Building temperature aside, morale is low, and, with hiring freezes, "we’re not training a complete generation of leaders" to do the work of the government. Meanwhile, the ridiculous, gotcha-style oversight from Congress and the constant budget adjustments have deep costs. One award winner said, "I wish someone could put a price tag on redoing who knows how many budgets, who knows how many times, this year alone. How many dollars have we spent across the federal government because of sequester considerations?...I wish we had a way to quantify and tell that story." According to another:
"There’s difficulty in hiring, limits on training our existing workforce, a media tendency to blow up scandals leading to a risk-averse culture that piles on so many extra layers of oversight that you have to go through six people who are each trying to figure out what the next person up the chain is going to be looking for, before you can get anything approved!" She went on to add that on a typical day, she feels as if she has "been given a really important mission and is encouraged to carry it out—as long as I don’t actually hire anyone, fire anyone, train anyone, travel anywhere, spend any money, ask the same question of at least nine people, award any contracts, or, God forbid, issue any reports."Meanwhile, as federal agencies try to jump through every hoop Congress sets up, "we’ll be damned if we do and damned if we don’t. If we avoid any big problems, then it looks like, ‘oh, five percent cut, no big deal,’ but if the problems do occur, there will be the casting of blame." But, see, for congressional Republicans that's a feature not a bug. The goal is absolutely to create excuses for cutting federal services and federal jobs, and how they get there—by using agencies' success at cutting without too much short-term pain against them or by using their sequester-induced failures against them—just doesn't really matter.
Maybe most telling of where our government stands now comes from the discussion moderator's attempt to close on a high note:
Zimmerman related that he had recently received an email from a former student who is a Pakistani police superintendent, asking for some advice with some issues facing him in his job, and said "we’re still in a heck of a lot better situation than Pakistan!"So let's raise the temperature to 80 on the floor of the House and Senate and, while watching our elected representatives literally sweating it out on C-SPAN, drink a toast to being better off than Pakistan.
(Via Huffington Post)