The left and vested employment
By Bruce Walker
Vast armies of people whose jobs are protected from market forces are a principal strength of Leftism. States run by Leftists have teachers unions and other public employee unions draining the public treasury for pension plans and compensation packages which are "negotiated" by politicians who owe their office to public employee union support.
In public schools and in academia students are brainwashed with Leftist cant by teachers and professors who have a very real financial interest in these young voters actually believing myths like "We need to spend more on education," which means, of course, more money to teachers and professors.
Every state government and large city government is infested with merit system employees whose compensation depends upon the political pressure they can exert during the budget process and whose job security rests upon a perpetuation of a "Merit System" which effectively makes it impossible to fire lazy, incompetent and dishonest government employees.
Industrial unions also have formed a traditional source of campaign funds and workers which is repaid by Leftists in Washington siding with unions against employers or even trying to stop industrial operations from moving from states in the pocket of organized labor, like Washington State, to states with more rational labor systems, like South Carolina.
Even among highly paid federal bureaucrats, firing and similar discipline for bad workers is almost nonexistent. Consider that in the VA Scandal, which had all Congress up in arms, months went by and no one was fired. Or consider in the IRS Scandal that none of the lost emails, destroyed records, and clear lies has cost anyone his job. Indeed, the worst offender, Lois Lerner, we have learned received huge bonuses even while she was insulting taxpayers and doubtless violating their civil rights as well.
In stark contrast, conservatives have no similar network of employees who get raises no matter what, get bonuses no matter what, and keep their jobs no matter what. In fact, one of the grimmest stories percolating out of the VA Scandal is the threatening environment which whistleblowers felt about reporting our their agency was failing.
Conservatives would be wise to make the protected status of these employees – the vast majority of whom work in the public sector – a campaign issue. State governments run by Republicans have already done much in this area. Scott Walker, of course, took on public employees unions. Republican governors in Michigan, Florida and now, recently, Illinois have done the same.
Much more could be done by conservative state governments. Create a right to fire, without cause, any public employee – while still hiring and promoting through a neutral process like the Merit System – and governors would be able to reduce the cost of government by getting rid of bad employees as well as increasing the courtesy and responsiveness which government workers in dealing with the public.
End tenure in all public academic institutions and enact as well something like David Horowitz's Academic Bill of Rights (though expanded to schools as well as colleges) so that any teacher or professor who tries to bully conservatives or throttle discussion could be fired quickly. That reform would do much to prevent the Orwellian thought control which all of us have seen in some robot could how of public educational institutions.
All these could be done by state governments, but at the federal level, as conservatives prepare for a presidential campaign, what ought we to push? Reform the Federal Civil Service System so that any employee of any Executive Branch agency is "at will" and can be fired by without cause by the President or his designee – but leave the process of hiring within the objective standards of the current system. Would this bring back the "Spoils System"?
No. If the President or his designee must only hire through the current system, them friends and cronies could not be given these jobs as plums for services rendered. Would the President or his designees be able to force civil servants to support them to avoid firing? Politicians avoid, at all costs, punishing voters (who have friends, family and neighbors) and the system reform could include even stricter rules to keep all civil servants from engaging in political campaigns.
Boldly proposing this sort of grand reform would have great appeal to most Americans, who are struggling to find good jobs in the private sector. The accurate image of the underworked and overpaid government worker is understood by most Americans, who also grasp they pay the bill for this waste.
It is a simple idea but a good one. Let's see is anyone conservative candidates for the Republican Nomination embrace it.
Bruce Walker is the author of book Poor Lenin's Almanac: Perverse Leftists Proverbs for Modern Life and a contributing editor to Enter Stage Right.