John Durham’s report exposes the corruption and abuse of America’s bloated bureaucracy. Unelected officials in the Justice Department and FBI were able to investigate a presidential candidate and persecute several individuals with the flimsiest evidence imaginable. The Russia investigation nearly derailed Donald Trump’s presidency just to suit the whims of powerful civil servants. Worst of all, the bureaucrats responsible got away with the whole thing.
Durham’s report argues that our country needs dramatic reforms to the FBI and Justice Department. That’s undoubtedly true, but they’re not the only government agencies in need of a top-to-bottom overhaul. The entire federal bureaucracy exhibits this corruption. These officials are accountable to no one and get away with undermining our elected leaders.
The federal bureaucracy is one of America’s biggest problems. It’s inefficient, bloated, corrupt, and helps impose leftism on the country. It also costs taxpayers over a trillion dollars every year to maintain. Conservatives need to focus on starving the beast. It’s time to make the administrative state serve the people rather than itself.
One of the best places to start is the Office of Personnel Management. This agency staffs and manages the bureaucracy, meaning much of the system’s dysfunction comes from this office. The lazy and liberal government workers who infest the swamp can be blamed on OPM. They pose a serious problem for conservative governance. The Trump Administration’s endeavors faced strong resistance from career workers who found every opportunity to thwart the America First agenda. This included Justice Department lawyers refusing to prosecute cases, staffers in numerous agencies keeping political appointees in the dark about important business, and officials circumventing hiring freezes. It was tough to carry out policies when the personnel tasked with carrying them out refused to do so.
Not only are these workers overwhelmingly liberal, but their performance also leaves much to be desired. Many of these workers do nothing but collect a government check. This problem was worsened by the lockdowns. Federal workers never went to the office and did minimal work while away—all under the pretext of COVID. As we approach the summer of 2023, many of these workers still haven’t returned to the office, leaving the government hampered by even greater inefficiency and incompetence. Regulations that make it nearly impossible to fire bad employees only facilitate poor performance.
The incompetence of the federal bureaucracy is exemplified by the infamous OPM hack back in the 2010s. The agency’s lackluster security practices led to the largest security breach in American history. Countless volumes of sensitive data were compromised in the hack. It was entirely the result of a bureaucracy that doesn’t prioritize good workers.
On top of all this, the potential for graft is high. Just last week, a former OPM employee pleaded guilty to funneling millions of dollars in government contracts to businesses connected to her family. Over the course of 12 years, Sheron Spann pushed lucrative contracts to friendly firms without disclosing her links to them. She got away with it for a very long time with no one noticing. Imagine how many other similar cases there are.
OPM’s many faults have led to a congressional probe by the House Oversight Committee.
The Biden Administration has proposed its own bureaucratic reform that would require OPM to do greater vetting of government workers. But this reform has little to do with weeding out incompetent or corrupt civil servants. It’s all about purging the few conservatives from the bureaucracy. OPM’s proposed rules say the agency will assess a worker’s “suitability and fitness” and will empower OPM to fire anyone it finds “does not have the required level of character and conduct necessary to perform work for a Federal agency.” Liberal bureaucrats will decide who’s suitable and who’s not.
There are much better ideas to rein in the bureaucracy. Trump has proposed new rules that would make it easier to get rid of incompetent swamp creatures. This is a good start to casting out the bad workers, but there still needs to be ways to find good workers. One possibility is taking the power to hire away from liberal bureaucrats in OPM and putting it in the hands of the private sector. There already exist private alternatives, such as Monster, that can find competent and dedicated servants to the American people. OPM has failed for years in this task. It’s time to try something new.
America can only be made great again if the government serves the people again. The bureaucracy is one of the foremost obstacles to this goal. Republicans must prioritize the reform of our civil service. Our nation’s future depends on it.