If I did nothing, I would lose my job. I’m sure the same goes for most people in the private sector. That’s the whole idea behind employment. Someone needs a job done, you do the job requested and you get compensated for your work. I suppose if I did find myself without a job, I could always find a position in the federal government. They don’t usually fire people for not working, as Senator Tom Coburn is finding out.
He’s been doing a lot of research recently into government waste, a phrase which I’m sure he’s finding to be more and more a redundancy. This kind of research is important in showing the blatant hypocrisy of the Obama administration in their quest to convince Americans that we need to tax the rich more in order to put those traffic control towers back in business. We need to allow the federal government to extract more wealth from people in order to afford to re-arrest those criminal illegal aliens they let go a few weeks ago. They’re trying to impress Americans with how “cash-strapped” they are by furloughing or eliminating key posts within the administration, but they’re letting the waste fester.
Headline after headline shows that this sequestration has been a farce. Despite the budget cut scare, millions are still being spent on studying duck genitalia and snail reproduction; new TSA uniforms; billions on contracts with ammo manufacturers; who knows how much on the Obamas’ vacations. And now as Senator Coburn is finding, millions are being spent on federal employees who do nothing.
The feds pay workers sometimes to be on “standby.” For example, a lot of the emergency management agencies are told to be on standby just in case they might be needed. Whether they’re needed or not, and whether they work or not, they get paid. In 2010 and 2011, nearly 2,000 federal employees were paid a total of $13.1 million in standby pay.
Another issue that Coburn found was the prevalence of AWOL federal employees. That is, those who are absent without official leave. It includes people who are late and those who just don’t show up for work, sometimes for days or even weeks. A 2008 report released by Coburn’s office showed that between 2001 and 2007, about 20 million AWOL hours were logged. And yet, instead of firing those employees, they keep them and furlough the Defense Department.
Then there are those who are being paid to do non-government-related work. The Washington Guardian pointed out that in 2011, 3.4 million hours was spent on federal employees doing union-related activities, the equivalent of about $155.6 million worth of working hours.
In addition, Coburn pointed out that government contractors are paid to stand idle, waiting for their security clearances. In his letter to the Office of Personnel Management, the Senator suggested making more common sense budget cut decisions:
"As a starting point, agencies can avoid furloughing or laying off those performing the key functions of the agency by first eliminating to the greatest extent possible those who are not showing up for work, who are not performing official work, or are simply not working at all.”
But then Americans may not be so afraid of the budget cuts after all, and that would defeat the whole purpose of the sequestration crisis.