Friday, October 17, 2014

Quickies: The All-Purpose Governmental Excuse

First have a gander at this revealing story about the recent behavior of the Centers for Disease Control:

Top public health officials have collected $25 million in bonuses since 2007, carving out extra pay for themselves in tight federal budgetary times while blaming a lack of money for the Obama administration’s lackluster response to the Ebola outbreak.

U.S. taxpayers gave $6 billion in salaries and $25 million in bonuses to an elite corps of health care specialists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since 2007, according to data compiled by American Transparency’s, an online portal aggregating 1.3 billion lines of federal, state and local spending. The agency’s head count increased by 23 percent during that time, adding manpower and contributing to higher payrolls despite relatively flat funding.

From 2010 to 2013, all federal wages were frozen because of budgetary constraints, but CDC officials found a way to pay themselves through bonuses, overtime, within-grade increases and promotion pay raises....

National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins told The Huffington Post last week that the CDC had been working on an Ebola vaccine for more than a decade but was hampered by shrinking budgets.

First, by now we all know that the CDC's budget has been increased each year for the past several years, and we all know about the fatuities the CDC has been spending its budget on. Gun control, global warming, and "bullying" are only the most widely known of them. Second, an agency formed to control the spread of infectious diseases is expected control the spread of an infectious disease! In the typeset phrase of the moment, "You had one job." Third...bonuses? For what? What record of achievement justifies the distribution of bonuses among executives who hardly dare to face the public, and when compelled to do so, can't even tell a consistent lie?

A personal vignette: Some years ago I was foolish enough to form a subchapter-S corporation for a purpose that need not concern us today. Within a few weeks I began receiving notices from the State of New York that my quarterly sales tax remissions were late...before I had taken in a single dollar in revenue. So I called the relevant office in Albany to straighten out the matter.

I was put on hold.
I was left on hold for more than thirty minutes.
I concluded there must be a phone problem and decided to try again the next day...which I did.
The next day, I was left on hold for two hours.
But I resolved to wait it out.
And my call was answered.

I was in a fine state of anarchist wrath by then.
I upbraided the bureaucrat for leaving me on hold for so long.
Would you like me to tell you what the very first words out of her mouth were?

"We need more money!"

I'll bet she got a bonus that year, too.

This must stop. But it won't stop itself. Putting Republicans into elective offices won't stop it either. Draw the inference.


Weetabix said...

I thought my ability to be shocked by governmental actions had burned out long ago.

But... but... bonuses to public employees?!? I knew they got unconscionable salaries. I knew they took bribes from lobbyists. But, flat-out, on-the-books bonuses? They absolutely know that no one will be able to do anything effective, so they've given up all pretense of hiding any of their venality.

Oh. My. Gosh.

We are well and truly through.

Anonymous said...

The CDC is purely a political machine. I have no surprise that they would receive bonuses for sitting at their desks reading a sign that says "Breathe in, Breathe Out."