Say, What’s The Deal With “Non-Essential” Government Employees?

This just begs an important question

With budget talks between Republicans and Democrats far from resolution, official Washington braced on Tuesday for a replay of the Great Government Shutdowns of 1995 and 1996. For weeks, the Obama administration has been quietly examining the experience of the mid-1990s as a kind of shutdown survival guide. Now those preparations have kicked into high gear.

The White House Office of Management and Budget directed the heads of federal agencies on late Monday to share contingency plans with senior managers. On Capitol Hill, the chairman of the Committee on House Administration warned “nonessential employees” on Tuesday to turn off their BlackBerrys during a shutdown, or risk punishment for working while on furlough.

In any shutdown, the government does not completely cease functioning, of course. Activities that are essential to national security, like military operations, can continue. Air traffic control and other public safety functions are exempt from shutdowns. Federal prisons still operate; law enforcement and criminal investigations can continue. Employees deemed essential to the functioning of government can come to work. (In ego-driven Washington, a federal shutdown forces high-powered workers to confront their self-worth. Many federal officials insisted on showing up in previous shutdowns, apparently unable to come to grips with idea they might not be considered vital.)

If these people are “non-essential,” then, do we really need to be paying them to do a “non-essential” job? Obviously, some that are considered “non-essential” are folks that are doing good jobs, and we’d need them back, like, say, people that work in the gift shops at the Smithsonian. Others, well, not so much, so, shouldn’t it be about time to start cutting the fat. Like, with the tons of folks who wander around Capital Hill running messages.

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5 Comments

Comment by LibertyAtStake Subscribed to comments via email
2011-04-06 20:19:02

Generate revenue?

d(^_^)b
http://libertyatstake.blogspot.com/
“Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive”

 
Comment by William Teach
2011-04-06 20:43:30

Eh. Mostly suck revenue.

 
Comment by gitarcarever
2011-04-06 21:50:58

A good friend of mine recently suffered a stroke. Because he is now for all intents and purposes, disabled and unable to write, I have been doing paperwork for him.

It is amazing how many agencies of the Federal and state government ask for the same information. For example, Social Security and Social Security Disability ask for the same information and require the same HIPPA release forms and in fact use the same form – the one that says the Federal government can use the medical information.

There is a lot of duplicate work being done. No business would ever allow such duplication or survive with such duplication.

Further example is that 99% of all applications get turned down for SSDI. Upon appeal, 60% get accepted. You would think that someone would say “wouldn’t it be more efficient if we accepted the people that are going to get approved anyway right off the bat?”

But that would mean that people would lose jobs of filing out paperwork and entering it into the computer – computers that don’t talk to each other.

A lawyer was telling me that a couple of years ago, SSDI appeals from the central east coast of Florida were heard by judges who would travel from Orlando to the eastern Florida. They then decided that teleconferencing would be a more efficient way of hearing appeals as it would save time and the expense of judges traveling. That actually makes sense. So they told the people on the east coast of Florida that their cases would be heard by judges in Fort Lauderdale. The Orlando offices would still remain open but all of the cases would be transferred to Fort Lauderdale. For some reason that didn’t work out, so the Florida east coast cases were then transferred to judges in Illinois, Kentucky and Indiana. Meanwhile, the Orlando judges are hearing cases from out of state as well.

While that may not seem like a big deal, there are some issues, according to this lawyer, with dialects and terms that are common here but not common in other states (and vice versa.) In addition, because there is a time zone difference, cases cannot begin or end at the same time. By that I mean that here is it 10 AM and the day has been going for awhile while in Illinois, it is only 9 AM, when the cases normally start. The same holds true on end times – 5 PM here is 5 PM in CDT. The switch to the different judges has effectively cut 2 hours out of every judicial review and appeal day.

The fact of the matter is that government is not run by people who know or care about efficiency. While I do not believe that the government should be run to obtain a profit, I do believe that the government should be run as for profit business that looks to cut waste and improve efficiency.

 
Comment by Trish
2011-04-07 09:02:12

Gc- have seen the same redundancy when I dealt with my mother’s paperwork. She paid big bucks for her own Blue Cross insurance but Medicaid/care and SSI, all played some part in her healthcare. We got so many bills/this is not a bill, letters and I would have to read them all, and put them together by incident, and by the time all was said and done, everyone had some hand in her various treatments. It would have been simpler, if we’d had the option to leave medicare et al out of everything, until we needed it. But such is the system that everyone shares in the pain, and charges for it. If she’d had no insurance, we probably wouldn’t have had any help!!!!

 
Comment by mojo
2011-04-07 11:22:11

Non-Essential: Janitorial workers in the Capitol.

 

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