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Readers Debate Value of Government Workers

Alec MacGillis touched raw nerves in our Readers Who Comment this morning with his report noting that the success of the federal stimulus package now rests in the hands of government workers.

Horrors, say some of our readers. Wait a minute, say many others, some of whom are obviously government workers.

Many of our Readers are hopeful -- because the economy needs hope as well as a program. Many others are ideologically opposed to the suggestion the government can provide the answer, which raises the question of how well the private sector has done. There is concern about waste, fraud and abuse going forward; blame for the previous administration, and predictions of both success and failure for the new one.

In years of covering government at all levels, I met many competent and hard-working workers, and some who were neither. I have had excellent experiences with well-run lines at the DMV, and disastrous ones. I suspect the average American's opinions on this subject are directly related to his or her most recent encounter with the bureaucracy.

We'll start with edhenson, who wrote, "The challenge for all levels of govt... is to insure that the stimulus dollars translate into jobs. As the president said he is going to call you out if the money is wasted... there will be a need to watch out for the tricksters, scam artists, quick buck operators and the usual suspects ready to rip off the taxpayers..."

And cpnorton1 added, "Let's hope this doesn't turn into a 'no doc' stimulus package. The urge for speed resulted in the mortgage mess... If there is no paperwork this will not only be the biggest spending bill ever it will also be the biggest waste."

markeclark said, "Good deal. Let's start moving forward, instead of standing still or falling behind. I really can't believe some of these GOP governors who are posturing on the stimulus package. Their selfish, partisan behavior is going to cost them big-time in the '10 midterm..."

PaulShultz1 suggested that "Headline should be: 'Washington Post Buys Into White House Press Releases.' "

But jbleenyc wrote, "Thanks for this article. It helped me to understand how the stimulus plan is supposed to work. It is vast and daunting, yet can be a real booster, if as you say, it is handled properly..."

Spitfires asked, "...Why don't we just combine the DMV and the SSA offices? That way must retirees would never make it to the counter to claim their benefits. Talk about cost savings! More government; a luxury in a time of depleted treasure. How utterly progressive."

charlietuna6661 wrote, "let's face it......government workers are people who couldn't make it in the real world and take joy in sucking off the people who actually make the money in this country."

But peck3 said, "No, CharlieTuna6661...your argument is phony... The financial folks of the private sector did a royally great job of screwing up this economy, along with the 2-term fool in the White House who borrowed the money on a phony war and squandered so much of our national human treasure on it. Those two factors are the big reason we are in the mess we are in..."

jeffybear wrote, "Mr. President, Thank You for coming up with a plan and seeing it thru"

But FraudObama said, "Barry didn't come up with a thing. He delegated to Pelosi and the other Socialists in the House. They loaded up the spending lard. Nobody read it including Barry and then shoved it through Congress. Thanks Barry for what? Being an empty suit Marxist?..."

losthorizon10 offered that "...It's so nice to see that we have an adult back in charge who is committed to helping America, instead of making a political argument. And it's a strange thing, but why are so many wingnuts who depend on state and federal benefits so hostile to the government?..."

chuchu1248 suggested, "Dear President Obama and Secretary Geithner, If you want to fix the banks and the economy, first fix the real estate market. Once that happens the banks will fix themselves..."

EarlC wrote, "...People need to know that American citizens serve as public servants. These civil servants have faces, emotions, intelligence, and so forth. For eight years, the Bush administration brought disrespect and incompetence in their direction. When people are given appropriate incentives and encouragement to do their best, it is amazing what they can do..."

DeanOR said, "What a setup! Republicans spend decades gutting federal agencies, and now the pundits say they are to be "tested" by their ability to magically administer new programs overnight that would require hiring and training new staff and developing new procedures. Conclusion: government doesn't work."

mibrooks27 wrote, "...Public employees receive 2 times the wages of their private sector counterparts and benefits that are flat out obscene... we would be a lot better off with few public sector employees. The shining I want to see is them shining it on as the door hits them on the way out."

To which FairlingtonBlade replied, "I wish I had the job that mibrooks27 thinks I had. Public sector wages tend to lag private sector equivalents... As a scientist in the public sector, I was performing some great good. As a government scientist, I'm a leech..."

We'll close with millerroberta, who wrote, "Government workers aren't responsible for outcomes, they are only responsible for process. Outcomes are the responsibility of those who decide what the objectives are. That is usually the President or Congress..."

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  February 23, 2009; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  Economy Watch , Federal Employees , Stimulus  | Tags: Economy Watch, Federal Employees, Stimulus  
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Next: Readers Dissect Obama Speech, Applause


...look folks if you can't trust the government to run itself well then you can't trust the government to do anything well for you.

You've got a process and the process works in a specific way. Either accept that and work with the process or move to Afghanistan and let the Taliban handle things for you.

Posted by: dubya19391 | February 23, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

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