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  • Charging Fed Employees for Tenure Benefits a Better Way to Close Deficit

    President Barack Obama wants to extend the temporary payroll tax cut into 2012, and congressional Democrats and Republicans agree. They disagree over how to pay for it.

    Democrats propose raising taxes on the financially successful. This would discourage potential entrepreneurs from starting new enterprises—not the best idea when job creation remains stuck near record lows. Republicans propose reducing the federal workforce by 10 percent and extending the President’s federal pay freeze for another three years.

    The GOP approach has many merits. Unlike tax increases, less government spending does not discourage job creation. It also recognizes the reality that the recession has largely bypassed the federal government. Since the recession began, the federal bureaucracy has swelled over 10 percent, while the average federal employee earns more than he or she would in the private sector.

    However, this approach also has its problems. It paints with too broad a brush. The average federal employee gets premium pay—but this is an average. Some federal employees enjoy even more inflated pay, while others actually earn less than they would in the private sector. The government typically underpays its most productive and skilled workers. A pay freeze indiscriminately lumps underpaid workers in with overpaid bureaucrats.

    Congress should consider a different approach. Virtually all federal employees get better benefits from the government they would in private industry. One benefit is almost entirely unique to the government: guaranteed job security.

    Civil service regulations kick in once a federal employee passes a one-year probationary period. At that point it becomes incredibly difficult to fire the worker—the process can easily take years. Federal managers rarely fire anyone for poor performance. In many agencies, a federal employees is more likely to die on the job than get laid off.

    This job security is very valuable, but taxpayers give it away for free. Rather than freezing pay, Congress should make federal employees who want tenure pay for it. Congress should give federal employees who pass their probationary year a choice: They can continue as at-will employees whose managers can easily remove them for poor performance, or they can buy job security through payroll deductions. The Heritage Foundation outlined the details of such a system in an earlier report.

    This approach avoids the pitfalls of an across-the-board freeze. No federal employee would be forced to take a pay cut. The most skilled and productive federal employees would almost certainly decide not to buy tenure—they do not fear being accountable for their performance. Ineffective employees, however, would buy tenure in droves. They know they would lose their jobs if the government held them accountable for performance.

    Charging for tenure cuts spending without penalizing all federal employees. Congress can pay for the payroll tax cut by scaling back the federal governments’ excessive employee benefits.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    15 Responses to Charging Fed Employees for Tenure Benefits a Better Way to Close Deficit

    1. Bobbie says:

      what's the sense of such high pay if these criminals I mean feds don't have to stand accountable? criminals are also people that make money they don't earn off the backs of people they don't respect. scum fights for more.

      Most degrees working for government have no merit with graduation to narrow mindsets. stop the target on Americans. The administration that recklessly appoints controversial, unproved appointees, refuses all logical advice, ignores necessary actions, distorts truths, informs little, misleads lots, deceives the public, promotes itself over anyone else etc., has to be held accountable with justice served to the people. What's wrong with reforming the federal government? Charging federal employees for tenure benefits is a necessary discipline to start it out.

    2. Daver says:

      Tenure needs to be done away with entirely! Where does that concept even exist in the private sector? It doesn't! Everyone's employment should be at will!

      One of the other concepts many private employers have embraced is the elimination of employees in the bottom 10%–this policy if enacted at the Federal level could quickly re-stabilize the federal employment level. Then we need to see about returning the Fed to the 2000 levels that were equated with a balanced Fed budget.

      The population has barely increased since then–so why would we need more federal employees?

      • KSC says:

        You have read my mind! The people making these decisions need to look in the mirror and start there before they even THINK about this! If they were paid and rated on THEIR performance, the majority of them would be out on the streets looking for a job along with everyone else. They are so high and mighty to suggest that they take from the government employees when THEY themselves are at the base of all of the country's economic problems. They can't balance a budget, they can't stop fighting with each other long enought to consider what is at stake here. And why is that? Because they have plenty of money and don't worry about where their meal ticket is coming from. They really should be serving voluntarily. No kickbacks, no bribes etc. Then they wouldn't be beholden to the lobbyists and those corporations who could pad their pockets. Then they just might be able to get it together to get America back on track where it should be.

    3. EER says:

      Does this also apply to our congressional leaders? I could name a few that I would love to fire. My suggestion is to let each state pay their representatives from their budgets, and any pay raises they get be determined by each states legislature. This would prevent our representatives from setting their own pay and future pay raises. This would also include the states sharing the cost of their health benefits, subsitance pay for maintaining two households and how much they would want to pay for any leave or sick leave in their contracts. In addition, if they wanted aids, then they should have to pay them out of their own pockets. If you want to go even further, then we should go back a few hundred years where our representatives were voluntary and all expenses were payed out of their own pockets. That would certainly reduce govenment as a whole.

    4. NeoConVet says:

      A logical idea to be implenmented into an enviroment where sound logic is suppressed! Can any of us realistically imagine this being implemented after the falderall blabering of the Unionist and Leftist Champions of Bigger Gov't??

    5. Lee Burns says:

      Why and when has the philosphy of "salary cuts" become so untenable? I cannot imagine any employee would rather lose their job than take a pay cut.

      Additionally, the present policy of cutting the "payroll tax" and continuing to extend unemployment benefits is rapidly becoming nothing more than welfare. There must certainly be a better way than to continue these short-sighted policies that produce no solutions to jobless problems.

    6. C.A.M. says:

      "The most skilled and productive federal employees would almost certainly decide not to buy tenure…" This is not correct. The most skilled and productive federal employees usually have to fight upper managment which in some cases are the unproductive employees. This will force all federal employees whether good or bad to be subjected to an additional tax simply because of who their employer is. No other company has such a tax. This is a discriminatory tax and nothing else.

    7. John Smithwick says:

      The civilian Federal workforce should be highly skilled, well paid and very small. Through "Affirmative Action," the Democrats want to keep it as another jobs program for the incompetent nitwits. This "Affirmative Action" has been the worst thing that ever happened to the hardworking American taxpayer.

    8. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      This idea should be well-received by the most pro-choice President in history.

    9. RennyG says:

      It is really hard to complain about waste an inefficiencies in the government especially when you can't do anything about it. Vote, you gotta be kidding!! "I PRAY!!"

    10. Tony says:

      This approach is tantamount to extortion. You can keep your job if you pay extra for it. What Mafia-types come up with this garbage? Why not just introduce sensible ratings systems and when times come (they always do) use performance metrics as the basis for reductions. No employer (even the government) should have to put up with low/poor/bad/non performers. They give the quality performers a bad name and threaten efficiencies throughout.
      I do agree that many pay tables are out of whack. Fixing that would help, but fixing it correctly (and without introducing/reintroducing a crony system) will take work. Fixing the system without political interference would probably be impossible and would doom any efforts.
      Why not just run a contest to see who can come up with the most bizarre solution? That seems to be what a lot of people (especially this organization) want. You can even offer prizes, maybe even a federal job with tenure.

    11. Darrell Adams says:

      I do not know how Mr Sherk can say that the recession has by-passed the federal government. Federal employees were the first to have their pay froze, we still pay higher gas prices, higher food bills, higher electric bills, can’t sell our houses because of the bubble created by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae forcing banks to give loans to people who could not afford to pay the mortgages. I don’t who people are mainly thinking about when criticizing Federal employees maybe it is just the large federal group of employees in Washington but there are many Federal Employees that work their butts off to keep supporting the efforts of our troops fighting the war on terror and I know people that perform my job in the private sector that make a whole lot more than I did when I first starting working for a Military repair depot. We continuously strive to repair military aircraft for the fleet to have the best fighting equipment in the world. We constantly are seeking improvements to cut cost. I have fortunately survived three rounds of base closures that sure did not make me feel that my job was secure. I saw many friends lose their jobs during those base realignments they sure did not feel secure.

    12. Darrell Adams says:

      Leave the federal employees pay alone and scrap this stupid idea by Mr. Sherk. I bet he is very highly overpaid and can only come up with attacks on employees to save government money please. How about stopping Congress from earning a retirement after one 4 year or two year term. How about reducing foreign aid to countries that don’t even like us. Some of the stupid alphabet soups out there EPA, Education administration, all the CZARS, all of the other positions created by Obama.

    13. Keyman Insurance says:

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      Keyman Insurance

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