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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 25, 2014 / 27 Sivan, 5774

The 'Service' Is Gone From Civil Service

By Betsy McCaughey




JewishWorldReview.com | Last Friday's congressional hearing on outlandish bonuses at the VA is the latest proof that the nation needs to overhaul how federal workers in every department are paid and promoted. They're on the gravy train, and taxpayers are being taken for a ride.

Back in1883, Congress passed the Pendleton Act to replace patronage with a federal civil service where workers would be hired and paid based on merit. There is no MERIT anymore. Scramble the letters. What you have now is a TIMER system. Workers put in time, and get hefty salaries and bonuses, regardless of work quality, with virtually no risk of being fired.

Gina Farrissee, assistant secretary for human resources at the VA, told Congress on Friday that executive bonuses "are awarded only after a rigorous and diligent review." Nonsense.

The regional director overseeing the Pittsburgh Veterans Affairs collected a $63,000 award in 2012, shortly after six vets treated there died needlessly from legionella, an infection traced directly to the poor maintenance of facilities.

The General Accountability Office investigated VAs nationwide and reported in July 2013 that doctors get bonuses irrespective of work quality. A radiologist cited for mistakes reading mammograms received a $8,216 bonus, even though a professional standards board deemed him unqualified to continue his current duties. A surgeon suspended for 14 days for abandoning a patient on the operating table and leaving the medical center with only unsupervised residents to complete the procedure still received an $11,189 annual bonus.

But it's not just the VA. Every federal department has this putrid culture.

The IRS doles out bonuses to employees guilty of illegal drug use, unemployment benefits fraud or even tax evasion. A Treasury inspector general's report released April 22 states that "with few exceptions, the IRS does not consider tax compliance or other misconduct when issuing performance awards or most other types of awards."

Yet IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told Congress last week that a special independent prosecutor to investigate IRS targeting of conservative groups "would be a monumental waste of taxpayer funds." That's a novel concern at the IRS or any federal agency.


The Pendleton Act stipulated that federal employees would be hired and promoted based on merit. But merit no longer matters. Take the Environmental Protection Agency worker making $125,000 a year who spent many hours a day watching porn, including four hours on a website called "Sadism is Beautiful." Yet he received performance awards. "How much pornography would it take for an EPA employee to lose their job?" asked Congressman Darrell Issa, R-California, during an Oversight Committee hearing in May.

The answer is that firing a federal worker is almost impossible, and making it stick, even less likely. Data from the Office of Personnel Management indicate that it is five times as hard to get fired from a federal job as from a private sector one. Incredibly, most federal departments have even laxer standards than Veterans Affairs. Jeffrey Neely, the General Services Administration employee pictured in a hot tub sipping wine on taxpayer money, retired with full benefits after the lavish 2010 Las Vegas boondoggle he planned was uncovered in the media. His co-worker Paul Prouty was fired but then reinstated with almost a year of back pay after appealing.

It's been claimed that federal workers settle for lower pay in exchange for job security. Don't believe it. A worker with a high school education earns 21 percent more working for the federal government than for a private employer and receives 72 percent more in benefits. A worker with a bachelor's degree also makes out better with Uncle Sam, getting about the same wages as in the private sector but 46 percent more in benefits. Only professionals, such as lawyers, medical doctors and Ph.D.s, get paid less in federal jobs than private sector ones, according to the Congressional Budget Office. In addition, the federal workplace offers 10 paid holidays, plus 13-26 days of annual vacation (depending on longevity), and up to 13 paid sick days a year. All in all, up to 49 paid days off.

That's easy street. Meanwhile, taxpayers are on the road to serfdom, working longer and paying more to support a government that does not serve them.

Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York and the author of "Beating Obamacare." She reads the law so you don't have to.


Betsy McCaughey Archives


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