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Federal IT Will Survive the Budget Deal

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the surviving-the-it-ceiling dept.

Cloud 104

jfruhlinger writes "Like most people in America — and like most government workers in particular — federal IT staffers are wondering how the recent budget deal will affect them. It seems they won't suffer much, for two reasons: there was already a major tech consolidation effort underway, and everyone involved is hoping IT initiatives will result in cost-savings in other areas of government operations. In particular, federal moves to the cloud — which can yield considerable savings, despite a need for up-front investment that deters some shops — will continue."

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Here's a better question to answer: (2)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | more than 3 years ago | (#36977916)

What didn't survive the 'budget deal'?

Re:Here's a better question to answer: (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#36977938)

That separation of powers thing, where Congress (and only Congress) is authorized to borrow money.

Re:Here's a better question to answer: (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#36978002)

Care to point at some sources? Last I checked, congress still has that exclusive power, though there was talk that if congress failed, an executive order might be used to save the country.

Re:Here's a better question to answer: (2)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 3 years ago | (#36978372)

Exclusive power was designed out at the time of the constitution - it's a checks and balances thing.

The Constitution is openly ignored now, of course, but if any branch has any exclusive power, it's definitely not the legislature and definitely not over the budget.

Re:Here's a better question to answer: (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981870)

Congress was once a part of a separate branch of government to counter balance the power of the other two. Long ago, they essentially just turned into a timid lapdog of the sitting president. They'll bitch and moan and showboat for a few weeks or months, when when it comes down to it, they'll mostly do what the president wants them to do.

Re:Here's a better question to answer: (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#36978018)

What didn't survive the 'budget deal'?

The stability of this nation and my faith in humanity.

Re:Here's a better question to answer: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36978036)

American dignity and respect.

Re:Here's a better question to answer: (1)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | more than 3 years ago | (#36978178)

Sir, I'd like you to point out exactly how much American dignity and respect was there was before this deal. You can't kill something twice.

Re:Here's a better question to answer: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36978300)

no but you can make sure it's really dead for sure :)

Rule #2 (1)

DeathSquid (937219) | more than 3 years ago | (#36979860)

Double tap. You think it’s dead, one more makes 100% sure. Woulda, shoulda, coulda.

Re:Here's a better question to answer: (2, Insightful)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36978080)

What didn't survive the 'budget deal'?

Any meaningful deficit reduction.

Re:Here's a better question to answer: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36978800)

Why is parent modded "troll"? He is right on the money....

Re:Here's a better question to answer: (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 3 years ago | (#36978912)

Mark my words: most of this "deal" will be undone, fought over, dragged on, until a minority government becomes a majority government again-- for purposes of budget. While budgets are initiated in the House, it doesn't mean they'll glide thru the Senate and Prez.

Look for some Tea Party vilification, and undoing of most of the cuts. Just watch. This ain't over.

Re:Here's a better question to answer: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36981330)

Give me good reasons why the Tea Party SHOULDNT be vilified as the racist denial of reality twats they truly are?

Re:Here's a better question to answer: (1)

rock_climbing_guy (630276) | more than 3 years ago | (#36984134)

What cuts?

Re:Here's a better question to answer: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36978108)

Air Traffic Controllers?

Re:Here's a better question to answer: (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#36978560)

I'm guessing some education funding and some scientific research funding. But don't worry, I'm sure congress will do their best to make sure only the ineffective educational programs get cut, and that the most important research projects will be adequately funded.

Oh wait..."their best" isn't really a comforting thought...

Re:Here's a better question to answer: (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#36980284)

Not even that. If you look at the deal, all they have agreed to is to not increase spending by as much as they had planned on...and even that they won't start for a couple of years. They are hoping that by then this fuss will be safely forgotten and they can increase spending not only by as much as they had originally planned, but by even more. There is no spending cuts in the "debt deal". When Washington "cuts spending" it means they won't increase spending by as much as they said they would. What they usually do is, when the voters demand that they cut spending is they argue and fuss about what to cut for a few months. Then they agree not to spend as much as they said they were going to, starting 2-5 years from now. Then when it comes time to actually allocate that money, they ignore that agreement and spend as much or more than they had originally planned on (before the "spending cuts").

Re:Here's a better question to answer: (1)

Mr. Arbusto (300950) | more than 3 years ago | (#36980558)

Next years spending increases. I really, really, REALLY wish the media didn't go long with the spin that is included with baseline budgeting. Here is, as of my quick glance before posting, a description of the atrocity known as baseline budgeting.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baseline_(budgeting) [wikipedia.org] [wikipedia.org]

In short, next years budget will be bigger than this years budget. In 2011, we spent about 3.8 Trillion (3,800,000,000,000) (We'll ignore the fact we went most of 2011 without a budget) and had a deficit for the year of about 1.6 trillion (1,600,000,000,000). The 2 trillion (2,000,000,000,000) of "cuts" are against the baseline over the next 10 years. So, they are "Planning" to not spend another 20 billion (20,000,000,000) over the next 10 years. The 20 billion of this years budget is a huge, gauging, painfull %0.005.

        Also, the cuts cannot be guaranteed because, we still don't have the budget for 2012 completed, that isn't even going to be done till after the election with this deal. Also, no congress can pass a law that the next congress can't change, which makes promises for 5 years from now next to meaningless.

In short, nothing didn't survive the budget deal. The rate of growth of the government from this year, compared to next year was reduced.

Re:Here's a better question to answer: (2)

Maltheus (248271) | more than 3 years ago | (#36978896)

The US dollar.

Re:Here's a better question to answer: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36979370)

Correct answer. You win a prize.

Re:Here's a better question to answer: (1)

Mr. Arbusto (300950) | more than 3 years ago | (#36980118)

Next years spending increases. I really, really, REALLY wish the media didn't go long with the spin that is included with baseline budgeting. Here is, as of my quick glance before posting, a description of the atrocity known as baseline budgeting.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baseline_(budgeting) [wikipedia.org]

In short, next years budget will be bigger than this years budget. In 2011, we spent about 3.8 Trillion (3,800,000,000,000) (We'll ignore the fact we went most of 2011 without a budget) and had a deficit for the year of about 1.6 trillion (1,600,000,000,000). The 2 trillion (2,000,000,000,000) of "cuts" are against the baseline over the next 10 years. So, they are "Planning" to not spend another 20 billion (20,000,000,000) over the next 10 years. The 20 billion of this years budget is a huge, gauging, painfull %0.005.

    Also, the cuts cannot be guaranteed because, we still don't have the budget for 2012 completed, that isn't even going to be done till after the election with this deal. Also, no congress can pass a law that the next congress can't change, which makes promises for 5 years from now next to meaningless.

In short, nothing didn't survive the budget deal. The rate of growth of the government from this year, compared to next year was reduced.

Re:Here's a better question to answer: (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981426)

Possibly the use of the $US as the global currency and thus the main thing stopping the $US going the same way as the $Zimbabwe. Inflation hasn't hurt it much because the US economy has not been the only thing keeping the $US stable, but as the US economy affects it the $US becomes a lot less attractive for international resource deals and multinationals may start using other currencies instead.

In other words, corporitzation of USG continues (1)

rsborg (111459) | more than 3 years ago | (#36977988)

Any effort to "save money" by "cutting budget" that affects Corporate Persons (esp important ones) will not be affected. Anything else is "fair game".

Welcome your new corporate overlords, "citizen".

Re:In other words, corporitzation of USG continues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36979142)

I've always wondered why Americans are so worried about their government tyrannising them, at least they can nominally vote their government out of power. Try doing that to a private company!

Re:In other words, corporitzation of USG continues (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#36979750)

I can choose not to buy anything from a private company....

USA! USA! USA! (1)

Keith Curtis (923118) | more than 3 years ago | (#36977990)

j/k - Worst. Country. Ever.

Re:USA! USA! USA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36978062)

Shut up Comic Book Guy!

I;ll clue you in: (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#36978000)

Government workers are always under pressure to cut costs, and do more.
If you look at the actual numbers* and compare them to any corporation of equal size as the specific government group,. there is substantial less waste in government then corporations.

Oh, be people just point and say 'government waste' and everyone nods there head like a bunch of brainwash Scientologist at a 'retreat'.

Ask for evidence, data, comparisons and they got nothing except for the rare cherry picked item. Most, as in over 98 percent, of government work is at or slightly below the initial requirements.
Corporation can only dream to get the kinds of numbers most government agency get.

*you wont, but I can hope

Re:I;ll clue you in: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36978100)

Re:I;ll clue you in: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36980170)

I'll clue you in. That report was written by the Cato Institute, which was founded by the libertarian think tank that the Koch brothers started. It is filled with incoherency to begin with, including the use of non-inflation adjusted numbers.

Don't believe me? Look at the bottom of the page to find who wrote it. Then look at this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cato_Institute

Re:I;ll clue you in: (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981464)

In case people missed the implications, the views of such groups are that anything expended on government regulation of anything at all, including safety standards, is waste. To them Nixon was a tree hugging socialist.

Re:I;ll clue you in: (2)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 3 years ago | (#36978166)

I would like to look at the actual numbers. How can I find them?

Re:I;ll clue you in: (2)

XanC (644172) | more than 3 years ago | (#36978196)

Corporations are in business because they offer a good deal for their customers. "Waste" isn't something that the customers have to worry about, but they will select the least wasteful company, since a wasteful company will soon have a less wasteful competitor.

Government, well, we have no choice. We're all their "customers" whether we want to be or not. Since there's no voting with the wallet possible, there has to be stringent oversight.

You may point out wasteful corporations that continue to survive with no competition. Pretty much always that means the government is involved with that corporation, somehow guaranteeing its existence.

Re:I;ll clue you in: (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#36982072)

Have you ever SEEN the inside of a corporation? I'd be amazed if even half the stuff they burn money on has anything to do with delivering a product to the customer.

The real deal is that once you get big enough you can afford to do that and still come in at a decent price (compared to other wasters) by exporting jobs to the 3rd world. If you're a small company, you waste very little but you can't get pricing significantly below retail on anything so you come in slightly higher.

Re:I;ll clue you in: (1)

judoguy (534886) | more than 3 years ago | (#36978210)

Efficiency isn't the issue. It's massive bureaucracies/government controls that aren't needed/wanted. The Nazis were probably efficient. If the DHS is efficient, does that make it a good thing to have around?

Re:I;ll clue you in: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36980582)

Yeah, if only the government wasn't stopping corporations from dumping their wastes wherever they wanted!

Who needs that?? Not anybody drawing a paycheck from the board anyway!

Re:I;ll clue you in: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36978230)

If you look at the actual numbers* and compare them to any corporation of equal size as the specific government group,. there is substantial less waste in government then corporations.

For a contrast take a look at the city and state positions with excessively high salaries, pensions, and early retirement (50 in some cases). Some people even collect retirement pay AND their salaries. When businesses aren't breaking even, they'll make deep cuts. Governments don't act like they're competing, often degrading services and hiking fees while making only token moves t adjust personnel costs.

Bullshit (-1, Troll)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#36978266)

There is epic waste in the government. They never fire anyone, leading to useless people remaining and more people hired on to do work the useless ones can't.

You can't offer any evidence either but I know a few people that work in different levels of the federal government and it's true of any of them.

If there really were no waste in the federal government, then please tell me how it is NO ONE got laid off last year? And that they all got raises when the private sector is getting pay cuts?

Your story simply does not add up, even with what the public can see of federal employees at work - where there are usually more than are called for and they work slowly.

Re:Bullshit (1)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 3 years ago | (#36978376)

If there really were no waste in the federal government, then please tell me how it is NO ONE got laid off last year?

Oh really? [usatoday.com] So that's why they 12000 people were fired last year? Yes, as the story says that is less than private sector but is much more than the "NO ONE" you claimed. Plus there are thousands more coming this year as well.

And that they all got raises when the private sector is getting pay cuts?

Actually they had a 2 year pay freeze [cnn.com] put on them.

Did you even bother to research a single one of your claims since they were easily disproved in 1 minute of Googling?

Re:Bullshit (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#36978498)

And even this is ignoring the reality that most federal dollars are spent on contractors instead of direct federal employees. Why? So those workers can be more easily fired, laid off, pay cut, whatever you wish to call it, simply by re-negotiating or not renewing a contract if it's not going well. Many (most?) federal government employee jobs are essentially just managing contractors. So, what percentage of managers are fired or laid off from the average corporation in a year? Many of the 3% of the private workforce that gets fired each year is dope-smoking kids with poor attendance at their fast-food jobs. There simply aren't any federal jobs at that level.

Seriously? (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#36978804)

You seriously point me as a counterexample to an article that states federal workers are more likely to DIE than lose a job?

Ok, there were 12k. The private sector has been losing that much (or more, sometimes much more) every week for a few years now. Come on!!

Your very article exactly makes the point I was making. The government simply does not lay off inefficient people in any meaningful way.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36980180)

Ok, there were 12k. The private sector has been losing that much (or more, sometimes much more) every week for a few years now. Come on!

In order for this comparison to be fair, you would have to take the relative sizes and duties of these organizations into account. Unless, of course, the Government was the size of the "private sector" in every industry, and performed the same tasks.

I agree that I have seen people that do not work hard in Government. I have also seen people that do not work hard in industry. I have seen more people laid off in Government than in industry, however. Of course, I work in Government, so my observations are likely to be very biased. However, while I admit that I am not performing a fair comparison, you do not seem to.

Re:Seriously? (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 3 years ago | (#36980502)

Your very article exactly makes the point I was making.

No, it makes the opposite of what you were claiming which is that NO ONE was fired. I admitted that article said that the layoffs were far less than the private sector. It's not as if I was trying to hide that fact:

Yes, as the story says that is less than private sector but is much more than the "NO ONE" you claimed.

Re:Bullshit (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#36980446)

Actually they had a 2 year pay freeze [cnn.com] put on them.

Except that it is not really a pay freeze, the majority will still get their "step" increases. Even the article you link to tells us that much.
As for the 12000 people that lost their federal jobs last year, that is out of 2.1 million. The private company I work at has a 14% head count reduction coming up over the next 6 months...and it is the third head count reduction over the last two years (the other two were similar percentages).

Re:Bullshit (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 3 years ago | (#36980492)

Yes, I did say it was less than the private sector as that was what the article said. The point was that the person claimed that NO ONE was fired. I was never at all claiming that the federal workers were laid off in a higher percentage just that the claim was total bunkus.

Re:Bullshit (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#36980622)

Out of 2.1 million, 12,000 is close enough to no one for me. According to that article, in a typical year the private sector lays off 3% of its workforce for poor performance. In a year where the economy was doing terrible, the federal government could only find 0.55% of its workforce to lay off?
According to the article you linked to, a rate of layoff/firing below 1% shows a failure of management. This indicates that the OP's (the grandparent to your original post) point is false. If private sector companies dream of the numbers that the government gets, it's a nightmare.

Do more with less? (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981582)

So you want them to fix the USA by doing a lot more things with less money and less people?
The USA really screwed itself when it cut education back in the early 1980s.
BTW, I work in private enterprise but still find your argument to be nonsensical and a poor reflection on yourself instead of a reflection on the topic. We are increasing headcount here because we have to do a lot more than last year and do not believe in magic. That means higher expenditure for wages.

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36978616)

Why no layoffs? Perhaps because there's no shortage of necessary work for them to do.

My most recent shopping experience was at a store where only one register was open. It was very annoying. They could have had more people working at the registers instead of making us customers stand in line.

Sometimes, believe it or not, there's inefficiency in underemployment.

Think about what you are saying man (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#36978864)

Why no layoffs? Perhaps because there's no shortage of necessary work for them to do.

Hi there caption obvious, that's true of every worker I've ever met. Except in the private sector even when people have "no shortage of work" people are laid off ANYWAY. And then the company has to figure out how to really do more with less, so by necessity becoming more efficient instead of carrying on as they are.

That trimming too far gets muscle not fat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36980996)

Oh sorry, but while a private company can say "No, let's not do that" when they feel like it, for whatever reason, the government has substantially more stringent obligations it has to meet. If your local McDonald's decides not to be open 24 hours a day, that's one thing, if the local emergency room tries that then there will be problems.

This may increase the leanness of operations, but it may also have a price. Just ask the California Fire fighters who had to lose a man off each of their crews. Yet they still had the same job to do, one with duties that would not be controlled by their own needs or operations.

Better hope your house wasn't lost because somebody wanted to save money. The government can't just decide not to do something and it not be costly.

Of course, it doesn't mean they don't expand their duties, they actually do. I've seen duty requirements go up all over. Instead of 10 inspections a day, it's 12, or 15. Instead of covering X miles, it's X+Y miles. This may not be an improvement either. But despite your ignorance, it does happen.

It just doesn't always pay off.

Really, why do you think underemployment is a universal good for the government? Do you like roads not getting paved on time? Do you enjoy bridges not getting inspected? Perhaps you like your trash not getting collected? People complain all the time about the Post Office not making money. I'd rather complain about them having to close local post offices instead. I don't want the USPS to be a lean-mean money-making machine. I want it to be a full-service provider.

Priorities, yours may be the wrong ones. Anorexia is not healthy. Stop trying to starve us all to death in your unhealthy fixation on being lean and chasing your sacred cow of efficiency. It's not as great as you make it out to be. At a certain point that makes things worse. But you don't even seem to care one bit about that, do you? The next time somebody in the anti-waste crowd admits that they can go too far will be the first I've ever seen it. Your focus is way too myopic.

Really, surprise me, admit that cutting can go too far.

Re:Bullshit (1)

baegucb (18706) | more than 3 years ago | (#36978776)

My state consolidated servers (my boss was in charge). I actually work a few yards from the servers. The various Windows server people in the other departments suddenly became Windows desktop support staff. The good thing so far, is that they do gradually go away, unless the people are dedicated government employees. And now the servers are being virtualized, or for database apps, being converted to z/os Linux.

Re:Bullshit (1)

baegucb (18706) | more than 3 years ago | (#36978938)

Oh, and an aside. The government workers in IT that I have run into there are yhose who are lazy and incompetent. But in my 10 years of working with them (as a contractor). maybe 1/4 are useless. The others are medically ill or close to retirement and counting the days. Are you going to be the person who fires someone with cancer? Or two months to retirement? I'd rather we figure out which managers to get rid of, before throwing labels onto all government IT people. (And yes, where I work they get great bennies).

Re:Bullshit (2)

k6mfw (1182893) | more than 3 years ago | (#36979132)

>please tell me how it is NO ONE got laid off last year? And that they all
>got raises when the private sector is getting pay cuts?

Don't worry, layoffs will happen. Also benefits will be zeroed out. Those still working are expecting reduction in pay. There are agency wide emails kicking around about cuts though maybe the RIF word is not used. Also note that vast majority of people working federal government are contractors, including security guards and those working security clearances are contractors. And many contractors will be laid off (i.e. KSC Shuttle workers).

What burns me is this obsession to screw the commoners and working class. First with non-govt employees followed by govt. employees. And "we" continue to "admire" those with big salaries (take a look at all the grand publicity they get on mainstream TV and magazines). Of course don't be surprised in future where there is more corruption because lowlies need to steal/embezzle/accept bribes in order to make ends meet like in Mexico.

Re:I;ll clue you in: (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#36978338)

You've never worked for the DoD then. Massive amounts of waste, unwilling to fire anyone, and automatic raises for the most dubious of "masters degrees", often paid for by the government but not actually resulting in any more efficiencies. Not to mention a love affair with Windows that borders on psychotic.

Re:I;ll clue you in: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36980378)

I'm a contractor working for the DoD. Second time around as one, actually, having been laid off in the wake of a cancelled contract already. This time is worse, as I'm on-site, working in a classified area.

As a contractor, I definitely feel like a second-class citizen. I'm quite certain that my employer is charging an arm and a leg for me to sit there and slog through the never-really-designed code and glacial rate of development, but I see a bare fraction of the dough, and if I'm not charging hours to the contract, it has to be either company-mandated training, sick leave, or vacation. There's no sitting-on-the-bench time. If the contract goes, you're laid off that afternoon.

Not only is the psychotic love affair with Windows, but also with every other product Microsoft makes. Windows. Office. Visual Studio. SQL Server. IT policy even prevents you from installing or using any browser other than IE. The firewall blocks just about the entire Internet. Since I have no admin privileges, but as much Visual Studio as I can eat, I had to write my own Solitaire. And then I followed that up with Freecell, Hunt the Wumpus, and Conway's Life. My performance review said that I was the most productive employee. And here I thought I was slacking.

The only thing this place has going for it is that the HR bozo filter looks for "citizen" and "clearance" rather than "10 years of experience with specific 3-year-old product". As soon as I can make a graceful exit, I'm going back to non-government work, preferably somewhere that has the kind of windows that admit sunlight.

This entire building could be replaced by a very small shell script. I think perhaps the entire federal IT workforce could be replaced by a chimp with a pair of diagonal cutters and a Microsoft sales rep.

Re:I;ll clue you in: (2)

cowboy76Spain (815442) | more than 3 years ago | (#36978364)

As I am from another country, YMMV, but what I see here is while there is pressure in the middle and lower level to cut costs, at higher level the game is a little different.

Let's say you have to build another hospital in the public network and (given that the specs are still open), the IT department asks for a place where they can put their CPD (thus being able to provide services currently outsourced at no low price). So they specify that they need so many square meters, must be able to bear a given weight of the servers, and so on.

When the hospital is built, the IT department checks and in effect the room is there, but it has not been built to bear the load. There is a meeting with the higher-ups of public government and the architect, and the only solution offered is to strengthen an area that happens to be above some columns so that a small area is able to meet the specs.

What do you think that would happen:

  1. The political leadership would assume there has been a mistake (by the builder) and fault of oversight (by themselves). Even at the risk that the press could know about the mistake and make it public, and ignoring that they are hard pressed so that the hospital can be inaugurated before the upcoming elections, they stand by the IT department and force the builder to act responsibly and provide a valid solution, or
  2. They tell the IT staff to "shut up" and keep spending (wasting) thousands of € monthly for the hosting of their servers.

Of course, this example is just a product of my imagination and has nothing to do with the recently build hospital in the region where I live.

Re:I;ll clue you in: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36978574)

I work in tech for LOCAL government. Our pay rates are 1/2 of what comparable positions pay in private firms in the area. Our budget is miniscule. More and more mandates are handed down by the State every month, with no funding increase to cover the requirements. Not all government is created equal. Now they are talking of more budget cuts? Oh well I guess I can contract my skills back to them for 3 times the cost after I get let go. That's government waste: pay more to fix it after the fact than to prevent the problem in the first place.

No offense, but citations please? (2, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 3 years ago | (#36978582)

You boast some impressive numbers and they disclaim any opposing views as being cherry picked yet you do not provide any citations to back your claims.

Your talking about an organization (the US government) which is consuming nearly 25% of the GDP of the richest country on Earth that cannot balance its books. Yet you claim that it is efficient beyond the hopes of any corporation? It does not take much work to come up with your "cherry picked" counter points, government projects are notorious for over spending, F35 and Big Dig are two great examples of recent boondoggles. There over 1.6 million civilian federal employees, the average cost of each is just slightly over 100k.

So ya, most workers I know in private industry are also under pressure to get it in under budget and cut costs where possible. I haven't heard of a private business who wants their employees to not cut costs...

Regardless, no real cost savings are going to come from paring down the number of employees the Federal Government has. We have to knock down whole agencies and we have to tackle the real problem : Entitlements. They eat nearly two trillion dollars a year and when Obama Care rolls in around 2013 it will only get worse.

We are spending too much and there really isn't sufficient revenue to be gained through taxation. Historically we take in between 18 and 20% of the GDP with the spending close to that, yet now we are at less than 19% because of the weak economy and nearly 25% out because of reckless spending (keynesian fixes that don't work). We peaked at near 21% GDP for taxes during boom years (internet boom) yet even Clinton did not produce a balanced budget - go look it up, not one year did the deficit not increase.

So, citations if you make bold claims about government efficiency. Its hard to find favorable stories even in left leaning print (NYTimes and such) so I would love to see it.

Re:No offense, but citations please? (1)

DrData99 (916924) | more than 3 years ago | (#36979048)

Well, I won't research numbers for you (if you really wanted them you would have dug out numbers to support your point and proudly posted them), but consider that much of that 25%of GDP goes either to keeping people alive at home (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid) to trying to make people dead overseas. And you can call them "Entitlements" as you wish, but Social Security and Medicare are insurance that workers pay for with every paycheck. I will not argue that we are spending way too much killing people overseas, but also note that much of the waste there was brought to you by private industry (hint: google Blackwater)

Also:
The Big Dig in Boston was not a Federal Project. The substandard materials that were used were substituted by private industries attempting to rip off the government. (in the name of maximizing profits).(hint: google Big Dig)
The cost overruns on the F35 were from Lockheed Martin, the private industry tasked with developing the aircraft.

Re:No offense, but citations please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36980856)

but also note that much of the waste there was brought to you by private industry (hint: google Blackwater)

Who hired Blackwater?

The Big Dig in Boston was not a Federal Project

You may be surprised how much federal money [boston.com] found its way into Boston harbor (at least some $8.55 billion.)
You also didn't mention "Federal" workers in your original post, but TFA is about that, so I'll give ya a pass...

The cost overruns on the F35 were from Lockheed Martin, the private industry tasked with developing the aircraft.

Who hired Lockheed?

You're not helping your case on arguing for an "efficient government" if they can't ever seem to do the work themselves or find decent contractors or even know when to kick out a bad contractor.

Hiring by lobbyists of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36981406)

Who hired them?

The politicians who were lobbied to hire them did, that's who.

Yet another part of the public/private relationship that bears scrutiny.

But don't blindly blame the government for it, it's not quite that simple.

Re:Hiring by lobbyists of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36983442)

The politicians who were lobbied to hire them did, that's who.

Ok, so it's not "government" which is inefficient - it's just the people who run it?
No, still not making sense...

I'm not saying "government" has to be inefficient by definition, but ours is certainly set up to be.

Wrong word choice. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36986070)

Inefficient is the wrong word to describe it. You want to use corrupt.

They're quite efficient with their corruption.

But you want to do some good about that problem you do have to know how to approach it. One way would be to explicitly repeal Citizens United.

Re:No offense, but citations please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36982728)

We're describing truths that nobody here actually wants to hear. It doesn't jibe with the Jon Stewart narrative.

But Recovery.gov comes to mind. That cost us, what, $18 million just to redesign?

How about all the F22's we bought and have no use for?

Or the Osprey nightmare?

All of which ignores one critical point. Apple or GE can be as wasteful as they please. I don't care, so long as it's not on a federally funded project. I care when my government blows billions of tax dollars on crap we don't want or need... and then gets on TV and screams that we're trying to starve poor people when we say they can't collect more taxes to cover their absurd spending problems.

Re:No offense, but citations please? (1)

mmortal03 (607958) | more than 3 years ago | (#36984192)

Bad human nature is always a risk when massive amounts of money is flowing. I'm not saying it's right what these private contractors have done, but all the massive but decidedly "necessary" government projects that inevitably require tons of private contract work just seem to be a complete joke -- the joke being that our even MORE massive but "necessary" government can't effectively manage the real consequences of the huge projects it proposes!

How did the government think things would go? "Hey, let's give this private company over here a billion dollars to do such and such, with relatively no strings attached. We can't really oversee them that well because the project we're mandating is so massive and because they're a private company, but heck, it's not our livelihoods we're risking if things don't go just so -- it's the American taxpayers!"

The government shouldn't be allowed to propose and outsource such grandiose projects without also taking the proper actions to minimize the risk of something going wrong when the outsourcing they are deciding to not have full control of goes bad. With such large projects, there just isn't any greater power to run crying to and bail us out if something goes wrong. Simply put, the less oversight the government has over these contractors, the bigger the risk they are taking on by moving forward with such massive projects, so they better prepare for the worst.

EVer heard of exhibit 300,Re:No offense (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36979516)

Every month, every federal project in existence has to update a series of documents called an exhibit 300. This includes milestones, earned value calculations, and risk reports. This level of reporting is FAR more detailed than anything required in the private sector. Any program caught wasting money or missing deadlines is unceremoniously cancelled. Working in the federal sector these days is like working under the spanish inquisition. These reports are public knowledge and anyone can read them at the OMB. No one bothers, because they don't want to admit how hard they have made it for federal employees to do their jobs. It is easier to whine when one is ignorant and uninformed. The REAL waste in government isn't caused by laziness or inefficiency. It is caused by all the wacky laws that Clowngress passes. If Congress gives an agency a directive to study whale barf, the agency is forbidden by law (5 years in jail for lobbying Congress if you're a fed) from telling Congress that the study is a waste of time. If you want more effificient government, then READ the federal budget and VOTE to throw out the bums who are squandering your money. Abusing federal workers may be easy and fun, but it is also pointless and a waste of time.

Re:No offense, but citations please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36979524)

Clinton did not produce a balanced budget, but due to a booming economy he actually had a budget surplus -> http://www.factcheck.org/2008/02/the-budget-and-deficit-under-clinton/

Re:No offense, but citations please? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#36979820)

Due to the tech bubble, you mean....

Re:No offense, but citations please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36980354)

I hope you're including many of the military and homeland security expenditures in, "Entitlements." Remember their budgets skyrocketed ten years ago, and never came back down. Remember why companies and countries started paying Europeans to put up satellites? Many of the space shuttle flights were booked for years by military projects. And we didn't include those NASA costs as military spending.

I've known lots of guys who have done, "defense," contracting. Most of them retired with pensions higher than the full time working pay of most government employees.

And do politicians consider the retirement pay and benefits of military personnel to be, "entitlements." They sure are, but often those entitlements are viewed as good things.

So when you hear politicians telling you how, "entitlements", are bankrupting our country, remember the entitlements of the savings and loan scandal, the entitlements of bailing out misbehaving corporations that were too big to fail, and were entitled to record bailouts from taxpayers who will be eventually receiving, "entitlements," from programs they have paid into. Most corporations who were bailed out, never paid into a bailout program. Probably almost every retired person paid into social security.

Re:No offense, but citations please? (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#36980452)

Your talking about an organization (the US government) which is consuming nearly 25% of the GDP of the richest country on Earth that cannot balance its books.

The bulk of that money is not "consumed," it is simply paid back out to pensioners, as you said, and other people who return it to the economy almost immediately.

Historically we take in between 18 and 20% of the GDP with the spending close to that, yet now we are at less than 19% because of the weak economy and nearly 25% out because of reckless spending (keynesian fixes that don't work).

That's it, it "didn't work"? Tens of thousands of people, including many state and local employees, have been working at jobs and providing value to the economy instead of sitting home watching the clock due to that expenditure. That is undeniable. No, that doesn't prove government is efficient. Admittedly it doesn't even prove the stimulus spending was worth what it cost - which is largely subjective. But to simply write it off as a completely ineffective waste of money is simply not the case. I'm afraid we're about to find how much worse it could be without the government keeping money changing hands - right back into the Hoover years of the Great Depression.

Re:I;ll clue you in: (3, Insightful)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | more than 3 years ago | (#36978742)

I'll share evidence explained directly to me by the person who was involved.

A friend of mine in the Navy was sent to shore duty to work with shipyard employees. This is a fairly common duty for people in the program I worked in.

The small division he was working for was all civilians and tasked with rebuilding and repairing complex mechanical equipment on ships and subs. His group was tasked with the replacement of a large valve on a critical ship's system. He took the usual squid work mentality and worked long hours to complete the job in less than 3 days, sleeping on the ship one of the days to get the work done. When he reported to his supervisor that the work was complete, the supervisor was livid.

The supervisor explained to my friend that this valve replacement was expected to take 5 people 3 weeks to complete, with the final week being 12 hour days with overtime pay. This supervisor was so angry that he told my friend never to work on another project for this division again. So my friend stopped going into work altogether. Since he was not assigned to a military base, nobody kept track of what he did or where he was. For the next two years he spent all of his time SCUBA diving and hang-gliding while making a nice salary and receiving full benefits.

I have yet to see in a corporate world not only with this amount of waste (500 man-hours billed to do 45 man-hours labor) as standard policy, but also someone making a nice salary that nobody tracks any of their productivity or even knows where the employee is.

Re:I;ll clue you in: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36979504)

People get "lost in the system" all the time in big corporations. I know of at leased 2 IBMers who lasted for years after the rest of their team had been laid off. They just kept showing up and watched DVDs all day as long as the paycheck kept showing up. Overtime and After hours support was also encouraged because they billed the customer with it meaning more money in their pockets, but some of it trickled down to the techs

Re:I;ll clue you in: (2)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981668)

I've seen exactly the same thing in private enterprise many times - especially during plant maintaince shutdowns or at mine sites. It's called corruption if they have an inside man or just plain ripping off the customer if they don't.
Not all of the gangsters in the USA went into government.

Re:I;ll clue you in: (1)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | more than 3 years ago | (#36982300)

The first ship I was on was decommissioned and I was part of the crew for the one year deactivation period. The engine room had been shutdown for months when we pulled into drydock and the shipyard workers began taking the lagging off of the steam pipes. A few of the machinists who were part of the crew were commenting on how slow the shipyard workers were at removing the lagging. They had put the ratio at something like one hour of sailor work to one week of shipyard worker work. From there they estimated when all of the lagging in the steam plant would be gone. As I recall, they weren't off by more than a few weeks. Until you have worked in a government operation, especially federal, it is very difficult to comprehend how incredibly wasteful they are.

Backwards example? (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#36982906)

one hour of sailor work to one week of shipyard worker work

Are you really trying to use the example of a government sailor being faster than civilian private enterprise workers to try to make government look bad? Even if it's a government owned shipyard (is there such a thing?) you are just comparing one part of government to another, so it looks like you are just trying to see if we are paying attention or easy marks in some silly game to fool the stupid.
I've seen far worse in a coal mine that had over 100 fairly expensive contract maintainance workers playing cards in a shed all shift five nights a week for months until their inside man called in sick and another manager woke up to what was going on. It's called crime, and that's what you stumbled on the that "standard policy" mentioned above. It thrives if nobody sees it as their job to prevent it and private enterprise is not immune.

Re:Backwards example? (1)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | more than 3 years ago | (#36983050)

Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility [wikipedia.org]

You're not understanding the point. You can't bust these people. They are doing what they are expected to do. No crime is being committed, other than the complete waste of taxpayer money. You know nothing about how Navy sailors work, especially sailors in the Naval Nuclear Power Program. It is clearly you who is trying to confuse people by filling a post with failed logic, conjecture, and incorrect assumptions.

Re:Backwards example? (2)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#36983174)

YOU are the one saying government workers are bad by comparing government workers to different government workers.

You are insulting our intelligence if you are trying to use that as an example as to why private enterprise is better.

If you can't bust those people then their management is dead wood that should be removed and whether they are government or otherwise simply means the methods have to be different. It doesn't matter how badly fucked up the system is - there are people that theoretically have jobs where they can change it. It's nothing at all about government or not but about what the goal of those in charge are, which in the case of the shipyard is probably look the other way and just wait lazily for another payday.

Re:I;ll clue you in: (1)

ShnowDoggie (858806) | more than 3 years ago | (#36982862)

Did you just made that story up? It sure appears that way.

Re:I;ll clue you in: (1)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | more than 3 years ago | (#36982914)

Not made up. It also appears you've never dealt with the DOD or the military, and most certainly not Naval shipyard workers.

Re:I;ll clue you in: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36985418)

Excuse me? You are comparing a government group to a UNION shop. My experience with the government is completely different from yours.

One group I worked with needed some testing done on 4 wireless devices for range, durability, ruggedness, and many other things. There were 6 government civilians and 2 contractors. The 6 tested one device over an 18 month period and could not get it to work more than 1.5 miles. The 2 contractors tested 3, built another from scratch and tested it, and all worked at ranges over 5 miles, wrote detailed reports, and finished the work in 12 months. Then the contractors took the equipment the gov guys had tested, and is less than a week, were able to get it working at ranges over 5 miles. Not only were the contractors faster, btu they were actually competent.

Another case there were 4 government civilians trying to upgrade their network. After 2 years of trying to figure out what to order, 2 of us contractors specified and ordered the equipment. They wanted to install them and after 6 months had installed 2 router/switch combos, at the end of 6 months they asked for our help and we 2 installed the other 42 router/switch combos, and configured the network of 44 router/switch combos and documented how to configure the network. We did OUR work in 1 week!

Re:I;ll clue you in: (1)

The AtomicPunk (450829) | more than 3 years ago | (#36980262)

Wow, utter bullshit from yet another person feeding at the taxpayer trough.

I'm sure he has a nice pension,too, so we can pay him not to work for 30-40 years.

Re:I;ll clue you in: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36980268)

I agree.

Paying for profit multinational corporations to be in charge of our IT done by relatively low paid government employees MAY result in small savings in the short term, but with lock-in expect huge increase costs in the long term. (especially as their requirements change)

Re:I;ll clue you in: (1)

Alastor187 (593341) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981396)

That is an interesting take, and it is also interesting that everyone responding to your comment was quick to address the efficacy of government spending. But have you ever stopped to ask yourself what is the real role of government, specifically the role of the federal government? I think for some people when they look at waste in government spending it goes beyond efficacy and is the fact that the overreaching federal government under takes projects it should have no authority over.

Re:I;ll clue you in: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36986438)

This slashdot poster is under a lot of pressure to sound intelligent.

If you look at the actual numbers* and compare them to any other posters of equal size as the post above, there is substantially less bullshit in their posts than this one.

Oh, be geekoid just points and says 'I'm right, and if you disagree with me, you are an idiot, even though I provided no other evidence other than my made up statistics', and also 'uses' lots of 'quotes' without purpose. Also, scientology, thread over.

Ask geekoid for evidence, data, comparisons, and they have nothing except for made up statistics, insulting condescension, and anti-corporatism. This poster can only dream of someday being taken seriously.

*you are an idiot, but someday you might figure it out

The cloud (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36978148)

The cloud is not always a cost saving solution and it also requires trusting someone else with your data. If you have very little in the way of IT staff, infrastructure or no specialised needs then, as long are willing to trust the service, then it can be a cost saving.

Although you shouldn't be paranoid I would encourage you to think of the relative liability of the cloud. Like the ones made out of vapour there are no guarantees that the one you are using will there tomorrow, that you will have access to your data when you need it or that it ends up in a jurisdiction that may cause you problems, even for something seemingly innocent.

I am sceptical about the cloud (aka hosted services with no precise geographical location) and although I already use services like gmail and github, I also realise that I have put my trust in an entity that may bot deserve it for reasons of convenience.

Re:The cloud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36978278)

Thing is, the US government is huge. There is no reason they should have to outsource anything to get 'cost savings' from scale.

However, culturally they would be simply unable to construct a government-use-only cloud service that agencies can subscribe too and then give up their internal resources. Such things have been tried before and just provoke huge turf wars and a refusal to co-operate.

Re:The cloud (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36978368)

You make a good point there. I have already worked for a company where it was simpler to out-source a solution than do it internally because of the structure of the 'silos'. I imagine it would be worse in the government.

Yeah Right! (1)

LowerTheBar (1741458) | more than 3 years ago | (#36979364)

>>everyone involved is hoping that IT initiatives will result in cost-savings in other areas of government operations The federal government is incapabale of doing anything that will result in a cost-savings.

The Job Loss Dichotomy (2)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#36979660)

Ever notice how when a politician does something that big business likes, it is received as "job creating", while something they don't like is automatically "job killing"? Yet when cuts to the federal budget can only be addressed with layoffs, that is somehow not "job killing" and infrastructure projects are somehow never "job creating"?

Re:The Job Loss Dichotomy (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981898)

I don't see the point in counting a job that exists only thanks to the tax-payer's taxes as a "job" in the normal means. It's not a benefit to the country - it's a liability. An expense. A budget item.

Re:The Job Loss Dichotomy (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#36983520)

I don't see the point in counting a job that exists only thanks to the tax-payer's taxes as a "job" in the normal means. It's not a benefit to the country - it's a liability. An expense. A budget item.

So are you suggesting then that infrastructure work such as roads and highways should be done by volunteers out of the goodness of their own hearts? Feel free to try suggesting that in your own district and let me know how that goes.

have you been to DC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36980486)

If you've been to DC lately. One word comes to mind:

**boomtown**

With all the road (NoVa beltway, ICC), building (downtown), infrastructure (IAD metro), homes (S. Woodbridge) development, and that politics/federeal work is seeing a lot of (and maybe the bulk of it) stimulus cash... DC is booming.

No real cuts in the debt deal (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#36980542)

There are no real cuts in the debt deal. All they agreed to was that they would not increase spending by as much as they had said they planned on. Further, most of the "cuts" come two or more years from now. The people who agreed to this plan may not even be in office when it comes time to write the actual spending bills involved. This is how it always happens. Every so often the voters get upset and demand that Congress cut spending. A few Congressmen take it seriously and propose to reduce how much the government increases its spending next year over this year. Other Congressmen and various "community" groups wail and caterwaul about how they want to starve little children and throw grandma out in the street. After a few weeks to a few months of going back and forth (assuming that the voters are really upset about spending), they all finally agree to reduce the amount that spending increases next year by a token amount and a really significant number several years into the future. The thing is, the only spending number that means anything is the one for next year (and even that is only meaningful if they can't get some "emergency" appropriation bill through).

Re:No real cuts in the debt deal (1)

rock_climbing_guy (630276) | more than 3 years ago | (#36984182)

Where are my mod points today?

its fucking funny (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#36980744)

the government spend god knows how much money on large time share computers, to replace them with individual workstations and now to move those workstations to the "cloud" which of course is marketing bullshit for time share computers.

how fucking dumb can these asswipes get, seriously

Cloud - you're doing it wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36981444)

I tend to agree. If your cloud project requires a large upfront investment, you're doing cloud wrong. Even NIST has said that it ain't cloud unless it's pay-as-you-go...

Re:its fucking funny (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 3 years ago | (#36984254)

To be fair, there wasn't a real clear upgrade path from the previous generation of timeshare pcs. All the innovation happened on the workstation OS model and thin client tech languished for decades.

Um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36981458)

No shit. I would love to meet the idiots that actually thought it would even be cut a tiny bit, let alone suffer.

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