Wednesday, July 20, 2005

A Bureaucrat's Guide to Smaller Government

This letter was sent in by a federal employee who asked to remain anonymous so she can keep her cushy government job: (Approximate start time of the reign of George W.) “Does tough bureaucracy-busting talk from the new Congress and the White House scare the average federal worker? I’m a federal employee and have yet to see any fear among my colleagues. Perhaps that’s because I have yet to see any signs of real change in federal government. Budgets always continue to grow, hiring expands, and people get paid more for doing less.

I recently asked a few of my federal-worker friends, “How will you know that the government if truly shrinking?” Here’s our top 10 list:

10) When the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) office has a layoff.
9) No more paid time off for diversity of charity events. I’ll know the cuts have an impact when agencies like mine no longer can afford to have an $80,000 a year employee take “a few months off” to work on the United Way fund drive.
8) When upper managements is replaced for not making cuts fast enough.
7) When the entourage for agency heads disappear. (My agency has about 600 people-small by federal standards. Even so, the guy who runs the place has a scheduler who’s paid $70,000 year, a public-relations staff to write his speeches and press releases, and a clutch of assistants and advisors.)
6) When the newspaper subscriptions stop. Why does the federal government need to buy thousands of subscriptions to the Washington Post or the New York Times?
5) When somebody gets canned-and quickly-for running a business from his desk.
4) When top management takes cuts too.
3) When nobody says “because we’ve always published this report. Hundreds of federal documents are published out of habit, not need.
2) When they take “solitaire” off the computer.
And (drum roll) the #1 way federal workers will be able to tell when big government is being cut: When there’s nobody in the cafeteria at 2 p.m.

I believe the federal culture can change. But does the GOP Congress have the guts to give the federal bureaucracy a long-overdue kick in the pants? Some of us will be watching for signs”.

So here we are today. Same old, same old. You can hardly tell which party is in power.
Smaller government? Dream on!! Only until a largely apathetic public pays more than lip service to the increasing problems will there be significant changes in the way our government is run, but by then the powers may be so entrenched that the political system we use today may be outdated. Its past time for us to teach our kids the history of America; even if we only go back 200 years or so.

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