Monday, January 21, 2019

Has "The Wall" Become All About "Right-Sizing?" -- January 21, 2019, T+19

Day 31 of the "partial government shutdown." 
The "partial government shutdown" is moving into new territory.

At first "the partial government shutdown" was only about "the wall." But I think the Trump supporters are gradually moving to a bigger discussion: "right-sizing the federal government."

It's now been 31 days and the average American has not been affected by the shutdown. Even the anti-Trumpers and Shelosi know that. It's very possible that Trump's last offer was his last and best offer. He might even take it back if there are no counter-proposals or no negotiating.

It should go without saying that a lot of Trumpers were upset with Trump's offer of "amnesty."

A lot of Trumpers don't want that trade-off: amnesty for the wall. There are murmurs that Trumpers are moving on. Trumpers want to right-size the government and the partial government shutdown is a step in that direction.

Trumpers are moving from "the wall issue" to the "right-sizing issue."

Over time, solutions will be found for those few instances where the partial government shutdown is actually being felt -- but the partial government shutdown will remain in place, and that moves the discussion to "right-sizing."

Some folks are already starting to ask: exactly what do those 800,000 employees do that allows them to be away from work for this long? On top of that, these federal employees are all (or most all) are going to get one huge paycheck when they return to work. [There are only 2 million civilian employees in the federal government; certainly 800,000 are not staying at home. It would be interesting to know exactly how many of the 800,000 are actually not going into work. I bet it's not many in the big scheme of things. Park employees? Secretarial support across the civilian agencies? Kitchen staff in the White House? Who else?] [Is it time to militarize the TSA?]

I doubt those 800,000 furloughed are writing letters to Trump or to Mitch McConnell. After all, it's Pelosi's House that controls the purse strings. My hunch is Pelosi is the one getting the mail. She has said that she is "equal to the president" according to the constitution.

The furloughed folks have been concerned about their paychecks. At least until now.

Now, I'm sure many are concerned about their jobs. Will they in fact be "invited" back? Or will there be reductions in force (RIFs)? RIFs were the biggest fear federal employees had when I was on active duty in the military. That was about the only way they could lose their jobs. RIFs affected both uniformed and non-uniformed personnel.

I wouldn't be surprised if some agencies aren't reclassifying positions from non-critical to critical so that they can be brought back to work. Generally speaking, the secretarial pools are not mission-essential; engineers are. I think a lot of the 800,000 folks are in "support" (secretarial pools) and are starting to talk about RIFs.

Meanwhile, Shelosi et al are still being paid. [Trump donates his entire pay to charity.]

If the partial government shutdown goes past two months, it's no longer about the wall, it's about "right-sizing the government." Some think we are already at that discussion. At one point does "furloughed" mean "fired"?

If the partial government shutdown goes past two months, right-sizing and impeachment become the entire story. There will be no time to do anything else and the media won't care about anything else.

So, I'm waiting to see the headline, "Right-Sizing The Government."  Ann Coulter will start that discussion next week. Rush Limbaugh will handle the impeachment issue.

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