From a retired federal employee

In the letters to the editor in my local newspaper was the following letter. It speaks for itself, but I will make one comment following the letter.

“As a retired federal employee with over 34 years of service during the administrations of eight presidents of both political parties, I want to offer my heartfelt thanks to the millions of current federal employees across the country and around the world for your work on behalf of all of us.

Never in my experience have I seen such disdain from a president and his administration for federal employees, calling them “idiots,” “a disaster,” and otherwise demeaning service.

Federal employees deserve better than that, and I am here to just say thanks for your service.

Any boss who treats federal employees the way the current president does should not be the boss.”

This is well said. In Michael Lewis’ well researched book “The Fifth Risk” which looks at what these federal employees actually do and how the current administration did not take much time at all to learn what they do and the heightened risks as a result, he noted the following theme. The deep state (as these folks are often called) are the people who actually know what they are talking about.

15 thoughts on “From a retired federal employee

  1. Sad, but true. Donald Trump gets an “F” in leadership, just like every other aspect of the job he’s done, perhaps even the life he’s lived. I add my own ‘thanks’ to that of the letter-writer’s to the people who actually keep the trains running on time, so to speak.

    • Jill, well said. His followers would not work for Trump for very long. A person in charge who takes all the credit for good things, blames other for bad things, who changes his mind as often as the wind blows and who is very mercurial and bullying. Oh, and he lies and grabs women by their private parts because he can.

      A leader shares the credit and assumes the blame and fights for his employees and listens to their ideas. Trump is not in the ball park of leadership. His highest rate of White House turnover is an indicator. Keith

      • Yep, all learned in Leadership 101 … I thought Trump had a degree in Business from Wharton, but I’ve concluded his daddy bought that one, too, for he obviously learned nothing there.

      • Jill, having a degree and earning a degree are two different things. A key point in Trump’s business education is the only person he has reported to is his father. So, until now, he has little oversight of his role in a leadership capacity. He also has failed mightily at communications strategy and tactics as well as planning of major roll outs.


  2. Amen to that, Keith. History will show that the “deep state” was the source of whatever stability kept the “the ship of state” afloat during these four corrupt, chaotic years.

    • Annie, this deep state BS has been around for awhile. It is the favorite subject of conspiracy theorists. Yet, they overlook the conspiracies right in front of their nose. I saw a HBO documentary on the killing of Khashoggi and these very informative reporters on Saudi Arabia said very matter of fact, “Trump is the Saudi prince’s stooge. And, Ivanka and Jared are in their pocket.” It floored me to hear them say what we have observed. As with any narcissist, if you cater to Trump, he will do what you want as he is a not a student of history or relationships. The Saudis have catered to Trump. Keith

  3. Note to Readers: If you have not read “The Fifth Risk,” I recommend it. Many experienced people were reassigned or have retired or just left. Lewis studied the largely unread briefing materials prepared by the outgoing administration for the incoming Trump administration. Since Trump did not think he was going to win, he fired his transition team led by Chris Christie and tossed their work. It is reported, he also wanted the money the group raised for the transition. So, they were very slow (and still have not) staffed all the positions. Plus, the huge turnover has left them in a lurch. So, the purpose of the book is the president is ill-informed of what kept these folks up at night. That is the risk.

  4. Well said that man!
    Without the staff at the sharp end, working on low wages nations would not run.
    I recall the last book I read of Tom Clancy was because written in was some tall late middle aged salt ‘n pepper haired handsome ex-CEO who was brought into to help with another crisis and was given about three pages extolling the virtues of senior employees of companies and how they were responsible for results to their shareholders etc and thus were better than state employees who had no such pressure….Book the trash can…
    The next year… Eron!….7-8 8 years later governments have to waste precious resources bailing out banks!
    Covid crisis in the UK commercial firms bused in to help are ignoring the NHS advice given to them.
    Two phrases to watch out for from a politician:
    1) Giving the taxpayer value for money (like the taxpayer has a choice!)
    2) Private is more efficient than government.
    If they use either…suspect them.
    If they use both, steer clear of them…they’ll cut the top most rates of taxes and fund it by govt. spending cuts and award contracts to companies who are somewhat cosy(in one way or another) with them or who can sell the deal but not deliver (Happened as long back as the first couple of years of the American Civil War).
    As for Trump….paying any attention to what comes out of his mouth is a pointless exercise.

    • Roger, many thanks. For profit companies have profit margins, so that must be factored into cost model comparisons. Also shareholders want a ROI, but some greater good efforts may have little or no ROI, so those efforts would be ignored.

      Great example is the ROI on creating a cure for a disease may be negative, but Pharma companies want to invest in a supplemental drug that you take every day for rhe rest of your life. Keith

      • There can be an equitable balance between ‘State’ and to use a wide term ‘Commerce’ both working to the mutual benefit of the society in which they are based, however there is always ‘that factor’ which if unwatched ends up being a corrosion.
        On my side of the fence a socialist can work out many fine theoretical systems of government with theoretical checks and balances. However each models assumes everyone involved in the system of government at all levels has a balanced perception shorn of prejudices and personal ambitions.
        Add to this
        The urge to govern on ‘a fair and just basis’ (ie Our Way) builds in a intolerance to those who perceived as standing in the way and a desire to push them aside or down.
        Thus in practical terms a socialist government always carries the threat of an authoritarian and in the wrong hands, ie The Ambitious can lead to the same abuses as the Right-Wing dictatorship.
        We, therefore have to accept the best format for a sort of Free and sort of Just society is a hodgepodge of State and Commerce, bumbling along with enough of those checks and balances to have a ‘Wooah! Wait a minute. Just what are you playing at there?’ option.
        Ideally the possible best contender would have been US model of the mid-20th century where although you had Democrats and Republicans you could not really say one party was truly to the ‘Left’ nor one truly to the ‘Right’ as both, in theory adhered to the original constitutional principals. But sadly, as we know ‘Events’ and Human Weaknesses never allow things to run smoothly for very long.

      • Roger, I often cite two books – “That used to be us” by Thomas Friedman and “The world is curved” by economic advisor David Smick. America and the UK have been built on a blend of public and private partnership using federal, state, local, venture capital and non-venture capital investments. The order or relative use of the funds varies pending the nature of the investment. Friedman’s point is we seem to have forgotten that and we need to make better use. As for Smick, he has a great line “Innovation is portable.” New manufacturing will occur around the initial innovation, so a country is better served by making sure the innovators stay. Keith

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