Feds of the future: Not a pretty sight!

Tuesday - 7/22/2014, 2:00am EDT

"As Maine goes, so goes the nation." — A popular saying between the 1830s and 1930s when the winning presidential candidates always carried that state.

"What's good for General Motors is good for the USA." — A popular statement attributed (incorrectly) to GM President Charlie Wilson, who was also President Eisenhower's Secretary of Defense.

"The successful federal agency of the 21st century will look like the U.S. Postal Service!"

Say what? Is that a misprint, a misquote or what?

Right or wrong, it is what some people are saying, about the makeup of the federal government in the not-so-distant future.

The question is whether the role model for government in the 21st century will be something like Apple, or, more likely, the rapidly-shrinking USPS? The once dominate communications operation is now downsizing like mad. It struggles to survive because of both technological (can you say email and texting?) innovations, and political challenges. Maybe especially the latter.

One of its survival/expansion plans is to put postal facilities — manned by nonpostal workes — into Staples stores. Groups representing federal workers and retirees oppose it. The American Postal Workers Union (whose members are primarily postal clerks) has mounted a national campaign saying the-postal-service-is-not-for-sale.

But maybe for rent!

So, will the IRS of the future have one-stop centers at Costco and Safeway, staffed by store employees rather than more costly (and more competent) career civil servants?

Will Congress, for at least the third time, force the IRS to farm out collection duties to tough guy private sector enforcers, even though previous attempts have crashed and burned?

Ten years from today, will people seeking government-monopoly services—from Passports to Social Security cards—be able to get them from Sears? Or at a strip mall or shopping center sub-stations rather than going to a government-owned or leased building? Even though many of the items they purchase online might get same or next day delivery by drones?

The USPS is under the gun. It loses business (and revenue) to private delivery services. So-called snail mail is declining as more people pay bills and bank online. It also faces a burden Congress imposed on it, but not other federal agencies: It must pre-fund its projected retirement costs.

Most proposals to trim the benefits of feds have come from the Republican-controlled House. But sequestration and the two-year pay freeze were first proposed by the White House. And the Senate now is considering S. 1486 from Tom Carper (D-Del.) that would take USPS workers out of the FEHBP, and eliminate the defined-benefit (FERS) retirement program for future hires. That's limited, for now, to the USPS. And it's not going to happen this year.

But...

Could it be the ghost of a not-so-distant Christmas future?


NEARLY USELESS FACTOID

Did you know that the refrigerator doors are the warmest, the bottom shelf the coldest, and the drawers the most humid? What about the fact that many fruits emit a gas that accelerates rotting in vegetables, so they should always be stored separately?

(Source: Business Insider)


MORE FROM FEDERAL NEWS RADIO

Obama to sign orders protecting gay employees President Barack Obama plans to sign executive orders Monday prohibiting discrimination against gay and transgender workers in the federal government and its contracting agencies, without a new exemption that was requested by some religious organizations.

Retired feds on career and retirement Betty Koger and Linda Force share a few highlights from their federal careers on For Your Benefit, as well as their thoughts and suggestions on the attractions of a federal career, the transition to retirement, and life after retirement.