Battle To Watch: Trump Versus the “We Be’s”

There are a lot of hot battles to watch out for in 2017. President Trump versus Congress. President Trump versus the press. President Trump versus the Democrats. President Trump versus the Chinese, Mexico, Iran, and the Islamic State. But one of the potentially most explosive of all will be Trump versus the bureaucracy. The executive branch civilian workforce numbers about 2.7 million; the uniformed military are another 1.5 million. Against that more or less permanent federal workforce of roughly 4 million people, President Trump gets to fill maybe 4,000 jobs.  A lecturer at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Robert Behn, writes about this as “the law of diminishing control: the larger any organization becomes, the weaker is the control over its actions exercised by those at the top.” He says bureaucrats speak of “residents” and “tourists” — the residents are the bureaucrats, the tourists are political appointees, just passing through. Or, Behn writes, a member of the permanent government refers to himself or herself as a “We Be” — as in, “We be here before you’re here. We be here after you’re here.” Read the story here 11:36

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