While on his campaign trail, President Donald Trump promised to cut government spending down. So far, he has done that by employing a leaner workforce at government agencies.
But Trump isn’t reshaping the federal bureaucracy by firing thousands, instead he has left jobs unfilled.
“I tell my people, ‘Where you don’t need to fill slots, don’t fill them,’” said Trump to radio host Laura Ingraham in November.
According to the Office of Personnel Management, the federal government has 16,000 less permanent workers since the beginning of 2017.
Many employees have left voluntarily because they were not supporters of Trump, which isn’t uncommon when a new president is elected.
“During the first six months of the administration, 71,285 career employees quit or retired. That’s up from 50,000 who left during the same period in 2009, according to the most recent OPM data,” writes the Washington Post.
After Trump’s first year, the Treasury Department has 7.5% fewer employees, the Department of Education has 4.8% fewer employees, the Department of Labor is down by 4.6%, the Department of State has 3.8% fewer employees, and both the Commerce and Department of Housing and Urban Development is down by 3%.
Congress has yet to pass a new budget this year, but government agencies have already slowed down on spending after the Trump administration proposed drastic funding cuts in the spring.
Those impending cuts are just the beginning.
“The White House is now warning agencies to brace for even deeper cuts in the 2019 budget it will announce early next year, part of an effort to lower the federal deficit to pay for the new tax law, according to officials briefed on the budgets for their agencies. One possible casualty: a pay raise that federal employees historically have received when the economy is humming,” writes the Washington Post.
The impending cuts have also influenced the early retirements of hundreds of federal workers. The hiring freeze that was lifted in the spring still remained in place at many agencies.
Trump’s administration has plans to make government agencies leaner, yet more effective.
According to the White House spokesman Raj Shah, Trump “is committed to streamlining government for the 21st century, reducing bloat, duplication and waste, and focusing resources on key priorities like public safety and protecting our nation’s homeland.”
Others think it’s time for the agencies to be re-evaluated.
“Oftentimes we run on autopilot and continue to fund programs that don’t produce the results that were intended,” said Stephanie Valentine, a program analyst at the Education Department. “You can’t keep blindly spending because that’s what we’ve always done.”
Obama’s administration, instead added 188,000 permanent employees. In his first year of office, 68,000 permanent employees were added to the federal government payroll.
Author’s note: Trump is foremost a businessman. The federal government agencies need leaner and smarter and more effective teams. Trump is delivering on a yet another campaign promise.