Looks like Washington Post Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt sort of put his foot in his mouth -- or his pen as the case may be -- in an April 27 editorial where he as much as called America's older workers "lumbering" and less talented than "younger, nimbler" employees. In a nation that has one of its largest blocks of citizens in the "older" category, those over 40, it seems like Hiatt just insulted the largest number of Americans. Not the best way to sell newspapers, eh?
In his headlined "600,000 Bad Hires? Making Federal Jobs Cool Once Again," Hiatt seems to be urging The One to come to the rescue of the jobs market. Well, not real jobs, but government jobs, anyway.
Here is how he jabs workers over 40.
The opportunity lies not only in the huge number of looming vacancies but also in two factors driving young people to consider government jobs: excitement about President Obama -- and the fact that nobody but the government is hiring. The federal government, currently old (one-quarter of the workforce is under 40, compared with one-half in the private sector) and often lumbering, has a chance to become younger, nimbler and more talented.
Apparently Hiatt misses the singular fact that "younger, nimbler" workers are also inexperienced. But, just as apparently experience is meaningless in Hiatt's world of youth worship.
Hiatt states that in the next four years 600,000 federal workers will need to be hired because of retiring workers. I find this number a tad high since we have a retirement age population that is increasingly not retiring for all sorts of reasons, not all of them necessarily financial. Of course, it is true that many thousands of our government workers will be retiring but do we really need all those jobs filled in the first place?
Hiatt's worries are all in the wrong direction. Instead of being worried that we don't have enough applicants to fill government jobs, he should be worried over how we are going to eliminate those jobs that we don't need anyway.
Naturally, Hiatt made this another excuse to indulge his Bush Derangement Syndrome by attacking the Bush administration's efforts to get rid of useless and underperforming federal employees.
That means only a president can turn things around, and only by dint of constant and aggressive effort. The Bush administration talked about measuring and rewarding performance, a good idea but one that was implemented so ideologically -- combining pay-for-performance with a reduction of collective bargaining and appeals rights -- that it alienated much of the workforce, Stier says.
Yet, at the same time he is dinging Bush for being "ideological" in his policies, he recently celebrated similar policies attempted by DC School Chancellor Michelle Rhee. Recently Hiatt praised Rhee for her "aggressive" effort to measure and reward performance in the DC schools. Hiatt can't make up his mind if measuring workers on performance is a good idea or a bad one. Or maybe he has made up his mind. It's only bad when the Bush administration does it.
And, naturally, it's all an emergency. Obama must hurry because "they don't have much time" as he quotes one of those ubiquitous "experts" as telling him. And what is the solution that Hiatt and his "expert" think will cure our ills? More government money and more government programs.
Ugh. Is there nothing these socialists don't think can be fixed by throwing government money at it?
No wonder the scariest words in the English language are these: I'm from the government and I'm here to help.