Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Politics and Sequestration...for a moment

So…my thoughts on the possible sequestration situation.  I try to avoid politics here...but I'm super frustrated with Congress right now.

First, it seems like the vast majority of the media is ignoring the possible large scale furloughs of federal employees that might happen.  Probably because the perception is that we’re a bunch of lazy, overpaid bureaucrats whose jobs could be more efficiently done by the private sector.  Probably because it’s seen that we roll in the dough (thanks GSA for that perception from your stupid conference).

If the sequestration comes through and we’re put on 22 work days of furlough (either in 22 straight days or 22 weeks with one unpaid day off) – once again, the federal employees are bearing the brunt of the mess we’re in with budgets in congress, continued overspend on lots of irrelevant things (just one example - http://www.businessinsider.com/congress-forcing-the-army-to-make-tanks-2012-10)  and the thought that I should go get a job somewhere else if I don’t like it…since I’m so overpaid.

I disagree.  I work with a large number of highly dedicated individuals who work for the DOD because we care about giving our Navy world-class warfighting ships.  Safe, technically sound, reliable.   Are there inefficiencies in what we do?  Of course.  We can always do better.   And we try to do better with innovation, the use of lean manufacturing principles and looking at more efficient ways to manage projects.
But do you really want the private sector to do this work? http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-01-01/business/35440069_1_aircraft-carrier-ford-class-sean-stackley  This cost overrun is just for BUILDING a carrier – forget about maintaining her across her life.   Do you really want a for-profit company padding their pockets even more on the taxpayers dime? 

I have no idea if I could make more elsewhere.   I actually LIKE where I work and am (most of the time) quite happy to be a federal employee.  I like the feeling of accomplishment when we send ships back to sea knowing that we’ve done our best to give the fleet back a pretty awesome piece of machinery.  If you’ve ever been overseas and have seen one of our carriers in port – talk about PRIDE in my work.  Even though I don’t turn wrenches – I still take personal pride in seeing that ship.

Will the furlough affect Joe and I? Absolutely.  But what really kills me is that this is on top of pay freezes for 2, going on 3 years.  Between the furlough and the pay freeze – there are real long term implications on our pay.  Yes, we’re lucky to have jobs.  But does it mean we have to be scapegoats for congress to try to fix their wrongs?

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