Sunday, October 28, 2012

Government Ineffectiveness

"Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." ~ President Ronald Reagan first Inaugural address on January 20, 1981

I am a big fan of government focusing its areas of responsibility such as interstate commerce infrastructure, defense and foreign policy.  I am skeptical when the government decides to "invest" in other areas.

First government doesn't seem to excel in its own areas of expertise or responsibility.   For example, the article Some federal agencies delinquent on payroll taxes reports 70 agencies had 126 delinquent accounts that owed $14 million.  Also 18 agencies were behind in filing 39 employment tax returns.  I would think the government should be able to get 100% compliance for its own tax rules from its own agencies. :-)

Second, I have personal, although short term, experience working in government.   Let me just say that I was completely unimpressed. 

  • Census bureau.  My first, and probably last, employment with the Federal Government was for the 2010 census.  If private industry had 10 years to develop and execute a plan among no external competition, it probably would be near perfect.  Systems would be functioning, processes would be verified, and equipment would have been demonstrated and confirmed as capable of doing the job.

    Needless to say, I was very disappointed that 2010 census work was not of this caliber, not even close.  The handheld computers did not function and the canvasser returned to interview sheets, which were validated by clerical staff and scanned into a computer data base.  A tremendous amount of effort was spent on  reviewing submitted questionnaire, counting and sorting questionnaires, and returning surveys to the field for completion.

    Given this was the 22nd census, one would think that 10 years of preparation would be enough to make it perfect. 

  • County job.  In 2010, I also worked at  seasonal part time job for the county government.  Having been a manager before retiring, I thought our organization was managed very poorly. 

    I also learned about the retirement pensions that were based on years of the service and the highest three annual salary.   I realized that I could work 27 years as a seasonal part time employee, work my final three years at $150,000, and receive a pension based on $150,000 despite having worked most of the 30 yeas for far less.

    It's no wonder some municipalities won't be able to fund retirement pensions, especially since retiring employees will try to get extra hours at overtime rates to boost their highest three year  base.
  • Based on my experience, I wouldn't want the government interventions planned for health care.  My health insurance premiums have already risen a cumulative 36.9%.  The next surprise will probably be worse service :-(

    For more on  Reflections and Musings, check back every Saturday  for a new segment.

    This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2012 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

    1 comment:

    Financial Independence said...

    With the county jobs, the only reason why they keep paying the highest 3 yrs or highest salary is to attract more staff. There is not many opportunities to do it, unless deliberately manipulated.

    This practice - basing ones pension on the 3 highest years (typically last years)are normal in western europe - not only in public service but in private companies (with the final salary pension scheme). This is going away fast. There is a different life for new generation...