How Trump’s “Schedule F” could have drained the swamp.
I have written extensively on inverted totalitarianism, that being the once nascent, now entrenched form of government that truly controls the levers of federal power in the United States. This behemoth has turned the USA into a “managed democracy”; a bureaucracy which cannot be held accountable by the elected representatives of the people. Sometimes called the 4th estate, this monster is also referred to as the “deep state” the civil service, or the administrative state.
Inverted totalitarianism does not have an authoritarian leader, but instead is run by a non-transparent group of bureaucrats. This unelected, invisible ruling class runs the country from within. They are easily influenced by corporate interests due to both the lure of powerful jobs after federal employment and the capture of our legislative bodies by the lobbyists serving concealed corporate interests.
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One element of inverted totalitarianism is that the administrative state typically inserts stricter and stricter rules and regulations to control the populace. Not at the behest of Congress or the President, but rather by and for the interests of the administrative state itself. Power begets power. We the people are forced into compliance by an unknown and unknowable invisible ruling class, with no way to even understand who, what, or how they are forcing this compliance upon us. As if that is not bad enough, in these modern times, the globalist corporations and financial groups have come to play a larger and larger role in controlling this administrative state.
The Brownstone Institute’s Jeffery Tucker recently wrote an article about an executive order passed by Trump shortly before his departure, which would have enabled huge progress towards reigning in the power of the administrative state. This executive order would have created a federal employee category referred to as “Schedule F”.
This new employee classification system would have included federal workers in “confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating character,” which are “not normally subject to change as the result of a presidential transition.”
The executive order would have allowed agencies to reclassify policy jobs under a new schedule, and had proposed to give senior managers greater flexibility in hiring candidates and firing employees.
Significantly, this new executive order was one of the first to go when President Biden began his presidency.
The administrative state for the better part of a century, and really dating back to the Pendleton Act of 1883, has designed policy, made policy, structured policy, implemented policy, and interpreted policy while operating outside the control of Congress, the president, and the judiciary.
The gradual rise of this 4th branch of government – which is very much the most powerful branch – has reduced the American political process to mere theater as compared with the real activity of government, which rests with the permanent bureaucracy…
From 2020 and onward, the American people got to know this administrative state well. They ordered us to wear masks. They deployed their influence to close small businesses and churches. They limited how many people we could have in our homes. They festooned our businesses with plexiglass and told everyone to stay six-feet apart. They demanded two weeks of quarantine when crossing state borders. They decided which medical procedures were elective and non-elective. And they finally demanded compliance with vaccine mandates at the penalty of job loss.
None of this was ordered by legislation. It was all invented on the spot by the permanent staff of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We had no idea they had such power. But they do. And that same power which allowed those egregious attacks on rights and liberties also belongs to the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Labor, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Homeland Security, and all the rest.
With luck, both the House and Senate will have significant turn-over in the 2022 election. This may pave the way for legislative action. It is a nice to imagine that, by 2024, Congress could pass and implement a bill that includes a provision such as “Schedule F.” This should be a permanent addition to our code of federal regulations. Of course, the uni-party, with its reliance on corporate dollars to finance their election campaigns, will be loath to pass such sweeping legislation.
If they can not pass such legislation, an executive order similar to Trump’s should be enacted as soon as a new President is inaugurated. If we wish to preserve our democracy, the administrative state cannot be allowed to continue to operate unchecked. The bureaucratic swamp is dark, deep and wide.
Someone needs to drain it.