Before we get to our main topic today, note that the Fed’s policy committee voted yesterday to leave the Fed Funds rate unchanged once again. This was exactly what I and others had predicted. The policy statement hinted at a rate hike at the December 13-14 policy meeting. No surprise there either.
A recent survey of US government employees found that 35% said they would consider quitting their jobs if Donald Trump wins the election on Tuesday. Just 65% said they’d stay on at their jobs no matter who wins. We should be so lucky!
The new survey of government employees was conducted by the Government Business Council and GovExec.com, so it’s a legitimate survey. The question is, were the 35% of respondents who said they would consider quitting their government jobs serious or not? The answer is, of course not!
This was simply a case of a bunch of liberal government union employees shooting their mouths off ahead of a very polarized and controversial election.
The simple truth is that federal workers are paid far more than their private sector counterparts when you combine wages and benefits. Back in 2012, the Congressional Budget Office found that federal workers with a high school diploma or less made 36% more than similarly educated workers in the private sector.
A more recent analysis by the Cato Institute found that federal employees make 76% more than private sector workers on average. Using data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Cato report found that the average federal employee pulls down over $123,000 a year in pay and benefits, compared with just under $70,000 in the private sector.
What’s more, federal workers put in less time than private sector workers. Government data show that employees in local, state and federal governments are 38% more likely to take extra time off work for illness or personal reasons, and miss 50% more hours than private sector workers.
Even worse, government audits show that it’s nearly impossible to fire a federal worker, no matter what the reason, as I will discuss below.
Government Workers Are Way Above Average – Says Who?
A review of federal worker performance ratings by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that 99.5% of them got a “fully successful” rating or above. More than a third were given the highest rating of “outstanding.”
At the other end of the spectrum, just 0.4% of federal workers were rated as “minimally successful” and only 0.1% as “unacceptable.” [Sorry if you just fell out of your chair!]
Anyone who has ever had the misfortune of dealing with federal bureaucrats –or who has read countless reports from government auditors detailing gross incompetence across every federal agency — can attest to the fact that these ratings are absolutely ludicrous.
As a few examples, these same “fully successful” workers are the ones who: blew $2 billion on the botched Healthcare.gov (Obamacare) website; made more than $100 billion in overpayments to government beneficiaries last year; run the hopelessly inept TSA; forced veterans into sometimes deadly VA waiting lists for healthcare; let their massive employee database get hacked; and spent a decade and $1 billion trying to digitize 100 immigration forms only to get a single one done. The complete list of other such costly snafus goes on and on and on.
And, by the way, 57% of the public thinks these “fully successful” workers have produced a government that is wasteful and inefficient. Even if government workers do horrible things on the job, many of them just get put on “paid administrative leave.”
Another GAO report said that the government spent more than $3 billion in just two years for what amounted to additional paid time off work. It found that thousands of federal workers had gotten a year or more of paid leave.
In the private sector, there’s a price to be paid for having an incompetent workforce. The private sector has a direct financial stake in accurately assessing worker performance, weeding out the bad apples and helping those with potential to succeed.
But in government, no such incentives exist. In fact, failure usually results in more money and bigger budgets.
The bottom line: Don’t believe that any of these federal workers will actually quit their jobs should Trump win. We can only wish it were true!
Be sure to vote, even if you have to hold your nose.