Bureaucrat Hall of Fame: Working for the Government
Working for the government is an exercise in gaming the system for many bureaucrats, according to Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute in this post.
The Bureaucrat Hall of Fame, created to highlight government workers who go above and beyond the call of duty, is apparently such a prestigious honor that there’s been a strong competition between Americans and foreigners to engage in behavior that merits this great award.
Consider the U.S. bureaucrats who have earned membership so far in 2015.
The civil servant at the Patent and Trademark Office who was paid to shoot pool and drink beer.
The bureaucrat at the National Weather Service who pulled an impressive get-reclassified-as-a-consultant-for-a-lot-more-money scam.
A drone from the Commerce Department managed to combine porn downloading, obstruction of justice, overseas shopping trips, and not showing up to work.
Bureaucrats from overseas also have earned membership this year.
The French official who had a taxpayer provided car and chauffeur, yet still billed taxpayers for $44,000 worth of taxis.
Or the Indian bureaucrat who kept his job for more than 20 years even though he stopped going to work.
As I look at these 2015 honorees, I feel like the system is a bit unfair. Maybe it’s just me, but it appears that the foreign bureaucrats are more deserving than their American counterparts.
And I’m guessing that a senior-level bureaucrat at the Department of Veterans Affairs felt the same way. So he decided to take matters into his own hands.
Here are some excerpts from a report in the Daily Caller.
…the Department of Veterans Affairs’ former top watchdog, resigned after being caught masturbating in the agency’s all-glass conference room in full view of people across the street, including school teachers at an education conference. …investigators confronted him with detailed instances of public masturbation in multiple states, according to a previously undisclosed report by the Department of the Interior inspector general and obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Obviously a very deserving member of the of the Bureaucrat Hall of Fame. And he’s definitely upped the ante on what it take to become a member.
For all intents and purposes, he’s thrown down the gauntlet to foreign bureaucrats: What can they do to…um…beat this?
But let’s set aside the U.S. vs. foreigners aspect of this issue and look more closely at our new honoree.
He apparently had lots of time on his hands (so to speak) because his office decided that it was okay for the Department to operate de facto death panels.
Sort of a trial run for Obamacare!
It was during Wooditch’s tenure as deputy inspector general that the VA IG first uncovered — then all but ignored — dozens of clues of the widespread patient wait-list manipulation that contributed to the deaths of dozens of veterans.
It’s also impressive that he got a promotion shortly after getting caught with porn on his computer.
He was caught with porn on his work computer in 2003, but VA officials only “counseled” him. Not long afterward, he was promoted to the top job.
Wooditch retired with a federal pension without ever facing administrative discipline or criminal charges.
And here’s a final excerpt.
IG agents also learned during their investigation of a separate incident…they were told, he made an “inappropriate advance” on his next-door neighbor as she was grieving her husband’s death. …“…she said Wooditch began to pose nude and masturbate in front of a window that was only viewable from her house” repeatedly, the report said. The woman…did have police warn him to stop. Wooditch lectured the police that he was a “high-level government employee.”
I think you’ll agree that it nicely captures the arrogance of the federal bureaucracy.
It’s the mindset that leads to these kinds of outrages.
P.S. Shifting to a different topic, I can’t resist an I-told-you-so moment.
There was a disagreement last year among advocates of smaller government about whether Doug Elmendorf, the then-Director of the Congressional Budget Office, should be replaced since Republicans were in full control of Capitol Hill.
Elmendorf’s predecessor was a doctrinaire leftist named Peter Orszag. If Orszag’s policy views were a country, they would be France or Greece. By contrast, I’m guessing that Elmendorf would be like Sweden or Germany. In other words, he wants more government than I do, but at least Elmendorf basically understands that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. …That being said, while it’s much better to be Sweden rather than Greece, I obviously would prefer to be Hong Kong (or, even better, pre-1913 America).
The GOP leadership ultimately decided to replace Elmendorf.
It’s too soon to make any sweeping assessment of his successor, though early indications are somewhat positive.
But that’s not the point of this postscript.
Instead, I want to pat myself on the back for being right about Elmendorf. Now that he’s no longer at CBO, he’s come out of the closet and is openly pushing statist policies.
Here’s some of what he wrote earlier this year about “a fairer approach to fiscal reform.”
…the incomes of people across most of the income distribution have risen quite slowly, while incomes at the high end have risen rapidly. …There are a variety of ways to increase tax revenue for Social Security by imposing a payroll tax on income above the current-law taxable maximum. …this approach…does not offer a free lunch. …would reduce people’s incentives to work and save.
So the bottom line is that he recognizes his preferred policy (which is what Obama has endorsed) will hurt the economy, but his ideological support for redistribution and his myopic fixation on income distribution leads him to the wrong conclusion.
And here’s something else. The Hill reports he’s urging class-warfare tax policy.
Former Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Elmendorf on Thursday said the tax code should be changed so that the wealthy pay higher taxes…in a video released Thursday by the left-leaning Bookings Institution, where he is a visiting fellow.
Another example of his support for Obama’s preferred policies.
And another reason why those of us who favored a new person at CBO can take a victory lap.