The Deep State is real and needs to be addressed. What the “average Joe” had not even heard of a few years ago has now become an every-day real and present danger. At least since the election of Donald Trump, Deep State reality has become a water-cooler topic in just about every community of thinking men and women.
What is the Deep State?
The Deep State is made up of layer over layer over layer of civil service bureaucrats. These professional men and women live off poorly written legislation that created government programs that allow endless regulation and a never-ending stream of job openings.
Most Deep State jobs are in the Executive Branch of our Government. Those in the jobs typically are hired for skill and expertise and are not politically appointed jobs. In these positions, the professional bureaucrats are able to influence public policy every month, every day, every hour. They influence by the information they provide, or withhold. They influence by the energy (or lack thereof) by which they work on a project. They influence policy by leaking information to news media that will be sympathetic to their cause (ever heard of an “unnamed government official?). They influence policy by the reports they write. They influence policy by the personnel they hire. On and on the list goes.
And there are a lot of them. An army of them, in fact. For example, the Department of Agriculture has 29 agencies, 450 locations, and over 100,000 employees. The State Department has 11,000 employees who provide “continuity and expertise in accomplishing all aspects of the Department’s mission.” This is in addition to 13,000 Foreign Service employees and 45,000 local employees. And the State Department pays its employees an average of $102,756 per employee. These are just two of the 15 department of the Executive Branch. Notice that, very clearly, what these employees do is accomplish the mission of the department. That is to say: they are powerful, they affect public policy in a thousand ways and more, and they are strategic positions.
Dr. Fauci: A Deep State Example
In recent days, the entire country has come to know Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infections Diseases (NIAID). What most Americans do not now is that Fauci has been a government employee since 1968, and director of NIAID since 1984. To put that in perspective, I’ll have my 55th birthday this year (that’s no spring chicken), and Dr. Fauci has worked in government since I was three years old!
Dr. Fauci is the perfect example of the Deep State problem. In the past few months, we have clearly seen how a government employee affects public policy. Fauci has been all over the map on his predictions concerning COVID-19. Any elected politician would be chewed up and spit out for such inconsistency, but Fauci is seen as the “voice of reason” by much of the media. Why? Because, as the old proverb says, “he has a brief case and comes from 30 miles away.” In the end, it does not matter if Dr. Fauci is right or wrong. He will have a well-paying job, a comfortable retirement, a Cadillac health-care plan, and almost no chance of being fired. As director of NIAID, he has served through six Presidential administrations, each with different policies. Those administration policies were supposed to be carried out by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). But who has more control over public policy, current HHS cabinet secretary Alex Azar or NIAID director Anthony Fauci? And NIAID is one of 27 institutes of the National Institutes of Health, which itself is one of 11 Operating Divisions of HHS
A Deep State Solution
All Americans and both major political parties should be concerned with the power of the Deep State. We are a nation of representatives, and yet, by the behemoth size of government, we have allowed Deep State employees to hold sway over our elected government. When 50-year employees run an organization, the agenda of the tenured will always win over the agenda of the four-year office holder.
It is time for a solution. And that solution could be easy to bring about. Congress simply needs to enact a law that enhances representative government by limiting the tenure of civil service employees. An eight-year term, for example, would ensure that professionals overlapped administrations, yet did not become entrenched. These employees would have to keep up their skills, because in eight years they would be looking for a job in the marketplace once again. If, under extenuating circumstances, a particular position required a few more years, the new legislation could enable the President to grant an additional four-year term.
Some will balk that this would lower the expertise of our nation’s governing agencies. I would argue that, just the opposite, it would actually increase the expertise. Chances are that older Americans would be most interested in the position, finishing out fine careers with a 12-year stent in government. Furthermore, by keeping fresh faces, the government would ensure fresh thinking as well. If one truly believes that a lifetime of government service makes an individual into the best thinker society can offer, then that person is just delusional.
Most importantly, by limiting tenure, entrenched power would be much more difficult to obtain. And that is good, because we are a nation founded on a “revolving door” government principle that was written into our constitution and has served our nation well for over 230 years. It is important that statesmen of our generation insist on a deep blow to the Deep State to ensure that our constitution is not defeated through the back door of the Deep State.