That federal bureaucrats enrich themselves during an economic downturn with pay raises -- 2.4 percent this year, 4.8 percent last year, 4.5 percent the year before -- is bad enough. Now comes word that Uncle Sam is dishing out "recruitment, relocation and retention incentives" to the tune of $285 million in 2008 (the latest year available) to bring workers onto the payroll or persuade them to stay.
Take, for example, the Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled... Its deputy executive director received a payment of $30,803 to entice him not to retire after 37 years in government. The Department of the Army paid a "human resources management specialist" $1,602 after the employee threatened to transfer to a Navy office in Bethesda.
Perhaps this paperwork specialist was irreplaceable, but it is beyond doubt that others received benefits in jobs that just about anyone could do. The Commerce Department gave incentives to six fishermen. Other agencies gave incentives to 199 secretaries. Forty-three food-service workers took a total of $111,095 in incentives. Twenty-four janitors took an average of $1,401 each. Eighty-one incentives went to public relations professionals.
The Washington Times points out the real crime in the Feds' largesse:
While $285 million is a comparably small amount given the magnitude of the federal leviathan, left in the hands of the private sector, these funds would be better used as capital to create actual, productive jobs. Incentives can be important, but federal workers already are overpaid, and there's little chance they'll leave for a private sector hemorrhaging jobs.