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Pay Cuts Aren't Enough: Time to Lay Off Federal Workers

The taxpayer is also being asked to shoulder the burden for unqualified workers and/or employees no longer fit to continue in their capacity. As the Heritage Foundation’s James Sherk notes: “Federal employees enjoy far greater job security than private sector workers. Federal agencies rarely lay off employees for poor performance.” In other words, few agencies will fire someone for poor performance or budgetary reasons. (In some agencies, particularly the U.S. federal courts, the joke is that career employees know their job is secure even if they were to commit murder.)

As the nation’s companies and families have tightened their belts and laid off workers, government has not. There was no blanket hiring freeze; nor were cost-cutting measures taken.

How do we implement a practical solution to excess spending on the salaries of government employees? The best way to go about this would be to take advantage of the large wave of federal worker retirements that is about to hit. Ordinarily, agencies would replace these workers with new hires. However, they should replace as few employees as possible and allow the positions to simply be phased out. If a position can not be eliminated, the agency does not hire an entry-level position when one becomes available. At the same time, the government would eliminate redundancies and conference room schedulers.

Additionally, poor performance, behavior, and lack of qualifications would finally be permitted to be grounds for termination.

At the end of the day, not one person can honestly tell you there isn’t a problem with the manner in which federal workers are compensated. This is not a partisan issue. The government needs to get serious and provide bold leadership in thinning its ranks.