Is This How Trump Would Shrink the Government?
Policy + Politics

Is This How Trump Would Shrink the Government?

Rick Wilking

Establishment Republicans upset at the prospect of billionaire Donald Trump becoming their party’s nominee aren’t looking at the bright side. If Trump were to win the White House, he could help the conservative movement achieve one of its oldest goals: dramatically shrinking the size of the federal government.

There’s only one catch: He’d do it by driving away some the top civil servants who keep the government running.

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A recent poll conducted by the Government Business Council, an arm of Government Executive Media, found that 25 percent of federal employees said that they either would consider or might consider leaving government service rather than serve in a Trump administration.

The survey found that of the pool of 688 federal employees surveyed, 28 percent identified as Democrats, 26 percent as Republicans and 35 percent independent. The remainder either identified with another party or declined to say. Among self-declared independents, 42 percent said they lean toward the GOP and 31 percent toward the Democrats.

When asked if they would consider leaving federal service if Trump were elected, 67 percent of government employees said they would not. Fourteen percent said they definitely would, and another 11 percent said they might.

In general, the people who are or might feel free to consider a job change because of a change in presidential administrations are likely to be the same people who are confident that they could find comparable employment elsewhere – mainly, the people who are good at what they do, and who the federal government would be better off hanging onto.

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Part of the problem, other than distaste for Trump’s policies, might be the expectation that personal job satisfaction would suffer under a Trump presidency. Fifty-nine percent of those polled said that they would be embarrassed if the billionaire was the GOP’s nominee – not a recipe for employee loyalty. (It should be noted, though, that Hillary Clinton’s numbers were only somewhat better: 49 percent said they would be embarrassed, and 27 percent said they would be proud.)

The survey reached mainly executive-level federal employees, and represented workers in more than 30 civilian and defense agencies.