Bloat Float

Sheldon Tromberg

October 27, 1990|By Sheldon Tromberg

WASHINGTON — ALL THIS TALK of taxes and endless budget-bumbling makes me hold my aching head. The ranting and raving and rhetoric is great public grandstanding but how about trimming a little fat from the Bloat Float area of the Body Politic -- bureaucrats and politicians in both parties.

Facts are facts. Eight thousand federal bureaucrats are scheduled for $20,000-a-year raises in salary starting January 1. That will jump-start nearly all of them to an annual salary of $100,000 each, plus about 30 percent in benefits. If we do a little minor arithmetic, it adds up to $160 million right off the bat. Now, with built-in increases each and every year thereafter, it seems a little callous to disregard current budget crunches in business, government and most individuals, to reward a special group of people.

If we peer a little closer, we might also find that a great many support personnel in government agencies, departments and commissions serve no real purpose (talented though they may be) other than to make their chiefs look good and talk good.

It's the rare agency or commission boss who writes a speech, does his own lawyering (though most are lawyers), dials a telephone or makes a reservation. Instead, there are hack 'crats, appointed clones (they need to have the same views and the same general appearance; it's more comfortable) who are stacked and packed and at-the-ready, like costly servants.

And, if there's a drain on the budget, why do they have liberal PTC travel jaunts for seminars, conferences and meetings throughout the U.S. and the world? Does a 'crat have to head for Hawaii or England or Australia at the drop of a hairpiece, to attend a conference on advancements in better management when a little interaction, empathy and training might better serve the purpose.

Who's monitoring leftover agency budget money? Why is it given (in some cases) as salary bonuses? Is it for putting up with bad management?

If elected officials and appointed bureaucrats were chosen based on ability, rather than a spoils system, then judged according to personal performance, congress might be justified in approving salary increases. No one objects if a good day's work is actually accomplished. What we have now is featherbedding, pure and simple.

When will we, the taxpayers, take charge? Or perhaps it's already occurred to you, and you plan to take charge in the voting booth ten days from now. Meanwhile, the Bloat Floaters are running the store and defending the Fort (Knox).

Politics is called the art of the possible. Politicians listen and fine-tune their opinions along the way because they believe in two things: to be elected, and to be re-elected.

Go to it, use your strength, your vote, or don't you care?

Mr. Tromberg resigned the other day as White House-appointed special assistant to the Federal Communications Commission.

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