What the (Federal) Budget Debaters Are Ignoring

When Andrew Cuomo points out that NYS is not getting the value for its educational dollar, he’s expressing the criteria that must be used to evalute government bureaucracies from villages to Washington.

That is especially true when it comes to the federal spending. Anyone who has been following the activities of the federal bureaucracy must conclude that with rare exceptions our federal bureacracy is bloated, inefficient, wasteful and non-productive, populated by many people who are incompetent and assigned to jobs that are unnecessary and that can be eliminated. But don’t take my word for it. Listen to what FEDERAL EMPLOYEES have to say in response to a recent Washington Post poll:

IRS employee: Bottom line, there are way too many levels of management, too many executives, too much duplication of effort, too many meetings, etc. We simply have too much “managing” going on: meetings about meetings, time spent fine-tuning the administration of the organization and so on. We could greatly reduce our budget by simplifying the management areas of responsibility, thereby reducing the executive and upper-level management ranks. We also have too many employees (many of them in higher pay brackets) in the administrative areas and too few in the field, assisting taxpayers.

NIH employee: I think the workforce needs to be looked at. There are a lot of workers who are not doing 100 percent of what they should be doing. Due to such things as the misuse of EEO (equal employment opportunity), there are a lot of employees who are able to hold onto their positions, collect paychecks and not do what they were hired to do. This creates more work for those who do their jobs, as well as a waste of taxpayers’ money. A really good way to accomplish this is to do an overhaul of the PMAP system, that is, the performance-based system that the grade-scaled federal employees are on. Under this system, most employees receive a “fully successful,” even if they are not performing their duties, due to their supervisor’s fear of backlash from that employee. If the PMAP system can be redone in order to have it more based on performance, employees who are not performing can be let go easier, and this will cut costs.

NRC employee: Most middle mangers; many have old-time skills and non-innovative processes. . . . Redundant training, which has nothing to do with real-world skills.

Environmental Protection employee: Management. The layers of management are insane. . . . It takes 13 steps and five layers to get a signature from our office director, more to get a signature to the assistant secretary/administrator.

Interpretation of Obama’s Federal Budget Position

By pretending that we need to raise taxes to reduce the debt instead of cutting the federal bureacracy, President Obama is telling us that he would rather see programs cut that HURT people than reform the federal bureacracy.

The primary change that is needed in the federal bureaucracy is the overhaul of work rules so that managers can re-assign people to do needed work instead of protecting make-work activity, fire people who are incompetent and who are not needed, and hire people who are skilled and appropriate for the task.

I don’t know how deep the bureacracy could be cut — 30%, 20%? We just need to do it.

Of course the downside if the President were to take this measure is that a lot of people will be put out of work and those people belong to public employee unions which would threaten to withdraw support for his re-election. That’s why he won’t do what should be done and why we’ll probably have to wait for someone to take over the job.


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