Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
September 26, 2002
WAR/POLITICS: Turnabout

Saw the TV tape of Tom Daschle flipping his lid on the Senate floor yesterday. So, OK, it's dirty pool for the GOP to accuse the Democrats of being unconcerned about national security for blocking the new Homeland Security Department until the Dems can force the department to keep civil service protections that make it insanely difficult to discipline or fire people and thus hold them accountable for their performance? Well, somebody with a search engine and a few hours to spare should check on what the Democrats and their friends at the NY Times and elsewhere were saying last October and November about Republican opposition to their plan to federalize airport security. Betcha betcha betcha find a whole mother load of accusations of Republicans putting profits over national security and the like. How soon we forget.

UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan thinks Daschle just lost his cool from being pushed by both sides on the war when he wants to talk about other issues. I wonder if the Tom Harkin scandal is a factor too - one more bit of bad news that could undermine Daschle's strategy for keeping the Senate.

Speaking of Homeland Job Security, Mickey Kaus suggests a 50/50 plan: give 50% of the employees job security. What an office-politics nightmare that would be - don't you think the civil service employees, by their permanence, would acquire great influence over whether the other half get fired? -- and you'd just be committing to have half the people do most of the work. Instead, how about a 10% rule - say, in each sector of the Department (Coast Guard, INS, Border Patrol, etc.) you could only terminate the employment of 10% of the work force each year without triggering notice and hearing protections. Many times you wouldn't need to go that far, and if you had an incident big and ugly enough to require a bigger purge, you'd probably be able to handle the hearings by aggregating the proceedings somehow. But the 10% rule would solve the principal problems Kaus points to, i.e., the return of a spoils system of political patronage and the loss of institutional memory from excessive turnover. Some corporations have adopted plans to evaluate employee performance and regularly weed out the bottom 10 or 15%, and this plan would have a similar effect on productivity and morale by discouraging people from being perceived as being the bottom of the barrel.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:15 AM | Politics 2002-03 • | War 2002-03 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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