Indian American-Republican presidential aspirant Vivek Ramaswamy has said he would fire more than 75 per cent of the federal workforce and shutter several major agencies like the FBI if he wins the 2024 elections.
In an interview with American news website Axios, Ramaswamy said that his targets would be the Department of Education, the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the (Internal Revenue Service) IRS, and the Commerce Department.
“We would start on day one, and we want a 50 per cent reduction by the end of year one,” he was quoted as saying.
"Keep in mind that 30 per cent of these employees are eligible for retirement in the next five-year period," Ramaswamy, 38, said. "So it is substantial — no doubt about it — but it's not as crazy as it sounds," he said.
Ramaswamy says he will confront several myths
According to Axios, Ramaswamy says his eventual goal would be to cut the federal civil workforce of 2.2 million people by 75 per cent after four years. Ramaswamy made a strong case in a speech at the America First Policy Institute.
"To actually get this job done, we're going to have to confront several myths that have been perpetuated in this town by advisers and members of the very bureaucracy that we're trying to shut down that we're going to have to confront and overcome," Ramaswamy asserted.
"It's like the equivalent of working at a company. The HR department does not actually determine the rules without reporting to the CEO. It works the same way for the federal government, as well," he said.
His pitch was another echo of former President Donald Trump, whom he has modelled himself after and who sought to expand political control over the federal workforce near the end of his term.
"Good presidents, excellent presidents from (Ronald) Reagan to (Donald) Trump have spoken to the same ideal, and I'll give credit to Donald Trump for taking more steps than have been taken in a generation in the direction," he said.
What does Vivek's statement mean?
About 2. 25 million people work for the federal government in civilian roles. Cutting more than 75 per cent of that workforce would result in more than 1.6 million people being fired, saving billions of dollars in the federal budget but also shutting down critical functions of the government, The New York Times said. Ramaswamy's harsh proposals have helped him stand out in the crowded primary field.
Ramaswamy has garnered attention after his maiden Republican presidential primary debate held on August 23. The first poll that came out after the debate said that 28 per cent of the 504 respondents said that Ramaswamy performed the best.
He was followed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis with 27 per cent, and former vice president Mike Pence (13 per cent). Indian-American Nikki Haley received seven per cent of the votes.
According to Fox News, Ramaswamy was the most Google-searched GOP candidate for the first Republican presidential debate. He was followed by fellow Indian-American Haley.
Following the debate, The Wall Street Journal wrote that Ramaswamy is not a nobody anymore and that the other candidates have taken notice of him. Trump, 77, described Ramasawmay as being a “smart,” “young guy” and a “very intelligent person” who has “a lot of talent” and “good energy.” He also advised him to be “a bit more careful” with what he says.
(With inputs from agency)