$7K/month. As in $7,000 per month. I want you to keep this number in mind as you read this post, as I will come back to it later and things will be made clear.
Chances are that the political landscape where you live isn’t that different from where I live. Lying, cheating, self-serving, elitist, (morally) corrupt good-for-nothings with close ties to the underworld. These are the type of people who call the shots at my Capitol building. These are the people who govern as they best see fit, which means that they appoint their friends to choice senior posts within the administration and, most often, at government agencies.
Of course, these appointees (known as “trustworthy employees”) are not qualified for the job, and they in turn fill lower level positions with their friends, who are equally incompetent and unqualified. Multiply this pattern across dozens of government agencies – Education, Health, Treasury, Labor, etc. – and you can imagine how inefficient my government is. This is the reason why the central government itself outsources much of the work that the agency is supposed to get done, but can’t because it is staffed with inept people.
The paradox is evident: The central government pays twice to get one job done. For example, if the Labor Department needs to digitalize their records, they’ll hire a consulting firm to do the job, even though they have government employees on payroll to do the digitalizing.
This past weekend I was making small talk with some neighbors and the subject came up because one lady was very vocal about how much she hates her job. She is a government employee who admittedly and literally does nothing from 9 to 5 because her agency hired a consulting firm to do her work for her. She hates her job not for the same reasons we hate our jobs (crap hours, bullshit pay, asshole coworkers). She loathes going to work because it bores her to death!
And here’s the kicker. Her supervisor, one of these trustworthy employees, also does nothing. He gets paid $7,000 per month (repeat: SEVEN THOUSAND AMERICAN DOLLARS PER MONTH) to read newspapers all day long, and that’s IF he shows up for work. I’m not making this up. This is the lady spilling the beans. On top of that, her agency has multi-million dollar contracts with several consultants responsible for doing the work people like her are supposed to do. One consultant alone, whom I won’t mention by name, gets $4 million per year.
Now, this is just a humble supervisor of one department within one agency. As I mentioned before, multiply this pattern by the hundreds of departments spread across dozens of government agencies, and you begin to get a sense of the ridiculous amount of money that’s being flushed away.
“Ah, but why not fire these inept government employees and hire qualified professionals?” you ask. If only it were that simple. You see, where I live, politics is a passionate national pastime, and everything is highly politicized, from energy policy to the color of your tie. Remember, my leaders are glorified mafia bosses, so a change in government party leadership means a major shift in the government workforce as everyone scrambles to get their friends in on the action of getting paid to do nothing. It’s the best way to ensure votes for the next election cycle.
It is also a form of strengthening the welfare state that is my country. Where I live, the “Romney 47%” isn’t made up of poor, unemployed minorities and the “socio-economically disadvantaged.” Our “47%” actually have well-paying jobs, nice homes, new cars, iPhones, kids in private school, etc. And it’s my tax dollars that pay for it. It's a whole new twist on the American Dream.