“US Government, Sorry I’m Not Able to Take Your Call”

When any organization gets too big it becomes hard to manage.

That doesn’t mean it can’t be managed.  Many huge companies are very well run.  Most people would agree that our military sets a high bar for disciplined management.  Operationally, at least.

Why is our federal government such a disorganized, inefficient mess?  What is lacking in the federal government world that other large organizations seem to have in abundance?

We do have organizational charts for our federal government.  There is an interactive one online.  Here’s the short version (click to enlarge):

The full version with all of the departments and all 3 million federal employees would probably cover the floor of Cowboys Stadium in a 12-point font. Of course within a nano-second, it would be obsolete.

Most Americans would expect to see our President in the top box.  After all, he has been known to say “the buck stops here,” even while pointing fingers in every direction and blaming historical figures for the nation’s problems.

The official federal org chart has “the Constitution” in the top box.  It would make more sense to me with “We the People” at the top.   We can hire and fire all those below us on the chart.  We can hold the President, the Congress, and (through appointments) the Supreme Court accountable.  It is up to us, as voters, to make sure that everyone in the federal government is doing what we want them to do.

But we citizens don’t agree on much of anything.  Many of us don’t really care how our government operates.  And even if we did, the organization is so huge that we have to rely on layers and layers of managers who we don’t know and will never see.

Is there anything we can do?  Where do we “citizen managers” start?

I think the first thing we should do is check to see who is at work.  Here is my plan, and I would like you to join me.

Go to www.usa.gov and pick out five federal government employees.  It’s really easy to follow the links through the website to identify agencies and administrators at every level.  You might choose agencies in your hometown, or an office in which you are interested.  Or maybe you will just pick names and phone numbers at random.

At 2:30 on any weekday afternoon, or at 1:00 on a Friday, call the people on your list to see who is at work, and who is taking the rest of the day off.

In the unlikely event the federal employee you are calling actually answers the phone, say “Hi, I’m a taxpayer, and I’m just calling to make sure you are on the job.  Thank you!”

If not, leave a message of your choice, maybe something like:  “Hi, I’m your boss, a taxpayer; it’s 2:30 pm and you should be working.  I am going to follow up with your supervisor.”

Here are my random calls at 2:30 this Tuesday afternoon:

  • Rosanna Goodwill – Acting Director of Civil Rights, Federal Railroad Administration:  recording said she is “away from her desk, leave a message.”
  • Neil Moyer – Acting Director of Office of Policy, Federal Railroad Administration:  recording said he is “not available right now, leave a message.”
  • Don E. Watson – Historically Black College and University Capital Financing Advisory Board:  recording said he is “not available to take your call, leave a message.”  I wanted to ask him why we need his agency.

I left messages for each, expressing my disappointment that nobody in federal government is at work this afternoon.

I will allow that there are times when someone is legitimately not able to answer a call.  But I’ll bet the answer rate is under 10% after 2:00 every afternoon.  I have tried this experiment many times, and have never had my call answered.  Not once.

I don’t know if our government employees care if we catch them slacking.  If nobody ever checks on them, they might start to wonder if it matters whether they are there at all.   Anyway, we are the bosses, and we should make at least the minimum effort to supervise our employees.   Please make some calls!

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Okay. So no one’s answering.
Well can’t you just let it ring a little longer, longer, longer, ohhhhh!
I’ll just sit tight, through shadows of the night.
And let it ring for evermore.  Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Telephone Line – Electric Light Orchestra

Supply and Demand – Another Law No Longer Enforced

Supply and demand.

Please close your eyes, stop your busy brain for a second, and say those three words.  Give me a quick one-sentence explanation of what it means to you.

Okay, ready?

Supply and demand.  Did that phrase register with you?  Was it a simple concept, an obvious and common thing like salt and pepper?  Or did it kind of bounce off, a hazy theory, something you have heard of, but never really thought about?

Even if you can’t give a pretty definition, you probably do understand the concept.  While economists can discuss nuances of the law of  supply and demand for years, the basic concept is simple and intuitive:  the less there is of something, the more valuable it is.  A pound of gold is worth more than a pound of rocks, because there are a lot of rocks in the world, and only a little bit of gold.

Supply and demand is why we get up in the morning and go to work.  We have needs and wants, we want our families to live better.  Every single waking moment of our lives we are active on both sides of the law of supply and demand.  We want to improve ourselves so that the demand for what we do is higher (competition), so we can make more money.  Others want to get our money, so they try to provide something we demand (competition).  The price of everything in the world is controlled by supply and demand.

I can think of no concept more critical to the success of every human being than a gut-level understanding of the law of supply and demand.  It is as undeniable and righteous as the law of gravity.  It should be the basis of our education system.  Sadly, it isn’t.  In fact the law of supply and demand is increasingly ignored, denied and dismissed in our schools, in the media, and certainly by our government.

To keep this sermon to a manageable length, here is an illustration:  if you had a choice between two identical loaves of bread – one cost a dollar and the other cost two dollars – which one would you buy with your own money?  Duh.

Now, if you had a choice between two employees doing the same work – one cost $50,000 and the other cost $100,000 – which one would you buy with your own money?  Double Duh!  So why do federal employees receive more than DOUBLE the compensation of the private-sector employees who pay their salaries?

How can that happen?  The law of supply and demand has been broken.  There is no scarcity of federal employees (over a half million of them make more than $100,000 per year).  They are no more valuable than their private-sector counterparts.  What’s going on here?

The answer is:  Corruption.  Pay to play.  Quid pro quo.  We have allowed government employees to unionize.  The unions promise money, logistical support, and votes to elected officials in exchange for more union jobs and higher pay and benefits.  Get me elected, I’ll pay you back, with somebody else’s money. Pay me back, I’ll get you elected.  The taxpayer has no input or control over this.  It is a done deal.  The law of supply and demand has been broken, and until we eliminate government employee unions, this corruption will escalate until our economy and nation is destroyed.

There are many more examples of government breaking the law of supply and demand – crooked contracts, cronyism, manipulating interest rates, all the things that make elected officials stinking rich.  But this one – government employee unions – is the big kahuna, because of the vast number of people involved.  ObamaCare promises another 21 million government union employees.  It’s the perfect crime.

I can’t help but wonder if more Americans understood and recognized and respected and enforced the law of supply and demand, would they hold their government accountable?

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

These days the buck stops nowhere
No one takes the blame
But evil is still evil
In anybody’s name
If dirt were dollars
If dirt were dollars
If dirt were dollars
We’d all be in the black

If Dirt Were Dollars – Don Henley

Isn’t It Ironic?

Today’s little list of ironies:

  • Union leaders claim to represent the best interests of their workers – which would be “get us more jobs”.  So why do the unions oppose energy development and infrastructure in our country that would spur the economy, enhance our security by providing energy independence, rebuild our manufacturing base, and create thousands (maybe millions) of jobs?
  • Conservatives love the NRA (National Rifle Association) because of its defense of the second amendment.  But the NRA helped Harry Reid win a very narrow re-election over a true conservative opponent.  Reid, the Democrat Senate leader, is the single biggest obstacle to everything the conservatives believe in and has caused untold damage to the nation in recent years!
  • President Obama promised the most transparent administration in history.  Yet his own social security number does not pass E-Verify (which US businesses are required by federal regulation to file for every new hire), his college records are sealed, and he won’t instruct his Dept. of Justice to release records about the Fast and Furious scandal after years of direct demands by Congressional investigators!

Isn’t it ironic?  Or, as the social media set says: “WTF?”

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Enjoy a classic tune by one of America’s
finest songwriters, Alanis Morissette

And isn’t it ironic
Don’t you think?
A little too ironic
Yeah, I really do think

Ironic – Alanis Morissette