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(Washington Post)   Washington DC had a little bit of rain and slush yesterday, so naturally government offices closed. What did this teach us? Well, there are an awful lot of self-identified "nonessential employees" lounging about the city. Budget cuts, anyone?   (washingtonpost.com) divider line 83
    More: Obvious, District of Columbia, austerities, Settlers of Catan, rains  
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3016 clicks; posted to Main » on 07 Mar 2013 at 12:13 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-03-07 02:13:05 PM  

rogue49: I grew up in the North too, but I think the people who don't know the area should keep their mouth shut.
DC is not setup for easy driving or good mass transit.


The Metro's not bad once you get to it, but yeah, getting anywhere on the beltway, especially if you are coming from Virginia, is bad on a good day.
 
2013-03-07 02:14:36 PM  
Non-essential personnel who either choose to never telework or are not authorized to telework by their supervision had the day off.  Those of us who are authorized to telework were required to do so.

The government offices were closed, it does not mean no one was working.  Also as others have said essential vs non-essential will change if your talking about 1 day of down time vs not having that employee at all.
 
2013-03-07 02:15:22 PM  

ginandbacon: Sure, let's fire all the receptionists, assistants, accountants, Directors, research personnel, HR staff, National Park workers, Curators at the Smithsonian, cafeteria workers, custodians, middle managers in every government office, SS caseworker, VA doctor, etc etc etc.

Great idea.


no not all.  just 10%.  you and your false choices.
 
2013-03-07 02:34:25 PM  
What we have here is a question of punishment and reward.

Taxes are a punishment to us, but to those who live off them, they are a reward: they buy bigger offices, more secretaries, etc.

When we cut spending, they cut services, trying as best they can to hand back the punishment we give them.  If they cut waste, we would be happy and demand more next year.

In my home town, they have cancelled the Blue Angels show for next month; that's how chickenshirted they are,
 
2013-03-07 02:43:46 PM  
If you don't eat or shower for a day, you'll be fine, so eating and showering are obviously not "essential."
 
2013-03-07 02:44:52 PM  

firefly212: Non-essential doesn't mean what you think it means, subby... it means if they put off their work for a day or two, it's no big deal, my friends over at the GAO are mostly non-essential. That doesn't mean that the government doesn't need any accounting, or that their role in finding fraud and waste is unimportant, just means that nobody is going to die, suffer from safety issues, or have immediate problems if they stay home for a day. I know it's really popular to vilify government workers as not having real jobs, but the reality for most government workers is that they took a pay cut to move from private industry because they thought the government would be a more stable employer. Our beef with the government should be about waste, and from experience, better than 90% of the waste isn't with government employees, it's with private contractors who have buddies in congress, the senate, and the WH. From billion dollar defense go-nowhere boondoggles to paying top dollar for substandard/dangerous housing for troops, the problem doesn't really lie with the secretaries, accountants, USDA inspectors, or CDC doctors.


The issue here is that there is a large number of federal employees who aren't the front line secretaries, accountants, USDA inspectors or CDC doctors.  I doubt most people who complain about over paid and under worked federal employees have those jobs in mind.  Fact is, there is a ton of useless overhead in government agencies that could be cut without seriously disrupting the core mission of those agencies.  I've worked both sides of the fence (govt and contractor) and can say without a doubt that the agencies I worked in could have easily cut 20% of their workforce.  Everyone is familiar with the 80/20 rule and while I think it's a bit extreme, the concept is true.  I just wish people would stop this dishonest practice of putting the actual essential employees (the doctors, the inspectors, the police man or firefighter) on the chopping block and instead admit that, yes, there ARE people within the agency who we could let go without disruption.
 
2013-03-07 02:51:50 PM  
There were two things at play for yesterday's debacle:

1)  The computer models had a warm surface layer, but plenty of precipitation.  Many times if you get heavy precip, you can overcome the warm surface temperatures.  Unfortunately, the temps were a degree or two too warm and the precipitation wasn't as heavy.

2)  The January 2011 storm is still fresh in everybody's mind.  That's the one where the DC area got 6-10" in a few hours, right around the evening commute.  Federal offices closed a little early and it turned into the worst commute in DC history.  Stories of 12+ hours for a normal 45 minute commute.

/got 4" of wet snow in the close-in western burbs
 
2013-03-07 02:53:40 PM  
Like a bad date, we were supposed to get 6" +, but we only got 3", it came early, and went away quickly.
 
2013-03-07 02:57:58 PM  

ForgotMyTowel: The issue here is that there is a large number of federal employees who aren't the front line secretaries, accountants, USDA inspectors or CDC doctors.  I doubt most people who complain about over paid and under worked federal employees have those jobs in mind.  Fact is, there is a ton of useless overhead in government agencies that could be cut without seriously disrupting the core mission of those agencies.  I've worked both sides of the fence (govt and contractor) and can say without a doubt that the agencies I worked in could have easily cut 20% of their workforce.  Everyone is familiar with the 80/20 rule and while I think it's a bit extreme, the concept is true.  I just wish people would stop this dishonest practice of putting the actual essential employees (the doctors, the inspectors, the police man or firefighter) on the chopping block and ...


This is 100% true, but much of that useless overhead is due to the ridiculous amount of oversight that these agencies have to deal with.  OIGs, reports to congress, triple-checking any money going out the door, etc.  You might actually be able to trim the workforce if you ceded congressional oversight of agencies, but that's not a thing, so you end up with GS-14 auditors and all of these special assistants that have to deal with BS inquiries from congressional staffers.  Oh God, and the strategic reports.
 
2013-03-07 02:58:34 PM  
NBC Nightly BS News blamed this on an inadequate weather-predicting computer system, not as accurate as one used in Europe.

My Calif weather is ALWAYS 100% accurate from the Weather Channel.
 
2013-03-07 03:02:52 PM  

Challam: NBC Nightly BS News blamed this on an inadequate weather-predicting computer system, not as accurate as one used in Europe.

My Calif weather is ALWAYS 100% accurate from the Weather Channel.


Except, forecasters have access to the data from the European model.  That one stunk too, though it could be debated that it didn't stink quite as bad.
 
2013-03-07 03:09:14 PM  

jrhokie: Of course she should be fired and could be, easily, under civil service rules. My guess from your whole post though is that you are prone to exxageration

trickymoo:
/ Contractor in DC here, so I get to be harassed by my government overlords when I cant do in a week what takes them 6 months.
// farking watch this fat biatch down the hall show up at 10, leave at noon for lunch, back by 2, leaving before 3 and does jaaaaaaaack shiat while here. And I'm supposed to care that she gets furloughed?


Really, less hyperbole than you're thinking. If you are an employee for the government in Washington it takes A LOT to get fired. More than A LOT, actually. I joke, but if I was an Govee, to get fired I'd have to be caught in the process of actually murdering someone for them to be able to fill out the paperwork to have me escorted from the building, which would take 4 weeks. Their inept and clunky. And if you're good at paperwork/ red-tape, you dont get fired.

A buddy of mine got hired by the DoHS. After a few months they spoke to him and said, 'hey, how about you just sloowwww down a little? you're doing too much work around here.'
 
2013-03-07 03:17:07 PM  
Subby: "DEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERP!!!!!!"
 
2013-03-07 03:18:47 PM  
I called in also.
Said I was snowed in.... in Baltimore (so they wouldn't drive to my house to get me)
Problem is
Baltimore just got rain.
heh
 
2013-03-07 03:21:05 PM  

StrangeQ: The Metro's not bad once you get to it,


Actually the more I got used to it the more I hated it. I don't use it at all now.
 
2013-03-07 03:29:34 PM  
Government employees are by definition non-essential.  It goes without saying that they are also, for the most part, Liberals.  I'm not suggesting anything; I'm just saying that if they somehow all disappeared, no one would miss them, the economy would be stronger and the world would be a much better place.

adkisson.jpg
 
2013-03-07 03:32:43 PM  

Challam: NBC Nightly BS News blamed this on an inadequate weather-predicting computer system, not as accurate as one used in Europe.

My Calif weather is ALWAYS 100% accurate from the Weather Channel.


lol, here in the mountains of CO, the weather channel is pretty consistently wrong.
 
2013-03-07 03:35:08 PM  

Pants full of macaroni!!: Government employees are by definition non-essential.  It goes without saying that they are also, for the most part, Liberals.  I'm not suggesting anything; I'm just saying that if they somehow all disappeared, no one would miss them, the economy would be stronger and the world would be a much better place.

adkisson.jpg


Why do we have to pretend hyper-simplification is a valid form of argument. It goes without saying that cops, firefighters, teachers, doctors at the VA, pararescuemen, coast guard helicopter pilots and rescue divers are a bunch of non-essential liberals? The economy would boom without them? Well, there sure would be a lot of economic activity as the poor just slaughtered the rich  en masse without any police or military to prop the system up, but I dunno if that's the kind of boom you're looking for.

Quit being a farking moron and people will probably take you more seriously.
 
2013-03-07 03:41:44 PM  

firefly212: Challam: NBC Nightly BS News blamed this on an inadequate weather-predicting computer system, not as accurate as one used in Europe.

My Calif weather is ALWAYS 100% accurate from the Weather Channel.

lol, here in the mountains of CO, the weather channel is pretty consistently wrong.


I call BS. If the weather is wrong, wait a minute.
 
2013-03-07 03:45:15 PM  

trickymoo: Their inept and clunky.


I bet most of them English good though.
 
2013-03-07 03:55:27 PM  
I own a modest house a couple miles from the DC line with a 25- to 35-minute commute by bus, metro, or car. If either my wife or I lose our job, we can dial back retirement funding and stop overpaying principal and still afford the mortgage on just the salary of the other... and our combined income still doesn't crack six figures.

You poor bastards driving from Charles Town or Leesburg or Frederick or Stafford can have it.
 
2013-03-07 03:59:25 PM  

Fallout Zone: The January 2011 storm is still fresh in everybody's mind.  That's the one where the DC area got 6-10" in a few hours, right around the evening commute.  Federal offices closed a little early and it turned into the worst commute in DC history.  Stories of 12+ hours for a normal 45 minute commute.


That one was awesome...  the unplowed street grid became locked and the plows got stuck in traffic.
 
2013-03-07 04:43:47 PM  

Fallout Zone: 2) The January 2011 storm is still fresh in everybody's mind. That's the one where the DC area got 6-10" in a few hours, right around the evening commute. Federal offices closed a little early and it turned into the worst commute in DC history. Stories of 12+ hours for a normal 45 minute commute.


I was stranded on an off-ramp, less than a mile from home, for 7 hours that night. People started running out of gas and just abandoned their cars there and we had to push them off the roads. I ended up picking up a couple of strangers and dropping them off at their apartments once I got my car moving again before having to ditch my car in a mall parking lot because I could see the backup all the way down 123. Walked the rest of the way home.
 
2013-03-07 05:13:21 PM  

AverageAmericanGuy: There are a lot of non-essential employees, but it might better to lose them to attrition and just not backfill their positions than to try to cut them all at once. Shoving a bunch of otherwise unemployable government workers into the work force is just going to make things worse for everyone else.


You know what that results in? Lawyers getting paid large amounts of money taking 3 hours out of their day to bind a bunch of presentations rather than doing more serious work because they never bothered replacing the $10/hr copyroom guy.

That's real. I have a friend who works as a lawyer at the DoJ, and it is astonishing the time she has to waste on things that any law firm with 3 lawyers has a low paid flunky do. That costs us more money, not less, because when lawyers are doing that shiat too, you need to have more lawyers.

It's called being penny wise and pound foolish. Hiring more non essential workers keeps the crap off the desks of the people that matter and frees them up to do real work.
 
2013-03-07 05:17:11 PM  

Dr Dreidel: It's about break-even between the two, except that DC has an outrageous parking situation (which is why I'm moving back to MD in the summer).


Thinking of which, why has nobody firebombed the DC DMV yet? I only moved into the district recently, and holy crap...
 
2013-03-07 05:23:56 PM  
Did anyone notice the  federal government shut down?

Bueller? Bueller?

Then get rid of it
 
2013-03-07 06:22:28 PM  

MindStalker: So in net they are making probably less money but after benefits are making a freaken 6% more. OMG the horror.


...for an employer who, sequesters aside, doesn't have mass layoffs periodically. And actually still gives a pension, with affordable insurance benefits.
 
2013-03-07 09:18:33 PM  

RsquaredW: AverageAmericanGuy: There are a lot of non-essential employees, but it might better to lose them to attrition and just not backfill their positions than to try to cut them all at once. Shoving a bunch of otherwise unemployable government workers into the work force is just going to make things worse for everyone else.

The Federal civilian workforce is approximately the same size that it was in 1985.   Source.


Those buggers are some long-lived, unretiring folks.
 
2013-03-07 09:25:36 PM  
It smells like like under-worked  and overpaid butthurt public employees in here.
 
2013-03-07 09:49:37 PM  
Pittsburgh Public Schools closed as well.  We got 2" that was totally melted by early afternoon.  I grew up in Buffalo, where a snow day is a goddamn snow day.  And we only got them once every few years.

/get off my snowy lawn!
 
2013-03-08 12:17:32 AM  

ginandbacon: Sure, let's fire all the receptionists, assistants, accountants, Directors, research personnel, HR staff, National Park workers, Curators at the Smithsonian, cafeteria workers, custodians, middle managers in every government office, SS caseworker, VA doctor, etc etc etc.

Great idea.


Or end the positions by attrition. If you think that the US federal government is a reasonable size and a reasonable cost, I'm sorry, but you are utterly farking retarded.
 
2013-03-08 07:16:08 AM  

msbav8r: ginandbacon: Sure, let's fire all the receptionists, assistants, accountants, Directors, research personnel, HR staff, National Park workers, Curators at the Smithsonian, cafeteria workers, custodians, middle managers in every government office, SS caseworker, VA doctor, etc etc etc.

Great idea.

Or end the positions by attrition. If you think that the US federal government is a reasonable size and a reasonable cost, I'm sorry, but you are utterly farking retarded.


If we were serious about supply-side economics, we'd bump up spending on R&D and Education and cut everything else until we got the budget under control. Once the economy got rolling again, we'd re-visit what the appropriate tax rates should be.
 
2013-03-08 09:23:32 AM  

vygramul: If we were serious about supply-side economics, we'd bump up spending on R&D and Education and cut everything else until we got the budget under control. Once the economy got rolling again, we'd re-visit what the appropriate tax rates should be.


Your newsletter, I can subscribe to it?
 
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