What's Next: Sackcloth Uniforms For Feds?

Monday - 1/24/2011, 2:01am EST

As Congress continues its crackdown on bureaucrats, the next logical step would be to require federal civil servants to wear uniforms.

If you all wore the same, easily identifiable (and cheap) outfit, it would be so much easier for those of us who don't work for the government to spot you and take action. That would include glares, sneers and the occasional verbal tongue-lashing to let you know how good you have it, etc.

For winter the CSSS (Civil Service Sackcloth Suit) would be a one-piece jumpsuit (did I mention cheap) that you would have to clean, repair and replace. These would be neat, and show (us, the public) how sorry you are that you are you.

In short, a win-win! Does it get any better than this?

For summer garb, your CSSS would be shorts and a T-shirt. Perhaps red, white and blue. With the words, "The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves" emblazoned front and back on the shirt. Preferably not made in China!

Again, a win-win for all. I'm sorry I didn't think of this before.

It seems like only yesterday (2009) when federal workers, postal employees and retirees had their best-ever year on Capitol Hill. A number of long-pending legislative improvements were made. But that was then.

Since then, retirees haven't had a cost of living adjustment, the White House froze white collar pay for two years, and newly-elected House members want even more - as in less for you.

The latest is a proposal to extend the pay freeze to 5 years and cut federal employment 15 percent (not the 10 percent suggested in December). Coming soon will be proposals to force feds and retirees to pay a bigger share of their health premiums, pay more for retirement and - if Congress and the White House agree - force people to work longer for the same benefits.

To prove that they are playing hardball, and don't plan to become "professional" politicians, some new members of Congress had rejected coverage under the federal retirement plan (although they will still have to pay into Social Security), saying they aren't joining the federal health plan and are opting not to join the TSP.

How long this will last is anybody's guess. But for now, things are looking relatively grim for the federal community.

If the CSSS uniform thing catches on I have another suggestion. Members of Congress should be required to wear togas while conducting business on Capitol Hill. Senators would be authorized to have the royal purple strip. That way we members of the public would be able to quickly identify and thank veteran members for spending more than we take in and newcomers for their slash-and-burn solutions.

Or...

Here's a less dramatic proposal from a long-suffering civil servant:

    "Food for thought!

    "The great thinkers in the halls of government need to get their brains and calculators in gear and identify unintended consequences that will follow actions meant to reduce the excessive government spending. The 10 percent proposed reduction and/or furloughs can be magnified by an additional 20 percent assuming that each person cut or furloughed has an average of two who depend on their support. That is a fair sized chunk of humanity and deserves a lot of clear thinking before any action is taken.

    "There is a saying about cutting anything to size - measure twice and cut once. That thought applies to cutting government spending.

    "There should be no non-essential employees on any payroll, so the lawmakers should look around in their own backyard when applying the essential/non-essential standard and see who is left standing.

    "A reasonable approach to reduce spending in government is to follow a plan the average family has to use in order to live within their means. What will work is to identify the real problems and causes and then develop solutions. If the real problems and causes are not identified, only the symptom is treated and that will not solve the problem.

    "Federal employees and their salaries are not the problem or the cause of overspending in the government. The application of common sense always works and that would be the right approach to use in identifying the real problems and causes of overspending in government." -- Bob Zee

To reach me: mcausey@federalnewsradio.com


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