1/13/2012

One more reason why Obama should have been in the private sector

I have worked in the federal government, and this statement by Obama is absurd.

you won't meet harder working folks than some of the folks in these federal agencies.


Now I am sure that Obama feels that he has an out by saying the word "some." Is he saying that there might be 4 or a few more workers there who are as hard working as any others that you would meet? But that is not how most people will take this. There is no way that a private company would last very long with the work ethic in government. Virtually no one else worked on evenings and weekends. There were people who would seem to do about one week's worth of work a year. I was at the US Sentencing Commission. One person I knew had the task of forecasting prison populations. I suppose that the first year he did it the task may have taken a few months, but when he updated the program each year it basically involved adding one more line of data, rerunning the regression, and changing some numbers from the previous report. It is hard to see how all this could have taken more than a week, but the rest of the year he would disappear into his office. Unfortunately, there were many other similar examples.

All that said, Milton Friedman used to say that we should be thankful that we never got the government that we paid for. Could you imagine how much more intrusive the government would be in our lives if people actually worked as hard as Obama claims?

Add this to Obama not understanding issues such as the role that profits play in motivating work. The full quote is here:

"So much has happened and yet the government we have today is largely the government we had back then. And we deserve better. Go talk to the skilled professionals in government serving their country. And by the way, you won't meet harder working folks than some of the folks in these federal agencies. They devote countless hours to trying to make sure that they're serving the American people, but they will tell you their efforts are constantly undermined by an outdated bureaucratic maze."

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