Abolish federal employees

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by 63dot, Jul 22, 2014.

  1. 63dot, Jul 22, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2014

    63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #1
    ...but keep the federal government

    We still need government, but probably far fewer employees which would save money.

    Another thing I have thought about is to make what employees who are there more efficient. With a contractor system where a person keeps their job based on their work, like any private industry job out there, people won't get lazy in a system where they can't get fired like the current GS system in the states. The GS system is somewhat like Soviet and Chinese communism, both systems without incentive and that have failed in the long run. Yes, the Chinese are still there but have changed mostly to a capitalist society.

    With contractors, be fair and don't make it a draconian, minimum wage thing and heck, even pay them more. What I want to see is fair wage for fair job, that's all. Government has become too big and inefficient and in these times new solutions need to be explored.

    I think certain unchangeable things like social security, Obamacare, and the infrastructure are essential to a healthy society, but not a large system of federal employees who are retired in place.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #2
    Sure, it's not like we've seen the results of woefully understaffed departments.

    No sir, no more EPA agents are needed, no FDA inspectors, no justice department officials, and surely we can solve that immigration issue with a 250,000+ backlog with the roughly 300 immigration judges we have.

    We've been systemically cutting and understaffing vital aspects of the government, and yet every time there is an issue the American people howl like there isn't a mathematical impossibility going on. Christ, look at the decades long understaffing of the VA system. You can't get the work of the nation done with even less staffers.
     
  3. 63dot, Jul 22, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2014

    63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #3
    When I was with DOD, we had the 90 minute rule, so in an 8 hour day it was 90 minutes of work and 6 1/2 hours of lunch, break, showing up late/leaving early. If people wondered where 1980s $800 dollar toilet seats came from, it was there. The reason for the 90 minute rule, and similar things today, is to make any set of tasks/operations expensive. Let's say yearly job a costs $100K to do. It may be a $35K job/task, but if we slow down and make it cost $100K, we will be almost guaranteed that next year in an allotment. I have seen situations where we didn't spend enough to make a certain amount so they sent off employees to Circuit City to blow $60,000 dollars on anything they could find whether it related or not. They needed paper supplies and maybe a printer but they bought all the digital cameras they had in stock, well, just because. Examples like these, abundant from the press or federal employees, help explain about those $800 dollar toilet seats that Reagan and company complained about all the way into a White House win in the 1980 election.

    It's not a staffing problem but a work problem. You can't throw more employees and more dollars into such a broken system and expect better results.

    This government waste fuels the idiotic Tea Party movement who has members who want anarchy and return to some medieval system of living. It doesn't matter if W is the president or Obama is the president. Nothing they can do changes the increased government spending from leader to leader. That being said, Obama is far better than W, but things he gets done may end up with a tarnished legacy of expensive foot draggers in the federal system. I worked hard, and got in trouble for that, and I had a few other friends who had a conscious and worked hard. We pretty much all left for private industry because all those nightmares of what right wing nutjobs called "socialism" were true in the federal system.
     
  4. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #4
    You worked in the all consuming parasite of Federal work, the DoD. Of course you guys had immense waste, it's the only ****ing thing we fund adequately.
     
  5. Southern Dad macrumors 65816

    Southern Dad

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    #5
    I believe that our federal government is bloated. There is a lot of consolidation that could be done. However, the biggest problem is redundancy. Do we really even need a Federal Department of Education? We already have local school boards and state departments of education. How many other departments and tasks could be turned over to the states, saving money?
     
  6. zin macrumors 6502

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    #6
    Government employees are not trash that can easily be disposed of. I question your view in which you're implying most government employees are smoochers and lazy. I would wager that the overwhelming majority of employees put in the effort and do a good job, despite your anecdotal report of your time at the Department of Defense.

    There are always instances of wasteful spending just like in every other government and private company.

    The U.S. also does not have a spending problem (at least, not in the "too high" sense). It ranks way down low on public expenditure as a % of GDP compared to all of the other developed countries. The problem is your government revenue as a % of GDP also ranks way down low.

    It really says something about your tax system if you can't even afford to fund such a relatively low level of public expenditure.
     
  7. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #7
    No. A pretty terrible idea.

    Federal Employees are, generally speaking, better educated than their private-sector counterparts. They are also, by and large, better human being too. Dedicated, principled, and good at their jobs. Park Rangers, Librarians, Border Patrol Agents, Air Traffic Controllers. The sort of professionals that keep the USA the best country in the world.

    Replace them with minimum-wage hacks hired by Aramark? I don't think so. The sort of penny-wise, billion dollar idiocy that has been messing this country up since Saint Ronnie Reagan slithered into the White House.
     
  8. zin macrumors 6502

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    #8
    The Department of Education doesn't really do much apart from hand out grants and funding to state educational institutions (which is still important, despite saying 'doesn't really do much'). It employs a very small number of employees and most of the costs associated with its existence are due to the grants and funding it gives to the states.

    Getting rid of the DoE doesn't really save any money. Those grants will still be sent out and you still need federal employees to audit and approve them. If anything you are advocating a change in name only.

    Why was the first department that came into your mind the Education Department? Why did you avoid the biggest sucker of the federal budget, the Department of Defense? What else would you cut and hand over to the states?
     
  9. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #9
    What puzzled me was that the soldiers we served tended to be republicans 6 out of 10 times (or so) but the employees were overwhelmingly democratic. They had this belief that the democrats were big on government spending and this would ensure that they would have jobs for the next four to eight years. This logic didn't sit well since out of the hundreds of employees there, nobody recalled that anybody got fired or laid off. I am a democrat and believe in most things that the party believes in, but I am not for a blank check just to keep it (federal workers) going. Maybe it's me, coming from a background of a small family shop, and then being a starving, hard working musician who had to make it work with band, shows, CDs, etc, but to see a whole group of lazy people (most of them) worry about getting more benefits of a rich benefit package made me sick. They got to go home at 400 pm on many occasions but try working with a drunk bar owner and pub hooligans messing with your music equipment. And I am sure there are restaurants workers, factory workers, retail workers and the like who work long hours with few or no benefits.

    It's a hard world outside of the federal nest, but character building. There's a part of me where I want my kids to have it easy and go federal and not have to work. I know what I would tell my kids if they wanted to get a guitar and join a rock band and try to survive off of that.
     
  10. lannister80 macrumors 6502

    lannister80

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    #10
    What do you base that statement on? How do you know when you have too many, enough, or too few Gov employees?

    And besides, Reagan already had this idea, and it FAILED. The idea was "why don't we greatly reduce the federal workforce and just hire tons of contractors? We can get rid of them whenever we want!"

    Except many of these contracting outfits pay SO much more than the Gov that all the skilled people work for the contractors. And since these skilled people are *essential* to the everyday operation of the Gov, they basically become Fed employees in everything but name but cost 3x as much as a Fed employee.

    In my office, we had several audit guys who worked for some big auditing contractor firm that had their own desks. For years. They were essentially employees.

    ??? I knew two GS employees who were fired when I was a Fed. One for poor performance, one for committing a crime at work (selling burned/copied CDs at work, of all the stupid stupid things)

    Again, I think the "retired in place" thing is waaaaaay overplayed. At least in my Fed experience, everyone was working every day.
     
  11. 63dot, Jul 22, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2014

    63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #11
    Exactly. While I may disagree with you 90% percent of the time on these forums, you are right on with this assertion.

    I usually agree with the platform of my democratic party, but I veer on things I cannot accept. I try to be my own person. If the GOP is wasteful and irrational on some things and in the pocket of the NRA, this doesn't make me think my democrats need to be in anybody's pocket as well.

    I notice how some here who have not worked in the federal government think that all is OK, and working for the feds is not anecdotal just because somebody read that federal workers work "hard". A human being needs incentive to do a good job, and just handing everything to you, more pay/benefits/free education, is not going to work in the long run. It creates this welfare state where there is extreme workplace bullying and I challenge this "better person" thing about federal workers. Sometimes GOP talking heads are right on a few things (though not many) but their disdain of federal spending is one thing I can agree with. I may not agree with GOP solutions, but to deny we have a problem won't solve anything soon.
     
  12. lannister80 macrumors 6502

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    #12
    National Science Foundation is essentially the same: their job is to give away research $ to the most deserving/interesting research projects.

    I'm sure 90%+ of their budget is grants.
     
  13. rdowns macrumors Penryn

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    #13

    More talking points that don't pass the reality test. The DOE had 4,300 employees in mid-2010. Since government employment has been shrinking under Obama, it's likely even less today. Tell me how that's going to save us much money? I'd rather pay for them so bass ackwards states have to meet minimum requirements.
     
  14. Southern Dad macrumors 65816

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    #14
    Do we really need grants back to the states from the federal governments? Why not let the states pay for their education systems? Why should taxes be taken from someone in California or New York to pay for Mississippi's schools?

    The reason that the Department of Defense isn't a department that I think is redundant is that there are no states that have a Department of Defense. Do I believe that there is waste in the DoD? You bet, I was there. I saw plenty of it. But I specifically was speaking of a department that is redundant because we have local, state and federal Departments of Education. Let the states deal with education. The states that build better schools will attract companies who want to build.

    Checking the weather report in the deep south… There may be a freeze warning somewhere. ;)
     
  15. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #15
    Why do you insist day in and day out to ignore that you live in a society? :confused:
     
  16. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #16
    Woah, hold on there.

    He/she is talking about transferring control from federal spending more to the states. Didn't out Bill Clinton do some of that, as a blue dog democrat holding a small cache of traditional GOP ideas, and end up as a financially successful president/administration?
     
  17. Southern Dad macrumors 65816

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    #17
    And how does this help the conversation? Our nation is made up of states, commonwealths and one district. Do we really need local school boards, state Department of Education and Federal Departments of Education? Aren't all of these agencies tasked with getting our kids the best education that they can? Most of the schools funding comes from local property taxes. If a school district doesn't have enough funding locally, they need to increase the property taxes.

    People who do not live in the district shouldn't have to support these districts. By having state and federal money in our schools, it allows local districts to keep those property taxes lower. Someone in California shouldn't be paying higher taxes so that my property taxes can be a millage point lower.
     
  18. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #18
    What we need is a good compromise here, from both sides of the aisle.

    Where there is obvious, expensive redundancy, we have to look at ways of consolidating. On other things where it helps to have both state and federal, then don't get rid of it.

    I don't mind that we have soldiers defending the nation as a whole and that's how our army is made up. FEMA also makes sense when there's a huge emergency. But me (California) spending higher taxes to help your property tax problem by a mileage point doesn't make sense. Common sense and common ground/compromise is the only way an equally divided USA can move forward.

    I may not like some things Boehner is asking of the president, but some of it has to be done otherwise the GOP house will freeze Obama out of other things. Part of the inaction and gaffs of Obama are really the GOP getting pissed off and stonewalling Obama. Nobody wins.
     
  19. zin, Jul 22, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2014

    zin macrumors 6502

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    #19
    As long as we're talking about abolishing parts of the Federal Government, I do have some views in support of this. The Federal Government is very decentralised to the point where it becomes wasteful as opposed to not. It needs to be centralised in some areas to avoid wasting more money on splitting responsibilities.

    Here's what I would do:

    • Abolish the Department of Homeland Security and re-absorb its responsibilities into the Department of Justice. You don't need a separate department for enforcing the laws; one already exists. You could probably (but necessarily) cut the number of employees due to shared resources and management under the larger DoJ. Just imagine the amount of money wasted on purchasing and branding all of those U.S. Government vehicles and uniforms for this department. The DoHS was used by George W. Bush to score political points to make people think he was responding to 9/11.
    • Abolish the managerial agencies of the Federal Department of Transport and make it more like the Department of Education, using it only for approving grants and funding. There are very few federally-owned roads or railways so there is no need for federal management agencies for this infrastructure. The states are better suited to manage their own roads and railways.
    • Abolish and merge all of the U.S. trade and commerce agencies (Federal Trade Commission, Trade & Development, International Trade Commission, et al).
    • A long stretch but, nationalise the Federal Reserve System and bring it under the control of the Treasury, preventing it from paying a dividend to its shareholders.

    There you go, probably a good $100 billion saved from that reorganisation and that doesn't include the Department of Defense. ;)

    ----------

    Sure thing, as long as you are content with all states increasing taxes by quite a moderate amount to finance the drop in federal funding they receive. EDIT: Correction, as long as you are content with most of the red states increasing taxes since they already are net beneficiaries (as opposed to contributors) of federal aid and spending.
     
  20. capathy21 macrumors 65816

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    #20
    Because states like Mississippi are poor and uneducated, and drag the rest of the country down. The "red states" that complain about poor people being the reason the country is in debt, are actually the one's who are supported by places like California and New York.

    I live in one and it's downright depressing. Most of the people are poor and uneducated and all they know is what they've been told. They've been told that the government is the root of all of their problems when in reality, it's the Republicans they fervently elect who turn around and blame the poor (their own constituents that got them elected) for being the reason the country is in shambles.

    These people are too stupid to vote for their own best interests, so the only option to keep them from sinking even farther, is to send them money from the states that actually understand what being the UNITED States means.
     
  21. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #21


    Excellent points!!

    I tend to agree with you there. Maybe we need some Brits like you, who don't have a dog in this fight to help us figure things out.

    Over the decades, the most sensible things I have heard people say came from people not citizens of the US. I learned a whole lot from just a semester abroad as a student in London. There wasn't this overwhelming democratic or republican big brother filter clouding our judgment.

    My somewhat 90% percent agreement with Obama (but not on the OP issue of course) is probably colored by the fact I have been a left leaning democrat since I was in my early 20s thirty years ago. I didn't think about the fed and trade things you mentioned but it seems like it deserves a serious hearing out.
     
  22. Southern Dad macrumors 65816

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    #22
    The Interstate system is federal. The primary reason for them is not so we can get to work but to connect our network of military bases and allow the US, in a time of war to move supplies to areas as needed.

    But guess what, we've had a Federal Department of Education since 1979 and the education gap between Rhode Island and Alabama isn't closing. The school district that I live in lost almost all federal funding several years ago. Decisions were consciously made and the federal funding was given up. Since that time, the schools have improved. We pay for our own. If our small town could do it, so can others.

    It is pretty bad when you call an entire state's inhabitants stupid.
     
  23. samiwas macrumors 65816

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    #23
    Hate to tell you, but all of this stuff happens in private industry as well.

    One of my current jobs, I work literally maybe an hour of each 10-11 hour day. But it is my job to be there. There is nothing else I could even do. But it is necessary for me, and the two others who work with me, to be there. It's the way it is sometimes.

    The same thing goes for spending what you can to keep the budgets up. This is typical throughout the business world. Not supporting the $800 toilet seat, but most of the time I'll buy stuff I otherwise wouldn't be able to get.
     
  24. rdowns macrumors Penryn

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    #24

    Great post. This is the kind of consolidation I can get behind. DHS was a ridiculous and unnecessary expansion of the federal government. Rather than deal with the issues of agency bloat and poor inter-agency communications, we added a huge layer of bureaucracy to the problem and it has cost us a couple of trillion dollars so far.
     
  25. zin macrumors 6502

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    #25
    Then this should be the responsibility of the Department of Defense, not a bloated Federal transportation department that also over-manages some state infrastructure.

    The U.S. is also not in a time of war so it is stupid to maintain "war-level" management and spending. There is a difference between being prepared and downright paranoid, if that is the case.
     

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