He-Men Budget Cutters

Now that they’ve taken back the House Republicans are in full chest-thumping mode. Rand Paul and Jim DeMint bragged to ABC’s Christiane Amanpour that they were going to take an axe to budget bloat and cut excess government spending. But when Amanpour tried to pin them down to specific cuts, the he-men wimped out.

AMANPOUR: Give me one specific cut, Senator-elect.

PAUL: All across the board.

AMANPOUR: One significant one. No, but you can’t just keep saying all across the board.

PAUL: Well, no, I can, because I’m going to look at every program, every program. But I would freeze federal hiring. I would maybe reduce federal employees by 10 percent. I’d probably reduce their wages by 10 percent. The average federal employee makes $120,000 a year. The average private employee makes $60,000 a year. Let’s get them more in line, and let’s find savings. Let’s hire no new federal workers.

I checked on the claim about federal versus private sector salaries:

The August report does not compare the salaries of people working in specific federal jobs to similar positions in the private sector. The BEA [Bureau of Economic Analysis, an agency within the U.S. Department of Labor] notes that its private-sector data includes employees of all professions. That means everything from minimum-wage jobs to the salaries of chief executive officers. Federal employees typically work in professional occupations that pay more, such as accountants, attorneys and economists, according to Congressional Budget Office research.

The BEA also noted in recent years that the federal government is hiring more highly skilled workers who tend to make more money. Many of the lower-paid positions, the BEA found, have been contracted out to the private sector.

I’m sure it’s easy to imagine that drastic cuts to federal bureaucracies will be oh, so easy when you have no idea what they do and no personal experience working within a large organization, public or private, to provide a service or put product on store shelves.

14 thoughts on “He-Men Budget Cutters

  1. Your last paragraph brought to my mind this wonderful saying from Dwight D Eisenhower.

    Farming is easy when your plow is a pencil and the farm is a thousand miles away.

  2. I’m sure it will help the morale on the front line to know that all the troops are getting a 10% pay cut thanks to Rand Paul. Or doesn’t that part of the federal budget count? God for bid he cut Blackwater’s contracts by 10%

    Let’s not forget those overpaid FBI and CIA employees. Good way to reward fighting the terrorists, guys they should have gone to work for Blackwater if they wanted to make money. I could go on, but I’ll just ask how his staff is going to like it making 10% less than their Democratric counterparts?

  3. You have to take a longer view. Early next year, the House GOP needs to raise the debt ceiling so the federal government can borrow more money. *sigh* This isn’t good news but it’s unavoidable. The GOP majority intends to hold the government hostage – force a shutdown if the administration won’t walk on the leash they hold. Part of the hostage negotiations will include ‘defunding’ health care – or the part that’s gearing up. This may be the biggest confrontation to come along since Kennedy squared off with Moscow about nukes in Cuba. Neither side can be perceived as backing down and once the lines are drawn – there won’t be room for compromise.

    I’m not going off topic. The interview with Paul exposes the strategy – which is NOT to specify what they will cut. This HAS to be where the administration will (or won’t) make their case. ‘Cut somebody’s pay’ -‘make some agencies smaller’ – ‘we want 10% cuts’ is NOT a plan. You might get elected on it – but it’s NOT governance. Obama HAS to demand the GOP come up with a specific plan – with numbers and specify WHAT programs/agencies they would cut. The new House leadership wants Obama to decide – and no matter what he does, it will be wrong – and it will be Obama’s fault.

    This will be massive brinksmanship with the fate of the 2012 election riding on the *perception* of whose fault it is if government shuts down.

    Worth Reading – David Frume –

  4. Also, Air Traffic Controllers are Feds. Let’s cut them so no airplanes can get off the ground. Also, we have the NTSB employees who inspect the airplane crashes to find the cause. I worked for the Federal Government for 31 years; and, I was a low level employee at the GS-7 level–also known as support staff. But, Repugs always pick on the Federal staff. Most of the people in the Social Security Administration who handle the processing of the SS checks are rarely above a GS-9, which will probably make them “fair game” for the Repugs. I am glad that I am retired so that I don’t have to deal with the assholes that are going to be in charge.

  5. I’m glad Rand is willing to cut our 3 billion dollar a year military aid to Israel. Every little bit helps.

  6. The average federal employee makes $120,000 a year. The average private employee makes $60,000 a year.

    To paraphrase Will Rogers, it ain’t what they don’t know that gives us trouble, it’s what they know that ain’t so.

    Paul and his conservative friends have a wealth of such “facts” ready to hand and they flip them out at opportune moments. It’s too bad they never stop to actually research what’s behind them, or pause to consider if they make sense. It’s the truthiness of this “facts” that matters, not the truth. Not that calling them on it does any good. They just pretend it doesn’t matter, change the subject and then go back to using the same “fact” later.

  7. Here is a website that shows Federal Government pay:


    The steps in a pay grade refer to the length of time an employee works in that pay grade. No government worker gets a bonus of millions of dollars as we have seen in the private jobs such as bankers, CEO’s, etc.

  8. One fine day Rand and Demint will wake up to find that They ARE the federal government, and the peasants have pitch forks and torches
    “there are two types of people in the world, Mr. Kotter; us and them.I’m begining to think you’re one of them.(Juan Epstein, character in “Welcome Back Kotter)

    “farming is easy when your plow is a pencil, and the farm is a thousand miles away”
    Great quote, Swami. Our Republican brothers love to think in the abstract; but in the phisical world, actions cause reactions, and a bit of “war games” is always a good idea before you leave the diving board.

    As for cutting aid to Israel, he’ll cut off his pecker with a dull knife before that happens…….

  9. I’m starting to think that there are two types of sociopaths in America.
    The first are very smart, risk-taking types. The second are moronic, risk-averse dullards.
    The smart ones become serial killers. The second become politicians.
    The smart ones eventually get caught because the police, who, for the most part are bright and competent (at least those on serial killer task forces are), catch on and nab them. The are stopped before they can kill again!
    The second rarely get stopped because voters are rarely smart and competent. They’re not stopped, so they’re free to kill programs and people whenever they and their fellow dullard sociopaths gain power either locally or in DC.

  10. Ooops, forgot about the 3rd type of sociopath. The one in between. He/she becomes a business leader who lops off jobs while amassing a personl fortune.
    Jack Welch and Carly Fiorina are just two examples.

  11. First: The author of the blockquote re: “[Bureau of Economic Analysis, an agency within the U.S. Department of Labor] ” is wrong. The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) is part of the Dept of Commerce. I questioned the quote because I used to be an accountant at the BEA. Google it. Second, while I was at BEA, BEA never did any employment figures at all. No comparisons of civilian v. federal jobs. So, I would suggest that the figures did come from some part of the Dept of Labor.

    3rd, while I was working in Washington, the “journeyman” grade for Gov’t workers was GS-12. There were a lot of GS-14s with no supervisory responsibilities and a whole lot of clerks at the GS-7 level, but the average was GS-12.

    If DeMint and Paul want a hiring freeze on all gov’t employees, let us shut down all military recruiting offices. The military is part of the federal gov’t.

  12. Reading this comment thread, I’m reminded how much better informed and aware our commenters are than certain new and incumbent Congresscritters. It all begins with real-life experience, I suppose.

    The next couple of years are going to be amusing, although in an awful sort of way.

  13. It’s amusing to hear Rand Paul say ANYTHING. He obviously doesn’t realize that freshman senators have no power. They will all huff and puff, but they won’t “shut down the Government”, nor will the pissants be able to do a damn thing to undermine healthcare.

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