Federal Workers Are Lazy Paper-Pushers Except for the Nobel Laureates

With Obama’s desire to freeze federal pay for two years, it’s worth reminding people that federal workers actually do important stuff. Like ground-breaking research:

Remarkably, more than 50 current or former federal employees have received Nobel Prizes. In fact, about one in four American Nobel laureates have been federal workers. Their contributions have included the eradication of polio, the mapping of the human genome and the harnessing of atomic energy. Federal employees protect our food and drug supplies, manage airline traffic, foil terrorist attacks, care for our wounded veterans, and make sure the elderly and those with disabilities get their Medicare and Social Security benefits. This is hardly paper-pushing.


As I noted in a previous post on this subject, most of the federal workers I deal with are very hard working people–in fact, they’re usually overworked and not given enough resources to do their jobs.

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7 Responses to Federal Workers Are Lazy Paper-Pushers Except for the Nobel Laureates

  1. Andrew says:

    It’s not nice when your livelihood is referred to as ‘waste’ and your aspirations for doing good for your local and national community are dismissed by ‘patriots’. It can make one feel like one is wasting time.

  2. Katharine says:

    As much as certain segments of the government, such as the Department of State and Congress, have their bizarre problems, the rest of the government does good stuff.
    And it has fed my face for much of my life, since my parents both work for the government.
    I hate anti-government idiots.

  3. nichole says:

    My family (and I) make helicopter parts, and are therefore part of the “military industrial complex” and are “war profiteers”, regardless of the fact that helicopters are just machines and you don’t have to make war with them if you don’t want to. Not voting for war hawk politicians would be a better way of preventing war than not building helicopter parts. Just sayin’.
    If that makes you feel any better, Katharine.

  4. Elliot says:

    “they’re usually overworked and not given enough resources to do their jobs.”
    That’s probably why a lot of people look down on them for incompetence. Terrible situation to be in.

  5. FrauTech says:

    Nichole-
    I feel your pain as someone with defense experience. The makers of the tools are always blamed (nevermind how many jobs the defense sector provides, or that most machines are put to a wide variety of uses non-military).
    However, most of the defense contractor executives I know are frequently applauded by the military and others for their “patriotic” work. I’m not sure how earning millions at a missile company is any more patriotic than earning millions at a soup can company. So I’m kind of sick of both sides. I wish the righties would stop trying to puff up their patriotism cred while criticizing good people like federal employees but I also wish those on the left would realize a machine is just a machine and hating those that make it and develop it and ignoring all the good things it can do is pretty misplaced as well.

  6. Katharine says:

    Well, to be precise, missiles are in fact used to destroy things.
    I understand the anger about getting crapped on for making helicopter parts (can’t you repurpose those Black Hawk helicopters as medevacs?), but things like guns and missiles – how much do we need to defend ourselves as a country? We could take care of a lot of that by making smart policy decisions.
    Another thing that I hate: I just realized how much my parents actually make and the fact that that puts them in the top 5% of income in America, and they STILL bitch about money, and that tells me two things:
    1) People making more than a million dollars and whining about tax cuts are idiots.
    2) The country on the whole is fucked, economically, and I bet a whole lot of the millionaires whining about taxes have no idea what it’s like to make a tenth of their salary or possibly even 7.5% of it. And that’s the $75,000 to $100,000 range.
    All those private yachts and second homes should be sold for resources and the money given to scholarships. A kid with the brains to build a better spaceship who needs the money needs the money more than Moron McMoron III, CEO of Shitbag Enterprises, who owns a bazillion dollar car. (Property rights aside, people have that kind of fucking greed?)
    Republicans have a funny way of making me hate them AND almost everyone else.

  7. nichole says:

    @ Katharine
    “…Repurpose those Black Hawk helicopters as medevacs?”
    Hey, I know something! The S-60 and S-70 models are pretty identical, except for a coat of paint and some different accessories (guns instead of rescue hoists, etc.) So really you just paint the black ones grey, or white and orange, and Done! Repurposed!
    @ FrauTech
    We’re just a machine shop, we make parts. My point was that we only make what people pay for, and it’s not our fault that half of our work is for national defense. We’ve made parts for jet planes, trains, satellites, NASA, medical, commercial… We only do small runs, or prototypes, because we’re not a big place. Refusing the defense work would result in us going out of business, because whatever we can make they can make cheaper overseas. Defense contracts have to be made in the U.S., (DFAR) which is good because otherwise I don’t think America would have many machine shops left. And while this is protectionism, there are some good reasons for it. We make a bolt that’s the back-up to the bolt that holds the blades on the Black Hawks. Once upon a time somebody really needed some of those bolts, so somebody fudged some paperwork to buy them from a Chinese plant. Unbeknownst to the paper work fudger, the Chinese plant had bought them from an American plant who had used the wrong material (they thought they could just cut the bolt from a bar and didn’t use cold-headed blanks, drastically reducing the tensile strength) and rather than throwing out the bolts, they sold them to the Chinese for non-aircraft use. The Chinese turned around and sold them back to us for aircraft use and there were lots of lawsuits when all this came out in the wash. We had government suits swarming our files to make sure we didn’t have any involvement (We didn’t). Even for a redundant part, they really freak out about that kind of stuff. Because, hey, if they ever needed to use that back-up bolt (which they do, when they’re crashing) it probably would have failed. Black Hawks are famous for being good at crashing, passengers have the best chance of surviving a Black Hawk crash.
    So I’m glad Republicans aren’t attacking my industry, even if they do attack lots of others. And I do commiserate with the so-called “paper pushers” because stupid Democrats like to attack us just like stupid Republicans like to attack them. Really, if Americans would just vote in some guys who want to concentrate on making wind farms instead of helicopters, we’ll be ready! You won’t have to buy crappy parts from China!

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