Just recently, President Trump announced that he’ll eliminate pay raises for federal civilian employees slated for 2019. The reason? Trump would like to “put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course.” The leftist opposition will undoubtedly use this against the administration, but the announcement is a welcome one for the economy.
In my opinion – one which is shared by many of you, I suspect – government jobs are largely useless. Indeed, not one function exists that the private sector couldn’t perform better than the government. The capitalist ethos drives privately-owned enterprises, which means that they must compete against other entities. Government agencies, on the other hand, are fully subsidized irrespective of performance.
Consider for example the U.S. Postal Service. Even though they are technically and economically one of the most irrelevant agencies, they exist because the government mandated it. Were the USPS to compete, however, they would quickly fall apart.
Therefore, I have zero problems with Trump issuing these pay cuts. If government functions are inferior to private-sector functions, it stands to reason that government doesn’t employ the sharpest people, either. Mitigating against ineffective jobs or people is an important step towards protecting our economy.
However, it’s only the beginning.
Trump Pay Cuts Need to Go Further
While I applaud the President’s move to impose much-needed pay cuts, he also needs to go further. In order to save our economy, and move us towards true greatness, the administration must mitigate against the sacrosanct institution: the military industrial complex.
War and military conflicts represent economically irrational measures, resulting in lost people, lost productivity, and onerous, ongoing costs. Here’s what the Watson Institute at Brown University had to say on the matter:
The United States federal government has spent or obligated 4.8 trillion dollars on the wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. This figure includes: direct Congressional war appropriations; war-related increases to the Pentagon base budget; veterans care and disability; increases in the homeland security budget; interest payments on direct war borrowing; foreign assistance spending; and estimated future obligations for veterans’ care.
This total omits many other expenses, such as the macroeconomic costs to the US economy; the opportunity costs of not investing war dollars in alternative sectors; future interest on war borrowing; and local government and private war costs.
If Trump is truly serious about pay cuts and the economy, he’s got to address the military industrial complex. No other institution absorbs so much money yet produces next to nothing in terms of net economic output.
We do not get extra dollars for killing people, even if they are the “bad guys.”
Unfortunately, though, I highly doubt Trump would make such a move. He got into hot water for disparaging the late Senator McCain’s military service. Certainly, he needs them to have any chance at reelection.
That means we’re going to go through this merry-go-round, even though the answer is right in front of us.