Washington, D.C., isn’t like the rest of the United States. Washington bureaucrats don’t suffer during recessions, and job security is virtually guaranteed. In other words, no one is ever fired from the federal government.
The most recent example is Lois Lerner, a senior career bureaucrat in the Internal Revenue Service who took the Fifth Amendment again last month when asked whether the IRS had targeted conservatives. She would have been fired immediately in the private sector, but instead she retired on a very comfortable federal annuity.
Someone else who deserves to be fired is Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius, who is responsible for the Obamacare fiasco. Although her department spent hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on a defective website, she remains on the job and continues to claim that everything is just fine in the wonderful world of Obamacare.
Another egregious example of what happens to incompetent federal bureaucrats is the case of Environmental Protection Agency “spy” John Beale, who bilked taxpayers out of almost $900,000 as he pretended to be out of the office working on “secret missions” for the CIA. This case would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious.
According to the respected Wall Street Journal, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy “not only didn’t uncover Beale’s crimes, she actually helped him collect extra taxpayer money and appears to have ignored critical evidence of his fraud more than two years before he left the agency.” In January 2011 Ms. McCarthy ignored a staff recommendation to cancel Beale’s annual retention bonus, then compounded her error by waiting seven months before referring the troubling case to EPA’s general counsel. Of course McCarthy is still on the job, while “secret agent” Beale is enjoying his retirement pension.
By contrast, another EPA manager was charged with various crimes for signing the time cards of an employee who was allegedly “working from home.” Federal prosecutors claim the woman wasn’t doing enough real work to justify a paycheck. Meanwhile, those same prosecutors ignore Ms. McCarthy and other top EPA administrators who allowed Beale the phony spy to steal nearly $1 million from taxpayers.
Remember that the EPA enacts the onerous rules and regulations that restrict economic development. Here in Nevada, the EPA apparently loves the sage grouse more than it cares about farmers and ranchers. And in Klamath Falls, Ore., where I once lived and worked, the EPA cut off irrigation water to Klamath Valley farmers to save an obscure (and very ugly) fish. If the EPA had its way, the Keystone Pipeline would never be built even though the State Department says the pipeline won’t destroy the environment, as critics claim.
I’m proud that I actually fired one incompetent, unproductive Foreign Service officer during my 28-year career in the federal government. That’s one more than most of my fellow diplomats can claim. This very peculiar fellow wanted to live in his office at the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela, and had no interest in visiting radio and TV stations, which was his responsibility. He was dumped after I wrote a letter to Washington comparing him to Chauncey Gardner in the wonderful Peter Sellers film “Being There.”
Here’s a scary thought: Those same federal bureaucrats are now being called upon to administer Obamacare. Think about it.
Guy W. Farmer of Carson City is a retired diplomat.