Skip to comments.Are Government Bureaucrats Corrupt and Dishonest?
Posted on 01/26/2014 8:31:00 AM PST by Kaslin
I dont like government bureaucrats.
Actually, let me re-phrase that statement. I know lots of people who work for different agencies in Washington and most of them seem like decent people.
So maybe what I really want to say is that Im not a big fan of government bureaucracies and the results they generate. Why?
Because a bloated government means overpaid bureaucrats, both at the federal level and state level (and in other nations as well).
Because inefficient bureaucracies enable loafing and bad work habits.
Because being part of the government workforce even encourages laziness!
And it may even be the case that government bureaucracies attract dishonest people. A story in the L.A. Times reveals that theres a correlation between cheating and a desire to work for the government.
Here are some excerpts.
College students who cheated on a simple task were more likely to want government jobs, researchers from Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania found in a study of hundreds of students in Bangalore, India. Their results, recently released as a working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research, suggest that one of the contributing forces behind government corruption could be who gets into government work in the first place. Researchers ran a series of experiments with more than 600 students finishing up college in India. In one task, students had to privately roll a die and report what number they got. The higher the number, the more they would get paid. Each student rolled the die 42 times. Cheating seemed to be rampant: More than a third of students had scores that fell in the top 1% of the predicted distribution, researchers found. Students who apparently cheated were 6.3% more likely to say they wanted to work in government, the researchers found.
Im not surprised. Just as the wrong type of people often are attracted to politics, we shouldnt be surprised to learn that less-than-admirable folks sometimes are attracted to jobs in the bureaucracy.
But I dont want to draw too many conclusions from this research.
The study looked at people in India and that nations government is infamous for rampant corruption.
However, if you look at how America scores in that regard (corruption measures are included in both Economic Freedom of the World and the Index of Economic Freedom), the problem is much less severe.
So even though Im willing to believe that bureaucrats in America are more prone to bad habits than their private-sector counterparts, I dont think many of them decide to get government jobs in the expectation that they can extract bribes.
Indeed, I would guess that the average American bureaucrat is far more honest than the average American politician.
Thats damning with faint praise, I realize, but it underscores an important point that the real problem is big government. Thats what enables massive corruption in Washington.
P.S. Switching gears, Ive written a couple of times about the intrusive and destructive Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. Well, we have some good news on that front. The Republican National Committee has endorsed the laws repeal. I dont want to pretend thats a momentous development and I even told Reuters that the GOP may only be taking this step for narrow political reasons.
Daniel Mitchell, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, said: Its hard to imagine an issue this obscure playing a visible role in elections It is making overseas Americans far more sympathetic to (Republicans) and could have an impact on fundraising.
That being said, Im more than happy when politicians happen to do the right thing simply because its in their self interest. And if we can eventually undo FATCA and enable more tax competition, thats good news for America and the rest of the world.
P.P.S. And heres another positive update on a topic weve examined before. Governor Rick Perry of Texas has joined a growing list of people who are having second thoughts about the War on Drugs. Heres an excerpt from a report in the Washington Post.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) on Thursday voiced support for softening penalties for marijuana use, and touted his work moving in the direction of decriminalization. After 40 years of the war on drugs, I cant change what happened in the past. What I can do as the governor of the second largest state in the nation is to implement policies that start us toward a decriminalization and keeps people from going to prison and destroying their lives, and thats what weve done over the last decade, Perry said, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
He joins a growing list of people such as John Stossel, Gary Johnson, John McCain, Mona Charen, Pat Robertson, Cory Booker, and Richard Branson who are recognizing that its foolish to give government massive amounts of power and money simply to stop people from doing dumb things to themselves.
But maybe you disagree with all those people and would rather be on the same side as Hillary Clinton.
And make life easier for the folks in this cartoon.
P.P.P.S. Ive written before about how leftists always criticize so-called tax havens, even though rich statists are among the biggest beneficiaries of these low-tax jurisdictions.
President Obama, for instance, has been so critical of tax havens that hes been caught making utterly dishonest statements on the topic.
1. Is the Pope Catholic?
< 2. Does a bear s**t in the woods?
Not all of them. Just most of them.
This is satire, right ???
Actually, the picture of the worksite ‘managers’ is incorrect. They’re ALL union! The bureaucrats are all back at their offices telesupervising.
simple answer is ...YES
The problem is that government bureaucracies are Jobs Programs. To a large extent, they take unemployable people are give them "jobs" so that they can receive paychecks. Many government acquisitions programs are not about acquiring anything. The schedule doesn't really matter. The cost doesn't really matter. The requirements don't really matter. IT'S THE FUNDING. Will there be jobs? In the right election districts? Will my district get 2000 jobs? Nothing else matters.
Technically, this is not exactly bribery, but it is corrupt and dishonest.
Been to 49 states and 35 foreignn countries.
Everywhere I’ve gone I’ve asked the locals what they think of their politicians?
Mexico, Bahamas, S. Korea, Japan etc they ALL say their politicians are crooks.
Except for uniformed military, every person that I know that works in government is not worth their salt. Not one is employable outside of government, NOT ONE.
Civil service in most jurisdictions is an extended family, lifetime employment program.
Did you know that if you score too high on a civil service test for the Police, you won’t be hired? They want drones, not thinkers.
Uniformed military is different is so many ways that they should never be considered in the same light. Honor our uniformed military. They preserve the freedom you enjoy.
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Even the most skilled, most honest, hardest-working government civilian employee is probably doing a job that increases hassles and costs and reduces freedom, in an agency that shouldn’t exist.
Hell yes it’s why D.C. is the good old boy club honest people get pushed out asap.
Only because crooked politicians don't want honest people working for them. Honest bureaucrats would rat them out or stop their schemes.
If the truth be known they have all committed a felony somewhere down the line to get where they are.
Dishonesty is a huge problem at all levels of bureaucracy. Most of these people realize either going in, or soon after, that bureaucracies mostly exist so that bureaucrats can help themselves to other peoples’ money.
Corruption is a problem. The lower level bureaucrats don’t actively engage in it, but they’re more than happy to turn a blind eye to what their higher-ups are doing to keep the gravy train rolling for all of them.
I submit that the DoD Weapons Research and Development Labs exist for a good purpose.
Within them are honest, hard-working, and world-class scientists and engineers, who could work elsewhere (for more pay), but do not, because of a sense of duty to country.
And there are also slugs and do-nothings as described above.
They do. However, the question could be raised as to whether this is something that needs to be done by government employees as opposed to non-government employees.
There are plenty of skilled people in government employment, plenty of decent people. However, just for example, if you're a really good, hardworking systems administrator (accountant, janitor) for the Department of Education, you're still part of the problem, because the Department of Education shouldn't exist, period.
3. Does Elmer Fudd have trouble with the letter R?
Non-govt is the defense contractors. Not a good situation at present. Maybe could be better if congressional district favoritism could be controlled. Labs act as check and balance to contractors, as competitors even.
Dept of Ed is not in Constitution (agree). Defense of country is.
I have worked closely with state and federal agencies for more than 20 years. Many of them are ideologues, particularly of the environmental or progressive persuasion. In their minds, the ends justify the means.
Such bureaucrats and their many associates dominate in politics, because they have the money and time to do so. They’ve outlawed many important kinds of work through regulations and are driving the economy into the ground—realities of the economy being concealed by continued schemes for using recirculating debt.
I agree. I only said "it could be argued" that some functions didn't have to be DoD employees, not that it went without saying!
would love to see a website that can detail for us the Financial statements of our Reps and Senators before they entered office and what they’re worth now...
I want to see that chart of net worth change for bureaucrats and unappointed czars.
I think pretty much everything the government does should be contracted out. There is not much the government employees do that could not be done by contractors. It is much easier to terminate contractors that do not perform or are not needed anymore than it is to terminate government employees. As a bonus, we don’t have to pay them when they retire either.
When my father retired from the Navy in the mid 1980s, he went to work for a “Beltway bandit” defense contracting firm doing what he’d done for the Navy in his last years, nuclear weapons logistics. Every time a new contract was signed to manage the Sparrow missile program, the new contractor would hire the staff from the previous contractor.
I have been on and know of contracts that ended and the new company hired nobody off the old contract. I was once working on a contract where the Army just cancelled the whole thing in January because they needed the money for the war elsewhere and they picked it up again in October. Sometimes they just hire the old crew. It varies. The government and the companies usually do what is more expedient or cheaper for them. The point is, hiring contractors to do stuff gives the government flexibility they do not have with government employees.