Media Silence: President Trump FIRES HUNDREDS at VA
Under Obama, government grew enormously. And the fed not only got bigger, but badder.
As reported by the Washington Times,
President Obama will set a record for the size of the basic federal workforce, leaving office with more than 1.4 million people collecting government salaries in the civilian agencies in 2017, according to the budget he delivered to Congress on Tuesday.
It’s a 10 percent jump from the time he took office in 2009 but less than the 17 percent hike under his Republican predecessor, President George W. Bush.
So even Bush’s massive expansion of government wasn’t enough for Obama. He added 10 percent on top of that.
The government is so enormous, there are many duplicate agencies for everything. The government is so big that it doesn’t know who’s doing what.
As USA Today reported back in 2014,
A new government report on duplication and fragmentation in federal programs can read like a book of “screw-in-a-light-bulb” jokes.
It takes 10 different offices at the Department of Health and Human Services to run programs addressing AIDS in minority communities. Autism research is spread out over 11 different agencies. Eight agencies at the Defense Department are looking for prisoners of war and missing in action. And Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado has eight different satellite control centers to control 10 satellite programs.
The report, by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office, identifies 26 new areas where federal government programs are fragmented, duplicative, overlapping or just inefficient. Add that to the 162 areas identified in past reports, and Congress has a road map for saving tens of billions of dollars a year.
It doesn’t take rocket science to start cutting fat by cutting duplicate efforts and departments. But Obama did nothing.
So government grew. And with that enormity came even more waste and corruption. Worse yet, people died, as in the VA.
Obama promised action, after he learned of the scandal of veterans dying on waiting lists. He then accepted the token resignation of the then-head of the VA Shinseki. We wrote at the time:
During the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearings, GOP and Committee Chairman Jeff Miller put forth rounds of questioning to Philadelphia and Wilmington VA regional offices director Diana Rubens and St. Paul VA regional office director Kimberly Graves. Both ladies, enacting their Fifth Amendment right, refused to answer the HVAC Chairman’s numerous questions. Even Undersecretary For Benifits, Alison Hickey, now retired–and how convenient–as a private citizen, hadn’t responded to Miller’s request to appear before the Committee.
In 2014, a fracas developed over the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs handling of its massive, bloated, broken inner workings when a Phoenix, AZ office came under fire for forty vets dying while waiting to receive care, according to CNN.. Thus, the #VAScandal was born. Only after the nation’s outcry, did Eric Shinseki, then Sec’y of Vet Affairs, resign in May 2014.
As for the hearings, Rubens repeated multiple times to the HVAC Chairman and Committee members:
“Sir, I’ve been advised by counsel not to answer that question to protect my rights under the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution.”
And this came after she, colleague Kimberly Graves, and three others were subpoenaed, the first ever in the Committee’s history, to deliver their testimony on the Veterans’ Affairs, Inspector General’s report on suspicious spending of those office’s budgets, despite the employees’ salary caps on moving expenses.
So VA employees skated, and Obama only fired Shinseki.
Moreover, veterans still died on waiting lists, and bad employees of the VA continued in their jobs.
But Under President Trump, things have change.
On Friday, the Department of Veterans Affairs posted a list of hundreds of VA employees fired or punished for misconduct since the Trump administration took over on Jan. 20. It’s a good start. But not enough.
The VA, which left vets to die on waiting lists for care, is a glaring example of what’s wrong with the entire civil service. It’s become a federal-employee protection racket.
Workers in every part of the bureaucracy who commit serious wrongs, like tax evasion, watching porn on the job or robbing a bank on nonwork hours, typically keep their jobs and even get bonuses.
Back in 1883, Congress passed the Pendleton Act to replace patronage with civil service, so workers would be hired and paid based on merit. Not now. Federal workers get hefty salaries and benefits regardless of their work quality, with no risk of getting fired. One kind of corruption has been replaced with another.
Well Pendleton Act be damned.
Unlike Obama who pretended to give a crap about veterans and their level of service, President Trump proves he does. But where is the media on this?