Vivek Ramaswamy has a plan to eviscerate the Deep State
People should pay close attention to Vivek Ramaswamy’s idea because he is willing to think outside of the box about how government should work, compared to the grotesque behemoth we now have in D.C. Most importantly, he thinks it’s possible for the president to fire most of the federal workforce. He’s not just talking about Schedule F political appointees. He wants to empty buildings full of ideologically corrupt agencies.
Schedule F employees are those people in the federal government who hold political offices and serve at the president’s will. When Democrats come into office, they usually fire everyone; when Republicans come into office, they don’t. Democrat administrations have agency leaders who align with their policies; Republicans don’t.
Part of this is a manpower problem. Leftists gravitate toward D.C.; conservatives don’t. From any pool of candidates with the basic skills for a position, most will be Democrats. (As an aside, a small organization called American Moment is working hard to change that by creating a cadre of young people who are true conservatives, wise in the ways of D.C., and ready to take on political jobs. I got to meet Saurabh Sharma, the president and co-founder, and came away impressed by both his ideas and his energy.)
Image: Vivek Ramaswamy. X screen grab.
The only problem is the pushback that panics Republicans. Take the furor when George W. Bush tried to fire some U.S. Attorneys, a position purely within the president’s purview. A still-palpitating Wikipedia describes how, in 2006, Bush fired seven U.S. Attorneys. This was “unprecedented” and saw Congress launch “investigations focused on whether the Department of Justice and the White House were using the U.S. attorney positions for political advantage.” Well, duh.
But Republicans were warned: Democrats get to make political appointments; Republicans do not.
But what about the rank-and-file workers in the agencies, the majority of whom donate to the Democrat party? A long time ago, that was irrelevant because, no matter how they voted, they just did their jobs. However, since Obama (at least), agencies have used their power to effectuate Democrat policies on America. (See, e.g., the FBI, the Department of Education, the EEOC, the CDC, etc.) And because they get to write their own rules and try their own cases, they have totalitarian control over the matters within their purview.
Cowed by unions (thanks JFK), Republicans are too afraid of lawsuits to fire anyone. Moreover, as we’ve seen with the lawfare against Trump and his supporters (e.g., lawyers, ordinary people swept up in the January 6 dragnet, etc.), D.C.’s judicial system is purely Democrat. If you’re a Democrat who wants a “political advantage” in the courts, ensure D.C. is your jurisdiction. Any federal firing will get entangled in that court system. By the time the unions and the courts have had their say, no one gets fired.
But Vivek thinks he’s found a way around the problem of the roughly 2 million federal employees, most of whom are leftists, all of whom are expensive, and many of whom are defiantly partisan and hostile to the American people:
He also challenged the idea that a specific section of the U.S. Code, 5 USC 7513(a), dictates that the president can only fire such employees “for.. cause.”
“Turns out large-scale reductions in force are not covered by the statute,” he said, arguing that mass layoffs of that sort are governed by a much less restrictive statute, 5 USC 3502.
“Large-scale mass layoffs are absolutely what we will bring to the DC bureaucracy,” Mr. Ramaswamy pledged to applause and cheers from the America First Policy Institute audience.
He suggested that potential cabinet position heads should be subject to a “litmus test”–”that that agency head is prepared to carry out mass layoff[s].”
In addition, Mr. Ramaswamy asserted that provisions of the Reorganization Act of 1977, found at 5 USC 901, empower the president to reorganize, consolidate, and even shut down federal agencies.
He further argued that the Supreme Court case INS v. Chadha does not limit the president’s mandate over agencies as established by the Reorganization Act of 1977.
If Vivek is right, what we’re looking at is the wholesale remaking of the American government, breaking apart the bureaucratic monolith that Woodrow Wilson built, Frank Roosevelt put on rocket fuel, LBJ put on atomic energy, and Obama and Biden have turned into a massive nuclear bomb.
If you're worried that this probably won’t hurt and may help government efficiency, don’t forget that Elon Musk fired 80% of X’s workforce. Since then, the site has chugged along just fine. Its problems aren’t because of staffing; they’re because leftist NGOs and the Obama administration are trying to destroy it.
As I said, I hope the other Republican presidential candidates, from Trump on down, are paying attention because, if Vivek is right, simply by using existing statutory means, he’s describing a true second American Revolution.
If someone works for you & you can’t fire them, they don’t work for you. You work for them. I refuse to be a puppet in the White House who plays that game: if I can’t work for the federal government as President for more than 8 years, neither will any of the federal bureaucrats… pic.twitter.com/i4qs9jwAlj— Vivek Ramaswamy (@VivekGRamaswamy) September 13, 2023