Working for the government is not like working for the private sector, says Jonah Goldberg, editor-at-large of National Review Online. Unlike the private sector, where people lose their jobs for incompetence, redundancy or obsolescence, government employees essentially cannot be fired. Worse yet, as veterans seeking medical care waited and waited until some even died, VA employees were paid out $10 million in bonuses over the last three years.
And what will the consequences be to the bloated, criminally negligent, union-strong VA employees? Probably nothing. As Jonah notes from a USA Today article, “Death — rather than poor performance, misconduct or layoffs — is the primary threat to job security at the Environmental Protection Agency, the Small Business Administration, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Office of Management and Budget and a dozen other federal operations.” Missing at the top of this sorry list is the sordid mess at Veterans Affairs.
The Veterans Affairs scandal can be boiled down to the fact that VA employees are the agency’s most important constituency. The Phoenix VA health-care system created secret waiting lists where patients languished and even died, while the administrator paid out almost $10 million in bonuses to VA employees over the last three years.
Working for the federal government simply isn’t like working for the private sector. Government employees are essentially unfireable. In the private sector, people lose their jobs for incompetence, redundancy, or obsolescence all the time. In government, these concepts are virtually meaningless. From a 2011 USA Todayarticle: “Death — rather than poor performance, misconduct or layoffs — is the primary threat to job security at the Environmental Protection Agency, the Small Business Administration, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Office of Management and Budget and a dozen other federal operations.”
In 2010, the 168,000 federal workers in Washington, D.C. — who are quite well compensated — had a job-security rate of 99.74 percent. A HUD spokesman toldUSA Today that “his department’s low dismissal rate — providing a 99.85 percent job security rate for employees — shows a skilled and committed workforce.”
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