Friday, September 10, 2010

Hardly A New Problem

You may have noted, during the summer, the revelations of grossly overpaid politicos and civil servants of Bell, California.

There was also a study released this year showing that the average government job now pays substantially more than the average private sector job - and that is before benefits are factored in.

Well, to add further fuel to that fire, consider this from National Review, released today:
The objective of the bureaucracy is not, pace the conspiratorialists, ideological advance. Nor, more surprisingly, is it power. (The savvier bureaucrats escape even the appearance of power, for power carries with it the first deadly inferences of responsibility.) No, the objective of the garden-variety bureaucrats is, not to put too fine a point on it, money.

Consider the speed with which the bureaucrat is achieving his objective. A local magazine, National Journal, recently ran a story about a group of two-income federal couples. The kicker in the story, from the local viewpoint, was that these bureaucratic marriages had achieved new status: taxpayer-supported incomes in excess of $100,000 per year. It was an upbeat story, sort of a hometown-kids-make-good story. To the bureaucratically untrained eye, however, the story yielded a different insight. Not a single one of the ten people identified was a top government official; indeed, I would bet that the average American has never heard of any one of them. (Quick. Who’s Jane Frank? James Woolsey? Ed Norton?) But here we have a cluster of six-figure households — all of them engaged in the ritual sacrifice of public service — without a national leader in the bunch.

All right, exceptions to the rule, you say. Not really. The fact is that hundreds of bureaucratic families are in the $80,000 to $100,000 bracket, which is to say that they are among the top half of the top 1 per cent of all American families. And virtually all of them, to repeat the point, have reached this level with no record of leadership accomplishment.

Unfortunately, this is just the beginning of an unmistakable pattern now in formation. A new across-the-board bureaucratic raise — currently pegged at 7.5 per cent — has just gone into effect, with promises of more to come as compensation for the “lean years” of Nixon freezes.
Wait...Nixon? Yep; this was written in 1977.

NR just pulled this article by Neal B. Freeman out of its archives and added it to its website today.