In a series of articles celebrating the rise of Donald Trump to the threshold of power, the far right online magazine, American Thinker, has focused its blowtorch on the Federal Public Service, claiming that its “reform” should be one of the major priorities of the incoming Administration.
This is hardly surprising. With his own party in control of both Houses of Congress and a conservative addition to the Supreme Court likely to be appointed early in his term, there is little to stand in the way of the Trump revolution other than the country’s Public Service.
Not that it should obstruct workable legislation of course — simply offer reasoned argument why some of Trump’s more harebrained schemes cannot be implemented.
I have already written about the impossibility of raising funds for a wall across the Mexican border by any way other than from general revenue; similarly any attempt to place tariffs to ‘protect’ US jobs is the best way to launch a ruinous trade war that would eventually cost jobs in the US and around the world; banning Muslims entering the country or even keeping a register of them would be subject to constitutional challenge.
Writing for American Thinker, Thomas Lifson urges Trump to mobilise public opinion against the Public Service and any Democrat lawmaker that might try to defend it. Lifson wants protections against dismissal removed, backing his argument with just one case of misbehaviour among the 2.8 million employees.
“Real change in the behaviour of Federal employees will require what organisational change experts call ‘unfreezing’. This means that old habits and assumptions must be broken. Nothing works better than fear,” Lifson writes.
And eventually he gets round to what he calls his nuclear option: De-unionising the Public Service.
“President Trump could ban Federal employees from union membership with an executive order,” he writes, urging the next President to gain support for such a move through a campaign stirring up traditional suspicions that anyone who works for the Government has to be arrogant, incompetent and lazy.
The past is always fertile ground for examples supporting conservative arguments and Lifson cites at length Government opposition to unionism from the 1930s — a time when many thought collective bargaining was the backdoor to bolshevism.
The intentions of American Thinker are clear: To emasculate the Federal Public Service though fear and threats. To drive out those who might offer any advice other than what the incoming Administration wants to hear and to replace them with inexperienced, docile sycophants who know little and care less about how government works or of the limits of its abilities and powers.
That will be the start of a journey to a very uncertain destination – and because America is America, the rest of the world will be dragged along for the ride.