NEW YORK --- "You're fired!"
Donald J. Trump's signature line should become the title of a major speech promising a clean-break from Washington, D.C.'s stagnant status quo. Trump should demand accountability in America's consequence-free capital.
Federal employees routinely do whatever they like. Either through rank incompetence or unbridled hubris, they fail to do their jobs and squander the hard-earned funds of America's overworked taxpayers. And for this, they either keep their jobs or - even worse - enjoy promotions and bonuses.
Trump should propose a swift halt to outrages such as these:
• "Here's my question," Hillary Clinton asked voters in Toledo, Ohio, on Monday. "What kind of genius loses $1 billion in a single year?" Clinton referred to Trump's $916 million private-sector loss in 1995.
Here's my question: What kind of genius loses $6 billion as secretary of state?
Thanks to "a lack of internal control over the Department's contract actions," $6 billion evaporated between 2008 and 2014, mainly on Clinton's watch, according to the State Department inspector general. This mismanagement "creates conditions conducive to fraud, as corrupt individuals may attempt to conceal evidence of illicit behavior by omitting key documents from the contract file." Among 115 contracts related to the Iraq War, for instance, 33 (29 percent) vanished. These missing files alone were worth $2.1 billion.
Did Obama fire Clinton for her role in squandering $6 billion while in his Cabinet?
Of course not! Instead, he's campaigning to make her President of the United States.
• One man in the EPA's Office of Air and Radiation stayed hard at work by downloading some 20,000 pornographic files onto the EPA server. Was he sacked? Nope. After getting caught in September 2013, he was placed on paid leave in May 2014 with his full $120,000 salary. He quietly retired in April 2015.
Another EPA employee named Peter Jutro received multiple promotions, even though 16 women accused him of sexual harassment.
"When Mr. Jutro was finally put on paid leave," House Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R - Utah) explained, "he quickly retired with full pension benefits to avoid being interviewed by the IG about these allegations."
• Federal incompetence goes from noxious to toxic at the Veterans Administration. At the VA's notorious Phoenix facility, some 300 vets dropped dead in recent years while awaiting medical care.
Long delays for VA psychological treatment help explain the 22 suicides that veterans suffer daily. Los Angeles' VA center boasted in August 2015 that it saw mental health patients within four days, on average. CNN cited internal documents that showed new mental patients actually waited 43 days for therapy. Such VA book cooking is rampant.
Since massive public and congressional rage at the VA exploded in 2014, things have deteriorated.
"The VA's own data show that - as of May 15, 2016 - 505,880 veterans are waiting more than a month for care, 150,000 more veterans than were waiting that long in October 2014," Concerned Veterans for America reports. "In Phoenix, it took two years for the VA to propose the firing of officials who oversaw the wait list scandal, and it may take another two years for them to be removed, if at all. The VA handed out $142 million in bonuses in 2014." Some of those who faked wait lists and otherwise abused veterans received such emoluments.
And yet, these people stay employed.
While many federal workers are serious, dedicated professionals, too many are slackers, thieves, and purveyors of negligent homicide.
Hillary Clinton will not challenge inept, crooked, or even deadly government workers. This is her base. These are her people.
Donald Trump should make these points and pledge to change Washington's corrupt culture by overhauling the union and civil-service protections that let federal bureaucrats thrive while doing things that would get them booted in corporate America.
Trump should make voters a simple promise: Just as in the private sector, failed federal employees should hear two words that will be new to their ears:
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