Vote For Me Because I Care

How many politicians have you heard say that they care deeply.  I hate politicians who care.  You know why?  Because the way they demonstrate that they care is by using my money against my will to help someone else.  It is a freaking slap in the face every time I hear this.

Now, government employees in Massachusetts are getting a new way to demonstrate they care at taxpayer expense:

A much-hyped program that
gives state workers up to a dozen paid days off per year to "volunteer"
in a wide variety of community activities gives another perk to
employees who already have one of the most generous benefit packages in
the country....

   A Herald analysis
shows that if the 80 employees in the governor's office took full
advantage of the program, the one-year cost would be $217,000. The
taxpayer cost just for Patrick, who makes $140,000, to take all 12 paid
volunteer days would be about $6,400. There are 50,000 state workers
eligible to participate in the program.

    "Beyond
the loss of productivity for days off, consider the cost of tasking
other state employees with making sure their co-workers aren't just
extending their weekends," said state GOP spokesman Brian Dodge. "With
bright ideas like this one, the stream of wasted money directly
attributed to Deval Patrick is quickly becoming a raging river."

Its not "volunteering" if you get paid to do it, any more than its "charity" when you give away other people's money.  (HT:  Maggie's Farm)

  • la petite chou chou

    Excellent point. The entire premise of volunteering is that you are giving away your time to what you consider a good cause. It is no surprise to me that politicians don't get that.

  • Kelly

    Adding insult to injury, don't forget to add the cost of so-called "flex schedules," used by many government employees (taking every other Friday off after "working" an extra hour each shift). Does anyone truly believe these extra hours are being worked? How about the "work-at-home" days government workers often take? They don't give out their home telephone numbers, nor do they take their computers or files home with them. Now there's some productive time spent...spent by you that is.

  • Anon E. Mouse

    let's see...50,000 workers times 12 days divided by 250 workdays/year = 2,400 man-years.

    Or should I divide by (250-12) = 238? That'd be 2,521 man-years.

    I'll bet a conservative aggregate man-year cost (loaded with all the overhead, insurance, pension, etc. expected in a Taxachusetts govvie job) is $150k/man-year.

    Cost = $378M.

    nice.

    I think the Herald analysis for the cost of the 80 people is out to lunch, low.
    80 folks * 12 days/238days/year = ~4 man-years. No way are man-years only costing $50k + change.

  • http://www.humanadvancement.net/blog Kyle Bennett

    How is this a cost? The way I see it, their annual salary is a cost to the people of Massachusetts. The actual work they do imposes further costs, even if they didn't get paid a penny. This time off doesn't make their annual salaries go up (unless they hire more workers to take up the slack), and it reduces the amount of work they do - thus, hopefully, the amount of damage they do. Sounds like a good deal to me.

    In fact, why not give them the whole year off - pay them to stay at home? Everyone would benefit. I always cringe when I hear libertarians demanding that government get more efficient.

  • Dale

    Kyle, I would say your argument has more merit if you are talking about the Massachussetts legislature taking a permanent break. LOL.

  • http://www.hodakvalue.com/blog M. Hodak

    I think Kyle is right, and this analysis smells of the sunk cost fallacy. The taxpayers bore the expense of these workers the day they got hired on a salary. The idea that they are "volunteering" is, of course, a sham.

    The economically sound way of reporting this would be, "The state has decided to reallocate some its workers time from meeting the needs of the authorities under which they nominally work to matters of largely self-directed, personal interest."

    By the way, Warren, if it makes you feel any better, I don't really give a damn about you. (But I do respect and admire your work.)

  • Bearster

    Payroll is not a sunk cost!

    If those people aren't needed, lay them off and move on. If they are needed, then don't squander their time on charities.