Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I Knew Obama Had at Least One "Jobs Program" That Works

The untold story of this is the excessive Cadillac gorging-at-the-trough-for-life benefits that public employees unions have managed to impose on governments from local to federal. They are bankrupting California as we speak.

The era of big government has returned with a vengeance, in the form of the largest federal work force in modern history.

The Obama administration says the government will grow to 2.15 million employees this year, topping 2 million for the first time since President Clinton declared that "the era of big government is over" and joined forces with a Republican-led Congress in the 1990s to pare back the federal work force.

Most of the increases are on the civilian side, which will grow by 153,000 workers, to 1.43 million people, in fiscal 2010.

The expansion could provide more ammunition to those arguing that the government is trying to do too much under President Obama.


Mr. Obama says the civilian work force will drop by 80,000 next year, mostly because of a reduction in U.S. census workers added in 2010 but then dropped in 2011 after the national population count is finished. That still leaves 1.35 million civilian federal employees on the payroll in 2011.

From 1981 through 2008, the civilian work force remained at about 1.1 million to 1.2 million, with a low of 1.07 million in 1986 and a high of more than 1.2 million in 1993 and in 2008. In 2009, the number jumped to 1.28 million.

Including both the civilian and defense sectors, the federal government will employ 2.15 million people in 2010 and 2.11 million in 2011, excluding Postal Service workers.


Even as the total number of federal employees rises, the ratio of employees to Americans has declined steadily, from one employee for every 78 residents in 1953 to one employee for every 110 residents in 1988 to one employee for every 155 residents in 2008.

The federal work force is older than the private-sector work force, which Mr. Light said raises the possibility of reducing the total number through retirements.

About 31 percent of the private work force is 50 or older, while 46 percent of the federal work force is 50 or older.


The administration has called for federal workers to get a 1.4 percent pay raise next year, which Mr. Orszag said, "frankly, I think to a lot of Americans, sounds pretty good."

The American Federation of Government Employees, the union that represents many government workers, said it was combing through the budget and did not have a comment.

The greed and manipulation of public employees' unions, who unlike in any other enterprise sit on both sides of the "negotiating" table, are making governments around the country frighteningly dysfunctional, operated largely as unaccountable scams to give something-for-nothing lifetime patronage to people with the type of second-rate ability and third-rate sensibility that the real world never rewards.

If you want to be enraged about how these patronage hogs fleece working taxpayers at every turn, without regard to the ultimate consequence that they are making even necessary government a practical and financially-unsustainable impossibility, just read :

Class War

How public servants became our masters

In April 2008, The Orange County Register published a bombshell of an investigation about a license plate program for California government workers and their families. Drivers of nearly 1 million cars and light trucks—out of a total 22 million vehicles registered statewide—were protected by a “shield” in the state records system between their license plate numbers and their home addresses. There were, the newspaper found, great practical benefits to this secrecy.

“Vehicles with protected license plates can run through dozens of intersections controlled by red light cameras with impunity,” the Register’s Jennifer Muir reported. “Parking citations issued to vehicles with protected plates are often dismissed because the process necessary to pierce the shield is too cumbersome. Some patrol officers let drivers with protected plates off with a warning because the plates signal that drivers are ‘one of their own’ or related to someone who is.”

The plate program started in 1978 with the seemingly unobjectionable purpose of protecting the personal addresses of officials who deal directly with criminals. Police argued that the bad guys could call the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), get addresses for officers, and use the information to harm them or their family members. There was no rash of such incidents, only the possibility that they could take place.

So police and their families were granted confidentiality. Then the program expanded from one set of government workers to another. Eventually parole officers, retired parking enforcers, DMV desk clerks, county supervisors, social workers, and other categories of employees from 1,800 state agencies were given the special protections too. Meanwhile, the original intent of the shield had become obsolete: The DMV long ago abandoned the practice of giving out personal information about any driver. What was left was not a protection but a perk.

Yes, rank has its privileges, and it’s clear that government workers have a rank above the rest of us. Ordinarily, if one out of every 22 California drivers had a license to drive any way he chose, there would be demands for more police power to protect Californians from the potential carnage. But until the newspaper series, law enforcement officials and legislators had remained mum. The reason, of course, is that the scofflaws are law enforcement officials and legislators.

Here is how brazen they’ve become: A few days after the newspaper investigation caused a buzz in Sacramento, lawmakers voted to expand the driver record protections to even more government employees. An Assembly committee, on a bipartisan 13-to-0 vote, agreed to extend the program to veterinarians, firefighters, and code officers. “I don’t want to say no to the firefighters and veterinarians that are doing these things that need to be protected,” Assemblyman Mike Duvall (R-Yorba Linda) explained.

Exempting themselves from traffic laws in the name of a threat that no longer exists is bad enough, but what government workers do to the rest of us on a daily basis makes ticket dodging look like child’s play. Often under veils of illegal secrecy, public-sector unions and their political allies are systematically looting the public treasury with gold-plated pensions, jeopardizing the finances of state and local governments around the country, removing themselves from legal accountability, and doing it all in the name of humble working men and women just looking for their fair share. Government employees have turned themselves into a coddled class that lives better than its private-sector counterpart, and with more impunity. The public’s servants have become our masters.

Continued Here.

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