Repealing the Pendleton Act is a terrific idea. It would require Republicans holding both Congressional houses and the White House to accomplish, but absolutely should be a priority. Aside from rooting out partisan ticks, it would make it much, much easier to shrink government by measured reductions in force, as was done to the military post Cold War.

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Maybe it would also change agency capture. Instead of spending 20 years at a an agency tasked with overseeing an industry and then retiring to that industry at an inflated salary there would be.a change of oversight and then people might have to spend most of their career in the industry and live with the bad rules. One may say that the agents would be less careful but a new administration running on new rules would fix the bad actions by bad actors. Now we don’t have any intelligent controls.

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quite a bit of good content here, but several paragraphs are posted multiple times over

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In thinking about this some more, allowing government employees to unionize may have been the tipping point, making a bad situation even worse.

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"Without patronage the only reason to volunteer was for ideological reasons."

Job security and a guaranteed pension is another. Keep your head down and work your way up the GS ranks. Talent and ambition are not required for most career tracks. Quiet persistence and comity will do.

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Great thesis although it will be difficult to achieve politically until there is a financial collapse of the federal government which is coming at some point as interest payments on the debt approach $1 trillion annually. I once had a professor who taught me that institutions (bureaucracies) have two sets of objectives: 1) legitimate objectives (purposes) authorized by elected bodies; 2) the real objectives which are the ones a mature institution develops to benefit itself and its members. Our government is dominated by a leadership of self-serving bureaucrats although there are many great, hard-working people in the field offices. When agencies get more money, they spend it on more bureaucrats (and in some cases on taking down their political opposition). Less of it is spent on achieving an outcome consistent with their legitimate purposes.

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A civil service that does not serve at the pleasure of the president is a violation not just of the vesting clause of the constitution but also of the guarantee of a republican form of government.

Our supreme court totally bollixed the republican guarantee by claiming not to be able to figure out what republicanism is, but Alexander Hamilton gave a very clear definition at the New York debates:

"The true principle of a republic is, that the people should choose whom they please to govern them. Representation is imperfect in proportion as the current of popular favor is checked."

In popular parlance, if The People don't like who is governing them they can always "throw the bums out." But the Civil Service laws make it impossible for the people to throw out the vast majority of the bums who are governing them.

The firer-in-chief who they elect, the president, has been stripped of this power, which strips the people of this power. Under the civil service, we are no longer a republic.

Of course the republican guarantee that SOTUS so mindlessly vitiated has much more important tasks to perform then protecting us from the Civil Service, important as that is.

The two main threats to The People's ability to choose whom they please to govern them are 1) stolen elections, resulting from election systems that are unnecessarily susceptible to fraud and 2) weaponization of powers of government to suppress political opponents.

We see both of these fatal attacks on republicanism in full riot now. Thanks to Civil Service laws a 100% Democrat controlled medical bureaucracy was able to create and deploy a pandemic virus which was then used as an excuse for mass mail in voting that is intentionally vulnerable to mass election fraud, and we know for a fact that this did lead to the stealing of the 2020 presidential election.

True the Vote proved that beyond any shred of rational doubt. 5000 Mules working for Democrat organizations in 5 key counties stuffed far more than enough fake votes into ballot drop boxes to swing 5 key states to Biden, turning what would have been an Electoral College landslide for Trump into a stolen phony election victory for Biden.

We have been usurped by our actual current president, the racist, communist, Islamofascist, Barack Hussein Obama, whose intel agencies first tried to rig the 2016 election with their faked-up "Trump Russia collusion" hoax.

When that failed they used the same hoax to execute a coup attempt against or duly elected president, and now that the traitorous Obama (an actual member of the Muslim Brotherhood, according to the Brotherhood itself) finally succeeded in usurping our republican democracy election stealing, his minions are now pulling out all the stops to weaponize every arm and level of government to suppress all political opposition, starting with the actual winner of the 2020 election, Donald J Trump.

An active republican guarantee would have protected us from all of this. Election systems like mass mail in voting that are intentionally vulnerable to systematic vote fraud and election fraud would have been immediately struck down for undermining the only guarantee in the entire constitution.

Note that the constitution gives it to the states to conduct all elections, state and federal, so any unrepublican election systems (any election systems that fail to guarantee the honesty and security of elections), constitute a unrepublican form of STATE government, and hence fall directly under the guarantee to the states that they shall have republican government.

So the guarantee clause is actually beautifully written to defend our republic against usurpation by election fraud, if only SCOTUS had just been aware of Hamilton's definition of a republic.

Actually it's worse than that. They did become aware of Hamilton's definition, have cited it multiple times in First Amendment and other areas of constitutional law.

It has just for some unaccountable reason not been considered in the adjudication of the republican guarantee. What a crazy disaster, the perfect Sword Excalibur the founder's left for us was buried in stone, interpreted out of the constitution through the sheerest carelessness.

Is there still time to pull this sword from the stone and use it to defeat the usurpers? Yes there is, but we desperately need our lawyers to get on it. 25 years ago I tried to take a republican guarantee case to SCOTUS on my own, filing pro se.

I had discovered their mistake and had to give them a chance to correct it, but getting the supreme court to pay attention takes a bigger effort than I could muster.

Now the survival of our nation depends on it. Can our lawyers please get on the ball? Please feel free to ask me how.

Except for a few typos (having been written in the wee hours while I built houses during the day) my Supreme Court brief is perfect. The brief is already written! It just needs to be applied to the current violations.

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I'm surprised you ask the rhetorical question "why did we end up with a civil service" without mentioning the assassination of President James Garfield. Shot by a job seeker who didn't get the job he sought. Corrupt "stalwart" Chester Alan Arthur was scared straight by the assassination -- and apparently legitimately horrified that the president to whom he was vice president was shot by a low-level political "ally" in the Roscoe Conkling / Tammany political machine. Arthur, with admirable intentions, put us on the road to the civil service. I'm sure it all worsened under Woodrow Wilson. Everything Wilson touched did. But we were pushed down that road by President Arthur reacting to the Garfield assassination.

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Excellent article. Might need a tweak here or there but we have an entrenched bureaucracy that is in desperate need of “surgery”.

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As a longtime federal employee I noticed that the political appointees in Republican administrations returned to the private sector afterwards. Those appointed by Democrats “burrowed in” and remained as permanent employees.

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Oct 16, 2023·edited Oct 16, 2023

There doesn’t seem to be much enthusiasm for taking on the administrative state in Washington. I’ve written my representatives several times on this issue and have gotten boilerplate when I do get a reply. By the way, my representatives are all Republicans and one is the only representative from my state to score 100% by Conservative Review.

I fear that the eighth paragraph in your essay describes political reality not to mention the power that federal “interest enforcement” and the so called intelligence agencies have to disrupt your lives. I’m not optimistic. “We’ve” created a nexus of incredible power over the past one hundred and ten years; accordingly Washington attracts narcissistic sociopaths and psychopaths from all over the world. They’ll be incredibly difficult to dislodge peacefully.

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During the Reagan Admin, the civil service was reformed to greatly increase bonuses for excellence. Unfortunately, people ended up being excellent in carrying out political priorities rather then the nuts and bolts. In my opinion, this may account for why Nixon's attempt to use the IRS to punish enemies failed but Obama's attempt (using Lois Lerner) was successful.

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it wasn't that long ago i thought that Chet Arthur was the last POTUS to do more good than bad in office. it's still awesome that he turned against his party's corruption of course, but in the long run the cure was worse than the disease.

Now it's down to young hickory: he had a brief but audacious platform, carried out the portions that were attainable, compromised where absolutely necessary, avoided mission creep, and when his term was over, went home and promptly died so as to minimize mischief toward his successors. can't really beat that.

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Yes, thank you for this and very well said. One idea might be terms limits -- some states already impose term limits on elected officials, and that experiment seems to have shown that term limits function as an aerator to prevent stagnation in politics. Why not a term limit on civil servants to prevent stagnation in our agencies? Bureaucrats might be a lot less high-handed if they know they're going to be on the other end of it before their careers are finished.

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This is a terrific summary of the issue and it’s solution. It would be a great piece to add in all high school classes in government. I would like to add one thing, though. There are some areas of civil service expertise that still flourish and are essential, so some care is needed when wielding the chainsaw. There are gifted technicians that keep many DoD platforms performing and infrastructure as well, and gifted professionals in engineering and other services that support them. As always, no one system is perfect, so even this needs a jolt or two from the private sector to spur things along. But all in all, your desire to implement large scale reform is spot on.

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Some of us have been thinking about this for a long time. Here's a piece I wrote on my old blog in 2009, now archived at my Substack. I was writing it with tongue in cheek, but I also considered the Washington bubble a problem--both for the federal employees and for the politicians.


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