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What civil service commission policies would you propose to reduce racial-ethnic strife in the United States?

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The United States Civil Service Commission was abolished in 1978 so any proposals for policies originating out of it would be ineffective in reducing racial-ethnic strife, since it does not exist.

Since 1978, the responsibilities for the organization, recruitment, and disciplining of the civil service formerly held by the Civil Service Commission have been divided between the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), a unitary executive branch agency, and the Merit Systems Protection Board—an independent agency of the United States government.

At a superficial level, one could say that the OPM might privilege the hiring of ethnic minorities as a way of creating a greater level of connection between minority groups and the federal government, thereby easing the perception of an "us vs. them" mentality. However, three factors would suggest this is a non-strategic approach:

  • First, less than half of public sector workers are employed by the federal government and, therefore, within the ability of the OPM to influence.
  • Second, as of 2017, 37% of the federal workforce were racial or ethnic minorities, a number already greater than the population at large.
  • Third, there is no academic research that supports the idea that the current level of federal employees of minority background are a source of racial-ethnic strife.

The leading source of racial-ethnic strife, according to James Herron of Harvard University, is a disproportionate investment of resources into programs and areas used and populated by the majority race. Resolution of this problem would, therefore, need to originate in a race-attentive spending policy. However, civil servants are not policymakers and budget decisions largely originate among elected officeholders.

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In truth, there is very little any government agency can do to reduce racial or ethnic strife in the US.  Government policies that are meant to do so can actually make the problem worse at times.

For example, the most plausible thing I could do in this position would be to propose either A) an end to affirmative action preferences for minorities or B) strengthening those policies.  You could argue that either of these would be good for reducing strife.  If I ended them, whites would stop resenting minorities who supposedly get jobs they're not qualified for.  If I strengthened them, minorities might stop being angry about discrimination.

But would either of those actually help?  It seems that each would make one side happy but probably make the other side angrier.

So, as head of the commission, I would probably propose one or the other of those policies because that is all that is really within the scope of the Civil Service Commission.  But I doubt either one would actually work.

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