More Tales From the Bush Superhighway Of Economic Doom - A Government Employee:
Another Friday, more bad news for all the unemployed and underemployed in America, including those who no longer seek work or have lost their benefits: While the "economists" in the Bush administration were predicting over 120,000 jobs to be created in February, apparently they were off the mark by 100,000. Oh, and the January and December numbers were wrong: about 25,000 less jobs were created in those months than first thought. Whee, how fun an economic recovery is for the rich. And here's a (minimally edited) story for the rest of us, from reader R:

"I've been a probation/parole officer for 7 1/2 years. Last year, I decided to try to get into federal government, via DHS/Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. Suprisingly, starting at a GS-7 [RP note: a low-ranking federal position] was a RAISE from what I was making with my State agency. Universally, Federal employment is considered 'better' because of the consistent cost of living raises (in my state, we haven't had one in 4 years), and opportunities to move up into higher paying jobs or supervisory jobs.

"So I get this job with USCIS. After 6 months there, the jackass in charge of my section flies in from Washington D.C., and tells us that the plan for us in the near future is to 'contract' our jobs out, thus removing us from government employment. That afternoon, I called my old agency back to get on a rehire list. I have/had a good reputation with them, and in January, I got my job back.

"So, once again, I'm a PO with little potential of cost of living raises, or raises for expertise/experience. The upside is my employment is secure. I feel VERY lucky to be back...especially after what I've been seeing/reading/hearing. The Feds intend to 'contract' out more jobs. In fact, Republicans at all levels want to line their pockets with government green by having their buddies start up temp companies that provide services that government employees used to do/still do.

"The 'contract' service that was going to boot me from my job would have dropped my pay from $16/hr to, at best, $10/hr. Benefits and potential for retirement would have gone out the window. No promotions, no raises or cost of living either. Once a contract is bid, the pay remains the same for the workers until the end of the next contract. Then, if the company owner is still pals with whoever is in charge, they may renew the contract or put it out for other competitive bids (wink...wink). If they aren't, everyone is screwed.

"So far, government-wide, contract services have not been doing a better job than full-time civil service workers: usually poor customer service, higher turnaround, less expertise/training, etc. Effectively, it hurts the average consumer of a service (U.S. citizens), but it 'saves' money to government in general. However, the amount paid to these private corporations ais equivalent to what government workers are paid, including benefits. The only 'savings' established is in regard to the Government not paying pensions/retirement. Consider this, when these people who are pensionless/benefit-free are ready to retire, and in need of continued medical care, who is going to pay? The taxpayer, at the County, State, or Federal Level. We've simply moved the cost around so someone's buddy can get paid for the here and now.

"We've corporatized our government, and sevices decline. Consider one of the major problems people have encountered with contract services: they are NOT accountable to the public. They are NOT a public service agency, and their records are NOT public. They have the same rights as any other corporation. This process lends itself to huge problems. And in an ethereal sense, it is taking government away from the 'people,' and putting it into the hands of a private company. Some would call this 'oligarchy.' Anyhow, in my state, we have a would-be Republican gubernatorial candidate already talking about slashing state jobs. Where does everyone think services will come from then? The answer: private vendors. This is a trend that government employees will face in all levels of government. So when I read stories about how people are laid-off and have to find lower paying jobs, this will be classic.

"Those of us that are unionized are preparing to fight it, but so many people have been bamboozled by Republican propaganda that they may act way too late."

As usual, the Rude Pundit can't vouch for the facts of the story, but it seems sadly, sadly true. Again.

Let's keep this going. Send your tale of being stalled and runover by a semi on the superhighway to: rudepundit@yahoo.com.