Saturday, November 08, 2008

Coming Out From Under That Bureaucracy You've Been Living Under

I don't know what the Wicked Witch of the East did to those poor Munchkins, but the sudden application of a Kansas domicile to her person certainly seemed to bring out the best in them.

The WaPo had an interesting article on the potential effects of an Obama Administration on the culture of the Washington Bureaucracy. In short, the last eight years or so haven't been that great for Federal employees in the same way that being forced to cut off you own fingers does not improve ones overall body image.

Federal employees said that they are not a passionately partisan group, but some are hopeful about an Obama presidency, assuming that their lot will improve. Several took heart from Obama's campaign trail statements that he wanted to make federal government work "cool again."

John Kamensky, a senior fellow and transition expert at the IBM Center for the Business of Government, said that in tracking the Bush administration's recent work and searching for any new initiatives, his center noticed the business of government had slowed to a near crawl over the last year.

"We've been saying that for a year: the administration checked out early," Kamensky said. "I am hearing people [civil servants] are demoralized and waiting for some leadership."

White House spokesman Tony Fratto said regulatory agencies have a bias in favor of more regulation, and he suspects workers voicing frustrations with the Bush administration's opposition to excessive regulation are now those clamoring for new leadership. "There's no support in the surveys for a demoralized workforce," he said noting that 58 percent reported being satisfied with their agencies and 68 percent with their jobs overall.
To be fair, old G.W. Bush wasn't the first President to undermine or destroy the Federal Bureaucracy and its Public Servants, but he certainly seemed to be very effective at it. Whether it was the mismanagement, the spate of early retirements, or even just the Conservative predilection towards subcontracting pretty much every job to private contractors (read: Haliburton), Georgie done screwed things up might good.

Of course, at the end of January next year, Senator Obama will become the boss of over 2,000,000 employees. There seems to be some hope, to use a word that has almost been rendered trite by the last two years of campaigning, that the Federal Government could once again be populated by smart, civicly minded individuals that take pride in their work and their profession... or as I like to call them: adults.

Or Munchkins. Either is appropriate.

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