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Friday Feedback: TSA, IRS threats and federal salaries

By Ed O'Keefe

A sampling of some of the comments from this week's most popular Federal Eye items. The thoughts expressed below do not represent the views of The Federal Eye or The Washington Post:

Regarding President Obama's nomination of Ret. Army Maj. Robert A. Harding to serve as head of the Transportation Security Administration...

Hey I know who this guy is, and I approve of him as a choice completely. He's a good guy, and he appreciates freedom, and I am certain of this. So I trust him to act in this role for as long as he can stand it to protect us. Most of you have no clue who he is... Contempt prior to investigation does not serve you well. -- Nymous
Do we really need another military officer running a civilian agency? Labor issues are important but I don't see this is as a critical issue. The critical issue is balancing privacy against intrusiveness without being silly. For example, do we really need to take off our shoes and belts? We build nuclear bombs and we can't detect what's in a belt by a machine? If examining shoes is so important why do so few other countries do it unless you're flying to the US? What's the new guy's position on these issues? -- interactingdc
Does he know anything about airlines and general aviation? And what are his ideas about TSA employees vs. airport employees / contractors when it comes to airport security? -- gmclain

Regarding concerns about the perception of federal workers...

Take this from a Libertarian. It's not personal. Many of us try to have as little contact with government as possible. We don't like all the rules government workers enforce. We have nothing against government workers. We just wish there were a lot fewer of you and a lot fewer rules. -- jfv123
When I first started working for the government, JFK made us proud of being public servants. I'm not sure when the skapegoating of the federal workforce began, but for at least the last 35-40 years politicians have blamed "the government" as the cause of the nation's ills. I'm retired now but remember the majority of my federal colleagues as hard-working, dedicated people--the opposite of the stereotype that exists within the public-at-large. Unfortunately, it's so much easier to scapegoat the "government" than to develop workable solutions to complex problems. -- indvoter37
The only way to improve perception of govt is to get serious about getting rid of deadwood. Each agency needs to get serious about this and be able to say that "we had xxx employess in 2010 and accomplished our mission but in 2011 we cut our employees to yyy and still accomplished our mission. Reductions/RIF are going to happen - agencies who get out ahead of it will survive. Those who keep their head in the sand will suffer - deservedly so. -- ered1
I work in private industry. My dad worked in the government. I can assure you that the things "the public" complains about regarding the government are also rampant in private industry. The government and its workers! They are no better or worse than the general population. -- didnik

Regarding a defense of federal salaries from Office of Management and Budget Director Peter R. Orszag...

I thank Peter Orszag for taking up for us. Also, why should we suffer because Obama decided to give away a trillion dollars of our tax money to banks and other commercial businesses? -- karenkealey
If the federal government pays so well, how come it can't get or keep any IT people with knowledge of IT? -- bigbrother1
The first group of people who need to have their salaries frozen, no REDUCED, are the bloody useless members of Congress, especially those who served too long. I have known several fed employees who earn their keep. Of course, there are always bad apples. -- uthaithani

Regarding the continued threats against IRS workers...

IRS-bashers always seem to lack one crucial piece of information: The IRS does not make tax policy. Congress determines what tax brackets will be, what will be taxed, the associated ceilings and exemptions, etc. The IRS issues rules but its main function is to enforce the taxation measures PASSED BY CONGRESS. If you believe you're being taxed unfairly, you should complain to your member of Congress. Threatening federal employees is disgusting and a sign of profound ignorance of your country's government. -- econgrrl
I worked for the IRS for a few years and even as attorneys, we received some training on dealing with threats. Stuff like being sure not to surprise people, not leaving things like staplers in conference rooms where they could be used as weapons by angry people, knowing how to report threats, recognize bombs, etc. You know, others already have said it but Congress makes the tax laws. Government employees just enforce them. The fact that we do our jobs allows you to enjoy at least the semblance of clean air and water, occupational safety and health, safe skies, a national defense (yes, our costly military campaigns, international presence, and bloated defense contracts are all funded with tax dollars), food and drugs that are generally not poisonous, and more. Let us do our jobs. -- kgirl2
So, now it's illegal to say anything bad about the IRS, or to IRS employees? Sounds like another encroachment on free speech in defense of the overweening, overbearing, incompetent government. Threats are one thing; voicing support for what happened in Austin, while being perhaps in poor taste, is another. Time to do away with the IRS all together, and repeal the 16th Amendment. -- srpinpgh

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

By Ed O'Keefe  | March 12, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
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Next: OPM's Berry blasts Washington Times editorial on federal pay


The IRS cleans the air? Amazing.

Posted by: member5 | March 12, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Why did you reprint srpinpgh's threat?

You both should be investigated!

Posted by: corrections | March 12, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

And the more threats the IRS is given, the more people will be put in jail for it

Pay your taxes and stop crying

Posted by: Bious | March 14, 2010 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Re Indvoter37's comment: "When I first started working for the government, JFK made us proud of being public servants. I'm not sure when the skapegoating of the federal workforce began, but for at least the last 35-40 years politicians have blamed "the government" as the cause of the nation's ills."
I'm pretty sure the bashing started in the early 80s. How do I know this? Because I worked for DOI at that time and felt so demeaned and besmirched by public criticism that we were all lazy freeloaders that I left my decent federal job to go to private industry. That's the year Carter said we wouldn't get any raises and people praised that. I worked hard and so did my coworkers. Yet anytime I told someone I worked for the Gov't, I was smirked at and ridiculed. I'm not sure what lead us to that point, but I can pinpoint it. I left the Fed in 1984. Today I work for the Fed again -- and work hard. I dare anyone to come to my office and claim we're a bunch of freeloaders.

Posted by: sassyter8426 | March 15, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

The IRS is your friend.

Posted by: jiji1 | March 15, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

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