If You Work for Government, You Deserve to be Fired

Yes, that title, If You Work for Government, You Deserve to be Fired, is meant literally. I really don’t care what you do for government I think you deserve to be fired.* In fact, I think that you need to be fired to save this republic. Not only do I want you fired, I want your pension negated. You don’t deserve one.

I’ll let that sink in a bit.

Of course, conservatives have the reputation of wanting to oust everyone in office and for wanting to “vote the scoundrels out.” But, I am not just wallowing in a trope, here. In fact, I’d like to add one more level to the throw-them-out-of-government concept. Let’s fire every government worker from the smallest village receptionist or sewer worker to the staffers of the highest Senator and every menial clerk and recalcitrant paper shuffler in between.

I am, here, indulging a little bombast, of course, but only a little. A very little.

It’s not just pique at the famous laziness of government workers I’m talking about. I’m also not only deploying that stereotype contending that the only reason government workers get their jobs is because they are pals with a politician — or another government worker, for that matter. It’s not just that they are better paid than just about any real American in the private sector — whether they deserve it or not — and it’s not because they are impossible to fire, nor is it because they get a better pension and health care than anyone who really contributes to society… well, OK, it is because of that stuff. All that stuff and more.

A big reason I’ve about had it with government workers is reflected in an editorial once published by Investor’s Business Daily titled “The New Beltway Babylon.” This piece reported that Washington D.C. had replaced Silicon Valley and even New York as the center of affluence in the U.S.A.

How can the seat of government in a capitalist society double as its seat of wealth? The late Milton Friedman, who warned about the growing mix of government in the U.S. economy, must be turning in his grave.

According to the Census Bureau, the nation’s three richest counties — and half the top 10 — are now all located near Washington, where they gorge on the tax dollars you send there.

This is no less than an affront to true American principles.

IBD pegs this rise in affluence in the are surrounding D.C. to government contracts created by defense and Homeland Security programs bringing in people to fulfill those needs. But, it is surely a larger problem than just the temporary need for Homeland security programs. The problem is more widespread than that.

Government workers make up the single biggest segment of unionized labor in the U.S. As the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, “The union membership rate for government workers (36.2 percent) was substantially higher than for private industry workers (7.4 percent). Within the public sector, local government workers had the highest union membership rate, 41.9 percent.” The Heartland Institute finds those stats alarming. “The nation’s 16 million state and local government workers form a large, growing, and well-compensated class in society,” the report. “State and local workers earned $36 per hour in wages and benefits in 2005, on average, compared to $24 per hour for U.S. private-sector workers…”

It is disgusting that these government leeches make more on average than a private sector worker. It is also unsustainable.

Not only is it unsustainable, these workers are unaccountable. These people, regardless of how well or how badly they do their jobs — regardless of whether their jobs are even necessary — are too often unable to be fired due to their ironclad union contracts and tax payers are duped into paying for these people’s retirement at cushy levels that are far and away better than that of the private sector.

As USA Today reported in 2007, “Retired government workers are twice as likely to get a pension as their counterparts in the private sector, and the typical benefit is far more generous. The nation’s 6 million retired civil servants … received a median benefit of $17,640 in 2005… Eleven million private-sector retirees covered by traditional pensions got $7,692.”

Naturally, we can’t begrudge benefits to certain government workers worthy of receiving them. Teachers, Police, Firemen, and Military personnel deserve their benefits as they provide a professional, sometimes dangerous and necessary service — As with everything there are exceptions that prove the rule.

But, why should a perfunctory paper pusher at the Secretary of State’s office get a better pension than anyone in the private sector? Worse, how can we stand by and allow government workers to retire at much younger ages than those in the private sector do, forcing tax payers to pay their exorbitant health care benefits and cushy, undeserved pensions for many more years than private sector workers get theirs?

And how can we be so stupid as to allow government workers to become a larger force every year adding insult to injury?

Even when we vote out a member of Congress, for instance, we are not cleaning house. Staffers often stay on from one Senator or House member to another because of their so-called “expertise” in the inner workings of government. This adds to government inertia. After all, what staffer is going to do much that would annoy the go-along-to-get-along workings that might upset their apple cart. This also adds to the cost of government.

My last point is that this whole situation in which we find ourselves in this republic — where government workers have the best jobs, the safest jobs, the highest paying jobs, and the best retirement plans — is also thoroughly un-American. In fact, the founders worried about this very thing befalling their new nation.

During the Constitutional Convention, several of the founders talked* about what they then called “pensioners and placemen.” This was the way that secure government workers were described at that time. These “placemen” were hangers on, people that were leaching off the people’s taxes. These placemen were a feature of the British system, too, and they were inveighed against as evidence of the corruption of the British system. These placemen were something that the founders wanted to keep out of the United States of America.

This subject was a matter of worry by James Madison as he criticized Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton, you see, was keen to replicate the British system here in America (it should be remembered that the founders initially insisted that they were being more British than the British by more closely following Britishness). Madison, on the other hand, was just as keen to avoid the sort of ministerial corruption that heavily invested government workers could wreck on America. Madison thought that public pensioners, placemen, dealers in public funds, and influence peddlers would doom this country to rule by regulators and bureaucrats.

Madison was exactly right. It may have taken more than 200 years to prove his prescient warning correct but it has been proven, nonetheless.

So, let’s do something about this. No government worker should ever qualify for a pension or post employment health care. Their unions are unconstitutional anyway, so let’s get rid of those, too. I include all elected members of government under that umbrella, by the way.

We need to make government jobs less desirable than they now are, not the plum positions of the entire American work force. It is a crime that, in a supposedly capitalist society, working for the government is more lucrative than working for the private sector.

If it didn’t afford the opportunity for true incompetence and graft, I’d almost rather go back to the days of patronage. At least then we were able to rid ourselves of government workers as often as we did elected officials. But, Chester A. Arthur was correct at least in that we need some level of competence in government workers.

All this, though, is the result of creating the Frankenstein’s monster of a bloated, big government, nanny state. We have allowed it to grow beyond control and some efforts to curb it must be taken before it overwhelms us.

Lastly, before you get into your high dudgeon, Mr. government worker. Before you warm that computer up to write me to ask if I think it’s fair that you should have your benefits cut. Let me assure you of something. I am not just asking you to suffer a cut in your benefits… I want you to lose both your job AND your benefits. I want you out of government never to return. And I want your jobs entirely eliminated.

I am saying you are the problem, not a solution. So, please, for the sake of our country, go find a real job and get out of government, you lazy slob.

I hope that answers your question clearly?

+++++

*In general, I am excluding first responders and the military. However, I am NOT excluding most federal and state officials that are allowed to carry guns, such as treasury agents, state investigators, the BATF guys and the like — in other words, the many agencies with so-called police powers that shouldn’t have any such thing should also be fired.

** This discussion can be found in James Madison’s Journal of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in conversations between Oliver Ellsworth and Elbridge Gerry.

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  • Sheik Yur Bouty

    Sounds good to me.

  • http://www.wizbangblog.com David Robertson

    No government worker should ever qualify for a pension or post employment health care. Their unions are unconstitutional anyway, so let’s get rid of those, too.

    Just where in the U.S. Constitution does it say that government employees can’t be unionized?

    • jim_m

      No. Public employee unions are not unconstitutional, but they contributed more corruption than any other force in public life and are such a bad idea that many liberals once opposed them (that was before the left became interested in only what they could profit from and not how they could serve the country).

      • Carl

        Again, no facts, just spew.

        • jim_m

          It’s a fact that both FDR and George Meany (President of the AFL CIO) opposed the idea of public employee unions.

          It isn’t spew. The fact that you call it spew is a great demonstration of your profound ignorance. That you actually are so ill informed that you don’t recognize that significant liberals have opposed public employee unions on principled grounds and not simply gone after their own personal political interests.

          Too bad that you think this is about looting the American public and not about making the country great. Then again you would be opposed to he latter.

          • Carl

            Again, no facts – just more spew and right wing tin foil bullshit.

          • retired.military

            http://www.conservativeblog.org/amyridenour/2011/2/19/text-of-fdr-letter-opposing-public-employee-government-union.html

            Text of FDR letter opposing public employee govt unions.

            http://www.thenewstribune.com/2012/06/13/2178972/changes-in-public-employee-unions.html

            Legendary labor leader George Meany famously said, “you can’t collectively bargain with government.”
            http://www.cdapress.com/news/local_news/article_106c11f8-b572-11e1-bf51-001a4bcf887a.html
            Before the first public union was created in 1959, George Meany, president of the AFL-CIO, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, one of our most liberal presidents, both warned against public unions. George Meany stated that, “It is impossible to bargain collectively with the government.” FDR said that when government unions strike, they strike against taxpayers and this is “unthinkable and intolerable.” So it was not that long ago that even liberals recognized that this was a bad idea.

            Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2012/06/13/2178972/changes-in-public-employee-unions.html#storylink=cpy

          • Carl

            Bullshit. Liberals today DO NOT think unions are a bad idea. What cave have you been living in?

            “not that long ago”…? It was over 50 years ago.

            Read more here http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=EKmhMWqFuDo#!

          • retired.military

            Spongebob Carl
            Are you an idiot?

            I didnt say liberals today think unions are a bad idea.

            Please point out where your peabrain somehow came up with the idea that I even implied it.

            I was responding to your allegations that FDR and Meany thought that public sector unions were bad ideas. If you look at my response (and um learned some reading comprehension) you would see that that is the only point I addressed. That point being the one which you claimed had no facts backing it up.

            In fact. Glancing over the thread I see noone today ascretaining liberals today were against unions. I may have missed something as I didnt read every word of every reply. It looks to me like you are the only one which has even mentioned the concept of liberals today being against unions.

          • 914

            “Spongebob Carl
            Are you an idiot?”

            No.. He’s a genius pretending to be an idiot!

          • jim_m

            Carl Are you an idiot?

            The question that answers itself.

            Really, it is yet another lefty that has serious reading comprehension issues.

          • jim_m

            I listed 2 facts dumbass. 1)FDR opposed public employee unions 2) George Meany opposed public employee unions.

            You wouldn’t recognize a fact if it bit you on the ass.

          • retired.military

            And I supplied 3 links and quotes to back up Jim’s ascertations (which you had caled bullshit).

            It takes a special kind of dumbass (AKA Spongebob Carl) to mess up something that simple.

      • http://www.wizbangblog.com David Robertson

        Jim, I agree that the unionization of federal workers is a bad idea. If I am not mistaken, President FDR was opposed to such unionization.

  • Hugh_G

    It must be nice to be a big fat blowhard, alleged writer, spouting your dyspeptic thoughts about what should or shouldn’t be done and forget to support it with FACTS.

    You need an enema Huston.

    • Carl

      Are you kidding – his spew if voluminous enough. An enema would produce nothing new.

    • http://www.wizbangblog.com David Robertson

      Warner is expressing his opinion, which is what bloggers do. However, I did challenge his claim that the unionization of government workers is unconstitutional. I find nothing in the U.S. Constitution that supports that claim.

      • Carl

        Huston will remain silent and not answer your challenge. He’s a crybaby wuss.

      • Hugh_G

        And I am expressing mine, accompanied by facts.

        • 914

          “And I am expressing mine, accompanied by facts.”

          “It must be nice to be a big fat blowhard, alleged writer, spouting your dyspeptic thoughts about what should or shouldn’t be done and forget to support it with FACTS.
          You need an enema Huston.”

          These are facts? I think you have continual enema’s and post it all over your posts..

          • jim_m

            Hugh is yet another lefty that wouldn’t know a fact if it bit him on the ass. Hugh would have an enema, but he’d have to remove his head from his ass seeing as it would be in the way.

          • 914

            Hahahahahaha

          • Hugh_G

            In fact I am right handed dimwit.

          • Hugh_G

            Facts: “big fat blowhard” (read his dyspeptic spew); “alleged writer” (see previous); “forget to support i with FACTS” (speaks for itself).

            There ya go, your question answered.

  • herddog505

    In general, I agree. I would be very sorry for the clerk in the Dept. of Education who found himself joining the millions of Americans who are out of work, but, really, what the hell do most government employees DO all day??? How would anybody’s life be negatively impacted in the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, the Dept. of Education, the Dept. of Health and Human Services, et al disappeared off the face of the earth?

    And if somebody can say how people would be harmed, then I suggest that they think about that: American citizens DEPEND on the government. How does this affect their voting habits? Their views on taxes and the size of government generally? Can people who rely on government largess for their means of existence even be called citizens? Do we really desire that large (and increasing) numbers of our people are effectively wards of the state, that they are at the mercy of that state, and that the rest of us are effectively slave labor, working to maintain that relationship?

    So, I agree: except for the uniformed military, first responders, and a relative handful of local health and safety inspectors, fire ‘em all and start over.

    • Brucehenry

      Ridiculous conservative bilgewater.

      What about air traffic controllers? FBI? Transportation department workers who keep roads, railroads, and waterways safe and well-maintained? FDA employees? Workers in the DoJ who make sure the court system functions and therefore contracts are enforced? Social Security administrators? The VA? I can keep going ya know.

      What are you people, ten years old? Life is not a bumper sticker. Saying (sorry, Herddog) simple-minded crap like “fire ‘em all and start over” is not a solution to anything.

      America is a huge modern nation. It was never going to remain EXACTLY as envisioned by the Founders. As wise and prescient as they were, they were products of the 18th Century. We don’t live in the 18th Century anymore. For that matter, we don’t live in the 1950s, either. Grow up and face the present for God’s sake.

      • Carl

        What about the doctors, nurses, surgeons etc in military and VA hospitals?

        Huston is just another know nothing Tea bagging cretin.

      • herddog505

        ATC – private, run by the local airport authority (just like local police officers). Ditto airport security;

        FBI – invented by J.Edgar Hoover in the late ’20s in response to anarchist terrorism. How DID the country survive for the (roughly) previous 150 years w/o the G-men??? And do we really need the FBI, the US Marshals, the BATFE, the DEA, DHS, and all the other armed federal agencies?

        DOT – local governments. BTW, I believe that local governments DO maintain the roads, getting money (which serves as quite a nice… um… incentive, shall we say?… to do whatever DC tells them to do). from the feds;

        FDA – there may be some room for a federal program in this regard, but the states (notably CA) seem perfectly willing to spend money on their own programs;

        DOJ / courts – obviously, we need some judges and associated employees, but I suggest that there are FAR too many federal laws on the books (the result of LOTS of federal employees and programs); reduce the number of federal laws and voila! no need for nearly so many federal officers and courts. Again, how DID our ancestors get by without a busy federal courthouse and an FBI office in every town?

        Federal charity – yeah, away with them. It makes sense to phase these programs out over time, but out they should go. Veterans can / should be handled by DoD as, I believe, they used to be.

        As for facing the present, that’s a specious argument. I could say that we need to “face the present” and start euthanizing people over 62, or “face the present” and raise the retirement age to 95, or “face the present” and do away with voting or trial by jury or free speech or anything else (indeed, some of these ideas seem pretty popular with “progressive” liberals).

        Actually, however, I think that we DO need to face the present; the facts of the matter are pretty clear:

        1. The federal government does things that are NOT enumerated powers listed in the Constitution or any of the amendments, and;

        2. The country, like Greece and the other PIIGS, is going broke trying to maintain a welfare system that is actually of quite recent vintage, one that was built when – for a relatively short time – the country was EXTREMELY wealthy as a result of the post-World War II boom. We’ve been like people who got a windfall when old Uncle Fudd kicked the bucket: we lived the life of Reilly for a while, denying ourselves nothing because – hey! – there was PLENTY of money. Now, the money’s run out and we’ve found that we can’t keep it up forever. Something has to give.

        We therefore have a few options:

        1. Scrap the Constitution, perhaps replacing it with a European (or communist) style document that runs to about a hundred pages and lists every goody under the sun as a “right” that the government must provide;

        2. Keep confiscating (or trying to confiscate) more and more money from fewer and fewer people to keep the system – which is basically nothing more than a system for allowing politicians to buy votes with taxpayer money – afloat;

        3. Face the present for God’s sake, recognizing that we’re in deep fiscal sh*t and that we’d better get things under control before it gets REALLY bad as it has in Greece. While we’re at it, we can recognize that the Founding Fathers didn’t just set up a system that applied to a small, agrarian country in 1787, but one that works for a huge, post-industrial* country in 1987 or 2087.

        ===

        (*) Another problem: the fact that we’re a “post-industrial” country should scare the hell out of every American with more than two brain cells. Unless we all propose to return to the thrilling days of yesteryear and take up farming or low-tech craftsmanship to put food on our tables, we MUST have industrial jobs. However, our de facto national policy of unionization and government regulation has made our country a far less congenial place for industry than many other countries around the world, with predictable results.

        • Brucehenry

          It seems to me there’s a choice. Do we want to be a superpower or a laboratory project in “limited government?”

          Other prosperous modern democracies that use a Federal system (Germany, Australia, Canada), have a strong central government as well. A patchwork of 50 systems of food safety, air traffic control, interstate law enforcement, etc would be impractical and would not support a giant economy such as ours, IMO.

          Republicans, and the Whigs who preceded them, used to know this back in the 19th century. Then, when it was PROVEN in the 20th century, they STOPPED knowing it. It’s a mystery how they can look at the same facts everyone else sees and arrive at counterintuitive conclusions.

          Besides, Warner doesn’t say “If you work for the FEDERAL government, you should be fired.” His thesis is that almost ALL government is full of incompetent, lazy, dishonest freeloaders who should be fired and denied the pensions they “worked” for.

          • herddog505

            It’s very hard to look at some major cities (Detroit, anyone?) and states (CA, IL) and NOT reach the conclusion that they are… um… not well-served by their civil servants, and that, therefore, they would be better off rid of them. Again, leave the police and firemen and other emergency personnel where they are, fire virtually all the rest, and start over from scratch.

            As for Republicans KNOWING back in the 19th century that we need a huge government, I disagree: the huge “modern” government that we have is, like our closely-related welfare system, of modern date. Prior to about 1965, when another spendthrift democrat bringing “change” got into power, Uncle Sam got by on a few “traditional” cabinet-level departments – State, Treasury, Interior, Defense, Justice – plus a handful of agencies.* After 1965… Well! It grew and grew, sucking up greater and greater shares of our economy just to fund it. At present, Uncle Sugar consumes about 40% of our GDP: what the hell are we getting for that kind of money??? We were a “superpower” in 1945 without HHS, DoE, HUD, etc., and I suggest that they are not needed.

            Get rid of them all, I say, and try again.

            ===

            (*) Wiki has a nice table showing when various cabinet departments were formed. To my surprised, DoJ didn’t even exist until 1870 (though there was an Attorney General, presumably with a small staff). Others:

            Treasury – 1789
            State – 1789
            War – 1789
            Navy – 1797 (amalgamated with War Dept. in 1947 into DoD)
            Interior – 1849
            Agriculture – 1862
            Justice – 1870 etc.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_federal_executive_departments

          • jim_m

            There is a difference between a strong central government and government control of the economy. obama wants the latter. We did not develop a strong economy by having the federal government dictate who the winners and losers in the marketplace would be. That is what obama wants to do. That is what he believes is necessary.

            This is not some false choice between being a super power and having limited government. The argument is that we can more easily be the first if we unshackle our economy by allowing people to be productive. We see that the Soviet Union was never the threat that they were made out to be because in the end they proved to be like an enormous hollow tree: formidable in appearance, but rotten in the core and so weak that a stiff breeze would tumble the whole thing down.

            And while not all government is like the local office of the DMV (full of lazy, dishonest freeloaders (actually that does describe congress rather well)), a lot if not most of it is.

        • Commander_Chico_Cognoscente

          Many good points, but I don’t think you can do ATC locally. There has to be layered, wide area coverage on either a national or regional basis.

          The movie that kind of shows how the system operates is United 93

          • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

            Alternatively, you could use something of an internet model.

            Each machine (or airplane) would have a designator. For computers, this is the NIC address, which is unique for each adapter. (This is separate from the IP address, which is assigned by whatever network you attach to.) The network doesn’t need to know where each computer is – it just needs to route the packets of data appropriately in an internet model. View the planes as one large packet on a network, and it gets simpler.

            With each aircraft having a unique ID, it signs onto the ‘network’, and indicates it wants to go from say, Seattle to Orlando. The network checks all planes going the same or intersecting routes, and issues an altitude and heading. Pilot uses GPS to match, and they proceed direct to their destination. The network would check altitudes, airspeeds and headings as reported by GPS, and manage conflict avoidance.

            Lining up for landing, the router prioritizes things on a first-in, first out system to the area and either issues instructions to the pilot or to the GPS-coupled autopilot, again guiding the plane to either a holding pattern or to an approach and landing.

            Humans needed? Very few – mostly for ground control and emergency operations. A non-networked plane could be detected by network-operated radar, and networked aircraft routed to avoid it using standard operating criteria. (3 mile separation and 1000 feet, if I recall.) But seeing most private aircraft are usually local flyers, I don’t anticipate much conflict.

            At present, the FAA’s trying to modernize the ATC system. Jokes are that they’ll have it up to state of the art in the ’80s in another decade or so…

          • Commander_Chico_Cognoscente

            It seems right that much of this could be done this way, with GPS trackers.

          • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

            Your standard industrial strength network router is capable of handling billions of packets a minute. Stick one in every major airport, couple it to the standard digital radar systems in use today so they’d have access to the ‘packet header’, or return from the transponder, and from then on it’s just a matter of making handoffs from router to router.

            With the airplane simply seen as a very slow packet, it shouldn’t be a problem. And pretty much every commercial airliner has both (a) a transponder to help it be traced by radar, and (b) GPS navigational equipment, coupled to the autopilot.

            It’d require some software changes to various autopilots, or development of something along the lines of a 2-line display – “Maintain Bearing 147, Alt. 32k, Speed 570 Knots.” But hey – if Sirius radio can manage to target individual receivers with THEIR satellite broadcasting system, I don’t see any reason why the ground network couldn’t have one or two satellite uplinks that could do the same function to similar equipment.

            R&D to develop the concept and software – probably $30-50 million, and that’s likely high. To deploy, about a billion – and that’s with triple redundancy in all hardware.

            Huh. Funny thing is, the more I think about it, the more I think it could be done with mostly commercial off the shelf hardware – and not even the latest and greatest stuff. Get some good programmers to crank out the aeronautical equivalent of DD-WRT for a whole lot of obsolescent Linksys routers, add in a few more computers that’d calculate courses, approach paths, holding patterns and such, hack some Sirius receivers to provide command inputs to aircraft GPS units…

            Wish I had a few hundred million – I’d like to develop and pitch the idea to the FAA. It sounds like it’d be a fun project…

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IZ5BM5GNLA54OADSWGSXAMA7SY Jay

    Of course, conservatives have the reputation of wanting to oust everyone in office and for wanting to “vote the scoundrels out.” But, I am not just wallowing in a trope, here. In fact, I’d like to add one more level to the throw-them-out-of-government concept. Let’s fire every government worker from the smallest village receptionist or sewer worker to the staffers of the highest Senator and every menial clerk and recalcitrant paper shuffler in between.

    1932 called. I guess a good shellacking over doing just that didn’t sink in the first time.

  • 914

    The sucking sound from D.C. is every bit as deep as the sucking sound from Carl and Hugh G on every thread.

    • Hugh_G

      Yes sucking in oxygen as I laugh at what what this blowhard asshat Huston has to say.

      • Carl

        Huston just hates.

        He doesn’t care who they are or what they do – he hates an entire group of Americans he’s never met — and wants them to experience pain.

  • retired.military

    Mr Huston.

    I am one of those govt workers of which you speak.
    I can understand your frustration and generalization. I, however, cannot agree with your statements in such broad sweeping strokes.
    I happen to agree that the system is broken, that you have a lot of overpaid individuals and the union is a large part of the problem. I believe there is a lot of nepotism and favortism in getting the jobs but not always and not for everyone. The same can be said of just about any large industry. Never heard of the boss’s brother in law getting a high paying job doing very little if anything? Look at the number of congressional family members working on campaigns (and they arent paid by the govt).

    I am mid grade (about GS 11 level). I took a pay cut to accept the position I have. Yes, pay for at least some security. That being said I have over 30 years exp dealing with the military, a bachelor’s degree and 2 associates. I make about $60k a year. Nor is my future certain nor is the future of a lot of govt workers.
    We have govt civilians that have spent more deployments in Afghanistan/ Iraq than some soldiers. Govt civilians do not get overtime but when deoployed are on duty 7 days a week 12 hours a day.
    Many govt civilians are forcibly relocated as part of their jobs, family and all. If they dont like it they can quit. They know the deal when they accept the job and live with it.
    In today;s world the military cant keep up with the demands placed on them (yet they are cutting troop strength I know (and am against it)). I work with highly technical equipment. Soldiers get the equipment and dont have a lot of training on it (those who were in the miltiary) are not suprised by this). Yet they are supposed to be able to operate highly technical pieces of equipment with little training. That is where the civilian counterparts come in.

    Have you looked at the requirements for a GS13 job?
    If you dont have the experience than a PHD is highly desireable, a masters wont cut it. How many PHDs do you know that start off at a new job making about $72k a year. I would gather not many. If I recall right teachers in Chicago make that much.

    I can only speak of where I work and what I do. I know there is a lot of waste in the govt. A lot of it is enforcing BS rules and regulations which we chafe at as much as you do.
    Again. I understand your frustration, and generalizations. There is a lot of truth in what you say and maybe using a meat cleaver instead of a scalpel would solve the main problem but realistically it would create literally millions of other problems and a lot of those would cost people their lives and very possible kill the patient instead of the disease.
    I dont have the answer. At least none better than the one you propose. I would love to start by getting rid of the unions. That, I believe would be a huge step in the right direction.

    BTW I use my healthcare from the military and not the govt healthcare (except vision which is not covered by Tricare other than eye exams).

    • Brucehenry

      Sorry, RM, Huston hates you and your family and thinks you must be thrown out on the street despite you having contributed a lifetime to the service of your country, first in the military and now as a civilian government worker.

      I don’t think you should take such a conciliatory tone with this guy, RM. He doesn’t give a shit if you starve or lose your home, but you worry about being civil in a blog comment? Have some pride, dude. You bust your ass for your money. Who is this guy to say you should be fired? What a nerve this MF’s got!

      • retired.military

        Bruce
        I doubt what you say is entirely accurate. I think he is more frustrated with the system than anything else. He realizes that there are plenty of govt workers who work hard and do do productive necessary things. I know of a lot of govt civilians that rage against the incompetence, waste, and BS that we encounter on almost a daily basis I am among them. What he says has quite a bit of truth. The problem is separating the bad from the good. An impossible task especially in today’s world.

        As for being civil why not? I am civil to you and you to me even though we disagree on probably 95% of the threads posted here.

        • Brucehenry

          But as you note, there is “incompetence, waste and BS” in every organization. Spend time in any corporation and you’ll find plenty of nepotism, favoritism, byzantine rules, senseless regulations and procedures, yada yada. This is not unique to government.

          Warner’s view is that of a precocious ninth-grader who just read the Cliff’s Notes of “Atlas Shrugged” and got carried away.

          Civility? All I can say is, you’re a better man than I am. I’d have gone off on this dude if I were in your shoes.

          • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

            “This is not unique to government.”

            No, but in most cases when the nepotism, favoritism, regulation and idiotic rules are visibly counterproductive to what needs to be done, the clogs in the system are removed or bypassed. And if the business fails, then (automatically) it all vanishes. No business, no problems!

            With government, they’re pretty much enshrined and made normal.

      • Commander_Chico_Cognoscente

        Plus Warner would take a government job in a heartbeat.

        I met enough “conservative” political appointees during the Bush administration to know they are not shy about sucking the teat greedily.

    • warnertoddhuston

      I did make exceptions for the military and I didn’t say anything about contractors (essentially people in the private sector) and that they was a problem. I was talking straight out govt employees.

      • retired.military

        But Mr Huston
        For the past 3 years or so I have been a straight out govt employee. Yes I work for Dept of the Army but I am considered a full time govt civilian.

  • ackwired

    In 1962 “Straight-out Federal Government Employees” numbered 5,354,000. In 2010 they numbered 4,443,000, only 83% as many. http://www.opm.gov/feddata/historicaltables/totalgovernmentsince1962.asp
    Surprising, as I was agreeing with much of the rant as I read it. Does this mean that the growth of government is in the contractor segment? I don’t know. Military employment has dropped about 2 million while civilian employment has increased about 1 million.
    You know, I looked up these numbers because I though they would demonstrate that both major parties contributed about equally to creating the problem. But I have to confess that I need help reconciling the huge growth of government while hiring fewer people.

    • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

      In the mid-late ’90s, there was a considerable push to outsource a lot of previously integral functions in the military. Food service, for example, as well as logistics was pushed out to contractors. The call was to reduce spending (‘Peace Dividend’ due to USSR collapse) and though a lot of military got RIFFed, the big savings was in outsourcing. Hey, we weren’t going to study war no more, so no sense keeping the capability. Besides – it could be quickly reconstituted if need be.

      As far as growth of government personnel goes – you can probably attribute a lot of the ‘decline’ to the fact that secretaries and administrative assistants, steno pools and the like have mostly been rendered superfluous by computers. Now a secretary is a prestige item, not someone necessary at all levels for things like travel arrangements and typing.

      And though you lose that level – figure about half have been replaced by ‘effective’ bureaucrats. Instead of the bureaucrats screwing the secretaries, now they get to screw us all. I leave it to you to figure whether that was a good trade-off.

      • Brucehenry

        I say replace Huston with Lawson. More entertaining, more intellectual, less ideological, less imbecilic.

        • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

          Thanks, I think…
          ;-)

          • Hugh_G

            I 2nd that motion.

          • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

            If nominated, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve.

            Unless there’s a hefty paycheck attached to the job.
            ;-)

          • Hugh_G

            You can all of Huston’s pay! Please run! We’ll even throw in a golden parachute for you!

          • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

            Right. Golden parachutes just mean you leave a larger (and more expensive) crater when you go ‘splat’.
            ;-)

          • Brucehenry

            I’m dead serious.

          • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

            Well, we’ve had our differences in the past, and likely will in the future. I appreciate your assessment of my postings, and will attempt to keep them up.

          • Brucehenry

            Oh, I disagree with probably 75% or more of what you write, and even sometimes groan at your grandfatherly, conversational style, but content-wise, you and ol’ Herddog are miles above the writers and other conservative commenters here. Robertson’s pretty good.

            At least with you guys I often have to stop and think, “Wow, I hadn’t considered that point of view or that fact,” and I NEVER have to do that with WTH. I know what he’s gonna puke up before I read it. I’m never ever disappointed.

          • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

            Grandfatherly conversational style? LOL.

            I try hard to get my ideas across as clearly as possible. And I try not to piss off the intended recipient of said ideas. Maybe that’s an old-fashioned way of doing things… and maybe discarding it for aggressive confrontation’s more counterproductive than anything else.

            Well, mostly I try not to piss people off. There’ve been exceptions.

            But I don’t see much point in pissing people off generally. I’d rather have a conversation than a shouting match – because all shouting at each other does is solidify positions. The fact that I can get you to stop and think means it’s an effective strategy.

            And I plan on continuing it.
            ;-)

          • Brucehenry

            Well, I certainly didn’t mean you should change your style because Bruce Henry sometimes (only sometimes) finds it off-putting. I’m pretty sure many folks here, perhaps even you, find MY style, such as it is, a little off-putting, too!

          • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

            Not so much, as far as I’m concerned. We’ve usually been able to talk at each other, instead of shouting insults.

            In a way I think it boils down to respect. You can disagree with someone and still respect them – but it’s hard to be even nominally civil when you don’t respect them or their points of view in the first place. And on-line, it’s really easy to use the anonymity to be a flaming asshole when you disagree with someone.

            http://xkcd.com/386/

            Lot of people tend to forget that there’s a human being on the other end of an on-line conversation, and say shit that they never would face-to-face. I try to avoid that thinking, myself…

          • r.a.

            “In a way I think it boils down to respect. You can disagree with someone and still respect them…”

            Yep, and that’s why it’s always good to have a conversation with you, HD505, and some others here. Respect goes a long way–and you have always been able to muster strong arguments while maintaining respect. That’s why debating issues with you has always been interesting–I’ve learned a lot. The problem here is that authors like Warner have zero respect for opposing points of view. But that doesn’t really matter, because his arguments are so bad, and so intellectually dishonest, that it’s pointless to even respond to his nonsense. In all honesty, I think the old W-bang needs a bit of a restart. They’d be lucky to have folks like you and HD505 as authors. It would make the site a lot more interesting again.

          • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

            “The problem here is that authors like Warner have zero respect for opposing points of view.”

            I think that the regular authors get kind of tired of folks popping in and immediately rejecting whatever argument they’re making. I can’t say I really blame them there – after a while I’d get kind of tired of someone posting the equivalent of “You’re a damn stupid hateful lying ignorant fuck, aren’t you?” every time I opined about something, and likely I’d get a bit short-tempered and a whole lot less tolerant overall.

            Take a look at Carl. He doesn’t attempt to actually argue his points, he’s here to get his jollies through insults and accusations of hate and racism. (Which apparently he’s so exquisitely tuned to that ANYTHING can be a dog whistle for racists. My thinking is if you’re hearing a dog whistle, but nobody else is reacting to it – you’re the dog, but that’s as may be.) There’s no point in trying to have a conversation with him – he knows what he knows, and he knows we’re all racists, homophobes, and full of hate. Nothing will persuade him otherwise, since he’s really just here to poke at the funny “naive, simplistic, immature” people who don’t think like he does. We don’t agree with his premises, therefore…

            Probably using “…” is some sort of dog whistle, too. What the hell. Life’s too short to worry about shit like that. (Shrug.)

            As far as WTH goes, I see this article as more of a conversation starter. The system as it exists is broken, and it’s badly broken. Something’s got to change, but that change won’t happen if everyone’s afraid to even mention that the system’s got problems. His is extreme, like Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”… but it got people talking.

            I sometimes wonder if a lot of folks take a ‘Schrodinger’s Cat’ view of our political system. As long as you don’t crack the lid and look, there’s no problems at all and the cat is just fine. It’s only when you look that the many possible states collapse down to one… so the solution is not to ever look at it.

            BTW, is your field work over for the year, or are you still in Mexico?

          • r.a.

            Hey JLawson,

            “I think that the regular authors get kind of tired of folks popping in
            and immediately rejecting whatever argument they’re making.”

            I understand the point that you’re making, but I don’t think that explains how WTH and some others respond to opposing points of view. I have yet to see either WTH or Rodney concede a SINGLE point to anyone from the “other side,” and that’s not a good sign. It’s almost comical how they interact with people who have different political views. I have read this site for a long time now. Over the years W-bang has had its share of authors who were actually willing to engage in substantive debate and discussion (Jay Tea, DJ Drummond, Baron, Michael L, etc). Of the current crew I think Doug, David R, and Lady L are open to actual discussion. I have a lot of respect for people who are willing to listen to others’ views.

            “Take a look at Carl. He doesn’t attempt to actually argue his points,
            he’s here to get his jollies through insults and accusations of hate and
            racism…”

            Ya. That’s the other side of the same coin. It’s the same problem, basically. Some people are just looking for reactions, and that’s about it.

            “There’s no point in trying to have a conversation with him – he knows what he knows, and he knows we’re all racists, homophobes…”

            Agreed. It’s a complete waste of time to interact with someone who already has their mind made up, or who looks at the whole world through assumptions and preconceptions. My point is that WTH and RG are basically cut from the same cloth–they just adhere to different politics.

            “As far as WTH goes, I see this article as more of a conversation
            starter. The system as it exists is broken, and it’s badly broken.”

            Ya, I understand that. And I understand there’s a level of exaggeration going on with his post. But this post is not well thought out, since the “firing everyone” argument would mean putting a lot of Republicans out of work as well, and I doubt he would support that. It’s not as if everyone in guvmint has a (D) by their name (as RM’s comment attests).

            Yes, the system is broken and needs a lot of rethinking. Definitely. But I am not sure how just “firing everyone” really does anything, since that doesn’t actually change the system itself–it would just replace people who hold positions within that system. His logic is also quite sloppy, since he seems to support the worn out idea that all govt workers are lazy, etc. How does that kind of thinking really advance the conversation? It doesn’t. So sure, this piece is a conversation starter, but it’s only asking for a pretty superficial conversation.

            “It’s only when you look that the many possible states collapse down to one… so the solution is not to ever look at it.”

            Agreed. I think a lot of people take the “just don’t look” approach. That’s the last thing we need. But a lot of people are pretty complacent about the problems we face–hence the reason why certain things persist for years and years, one admin after another.

            “BTW, is your field work over for the year, or are you still in Mexico?”

            Three months left! I had to return to the US to take care of some car issues, and will be back down there within the week. It’s crunch time, lots of work ahead to get everything done. The good news is that the weather is going to start cooling off and hurricane season is on its way out for the year.

          • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

            Things are starting to cool off here – can’t say I’m appreciating it much, I seem to work better in hot weather. But that’s life.

            Anyhow – stay safe!

  • Vagabond661

    Generally speaking, a private sector company is dependant on profits. That is the measuring stick. The problem with public sector organizations is they don’t want a measuring stick For example, ask for evaluations for a teacher.
    Every department in the government should have some kind of a measuring stick to how effective a job it is doing. Right now there is none except each department needs more money every year. and that is not sustainable. One day we will wake up to find we all work for the government.
    In a way, we already do. We just don’t get the same benefits as a public sector employee.

  • Carl

    The absurdity of this post really underscores the naive, simplistic, immature thought process of the right wing in America.

    Not only would the American families of these fired employees be in for pain, all Americans would suffer, not only from the lack of services provided but also from the reeling recession which would follow the firing of such a large group of Americans.

    It’s stupidity of the highest level – no surprise that it came from a right wing ideologue who hates America and Americans.

    • Brucehenry

      To be fair, I doubt even a semi-simpleton such as we have here expects this “proposal” to be taken seriously. This is just an exercise in hyperbole for the sake of keeping up his craziness cred with his fellow nutbars.

    • r.a.

      I agree with Bruce. The main argument of this post is so puerile that it’s not worth taking seriously.

  • Commander_Chico_Cognoscente

    I agree the federal government is too big, or largely unnecessary. The federal government is more of a threat to your liberty than state or local government.

    This is because the federal government is remote, imperial, and governed by the most draconian laws. Federal elections are hugely expensive, and federal officials are thus bought by moneyed interests trying to rob the citizenry and plunder the commons, including commons in other countries. Oppression will be necessary to maintain this situation.

    There is a trend toward subsidiarity in some parts of the world. Issues should be handled by the lowest level of government possible. There is also a trend toward supranational organizations governing issues, for example the WTO. Which trend wins out may be a choice between freedom and slavery.

  • r.a.

    “Let’s fire every government worker from the smallest village
    receptionist or sewer worker to the staffers of the highest Senator and
    every menial clerk and recalcitrant paper shuffler in between…”

    What a bunch of nonsense. I suppose you’re willing to start with the upper echelons of the GOP and then work your way down, right? If you’re going to fire everyone, Warner, that means you have to put a lot of people with an (R) beside their name out of work as well. Think about it.

  • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

    Okay – let’s look at things another way.

    I don’t believe anyone here would object to the premise that the federal government is too big, and there’s just too many different subfunctions that could be better handled by either privatization, or letting the states handle things. (At the very least, we need to go through various agencies and eliminate the Department of Redundant Departmental Redundancies in each…)

    So instead of a “Kill them all, and let God sort out the essential ones that we’ll bring back to life” approach, how about a “Let’s stop hiring so damn many people… for 10 years we won’t hire anyone.”

    If you figure a usual 30-year career, at the end of that time you’d have painlessly (through retirements, deaths, and just general “I’m sick of this and gonna try something else” quittings) a third or more of your workforce.

    Couple that with the elimination over time of a lot of redundant functions within various agencies and transferring people from shut-down departments and agencies where necessary and offering reduced pensions for others with a choice of “take this pension and our thanks now, or hope your job’s going to be here for the next 10 years with absolutely no guarantee AND the loss of your pension if you get cut” – and though there’d be some screaming and shouting I think that we’d end up with a much leaner government.

    For sure a lot of folks in it would be a lot busier…

    But we’re at a point (maybe well past it, come to think of it) where something’s got to be done – like it or not.

    • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

      Only if coupled with an end of COLA adjustments, a 5% across the board cut in Civil Service pay, a 10% cut in GS-11 (and above) pay and a 25% cut to SES pay.

      • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

        Even without those, I think we’d see an almost immediate savings.

        Won’t happen, of course – we keep thinking that it’s the politicians that are in control in Washington… when they’re just the figureheads for the staff.

  • lasveraneras

    If all the government bureaucrats were fired it would at least put a dent in Obama’s campaign war chest. According to data at opensecrets.com the fifth largest contributor so far is something called “U,S. government.” Assuming they are not talking about the $1.4 billion per year it costs U.S. taxpayers to feed and cloth the Obama clan – minus the brother and aunt, of course – the category probably comprises the poor, struggling bureaucrats digging nickles and dimes out of their work cloths to keep the good times rolling. BTW It should be noted that the top five Romney contributors are TBTF banks and hedge funds. This does NOT make one confident that, if Romney is elected, the structurally insolvent banking protection racket, dollar currency debasement and inflation generating tactics of the finance-Fed cartel will be dealt with under a new administration.

  • Idahoser

    there can be no such thing as representative government, or ‘by the people’, if said government is not subject to losing it’s job if we disagree with how it’s performing.
    Bureaucracy is as bad as any of the other kinds of non-republican government.
    Also, there should never have been any residents of DC.

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