The federal government can't get a handle on its...


June 10, 1993

NO WONDER the federal government can't get a handle on its deficit. The vested interests within the government are so comfortably entrenched that all they can think about is how to spend money -- on themselves.

Take the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp., the group that's supposed to safeguard your pension. It wants to move to new quarters. In this depressed real estate market, you'd think this would be the perfect time to pick up a real bargain by purchasing one of those see-through office towers in the Washington region. It would save the government oodles by not having to pay rent.

But no, the PBGC, as it is called, went ahead and lined up new rental office space -- for $125 million paid over 15 years.

For $125 million (or a lot less) you can buy a some kind of super-duper office tower in the metro-D.C. area -- and it will last you far longer than 15 years.

But that's just management's side of this public extravagance. The National Treasury Employees Union, which represents 425 of the agency's 655 workers, wants its share of the public pork.

When the PBGC moves to its new rented headquarters, the union is insisting workers receive: on-site child care center; low-cost fitness facility memberships; a refrigerator for every 50 employees; microwave ovens, computer terminals, personal computers and ergonomic furniture for lounges and group work areas; free parking for those who request it, and $60 per month public transportation subsidies for workers who don't use the garage.

The union also wants a free shuttle bus every 10 minutes between the building and two subway stations only a few blocks away. For those who work after hours: free taxi service. And when the move is made, the union is insisting the agency hire professional packers so no employee lifts a single folder.

That's just one small agency in the vast Washington bureaucracy. Makes you wonder what the bigger departments are up to.

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