Documents from the VA indicate than 2,100 employees got bonuses over the course of a three-year period. The VA paid $2.5 million in 2011, $3.5 million in 2012 and $3.9 million last year. The merit-based bonuses were doled out to nearly 650 employees each of those years. The employees included doctors, nurses, administrators, secretaries and cleaning staff.
Green Energy for Dead Vets Sultan Knish
While vets were dying, Obama and Shinseki had turned their attention to something truly important; seeing to it that all the cemeteries where they were being buried had wind or solar power. The Massachusetts National Cemetery was getting a wind turbine so that the dead veterans would have all the sustainable energy they needed.
A VA press release about the cemetery turbine boasted ….VA is transitioning into a 21st century organization that better serves America’s Veterans." Shinseki arrived in person at the dedication ceremony to flip the switch on the cemetery wind turbine.
The cemetery turbine had cost $533,000. Veterans were dying to save the VA a few hundred dollars. Shinseki had made his order of priorities clear. Green energy boondoggles came first. Improving veteran care came last.
When the VA wasn't installing a wind turbine at a cemetery, it was installing solar panels at cemeteries to better serve the dead veterans that it was killing. The Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery’s solar panels cost $787,308. According to the press release, the solar panels in the cemetery would "reduce greenhouse gas emissions". $742,034 worth of solar panels was put in at the Calverton National Cemetery. The San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery got an $800,000 solar panel setup. The Riverside National Cemetery got a $1.3 million solar system.
Vets might be dying at VA facilities, but they would have solar panels and wind turbines over their graves so that Shineski could provide Obama with a leading example of “greenness”.
I point to the VA public affairs office not as proof by itself that thousands of federal workers are incompetent or corrupt enough to be fired but simply as an example: Examine virtually any portion of the sprawling federal bureaucracy, and you’ll find the kind of conduct Taranto describes — bureaucrats either failing to do their job entirely, failing at their job, or simply abusing the power of their office. And it’s no wonder — our Orwellian-named “merit” system for federal employees offers extreme levels of job protection. How extreme? Here’s USA Today:..
Federal employees’ job security is so great that workers in many agencies are more likely to die of natural causes than get laid off or fired . . . The federal government fired 0.55% of its workers in the budget year that ended Sept. 30 — 11,668 employees in its 2.1 million workforce. Research shows that the private sector fires about 3% of workers annually for poor performance
No one is saying that all 350,000 employees are bad. But thousands are, and their continued employment and — even worse — continued protection from the top-down of a dysfunctional bureaucracy harms the government, harms the employees that work with them each day, and — most important – harms the American people they’re supposed to serve.
Lie, Delay, Deny A cry for help from the abyss of Veterans Affairs
This former Special Forces soldier and medic served his country for 25 years. He worked in the health-care field managing military field medical clinics. “I know how health care is supposed to run, even in austere or low-budget environments,” he says. And in his nightmarish, ongoing experience, the VA is an epic, deadly, monstrous failure. He minces no words: “They’re getting billions of dollars, and they treat veterans like s***. There’s no accountability, no buy-in, among civilian unionized employees. We mean nothing to them. It’s like going to the DMV for your health care.”
Again, the vet refuses to candy-coat the roots of the festering VA scandal: “The problem is not just waiting lists. It is utter fraudulent expenditure of enormous budgets, not on veterans, but on overpaid lazy, surly civilian employees that often make it clear that a) they do not like veterans and b) that the veteran is actually a nuisance. The problem is endemic, at every level, in the VA. The unfortunate fact of the matter is this: Veterans have become incidental to the process at the VA.” The system is “an enormous cash cow, warehousing tens of thousands of overpaid employees” who “keep the gravy train rolling.”
Of the Bureaucrats, by the Bureaucrats, for the Bureaucrats. The naked self-interest of the government-worker class .
From the Commenters
The reality is that - except for a few technical, professional, or executive positions - government employees typically earn more and have better benefits than comparable private-sector workers, not to mention much better job security.Posted by Jill Fallon at June 20, 2014 2:14 PM | Permalink
Government unions have corrupted our political processes. They have turned the Democratic party into a wholly-owned subsidiary.
The USA's power and politics are no longer really defined by Democrat vs. Republican - rather these is defined by the recently emergent Government Party (the state's interests, its workers, its cronies, its beneficiaries) vs. everyone else.