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Why Federal Workers Deserve What They're Paid
The Washington Post ^ | February 3, 2010 | Joe Davidson

Posted on 02/03/2010 7:26:09 AM PST by Poundstone

Excerpt: The budget answers critics, including Scott Brown, the newly elected Republican senator from Massachusetts, who say federal civilians earn much more than private-sector workers. There's a reason for that. Federal workers are better educated.

"The Federal Government hires lawyers to tackle corruption, security professionals to monitor our borders, doctors to care for our injured veterans, and world-class scientists to combat deadly diseases such as cancer," the budget says. "Because of these vital needs, the Federal Government hires a relatively highly educated workforce, resulting in higher average pay."

Consider these stats: Twenty percent of federal workers have a master's, professional or doctorate degree, compared with 13 percent in the private sector. Fifty-one percent of federal employees have a college degree of some sort, but only 35 percent do in the private sector.

Frankie and Flo may not be smarter than other folks, but they do have more schooling, and they get paid accordingly. They are also substantially older, and that contributes to higher pay -- 46 percent of federal employees are 50 or older, compared with 31 percent of private-sector workers.

Although the section doesn't say so, comparing overall federal and private-sector pay is misleading in another way, because Uncle Sam doesn't employ many people at the bottom of the wage scale the way industry does.

Job-for-job comparisons tell a completely different story. In fact, government figures indicate that federal employees are underpaid by 26 percent compared with their counterparts in similar position in the business world.

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: employees; federal; federalemployees; government
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To: from occupied ga

Yes, that’s getting to the heart of it. And why Obama is pushing special student loan pay-offs for those young who never leave the crib of artificial merit and hierarchy that starts in public grade schools and continues through colleges — and then continues for a lifetime if one works for FedGov.


101 posted on 02/03/2010 8:19:56 AM PST by bvw
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To: Poundstone

Wow! This “better educated” is elitist. Education is NO measure of intelligence. Frankly, I’d like to see a requirement that no one could work for the government until they’d spent time in the private sector (military excluded). It’s not all about education, either. I don’t think they should be unionized, either. When they “negotiate” for higher wages they’re holding the American people WHO PAY THEIR SALARIES hostage. Because they’re so insulated and unaccountable they eventually forget who they work for.

How many members of congress have advanced degrees? They don’t seem to be too smart now do they? How many times (in every state in the land) do we hear about kids who were in “the system” being killed, beat up, abused because someone in the government didn’t check up on them enough? The excuse is always the same, not enough workers and too many cases, give us more of your money so we can hire more people. Lather, rinse, repeat. Pay them all half as much and hire 2 workers where their once was one.

Heavens, we have teacher here in Oregon who are earning MORE in retirement than they did when they were productive. That comes out of MY pocket. And I homeschooled because I didn’t want the indoctrination or the incompetence. When you pander to the lowest common denominator no one has to set their sights high. But that makes sense I guess since they don’t know any better. Sorry, but as long as these people work courtesy of the American people, they should be beholden to us. For too long we haven’t held them accountable. I know people with college degrees who aren’t worth the cost of the paper to print their degree and high school drop outs who work hard and are actually making something of themselves. The hard way. Without a union daddy to take care of all their needs and keep them competing like those that pay their salaries have to do.

Cindie


102 posted on 02/03/2010 8:20:04 AM PST by gardencatz (Proud mom US Marine! It can't always be someone else's son.)
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To: Poundstone

More reality.


103 posted on 02/03/2010 8:20:13 AM PST by jwalsh07
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To: getitright
Oh yes. You are so right. I renewed my driver’s license last week and there were dozens of rocket surgeons behind the counter. Their politeness and efficiency made them worth every bit of their $100k/yr salary.

OK. Driving License stations are a state function, not federal. In Tennessee, the pay grade for one of those folks is about the same as my wife makes in another department - about 13 bucks an hour. You only need to work 7,692 hours a year at that rate to get that 100 grand.

104 posted on 02/03/2010 8:22:32 AM PST by TnGOP (Petey the dog is my foriegn policy advisor. He's really quite good!)
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To: Poundstone
I’ve lived in the Washington, DC area since 1966 when my father came to work for the federal government. I’ve grown up with folks who work for the government directly, and with folks who contract to the government. Many of my neighbors, friends, acquaintances, etc. have worked for the government or contracted thereto.

I watched my father work for the Department of the Navy for two decades. I often visited my father’s office, met a lot of very neat people, including a lot of very fine naval officers.

I’ve been a government contractor on and off since the mid-1980s, and had continuous contracts with the federal government from 1991 through 2006.

Many of my current friends, neighbors, acquaintances, folks with whom I go to church are government employees or contractors.

Here’s a few things I’ve learned in 40+ years in the belly of the beast:

1. There are many fine, hard-working, dedicated government employees.

2. There are as many lazy, incompetent, dishonest government employees than good ones.

3. Good government managers with small spans of control often have very good, even excellent teams that actually get the work done in the government that is given to be done.

4. The larger the the group in the org chart, the more likely it will approach the 50% level of incompetence, ineptitude and laziness.

5. It isn’t that contractors are better people, they’re not. But on many contracts, the companies holding the contracts are only paid for the hours actually worked. In a standard year, for the contracting company to make a profit on a positiion, the worker must perform something above 1800 hours of actual direct work on the contract.

Conversely, federal employees with a few years of service begin to accrue significant amounts of annual leave and sick leave, often spend work time going to various educational events (contractors aren’t generally paid for this sort of thing, and usually do the educational thing off-hours, although there are exceptions), diversity seminars, ethics seminars, etc., and perform work directly related to their jobs about 1200 - 1400 hours per year.

Salaries between contract personnel and federal personnel doing the same job are often similar, but benefits are often much better on the federal side of things.

As well, getting rid of contract personnel is a picnic compared to getting rid of a federal employee, and thus, there is less of a tendency for contracts to accumulate useless workers.

6. Many individuals working on government contracts aspire to being hired on as direct government employees, if possible. There’s a reason for that and it isn’t patriotism.

7. Much of the work done by many federal agencies is unnecessary, useless, or even counterproductive. But there are always some dedicated federal workers within the larger group who perform that work well and efficiently.

105 posted on 02/03/2010 8:22:43 AM PST by sitetest (If Roe is not overturned, no unborn child will ever be protected in law.)
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To: Poundstone

My husband is on an advisory board for a government agency, what he sees as the problem is all the ridiculous rules and regulations. They tie their hands behind their backs, hobble their feet together and then give each worker enough stupid work for 3 people and the things that NEED to be done go wanting.


106 posted on 02/03/2010 8:23:21 AM PST by tiki (True Christians will not deliberately slander or misrepresent others or their beliefs)
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To: muawiyah

As a former employee of the Postal Service, does it bother you in the slightest that everything the Postal Service does could be done better and cheaper by private postal carriers - if they were allowed to exist.


107 posted on 02/03/2010 8:23:29 AM PST by vbmoneyspender
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To: Sursam Abordine

You have 22 years of service in the USN and your work currently benefits them. I don’t think anyone who knows that will confuse you with a DMV bureaucrat.


108 posted on 02/03/2010 8:24:06 AM PST by Canedawg (Our government has become a travesty.)
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To: USNBandit
My husband is a Federal employee and I can say that our plan is far from a Cadillac" plan in terms of coverage. (Based on your numbers, we probably have the same plan.) However, if they manage to get HCR through, our plans DO become taxable as "Cadillac" plans.

My husband's agency has entirely too many people in DC at headquarters, all in SES positions, and they're all, almost to a person, bumbling idiots.

109 posted on 02/03/2010 8:24:12 AM PST by Malacoda (CO(NH2)2 on OBAMA.)
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To: Errant
FACT: With few exceptions, they're working for the government because they can't make it in the private sector.

Fact: You don't know what you are talking about.

I am converting from nearly 20 years in the private sector to a DoD job doing the exact same thing. Only difference is I will be making less money as a government employee. I don't have to leave private industry - I choose to because the opportunity is there. I'm hoping better opportunities open up from this and it pays off in the long run. And the job security is better. Since things are a little rough these days, is it okay with you if I take a job for better security for my family?

While there are plenty of useless government workers, not all government workers are useless. And there is no place cooler to work than the Pentagon!

110 posted on 02/03/2010 8:24:50 AM PST by meowmeow (In Loving Memory of Our Dear Viking Kitty (1987-2006))
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To: outpostinmass2

You make a good point. The gov’t employs a lot of “highly educated” people in roles that wouldn’t exist or shouldn’t exist if the market made the rules. I read an article some time back by a guy with a history degree or something who made, by his own admission, far more working for gov’t than he could in the private sector, if he could’ve even found a job. He was leaving his job and wanted to try and actually EARN his money for a change.


111 posted on 02/03/2010 8:24:50 AM PST by dcgst4
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To: Poundstone
In fact, government figures indicate that federal employees are underpaid by 26 percent compared with their counterparts in similar position in the business world.

Sorry, but my BS detector went off right here. I have a master's degree in economics, specializing in labor economics.

You don't have the lopsided ratios of 300 to 400 applicants for every available position in the private sector which you have in the Federal sector. People are not stupid: they do not gravitate to jobs where they are underpaid by 26 percent.

Yes, some of the lopsided ratios can be explained by the fact that Federal sector job openings are far more visible. In most cases, they are required by law to have the facade of visibility. Private companies, on the other hand, often work through staffing agencies and recruiters because the services they provide in weeding out large pools of applicants is well worth the fees paid.

That being said, people are economically rational in job choices as they are in most other aspects of their lives. Benefits, job security, the working environment, flexible scheduling, commuting distances and a whole lot of other factors are considered in taking jobs.

There is a reason why federal workers are much older than those in the private sector: They don't like to leave these jobs. I'm sure there are a variety of reasons behind this. I'm sure some are quite capable and could easily get jobs in the private sector. Why don't they?

For anyone who has ever spent time in a government office (tax audit, permit approval, etc.), there is also no shortage of incompetents who wouldn't last a day in most private sector jobs. But I've also been to private businesses which employ these type of people for whatever reason. Is it a coincidence that far left unions like SEIU enjoy almost no success in the private sector and focus their recruiting efforts almost exclusively on the public sector? I think not.

Is it a coincidence that other far left unions like the UAW which once dominated certain private industries have now moved much of their membership into the public sector?

112 posted on 02/03/2010 8:24:52 AM PST by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: muawiyah

That’s BS, the typical COTR could care less about the contractors workload, they just pile it on.


113 posted on 02/03/2010 8:25:52 AM PST by Garvin (When it comes to my freedom, there will be no debate. There will be a fight)
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To: Poundstone
This is BS. Actually federal workers should have gotten the ax before private sector employees. They are the ones that are costing us.
114 posted on 02/03/2010 8:26:00 AM PST by freekitty (Give me back my conservative vote; then find me a real conservative to vote for)
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To: vbmoneyspender

I really doubt that.


115 posted on 02/03/2010 8:26:09 AM PST by DonaldC (A nation cannot stand in the absence of religious principle.)
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To: freekitty

signed,

Ellie Light


116 posted on 02/03/2010 8:27:14 AM PST by 1st I.D Vet
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To: Cletus.D.Yokel

Loads. The local post office is filled with them.


117 posted on 02/03/2010 8:27:19 AM PST by Frantzie (TV - sending Americans towards Islamic serfdom - Cancel TV service NOW)
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To: George from New England
Time to limit govt wages and track them to the private sector. If govt decisions hurt the private workplace then the public sector pay should hurt as well.

Congratulations! Best two sentence statement on this entire form which should become policy!

118 posted on 02/03/2010 8:29:43 AM PST by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: DonaldC
There is an easy proof of my statement - when you need a package delivered overnight - do you use the USPS or one of the private competitors such as Fedex or UPS?

Secondly, when consider the cost of the USPS please don't forget to include the subsidies it receives from the federal gov't.

119 posted on 02/03/2010 8:30:49 AM PST by vbmoneyspender
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To: jessduntno

Federal workers get “survivor” pay for getting through the application process? Has anyone ever applied for a government job; the application process is a blizzard of forms to complete.


120 posted on 02/03/2010 8:31:10 AM PST by School of Rational Thought (Most interesting man in the world.)
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To: Garvin

Takes work to think of things for you guys to do to earn your keep ~ and keep your employees out of trouble.


121 posted on 02/03/2010 8:31:22 AM PST by muawiyah ("Git Out The Way")
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To: vbmoneyspender
The USPS "subsidy" is ZERO, ZIP, NADA ~ and when I want something to go "overnight" I send it via an Air Express company and have someone go out to the terminal to pick it up.

Otherwise you're just wasting your money.

BTW, if you want your Express packages delivered before they're rifled and you are sending them to New York, use USPS. That's what UPS and Fedex do!

122 posted on 02/03/2010 8:33:49 AM PST by muawiyah ("Git Out The Way")
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To: jessduntno
And by the way, if it is true that it is so dismal, why is there so much more competition and nepotism for many of the the jobs, instead of the great ones available in the private sector...

You might want to re-read my post. I merely corrected your post. As for the Postal Service, I can't speak to the other departments, because I don't work there. Others have confirmed in previous posts that the Postal benefits are very similar to other agencies.

I never indicated that things were dismal - I LOVE my job! My intent was only to correct a common misperception and glaring error in your post.

123 posted on 02/03/2010 8:34:23 AM PST by TnGOP (Petey the dog is my foriegn policy advisor. He's really quite good!)
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To: muawiyah

absolute bullshit


124 posted on 02/03/2010 8:34:30 AM PST by vbmoneyspender
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To: School of Rational Thought

“Federal workers get “survivor” pay for getting through the application process? Has anyone ever applied for a government job; the application process is a blizzard of forms to complete.”

Life is just so hard...


125 posted on 02/03/2010 8:35:16 AM PST by jessduntno (Obama: not your typical Black Liberation Theologist/Marxist/Afro-AmeriKanner President...)
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To: vbmoneyspender
Does it bother you that I have my own privatization scheme, including enabling legislation, property title transfers, and every other element relating to that ON MY COMPUTER?

First thing we do is a leveraged buyout of UPS. Then we integrate their management into USPS while firing their workforce.

126 posted on 02/03/2010 8:35:47 AM PST by muawiyah ("Git Out The Way")
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To: flowerplough
SEC workers investigated for porn-surfing.

Most federal servers have a built in system that does not allow workers to access porn sites. If I ever click on a You Tube link at work, I get a nasty message

"Access Forbidden"

on my screen. There is no way I can access any porn site from work, even if I tried. One guy got fired after he brought in his personal laptop, hooked it on the LAN and visited several porn sites.

127 posted on 02/03/2010 8:37:06 AM PST by Arrowhead1952 (Hey zero, It is NOT Bush's fault anymore.)
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To: from occupied ga

There are exceedingly well educated systems analysts at DOD who spend their days working up detailed defense plans. I guess Obama might imagine them useless.


128 posted on 02/03/2010 8:37:33 AM PST by muawiyah ("Git Out The Way")
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To: School of Rational Thought

From initial application to starting work took me 18 months!


129 posted on 02/03/2010 8:37:55 AM PST by TnGOP (Petey the dog is my foriegn policy advisor. He's really quite good!)
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To: vbmoneyspender

“Bullshit” is a response that has nothing to back it up. I’ve got my sources. Where are yours?


130 posted on 02/03/2010 8:38:33 AM PST by muawiyah ("Git Out The Way")
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To: muawiyah
Here is the CBO Report on Postal Service subsidies:

The U. S. Postal Service (USPS) still relies on the federal government to cover a portion of its costs, although 1970 law moved the USPS off-budget with the intention that the service operate as a self-supporting enterprise. Of particular note are the costs of health and pension benefits for USPS retirees. The USPS now covers only two-thirds of these personnel costs, and the federal government covers the balance in "indirect subsidies." As the Congress continues its search for ways to reduce federal costs, the question arises as to whether the government ought to continue subsidizing USPS compensation costs. This paper, undertaken at the request of the Chairman of the House Committee on the Budget, provides analytical background on the size, nature, and effects of these indirect subsidies. The paper also sets out various options for reducing this aspect of federal support.

See Link

131 posted on 02/03/2010 8:38:35 AM PST by vbmoneyspender
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To: Poundstone

I’m glad that with all those geniuses in charge, the debt is only in the trillions with zero government waste.


132 posted on 02/03/2010 8:39:33 AM PST by BradyLS (DO NOT FEED THE BEARS!)
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To: TnGOP

There are a wider variety of federal jobs than I realized. When I here the term, I think of enormous office buildings stuffed with union do-nothings raking in obscene salaries, benefits, and pensions.

There are no doubt many very sharp folks working for the government. I would expect them to be most highly represented in the military/law enforcment/intelligence fields.

The primary point I believe is this- seperating income from product yields gross inefficiencies. This is what most union situations move towards. I’m sure many of you governemnt workers earn every penny but I’ll bet that out of the millions there are most who don’t.


133 posted on 02/03/2010 8:40:26 AM PST by getitright (If you call this HOPE, can we give despair a shot?)
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To: Arrowhead1952

“There is no way I can access any porn site from work, even if I tried. One guy got fired after he brought in his personal laptop, hooked it on the LAN and visited several porn sites.”

So a little thing like built in safeguards and the complete knowledge that it is wrong still won’t stop some Fed Employees’ need to get horned up AT WORK? That’s pretty funny...it would be funnier if we weren’t all paying for it, though.


134 posted on 02/03/2010 8:40:54 AM PST by jessduntno (Obama: not your typical Black Liberation Theologist/Marxist/Afro-AmeriKanner President...)
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To: jwalsh07

Average compensation for Federal Military is $113,871? Per year? That will be news to those in uniform.


135 posted on 02/03/2010 8:42:25 AM PST by TankerKC (No government employees were harmed in the slashing of this budget.)
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To: vbmoneyspender
1984?

I do believe the situation you are pointing to has subsequently been dealt with. More recently (like since 1984) OMB has cheated postal retirees out of tens of billions of dollars by overcharging for retirement.

Now, going directly to the health insurance situation, the federales forced postal employees into Medicare and that smarmed up what or where subsidies might have occurred.

Irrespective of that I kept close track of every penny I paid to retirement and determined that if it were simply routed into T-bills I would have paid for all of my possible retirement costs FOREVER.

Most people simply don't realize federal employees under the old CSRS system paid for their own retirement.

136 posted on 02/03/2010 8:42:47 AM PST by muawiyah ("Git Out The Way")
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To: muawiyah
There's always someone around who imagines that federal employees do nothing all day and still get paid.

Yup, and that is terribly unfair to those who in fact are reading the Post all day.

Actually, I think the problem is the perception that too many federal workers do little to nothing of real value.

137 posted on 02/03/2010 8:43:11 AM PST by freespirited (Congratulations Senator Brown. One down, 59 to go.)
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To: muawiyah
I’ve got my sources. Where are yours?

Here you go usa today dec 2009 on federal salaries - ie overpaid federal employees swilling at the taxpayers' expense

138 posted on 02/03/2010 8:44:04 AM PST by from occupied ga (Your most dangerous enemy is your own government,)
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To: USNBandit

So between you and the go’vt. you pay $1000 a month ($12,000 a year)for a policy that only covers $7500 in expenses per year? I think you’re mistaken.


139 posted on 02/03/2010 8:45:30 AM PST by ladyrustic
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To: muawiyah
The John Stossel: Post Office IS Subsidized

The Post Office wasn't happy with my recent post, "Obama's Post Office Mistake." A spokesman sent me a letter claiming that: "The Postal Service is not government subsidized. The last time the Postal Service received taxpayer money for its operation was 1982."

Well, that’s true but mostly not true. Not paying parking tickets and monopoly powers are certainly a form of subsidy. In addition, The Post Office doesn't have to pay state or local taxes, and it gets to borrow billions from the government at reduced rates ($10.2 billion, by the end of this year, according to the GAO.) Last year, the FTC found that the Post Office received implicit subsidies of $34 to $117 million -- and that's not counting the monopoly, its biggest benefit.

140 posted on 02/03/2010 8:47:56 AM PST by vbmoneyspender
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To: sitetest
Good summary. I recently retired after 28 years in the military...the last 3.5 at the Pentagon. Over the years I saw many civil servants with very little education and limited skills attain very high grades. I recently worked with a HS grad who's only skill was pulling reports from an antiquated personnel system. She was a GS-13 when she retired...
141 posted on 02/03/2010 8:48:10 AM PST by TankerKC (No government employees were harmed in the slashing of this budget.)
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To: Poundstone

ROFLMAO!!!! The Federal goobermint is full of lazy half a$$ workers who wouldn’t last three months in the private sector.

As far as the education thing goes all’s you have to do is look at the financial reports form the goobermint where they are constantly WRONG on all projections. Some highly educated Federal employee cannot figure out that house selling is going to go down last December when we had the worst weather in decades all across the country? Please. Federal goobermint is spelled lazy, incompetent and useless.

Been to your lcoal Post office lately?

Been to the IRS office lately?

Been to the Social Security Administration lately?

Biggest bunch of incompetent f’ offs I have ever seen.


142 posted on 02/03/2010 8:48:37 AM PST by mad_as_he$$ (usff.com)
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To: jessduntno

The newest safeguard is that the IT folks have to name each computer now, and computers cannot be hooked onto the network without a name assigned by the administrators and tied to an IP number.


143 posted on 02/03/2010 8:51:24 AM PST by Arrowhead1952 (Hey zero, It is NOT Bush's fault anymore.)
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To: vbmoneyspender
BTW, you have a choice on the "parking ticket" thing ~ give up federal highway subsidies and mail delivery. For the most part USPS uses "post roads" for its operations.

Also, the rest of the US Federal government doesn't pay property taxes either.

144 posted on 02/03/2010 8:52:06 AM PST by muawiyah ("Git Out The Way")
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To: getitright
I can't disagree. I work in the maintenance department for the USPS. Most of the guys that work with me earn their money every day. A few don't. That few is a higher percentage than you will find elsewhere, precisely because of union rules and worthless managers that are too lazy to properly document misconduct.

We have mail handlers making (with a LOT of overtime) over 100k/year, driving a forklift. Others do unskilled (grunt) work, like hand loading packages into the sorting system. That pays over $20/hour, and could be done by college students for half that, like Fedex. I really get frustrated when I see the waste all around, and can't do a thing to stop the insanity.

145 posted on 02/03/2010 8:52:21 AM PST by TnGOP (Petey the dog is my foriegn policy advisor. He's really quite good!)
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To: Poundstone

Your stink is so bad it came through my computer!


146 posted on 02/03/2010 8:52:45 AM PST by dalereed
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To: TankerKC

In the DC area a GS 13 isn’t all that high a grade.


147 posted on 02/03/2010 8:53:15 AM PST by muawiyah ("Git Out The Way")
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To: Poundstone

We all deserve what we are paid. But most of us in the private sector have had our salaries cut and our out-of-pocket costs for benefits increased and our raises cancelled. We feel the pain when our company decides its time to tighten the belt. In times of $1.5 trillion deficits there is no reason why government workers should sail on as if nothing is wrong. A reasonable across-the-board salary cut is not an insult and not an attack on government workers. It is a prudent measure in times of fiscal crisis.


148 posted on 02/03/2010 8:53:22 AM PST by Non-Sequitur
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To: refermech
'Our exact problem is the fact that these over educated asses are running our lives.'

Educated beyond their intellibence.

149 posted on 02/03/2010 8:54:03 AM PST by cotton
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To: ComputerGuy

Look, for a couple of years I worked in USPS Headquarters Office of Consumer Affairs and I will assure you the general public wins the IDIOT AWARD hands down.


150 posted on 02/03/2010 8:54:55 AM PST by muawiyah ("Git Out The Way")
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