Shrinking The Size and Scope of Government

bureaucratsThe federal government has become an elite island of job-for-life protections and highly paid employment, standing far above the average American who must compete in this economy.

There are currently 2.1 million federal employees in hundreds of agencies across the nation that impose a substantial burden on taxpayers. In 2016, wages and benefits just for the executive branch civilian workers cost taxpayers a cool $267 billion.

Why should federal workers receive better pay and benefits than the people who pay their salary?  Since the 1990s, federal workers have enjoyed faster wage growth than the private sector. In 2015, they earned on average 76% more than private-sector workers and on average 42% more than state and local government workers. In 2015, federal employees enjoyed average annual benefits of $36, 795, compared to average benefits in the private sector of just $11,175.

Federal workers receive health insurance, retirement health benefits, a pension plan with inflation protection, and a retirement savings plan with a taxpayer match. In addition they typically enjoy liberal amounts of paid time off, including 13 days sick leave each year, 10 paid federal holidays, and 13 to 26 days of vacation pay, dependent upon years of service. They have access to retirement benefits through the Civil Service Retirement System or the Federal Employee Retirement System under which retired workers receive an annuity, complemented by Social Security benefits and participation in the Thrift Savings Plan that offers 401 (k) type investment options. Another notable benefit is “family-friendly” policies that include flexible work schedules, telecommuting, part-time jobs, and job sharing, not to mention the fact that they enjoy first priority and subsidies at a number of top-notch day care facilities.

They pretty much enjoy jobs for life no matter how bad their job performance. Only around one-half of one percent ever get pink slipped and that figure is even lower for senior executive employees which is just one-tenth of one percent.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the “quit rate” is just one-quarter of that in the private sector.

Trump and prominent Republicans are currently looking at ways to trim the bloated federal work force through hiring freezes, an end to automatic pay raises, changing employment rules to allow the dismissal of incompetent workers, a ban on conducting union business on the taxpayer dime, reducing the size of some federal agencies, and less generous pensions more in line with the private sector. Military and employees in the public health and safety roles would be exempt.
Prominent Democrats and public sector unions are preparing for a fight to keep the status quo. Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the top dog on the oversight committee, claims he will not allow any effort to roll back protections for federal workers. Cummings also claims to be “worried” that “whistle blowers” could lose their legal right to be immune from retaliation. Another left-wing Maryland Democrat, Chis Hollen, claims that under Republican control civil service could become “politicized.”

I have to laugh because under Democrat control, whistle blowers have had to leave the country for fear of retribution and everyone and everything has been “politicized” since Obama took office. At the Department of Veterans Affairs, for instance, managers actually instructed employees to falsify patient wait times to cover up gross negligence, while Democrats were cutting the military budget in order to bring potential Islamic terrorists into the country and provide them government support.

It is far past time to change the way federal workers are hired, promoted and disciplined. Currently, union employees under investigation for wrong doing receive full pay and benefits while their cases drag on for years. Performance rankings are widely panned as a joke because the vast majority of workers are rated as exceeding expectations for doing outstanding work, whether they do or not.

Conservative Republicans have clamored for years for a smaller bureaucracy and a workforce that resembles the private sector. And while Democrats are more than willing to continue with the bloated bureaucracy, some do acknowledge that those looking for reelection in 2018 may be less willing to fall on their swords.

A leaner government goes hand in hand with a more accountable government. Federal pay should be reasonable, and we need competent people in federal jobs, assuming that the jobs are useful ones. But the government should not be one of the highest-paid industries in the nation.

Source: Trump has a plan for government workers. They’re not going to like it. (WP), and  Reducing the Costs of Federal Worker Pay and Benefits, Downsizing The Federal Government

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