Archive for the ‘Government Employees’ Category

Burst the bubble !

December 4, 2019

High time to decentralize the government … at least geographically

I’ve long been a proponent of moving some (or many) Federal government agencies out of Washington to other locales … e.g. cities & states that have been upended by globalization-induced deindustrialization.


The idea has often been floated, but rejected.

The usual arguments: (1) Gov’t employees — especially departmental honchos — need to be geographically co-located in order to coordinate services and activities across agencies (2) The gov’t has already amassed a formidable network of real estate holdings in DC (think: offices) (3) there is a massive organization of gov’t employees (note that I try to avoid the term “government workers”)  up and operating. 

But, the idea of decentralizing the Federal government seems to be gaining some momentum…


Maybe non-essential government employees should learn to code.

February 13, 2019

According to the WSJ, the partial government shutdown prompted government employees to test the job market

Evidence: job site reports that page views coming from government employees working for unfunded agencies surged during the partial government.


ZipRecruiter and LinkedIn report similar surges in government employee activity.

But, the WSJ concludes that despite the booming economy “there’s no evidence that the job-searching led to an actual exodus from the federal government’s payrolls.”

Why is that?


“Shutdown proved the value of government” … say, what?

January 29, 2019

A blurb in the NY Times caught my eye:

The great irony is that the shutdown only proved the indispensable value of the very government Trump so often expresses such disdain for.”

I hate to resort to facts, but ABC-and the Washington Post teamed up on a  projectable poll in which 18% of Americans said they had been inconvenienced by the shutdown.

Is 18% a big number or a little number?

To put that number in perspective, take the converse of the WaPo finding:

82% of Americans had not been inconvenienced by the shutdown.

That’s less than 1 in 5 … and, it includes the furloughed gov’t employees who have certainly been inconvenienced.

That doesn’t sound like a big deal.

But, the 35-day shutdown did surface a significant pain point: government managed air travel air travel…


Why don’t Federal employees have rainy day funds?

January 22, 2019

Even Lady Gaga is getting into the act, using precious concert time to trash Trump (“holding Federal employees hostage”) & Pence (“worst example of Christianity”) … and to rep for the cash-strained furloughed government workers.

OK, I know that 80% of Americans don’t have $500 in reserve to cover unexpected expenses.

I understand that for part-time burger-flippers working for minimum wages with no benefits.

But, that’s not Federal government employees.

A 2017 CBO study revealed that, on average, civilian Federal government employees make civilian federal workers make 17 percent more in wages and benefits than similar workers in the private sector.


Before you say; “Yeah, but these pay-deferred government employees are disproportionately from the lower end of the payscale.”

Let’s look closer at the data…


Gov’t Insider: “Agencies working more efficiently without them”

January 17, 2019

Let’s take a snapshot of the shutdown, starting with the demand side …

Seriously, has the partial government shutdown impacted you personally?


Admittedly, my sample isn’t projectable, but — save for a couple of furloughed “non-essentials” — I have yet to run into anybody who has been impacted by the shutdown.

ABC-WaPo did run a projectable poll and found that 18% of Americans say they have been inconvenienced by the shutdown.

Take the converse of the WaPo findings:

82% of Americans have not been inconvenienced by the shutdown.

That’s less than 1 in 5 … and, it includes the furloughed gov’t employees who have certainly been inconvenienced.

Bottom line: From a demand perspective, the shutdown hasn’t been a particularly bad deal.

What about the supply side – the impact on government operations ?


Gov’t shutdown: A tree falling in the woods?

January 2, 2019

Seriously, do you care one way or another?

Have noted some asynchronous behavior in the past week or two…

Cable news pundits lead most broadcasts with deep concern: “It’s day (insert number here) of the partial government shutdown and no end in sight.”

Clarification: On MSNBC and CNN, the word “partial” is replaced by “Trump”


But, holiday chit-chit among friends and family has taken a much different track…


On no occasion has the topic come up in the normal course of conversation.

If prompted, I’ve gotten responses ranging from “What government shutdown?” … to “I hope it stays closed.”

Only one instance of anybody being impacted: A government lawyer who was appreciative that she was getting an additional week or two of vacation … knowing full well that she’d eventually receive back pack for the time off.

While the MSM is positioning the stalemate as the greatest disaster since Katrina, it’s not evident to me that the public is buying into the hysteria.



Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

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Now, government employees are walking in coal miners’ shoes …

January 30, 2017

“Retrain and relocate” sounds so reasonable … unless you’re the one needing to retrain & relocate.

When the Obama administration declared war on coal, and Hillary famously declared “we’re going to put a lot of coal companies out of business and a lot of coal miners out of work” … most government employees whopped and hollered in delight.


Their advice: Shake it off, coal miners.

Go back to school and get trained as a java programmer (even if that’s a quantum leap from your skills, education and interests … and as natural as learning to speak Swahili).

Move to thriving locales like Austin or Palo Alto (even if it means leaving 3 generations of family and friends behind).

Suck it up and turn the page, bro.

You’ve got to embrace change and adapt to the changing times (even if the change is artificially induced by government know-it-alls)

Well, it looks like the worm has turned …


95% failure rate gets TSA Director reassigned … not fired?

June 3, 2015

This is a truly amazing story of our tax dollars at work …

In case you missed the headlines, the TSA’s Inspector General dispatched an audit team to try to sneak simulated bombs and guns past the crack TSA teams at several high traffic airports.

The good news: the TSA agents sniffed out 3 of the fake weapons.

The bad news: they missed 67.

That’s a failure rate of 95.7%.

Not exactly 6-sigma performance.


Here are a couple of story snippets that got my attention …


Your tax dollars at work …

April 16, 2015

According to WashPost

Government records show that tens of thousands of federal workers are being kept on paid leave for at least a month — and often for longer stretches that can reach a year or more — while they wait to be punished for (or cleared of ) misbehavior or are disputing a demotion.

While disputing a demotion?



Here are some details that’ll make you cringe …


Nums: Who is likely to do a better job – Federal government workers … or zombies?

October 31, 2014

I guess Zombies are a rage these days, so Rasmussen  must have felt obligated to pop that question to a broad sample of Americans.




Here’s what Rasmussen found ..,


Your tax dollars at work …

October 22, 2014

According to WashPost

Government records show that tens of thousands of federal workers are being kept on paid leave for at least a month — and often for longer stretches that can reach a year or more — while they wait to be punished for (or cleared of ) misbehavior or are disputing a demotion.

While disputing a demotion?



Here are some details that’ll make you cringe …


Ah, to be a Federal employee …

July 8, 2014

Interesting piece in the NY Post titled “Federal worker gravy train” … 

It’s not new news, but the Post points out that firing a federal worker is almost impossible, and making a termination stick, is even less likely.

Data published in the Federal Times supports the Post’s claim. (and common wisdom)

Federal Firings

Think about it: 1 in about 200 get culled each year.

Hardly Jack Welch’s “bottom 10%” program.

More generally, data from the Office of Personnel Management indicate that it is five times as hard to get fired from a federal job as from a private-sector one.

It’s commonly claimed that federal workers settle for lower pay in exchange for job ­security.

The Post says: Don’t believe it.


Nums: Who is likely to do a better job – Federal government workers … or zombies?

April 15, 2014

I guess Zombies are a rage these days, so Rasmussen  must have felt obligated to pop that question to a broad sample of Americans.




Here’s what Rasmussen found ..,


Nums: Who is likely to do a better job: Federal government workers … or zombies?

October 31, 2013

I guess that since it’s Halloween, Rasmussen  felt obligated to put that question to a broad sample of Americans.


37% said that gov’t workers would outperform zombies.

Blacks are more than twice as likely as whites and other minority Americans to believe the government workers would do a better job than zombies.



37% said that zombies would outperform gov’t workers … a tie.

Men are more likely than women to think zombies would do a better job running the country.



26% called it a “push”.

Happy Halloween !

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Feds: “Hire ex-cons … we do” … say, what?

June 17, 2013

Let’s connect a couple of dots from recent articles that caught my eye…

The first is a NY Post exclusive that the “State Department has hired agents with criminal records”.


Here are the details … and a couple of odd twists.


Nums: What, you don’t have a security clearance?

June 12, 2013

Interesting article in the WSJ: “U.S. Relies on Spies for Hire to Sift Deluge of Intelligence”

The numbers that pop:

  • Almost 5 million folks are walking around with security clearances
  • Of those, almost 30% – 1.4 million — have top secret clearance
  • Of those, over 1/3 are contractors, i.e. non-government personnel.




Man, I would have bet the under on all of those.

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Uh-oh: Jurassic Government

May 28, 2013

Everybody knows Jurassic Park – the 1993 science fiction adventure film in which a team of genetic scientists create a wildlife park of cloned dinosaurs.

When the security systems go haywire, the dinosaurs go uncontrollably wild.


Jonathan Turley is a left-leaning law prof at George Washington University …. a frequent legal analyst on CNN … not to be mistaken as a Tea Party kinda guy.

He had a weekend op-ed in the Washington Post that’s a must read.

Titled “The rise of the fourth branch of government “, the article’s central thesis:

The growing dominance of the federal government over the states has obscured more fundamental changes within the federal government itself:

It is not just bigger, it is dangerously off kilter.

Our carefully constructed system of checks and balances is being negated by the rise of a fourth branch:

An administrative state of sprawling departments and agencies that govern with increasing autonomy and decreasing transparency.

That is, the government agencies have gotten so big and sprawling that they  have substantially more power over our lives than the 3 Constitutional branches of government … and they are, for all practical purposes, unmanageable and largely out-of-control.


= = = = =

Here are some highlights and stats from Turley’s article …


Rx: How to start fixing the IRS …

May 20, 2013

OK, here’s my diagnosis – the Dx — and my short-term prescription – the Rx.

First, the Dx …

Of course, the Tea Party and other conservative groups were targeted for political purposes.

Any claim of “efficiency procedures” or “inadvertent error” are simply ridiculous.

Of course,  folks high up the food chain were involved … setting the broad mission (with Mob-like deniability) — “punish your enemies” –- and condoning the actions by failing to stop them them when they became well known.

So, what to do?


Here is how I’d get started righting the ship … the Rx:


Cajones: Congress considers an exemption to ObamaCare … to themselves!

April 26, 2013

From the you can’t make this stuff up files …

During the 2009-10 battle over what’s now dubbed Obamacare, Republicans insisted that Capitol Hill hands must have the same health care as the rest of the American people.

Now, according to left-leaning Politico, “Congressional leaders in both parties are engaged in high-level, confidential talks about exempting 535 lawmakers and their aides from the insurance exchanges they are mandated to join as part of ObamaCare.”

“The lawmakers — especially those with long careers in public service and smaller bank accounts — are concerned about the hit to their own wallets.”

Obviously, “by removing themselves from a key ObamaCare mandate, lawmakers – who passed the law — and aides would be held to a different standard than the people on whom they’re imposing the law.”

Picture credit

Politico keenly observes: “If Capitol Hill leaders move forward with the plan, they risk being dubbed hypocrites by their political rivals and the American public.”

You think?

Good for us, bad for them.


There’s more. Here’s the real head-scratcher …


Want to know the difference between the private sector and the government?

February 27, 2013

Today, a couple of big Wall Street firms announced another round of cuts:

  • Citigroup plans to slash 11,000 jobs and close branches worldwide as part of a broad restructuring effort it hopes will save about $1.1 billion in expenses,
  • JPMorgan Chase became the latest Wall Street firm to scale back in an uncertain economy, announcing plans Tuesday to save $1 billion through various costs cuts and about 4,000 job reductions.
  • Goldman – which has already let 3,300 employees go worldwide in the past two years – announced another round of layoffs to cut costs by a cool billion dollars

OK, so 3 companies are cutting over $3 billion in expense.

No gnashing of teeth ,,, no “the sky is falling”

Just “times are tough … we’ve gotta do it.”

No so on the Sequester front … apparently the torch has officially been passed from the 12-21-12 Doomsday crowd to Team Obama …


Today was another day of .hysteria  … and silly rhetoric.

Allegedly, Obama said that – because of the Sequester – an already closed agency would have to be shuttered.

Say, what?

And, here’s the gem of the day …


Football, band, honors classes, hot lunches … and dead cows … say, what?

February 21, 2013

This is getting downright silly.

Sequestration will cut less than 3% of Federal spending … about the amount that was granted to Hurricane Sandy states in the whisk of a pen.

Still, President Obama had to broadcast dire consequences in front of a group of firemen … who will have to be laid off, probably causing small children to die in fires.

Give me a break.

We covered this topic earlier this week Football, band, honors classes and hot lunches … here we go again.

Apparently, the folks at Business Insider didn’t read the post.


An article titled “11 Ways The Sequestration Will Ravage The US Government“ … replete with an alarming picture of dead cows.

Technical note: It’s no clear o me how the sequestration will do the cows in.

Also, it’s not clear to me that the cows aren’t just taking a snooze.


What are the 11 Ways The Sequestration Will Ravage The US Government? 


The MoTown microcosm …

December 13, 2012

In prior posts this week, we noted that – on a macro  basis — there are 122 million adults in the US who are dependent on 121 million tax payers who work in private sector.


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A microcosm of the US picture is the city of Detroit

You know, Detroit as in ”about to file for bankruptcy”

Detroit as in “we voted you in, now bail us out”.

Detroit as in “unions are the way to middle class success”.

Consistent with the emerging national picture, it turns out that the  257,576 people in Detroit who do not have a job and are not looking for one outnumber the 224,846 residents who do have jobs.

Here are some other factoids courtesy of CNS


Work harder: An increasing number of folks are depending on you.

December 12, 2012

In a prior post — Work harder: “Tax payer dependents” are counting on you. — we worked the nums to show that there are more tax payer dependent adults than there are private sector workers.

Specifically, there are about 121 million private sector works and about 122 million tax payer dependent adults — 89 million working age adults who aren’t looking for work, the 12 million unemployeds, and the 22 million government employees (yes, our tax dollars pay their wages, benefits, and over-stuffed pensions)

That’s a total of 122 million adults who are dependent on 121 million private sector workers.

Below are the totals over time.

Back in 2000, there were about 11% more private sector workers than tax payer dependent adults.

The lines crossed in mid-2009 … and now, there are about 1% more tax payer dependent adults than there are private sector workers.

So, we’ve got to raise taxes on the workers to support those who are dependent on them.

Ponder that when your alarm goes off tomorrow.


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Work harder: “Tax payer dependents” are counting on you.

December 11, 2012

Here are some nums that should give you pause.

There are about 315 million people living legally in the US.

244 million — 77.5% of the 315 million – are working age … the rest are kids

155 million of the 244 million are officially counted “in the labor force” … that’s 63.8% – the labor force participation rate.

Of the 155 million, 143 million are employed; 12 million are unemployed … that’s 7.7% of the 155 million in the labor force

Of the 143 million who are employed, 22 million (15%) work for Fed, state and local government121 million work in the private sector

The 121 million private sector employees pay the taxes that support

  • 89 million working age adults who aren’t looking for work
  • 12 million unemployeds
  • 22 million government employees (remember, our tax dollars pay their wages, benefits, and over-stuffed pensions)

That’s a total of 122 million adults who are dependent on the taxes paid by 121 million private sector workers.

Got that?

There are more tax payer dependent adults than there are private sector workers.

Think about it …


Coming: How the ratio of tax payer dependent adults to private sector workers has changed over time.

Stay tuned ….

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Shocker: Gov’t employees “underworked”

December 5, 2012

Punch line: If public-sector employees just worked as many hours as their private counterparts, governments at all levels could save more than $100 billion in annual labor costs.

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According to a report in the WSJ

New evidence from a comprehensive and objective data set confirms that the “underworked” government employee is more than a stereotype.


Based on the American Time Use Survey, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics administers to a large and representative sample of American households each year:

  • During a typical workweek, private-sector employees work about 41.4 hours.
  • Federal workers, by contrast, put in 38.7 hours
  • State and local government employees work 38.1 hours.

In a calendar year, private-sector employees work the equivalent of 3.8 more 40-hour workweeks than federal employees and 4.7 more weeks than state and local government workers.

Put another way, private employees spend around an extra month working each year compared with public employees.

If the public sector worked that additional month, governments could theoretically save around $130 billion in annual labor costs without reducing services.

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Another reason that I hate to pay taxes …

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Bam’s puny $6+ million pension …

October 17, 2012

President Obama drew guffaws during the date by jabbing Romney for having a bigger pension.

You know, kind of a reverse guy’s  “big thing” contest.

According to CNBC, Obama’s pension isn’t exactly teeny-weeny … and, we tax payers get to pay for it.

Pension Envy: Who Has More — Obama or Romney? 

When it comes to the presidential candidates’ pensions, size matters in more ways than one.

As president, he will receive $191,300 annually for life — win or lose in next month’s election — and receives a travel allotment as well as mailing privileges. Should Obama lose, his presidential pension kicks in immediately after leaving office.

Given that the president enjoys a normal life span, the pension allotment would be worth upwards of $6 million.

In addition, Obama may be due a nice pension for the eight years he served in the Illinois Legislature as a state senator.

Kick back, Barack

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A Nation of Takers, Not Makers

April 1, 2011

Consider these depressing statistics:

More Americans work for the government than in manufacturing, farming, fishing, forestry, mining and utilities combined..

Today in America there are nearly twice as many people working for the government (22.5 million) than in all of manufacturing (11.5 million).

This is an almost exact reversal of the situation in 1960, when there were 15 million workers in manufacturing and 8.7 million collecting a paycheck from the government.

WSJ, We’ve Become a Nation of Takers, Not Makers,  April 1, 2011

NYC: Fight a ticket online …

March 24, 2011

From Late Night With Jimmy Fallon:

“New York City has a new service that lets you fight a traffic ticket online. To make it feel like you’re talking to a real clerk, your computer will spend the whole time chewing gum and talking to a friend on the phone.”

… at least the computer won’t be getting fee healthcare and an oversized pension.

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