opinion | The return of 19th century government corruption puts us all at risk

But that could all change under new threats posed by former President Donald Trump and his allies, to the detriment of our democracy and our government’s ability to keep us safe from the myriad challenges facing our country.

recent Reporting revealed that a group of Trump supporters are preparing to “radically change the federal government if” [he is] Re-elected, potentially purging thousands of civil servants and filling career positions loyal to him and his America First ideology. and the former president publicly vowed to do just that,

Taking such a revolutionary step would effectively end merit-based, non-political careers in the civil service and return the country to a time when potential was undervalued and when public offices were under-utilised. It was used to reward the members of the winning political party.

plan, previously featured in Trump Executive order in the fall of 2020 And annulled by President Joe Biden two days after taking office, he has the support of some Republicans in Congress and could be embraced by other potential GOP presidential candidates. It would create a new job classification for “career employees in confidential, policy-making, policy-making and policy-advocacy positions” and long-standing civil service protections by allowing politically appointed leaders to fire them. will take these people away. ,

Reviving this proposal may require a wide range of civil servants, including policy analysts, lawyers, managers, scientists and many other career workers, whose impartial judgment we rely on for safety and security, showing partisan allegiance. Or to risk your job.

Such a policy would have a real chilling effect – discouraging federal employees from speaking up as well as undermining public confidence in our government. It would also tarnish the historical need for a competency-based system where well-qualified federal employees are in charge of our most sensitive capabilities, data and choices, and undermine the role of public servants as the public good.

The current civil service system is notable for its ability to provide continuity of our government during changes in administration. It bridges the vast knowledge gap by having civil servants with expertise on a wide range of issues such as terrorism, cyber security, international relations, public health and other important issues.

The arbitrary firing of thousands of civil servants by a new administration could not only put the country at risk, but could potentially hamper the government’s ability to effectively deliver critical services, including veterans’ benefits and Social Security. including ensuring agricultural programs and military preparedness.

The chief executive of our country already has the bigger task of filling more political appointments than in any other democracy. These 4,000 appointees include about 1,200 who must go through a slow and partisan Senate confirmation process, leaving many important jobs vacant for long periods of time and leading to a lack of leadership across government.

In fact, we need less, if not more, political appointments, as well as several changes to strengthen the civil service. This includes better leadership development, better employee recognition, support for innovation, increased accountability for poor performance, and more streamlined hiring practices and policies that will bring younger people and those with technology skills into the federal workforce.

Politicizing the federal workforce would be a major step back and undoing many of the hard lessons learned from the past.

Congress and the White House must act not only to undo future efforts to bring a disastrous ball to the professional, merit-based civil service. They should take steps to strengthen it through new legislation and in the process protect our democratic governance system.

In a world where we face challenges and risks moving so rapidly, we need a highly capable and capable government, not a government that will return us to the 19th century.

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: