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View Poll Results: Are or were you or your spouse government workers?
I or my spouse are or were government workers. 80 56.34%
Neither I nor my spouse are or were government workers. 62 43.66%
Voters: 142. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-23-2010, 07:03 PM   #21
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Voted no, but I have doing work for a state agency under consultant contracts for the last 27 years, so its like a I'm a gov't employee - just without the gov't employee perks
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Old 10-23-2010, 07:05 PM   #22
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55% "yes" right now. I'm pretty sure less than 55% of the general population could answer "yes" here.

Not surprising that an early retirement board is disproportionately comprised of people who have jobs that are more likely to enable it, is it?
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Old 10-23-2010, 07:11 PM   #23
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I know people love to rag on the government (which, by the way they vote for, so I wonder what that says for democracy ), but I think it's somewhat unfair to characterize the government as 'inefficient'. Our government has operated without pause since the nation's founding, even during civil war. Despite severe economic dislocation at times, the US has never devolved into anarchy, unlike many other countries.

Especially when compared to the private sector--where over 90% of businesses fail, I think the 'government' comes out looking pretty good.


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I voted No, both for myself and my wife, although we have worked for some megacorps that operate so inefficiently like the gummint that we wondered if we shouldn't just join it.

Nope, that would not work. We would have quitted the jobs early and forfeited all the beenies, just like we left megacorps.
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Old 10-23-2010, 07:13 PM   #24
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Especially when compared to the private sector--where over 90% of businesses fail, I think the 'government' comes out looking pretty good.
I don't want to get into an ideological debate here, but come on. Government can raise taxes more easily than the private sector can raise prices in a competitive environment if they have budget/income problems, and the federal government can print money to meet obligations. This statement, if I may say so, is a non-starter.

I say this not to bash the public sector, but to point out the obvious reasons why government employment is of a different nature than private sector employment. Your statement, with all due respect, is silly.

Government has an unlimited power to tax (though it would be stupid to tax beyond the point the economy can grow). Businesses don't have an unlimited power to raise prices or slash wages (given the minimum wage and competition).
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Old 10-23-2010, 07:14 PM   #25
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Eh? Private corporations do not levy taxes, nor print money!

Some of them issue the equivalent, which is called stock, but that only lasts so long.
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Old 10-23-2010, 07:17 PM   #26
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"Quasi-governmental." But this will likely be 20% or less of my total craeer, so I suppose I should vote no.
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Old 10-23-2010, 07:19 PM   #27
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I just took a break from working on a job application for a nice cushy government job. Said job would come with a 33% pay raise, not to mention the extensive increase in benefits. And I've had a couple interviews for other government jobs lately, but I won't hear back from them for at least another month. Follow up interview for one is in 2 weeks (wheels turn slowly).

No plan on getting a pension out of any of these jobs since I won't be putting in the necessary # years service.
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Old 10-23-2010, 07:22 PM   #28
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I don't want to get into an ideological debate here, but come on. Government can raise taxes more easily than the private sector can raise prices in a competitive environment if they have budget/income problems. This statement, if I may say so, is a non-starter.

I say this not to bash the public sector, but to point out the obvious reasons why government employment is of a different nature than private sector employment. Your statement, with all due respect, is silly.

Government has an unlimited power to tax. Businesses don't have an unlimited power to raise prices or slash wages (given the minimum wage).
Sure gov/private sector employment is of a different nature. That's the whole point. I made this comparison because people who complain about the government often point to the private sector as something the government should emulate. It's often their next statement in fact. But government has different concerns and priorities than the private sector.

And don't kid yourself--inefficient governments can and do fail. Look at the world. Our government, for all its supposed faults, is not inefficient.
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Old 10-23-2010, 07:24 PM   #29
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.. though I often become a tad whimsical when I consider I could've retired with full pension at 38 had I stayed in-
I hear you. I often pondering on this issue as well.
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Old 10-23-2010, 07:28 PM   #30
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I just took a break from working on a job application for a nice cushy government job. Said job would come with a 33% pay raise, not to mention the extensive increase in benefits.
Heh heh heh... If you can't beat them, why not join them...

Sorry if I offend any civil worker here. The reason I think most government agencies, not just here in the US but throughout the world, throughout history, tend to be less efficient than private corporations is simply due to the intrinsic difference between the entities. It's just human nature that when you feel you are secure, that you can slow down a bit, you will.

Similarly, big megacorp workers do not work nearly as hard as small startup company workers. I know plenty because I speak from experience. There is nothing like hunger that sharpens the mind and quickens the muscles, I tell you.

PS. I only talk in the general sense. There are plenty of hard workers in the public sector and go-getters at megacorps. So, sorry if I offend anyone. I only talk about the "average" worker.
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Old 10-23-2010, 07:29 PM   #31
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not quite sure what you're driving at with this poll, but I faithfully responded. Seems to me it would be more instructive had you differentiated b/w fed, state and municipal.
Thank you for your suggestion.

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Especially when compared to the private sector--where over 90% of businesses fail, I think the 'government' comes out looking pretty good.
Yes, an insightful comparison.
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Old 10-23-2010, 07:37 PM   #32
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Heh heh heh... If you can't beat them, why not join them...
I'm just following the money! The market keeps sending me price signals and I'm responding.
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Old 10-23-2010, 07:38 PM   #33
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Sure gov/private sector employment is of a different nature. That's the whole point.
Is that always true? Sure, for cops, for firemen, for teachers, for the military, it's true. There ARE no realistic private sector equivalents. These are also (with the possible exception of teachers) things the private sector really can't practically do. And things that are, in the case of public safety officers, quite dangerous and lend themselves to burnout by (say) age 50-55.

But filing clerks? Clerical managers? Accountants? Medical assistants? Electricians, mechanics, janitors? These ALL have obvious and (usually) comparable private sector counterparts. I see no reason why these positions should have their comparable compensation NOT pegged to, and the same as, the private sector. But we're starting to digress here, so I'd prefer to leave it here and stick to the poll question.
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Old 10-23-2010, 07:40 PM   #34
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I saw this story today - it covers many of the recent comments is some threads recently
- Gov't pensions
- Size of gov't
- Over reliance on taxing the producers
- others

“The Battle for the Future” on FBN This Weekend ę John Stossel
"The Battle for the Future" on FBN This Weekend

My latest one-hour special, "The Battle for the Future," will be airing on the Fox Business Network this weekend, starting tonight at 9pm ET. (Right before the rebroadcast of this week's "Stossel" on Election Myths at 10pm ET.)
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Old 10-23-2010, 07:45 PM   #35
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If someone wants to play with numbers; they can be found here.

ARCHIVED -- Government Employment & Payroll – Historical Data 2008
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Old 10-23-2010, 07:46 PM   #36
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^^ wouldn't want to miss the show.
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Old 10-23-2010, 08:31 PM   #37
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Is that always true? Sure, for cops, for firemen, for teachers, for the military, it's true. There ARE no realistic private sector equivalents. These are also (with the possible exception of teachers) things the private sector really can't practically do. And things that are, in the case of public safety officers, quite dangerous and lend themselves to burnout by (say) age 50-55.

But filing clerks? Clerical managers? Accountants? Medical assistants? Electricians, mechanics, janitors? These ALL have obvious and (usually) comparable private sector counterparts. I see no reason why these positions should have their comparable compensation NOT pegged to, and the same as, the private sector. But we're starting to digress here, so I'd prefer to leave it here and stick to the poll question.
US private prep schools are overall better than public schools, and cost less. The entire parochial school system operates much more cheaply than public schools, and they maintain order and teach their pupils something. And, the student body is now quite diverse- in many cities very poor people are attending parocial schools on vouchers. True that the public schools take on the struggle with their hands tied behind their backs. Mass schooling in todays' world is about as effective as the war on drugs, and a for similar reasons we should just call a truce and give up both of thiese expensive and futile efforts.

War fighting- not much airforce I agree, but ex spec ops guys are "consulting" all over the world, and overall with less political interference and enough effectiveness that their contracts get renewed regularly. Plus the guys are a cash and carry expense- no long tails of 50 years of expensive retirement and health care to fund.

Much of the government could not only be duplicated by private business, it could be completely or substantially replaced more efficiently and cheaply.

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Old 10-23-2010, 09:12 PM   #38
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Much of the government could not only be duplicated by private business, it could be completely or substantially replaced more efficiently and cheaply.
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This is simply a fallacy, which is why no modern, industrialized nation on earth operates this way (thankfully). And the biggest source of fraud and expense faced by the taxpayer are precisely these contractors to whom you would hand over so much. Corporations do not act in the public interest. The government and private sectors should remain separate and well-defined. Otherwise Wall Street will continue to run amok. (It's doing that already, but only because of the blurring of the lines which has occurred over much of the last 30 years).
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Old 10-23-2010, 09:16 PM   #39
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This is simply a fallacy, which is why no modern, industrialized nation on earth operates this way (thankfully). And the biggest source of fraud and expense faced by the taxpayer are precisely these contractors to whom you would hand over so much. Corporations do not act in the public interest. The government and private sectors should remain separate and well-defined. Otherwise Wall Street will continue to run amok.
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Old 10-23-2010, 10:07 PM   #40
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This is simply a fallacy, which is why no modern, industrialized nation on earth operates this way (thankfully). And the biggest source of fraud and expense faced by the taxpayer are precisely these contractors to whom you would hand over so much. Corporations do not act in the public interest. The government and private sectors should remain separate and well-defined. Otherwise Wall Street will continue to run amok. (It's doing that already, but only because of the blurring of the lines which has occurred over much of the last 30 years).
Actually, it is not a fallacy, it is merely a political philosophy different from your political philosophy. You may even notice that mine is closer to the principles of minimal government upon which our country was founded.

I think that your separation idea, while excellent, is a horse that has already left the barn. Consider the revolving door. Government and Wall Street are co-dependents, with government as the great enabler. This is because there is no monolithic government, only a collection of individuals and groups with their own agendas and attitudes. Unfortunately for the public but not for the public servants, those agendas include cushy jobs after leaving government, campaign contributions, jobs for their girlfriends, sons and daughters and spouses, etc.

Check into campaign contributions from Wall Street. Do you suppose this is because they want better, more impartial government? Or letís look at federal industrial policy. Prop up dying but heavily unionized industries and companies like GM, subsidize the same and also politically favored green industries, send federal taxpayer funds to hire heavily Democrat voting and heavily unionized teachers, pay off the insurance companies and drug companies with a ridiculous farce of health reform ( not that we don't need true health reform, this just doesn't happen to be it.) All the while government officials ignore glaring and potentially very powerful infrastructure investment opportunities.

And if you really think that the biggest source of expense faced by the taxpayer is contractors, you need a little more study. This information is publically available. If this is mere rhetoric, I understand.

Corporate fraud? Sure, but hard to match what the government itself has done and is doing. I doubt that many corporations can gerrymander so that their customers really have no choice. And, anytime the government wants to, it has the power to stop a great deal of this. They don't want to, because "the government" is made up of agents whose real motivations are complex, and only rarely coincide with those described in 8th grade civics books. All politicians, staffers, "public servants" etc. have their own fish to fry.

I completely agree that corporations do not act in the public interest, and I favor some regulation to keep this controlled. But the government? The only way that their actions are in the public interest is when all government actions are defined as "in the public interest".

Corporations lie, governments lie. Corporations do at least generate wealth. Governments at very best help maintain conditions for continued wealth generation, but more realistically and more often dissipate wealth.

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