Quick introductory note: When I pen a diary on Red State, it's most always about a topic with which I have some knowledge and/or expertise. So let me state up front, and very clearly, that I have ZERO knowledge of the federal civil service system, especially its pay structure. Rather, I'm hoping this will elicit comments from those who can speak accurately on the topic.
As the various Obama scandals continue to unfold, from the GSA "conferences" to the IRS, to the State Dept/Benghazi mess, to now the VA ( and I'm sure I've missed a few along the way) there appears to be one common thread to all of these:
No, it's not that nobody is ever held accountable ( though that's true); rather, it's that we then learn about all of these federal employees who have received "bonuses," often many years running, supposedly for doing their jobs, and usually doing them ineptly and/or corruptly.
The civil service system was designed to provide us with high quality government "servants of the people" who would be hired, then promoted, based upon merit, and not political whim. Decades ago, government jobs usually paid less than the equivalent private sector.
The trade off for those who choose government service was a high degree of job security, good benefits, and a generous, and secure pension. In the last 25 years, along with the rise of the government employee unions, this balance has been reversed.
Government employees are more likely to die while employed, than get fired. Indeed, you literally can't get fired..even if you spend 90% of your time at work watching porn on your government computer. Pay scales are now HIGHER than for comparable private sector jobs. The overall benefits package is far superior to anything in the private sector.
So why then, do they get bonuses, and when did this practice start? Did Congress have to approve it, and is it reauthorized every year?
There are only two valid reasons, in the private sector, for paying a bonus:
1. To reward an employee for exceptional service.
2. To retain an employee who might otherwise consider leaving for another position.
I would submit that neither of these should apply to federal employees.
We have every right to expect superior service from our government employees. Their total compensation package is reward enough for that.
If any GS employee feels they can do better elsewhere..let them go. Somehow I don't think they'll be a line at the door, let alone a stampede. Those few who do possess an entrepreneurial spirit will have already left.
This "bonus" culture in DC evolved as our would-be mandarins saw people getting very rich via stock options and other perks of the private sector. They wanted more; after all, they were smarter than those folks, weren't they. Thus, bonuses for civil servants were born.
Next year the GOP will likely control Congress. Conservatives want to shrink the size of the federal government. A good place to start is by ending ALL bonus/incentive payments for civilian federal employees. The early-line over/under on the number of government employees who will quit because there are no more bonuses is now TWO.
I suspect it would be a very popular bill outside of the Beltway. It's a good, and easy, place to start.