The Trump-Bannon war on faith in government

Daniel Drezner has a column posted about the Trump administration’s “lowering morale and encouraging trained senior civil service employees to leave the government” – the aim of the since departed Steve Bannon all along. Drezner:

I worked in this part of Treasury earlier in my career. The ratio of staff to policy purview is impressive, which was one of the reasons that working there was so exciting. There is no bloat in this unit. It cannot afford to lose 10 percent of its staff because of this administration’s incompetence. And yet it has.

There will be at least 2½ more years of foreign policy incompetence from this administration. That is now baked in. What is terrifying is that this administration appears to be intent on razing the infrastructure of government before it leaves. Trump and Bannon are accomplishing their stated aim: the administrative state is rapidly deconstructing.

A delayed passport. A shoddy NTSB investigation. That’s all it takes for the average citizen to lose faith in government and instead believe in the chimera that outsourcing the labor or privatizing these operations is the solution. Meanwhile private business suffers no obloquy for oil spills, for turning West Virginia into a giant chemistry set, or for decimating a percentage of the nation’s wealth when investment banks crash.

This thinking, which we thought was buried with Calvin Coolidge, got a boost in January 1981. It accelerated under Bill Clinton and George W. Bush but got a temporary cease and desist under Barack Obama. Whether the Trump administration ends in 2020 or 2024, the damage to public faith in the dedication of the federal government to ensuring we lead safe lives will be be forever shaken.

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