Once more unto the “government waste” breach

My favorite* US Senator Tom Coburn is at it again. Coburn recently commissioned this report, detailing in table format federal employees who earn more than their state governor, from the Congressional Research Service. As you can imagine, Coburn is spinning these salaries as an example of “government waste,” reminiscent of his recent attacks on NSF-funded research:

“It seems to defy explanation, however, why recreation planners, an interior designer and many other public servants are receiving higher salaries than state governors when our nation is $14 trillion in debt and many taxpayers are struggling to pay their mortgage and make ends meet.”

Right, because Coburn’s the one we want deciding how much federal employees get paid, much like I want him deciding which areas of scientific research should be pursued. Nevertheless, let’s see if I can explain some of the many ways his analysis is total and complete idiotic douchebaggery:

1. While no names are mentioned, I imagine it wouldn’t be hard to figure out who some of the workers are. The interior designer mentioned in the report, for instance, is the only one listed. So Coburn and his cronies are essentially putting a target on the backs of federal workers to earn political points among their constituency. Real classy, dude.

2. A look at the job description indicates the interior decorator might be an architect, not just an effeminate guy wearing Gucci and picking out window treatments (although many of the government offices I’ve been in would benefit from a face lift). And it’s not like the recreation planners are planning picnics and strip club parties. While these linked job descriptions are for the base experience and education level, a GS-5, the employees in question likely have much more advanced degrees and responsibilities. For instance, the interior designer could coordinate renovation of older buildings into government offices. And I imagine the recreation planners might design open space on federal land or manage trails and safety practices at national parks. Does Coburn realize how complex these jobs are? Should we just let government buildings go to waste and stop managing federally-owned land?

3. Governors’ salaries are set by the states, not by the federal government. Even when accounting for cost of living, each state governor earns a different amount. This begs the question: why is Coburn using such a variable barometer for determining the level of salary that constitutes government waste? Answer: because the report aims to rile up Coburn’s constituency of ignorant white d00ds, not to actually identify government waste.

4. While governors should be smart, experienced, and possess solid communication skills**, their qualifications are judged by an electorate who’s perceptions are skewed by their own experiences and political ideologies. On the other hand, many of the workers outlined in this report possess skills that consistently earn much more in the private sector. In fact, the positions that are outsourced by the government to private contractors generally make more than their federally-employed counterparts. Cutting the paychecks of individuals who could make a lot more money working just about anywhere else is not a great place to begin cutting government waste. In fact, choosing NOT to hire the brightest and best (which is what you’ll get if government salaries are lowered further) will only serve to increase incompetency in the government and, as a result, increase government waste.

If Coburn wants to eliminate government waste, maybe he should start by not funding his political witch hunts with MY tax dollars, which would be better used to pay for healthcare, research, and other “socialist programs”. I’m sick and tired of this crap. Whenever I hear any Republican these days talking about government waste, I feel like finger nails are being drawn down a chalkboard. Are there things in the federal government that should be fixed? Sure. But this is no more than expensive rabble-rousing, at the cost of individuals who benefit from these occupations – which includes all of us, you sociopathic dick heads.

*In case you’re not clear by now, this was snark.
**Communication skills are not required, as evidenced by our former president:
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One thought on “Once more unto the “government waste” breach

  1. I think I shall now refer to all politicians of this ilk as SDs (sociopathic dickheads)

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