under the Agriculture Department, instead of sharing those responsibilities with the Food and Drug Administration.
“If it’s cheese pizza, it’s FDA, but you put pepperoni on it and it becomes a USDA product. I mean, come on?” he said. “An open-faced roast beef sandwich is USDA, a closed-faced roast beef sandwich is FDA. Not making this up. You can’t make this kind of stuff up. This would only happen in the government.”
The plan would also move the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, from the USDA to Health and Human Services, which would be renamed the Department of Health and Public Welfare and oversee public assistance programs.
“We’re still dealing with a government that is from the early 20th century,” Mr. Mulvaney said. “It simply doesn’t make sense.”
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
July 9th, 2018