July 20th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

What does it mean that federal workers are more likely to die than lose their jobs?


Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski speaks  at FCC headquarters in Washington, DC. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

In an economy with 9.2% unemployment, job security is hard to come by. That is unless you work for the federal government.

An analysis by USA Today found the job security rate for government employees at many federal agencies last year was more than 99%. And these workers are more likely to die than to lose their jobs to a layoff or firing. The federal government only fired about one half of a percent of its workforce last year. The private sector in contrast fires about 3% of workers annually for performance.

Just to give you a few examples: At the Small Business Administration, which employs about 4,000, six people were fired last year but there were no layoffs. Seventeen employees died. Not a single federal attorney was laid off last year - there are about 35,000 of them. Just 27 were fired, 33 died. At both the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission, not a single employee was fired or laid off last year.

The USA Today analysis also found that nearly 3 out of 5 firings among federal workers occur within the first two years on the job, most commonly to the lowest paid workers. Meanwhile, the nearly half-million federal employees earning $100,000 a year or more had a job security rate of more than 99.8%. Nice work if you can get it.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean that federal workers are more likely to die than lose their jobs?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

David in Virginia:
It means we have lost accountability in our government. When private industry can boost profits despite the tepid economy by becoming more than 10 percent more efficient, it makes you wonder what would happen if we applied the same pressures to the government workforce. Maybe we could save a hundred billion a year - that's a trillion dollars over a decade. Why doesn't the government think like that?

Jack in Dunlap, Tennessee:
It is an unfortunate situation that it is almost impossible to get rid of a government worker even if they are worthless and need to be fired. That is one reason why we are so deeply in debt.

Iris in Los Angeles:
What is it with you? Why do you keep bashing public employees? Would you prefer that we just go the Republican route where every employee is low-paid, overworked and enslaved to rich corporate masters? I'm happy to hear that federal workers have such great job security; if only the rest of us did.

Bud in Reston, Virginia:
I'm not sure if that premise is exaggerated, Jack, but it is pretty difficult firing full time government employees. However, I've seen first hand that if a more senior level employee (GS 14-15) gets themselves in deep enough, they can and will be shown the door. Sometimes under the guise of early retirement.

Chris in Florida:
Same thing it means in the mob, Jack. A job for life.

It means that the federal government needs to hire a management consulting firm to weed out the deadwood, the duplication of effort, and the useless and wasteful jobs that are not needed. If they actually did that, which they won't of course, the Federal Government would likely shrink by 60% of its current size.

Government's first order of business is to perpetuate itself, and it can't do that if it doesn't have a reliable workforce. So, nobody gets laid off, nobody gets fired. I need to get me one them jobs.

Filed under: Government • United States
soundoff (172 Responses)
  1. John from Alabama

    Jack: It means federal workers are unhealthy, because they do not have a correct diet, and do not exercise their bodies. Federal employees have good insurance, but sometomes they fail to see a doctor when they need, too. I believe if you look at any other work group in the United States you find the same death rate for the same reasons.

    July 20, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
  2. Matt Toohey

    It means that the federal government, including Congress, doesn't have to live with what they put on the rest of us. It is time to end separation of state and regular folks.


    July 20, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  3. Ed Hoffman

    It means that no matter how badly you do your job, or how expensive your job is you are safe, well paid with amazing medical and no change of losing it.
    Utterly wrong IMHO

    July 20, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  4. DN - New Jersey and Pennsylvania

    Unless there is a site closure or a large scale RIF you are unlikely to lose your federal job. Many federal jobs do not pay big bucks...but...you do have excellent benefits while working and are one of the few groups still with decent retirement benefits. To me it means I should have stayed in the government job I obtained in 1966. I made more money in the private sector but with buyouts and benefit cuts my retirement is nowhere near as secure. So much for trusting in corporate America and its promises.

    July 20, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  5. pat in michigan

    It means that the federal govt. is self perpetuating.They never found a dollar that they couldn't find a need for and a person to pay to hand it out .

    July 20, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  6. Kenneth from California

    It means should have been a federal worker.

    July 20, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  7. Tom in Desoto, TX

    It's sounds like federal workers are similar to royalty in some countries, a good gig if you can get it..

    July 20, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
  8. Rich McKinney, Texas

    Well Jack what it means is that people that go to work for the government don't leave their jobs. The only way to get rid of them is for them to die. Just like politicians. They are like fleas, once they latch on there is no getting rid of them. No mater how much they bother you and how irritating they might be some moron will keep reelecting them expecting a better outcome. In modern politics that is called hope and change.

    July 20, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  9. Paul, Parry Sound, Ontario

    It means a lot of them work in the postal service.

    July 20, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  10. bob z fr ,pa.

    just think our gov pays out to these people in ways of pensions and obama is raising the number to a exerbant number

    July 20, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  11. Alex in Bremerton, WA

    This can't be a legitimate question, Jack. I heard on FOX that government jobs are not REAL jobs so how could anybody have a government job until they die?

    July 20, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  12. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    It means that federal workers have job security that few of us can only dream about. The Federal worker does not have to worry about downsizing or jobs being moved to another country. I'm sure there are many people working for the gov't stumbling over each other and doing unnecessary jobs that can be cut. I also know there is a houseful of Federal employees that are not doing their job and need to be replaced.

    July 20, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
  13. MNResident

    Sing it with me, Mr. Cafferty: "Look for the union label, when you are looking for unaccountability...."

    July 20, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  14. Ed from Md

    It's like we are married to them, but no cake, just alimony.

    July 20, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  15. David in Tampa

    First question I have Jack, are you including members of the military and government law enforcement in that statistic? What about judges, aren't they appointed for life, and how does this skew the curve? It also means that job security is as important for federal workers as it is for those in state and local government and industry represented by unions. A concept that drives management and members of the Republican party crazier than they already are. In some cases age can be a problem; in other cases it can be a plus. I wonder how senior management would act if their jobs were on the chopping block every 5 to 10 years, and they could be replaced by someone younger and willing to work for less pay and shrinking benefits?

    July 20, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  16. Bill in New Mexico

    It means the ultimate in job security.

    It means that their customer means nothing to them.

    It means another tyranny of the government.

    It means that they should be fired.

    Medicare workers are the same. The odds are good that they will mess up your insurance paper work. At this very moment I am attempting to straighten a mess up that medicare workers made.

    They do not care about their work!

    They do not care about my insurance problems that they made!

    They do not care!

    They do not care!

    Heck! Let the Republicans rip medicare to shreds!

    I do not care! If it means that medicare workers will lose their jobs.

    July 20, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  17. Brad, Portland, OR

    Does that mean that workers in private industry are more likely to lose their jobs than to die?

    July 20, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  18. Bob Dame

    It means we private sector workers will likely have to work until we die, to pay the lifetime salaries of alleged public servants like the postal worker who defecated on a citizen's lawn .
    –Charlottesville, Virginia

    July 20, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  19. David of Alexandria VA

    It means we have lost accountability in our government. When private industry can boost profits despite the tepid economy by becoming more 10% more efficient, it makes you wonder what would happen if we applied the same pressures to the government workforce. Maybe we could save a hundred billion a year - that's a trillion dollars over a decade. Why doesn't the government think like that?

    July 20, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  20. Rick McDaniel

    It means that the Federal Government needs to hire a management consulting firm, to weed out the deadwood, the duplication of effort, and the useless and wasteful jobs that are not needed, because their own management team is too close to it, to recognize it.

    If they actually did that (which they won't of course, as all of those jobs, are, for the most part political payback jobs), the Federal Government would likely shrink by 60% of its current size.

    July 20, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  21. joyce finnegan

    It means ,thats why they only worry about being re/elected,want to cut the budget,cut their pay untill they come up with something beside their breath.....

    July 20, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
  22. Steve, Clifton, VA


    What it means is that Fighter pilots and infantry (i.e U S Military) folks are likely to die before they lose their jobs. Exclude the military and bring in the FBI or Border Patrol of Secret Service or ATF. All of these folks have a greater chance to die before losing their job otherwise. I know that I didn't answer the question the way you intended but I wanted to get you and others to stop generalizing that all Federal Employees are the same.

    July 20, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
  23. Jenna Roseville CA

    What does it mean that federal workers are more likely to die than lose their jobs?

    It means that they have job security and are for the most part happy with thier jobs. Otherwise they would leave if they found something better.

    You do know Jack that federal employees don't get Social Security, right? They pay into their retirement system.


    July 20, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  24. bud rupert, reston, va

    I'm not sure if that premis is exagerated Jack but it is pretty difficult firing full time govies. However I've seen first hand that if a more senior level employee (GS 14-15) get themselves in deep enough they can and will be shown the door. Sometimes under the guise of early retirement

    July 20, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
  25. Paul, New Port Richey, Fl

    Could it be that death is the only way to get rid of them once and for all?

    July 20, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
  26. Mr. D

    It means that many of us will die before getting a job. Who ever said that a job was a sure thing before death and taxes, that is, outside of government?

    July 20, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  27. Peg from NY

    It means that federal workers are the only Americans whose jobs are not at risk.

    July 20, 2011 at 3:12 pm |

    tampa, fl ever deal with a federal employee jack? i'd bet most are shot on the job or killed by their spouses. hey, they don't just act that way at work.

    July 20, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  29. Loren

    Government's first order of business is to perpetuate itself, and it can't do that if it doesn't have a reliable workforce. So, nobody gets laid off, nobody gets fired. I need to get me one them jobs.

    July 20, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
  30. Bob from Melbourne

    It means that Labor Unions have a free pass under this administration. It means that increasingly businesses are gravitating to “Right-To-Work” states. There was a time when labor unions served an important purpose in this country. That time has long since past. Labor unions today are nothing more than organized thugs. They don’t know where collective bargaining ends and extortion begins. Just look at Boeing and their desire to put a plant in South Carolina. To make matters worse they have the Democrats in their back pocket. Remember the Auto Company bail out? Obama made sure his base the Labor Unions didn’t lose a dime while secured creditors were forced to take pennies on the dollar.

    July 20, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
  31. Ed from Texas

    Jack, when you thought up this question, you obviously didn't think about the Military, CIA, FBI, U. S. Marshals, Secret Service, Border Agents, Federal Prison Guards, Forest Firefighters, and others who do risk loss of their lives in their jobs.

    July 20, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  32. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    This may top all of the strange questions that you've asked over the years. I guess it means that if a person wants security in a profession, get a federal job. Oops, that was in the past until cut, cap and balance.

    July 20, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  33. Wilhelm von Nord Bach

    it means that working for the Federal govenment is the only STABLE employer LEFT in America, Jack.

    July 20, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
  34. Karl in Flint

    It means a federal employee is about a likely to lose their job as a death row inmate is likely to be executed. Most inmates die of old age. It appears the people that want to lay these people off are the same ones that abhor welfare recipients. So what do they want to do? They want to lay people off, increase unemployment, pay them unemployment benefits plus most likely food stamps and welfare. Mission accomplished idiot.

    The alternative is to offer the senior people under 62 a golden parachute. That is a pension that includes their normal pension benefit at 62, plus their Social Security benefit at 62. When they reach 62 and Social Security kicks in, the pension drops by an equal amount. Their retirement income stays the same. If the government can’t afford to do this, they surely can’t afford to lay people off either.

    July 20, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  35. Chris Brown FL

    same thing it means in the mob jack job for life

    July 20, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  36. Brian (From Chicago)

    It means I need to go work for the government Jack. Because I'll probably die before I find a job.

    July 20, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  37. Jack Pine

    Writing from the great town of Dunlap, Tennessee

    Hi Jack;

    It is an unfortunate situation that it is almost impossible to get rid of a Government worker if without a doubt they are worthless and need to be fired. That is one reason why we are in our debt problem and why they milk the freeloading until they die.

    July 20, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
  38. wesley

    Sorry JACK, but does it means that they will probably die fighting to keep their federal jobs from being outsourced and given to corporate contractors who receive enormous tax loopholes to ship American jobs overseas? Shared sacrafice is a bad joke.Corporations have sacrficed the American People who have lost homes,lost their children in wars,lost education for their children,jobs.food,loss retirement and dying at the rate of 30 to 40,000 a year for lack of health insurance-NEED I SAY MORE!!

    July 20, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
  39. Paul From Austin Texas

    What it means is that federal workers have more appeal rights if union or not. As a former federal worker that worked in labor relations for several years and I am now retired and beat the odds. If charges are brought for termination the employee can file several steps to appeal. In most cases the employee gets what is called a last chance agreement. The agreement in general is if the employee does not violate any rule or regulation for a period of time they keep their job and it starts over again if needed. What got to me is many employees got a last chance several times I saw as many as five last chances. A last chance should be just that and only once given and should remain in an employees file.

    July 20, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
  40. Jeff In Minnesota

    It says that it's nice to have a strong, effective Union representing you. However, it also says that the government is populated by certain amount of people that would not have a job if it weren't for that Union and the protection it provides. That is the rap against Unions – they protect people that should have been fired long ago. However, due to Union contracts, it's virtually impossible to fire someone, even for cause, without going through a protracted mediation and discipline process. I have worked in various Union jobs and it always amazed me what the Union would do for members, even when those members that were totally incompetent or had committed a crime. It was shameful what the Union representatives did to keep these undeserving people employed. I am sure that the government's Unions are likely no different.

    July 20, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  41. Gary H. Boyd

    There are several ways to look at a situation like this Jack. First, you're hired for life and can't be fired. Second, your work is so hazardous you'll die on the job. Third, Inefficiency is built into the system at all levels. Personally, I'm inclined to believe it's #3.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    July 20, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  42. David in Mississippi

    Just one more blind spot in the mirror. My question is why all this talk about raising the age for social security but no talk about raising the age at which a federal worker can start drawing a pension.

    July 20, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  43. Pete

    The same could be said of politicians, and in both cases it's not a good thing for a country that depends on honest, dedicated, unselfish service.

    July 20, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  44. calaurore9

    It means that those in the private sector are screwed and the country is broke.

    Carol in Ma

    July 20, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  45. Remo, from beautiful downtown Pflugerville Texas

    It means they never get fired for poor performance.

    July 20, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  46. Randy

    IF you mean congresspersons it's a shame, if you're talking about military, postal worker types I say great. The ultra rich have convinced the American people that the the only people of any virtue are the rich. If you're actually EARNING a living instead of waiting by the pool for dividend checks and a 15% capital gains tax, you are what rush limbaugh calls a "taker".

    July 20, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  47. Michael Bindner, Alexandria, VA

    It means that because it is so hard to get a federal job, the pool of employees is actually more talented than the range of people hired in the private sector. People get fired all the time, Jack.

    July 20, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  48. Annie, Atlanta

    It means I'm looking in the wrong place for a job.

    July 20, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  49. susan

    It means the American taxpayer is carrying a lot of dead weight. And how about that Obama doubling the number of federal workers making over $150,000 just since he took office?

    July 20, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  50. Dave

    Just the opinion that government never gets smaller regardless of the promises to reduce the size of government.

    July 20, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  51. Joe

    Well Jack, if you are talking about the administrator/ contractors that the Bush administration hired during the Iraq War, then these people are set, for life. They sure do not need to worry about not having enough money, so their contract was for life. Kind of reminds me of major cable channel tabloid news broadcasters.

    July 20, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  52. Paul P

    While I am all for job security, a fact like that shows its swung way too far on the other side. Like any other employee, there needs to be regular accountability for their productivity, competence and efficiency, and most especially when taxpayers money are paying their salary.

    July 20, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  53. Tom Bulger, Canandaigua

    Might mean they are too busy to listen to Sanjay Gupta, get up from their desks once an hour, and move around a bit. What about you, Jack. Are you remaining seated for too long a stretch at a time? He's not talking for his health. It's ours.

    Namaste, Sanjay.

    July 20, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  54. Ralph Nelson

    The economy has a cycle from recession to inflation, thus people lose their jobs. The government is stable and people don't get fired, even during recessions, to pull the economy out of it, people often get hired, not fired. If the government fired government employees during a recession, tax revenues would go down, the the recession would get worse. Honestly, the private sector is not efficient. but they have no choice but to fire during a downturn or risk going out of business. What does it mean? Nothing.,.

    July 20, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  55. barbara in nc

    What would you suggest Jack? Fire them all and put them on unemployment and then welfare? That would surely fix everything, wouldn't it?

    What would you suggest. They pay taxes, they have job security. And most of the ones I worked with (as a consultant) were very hard workers. I think the politicians have given them a bad name. Especially the latest bunch that say HELL NO to everything, even if they suggested it.

    July 20, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  56. Lori - PA


    I read the article from which you got your question. If people believe what Jerry Brown said, then there's a bridge that is for sale. I find it hard to believe that people in charge of hiring at HUD have close to a 100% success rate when hiring "the right person for the job."

    This reminds me a story my dad told me (he used to work for the Government Printing Office (GPO)). A GPO employee was, with cause, fired. The employee complained, and was soon back working for the GPO. I wonder how many other government "firings" turned out the same way.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  57. Larry Feierstein-Denver

    Like tenured teachers fed employees never get fired. The level of incompetency grows and productivity shrinks- the America way of life these days. Work limited hours, mega vacation and sick time and the amount of work that gets accomplished (like the education of our children) diminishes with each year. I would think, if they did a survey of obesity in the fed govt- 85% would be judged OBESE.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  58. Renee Peoria,Ill

    I don't need a job if I'm dead, where do I sign up?

    July 20, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  59. Heather D.

    Sorry Jack, we're *all* more likely to die than to lose our jobs. Nothing is inevitable except death and taxes.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  60. brad

    It means they have really good health insurance?

    July 20, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  61. Ralph Spyer

    What are we in : A race to the bottom? We could send these jobs to China like American manufacturers have done , We could give these jobs to the 10 million illegals,you would not have to pay for social security, health care, min wages, safety my we would save a lot of money. Jack if it just about the God all mighty dollar then -- America.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  62. Mick

    And if they die ON THE JOB, the transition will be barely noticeable...

    July 20, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  63. Jeanne Lee Cunningham

    As my Daddy (who was a rural mail carrier) always said, "get a government job." I just retired from 33 years working for the state of Kansas. My Daddy was always right...

    July 20, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  64. Chuck - Hickory Hills, Illinois

    It means golf must be a very strenuous sport.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  65. Dale

    This is a widely misleading report because of the fact that it only focuses on the federal governmentwhen it should look at all levels of government. The fact that we only gained 18,000 jobs was due to layoffs in the public sector.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  66. Todd Welch

    It means we finally have a solution to all of the economic problems. Let the federal government hire everybody and run all companies. All problems solved. Everyone gets a 30% raise, better health care, and twice as many days off. Unemployment goes to zero forever. And if the companies decide to leave, that's okay, the feds can just create another whole Company Department. How about a 3rd consumer protection agency? It'll be paradise, after all the government never overspends on anything, and always achieves their goals.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  67. Vicki - Illinois

    Socialism is coming if we dont stop it.

    That's what it tells me

    July 20, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  68. Ed

    Look at the congressmen/women. Same thing. Wish there were a way we could fire them too.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  69. Mike Johnson

    It means that they need better health care?

    July 20, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  70. Mike Mullen

    As a former government employee I help hire many people. They were closely screened and generally well qualified for the job, hence the low firing rate.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  71. Ari LaSole

    It means that I am looking for a Governmemt job... guess I'll have to kiss some political butt

    July 20, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  72. Dan from Chicago, IL

    What it means is that the government cares more for itself than the poor, disadvantaged, sick and the elderly!

    July 20, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  73. James

    The low rate of firings due to job performance in the federal sector probably means the employees don't have jobs with enough responsibility to be judged whether they are performing or not. Just showing up and going through the motions are enough to retain the position, unlike private jobs, where there are quotas to meet, etc.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  74. Dave

    Jack it means that some of these people just like Congress have long outlasted their stay and need to move on . Reason why disability insurance takes an average of 3 yrs to receive ,why the U.S.Post Office continues to lose money, and why {think mGod} that Osama Bin Laden was not tried in our court system. These people have no clue what the average American goes through.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  75. Tristan

    Well it means that we have some very healthy government employees probably with some solid health insurance. Also means we can't blame public sector jobs for the unemployment rate! Guess I know where I will be applying after getting my Masters!

    July 20, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  76. Joe Government

    It means that they have given their life to public service. What I want to know is why people like you get paid millions to ask stupid questions like these. It's funny how when the economy was trucking a long that folks wouldn't even consider leaving the private sector for public service. Yet those of us who have are now those sorry government employees with job security.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  77. Gigi Oregon

    One of the things you left off was how hard it is to get a job with the government. If you can qualify you will have job security. It isn't easy to qualify. I have two that work for the government one in the courts, and one in electrical maintance. Those are two places they don't just hire off the street.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  78. Jacque

    As is being demonstrated so obviously by our Congress, federal employees would have to screw up so blatantly that everyone would be screaming bloody murder about them before the possibility of firing them would even be brought up, let alone acted upon.
    The government employees' quality, or lack of it, is demonstrated constantly by the inefficienty of all departments of that bureaucracy

    July 20, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  79. Roger from Phoenix

    Jack, maybe we could get lucky and they all die tomorrow ,all it amounts to is they steal hard working tax payers money and then live the good life best health insurance best retirement plans and inflated salaries all on the backs of the middle class. God Bless America.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  80. Pat Stressman

    It means we need to ask B.O just what his meaning of the word "Transparency" is.

    I don't think we've seen it in the past 3 years, if so, I've certainly missed it.

    Barnwell, SC

    July 20, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  81. Shawn

    I don't understand why it appears you are looking down on an entity that treats employees with loyalty and respect. If you have concerns about the lack of competence in the government and why incompetent people aren't being fired or let go, then that's a different question entirely! Seems to me you should be asking why there is no more corporate loyalty to the people that give their lives and hearts to what they do in the corporate world. You should be asking why corporate America is screwing the faithful out of their investments, their vacations, their retirements and their dignity. You should be asking why corporate healthcare options are horrible. You should be asking why corporations aren't creating more jobs with all that money they're making these days so that these government workers that you obviously feel should be let go, have some place to go. I think those are the questions you should be asking. I know if I had a government job, I wouldn't give it up for anything.

    Chesapeake, VA

    July 20, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  82. Bob Z

    Jack, as a government employee, you have to understand that it is a system with many nuances. Employees may stagnate, but they must also perform well for promotion. Most of the time, government workers–compared to their private sector counterparts–sacrifice salary for benefits such as job security. Don't neglect the huge contractor workforce within the government. They come and go a lot more easily.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  83. Dan

    Dear Jack,

    I am a 30+ employee of the federal government. I have worked hard for what I have, in a career that began shortly after my graduation from college in the late 70's

    Yes, federal workers still receive pensions. But let me tell you that for thousands of federal workers, these pensions are pretty much all we will end up with, along with whatever savings we have, while members of Congress often have pensions plus other significant sources of income.

    There is also, despite what many people believe, a disparity in pay between the government and private sector. And, as has been seen with the recent Obama pay freeze, federal workers are now being targeted as part of a broad assault, which you are assisting.

    Before you put commentaries on the air assailing federal workers, be sure you have a complete and honest picture.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  84. Dennis R Kuhn Sr

    You hit it Jack not only are there job recession proof we pay there pension. In just 10 years the size of government has doubled. Now they want to cut medacare and social security. Why do we have the 13th Amendment!??

    July 20, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  85. Pete, NJ

    It means that Civil Service workers accept lower pay than the private sector most of the time in exchange for more job security. Make the risk of layoff the same as industry but with lower pay, and we will be whining about the poor quality of public servants. Oh, wait- we don't pay well now so we have been whining about that all along. Up until this recession, public workers, including teachers, but excluding politicians, earn only 75% of equivalent jobs in the private sector. We already get a deal, but I guess we want slave labor.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  86. Nate bynum

    Jack, in terms of the chances you'll actually keep your job:

    Federal means forever.
    State means suspect.
    Private means possible.
    Small business means simply bad.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  87. Bonnie London

    Jack, Jack, Jack,

    The federal government can't ship their jobs overseas like corporate America, therefore not as many layoffs. Why don't you talk about that aspect of the reasoning for the sluggish recovery in the job market? ALL corporations care about is the bottom line, not the recovery of this nation.
    B London

    July 20, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  88. Bob Bennett

    One word, Jack! Unions. That's why.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  89. Mohammad, Los Angeles, CA

    It sounds like the government is offering jobs and job security for Americans who really need it. What are you complaining about, exactly?

    July 20, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  90. Sam

    Come-on Jack,
    Everybody knows that the trade-off for working at government job which typically get little respect, and lower than market wages with no opportunity for stock options, and few bonuses, is that there is more job security. I don't see a problem with that. Do you really think we need to be laying off more people now, and adding to the jobless ranks? I notice you are working a safe government job, and neither am I, but somebody has to do the work.


    July 20, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  91. Jerry Greene

    I worked for the government for years. Great job. Sounds like you are jealous. If you CHOOSE to work in the private sector then don't complain if someone who chooses to work for the government gets a better deal.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  92. daniel ehlers

    the situations right for stagnant innovation and little accountability, reflects our current political scene

    July 20, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  93. richard shinneman

    it sounds to me like the federal government hires more competent & loyal people than the private sector does. maybe they have a better human resourses department.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  94. Dave Barry

    It just means federal workers have the union representation we all should have. They all have better health care and retirement benefits too.

    Lauderhill, Fl

    July 20, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  95. Scott Stodden

    It Means The Government Just Doesn't Care Anymore!

    Scott Stodden (Freeport, Illinois)

    July 20, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  96. Cal from Torrance

    Everybody wants a good stable job whether it is private or public sector. So let's demonize those who have a better chance of not getting fired. But look at the government jobs in California and many other states. Many of them are getting furloughs without pay. Basically a pay cut. In the private sector the first thing that gets cut are the workers while the executives get bigger bonuses and shareholder dividends are doled out. So what do we do? We have the media villianize the workers who still have jobs. The question has no merit.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  97. AB

    Jack, It is true that it is very difficult to fire federal employees for any reason except for situations that deal with theft, violence or criminal convictions. This is due to the fact that most federal employees enjoy a unionized and fair workplace and the federal government promotes fairness in most cases. The benefits are deservedly generous since federal employees are paid less than private sector employees. However, the claim that it takes an act of Congress to fire federal employees is overblown. People do get fired in the federal government for incompetence, malfeasance and get laid off if the government shuts down. These developments are more prevalent in the private sector and less frequent in the government. Job security is a great thing!!

    July 20, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  98. dave in nashville

    Simple, they knew they only had to swallow their self respect to get a life time position, kind of like the brutal regimes throughout history...as long as you go along, you tag along. But Jack, now that I'm sixty and without security, I reluctantly see the errors of my ways. Ha, should've caved!

    July 20, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  99. Michael Roepke

    Let's see if I have this right. In order to have a more perfect union we should callously lay off and fire federal employees and we should limit their benefits and pay. And perhaps with this savings we will be able to pay government CEOs multimillion dollar salaries. In other words we should be more like Wall Street which got us into this mess.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  100. Jim Naples, Florida

    Jack, it means that those billions in tax dollars that could be saved by maintaining a governmental work force that is actually qualified to perform the jobs they do and do the jobs well will remain a "pipe dream".

    Whatever happened to hiring based on standards of qualification and maintaining a job or receiving a promotion based on performance... ? Wait, I know, affirmative action. Now that is truly a politically correct and PERFORMANCE STUPID means of ripping off the tax payer.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  101. Sande

    It means federal workers can basically do nothing, perform poorly on their jobs and their jobs will be secure. In addition they get some of the best benefits our country have to offer and they don't have to pay much, if at all anything, towards their retirement and benefit plans. No wonder it is so difficult to reach government offices by phone. They should all sing God Bless America every day of their lives.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  102. Stephen Charchuk

    They have a good union?


    Yarmouth, NS Canada

    July 20, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  103. Lowly Federal (military) Worker

    I have been deployed 3 times in my 6 years as a civil servant, and STILL face annual RIFs. Job security is one of the main reasons i joined the military, but in todays economy might very well die before keeping it...dont play the poor pitiful public fiddle, we are all being effected by the sloping economy.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  104. Joan

    It means that government employees are patriotic and loyal; they are not hypocritical Republicans who wave flags but whose actions are the opposite of patriotism. There is nothing patriotic about taking advantage of employees, taking away US worker's rights, and sending jobs overseas. Years ago it was considered a wonderful thing to qualify for a government job. People accepted lower salaries for job security, decent benefits and the privilege to work for their government. The government is obligated to keep the promises it made to its employees. Republicans scorn the very country they purport to support. Sickening.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  105. Wanda Foster

    Why discount the public worker?! People forget that when the federal budget is cut thousands of government workers will lose their jobs and flood the commercial job market. That is NOT a good thing. Also, what does it mean that U.S. companies have no real rules when it comes to hiring and firing? Is it better that they are able to remove people from work at any time for any reason, while the rich scrape all of the profits off the top? I don't think so. The current work ethic is nearly unbearable for the vast majority of very quiet salaried workers. Some of them work 60- to 100-hour weeks and work enough for at least 2 people. When is the fate of the American salaried worker going to become important to anyone?

    July 20, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  106. Steve

    That's really not very fair. If someone knows they are going to have a background check and they have something to hide, chances are they won't apply for the job. How about drugs? What is the likelihood that you are going to apply for a job when you do drugs and know you will be tested? What did these studies take into account that shows the higher quality of character and lifestyle then jobs for another company? How about all the contractors that are hired to work for the Government and attempt to rip them off at every twist and turn? Not Government workers, but wouldn't make the grade either.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  107. Gary from Severna Park, MD

    what's really the kicker, they can retire after 20 years with full pensions. Think about it, if they started at age 21, they can retire at 41, collect a pension and actually get another job, put in another 20, pension # 2, age 61, and in in two years start collecting social security. Anyone ever look into the % of county, state and federal budget that goes to pensions???

    July 20, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  108. Peter Brodeur

    Maybe someone should tell congress that they can join the team and starting August 2, they need to cut their staff by 5% and cut another 5% next year. Now thats the real world. No pain no gain.

    How many staff members does Cantor have and would he cut his staff.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  109. Dave

    The answer is simple...the public sector is incapable of operating like the private sector in regard to expecting performance from its employees. The private sector has for a long time had to learn how to do more with less to satify its shareholders. The public sector does less with more and has no concern to its' "Shareholders"

    July 20, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  110. nick @ Mammoth Lakes, CA

    This is an inflammatory question.

    How many government jobs were outsourced to India compared to the private sector?

    In the '90s when hundreds of thousands of federal workers were sent home because a few hundred congressmen could not do their job. Would a private company tolerate that?

    I just met someone who worked for the federal government in the 90s and he and everyone with less than 5 years of service was let go. He got a job making twice as much.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  111. CL

    What it means to my wife, my kids (who are grown and employed, not in government jobs) and myself is being worked hard with benefits and some job security. Are we supposed to feel guilty because back in 1979 one of us had the degrees required and the desire to do the job and then got the job?

    We worked for the education, filled out the application, talked face to face with a human resources person and got the job. What do you want us to do, Mr. Cafferty, quit and add to the dole?

    July 20, 2011 at 5:17 pm |

    So why don't we just fire them all, right.? That would make all the idiots out there that think all gov't workers are useless, very happy. I am a gov't worker and I work hard. I do not make 100,000 dollars a year ethier.
    That's what this question is really about anyway. Gov't workers have a stigma attached to them just like McDonalds does. There are good and bad workers in all jobs. As far as me dieing before I lose my job, it's probably true. I might even die on the job. One thing for sure, I'll never feel guilty about it. Everyone has the same oppurtunity to work for the federal goverment.
    If it makes the cry baby's feel better I'm facing a pay freeze for a number of years, my health insurance premium is going up, I paid 12,000 dollars last year for that and i'm facing a reduction in my retirement fund in which I already contribute a considerable amount from my pay check.
    I feel for you but don't pick on us because times are hard.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  113. Emily Ashland, Oregon

    Maybe increasing the size of the federal government isn't such a bad idea after all.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  114. Karon Petty - Roswell

    AND, which two groups of people are completely exempt from any payment default due to the debt ceiling not being increased? That's right...Federal government employees and retired federal government employees! Are congressmen/women considered employees?

    July 20, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  115. brian

    I can"t speak from experience on the Federal level, but state employees generally get paid squat. In return, they're supposed to have good benefits, that's the trade off. But now, even that is challenged, and teachers, et al are now painted as welfare queens, lazy, incompetent. Maybe instead of attacking government workers for having work stability, we should be asking why the private sector doesn't protect their workers better. Oh wait, I know the answer, stock holders and the bottom line. Btw, go work for a Fortune 500, you'll see all the incompetency and waste you can handle.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  116. Troy Turney

    C'mon Jack. This one's so easy even a moron like me can answer it. The federal government obviously hires far superior employees than does the private sector. This is why every facet of our federal government runs so smoothly without any incompetencies. The TSA, ATF, FDA and the thousands of other ackronyms. And to think it all gets done on only 14 trillion worth of debt. It's absolutely mind boggling how the federal government enriches every part of our lives.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  117. Gigi

    In any other area of employment I would think it means that they're either doing too much sitting, or the job is too stressful. Think of it this way Jack: At least [you] don't have to pay for their Social Security retirement & Medicare, right. Isn't that what the Chicago School of Economics taught our economic leaders. All the stress the middle class is under will surely shorten their lifetime. It's part of the Republican plan and has been for decades. Look at what the U.S.A. was responsible for in Chile in the '60's!

    July 20, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  118. Barbara

    I know first hand that federal employees do not work a full 8 hour day. They "work" from home 2 or 3 days a week with 3 kids under 21/2 years old. They go to work and ask "is there work for me today?" This lack of productivity would never be tolerated int he corp. workplace. This is the perfect place to cut federal spending would be to "weed" out the deadwood. This has always infuriated me, thanks for bringing it up.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  119. dave in nashville

    It follows the ruling party will never cut the budget, just add more jobs to tell you they will. Pretty nauseating.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  120. Roy


    This issue is at the core of our country's political malaise. It has everything to do with the effectiveness and the pride of our political process. Please do not let this issue die.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  121. Chuckie

    By comparison, job positions within the federal government require that the candidate possess a higher level of education than in the private sector which employs a higher percentage of skilled and hourly wage workers. Workers who are more educated statistically keep their jobs longer, and since the feds employ more of these types, it makes sense that workers would be less likely to be fired or laid off. There's particularly nefarious about these numbers.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  122. Chris

    It means that individuals working for the government have pride in their country and care for thier veterans. Just because those who aren't qualified and or motivated enough to get a job working for the fed doesn't mean they should hate on those who do. I personally know many over qualified doctors working for the federal goverment, particularly the veterans hospitals, and chose to do so because they want to help veterans .while they could make twice as much elsewhere. Stop hating.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  123. Brian

    This is how wealth is re-distributed: they take higher taxes from small business owners like me to pay for additional pencil pushers at some government office. While I work 80 hours a week and have no health care, no chance for unemployment benefits in an emergency, and a self funded retirement plan, they are using my money to give all of this to someone else. And that person probably shows up at 9 am, takes an hour lunch, and leaves 15 minutes early, has paid vacations, paid sick leave, etc, and a golden parachute (pension) when they leave. I think the class war the Democrats are pushing (I'm rich because I gross over $250K! Tax Me!) is backwards. I already fit one stereotyope: my client is "Big Oil", although I don't have a private jet.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  124. John Copeland

    Once again, USA Today has misrepresented information about the federal workforce. Yes, most federal employees who are fired lose their jobs during their first two years and, yes, most of those aren't as highly paid as those who have been with the government for several decades. Does that not make sense? Those who make over $100,000 usually have several years (or decades) as a federal employee or they have come into the federal workforce with significant experience and educational credentials.

    Back to the firing issue, no where in USA Today's research is the number of employees who elect to quit rather than be fired (this is the normal way for most employers to remove problem employees, including the federal government). There are also a number of special hiring preferences (veterans, etc.) the federal manager has to abide by. This also makes it difficult to "fire" someone in that category.

    There is a one-year probationary period for new federal employees. Most who lose their jobs involuntarily do so during that period.

    One more thing. Is it really statistically significant that the private sector fires 3% of employees and the federal government fires 1/2 of 1%? Doesn't seem to me that many employers opt to fire employees, in the private sector or in the federal government.

    Revisiting the idea that federal employees make significantly more than the private sector (USA Today's earlier article citing the Cato Institute's research) even the researchers admitted their methodology was flawed. Let's get good information, not skewed to put forth one political viewpoint or the other.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  125. eddie josephs

    In a nut shell, this means that both you and me are in the wrong line of work, no wonder its so hard to get a federal job.
    By the way I believe that's the reason congress gets nothing done, to still have their job the next day.

    eddie j
    Allentown, PA

    July 20, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  126. Shelly Schwartlander

    SSA doesn't lay off workers, they run them off or fire them especially if they attempt to pierce the veil of transparency. As an employee at Office of Disability Adjudication & Review I dared to ask to be exempted from all day on-the-job social events like an auction from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. to "sell your old junk". The waste that goes on at SSA's ODAR where judges are supported by as many as 3 supervisors and an ofc director for only 63 employees is a disgrace. The biggest effort made by this admin is inquisition-like action that prevents staff from working for beneificaries and claimants who now face losing benefits while this top heavy admin are allowed to play and waste resources with no oversight. Whistleblower protection? Baloney. SSA's EEO is a hurdle one must jump before one gets to EEOC & union contracts & even FLRA are blatantly ignored by management & the chief judges management is there to support. It's a playground for managers who can engage in slander & libel unfettered and protected and defended by SSA's own attorneys at taxpayer espense.
    Shelly Schwartlander, former ODAR San Diego employee

    July 20, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  127. Dee in New Paris Ohio

    Well, unless they raise the debt ceiling really high, and allow the federal government to hire a bunh of new workers, it means that I am more likely to DIE than get a federal job!!!

    July 20, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  128. dave morton

    Hold on Jack:
    Statistics are deceptive, often deliberately so. How many "federal workers" are doctors, scientists, engineers, and technicians who are working to retain basic health, environmental, ecological, and consumer protection regulations? These invaluable jobs involve a high level of education and skill, thus their salary levels Are you going to lump them in with protessional bureaucrats, who, incidentally, might be implementing both legislation and regulations crafted by various politicians and their lobbyist paymasters? Your question is over-simplified almost to the point of simple-mindedness. Try again, this time with less Tea Party rhetoric and more thought to government as a protector of needs common to all U.S. citizens.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  129. kevin

    hey mr. cafferty
    no one complained 10 to 15 years ago when the private sector and dot com employees where dunpimg thousanding for dollars in bonuses and stock op.
    so now the boom went bust, pick on the small people in the federal gov't

    Kevin just a fers employee(not a good retirement)

    July 20, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  130. zray

    It just means we work hard and value our service to the country. We obtain higher level education to serve to public better. The counrty should be thankful.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  131. Dale Burrell

    Jack, concerning federal workers being more likely to die than lose their jobs, Thomas Jefferson was quoted in his time concering federal workers: "NONE DIE AND FEW RETIRE".Looks like nothing has changed in 235 years!!!
    Dale B. Dallas, TX

    July 20, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  132. Mike Mooney

    Government unions have enabled and perpetuated rampant incompetence. This discourages the effective workers and leads to overall performance problems, reflected in embarrassing overall performance, e.g. the financial mess at USPS, Fanni Mae, Freddi Mac, SSA, Medicare, Medicaid, AMTRAK....and the list goes on now to include Obamacare. What a disaster!

    July 20, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  133. Billie Klein

    Jack..your argument may be missing three points I'd like to make. As a former human resources expert I found 1. that is easier to fire recently hired employees than long time employees. 2. perhaps the government really is running departments in a lean and mean way and the best employees are retained until retirement or death. After all, turnover is expensive. and 3. these departments are deemed strategically necessary for the health, welfare and safety of our citizens and not driven by a profit motive. Just food for thought (and hope!)

    July 20, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  134. Lynda Witt

    Jack I'm not hating on them. At least someone has job security in this econemy. The question shouldn't be why we should take that job security away but how we get that same security for our city and private industry employees.I say thumbs up to the feds.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  135. John Keida

    Yo da man! Great question! I assume it is rhetorical. ... maybe I should say I hope it is rhetorical. Forget about it! I am moving to Minnesota to get a federal farm subsidy, federal funding to convince gays to become straight, and a position as a anti-government government employee representing the fringe right in Congress. God bless America!
    Have a nice day!

    July 20, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  136. C. Smith

    ..."good work if you can get it?" Really, Jack?!? It means despite often having terminal degrees, your grossly underpaid compared to your peers with same terminal degrees. It means never getting a big year-end bonus despite how well you performed or how good the economy may be performing, unlike your peers. It means, for many, being compelled to live in the DC-area where an almost six-figure salary is woefully inadequate for pleasant housing or it means spending 3 to 4 hours, daily, commuting to/from work so that you might have pleasant housing. I guess to some, securing mediocrity for life means death before downsizing is an okay deal.
    C. Smith, Baltimore

    July 20, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  137. Audrey

    Well, Jack, the reason it's so hard to fire a federal employee is to protect them from patronage (being fired because of their political leanings), but this, in turn, makes it almost impossible to fire them for other reasons. So unless you want patronage to return in full force (and it would), nothing can be done to make the federal job climate more similar to that of the private sector.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  138. John Marsolais

    Jack, It means that our Federal bureaucracy has grown so entrenched and complicated. We need to run government more like a business. It doesn't take a genius to figure that out.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  139. Robert Pedersen

    As a recently retired federal employee who happened to be a supervisor I can tell you simple that antiquated rules and lack of administration oversight leads to the current problem. There is no fitness requirement as is required in the military and there is no flexibility in firing underperforming employees that exists in the private sector. There are hard working dedicated Federal employees; just not enough of them.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  140. Mark, Oklahoma City

    It means that instead of Obama and Congress spending time on this debt-limit nonsense, they should be trying to figure out a way to get every able bodied adult in America on the Federal Payroll. That way most of us can die before we start drawing social security!

    July 20, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  141. Civil Servant-I love my job

    As a proud Navy Veteran and current Federal employee I want to tell you that my coworkers and I work hard for our money. We are not earning six figures, we follow the rules and we come to work to do our job. We are an organization made up of military Veterans and military spouses and most of us would prefer to die than leave or jobs or do something to stupid to risk being fired. USA Today and the media needs to stop telling the public that all federal employees are earning six figures and that we are not doing our jobs. Many of us are not politicians, we were not appointed to our positions of employment and we are frustrated with the state of our economy just like the rest of the country. Don't lump us all into one group. I love my job and I'm not going anywhere, so I guess I will be here until I die.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  142. Stacie Banks

    It is a trade-off. People who work for the federal government trade job security and benefits for a lifetime of lower wages. It probably means that the federal government has a higher percentage of 'dead weight' than the private sector, but to remedy the situation, it seems we would have to pay people more money to offset the fear of being laid off.

    Anybody want to pay federal workers higher wages?

    July 20, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  143. Chuckie - Atlanta, GA

    By comparison, job positions within the federal government require that the candidate possess a higher level of education than in the private sector which employs a higher percentage of skilled and hourly wage workers. Workers who are more educated statistically keep their jobs longer, and since the feds employ more of these types, it makes sense that *those* (correction made) workers would be less likely to be fired or laid off. There's *nothing* (correction made) particularly nefarious about these numbers.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  144. Rob

    Jack it means that if this debt crisis isn't fixed fast an awful lot of elected federal workers will be shocked at how drasticallly those percentages can change in such a short time.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  145. Jim from Oregon

    OK Jack. Whenever things get tough, the Federal employee is once more put forth as having "too much job security". I worked for a land management agency in the DOI. I busted my butt to get in as a seasonal employee making a wage barely above minimum wage. I worked there for 30 years. My colleagues were predominantly college graduates, many (as I) with post graduate degrees. We were proud of our work, and served the country well. We all made a wage well below contemporaries in the private sector. Why must the federal employee be the subject of such a question as yours? All it does is breed contempt for Federal employees whose salaries are a mere drop in the bucket in the budget scheme.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  146. Conor, Chicago

    I don't really think I understand the problem here. You act as if government jobs just linger in absolute decadence with the lowest of the low performing sub-par tasks at a sub-par level just because they don't terminate people as much as the private sector. Do you have any idea how many jobs exist in the private sector that don't exist as a Federal or State job? I feel pretty confident that if a worker at your local DMV is screwing things up all of the time their tenure there will be rather limited. On the other hand, if you work in a sales job and you and a bunch of other people don't meet your numbers because the economy sucks you all get fired since the company is losing money. I really don't think your argument holds water at all. Just because someone works at the DMV for 40 years and dies of a heart attack doesn't mean that's an example of "the nanny state" or "bloated government".

    July 20, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  147. Michael in Albuquerque, NM

    As I count the jobs I have had over the last 35 years, none of which have paid over twenty thousand dollars or had benefits, I have come to think it means that I am in the wrong business.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  148. Richard Zuehsow

    Jack, it's a job worth dieing for,,,,,,,but I hope to get out before I do.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  149. Nancy, Tennessee

    It's the case of good old Uncle Sam will take care of you once you get inside the ropes. Government employees have nice benefit packages to go along with earning a sort of "tenure". These jobs are worth protecting if you are lucky enough to get one in the first place.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  150. Patrick D - Hampstead Maryland

    Jack – it means that Americans realize that the only safe Job is a Federal job. Americans in the Private sector have been outsourced, down sized, over worked, burnt out, over taxed and under paid for the last twenty years. Look at the once big industries that are gone – Steel,Auto,Textile, Pulp and Paper, Electronics – they are ALL GONE. Wal Mart is this Nation's BIG Employer with most goods made in China and most employees working for minimum wage and lousy healthcare. The Feds only product is Bureacracy but at least its on American soil. The 2012 Elections should be about Education so we can develop smarter people to elect than the idiotic partisan – its all about ME ME ME Congress.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  151. crafty

    jack;fedral employees,there are so many of them the gov't paid millions
    to paint a line down the middle of all the hallways. why you ask? so the people leaving early, don't bump into the people, comeing in late.

    fire 99% of them.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  152. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    I would like to say the Federal Government is a highly efficient operation where they calculate their personnel needs extremely accurately and hire only outstanding individuals.

    But then if I said that I would be lying.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  153. andyz Lynn, MA

    We need an immediate study of the life expectancy of federal workers. The congress should add that on to any bill they think will pass congress and be signed into law by our president. Iy's the American way.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  154. Mike in Denver

    This study just proves what we have all known for years. Government employees are protected, so why should they work hard or become more efficient? This is just another example of our tax dollars being wasted right in front of our eyes, but no one will step up to fix the problem.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  155. Jim from California

    I worked for Fed Government. It is almost impossible to get fired. It requires so much effort to weed out the non-performers (it takes up to one year), it is not worth managers' effort or time to pursue such a course of action. Instead, they just leave the situations to be. Many even give non-performers high performance rating so there is better chance of these people to leave their department by getting hired by another government function. If the fundamental system can be changed to match the performance of the private sector, efficiency will improve greatly and a lot of saving in Fed spending can be realized.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  156. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Federal workers know the system only requires a warm body in place to fill a lifelong position.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  157. Theo White

    Historically, public service employees were granted better benefits to offset the lower pay they were often given in comparison to private sector employees. Now that benefits are under attack and the collective bargaining that was the only checks-and-balance against abuses by management, job security may be the only factor left to recruiting and keeping employees who are willing to work in public service. Public service can attract low performing workers, but that is becoming less and less so as budgets get slashed. I think these attacks on public servants is a very bad idea, Jack. The idea that someone is in a cushy job because they are in public service spurs disrespect the for the people who are sincerely giving their best to their jobs. The fact that lower pay grade employees are fired more than higher pay grad employees doesn't mean that the higher paid are getting away with poor job performance, it means that the incompetent or unsuitable are getting weeded out before they can advance to higher paying positions. We should be glad about that. The one criticism I do have, however, is that public service departments can become extremely hierarchical, and people in slightlyhigher positions than the next guy will abuse their power and make life miserable for someone who may come in the a much stronger work ethic than his or her supervisor, or is more competent. That's where unions were supposed to step in and represent the underdog. Now with unions under attack, abuses towards those lower wage workers will be allowed to flourish, and we will end up with a lot more acquiescent but not necessarily competent employees being kept on the job when they shouldn't be.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  158. Linda

    So, is a stable and dedicated workforce a bad thing? That was my experience. Only saw two deaths in 21 1/2 years before I retired.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  159. Dean, Silver City, NM

    It probably means the United States is involved in another war we can not win.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  160. Arlene, Illinois

    As my Dad always said get a job with the government and
    boy was he right!

    July 20, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  161. Steve

    That has always been the case with a government worker. Most do as little as possible and make more for doing less than those in the private sector.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  162. Pete in Georgia

    What does it mean ??
    Just another in a long, long line of pathetic government entitlements.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  163. Dirk, Ashland, Oregon

    Jack, Let's face it, the federal Government is a far better employer than any private company could ever be, save the top 1%. Maybe if our Government got bigger instead of smaller, we would all have jobs! I know I would personally love to score a job that had the kind of security federal jobs give. -Dirk

    July 20, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  164. pad

    Jack have you ever had someone tell you this job is killing me? Now you know what them mean.
    Ames Ia

    July 20, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  165. Tapan

    The federal govt. provides us training on customer skills, cultural sensitivity, ethics, stress management in addition to numerous other classes that enable the workers to handle the day to day challenges.
    Or could it be that we just have a higher percentage of highly educated staff than the average private employee and since we have spent so much time in learning our profession we value our jobs more and strive harder to use our skills and are more dedicated to help ing others rather than just look at it as "a job".

    July 20, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  166. Jim

    Do you really think the elite in Government would believe they should be forced to live by the same rules they expect others to live by. These are people trying to cut my Social Security check but think they should be immune to such cuts. What person in Congress has offered to take a cut in pay, benefits or staff since all this spending and debt discussion started

    July 20, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  167. Dave, Orlando, FL

    It means that, unlike the rest of us poor slobs, federal workers have their jobs for life and don’t get fired no matter how badly they screw up. The rest of us should be so lucky.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  168. Michael Armstrong Sr. Sherman Tx.

    They are part of the union that run our country into the dirt the unions have destroyed this country the days of the union's are no longer needed .

    July 20, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  169. Judie Wm's

    Terminate federal workers...? Unheard of ! No matter their imcompetence, late to work-early to leave-"milking" a task, at least an hour lunch, non essential errands, etc. they continue to, and will until their last breath.
    Have NO idea of the total no., of federal employees and it would be hazardous to my health to know, yet each and every one is "puttin in time". They, perhaps enter the force with "clean hands", however the system is so infected eventually they contract it.
    "Early outs" reap a number of benefits that continue for a lifetime-what a deal.
    This problem exists AT ALL LEVELS.....FEDERAL,STATE,LOCAL....
    and sadly will continue.....there's not a large enough broom to do any housekeeping............

    July 20, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  170. Tara

    Jack, it means that federal positions see to it they're employees are well trained and promote from within so there is no need to fire them. Loyalty is reciprocated by both parties. Job security offers a peace-of-mind every American should experience. It's better than the other sector where one is usually under-trained, unappreciated and disposable. So once the Vampire-employer has finished sucking you dry you're corpse is tossed to the wind. Thanks but I'd rather not be "REQUIRED" to have a bachelors degree + 5 years of experience and be subjected to a credit screening just for your entry level position at 25k/yr. That's not going to pay my student loans.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  171. Paul in Minnesota

    It might mean that the federal government makes better hiring decisions or the people that have these jobs are better than the rest of us, though I really doubt it. On the other hand, if you go looking for virtue in the private sector you may be looking a very long time. I've worked in the private sector most of my life and I am not confident that the good things imputed to business people (even very small business people) are often warranted. So are we to think that only the bad employees get fired in the private sector? No, that doesn't make any sense either. And regardless of who is the greater idiot, the boss or the working stiff, what is wrong with a living wage and some measure of job security? And what would be wrong with a society that embraces such things as national priorities? If that's ever on the ballot again, count me in.


    July 20, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  172. Donald in New Mexico

    It means they don't need a jobs program. The private sector needs to get off all the money they are hoarding and start hiring. Taxes are lower than they have been in over 50 years. Lower taxes haven't created the jobs they say come with more and more and more tax cuts. Congress needs to worry more about jobs for their constituents and less about reelection. The only jobs they are concerned with are their own. Even to the point of working for special interests for money, and letting the palm greasers dictate their politics, to the detriment of their constituents. Shame on this Congress. They take oaths to do, or not do,above all, exactly what their moneyed special interests want, not what their oath of office to help the U.S.A. first tells them to do. Where are the jobs? It's still the economy stupid!

    July 20, 2011 at 5:57 pm |